You may recall from yesterday’s post that we were waffling over what to have for our Sunday lunch out since our plans to go away had changed. It used to be that Mark and I would make the decision, but with the girls old enough to voice their opinions, it isn’t always easy to get 4 people to agree. We decided to spend the afternoon in the East Village, our old neighborhood, and one that I’ve lived in on and off since the early 90s. Sadly, we don’t come to this neighborhood much since we moved to Brooklyn 9 years ago, so walking from the Union Square subway stop to our lunch destination, Soba-ya, I pointed all sorts of places out to Mia: our old apartment building on 12th street, the cheese store on 3rd ave, the Kiehl’s store (which, by the way, is HUGE now), Sunrise Mart, among others. Weaving our way down 9th street Mark and and I wondered if the Takoyaki stand was still open…and it was!
So after our delicious lunch of freshly made soba noodles in savory broth, which Claudine slurped down till she was the last one left eating, and an appetizer of uni tororo (sea urchin in grated Japanese yam, which Mia couldn’t get enough of), we headed out to Otafuku across the street to get Takoyaki, or as we used to call them, octopus balls. The space is tiny tiny so we waited outside on the bench for our order. Mia could hardly contain herself – she was so excited to try them and kept peering into the little window to watch the guys cook the batter with octopus. After a 7 minute wait and one bite, she was hooked.
Soba-ya and Otafuku were old standbys back in the day since we used to live around the corner, but since we were in the neighborhood, we decided to drop by the Momofuku Milk Bar to see what all the hype was about. I have to admit that I still haven’t eaten at any of the David Chang empire of Momofuku restaurants, which as a foodie (did I just call myself a foodie?) is lame, but I attribute that to being a working parent on a tight budget (and maybe that’s an excuse, but it is true). The Milk Bar menu is a little bit eclectic as there are both sweet and savory dishes, including the famous pork buns and the cereal soft serve, but we went for the cornflake, marshmallow and chocolate chip cookie, and the Crack Pie. Both items had good flavor, but they were both really densely sweet and very buttery. Despite the fact that we’re in the business, I’ve never been able to handle very sweet desserts or cookies, but I do realize that a lot of people like them that way. I’d come back here though, but I’d have to have an intense sugar craving to plow through a cookie by myself (the girls had no problem, though).
Once home, it struck me that weekends are fun again now that Mark is no longer stuck working in restaurants. Now that we are out of the baby phase, it’s really fun to explore the city with the girls who are enjoying these outings. Maybe Claudine is even growing out of her culinary pickiness just a little bit, as she’s starting to try new things and even tried a salmon roe (which Mia loves) and a piece of Takoyaki. Speaking of which, Mia is still talking about those octopus balls, raving that they are now her new favorite thing. What was my favorite takeaway from this day? The Soba-ya bathroom, which has one of those fancy Japanese toilets with heated seats and a bidet!