Yes, another category. We likes to keep it interesting here at Cream and Sugar. I probably should have created this category, Solo in the City, years ago to describe my travel dining. But we have other ways to describe our travel dining. So yeah, a new addition to describe a very underrated mode of eating: by yourself. Out. Over the past few years, I have come to very much enjoy eating out by myself, and I was excited about the ease with which I would be able to do so here in New York.
It hasn’t always been enjoyable. Learning the skill while travelling, I’ve had uncomfortable conversations with servers and overheard unfortunate comments about my “sad” situation from nearby diners in a number of faraway places. But, a thick skin can come quickly once you shed your self-consciousness and realize that the problem with solo dining is not with you, but everyone else. Their level of discomfort with not knowing how to process your level of comfort is about their self-consciousness, so feel free to lose your own. Some reading material is always good to have on hand, but if you get lucky and sit at the bar or outdoors, the people watching or casual conversation with the bartender or casual conversation with your neighbour can serve as welcome distractions.
Nicli Antica awakened a deep love for pizza, and since being here, I can’t quell my craving. For those who’ve known me since I was little, I’m not quite sure what’s funnier: that I love pizza (I used to hate it) or that I have a food blog (can’t deny I’m still a picky eater). I’m having a lot of fun trying out New York’s best. I think my heart belongs to Roberta’s, but Paulie Gee’s finished strong, Motorino is a solid choice, and I still have to make trips to Co, Franny’s, and Michael White’s new-new venture, Nicoletta. I don’t remember Lucali enough, so shucks darn, I should probably go back. I sought out Keste for a traditional Neapolitan pie and was well-rewarded. The Filetti di Pomodoro was practically a white pie. It had no sauce, just buffalo mozzarella, cherry tomatoes, basil, and olive oil. Although I think a Margherita is a good test for the quality of a true Italian pizza, I’m partial to the white pies, mostly because they’re usually all about the cheese. I would happily come back to Keste for more pizza, as the crust was spot on (chewy and flavourful) and the toppings were of a high quality and in just right the proportions.
But I would come back with friends. As a solo dining spot, it wasn’t the best. There was no bar, and it’s location in the busy West Village means it’s a bit of a hot spot with couples and groups. My impression was that solo diners were a bit of a rarity. That being said, my experience was not sullied. I got a table quickly and the service was warm.
I have to go back because I’m totally intrigued by this “racchetta” pizza. All I can think about is ripping off that handle of cheese. Stuffed crust for foodies.
Keste Pizza & Vino
271 Bleecker Street, New York