228 E 10th St
(between 1st Ave & 2nd Ave)
New York, NY 10003
I was looking for a cozy little restaurant where LAW and I would be able to pause time for a couple of hours for his birthday. Dieci seemed to fit the bill. We had walked by this mysterious little restaurant a number of times and G.B. recently went and had very good things to say. The Italian-Japanese restaurant is carved into the ground on 10th street between 1st and 2nd avenues. Because the restaurant is below ground level, there is a certain quiet intimacy to it. We sat next to each other facing the window, where we could spy on East-Villagers walk by as we ate. Aside from the uncomfortably high and tiny bar seats (LAW had to rescue my lap napkin that fell to the floor at least three times), the place felt perfect for the occasion.
We started with the seared duck breast with garlic and scallions ($10 – I think). The portions were larger than I expected for a fancy-ish place like this. The duck was a little gamey, but almost in a good way. It was marinated in something a little sweet and salty and served with bits of scallion and garlic. Each piece had a thin sliver of fat attached to it, which cut the gameyness and added a little juiciness. Not standout but certainly tasty.
After having the squid ink pasta at Daily Catch recently, we’ve been on the hunt for a NY equivalent. This is the Tagliolini ($16), squid ink pasta, tomato, and calamari.
The tomato sauce was fantastic. Super fresh. Naturally sweet. Slightly garlicy. Simple. Definitely made with some very high quality tomatoes. The squid ink is probably the best I’ve had in the city thus far. Not many pasta places in NY offer squid ink so I don’t have much to compare to. It was very fragrant, as squid ink is without being too fishy, but could have been a little more al dente. Continue reading Dieci, a romantic little Italian-Japanese place carved into 10th street
2250 Emmons Ave
Brooklyn, NY 11235
This past Saturday, I got up at 4:50AM and got on the train at 5:20AM to Sheepshead Bay to board the Captain Steve’s Seaqueen VII. J.P. organized this lovely morning trip (that I almost didn’t go to until I found a Groupon deal for half the price: $35 for two, instead of $35 for one). Nothing against J.P. or fishing at all, I’m just really not a morning person. I grumpily made my way to the boat and complained about my hurting stomach and stinging eyes (my symptoms of lack of sleep).
My sleepy fingers were not excited about touching these little guys until… the first catch of the day was made. An experienced young fisher caught a 26 inch fluke. The entire boat erupted in loud cheers. In 20 minutes, cheers were happening all over the boat as more and more people caught fish. If your fluke is 19 inches or longer, you get to keep it and take it home. I started to wake up because I realized I could be bringing home dinner. That would make my trip worth it. I started trying and about two hours later, I caught something. It was a pathetic 10 inch little guy.
As small as this looks, this is actually my second catch. I only made two catches on Saturday, but the second one made the cut at a full 22 inches! My roommates on the trip, LAW, H.W., and S.S., were probably all selfishly (sel-fish-ly?) happy because they knew we would have a fresh catch for dinner. Continue reading Eating My Catch: Fishing for Fluke in Brooklyn
The Bar Room at The Modern
9 W 53rd St
(between Avenue Of The Americas & 5th Ave)
New York, NY 10019
For you philistines out there, that would be the restaurant at the MOMA. I imagined all these artsy people dining there, discussing the latest David Zwirner gallery exhibit and Rembrandt’s recent appearance on Google for his birthday.
But… no. It was all businessmen gathered for a tasteful evening at the museum restaurant.
LAW and I came after work one day to celebrate a little occasion. Once I sat down I realized this isn’t the type of restaurant I would normally love to celebrate in. The tables are a little bit too large so that you are distanced from your dining partner – clearly not for a romantic or even cheery meal but more for a business lunch. Everyone spoke in contained voices and there was no laughter. Zero.
Nonetheless, I had a pretty good meal and was in good celebratory spirits anyway with the LAW. We started with the Tarte Flambee alsatian thin crust tart with Hen Of The Woods Mushrooms, Chive, And Comté Cheese Gratiné ($18).
The crust was super thin, and slightly crispy at the bottom. Mushrooms needed a little more shroom flavor (I would add truffle oil) but otherwise tasted very nice. Pleasant. Cheese was salty and was balanced by mushrooms. Chives added a nice kick. Nothing spectacular but served its purpose. Continue reading The Bar Room at The Modern: come for business and not pleasure.
191 Chrystie St
(between Delancey St & Rivington St)
New York, NY 10002
Brunch is not just waking up too late on Sunday for breakfast but too early for lunch in NYC. Brunch is its own category of gastronomy here where people plan brunches weeks in advance. There’s the ladies-who-lunch, boozy-brunch, birthday-brunch, or any-occasion-brunch. Regardless of which it is, brunch is an activity that New Yorkers are willing to shell out the time and money for.
Freemans is a pretty classic NYC brunch place. Most people have heard of and have been to it. It’s tucked into a tiny alley that takes you away from the hustle and bustle of city life.
The food is American comfort food. I’ve been here twice and my impressions both times were that they do all their food well. There’s nothing fancy or spectacular. The vibe is very much simple and rustic, just like how Gordon Ramsay would like it. Pictured here is the Skillet Eggs, Bacon, Spinach and Gruyere with buttered sourdough toast ($12) that I ordered. Portions are adequate, neither stingy nor doggy-bag worthy. My skillet eggs were runny and creamy, coating the bacon and spinach with a layer of yolky goodness. Continue reading Freemans for Brunch
Tasty Hand-Pulled Noodles
1 Doyers St
(between Bowery & Chatham Sq)
New York, NY 10013
Small, dinky, and tucked in a corner of Manhattan Chinatown. That’s the classic “hole-in-the-wall” experience everyone asks for when they want recommendations in Chinatown. Well, here I am giving you one. There isn’t much on the menu other than soup noodles, pan-fried noodles, and dumplings. If I had a bigger stomach that day, I would have tried all three because they all looked authentic and delicious.
I ordered the roast duck soup knife-cut noodles ($5.25), as opposed to the hand-pulled noodles, which I hear are also fantastic. Knife-cut noodles were even a rarity in Beijing so I had to get it here. They are noodles of various lengths, thicker in the center and tapered to the sides due to the way they are shaved off with a knife. It soaks up flavor very well and stays forever chewy due to the thickness in the middle of the noodle. Despite the fact that the duck was either all fat or all bone, the broth was meaty and rich. I wasn’t here for the duck anyway. The fried duck skin added some grease and flavored the soup deliciously. Continue reading Knife-Cut Noodles at Tasty Hand-Pulled Noodles
The Daily Catch
323 Hanover St
(between Lathrop Pl & Prince St)
Boston, MA 02113
For July 4th weekend, I went back to Boston for the first time since I left after graduation. I have accumulated at least 10 favorites in Boston but since we were only in the city for 24 hours, I had to pick the all-stars, one of which is The Daily Catch. The Daily Catch is a tiny restaurant in the North End that seats exactly 20 – not one more. The space is completely packed and is run by three people: the chef, a waiter, and a washer. Hyper efficient. According to its website, this North End location first opened in 1973 (DECADES ago!).
We got to the restaurant around 5:30pm and didn’t get to eat until about 7:00pm. That’s how great this place is. Was it worth it? Abso-effing-lutely.
I started with a Moretti, a light and fruity Italian beer that E.C. introduced to me. I’m normally a wine girl but the fizz and lightness of this beer went perfectly with the pastas we had. Definitely ordering another when I get the chance.
LAW and I sat at a table while E.C., S.C., H.W., and S.S. sat at another. The place was too small to accomodate all six of us together. So LAW and I shared the Calamari Scampi ($10.75), which is fresh calamari sautéed with butter, garlic, oil, lemon, and white wine. It was deliciously fragrant and an excellent alternative to the fried calamari I normally get. The squid was chewy and tender. Delicious. Continue reading The Daily Catch, the one Boston restaurant that beats any NYC Italian restaurant.
265 W 37th St
(between 7th Ave & 8th Ave)
New York, NY 10018
I am not one for heavy lunches because I tend to go all out for dinner. I know it’s healthier to eat more for lunch and less for dinner … but I get sleepy at work and I think my dinner cooking or East Village options are better than what Midtown West has to offer. I also use lunch as an opportunity to get aaaall the good veggies my body craves. I refuse to have salads for dinner.
Buuuuut there are exceptions. Someone at work mentioned a hidden Ecuadorian place by our office and V.V. convinced me to go by essentially guilt tripping me and accusing me of missing out on a blogging opportunity. So here we go.
The place is legit hidden on 37th street. It looks tiny from the outside but when we walked in, we realized that small entrance leads to a very large storage-like space. Continue reading El Sabroso: Midtown lunch from a hidden Ecuadorian restaurant