Hobo Birthday

In food on 03/16/2010 at 8:51 pm

From Sweets, the whimsical hipster bakery two blocks from our new pad, Tatami Shack v. 4.0 (upper left to right) red velvet, carrot cake, pumpkin, mocha, ganache, lemon and coconut mini-cupcakes. Now that I’ve acquired an iPhone, courtesy of Gadget Bro, I am too lazy to whip out the real SLR. You might have to suffice with badly lit and poorly-focused snaps for awhile. I suggest at least a 5 megapixel camera in the next version of the iPhone, but that’s just me.

Guess who’s a year older? The other half! We had a celebratory dinner at Zafra, a Cuban-Latino place one block and a half around the other corner from zee apartment. This joint is just one of several pan-Hispanic baubles in the local coterie of a Cuban entrepreneur who views Hoboken as a mini-Manhattan. We do too, given that when we’re shopping at the Garden of Eden nearby, I feel like we’re on the UWS. If only it were Zabar’s. One can always dream.

Unfortunately, dinner was just mediocre. It’s probably as (non)successful as pan-Asian monikered establishments. The $8 pork tamale was not worth the jacked up price. Masa harina is what, 50 cents at most? The rent couldn’t be that exorbitant to warrant such a price. Next door at Ultramarinos, the Latin marketplace on the other side of the Zafra kitchen, the same tamale is $5. The horchata made with almonds was too sweet while still tasting watered down.

For entres, we ordered chicken mole and shrimp in red mole. The former was overwhelmed with a strange smoky annato flavor while the latter was merely mild, lacking the tangy zip it desperately needed. When I mixed the two sauces together, it was actually better and more balanced. We have yet to sample the Cuban diner endorsed by our new Cuban landlord, whose friend/owner is going to throwdown on the Food Network tomorrow on St. Paddy’s Day.

The bright point in this lackluster meal was the heavily garlicked and salted greens, kale maybe. Eaten with the lard-infused rice and black beans, there was a flavor explosion in my mouth. Likewise, we were pleasantly surprised by the tasty moistness of the mini-cupcakes from Sweets, which are all the rage now, pay more for less! So far, the carrot cake was the stand-out. There’s three left. We were too stuffed from dinner to sample the rest.

After two weekends of moving our excess of junk in the torrential rains, jeju is also in need of rest. Goodnight blogland.

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