Saturday, November 28, 2009

The New Noodle in Town

"We don't need Ippudo anymore"... was a text message I received from a good Japanese friend of mine after trying Terakawa. A bold statement, considering Ippudo has just been named top place to eat in the country! So I was dying to try. Terakawa apparently opened quietly a few months ago, maybe even more recent than that. Rumor has it it's only been open for a few week but you would never know. It's fully functioning like it's always been there... and it is GOOOOOD! I'm not sure I would say that we don't need Ippudo, because I ALWAYS need Ippudo but it's very good and a lot better priced. The lunch special is $12 and includes ramen and gyoza or a curry-rice bowl. And the ramen on it's own is $9. I'm super excited because it's close to wear I work, which lack good asian food big time! So I will definitely be frequenting Terakawa more often as it starts to get colder! I tried the house special Terakawa ramen which was great, heavier rich tast, great firm noodles.. it was ON! Each type of ramen has a different noodle which I LOVE. The shoyu was also great but much lighter accompanied by a more delicate noodle. I didn't try the miso but I imagine it's heavier and more sesame-based. The gyoza was also solid. I recommend the Terakawa ramen + gyoza lunch special. (for boys or hungry eaters)

Terakawa Ramen
18 Lexington Ave (between 22nd St & 23rd St)
New York, NY 10010
(212) 777-2939

Our new favourite after work spot is Tillman's. It's a cozy jazzy little spot where the vibe is more than good. The music is on, the staff is friendly and the food is really tasty. We usually just sit at the bar and hang out. It was the glowing frosty window that got me curious and had me wander in. We ended up staying for hours chatting with the bartender and listening to some old school tracks. It was really nice. The food is southern fusion style, so we had some yummy cheese sandwich, with coleslaw and homemade chips on the side. It was good.

165 W 26th St (btwn 6th + 7th ave)
New York, NY

City of Dim Sum

On Anna's birthday we celebrated with close friends over dim sum. We over-ordered to say the least, our table looks like a small dense city of dim sum baskets. Of course it was delicious but always way too ridiculous, we had a few dim sum breakfasts for the next few days! It was truly a feast and celebration. My kind of Sunday afternoon!

Dim Sum Go Go
5 E Broadway
New York, NY
(212) 732-0797

When in Wine

When you feel like goingo to a nice little wine bar in the east village check out Terroir. It's quaint and casual and has a great selection of wines. (says my friend who is doing his masters in wine) We met up with him one late afternoon for a glass and some small snacks. It basically has a long communal table and that's it. Love the simple concept and neighbourhood feel. I look forward to going back.

413 E. 12th St. (btwn 1st Ave + Ave A)
New York, NY
(they have no phone)

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Bad Ass Bird

Chef Hirata blew me away, again! He took me to the very famous and authentic Tori Shin, a yakitori house in the upper east side. I have been wanting to go for a while now so I was SO happy to finally make it there! It so amazing! We ordered the chef's selection set menu which turned out to be WAY TOO much food. It started with chicken breast, then moved onto the thigh, heart and liver.... we then tasted the neck and shoulder and finished off with their famous skewer... not sure what part of the chicken but it sure was tasty!!! We were SO full... we couldn't even finish the set menu. We also had a tsukemono salad to start and a tamago-yaki dish as a starter.... not to mention ALL the grilled vegetable dishes that came in between all the chicken. It was crazy... grilled cherry tomatoes, nasu (japanese eggplant) and eringi (japanese trumpet mushroom). They also had amazing kokuto (black sugar) ume-shu (plum wine)... my favourite! and quite special shotchu.... It was so wonderful and all the chicken was organic! I'm not sure I can eat any chicken for a while but it was a truly amazing experience. We ended our meal with a yamai-imo dish (moutain potato, very sticky... a speciality dish from Shizuoka with fish eggs and wasabi)... then a VERY AMAZING desert, shiso sorbet! Shiso is one of my favourite Japanese herbs or leaves.. and to see it as a sorbet, as desert was really special... I was kind of blown away by this meal!

gochi so sama deshita! (meaning thank you for sharing this meal with me, basically...)

Tori Shin
1193 First Ave. (nr. 65th St)
New York, NY

Monday, November 9, 2009

Pruned to Perfection

I will have to just come out and say it. This was probably the best brunch I've had in the city! I didn't want it to be true after everyone's claims that it is, but it is... I just can't believe it's taken me this long to experience it. The wait is always ridiculous and we had tried few times before and being hungry and impatient couldn't wait it out. So this week, we started early and put our names down at 10:45am then came back an hour later to eat. I have been for dinner which is also excellent.

We started off our brunch with a bloody mary of course. This one was delicious and extra special because it comes with a beer chaser! Such a nice touch! For food, Sarra ordered the Heuvos Rancheros (she always orders it when she sees it on a menu... such a Cali girl ;) and I ordered this insane spicy chickpea and eggs dish. The eggs were poached then maybe fried and battered in butter! Although it sounds like a heart stopper, it was surprisingly light. It came with this wonderful dense cracker/flatbread with olive butter spread over it. It had a north african flair about it.. and I just wanted to make out with it! LOVE-LOVED it! Sarra's Heuvos were also amazing. I can't wait to go back and try the rest of the menu. And to ease the mad wait, just go to great café Arlo & Esme next door, which has now officially and openly called themselves the "Prune Wait Station"!

54 E 1st St # 1 (btwn 1st + 2nd ave)
New York, NY
(212) 677-6221

My Maine Man

Luke is my new favourite friend in the neighbourhood, or at least his lobster rolls are. It was the littlest, but tastiest lobster roll I've ever had! Which isn't saying a lot since I'm no lobster roll connoisseur and have certainly never been to Maine. However I did have a friend with me who is from Maine and he confirmed it was very GOOD. This little gem popped up about a month ago at most, right smack in the middle of the two Caracas restos (one of my favourite restaurants in the east village =) This block, which was always amazing has come a long way this year with the addition of Kyo-ya, Porchetta, and now Luke's! I might have to narrow my apartment search to this block! The lobster roll comes in two sizes, regular ($14) and snack size ($8, pictured here). It's not cheap but I guess lobster rolls never are. Although the bread was tiny, they did load on a lot of meat! The meat was fresh and had an awesome citrus taste to it! I was definitely satisfied after one.. it was the perfect snack! And always love me a good ginger beer... spicy and fair trade!

Luke's Lobster
93 E. 7th St
New York, NY
(212) 387-8487

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Meat Market

The winter group dinners have started again for the second year in the row now. Jeffrey and his room mates hosted this one at their great apartment in Williamsburg. Everyone brings a bottle and we enjoy wonderful home cooked food and each other's company. Bobby did all the cooking this time and made some great Argentinean-inspired meat and some killer sides. It was so delicious. There was 13 of us total, this was officially the biggest one yet! It was such a cozy dinner and we all chilled out after and rocked some guitar hero. A perfect way to end the weekend.

Damn Dat Duck

After my disapointing dumplings few weekends back I had to go get my fix at Go Go for dim sum this weekend. Thanks to my boy Nick, who turned me onto some new dishes a few weeks back, I've been even happier at dim sum! My favourite among the newly discovered dishes, is the duck dumpling. It has a very delicate wrap and it's packed full of intense flavour! I'm not normally a huge duck fan, but these little puppies are amazing!

Dim Sum Go Go
5 E. Broadway (nr Bowery)
New York, NY

A Buttery Brunch

Our latest Saturday brunch exploring took us to another spot in the east village called Belcourt. The menu online looked interesting and the place was cute.... and most importantly they had bloody mary's, which is one of our main requirements. I ordered the baked eggs with manchego on top and Sarra, the frittata (which so wasn't a fritatta at all). Although the taste was good it was packed full of too much cheese and butter. Mine looked really heavy but actually wasn't but my baked eggs were too undercooked and the taste didn't really come through for me either.

84 E 4th St (+ 2nd Ave)
New York, NY

The Perfect Combo

I hadn't been back to An Choi in a while. The last time I tried the Pho it came it a HUGE bowl, very good value but I could barely eat half of it. I was all too excited to hear that they are now serving the half pho / half bahn mi combo! It's the perfect combination. They are actually doing a lot of great specials for winter, so plan on going back this week to try more stuff, including their winter porridge and their vietnamese curry. I had the chicken pho and the pork meatball sandwich combo. It was SO delicious!

An Choi
85 Orchard Street (+ Broome)
New York, N.Y

Serving Up Intelligentsia

My new favourite truck in town is without a doubt Van Leeuwen. Although it's famous for it's ice cream (which is quite amazing) I have been going there for only one reason...the coffee! They are serving up some of the best mobile cappucino's around. They are brewing the very famous LA-based Intelligentsia coffee and espresso daily. I follow the truck on twitter and can plan my route to work based on the position of the truck at the time. Before 10am, it is located on 6th Ave and 20th, then after 10am it rolls around the corner to 23rd street, closer to 5th Ave... right in front of my favourite lunch spot, Mangia! So I usually hit it up once in the am then again after I grab lunch! This is a GREAT alternative to Grumpy's, which is a good 10-15 walk away.

Van Leeuwen Artisan Ice Cream
(at a few select locations around the city)