NYC: Tacos, Soft Serve, and Big Bambu

July 23, 2010 § Leave a comment

Last week, Laura and I took our annual trip to see the rooftop and Costume Institute exhibits at the Met. This year, they’re featuring Big Bambu by Doug and Mike Starn and a display on the fashion evolution of the American woman.

But first, of course, we had to get some lunch. We decided to stop by Dos Toros (because I had a serious craving for Mexican food) and Momofuku Milk Bar (mainly because it’s only a couple blocks away from the Union Square station).

Dos Toros is a tiny restaurant with a set-up that’s very similar to the Chipotles and Qdobas in this world. You wait in a quick-moving line, choose your tortilla size, meat, and whatever toppings you want. In this case, we got two carne asada tacos with guacamole, salsa, and their green hot sauce as well as their carnitas quesadilla.

And while its appearance resembles Chipotle, the food Dos Toros offers is infinitely better. Far from bland, the tortillas themselves had a ton of corn-masa-y flavor and the carne asada was much more tender than I expected. However, I think what impressed me the most was the generous amount of meat they put in each taco. Normally, similar places would be stingy, but not here. Everything else, the salsa, the guacamole, was super fresh and well seasoned, adding even more layers of flavor. The quesadilla, though a bit on the thick side (I confess I’m used to those flattened ones from Taco Bell) was a little messy and incredibly satisfying, and I especially loved the extra browned bits of fresh tortilla. Considering that Dos Toros’ prices are almost identical to Chipotle’s, I’d much rather spend my money here than on a sodium-laden burrito from the latter.

Afterwards, even though we were already pretty full, Laura and I walked a couple blocks over to Momofuku, where we indulged in more porkiness and some sweets. The pork buns were still as fatty and delicious as always, and this time, since we were hankering for dessert, we got a cup of the bright fuschia raspberry lemonade soft serve (wonderfully tart and refreshing on such a hot day) as well as a couple cookies to take home for family…blueberry and cream, compost, and cornmeal.

Finally, after all that eating, we made our way uptown to the Met. When our elevator opened onto the rooftop, the view in front of us was jaw-dropping. The Starn brothers were not lying when they called their exhibit “Big Bambu.” There were even elevated walkways made of bamboo stalks that climbed 30-40 feet in the air. If you have time, I highly suggest that you get out to NYC before the exhibits ends, especially since people continue to work on the installation every day, making it a living and growing sculpture.

And while you’re there, also check out the American Woman: Fashioning a National Identity exhibit. We weren’t allowed to take photos, but the display is essentially a look at different periods in American fashion…from the “heiress” and the “Gibson girl” all the way to the “flappers” (the dresses in this part were exquisite) and “screen sirens.” There were gorgeous dresses by Liberty, Molyneux, and even Poiret and Lanvin, as well as some head-turning shoes and accessories in each section. So far, every Costume Institute exhibit I’ve seen has never disappointed, and this one is as good as the rest.

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