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Archive for October, 2006

I was shopping at Urban on 2nd this weekend and noticed that there is construction going underway on 9th street and 2nd Ave for a new Max Brenners– only a few avenues and blocks over from the Max Brenner’s on Union Square.  Hmm… why would you put these two so close together ?  *shrugs.  I’m still excited regardless.  Hmm.. I guess more people will flock to the East Village now, eh?  I just checked the website and it says opening soon.

max brenner

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Some of us got together to go with Jess to Essex to start off our birthday celebration.  I’ve been to Essex for brunch before and loved it, but I went this weekend and was fairly disappointed.  The pancakes were still as good as ever but they just didn’t do the eggs well.  The kitchen staff should’ve paid more attention to our eggs.  Eggs, to me,  are practically the most essential part to brunch-  next to mimosas and bellinis that is.  I’ve always been drawn to this place due to it’s high ceilings and the skylight that allows ample daylight to stream through.  Also, brunch for $15 with 3 brunchtails [brunch cocktails] in no way, shape, or form, a bad deal. 

I ordered the eggs benedict with gravlax– I know, I’m becoming way too obsessed with this whole gravlax thing and I will stop.  My eggs came on an English Muffin topped with hollandaise sauce with a side of spinach greens and home fries.  My biggest problem is with the eggs!  Apparently all our eggs were overcooked.  The poached eggs, Jenn’s sunny side and my benedict- none of the yolks ran.  =(  I guess it makes my dish easier to eat and distribute bites around the table, but I was expecting some runny eggs.  The gravlax just tasted like regular salmon to me, I didn’t taste any dill or anything else for that matter.  I read that Essex cures their own gravlax, so maybe they should do it for longer or look into their method.  *shrugs.  The homefries were soft and flavorful- I’m not sure what they put in it unfortunately but they’ve got a good recipe for homefries.  I stuck my greens onto my eggs benedict and ate them with the salmon.  Hollondaise sauce didn’t disappoint either, but there was nothing special about it.

eggs benedict w/ gravlax eggs benedict half

The pancakes at Essex were amazing, but I’m almost positive I wrote about that last time.  Phil got it today and he was absolutely in love with it.  He couldn’t finish them so he offered it to the table, where everyone was all over his pancakes… like gravy on mashed potatoes. 

Jess got the aristocratpotato pancake topped with house-cured salmon gravlax, poached eggs, and salmon caviar.  Do you see how her eggs are overdone too?  =/  The redeeming part of this dish is the potato pancake, or hash-brown I guess you can call it.  It was light and crunchy on the outside and soft and warm with distinguishable strips of potatoes on the inside.  Mmmm.  It also wasn’t too oily [but meh, some people like the greasiness].

eggs and potato pancake

Meh, I will give Essex the benefit of the doubt this time because they haven’t failed me before.  I will be very mad if they do it again though. 

What do you have after a brunch and brunchtails?  Cupcakes!!!  Before I met up with my brunch buddies, I went across the street to get some cupcakes for us from triple s aka Sugar Sweet Sunshine.  I got a variety of flavors, but I only ate one- my fave- the sexy red velvet.  It was light, airy, and flavorful as usual.  There were only three left in the batch and I swiped them all.  I saw them working on frosting and sprinkling sprinkles on top of some more in the back of the store though.  The frosting was creamy and not hard like a shell of candy frosting.  It also isn’t as sweet as ones from Magnolia’s. 

sss cupcakes

That night, I met up with Sherman for some shopping and we had a small dinner at Serafina in Noho because we were going to eat while singing karaoke later on.  Serafina is diagonal from Tower Records, which sadly, is soon to be out of business.  This is one of those extremely dim restaurants on the inside, where you almost have to read by candlelight.  Actually, at some tables, I bet you really do have to read by candlelight.  There’s an open grill where you can see the brick oven for the pizza, and that is where I’m assuming they make the bread for the bread basket. 

serafina

The bread sticks they provided were really good.  I’m a fan of butter with my bread, but they provided olive oil like a good Italian restaurant.  The bread was good enough to eat alone so I didn’t complain.  This bread, I swear, comes from the same dough as their pizza crust.  It certainly smells like it.  I remember when I was in Junior High School.. back in the day when Pizza Hut was still good and it was still alive and kicking on 21st & 2nd.  Their crust was the best I’d ever tasted.  I went to a Pizza Hut about two years ago, and it was..  in a word, gross.  The pizza was cold and the crust was not warm and had a different texture from what I once remembered it to be.  I think greased the pans with butter or some other lub to make the pizzas come out easily, and that was the key to their yummy crust.  I wonder if I had the same exact pizza today– would I have the same appreciation?  Maybe, maybe not.  But either way, this is what Serafina’s bread reminds me of.  Sherman, my friend who has been ‘cutting down’ the carbs, ate a whole stick and then some by herself. 

bread

  pumpkin They even decorated each table with a tiny pumpkin for the upcoming holidays.

We shared an appetizer and a entree and it filled the both of us up.  I don’t remember their entrees being this big, but *shrugs- always a good thing.  We ordered the il sashimi di tonno, which is finely sliced sushi grade tuna with avocado and their special dipping sauce.  The red strips on the side are ginger pieces- I thought they were peppers until I tasted one.  This dish definitely had an asian flare to it; the tuna was sprinkled with scallions and sesame and poppy seeds and the special sauce turned out to be none other than soy sauce.  Underneath the dipping sauce was a bunch of cilantro leaves.  The tuna was good wrapped around pieces of avacado and cilantro with the minimal amount of soy sauce.  There was definitely too many sesame and poppy seeds, so I had to scrape some of them off.  The juice of the tomatoes were also good with the tuna- too bad there weren’t more of them.

tuna

I wanted carbonara, but decided that the cream would be too heavy and I’d be too full afterwards so we decided on the i tagliolini di cortina; homemade with chicken mushrooms, peas, & touch of cream.  They split the dish into two portions for us and I thought that my plate was the whole dish.  I was all, “umm.. we only ordered one of these” and felt really happy and stupid when they said, “we split it for you.”  The cream for the pasta wasn’t heavy and the chicken was tender.  I don’t think they were paying attention to how much chicken they were putting in my portion because there was.. a lot.  I couldn’t finish all the chicken.  I always have to eat a bite with chicken, pasta, pees, and mushrooms so in the end, there was a lot of chicken left.  There was definitely chicken overload on my plate.  I didn’t want to eat it alone and I was full, so I just left it alone. 

 pasta pasta
my pasta before and after massive cheesing

 

Yes, I’m well aware of what a fatty day I had…  

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I recently had dinner at Park Avenue Cafe, which I discovered is part of the Smith & Wollensky team.  The restaurant catered to mostly an older classic American crowd [the man at the table next to us had on a suit and a bow tie] and served contemporary American fare.  There were a few youngsters like us and I’m guessing they were there for the same reason I was: to pay your age.   The reason why we came here is because from 8:30PM on daily, Park Ave Cafe has a “pay your age” for a 3 course prix fixe menu.  Prices start at $25 [so those under 25 will still pay $25 for the meal] and the most you’re expect to pay is $65.  There’s a different scale for kids of course.  For a restaurant with entrees mostly in the $30 range; this is too good of a deal to be true; especially for us young ones.  Everyone kept telling me kitschy this place is with a Kermit the Frog cookie jar and a huge American Flag mural behind is, but I didn’t think it was so bad.  I mean the cookie jars [there are others] do seem a bit out of place, but, meh, it doesn’t throw me off that badly.  The American flag reminds me of the restaurant America [now closed], whose whole theme is Americana.  I like that they change their menu constantly, but it doesn’t work out in my favor because I constantly forget what is in dishes I’ve eaten and can’t go back to search for information.  I can’t really trust my memory for much these days.  There are  just too many meals! 

indoor 

I love eating out with a group of people because I like to sample multiple dishes from a restaurant before making the assessment of whether or not I want to come back.  Yes, I am a pig- what can I say?  For my appetizer, I got some home made cavatelli with mushroom, black truffle, basil, and parmesan.  Can I tell you how much I love the flavor of truffles??  I love them so much I’d sell liver [not that anyone would really want it the way it’s been treated the last two months] for a year’s supply.  The truffles made this dish one of the most savory I’ve ever tasted.  I am salivating in my mouth as I try to find the words to describe this right now.  The noodles, which look like the shell pasta and the Japanese hand rolled version [the name escapes me], had a good texture; meaning the ridges on the pasta wasn’t too overwhelming.  The flavors of the mushroom with the truffles created a wonderful stock- akin to your favorite candy dipped in chocolate wrapped in caramel.  I could drown in the sauce and be a happy camper.

catavelli w/ truffles

Jenn ordered the house cured gravlax of king salmon with avacado, honey mustard, crispy toast.   here and I have to declare that this place has the best gravlax I’ve tasted so far.  I mean I don’t have much gravlax experience, but it was good.  There were the right amount of dill and wasn’t too salty like the one at Casanis.  The gravlax alone was flavored well, but it tastes even better with the mashed avocado.  The creamy-ness of the avacado with the smoothness of the fish came together really well.  I loved the presentation of this dish because I’m a collector of shot glasses and am always excited to see shot glasses used in the non conventional way. 

gravlax

Rich got the terrine of sonoma artisanal foie gras topped with fennel on a bed of fig marmalade and a side of brioche toast.  The brioche I’m usually use to is the one that looks like a cupcake, so this threw me off.  I wasn’t a fan of it because I thought the texture was too rough and it was bland.  I, personally am not a fan of foie gras [French for “fat liver,” ie. that of a duck or goose].  It’s considered a luxury item and is suppose to be an acquired taste and all, but I just never got into it.  Rich, however, loves the stuff.  My friend Joe says it tastes like lard so he’s not too into it.  I mean texture was good, and I liked the fig marmalade- it tastes like balsamic vinegar with sherry to sweeten it up. 

foie gras

 I didn’t know what I wanted for an entree, but everyone seemed to rave about the meat dishes.  I couldn’t order that because all that meat would be too overwhelming for me so I ended up getting the slow grilled cod with mussels and spaghetti squash.  The concept of spaghetti squash just boggles my mind- it’s so cool!  You use a fork and scrap the squash after you de-seed it, and the squash will come out in strips!  Everything in my dish tastes very bland by itself, but the flavors of the squash together with the cod was good.  I thought the skin to the cod was overly done, but the crispness served to be a good contrast to the soft fish meat and squash.  The flavors in this dish were very light and natural.

cod

After I heardseveral people rave about thier filet mignon, I had to try some for myself.  The filet mignon came with onion marrow marmalade, greens, whipped potatoes, and crispy onion rings.  I only had a small piece of the medium rare steak and it was tender and fairly juicy.  I can’t go much in depth here since I’m not a big meat person, but I can see why people would like it. 

pork loin 

I also tried a piece of Jenn’s duck breast confit.  It was a bit on the chewy side, which I didn’t appreciate.  Not only was the meat chewy, but the skin was too.  Usually the skin is very crisp, but overall, I just think it was undercooked.  It also wasn’t very flavorfull.  I’ve read previous reviews by other bloggers about this dish and they also didn’t enjoy it. 

duck confit

 I sampled many a dishes and ate my own dish, and I still had room for dessert.  Can ya believe it?  That’s fatty status for you.  Park Ave Cafe has a really good selection of sorbets, so instead of an ice cream sundae, I wanted a sorbet sundae.  Fortunately, the waiter didn’t look at me like I wanted to ask him to trade my first born for his and was quite nice about it.  I got a scoop of the pear and the grape.  Both were very good and tastes like their natural respective fruits.  The pear sorbet at Monkey Bar is also very good if you are ever in the neighborhood.  My sundae came with 6 different garnishes, which were catered to ice creams, but I still used it for my sorbets.  There were caramel, raspberry sauce with real raspberries, thick sweetened whipped cream, fudge, toasted rice crispys, and chocolate shavings.  The caramel was soooo good.  They added a little something to it to call it their own and Jenn and I just kept eating it straight from the glass. 

sundae garnishes sorbets

My other fave was Jen’s warm apple strudel with buttermilk-date panna cotta and chai-tea sabayon.  I have never tasted apple strudel that was so good in my life before.  This is mainly because of the buttermilk and the fact that it wasn’t very sweet.  I’m always afraid to eat apple flavored sweet stuff because there’s just too much natural sugar, and when it’s combined with regular sugar- bah- it’s like giving me a heart attack in sugar form.  I didn’t taste anything chai-tea, but the buttermilk flavor definitely seeped through and tasted good with my sorbet.  You see that piece of sugary zig zag substance in the back?  That’s what Jen used to dip into my caramel.  She was definitely on a sugar high after that.

apple strudel

Something I didn’t try but the guys really liked is their signature Chocolate Cube, which is a thin chocolate cube filled with caramel mousse and choclate sorbet.  It definitely didn’t look like there was any caramel in there, there seemed to be tons and tons of molten chocolate that spewed out by the color.  The presentation is lovely though.  So, chocolate lovers- the boys have given the okay on this one.

chocolate

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Time Out New York [TONY] magazine had an event on 10.10 to celebrate their new 2007 Eating and Drinking  guide, which will be released on Oct. 28 according to Barnes&Nobles, but I’ve already seen them on the racks.  TONY gathered 40 of NY’s top dessert and food places and placed them under one roof to give the public, us, a tasting of their foods.  There  were Time Out descriptions on top of every vender and they gave out copies of the book to attendees.  It was like a publicity event wrapped in wonderful food.  Speaking of guides, I still haven’t received my ‘o7 Zagat in the mail yet and that one’s already been officially released!  Boo.

I was having the hardest time deciding how I wanted to present my foodings in this entry.  I took about a hundred pictures in the span of an hour and a half while trying to eat and drink simultaneously.  Actually, I would’ve ended up with none because I totally spaced out that morning.  I left the house with my camera, but without my memory card!  I remembered that Joe lives in Chinatown and he owns Nikons!  I could totally go pick a memory card up from him on my way down to Tribeca after work.  I rang him like a madwoman and it turns out that he will be at home around the time I would get to Chinatown.  *whew.  He met me at the train station and I walked as fast as I could to meet Eva at Skylight.  So, THANKS JOEY.  I definitely owe ya one. 

I’ve decided that I’m only going to just talk about some of the food I encountered and just leave it to the pictures for others.  This of course means that I won’t really have much to say about shellfish items b/c I can’t eat them. 

Two of the first stands Eva & I hit up were wd-50 and Urena, both who were serving soup.  wd-50 had a malted chestnut soup w/ salmon threads and celery sprouts while Urena did a cold celery-root soup with morcilla sausage.  I liked the chestnut and Eva liked the celery, though we didn’t think either was very remarkable on the like-age scale.  For the chestnut soup, I would’ve liked more soup and less salmon, but that’s just me.  I also think the dried shredded salmon they used tastes like a dried shredded meat product, ie. the Chinese dried shredded meat bun.

wd-50
wd-50: the soup presentation was so detailed

urena urena celery soup
person at Urena stand cupping the soup // close up of soup

After trying the soups, we decided to go for a new strategy; look for lines.  Usually at big events, lines means good things, unless you’re early, in which case, you’ll probably beat the lines.  The first large gathering of people we encountered [yea.. people just surrounded the table, there was no real line, per say] was for San Domenico.  They were serving up some uovo in raviolo, which is homemade soft egg  yolk filled raviolo with truffle butter and topped with cheese.  I popped this warm piece into my mouth and I swear I had a foodgasm right there in the middle of Skylight.  The yolk exploded in my mouth and the sprinkling of cheese with the warm truffle butter just blew my mind.  I officially need to own some of this truffle butter, or even truffle oil- that’s fine too.  I want to warm it up and just sprinkle it in my rice and call it dinner.  The key to this dish is definitely its warmth; had this been served cold, I would’ve been disappointed.  However, the flavors were really heavy, mainly due to the whole yolk so I know I couldn’t have eaten more than about 4 if given the opportunity.  I really wonder how many calories are in a single one of these?

san domenico san domenico ravioli
san domenico: if I was that woman, I’d be stashing those away for myself

I got to try a lot of New York restaurants that I’ve never had the opportunity to before.  One of those is Blue Ribbon Sushi.  They had people rolling the sushi there for the guests so everything was super fresh.  There were a few rolls to choose from, asparagus, yellowtail, salmon, and others.  The rice was soft and a bit sweeter than the usual sushi rice, but that just made the flavor of the rice more distinct.  I love fresh on the spot kind of sushi. 

blue ribbon  blue ribbon
the pic on right right would’ve been uber cool w/out the woman

The longest line at the place must have been for Nobu 57 with their steamed chilean sea bass with dried miso.  They couldn’t plate the fish quick enough for the people to devour.  There was a good 10-15 minute line forming, which is kind of crazy because everything else was pretty much 3 minutes or less.  The sea bass was really soft and moist and broke apart fairly easily when you chewed it.  The dried miso on top tastes like the dried shredded meat stuff I attempted to describe earlier.  I later saw someone walking around with mochi ice cream and literally chased after the person to find that it was from Nobu.  Eva and I ran back to the Nobu stand.  Mochi is glutinous rice made into a paste and floured and molded into its shape- it’s uber sticky without hoards of flour.  The Chinese way to use mochi is to stick coconut, sugar, and peanuts on it inside and inside of rolling the outside in flour, it’s rolled in coconut flakes; it’s called a “law mai chee” in cantonese.  My mom and I used to make them fairly often.  I’m not entirely sure if Nobu actually made the mochis themselves and I can’t really tell from the flavor because they taste like all the other mochi I’ve tasted, only this mochi’s outside is a bit harder than the ones I’m use to.  There were two flavors: vanilla and mango.  The outside layer for both pieces, and especially the mango had a lot of stretching power to it and didn’t come a part easily when I bit it.  It was a bit of a task trying to separate the piece into two separate bites.  The flavors were good though with a good sweetness to the mango; the vanilla had a plain outside but the ice cream and the mochi together combined creates an interesting texture.  It’s like chewy ice cream [but not gum type chewy], but it tastes better than it sounds.  I swear.  I could eat like 16 of these in one sitting.  I hate buying them though because they’re so expensive and are eaten so quickly.

nobu57 seabass nobu 57 mochi

We kept our chopsticks from Nobu57 and used them for the remainder of our time at the event.  It’s amazing how easy it is to eat with chopsticks.  The one guy tried to take mine away at one point to give me a fork, but I fought him for it.  Anyway, right next to Nobu57 is the Greek restaurant Molyvos.  They offered samples of their appetizer, ouzo cured salmon– it’s house cured Atlantic salmon,with a chickpea fritter, pickled onion, baby greens, and red onion.  I was surprised how good this tasted; I figured it for tasting like regular salmon with some greens on top.  This cured fish had a very good taste to it [you know, not too salmony and not too salty], and the flavors of the toppings just added to the goodness of the fish.  I love how they piled everything on there for me so all I had to do was wrap it up and stick it into my mouth in one bite.  It was easy to experience all the flavors at once.  I wasn’t a fan of the chickpea fritter though, it was dry and I didn’t even know it was chickpea until I read the menu.    

molyvos
molyvos salmon eaten with chopsticks

I had more fish at the Telepan stand; it was yellowtail tabouli [or tabbouleh] made with yellowtail, farro tabbouleh, cured tuna & mint.  The yellowtail itself was good and juicy, but Eva didn’t like the tabouli.  I’ve never had tabouli, which according to wiki is “bulgur, finely chopped parsley, mint, tomato, scallion spring onion, and other herbs with lemon juice and various seasonings.”  The itty bits that look like corn are actually the farro, which is a wheat product and has a really mild taste [I couldn’t detect anything besides blandness when I was eating it].  Eva wasn’t a fan of the farro though, but she did like the yellowtail.  The ingredients makes it seem like the flavors would be very strong, but it wasn’t and it didn’t overpower the fish.  We also had sturgeon topped with friscee  from Dressler.  I really wish I could remember what it tasted like so I can tell you about it, but I really can’t remember.  I do remember thinking that I enjoyed the sturgeon from the Adam Sandler sandwich at Carnegie Deli more though.

telepan dressler

A place that I was really excited to be showcased was Tisserie!!  I had no idea they were going to be at the event.  I’ve been wanting to try this place for a while now, but it’s so expensive!  I’ve gone in twice and came out with nothing.  They provided mini quiches, which were flavorful, but nothing to write home about.  There was a mushroom and a cheese one.  In my opinion, the item that was to die for is the dulce de leche [arequipe on the menu] tartlet.  I could’ve eaten a whole boatload of them if I wasn’t already stuffed.  If I had tupperware, it would’ve been my snack on the cab ride home.  I absolutely loveee caramel and caramel with sweetened condense milk?  Even better.  The dulce de leche was  creamy but not too overwhelmingly sweet.  Mmmm…. I think I want some right now. 

tisserie
feet after feet of tartlets and mini quiches

Some of the weirder stuff [to us, at least]  Eva and I tried were Tia Pol’s deviled eggs and inTent’s monkfish mouuse.  I went on Tia Pol’s website to try and figure out what was used to devil up the eggs, but it didn’t say.  The reason I didn’t enjoy them is because the stuffing had a bacon flavoring, and though I love bacon with my eggs- this really threw me off.  There were also other flavors meshed with the smokey bacon flavor that I couldn’t identify.   I don’t know in what ways fish would taste good in mouuse form, even with a whole tub of whipped cream [though, I don’t think that’s whipped cream on top in the pic]… this is just something I can’t appreciate.  Sorry.  However,  inTent seems to have a really good lunch special for $12 though, so of course, I’m going to be all over that one of these days.  I can’t just write off a menu because they tried to puree fish, but I can never try it again. 

tia pol eggs intent
tia pol’s deviled eggs//  intent- monkfish mouuse- so pretty, but that’s it 

So enough of my rambling… I know what the really important stuff is: the food porn.  So here ya go!

parea craftsteak 
quality meats quality meat steak
stone park cafe red cat
harry's cafe & steak daisy may's
tony luke's philly tony luke's roast pork
parea– plating clams with sausage||craftsteak– wagyu steamship round||quality meats– filet mignon||stone park cafe– shor rib sandwich w/ housemade potato roll, creamed spinach, pickled beets||red cat– veal cheek sloppy joe||harry’s cafe & steak– kobe beef franks||daisy may’s – jamaican pulled pork & cornbread||tony luke’s– cheese steaks & roast pork italian sandwiches
The following are some of the desserts I tried:  [all were too die for]

cupcake tower! ciao bella 
falai panetteria redcat 
red velvet one girl cookies
pischiato
cake man raven– CUPCAKE TREE||ciao bella- ice cream cookie||falai panetteria– bomboloncini||red cat– a mango/coconut creation||cake man raven- red velvet cake||one girl cookies– soft pumpkin flavored cookies w/a cream middle||the modern– pistachio cake

I can’t end the entry without a pictures of our beloved bartender, Steve.  He’s the one who served Eva and I all thoroughout the event.  On each corner of the square shaped bar was a tub of San Bendetto’s drinks.

bartender san bendetto

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I really wanted to entitle this post “where’s mah bread?!” but then it’d just throw those off who try to google five points.  By now, you must know my first peeve about Five Points in Noho- they’re lacking bread!! So they don’t so much lack bread, as much as they lack the bringing of the bread to me.  It was such a tease.  They sat me right next to the bread [closer than when I was in Balthazar], and I got no bread.  If this is Five Points’ way to show it’s love to me, there’s definitely no love.  Look at all the bread!  After a while of not having a bread basket, we thought that this may be one of those places that don’t serve bread- you’d have to actually pay for it.  There was a muffin basket on the menu.  Then, I saw people cutting it up and giving it to tables, but some tables didn’t get them.  Whyyy??  I don’t feel like I should go into a restaurant and ask for bread.  It should be automatic, no?  It makes me so sad.  I love bread!

five points bread

Alright, bread rant stops here. 

 I was suppose to be sunning it up in West Palm then Miami this weekend, but due to some unforseen circumstances, we are post-poning our trip.  Eva and Tony invited me to brunch with them that Sunday since Eva knew I really wanted to brunch here.  I’ve heard so many wonderful things about their brunch!  The restaurant was under scaffoldings for the longest time- I’m glad that the time I come, it’s gone.  This was actually the first time I’ve met Tony, and he was still drunk from hours ago, soo I bet eating with me was quite an experience for him.  He was so shocked to see the amount of food I could consume, and I don’t think his drunkenness allowed him to process this fact too well. 

five points outside

Aside from the outdoor seating, the inside is split into three sections.  When you first walk in, the bar is on your left, but they’ve also set up a few tables for two on the right.  You get to the hostess and behind her is the main dining room.  There’s a log with a tiny waterfall along the middle [with all the greens] separating left and right.  This area is more romantic and all with their dim lighting.  If you go further back, you will get to  my section, which is right in front of the semi-open kitchen.  Our table was directly under a sky light too, so we had a lot of daylight pouring in- I like lit restaurants during the daylight hours.

five points inside    five points wood
main dining area // i can’t explain the wood- i don’t remember seeing a fireplace ….??

Usually, brunch for me means  eggs something or other, ie.  eggs benedict, eggs florentine, etc- but today, I really wanted mac and cheese.  Like, a lot.  I also couldn’t bring myself to go away from the eggs tradition, so what do I do?  I convince Eva to split her eggs benedict with me!  My baked mac & cheese came with Vermont white cheddar and sprinkled with bread crumbs, and bound with organic eggs from Pennsylvania [eh, this part doesn’t make too much of a difference for me but I guess it’s suppose to “justify” the $12 price tag, eh?].  My mac came with a side of greens, which were not chopped, so it was fairly difficult to eat.  I, of course, was too lazy to actually be civilized and cut them into smaller pieces, so I searched for the small pieces, and when I finished those- I just shoved the bigger pieces into my mouth in single bites.  I think people looking would be fairly disgusted, but….  I have no shame.  I’m sure Eva and Tony were quite entertained.  Eva got the smoked salmon eggs benedict, which much to my happiness, didn’t come on an english muffin, but on brioche toast.  The toast wasn’t too hard, so it was easy to eat divided with the eggs and salmon.  I can cut some things up into bite sized portions!  I’m glad they didn’t have gravlax- I don’t know if I could’ve taken any more of that- regular salmon is good for me.  Her dish also came with a baby pear [yea, don’t ask] and home fries on the side.   I was pleased with the home fries, they were all spiced up with stuff- it kinda had a bacon-y taste to it.  And hollandaise sauce- how can you go wrong with hollandaise sauce?   

 mac n cheese mac n cheese 2 eggs benedic eggs benedict 2

I had to try the baby pear.  I had a baby apple a few months ago because my aunt tricked me into it.  I have pictures somewhere and will dig them out.  She convinced me they were going to be good.  She told me she had one earlier and that she was going to share the other one with her daughter.  I knew she had to be lying.  A tiny apple could not possibly be sweet; it had to be sour as hell.  My curiosity got the best of me.  It was the sourest thing I’ve ever eaten.  Bah!  I was really skeptical to try this pear.  I tried a tiny piece of a tiny slice… and…. it wasn’t bad.  It was a bland pear- it was juicy but not sweet at all.  We could’ve done without this on our plate; I would’ve taken the bread any day. 

pear

Aside from all this, I had some more food.  Yes, I know.  I’m a fatty.  I wanted to try their biscuit.  I miss the Clinton Street Baking Co’s biscuits, so I wanted to see if these would work as a replacement.  The answer?  not really.  I mean, it’s not a bad biscuit and I do appreciate the apricot jam, but it doesn’t beat the Clinton’s biscuit.  Also, no one wanted to help me with my biscuit, so I had to eat it all by myself.  I refused to waste $3 on a biscuit and not finish it.

biscuit

My five points about Five Points:
1. Boo for no bread
2. Boo for the raise in prices [biscuit used to be $2, now they’re $3]
3. Yay for skylight
4. Yay for yummy food
5. Yay for atmosphere

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This post is long overdue [well, the Menchanko part].  Over a month ago, I went to Menchanko http://www.menchankotei.com/ for lunch- it’s just down the block from me.  I sat upstairs in the balcony area of the restaurant.  You can see my views of down below in the pix below.  Menchanko is basically a ramen bar and I’m obsessed with ramen.  There’s this chicken and pork ramen my mom introduced to me years ago, and I can’t stop eating it.  When I was in college, I used to make ramen into a meal.  I put Chinese veggies, meats and some type of soup or broth and ate it as a meal.  When I moved back to Manhattan, I got to change up the ramen, but when my mom makes chicken and mushroom, I use that sauce with my ramen and it is slammin’.  So yea, there’s no doubt about my love for ramen.

inside menchanko   menchanko 2

I ordered the menchanko– it’s one of their more popular dishes- and not made with actual ramen.  The noodles were the same texture and I think they were egg noodles- they look like ramen, only fatter [not by much though].  I got the menchanko with kimchi .  Menchanko is the restaurant’s own “original noodle recipe individually cooked in a cast iron bowl. we start with traditional thick ramen noodles in a rich soy broth, then add chicken, shrimp, salmon ball, tofu, ricecake and vegetables.”  My order was shrimp-less, of course.  It was yummers but there was like one thing of each ingredient- it was so weird.  Since there are so many things that come with the noodles though, it seems enough.  There was one beancurd, like two pieces of rice cakes, one piece of chicken – and it was a tiny one at that.  I think they just give you whatever they have on hand.  There was enough to fill me up, and I was craving the kimchi so I was satisfied. 

kimchi menchanko
I want to own that soup ladle!

I came back like two weeks later for some ramen-ramen. 

I feel bad for all the men in my life who I am constantly dragging to have ramen with me.  Sorry, it’s clearly an obsession. 

Friday was the Mid-Autumn Festival!  中秋節!  Many people just refer to it as “ baat yuet sup mm” in cantonese because it occurs on the fifteenth day of the eighth moon.

 I’m sad that there are no actual festivities in New York.  People actually do stuff in China!  I want to do stuff!  I’ve heard it’s geared towards little kids, but who cares?  I want o make lanterns and stare at the moon and all that good stuff [my cousins have told me what goes on, and I’ve forgotten].  Friday was a cloudy day though. I remember during the moon festival last year, the moon was round and bright- it was really pretty.  My mom usually sets up food & mooncakes & incense for the moon diety; we offer our good wishes, and that’s about it.  Nothing much goes on outside of this. 

My mom brought home these fabulous green tea mooncakes, which is what prompted me to write this post on mooncakes.  They actually taste pretty good- nothing like green tea- well, maybe a little- but not much.  These mooncakes are from the Imperial Jade Mooncake company.  These people have some fancy smancy packaging too; I don’t know what to make of it.  Each one of these mooncakes comes individually boxed; which is nice because it’s harder to mess up when you give one or two away.  We’re suppose to give mooncakes to those we love- okay..  it’s time for research because here’s where I start my random reasoning creative rambling bit.  I need to find out more about this mooncake tradition.

So here goes.  The Mid-Autumn Festival is the festival of reunion.  Family and friends gather to gawk at the beautiful moon, and even if loved ones are far away, you will know when you’re looking up at the moon, your loved ones are looking at the exact same moon with you miles away.  Wiki says it’s common to “put pomelo rinds on one’s head.”  I have no idea where this came from or what this signifies, but I’ve never heard this- ever.  I know some people offer the pumelo to the moon- we have a huge one that costs $8 at home ourselves.  Historically, the fifteenth of the eighth moon represented the time for harvest.

mooncake box  mooncake  mooncake 2
a box and a box within the box and a wrapped up mooncake within that box

 mooncake 4
mooncake in its wholeness!

mooncake insides
insides! you see the green?

The insides of the mooncake is filled with lotus paste and green tea flavoring [and green coloring perhaps?].  There’s lotus seeds and a big egg yolk in the middle, which I usually avoid.  It’s suppose to represent the roundness of the moon and all the good stuff surounded by the circular shape.  In previous years, I’ve made my mother buy the yolk-less ones because I can’t stand to eat the perserved yolk, but now, I like what it symbolizes, so I just deal with it [though, I always scoop it out before I eat the rest of the mooncake].  Mooncakes tend to be really sweet and this is no different, but with the green tea flavor, the lotus taste is not as overwhelmingly sweet as it usually is, which is a good thing.  I don’t know what to make of the nut though- it’s like a cross between a pumpkin seed and a sunflower seed and I don’t really know what it’s doing in this mood cake.  I don’t think I like my mooncake with a crunch.

Here’s an article that talks more about mooncake history and how mooncakes have evolved over the years.  The article also talks about the famous Snowy or Ice Snow Mochi Mooncakes from Taipan bakery.  I’ve personally never had them, but they sound good.  I love the Japanese mochi ice cream!  My friend Jonathan says they’re not that good, and since he’s never really steered me wrong, I’ll have to trust him until I get my hands on one. 

Someone send me some if you’ve got any!

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oct 6-8 :   west palm beach/miami [post-poned]
         10:   TONY’s eat out ‘o6 event with Eva dearest
  20/21:    bday dinner w/ jess, the triplet
  27-28:    twins’ bday celebration weekend
        26:    dinner at morimoto’s omakase bar w/ Eva
        28:    dinner at nobu57 w/ Nina

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