Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Cafe Nadery 04-12-2014

Location: 16 W. 8th St.
Time: 3pm
People: RB, CK and myself

Feelings: Cafe Nadery represents the old bohemian Greenwich Village where intellectuals and artists used to gather, read and have conversations. Now that bohemian West Village has been replaced by NYU and designer coffee, this is quite a treasure in the neighborhood. The cafe is a place for live music, lectures, and art exhibitions, but this Iranian establishment also serves excellent Persian breakfast, lunch, dinner, and various drinks including some serious selections of tea with honey dipped sugar cubes, coffee and beer.

When you enter here, leave the rapid pace of the city behind you. You sit, drink, eat and consume the history and culture. Leave your iPad and read an actual paper newspaper.

The menu is full of vegetarian items. Omelet is extremely fluffy--by far the fluffiest I have ever tasted. The mixed greens are fresh, and the accompanied tea called "better than sex" ($4.5, vanilla rooibos with dark chocolate and peppermint) has quite a lot of delicious notes that should perhaps be called "a lot of sex."

"Kotlet sandwich" ($11, beef and potato patties) is like a superbly seasoned falafel sandwich but with a pleasant meaty texture. Our favorite is by far their Torshi, pickled vegetables. Both RB and I enjoy a lot of kimchi, but their version is even more flavorful. Every part of my palate was stimulated with different notes. The resident carb lover CK thoroughly enjoyed the crunchy lavash bread.

The original Cafe Nadery, opened in 1928, remains open in Tehran. It is wonderful to sit in this 8th street location with our son in a pink shirt, pink cardigan and Scottish Balmoral hat and freely talk just about anything.

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Puff Cha 04-07-2014

Location: 457 50th St.
Time: 12pm
People: AP and myself

Feelings: Ever since I discovered Puff Cha in Hell's Kitchen last week, my coworkers and I have been regulars, mostly due to their tasty $6.95 lunch special but also for the coquettish-cool girl that works behind the counter. She had me at her Leann Rimes vintage t-shirt. Who can really rock that shirt besides maybe Anna del Russo and her?

Puff Cha is not just another Thai spot in the area. Formerly occupied by a scrumptious cookie spot, Ruby et Violette, the space is quaint and personable. This is an ideal establishment for coffee, over 40 kinds of tea, desserts as well as the main attraction, Thai puff pastries. Deep fried dough is filled with various flavors, both savory and sweet. There are 12 different flavors to choose from.

Asides from the puff and grease-soothing tea, my favorite is their rice noodle soup. It is fresh, full of garlic, and the broth is hearty and excellent. Definitely try their lunch special today, and don't forget to order a nice, aromatic pot of Pu-Erh tea while you wait.

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Wasabi Sushi and Bento 03-20-2014

Location: 561 7th Ave.
Time: 12:30pm

Feelings: Wasabi Sushi, the first New York outpost from London, can easily be identified as Pret of sushi. With individually wrapped sushi, rice balls and other Japanese casual eats like katsu, curry, teriyaki and ramen, it is a perfect lunch option for busy Midtown workers. Sushi is priced for two pieces, and they are mostly around $2 to $3.50. Pretty good deal, considering the location, however, I am not too certain how long these wrapped sushi sit around in the impeccably organized layout.

Sunomono Salad ($3.95 with chukka wakame, seaweed, carrot, edamame, cherry tomato, mixed greens with sesame seeds and sesame oil) is my favorite at Wasabi. This seaweed based salad is filling, and the $3.95 price tag is quite a good deal for the portion.

As far as prepared sushi goes, I feel that the Paris version of Pret-sushi, Sushi Shop, offers more clean, tasteful box of simple sushi. Wasabi is definitely more casual and reasonable, but for the flavor competition, the French wins this one. Either way, Wasabi is a great addition to Midtown-- any place I don't have to order my food or talk to people is a winner to me.

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Marietta 03-22-2014

Location: 285 Grand Ave. BK
Time: 11:30am
People: MGru, ALev, RB, CK and myself

Feelings: Marietta, run by the team that brought Smoke Joint, Little Brother, and Peaches, is a nice Southern-inspired spot in Clinton Hill. With comforting and spacious dining area that is rural-chic, this is a ideal place for group brunching.

The menu has many Southern inspired dishes like "extra fancy Memphis fried chicken" and fried green tomatoes. There are several egg dishes for brunch, separated into "scramble" and "poached." My kale and caraway scramble was excellent. The eggs were cooked runny, but then I realized later that I was supposed to scoop the runny eggs with the toast. (I substituted with the bread with potatoes--big fail on my end.)

As a fan of runny eggs, RB felt his poached egg with pastrami was deliciously rich and salty although to some of us, they did seem a bit under-cooked.

MGru's granola coated french toast was on the dry side, and the accompanied syrup did not do the justice.
Overall, we enjoyed the non pretentious atmosphere of the restaurant. It was relaxing and really a lovely establishment. With several options of brunch cocktails, meats and fresh produce, Marietta is a place we can always count on.

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Choice Market 02-22-2014

Location: 318 Lafayette Ave. BK
Time: 10:30am
People: RB and myself

Feelings: For years, this Clinton Hill neighborhood institution has attracted everyone from Pratt students to hipsters, strollers to dog lovers. The indoor communal table is almost always taken, but on a nice, sunny day, spacious outdoor benches become the perfect place for breakfast. With organic, responsible sourced ingredient, food is excellent here. The service is on the slow side, so prepare to wait if you order something from the kitchen.

Omelet ($7.99, served with roasted potatoes and mesclun salad) with spinach and goat cheese is perfectly fluffy and flavorful. The portion is large, and the food really fills up the entire container.

RB's "Eggs on chiabatta" ($3.15) with turkey bacon (+$1.45) is a fresher and tastier alternative to a standard deli breakfast sandwich.

There are various morning pastries here as well as burgers, salmon, BBQ wings, paninis, and salads. They also carry my favorite Brooklyn Roasting Co. coffee, which is a major plus. Make sure to try their famous BLT with rosemary aioli, which was featured on "The Best Thing I Ever Ate" (by Ted Allen!) on the Food Network.

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

The Double Windsor 02-22-2014

Location: 210 Prospect Park West BK
Time: 4pm
People: RB, CK and myself

Feelings: Located by the corner of Prospect Park, this craft beer bar in Windsor Terrace is bustling with beer lovers. Microbrews on tap and imported beers as well as tasty food attract everyone from the neighborhood. Food here is beyond just bar food. The ordering process is as casual as at a pub or bar-- you go up to a window on the side and pay cash (ATM is right by the window), and wait for your food at the table.

Beet Salad ($10, goat cheese, pistachios, mache, honey-sherry dressing) is beautifully presented, and each ingredient is exceptionally fresh. I did not expect this level of execution from a bar, so I was pleasantly surprised.

RB's Catfish Sandwich ($12, Cornmeal fried with roasted jalapeno aioli) was a nice bend of flavor and texture. The crispy cornmeal crust complimented the tender and flaky catfish very well-- all served on a nice chewy bun.

The Double Windsor does not allow under 21 after 5pm aka no babies, a daring rule in Park Slope area. As a parent, I was a little taken back by this ban, but when I saw the number of babies and the size of strollers there along with the amount of cheerios all over the floor, I knew why they had to enforce this. Lots of, lots of babies and enormous strollers...are in this area. But at the same time, I do wonder, "What on earth are you doing in this area if you don't want to coexist with kids?"--the same reason I don't live in suburbs because I don't want to coexist with Uggs or Michael Kors.

Rust Cohle on human consciousness from HBO's True Detective:

Maybe the honorable thing for our species to do is deny our programming, stop reproducing, walk hand in hand into extinction, one last midnight, brothers and sisters opting out of a raw deal. 

The Double Windsor is the perfect to place to honor this quote over a pint of craft beer (unfortunately there is no Lone Star here- just the snooty stuff) ...after 5pm, of course.

Sunday, March 2, 2014

Ready for Another Snow Storm? 03-02-2014

Feelings: Ready for another round of snow? These new Ben and Jerry's flavors with gooey "Core" will get you through the snow day!

Friday, February 28, 2014

Lincoln Station 02-16-2014

Location: 409 Lincoln Pl. BK
Time: 2pm
People: RB, CK and myself

Feelings: After a breathtaking Gaultier exhibition at Brooklyn Museum, we were ready for the best fries in Brooklyn at Lincoln Station, just a few blocks away. At this neighborhood gourmet eatery-cafe, you can enjoy hearty yet sophisticated American fare like sandwiches, rotisserie chicken and soup. Breakfast, lunch and dinner (after 5pm) are available, and the ingredients are fresh and responsibly sourced. There is no waitstaff, and the service is on a slow side. The rustic space is completely packed with Prospect Heights neighbors, many of them quite young.

Food here is cooked in very unique ways. For vegetarians, "Braised Kale" (kale and fava bean sandwich, $8.95 with bread from Bien Cuit!) is popular, and kale salad is excellent in flavors and textures. The toasted walnuts and cheese on top are fantastic.

RB's porchetta sandwich was delicious. A perfect mixture of tender flavored pork and crispy fatty cracklin' sat well on the crispy ciabatta bread.

If you are the type of person who has millions of things to do and gets easily annoyed by entitled millennials, you will be utterly irritated by the wait at this place. However, after you taste their perfectly cooked fries, you will forget about the annoyance. They are crispy and juicy, and the well balanced saltiness will satisfy your palate.

I look forward to coming back to Lincoln Station next time I'm at Brooklyn Museum or Botanical Garden. I'll try to bring more patience for the wait time for those amazing fries for sure.

Friday, February 21, 2014

PYT is Coming to NYC! 02-21-2014

Feelings: Philadelphia's craziest burger joint, PYT is coming to NYC! Enjoy the deep fried Ellio's pizza burger, deep fried Twinkie burger and PB&J burger, guys.

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Han Dynasty 02-15-2014

Location: 90 3rd Ave.
Time: 3:30pm
People: RB, CK and myself

Feelings: Originally from Philadelphia, Han Chiang's popular Han Dynasty has been a fan favorite in East Village. At 3:30pm on a dreary, post-Valentine's Day afternoon, the place was completely packed with hungry families, kids, NYU students, and packs of bros and girls chatting about their dates from the night before (will not pass the the Bechdel test).

There are some similarities between two establishments: Han Dynasty and Mission Chinese in LES-- Both serve American friendly Sichuan cuisine and have gained cult followings outside of NYC before their big move to Manhattan. Han Dynasty is absolutely not hip in any sense, especially compared to Mission Chinese, where you will find a Twin Peaks-themed bathroom, a former Uniqlo model Chef.

Han Dynasty offers "Tasting Menus," starting at $20 per person for parties of eight plus. Also on the menu, you will see distinctly labeled (1) - (10), which are the spice levels that can be altered to your taste. Each dish is generous in portion that is perfect as family style. The most popular, dandan noodles ($7.95, spice level 8) is the highlight of the meal. This is absolutely one of the best noodle dishes in the city as well as Cold Sesame Noodles ($6.95, spice level 0). They both have fierce amount of garlic and umami. The garlic was so strong that on our way home, we stunk up the 4 train with garlic oozing out of our bodies.

Speaking of more garlic, the chef's Taiwanes influence shines through Fried Taiwanese Sausages ($7.95) with several sliced cloves of raw garlic on the side, this is truly a stinky dish. Although this isn't something you want to eat on a date, RB thought it was delicious. It had a nice bite and wonderful smokey flavor.

The Crispy Rice Style ($12.95 with tofu. sweet and sour sauce with bamboo shoots, black mushrooms, wood ear mushrooms on sizzling crispy rice) is excellent in flavors and texture. The crispy rice soaks up all the tasty sauce and becames the perfect left over meal the next day.

We will have to go back. RB will certainly try their deep fried dry pepper wings ($9.95 spice level 8) along with another bowl of addictive dandan noodles.