Monday, July 23, 2012

Only the Food Network Can Turn the East Village into a Dry Town

Pernil -- Casa Adela
Casa Adela

Breaking News: Ginger is moving out of the East Village, and from the way she is acting, one would think she were moving out of the country.
Hint: She's Not Moving Here
It is in this state of franticness that, when Vodka suggests we eat at a (read: "a" -- SINGULAR) Best Thing I Ever Ate location in her soon-to-be-departed neighborhood, Ginger pulls together a haphazard itinerary of every one of the East Village locales, intent on hitting up all of them.
And Thus Commences Our Freaky Friday-Like Role Reversal
Once Vodka talks Ginger off of a ledge about the fact that, unlike Queens or Hoboken, we would be willing to return to the East Village in the future, we settle on having "lunch" (again, our "meals" are only rough estimates) at Casa Adela, followed by "dessert" at the Big Gay Ice Cream Shop.
And By "Lunch," We Mean Stop #1 on Our "Continuum of Eating"
Only problem: neither place serves booze, and heaven forbid we begin an afternoon of eating without drinks in our hands.  Willing to revise our itinerary, we soon discover that NO remaining Best Thing I Ever Ate place in the East Village will serve us a spiked beverage.  Congratulations, Food Network, on making the East Village seem like a dry town.
Magic Kingdom: Manhattan Edition
Instead of suffering through an afternoon of sober eating, Ginger suggests that we begin at the Flea Market Cafe, a place she chooses not for its culinary expertise nor ambiance, but merely because "they have a bar."  As Ginger recounts her weekend misadventures with the summary "I am never drinking again" (said, naturally, while sipping on her bellini), we down our $5 cocktails and venture into Alphabet City to find Aaron Sanchez's favorite HOLIDAY dish, the pernil at Casa Adela.
"What's Pernil?" "Roast Pork." "Thank Goodness -- I Was Afraid It Was Something Weird"
Now, prior to this foray to Avenue C, our experience with Alphabet City consists of, well, we know it's the setting for Rent.  Therefore, approximately every five feet of our walk down the block is punctured by Vodka stating some variation of "I feel like I'm in Brooklyn."
For the Record, the Comparison Is Not Meant to be a Compliment
By the time we have stumbled into Casa Adela's "scenic" dining room (let's just say it makes South Jersey's Best Thing I Ever Ate choices look like the French Laundry), we are squarely out of our element.
Get It?  Squarely. -- Because We're Big Squares
Rather than being greeted by, oh, ANYONE who works at Casa Adela, we are instead offered a table by what we soon discover is one of their regulars.  Said customer should be hired by Casa Adela pronto, as he is just about the only friendly and helpful face for miles.  As we grow increasingly sweaty due to the lack of air conditioning, one of Casa Adela's hair-netted employees deigns to arrive at our table.  "Service with a smile" is clearly not a priority in this place, as she does little but glare while slapping silverware and plastic cups of water down in front of us.
Clearly a Graduate of Hospitality 101
Said silverware soon proves to be a waste, however, when Ginger orders one pernil sandwich for us to share, and this Puerto Rican version of Sophia Petrillo swipes Vodka's knife and fork away in one swift movement of disdain.  "Apparently we get one set of silverware per dish," Vodka whispers, and rather than feeling like cheapskates (which we are fairly certain was Sophia's intention), we are merely amused.
Dear Sophia, We'd Be Even More Amused If You Served COCKTAILS
Thankfully, within minutes, our pernil sandwich arrives.  Small pieces of roasted pork sit crushed within a toasted white roll.  While from the outside, the sandwich looks hearty and filling, peeling back one layer of the bread reveals that the meat-per-square-inch ratio is decidedly on the stingy side.
Optical Illusion Sandwiching
Honey, I Shrunk the Pork
Despite the orphanage-sized protein portions, the pork itself is succulent, peppery, and perfectly cooked.  Together with the crunchy bread, it creates the illusion of a (admittedly miniature) Cuban sandwich, and it is decidedly more enjoyable than we were prepared to give Sophia and Co. credit for.
Puerto Rican Panini
Nevertheless, we think the sandwich could benefit greatly from a condiment of some sort -- a gravy or a spattering of mayonnaise -- as the whole thing is a tad on the dry side.
We Need to Start Carrying McDonald's Ketchup Packets at All Times
After a typical bout of confusion over our "massive" $6 tab, we glance one more time around Casa Adela, deciding that it is not so much a "hole in the wall" as a "crater in the foundation," albeit one that knows its way around roasting a pig.

Casa Adela's Pernil: 4 stars

1 comment:

  1. wow awesome pictures! im starving now haha. anyways, east village is the place to be for food and drinks IMHO. if you want id recommend checking out this yahoo article, it has some pretty legit tips on where to eat for a good bang for your buck. some places are OK but others were pleasant surprises like xe may. hope that helps!