Sometimes You Just Wanna Be Held…

Tacombi /Fonda Nolita and Puddin’

There is nothing like comfort. It comes in many forms of course and we all have our go to panaceas, but tried and true late night dining that coddles, soothes, tells you that you’re compelling, funny, gorgeous is still available on the mean streets of NYC. (Okay – they’re not so mean, but they are frustrating with people texting as they walk every which way.)

So, the other night, along with some out of town friends looking for inexpensive, tasty and late-ish, we swung through a zocalo, NYC style. The still compelling and amusing Tacombi and the gorgeous Puddin’.

Tacombi has been rock steady on the taco and tamale front for about 2 years now. Much has been written so no need to sound forth. Real masa, open kitchen, taco prep in a vw bus fresh from its Playa Del Carmen beach home now parked inside a big garage, huge skylight, crazy early to late hours, and finally offers sake / sangria spiked Mexican drinks, beers and table service. Phew.

My all time favorite will remain the Corn & Poblano Taco. Sweet, spicy, a beach in a cornfield. The tacos aren’t huge but 3 seemed to be more than satisfying. The Baja Fish Taco is perfectly crisped but the fresh sea breeze still shines through. I do wish they’d use less sauce and let me add from the table assortment of spicy and sweet squeeze bottles if I’m so inclined. The Corn Truffle Tamale is redolent of musk and a campfire. Loved. Friends had the Corn Esquites with toasted corn, lime & chipotle mayo – a french kiss in a cup. The Al Pastor De Puerco, the Pork Belly and the Short Rib Barbacoa are beautifully put together and bring forth the essence of Mexico.

Hard to believe you can be taco sated, infused with a south of the border spirit, feeling this good as you sit around rickety metal tables in NYC and on metal chairs that seem inches away from collapse, but you can.

While we were still enjoying the guacamole and excellent chips, someone at the table said, if I could top this off with butterscotch pudding, I’d be a happy man. Done. Can’t vouch for permanent happiness but for that night, a last bit of solace – it worked. Off to Puddin’ on St Marks.

I’m an old My-T-Fine girl. Chocolate pudding on the stove, skin forming across the top. Heaven. As my tastes developed I learned to make the real thing, appreciating more sophisticated versions but I think somewhere in my heart remains a soft spot for my six year old palate. Well now, boy howdy to Puddin’.

Creamy, pleasure, childhood, all wrapped up in a glass case filled with house made puddings. Butterscotch, Banana, Coffee, Vanilla, Rice, Coconut etc and the Classic – layered butterscotch with a whipped cream center and chocolate pudding base. I could go six feet under happily if I could bring the Caramel Machiato with me, a combo of Chocolate and Coffee puddings with brownie pieces and a salted caramel sauce. Buh bye My-T-Fine. Or I could make do with the Banana Cream Dream made of real banana pudding, graham cracker crumbs, fresh banana cake and a soupcon of whipped cream. I’m open.

One spoonful of anything and it’s Calgon take me away time. It’s just you and warm puppy love. Plus they have Stumptown Coffee (yay!) so you can stay awake to have more pudding.

Tacomba / Fonda Nolita
267 Elizabeth Street
917.727.0179
open for breakfast through late night cravings

Puddin’
102 St Marks Between Av A/First Av
212.477.3537
open til 1am M-W and then til 2am

*Header photo by Angela Carbonetti / http://www.angelacarbonetti.com

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