Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Cream Cheese - 'wichcraft

14. Hungarian Meat Market
1560 2nd Avenue at 81st

The place is a meat market but the TONY item is cream cheese. Hungarian cream cheese. I had a friend pick up some for me since she lives close by so I can't comment on the actual store, but a 1/2 pound of cream cheese ($5.00) is a lot of cream cheese. Since there is paprika in the spread, the cheese is salmon colored, speckled with small dots of red and mixed with a few pieces of pearl onion. The cream cheese is creamier than a normal block shape but not as smooth as the whipped variety. Hungarian cream cheese tastes like its ingredients. Slightly butter-y, slightly onion-y, not an overpowering taste of paprika, or anything for that matter and altogether satisfying. I would probably say that it has a similarity to scallion cream cheese, though each bite has the slight sharpness to it, instead of just having clumps of scallion. Hungarian Meat Market is pretty much in the middle of nowhere unless you happen to live on the Upper East Side and I wouldn't go out of my way just to pick up some cream cheese, but if in the area (or if you happen to have a friend close by) it's worth dropping in for a 1/2 pound.

15. 'wichcraft
Multiple locations (see website)

Tom Colicchio (of Craft and Top Chef fame) opened up 'wichcraft only a few years ago with only a couple of locations and over the past couple of years he has opened locations all over the city (probably around 7-8). I had tried this when it first came out and was not particularly impressed, probably because the sandwiches weren't worth the $9-10 price both in taste and quantity. There's one location that is on SeamlessWeb and is located right outside of my office building but they close at 5pm. Just today I noticed another location on SeamlessWeb at another location and I took the opportunity to try a TONY item for free. The marinated white anchovy sandwich ($9.00) comes with soft-cooked hard-boiled egg, roasted onion, salsa verde, and frisee on country bread. The bread was soft and tasted fresh, the egg was cooked perfectly and provided some great taste and texture. They call it a salsa verde but it looked and tasted like pesto (a little garlicky and buttery). I love anchovies. I use an entire can of anchovies when I make a personal sized pizza. I didn't think I could get enough anchovies. I didn't love this sandwich. There were probably 3 large anchovies on each half of the sandwich (by the way, every piece that didn't have anchovy tasted nothing like fish) and when I bit into one, it had more of a fishy taste than the overpowering salt flavor that I love about anchovies from the can. I'm not sure if it was the marinade or the fact that they were "white" anchovies but I'm not going to say I wasn't disappointed. I also tried the beet salad ($9.00) which wasn't anything special. For free on SeamlessWeb I'm glad I tried it, but for full price it wouldn't have been worth it.

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