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Archive for December, 2006

billy’s bakery

I went to visit Katie Holme’s favorite cupcake shop!  Billy’s is usually really out of the way for me since I live and play in the East Village and LES area.  The only time I get to come to this neck of the woods is when I go to Chelsea Market, and after Chelsea Market, I’m usually too stuffed to go anywhere else.  This time, it just so happened that I was coming from the opposite direction towards Chelsea, so I finally had an opportunity to sample their infamous cupcakes. 

billy's bakery, outside decorating cupcakes

All the pastels here reminded me of Magnolia’s bakery, only more cozy.  Magnolia’s is a very strict “grr, get what you need and get out- don’t look around” type place to me, which makes sense because of the amount of consumer traffic they get.  Billy’s has a tiny seating area, bigger than Magnolia’s and smaller than my personal fave, Triple S. 

cheesecakes cupcakes

They also have a variety of cakes and cheesecakes in addition to cupcakes.  The cheesecakes looked really appetizing, but I just settled on trying just the cupcakes.  I tried the original vanilla and the carrot.   The carrot cupcake was to die for!  It was so rich and moist on the inside!  YUM!  The icing/frosting was also soo good (not too sweet) and not in the least bit hard!  The vanilla was a little on the doughy, cakey side (kinda like Magnolia’s, only not so much) so it was really good too.  I’m glad these cupcakes weren’t over the top rich or sweet.  I think Billy’s is one of my top places to get cupcakes now, but they still come after Triple S  [Sugar Sweet Sunshine].

carrot cupcake  inside of carrot cupcak

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burgers & cupcakes

 I stumbled upon this Burgers & Cupcakes offshoot on 37th & 9th walking down to Chelsea Market with Daniel one day.  Yes, we are true New Yorkers- we walk everywhere.  Their burgers looked really good, but I just had myself a slice of pizza just a few blocks ago.  We went in because they had a deal: 3 mini cupcakes for $5!  I didn’t even have to drag Daniel and we were already inside.

I was surprised that they had table service here.  I thought one would just order food and find a seat.  We went to look at the day’s selection of cupcakes to figure out what we wanted to order and took a seat by the window.  I decided that I should get some real food to eat along with the cupcakes.  I wasn’t hungry enough for a burger (though they looked smashingly delish), so I got a mesclun salad with cherry tomatoes and avocado.

burgers & cupcakes outside burgers & cupcakes inside

The salad was fresh, especially the avocado.  Look!  No brown spots!  =)  That always makes me happy.  I didn’t really like the dressing though- too much olive oil for my liking.  BTW, I did eat this salad all by myself because Daniel didn’t want to participate in my fattiness.  He says the cupcakes have enough calories alone- he doesn’t need to add to them.  Though, 15 minutes later, he wanted to go hunt down some White Castle, so….

salad

We decided on the vanilla with vanilla icing [with the Christmas sprinkles], the carrot with the cream cheese and coconut icing, and the vanilla with the chocolate icing for the cupcakes.  The mini cupcakes are actually the size of regular cupcakes.  The jumbo ones were humungous.  They were very exciting to look at.  It turns out that these cupcakes have been sitting around for a while [it was only a bit past lunch by the time we got there], so the cupcakes were not as soft and fluffly as they could have been.  Also, since it’s been sitting outside, the icing has started to get hard on the sides, which was fairly disappointing.  The degree of sweetness was not too bad though; it wasn’t over the top sweet.  We just weren’t wowed by their cupcakes.  Maybe we shall try the original one next time.

3 cupcakes 

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The Saturday before Time Out NY’s article on the best pizza places in New York came out, I was already thinking of pizza.  It was just a mere coincidence that TONY had the same thought process.  Of course, the “best” pizza is always so relative and arbitrary.  And it’s New York- there’s almost as many pizzerias as Starbucks here!  Anyway, Eva and I compiled a list of places to go with the help of TONY.  We came up with about 8 places that were going to be in the areas we were shopping that day [we decided it’d be a good idea to walk off the calories].  Unfortunately, time didn’t permit us to visit all the places we wanted, but here’s a quick overview of our day. 

lasso

1. L’asso.  41 Kenmare St.

I’ve been here previously but wasn’t a very big fan of their slices.  I wanted to come back this time with a more critical eye and taste it all over again.  I’m sure you’ve noticed the pizza-less picture here and that’s because L’asso had a really big order to fill that day sothey didn’t have any slices avaliable, so we didn’t get to get any pizza here.

ray's ray's kitchen
ray's pizza 1 ray's pizza 2

2. Ray’s.  27 Prince St.  The original.

Ray’s is split into two parts; a restaurant and a pizzeria.  Both spaces are small, but the cramped pizzeria never seemed to bother bother the customers waiting in line for pizza.  We got a slice off a brand new pie and ate it outside.  I love the stretchiness of the cheese on pizza when it first comes out of the oven and hasn’t congealed yet.  Mmm..  just thinking about it makes me drool.  The tomato sauce was more acidic than I expected, and Eva thought it balanced very well with the saltiness of the cheese.  She’s one of those who loves the combo of sweet and savory flavors in one dish.

ben's pizza ben's pizza inside
bens pizza 

3. Ben’s Pizza.  177 Spring St.

I’ve heard people rave about the Silician slices from here, but I can’t say that I appreciate those because there’s just too much breading.  The New York style I had was not the most impressive.  I would classify it as more than mediocre, and worth spending the money on, but nothing to write home about.  At least, not today’s slice.  This one was more on the bland side- no aspect of the pizza really stood out to me.  It was just a normal slice.  You can’t really go wrong with a slice from Ben’s. 

joe's pizza ben's pizza inside
joe's pizza slice joe's pizza closeup

4. Joe’s Pizza.  7 Carmine St.  Where Spiderman gets his pizza.  Open until 5am.

Whether or not it’s because of Spiderman, the line for Joe’s swiveled out the door.  I liked the tomato sauce because it wasn’t as acidic as Ray’s, and it had more flavor than Ben’s.  It tastes like very standard tomato sauce- maybe it was canned?  *shrug.  What I didn’t enjoy was that it was overheated quite a bit.  My cheese bubbled and browned in certain places, which put an end to my stretchy cheese effect.  The crust was crunchy and thin, which is essential for New York style pizza, but this time, it was overdone and a bit on the brown side.

beard papa's 

Right next door to Joe’s is a Beard Papa’s.  We decided to take a break and split a green tea cream puff (the pic was really ugly so I didn’t post it).  I wasn’t happy with the filling.  I usually go to the Beard Papa’s on Broadway & Astor, and they have a really thick creamy filling.  This batch of filling was a bit too runny in consistency and in turn, affected the cream puff’s flavor.

una napolenta

5. Una Pizza Napolentana.  349 E 12th St btwn 1st & 2nd Aves.

Apparently, at 3:30 in the afternoon, it was too early for pizza.  I didn’t know it was a sit-down place until we got there, and my guess?  They only offer dinner service.  Looks like I’ll have to come back for this one.

s'mac s'mac inside
s'mac brie  s'mac brie

Instead of venturing further uptown to finish the list, we went to S’Mac [a restaurant devoted to mac & cheese] and got ourselves some mac and cheese before we both went our separate ways.  It’s pretty pricey for mac & cheese, but they’ve got some good options, such as the brie mac & cheese that we ordered.  Creamy Brie, roasted figs, roasted shiitake mushrooms & fresh rosemary.  You can also choose to get bread crumbs on top, which we did.  The brie made the dish really heavy, but it was so good!  I enjoyed the saltiness of the fig with the soft mac and brie together with the crunchiness of the crumbs.  Eva lighted the sweet figs balanced with the saltiness of the brie and mushrooms with the crunchiness of the crumbs.  I say, it was a good balance of textures and flavors.

I didn’t find any spectacular pizza today, but I am going to work my way uptown and to Di Fara’s in Brooklyn, which was named #1 in TONY and by a co-worker.   Mmm… there is nothing like a good thin crust New York style cheese pizza.  =)

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 I took a day off to spend time with my bestest when she came back from Penn for Thanksgiving.  We started the day at this cute tiny shop/eatery in Chinatown called Tic Tac Toe (on Hester between Elizabeth and Mott).  This place was previously a cell phone store / Japanese and Chinese import candy store / internet cafe / eatery.  I used to come here for my favorite Japanese gummy candy fix.  

Space: The whole right wall is lined with brown chalkboard where they’ve written their menu in cutesy font and colorful chalk.  In addtion to food, tic tac toe place sells unique items for the home like candles and cutesy novelty umbrellas and tote bags. 

The Grub:  The food selection is sub-par and if I wasn’t so obsessed with their drink menu, I might never want to sit here for food at all.  They have a big tea selection and many conoctions are made from white tea, which I’m a very big fan of.  White tea is supposed to be really soothing and good for you.  Two varieties I wanted to try were the peach white tea and the lychee white tea.  The guy behind the counter informed me that he was told both are served best cold, but the weather didn’t permit cold drinks.  I thought since white tea is generally very mild, it would taste fine hot or cold, but that wasn’t the suggestion.  I didn’t really want to risk it so I ordered two green tea lattes for me and the bestest.  The green lattes were really good; there was a strong green tea flavor was frothy, which made it thicker than regular green tea.

tic tac toe

tic tac toe inside tic tac toe drink selection
a peak into the kitchen area // a variety of juices, including aloe!

Their food menu is very small and contains mostly paninis, which is what we ordered.  They have this tofu chicken salad I wanted to try but decided against it because they used the iceberg lettuce.  We ended up ordering a turkey panini with swiss, and a ham with american cheese with chili mayo spread, and an order of edamame sui mai.  The chili mayo reminds me of the Japanese spicy mayo- orange with some red chili specks .  I would’ve referred any other green but iceberg lettuce, but the melted cheese and the warm bread made the sandwich really messy to eat but really savory.  The swiss cheese added a sweetness to the turkey panini.  Other than the chili mayo, there was nothing special about the paninis.  They just tasted like sandwiches in panini form. 

 turkey panini ham panini

I’m pretty sure this is not store made edamame sui mai, but rather it’s just reheated and store bought.  I’ve never seen these in the store before, but if anyone sees them around- be sure to give me a heads up!  I wanted to try this because I thought it was really interesting to put a Japanese twist to a Chinese dim sum dish.  The edamame flavor really came out in the sui mai, which surprised me because I half expected something artificial.  Besides the edamame flavor, I could’t make out the other ingredients.   On the inside, there are bits of mashed edamame combined with other veggies.  The skin is a little chewy- it’s the same consistency as a wonton skin.  These bite sized sui mais are good with just about any type of sauce; I tried some with my chili mayo and vinegar (though the vinegar was better).  I’m sure soy sauce works well too.

edamamae siu mai

Overall: I’d come here for the edamame sui mai if I wanted something small to hold me over and for their drinks.  The variety of tea and juices is pretty wide, with both Japanese and Chinese options.  The paninis here are only okay and only cost around $6 for one. 

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Arthur called me to tell me that he was taking me out to one of the BR Guest Restaurants for dinner and I could choose anyone I wanted.  I chose Fiamma Osteria  located on the cusp of TriBeCa and Soho based on its recent one Michelin star rating.  Sadly, I visited Fiamma Osteria only weeks after the head chef [and Michelin star getting] quit.  Of course, it’s not just the chef that gets a restaurant into the Michelin guide, the restaurant as a whole, including its service is taken into account.  I didn’t let the absent head chef get me too down though because I’ve heard fabulous things about his chef de cuisine who’d be taking over though. 

[since I’m behind on my blogging, I’ve decided to try to shorten my entries and curb my tendency to overwrite by making this as systematic as possible]

 fiamma
i like how “Fiamma” looks like its in flames

SPACE:  It’s definitely bigger than I imagined from looking from outside.  There is a wine cellar downstairs and I think there are private rooms there too [not sure as the doors were closed].  The pictured portion is the main dining area where Arthur and I sat.  In addition, there’s a third level upstairs.  All tables are adorned with leather seats with one arm rest [my conclusion is that it makes it easier to get out of your seat- you can slide from the side instead of having to pull your chair all the way back]. 

 fiamma inside fiamma inside
hmm.. which one do you prefer?

SERVICE:  I was pleased with the service; our waiter was pretty attentive.  I would be really mad if the service was bad because it was a Wednesday night and the restaurant wasn’t packed.  Our waiter kept coming up to check up on us and our water-level-in-cup was watched fairly close even though we ordered Pellegrino.  I would’ve been happy pouring my own water, since I didn’t have to wait for the but our guy would have none of that. 

FOOD: 

The bread basket was simple as you can see, but what surprised me was the spread they provided.  Ground up garlic with olive oil and ground pepper.  I’ve never actually had this before in a restaurant [not that I’ve never put garlic on my bread] and it was a pleasant surprise.  I know my garlic fiend of a sister would’ve definitely enjoyed it.   To me, this is a good alternative to butter and plain olive oil.

bread platter

 Out of all the dishes, I was most awed by the appetizer.  I chose the foie gras because Arthur has never tried it before.  I’ve only had the pate version myself so I knew from reading Anthony Bourdain that this should be good.  The dish is called fegato and it is a pan seared duck foie gras with baby spinach and persimmon on the side, caramelized onion sauce, marsala glaze, and pistacchio and onion rings to top things off.  When I was eating the persimmon, we couldn’t for the life of us remember the name.  We were describing the fruit to each other but we just couldn’t figure its name !  I asked the waiter and he told me it was an Italian quince and that’s a lie.  I google imaged Italian quince and it is not a persimmon.

foie gras

If you’ve been reading my blog, you know that it’s truffle season and I’m absolutely obsessed.  Fiamma offers a 10 gram portion of truffle over selected dishes for $75.  Arthur tried to convince me to get it because I couldn’t stop drooling over the option but I had to decline.  It’s an awfully nice gesture, but I feel bad eating away $75 like that.   I decided instead to order the garganelli- imolese quill pasta, San Danielle prosciutto, Treviso truffle butter, and parmigiano.  I figured I could get my truffle fix this way.  When this dish came out, it reminded me of the catavelli I had at Park Avenue Cafe.  I thought the pasta was a bit thick which made it tougher than normal pasta.  The pasta had a really heavy truffle aroma and I couldn’t stop stuffing my face in the pasta.  Thevdish had a good amount of prosciutto and provided the pasta with some saltiness.  The cream sauce was light, but the highlight was definitely the truffle butter- without it, the pasta would be boring.

truffle butter pasta

 Arthur ordered the monkfish special; it was monkfish wrapped in porsciutto, a grilled shallot, and some greens and mushrooms.  I always thought the whole meat product wrapped in bacon thing was so clever.  I forget what type of sauce it came with [this always happens when I have to listen to someone recite the dishes instead of going on the website and look it up].  Everyone always says that monkfish is the “poor man’s lobster” because of it’s taste and consistency.  I have no idea what lobster tastes like but I never imagined it to taste like monkfish.  From looks alone, monkfish seems to have a tougher texture, which to me is more along the lines of mahi mahi.  The prosciutto-ed monk fish was good with the sweetness of the shallot. 

monkfish

After all this, I still wanted dessert.  Arthur sat this one out, but I eyed a trio of sorbetti.  There was concord grape, comapri-grapefruit, and apple cider.  Each sorbet came with a slice of dried fruit, ex. apple for apple cider.  They all tasted true to their real respective fruits, in fact, the apple cider tastes like it had mashed up apple in ir.  The concord grape was veryyy good; I was very pleased with its not too tarty grape flavor.  The grapefruit however, was wayy too bitter.  I can usually eat grapefruit without sugar, but the sorbet tastes kind of bitter and tasted like the rind of the grapefruit made it into the flavor of the sorbet.

sorbet dessert

The restaurant also gave us two tiny brownies- they were about the size of my thumb.  They were topped with whipped cream, raspberry and blueberry.  It was a nice gesture and it was pretty tasty.  They also gave us each two cubes of chocolate truffles to go!

brownie brownie
to give you an idea of portions

To Go or Not To Go: I wouldn’t say that this place is worth the money.  The dishes didn’t wow me off my seat but they were good all around.  They do offer items that are definitely a chance from the typical alfredo.  Eating here did made me realize that I like my foie gras seared.  The quality of the ingredients were fresh and top notch.  I would certainly come back if I wanted a break from regular Italian.  I say that if you want Italian that is definitely going to not disappoint you, then why not try this place out?  

—–

I will leave you with a little poem from Li Young Lee entitled “Persimmon”

In sixth grade Mrs. Walker
slapped the back of my head
and made me stand in the corner
for not knowing the difference
between persimmon and precision.
How to choose

persimmons. This is precision.
Ripe ones are soft and brown-spotted.
Sniff the bottoms. The sweet one
will be fragrant. How to eat:
put the knife away, lay down the newspaper.
Peel the skin tenderly, not to tear the meat.
Chew on the skin, suck it,
and swallow. Now, eat
the meat of the fruit,
so sweet
all of it, to the heart.

Donna undresses, her stomach is white.
In the yard, dewy and shivering
with crickets, we lie naked,
face-up, face-down,
I teach her Chinese. Crickets: chiu chiu. Dew: I’ve forgotten.
Naked: I’ve forgotten.
Ni, wo: you me.
I part her legs,
remember to tell her
she is beautiful as the moon.

Other words
that got me into trouble were
fight and fright, wren and yarn.
Fight was what I did when I was frightened,
fright was what I felt when I was fighting.
Wrens are small, plain birds,
yarn is what one knits with.
Wrens are soft as yarn.
My mother made birds out of yarn.
I loved to watch her tie the stuff;
a bird, a rabbit, a wee man.

Mrs. Walker brought a persimmon to class
and cut it up
so everyone could taste
a Chinese apple. Knowing
it wasn’t ripe or sweet, I didn’t eat
but watched the other faces.

My mother said every persimmon has a sun
inside, something golden, glowing,
warm as my face.

Once, in the cellar, I found two wrapped in newspaper
forgotten and not yet ripe.
I took them and set them both on my bedroom windowsill,
where each morning a cardinal
sang. The sun, the sun.

Finally understanding
he was going blind,
my father would stay up all one night
waiting for a song, a ghost.
I gave him the persimmons, swelled, heavy as sadness,
and sweet as love.

This year, in the muddy lighting
of my parents’ cellar, I rummage, looking
for something I lost.
My father sits on the tired, wooden stairs,
black cane between his knees,
hand over hand, gripping the handle.

He’s so happy that I’ve come home.
I ask how his eyes are, a stupid question.
All gone, he answers.

Under some blankets, I find three scrolls.
I sit beside him and untie
three paintings by my father:
Hibiscus leaf and a white flower.
Two cats preening.
Two persimmons, so full they want to drop from the cloth.

He raises both hands to touch the cloth,
asks, Which is this?

This is persimmons, Father.

Oh, the feel of the wolftail on the silk,
the strength, the tense
precision in the wrist.
I painted them hundreds of times
eyes closed. These I painted blind.
Some things never leave a person:
scent of the hair of one you love,
the texture of persimmons,
in your palm, the ripe weight.

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news about ess-a-bagel from today’s ny post

Louise Kramer of the New York Post writes that my beloved Ess-a-Bagel in Stuy town has been closed!!  I quote:

The decades-old shop on 21st Street and First Avenue was closed instantly Wednesday after a surprise health inspection revealed it had been operating without a permit since June.

Nooo!  I’ve been going to this bagel place since I was in Junior High School.  They have fabulous blueberry and veggie cream cheeses.  Mm…. and their pumpernickel…  Also, they’re not as sweet as H&H bagels tend to be.  I hope they sort things out soon and re-open.  Meanwhile, if anyone has an Ess-a-Bagel craving will have to trek over to their other location at 53rd and 3rd.

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I went to a sort of hole-in-the-wall family owned and run Thai place in the East Village called Kai Kai Thai.   There’s a Kai Kai on the west side too, but I don’t think they’re related.  You should all check out the website because I’ve recently discovered that their menu portion comes equipped with pictures of each dish!  I always thought all menus should do this, especially for tourists and people who don’t know the language or don’t know the cuisine, they can point and order. 

kai kai thai
looking in from the outside

So the layout of Kai Kai reminds me of the arepas, Caracas place I went to a while back.  The restaurant is split into two sections, the “to go” area and the “dine in” section where you go through the “to go” area to get to.  The tables and chairs definitely need updating, my friend almost broke his chair because it was wobbling so much.  Our table had the words “kai kai” tattooed on it, which was nicer than all the other furniture put together.  The wall is lined with shelves of specialty Thai foods.  I love the whole “stuff on the wall” concept, which is one of the reasons why I’m always willing to go to Applebees even though I’m not a chain restaurant person- also, I love their mashed potatoes.   

 kai kai wall table

Since Kai Kai is BYOB, I brought the bottle of Cabernet Savignon that I took from an open house I went to the previous day to share.  In the picture, you can also see the thai iced tea I ordered.  I think the novelty of serving drinks in jar like cups has run off on me.   I’m by no means a sommelier, but I can say I really enjoy this one.  It was pretty full bodied with a hint of a sweet fruity taste so the aftertaste wasn’t harsh and it wasn’t corky at all.  I hate corky wines.  I’d say the Sea Star would be a good way to go if you’re looking for a good cheap red.  On the same hand, the thai iced tea was strong and flavorful- just like any Asian tea should be.  There was also a lot of it so that made me happy.  Of course, I’m not sure how well wine and tea mixes, but I did it anyways.

thai iced tea

 All items on the menu are under $10 so we decided to go a little nuts and just order random dishes.  We got two appetizers, the chicken satay and the spicy chicken summer roll.  I knew that lower prices would mean smaller portions but we had three people, they could’ve given us three chicken satays!  The chicken was on the dry and bland side but the sauce made up for the meat.  The peanut sauce was a bit watery but it had a good if mild but still peanut-y taste.  The summer roll skimped on the chicken and it wasn’t very spicy.  The few pieces of chicken had a little bit of chili pepper on them but the roll had mostly filler, ie. rice noodles, carrots, and bean sprouts.  Since I don’t get to eat summer rolls very often due to my seafood allergies [summer rolls usually come with shrimp], the amount of chicken didn’t bother me as much as it did my fellow eating mates.  The sauce given for the summer roll is the Chinese hoisin sauce with a few peanut pieces sprinkled on top.  I prefer the peanut sauce myself so I just dipped the summer roll into that.

chicken satay chicken summer roll

I ordered the chicken pad si ew noodles for my entree.  On days I’m not craving curry, I always have difficulty deciding between drunk man’s noodles, pad thai, and the pad si ew.  The pad si ew consists of flat broad noodles in a sweet brown sauce with Chinese broccoli and chicken.  I always like when places use Chinese broccoli instead of Western broccoli, because 1. I like the taste, and 2. I think it just goes better with Asian dishes.  Some of the broccoli were kind of old [that’s how we describe in Chinese; think: overly ripe and past its prime] so the broccoli didn’t really break down as well as it should’ve when I chewed it.  Although not all the broccoli was like this, just a few pieces.  The veggies that weren’t too … old were good by itself.  Moving on… so the chicken was a little better than the chicken of the chicken satay, but the flavor was still absent.  The sauce was really good though and the way it seeped into the noodles was fabulous.  The best way to eat this dish is to wrap the chicken in the noodles so you get a bit of meat with each big mouthful of noodles.   

chicken pad siew
i always hated how asian food photographed worse than it tastes

Daniel got the duck pad ki mow; broad noodles with duck, onions, eggs, veggies, eggs, and tomatoes in a spicy sauce.  I liked how hearty his dish was – there were so many more things here than my dish [not that I really minded for myself].  I don’t know where the tomatoes came from, but I didn’t think it belonged in the dish.  The spiciness of the sauce didn’t overpower the ingredients of the dish.  However, there was mostly duck skin and not enough duck meat in this dish.  Duck skin generally has a huge layer of fat between it and the meat, so there was generally a lot of skin, a lot of fat, and a tiny bit of meat.  Typical fatty Daniel loved it that way, but not me.  I fished for a meat only piece. 

duck pad see mao

Caled eyed the chicken and shrimp with glass noodles wrapped with egg and decided on that as an entree.  Basically all the ingredients were put into a ginormous egg omelet just waiting to be dissected.  In China, there are several types of glass noodles and no matter how often I order glass noodles in the U.S. and know what to expect, I always secretly hope for the ones I had in China.  Anyways, that’s not the point- I’ll go into my freaky knowledge about rice and noods another day.  Caled enjoyed opening his dish up like he had a scalpel in his hand and he said the insides didn’t disappoint.  I love eggs in Asian noodle dishes- it just gives it an extra something.  Also, the plate was cleaned and he gave it a thumbs up. 

clear noods egg wrap inside egg wrap
looks like omu-noods from the outside // piping out goodness inside

If you choose one of the “pads” [pad thai, pad si ew, pad ki mow], you can choose from an array of meats or veggie items.  I like that this place offers duck, which isn’t usually a choice.  For a total of about $40, we got a lot of food and were quite full in the end.  This is definitely not a place someone comes for the ambiance, because what is there is considered a bare minimum [aside from my beloved “stuff on the wall”].  Come to this place if you’re on a budget and not looking to deal with the crowds.  I would definitely come back here for its cheap eats. 

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