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Many of my puffy-eyed coworkers have returned to the office today after partying it up in Aspen this weekend. The consensus so far is that most of them drank way more than they ate, but at least they drank very, very well. Stuck here in New York with a friend visiting from out of town, I had no problems noshing widely this weekend; in fact, it’s one of the best food weekends I’ve had in a while. Inspired by the “Five Bites” series F&W contributor Amanda McClements includes on her Washington, DC, blog every week, here are my weekend’s best five bites (and slurps):
1. Tangy, spicy geoduck clam salad with intensely smoky oysters at Soto. When I was in Richmond, Virginia, last March reporting on Food & Wine Across America, chef Dale Reitzer of Acacia and his wife Aline told me that New Yorkers were about to be very lucky. “Soto’s coming,” they said dreamily. They claim that chef Sotohiro Kosugi, a previously Atlanta-based Best New Chef 1997, makes the best food they’ve ever eaten. With dishes like this one that just pop with flavor, I can tell you that they’re not exaggerating.
2. Wine-battered, crackly-crisp asparagus fries in the back garden of Barbone are always a must-order at this cozy East Village Italian restaurant.
3. Aperol, the Campari-like bitter aperitif, mixed with Prosecco and a few ice cubes looks like a cocktail Barbie would drink, but it tastes like one for her far more sophisticated Italian cousin. I’ll have one of these in my hands after work all summer long.
4. A place mat–size quesadilla stuffed with chorizo from the Martinez tent in Red Hook (great pictures here) washed down with limonada. Even though I split it with my friend, the quesadilla was so filling that I couldn’t squeeze in a mayonnaise-slathered, queso-dusted ear of grilled corn. Oh well. There’s always next week.
5. Chocolate cupcakes with lightly salty pistachio frosting that were the happy result of an accident: When the pistachio macaroons from Nigella Lawson’s How to Be a Domestic Goddess cookbook didn’t work out, I topped some quickly baked cupcakes with the deliciously nutty buttercream filling.