How does Anthony Ricco cope with the pressure of making a thousand people a day at Spice Market? "I'll bury myself in the wok. When you have to cook 200 to 300 fried rice plates a night, there's nothing you can do for those hours but cook. Personal issues, home problems—nothing else matters."
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For a neighborhood so seemingly devoted to the concept of nightlife (and everything that it aspires to be), the Meatpacking District is surprisingly bereft of the kinds of cheap, junky midnight snacks that party animals know and love. But here are ten great ones—everything from burgers and pizza to 24 hour kebabs and high class French pastry—to satisfy your late night urges.
As an unabashed Malaysian evangelist, I showed up early for yesterday's one-day Malaysian Noodle Festival. Seven Malaysian or otherwise Southeast Asian restaurants from New York (and one from New Haven) each served a noodle dish or two from their colorful tents. (Oppressively muggy heat, the threat of rain, and crowds squeezing around outdoor tables helped it feel about as close to Kuala Lumpur as the Meatpacking District could get. All we needed was a Tiger.)
Who doesn't love the delicate, sweet crunch of a lightly caramelized surface? There's nothing like the satisfying tap of spoon on sugar before you make your way into a deep bowl of custard and pudding. A sprinkle of sugar, a light torch or a trip in the broiler; that simple touch makes all the difference.
From a caramelized tapioca topped in sweet basil seeds, to a banana pudding with a fat tempura-fried banana as the crowning touch, our city has no shortage of excellent puddings. There's a chocolate chip-studded number from Sugar Sweet Sunshine (in addition to their classic banana pudding, of course!); a bagel pudding from Russ & Daughters; and an al dente housemade rice pudding.
At Spice Market, keep your eye out for the Warm Rice Pudding ($7), a new and worthy addition to the dessert menu.