Yummy, yummy in my tummy! Republic is one of my favorite places to eat in the city and I always jump at the chance to eat there, mostly because I always suggest it when looking for a restaurant in Union Square. Let me first make one suggestion...eat it there. Taking it to go drastically lessens the enjoyment factor, not only because of the quality of the preparation but the overall ambience of the place as well. With it's hustle and bustle, cafateria-esque seating, to the amazing aroma's eminating from it's open kitchen, Republic has been a standard in Union Square for years. Republic doesn't subscribe to one type of Asian cuisine even though it leans towards Vietnamese, but it's the added little touches that really set this place apart. So today off to lunch I went with something inside me pushing me in that direction...I think it was my stomach. Originally upon entering I thought I would order my usual...Wonton Soup with it's Shrimp, Pork and Vegetable Broth, Wontons, Glass Noodles (always love the sound of that), Cabbage, Chinese Greens, Fried Shallots, Garlic and of course Cilantro. But no! I had to go and try something else because, you know, I gotta write about it. I suppose at some point since the last time I was there they created an Eat-In-Only Lunch Special Bento Box menu that shouted my name the second the menu was placed in front of me. It didn't take long then for me to decide on Bento Box #5, with it's Noodle Salad, Fried Wontons (YES!) and Grilled Pork Chop with Rice served in a very attractive arrangement. I cracked apart my chopsticks and dug in. Oh and I ordered a Ginger Ale, not that that really matters. First off the wontons were fabulous sitting in their spicy sweet sauce (that I later poured on the rice)...there were only 2 but with everything else I had to eat that was plenty. Next up was the Noodle Salad and what's a trip to Republic without eating some noodles...not a trip I say. That was also delicious but the Prok Chop in it's nice little pot was still waiting to be conquered...oink, oink. I am always so amazed at how much I enjoy Vietnamese style Grilled Pork Chops even after eating them hundreds of times (yes hundreds), it's almost like I am eating them for the first time everytime (60% of the time it works everytime....oh nevermind). It's always so great when you frequent a place that it continually offers new and tasty choices while still keeping the old favorites that got you hooked in the first place. Republic is located at 37 Union Square West in between Heartland Brewery and McDonalds...hard to miss. The Bento Box special is offered daily from 11:30 to 5:00pm. Please check out Republic's website, http://www.thinknoodles.com/, to find out more info! You stay classy New York City.
Wednesday, June 30, 2010
Tuesday, June 29, 2010
Friday, June 25, 2010
So the other day I went out for a walk, stomach growling (which is a bad thing), and thought I was headed to Defontes of Brooklyn to try their Firehouse Special which I was told to try the last time I was there. It's got Roast Pork, Fried Eggplant, Broccoli Rabe, Provolone Cheese and man it's even making my mouth water right now. However something distracted me. When I saw the sign for Baoguette and Thao Noodle I thought...could it be a Vietnamese sandwich place? Totally forgetting my original purpose I darted accross 3rd Avenue and opened the door to find that it was in fact a Vietnamese Sandwich place and it wasn't located in Chinatown. Woo Hoo! Anyway I picked up the paper menu and located what I would order in a matter of seconds...the Baoguette (traditional Vietnamese sandwich) which was the first sandwich on the list. Back to the growling stomach...and because of that I also ordered Spring Rolls which of course I shouldn't have, but the important thing was the sandwich. A little pricier at $6 compared to the $4.25 in Chinatown, the sandwich looked and smelled exactly like the real thing so I was really excited. However, in a very good way, the difference here was the addition of the Char Siu Pork, which is BBQ Pork for the layman, and it made this sandwich a bit tastier than it's Chinatown brethren. Heresy I know. The truth is in the flavor. I must say that this sandwich was also a bit spicy, that's ok for me but I am not sure how anyone else would feel about that, just be warned. Honestly I was unable to finish the whole sandwich because I had managed to eat all of the Spring Rolls (which weren't great) beforehand and that may have also affected my enjoyment. Damn stomach grumbling! Shortly after eating at Baoguette I read an article in New York Mag that suggested the best sandwich there was actually not the one I ate but the Sloppy Bao with it's Spicey Red Curried Beef, Green Mango and Basil. Oh the horror! It just means that I will have to go back someday soon and eat one. Baoguette actually has 3 locations in the city and you can find out where at...http://www.baoguette.com/, and also check out their other menu items.
Thursday, June 24, 2010
Sunday, June 20, 2010
http://www.streetsweetsny.com/ to find out what else is on their menu. C is for cookie that's good enough for me!No I am not the Cookie Monster even though sometimes I eat like him. Is it me or are these baked goodies trucks always near when you want something sweet to eat? Perhaps even when you don't but you want it anyway? This is constantly my dilemna. So when I went out on a break in search of some apples at the Greenmarket the other day it was no shock to see the Sweet Treats Truck sitting right in my path almost daring me to buy something. Kind of like a dealer with a bag of weed, I know what he's got and he knows I am gonna buy. The Dough Dealer. Such is my life, I get high on Chocolate Chip cookies. I didn't even bother reading through the menu because I could see the delicious goodies right through their convenient little window. Chocolate Chip = $1.50...and for good measure a Flourless Chocolate Walnut Cookie = $2.25. By the way I did buy some apples, 2lbs of MacIntosh for $2, cheaper than the damn Chocolate cookie. That's not really the point however. We're talking about a delicious, yummy Chocolate Chip cookie with oozing chunks of melting chocolate because it's so warm outside so you shove it in your mouth even before you get back to work cookie...oh man. Perhaps because I was a little too ambitious I purchased the Flourless Chocolate Cookie with Walnuts thinking I would eat them both, I mean I certainly wanted to but come on even I have to have a little self control sometimes. It didn't go to waste, I gave it to a fellow employee who said it was like eating a brownie in cookie form...damn! So high marks go to the Sweet Treats Truck for making such delicious and delecatable cookies that I will desire constantly (bastards) and hopefully they won't be stalking me outside when I leave to go home today. Check out their website:
Saturday, June 19, 2010
Tuesday, June 15, 2010
Wait, What? That kind of looks like...IN-N-OUT Burger. Hmmm....time to investigate. I am a huge IN-N-OUT fan after living out west for a few years and miss it terribly, so when I get teased like this it really hurts. Actually someone played a joke on April 1st here in the city posting IN-N-OUT coming soon signs on empty spaces all over the city...at least that's amusing. Originality is certainly hard to come by these days. Movies, Music, Clothing and Restaurants are all copied over and over again because people don't often like to take chances (see The Karate Kid, Lady GaGa and any chain Restaurant). When you are good you will certainly be copied and that goes for most things in life. But in the immortal words of one of my favorite movies, Highlander (only the first one), 'There can be only one!'. Darn tootin'! So mainly for utter curiosity, and because I really didn't want to eat my leftovers, I headed over to 23rd street and Park to see just what these guys were up to. It was astounding. Not only did they rip off the colors and the uniforms but the menu board as well, I mean it almost felt like I was walking into a mini IN-N-OUT. At one point Fresh And Fast was once known as 'Fresh-N-Fast' but they changed it because I think they knew that it would have been way to obvious (and to avoid a lawsuit as well). So down to the nitty gritty...could this place duplicate the taste? Nope, but it wasn't bad. I ordered a Cheeseburger meal with the accompanying Fries and Soda all for about $9 and change.
Monday, June 14, 2010
Saturday, June 12, 2010
Friday, June 11, 2010
Shake Shack will be opening a new location in the Theater District, 8th Avenue at 44th Street to be exact, which will be the only reason I will go to that area. They will also be opening up a new location on the Upper East Side at 154 E 86th Street, holy cow! That would make 5 locations in the city, Madison Square Park (where it all began), Upper Westside on Columbus and at Citi Field, you know where the Mets play. There is no specific dates for these openings but it is believed that possibly early July is the target. Very exciting!
In the last issue of New York Magazine (actually the 6/7 issue) they pick the 51 best sandwiches in the city and if you head over to their website it's expanded to 101! Some standouts are as follows: Katz Pastrami is #14, Baoguette's Sloppy Bao is #20, Di Palo Dairy's Porchetta Sandwich is #23, Defonte's of Brooklyn's Peppers and Egg is #87 and at #101 is The Elvis at Peanut Butter & Co.. What this list really tells me is that I need to eat a lot more sandwiches. There is also a fun Subway Vs. Quiznos comaparison but really with all these sandwiches to eat why on earth would you ever go there? The article stretches from pages 42 to 49 in the actual issue if you happen to find one. On the website it's called Dagwood, Eat Your Heart Out.
http://www.nymag.com/, go there now!
Thursday, June 10, 2010
Apparently there is more than one Ko Sushi in town and I went to the one at 208 3rd Avenue where it was nice and quiet. That's what I was looking for. When I dine alone I would rather go to a place that is empty and without all the fuss that comes with being a hot spot. Those are for the times when you are with others, then it's not so bad. I stumbled upon this place not even looking for Japanese or sushi for that matter since I don't actually eat it. I like all the other stuff. Teryaki, Udon, Katsu...nothing with fish, I'm weird like that. Does that disqualify me as a foodie? Who cares! Anyway I decided that it was a day to sit down and have lunch and not take it to go where it would probably be less enjoyable. Hence why I was so interested in the fact that it was a quiet place. Walking in I had noticed that they offered a lunch special for $8 bucks, it was written sloppily on some board in the window, so that was a plus. Hmmm...what to order I thought. I chose the Pork Katsu (breaded pork) bento box which came with a choice of soup or salad, but I wanted both. So I got a side salad for a $1.75 extra. Little did I know that it also included unlimited cups of green tea because when my soup and salad arrived there was the tea, how great! Good miso soup, good salad dressing...on to the box. I love getting a bento box with all it's neat little compartments and sections, it's kind of like a puzzle, you should take it all apart when you eat and then reassemble it when you are done. First to finish the puzzle wins! On the top left it with a lump of White Rice then 4 California Rolls (that I don't eat) and sauce for the Pork. Below that ,also to the left, was the crunchy Pork, a spot of Ginger and Wasabi then a Spring Roll, Gyoza, and Shumai...whew! A daunting task but one I would have no trouble dismantling. I wonder if it was a full moon becuase I took a chance and ate 2 of the California Rolls even with the little bit of fish in them, I don't know what it was but it wasn't bad, not that I would ever order it. Everything else was delicious and just what I was looking for and $12.00 total with tip! Can't beat that. I will definitely be visiting again and next time I'm trying the Teryaki!
...And I am not sure that's a good thing, but maybe it is for people other than me. I have been to Rickshaw once before, a visit that was less than memorable, no that it was bad, it just wasn't that good. They call themselves a dumpling bar, so of course the first time I ordered dumplings. I don't even remember which kind I ordered but for the money I was expecting a bit more. On their website they have various quotes about their dumplings, one in particular from Martha Stewart that is mindboggling. She said, and I quote, "They make the best dumplings in town." Unreal. Hey Martha Have you ever been to Chinatown? Perhaps you should get out sometime and see what New York City has to offer. They are a simple, straightforward establishment that has all the slick interior elements to attract those who are into that sort of thing, like me, but lack the flavor that is needed. Chipotle has that. Recently I have been walking in a direction that takes me past the Rickshaw that is on 23rd Street near 6th Avenue and I had noticed a sign for their new Roast Pork Buns but had yet to give them a try. I am a bit of a conisseur of pork buns, whether steamed or baked, and usually reserve myself to eating them only when in Chinatown either for Dim Sum or at Tai Pan Bakery. So of course I was skeptical. It just so happened today that I was running late to work (very late) and in passing the same location I decided I would give the buns a try, mostly because I was hungry and looking for something simple. I ordered 2 Braised Roast Pork Buns and a side of cold Edamame and headed to work to see if my opinion of their food would improve. And it did. The buns were exactly what I was hoping they would be, delicious. It turns out that they can be a great alternative to the normal pork buns that I love even if they are a tad bit expensive. The difference here is that they present them much like a mini taco with the sweet bun wrapping the pork, cabbage and sauce. The pork was extra tender and tasty, but the really great part was the addition of the cabbage which gave it the extra crunch it needed. Not that I am totally convinced by the place and their main choice of dumplings, but I have been a bit swayed by their buns enough so to say you should give the place a try. Who knows maybe you will like their dumplings better than I. Rickshaw used to have 2 locations but the one on 8th Street closed a short time ago. They have a travelling truck if you are so inclined which you can follow on their website: http://www.rickshawdumplings.com/.
Sunday, June 6, 2010
Saturday, June 5, 2010
To me a good Bacon, Egg and Cheese is simple. It first has to have a really good Kaiser roll that is fresh and preferably has poppy seeds on top (its just my preference). The Eggs have to be freshly made and not some pre-fab square that looks like Spongebob Squarepants that they serve you at Starbucks. There has to be an ample amount of Bacon (not the microwavable kind) and the Cheese must be melted appropriately. That's not a lot to ask. Often a sub-standard BE&C is lacking in one of these areas. Places to avoid: Shops that put exactly the same amount of ingredients on every sandwich, for example only two strips of Bacon. Places that use some other kind of roll or some fancy Ciabatta bread. Stores that forget to put the Cheese on top while the Eggs are cooking (this is important to having the Cheese properly melt all over). Now it is perfectly fine, for you, to eat any kind of BE&C sandwich that you want in the morning, but for me it's way more important to be satisfied with what I think is a traditional BE&C. So when I walked in to the Food Depot on 5th Avenue the other morning I was hoping that they were going to serve me up a decent BE&C, that way I wouldn't be too disappointed if it sucked. Lower than normal expectations can really help in the enjoyment of a meal especially if it's one you have often. The reason I chose to search out a new place for a BE&C that morning is because the deli closest to my job, Andy's Famous, hasn't always followed my guidelines and often the quality varies from day to day. The first thing I noticed was that the damn place was huge and had the largest selection of beverages that I have ever seen, not that it made any difference to what I was going to order. Their breakfast spread was quite impressive as I approached the counter to order. I watched closely as they quickly prepped the sandwich, first throwing the Eggs on to the steamy grill, then cutting open the Kaiser roll, yes with poppy seeds. The guy added two pieces of Cheese to the Eggs which was a bit of a surprise and then unfurled 3 strips of Bacon and laid them next to the sizzling Eggs. In a moment the whole concotion was wrapped, cut, foiled, priced and handed over to me with a smile...ok the smile part was added for a bit of drama...he actually kind of scowled...but I wasn't affected either way. Let's not get crazy here it's a damn breakfast sandwich but there is nothing wrong with wanting to find the best tasting sandwich if you are gonna eat it from time to time. Luckily it was a good one as you can see from the above picture, with it's perfect mix of all said ingredients throughout the sandwich. Food Depot (not much different from Home Depot actually) is located at 19th Street and 5th Ave and is open everyday.
Friday, June 4, 2010
It's a very important day today when cops everywhere will be sitting at coffee shops and eating donuts...just like they do everyday. Well June 4th is National Donut Day which was started by the Salvation Army (Huh?) in 1938 to honor the women who served donuts to our servicemen in the first World War...how bizarre. Here are some interesting facts regarding the sweet round things with the hole in the middle:
Americans devour (and I do mean devour) over 10 billion donuts a year...good gosh.
Canada has the most donut shops per capita...however America has way more shops overall.
Louisville, KY is the #1 donut loving city, per capita again, and they are darn tootin' proud of that fact.
Completely unrelated...Louisville, KY also has the largest number of heart bypass surgeries in the country, not per capita, and not substantiated either (for effect actually).
Donuts originated from Holland in the 16th century...those damn Dutch!
Here is some more pertinent information regarding today:
Dunkin Donuts will be giving away one free donut with the purchase of any beverage.
Krispy Kreme will be giving away one free donut to every customer who asks...and by the way they ask that you leave your wigs and fake mustaches at home because they can tell.
The Donut Pub on 203 W 14th st will be giving away one free donut with every dozen purchased...ever hear of a bakers dozen?
Donut Plant on Grand St. is offering nothing and when I called I was told that they will be serving just their normal special donuts. Great! I'm gonna go there then.
A note of caution...please do not use this day as an excuse to stuff your faces. Don't say it's only one donut and it won't affect your diet. And don't blame me for eating a free donut after reading this...free will man, free will.
Tuesday, June 1, 2010
That was my late lunch today. A Slow Roasted Pork sandwich from 'wichcraft on 20th street just off of Broadway. I'd seen a lot of people carrying the bags before and always wondered where it was, it also meant that it was probably pretty good. And in fact it was delicious! Inside of this wonderful little sandwich was the aforementioned Slow Roasted Pork with Red Cabbage, Jalapenos, Mustard(Spicey Dijon) all on a Ciabatta Roll and it was slightly toasted. Even though I knew there were Jalapenos in the sandwich I was still a little surprised by the burning of my lips and the inside of my mouth, but in no way did it affect my enjoyment. Of course the Dijon Mustard added to that kick. I have probably said this before but the heart of every sandwich is its meat (at least for the meat eaters among us) and the Roasted Pork didn't disappoint, it was juicy and flavorful. Overall a very enjoyable little bundle even if it cost $9.74. 'wichcraft has locations in NY, San Fran and Las Vegas with 12 locations in Manhattan alone, so there is a pretty good chance that you'll run into one at some point. They also have a lot more on the menu to choose from like Soups, Salads, Coffee and Sweet Treats, so you don't have to have a hankering for one of their 'wiches if you don't want to...