Tag Archives: NYC

House of Small Wonder

House of Small Wonder
House of Small Wonder
77 N 6th Street
Brooklyn, NY 11211

Attention fellow friends who love cute little non-traditional brunch places: I have found your next brunch spot. It’s just off the L train in Williamsburg. House of Small Wonder is a pseudo European cafe with Japanese influences. You all know my opinion of eggs bennies and scrambled eggs (rarely worth the trek out for brunch unless you’re Prune) and my deep love affair with Japanese brunches (see Sakamai and Shabu Tatsu). House of Small Wonder is another Japanese inspired brunch place to add to the list. Its menu consists of both “euro” items like sandwiches (e.g. fig+brie+apple sandwich, salumi arugula sandwich), croissant french toasts, and croque madames, as well as Japanese inspired dishes like Okinawan taco rice, tsukune don (meatball + rice), and sashimi zuke don (sashimi + rice).

House of Small Wonder
It’s decor is also the cutest! You basically enter a little greenhouse with a REAL LIVING TREE in the center of the restaurant. Every wooden surface, faded piece of art, pot of plant, and trendy diner (see B.J. in this one) is Instagram worthy. K.C., B.J., R.Y., and I got to the restaurant before it even opened (10am on weekends) to ensure we got in without a wait.

House of Small Wonder
We each started with the Lavender Latte ($5). This is one deliciously smooth, creamy, latte with a hint of lavender. It has just the right amount of sweetness to feel like a real latte and not a dessert. I give it 10 out of 10 points for warming me physically and emotionally (lots of feelings were expressed at this brunch <3). For those looking for more of a boozy brunch experience, they also offer a cocktail list with concoctions such as fizzy pear, lavender lemonade, and tipsy latte. K.C., B.Y., R.Y. – next time we do boozy?

House of Small Wonder
K.C. and I both ordered the Sashimi Zuke Don ($15), which consisted of soy sauce marinated sashimi of the day, avocado, sweet mushrooms, sesame, and egg served over sushi rice. The ratio of toppings to rice was perfect. Every bite was like a perfect bite of sushi really. The quality of fish was solid (not the highest grade but also zero fishiness). The rice was great. Highly recommend. Continue reading

Nishida Sho-Ten: FAMAZING gyoza and delicious, authentic ramen

Nishida Sho-Ten
Nishida Sho-Ten
302 E 49th St (between 1st and 2nd Ave)
New York, NY 10017

I’m really tired of eating at fancy places (#firstworldproblems). I was about to blog about my recent trip to Bouley, then just got so bored writing about the smoked Alaskan salmon with Tasmanian mustard seed, creme fraiche, coconut sugar, and gluten free crouton (yes that is all in one dish, the amuse bouche actually – not even a real dish). I’ve come to accept that as much as I have an appreciation for places like Bouley and Jean Georges, I get most excited about eating, taking photos, and blogging about homey hole-in-the-wall places like this one!

Nishida Sho-Ten
I like eating where hip Asians eat too I guess.

Nishida Sho-Ten
So, Nishida Sho-Ten is a cute little ramen place in Midtown East. There are always diners eating there, but I’ve never had to wait in line for a seat before. Continue reading

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
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.

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

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.

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

An Epic Birthday Dinner at Peter Luger’s

Peter Luger's
Peter Luger Steakhouse
178 Broadway
(between 6th St & Driggs Ave)
Brooklyn, NY 11211

I’ve been around the block now, nearly three years in NYC, and to this day, I only crave the steak of Peter Luger’s. 50% of the reason is that the steak is just so damn tasty. The steak has a crust that is so savory and charred that is also drizzled with extra steak oil before it is served. 30% of the reason is for the bacon. So damn delicious. The last 20% of my love for Peter Luger’s comes from the no BS attitude and air of the restaurant. Replace the usual white tablecloth stuffiness of a usual steakhouse with simple, rustic wooden tables.

Read more about my take on the service in my last Luger’s post before I had my awesome food camera. Pictures below are from my EPIC quarter century birthday. Continue reading

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

Rai Rai Ken, the ramen battle continues.

Rai Rai Ken
214 E 10th St
(between 1st Ave & 2nd Ave)
New York, NY 10003


GAHHH!  I just found out that my favorite East Village Japanese restaurants are all owned by one… person.  How is this possible?!  Soba-Ya, Robataya, Cha-An, Curry-Ya, Shabu-Tatsu are among my favorites that one person calls his own.  Mr. Bon Yagi came to the U.S. as a dishwasher and somehow worked his way up to owning 11 Asian restaurantsand at one point, owning a diner that often saw folks like Keith Haring, Andy Warhol, and Madonna.  To say the least, I am impressed.  Most of his restaurants are rated 4-4.5 out of 5 stars on Yelp and each of them is someone’s “favorite” Japanese restaurant.  Rai Rai Ken is Mr. Yagi’s ramen venture.


After my sister-ramen-restaurant battle post, many readers suggested I try Rai Rai Ken, another one of those renown ramen places in the city.  Everyone has their favorite (Totto Ramen) and though I am known to be a very loyal customer (Totto4Life), I am always willing to try other favorites – mainly because I like to try new places but also because I like to re-confirm that my favorite still rocks.


Pictured above is the Shoyu Ramen ($9.50), which is ramen in a soy sauce based noodle soup topped with bamboo shoot, boiled egg, roast pork, spinach, fish cake, dried seaweed, and scallion.  I have to admit, this was a solid bowl of ramen.  Rai Rai Ken also gets extra points for making the egg perfectly gooey in the center, like how Ippudo does it.  But the roast pork was just okay… slightly tough and bland.  Noodles were not particularly memorable, meaning they were good.  Not overcooked and slightly springy.  They didn’t fall apart when slurped (unlike Ippudo’s!!) but also weren’t as tasty nor chewy as Totto’s and Kambi’s.  Broth was… good.  Also not particularly memorable, but was definitely good.   Continue reading

Ich Liebe Weiner

Wechsler’s Currywurst & Bratwurst
120 1st Ave
(between 7th St & St Marks Pl)
New York, NY 10009


Have you had a currywurst before?  I hadn’t until very recently.  Currywurst is one of those things that is common and around enough that I always assumed I would definitely try at some point because it was just… always there… like that college friend who lives in the same city as you but you never see because you figure you can see her anytime.  Luckily, K.B. was in town and since she grew up in Germany, comfort food for her after a tiring weekend was currywurst.  We checked out Wechsler’s Currywurst & Bratwurst because it is supposedly one of the best currywurst places in the city.  The place is dark with brick walls and wooden tables and stools.  It’s what you would imagine a German beer bar to be like.  They boast an extensive German beer list with beers like Weihenstephaner Vitus and Pinkus Jubilate (I don’t actually know beers, I just thought those sounded funny).

First up, a large Currywurst with Fries ($12).  A pork and veal sausage is sliced up, pan-fried, and topped with their homemade tomato curry sauce.  The sausage was extremely moist and tender.  The natural saltiness of the sausage tasted so damn good with the tomato sauce and curry powder.  I wish we had more sauce because I ended up scraping the bottom of the paper container with the fries.

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Minca and Kambi, sister restaurants that look the same but taste different.

In the great You Es of Eh, we often think of Japanese food as merely sushi and and edamame and forget about a super duper important, tasty part of it: ramen.  Big bowls of chewy noodles in hearty pork or chicken bone broths topped with slices of tender and flavorful barbecue pork, ramen is definitely one of my favorite foods (along with pizza and cookies).  My most favorite ramen place is Totto Ramen in Midtown West but I have yet to write a legitimate blog post about it because I am waiting until I get a new camera (SOON!) so I can do the place some justice (my photos now are horrible so don’t judge by the link)!  For now… I present to you two other ramen places.  One not so good and one pretty good. Minca Ramen Factory*
536 E 5th St
(between Avenue A & Avenue B)*
New York, NY 10009
Kambi Ramen House*
351 E 14th St
(between 1st Ave & 2nd Ave)
New York, NY 10003

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Motorino’s Pizza

349 E 12th St
(between 1st Ave & 2nd Ave)
New York, NY 10003


I’m always on the search for the best pizza in town because it is on my list of favorite foods and New York just has so many “best pizza in town” kinds of places.  Bread and tomatoes are some of my most favorite things in the world so you can imagine why pizza would be on that list.  Having tried to make pizza many times myself, I know how little they cost to make and how easy it is once you have the right pizza dough recipe (ingredients and timing, both very important!).  But between the thickness and consistency of the crust, the  the sauce, and the ingredients, the world of pizza is actually pretty damn large.  Like people, they come in all shapes and sizes and can vary greatly based on where they come from.

After a long day of volleyball and boardgames, we ordered in so we could… continue playing boardgames.  Motorino is the last East Village “best” that I had not tried so we ordered from there.  Pictured above is the Brussels Sprouts ($16) pizza with fior di latte (aka. mozzarella made from cow milk, and not buffalo), garlic, pecorino, and smoked pancetta.  Brussels sprouts tasted FRESH, not the frozen kind out of a bag.  Smoked pancetta was super tasty and crisp along the edges.  Cheese was very mediocre and lacked a little flavor.  Their crust is pretty thin and becomes very soggy pretty quickly (it might be better to order in at the restaurant for their pizza).  The edge of the crust was sort of puffy but lacked the chewiness of Luzzo’s crust.  BUT, this pizza was much, much better than L’asso EV’s brussels sprouts pizza.

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