Tag Archives: foodie

My Kind of Chicken Noodle Soup – Arirang

Arirang
32 W 32nd St, 3rd Fl
(between 5th Ave & Broadway)
New York, NY 10001

 

Meeeeehh I sound like a man right now because my throat is achinggggg.  I always tend to get a little sick when the weather changes.  It’s not so bad when it’s changing from warm to cold because then I have a good excuse to stay in a warm bed.  Now it’s the opposite; the weather is getting warmer, kids are all out to play, and my throat demands that I eat only mush.  Blegh.  Luckily, Arirang exists and they make amazing sujebe, a traditional Korean soup noodle dish.  The soup is usually made with anchovies, shellfish, and kelp, though Arirang is known for their Chicken Sujebi.  I swear after you have this, you can never return to having other chicken noodle soups.  And while you’re sick and can make a few demands, why not ask for Arirang?

  

Like most Korean restaurants, you’re served barley tea and a variety of ban chan, small side dishes that are always free with your meal (you can always ask for more too!).  Some places are known particularly for their yummy ban chan, such as Kun Jip, where you are served at least 6-8 kinds of dishes before your meal even begins.  Arirang does not provide as much variety as you are served just two kinds of kimchi: cabbage and radish.  The radish is my favorite.  It is not too sour and has a nice crunch, complimenting the warm bowl of noodle soup.

Their haemul pajeon (seafood pancake) is on the greasy side but is pretty good.  Unlike Chinese scallion pancakes, where the batter only consists of flour and water, pajeon (“pa” = scallion) is made with eggs, wheat flour, and rice flour.  The rice flour gives the pancake a chewier and more dense texture.  I can’t tell you which I prefer… they’re different.

I actually ordered the karjebi instead of the sujebi so that it included half handmade long noodles and half dough flakes.  I liked having two kinds of noodles in my soup, one long and chewy, the other flat, short, and thicker.  The flat ones are torn by hand to resemble “dough flakes” (wide, flat, short noodles).  Above is a photo of what the dough flakes look like.  The soup that they have at Arirang is amazing.  It’s made with chicken, onion, potato, and long slivers of scallions.  The starch from the potato makes the soup a little thicker, and the chicken of course adds tremendous fragrance.  The only problem is that the longer the noodles and potato sit in the bowl uneaten, the thicker the soup becomes.  You have to slurp up all your goods quickly to enjoy it in its best state (ahem… C.W.)!

 

If you didn’t get anything else from this review, just know that the noodles are chewy (very QQ, J.H.) and the soup is the most tasty chicken soup ever.  And it all only costs $10 per bowl.  Particularly yummy on a rainy or sick day.  Though the last time I went was on a sunny and very healthy day… still delicious.

 

BLT Prime: Valentine’s Cooking Class

BLT Prime
111 E 22nd St
New York, NY 10022

  

I went to a “Valentine’s” Cooking Class at BLT Prime where Chef Andrew Matthews sort-of taught us how to make a proper 3-course meal consisting of:

Appetizer: Fluke Carpaccio
Entree: Chateaubriand
Side Dishes: Creamy Spinach, Marble Heirloom Potatoes
Dessert: Red Velvet Cake

  

The class ended up being a demonstration with no hands-on interaction.  This was probably a good move on the restaurant’s part because I’m not sure any of us would be back if we had to eat what we cooked… every dish was more complicated than I thought it would be!  It was amazing to see the kitchen and to learn about how a real restaurant kitchen functions.  You have to be super organized and work as a team or else the kitchen will most likely turn into a nasty food fight!  Actually, apparently kitchens end up looking like the aftermath of a food fight even after a successful night in the kitchen.

 

FLUKE CARPACCIO – slightly chaotic but tasty nonetheless (2/5)

  

The fluke was filled and sprinkled with all kinds of yummy ingredients, such as pomelo, dill pickles, celery heart stalks, apple gelee, paprika, chives, olive oil, lime juice and zest, AND secret basil oil sauce… they also added some house-made rice paper to give the dish a little crunch.  There was all kinds of flavors and textures in this dish, some I think a little unnecessary… it was sweet and sour and salty and oily and crispy and stringy (fish :().

 

CHATEAUBRIAND – Liberal Salt (Ch 4/5)

The preparation for the Chateaubriand (a thick cut of tenderloin) seemed very simple though probably takes a lot of skill to do right.  Chef Matthews demonstrated the tying of the piece of tenderloin to allow the whole piece of steak to cook evenly.  The steak is then seasoned very liberally with salt and pepper and seared for 4-5 minutes.  Then the seared steak is placed in a FULL dish of salt and roasted for 8 minutes on each side.  The steak turned out very moist, tender, and flavorful.  For some reason, the steak wasn’t as “meaty” tasting as Peter Luger’s Porterhouse steak.  That may be due to the cut of meat…?

  

The steak is then served with a classic Bearnaise sauce, which is made with 20 egg yolks, 1 cup of bearnaise reduction (of shallots, white wine vinegar, white wine, black pepper, and tarragon leaves), 1 qt. warm clarified butter, 1 cup warm water, and salt.

 

SIDES – BEST part of meal (S 5/5, P 5/5)

  
These sides were crazily delicious.   Continue reading BLT Prime: Valentine’s Cooking Class

Xe May Sandwich Shop: The Hog

Xe May Sandwich Shop
96 Saint Marks Pl
New York, NY 10009

 

Banh Mi is a gastronomic example of French colonialism in Vietnam.  The sandwich uses French and Vietnamese ingredients, combined to produce a delectable East-meets-West concoction.  The Hog is a speciality banh mi that Xe May serves up with grilled pork, scallion oil, and fried shallots, all sandwiched between either a white or whole wheat baguette.  Like classic banh mis, this banh mi also includes fresh cilantro, pickled carrots, daikons, cucumbers, and chili mayo.

I was looking for a cheap place for lunch and found Xe May through Yelp as one of the highest rated places in the East Village area.  And though my expectations were high (4.5 stars is pretty significant!), I was not disappointed!  The bread had a nice crisp edge that I’m sure would sound beautiful if I had the chance to listen to it, like how Colette from Ratatouille tells us to listen for the sound of the crust.*  Oh, and the bread comes in whole wheat too if you’d like.  The fillings were tasty: grilled pork tasted a bit like char siu (Chinese bbq pork) and pickles were nice and sour to cut the sweetness of the pork.  The fried shallots were not quite crispy enough as they wilted very quickly after being caught amidst the saucy meat and juicy pickles.

Continue reading Xe May Sandwich Shop: The Hog

Japadog: Terimayo Dog (their signature)

Japadog
30 St Marks PL
(between Cooper Sq & Astor Pl)
Manhattan, NY 10003

 

Very yummy toasted bun with not-so-special-dog, topped with teriyaki sauce, mayo, and seaweed.  Overall, mediocre and surprisingly not that “unique” tasting.  I barely noticed the teriyaki sauce and seaweed.

 

I brought this dog home before eating it so it had cooled down significantly.  I’ll definitely give the place another shot because of all the raving reviews I’ve read about it … yeah, that’s what a good rep can do for you, give you a second chance.


Karaiya Spice House: Karaiya’s Signature Fish

Karaiya’s Signature Fish – a rendition of Hunan 剁椒鱼头 (Double Pepper Fish Head)

Double Pepper Fish Head is a traditional Hunan dish, where a gigantic fish head is covered in spicy peppers and, according to Alan Wong, owner of Karaiya, “simmered in special Camellia oil [aka tea seed oil] collected from trees.”  At Karaiya, they use a whole fish instead, which I strongly prefer because it does not have as much of the goopy stuff fish heads have.  This fish is tantalizingly addicting.  The yellow peppers on one side and red on the other is steeped in a hot oil, which helps to create this extremely tasty sauce.  You can then buy a plate of noodles to throw into the sauce.  Something about hot searing oil and noodles… you can never go wrong.

 

Even with the noodles, I still always need to gorge myself with their delicious bamboo steamed rice to temper the heat from the fish.

 

This is one of those must-hit restaurants every time I go back home.

Scallion Pancakes with Pork Floss and Sichuan Peppercorns

 

I’m back!  I have been away on an Asia adventure for Christmas and New Years and have come back with lots of food to blog about.  I will start with my first meal at home.  The image featured at the top of my blog is what I call a typical Shi’s familiy brunch. The image from this post is how we make our scallion pancakes.  It is a less greasy version of what you typically see in Chinese restaurants in the States.  The dough is made with boiling water, which is apparently one of the “secrets” to Chinese cooking.  Making the dough out of boiling water gives the dough more elasticity, making the end product chewier.  Boiling-water-dough is often used to make dumpling/potsticker skin.  In addition to scallions and salt, we also add Taiwanese pork floss to give the pancake a slightly sweet flavor and a bit of Sichuan peppercorn powder to give it a numbing kick.  While in the pan, we sprinkle sesame seeds all over the pancake so that they are toasted by the time the pancake is ready.  Crispy on the outside, extra chewy on the inside, sweet, salty, and spiceful is how I like my scallion pancakes.

Pimped Up Shin Ramen

Normally when I have ramen it is when our refrigerator is empty and we are out of frozen dumplings. This hierarchy has nothing to do with taste because I LOVE Shin ramen- I just try to be healthy. This past weekend, we decided to “splurge” and make an extra delicious pot of ramen, filled with yummy ingredients such as mushrooms, tofu, scallions, baby bok choy and poached eggs. It was definitely worth it. You really can’t go wrong with ramen.