I gotta tell you, this was an especially rough day. Brunch at 11:00, lunch at 1:30 and tea at 3:30. I usually like to space out the meals so I am not super full going into each one, but today, that was impossible, because tea was at 3:30 and apparently no brunch spot in the city opens before 10:30. I’d say that this is directly correlated to the 3:45 last call here. In Boston, a lot of places open at 8, and in DC, they open at 9 (2 and 3AM closing times, respectively).
I met with Nick Suarez, one half of the duo who runs The Food Experiments (link) around the city. Nick also works at a publication that doesn’t allow him to accept comped meals, so he paid for his part of our tea. We talked about the cook-off and he gave me his super secret hints on how to maximize food tastiness. I would share them with you, but A) I don’t know if Nick wants me to give you the secret and B) I don’t want to disseminate this precious data in fear that one of my adversaries will use it for evil.
I was full, but luckily, tea consists of some very light fare.
Barron Point and Malpec Oysters
Just like the raw bar at Old Ebbitt Grill in DC (link), these guys were easy to eat. I could have had another dozen. The Malpecs were meaty and warm; not too briny and salty. The Barron Point oysters were a bit more oily.
Smoked Salmon, Labneh, and Piccalilli
The labneh was a nice touch, getting some eastern influence into the traditional NYC Smoked Salmon & Cream Cheese with risen dough, and the piccalilli added a nice sweetness.
Egg and Golden Raisin
This sounds like a weird combination, but it was delicious. There was another source of sweetness here that we couldn’t put our finger on.
House-Cured Ham, Pickled Lime Mustard, and Fig
Nick’s notes on the sandwich while I visited the bathroom: Nice spicy mustard matched with the salty ham and sweetness of the fig. My addition: An interesting crunch from the fig and mustard seeds.
It’s a bit lighter than crunch and munch and had no peanuts. Nick and I joked around what the exact percentage improvement on crunch and munch this was. We couldn’t come to a definitive conclusion.
St. Germaine Ganache
You could barely taste the elderflower, but I think that was the goal. The dark chocolate was essential to this one.
Cranberry Jam Cookie
I can eat those strawberry jam sugar cookies by the box. These little guys were no different. They were lighter, too.
Almond, Coconut, and Milk Chocolate
Like a more classy Ferrero Rocher … Maybe a more classy Mr. Goodbar? There’s nothing like it with almonds out there.
Passion Fruit Dark Chocolate
Super thin exterior shell that cracked easily and just blew up with passion fruit creme. This one was my fav.
Oh, we also had tea. I completely forget what I had, but since it was rainy, I probably had Chamomile. I didn’t try Nick’s.
One of the things about both AvroKO spaces that I really like (the other is the Michelin Starred Public – link) is that when you walk in, you know it’s a place where cool people hang out. Each of the restaurants are very well thought out and trÃ©s chic. The cold white metal edge of the bar stood out for some reason as well as the intricate, indian-themed lamps. Another nice touch, the tables and chairs have a thick, noise-reducing foam on their undersides, giving the restaurant a more intimate, cozy feel. The downstairs bathrooms are all individual, but I have to give the nod to the ones at The Smith (link). Other than that, both these spaces are way more awesome than any others that I’ve been to. Can’t complain about the food, either. If they made those tea sandwiches whole, I probably would have had two of them.
Here’s our video:
Guest Writer: Nick Suarez
The IRL Arts Foundation and The Wandering Foodie thank Double Crown for providing Hagan’s meal.
New York, NY 10079