Quick bites: a sale, a closure, a blacklisting, and a really good sandwich.

According to a Chowhound report, Abbondanza (on Bleecker Street between MacDougal and 6th) has been sold. Scott and Steve, the chef/owners, were favorites of mine, and I was a regular diner there in the early months of 2004, just after they opened. They made what might have been the best sandwiches on earth from wood-fired hunks of meat. I saw Scott a few times recently getting morning coffee at Here & Now, and if I see him again, I’ll ask him what’s up.

Another Chowhound report says my second-favorite meatballs in the whole world, at Philoxenia, are no longer available – the restaurant has apparently closed. Very sad – a friendly restaurant that, in retrospect, I should have gone back to. Such is the life of a food critic. If anyone has information about a potential new location, please do let me know.

Also, forget everything positive I ever said about maxdelivery.com. Apparently they have a building blacklist, and my work’s building was added to it sometime this past weekend due to “fraud” (or, as I suspect, because their delivery person had trouble delivering my late order last Friday – he dropped off an extra bag and had to come back and retrieve it). For huge office buildings (as opposed to apartment buildings), this is totally ludicrous – there are a thousand customers that just got eliminated, rather than working through the issue or banning people and floors. Heck, the computer won’t even let me put in an order, and when I wrote a complaining/inquisitive e-mail to their customer service reps, I was basically brushed off. Too bad, as I said to them, since I had turned several co-workers on to their service.

On a positive note, I visited Saigon Banh Mi tonight, which is located at 138 Mott St., and has a jewelry counter where the tables should be. Very strange place, aesthetically, for that reason. Unfortunately they were no longer making fresh sandwiches, but I gladly accepted their pre-made version and was happy when the proprietor offered to put a few jalapenos in a baggie for me. The sandwich was excellent, far better than Banh Mi So 1 at its worst, particularly loaded with peppers. I’ll be going back to try it – I imagine it’s quite amazing with hot beef and freshly toasted bread.

From Saigon’s cooler, I tried a soy drink (which tasted like Play-Doh rather than soy milk) and a coconut-ish pudding with black-eyed peas. The proprietor suggested nuking the pudding, but I don’t have a microwave, so I ate it cold. Not bad, but the cream layer on top would be way better heated. From a street vendor on Grand St. (okay, a lady with a cart, basically), I picked up a mystery blob wrapped in cornhusks. It looked somewhat like an Oaxacan tamale, actually. Inside was some very glutinous rice enveloping beans and some pork in the center. It definitely required some further steaming, though, or maybe the afore-mentioned microwave.

No full review today, but there should be something interesting up Thursday.

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4 Comments

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4 responses to “Quick bites: a sale, a closure, a blacklisting, and a really good sandwich.

  1. Mystery blob sounds like < HREF="http://chinesefood.about.com/od/foodfestivals/a/zongzidumpling.htm" REL="nofollow">zong zi<>?…except I don’t think I’ve seen one wrapped in corn husks. It’s one of my most favorite foods ever. I have yet to try a tamale though. 😛

  2. No tamales?!?Dios mio, man.

  3. My Mexican food eating experiences number in the…negatives. Really. Sad thing is that I went to Mexico a few years ago, but besides that I wasn’t into food, I was also on a diet. Oops.I ate avocados though; those were good.

  4. I think that it defnitely is a zongzi, but a vietnamese version. I’ve heard of them. The chinese versions are wrapped in bamboo and I agree with robyn–absolutely one of my favorite foods. My mom used to make them when I was a kid but they are time consuming, so most people just buy them.There’s a store on pell street that sells pretty good versions. It’s right near the corner with mott street and on the south side of the street (sorry, don’t remember the name).

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