Archive for March, 2012

Mar 24

New York & Our Food Adventure (again)…..

For our Babymoon, we decided to visit New York City…where the streets are always noisy and crowded, people are always in a rush,  and everywhere you go, you’ll catch a glimpse of something truly amazing or smell something good cooking along the street or in a restaurant.  Look, listen and smell, you will never feel alone in New York City.

Lucky for us, we had time to ourselves as well as meet with great company during our trip. Let’s just say we had great people to enjoy our meals with!

Upon arrival, we had dinner at the sleek yet casual Momofuku Má Pêche, featuring Asian Fusion dishes. When you look at the menu, it only states the main ingredient with the accompaniments,  the server basically explains the entire dish to you when you ask about it.  So if you are interested in a dish, just ask the friendly staff.  We tried the following and they were all delicious, especially the Foie Gras, Crispy Pig’s Head, Pork Chop and Brussels Sprouts!  The combinations of ingredients and flavors were indeed innovative!

Foie Gras (Hudson Valley, NY) – malt, papaya, brioche

Crispy Pig’s Head (Newman’s Farm, MO) – lentil, apple, mustard

Duck (Jurgielewicz Farm, PA) − orange, pistachio, rutabaga

Lamb (Elysian Farm, PA) – garlic, black radish, quinoa

Pork Chop (Bev Eggleston, VA) – apple-choucroute, potato, ramp

Brussels Sprouts − chipotle, anchovy, radish

After enjoying all the savory dishes, we ordered dessert from the Milk Bar located upstairs. You can ask the server to get desserts from upstairs instead of ordering the desserts from the restaurant menu. We shared the oh so delicious Candy Bar Pie (imagine a big piece of Reese’s with a layer of sea salt caramel in the middle) and Crack Pie (sugar and butter).  Let me make myself clear, it doesn’t matter how full you are, you MUST try the pies!  And if you are up for it, get a small tasting of the soft serve Cereal Milk which tasted like Horlicks to me.

After our dinner at Momofuku Má Pêche, we took a nice long walk along Time Square and decided to have a late night snack at the Halal Cart on 53rd and 6th. I’m so glad we made this stop, it was sooo worth it as we ate our Combination Chicken and Lamb Plate!

The next day, we went to Ippudo for lunch! As I was rushing the hubby, he kept saying ‘it’s just lunch, there can’t be a line!’ We got there at about 11:30am and there was already a short wait! And as we got our table, the line got very long! Yes, it’s only lunch on a Thursday but this place gets packed! It was completely crowded when we were done with our lunch!  We shared the Ippudo Salad, mixed greens served with seaweed and sesame shoyu dressing and the Hirata Buns which are steamed buns filled with fatty pork belly and served with Ippudo’s original spicy sauce. YUM YUM YUM! Both of these appetizers were deelicious!

For my ramen fix, I got the Akamaru Modern, featuring Tonkotsu soup topped with Ippudo’s secret “Umami Dama” miso paste, pork chashu, cabbage, sesame kikurage mushrooms, scallions, and fragrant garlic oil! My hubby got the Karaka Men and added the seasoned soft boiled egg, featuring Tonkotsu soup with Ippudo’s special blend of hot spices, topped with pork chashu, sesame kikurage mushrooms, cabbage, onion, minced pork, and scallions!  Oh, the soup was just so damn good! The ramen is not the best texture here but the soup definitely sticks on their ramen so that every noodle is stuck with the tasty soup flavor!

After lunch at Ippudo, it was time to walk off the food, so we decided to walk it off by taking a stroll to Eataly, it’s like Italy’s culinary favorites all under one roof which really equals awesome!  Coffee, desserts, fresh bread, cheese, fresh pasta, the list goes on and on! We didn’t eat here, but it’s definitely worth visiting!

As we took a rest at a nearby busy coffee joint, my sister pulled out a bag from her backpack, it was a bag of Crème Brûlée Donuts with creamy vanilla bean custard in the middle from Doughnut Plant!

And of course…along our stroll in SoHo, we had to get ourselves another gyro on a Halal Cart. They are everywhere!

For this evening’s dinner, we decided to check out the Caracas Arepa Bar since 3 people recommended it to us! We got there pretty late and it was still very busy but they were able to seat us.  Ummm, WOW,  I can now see why people recommended this place. Arepas are 100% corn flour buns grilled and baked, and so crispy and chewy when you bite into them! We got the De Pabellon Arepa, featuring shredded beef, black beans, white salty cheese and sweet plantains, and the La de Pernil Arepa, featuring roasted pork shoulder, tomato slices and spicy mango sauce.  The meat was so tender and so flavorful, we were very happy! We also shared the Tequenos, deep fried white cheese sticks wrapped in wheat flour dough. Add some of the spicy creamy hot sauce on the table on everything to enhance the flavors!  Of course we also shared the Soup of the Day, which had sausages, beans and vegetables! We went to the location in Manhattan which is really small, so I wouldn’t recommend bringing a big group here, you might have a long wait!

The next day we went to Queens to grab some pizza, my husband grew up in Queens so we went to Gino’s Pizzeria, the same place he used to eat pizza as a kid. Yes, it is about half an hour from Manhattan, but watching my husband’s happiness while eating here is priceless, and honestly, the thin slice cheesy pizza is perfectly crisp on the bottom, it doesn’t get soggy at all! He loved it so much, he ate 3 slices, I saw a reflection of myself while watching him eat, I couldn’t believe it, I felt so proud!

After we devoured our pizza, we stopped by Queens Center, a nearby mall, to walk off the food! After the window shopping, it was time to hit the big castle, White Castle that is! Again, we went to the one my hubby grew up eating at!  Since we were really full from pizza, we only ordered a few little steamed burgers

After our day trip to Queens, it was time to head back to Manhattan. We had an exciting basketball game to go to at the Madison Square Garden! After dinner, we walked over to the very busy Koreatown for some crispy sweet and spicy chicken wings at Bon Chon Chicken! They were a great snack after the game.

The next day, it was time for some xiao long baos in Chinatown! So, because Joe’s Shanghai has crazy long lines, we went to Joe’s Ginger which is just half a block away! And honestly, the soupy dumplings are just as good! We only ordered the xiao long baos since we wanted it to be our appetizers for our lunch. We had the regular pork dumplings and the crab dumplings, both were soupy and sweet!

After our scrumptious xiao long baos, we walked over to Xi’an Famous Foods for our main courses! We shared the Stewed Pork Burger, the cold Spicy & Tingly Lamb Face Salad, the Spicy & Tingly Beef Hand-Pulled Noodles in Soup and the Stewed Pork Hand-Pulled Noodles in Soup!  Everything we ordered were good, from all the stewed flavored tender meats, the crunchy and spicy salad, the long hand-pulled noodles to all the spicy tingly flavors! I loved it, and yes…your tongue will have a tingly feeling from the spice which somehow becomes a sweet taste!

After the spicy goodness, we took a nice walk to Eileen’s Special Cheesecake! We normally have Junior’s Cheesecake but we thought we’d try something new even though Eileen’s Special Cheesecake has been around for a long time! The Plain Cheesecake and Strawberry Cheesecake were delicate and fluffy!

For dinner, we went to Ichi Umi for a Japanese buffet! It was a busy place with lots of options! Sorry, no photos.  After we had dinner, we decided to go to Serendipity! It was about 11:30pm and believe it or not, there was still a line!  We were told that it would be a 30 minutes wait but luckily it was only 5 minutes. We shared the icy Frrrozen Hot Chocolate and Strawberry Fields Sundae featuring cheesecake, strawberry ice cream, and strawberry topping with whipped cream!

The next day, it was a Sunday, and Pearl Oyster Bar which we have tried in the past and loved and Mary’s Fish Camp which we’ve never tried were both closed. Fortunately, Ed’s Lobster Bar was opened, our goal…Lobster Rolls! We started off with the New England Clam Chowder and the Corn and Lobster Chowder, both were warm, comforting and full of seafood flavors! Then came the Lobster Roll served with the very best crispy fries! A friend of ours also got the Lobster Burger but wish he got the Lobster Roll instead. Fresh, crunchy, meaty and sweet lobsters with a little bit of mayonnaise and herbs was the perfect way to start the day!

For dinner this evening, we went for some delicious Cuban cuisine at Cafe Habana!  Upon arrival, something was wrong with their plumbing so we did wait for about over an hour. We had the entire place to ourselves since no one wanted to wait that long. But once the kitchen was ready, we started off with the finger licking good Grilled Corn Mexican Style served with chili powder lime, mayonnaise and cotija cheese!  I got the Grilled Skirt Steak with rice and beans, others got dishes such as the Sopesitos: a sampler of corn cakes topped with black beans, cotija cheese and 3 different salsas, Roast Pork:  marinated pulled pork with citrus and served with rice and beans, Tacos al Pastor: marinated pork tacos with achiote, pineapple juice, pasilla pepper, ancho pepper, salt and pepper salsa, and Camarones al Ajillo: shrimp in spicy garlic sauce served with rice & beans! My Grilled Skirt Steak was tender and flavorful, but I did hear from my hubby that his pulled pork was a bit dry. I don’t think that it helped that the meat, rice and other ingredients were probably cooking for a long time while the restaurant was closed.  But, we still had a great time, it’s the busy Cafe Habana afterall!

For our last day, we started it off with a visit to the beautiful Central Park! Here, we decided to have a hot dog for lunch! Yes, easy, simple and cheap…a NY hot dog.

Later in the day, we were in the Financial District and we stopped by a plaza near the New World Trade Center. This plaza had quite a few carts in the area.  And of course, we hit the halal cart again!

After walking in the area and trying to get a glimpse of the Memorial from the outside, we decided to stop by a nearby Shake Shack. We got the ShackBurger served with their special sauce, Fries and a Vanilla Shake with Malt!

For our last night, we decided to get a hearty Korean dinner at Kunjip! This crazy busy joint is quick and efficient, maybe some would consider it a bit rude due to the feeling of being rushed, but the food is pretty good.

Last but not least, we ended our last night with frozen yogurt at Pinkberry! Yes, I know there’s now one at the SFO and one located one hour away from San Francisco. But, since we first tasted Pinkberry in NYC 5 years ago, it’s kind of nice to have it there during our visit!

For other restaurant options, please visit my page:  Past Restaurants in NYC


Mar 12

Yamo, A Great Hole in the Wall

Walk into Yamo and you will find yourself at a hole in the wall, featuring approximately 12 bar seatings surrounding their kitchen, three ladies bitching and talking in Cantonese while cooking in an organized assembly line, and people walking in and out for their pick up orders.  I went on a Friday night and there was no line, but lots of pick up orders! Don’t expect the best service, you won’t get any no matter how good looking you are. And trust me, you do not want to wear your best clothes to this place cause you will walk out smelling like their greasy kitchen. But one thing’s for sure, you will walk out happy with your delicious Burmese food!

It was just 2 of us but we were hungry! We ordered the Samusa wraps filled with fried curry spices and potatoes, the Tea Salad with tea leaves, cabbage, fresh tomato, onion, dried shrimp and a variety of fried beans, nuts and sesame seeds, Fish Chowder Noodle Soup with shredded pieces of fish and fried beans and the Yamo House Noodles mixed with fried garlic and beef! Honestly, we loved everything, they all offered wonderful flavors, I especially love their Tea Salad and Fish Chowder Noodle Soup!

And yes, if you speak Cantonese, it helps, I know we put a smile on their faces! Last but not least, Cash Only!