So very sad that it has been ages since my last post! Long story short, I did a little loop through Central Europe, visiting Prague, Vienna, and Budapest (with a pitstop in Bratislava), got a terrible stomach virus on the plane back, and have been out for about a week and a half. By out, I mean miserable at work and not at home healing my body (sigh). You can imagine how sad I was that I could only eat toast and Gatorade. No caffeine. No alcohol. No meat. No chocolate. No spice. NOTHING REALLY. But now all is good and I am trying very hard not to binge on all the great foods I missed out on in the last week.
Our first city was Prague. Prague is amazingly beautiful, almost unreal because the only other place I’ve seen such well-maintained beautiful old architecture is, well, a place like Disneyland (except Disneyland isn’t real). There’s a kitschy vibe to the place only because you just don’t see such beautiful places like that anywhere else other than in movies (probably why a lot of movies are made in Prague).I ate a lot on my trip (duh), mostly great, some just good, and one really bad place. Everything was surprisingly cheap (beer and wine is cheaper than water). Read on for the highlights!
Best meal in Prague. This restaurant happened to be right outside our Airbnb, and also happened to be rated super well. When I travel, I like to go to the little places with comfort foods that local people crave and flock to. This was definitely one of them.
I ordered the Pork Knuckle (~$11.50) baked on black beer and served with mustard, fresh horseradish, and gherkin. The knuckle was gloriously juicy and flavorful. As you probably know, I’m not the biggest fan of flavoring things with sauce and much prefer marinated meats that just have INNATE FLAVOORRRR. (See my recent post on these amazing ribs that have just that.)
Continue reading Central Europe: Prague!
79 Clinton St
(between Rivington St & Delancey St)
New York, NY 10002
I’m not completely against non-traditional Chinese food. I love Baohaus, especially their fried chicken bao and fried fish coffin bao, which are both not traditional Chinese dishes. I also love Mission Chinese, a hip little modern Chinese place that even has a kale salad. That has got to be the least Chinese thing ever. But I still love it. ‘Cause they do it right. It’s hip in the right ways. They have crispy pig ears (totally Chinese) and use Old Bay seasoning (totally not Chinese). Danny Bowien experiments with all kinds of Eastern and Western flavors and brings them together in exciting, unpretentious ways.
Yunnan Kitchen, on the other hand, pretends to be traditional but also wants to be hip and pretentious. The space is occupied by mostly non-Asians (no offense) and the menu encourages sharing “delicious small plates.” Nuh uh. Chinese people don’t share small plates. We share big plates. Pet peeve of mine. Pictured above is the Cold Noodles ($12) with ground pork, pickled mustard greens, cilantro, and peanuts. This is a pretty classic dish – spicy, sweet, and nutty – but $12 is ridiculous for a tiny bowl of limp noodles. Check out Xi’an for some serious noodle damage.
We also shared the Beef Tartare ($13) with chili oil, green cabbage, and rice cracker. I liked the rice cracker and green cabbage combo but also felt like the portions were way too small for a $13 dish. The beef was lightly flavored. Nothing too memorable.
These Stir Fried Mushrooms ($11) with sawtooth herb, ham, and peppers was probably my favorite dish from the night. There were a number of different kinds of mushrooms sautéed with a smoked ham and spicy green peppers (green long horns?). My only suggestion to Yunnan Kitchen is to serve it on a sizzling cast iron plate. It smells so good, it deserves to come out crackling. Continue reading Yunnan Kitchen: decently tasty but also pretentious