(1) Bagel from Tompkins Square Bagels (Can’t get a good bagel in NJ!)
(2) Roasted broccoli is a fave (olive oil, kosher salt, pepper, 425F for 25 min)
(3) Bar Primi fiore di carfiosi pasta (pretty but so-so). They take reservations now, but I probably won’t go back!
(4) Fresh California uni at Chelsea Market‘s the Lobster Place.
(5) Chelsea Market Mokbar bulgogi ramen. Share and get a side of extra noodles. The ho cake and tteokboki was less exciting.
(6) Cauliflower steak. Same process as (2). Cut it less than 1 inch thick.
(7) Roasted chicken using Trader Joe’s brined chicken and used some of this recipe. I need a meat thermometer. Love my Falcon enamelware. So easy to clean!
(8) Hu Kitchen “Benny” eggs benedict with chicken sausage, kale, and jordy cakes.
(9) Shake Shack’s new Shackmeister burger with crispy beer marinated shallots. I still prefer the Shack burger…
(1) The only Beard Papa’s Cream puff left in NYC also sells Mud coffee. The Paris brest cream puff wasn’t as fresh and cream filled as my memory.
(2), (3) Red Farm is Asian fusion and was a surprisingly good brunch – their shrimp & snow pea leaf dumplings and curry crab dumplings were delicious. The skin was thin.
(4) Harbs is a new Japanese cake boutique. Beautiful cafe, much pricier than Lady M (think $10+ on average for a slice). Their cakes are less sleek and more ambitious than Lady M and tends to tumble over. This slice had tons of berries, chocolate chiffon cake, and some rum.
(5) Simit and Smith — Turkish “bagel” is called a simit. Slim and chewy.
(6) This is a relative of the pomelo — it’s so much more fun to eat when it’s all peeled and segmented.
(7) The Harbs’ spin on the millecrepe has tons of fruit. I didn’t care for the banana.
(8) Seasonal red velvet cake from Lady M did not impress.
(9) Shiny Tea in Flushing Panda milk tea = mini white pearls + normal pearls. The mini white pearls fascinate me. They have the same texture!
Edi & the Wolf (East Village) – Brunch. Super fluffy scrambled eggs with crispy onions and speck.
Torrisi (Nolita, previously featured here) – Limited seating every night. Menu changes every day depending on what is in season. We got a table for 9:30pm. The antipasti consisted of fresh mozzarella and toast (AMAZING), sweetbreads, seafood salad, and another salad. We had the gnocchi, which were fluffy little pillows of goodness. For the main, we shared the John Dory (which wasn’t cooked with marsala as stated on the menu), the bbq lamb, and an amazing shortrib (we cleaned the bone real good). The house pastry was an assortment of cookies, after a quick grapefruit sorbet palate cleanser. The rainbow cookie and fresh cream puff were faves. The celery salt cookies were not. You can take away cookies $0.50/per.
Manhattan Cocktail Classic “British Invasion” event at Eleven Madison Park (Flatiron) – This was on the EMP “patio”. The charming Crooners played Beatles songs for hours and they passed around excellent fish and chips. I won’t mention how many I had, but it made me miss my trip to Ireland last May! There were 6 signature cocktails and table service :)
More LA… Urth Caffe, Umami Burger, Lark Cake Shop, and a wedding.
Urth Caffe – I met M at her new (to me) home on a sunny Saturday morning. I rarely get up before noon on a Saturday but had to in order to “fit” everyone into my schedule. After admiring the many designer chairs, we walked over to the Melrose location of this popular cafe. The sun was shining a bit too brightly for this pale-faced Asian, so I hid in the shade. Their tea lattes looked very popular, so I started with a green tea latte.
I got the “eggs verde” egg dish, which consisted of poached eggs over arugula, roasted corn, baby tomatoes, and asparagus. The salad was so fresh and delicious!
The line to order snaked around the cake/pie case. Their cake/pies are massive (think Cheesecake Factory grandness). You think I could pass it up? We shared a slice of the coconut custard pie. Delish.
Umami Burger – It was my last few hours of freedom. J and I grabbed lunch at the popular Umami Burger in Los Feliz. We started out with ginger beer and root beer.
The interior had an industrial, Japanese schoolhouse vibe.
Here’s a smorgasbord of stuff I ate in NYC and LA.
Brindle Room fresh donuts – Caramel donut made out of mashed potatoes. Surprisingly light. Made to order.
酒釀 (sweet fermented rice) – This is a common winter comfort dessert. My mom has been making this for decades. It smells like rice wine. We usually cook it with eggs, rice balls, or mandarin oranges. I was about to eat some today, when I realized my roommate had thrown my tub out… :(
Bespoke Chocolates – Sadly, this chocolate shop just shuttered last week. They have beautifully crafted artisan chocolate and was hidden in an alley near Houston St. Pretzel-Covered Sea-Salted Caramels, Venezuelan Dark Chocolate Cognac, Southampton Tea Truffle, Strawberry Balsamic, and Lavender Honey Fleur de Sel Caramel seen below.
Pulino’s – Brunch! I discovered sausage gravy and biscuits in my college dorm. I have yet to meet an unsatisfactory version of this dish.
Newport Seafood – I’ve been wanting to eat at Newport Seafood ever since I saw it on Oh Joy!’s blog. I LOOOOVE Chinese-style seafood. My friend J and her husband indulged me on my quick trip to LA. We had the clams with black bean sauce, their popular beef loc lac, a healthy dose of pea sprouts, and their special lobster.
Last Saturday, we stopped by the Brooklyn Flea for the Bake Sale for Japan. My friend, Talida, lovingly baked for the sale. I wanted to support her and the other bakers. And I love baked goods, not much convincing needed! She made matcha, azuki, and kurogama (black sesame) shortbread cookies. Visit her blog for recipes!
1) Clinton Street Bakery (4 Clinton Street, NYC; Lower East Side)
I’m not a big fan of pancakes, but CSB’s light and spongey blueberry pancakes are hard to resist from time to time. February is CSB’s pancake month where they feature special flavors. If you hate the wait for brunch, they also serve pancakes on their dinner menu. I love breakfast food, so I wouldn’t object to eating it for all meals. I heated up leftover Japanese pumpkin pancake the other day (smearing some maple butter across before reheating) and topped it with chunks of pomelo. My work cafeteria was selling pomelos — I had to pick up a few! In addition to loving breakfast food, I also love combining fruits with food.
2) La Maison du Macaron (132 W. 32nd St, NYC; Chelsea)
My birthday was months ago and things have been so busy, I haven’t had time to meet up with C. C greeted me with a sweet box of macarons at our dim-sum lunch. Not bad and gold dust makes everything prettier.
In no specific order:
1) In-N-Out (Reno, Nevada)
My third In-N-Out experience was the best. We arrived a little early and was waiting for ’em to open at 10:30am. We quickly realized… they were open before 10:30am! This was great because I had to catch a flight and who doesn’t like to eat at a spanking clean, practically empty In-N-Out? Service was friendly and personal.
I got the double double animal style with a strawberry shake and fries (which were unfortunately disposed of to catch the flight). Next time, I want a Neapolitan shake.
I have to eat Shake Shack soon to compare the burgers. Say what you want, but In-N-Out is hyped up even more because it’s not available in most of the country.
2) Capisce (Zephyr Cove, Nevada)
We had a charming group dinner here. It was a quick ride from the South Lake Tahoe “village”. This is a friendly family-run restaurant with great service and reasonably priced dishes with huge portions. There was live Spanish guitar playing! I will eventually write a Yelp review for them. No photographic evidence… but I liked my spicy pasta and minestrone soup.
3) Driftwood Cafe (South Lake Tahoe, Nevada)
Brunch is one of my favorite meals. I came here twice, once for lunch and once for breakfast. Cute spot for anyone staying near the village.
For lunch, I had a half order of the Carolina Connection — potato pancake topped with grilled ham, over-medium egg, and sausage gravy… and a buttermilk biscuit. Sausage gravy always reminds me of my dorm breakfasts. This was delicious and a half order was perfect.
1) Financier Patisserie (Various locations)
These mini Financier Patisserie Palmier cookies are, as my friend J would say, “phenoms”. They are tiny, thinly sliced, and super crispy.
2) Porchetta (110 E 7th St, NYC; East Village)
I worked from home a day last week since there was “significant” snow fall. Porchetta’s lasagna has been on my to-do list for a while. Did you know that they don’t sell it on weekends, or at least that’s what they told me last time I visited. I love their signature Porchetta sandwich (mmm, fatty pork) and their lasagna comes with porchetta ragu.
3) Butter Lane (123 E 7th St, NYC; East Village)
After Porchetta, we stopped at Butter Lane. I’ve been raving about Butter Lane since they opened in 2009. They’ve been improving since, adding icing flavors. They’ve also expanded next door for cupcake classes. I got a Groupon last month for their cupcake class and am waiting for my girlfriends to free up! I got a Bourbon Street and J got a caramel on vanilla (yes, that is popcorn). I also got a free cup of Stumptown coffee because that was their promotion of the day.
4) Chick-fil-A (5 University Place, NYC; Greenwich Village)
I LOVE Chick-fil-A. They don’t have an official location in NYC, save for the Express counter in an NYU dorm. My cousin is living here this year and he hooked me up. There is a steady flow of students, so I’d say that everything is as fresh and tasty as what I’ve had at other locations. I’m pretty sure non-students can get in. After you enter the building, go straight into the dining hall. Non-campus cash is accepted, but if you go during peak hours, students may give you dirty looks for slowing down the line. I was in a rush, so didn’t have time to adjust my BB camera settings.
5) Piccolo Cafe (Various locations)
A few months ago, I tried a bite of my friend’s pesto sandwich from the cafe’s pop-up shop. Yelp had rave reviews. I finally passed their Gramercy cafe and had stomach space. Pictured is the pesto sandwich (#15) and the highly rated truffle egg sandwich (#1). Unfortunately, the sandwiches fell low on expectations. The foccacia was too rough; the egg was overcooked and rubbery (which proves that truffle oil doesn’t right a wrong). Oh well.