Where Columbus Avenue crosses 106th Street, there is made a broad intersection of corner residential walkups above storefronts reminiscent of urban Los Angeles with plenty of blue sky, when it’s clear.
On the southwest corner lives the large, clean, and well-organized Duke Ellington Gourmet Deli, on the southeast corner Saiguette and a few doors uptown the Mexican restaurant/bar/bakery Calaveras whose upstairs bar is a lovely sitting space in which to appreciate fair weather, because it catches the afternoon sun.
When I bicycle to this crossroads I flip a coin to decide in which restaurant to eat if I am unable to remember in which I ate last.
I first went back for Saiguette’s soups because of their light but rich flavor and power to rejuvenate. For example, the vegetable soup contains fresh mushrooms, tomatoes, pineapple, broccoli, and celery to put out flu fires while the phos have all the flavor skilled preparation and rendition can provide, especially when the broth is done right, as it is here.
The pork shoulder sandwich with grated carrot and chopped cucumber has obvious links to the Hispanic neighborhood as the sliced pork mass has flavorfully charred edges and the roll containing it comes from a local bakery.
There is a CitiBike station one block away, at 107th Street. Nearby on 110th Street is the Michelin Bib Gourmand Miss Mamie’s Spoonbread. I was disappointed when I ate there last.