August 22nd, 2007

Pretty little things

prune.jpg

I’m a sucker for pretty little things. Pretty is subjective, I know, but there are some things that just meet the universal definition. Or maybe it’s just mine. Regardless, they make me feel all giddy inside.

In New York on Saturday, I had brunch at Prune and then visited Marie Belle, a chocolate store in Soho that a friend introduced me to a few years ago and I love.

It was my first time at Prune. I had initially made reservations for dinner Friday, but work wore me out so much I ordered room service and went to sleep anticipating brunch the next morning.

The restaurant is tiny and quaint. The white walls are graced only with mirrors, the tables topped with brown paper. The restaurant’s sign on the door and the menus, which are in nice tones of pink and purple, stand out against the white backdrop. Our hostess wore a purplish skirt, which could’ve easily been a premeditated move to tie the color scheme together. The small menus looked handwritten. The floor-to-ceiling windows at the front of the restaurant were open to let in fresh air. It was a beautiful day in New York, sunny, in the 70s, no humidity. Everything was pretty.

Prune, New York

Prune’s brunch offerings range from the classical to the atypical. The spaghetti a la carbonara was tempting even at 10 a.m., but we were far from daring in our choices. I ordered eggs benedict and D huevos rancheros. I regretted not ordering the Dutch pancake. It was torture watching them go by me as they were taken to other tables. This one pancake is huge and looks more like a round cake with blueberries nested in a dent in the middle than an actual pancake. The fried oyster omelet and the oysters and lamb sausage seemed like they would’ve been good, too. That’s the predicament you face when you have many good choices and only two stomachs. But our choices were good nonetheless.

When they arrived, my eggs benedict smiled at me. The two poached eggs each sat on their English muffin at the top of the plate and a half-moon of potatoes rosti (like a hash brown pancake) sat at the bottom, which really made it look like a face. I like to judge this dish by the sauce. The last time I ate eggs benedict the hollandaise was too lemony; this one was just right.

Throughout my meal I contemplated ordering the Dutch pancake. “For dessert,” I told D. He was up for it but the truth is I was satisfied and I needed room to eat some chocolate at our next stop. Our check was brought to our table on a plate with two gummy licorice doggies. I don’t like licorice that much but I reveled in this, yet another pretty detail.

~~~~~~~~~

Marie Belle Entrance

We left and walked to Marie Belle. This Soho store is like a Tiffany’s of chocolate. With wood floors, mirrors hanging on its light blue walls and hanging chandeliers, it’s gorgeous. The shelves are stocked with boxes in shades of blues and browns. Their boxed chocolates are a work of art, each flavor with a different design that makes them look like mini-paintings. At the back of the store you can see them in a glass counter and you have the option to choose which flavors you want. Packed in beautiful blue boxes with brown ribbon, they’d wow any chocolate lover. But the chocolates aren’t the primary reason I love Marie Belle. When my friend first took me there, it was to try the hot Aztec chocolate from their Cacao Bar. Spicy and thick, the drink is like a shot of joy. I was hooked after the first time and anytime I can I bring a bag of this powdered chocolate to make at home.

Marie Belle

This time around I ate a passion fruit mini-chocolate, which was delicious and I bought a box of buttery mango caramels, which came in a cute little vintage-looking package. I’m a sucker for pretty little things, remember? And on Saturday, I felt all giddy inside.

Prune Restaurant
54 East 1st Street (between 1st and 2nd Avenues)
New York
212.677.6221

Marie Belle
484 Broome Street
New York
212.925.6999

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5 Responses to “Pretty little things”

  1. Hmmm…can’t wait. I’ll be in NYC next month for a week, I will try both then…thanks for the tip…

  2. I was in NYC on Sunday and went to ESPN Zone for lunch. The service was horrible and the food was even worse. I got a burger that was probably one of the most disgusting things Ive ever put in my mouth. I think they cooked it in water or something cuz the meat was disgusting. I know not to expect much from a place like ESPN Zone but cmon…

  3. I will be in NY in October and I will have to try those pankakes. Thank you for the tip Paulita!

  4. two words…so jealous.

    what restaurant would you recommend the most highly for miami spice so far? something laid back and intimate maybe?

  5. Leslie — I haven’t visited that many for Miami Spice yet, but I would definitely recommend The Food Gang. Based on reviews I’ve read, I would say Vix.

    Blind Mind – We almost entered ESPN Zone but I’m glad I didn’t. I’m sure it was overpriced and not that good. Hope you have a better meal next time you visit NY.

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