Fuku: David Chang’s take on the spicy chicken sandwich

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAFuku
163 1st Ave (10th st)
New York, NY 10003

I’ve been wanting to come to Fuku since I first heard that David Chang was creating a restaurant solely dedicated to fried chicken sandwiches. I… love… chicken sandwiches. And I’ll let you in on a secret. Every time I go home to Beijing, I have a list of restaurants I always have to hit up, ranging from my favorite peking duck to THE GREATEST spicy fried chicken sandwich ever from KFC. Yup, KFC. Those of you from Beijing will understand. KFC does not have it on its US menu. They call it the Zinger burger. The sandwich consists of a big, thick piece of dark chicken thigh meat fried to perfection, a smear of mayo, and a light sesame bun. It’s amazing. Just take my word for it.

Anyway, that was for context. In my mind, Fuku was benchmarked against my glorious Beijing fried chicken sandwich.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERALAW and I came around 1:30pm this past weekend. Fuku is only open from 11-4 Wednesdays through Sundays. The place was packed with Asians. Maybe everyone else is benchmarking against Beijing KFC too?

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I ordered everything on the menu sans alcohol: 1 spicy chicken sandwich + 1 Koreana (Fuku’s newer off-menu spicy chicken sandwich with daikon radish) + 1 fuku salad + 1 french fries + 1 seltzer water.

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God I was excited. H.W. had visited a few days earlier and said it was the BEST THING he’s had in NYC. People waited HOURS in line when the place first launched mid June. Continue reading

Seoul Garden: great for raw crab and naengmyun (cold noodles)

Seoul GardenSeoul Garden
34 W 32nd St (between Broadway and 5th Ave)
New York, NY 10001

I have to admit, I had been to Seoul Garden a number of times before, each time because I was too impatient/hungry/hangry to wait in line at another place. Seoul Garden was always THAT restaurant for me: good enough to eat at but not great enough to ever be a real choice. It always struck me as a restaurant of mediocrity, one that didn’t have more ambitious goals than providing solid, comfort Korean food (nothing wrong with that). So you can imagine my surprise when I got invited to dine with them recently… are they rebranding? New chef? New management? Someone is clearly trying! I grabbed LAW and we headed over to Ktown to check it out.

Turns out, I had been ordering incorrectly this whole time. I asked to have all the best items on the menu and was served dishes I had never ordered at Seoul Garden before. There were a few things that I had that night that were incredible and absolutely worth going back for.

First: the banchan. Banchan are small dishes that all Korean restaurants serve (complimentary!) as appetizers. It’s like getting bread before your meal except you’re getting all kinds of things like different kinds of kimchi, other veggies, squid, steamed egg, etc. Seoul Garden provided the usual with one particular amazing dish…

Seoul GardenLittle fish with fried sweet potato chips. The salty, chewy fish paired with the sweet, crisp sweet potato made for a mouthwatering combo. This was truly a great banchan that got my appetite going. I had never seen this before either. Plus points for creativity. The rest of the banchan below were more of the usual suspects:  Continue reading

EONS: The Greek Chipotle

Eons
EONS
633 2nd Ave (34th St)
New York, NY 10016

Chipotle… meets the Greek Gods and makes Greek babies. And by babies I mean food. And by Chipotle makes Greek food I mean a restaurant called Eons copied Chipotle’s healthy/fastfood model and made a Greek version of it. And it was deeeeeliicioussss!

EonsEONS just opened up not too long ago in the land of the bros (Murray Hill). Like Chipotle, you choose a base (pita, rice, or salad), pick your protein (chicken, lamb, steak, pork, shrimp, salmon, or octopus – lots of options!), pick your sides (gigante beans, lentil salad, beet salad, etc.), add a spread (tzadziki, eggplant, hummus, garlic spread, etc.), then add as many salad-y things you want (cucumber, tomatoes, olives, etc.). Other than the seafood proteins, your meal will cost less than $10.

Eons
And your meal will look beautifully colorful like this. Here I ordered the brown rice base with slow roasted pork (very juicy and soft), EONS salad (which includes farro, cucumbers, tomatoes, mint, and parsley), beet salad, olives, and roasted baby eggplant spread. The meal was filling yet light, flavorful but not too salty. My body felt amazing after. All the ingredients are just very fresh and simple – something I’ve loved about Greek food but was never able to access it so easily and quickly as from EONS. Continue reading

Shi’s Kitchen: The Perfect Spaghetti

Spaghetti
WOW I AM SO MAD RIGHT NOW I FEEL LIKE CHRISSY TEIGEN FROM HER SCALLOPS POST (READ IT RIGHT NOW IF YOU HAVEN’T ALREADY). I JUST WROTE THE MOST BEAUTIFUL, ELOQUENT PROSE OF A POST (LIKE JAMES BEARD AWARD WINNING STATUS) ABOUT THE PERFECT SPAGHETTI RECIPE (I ACTUALLY STOLE IT AND “ADAPTED IT” FROM SOMEONE MUCH MORE LEGIT THAN ME) AND IT. JUST. ALL. DISAPPEARED.

LAW IS TRYING TO COMFORT ME BUT HIS WORDS ARE JUST PISSING ME OFF EVEN MORE. IT WON’T ALL BE OKAY AND NO, MY POST WON’T BE AS GOOD THE SECOND TIME I WRITE IT.

AAGHGHGHHGHGHGHGHGH. IT’S BEEN TOO LONG SINCE I’VE POSTED SO I’M GOING TO JUST WRITE IT OUT NOW INSTEAD OF WAIT FOR MYSELF TO CHILL OUT.

JDLS:FKJDLS:KFJDLS:F

Okay so you just need some spaghetti (I got mine at Eataly because I’m fancy), ripe tomatoes (DON’T PUT THEM IN THE FRIDGE or else they turn all sandy and gross), basil, garlic, chili flakes, and lots of olive oil. Oh and parmesan. I used one pound of spaghetti and 14 tomatoes (I actually counted from the photo because I care about you so much).

Spaghetti
FIRST, boil some water. While the water is boiling, make this basil-garlic-chili-infused olive oil. What you do is you heat a ton of olive oil (you can put however much you want because you can save it and use on other things) on low heat (NOT TOO HOT OR ELSE THE OLIVE OIL WILL TURN BITTER). Add garlic slices, fresh basil, and chili. Let it all simmer on low heat for like 20 minutes and remove from heat. Continue reading

Nishida Sho-Ten: FAMAZING gyoza and delicious, authentic ramen

Nishida Sho-Ten
Nishida Sho-Ten
302 E 49th St (between 1st and 2nd Ave)
New York, NY 10017

I’m really tired of eating at fancy places (#firstworldproblems). I was about to blog about my recent trip to Bouley, then just got so bored writing about the smoked Alaskan salmon with Tasmanian mustard seed, creme fraiche, coconut sugar, and gluten free crouton (yes that is all in one dish, the amuse bouche actually – not even a real dish). I’ve come to accept that as much as I have an appreciation for places like Bouley and Jean Georges, I get most excited about eating, taking photos, and blogging about homey hole-in-the-wall places like this one!

Nishida Sho-Ten
I like eating where hip Asians eat too I guess.

Nishida Sho-Ten
So, Nishida Sho-Ten is a cute little ramen place in Midtown East. There are always diners eating there, but I’ve never had to wait in line for a seat before. Continue reading

Bibble & Sip: An Alpaca Cafe with lots of matcha and lavender (and alpacas)

Bibble & Sip
Bibble & Sip
253 W 53rd St (8th Ave)
New York, NY 10019

J.S., my super trendy fashionista friend (check out her blog!) who also loves to eat and drink coffee, introduced me to Bibble & Sip. She had me at “alpaca.”

Bibble & SipBibble & Sip is a cute coffee shop in Hell’s Kitchen (I know, cute+coffee shop+Hell’s Kitchen almost never go together) that serves up lots of unique, delicious things like earl grey banana bread, pistachio cake, earl grey panna cotta, matcha latte, lavender lattes, etc. The theme seems to be tea-infused things…. yumz. It is also RANDOMLY alpaca themed.

Bibble & SipI spy with my little eye… an alpaca.

Bibble & Sip
I made R.Y. come check it out with me recently and we got these pretty cups of matcha latte and lavender latte.  Continue reading

Interesting AND Tasty: A Delicious Ladies Lunch at Jean Georges

Jean-Georges
Jean Georges
1 Central Park West
New York, NY 10023

HI GUYZ! It’s been awhile since I’ve done a real blog post. Going to try to get back at it now that the weather is nicer and I’m less inclined to stay home and cook (follow my instagram @whatshisees to see my daily cookeries!). Today’s blog post is from a recent Ladies Lunch I went to with the lovely K.C, B.J., and J.N. As I mentioned in my Betony post, going to fancy restaurants is fun for me in the same way going to a museum is… I admire art and creativity. I usually don’t go for a really satisfying, tasty meal (given that my favorite foods consist of dumplings, noodles, and pizza… you can see why). Luckily for me, Jean Georges ended up being both beautiful and very, very tasty.

Jean-Georges
If you’re a chronic bruncher or lunch-deal-hunter, you probably know that Jean Georges has one of the best lunch deals. Where else can you go to a Michelin star restaurant for a $48 meal? The $48 lunch deal is a 2-course meal. Any additional “courses” costs $24. We each had two courses and added an additional dessert course because, well, because! And looking back on my journey, it was well worth it. Anyway, let me begin to describe my culinary journey at this fancy pants place.

Bread: Decent. Just decent. The sesame bread was my favorite because it was light and very, very sesame-y (do you like my descriptors?) The bread definitely wasn’t as  good as at Betony. I’m going to Bouley next week where the free bread is supposed to be awesome. That’s the only reason I’ve been dying to go! #bread4lyfe

Jean-Georges
Our meal started with a little amuse bouche featuring a trio of different flavors and textures. Starting clockwise is a tiny bit of soup, a roasted portabello mushroom, and a swirl of smoked salmon. Every item was pretty unique and flavorful, but didn’t really go together. I feel like each was meant to stimulate a different taste profile on my tongue… to get all my taste buds wired and ready to go. Good job Mr. Amuse Bouche. It worked.

Jean-Georges
This… this… might be my favorite uni dish of all time. And I’ve had a lot of uni things. B.J. and I ordered it for our first course. It is a trio of Santa Barbara urchin (only the best) over a thick slab of butter, on top of toasted black bread. It’s topped with the most amazing flakes of sea salt and a tiny slice of jalepeno. Oh, and there’s yuzu somewhere in there. The ginormous slab of urchin was sweet and creamy, only to be made more creamy and delicious with the butter. The yuzu added a nice citrusy kick to the creaminess, and the jalepeno added a little bit of heat at the end of your bite. The toasted black bread was a nice addition to help soak in some of the flavors. Honestly, just so much YUM in my mouth. AND THERE WERE THREE OF THEM!!!!!!!!!!!! Continue reading

Umami Burger ON MY COUCH thanks to OrderAhead!

Umami BurgerMy good friends A.H. and A.C. both work at OrderAhead, an exciting food startup that is coming head to head with Caviar. Those of you who don’t know, these are food delivery startups that, well, deliver food to you. Unlike Seamless, they deliver food from places that don’t typically offer delivery services, places like ABC Kitchen, BCD Tofu House, and Taverna Kyclades. I’ve been hesitant to try these services because of the added delivery fee but my friends gave me some delivery credit so I obliged. What I came to learn is that $6 isn’t so much, especially if you’re splitting it with a friend. Physically getting to a lot of these restaurants would take way more than that. As much as I like a great meal out, I am also a homebody who loves enjoying food on my couch. Prior to OrderAhead, if I wanted to order in I would have to settle on overly-sweet-Thai-food or fishy-sushi (not the good kind of fishy…) or mediocre pizza. The time for shitty takeout is over! Smell ya later Chinese takeout box.

Umami BurgerLAW and I ordered from Umami Burger because I’ve never had it before, don’t care to ever go out of my way for it (because Shake Shack is my one true love), and because it doesn’t typically deliver to us. I placed my order from the OrderAhead app, which is simple and pretty intuitive to use.

Service was also pretty impeccable for delivery. A couple minutes after I put in my order, I got a call from OrderAhead about a specific dish request I had. I also got a text from the team telling me the delivery man, Takwaun, had picked up my order and was on the way. I read that they are working on getting tracking available for your order so you know exactly where it is. Very helpful to know my order isn’t just sitting around! Especially when I’m hangry (which is almost always right after I put in an order). Continue reading

Celebrate Lunar New Year with Godiva!

Godiva Lunar New Year Collection
I’m the luckiest girl alive. Lunar New Year is possibly my favorite holiday of the year and GODIVA SENT ME CHOCOLATES!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Godiva has honored my favorite holiday with a limited edition Year of the Goat gift box. I was lucky enough to receive the Mid-Autumn Festival “mooncakes” from Godiva last year, which were deeeelicious. I was very much looking forward to another collection of Belgian chocolates with Asian flavors. This is one type of fusion I can stand by.

Godiva Lunar New Year Collection
Similar to the Mid-Autumn Festival box, this box showcased three special chocolates: one dark, one milk, and one white.

Godiva Lunar New Year Collection
There were also some other classic Godiva chocolates along with the mix. Only six lucky goats (choose who’d you like to share with wisely).

Godiva Lunar New Year Collection
For this blog post, I’m featuring the lucky goats.  Continue reading

Betony: creative and delicious offspring of Eleven Madison

BetonyBetony
41 West 57th Street
New York, NY 10019

I’m going to take you through my meal at Betony the way I wish I experienced it: aka. without the pretentious crowd and stuffy furnishing. More on this later. If you follow my blog, you’ll know that I’m not typically one to chase Michelin stars. Food that excites me is food that is undiscovered like Lan Larb or The Bao (though both have gotten pretty damn popular as of late). That’s not to say that I don’t enjoy fancy food. I like fancy pants food the same way I like going to art museums. I have a deep appreciation for passion involved in cooking and the creative work chefs do. I also like to paint though, and that kind of enjoyment is totally different. ANYWAY. LAW and I went to Betony recently and I was pumped because I had only heard good things. Started by two ex-Eleven-Madison-Park chefs, Betony has been raved about on the interwebs as a creatively delicious restaurant. Oh, it also has a Michelin star.

Betony
I started with the Beach Tea (Rhum Blanc, Cranberry Kombucha, and Absinthe Verte – $15). Oh. Hot. Damn. This is my jam. It looks pretty elementary but the mixologist performed some serious alchemy with this one. It tasted deliciously fruity and was REALLY strong in the best way possible: I felt a warmness creep into my body throughout the beverage without ever feeling like I was tasting alcohol. Alchemy.

Betony
Per my friend R.P.’s recommendation, we shared the Betony take on the lobster roll ($18). I was disappointed when I saw the dish because it’s nearly 20 bucks (enough for like 7 “burgers” at Xi’an Famous Foods) yet looks like a few sticks of Chinese egg rolls. Lesson learned to never judge a book by its cover because these little rolls were bursting (BURSTING, I tell you) with essence of lobster roll. I don’t understand how so much lobster flavor was jammed into these tiny cylinders but man were they tasty. The shell of the roll was a crispy, slightly flakey pastry. The filling was magic. Continue reading