This past weekend, I was invited to participate in Fourth Arts Block‘s East Village Eats Tasting Tour. A self-guided eating extravaganza with bites from thirteen different locations, I was excited to partake. An eating buddy and I first checked in, where we received pins, raffle entries, a compostable spork and most importantly, a map:
I sipped on this caffienated delight while I perused the raffle prizes. Then we were off! Our next stop was Cucina Di Pesce:
We then were presented with our first tour eats – a trio of bruschetta. Starting from the bottom and moving clockwise, we had sauteed mushrooms; chopped tomato, onions and basil; and white bean spread – yum!
We then proceeded to our next stop on the tour – The Banana Cart!
We then headed to Mono + Mono:
I’ve seen dive-bars a many in the Village, but Mono+Mono’s decor was a step up – featuring over 30,000 jazz vinyls and superb Korean fried chicken, I could see it being a totally chill Friday night after-work venue. I picked up my eat for the tour – spicey Korean fried chicken “seasoned with classic jazz music” (haha, clever):
Living across the street from a BonChon, I know my Korean fried chicken and Mono+Mono’s lived up to its competition! Delish!
We then moved onto the next venue, which was unfortunately a bit of a disappointment:
Idle Hands was two and a half avenue blocks from our previous tour location, but the promise of “NYC Lager with an order of Tator Tots with Bourbon Ketchup” kept us going. We were grievously disappointed when we arrived to discover that they had run out of Tator Tots. We were given fries instead, which we were assured were “just as good as the Tator Tots.” The fries were soggy and lukewarm, so I guess we didn’t miss much with the Tater Tots. Sad. Onward!
Our next stop was Oaxaca, located on a street I had never heard of – Extra Place. Have you ever heard of Extra Place? Me neither!! Luckily, this sign pointed us in the right direction: At Oaxaca, we sampled mini burritos with potato, pickled onions, pico, salsa and avocado lime:
This mini burrito was one of my favorite bites on the tour! The combination of ingredients melded perfectly to create a burrito that was bursting with flavor and fresh ingredients. I only wish Oaxaca wasn’t so far away from my apartment!
It was getting late in the afternoon, so after our mini burritos, we hustled over to Hecho En Dumbo for Carnitas de costilla – Berkshire pork ribs slow roasted in its own fat served with a spicy guacamole salsa topped with fresh onion and cilantro. How mouthwatering does that sound? I looooove Berkshire pork. I loooove fat. And guacamole and cilantro? Be still my heart!
Not to be foiled again, we headed over to Swift:
At this point, we were quickly approaching 5pm (the official “end” of the self-guided tour) and there were still four places we had yet to try (Destination Bar & Grille, La Lucha, Jimmy’s No. 43, and Luke’s Lobster). We picked the closest venue – Luke’s Lobster:
There was quite a wait to get our eats – I think a lot of tour-takers had the same idea we did! While we waited, we perused the menu:And finally the bites were ours! Luke’s Lobster’s sample du jour was a bite size shrimp roll featuring Maine shrimp on a toasted but with a dab of mayo, lemon butter, and “secret spices”:
Yummm – the shrimp was chilled, which provided a pleasant contrast to the toasty, buttery roll. Actually, i think my favorite part of this sample was the roll itself – while we nibbled on these mini-rolls, my eating buddy and I pondered the many sandwich fixin’s that would be splendid on this roll – cheese, blt, tuna…practically anything. Mmm mm good! There was definitely nothing left over from Luke’s Lobster!
FAB’s East Village Eats Tasting Tour was a delicious and informative way to learn about the many eating options in the Village. I definitely have a few places I’d like to try again based on this tour. Yum-my!
Which of these samples would you like to try?