Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Ramen-Ya 07-06-2014

Location: 181 W.4th St.
Time: 1pm
People: RB, CK and myself

-Cash only, unpretentious cozy ramen shop in West Village, which did not have much ramen presence until now.
-Quintessential superb Japanese service.
-Everything is made in house including miso and sauces.
-Broth is clean and simple, no frills, just the way I love.
-They serve a respectful, delicate bowl of ramen, similar to the flavor you get in Japan--no over-salted, spicy, fatty broth you get at famous ramen shops around the city that gears towards American palate.
- Shio black ramen is $12. With extra $1, you can have a spicy option of chili oil.
-Soupless ramen (abura soba, $15) is delicious and flavorful.
-They have a perfectly cooked bowl of smooth, shiny rice. That's how you can tell if they are a legitimate spot for Japanese restaurant.

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

French Louie 07-05-2014

Location: 320 Atlantic Ave. BK
Time: 5pm
People: RB, CK and myself

- This new French Boerum Hill restaurant by the Buttermilk Channel team has a beautiful outdoor garden.
- Go at 5pm, secure the outdoor table and enjoy the most serene dining experience. Experience a little oasis in Boerum Hill.
- French Louie is by no means French Louie CK. It is named after a Canadian folklore, Mr. Louis Seymour.
- There are small dishes (1er, $10-$14) to large dishes (2eme, $19-$27) plus steak frites ($24-$37), sides, dessert and of course, cheese.
- Each dish is playful, clean and fresh. It is mainly French bistro food with new American influences such as grits with bacon paired with snail.
- Highly recommend "cauliflower and mixed grains with Harissa yogurt ($7)." It is nutty and creates a lovely flavor heaven.
-Warm, friendly service.

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Mexicue Kitchen and Bar 07-01-2014

Location: 1440 Broadway /40th street between Broadway and 6th Ave/Midtown West
Time: 12pm
People: JH and myself

-Offering a tasty hybrid of Mexican and BBQ, one of the original artisanal New York food trucks, Mexicue's new restaurant is more upscale with full bar.
-Definitely go before 12:15pm to beat the crowd and long line.
-Take-out and table service are available.
-Prices are reasonable, mostly under $10. Kale and Quinoa Bowl (pictured above right) ($8.50 with blackened brussels sprouts) is fresh and flavorful.
-Specialty drinks are available. Spiked Palmero ($8), Mexicue Mule ($8) may be perfect for after work over some chips.

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Oddfellows Ice Cream Co. East Village 06-28-2014

Location: 75 E. 4th St.
Time: 3:30pm
People: RB, CK and myself

-No seating... compared to the original Williamsburg location. There areonly four stools inside and an outdoor bench.
-Eight unique flavors to choose from, which rotate regularly from their 120 truly adventurous flavors. Chorizo caramel, miso butterscotch cherry, celery sorbet, anyone?
-Buttermilk blueberry honey has velvety, smooth texture. It is slightly sweeter than other competitions in the area.
-Nice Jesus art.
-If you are still hungry, try El Diablito nearby for some tasty tacos.

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Freemans 06-07-2014

Location: 8 Rivington Street/ between Freeman Aly and Chrystie St/ LES
Time: 4pm
People: RB, CK and myself

- Get the artichoke dip. The most amazing, cheesy, gooey thing you will never eat.
- Walls are covered with a taxidermy and hunting lodge vibe.
- New-American menu with some British dishes.
- Great cocktail menu with hard to find bottles.
- Late afternoon snacks highly recommended-- with no crowd.
- For dessert, try Morgensterns. (expect some wait)

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Au Za'atar 05-31-2014

Location: 188 Ave A
Time: 1pm
People: RB, CK and myself

Feelings: Au Za'atar, named after Lebanon's famous seasoning mix, is a relatively new Arabian French bistro in East village. It is a dependable spot for the ambitious mixture of the specialties from Lebanon, France and North Africa. With various mezze plates, classic French flavors, Middle Eastern cheeses and organic wine, expect some relaxing time with your friends and family. Variety of craft beers and rustic decor add a modern touch.

They also take an interesting twist to the usual new American brunch dishes. If you are bored of your ordinary Sunday brunch, Au Za'atar will give you robust flavors without being overly adventurous. Roasted Z'atar Tomato Omelette ($12 with halloumi cheese) is perfectly fluffy, and the grilled halloumi cheese is smokey and excellent.

"Kafta Benedict" ($13, grilled kafta meat, poached eggs, Moroccan sauce) is a clever and welcome addition to a classic brunch dish. RB felt the Moroccan red sauce was a much better compliment to the poached eggs than the traditional heavier hollandaise, and the side of fries with sumac and parsley were light and well seasoned.

Our dining experience at Au Za'atar was a solid, comfortable one. They are not there to impress us with new inventive flavors, however, they offer hearty dishes that mothers and grandmothers would make--something that I would crave daily. They aim to please.

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Morgenstern's Finest Ice Cream 06-07-2014

Location: 2 Rivington St.
Time: 4pm
People: RB, CK and myself

Feelings: I don't do the beach. My father took me to the beach near Osaka when I was five years old, and I said with my eyes full of tears, "Where are all the department stores and cafes?" The wrinkle inducing sun and sand, the crowds of half naked people who have not been photoshopped,- this all sounds like a pure hell of a city girl. In order to feel like the summer has arrived, I prefer to enjoy some delicious icy treats--like at the new Nick Morgenstern (Daniel, Gramercey Tavern, El Rey, Goat Town)'s ice cream parlor, Morgenstern's near Freeman Alley.

The ice cream here is "philly style"and eggless with low sugar and butterfat. Scoops start at $4 (CASH ONLY). If you want just simple vanilla or chocolate, think again. There are five vanilla and four chocolate flavors to choose from--  bitter chocolate and salted chocolate, for instance. The menu includes other creative flavors like green tea pistachio, black ass licorice, and banana curry in addition to various selection of sorbet, massive sundaes like "King Kong Banana Split" ($18, bananas, three kinds of ice cream, sesame caramel, pickled pineappl, luxtardo, whipped cream) and ice cream sandwich called "The New God Flow." ($12, Japanese white bread, melting raw milk ice cream, caramelized honey). Whipped cream here is not whipped by machine, rather it is shaken, creating more smooth results.

As much as we enjoyed the atmosphere of the parlor, the nearly 20-30 minute wait for a scoop of ice cream is pure madness. The place is packed with irritated sugar deprived customers waiting for their decedent ice cream. The chef and staffs are constantly opening and closing every covered container, which seems to be taking up a lot of time to fulfill the orders. They are providing the service and quality of more like a dessert restaurant such as Chikalicious--if this is the case, table service would be more helpful.

I would love to go back when there is no line. (sounds like it would never happen due to its popularity!) Meanwhile, we will try another eccentric ice cream spot,  Oddfellows, which just opened few blocks away. Why would you even go to the beach when you have endless spots to try? You want nature? Try M'Finda Kalunga Garden: The best kept secret in LES...with chicken coop, pond, and flowers.

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Dosa Royale 05-04-2014

Location: 316 Court St. BK
Time: 5pm
People: RB, CK and myself

Feelings: Dosa Royale, a popular vendor from Smorgasburg, brings tasty South Indian fare to Carroll Gardens with a new 60-seat restaurant. The beautiful bar at the front serves creative, specialty cocktails, both alcoholic and virgin variations. Weekend Brunch is also available (a must for restaurants in this area) as well as lunch and dinner.

Dosa is the signature dish here, but Thali ($17 for vegetarian, $19 for non vegetarian) is a must for different flavors. This South Indian platter with multiple of small dishes includes rice, sambar, vegetables, papad, rasam, yogurt, pickle and a sweet. (also available a la carte) It is a fun platter with the mixture of spicy, sweet and tangy.

RB's Sukka Varuval was flavorful and the lamb was tender without being overly spicy.

Prices are of course higher than Jackson Heights, so as the rent. We look forward to another visit, perhaps for their "Dosa Royale-Family Dosa" ($18), a giant version of dosa dish perfect for two people with three fillings.

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Poulette 05-20-2014

Location: 790 9th Ave.
Time: 12pm
People: Eric, AP and myself

Feelings: Poulette brings a bit of je ne sais quoi to ninth avenue in Hell's Kitchen with traditional French rotisserie chicken. With high quality ingredients like organic, free-range chicken from upstate New York, Poulette attracts Midtown workers and Hell's Kitchen locals. Since it's a tiny space with 12 seats, it is more take out friendly.

For some of us who do not eat chicken (how un-French of us), they will not disappoint. There are seven delicious sides of vegetables ($3.75 for small, $6.25 for large) to choose from. Herbed roasted red potatoes are cooked on the French rotisserie machine below the chickens, soaking up all the juicy flavors. Ratatouille and Quinoa Kale Salad are excellent and so comforting-- Perfect lunch to lift you up during your monotonous Midtown weekdays.

Homemade French tarts are also available for the dessert lovers!

Sunday, May 25, 2014

Wechsler's Curry Ketchup is Now Available! 05-24-2014

Feelings: Wechsler's is finally selling their famous curry ketchup for $7! This bottle we bought today will be gone...very soon. Must stock up!