25 Pell St
(between Doyers St & Mott St)
New York, NY 10013
If you live in NYC and like Chinese food at all, chances are you have heard of Joe’s Shanghai, a restaurant in Manhattan Chinatown that is known for its soup dumplings. Joe’s Shanghai has over 2,200 reviews on Yelp and a solid 4-star rating. Its sister restaurant, Joe’s Ginger, only has 247 reviews and a 3-star rating. This isn’t because the food is any worse. This is because the people who go to Joe’s Ginger aren’t the people active on social media. (Case in point. Joe’s Shanghai has a Facebook page and Joe’s Ginger doesn’t.)
Joe, presumably the owner, has smartly branded his soup dumplings across two very different consumer groups by offering the same product in two separate restaurants (that happen to be right next to each other). The tourists, the American NYC-ers, the review-chasers all know about Joe’s Shanghai. On any given weekend night, you’ll see a long line of J.Crew wearing hungry customers waiting outside of Joe’s Shanghai. Joe’s Ginger, on the other hand, almost never has a line and is usually just at capacity with Chinese diners.
This is changing as more people write blog reviews like this one. Here is a happy non-Chinese family slurping down soup dumplings at Joe’s Ginger on Friday night. Notice the tacky pinkish glow from the florescent lighting. Reminds me of all the cheap (and delicious) restaurants in China.
This is the classic Pork Soup Dumplings ($4.95 for 8). The ideal soup dumpling has thin, yet chewy skin. It should be just thick enough so it doesn’t break with the weight of the pork and soup. The soup should be fragrant, hot, and light. Joe’s does a decent job, probably one of the best soup dumplings in Manhattan, but is far from great compared to the ones in China. The skin is a bit thicker than ideal. The soup is also too heavy and greasy. Still tastes delicious enough that I keep coming back. Continue reading Joe’s Ginger = Joe’s Shanghai
191 Chrystie St
(between Delancey St & Rivington St)
New York, NY 10002
Brunch is not just waking up too late on Sunday for breakfast but too early for lunch in NYC. Brunch is its own category of gastronomy here where people plan brunches weeks in advance. There’s the ladies-who-lunch, boozy-brunch, birthday-brunch, or any-occasion-brunch. Regardless of which it is, brunch is an activity that New Yorkers are willing to shell out the time and money for.
Freemans is a pretty classic NYC brunch place. Most people have heard of and have been to it. It’s tucked into a tiny alley that takes you away from the hustle and bustle of city life.
The food is American comfort food. I’ve been here twice and my impressions both times were that they do all their food well. There’s nothing fancy or spectacular. The vibe is very much simple and rustic, just like how Gordon Ramsay would like it. Pictured here is the Skillet Eggs, Bacon, Spinach and Gruyere with buttered sourdough toast ($12) that I ordered. Portions are adequate, neither stingy nor doggy-bag worthy. My skillet eggs were runny and creamy, coating the bacon and spinach with a layer of yolky goodness. Continue reading Freemans for Brunch
Giovanni Rana Pastificio & Cucina
75 9th Ave
(between Avenue Of The Americas & 5th Ave, in Chelsea Market)
New York, NY 10011
PAAASSSSIONNNN!!! Chef Antonella Rana’s voice is STILL ringing in my ears. That was my major takeaway from the pasta class I went to at this new italian restaurant in Chelsea market.
There are perks to having a best friend in the food industry. M.B. invited me and my beloved intern, Y.N., to one of their many pasta making classes. It’s normally a $65 per person class, which I thought was too hefty for me to ever want to do out of my own pocket, but definitely reconsidered after experiencing the class. Rana’s class was exceeded every expectation I had about cooking classes.
The class comes with a complimentary glass of wine, any wine of your choice on their extensive list of wines-by-the-glass. We somehow managed to get two glasses… not sure if there’s a loophole in the system or if Y.N. and I were just looking really good Monday night. Continue reading PASSION!!!!! – key takeaway from Rana’s pasta-making class
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