After many weekends of Brussels sprouts, potatoes, carrots and kale, I finally saw asparagus at the farmer’s market. I love kale but it’s nice to finally have something new. Luckily, I had some stuff in the fridge to fix myself a quick lunch. Check out my recipe for an asparagus, shrimp pasta with miso paste.
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Late last year, Gotham West Market opened on super super west side of Manhattan (oh dude what a walk from the A/C train). It’s basically a big food court like space with food “stalls” from The Cannibal, Little Chef (from Caroline Fidanza owner of Saltie), Court Street Grocers, etc and The Brooklyn Kitchen for your kitchen supply needs. Though one of the more anticipated opening was Ivan Ramen Slurp Shop. From what I have read online, Ivan Orkin is suppose to be a genius at ramen making and for him to be popular in Japan that’s a pretty huge deal.
There was so much hype for this place. Check out what Howard and I thought about the ramen.
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The best thing I ate in 2013 (and yes I know we’re 2 months into 2014) came on Christmas Day, when my sister and I ate at Kajitsu. Kasjitsu is a vegan restaurant that specializes in Shojin cuisine, which they say is “a type of vegetarian cooking that originates in Zen Buddhism.” The idea, it seems, is to use seasonal vegetables artfully arranged on a plate. Our eight course meal was exorbitantly priced, plus we paid for the additional sake pairing (which I highly recommend). Some of the dishes were too simple — Yakishabu Vegetables: chunks of a few different veggies, cooked and then tossed table-side in a mild miso sauce. Others were overly complicated — King Oyster Mushoom: mixed with grated daikon, umeboshi, and ponzu gelee, our server (who was great) admitted to us was impossible to eat in the way that “the chef intended.” But there was one dish that was just perfect. I mean so perfect it nearly brought tears to my eyes. Towari Soba was a simple bowl of buckwheat noodles, topped with grated mountain yam and wasabi, with a little soy for flavor, served room temperature. The soba noodles, which are usually made with a mix of buckwheat and wheat flour to help them form, were made with 100% buckwheat for the holiday. They were the most perfect noodles I have ever eaten. Each noodle was firm, chewy, and slippery. You could feel the corner edges of each noodle against your tongue as you ate them. I had never eaten grated mountain yam before, though I’d heard of it; it has the texture of the slimy part of okra, and on its own the texture made me gag a little, but mixed in together the sliminess coated each noodle and somehow it made sense. The little bit of wasabi added a touch of sharpness that balanced the dish out in an unexpected way. It was the perfect encapsulation of simplicity and technique, and was by far the best thing I ate in all of 2013.
Kajitsu — 125 E 39th St, NYC
On a cold winter day a few months ago I met up with my friends Jeff & Eva for a warming bowl of soba at Cocoron. I’d heard a lot about Cocoron but never been there; they first opened a tiny space on Delancey, but recently opened a (slightly) bigger space on Kenmare. The didning room was still pretty small, and every other diner in the place seemed to be shouting at each other. Never mind the dining room, let’s talk about the soba. There’s been a lot of talk about the buckwheat noodles from Cocoron, and they didn’t disappoint. They are slightly slippery, chewy, and actually fun to eat. There is a whole vegetarian section of the menu, and in fact they use a vegan broth if you order one of the vegetarian dishes. I had to ruin it by adding a soft poached egg, which added some nice richness to the soup. Next time I’d like to get one of the Dip sobas, where they bring you piping hot broth and you dip the noodles in as you want to eat them. I’ve also heard that during the summer, the cold soba makes an incredibly refreshing meal. But there’s no wrong way to get the soba at Cocoron, so make the trip when you get the chance.
Cocoron — 37 Kenmare St, NYC
How do you feel about dipping ramen? The kind of ramen that you eat like cold soba. That’s what I had at my most recent trip to Minca. The spicy tsukemen ramen was the kind of spicy that gave you a little bit of sweat, the refreshing kind. For an extra kick, it came with a small dish of kimchi. Dipping ramen lets you decide how much broth you want to drench your noodles in and you don’t have to worry about the ramen getting all soggy for sitting in the broth.
– Minca 536 East 5th St, East Village
No Name Bar in Greenpoint is one of those rare bars that I just really liked after one visit. Happy hour drinks till 8pm, cool crowd, cool bartenders, backyard, locals only and most importantly the noodle bar downstairs. Last week I met up with Howard at Allswell for some happy hour food and then we were off to Manhattan Inn so that he could do a write up about their veggie options. Manhattan Inn is sort of across the street from No Name Bar so I thought “heck we should go!” After getting our beers and ordering our food, we proceeded downstairs to the noodle bar.
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So when the news broke that M.Wells in Long Island City was closing due to their landlord raising the rent, the entire blogging community decided to eat at M.Wells all at once. Obviously I’m guilty of that. I’ve actually been meaning to go but something else always came up.
Well anyways, I finally made it and I don’t know. I have friends that LOVE M.Wells and I have heard crappy things about M.Wells. After eating there I definitely think that it is overhyped BUT not by much. There were couple things that were okay but then there were couple things that were OH.SO.GOOD.
Continue reading “M.Wells Was….Swell?”