Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Authentic Ramen from Menkui-Tei

After discovering the wonder that is Ramen at Momofuku Noodle Bar our Japanese co-worker explained that their style is more of a modern take on ramen and suggested that we try more authentic Japanese style. One of her favorites is Menkui-Tei and wouldn't you know that when we went to the restaurant we ran into her there! Apparently the shop itself is also very authentic to ramen places in Japan, which is no thrills. The ramen was still delicious and confirmed that this is one of our new favorite cuisines, but our American taste buds still prefer Momofuku's.

Menkui Tei on Urbanspoon

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Attack of the Shake Shack!

Ooooh just look at that gooey cheese

We live near Madison Square Park so couldn't help but notice the lines that would form for this little Shake Shack in the park. It also didn't take us long to learn of its fame, so the time came for us to check it out for ourselves. Oh lordy, some places are famous for a reason and this is one of them. The Shack Stack burger took us to the next level of burger yumminess and then the Shack Attack concrete blew us away. Although as you can see from the picture we made the rookie mistake of trying to drink it with a straw. These suckers are way too thick for that kind of tom-foolery. Check it out, just try to find a time when the line isn't ridiculously long...unless that is you like standing on long lines.

Shake Shack on Urbanspoon

Monday, April 26, 2010

Say Yes to the Jess Bakery

The name "Jess Bakery" doesn't exactly call to mind Chinese takeout, but that's exactly what it is. We ordered their Singapore noodles, steamed pork buns, and coconut bubble tea and discovered a hit that has since become a regular staple in our household. Honestly, the Mr would eat this every other night (with the other nights being Momofuku) if he could (and does when I go out of town).

Jess Bakery on Urbanspoon

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Puebla: Ain't my kinda town

The Texans in us started craving some breakfast tacos, so I did a little research on the internets and found a place called Puebla in the East Village which had breakfast tacos. Now this part is my fault, I shoulda just stuck to a simple breakfast taco, but I went for the huevas rancheros. It was a tortilla, with some eggs, and a ton of beans. That was it. Nothing special, not big on the flavor. The Mr got a breakfast taco, but also was unimpressed.

So for the time being, we've finally discovered a craving that NYC can't seem to satisfy. I guess we'll have to dig a little deeper to scratch this itch.

Puebla on Urbanspoon

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Not smitten by The Smith

Went to check out The Smith in the East Village for brunch based on a co-worker's recommendation. We immediately fell for the vintage look and the laid back feel, but it took us just as long to become unimpressed with the service. Finally we manage to get some water and some bread, but it was nothing to write home about. The Mr was tempted by the Slow Roasted pork Sandwich with it's lure of kimchi aioli and fell for the Potato Waffle Benedict because hello, waffle made with potato.

Unfortunately the sandwich was quite dry and on a whole not that appetizing, so The Mr wound up helping me out with my Potato Waffle Benedict situation which was well appreciated since it was a heavy dish. It was good enough to redeem the meal, but not good enough to make us want to come back again.

The Smith on Urbanspoon

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

I Can Cook: Buffalo Wings & Mac

Tonight we dined in, and no I don't mean delivery. I actually made something. I started with Archer Farm's Buffalo Mac N Cheese, bulked it up with some broccoli, then threw some Lightlife Buffalo Smart Wings on top. The sides were pretty obvious- celery, carrots, and ranch. Delicious & quick meal that incorporated mac 'n cheese AND buffalo wings, yet super healthy? Patting myself on the back as we speak.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Bodacious Billy's Bakery

Monday morning. Aaaah the start to a brand new week. Time to buckle down and start eating better. This plan is going juuuuust fine until these babies show up on my desk. Yep, the day I decided to re-commit to eating right is of course going to be the day we decide to get cupcakes in the office to celebrate the April birthdays. And wouldn't you know, my desk is the perfect gathering place. *sigh* Oh well, there's always tomorrow.

Billy's Bakery on Urbanspoon

Saturday, April 17, 2010

A feast of Ikean proportions

After moving into a new place there are always a bunch of various household goods that you find yourself needing, but don't really want to invest too much money in since you don't know what needs the next apartment will bring. Ikea is the apartment dwellers dream. The NYC Ikea is located in Brooklyn and they have their very own free water taxi to take you across the East River from Manhattan. To add to the excitement, The Mr. had never been to an Ikea before and didn't know what to expect. About 10 minutes after entering the store I hear him yell "I love Ikea!!". Excellent, mission accomplished.

And since the folks at Ikea have thought of EVERYthing, they know how hungry you are after home goods shopping for a couple of hours (not to mention after a boat ride adventure) and they've put a Swedish restaurant at the end of their showroom. Just like their furniture it is all about good quality at insanely cheap prices. Seemed appropriate to get their famous Swedish meatball plate with mashed potatoes and lingonberry sauce. We also threw in some potato galettes and a side of toast just for good measure. I washed my portion down with some elderberry juice, which was light and fresh, and then we finished it all of with a princess cake (of course). Ahhh satisfying.

But you are not done yet. There is still the warehouse section of the store and check out. After which they know you've had time to build up a bit of an appetite, so they have a little cafe that sells cinnamon rolls and soft serve frozen yogurt cones. What don't you think of Ikea? The soft serve comes in at one dollar and is a delicious guilt-free treat. The cinnamon rolls smell like heaven, but in reality are a little dry and very mediocre, but I fall for it every damn time. Obviously not everyone feels this way about the cinnamon rolls though because I see plenty of people leaving the store with them in bulk.

IKEA Restaurant on Urbanspoon

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Aleo? More like A-lame-o

Up until now I had been thoroughly researching all of our dining decisions like the good little maximizer that I am. Tonight we decided to let our hair down and just try one of the restaurants that are on our way home. Enter Aleo. Cute little Italian restaurant that we pass by almost every day. We get some wine, order some of their Almond Crusted Calamari, and start with some bread. Bread is meh. Calamari comes and just seems like some average calamari, seriously not sure that almond was involved in any way. Service isn't looking to hot, but our entrees finally arrive: the Quatro Formagio Ravioli for the Mr. and Pumpkin Ravioli for me. Hmmm, interestingly the pumpkin ravioli filling tastes more like a pumpkin pie filling, not a direction I would go in for an entree. Mr. declares his ravioli fairly underwhelming. We finish our meal, somewhat disappointed and then ask for the check. Or rather, we would ask for the check if our waiter was anywhere to be found. At this point in the evening we are the only patrons in the restaurant, so why we had to get up and track him down remains a complete mystery. In summary, below average food with abysmal service. Looks like I'll be screening restaurants for a while.

Aleo on Urbanspoon

Monday, April 12, 2010

Big Daddy's Big Disapointment

Big Daddy's Diner is right down the street from us, has a fun vintage 80s themed decor, and boasts about their burgers, shakes, and tots. They even have a healthy options section on their menu! Oh how I wanted to like it. Oh how it fell sadly short.

I ordered the Rapper's Delight option from their "healthy" section, which was basically a turkey wrap. It was huge and contained some kind of mayo-based sauce that definitely didn't strike me as diet-friendly. But I guess when you are in a place that is all about tots and pie, it's all relative. Despite the addition of the unwelcome mystery sauce, the wrap was rather dry. I splurged by getting the tator tots on the side, because hey, I'm only human. Again, biiiiig letdown. Greasy, tasteless balls. Mr got the Reuben Kincaid which he described as decent (not exactly high praise) and he shared my disdain of their so called "Tater Tots".

Sorry Big Daddy, I know we're neighbors and all, but we won't be coming back for more.

Big Daddy's Diner on Urbanspoon

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Stone Street Tavern Didn't Rock

After shaking off our Sangria induced stupor and meeting up with Ryan to visit to The Bodies Exhibit, we were once again, famished. Garret & Lianda played tour guides once again and lead us to historic Stone Street. After scoping out all the restaurants someone finally settled upon the Stone Street Tavern since most of us were too hungry to make a decision. We opted to get a couple of appetizers and ordered the Crabcakes & Baked Brie for the table. The portions were way too small for our group of five to comfortably pick at while waiting for our food and we each got about one bite. Not a great start. Me & my Mr split the Lobster Club Sliders, which were good. Not bad, not great, just good. The highlight here is definitely sitting outside on a nice night with a cold beer and good friends and enjoying the quaint old buildings and company.

Stone Street Tavern on Urbanspoon

Five Stars for Five Points

Our first weekend as New Yorkers meant our first New York City Brunch. Brunch in NYC isn't just another meal, it's an experience. We learned quickly that brunch is one of the most anticipated meals of all and that finding a good brunch spot is almost worth paying a broker's fee. Oh and it usually involves drinking. My personal favorite things about NYC Brunch is that it's pretty typical for restaurants to serve brunch until 4 or 5 in the afternoon. Slept until 2pm then lazed around for a while, but still want some coffee, a mimosa, and an omelette? No problem! No judgements in this fair city! Oh New York, I have a feeling you and me are going to get along juuuuust fine.

For our first brunch our friends Garret & Lianda had a hot tip so we traipsed down into NoHo to check out Five Points Restaurant. Our savvy friends ordered their Salmon Eggs Benedict, the Mr ordered their Fish Tacos, and I ordered the Baked Egg Whites in an attempt to keep it healthy. After trying the Salmon Eggs Benedict I immediately regretted this decision and wished I had taken their expert recommendation. The sauce...the salmon...the puff pastry! Divine! I will need to come back here and order correctly next time, since the egg whites were nothing special and benefited greatly from the addition of leftover salsa from the Mr's tacos.

Five Points on Urbanspoon

We also ordered a pitcher of their sangria with our meal, which was incredible, but served as the source of much debate. We all found ourselves wanting to curl up into a ball and take a nap, despite how late we had already slept in that morning. Maybe I'll need to get some tips from seasoned New Yorkers on how to drink with brunch without shooting down any hope of productivity for the rest of the day...or at least until dinner.

I also just learned that this restaurant has a Yukon Gold Potato Pizza. The combination of two of my favorite foods is enough to lure me back on its own, but I also learned that it was featured on the Food Network show "The Best Thing I Ever Ate". Tell them to put one in the oven for me now, I'm on my way.

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Petite Abeille Lives Up To Their Big Buzz

After some Yelping around I found a little Belgian cafe near us called Petite Abeille and dragged the Mr here for breakfast. It was so quaint and authentic from the TinTin comics to the extensive belgian beer list on the chalkboard that I instantly fell for its charm. I ordered their hot chocolate since a lot of yelpers recommended it and found it rich and satisfying. For my meal I went with the Waffle Special of the Day which was blueberry, blackberry, and banana. Mr got the Croque Madame et Frites. My waffle was crisp and light and the whip cream and fruit were fresh and sweet, a beautiful combination. Mr was very happy with his breakfast sandwhich and fries! A perfect little breakfast find, we look forward to coming back here to try their belgian beer et les moules!

Petite Abeille on Urbanspoon

Ketchup...errr we mean Catch Up

Well we officially live in NYC now and we're excited to share all the great food experiences we are sure to have. So without further ado, let's get started with two places we visited in the first week.

On our very first night in town we headed down the street to Sushi Samba which had been highly recommended to us. We started our Latin/Japanese fusion experience with the lime and sea salt edamame, then ordered a couple of the rolls they had on special. We accompanied our dinner with a couple of their virgin drinks which we requested de-virginized. All in all a great dining experience, especially if you are starting to get bored with traditional sushi.

Sushisamba Park on Urbanspoon

Part of Tom Colicchio's Craft family of restaurants, 'wichcraft is more accessible financially (although still not cheap), but still prides itself on its use of simple, wholesome ingredients. They have locations all around town, but the one around the corner from us is currently the only location that serves dinner. We ducked in here one night after being attracted by their 'Patio Now Open' sign since it was one of the first nice, warm nights of spring. We were seated at a teeny table on a rather small and very dark outdoor space. Within a few moments we also realized that we were being dripped upon by God knows what. With encouragement from the diners next to us, we made the executive decision to move inside. From that point on our dining experience became quite pleasurable. We started with pear, gorgonzola, and walnut on grilled bread, moved on to a sweet potato au gratin style dish with ricotta, and finished with beef short ribs. I enjoyed the portion size of each small plate and to me they were well worth the price. As we were eating I remarked on how each dish encapsulated the spirit of "good" food- simple, fresh, high quality ingredients exquisitely paired and prepared well. It wasn't until later that I found the association between the Craft restaurants and found their mission statement. While we are going to try as many places as we can during our residence in The Big Apple, this is definitely a place we want to come back to.

wichcraft on Urbanspoon