Sunday, January 30, 2011

I'm back!

After a 2 year hiatus, I realized that I really miss this blog. Eating is still a passion of mine, and I've been having some kick-ass meals lately. So, it's only fair that I share.

In the past, I was never a huge brunch fan. I always felt that restaurants were just trying to get rid of leftover ingredients with chefs that were not as qualified as the dinner squad, but I believe I just wasn't eating brunch at the right places. On Saturday, I went to brunch with my friend Ali (you can't eat every meal alone) at The Little Owl. I love this place, but had only been there for dinner with Mollie. It's got the 3 C's- cozy, cute, and classy! Mimosas are pretty standard, but this one had the best oj in it- it was pulpy and a deep orange. We got the meatball sliders which are as Ali says, "major," and then I had a spicy chicken breast over brussels sprout homefries. The sauce was light and well, spicy with a hint of dijon, and it paired perfectly with the genius brussels sprout concoction. I love a good sauce, and I am continually impressed with juicy chicken dishes in this city. Brunch makes for great conversation, and it may be better for catching up with someone than at a dinner.

Today, when I decided I was ready to write again, I took myself to a neighborhood favorite of mine, The Brindle Room. They have a great brunch and it's usually not crowded. I had no trouble getting a seat, but the place filled up quickly. I love when neighborhood places get business and it seems like the word has gotten out about their ridiculous burger. It's this steakhouse burger that melts in your mouth and is really crispy on the outside. It comes with caramelized onions and cheddar, and it's one of the only burgers I crave in the city. I also got a kale salad with raisins, pecorino, and pears. For dessert, I had a peanut butter chocolate donut that had the right amounts of grease, golden exterior, and chocolate gooeyness. I guess I have always been more on the lunch side of brunch.

I wanted to bring a book, but I remembered how nice it is to just sit and be. I also like to take this time to eavesdrop on conversations and meet the people at the restaurant. Today, I met Kay who was my waitress, and we talked about food and living in the EV. It's nice because those interactions probably wouldn't have happened if I was with a friend or on a date. I also heard the girl next to me talking about a schizophrenic, bipolar ex and it made me realize that I'm doing alright. So although this entry was short, I just wanted to say I'm back and hope to update more frequently. Also, since it's the 21st century, I will try to post photos of my food because everyone loves them some food porn.


Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Those who eat alone get free things

It's been a while since I have posted, so I'll try to improve that!  Last Tuesday, I had a delightful lunch and dinner by myself.  Lunch was at Prune on 1st between 2nd and 1st(I'm convinced 1st st and 1st ave is the vortex of the universe.)  I enjoyed dinner after a track workout at Ippudo NY which I believe is tied with Momofuku Noodle Bar for the best bowl of ramen in town!

At lunch, I had the szechuan potato salad with cracked peppercorns that is cold, spicy, and delicious as an appetizer(even though its meant to be a side.)  Then, I had my favorite New York burger, and I do believe it is because Gabrielle Hamilton adds lamb to this juicy patty.  It is topped with Vermont white cheddar, but the best thing about this dish is the bun.  It's an english muffin bathed in butter, garlic, and parsley and toasted!  Genius Gabrielle, just genius!  Then, for dessert, I had the Breton butter cake that is one of the most comforting winter desserts.  I had been watching each dish come out from behind the kitchen, but this dessert is so special in its ability to be soft and crispy, buttery and filled with sugar.  Then it happened, I got a free glass of Muscat to go with dessert.  How sweet of the waitress to take pity on me and bring me this glass of dessert wine!  It paired perfectly with the dessert.  I talked with the cute waitress throughout the meal, and I gave the food the positive reinforcement it deserved.  I am big on positive reinforcement because it makes all the difference in running, yoga, school, and dealing with ADHD children.  

At nighttime, I thought I needed my fill of sodium at Ippudo.  The Akamaru Modern combines salty, sweet, and pork fat with a heavy dose of gourmet carbs in the form of ramen.  It turns out one of my friends from pre-freshman year facebooking worked there, so again, I got a FREE bowl of edamame and good conversation to boot! 

 It's not so lonely eating alone you see, and if you're lucky you get things for free!

Saturday, December 27, 2008

A little of everything...

These last few weeks have been pretty hectic foodwise.  So I think I will do a brief rundown of some of my favorite food moments from the time of my exams through the duration of my trip to Cancun...
  • On the way home from NY to DC, I ate Popeyes in the 10-minute break alloted for the Vamoose bus rest stop break.  While in line, the cashier seemed slightly off, and I almost didn't make it to the bus in time.  He called my two piece dark meat meal a snacker and the lady behind me and I agreed that the biscuit never makes it to the cashier...some food for thought with us Type A eaters.
  • Airport dining is quite fun (in it's own right!)  I ate grilled chicken at Fuddrucker's, and it was nostalgic since that is the first breast I ever remember liking grilled vs. fried when I was a kid.  I think I was tricked by the buttery bun that made me forget how rubbery yet equally juicy the chicken there gets.  Airports always take the somewhat good food and bring out the mediocre qualities.  I sat alone and read Twilight so that I would be able to join the other millions of girls reading the same book at the pool later that week (lucky me!)  Also, I had this meal at 10 in the morning so I was definitely feeling the weight of my poor decisions- I had to get ready for Cancun somehow.
  • Never give in to those Chinese takeout places that have that 2 thing combo with a choice of fried rice or lo mein...
  • This trip to Cancun marked the first time I had vacationed without my parents since 11th grade.  When I was younger, I always wanted room service and my parents never allowed it.  I stayed at the Hyatt in Cancun for one night alone before my cousin Josh (yes, same name, you should have been there the night we went out with 4 Josh's) arrived at the Royal Sands the next day.  I had a beer or four to decompress from exams and indulged in my guilty pleasure.  An hour after making the phone call, I received my pasta bolognese and 4 rolls- 2 croissant and 2 brioche.  I ate this on the balcony enjoying the 70 degree night.  The food was nothing special, but I was finally able to get room service.  I love the cover that goes over the food before they present you a meal by a culinary school dropout.  I have to say the Corona and Modelo made the croissant rolls that much better.  I tried to save one for breakfast, but I really couldn't help it.  The world could run on biscuits and croissants in my opinion.  Anyway, I finished my meal and some crappy horror movie with Tara Reid to fall asleep by 8:30 in my hotel for one.  It was kind of creepy that Blackbird came on in the middle of the night on my charged I-pod...those crazy Hyatt ghosts.  Anyway, I couldn't have been happier.
  • Each day by the pool, I enjoyed a burger or chicken tenders at the Royal Sands.  Sometimes, a Fiji water tastes better when it is delivered to you by Gustavo with a smile.  My favorite bartenders were Miguel and Narcisco, I thought Narcisco was a narcissist though.  Anyway, they definitely entertained me if I was ever to eat alone when my roommates for the week were napping or not as hungry .
Alright, food has been the backdrop for my transition into winter break, but the day of my birth is upon us (the big 2-1) and seriousness with eating returns.  Thus, I will be having a 6-course-meal at L'Auberge Chez Francois in Great Falls, Virginia tomorrow and an 8-course-meal at Babbo in Ny, Ny.  Look forward to those posts with family and friends this time!

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Pork Fat For The Jew

The foods that comfort me lately are pork fat and ramen noodles.  I love Ippudo but sometimes it is just 3 blocks and 2 avenues too far away.  My comfort ramen of choice lately has been the Gyolou Ramen at Ramen Setagaya  a block away from me.  It is referred to on the menu as Japan's Famous Ramen.

The thing I love about this place is that the noodles come out quick, the staff is super friendly, and the pork on top of this bowl of noodles is spiraled in fat!  It may be unkosher, but the fat is what makes the pork juicy and comforting.  The broth is fish based and garlic is added for an extra kick.  When you eat at this restaurant, the funniest thing is that they play "Ramen TV."  It is a channel that continuously plays chefs making elaborate ramen dishes and then the commercial breaks are japanese versions of beatles songs.  It is a hilarious way to enjoy the meal for one while people watching on St. Marks.  I love you Ramen Setagaya, thanks for the pork fat! 

Friday, December 5, 2008

Momofuking Ko!

Dave Chang, you have won my heart.  There was not one detail wrong about this meal.  As I walked the arduous two blocks to Momofuku Ko, I started to get nervous.  I started to ponder: What if the food doesn't live up to the hype?  What if it really is weird that I  am eating alone this time?  The moment I walked inside, I knew it was going to be something special. 

The courses speak for themselves in their originality: buttermilk biscuit with black pepper butter and a meatball covered in lentils over an apple puree, raw Spanish mackerel with a mustard sauce and fried buckwheat, potato and daikon soup with lamb belly and mustard greens, monkfish with sea urchin in a sweet soy-based sauce, egg noodles in a butter sauce with chicken escarole sausage and chicken crackle finished with pecorino cheese, a poached egg with caviar over onion relish and homemade fingerling potato chips, frozen foie gras atop lychee, peanut brittle and a reisling jelly, beef cheeks with jalapeno relish and two types of mushrooms, mandarin orange sorbet paired with a bitter mandarin orange, and fried amish cheddar aside greek yogurt, candy pretzels and pretzel ice cream!  I am definitely forgetting some of the details since it was ten courses and I opted for the wine pairing that accompanied each course.  

Throughout the meal I found myself eye-fucking the butter.  The guy sitting next to me was a lone dinner as well, but I was not very fond of him.  Fatty Boomba was from Houston, Texas on some business trip and he did not stop using his I-phone the entire meal!  I was appalled, and after 20 minutes of the meal, I opted to turn my phone off to enjoy my experience to the fullest.  Another thing that bothered me about this guy was that he would ask annoying questions to the chef and he did not even bless me when I sneezed.  It didn't matter much though because I was able to watch every move the chefs did to prepare the meal.  It was food pornography at its finest.  One of the chefs cooking looked like a more attractive Keanu Reeves, and he joked with the other chefs about how Dave Chang had too many songs with harmonicas on the Ko playlist.  Fatty Boomba said that they could use his Ipod if they wanted to replace David Chang's.  Nice try out-of-towner, but no one messes with the Chang.  It's sacrilegious!

I really enjoyed this meal alone, in fact, I left Ko laughing.  I would give two hours of my time any day to watch the chefs there do their magic, and hopefully 3.5 hours soon to try out their 18-course lunch!  The Momofuku empire makes me proud to be from the East Village.  I have never experienced American-Asian fusion quite the way they make it.  The asian touches are subtle yet not understated in the least.  Thus, the hype is the reality when it comes to Ko.

Monday, December 1, 2008

A star sighting of sorts...

I went for a run today through Manhattan, Brooklyn, and Queens that I like to call my very abbreviated version of the NYC Marathon.  As I ran down Avenue B past Houston, I found myself on one of my favorite food blocks in Manhattan, Clinton Street.  As I passed WD~50, I saw the hair first and immediately knew it was Wylie Dufresne!

This man is a food scientist.  He takes the art of cooking and dissects each ingredient and flavor in his dishes to see what works and what can be improved.  He works with the extremely popular Jean Georges Vongerichten, and he taught Christina Tosi who now bakes at the Momofuku Milk Bar under Dave Chang.  I know, I know I am name dropping chefs, but to me, the chef sighting makes me weaker in the knees than the celeb sighting.  For instance, I was dining at Prune once and saw Gabrielle Hamilton behind the counter and as my heart beat rose, I whipped my phone out to text my Cousin Betty who would appreciate the sighting as well.

It's good to know that some of the "celeb" chefs actually do cook in the kitchen.  Wylie was just outside his place on Clinton chatting on the cell phone while a block or two down a movie was being filmed.  I'm not sure the movie or the cast since I was still reveling over my chef sighting.
The great thing about Wylie and Dave Chang is you can find their influence all over the EV.  At PDT, they both have a dog in their honor.  Tonight, I am heading to Bar Carrera (with others this time) and I have my heart set on the chocolate cheesecake that Wylie designed for them.  I'm running late to dinner, more later!

Sunday, November 30, 2008

The Cheap Eats Club

If you are what you eat, then tonight I was cheap and easy.  After candle-lit yoga with the weird moans, groans, and scents of strangers, I decided I needed dinner on the fly.  

2 Bros. Pizza is so good to me, and it is located just 535 feet from my my apartment.  The grand opening special seems to have stuck and slices come in at a whopping $1.  This place is perfect for a recession.  I usually meet one of my fellow runner pals at 2 Bros., but she was out of a table for one it was.  The pizza is everything you would expect for a buck: cheese, a slightly tangy sauce, and crust.  Nothing spectacular, but it sure beats the dollar menu at McDonalds.

I sat down tonight by myself and overhead two girls talking about their Thanksgiving break. One of the girls had called her aunt to wish her a happy birthday, and her aunt was "stoned or really messed up" when they talked.  Apparently, her aunt said, " how are you" in a rather loose voice.  In my opinion, I think her aunt probably didn't want to talk to her annoying younger niece that was intruding on my pizza experience.  Then, I realized that all the tables in the back were full where I was eating, so I gave my table up to a punk couple that seemed to be on a date after getting their shoes spray-painted on St. Marks.  She thanked me and felt bad for making me move, but I didn't really mind.  

My meal was over, and I will continue to eat on the cheap (well...maybe) until Wednesday when I have my dinner for one at Momofuku Ko!