Category Archives: New York

Winner Winner Chicken Dinner – Amy Ruth’s

Actually it was lunch. But seriously, this has to have been one of my favorite meals of all time. Highly recommend it anyone who wants a nice meal for a completely reasonable price. (Huge portions too). And extremely easy to get to. You can either take the 2,3 to 116th St. which takes you directly outside the restaurant or the 6 to 116th and walk 5 minutes.

Amy Ruth’s
113 W 116th Street (on Lenox Ave)
New York, NY 10026

Click here for the menu!

DSC04263 DSC04266 Some nice warm cornbread to kickstart our appetiteDSC04268 The waffles and chicken were more moist than your date after promDSC04269
Peach cobbler was pretty amazing too but by this time we were full out of our minds

 

 

 

Hell Ya, Jinya (Ramen)!

Because I live on an island, questions like, “if you are stuck on a deserted island, and you had to pick one ramen place to sustain you for the rest of time…” becomes maybe 1% more relevant. So, similar to my search for the perfect girl, I have wandered the streets of Manhattan (and recently veered into Brooklyn) in search of the perfect ramen joint – hoping that someone will say, “of all the ramen joints in this town, you walk into mine” … or something like that.

Anyways, emo-side-rant-aside, my leader for the last two years has been Totto’s chicken broth ramen. But yesterday I found an usurper to the crown in the form of Jinya Ramen.

Address: 24 Greenwich Ave, between Charles St & 10th St in West Village
Price: $11-14 for ramen, $4-9 for appetizers, and you’re not allowed to order the rice bowls at a ramen joint
Hours:
Takes a break between lunch and dinner – til 11pm on weekdays, 12am on Friday-Saturdays
Wait / Reservations: They take reservations but I got in Saturday night without a wait – YMMV

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I was feeling down, so I ordered the fruitiest glass of sake. Hmm look at the wood decor. This place is pretty classy compared to Totto or Menkui.

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There are moments that you hear five words about a girl dish and you just know you have to see her try it. Here, that was the homemade organic tofu, made fresh…at your table! So it’s like booking at Circle, where they bring the delicious “fruit” to you! Jk. But so needless to say, I didn’t need much convincing to know that I wanted to bring the waiter over to pour out some for me.

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They give you some toppings and you wait about 5 minutes for the tofu to chill and thicken. Really freaking good…

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For the main, I got the Tonkotsu Black, with about 5 toppings included and you can ask for extra fresh garlic (pressed by yours truly). Like the perfect Asian girl, I probably wished there was more meat in the soup, but it was secretly fun to have her make me do some work for my meal.

Next Time
Like the girl who keeps you wanting for more, I’d go back for the shrimp toast and crispy rice with spicy tuna, and “umami-flavored” sake, and the rest of the ramen choices. With spicy chicken ramen and fried crispy chicken options on the menu, is this the mythical best of both worlds that could overtake both Totto and Mad4??

And don’t worry, you can test drive and take this model home with you, it’s a mere $350k initial investment.

Then I can cook my tears into my very own ramen:

Nuts for Cronuts

O mistress mine, where are you roaming?
O, stay and hear; your true love’s coming
Twelfth Night (2.3.39-40)

No, kids, Drake didn’t invent the concept of yolo-ing, some guy named Shakespeare was using clowns to sing about carpe diem a couple centuries ago. So it was in his honor that I woke up way early this morning as the radio chirped about an awesome snowpocalypse hitting NY. Other others saw snow fear, I saw my jacket opportunity. An awesome opportunity to get some cronuts.

In delay there lies no plenty;
Then come kiss me, sweet and twenty,
Youth’s a stuff will not endure
Twelfth Night (2.3.50-52)

That’s right, Oedipal Edibles refused the temptations of over-privileged snobs America’s hottest sensation for seven months but finally succumbed to Dominique Ansel Bakery‘s advances. After all, how many other idiots geniuses would have thought of using an epic snowstorm to beat the equally epic line?

30th in line at 7:45 arrival, they let in 20 at a time, I got in at 8:15


Address:
189 Spring St, New York, NY (near Prince St NQR)
Price: $5 / cronut (limit of two / person); most other pastries are $3 to $8; some cakes and large-format orders available for more $
Hours: Only time that really matters is that the line really gets going at 7am for doors opening at 8am (Mon-Sat); other options include calling or going online on Monday mornings – aka, don’t hold your breath
Wait / Reservations: See left

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there’s another line inside to place your cronut order and a separate line for non-cronut orders (that some dumbfounded people tried to use to bypass the outside line)

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flavors change every month, this month was caramel peanut butter rum as the filling (but probably taste pretty similar to other months)

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they make more than cronuts

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they also have sandwiches (panel to the right)

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s’mores kit to make ~15 for $50 with some special chocolates or something

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actual croissants, didn’t see any donuts though

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after 30 minutes in line, unwrapping the magic box!

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actually really freaking good! not as sweet as I expected, a bit cold and very flaky, but each bit was a slightly different experience depending on your chewing order (or maybe I was just really cold)

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coconut lycee pavlova – looked awesome, tasted gross

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their newest offering / money-trap: galette, a french cake – too sweet, nothing special even as the store was pimping it out to the cronut line

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the back kitchen: where the magic happens

Verdict: Much better than I expected and totally worth it. I would go back for other pastries without the line (forgot to try the frozen s’mores). Wouldn’t wait more than 30 minutes in line again for cronuts. And yes, these people didn’t plan correctly.

Bassanova Ramen

I’ve been meaning to try this place for a while – Japanese ramen in Chinatown? Is that blasphemous or amazeballs? And if the former, for whom….? Anyways, this place is easy to miss (its entrance is below street-level) and not well known, so get there before it gets too hot for all the ramen fiends in the city.

This place has the same menu and style of its Tokyo location’s Thai-Japanese origins.

Address: 76 Mott St (between Canal St & Bayard St), New York Chinatown
Price: $11-14 for ramen, $6-7 for appetizers
Hours:
12-10pm (M-Th, S); 12pm-12am (F-Sa)
Wait / Reservations: They don’t take reservations anyways, wait shouldn’t be too long


biggest table I know for a NY ramen place so if you have a need for party of 10 (no reservations taken of course)

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giant chopsticks and spoon

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i got the lemon and black pepper, really interesting tangy taste, have never heard of or tried before in ramen


i ate too fast and forgot to take a picture, so this is from another source, but the pork was to die for, they said it was berkshire pork (french laundry uses the same), but so tender and savory, the amount of soup was a little small but the ramen still retained all the soup’s flavors

Verdict: Deserves another look, I will go back for more pork(!) and try their green curry ramen (their specialty and the genesis of their Thai-inspired taste)

Desserts – Serendipity 3 and ChikaLicious

If steak and heels are the way to a man’s heart, desserts and rom-coms are among the keys to a woman’s heart…I think. Well either way, there’s nothing better than some steaming, sweet, hot chocolate on a snowy cold New York December night. What you say? It’s actually a frozen hot chocolate?

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We must be at Serendipity 3 then. If that name sounds familiar it’s because Kate Beckinsale and John Cusack help turn the 50-year-old celebrity dessert cafe into even more of a a tourist trap in 2001’s Serendipity (movie stills below).

Address: 225 E 60th St (between 2nd and 3rd Ave), New York (near Bloomingdales and other shopping)
Price: add $5 to what you would have expected; we got three things for total of $30 / person
Hours: 11:30am-12am (S-Th), 11:30am-1am (F-Sa)
Reservations / Wait: Only takes reservations for lunch / dinner (set spending amount), average wait on a busy night is one hour plus, best bet is to make a reservation one day in advance at least and expect to pay for it

Okay, but back to the food. Honestly, the frozen hot chocolate, their signature dish, was just average and pretty much what you would expect. Other than the name, it was not much different than, just as one example, Starbucks’ blended frappuccinos topped with whipped cream. The size was big though so it’s perfect for two.

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We also got a Shepard’s Pot Pie which was pretty jarring temperature-wise vs. the cold drinks, but only marginally better than Marie Callender‘s. Yea, don’t get cooked food at a dessert place.

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So we went with another dessert – a special sundae with a piece of pie inside. This was actually our favorite, lots of different flavors. The berries were a little too cold to chew on, but overall, this was something that Serendipity 3 did better than other dessert joints.

Verdict: Only worth going to impress a date. Long line and high prices for desserts you can get elsewhere.

For a much better dessert option, check out ChikaLicious Dessert Club:

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Address: 204 E. 10th Street between 1st & 2nd, New York (across the street from ChikaLicious Dessert Bar (more of a sit-down place)
Price: ~$3-5 for each dessert, small but shareable portions
Hours:  7am-12am (M-Sa), 7am-11pm (S)
Reservations / Wait: No reservations, should only be a 10 minute wait if busy (we got in at 8pm on Wednesday night with no wait)

We got a dough’ssant (best fake cronut I’ve had and I’ve had four different kinds), nutella cupcake (they have ten+ really interesting flavors), and tiramisu mochi (which was like a flavor explosion). The Dessert Club is a small place and grab-and-go. For a full menu, sit-down, date spot, the Dessert Bar across the street is the better option, albeit, it’s only open Thursday-Sunday.

Verdict: I would definitely go again and try other flavors, it’s great for after St. Marks dinner – assuming you didn’t already stuff yourself silly. To prevent that. we went here before dinner. Priorities, y’know!

Sushi Nakazawa

A couple months ago when I first heard that one of Jiro’s apprentices opened up a new restaurant in NYC, my pants quickly became moist with joy. Ever since I saw Jiro Dreams of Sushi, I’ve been wanting to go eat at his restaurant, but seeing that I probably would not be going to Tokyo anytime soon, this was a pretty awesome alternative. The restaurant is located in West Village and reservations weren’t surprisingly terrible to make.

The meal had roughly 20 pieces of nigiri with a nice raspberry sorbet at the end to top it off. We got the sake pairing as well which was a nice addition to the meal.

Overall verdict: I’m surprisingly pretty conflicted with this one. The quality and freshness of the fish is absolutely top class, without a doubt. The problem I ran into (and I think it’s mainly because I have the palate of a 2-year-old) was that I wasn’t able to taste the more subtle flavors of some of the fish. Fish with stronger, bolder flavors like mackerel and barracuda was absolutely spectacular, but there were some fish like the fluke which I thought was pretty bland. Overall, out of the 20 pieces, I would say 13-14 were amazing and the others were pretty average. I’m not sure if I’d go again but definitely worth a try.

Now for the pictures….Also I couldn’t decide whether or not my camera or phone took better close-up photos so half these pics are from my camera and the other half from my phone. But clearly there was an obvious winner…

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Ivory Salmon

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Some other kind of wild salmon I forgot the name of

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Best scallop ever

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Giant Clam

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Fluke

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Wet Barracuda – this thing was AMAZING

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Haku

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Mackerel – so good

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Tiger Shrimp – the tail was still moving when we ate it ~~

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Blue Shrimp

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Wild Yellowtail

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Amberjack

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Skipjack – this thing was beautiful

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Bluefin Tuna – pretty lean and bland sadface

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Bluefin Tuna 2 – this was so good

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Toro!! so fatty and yummy

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Uni: Best dish of the night by far – butter of the sea

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Roe – so good too

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Sea eel – amazinggg

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Egg sushi – in the documentary it talks about how Nakazawa spent 3 months making only egg sushi under Jiro’s tutelage.. and it fucking paid off LOL best egg sushi ever omg

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Top off the meal with some nice raspberry sorbet yumyum

Kappo at Má Pêche – Diminishing Marginal Utility of Food?

If music be the food of love, play on;
Give me excess of it, that, surfeiting,
The appetite may sicken, and so die.
That strain again! it had a dying fall:
Twelfth Night, Act I, Scene I

There are a few certainties in life and one is that if you get offered one of the eight seats at Momofuku Má Pêche’s 10 course chef’s tasting menu “kappo“, you pretty much have to go. Another, related, fact of life is that law of diminishing marginal utility always wins out.

Address: In Chambers Hotel, 15 w. 56th Street, between 5th and 6th Ave., New York
Price: $95 / person, $65 for the drink pairing (don’t get it)
Hours: One seating per night Weds-Sat 7:30pm
Wait / Reservations: No wait! Because you’re paying for the personal service…and because you called at least one week before to make your reservation.

And I’m not kidding about the personal service: the head chef Paul Carmichael will call you the day of to ask if you have any allergies / preferences…and that’s just the beginning of his very hands-on demeanor. Paul and his entire staff will, in a laid-back but quietly efficient manner, prepare your dishes mere inches from your counter seat. There’s a very brief introduction before each dish is served. And brief also is the respite from the staccato proficiency of the staff. Ten dishes actually went by pretty fast since there was never a lull in the action – an edible substance is constantly being cut/cooked, shoved in front of you, into your mouth, or all of the above. So if you aren’t examining your plate to see what completely unexpected ingredients Paul has cooked together, you are watching the action in front of you.

Needless to say, the portion sizes aren’t huge, but if the first several don’t look filling, you will understand later that they are small for a reason. On the other hand, Paul doesn’t use traditional reason for his style or for his order – Momofuku is Asian fusion, but Paul is Barbadian; dessert might come last or it might not, bread might come first or it might come in the middle. Only one thing is sure: don’t get the drink pairing because devouring the food itself will occupy enough of your energy.


Chef Paul says hi

1
Seasoned pork rinds and other dried, crunchy snacks like fried chicken skin and nori – a new treat for those who didn’t frequent Asian grocery stores in their youth. For Asians, the newness is that we can safely eat them without getting yelled at by mothers who want to save for the soup. Oh, there was a “ghetto white sauce” on the side for dipping. Hunger level: 11 out of 10.

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Choice slices of marine animals with fava shoots, strawberries, and some lime juice. Really cleansing? Either way, fruit + sushi = must-try combination. Hunger level: 10/10

4
More fish! This time, topped with sea foam. I spent too much time trying to figure out where the sea foam came from and couldn’t really taste the fish and black dots. Weakest dish. Hunger level: 9/10

5
The lobster that they were pulling apart in the beginning is dropped in here with fried cassava and cucumber. He loves to garnish, which is great to chew on while waiting for the next dish. I ate both separately and together – both way was absolutely delicious. Hunger level: 8/10

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I was excited to see meat (and our first cooked dish), but then realized that it was steamed oyster mushrooms. The other chunks were tofu and the green dots were chimichurri. I’m a big fan of mushrooms and the sauce really got the right flavoring. Hunger level: 7/10

8
Alright this is where it gets interesting. That’s just a poached egg chilling in the bottom. Then they douse it with some caramelized onion puree and grated parmesan cheese. They call it french onion soup….? Hunger level: 7.5/10

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My soup is on fire! With a light-based blowtorch? So curious I drank it all in two gulps. Ooops. Hunger level: 6/10

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This was hands down the best part of the meal. Sea-salted challah (Jewish egg-based bread) soaked with duck fat. You can dip it in the aforementioned french onion soup or you can just eat as is. I just wanted. To. EAT. All. The. Bread. Hunger level: 4/10

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Actually not a big letdown with this ramen dish served Italian-style with tomato, pork jowl and monkfish liver. Looks just like spaghetti without meatballs but the texture of ramen made it slightly more shocking. Wait who am I kidding, I was still on a high from the bread. Mistake: ate my dining mates’ ramen too. Hunger level: 2/10

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Time to do some work! They gave us a wooden mortar and pestle set to grind our own mofongo (a fried plantain-based dish from Puerto Rico) – also including more pork rinds (chicharron), garlic, and lobster stock. The deep bowl deceptively conned me into eating way too much here, but absolutely delicious. Hunger level: 0/10

22
Duck two ways – duck sausage on the left and duck breast on the right. Normally I would’ve ate this up, but I started to hit a wall here. I would come back just for the duck. Hunger level: -2/11

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Our first “oh please let this be the end” moment. We got a palate cleanser in the form of chrysanthemum tea poured over apple granita. Leave it to an Asian fusion restaurant to serve tea in the middle of a dinner. Hunger level: -1/11

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Frozen fruit and some ice cream in the middle, but honestly I was just running back and forth to the bathroom at this point. Other days had more interesting dessert concoctions. Perhaps, Paul took pity on our over-satiated state. Hunger level: -3/11

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Chef Paul says bye

Verdict: A great experience and extreme value for the dollar spent compared to other New York tasting menus. Highly recommend for anyone who likes good food and worth a second trip in a different season. Now I know not to over eat during the middle portions of the food procession and to obey my economic principles.

Kristabelli – KBBQ

I’ll see your stainless steel Korean bbq plate, and I’ll raise you one crystal grill Korean bbq plate. Oh, did I mention that I’ll throw in an underdraft system that keeps the smoke away from your clothes? And how can I forget that the beef is all wagyu-style, perfectly tenderized without marinate?

Yes, after all the press about this new upscale Korean bbq place brought to New York by the man, the legend, JYP himself…you know I had to experience Kristabelli. Much more than the typical kbbq joint on 32nd street, this was an experience. Each piece of meat was cooked to perfection on your table by an uniformed waiter utilizing all the smokeless advantages of infrared ray-grilling technology.

Address: 8 W 36th St (between 6th & 5th Aves), New York, NY
Price: we got stuffed for $35 / person
Hours: Lunch: 11:30am-2:30pm; Dinner: 5pm-11pm (upstairs bar/lounge probably stays open longer)
Wait / Reservations: Don’t ever make reservations ktown – there are way too many options nearby

dining roomthe grill

The grill and the dining room

starter disheswagyu strip steak

An individual set of starter dishes for everyone. The unmarinated wagyu strip steak brought out while the grill is heated

tofu salad

Tofu salad with salmon roe topping was delicious

beef dabubapseafood soondubu

More side entrees while waiting for the main dish – beef dabubap (cooked bibimbap basically) and seafood soondubu (tofu stew) –> individually portion’d out

moar meat meat

Wagyu beef (supposedly on par with kobe-style) and pork slices with assorted vegetables —> waiter cuts up and cooks for you, the crystal grill retains heat between cookings so food is faster to your tummy and there is no black burnt spots on pieces sitting as you digest

dessert

Sesame, vanilla, multi-grain ice cream balls with almond flakes on the side

Brunch: 44 & X

What’s better for a lazy Sunday morning than greasy food dressed up in a disarmingly appetizing presentation? Luckily, we found a cute place without a long wait, reasonable prices, and slightly cramped quarters (last night’s gossip from strangers totally satisfying the voyeur in us). Best part: great lighting for pictures!

Name: 44 & X
Address: 44th and 10th Avenue, New York, NY
Price: ~$15 / person
Hours: Brunch Sat-Sun 11:30am to 3pm
Wait / Reservations: Only losers make reservations for brunch, wait was 15 minutes for busy morning

pancakes and sausage and lots of maple syrup

Why you need at least two people for a satisfying brunch…because then you can sample all four of the brunchy staples – pancakes, eggs, sausage, bacon.

scrambled eggs and bacon

“Can I eat now?”

mini muffins

These muffins were actually the best part

Verdict: probably better places in brunch-crazy NYC, but this place gets the job done swiftly and painlessly