Tag Archives: ice cream

Ugly Kitchen: where I had balut, a duck embryo. It was great.

Ugly Kitchen
Ugly Kitchen
103 1st Ave (between 6th and 7th streets)
New York, NY 10003

I love Filipino food. I didn’t really discover this until Jeepney (sister to Maharlika) popped up in my neighborhood and I got to try some excellent Bicol Express (slow roasted pork shoulder in coconut milk). I haven’t blogged Jeepney yet because I never have my camera when I go, but I definitely need to soon. It embodies everything I know about Filipino culture: fun, familial, loud, and delicious. Ugly Kitchen is another Filipino restaurant in the East Village that my friend L.B. is involved with (and even worked in the kitchen!). It embodies the same kind of vibe as Jeepney’s but is a bit more affordable (mains are $10-$15 whereas at Jeepney where they are $15-$20).

Ugly Kitchen
L.B. welcomed me and Y.N. with dangerous fruity cocktails that the bartender threw together as a special for the night. The most dangerous part of the cocktail was that it didn’t taste dangerous…

Ugly Kitchen
Y.N. asked for the most popular dish on the menu: The Ugly Grilled Chicken ($14), which consists of two pieces of fire grilled chicken with a Korean fusion marinade and a side salad and rice. As simple as this sounds, it tasted pretty damn delicious. The chicken was flavorful, had a strong charred flavor, and was fairly tender. As the chicken cooled down, it got less tender (so eat quickly!), but was still tasty. Great home cookin’ for when you don’t want to take out the grill (or don’t have one because you live in NYC).

Ugly Kitchen
L.B. got the Sizzling Sisig ($13), which consists of spicy minced pork belly, liver, pork cheek, all sautéed together in onions and soy sauce with an egg on top. The waiter cuts the pieces up on the sizzling stone plate when the dish is brought over. The bite size pieces are fatty, and super fragrant. It’s a classic Filipino dish that I haven’t quite learned to love just yet but can see why it is Filipino comfort food. Continue reading Ugly Kitchen: where I had balut, a duck embryo. It was great.

EN Japanese Brasserie

EN Japanese BrasserieEN Japanese Brasserie
435 Hudson St
(between Leroy St & St Lukes Pl)
New York, NY 10014

EN Japanese Brasserie is one of the first Japanese restaurants I had heard of when I moved to NYC. It is one of those places “everyone” has been to and deems to be a good place. I had never been because there have been so many cuter, smaller Japanese restaurants in NYC that always make the cut over EN. After a very long week at work, LAW and I finally made last minute reservations for a late dinner at EN. Our table wasn’t ready so I immediately got a drink to force myself to relax (is this how I know I’m getting old?). I had the Ginger Cocktail ($13), which was a mixture of homemade ginger ale, rice shochu “Shiro,” lime juice, and soda. The drink was very light, too light for my purposes, but pleasant. The homemade ginger ale was soothing and gentle. The lime juice added just a little acidity to the ginger and rice shochu. The drink was so light to begin with that they really needed to use one of those gigantic ice cubes because the mini crushed ice cubes they used diluted the drink too quickly.

EN Japanese BrasserieWe ordered the EN Kaiseki ($65), which is the smaller of the two prix fixe menus offered. Kaiseki is a traditional Japanese multi-course dinner. The meal is meant to be balanced and seasonal.

The kaiseki starts with an O-Banzai, a chef’s selection of three small Kyoto-style appetizers. We had the Hijiki (hijiki seaweed and soy bean simmered in shoyu), Zenmai Piri-Kara (royal fern sprouts in a spicy shichimi togarashi) and Kinoko Kiriboshi Daikon Ohitashi (assorted Japanese mushrooms & sun dried daikon radish with yuzu). All three were chilled, delicious, and balanced. The hijiki seaweed was sweet and tasted slightly of miso. Unlike the typical green, flat, and crunchy seaweed salad you find, hijiki is cylindrical and chewy (super QQ!). Delicious. The zenmai piri-kara was my least favorite only because I tend to not like mushy things – the royal fern sprouts were quite mushy. My favorite was the kinoko kiriboshi daikon ohitashi. The assorted Japanese mushrooms were bulbous little buds and tremendously fragrant. I had never had sun dried daikon before. It tastes less bitter than fresh daikon. The yuzu was so light, slightly sweet, and slightly citrusy. I can imagine the sauce tasting great with a nice fillet of fish…

EN Japanese Brasserie
The next course was the Chef’s Sashimi Selection. Bear in mind that photos are only of one portion. We didn’t have to share (more for us!). The chef’s selection wasn’t exactly much of a selection because it included just the basics: salmon, tuna, and yellowtail. I love the basics so it wasn’t a problem. The sashimi was overall decent quality but since I have been going to Kura so often lately, very little can compare.

EN Japanese BrasserieSaikyo Miso Marinated Grilled Black Cod was next. It tasted similar to the Robataya one that I love but was a smaller fillet and less fatty. Flavor was perfect but was lacking the crispy fatty skin that I also love. Continue reading EN Japanese Brasserie

Sundaes & Cones – great homemade ice cream with lots of Asian flavors

Sundaes & Cones
95 E 10th St
(at 3rd Ave)
New York, NY 10003

After a 20 hour work day, right after an 18 hour work day, the weekend arrived and the sun came out to play.  I had the usual at Soba-Ya for lunch and decided that I really wanted some ice cream.  Normally, LAW suggests that we get a tub of Haagen Dazs and make root beer floats at home but no, that day I wanted some real ice cream served to me by the scoop.  I wanted hard ice cream as well, none of that mushy soft serve stuff that I usually love from Mickey D’s.  I yelped the best ice cream places closest to Soba-Ya and found Sundaes & Cones.  It is rated 4/5 and has 465 reviews – solid.


The “Sundaes & Cones” name conjured up an image of a small-town ice cream place with families lining up for some good ol’ cookies ‘n cream.  It turned out to be an Asian ice cream place with a variety of interesting and unique flavors, such as black sesame, taro, ginger, Thai iced tea, green tea, mango, lychee, etc.  You get the picture.  Asian flavors aside, they also have the usuals like vanilla, chocolate, cookie dough, etc.  But they also have flavors like avocado, corn, pumpkin, strawberry cheesecake… think Il Laboratorio (ice cream place in LES that reminds me of a hospital) but more homey.

Continue reading Sundaes & Cones – great homemade ice cream with lots of Asian flavors

Parm, comfort food that tastes homemade… in a bad way?


Parm
248 Mulberry St
(between Spring St & Prince St)
Manhattan, NY 10012

 

What do you do when Yelp gives 3.5/5 stars, Menupages gives 2/5 stars, NYTimes gives 2/3 stars, Chowhound boards have more-or-less raving reviews, and one of your best foodie friends claims it’s amazing?  Life is filled with interesting choices, my friends, and when presented with truly mixed reviews, you just have to go and try it for yourself.

 

Parm was opened by the same guys who own Torrisi Italian Specialties, an Italian (duh) restaurant that apparently is delicious and has amazing mozzarella.  Parm is right next door and is a much more casual Italian restaurant, known more for its parmesan sandwiches (I’m not being very insightful am I…).  As you can tell from the photo above, the red neon lights and bar seating evoke a diner-like feel.

  

Onto the food.  We started with a salad and a side of brussels sprouts.  Salad was an interesting combination of mozzarella and salami cubes, tomatoes, iceberg lettuce, onions, and a vinaigrette.  The salad came before our sandwiches and the sourness of it all really made me salivate and excited for my meal.  Brussels sprouts were amazinggggg.  They were slightly burnt (YUM) and seasoned with lots of salty parmesan cheese.  The natural bitterness of the vegetable seemed to be balanced with a sweetness… did they add sugar?

  

Sandwiches.  Pictured left is the Chicken Parm on a roll and pictured right is the Eggplant Parm on a roll.  Both rolls were dry, airy, bland, and boring.  The least they could’ve done was grill the bun.  Actually, I think I remember finding very light grill marks … meaning they should do a BETTER JOB at grilling the bun.  If you’re making this at home, I understand buying the hamburger buns in bulk from Costco… but if you’re serving this at a restaurant known for its sandwiches, where bread is at least a third of the meal, shouldn’t you put more effort into it?   Continue reading Parm, comfort food that tastes homemade… in a bad way?