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Archive for the ‘nyc foodings’ Category

What: Ramen date

Where: Ippudo
65 4th Ave, New York 10003
Btwn 9th & 10th St

A friend of mine who visits Japan every year HATES Ippudo. He warned me, a seasoned traveler like him, that I would hate it too. He told me it’s not like the ramen I had in Japan and I’d be disappointed too. The broth, the noodles, and the prices all had a negative effect on him.

Yet, I wasn’t disappointed. In fact, I went twice. I mean, I have to ask, what is up with their noodles? To me, it’s too thin and too much like the Chinese chow mein, and too hard to be ramen. I was, however, fairly impressed by their broth. Okay, so maybe it isn’t like Japan, but it was still good. And I can swear that their they put the oils from which they braise their berkshire pork into their broth, which makes it that much fattier and tastier.

ippudo

If you want noods, you better be sure to go early b/c … they might close on you!

sign

The atmosphere: Very fun and unique. The bar is clear topped with rows of packaged ramen noodles and the walls are lined with ramen bowls. Inside the dining room, there are several areas of seating, including one where every two seats are designed to make up a loveseat couch.

ippudo bar

ramen bar

ippudo seating

The noodles: Upon the recommendation of the waiter, we both ordered the Akamaru Shin, ‘that’s suppose to come with the special Ippudo sauce in their broth. The broth is thick so the noodles do absorb a good amount of the broth, but not enough for me. As with all ramen places, I wished there was more pork. The second time I went, I tried the spicy broth because they took the dipping noodles off the menu.

ippudo noodles

The berkshire pork. Tiny portion, but it was delicious. It was tender, flavorful, and not as fatty as most pork belly.

berkshire pork

Overall, I say it was an experience worth having. The prices are too high for ramen, and I don’t enjoy the noodles, as I’ve said before, but it’s worth it for the broth. Also, go during non-prime times. Don’t do the wait.

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What: Brunch
Where: Cafe Habana
17 Prince St., New York, NY 10012

For my last meal on Earth, I would have to include the chili corn from Cafe Habana.  It is the single best corn that has ever graced my lips.  As I am writing this, I’m trying not to drool on my keyboard, and it’s almost too hard to control.  The recipe is so simple yet so jam packed of flavor molecules, that it just blows my mind.  We’re talking serious food-gasm here, people.

I’m usually not a Spanish food person early in the morning, so Spanish style breakfast foods are usually lost on me. 

cafe habana
non-descript outside but there’s always an ungodly long wait

Corn- Ingredients: chili powder, lime, and cheese
result: It’s always a bit difficult for me to eat a whole cob of corn, and the chili burns the sides of the lips, but damn it, it’s worth it!  The saltiness of the cheese, plus the mild spice of the chili, and the extra kick of lime juice is all one needs to survive.

corn
Grilled Corn Mexican Style 

corn
more corn!

yin yang
Huevos Divorciados aka Mexican style yin yang eggs

The two salsas, thankfully, were not that spicy, or I think I might have killed myself since my whole plate was drenched in the liquid.  I think I would also appreciate this if the salsa were a bit thicker.  Instead, I had the liquid juices of the two salsas and the liquid yolks – that’s a lot of liquid-y stuff, people!

ranchos
Huevos Con Chorizo

A friend who’s obsessed with huevos rancheros for brunch ordered this scrambled egg with chorizo [Mexican style] with accompanying black beans. 

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Upon some good reviews from common friends, a few of my friends and I decided to eat at Le Miu one of the few Friday nights I was actually back in New York.  They have this whole contemporary Japanese fusion vibe going on.  I thought that the presentation was very notable and creative.  There was a pretentious air to the food that was a bit wasted on me.  Gold flakes are interesting on food and exudes an air of poshness, but I thought it was unnecessary and tasteless.  

To me, the appetizers are where it’s at and the sauces lacked the punch that it needed to be a really great sauce for both the chirashi and the cod.  The preesentation is great, but I probably won’t be back for a while.

tuna-sampler.jpg
sampler of tuna, salmon, and yellowtail tartare

scallop sampler
scallop sampler

 I ordered the salad because it had truffle oil.  Good lord, I’m a sucker.  But it was a good mix green salad with grapefruit, mushrooms, and avocado. 

salad
le miu green salad

sushi rolls
various rolls – spicy rolls were of particular goodness

Nothing really stands out from the selection of raw stuffs they included, but there was the sea urchin.  You don’t see that in chirashi much.   

chirashi
chirashi with noodles

Although miso black cod is one of my favoritest dishes EVER, I wasn’t completely satisfied with Le Miu’s version.  I admit that wrapping the fish in the pylo dough is very innovative, I was disappointed by its overly sweet sauce. 

miso cod

Saikyo Miso Marinated Black Cod

One of my friends decided to try out one of the omakase meus, and this is one of the courses that he received. 

scary prawn
deconstructed prawn

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Japanese BBQ.  This reminds me of the korean BBQ, only the flavors are different, but I still get just as excited.

 Are there any Japanese BBQ buffets in New York like there are Korean BBQ buffets?  If anyone out there has any knowledge about this, let me know! 

Two of my friends and I went to Gyu-Kaku one day for an early birthday dinner.  The thing I like about this place is that they offer happy hour bbq meats that change everyday.  We went on a Monday so we got to try the marinated kalbi short rib for 50% off.  I think drinks were also 50% off.  They really marinate their meats well making each piece super mouth wateringly flavorful, but the portions are just too small!

gyu kaku

inside gyu kaku

marinated stuffs
marinated kalbi

steak
more bbq-able meats

bibimbap.jpg
main course: bibimbap: rice cooked in a stone pot mixed with assorted veggies and sometimes an egg with your choice of meat.  I usually go for the bugolgi [beef].  It’s a Korean specialty, but they served it here.

dessert
dessert: aka most wonderful pancakes EVER

dessert

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Ever since I was a young girl watching everyone propose/get proposed to at the Rainbow Room, I always wondered what magic powers the place has that causes so many people to announce that they want to spend the rest of their lives with someone there.  However, in the last couple of years, I really haven’t heard much about them.  The restaurant is part of the Cipriani group, who name exudes money and top notch American cuisine.

I finally got to experience the Rainbow Room for myself due to a corporate luncheon held there one day. 

rainbow room sign

view-from-rainbow-room.jpg
view from the bar area

bellini
bellini! my favorite peachy brunch drink

bar
isn’t it a bit too early to drink at 10-11am?

The h’orderves: zuchini chips, cheese pumped onto pieces of napa cabbage, and proscuitto on a stick

zuchini-chips.jpg cheesy cabbage
proscuitto

My favorite part was standing around eating all the h’orderves and drinking my bellinis.  The actual lunch was a bit disappointing.  I guess it also attributes to preparing, cooking, and serving 100 plus people 2-3 choices at one time.  The quality would suffer a bit.  None of the food stood out to us in particular and the portions were tiny. 

asparagus
sad asparagus appetizer

steak
the steak option

fishfish
grilled fish

dessert crepe
mediocre crepe, but the idea’s good

sweets
sweet treats

And.. we can’t forget the infamous chandelier!  I love the orange accents around it.

chandelier

chandelierchandelier

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Backlog: Summer Brunch  

For some reason, I always forget what this place is called and inevitably, I’ve been referring to it as “Tiny” Giant for the past 8 months or so.  Taken from their website- they can sum it up best and they do live up to their standards:

Our food is “Seasonal American” (which means we use fresh market produce that isn’t the same week to week.) It also means homemade sausages in the winter, juicy heirloom tomatoes in the summer and the best buttermilk chive biscuits every day of the year.

We serve refined comfort food – upscale riffs on homespun standards.

In some ways, this place totally reminds me of my brunch at Brown.  All this organic food gives me an image of a hearty farmer’s breakfast with produce from the farm, eluding a rustic feel/look to it.  And the wood panels Little Giant serves food on doesn’t exactly sway my thoughts another way either.

orange trim opening 
the outside

rustic bfast
trucker’s breakfast

Think of this as an open breakfast sandwich.  It’s a grilled piece of texas toast, with tomatoes, bacon, andouille sausage [that I gave to McTwinkle], scrambled eggs, sautéed cremini mushrooms & tomato gravy [read: tomato juices] with a side of homemade molasses baked beans [read: my favorite part].

poached eggs, pancake
 biscuit & gravy

Buttermilk-chive biscuit that looks like a hash brown from the picture, poached eggs, black forest ham, and garlic-herb gravy with a side of greens

sammie
duck club

The beauty of brunch is that you can have breakfast or lunch and McTwinkle’s eating lunch.  The savory duck club with duck confit, applewood smoked bacon, avocado, and herb mayo.  There were terra chips on the side.

more poached eggs 
pig in a poke

Two poached eggs swimming in a crock of creamed grits with floating andouille sausage with toast and greens on the side

 

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So I’m saddened to say that one of my favorite eateries has bitten the dust. It’s the small space with the small garden area behind Ramen Setagaya. People are probably paying too much attention to the ramen place to consider going to the hidden quieter gem in the back. I mean, yes, the name, Oriental Spoon makes me cringe but the food is good, the service is good, and the ambiance is good. What more can one ask for? Oh right, a shelf life of more than 6 months.

While I’m probably over-hyping the quality of the food here, I did enjoy my experience and I think that always makes the food stand out more. I must admit that some of the dishes could use a little improvement, but I didn’t think there was anything that couldn’t be improved with time.

Unfortunately, I don’t remember the exact specifics of each dish so you’ll just have to deal with the pictures.

bar
bar area

garden space
overlooking the “garden” area

backwall
interesting wall design

 

We started with a sashimi salad. The selection of fish was small but the quantity was fairly large for a small plate and it was topped with a bunch of shredded daikon.

sushi salad

They have HUMUNGO ROLLS.  Hu-mung-go!

sushi

This is their sampler appetizer platter. Clockwise from the top left: 1. Sashimi with pickled shredded daikon and caviar 2. tuna with a wasabi based sauce 3. sashimi pieces in ponzu sauce 4. tempura eel rolls

sampler

Chicken wings wrapped in some type of bitter tasting dried veggie. Chicken was nice and crispy but it was too hard to eat with the veggie, I had to take it out.

fried chicken

Calamari. Pieces of squid were good sized but it was lacking in the crunch factor

calamari

Pineapple curry chicken.

curry rice

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