NYC! Day 3: Café Habana To-go


What? Café Habana for grilled corn
Where? 229 Elizabeth St (Nolita, New York City)
Price? $2-$10
The skinny: The original Café Habana is in Mexico City. The one in New York City? Well it was opened in 1997 by Sean Meenan and it’s all about the straight up authentic Latin food (w Cuban and Central Mexican foci). A year later, Café Habana To Go opened up to serve those in a hurry. Same great food, shorter wait time, still packed every day. :D

Post-breakfast at Bouchon Bakery, we were in no mood to dive into more food yet. No thanks. So what did we do? Well, being right on the doorstep of Central Park, we did some exploring! 

I don’t know about you, but I was clueless as to how huge it really is! Rarely do you get parks as big as dig smack in the city. It’s 4 km long! It was really tempting to just wander around, get lost, enjoy the greenery. Only thing is, it was sunny. Yeah, that makes for nice photos, but strolling quickly gets old. 

“Strawberry Fields” where you’ll find the “IMAGINE” memorial for John Lennon.  

Oh and one final thing before we move onto the eating. The Samsung store inside the Time Warner centre was having a Street Fighter tournament. Intense. 

Café Habana To-Go is right beside Café Habana in the NoLita district. When we got there, it was buzzing with activity. It was packed inside! 

You got your mandatory condiments. Aka all the spicy sauces that would burn my tongue off like Tabasco, Chili Habanero. On the right, is a photo of the inside. Remember, this joint’s for take-out or delivery so it’s not meant to have much dining space. 

However, there is some seating along the windows and two tiny tables. 

I love how the menu’s posted up on the wall. You can almost never go wrong with a menu on a wall…almost. haha We were here for one thing, you see it in the “side orders” section: Grilled Corn Mexican Style. Yes. 

This place is so fun! The backsplash reminds you of a food truck…I like. 

Of course we were sidetracked by other items on the menu. This time by soda. “Jarritos” specifically, a Mexican naturally flavoured soda! They have 4 flavours, we decided to try Grapefruit and Tamarind.

Yep, made in Mexico! It’s nice to experience things from it’s origin country. :D Personally, I enjoy anything grapefruit or citrus for that matter so this fizzy drink was perfect for me. The tamarind soda is a little tart but it’s refreshing too. 

The corn is freshly grilled and then topped with chili powder, cheese! And then you get to squeeze a lime onto it! :D 

As we’re munching on ‘em, my lips are starting to burn from the chili. And guess what? I don’t care! It was that yummy. I usually make it a thing to not eat corn outside of the house mainly because of the whole getting-bits-of-corn-stuck-between-your-teeth thing, but wow, I honestly didn’t care this time! (I was extra careful haha).

It’s perfect. And it’s not too complicated either. This is a great example about how simple things can taste phenomenal. 

Christian was legit hungry so he ordered more substantial food. In the form of a Chicken Burrito with Mole Sauce. Spicy, fresh and savoury. Mole means “sauce” in Spanish; it’s widely used in dishes and everyone’s got their own version of it. Yums.

As we leave, I notice this posted on a lamppost. It caught my eye. It doesn’t have the most polite wording…but if you ignore that, it looks cool. And on the right, we’ve got Chrystler st & W. Houston. Ave. The intersection doesn’t matter…it’s the traffic that caught my eye. Or rather, how cars don’t exactly yield to pedestrians. As I’ve slightly mentioned before here

Fonda Nolita, none of us have heard of this place but doesn’t it look so cool?! :D This restaurant’s in the space of a repurposed garage. They’ve even got a Volkswagen Eurobus (like from Little Miss Sunshine) in there! Next time? 

Verdict? So even though we didn’t really try anything else from here other than the grilled corn, I’d still come back in a heartbeat. Just for that one “side order” on the menu. And it’s cheap too, only $2! :D

5 out of 5 NOMs
Café Habana (Take-Out Store) on Urbanspoon