I was still getting over the flu this weekend, so I wanted to relax. Of course that meant comfort food, or in my case, food I’m comfortable with. You know what I mean — those places that you go to time and again, even when you’ve tried everything on the menu. There are no surprises, which is exactly what I was looking for.
Doughnut Plant is a not-so-well-kept secret in the Lower East Side. It’s been on Throwdown with Bobby Flay and even Ugly Betty, and Saturday morning lines often snake through the closet-sized store and out onto Grand Street.
The tres leches doughnut is heaven, creamy and gooey without being sickly sweet. Sadly, they were out on the Friday evening that Keith and I went. Instead, we tried their Chinese New Year special, crystallized ginger, and their Valentine’s Day special, passionfruit. I was skeptical at first, since they were not typical doughnut flavors, but if anyone knows how to do weird doughnuts, it’s Doughnut Plant founder Mark Israel. They were good, but no tres leches (though few things in life are…). Of course, I went back Saturday morning — and waited in line for 15 minutes — for my delicious condensed-milk goo.
For dinner Saturday night, Keith and I went to Otto, Mario Batali’s rustic pizzeria in Greenwich Village. I first visited Otto on a whim during my last year at NYU, and I can’t stop going back. The pizza is delicious, the pasta divine and the gelato … mmmm the gelato. I got my usual carbonara, and Keith got the balsamic onion and goat cheese pizza. Both were good as usual. We were “same old, same old” for dessert too: a trio of olive oil, crème fraiche and salted caramel gelatos, amazing as always.
As a side note, Otto still has the Guinness-flavored gelato, which we tried the last time we were there. It was very Guinness-y — a little much for me, but interesting nonetheless. Try it if you’re an adventurous eater!
Sunday brunch was at The Smith, per the usual. The East Village restaurant offers a free drink with its brunch menu, and its bloody mary is one of the best in town. The vanilla bean french toast with caramelized bananas and maple butter is pure dessert, and the toast just melts in your mouth. My favorite dish is the potato waffles with poached eggs and a spinach and caramelized onion sauce. SO good. Add home fries and candied bacon to the mix, and it was a very delicious, extremely filling way to start my Sunday.