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August 31, 2005

From Pickles to Posh Tour, Part 1


I went on the most interesting food tour. The tour guide was a faculty member from NYU's food department.

DOUGHNUT PLANT

Our tour started at the "Doughnut Plant." The Doughnut Plant competes with West Coast's Krispy Kreme Dougnuts. The doughnuts coming out of this plant are more "yeast-y" (I guess that means chewy). We tried 3 flavored dougnuts: Peach, Chocolate, and Vanilla Bean. The chocolate flavored one uses homemade chocolate, but of the 3, the best one was the Vanilla Bean. If you can picture tasting ice cream and waffles as a dougnut, that would be my description.


BIALLY

One or two stores to the right of "Dougnut Plant" is the Bially Bakery. I forgot the name of it, and don't have photos, but it's located on Norfolk & Grand, close to the "F" train stop at Essex & Delancy. The difference between a Bially and Bagel is in it's process. Bagels are usually boiled and then baked, while a Bially rises, and bakes. It's flatter than a bagel and is chewy, and does not have any hole in it. The definition of "Terre Noire" to be continued later,


PICKLE WAR

Why are the pickle makers warring? The most famous pickle makers "Gus' Pickles" became offended when "The Pickle Guys" claimed the World's Best Pickles title. Since then the battle has become a Coke versus Pepsi Flavor War. We stopped at "The Pickle Guys" store and had a "Sour Pickle," "A Half-Sour Pickle," and some pickled vegetables. In order, this is how I ranked them:

1. Pickled Vegetables -> the peppercini pepper in that mix and cauliflower
2. The Sour Pickle
3. The Half-Sour Pickle

When you walk into that store, the smell of vinegar and pickles stir a craving. I was thinking for a business plan that a Korean Kim Chee connoisseur or chef should open one of these stores up, and in the barrels, instead of pickles, have different types of kim chee, like, Winter Kim Chee, Summer Kim Chee, Water Kim Chee, Bachelor Kim Chee, etc. I'm sure Korean people will flock to them. I'm not sure if the scent from this store would be offensive to the neighbors, but if there was a Korean restaurant next door, then...

Gus' Pickles was closed. Pickles and corned beef became popular in the 1930's because of issues with food preservation. I'm sure you assumed that.

From Pickles to Posh Tour, Part 2

LOWER EAST SIDE TENEMENT MUSEUM

Across from Gus' Pickles, is the Lower East Side Tenement Building. From 1863 to 1935, over 70,000 people lived in this building! How? Well, 7 people lived in an 11 x 12 foot space. That blows my mind. I will never complain about the 9 people living above my mother's 1 bedroom condo again.

IL LABORATORIO DEL GELATO

Next to Gus' Pickles and across from the Lower East Side Tenement Building is the "il laboratorio del gelato." They serve ice cream and sorbet. I tried a Peach Sorbet (very refreshing on a muggy day), French Vanilla, Dutch Chocolate, and Lavender Honey. Unusual... but the tour guide said she was experimenting with making "Lavendar Dried Apricots" and "Lavendar Martinis." After she told us, it was because her husband was so proud of buying herbs, of course it was lavender.

ECONOMY CANDY

No, this is not a cheap candy store, they just have a VARIETY OF CANDIES. Even candies that were made 20-25 years ago. The tour guide didn't want us to go in because on her last tour, it took her a half an hour to get everybody onto the next site. I'll check it out later. They have a website. My friend told me he got Harry Potter jellybeans as a gift. Maybe he got it from there. For those of you who are not familiar with Harry Potter Jellybelly Jellybeans, the flavors entail: dirt, vomit, grass, etc. I would be afraid of tasting the vomit one.

KATZ'S DELI

The famous "When Harry Met Sally Scene," where Meg Ryan fakes it. They opened in 1888. I was amazed to hear that they produce 5,000 lbs. of corned beef a week, and an unusually amount of hot dogs.

From Pickles to Posh Tour, Part 3

RUSS & DAUGTHERS

You might ask, By the way, what a gnosh, or is it spelled, nosh, is? It's a Yiddish word for snacks/appetizers, which brings me to the next topic. "Russ & Daughters" is the place to go. Mark Russ Federman is the third generation of the Russ family to run this shop. About a couple of years ago, Mark Federman insisted on using New York water as a necessary key ingredient for enhancing the flavors in New York. The EPA proceeded to fly in gallons of New York water to Washington D.C. when he made bagels and pickles. Oh well, this is where the term "Terre (?)" comes in. Pizza Makers, Pickle Makers, and Bagel Makers agree with Mark Federman, in that the New York Water is a key component to making the flavors of New York unique to New York. "Terre Noire" (I'm really not sure if I spelling it correctly) is a term that the key ingredient comes from the environment.

YONAH SHIMMEL KNISH BAKERY...since 1910

This was our last stop. Knishes are potato-filled pasteries. It kind of tastes like and Indian Samosa, but the pastery shell is baked, therefore soft. The other difference is it is traditionally eaten with mustard. I liked it better without the mustard. This was delicious and warm soothing the preceding pickle experience. This concludes the summary of the "Pickles to Posh Tour."

October 22, 2005

Meat Packing District is the Upcoming Chelsea

I went to a cool restaurant, emulating a generic French cafe, called "Pastis." Busy, busy, busy, but worth the wait.

January 29, 2006

Soul Food and Sunday Gospel Brunch at the Cotton Club in Harlem

March 13, 2006

Real Soul Food

Taken at Charles Southern Style Kitchen. This place is a bargain. It's a buffet and they serve a desert and a choice of iced tea or lemonade (the best I ever had, not too sweet).

Dessert at Charles Southern Style Kitchen.

The experience is all a blur.

Coconut Cake and Banana Pudding. The banana budding was the most popular.

Choga's Kim Chee Jigae on Bleecker Street

It's a kim chee stew. Craving it? They have a great lunch special.

April 4, 2006

Grimaldi's Pizza: The Best Pizza in New York?Thi


This is the best pizza in New York, and I'm not even a pizza person. I think I saw Grimaldi's on TV. It was formerly called Patsy's and this is where Frank Sinatra used to eat. The sauce is made from scratch. Try the pepperoni and olives. The pizzas are cooked in a brick oven. Delicious and reasonably-priced.

April 13, 2006

Doughnut Plant ROCK ON!

The most delicious doughnuts in the UNIVERSE! Real cream from coconuts. The other one is pistachio.

October 29, 2006

Dumpling House

This place has the best and cheapest dumplings and soup. So if you are strapped for cash, and you are muy hungry, trot down to Grand and Eldridge. I saw the founder of Doughnut Plant there, ordering the tuna sandwich and 25 vegetarian dumplings. The vegetarian dumplings are really good if you like bok choy. Watching the ladies make soup, sesame bread, and dumplings are a performance. I recommend the pork-fried bun, unless you don't like mushrooms.

Address:
118 Eldridge St New York, NY 10002. Phone: 212-625-8008

The whole meal below feeds 2, and costs $7.50. The include 15 dumplings, a large wonton and noodle soup, and a tuna sandwich.

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November 1, 2006

Ceci n'est pas un costume de nuit des sorcières...

This is not a Halloween costume...


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He is the "moustache man" that works at the Java Lava Cafe. If you're tired of Starbucks, mosey to Waverly and Mercer Streets (293 Mercer), which is behind the Tisch building. Cheap coffee with NYU discounts.


Important Update for OJ lovers:

A small carton of Tropicana orange juice costs $2.00 at All About Food, but it costs only $1.25...go figure

November 5, 2006

East Village Thai

I really like this Thai place because the curry chicken with coconut milk is sweet, but not too sweet. Also they add basil which counters the tumeric in the curry, and when you order the chicken version, they use chicken breast pieces. A deal during lunch, only $5.50. My friend Cliff and I wonder why more of these places don't exist in Midtown...rent is not that much cheaper, is it?
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November 8, 2006

Grimaldi's Pizza

It was formerly known as Patsy's back in the 60's and Frank Sinatra ate here all the time. The pizza here is pretty awesome. We always order the olives because it's definitely NOT the canned kind. What I like is the crispy, thin crust and doughy middle. I'm going to DiFara's this weekend to compare.
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November 11, 2006

Blue Pig

I just discovered this ice cream place in Brooklyn, very close by Grimaldi's. I had a scoop of pumpkin, and one of "pig slop," which is oatmeal. I thought these ice cream cakes were amusing, especially the gummy snakes and bears (I never understood bubblegum ice cream).
The girl standing in front of the door just spent $600.00 on a pair of eyeglasses. Wow!
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November 25, 2006

New Yorkers weep no more! I found the Best Athentic Mexican here in NYC

El Maguey y La Tuna
321 E Houston St
New York, NY

So far, I've been on the search to match a Mexican restaurant to the ones I've been to in Los Angeles, and couldn't find anything until now. I saw a chicken mole, but I was hesitant to try it because of an inauthentic mole experience elsewhere.

This place is cozy, and I like that they play tunes from a Spanish radio station (although I heard an American ad for some clap-on type gadget). The brunch is awesome. You get their cafe infused with milk and an entree. I chose the strip steak with chilaques with green sauce (a tortilla type casserole - I first had one in Puerto Vallarta), and Nick had the Mexican pork chorizos sausage omelet (i.e. usually restaurants use regular sausage, but they use the real deal). It was really delicious. Then I got this dessert, which when I read on the menu, I thought it was going to be something else, but it was heavenly. Not to sweet, but sweet enough. Those chips remind me of Taco Bell's cinnamon chips, but El Maguey's taste a lot better (because the whole chip is coated on both sides with cinnamon), and honey with Neapolitan ice cream (ours didn't have chocolate, but I'm not sure if that was intentional or not)...magnificent!

Anyway, if you see me around, I can give you a 15% off coupon. They also handmake their tamales, which is a traditional all-day holiday experience. I think the lady mentioned that they had a dessert version of it. It's a little out of the way, but the walk is definitely worth it.

I forgot to mention prices. Brunch is only $9.95, which includes coffee and entrée, and the dessert was $4 or $5, but it was definitely worth it.

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Dish Names:
Chilaquiles, Huevos Con Chorizo, and the dessert is called Sopapilla.

November 29, 2006

Great Breakfast Brunches at Great Jones Cafe

I get the Crescent City and Nick gets the Andouille Omelet. Mine are two biscuits with ham, eggs, sausage and gravy. Really good. Nick gets this omelet which comes with a lot of Andouille sausage. They offer grits or cornbread with jalapeño and maple syrup.
The lemonade vodka and spicy rum ginger ale are really good cocktails. These photographs get the point across.
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December 2, 2006

Junior's Cheesecake

Now this cheesecake is better than any I have ever had so far. I like it better than the Cheesecake Factory. I had two slices of it, and it was still a little bit frozen, which tasted kind of like ice cream cake. I wonder if the starters for ice cream cake had the same experience.

They've been around for 50 years. I think they have one at Penn Station.

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After a year of sweatin these dosas...

I finally tried Thiru “Dosa Man” Kumar's dosas. He was one of the 2005 Vendy Awards finalist. I was skeptical after being a vegetarian for 5 years, then turned meatatarian for 5 years, I wasn't sure if this was going to be enough food for me. I wanted to be semi-healthy, and get some veggies in my diet. He conducts business on the south side of Washington Square Park, I think on 4th street, across from NYU's Kimmel center. There was a very long line, but it was well worth the wait. I asked the lady standing behind me what to try, and she suggested the "Ponticherry Special" (I'm not sure if I spelled that right). Later, I heard her order some kind of potato dish that he ran out of, which will be my next try. For $5.00, you get a crepe with potato, salad, bell peppers, fresh jalapeño, and some kind of vegetable soup, and chutney (it tastes like coconut and curry). Then for an additional dollar, you can get a samosa (this one has a lot of peas, and it tastes fresher than most ones bought at a deli), and for another dollar, you can get a vegetable roll (it's the breaded looking egg roll) that has potato in it. The guy in front of me ordered that.

It really fills you up, this is what I had: 1/2 a crepe, 1 samosa and 1 vegetable roll. My favorite is the vegetable roll. Watching him make my crepe was a performance.

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December 9, 2006

NYU Dining Hall & Dining with Tim McNerny

My friend Tim recently invided me to dine at the Palladium, one of the many dining halls at NYU. Next semester we plan on buying meal plans, and reviewing the food at different dining halls. It is pretty inexpensive if you get a meal plan ($8 w/o a meal plan), which comes out to be $5 for all-you-can-eat buffet and drinks are free if they are not bottled. That's how much the cheapest salad costs in New York during lunch. Even Trader Joe has pricey salad.

Upside:
low cost
all-you-can-eat
balanced meals (vegetable, meat, bread, milk/cheese)
variety (entree, main course, dessert, breakfast for dinner like IHOP)
flexible hours
sustainable practices (no paper plates, plastic cups nor utensils used)
you don't have to worry about doing the dishes

Downside:
friends that don't eat dorm food are the majority
younger crowd (so if you're a grad student, you might feel uncomfortable)
not open past 11 pm

We had three rounds of food. The first two were good for me. If you dine at the Palladium, eat the grilled meats (which are not over seasoned), and if you have salad, I do NOT recommend the balsamic vinegar (it too is overseasoned). I do recommend the vinegar and oil and firm tofu. Leafy greens are fresh, and they constantly stock the salad bar. Tim (who is below) had what he thought was chocolate mousse, but then after taking a bite, realized it was chocolate cake. HA!

First Round:

Tim had some cereal and salad. What an interesting combo! Well, at least it matches in that they are both marketed as healthy (Frosted Mini Wheats and salad). I believe that was a French Vanilla flavored coffee and blueberry pastery.
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Tim had to wait for me to get off work to have dinner, so that's why he looks ecstatic.
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Let's see, in my salad, there's lots of broccoli and tofu (Tim and I are going on a broccoli diet for a week next year). I will mention this about the broccoli, it was perfectly cooked, barely blanched, moist and green on the outside and crunchy when you take a bite out of it. Tim agrees. That red gloop looks gross, but it's jello and fruit. I was really excited about the strawberry shortcake and I believe I had the French Vanilla flavored coffee as well.
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I, too, was starving, but was craving for salad. I finished everything except for the cake, which I left on the table for the second round.
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Second Round:

Tim is such a dessert fiend. Let's see, that looks like a cinnamon roll, a chocolate chip cookie, a slice of carrot cake, and an (I don't know what that is). On the other plate, grilled chicken breast, two slices of cheese and onion rings. We loved the onion rings, lightly battered, while remaining crispy.
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At this point, we were still hungry, so Tim sports a cute smile.
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I could not get enough of the tofu and beets obviously. I remembered, about five years ago, I just bought a new set of pots and pans. I started boiling some beets, and then fell asleep, until I heard a thump. I ran over to the kitchen and a beet exploded, and hit the lid. There were four scars on my pot. Anyway, that's why I appreciate beets. Also, on the same plate, french fries. I just found the olives, and I will tell you, they are not canned. They were really good.
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In this photo, to the right, is the cake I left behind. When you go for the second round, you can't use the same tray or plates. You have to put your tray on a conveyer belt, and take a new tray out. I'm sure that's for hygiene purposes.
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Third Round:

Tim felt guilty about eating all those desserts. He decided to go healthy again, so salad for dessert and dessert for dessert. I think this is regular coffee. He wasn't really thrilled about the flavored coffee. I, on the other hand, like it, because it's not too sweet.
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At this point, he was getting full, and it was his last plate. We were talking about stashing the cake for later, but we didn't have Ziploc bags.
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You might be wondering how I can eat. Well, I was really hungry because I just had orange juice and a Red Eye for the day. I really wanted to try the beef stew and mashed potatoes. They were really good. The beef stew over rice tastes like something you get out of a Chinese restaurant. They used red potatoes and left some skin on (really good). Stay away from the baked chicken. Luckily, I just got one wing. I'm having 2 cherry tomatoes (lycopene and antioxidants). I started eating tomatoes again, when I noticed that the prices for vitamins went up, just because they contain "lycopene." On that smaller plate, I have more tofu and beets.
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Okay, this is a pretty inaccurate photo. I'm not really full or bloated, but we thought it would be a funny photo. To the right, was still that cake. I was glad that I had left it on the table still because they didn't have anymore of that cake.
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Tim and I are going to start a dining hall group next year, which is just around the corner.

December 11, 2006

Let Them Eat Beautiful Cake!!!

This cake was for my friend Cliff. I'm not sure where his wife, Ziggy, got it. Not only is it beautiful, but it was delicious (flavors: chocolate, and hints of coffee and peanut butter).

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December 17, 2006

Lombardi's Pizza

Why do New Yorkers call pizza pie? Or is that an East coast thing? Anyway, Lombardi's is the oldest pizza place in Manhattan, since 1905. It's located in SoHO. Note that the garlic as a topping is free, but you have to ask for it. I still like Grimaldi's/Patsy's better. The wait at Lombardi's is shorter. Their dressing for Caesar salad has an over-powering mustard flavor. Instead, I recommend the house salad and mushroom topping (variety of mushrooms used).

32 Spring St New York
NY 10012-4173
(212) 941-7994
CASH ONLY

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January 2, 2007

Awesome Turkish Place in Lower East Side

This place has the best Shish Kebabs I've had so far. It's opened 24 hours, and located on Rivington Street. It's reasonably priced, and the owner threw in Baklava. Coffee is organic, and they used purified/filtered water to make it. They have real cream, which is pretty thick and heavy, so add a little bit, and taste.

Nick ordered a "Doner" sandwich (lamb gyro), which wasn't photographed because we were so famished that we ate it in 3 seconds. The lamb is pretty tender, and not over-cooked. Pita is freshly baked, or at least tastes like it. The cook told us he wanted us to finish the food, and couldn't believe we did. They take credit cards too.

This is what we got for $26.00:
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In addition to this tray of food, we also had that Doner sandwich, a soda, and two coffees.


Here are close-ups:
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Kebab House II
144 Orchard Street
New York, NY 10002
Telephone: 212.477.5200

January 3, 2007

Kimbap Place in K-Town

By now, you should know that I'm always looking for good food, and a good deal. I found this little hole in the wall (literally), with a line, so I decided to try it.

Pretty cheap, and filling rolls. Kimbap is the Korean version of California Rolls. Most of the fillings are cooked. I tried three separate rolls: beef, spicy tuna, and squid roll. All of the rolls come with miso soup. I like these rolls because they use little rice, and add a lot of different fillings, a variety of vegetables, like perilla leaves, carrots, pickled turnips, spinach, fish cake, to name a few.

Check out the photos, and you'll see what I'm talking about:

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Strangely enough, my favorite was the Squid Roll. The next time I go there, I'm going to try to Jalapeno Roll.

They are pretty fast.
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January 6, 2007

Cuban Food in the Lower East Side

Cafe Habana
229 Elizabeth Street
New York, NY 10012-5518
Telephone: 212.625.2002

This place is pretty good and very trendy. The corn is a must $3.50 I believe for two ears. They are grilled, slathered with mayonaise, chili powder, and lime juice. I think the pork chops are the best deal, around $15 for all of that food, and $13 or $14 for chicken. Finish dinner off with an espresso or two.
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January 7, 2007

Ben's Chili Bowl, Washington D.C.

This is for my friend, Min, who recently graduated from ITP, and is moving to D.C.

Ben's Chili Bowl
1213 U St NW, Washington, DC 20009

Ben's Chili Bowl is excellent! Take the subway, and get off on the U stop. The block is lined with historical concert venues. I think I read somewhere that Duke Ellington played in several clubs on that street, not to mention that there are EXCELLENT Ethiopian restaurants there. I walked into one that had both outdoor and indoor seating, but can't remember the name, and I lost my camera midway through this trip.

Anyway, this place is awesome because the people who work there actually look like there having fun. They have a retro jukebox playing Lauren Hill. Ask for the chili half-smokes. They split it, and grill it. Chili is awesome, these photos say it all, need I say more?

By the way, Bill Cosby eats there, and some of his recommendations (chili half-smokes) are on the menu. I went there twice on my 4-day trip.

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January 8, 2007

Wingstop in St. Louis, MO

For people who know how to franchise in New York, please read this entry.

I just visited Wingstop, which is a chain that specializes in Buffalo Wings. I've had some here and there, in New York, but nothing really spectacular. This place is REALLY good. They have different flavors, but the "atomic" is what they say, really spicy. They warn all there customers because "atomic" is really that spicy. I could only have a couple, and they can really blister your lips.

Someone with $$$ should open one up in New York. I bet it would be a hit.

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January 18, 2007

Los Angeles, El Taurino

I just visited Los Angeles this past weekend. I really love and miss Mexican food there. My favorite place is El Tepeyac, close to the General Hospital in the "Barrio, " in East Los Angeles. My second favorite Mexican place is El Taurino (Hoover Street and Olympic Blvd.), which is open 24/7. Landmark is the Food For Less super. This place rocks. It's cheap too. My favorites are tostadas, tacos and burritos. Anything with pork or beef is great. I took these photos at 3:00 am, still a full house. Kids like to go there after clubs close at 2 am.

El Tepeyac
812 N Evergreen Ave (Cross Street: Winter Street)
Los Angeles, CA 90033
(323) 267-8668

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Anyway, the next few days will be a recap of my visit to Los Angeles. Of course the weather was the same as New York this weekend, 30's and 40's, which is not typical (since 67 years), but I was still able to enjoy the sunshine. I don't have any photos of my bike ride, but I suggest renting a bike at Santa Monica Beach and riding to Venice, preferably tandem (1 bike for 2 people).

January 19, 2007

Shabu Shabu

Jin Sang
Shabu Shabu Restaurant
Los Angeles
Olympic and Normandie

I especially liked their presentation. You dip raw meet into the boiling water, and dip it into the sauce and eat it. In this case, you place your meat on the lettuce flowers that have rice and I think carrots. After, you add noodles and spices and eat soup. At the end they served us, red bean mochi ice cream with kiwi pieces and ginger tea.

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January 21, 2007

El Salvadorean Food

Golfo De Fonseca

Salvadorean and Mexican food on Vermont, between Melrose and Santa Monica Blvd. If you pass the Jack in the Box, you pass this restaurant. It's across the street from Los Angeles City College.
I really like this place for breakfast. They have a drink called, Chan, to die for. It takes like pulpy strawberry seeds, but I heard it comes from cactus and they mix it in Cool-Aid. Anyway, it's good. They make Horchata, a rice drink, from scratch (watch them make it, from a blend of rice and spices). It usually tastes like rice milk with cinnamon. They also have a Tamarind drink. If you like that tart taste, this is the drink to try.

Pupusas are an El Savadorean food. They look like thick tortillas, but with a filling, like beans, pork, and cheese. The Farmer's Market in Hollywood on Selma sells ones with baby squash and shrimp. You can ask for Cortito, which is a side that looks to me, like Korean kim chee. I think it's pickled cabbage. You eat it with the pupusas.

I recommend the Huevos Rancheros and pupusas, or anything with chorizo (blood sausage). Menudo is good as well. It's a soup with white hominy (corn family), but tastes excellent with cabbage, lime and chilis.
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January 22, 2007

Sushi in Los Angeles

People always ask me where to get sushi while in Los Angeles. I always go to one of two places. Noshi and Hide. Noshi is located on Beverly Blvd. and is between Normandie and Western Avenues on the South side of the street. Hide is located in Little Tokyo on the West side. There are two Little Tokyos, one in Downtown, and a new one is forming on Sawtelle Blvd. There are a couple of ramen shops and the two Giant Robot stores are located there. Both restaurants take cash only, and there's always a wait there.

These photos are from Noshi, fresh fish, thick green tea, warm sake. By the way, my aunt once told me that Sushi chefs were only men because their palms are cooler than women's, which would cook the fish. I'm not sure if that's true, but interesting information.

$15-$20 a person w/o drinks. Never drink white wine with raw fish because the tanins in the wine emphasizes the fishy taste. Also, drink Sake or beer with Sushi.

If you are financially stable, try R23, located in the Art District. You get to sit on Frank Gehry chairs and pour cold sake from a very unsual sake flask that keeps ice. Another great Sushi place is Hirozen, located on Beverly Blvd., close to Beverly Center. I think the cross street is Orlando Street.

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February 25, 2007

Eleni's in the Chelsea Market

Just visited this place, and they sell cupcakes and cookies with academy award nominees' faces on them. I couldn't take a photo, and when I went back to get a Judi Dench cupcake, they were all out.

They have great butterscotch bars, and after 6pm, everything goes half-off. Macaroons are delicious, as well as their Coconut and Red Velvet cupcakes. A tough competitor to Magnolia Bakery. "No lines" are a plus. "More pricey" is a downside.

March 24, 2007

Prime Burger

Okay, I haven't done a food post for awhile, so here is one about burgers. Lately, we've been on a burger fix. Here are some burger places in New York that we've tried:

Prime Burger (51st and Madison)
Burger Joint (57th btwn. 6th and 7th Avenues)
New York Burger Co. (Park and 23rd Street)
Burger Heaven (53rd and Madison)

Have yet to try Shake Shack (Madison Square Park, 23rd and Madison)

From this list, Prime Burger was my favorite because they really know how to make a medium-rare burger. In my opinion, most burger places overcook a medium-rare burger but this place does it right. Check out the photos below. You can either sit at the bar or sit in these chairs that remind me of retro school desks. You have to slide the table top away to sit on the chairs. Service is cool, all the waiters and waitresses look like they've been working there forever (atmosphere is like Katz's Deli, The Pantry, Philippe's). I didn't watch this on Oprah, and I'm not quite sure if this is Sarah Jessica Parker endorsing this restaurant as herself or Carrie Bradshaw from Sex in the City or both, Sarah on Oprah promoting Sex and the City. Anyway, I'm going back. If you go, make sure you take cash because they don't take credit cards.

Same for Burger Joint. This place serves up burgers that taste similar to the infamous In and Out burger chain in California. They're pretty good, but there's always a long line. The milkshakes rock here.

Since the Shake Shack was closed, we decided to go to the New York Burger Co. This place has the best onion rings (I think they use a beer batter instead of bread crumbs). Their onion rings won a lot of awards. I had the Chicago burger, which was a burger dressed with Applewood bacon and Thousand Island. It was good, but like the other burgers except for Prime Burger, medium-rare was a bit overdone. I like there condiment selection: creamy horseradish sauce, honey-mustard, spicy ketchup, New York sauce (which tastes like A1 steak sauce plus molasses), barbecue sauce, and lots of pickles and onions. This place is a little bit pricey, but good.

Burger Heaven... let's just say that wasn't my favorite.


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"...and, no, I didn't get sick."
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May 28, 2007

Carnegie Deli

7th Avenue & 55th Street

A must-go when you're in New York. It gives Katz's Deli a run for it's money. Cole slaw and pickles are pretty awesome here, and the sandwiches are HUGE! Each meal can feed about 2-3 people.

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Lots of celebrities eat here. We sat next to a lot of autographed photos from cast members of the The Sopranos tv show.
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This sandwich is pretty huge (Woody Allen Special (?)). I only ate a quarter of it. Half pastrami and half corned beef.
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This dish is called "Jeff's special." A mound of pastrami piled on knish, topped with melted swiss cheese. A similar dish is the Reuben except it's on rye with sauerkraut.
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Yummy strawberry cheesecake (the waiter told us it was their specialty).
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More celebrities on the walls.
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I would suggest walking down to 42nd street after this meal. Here's the Chrysler building on the way to the 4.
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June 5, 2007

Grand Sichuan Restaurant in Chinatown ROCKS!

This is probably one of the best and most reasonable priced Chinese restaurant in the city. It's on Canal Street, and you will see the Fung Wah bus pass often. This restaurant will make you feel like you're in an Anthony Bourdain show. Of course we were sitting under the red neon signage, so the photos look a little saturated. I suggest the "hot pot," and kind of like a pizza, you choose all your toppings. You have to spend about $20 as a minimum, but it's a lot of food.

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You should look at this menu when you're choosing the hot pot. There are a lot of exotic ingredients including frog legs and quail. NOTE: Spicy is really SPICY!!! That's coming from someone who loves spicy food. The waiter will warn you.
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This spicy broth is really red, and has a lot of the dried chili peppers and black whole pepper balls.
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This is the garlic sauce, but there's a lot of fresh ginger in it, so it won't give you dragon breath.
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I suggest first adding all the raw meat in. And then parse out all your other toppings because the longer they stay in the spicy broth, the spicier.
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So we couldn't finish everything, and we had about 6 ingredients and 1 sauce, 1 whole pot of tea (which is typically free), and 2 beers. Not bad...
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June 11, 2007

Big Apple Barbecue Block Party 2007

Madison Square Park

Just went to this event, and hit three places before closing. I had some Brunswick Stew (by Proclamation Stew Crew, recipe below), Babyback ribs, and a pulled-pork sandwich. I wanted to try the deep fried pie, but they closed.

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More of the stainless steel trees that I saw in St. Louis.
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Could this be the secret to good smoked barbecue?
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Here's their recipe for the Brunswick Stew (10 quart recipe, make it for a party)...

5.5 lbs. deboned chicken(thighs are better)
6 oz. white meat (fatback), ground or chopped
4 lbs. white potatoes, cut up french fry size is OK
2.5 lbs. yellow onions, chopped
1.5 qts. cruched tomatoes
2.5 qts. small green butterbeans (limas), drained
1.5 qts. white shoe peg corn, drained
1 stick of margarine
1/4 oz. black pepper (season to taste)
1/4 oz. red pepper (season to taste)
1.5 oz. salt (season to taste)
1.5 oz. sugar (season to taste)

Prepare your potatoes and onions ahead of starting the stew so that you can stir continuously. Continuous stirring is necessary for the this consistency to call it a stew and not a soup.

Put the chicken and white meat in the pot; cover with water; bring to a boil and cook until chicken starts coming apart; add potatoes, onions and 1/4 of seasonings; bring back to a boil and cook until potatoes are soft; add tomatoes and 1/4 seasonings; bring back to a boil and cook 5 minutes; add drained butterbeans and 1/4 seasonings; bring back to a boil and cook until butterbeans are soft; add drained corn, margarine and balance of seasonings; cook about 10 to 15 minutes and then enjoy your stew.

email: jdclary@brunswickbox.com

Anyway it was good, and it was better with hot sauce!!!

June 18, 2007

Delicious and CHEAP Eats on Wall Street

I just wish Omid works in Midtown. First of all, his food tastes great, and the price is right, especially if you're a student or broke, just waiting for your check. He makes halal (chicken and or lamb), and is located on Wall Street in front of the Deutsche Bank building (across from Cipriani).

Chicken/Lamb sandwich with soda $3.00
Chicken/Lamb over rice & salad with soda $4.00

There are several Halal trucks there, but look for Omid's friendly face.
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On the opposite site of the Deutsche Bank building, has a cheap coffee cart. He makes really good flavored iced coffee. I would take his coffee over Dunkin' Donuts anytime (coffee is just the right consistency of lightness and not too sweet).
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By the way, some interesting facts about street vending licensing. It costs $6k for 2 years, and those trucks range anywhere from $15k-$25k. There was a juice truck that I found costed $25k. That doesn't even include the cost of fuel, food or labor. Most vendors set up at 5am. WOW! They work hard.

July 3, 2007

Los Angeles, Shutters on the Beach

This restaurant is a little pricier, but definitely worth it. Actually, the breakfast prices are similar to that of New York's brunch spots. Parking near the beach is always an issue in Santa Monica, but I recommend parking at the restaurant, and stroll over to the pier afterwards.

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Lemon ricotta pancakes with berries:
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Poached eggs over corned beef hash:
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Mushroom omelette with potatoes:
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Ham omelette with potatoes:
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By the way, I'm talking about the cafe downstairs because they serve breakfast.

Vegas in a day and a half, part V

Driving back, stop at the Whiskey Pete's, Buffalo Bill's and Primm Valley Casino. You can take the monorail from one casino to the others (crosses the I-15). There is an outlet there, more amusement type rides, and more gambling. These casinos mimic Old Vegas (e.g. getting prime rib for $6.95 or steak and eggs for $3.95). The new Vegas no longer offers deals like this. Also, the Primm exhibits Bonnie Parker and Clyde Barrow Artifacts.

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This is a 12 oz. prime rib, and is served with salad. I would suggest sharing.
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July 7, 2007

More L.A. Eats, Part I

It's really tough to do a food tour in L.A. because you have to drive from point to point, whereas in New York, you're a hop, skip, and away from the next eatery.

Anyway, here's a great Greek place I used to go to during my undergrad called Papa Cristos. It's on Normandie and Pico, and there's parking in the back. I recommend the spanakopita, a spinach pie, the grilled baby octopus, and the Greek coffee.

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More L.A. Eats, Part II

If you want to eat somewhere scenic and reasonably priced, drive up on Pacific Coast Highway, and just past Pepperdine University, and on the right side is Malibu Seafood. Be careful not to speed there. A lot of cops hide around the bend. Fish tacos (I think they use Mahi Mahi) and fish and chips are highly recommended. Skip the ceviche. The mussels were pretty good. There is outdoor patio seating (informal), and you'll see a lot of surfers eat lunch there.

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More L.A. Eats, Part III

Of course, when in L.A., stop in K-Town to get Korean barbecue. The last time we were there, we ate at a place called Tahoe Barbecue, formerly Wilshire Barbecue. We wanted to see if we could beat the deal there ($15, all you can eat beef or chicken). This time we went to Cho San Galbi, located on Olympic and Western. It was pretty good, but pricier than Tahoe Barbecue. The meat tastes about the same, but I actually like Tahoe better. Anyway, they cook your meat on your table (I mean "you" cook your meat).

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Los Angeles Carnecerias Sells Really Good Mexican Candies

If you like sour and spicey flavors, I would recommend trying authentic Mexican candies. You can get them at any carniceria (meat market). Most of these candies will make you salivate.

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1) Saladitos. These are dried plums, usually either salted or spiced with chili powder. They taste good if you squeeze orange juice or lime juice on them.

2) I'm really not sure what this is called, but this is nutty and sweet tasting.

3) I think this is called "pulpita," but I think I may be wrong. There are two versions of this Tamarind-flavored candy. One is more pulpier with dried plums, and then there is the sugar version of this (the texture is more gritty).

4) I've never had these before, but these really blow my mind. They taste like watermelon gum drops rolled in chili, salt and lime. They are chewier them gum drops (texture is similar to Mike and Ike candies).

5) This is lime, chili and salt powder that you sprinkle on other snacks. It kind of reminds me of an extreme sour version of fun dip candy where you get that sweet stick and dip it into various fruit flavored tart powder).

6) These are suckers that remind you of the L.A. street vendors that sell papaya and mango on a stick dipped in lime juice and chili powder. The two flavors are mango and watermelon with chili powder and lime juice flavors. I remember the corn-shaped and mango-shaped version of these candies. These candies are shaped like a foot. I'm really not sure why, but it's funny. Anyway, I recently gave one of my co-workers this, and he kept on drooling on my desk literally.

The next time I go back to L.A. I think I'm going to do a tour of street vendors. In addition to the papaya and mango slices, some vendors sell grilled corn on sticks doused with mayonnaise, lime, chili, sprinkled with Mexican cheese, tamales, and hot dogs wrapped with bacon. You can find most of them on Western Avenue and Santa Monica Boulevard.

July 14, 2007

Curry Row, Panna II, Part I

So this month, we were going to explore Indian food, and try to make Vindaloo (that's today). But in the meantime, we tried this place called Panna II. When we read the description and reviews on Citysearch, people described the restaurant as a holiday or Christmas thrown up in a train car. I didn't know what they were talking about until we visited this place. It's pretty cheap, but I wouldn't recommend it if you have high blood pressure. The food is slightly saltier then most other Indian places. So why do people eat here? Well for about $9-$10/a person, you can get soup, an appetizer, an entree and even a dessert.

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93 1st Ave # 5
New York, NY 10003
(212) 598-4610

A very fun atmosphere...
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Everything is so red, so I had to use flash to take these photos. Appetizers are complimentary when you get the combo.
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A mushroom appetizer:
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Lamb tandoori:
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Mango ice cream:
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July 21, 2007

Curry Row, Brick Lane Curry House, Part II

This place is slightly pricier than most Indian restaurants. Nevertheless, the food is delicious. It seems like it's a bit more healthier and cooked longer (having experienced cooking Indian food just once). Some dishes require 1.5 to 2 hours of cooking. I am basing the "healthier" and "longer" references to our own experiences of making Indian dishes. Anyway, they have a "habanero curry," for spicy food lovers. If you finish all of it, you win a beer. We recommend this beer, "Flying Horse," which tastes like 1/2 beer and 1/2 champagne.

306 E 6th St, New York 10003
Btwn 1st & 2nd Ave

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August 4, 2007

DIY Indian Food

We found this great site that has recipes of Indian food, Route 79. Indian food takes a long time to cook, so start early.

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I like shopping for produce and spices at the Mid-Manhattan Market in Chelsea (it's in the complex where they tape most of the shows on the Food Network). I get the meat from Whole Foods, it seems fresher, and you know what's organic or pasture-fed. So we tried this curry three times with lamb and chicken. I would recommend not using the lamb stew meat, it's too tough to be in this dish. This recipe works well with dark meat chicken. Substitute all frozen and some dried spices with fresh ones, if that's possible. It will make a difference. Most of the spices can be found at the Mid-Manhattan Market, with the exception of Garam Marsala. You can get that at Whole Foods. They sell two, so get the one with less cloves, if you're like me and you think the scent of it is overpowering. Here are the recipe links to Aloo Gobi (potato and cauliflower dish) and Channa Marsala (chick peas).

The saffron salt is not an ingredient but you can replace salt for Spanish (Paellas), Mexican (Fajitas) and Italian (any pastas) foods. The spices in Mid-Manhattan market are way cheaper than Whole Foods.
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I like how they leave the root on cilantro and basil. They last longer, and the price is about the same if not less (~$1.50).
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This is how the Aloo Gobi came out.
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If you like spicy, you can use habaneros instead. The lamb curry came out like this...
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August 12, 2007

Whole Foods "Rustica" is a BARGAIN!

I had my reservations about eating here because I wasn't sure if they were separate from the entity that sells the deli stuff downstairs (rest assure, they're not). I even hesitated to go to the salad bar before settling down at Rustica. This place is a bargain for the food. I went for the brunch special (only offered on the weekends), reasonably priced between $6.99 and $10.99. Tipping is not permitted, even though you want to (awesome service by Samantha [in photo below]). I ordered a frittata with Italian sausage and potatoes, and Nick ordered an open-face sandwich with steak and a poached egg, topped with a dash of balsamic vinegar. Both dishes came with a side of fresh grilled asparagus (perfectly cooked, vibrant green and crunchy). The frittata had the perfect consistency, and the steak was soft. We also tried the brioche. It competes with the Eatery's french toast, which also uses ice cream. You could just tell that the ingredients were of high quality and heavy silverware. The experience was fantastic.

The bread is always awesome there. They have specialized bakers and chefs working here. Joshua [photo below] is a chef that works professionally and knows the hidden secrets to dish delights. When he talks about grains or yucca, you just know you're being taken care of by a creative genius. With 13 years experience and an alumni from Johnson & Wales, he really knows what he's talking about. I would recommend going there when he's there (he's only there until the end of August, before Whole Foods moves him to Miami).

These photos were taken with a mobile (typical that the day I don't bring my camera is when I need it), so it doesn't really give the food justice, but trust me, the food will knock-out your senses.

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Rustica Minardi
2nd Floor
Whole Foods
Houston, F, V, B trains

***

Whole Foods Market Bowery Block Party!
6:00–8:00 p.m.
Start your night off right at Whole Foods Market Bowery's weekly tasting party. Sample the best the store has to offer, try new-to-you products from every department and learn about our faves from near and far.

August 29, 2007

Beer Room at Whole Foods

Beer Room is at the Whole Foods on Chrystie. People who work there seemed to know their beers. We had one that was similar to Brooklyn Lager. You can taste the beers as well. I like the fact that the 1/2 gallon jugs (growlers) are reusable (you wash and refill the beers), saving $$ on recycle fees. If you go now, they give you the growler for free, and you just pay for the beer.

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Also a perk is the free wi-fi upstairs.

September 1, 2007

Yahoo Food Site

I just recently found this site and I have to say I really like it. Now that I have some time (life after grad school), I can really enjoy culinary arts from an amateur's perspective. It really accommodates all levels of cooks. You can sort recipes by culture, ingredients, occasion, diet, taste, method (e.g. boiling, grilling, etc.), time-sensitive, health. and recommendation (I try to find recipes with 4 or more stars and with more than 5 ratings). Each dish has nutritional information, which is helpful to diabetics or people with higher cholesterol. Sometimes when I read the Martha Stewart Living Magazine recipes (no offense to Martha, but she's got a whole crew and endless time to prepare and photograph those recipes), I know that it will take either a great amount of time or I will botch the dish up. This site aggregates a lot of recipes from gourmet and/or health sites.

So far I've tried two recipes. The first is a scallop dish (Scallops with Tarragon), which I prepared twice. It's super-simple, but can be quite pricey, but definitely worth it. Follow this recipe to the tee. I tried improvising, and I almost messed it up. I suggest using "sea scallops" from Whole Foods, and fresh tarragon. It tastes good on top of pasta. It just takes 4 or 5 ingredients, and two you have to actually buy because the other three you have. This recipe made me realize the importance of using FRESH herbs. They do make a difference.

The second dish was a potato salad (Warm Sausage-and-Potato salad), which is good as a side. There's room for improvisation here, as I omitted the romaine lettuce, used Italian parsley (flat) instead of the traditional parsley, and used Andouille sausage instead of smoked sausage, such as kielbasa. I wouldn't improvise on the Dijon mustard. Anyway, it was pretty yummy, and didn't take that long to prepare.


October 28, 2007

In the spirit of Halloween...

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Visit Economy Candy in Lower East Side. One of the oldest candy store, they carry a variety of candies, including salted licorice (located behind the counter). I got hooked on salted licorice when Tom Igoe introduced them to us at the "ITP Arduino Surface Mount Soldering Party." They also sell giant PEZ candies for $18.00 and really cute sophisticated designs of Hello Kitty and My Melody Pez holders (they have clear heads). I was surprised to see old cigarette packaged bubble gum and Lemonheads.

108 Rivington Street
New York, NY 10002


January 6, 2008

Los Angeles Koreatown Eatery, Sul Lung Tang

This is a soup that takes hours to cook, and this restaurant does it right. It's on 8th Street and Serrano (on the Southeast corner). This is as authentic as it gets as the menu is mostly in Korean. They cook the broth in 3 huge vats. If you have a hangover, or feeling slightly less energized, most Korean eat this soup. They also cook their rice with chestnuts and dates in a stone pot.

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Cheap fruit in Los Angeles

All I can say is that if you visit Los Angeles, take advantage of the cheap prices in fruit. Just 89 cents per pound for oranges and grapefruit, and my favorite, the Asian pear, fairly inexpensive, compared to 2 oranges for $1.29 or more in New York. Also, I was able to buy a watermelon and kiwi, fruits out of season in other climates.

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January 7, 2008

Dom Perignon, 2008

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My sister was lucky to obtain a bottle of Dom Perignon, which she opened for our toast to 2008. It takes 7 years to mature a bottle of champagne. It came in an elegant box that had two sophisticated clasps that added to this pleasant experience. Although the little booklet extensively described the taste of this champagne, I really didn't know what it was going to taste like. It's light and bubbly, and not to sweet. I would probably order this for a very special occasion.

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Cheers! Have a Happy and Prosperous Year

January 26, 2008

Classic Sichuan in Lower San Francisco

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This is probably one of the best Sichuan restaurants I've tried. The other Sichuan place that I love is in New York, and their specialty is hot pot. It's on Canal Street. Anyway, if you like spicy, then Sichuan restaurants are probably your best bet. Some friends of ours took us to this place (thanks Shumin and Tao), located in Millbrae, one of the last stops on the Bart (Millbrae) in San Francisco. It's in between San Fran and Silicon Valley. They have starters like boiled peanuts and pickled cabbage. My favorite was probably the cold noodles. I've tried them in Sichuan restaurants in New York, but they're missing a flavor. This restaurant (I think) adds sesame oil because it has a slight nutty flavor. The other dishes I loved were the beef and tripe, fish and shrimp. Anyway all of it was really good.

Classic Sichuan
148 El Camino Real
Millbrae, CA 94030
Tel. 650.692.3388

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El Castillito, San Francisco

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This is probably one of my top 10 burrito places. It was also voted "Citybest," and it's super cheap. This burrito feeds two and costs ~$7.00. I tried to photograph the plastic utensil to give you sense of scale of how big the burrito is. You can look the address on Citysearch, but it's on Mission Street. Take the F, and when you see a Safeway, get off that stop.

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January 31, 2008

Another Great Eatery and Dessert Spot in San Francisco

Mangarosa
Italian and Brazilian Fusion Cuisine
1548 Stockton Street
San Francisco, CA 94133

I recommend the pumpkin, shrimp and rice dish. Don't eat dessert there because there's a fabulous gelato place right across the street called Probuzione Propria.

Burgermeister in San Francisco

This is a burger chain, so I'm not really sure if they franchise out of the city, but if you're in SF, I highly recommend trying their garlic fries.

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July 27, 2008

Yelp

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So after a 2 years of perusing, I've finally become a Yelper. I used to use Citysearch frequently before, but one time I reviewed a restaurant, and it was rejected (and it was a good review too). I think I was trying to upload photo several times, then finally I just gave up.

In a recent trip to Miami, I was looking for a restaurant that served good ceviche, so I checked on Yelp, and found The River Oyster Bar, which met and exceeded my expectations. Instead of blogging about food, I just review them on Yelp. Also, I've been looking for recommendations on hair stylists and acupuncture, and found some very helpful tips (e.g. they don't charge tax if you pay cash, and so forth).

Just recently, a fellow Yelper invited me to an event to meet other New York Yelpers in Red Hook.

July 29, 2008

Restaurant Week in NYC

Restaurant week started yesterday in NYC. Some of the hottest restaurants in the city are offering Prix-Fixe meals at affordable prices. Lunch for $25 and Dinner for $35. You can get wine pairings for an additional $20 to $30 a person.

The best place to book reservations is through OpenTable.com. They list all the restaurants participating, and which meals. For instance, Morimoto offers only lunch. This a great way to get motivated to try something new. You will feel less anxious, and you'll be surrounded by other newbies. They give 2-3 options for appetizers, entrees and desserts, and if you're a vegetarian, do not worry (there's usually an option for non-meat-eaters). Of course you can cover more ground if you bring more friends (share samples).

So far, I've been to Thalassa (a Greek restaurant), Morimoto (Japanese Iron Chef), and Delmonico's (Steak place), and I haven't been disappointed yet. Luckily, my Greek friend forewarned me that Thalassa's specialty is pairing wines with the meals (so we don't skimp on wine there). Our server at Morimoto told us that the fish is flown from Japan four times a week, the rice they use is special, and you can tell they don't use the green powder to make the wasabi. Delmonico's is classic, and they have a dress code of "business casual," so if you want to dress up and impress your date, Delmonico's is a great excuse.

Below are some pix from Morimoto's and Thalassa. I totally forgot to take photos at Delmonico's :( And of course the cellphone doesn't do the meals justice:

Morimoto:
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morimoto2_sm.jpg tuna, striped bass, salmon, yellowtail, mackerel, shrimp, red clam, eel and spicy tuna rolls (Chef Morimoto's sushi selection)

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Thalassa:

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Vine ripened tomato salad with feta cheese

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Grape leaves Avgolemono stuffed rice and ground veal

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Colorado lamb chops with string beans

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Fire roasted Lavraki with spinach risotto

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Raspberry yogurt cake with Valrhona chocolate sauce

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Traditional walnut cake with fresh orange flavored honey syrup

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--

At Delmonico's, I tried the tuna carpaccio, filet mignon, and vanilla custard. All were good... sorry no photos.

August 5, 2008

Whole Foods in Tribeca, NYC

The Whole Foods on Greenwich just opened, and it's bigger than the Whole Foods on 14th Street. They sell oysters, all types of rare eggs (e.g. ostrich eggs are $39.99), and even salts (e.g. Hiwa Kai - Hawaiian Black Sea Salt and Lavendar Salt). If you can't use it on your food, you can probably use it in your bath.

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There is a sushi bar as well.

December 27, 2008

Matzo Ball Soup...

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I just made this discovery today. I recently bought a jar of Manischewitz matzo ball soup, and upon reading the label, found out that it is vegetarian. I guess I always assumed it's base was chicken broth, which means I can serve this to my vegetarian friends (Pablo) when they come over, yay! I think their are chicken versions out there, but this brand specifically labeled it vegetarian.

April 26, 2009

Best Doughnut EVAR!!!

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I'm sure I've blogged about this before, but this specific doughnut deserves its own blog post. Doughnut Plant sells the most amazing doughnuts... seriously. You can get them at Dean & Deluca, but I say visit the plant itself in Lower East Side. Then you really get to sample all the flavors.

My favorite flavor is coconut. And this coconut doughnut is probably my favorite dessert of all time!!! When I visited Doughnut Plant a couple of weeks ago, they were all out of this flavor, so I had to go back. It is divine (texture, taste/flavor). There's a creamy filling in there that is so smooth, yummy!!! I wish they made this in a birthday cake format.

Joe's Shanghai...

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I'm wondering why when I uploaded this photo on Flickr on a Saturday night, it received 174 hits in 3 minutes. I mean, I saw a line out that restaurant, but it must be good if there was a line and it got 174 online hits within minutes. In fact, someone commented on my Flickr asking if this is the place that serves famous soup dumplings!

Anyway Joe's Shanghai is on Hell Street in NYC. Such a cool address, lol.

April 25, 2012

This is why I love living in NYC... Cheap eats!

http://realcheapeats.com/nyc/manhattan/

December 16, 2012

2012 ITP Winter Show, Day 1

ITP (Interactive Telecommunications Program) at NYU has a show twice a year. It always amazes me how creative and ambitious students are... They complete digital and physical prototypes using sensors, screen/optic/camera -- technology within a span of a semester, often working in groups, and some work individually. Nevertheless, they finish their projects on time. I was only able to attend one of the days, and could not cover all the projects. I highly recommend going. Below is the address and some of the projects I was able to engage with.

721 Broadway, 4th Floor
Tisch Building (Take the N/R to 8th street)
Sunday, December 16th, 2-6pm
Monday, December 17th, 4-8pm

List of projects:
http://itp.nyu.edu/shows/winter2012/category/projects/

--

These aren't in any particular order...

Sonified Data (Text is analyzed and assigned notes, which is played by the app that Hannah Davis created -- music is pretty soothing, sounds like Radiohead)
01_sonifiedData.jpg

American Rubs [http://itp.nyu.edu/shows/winter2012/american-rubs/]
This project analyzes the ethnic-neighborhood data taken from the U.S. Census Bureau, which is then used to create flavors of dry rubs for meats. I really got a kick out of this, and even tasted a couple of these spices... I particularly liked NYC, which is spicy, and Manhattan. Brooklyn kind of had a patchouli essence, which reminded me of uber hipsters.
02_americanRubs.jpg

Puppet and Performing Objects
Apparently, this was an entire class that explored interactive puppetry. Some puppets were high tech, like robotic, and some were low tech, like shadow puppetry. All in all, very cool.
03_puppetry.jpg

Voodoo Bear [voodoo-bear.tumblr.com]
This project was really funny. You enter your Twitter information and interact with the voodoo bear by pinching or poking it. The bear reacts with audio output and a tweet.
04_voodoo.jpg

Bashtray [http://bashtray.tumblr.com/]
It is an ashtray, but you put out your cigarette on the candidate you don't like.
04_bashtray.jpg

So You Say [http://itp.nyu.edu/shows/winter2012/so-you-say/]
This is a low-tech visualization that displays feedback for projects in the ITP show mapped geographically and demographically (age is represented in color of string).
05_soyousay.jpg

The Buddhist arcade game [http://creativespirited.com/2012/11/25/the-buddhist/]
I came by twice, but both times there were a ton of people playing this game (sigh). Hopefully, it makes it to an arcade so I can test my meditative abilities (been practicing lately with Deepak's 21-day meditation challenge).
06_theBuddhist.jpg


The Collective DJ [https://vimeo.com/52872820]
Ok, I am going to try to explain this, but it may be better to see it in person or watch the above video url. Your friend places her hand on one of those hand-cutouts. You place your hand on one of those hand-cutouts. Then you and your friend touch each other, and it plays a beat. If you touch your friends hand again, the beat switches off. Basically, humans are conductive switches. I can totally see this in a children's museum or a club/party. Very fun.
07_theCollectiveDJ.jpg

Random Story Generator
I came by a couple of times, and once again this spot was crowded so I couldn't get information about it. It intrigued me because it looked like a ouija board. Here are a couple of photos, which look like they play with a narrative story line. If you find out, please contact me with the details. I will give you credit.
08_randomStory.jpg

Fly Guardian [http://itp.nyu.edu/shows/winter2012/fly-guardian/]
This is funny. Every time your fly is down, this device sends you a message-warning to your mobile device.
09_flyGuardian.jpg

Water Cooler TV [http://watrcoolr.tv/]
You can embed messages within a moment of the television show, so when others watch the same show, those messages will be displayed.
10_watercooler.jpg

Octojam [http://vimeo.com/53473973]
This is an instrument in the form of an octopus. As you pull the limbs of the octopus, a sound or beat is played.
11_octojam.jpg

Lego Builder [http://itp.nyu.edu/shows/winter2012/lego-builder/]
Using gestures, you can construct buildings out of legos -- augmented reality.
12_legobuilder.jpg

Hamlet Simulator [http://itp.nyu.edu/shows/winter2012/hamlet-simulator/]
This is a pretty cool project. You select from several filter-ranges, which abridge a version of Hamlet according to the filters the user selects.
13_hamlet.jpg

FreezeFrames [http://itp.nyu.edu/shows/winter2012/freezefram-es/]
This app captures your reaction after you watch a youtube video. I caught the tail end of the video where some kids knock down a shelf... I look surprised.
15_freezeframes.jpg

Bouncy Irises [http://itp.nyu.edu/shows/winter2012/bouncyirises/]
Bouncy Irises is sort of an innovative digital version of plinko. When the digital particles triggers a physical gear below (by pressing a button), the gears open up.
16_bouncyIrises.jpg

--

A COUPLE OF CAT PROJECTS

Cat Car [http://itp.nyu.edu/shows/winter2012/cat-car/]
This project makes me want to own a cat and this harness. You put this harness on a cat, and this harness has a wireless sensor talking to the the steering wheel, and lasers. Depending on where you want to drive your cat, it points lasers, so that your cat follows the lasers. The video is so funny because Sam Brenner tested this device on a couple of cats. He is going to document this online, and I will post his url here when he does. If he sold this on Kickstarter, I would consider getting this for my sister and her cat.
14_cat1.jpg
14_cat2.jpg
14_cat3.jpg
14_cat4.jpg
14_cat5.jpg

Laser Cat [http://itp.nyu.edu/shows/winter2012/laser-cat/]
A robotic arduino car that follows laser beams, similar to that of a cat.

ITP Pcomp Mid-term FINAL from Max Ma on Vimeo.

January 30, 2013

"Jiro Dreams of Sushi" & How to Master Your Domain

One of my favorite documentary movies:

He has a strong work ethic.

--
Rules from Jeff Weiner's article "From Seinfeld to Sushi: How to Master Your Domain:"

1. Never stop practicing (there is no perfect)
2. Sweat the details
3. Keep chipping away
4. Work clean
5. Be passionate
--
For more inspiration, please read the chapter from Malcolm Gladwell's book, Outliers on "10,000 hours." Malcolm Gladwell is one of my favorite authors. I highly recommend Tipping Point.
--
From Jiro on ageism:

There, in the last paragraph of an article announcing the Yankees had re-signed baseball great Ichiro Suzuki, was a quote from Ichiro that read, "I believe the Yankees organization appreciates that there is a difference between a 39-year-old who has played relying only on talent, and a 39-year-old who has prepared, practiced, and thought thoroughly through many experiences for their craft."

December 29, 2013

Bann

I recently found an amazing Korean restaurant in Hell's Kitchen area. The founder had started Woo Lae Oak. So much thought was put into the menu. For example, you will not see overcooked vegetables in the soups and bibimbap. In the soup, they use a prime cut of pork.

350 W 50th St, New York, 10019
(212) 582-4446

This is how the tea is served. I believe the tea was chamomile.
bann_01.jpg

Calamari, lightly battered in tempura-like batter (not heavy):
bann_02.jpg

Scallops (Garibi Gu):
bann_03.jpg

Bulgogi Wrap - the meat was so tender:
bann_04.jpg

Sides including kimchi, which is prepared without raw oysters or garlic:
bann_05.jpg

Bibimbap:
bann_06.jpg

Daenjang Jigae (a Korean version of miso, except with pork and tofu):
bann_07.jpg

Crème Brûlée (vanilla, ginger and green tea):
bann_08.jpg

Links


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Music


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