Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Bargain on Bedford

On my way to my hair appointment, I walked past the taco truck on Bedford like I always do. For some reason I've never been hungry when I walk by it. But this time I was.... one taco for $2.50 is the perfect light lunch when you are in a rush or on the go. I tried the pork and Anna tried the beef. The truck itself is nice a clean and cute boys work inside, so I'm down with that whole situation! It's parked right in front of my favourite wine shops on Bedford called Uva. So I can grab my favourite Rioja as well as a yummy taco to go!

Taco Truck
Bedford Ave (near N 6th)
Williamsburg, Brooklyn

Latenight Dog

After a rather uneventful night of bar hopping in the east village, Do and I worked up our hunger for a little late night snack. We were planning to do a last drink at Tell No One, the secret bar hidden inside this hot dog shop but once we ate our dog we were ready for bed. We went with the recommendation of the Crif Dog guy and ordered a "Tsunami", which is a hot dog wrapped in bacon, with pineapple chunks, and topped with some secret sauce. It was actually really yummy and the perfect thing to avoid a hangover in the morning.

Crif Dogs
113 St Marks Pl, (btwn 1st ave + ave A)
New York, NY

Posh Chelsea Cod

Although I had been to Cookshop for lunch not long ago, I was curious to see how the vibe was at dinner. It felt like a completely different restaurant. Again, full of a weird mix of bi-polar energy; from the young to really old, and super gay to super straight. My co-worker and I shared an salad to start of dandelions greens, which of course is typically bitter, they dressed it with a super bitter creamy vinegrette, which I found both too heavy and too bitter. We then shared the cod as our main dish. It was lovely, flaky and buttery, sitting on top of a mound of pureed leeks. Although the fish was good, this restaurant is not cheap and it's hard to say how consistent the food is overall.

156 10th Ave, corner of 20th St
New York, NY

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Malaysian Madness

After eating in all week, we were super excited to have a dinner out! Anna and I met up with Jeremiah and his brother at our favourite Malaysian restaurant, Nyonya. It's cheap, conveniently located in Soho and its big so you never have to wait. We got a bit overly excited and ordered a lot of food! We tried some new dishes by recommendation of our server, who was this impatient older woman who told us complete confidence, that "this one is the best!"... and they were! We started off with the curry Roti appetizer, which is a staple there, and also the fried shrimp puffs. Then we tried this crazy chicken dish, were they grind together chicken and shrimp and reshape it into the shape of a chicken cutlet and then its served cut up with a sweet chili sauce. The texture was definitely weird but the taste was great! Next is the "Sizzling Nyonya Tofu" dish which was very saucy and yummy, and had some nice mushrooms and vegetables in there. Other dishes included the green beans in shrimp paste, Malaysian style and these naughty beef chow fun noodles beef. All yummy! I also like to have a fresh coconut juice there, which comes in a real coconut! It's so fun and you can pretend your own vacation, which I especially like! Then once you finish the juice, you ask them to cut it up for you and you can scoop out the insides. It almost doubles up as a dessert...good value! But no, we didn't stop there, we had to have dessert, and not one, but TWO! And just in case I hadn't had enough coconut after OD-ing on the fresh coconut, we thought we'd just go coconut crazy and order more coconut for dessert! We had "the best" dessert on the menu, which was the coconut pudding. It was insane, they make this awesome light pudding out of the coconut water and coconut milk (I think) so it's not overly creamy. Then it's put it back into the coconut and chilled. Oh and it comes with pink umbrellas on top, which is always a bonus! We ended off on a second dessert, called the peanut butter pancake. We asked the lady what it was and her response was "peanut and butter" oh and deep fried! Sounded perfect and it was! It was very nutty and wonderful! All in all this was a very successful meal at Nyonya and I highly recommend it for cheap good eats!

194 Grand St (btwn Mott and Mulberry)
New York, NY

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Rooftop Roast!

Anna's work mate Michael hosted the first barbecue of the year on his rooftop on the Upper West side. They cooked up some great meats, hot dogs, sausages, chicken and even venison! The chicken was lovely stuffed with asparagus and cheese inside, and cooked perfectly so it was still juicy! Addie, his roomate made some great homemade guacamole, which looked great! Sadly, I am allergic to avocado so I couldn't try it. Other delicacies included wine and cheese and some fancy chips and dip. It was really good fun, although the weather was still too cold so we didn't last long once the sun set. I am SO looking forward to the summer now!

Home Cooking: Giuseppe's Meat Sauce

My dad, named Giuseppe, made this pasta sauce for our family every week during the winters. Ever since I
was a little girl, I loved watching my dad cook. I would peer over his shoulder to see what kinds of crazy secret ingredients he was throwing in! The beauty of it is he would never use any recipe so the whole experience was really freeform. I have therefore adopted the same technique and thoroughly enjoy making it now! The sauce
is typical northern Italian style since my family is from Torino. My special ingredients here are these amazing whole peeled tomatoes which I think are the best and this wild dried oregano, which I found at an amazing italian store in the Chelsea Market. I will no doubt bring back some for my dad next time I go home to visit.
I make a double batch so my sister and I can eat for a whole week! There are a few secret ingredients of my own, which I add in at the end, which I can't reveal until I have the next cook off with my dad. Buon appetito!

Featured Ingredients
San Marzano Tomatoes (Whole Peeled)
Tutti Calabria Wild Dried Oregano

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Baked Eggs Italian-Style!

When we are craving baked eggs, we always head to Falai for a nice weekend brunch. It's a super cute Italian caffe conveniently located on the edge of Soho and Nolita, a perfect stop off before shopping! The space is really cute, modern and all white. Little white tiles cover the bar and floor, decorative mirrors fill the walls, and crystal chandeliers hang from the ceiling. For food, we usually share one of the baked eggs, since they load it up with 4 eggs its a bit excessive for one person. The fontina and basil is probably my favourite but the mushroom and spinach with marscapone is also lovely. We also love this zucchini salad, super thinly sliced zucchini and layered up with golden raisins, pine nuts and then topped off with freshly grated ricotta cheese. It's so delicious and really refreshing! The pear salad is also really great. Another favourite item on the menu is the fresh ricotta and figs, its pretty rich and quite big so perfect to share! Their homemade sweets and coffee is also amazing, so pop in even for a sweet and cappuccino to go!

Caffe Falai
265 Lafayette St (btwn Prince + Spring)
New York -
(212) 274-8615

Celebrating Saint Paddy's Day

It was nice to escape the madness of the east village on Saint Patrick's day and crawl into this local soho bar, Toad Hall, for a celebratory drink. It's moody and has a nice quiet local feel to it. The bartender Bary is rad, he's super friendly and looks out for everyone. Our one drink turned into another, an amazing and rather large glass of tequila that Bary recommended (i forgot the name now), straight up and super smooth. This spot is a little gem and I look forward to going back again.

Toad Hall
57A Grand St (near W. Broadway)
New York, NY
(212) 431-8145

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

This Soup is Pho Real!

I finally made it back to An Choi to taste this infamous Pho of theirs... 12 hour broth, grandma's recipe... all sounds amazing, now how does it taste? A-M-A-Z-I-N-G! I ordered the Chicken Pho and Leonard ordered the Beef. The beef has some really interesting tastes going on, cloves, cinnamon even... really unique... but the Chicken blew me away! It has a nice clean taste but the flavour runs deep! And the condiments that come where ON, fresh jalapenos (which are usually missing on the east coast), coriander and this awesome one I've never seen before called culantro, or thorny coriander! This is my new favourite pho!

An Choi
85 Orchard St (btwn Grand & Broome)
New York, NY 10002

It's So Chickalicious!

This is a spot that I've been wanted to check out for some time now. Its about a whole minute walk from my place so its way too convenient. I had heard that this was a Japanese dessert bar, however I found it to be anything but Japanese. The interior is minimal and clean and the size of the servings are Japaneseque in proportion but the presentation really through me off. The lights were really bright and it was really loud, machines constantly making things. My biggest issue was with the size of the spoons, they were HUGE! These delicate tiny little desserts and you are meant to eat it with a massive heavy soup spoon! How? The taste however was good, some interesting mixing of flavours with the brown sugar panna cotta and pineapple sorbet and the warm chocolate tart with peppercorn ice cream. Again to me, none of these had any reference to the taste of Japanese sweets but they were done well and quite interesting. It is a prix fixe menu, you select one dessert and then they pair it up with a starter dessert and some finishing tiny treats. All in all a really nice concept, I just think they need to work out the details.

Chikalicious Dessert Bar
203 E 10th St
New York, NY 10003
(212) 995-9511

Cook it Real Good

There's nothing like a relaxing lunch to catch up with good friends. The Cookshop, located in Chelsea is big and open with a nice airy feel to it. The crowd is definitely a bit mixed matched. The food seems good. I ordered the chicken salad, the meat was juicy... Tim and Yuji both enjoyed the pasta, which looked good, done with pheasant meat! The space is modern, with lots of windows and natural light. The only downside was the service, which wasn't great.

156 10th Ave, corner of 20th St
New York, NY

A Wee Bit of Sunshine

I'm not really a sweets person, especially when it comes to cupcakes and cakes. So a stop in for this kind of snack is a super rare and worth noting. We happen to be down in the lower east side shopping around and wanted to try their "Piggy Pudding Pie", which another friend had told us about. So we grabbed a smaller serving of the pudding, which was actually more like cake, to go. While there, I devoured a pistachio cupcake, the taste was super good and the icing wasn't too heavy!

Sugar Sweet Sunshine
126 Rivington Street
New York, NY

West Meets East

I have a bad habit with brunch to always go to the same spots around the neighbourhood. So thought we'd switch it up and try Westville again. It is a cool little spot that usually emits a good vibe and it's not overly crowded. I have been here once before and wasn't super blown away by what I got. This was a similar experience, good but not great. When we sat down we saw this cute girl eating something that looked really yummy. It turns out it was her own customized version of their grilled cheese sandwich, but with a fried egg added! So that's of course what I got, and it was pretty darn tasty. We ordered two sides of their vegetables, the brussels sprouts and the beets. The brussels sprouts were good, roasted and in an sweet mustard vinaigrette. I have heard their burger is great so I'd like to try more on the menu before making a final assessment.

Westville East
173 Avenue A, Corner of 11th Street
New York, NY