Monday, July 27, 2009

Chinatown and Little Italy

Chinatown New York - where vendors are selling anything from seafood to I Love New York T-shirts for cheap, where you can buy an affordable lunch or dinner for under $6, and where there's a theatrical display of fake designer purses and Rolexes being sold out of brief cases, suitcases, and vans on literally every street corner. It's large, crowded, dirty, and smelly and one of the last parts of New York City we'd want to live, but it's always a good time to walk through the streets and take in the sights (and smells).

We went back to the Chinatown Ice Cream Factory to see if we could finally try their Durian flavored ice cream. No luck again. Why do they list is under their regular flavors?

We weren't brave enough yet to try the actual Durian. We're still sketched out by Andrew Zimmern finding this one of the most repulsive things he's tasted considering he's eaten raw cow balls and brains.

Columbus Park is crowded and most of the people there were grandmas and grandpas just hanging out, clipping their toe nails, and playing some serious card games.

Then you cross the street and you're in Little Italy, which is just Italian restaurants, one after another. It's too dizzying how many pasta places there are. The restaurants are mostly catering to tourists and you're not going to get the best Italian food in the city here, but it's also fun to see the crowd and the restaurant workers trying to get you into the restaurant. There were also some deals we saw, like pizza and beer dinner combo for $6.

My friend Vinny told me to go to Vincent's since that was one of his favorite Italian restaurants when he lived a long time ago in New York City and told us to try the linguine with clam. Sorry Vinny, we skipped the restaurant this time and maybe we'll try to make it back there before we move.

We ended up eating at La Mela, a large three-room family style restaurant whose motto is "sit down. eat. and shut up." The walls are covered with photos of celebrities that have eaten there, like what seemed like the entire cast of the Sappranos. We thought the restaurant better suits a large family dining with kids and the service needed work, but we had no complaints about the pasta dishes we tried.

The ravioli tasted great. The sauce was delicious. The portion was just right.

The spaghetti and meatballs were as basic as it gets, but in a good home cooking kind of way. The sauce was good, the meatballs were juicy, and the portion was enormous.

We had a difficult time walking back to our subway stop.