35 West 35th Street (between 5th and 6th Ave)
New York, NY 10001
I was recently invited to Madangsui for their Korean barbecue. I was pretty excited to try a new restaurant in ktown because I find that I’m always at the same places when I go (Kun Jip, Don’s Bogam, BCD Tofu House…). Madangsui is a couple streets up from the main 32nd street strip and nestled between a number of non-korean bars, which I thought was a red flag. But once you walk in, you’re transported back into that same Korean world. The place is actually pretty huge (note: good for parties) and was packed with koreans. Like all korean places, we were served an array of ban chan (small appetizers pictured below that are always refillable and FREE!).
The array of ban chan was not huge, but included a nice variety of things. Spicy, not spicy, crunchy, soft, etc. They were nice pairings with the barbecue to come.
A long time ago, a reader asked me for my pasta recipe that I frequently post on Instagram. I love pasta and pretty much need it weekly, if not more. I love all kinds of pasta too. From fancy ones that are extra al dente and served in small portions in a ginormous curved plate, to the home bolognese pictured above. The pasta I make is simple, very tasty, and completely unpretentious. You’ll see why: Continue reading
I wanted to do more of these interviews, starting late last year with my interview of Kura’s owner, Huey, but I have failed. I want to do more, so let me know if you like these and I’ll definitely make a bigger effort to do them! Here goes my second of hopefully many more to come.
I have a scientist friend. Her title is legitimately “Scientist” on LinkedIn (how cool is that?) and she’s my favorite kind of scientist… a food scientist. Meet Christine. She studied Food Science and Packaging Science in college (wish I had my shit together back then) and now tastes and tests and creates all kinds of crazy stuff for PepsiCo. Oh, and that photo is from her engagement shoot with her now hubby. Good choice of a prop to show off the rings. Definitely my kind of girl! She was nice enough to entertain all my curiosities about her job and answer some questions for us. Check it out!
Okay, first of all, how the hell did you know you wanted to study food science in college? I feel like most people probably didn’t even know a major like that existed at 18 years old.
Me neither!! I had no idea what Food Science was until I was at a crossroads as a freshman in college trying to figure out what I wanted to do with my life. I started off the Pre-Pharmacy track in my undergrad studies. I wasn’t extremely passionate about it, and all I knew was I’d probably have a pretty stable career. After an intense first semester of taking Chemistry, Biology and Physics and talking with a few people who were already in the Pharmacy program I knew it wasn’t for me and I would probably be pretty miserable if I kept going. The plan was to go the “exploratory” route and figure it out later, but many days of walking past the Food Science and Human Nutrition building on my way to the dining hall had me curious. I wasn’t huge on Nutrition or Dietetics, because honestly I really didn’t care too much about “Health & Nutrition”. I am not one to tell people what they should or should not eat, it’s really their choice at the end of the day. But what is Food Science? Does it have anything to do with culinary? I loved all things food but I know I didn’t want to be a chef. I stopped in and talked with an advisor, and he had me sold within the first 5 minutes. Food Science is defined as “the discipline in which the engineering, biological, and physical sciences are used to study the nature of foods, the causes of deterioration, the principles underlying food processing, and the improvement of foods for the consuming public” as defined by the Institute of Food Technologists. It is such a broad field that really did not limit me to just one specialized path, and he assured me that humankind will always be eating food so there will never be a shortage of jobs. He was completely right! It is an extremely high demand field with a very wide reach globally, and even now is projected to grow at least 9% from 2012 to 2022 (according to US Dept of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics). Continue reading
Tompkins Square Bagels
165 Avenue A (between 10th and 11th St)
New York, NY 10009
My go-to bagel spot is Ess-A-Bagel on 1st Ave and 21st street. And one really only needs one bagel spot in their life. This is why I had yet to venture to Tompkins Square Bagels, even though many East Villagers have told me about how great it is. Seemed like TSB is a lot of people’s bagel spot. One weekend, I decided to cheat on Ess-A-Bagel (yikes) to see if TSB was really all that.
It is a cute open spot on Ave A, with plenty of seating in the back.
The bagels are made in-house everyday. There are a ton of sandwich combinations on the board for you to pick from. Ess-A is a little more no-frills (no “Jessie Jane Roast Beef” type of sandwiches at Ess-A, you just tell them what you want in your sandwich and they make it for you).
LAW and I shared the cream cheese and lox ($8.00). Really nothing special. The lox was very mild, and almost not salty enough for the cream cheese and sesame bagel. This needed at least some capers or something to get rid of the blandness.
LAW and I also shared the BLT, which was better than the lox but still was lacking. The saltiness from the bacon helped add flavor to the overall blandness of the bagel. Iceburg lettuce was fresh and gave the sandwich a nice crunch. I think it needed more mayo, because the whole thing was just so dry.
My favorite, if I had to pick one, is this scallion cream cheese with cucumbers and tomatoes on an everything bagel. The cream cheese is NECESSARY because the bagel is just so damn dry. The salt crystals on the everything bagel is also necessary because the bagel is so damn bland. Tomatoes and cucumbers were average. Nothing to write home about.
Close up of the bagel. Looks lame, yeah? Am I missing something?
19 1st Ave
New York, NY 10003
E.L. had her birthday dinner here recently. I was pretty stoked because I love Italian food (as you know from my delicious trip to Italy!) and had heard from a number of friends that it was worth going to.
Above average bread quality, but nothing to write home about.
J.L. ordered the Wood Fire Roasted Eggplant ($7.95) with cyprus black sea salt and peperoncino oil. The menu description says it “Melts in your mouth!” None of the other menu items had any descriptors beyond the ingredients, so I felt like this had to be a signature. Also, Wood fire roast anything and I’ll probably love it. Sadly, all of our expectations were way too high. It was mushy, bland, and the skin was really hard, almost like plastic. Not only was it unsavory, the eggplant also lacked its natural sweetness. No bueno!
I had the special, which was a Vongole. Can’t remember how much it was, but all the pasta prices ranged from $12 to $18 ish I believe. I’ve been on a vongole kick lately. As a kid, I never liked non-creamy or non-tomatoey pastas. As an adult, I now love the more subtle garlic and olive oil nuances and the not so subtly infused clam flavor. Deeeeelicious! Spaghetti was thinner than usual, and very al dente. Excuse me while I go wipe off the drool from my laptop… (it’s almost dinner time as I write this, forgive me). Continue reading