Saturday, April 18, 2009

Milk This!

The Momofuku madness continues.... as they open yet another restaurant in the east village. This one is a bakery, or guess I should say milk bar? Milk Bar opened behind Ssam Bar, which is one of the Momofuku restaurants. They actually share the same kitchen and the two spaces are connected on the inside which allows the people waiting for a table at Ssam to snack on pork buns and eat dessert? The space itself is pretty cool, an open cafeteria feel with tall communal standing tables that help make it feel relaxed and social. The menu consists of donuts, cakes, cookies, soft serve ice cream, milk shakes and flavoured milks. I was recommended to try the cereal milk so of course I did. It's was sweet and sort of good, but also super weird. It tasted exactly like the bottom of a bowl of cereal, when you finish your cereal and you drink the sweet leftover milk. I did finish the whole thing but since I was never allowed to eat sugary cereals growing up, this was way sweeter than any cereal milk I've ever had. Overall not that impressed with Milk bar, but I'm curious to try their soft serve and their cookies.

Momofuku Bakery & Milk Bar
207 Second Avenue (nr 13th Street)
New York, NY
(212) 254-3500

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Homemade Lasagna and 12 bottles of Vino!

Mario and Bobby hosted a lovely dinner party on Saturday night in Williamsburg. It was a dreary day and so it was perfect to escape the city and get cozy around a big table with homemade food and lots of wine! Bobby made a homemade vegetarian lasagna (apparently loosely based on his mom's recipe) which was so good! Mario prepared tomatoes with basil and fresh mozzarella, ceasar salad and garlic bread. It was wholesome good fun. There was about 12 or 14 of us by the end of it, great crew of people. Everyone brought a bottle, so apparently we drank 12 bottles! This one in particular was amazing from a friend of Mario's. It was a great time and the food was delicious!

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Black Sesame Organic Ramen

This little japanese organic ramen restaurant is just the place to take vegetarians and vegans. Although I don't normally befriend non-meat-eaters, I do happen to have a few friends that are ;) The food at Souen (pronounced So-en) was good and tasted very healthy... maybe too healthy. We each got a ramen and shared some starters. We had a yuba starter. I LOVE yuba but I'm used to it being served raw and untouched. This was grilled with a sauce on it, definitely a fusion variation on simple tofu skin. We also have the pickles, steamed greens and a tofu "chanpuru" (sort of) where they make a kind of scramble of tofu, egg and vegetables. The ramen was next, two of us, including myself, ordered the special, Black Sesame Ramen. It was really nice! I absolutely love sesame so it was great having a big ball of black sesame paste in the middle that you can spread around. There was a lot of kinpira and renkon in the soup. Kinpira is strips of burdock root, "gobo" in japanese, that's been marinated and prepared almost like a pickle, it's really good for you and helps to naturally clean out the whole body and digestive system. This dish was great in theory, the broth however was quite mild. We all added a bit of sesame oil and vinegar to pump up the flavour a bit. The miso ramen by far had the most taste... again, this one maybe too much taste.

326 East 6th street
New York, NY
(212) 388-1155

Monday, April 6, 2009

Saturday Smile

James and I had a lovely afternoon coffee at The Smile. It's a new café just off Lafayette in Noho. The interior is really cute and cozy and feels very french-inspired. They serve and sell select products including my favourite tea from Paris, Marriage Frères. I'll surely be going back to try their food next time.

The Smile
26 Bond St. (near Layfayette St.)
New York, NY

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Super Cheap, Super Taste!

Nothing like exploring Chinatown on a Saturday afternoon. James, who grew up in Hong Kong, knows all the Chinese spots in NY and he took me to this amazing little street in Chinatown where all the restaurants are from this one Northern region of Mainland China. He pointed out several great hidden places that serve very traditional fish ball and medicinal soups along the way. We landed at this hand-pulled noodle place called Super Taste, which is probably the only restaurant on that street that has been noticed by the food critics. That said, it feel VERY local, full of local Chinese and no other foreigners but us in there. I guess the taste isn't for everyone, the menu is mostly made up of weird meat soups and there's really only one thing to order on the menu to suit a first time foreigner such as myself. (although I always done to try crazy stuff =) The taste of the soup was really good, just perfectly spicy. The noodles, which are hand made by this old guy in the kitchen are really great. This bowl of noodles, which comes in a weird plastic container is only $4.75.

Super Taste Restaurant
26 Eldridge St # N
New York, NY
(212) 625-1198

Crack Chicken

My friend Do introduced me to "crack chicken" which is the Korean version of fried chicken. Do, who is Korean, and another friend of gave this chicken its awesome nick name because its so addictive! It's basically deep fried and possibly lightly battered which give it this amazing crunchy texture. There are a few varieties of the chicken you can get, we got the special spicy one. It was pretty spicy but super good! There are 2 locations in New York. The original location, called BonChon is in Korean town, which we went to first, but the wait was over an hour and it was full of this annoying midtown weekend crowd. So we headed down to their other location in the east village, called Boka, where there was no wait! Although I did prefer the interior and crowd a the east village location, the food was not as good. Do said the chicken at Boka was good, but the other things we ordered (kimchi soon doobu and seafood pancake) were not. So we plan to hit up the original BonChon this week after work to compare!

9 St. Marks Place
(between 2nd Ave & 3rd Ave)
New York, NY
(212) 228-2887

The Shack is Back!

Shake Shack in Madison Square Park opened its windows back up after being closed for the winter. This was my first shake shack burger of the year and it was as delicious as ever. I really wanted to take my co-worker Juan Carlos there because he had never been there in all his 9 years of living here. I think it might have just opened back up April 1st so the line was ridiculous earlier in the week. It's great because they have a live cam on their website so you can view the line before you decide to go. So we didn't go that day and instead waited until the crazy rain storm we had the next day. Right after the torrential rain stopped we ran there to get a burger to go. It was great, no line... but as soon as were at the pick up window, people were started to quickly queue up. I guess everyone else had the same idea. It was a shame is was too wet to sit out, so we brought them back to the office!

Shake Shack
11 Madison Ave # 1
New York, NY
(212) 889-6600

Birthday Bash with Cupcakes, and Oh Fish Tacos!

We celebrated Wayman's birthday at a little bar restaurant in the west village called Ditch Plains. It's a cute little spot with some pretty yummy food. We tried a bite of the lobster roll which was really good. Sarra and I decided to share the fish tacos for dinner and they were great! Apparently the burger is amazing but I didn't get a chance to taste it but it looked really good. Then the cupcakes came out instead of cake. I'm not sure where they came from but they were really tasty!

Ditch Plains
29 bedford street [at downing]
new york city

Home Cooking: Red Tofu Curry

After our enjoyable outing to the Chinese supermarket, Phillipe made us a yummy tofu curry dinner! He is a great cook and has been cooking for us all week! He first prepared all the tofu by lightly frying them in pieces. Then he grilled all the vegetables, like zucchini and japanese eggplant, in a wok. Then he adds the tofu back in with the coconut milk, curry paste and bamboo shoots. Finish off the curry with some fresh Thai basil. Then it is served over rice. It was really yummy!

Saturday, April 4, 2009

Super Market

Last weekend we finally checked out the supermarket in Chinatown and it was great! Chinatown by far has the cheapest vegetables around so it was great to finally go in and load up on asian fruits and vegetables! We got plenty of galan, bok choy and enoki mushrooms, my favourite! We bought all the asian ingredients for all our dinners to make this week, including a tofu curry that Philippe made for us that night! They had tons of variety on all my favourite things like gyoza and they even had 5 kinds of soup dumplings! And also some Chinese delicacies like live frogs and turtles! I love grocery shopping, it is probably one of my favourite pastimes!

Dynasty Supermarket
68 Elizabeth St (between Canal St & Grand St)
New York, NY
(212) 966-4943

The Fuzzy Peach

My girl Hannah was in town from Toronto so I joined her and her crew for some eats at Ssam bar in the east village. I have a love hate relationship with all the Momofuku restaurants. I really love their interiors and overall ambience, but the food is tricky. I love the overall combinations and ideas of the dishes but overall hard to say if the tastes work for me. I am a purist when it comes to food. I guess I like Japanese food to be authentic Japanese food and Korean food to be authentic Korean food. The food at Momofuku always seems to me to be Korean-inspired fusion food with a Japanese name. (or in this case south east asian?) Overall the food is always fine, as it should be for the hefty prices, but there usually hasn't been anything that has blown me away. This time however was a surprise, this little side dish of roasted brussel sprouts BLEW ME AWAY! I might go there just to order those, and the pork buns that are always tasty.... but hey who doesn't love fatty pork belly in a yummy soft bun! Some of the other things we tried included the calamari, the hanger steak and the kimchi and pickled vegtable plate, which is a staple there and really solid. I recently read an article about David Chang, the Chinese-American chef behind the Momofuku restaurants, where he really down-played his fancy cuisine calling it "American food", which I thought was funny and kind of refreshing.

Ssam Bar
207 2nd ave (corner of 13th st)
New York, NY

Friday, April 3, 2009

Sexy Snack

I found this new yogurt at Whole Foods this week. I'm a sucker for nice packaging, and this one was simple yet graphic and it really sucked me in. I LOVE yogurt and usually eat it once to twice a day! It's low fat and with a name like "true" it doesn't seem like you can go wrong. It was pretty good but not sure that the taste lived up to the sexy packaging. I might try the rest of the flavours in order to make a proper assessment.