This week has been busier than usual. I suck for not posting and I feel terrible about it. I’m going to suck even more after this because I am going to re-post a blog post from earlier this year when I made Egg and Tomato noodles for myself. It’s one of those weeks where I just miss home and crave homely foods, such as these noodles. Here is my post from March, 2012:
Still sick in bed. I have very little energy today so I am going to repost a photo and add the recipe for it. Egg and Tomato (鸡蛋炒西红柿) is a classic Chinese dish that every household makes when in need of a quick and simple dish. Continue reading
277 E 10th St
(between 1st Ave & Avenue A)
New York, NY 10009
I came wanting to try their brunch because they have things such as Biscuits & Gravy and Shrimp & Grits. I’ve clearly been going to North Carolina too much lately. We went on a weekday when Y.P. was visiting and found that they only served brunch on weekends. I should’ve known. The lunch menu is far less interesting (mainly just sandwiches) but we were committed and so we stayed.
I ordered the Lemon Basil Vinaigrette Three Herb Chicken & Sautéed Kale ($9), pictured above. The bread was great – crusty and soaked in olive oil. The chicken and kale were surprisingly cold. Completely cold. It took a couple of bites to adjust because I was expecting a warm sandwich… I ultimately enjoyed the sandwich and liked the subtle flavors of garlic and herbs but will probably not order this again.
The highlight of the meal was definitely the fries. We ordered a side of Italian Fries, which included Parmesan Rosemary Fries, Basil & Roasted Garlic Aioli ($5). The fries were so savory and tasty with bits of sharp parmesan flavor in every bite. I love that they kept all of the potato skin because it gave each fry a thicker texture on the skin side which fried very nicely. Continue reading
I love Japanese Tofu (日本豆腐). Despite it’s name, it is actually a Chinese tofu made with eggs and soy milk. They are sold in tubes in Chinese supermarkets and are much more expensive than regular silken tofu – for good reason. The eggs make the tofu particularly smooth and silky and the extra protein makes it slightly more filling than traditional silken tofu. I also love the slightly eggy flavor. This was my first time making it and I’d like to say it was a success! Continue reading
Bo Ky Restaurant (or New Bo Ky Restaurant)
80 Bayard St
(between Mulberry St & Mott St)
New York, NY 10013
Y.P. wanted pho. I don’t have Vietnamese food very often for some reason… not too sure why because I love pho and love this one whole roasted fish dish that you pick at and wrap in rice wrappe sheets – anyone know what it’s called? I was going to be in the Financial District area so looked up the best pho place in the area and found Bo Ky.
The restaurant reminded me of those typical Chinese fastfood places in Hong Kong where people slurp up their wonton noodle soups in suits, leave cash on the table, and head back to their busy lives. We came on a weekday for lunch and the place was surprisingly packed with mostly solo diners. You are expected to share tables and to leave as soon as possible.
I didn’t actually see pho on the menu, though everything they had was “pho-like”. They had a number of other noodle dishes, as well as some appetizers such as the Salted Water Duck, which I saw many order. People came in as regulars and ordered without even looking at the menu. I felt pretty n00by needing a menu and taking more than 3 minutes to decide. I ended up getting the Cambodian Noodle Soup ($5), which had a typical pho-like broth (supposedly made by simmering beef bones, oxtails, flank steak, onion, ginger, and spices) but instead of the usual condiments, had pork slices, shrimp, and fish balls with half-cooked bean sprouts.
1000 3rd Ave
(between 60th St & 59th St)
Manhattan, NY 10022
Anyone who lives in NYC knows that the long lines stretching around the block from Magnolia Bakery consists of tourists and more tourists. The bakery is most known for having been featured on Sex and the City as well as the Devil Wears Prada, not for their cupcakes. I had a bite of a Magnolia cupcake at a company birthday party once and confirmed that I never had to visit. The cupcake was dry. That’s enough of a reason.
Well, Y.P. was in town and wanted something from here despite my warnings. I told her, fine, I hear the banana pudding* is great, just don’t get the cupcakes. She ended up getting two mini cheesecakes: Pumpkin Pecan with Ginger Snap Crust and Red Velvet with Chocolate Cookie Crust ($6.50 each).
154 Orchard St
(between Stanton St & Rivington St)
New York, NY 10002
Wow. This is some legit modern Chinese food. I hate pan-Asian and in general, hate it when people try to mess with authentic Chinese cuisine. American Chinese food is only good when Panda Express makes it because they at least don’t pretend to be something they’re not. I would call Mission Chinese modern Sichuan cuisine. The dishes certainly diverge from the traditional but it does so in the best way possible: keeping the essence of the traditional while adding something new to make the dish bigger, better, faster, stronger. This is probably the goal of pan-Asian but pan-Asian tends to just sweeten everything too much, add too much grease, and cater to people who don’t know what the original is like. Mission Chinese seems to cater to people who know what Sichuan food actually is and want to push the boundaries further. It’s like an inside joke that you would only understand if you’re already well-versed in Sichuan food.
I started the meal with an Oolong Hai ($10), which was simply oolong tea, lemon, and soju. It was a deliciously simple cocktail that was definitely made with some well-brewed oolong tea. It was probably made extra strong to compensate for the inevitable watering-down-of-tea from the ice because the tea tasted strong and penetrated the soju from beginning to end of drink. It was only very slightly sweet, which tasted more like the floral accents from the tea rather than from any sugar or honey, though I’m sure they had to add something.
We ordered a variety of cold appetizers: Beer Brined Sichuan Pickles (napa cabbage, carrot, chili oil, sichuan pepper) , Beijing Vinegar Peanuts (smoked garlic, anise, rock sugar), and Smashed Cucumbers (salted chili, sesame paste, garlic) ($4 each). $4 is quite expensive for the tiny portions of dishes that, in my opinion, could be/should be complimentary (like Korean banchan). They were not incredibly special but the fact that they even had Sichuan Pickles and Beijing Vinegar Peanuts made me excited. I had not had them since I was in China. Truth be told, they weren’t authentic and these appetizers definitely lacked in quality. I quickly forgot about them once the hot dishes came. Continue reading
Wafels & Dinges (Pagadder Cart)
City Hall Park
(Lafayette and Reade St.)
New York, NY
Y.P. is visiting in New York and being the good tour guide I am, I made sure to have her try Wafels & Dinges. Wafels & Dinges is the first truck that I had in the city and has remained one of my favorites, even with all these new trucks parading the streets. I’m not a huge dessert person so if I’m not sharing with LAW (in which case we always get the bacon maple syrup one), I always get the Wafelini ($3). For just $3, I get the cutest, perfectly sized wafel with two toppings. The wafel is always crisp on the outside, warm, and just every so slightly sweet. The center is not airy like IHOP or cafeteria-made wafels. It is dense and almost a little cakey but chewy, like how a real Belgian wafel should be. If I didn’t get two free toppings, I would probably be more than happy with just the wafel itself.
391 2nd Ave
(between 23rd St & 22nd St)
New York, NY 10010
Most underrated restaurant I have ever been to. I came here over a year ago and it was empty. I came here again on Sunday after watching a movie in the area and it was again, empty. I didn’t remember my experience from the first time, meaning it couldn’t have been too bad. I was hesitant to go since it was literally empty but we were all starving and just wanted something edible at this point. They have a $9.99 lunch special for an entree and drink, we figured we might as well just eat here. And I’m so glad we did because lunch turned out to be amazing.
We all chose to have Vietnamese coffee over any of the alcoholic beverage options. I expected a pre-mixed sweet coffee beverage but was so happy to see this drip coffee contraption with condensed milk at the bottom. The coffee was strong but not bitter. The roasted flavor of the coffee beans just subtly came through the sweet condensed milk. So good.
366 W 52nd St
(between 9th Ave & 8th Ave)
New York, NY 10019
It’s getting cold again and naturally, I am beginning to crave ramen again. No other ramen in the city satisfies my palate as much as Totto Ramen does. If you follow my blog, you’ll have heard the name mentioned quite a few times. It’s a bit of a hike from downtown but is always incredibly worth the time traveling, and the time waiting in line. We went for a late 2:30pm lunch on a weekday and still needed to wait 30 minutes to be seated. Like seasoned veterans, we sat down and knew exactly what we wanted to order: 2 bowls of Spicy Ramen ($10.25), one Char Siu Mayo Don ($4.50), and one Pork Bun ($3.00).
Slurp slurp slurp. This is my favorite ramen on the menu. Other favorites include the Vegetable Ramen, and the Nikku Ramen, which is an extra large bowl with piles and piles of delicious, tender pork belly. The Spicy Ramen is exceptional when you just want a solid bowl of no-fuss pork broth noodles. The noodles are always perfectly al dente and they come with a mound of fresh spring onions that really help freshen up the porkiness of the broth. The spicy sauce is that delicious kind my Sichuan grandmother has taught me to make: fried chili flakes and powder. It comes with generous slices of pork belly that has been torched to produce a nice smokey finish. Slurp slurp slurp.