The Weekend Miscellaneous #3 (Lil Frankie’s, The Big Sick, Violet, Pasquale Jones, Family Sunday)

This past weekend, Joe Biden got a much needed, statement win in South Carolina and Pete Buttigieg and Tom Steyer dropped out of the race. Today, the markets are up because history says the worst weeks are followed by good weeks, except when they are not (2008). Most everyone is hoping the spring comes faster and the coronavirus spreads slower, despite what DJT Jr. said.

Without any further ado or anything extemporaneous, here is the weekend review which I call The Weekend Miscellaneous.

Lil Frankie’s – went here Thursday night with my brother and two cousins. It is a cool if not crammed Italian spot on 1st and 1st. Luckily we had some space in the back corner. I would recommend the lemon spaghetti, gnocchi, and pizza. The eggplant appetizer was a try and fail as I thought I was going to have some familiar help but did not. When the large wholly baked eggplant arrived at the table to be cut open, drizzled with olive oil, and sprinkled with seasoning, I realized that nobody wanted to try it but me. I did a respectable job and it was reasonably tasty but I am not in the business of eating whole eggplants, especially not when there are pizza and pastas on deck.

The Big Sick – finally got around to watching this movie with Lauren over the weekend. I thought it was good and well acted by Kumail Nanjiani who is now jacked, Ray Romano who is now back, Zoe Kazan who plays Kumail’s real-life wife Emily, and her mother in the movie who Lauren sniped as the voice of Elastigirl in The Incredibles. The movie was not incredible, but it was well worth a watch.

Violet – went to this months-old East Village spot from the owners of Emmy Squared and Emily with Lauren on Friday night and split an outrageously good “grilled” pizza and a burger. The pizza dough was grilled on both sides as advertised with fontina, truffle sottocenere (fancy cheese), pistachios, and honey on top. It was as much cheesy bread as it was pizza but it was absolutely delicious. They give us a big pair of scissors to cut it with which may be fun for some people but I would have been fine if they saved us the step. The burger which we ordered medium came out objectively rare but it was still very tasty with caramelized mushrooms, cheese, and bacon. It is easy enough with a steak or a fish to send it back if they get it wrong to be cooked some more. With a burger, however, the kitchen really has one shot to get it right because once it is all done up with the toppings and everything it really has to be a problem to become worthwhile making a fuss about. We ate it as it was and that got me the rarer part of Lauren’s half so I had no complaints and would go back for the pizza alone.

Pasquale Jones – known to have some of the best pizza in the city, I made a Saturday brunch reservation for 4 when I found out my buddy Jack who I worked with out in San Francisco was going to be in town up from DC for the weekend. We split a bottle of red, a salad, and a bowl of agnolotti (small ravioli) as a table. Jack and Sam split a spicy pepperoni pizza and Lauren and I split one with mushrooms. The pizza was great as expected but the waiter’s expressed certainty in the fact that it was the best pizza in New York was a bit off-putting to me. There is a sense of humility that I believe can be an important element in being the best, so if someone says they are the best, they probably are not, not in my book at least, most of the time. I liked the music very much from Jurassic 5 when we walked in to Big L when I used the bathroom and even the lesser known People Under The Stairs later on in the meal. We talked about Kobe, San Francisco, and the concept of destiny.

Family Sunday – my parents came in on Sunday for brunch with Sam and I and to see our apartment for the first time. We met them at The Crosby Hotel which was a bit artsy and posh for my usual taste but a great spot for family brunch nonetheless. We ended up hanging out through the afternoon and had a bonus meal in the form dinner at Lupa, which is one of my very favorite places for pasta in all of New York. We split the cacio pepe and the short rib ragu along with a chicken dish which looked good enough at the table next to us to convince us to stray from strictly pastas.

Today is the first day of No Meat Week for me, and maybe the first or second day for you too. Thankfully, I had plenty of great meals this weekend to last me through the next several days on smoothies, rice, beans, frozen bags of vegetables, and all of the other boring but indubitably healthy groceries that I eat during the week. I am conscious of the fact that after only three posts of the The Weekend Miscellaneous it has pretty clearly become a food and sometimes movie review outlet. I believe this may morph over time, and I may sooner or later do away with The Weekend Miscellaneous altogether, but for now, like everything else that I write, I hope some people can find some way in which it is useful and/or enjoyable, just as it is for me.