Tag Archives: burger

Cherche Midi, another McNally restaurant

Cherche Midi
Cherche Midi
282 Bowery (and Houston)
New York, NY 10012

It has been ages, my friends. AGES. I feel awfully guilty for abandoning this blog for so long. I can give you the usual excuses of life getting in the way but it won’t make me feel any less guilty. The reason I’ve carved out some of my Sunday afternoon to write to you all is because quite a few of you have recentlyl told me that you MISS my blog posts and actually NOTICED that I haven’t posted in a while. I’m soooooo incredibly flattered and… just… wow, people read my blog consistently enough to be able to tell I’ve been MIA? M.L. told me today I am her sad-desk-lunch reading and it empowered me to get off my lazy bum and finally just start writing again so M.L. can resume reading about food while she eats food.

So here it is! My first post since… ALMOST A MONTH AGO (ugh). The post is about Cherche Midi, a Keith McNally restaurant that opened sometime last year. McNally is a big NYC restauranteur who opened Balthazar and Minetta Tavern (among many others). There are a few deviations from the “typical French” restaurant with some yuzu and shiso on the menu, but otherwise Cherche Midi is a pretty typical French establishment, with steak tartare, steak frites, and lots of butter in and on everything.

Cherche Midi First, the bread. Very important. Bread is the first thing you get to eat at a restaurant so in my mind it should give you a hint of the identity of the restaurant In Cherche Midi’s case, it certainly did.

Cherche Midi
The bread was traditionally French (baguettes!) served with amazing butter. The baguettes had a perfectly crusty crust and a great spring to it (when you squeeze, it bounces back). Center was chewy, stretchy, and soft-but-not-too-soft. Promising.

Cherche Midi We shared the Frogs’ Legs with green garlic velouté, garlic chips, and crisp parsley ($19 – expensive). Despite how fancy it sounds, it tasted pretty un-fancy. The legs were fried well, and were very tender. Sauce was creamy and had a hint of garlic. Nothing to write home about.

Cherche Midi We also shared the Homemade Lobster Ravioli in ginger beurre blanc (aka. ginger butter sauce) with piquillo peppers ($28), which ended up being my favorite dish from the night. Amazingly fresh, sweet lobster (large chunks of it too) coated in a buttery sauce with little sweet peppers and what I think is definitely LEMONGRASS. Oh man was this tasty. I was happy to see Cherche Midi deviating from a traditional French-only menu. The ravioli skin also had a great bite to it.  Continue reading Cherche Midi, another McNally restaurant

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 Umami Burger ON MY COUCH thanks to OrderAhead!

The original Xi’an Famous Foods … in Xi’an.

Xi'an Food
子午路张记肉夹馍
located throughout Xi’an, China

I’m back from a two week trip home in Beijing where I ate five meals a day, mostly from my mother’s kitchen. I also did a short two day trip to my dad’s hometown in Xi’an. If you live in New York, you probably recognize Xi’an from the deeeelicious Xi’an Famous Foods chain. Well, I visited the original Xi’an Famous Foods and (no offense) it blew me away. Xi’an Famous Food is amazingly great. But compared to what it aspires to be, I think there is still room for improvement. 子午路张记肉夹馍 (Zai Wu Lu Zhang Ji Rou Jia Mo) is a chain that has apparently been around for ages and ages. It serves up just a handful of classic Xi’an foods.

Xi'an Food
Check out the menu board. Just a few items. All incredibly affordable (8元 is about $1.30, which in this case buys you one stewed pork burger and almost two Liang Pi noodles).

Xi'an Food
You order and pay at the front.

Xi'an Food
Then find a seat and wait. Fast food style.

Xi'an Food
This is where the dude chops up that juicy, flavorful stewed pork for the burger. Continue reading The original Xi’an Famous Foods … in Xi’an.

Le Farm: BACON CLAM BUTTER. That is all.

Le Farm
Le Farm
256 Post Road E
Westport, CT 06880

Yes, that address is right. My travels for food have extended to Connecticut.

Le Farm
The restaurant is cozy in a completely different way New York restaurants are cozy. New York cozy is like dark, chic cozy. Le Farm is homey cozy. I felt like I actually walked into a grandmother’s home (who happens to also have really good taste).

Le Farm
J.L. raved about this place before taking us so I let him kind of guide the ordering. He ordered the Fried Risotto Balls with bacon-clam butter and fried garlic ($13) for the table. Ugh, typing those ingredients makes me salivate for that sauce. The bacon-clam butter combo is seriously the definition of umami. Why wasn’t there free bread so I could soak up the sauce? Why wasn’t there MORE of the sauce so I could take leftovers home and toss it with a pasta?  Continue reading Le Farm: BACON CLAM BUTTER. That is all.

In-N-Out’s Second Chance

In-N-Out

3102 Sports Arena Blvd
San Diego, CA

Last time I had In-N-Out in my adult life, I blogged about it and pretty much expressed severe disappointment. I was just in San Diego for A.C.’s graduation (congrats!!!! feasting on Xi’an’s noodles when you get to NYC) and the first thing we ate when LAW and I landed was In-N-Out. It was 11:00PM when we arrived and we drove straight from the airport to In-N-Out.

Heeding the advice of all my Facebook friends who left hateful comments on my last In-N-Out blog post, I got the Double Double Animal Style. The first time I went I had a Single Animal Style, not knowing how thin the patties are. With the double, the ratio of bread to meat is much, much better. In-N-Out tastes like a GREAT backyard BBQ kind of burger. The meat isn’t as beefy tasting as Shake Shack’s, but it is also less greasy. The vegetables are super fresh and they are certainly generous with it (not one, but two slices of tomatoes). Continue reading In-N-Out’s Second Chance

Saxon + Parole, bobo’s paradise.


Saxon + Parole
316 Bowery
(between Bleecker St & 1st St)
New York, NY 10012

“New American.” What does that even mean? When I think New American, I think of foods like mashed potatoes with truffle oil and roasted turkey with kumquat cranberry sauce (which Saxon + Parole actually had on their Thanksgiving menu). Wikipedia has a great definition:

New American cuisine is a term for upscale, contemporary cooking served primarily in restaurants in the United States. Combining flavors from America’s melting pot with traditional techniques, New American cuisine includes ethnic twists on old standbys, Old World peasant dishes made from luxury American ingredients and molecular gastronomy.

Old World peasant dishes made from luxury ingredients with a little spherification here and there. Sounds about right. As you can probably tell, I’m not the biggest fan of New American. I’m always down for a new take on a traditional food (see Mission Chinese) but when stuff is added just for the sake of making it seem more upscale, it gets lame. Anyway, not saying Saxon + Parole is lame at all, because it was actually pretty good. I just had a bad feeling about the place when I walked in and saw the stable-esque decor, minus the smell of horses. It’s where bobos (bourgeois bohemian) like to put on their birkenstocks and sip on their free trade coffee bean espresso after a decadent but “humble” meal. Continue reading Saxon + Parole, bobo’s paradise.

Xi’an Famous Foods, one of the most authentic Chinese restaurants in the city.

Xi’an Famous Foods
81 St Marks Pl
(between 2nd Ave & 1st Ave)
New York, NY 10003

This, my friends, is my go-to weekday spot when I don’t feel like cooking and want something delicious and cheap.  Xi’an is a city in China in the Shaanxi province that is fairly centrally located. Its cuisine therefore is heavily influenced by all regions of China, especially Sichuan for its spiciness and numbing flavors.  As the first capital of China and the start of the Silk Road, Xi’an cuisine is also influenced by Middle Eastern cuisine.  Hence, you’ll see a lot of cumin-flavored meats… I always get three things at Xi’an: a noodle dish, a burger, and a tofu dish.

Pictured here is the Liang Pi Cold Skin Noodles ($4.50).  This is a very traditional dish that originated in Xi’an.  The noodles are made from rice and are served cold with cucumber, bean sprouts, cilantro, and chewy tofu/bean curd pieces.  The sauce is garlicy, sweet, sour, spicy, and tingly all at the same time.  It honestly is an explosion of flavors and textures.  The noodles are very springy and chewy, which pair very well with the crisp cucumbers.  The cucumbers, bean sprouts, and cilantro add a bit of freshness to the spicy and oily sauce.  I always, ALWAYS get this in the summer because it is light and refreshing, especially compared to Xi’an Famous Food’s other noodles… I took my dad here when he came to visit and he thought that this was even better than what we get in Beijing.  He’s from Xi’an, so he would know.


The other noodles are all hand-pulled noodles.  There is quite a variety of flavors, my favorites being the Spicy Cumin Lamb, Spicy Hot Oil Seared, and the Pork “Zha Jiang” noodles.  These noodles are made with flour and are hand pulled to a tremendously chewy texture.  They are wide and flat, equivalent of a pappardelle pasta.  As you can see, the noodle dishes are saucy as hell.  You can generally adjust the level of spiciness though don’t go asking for zero spice because it just isn’t going to happen.  They pride themselves in serving authentic Chinese food and will only cater to your weak buds to a small extent. Honestly, if you can’t handle it, you should just force yourself to eat spice more often and you’ll soon appreciate it, I promise. Continue reading Xi’an Famous Foods, one of the most authentic Chinese restaurants in the city.

Shake Shack >> In-N-Out.

Shake Shack
215 Murray St
New York, NY 10282

I can’t believe I haven’t blogged about Shake Shack, my favorite fast food chain and my FAVORITE burger of all time.  I’ve tried the whole spectrum from McDonald’s to Minetta Tavern’s $26 Black Label Burger and Shake Shack still wins in terms of 100% taste (meaning, I’m not giving it any bonus points for it being cheap).

I recently went to the Battery Park venue after a beautiful bike ride along the East side river.  LAW and I got three burgers and one order of fries.  Normally we would have also gotten the pricey but delicious Fair Shake ($5.50), which is a vanilla shake with organic Arabica Fair Trade coffee.  It’s the only shake I love because it is deliciously creamy and has such a nice roasted coffee flavor.  But we didn’t get it because we were hosting a root beer float party later that day…  Continue reading Shake Shack >> In-N-Out.

The Spotted Pig: Chargrilled Burger with Roquefort (blue cheese) and Shoestring Fries

The Spotted Pig
314 W 11th St
(between Hudson St & Greenwich St)
New York, NY 10014

 

First of all, I must say that the Spotted Pig has trumped Pearl Oyster Bar in having the best shoestring fries. These strings of potato were fried with fresh slivers of rosemary and garlic slices. The rosemary slivers become rosemary fries (so aromatic!) and the garlic chips add just that bit of kick you need.

 

The burger was very, very good. Blue cheese was a bit much for my Asian-cheese-sensitive palate. I actually read a funny article about someone who brought their own American cheese to the Spotted Pig just so they could have the perfect burger. Coming across the article gave me one of those moments where I was like, “OH MY GOD, SOMEONE OUT THERE IS JUST LIKE ME!”  Anyway.  Bun was slightly dry… I think it’s supposed to be like that but I prefer the Shake Shack bun, which is almost like a potato bun. BUT the burger really was very good! The meat (Pat La Frieda, of course) was very even and smooth… Did not crumble at all. Also did not feel as greasy as Minetta Tavern or Shake Shack. I like the gastropub atmosphere and the fun bubble mirror in the bathroom too.

 

After all this. Shake Shack burger stills wins. Even money aside.