Wednesday, September 16, 2009
There are certain restaurants that only a local could possibly know about. Which is why, whenever I can, I try to hook up with people from the area I'm visiting. Luckily, I've lived in New York before and know of a few choice restaurants. Most, appear to be nothing more than holes in the wall with bad signage, etc. But once you step inside they are absolute gems. One of my favorites is Cafe Mogador. Located in the East Village on St. Marks Place, between 1st and Ave A, Cafe Mogador is that quintessential Village Brunch joint. It's a place the locals go when they're in the mood for a lazy, tasty brunch. Usually after a long night of drinking in one of the best nightlife cities on the planet. It is not uncommon to see a line of trendy, ubber-cool New Yorkers calmly waiting outside for a table. It is the Brunch I crave more than any other. I even crave it more than that fantastic, diverse and incredibly expensive Brunch at the Four Seasons in Philadelphia.
Once inside Mogador you are greeted by friendly waitstaff, who look like they actually enjoy what they're doing. Most of the time they just tell you to sit anywhere you want, or if they're busy they'll seat you. There are no bad seats in the restaurant. However, I prefer to sit on the right side of the restaurant by the open terrace. In the fall and spring it's an ideal people watching spot. Like Hemingway, (think of Harry's Bar in Venice) I try to sit myself in a corner, hidden away from the world. At Mogador they have made this very easy to do.
The menu is pretty straight forward and it only took a few seconds to decide what we wanted. Our waitress brought out our fresh squeezed Orange Juice in what felt like seconds. It was pulpy, pure and delicious. This was followed closely by my Middle Eastern Eggs, (they serve all Organic Eggs by the way) which consists of Two Eggs any style with Hummus, Tabouli, Salad and Za’atar Pita. On the other side of the table my wife's Moroccan Eggs, which are Poached and come with Spicy Tomato Sauce, Homefries and Pita Bread made me wish I'd ordered that instead. However, everything is good at Cafe Mogador and I've found it best not to dwell on what you didn't order and just order more food if you need it. That's exactly what we did with the Homefries, when we ordered a side of them for the table. I only wish we'd had more Spicy Tomato Sauce to accompany these golden, browned beauties. Putting Ketchup on them would be like putting a dress on a 15 year old boy. And the result would probably be the same. A total irregularity, which would have monumental, lifelong consequences.
All the tastes flow together so well it's almost poetic. The Pita scoops up the incredibly tasty Tabouli and Salad, then slides under the Hummus topped with Olive Oil like they were meant to be, then into my mouth, all the tastes combined into perfect harmony. The Eggs are perfectly cooked and pair well with everything else on the plate. It is one of those rare meals when no matter how much you eat and no matter how full you get, you always want more. I ended my meal with a very strong cup of Turkish Coffee. The grounds stuck to my teeth and the caffeine absorbed into my system with lightning speed. And with that, I was ready to tackle Manhattan. Tackle may be a tad dramatic, actually. My day consisted mostly of sleeping on the Great Lawn in Central Park. Nothing on my mind but my cigar, my wife and the beautiful meal I just ate. Not a bad day.
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