This week has presented a flurry of baffling and particularly distressing challenges. Early Wednesday morning the fire alarms in my apartment building unleashed their sonic terror, and with my guests I proceeded down to the ground floor, surrounded my murmurs of “I hear it’s real” and “No, it’s not a drill.” In my grandpa pajamas, we waited in the rain for hours, learning in dribs and drabs that yes, the fire was the floor below my apartment, and watching the fire truck posse grow in strength. Once we received the green light to return to the apartment, we found ourselves locked out: the management had stripped out our core lockset to make way for the firemen, and replaced it with the wrong one. I finally reached my bed at 8:30am, damp and depleted.
I decided to take the afternoon off, and hit some of the Jersey City food targets I’d been meaning to visit on the weekends. Sam and I stopped at Taqueria on Grove Street, which has solid enchiladas and tortas (hard to find in New York, where bland Tex-Mex seems to satisfy most appetites) and headed to Erie Street for dessert.
Full disclosure: I prefer the savory to the sweet. I’d much rather have camembert than cannoli (heresy, I know!). To a person with this disposition, get thee to Torico’s homemade ice cream parlor. Torico’s (the name stems from a contraction of “all good,” “todo”+“rico”) has opened every spring for the past 38 years, and is known for its unconventional and innovative flavors.
From top left: Poundcake, Ube, Green Tea, Lychee, Jackfruit, Ginger. I know, I need to refine my photo-taking skills, I just butcher it.
Torico’s makes ice cream every day, all day, and gets ideas from both divine inspiration and customer requests. They were very obliging, encouraging us to taste the guava, the coconut cream, the pumpkin. Most intriguing was the Mamey fruit flavor, which had a curious blend of strawberry and nutty essences.
(Mamey fruit: a.k.a. San Domingo apricot or South American apricot)
On its face, the mamey is not an especially alluring fruit—let me assure you it’s a delicious, subtle experience. After much dithering, Sam ordered the avocado, which also possessed a delicate, understated refreshingness—an exceptional translation into the realm of confection.
(Sam being encouraged to stop vacillating between flavors and pick one already.)
As you can see from the photograph, Sam was in dire need of a haircut, so we stopped at Balance, the salon-cum-vintage clothing retailer next to the ice cream shop.
The interior of the shop features a rich, overstimulating décor—vibrant stuff, kooky stuff, in a retired-costume-designer sort of a way.
Hats, scarves and other props line the stylists’ stations, as if they just might burst into “I Feel Pretty” from overexposure to perm fumes.
We couldn’t track down a stylist that afternoon, but I plan on giving the salon a shot after my hair grows another ¼ inch.
Torico’s: 20 Erie St, Jersey City
Balance Salon: 18 Erie St, Jersey City