Cel-Ray Soda and Other Obesssions

I live to eat, not the other way around. 

If you are like me, you might want to stick around for this blog post. It profiles some of the tastiest treats I have eaten of late – just a few camera snapshots here and there of some of my latest faves in the city.

Cel-Ray soda

Okay, this isn’t exactly a restaurant dish but it is my latest obsession. How have I lived this long as an East Coast Jewish gal and not tried this stuff? It’s bright and refreshing, a little sweet and a little grassy. I could never pinpoint that this was celery if I didn’t know that it was ahead of time, but once you know that it is, that vegetal celery taste totally rings clear. If you likes 7-Up but find Sprite too sweet, you will absolutely love Cel-Ray. It was the ideal companion to my Katz’s Reuben sandwich, but it would also be at home with a slice of pizza or anything else that needs a light, clean taste to cut through its spicy, greasy layers.

Serrano ham sandwich at Vintner Wine Market

One of my favorite little haunts in Hell’s Kitchen. The cheese and meat shop is as fine as any you might see downtown, but without the pretentious staff or long lines. Looking for a stinky cheese? They have it. Artisanal pickles? Got those, too. Or you can have one of the many delicious and unique beers that they offer. Stay at one of the high tables in the back or take your sandwich to go. The sandwiches are all exceptional, but the Serrano ham is my favorite. The ham is shaved to order on an old fashioned slicer, soft and juicy so that it melts on the tongue. It is layered with sharp manchego cheese, slices of tomato  and a drizzle of fruity Spanish olive oil. Served on a crusty Tom Cat baguette and served with a few briny olives, this sandwich is huge and extremely high quality. For $10, it will keep you full for hours and may ruin you for all other sandwiches. 

Seared salmon with lentils at Sel et Gras

This small restaurant in the West Village serves a very nice happy hour (including $6 glasses of sparkling wine) and has a cozy, convivial atmosphere  but those aren’t what really stand out. What really stands out is the plain old salmon  We have all had seared salmon a million times, and it can be – at its worst – smelly, rubbery, and totally gross. This, however, is seared salmon at its best. Flaky on the outside and a soft medium rare within. The skin is crispy and salty and the meat itself is moist and very mild. The lentils are toothsome and earthy, served in a creamy vinaigrette. This salmon is what all salmon dishes should aspire to become.

Not gonna lie, it could only be improved upon by a side of ice cold Cel-Ray. 

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