Tuesday, August 19, 2014

North River 08-17-2014

Location: 166 1st Ave.
Time: 11:30am
People: RB, CK and myself


-Amazing list of comfort food with locally sourced ingredients...without kale and other overdone cliches.
-Victorian style flatware and decor in modern setting. There are more seats in the back room.
-Highly recommend "Belly Doughnut"($8)-- toasted coconut doughnut is sliced, and pork belly is sandwiched in between. It is playful and creative but never gimmicky.
-Eggs are perfectly cooked, and the seasoning for home fries is well balanced.
-Every flavor is subtle and elegant yet vibrant, and the quality of ingredients is exceptional.
-Serves complimentary rolls with butter and sea salt (delectable) and seltzer water. Free seltzer!!!
-Also recommend fluffy banana bread despite its dense appearance.
-When we were dining, they were playing amazing 80's power ballads. They complimented the wonderful soft butter. Both melted in my heart.

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Coffee Talk: CoffeeTonics 08-10-2014


-Apparently, coffee tonics are the summer drink of this year now that cold brew has become a staple of almost every coffee shop.
-Espresso tonic at Konditori in Cobble Hill (114 Smith Street) is refreshing and crisp. The combination of bitter and subtly sweet is perfect for the summer heat.
-Coffee flavored products are very popular in Japan: I grew up with coffee gum, coffee jelly, coffee candy, and coffee soda (tea soda is also ubiquitous). Why not try this Suntory's Espressoda if you see one at your nearby Japanese supermarket?
-If you want to try something even more interesting, try Thunderbolt at Smith Canteen in Carroll Garden (343 Smith St). It's a coffee version of Arnold Palmer, made with freshly made lemonade and Counter Culture coffee.

Monday, August 4, 2014

The MasalaWala 07-27-2014

Location: 179 Essex St
Time: 4:30pm
People: RB, CK and myself

-Delicious Southeastern Asian (India, Sri Lanka, Pakistan) street snacks served at this low key LES spot.
-Friendly service.
-Extremely flavorful with dense, complex layers of notes without too much grease or salt.
-Vegetarian friendly. Try the Wala Veg Sampler ($10) for the assortment of street food like Mumbai Samosa, Dilli Bajji, and Paneer Pudina Tikka.
-Lamb Pasandra ($18, Australian lamb in fresh tomato cream and ground onion sauce with crushed aniseed)
is addictively delicious.
-Next time, I'll definitely have to try their NIzami Kati Rolls! ($6)

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Fletcher's Brooklyn Barbecue 06-08-2014

Location: 433 3rd Ave. BK
Time: 4pm
People: RB, CK and myself

-It's quintessential Brooklyn Barbecue: sustainable and humane in practice, wooden communal tables, bar with great beer selection.
-Sleek and stylized comfort food.
-The sides are the winner of this joint. Creamy mac and cheese, pit-smoked baked beans, great burnt end chili-- if you are not a fan of meats and barbecue, just go for the sides.
-I asked RB regarding the meat, and he says, "very meaty."
-This is Gowanus after all. You will encounter some musicians whose guitar cases will take over the entire space before/after their show at The Bell House.

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.