Category Archives: New York

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

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

The most authentic Canto food at Cha Chan Tang

Cha Chan TangCha Chan Tang (aka Tea Restaurant)
45 Mott Street (between Pell St and Bayard St)
New York, NY 10013

Cha Chan Tang is a type of restaurant that is popular in Hong Kong and specializes in cheap Canto-Western style foods. It also happens to be the name of a restaurant in Chinatown that serves up this exact kind of food. Directly translated, “cha chan tang” means “tea restaurant.” They came to exist after the British colonized Hong Kong and brought the concept of having tea and cakes. Western food was very expensive so restauranteurs decided to make a “tea restaurant” just for locals which served up a fusion menu. This restaurant in Chinatown mimics these types of restaurants through their menu and decor (see above… they have these fake windows that play videos of Hong Kong streets/traffic on loop… pretty cool).

Cha Chan Tang
The reason I knew we had stepped into an authentic cha chan tang was because of the intense smell of Hong Kong style milk tea. Hong Kong style milk tea is made with black tea and condensed or evaporated milk. Sounds simple enough but the real deal is actually pretty hard to come by. To make this concoction, tea leaves are placed in a sackcloth (see above), which are then placed in a container with water that is brought to a boil. The sackcloth is said to make the tea smoother. The container is removed when the water is boiling, and then sometimes brought back to a boil. This repeated action intensifies the flavor and caffeine levels – hence, the milk tea is usually pretty caffeinated.

Cha Chan Tang
The milk tea looks just like this. You can then add sugar to your liking. It’s strong, milky, and very, very fragrant.

Cha Chan TangThis is a classic pineapple bun. Growing up, I had one of these at least once a week. It is a slightly sweet bread that is made to resemble a pineapple. Nothing about the taste is pineappley. The crust is flakey and sugary while the center is soft and fluffy. This version is a buttered pineapple bun that is very common in cha chan tangs. A warm pineapple bun is served with a fat slab of butter in the middle, melting as it reaches your table. The bun paired with the strong tea is enough reason to visit the restaurant over and over again. Continue reading

Brushstroke: delicious and filling fancy pants lunch

Brushstroke
Brushstroke
30 Hudson St.
New York, NY 10013

What started out to be a painfully awkward lunch at Brushstroke became a surprisingly delicious one. LAW and I were invited by his parents’ friends for lunch at this fancy David Bouley restaurant. The restaurant is spacious and quiet (too quiet, though the bottle of wine fixed that). We each had the $55 lunch tasting menu, which came with an amuse bouche (above), an appetizer, entree, rice bowl, and dessert (lots of food!). The amuse bouche was very tasty and light. Each bite was extremely different: one with a yuzu gelee, another with a smokey salmon, and the third with a cauliflower puree and truffle. Delicious.

Brushstroke
There are  five different apps to choose from. I chose the Pacific Jumbo Oyster with uni, bay scallop, and meyer lemon foam (yes, that egg-looking thing is actually a light, airy lemony foam…). This is one of the most umami things I’ve ever had. One bite with fresh oyster, uni, AND scallop?! *faints* So good. Continue reading

MEW Izakaya: my new favorite late night dining spot

MEW Izakaya
MEW Izakaya
53 West 35th Street (between 5th and 6th Ave)
New York, NY 10016

SOOO EXCITED! Rarely do I go to a new restaurant and know immediately that I’ll be a regular from that moment on. MEW Izakaya is now my favorite late night dining spot. LAW and I tend to eat really late (my terrible work schedule doesn’t help) so I’m so so so happy to have found MEW.

MEW Izakaya
Izakayas are Japanese late night drinking spots that also serve food. MEW is an amazing izakaya tucked underground in K-Town (you literally walk downstairs). Most of the crowd fits under the “hip asian” category (think shaved heads with pony tails, denim on denim, and beanies that sit straight up on your head). The menu is an awesome mash up of Japanese foods with Western flair. I literally am going to go back again and again until I’ve tried everything. Continue reading

Lan Larb: pretty damn legit new Thai restaurant

Lan Larb
Lan Larb
637 2nd Ave (between 34th and 35th street)
New York, NY 10016

Murray Hill is completely over saturated with Thai places, most of which I qualify as TOTS (take-out Thai standard – as in decent pad thai, pad see ew, and basil rice). I rarely order anything else because TOTS places don’t have much else to offer that is good. I miss dishes like steamed lemongrass fish, phat kaphrao (this spicy stir fried ground pork with lots of basil), and LARB. Luckily, a place called Lan Larb opened up near my place. I generally think that if you name your restaurant the name of a food, you are damn good at making that food. Decided to check out the larb!

This (above) is larb. Larb is actually a Laotian dish of minced meat, fish sauce, lime juice, roasted ground rice, and lots of sweet raw onions. It was delicious here. The dish has a great combo of sweetness from the fish sauce and onions, acidity from the lime, and spice from the… spice. The roasted rice was delicious and added a great crunch. I could totally just have this with a bowl of rice and be very, very happy.

Continue reading

Southern in EV: The Redhead

The Redhead The Redhead
349 East 13th St (between 1st and 2nd Aves)
New York, NY 10003

The Redhead is a restaurant I’ve passed many, many times before but had never thought to walk in. It looks like a dark dive bar from the outside and frankly, the name “The Redhead” never sounded like an appetizing name for a restaurant. Butttttt… don’t judge a book by its cover right?

The RedheadEager to try something new one Friday night, LAW, H.W., T.W. and I came to check it out. It’s rated surprisingly well on Yelp and is known for its fried chicken. Can’t say no to fried chicken! We started with a couple drinks. I got the Porch Swing ($11), which is pretty much a spiked Arnold Palmer with cognac, Redhead sweet tea, fresh lemon, and mint. VERY strong. VERY delicious. Definitely exceeded my expectations.

The Redhead
We started with the Grilled Octopus ($12) with marinated beets, chorizo, rye, and pickled mustard. Deeeeelicious. The marinated beets and pickled mustard added a nice acidity to the almost-creamy octopus. Octopus was soft, but not too soft. Had a nice bite to it. Chorizo added a little extra flavor. All round solid dish. Continue reading

Sushi Tsushima: deeelicious nigiri and soba

Sushi Tsushima Sushi Tsushima
210 East 44th Street (between 2nd and 3rd Aves)
New York, NY 10017

LAW and I have recently discovered a whole slew of great authentic Japanese restaurants around 41st to 44th street on 2nd to 3rd Ave (more on the blog to come!). I always knew about Sushi Yasuda, but didn’t realize that its neighbors were all super legit Japanese restaurants as well. Sushi Tsushima is one of them.

LAW and I were craving sushi one night and didn’t want any of the cheap sushi places Murray Hill is saturated with. Literally walk down any block in the area and you’ll basically hear chants and sake glasses falling into beer. Fratty, cheap, sushi places defines Murray Hill. Walk up north a bit and interestingly enough, you’ll find a little Japan. Part of why I love Manhattan is even though it’s pretty tiny, turn a corner and you can be in a completely different world.

Sushi Tsushima
We first ordered the Moriwase C set ($31 with soup and salad), which included nigiris (tuna, salmon, yellowtail, and eel) and one roll of your choosing. We picked the Blue Fin Tuna roll, mostly for its value (you get to pick any roll!). The fish was fresh. Rice was great, though I prefer a little more vinegar in my sushi rice. The set certainly whet my appetite and reminded me to never eat $5 rolls again.

Sushi Tsushima
We then deviated from the sets and ordered nigiris one by one. Clockwise, we had the Seared Salmon with Lemon and Salt ($4.50 each), Yellowtail with Yuzu Pepper ($4.75 each), Sea Eel with sauce ($6.00 each), Seared Mackerel ($6.00 each), and Uni ($8.00 each). These nigiris are much more expensive than the set, and for good reason… All of them were great, but here are the specific reviews in the order from least favorite to favorite: Continue reading