Friday, July 30, 2010
Like the title says, you will now be able to get terribly annoying comments from me on Twitter, if that's what you are into. However I must warn you that I am not all that interesting and might in fact bore you to death if you follow me. I am very skilled at promoting myself.
Thursday, July 29, 2010
Being sick for the last week has certainly hampered my eating habits, in fact it made me not want to eat at all. Whether the food had no flavor (my Mom's chicken and peas, don't tell her I said that) or simply didn't stay with me long enough for me to enjoy it, being a foodie has never been so tough. But no matter how sick I get, no matter how much the food I am eating tastes like cardboard, I can always fall back on my one true love...Pizza. I have always loved Pizza and being from NYC it's part of our heritage or should I say it's in our veins (clogging them up of course). I am not particularly picky but I certainly appreciate the finer creations. I am also a comfort type of guy so if it's triangle and has cheese I will most likely enjoy what I am eating. However one must have standards. No Domino's, No Pizza Hut, No Papa John's. Period. We live and eat in NYC and should never resort to these sham artists because that's what they are. Now if I am at a party or event and all they have is a stack of Domino's pizzas I will mostly definitely eat a few slices all the while holding up my nose and wondering why on earth these people didn't just call a real pizza place, lack of vision I suppose. Without the bad there of course would be no good, and without the good there would be no great. This is what I live by. I feel it is important to continue eating Pizza at all different locations to get the full spectrum of taste instead of finding one great place and always going there...how boring. Now there are always the special joints that warm the belly whenever they come to mind. Like John's Pizzeria on Bleeker. Grimaldi's in Brooklyn. DaVinci's in Bensonhurst. There are too many to mention. And I am not talking about any gourmet or nouveau joints because they fit into another category...'the not-really-pizza-category-if-you-can't-pick-it-up-and-fold-it-like-a-regular-slice-of-pizza-kind.' If you start talking to me about pizza with a million toppings on it I am gonna tell you to take a hike because after topping four it just ain't pizza no more. And if you say how much you love Hawaiian pizza with it's Ham and Pineapple on top I will send two large dudes from Brooklyn over to your house for a visit. Let's just say they don't eat pizza with Ham and Pineapple. In all seriousness I loves me some pizza, any day of the week any time of the year.
Friday, July 23, 2010
Tuesday, July 20, 2010
Yesterday was a hot and steamy day in NYC, so of course I had to run a couple of errands for work and I was not too happy about it. Oh well. However what it did offer me was a chance to find someplace new for lunch but that meant being outside longer in the dreaded heat (suffer for food bit). I finally came upon a place called Wawa Canteen at 289 Mercer Street just below 8th Street. It's a very small place and I was hoping for a bit of AC, but unfortunately they had none, at least it wasn't blowing in my direction. I soon realized that this place was a Korean eatery and I was very intrigued because there were lots of great choices. What I didn't want was a huge meal so I chose a simple item, Kimchi Fried Rice with Chicken, and thought that would be enough on such a putridly hot day. A nice little touch was their self serve jug of cold water with lemon, of which I had two large glasses, one while I waited for the rice to be done. Once I got my smallish bowl of rice (small for $9.50) I put a few drops of soy sauce on it and dug in. I would just like to clarify that I have never been a Kimchi fan so this was a bit of a stretch for me and I was taking a chance that I might leave totally unsatisfied. No worries. The rice was extremely delicious and looking back it was plenty of food even though I probably could have had some dumplings or something. It may have been a bit pricey but the quality is what counts, so it was well worth it and I will most certainly stop in again at some point. Please check out their website to see their whole menu: www.wawacanteen.com
Monday, July 19, 2010
I know...that must sound like sacrilege coming from a New Yorker like me but it's the truth. A few weeks before 9/11 happened me and the wife moved out to Phoenix, AZ to get a taste of the wild, wild west, but mostly because I had been asked to transfer there by my job. Shortly before we arrived the first IN-N-OUT burger outside of Cali and Vegas was built in Scottdale and soon became the hottest (no pun but it was Arizona afterall) burger destination in the East Valley. Just for reference, Shake Shack wouldn't open it's first location for another 3 years in 2004. Anyway the first time I ever tried an IN-N-OUT burger I wasn't all too impressed and didn't understand what all the fuss was about and basically wrote it off. It wasn't until I was schooled by a native Californian about the secret menu that my interest was peaked again. Animal Style all the way baby! Animal Style for the layman is extra cheese, extra sauce and fried onions added to your burger and if you are extra crazy like me you can also get all of that added to your fries. Sweet! When I moved back home back in 2007 all anyone around here could talk about was Shake Shack, Shake Shack, Shake Shack and from the look of the line in Madison Square Park there must've been something to talk about (not the Bonnie Raitt song). Unfortunately I suffer from IN-N-OUT hangover and compare every burger experience that I have to it, whether that's fair or not I don't know but it's hard to Shake? Let's get down to the nitty gritty. I believe there is one major factor that separates these two burger giants and that is the buns (stop thinking dirty). Most people probably think that it would be the meat that would separate the two. There certainly is some truth to that and in this case Shake Shake has the better piece of meat, no question. However the defining part of any burger, to me, is the bun and how that directly affects the entire experience can be often overlooked. At IN-N-OUT they bake their own buns and lightly toast the inside before the creation of each burger. Shake Shack uses a Potato Bun that they say is grilled (last time I was there the bun was not grilled, but no big deal) and for me that certainly takes away a little bit of the enjoyment. I actually like Potato Buns very much and always use them when I am grilling in the back yard at home. But that's just it, I am going to a place like Shake Shack to eat something special that I can't get at home and the bun is where they fail. To say fail is a bit harsh because overall they are far from that, it's just that I feel more thought should have been put into the type of bun that they chose for this extra special treat.
Saturday, July 17, 2010
I really wasn't planning on eating anymore cupcakes anytime soon especially since I am not a huge fan. Cupcakes man, they just happen. One of my co-corkers thought it would be a nice idea to have champagne and cupcakes to celebrate another co-corkers soon-to-be first born child, at 11am no less. I don't know about you but adding champange and cupcakes to a stomach that only had coffee in it is not necessarily the best thing to do so early in the day. Eh I thought, better than eating nothing. When the time came to select from the lovely cardboard box I centered in on the least obnoxious cupcake in all it's bland looking glory. Fortunately how it looked was the only bland part about it. It was Red Velvet Cake with Sourcream Frosting and it was extrememly good. We toasted and drank champagne at around 11:15...nothing like drinking on the job on a 90+ degree day. I could have eaten another one, of course, but thought it would be better to pass if I was going to make it through the rest of the day unscathed...if ya know what I mean. Champagne has an interesting effect on a semi-empty stomach or on the brain I should say, that's not really conducive to productivity if one should be so inclined. Could have been worse. The cupcakes were from Billy's Bakery in Tribeca, which is at 75 Franklin Street, but they also have another location at 184 9th Avenue.
Friday, July 16, 2010
New Andy Deli at the corner of 17th and Broadway. Turkey sub special with a can of soda for $5.99, that and the fact that it is close to my job are the only reasons to eat this sandwich. It's a solid sandwich that lacks the interest that would make you wanna eat it more than 2 or 3 times a year and only when you've tired of everything else in the neighborhood.
This sandwich was so memorable that I forgot the name of the deli where I got it. It's on Thompson right across from the Soho Grand Hotel. However it was far better than the turkey special and exactly the same price without the free soda. I ordered the Breaded Chicken Cutlet, Lettuce, Tomato and Mayo and got a toasted roll without asking for it. Generally I don't like my rolls toasted, an annoying trend over exposed by that crappy chain Quiznos...m,m,m, not so good. Undaunted I ate the sandwich with reckless abandon rarely seen by those who aren't starving. I topped it off with and ice cold glass of tap water which thankfully was free of charge.
Toasted here = good. The Caprese sandwich at Lucky Strike in Soho is one of my favorites even if I didn't have fries with it that day, I just felt like a side of salad would be more complimentary. Put Fresh Mozzarella on any sandwich for me and it will probably be a winner, heck Fresh Mozzarella on a plate by itself would even do the trick. Here the combination works extraordinarily well together with the toasted bread adding a tremendous crunch (of course when I want it). The Grilled Chicken Sandwich at Lucky Strike also works very well for me when I am in the mood, but alas they don't put any Mozzarella on it...hmmm maybe next time I should ask. What a thought!
FYI: I did not eat all these sandwiches in one day and I don't recommend trying it either. These sandwiches should only be eaten by professional sandwich eaters under the supervision of other consenting adults. Thank you.
With exactly $3 bucks burning a hole in my pocket I thought what better way to spend it than on a scrumptious cupcake from Cake & Shake! This was my second foray to their cart in Washington Square Park which has shifted it's position from the upper east corner of the park to the more central location near the Laguardia St. park entrance. For awhile I thought that maybe they disappeared because every time I walked past the park the cart wasn't there, thankfully that is not the case and my tummy is thankful. Anyway I moseyed on over knowing I wanted to try a different flavor because my goal is to eat every single cupcake on the menu, not all at once of course because there are 20 choices (whew!), that's a lot of cupcakes. After looking thru their little cupcake window I decided on the one they call Watchamacallit (not the 80's candy bar), with it's Milk Chocolate Cake, Caramel Mousse (which is in the center of the cake) and Nougat Frosting with little chunks of chocolate mixed in. Delicious and rich...where was a glass of cold milk when I needed it? Oh well I suffer for food (not fashion).
Wednesday, July 14, 2010
I ain't no stinking vegetarian, not that it's a bad thing to be one. When I say stinking I mean that's what you are gonna be doing after you eat the food! Great balls of Falafel! Maoz Vegetarian has 5 locations in New York and various other cities across the country, plus numerous locations all over Europe. Originally from Amsterdam, Moaz promotes healthy fast food eating with their strictly vegetarian menu, but the real attraction here is their complimentary salad bar which makes each meal one of a kind. So the other day with a hankering for something a little different than the norm, I walked into Maoz hungry for some Falafel, but I wasn't sure what to order. Thankfully there are only really 3 choices, Pita, Small Pita or Salad, of which I chose salad because to me that would be less messy. The salad meal came with a beverage and on the recommendation of the cashier I picked the Lemonade/Iced Tea, but when I called it an Arnold Palmer she said..."Huh?" Anyway once my salad was ready I plundered the complimentary choices piling on the likes of Green Olives, Chick Peas, Cole Slaw, Cucumbers and Tomatoes, Some Green Ricey Stuff, Roasted Broccoli, Feta Cheese and a whole lot of Yogurt Dressing. Yum! I couldn't wait to get back to work to eat this delicious creation that I uh created. And when I say it was good, it was really good and not too heavy either, it was just enough food. What a thought. The price wasn't too bad either, only $10 bucks total, and I plan on going back real soon to try their Belgian Fries. Please check out their website: http://www.maozusa.com/ to find out more information, plus it a really fun website to visit. Anyone have a breath mint?
Monday, July 12, 2010
Exciting news today as Shake Shack opens their new location at 44th Street and 8th Avenue giving mid-towners their shot at these delicious burgers. The upper east side will be the next location to open, I think sometime in September, so those of you waiting it won't be long!
Even more exciting is the new Trader Joe's that is opening today on the corner of 21st and 6th Avenue. I say exciting because with it's addition it continue's the revitilization of the area around it which has also just seen the creation or the new marketplace inside the Limelight Church. One special bonus is that I will pass it everyday when I am walking to the train! I forsee a lot of Trader Joe's bags joining me on my commute.
Saturday, July 10, 2010
Yeah! Look at that melted cheese that has oozed out the side of my Double Cheeseburger from Five Guys Burgers and Fries! Good stuff. Actually they don't call it a Double, they just call it a Cheeseburger. If you want a single it's called a Little Cheeseburger. Part of the wave of good quality or fresh burger joints, Five Guys is actually a national chain with 550 locations in 35 states. That might be a drawback for some people but not me. It's similar to IN-N-OUT that they have no freezers and only use fresh ground beef and cut their fries on the premises, actually the bags of potatoes are stored right out in the open with their peanut oil (see pic below). That's all good, but how does it taste? Damn good! You basically can order the burger any way you want it with most items being at no extra charge. With it's open kitchen area you can watch as they grill up your patties to perfection dropping the first pattie on, then the cheese and the next patty on top of that, better for melting the cheese. My order was kind of ordinary. Lettuce, Tomato, Pickles, Raw Onions, Mayo and Ketchup. Then there's the fries. Oh man they are good. There's a special treat when they pack up your spuds in the cup and put it in your bag, they toss in an extra bunch of fries right on top! How excellent! While you wait for your meal to be prepared there is a bucket of peanuts in their shells that you can munch on. This is a nice little treat especially if you got kids with you. But the main thing is that these burgers are very delicious while being extremely fresh....aw who cares they just taste so good! There are 11 (wow 11!) locations in NYC with another about to open on Fulton Street soon. For more info please check out their website: http://www.fiveguys.com/.
Monday, July 5, 2010
Ok I know what you are gonna say....what the hell are you doing eating soup on a 97 degree day you moron! All I can say is that when it's hot outside I crave soup...go figure. Actually I didn't start out thinking I was gonna have soup I had a hankering for some dumplings and right now the best place to get them is at Vanessa's. So of course not only did I have dumplings, eight of them to be exact, I also had Beef Noodle Soup! What can I say I was hungry and they weren't serving hot dogs (Nathan's joke). So this was the 3rd time this month (or 2 times in June and once so far in July) that I have gone to Vanessa's and you can certainly say that I am obsessing. The dumplings I chose were the Cabbage and Pork Steamed Dumplings which as always were extremely good. But the really great part of the meal was the soup. Ridiculous chunks of Roasted Beef and tasty Noodles topped off with Chives and some sort of green leafy thing that I am sure is good for me in some manner. Other than being blisteringly hot causing me to eat it very slowly, the soup was excellent and the slight hint of Cilantro really added to the enjoyment. I kind of wish I hadn't ordered any dumplings because I couldn't finish the soup....wait what am I saying, it's Vanessa's Dumplings for christ sake! This place makes me wish I had two stomachs. People gotta eat! Vanessa's is on 14th Street just east of 3rd Avenue next to a Dunkin Donuts.
Ok I promise this is the last thing I have to say on the Nathan's Hot Dog Contest...but I couldn't help myself. Honestly you can't make this stuff up. After pleading not guilty this morning in Brooklyn Superior Court Kobayashi was asked what had happened to get him arrested yesterday in Coney Island. He said...and I quote. ""I really wanted to compete in the contest and all of the people around me were yelling for me to go up there, so I did. I really wanted a hot dog in my mouth so bad. I got carried away and got arrested (ok the hot dog in the mouth thing I made that up)." Inside all he had gotten to eat was a Bologna sandwich and a glass of milk and said. "I'm really hungry, I wanted to eat hot dogs (this he actually said). I wish they had hot dogs in jail." Absurdity at a food eating contest you oxymoron.
Saturday, July 3, 2010
Gourmet food never tasted so bland. Not that I was looking for the most amazing meal, I was out yesterday in search of something interesting, and interesting is what I found. However I was a bit disappointed with my meal from The Bistro Truck stationed at 5th Avenue between 16th and 17th, 6 days a week. I'd spotted it while I was crossing the street and was intrigued with what it offered, an affordable gourmet Moroccan-Mediterranean menu, or so they said. The menu had lots of choices including a Grass Fed Beef Hamburger but I wasn't so sure that they really offer Hamburgers in Morocco or even in the Mediterranean. I opted for the more traditional Lamb or the Marrakech Lamb as they called it. The menu said it was Roasted, Marinated Pulled Lamb (yeah the flavor was pulled out), with Rice and a side of Mix Spring Salad all for only $7 bucks, not too bad I thought. Not that it has anything to do with it, but I wasn't all too impressed with the truck itself and the fact that the person taking my order didn't ask if I wanted a drink or anything else for that matter. I know, I know, that's a bit knit-picky but sometimes that shit actually works on me. I remember my first stop to the Treats Truck and having the girl suggest different treats that I should try, there's nothing wrong with a recommendation. Anyway back to the food. I hurried back to work and opened up the bag to dig in. It looked plenty good and I was really hungry. Honestly it wasn't all that bad but I couldn't help but feel like it was missing something. There was this white sauce on the top of the meal that was very tasty but it was only a small dollup not fit to moisten the rather dry Lamb...wait I thought they said it was marinated? The accompanying rice had a brown tint and I was fully expecting it to have some flavor, sadly it was as bland as a piece of paper. Harsh, yes. So I thought maybe if I mixed it all together with the Salad and the dressing and all that would make it taste better....no. After scraping the aluminum cantainer clean (you'd think I enjoyed it) I felt somewhat unfulfilled, hungry is what I like to call it because when I eat something that isn't satisfying I still feel like eating something. Hmmm on second thought I am always hungry. So if you find yourself down in that area and see the Bistro Truck and feel like giving it a try I hope your experience can be a heck of a lot more satisfying than mine.
The truck looks dirty but it's on purpose...I think.