Sunday, December 20, 2009

Not Just Your Average Dumpling...

I think it's best to start this post with a little video clip for you to watch. So click on this link and enjoy.

Now, that you've visualized the soup dumpling experience the way that Joe's Shanghai wanted you to, I feel I can now begin my ode to the soup dumpling. There are but a few things I have come to truly love during my 22 years - the midpoint of the Brooklyn Bridge, local beers of whichever city I find myself located, pork belly, Sicilia, and, you've guessed it, the soup dumpling. I'm not saying that other foods do not satiate me, no quite the contrary; HOWEVER, Joe's Shanghai soup dumplings have their own instinctual drive in my body. If I crave a soup dumpling, I cannot be satisfied until I'm sucking the soupy goodness out of one.
There is an alluring nature to the overall Joe's Shanghai experience. Perhaps it's the 1970's decor of Joe's Shanghai, maybe it's sharing a banquet table with random strangers, or possibly it's the waiters first (and most important) question: "pork or crab?". Whatever the cause may be, I am emotionally involved with the restaurant. If you do decide to venture to Joe's, please note that the best location is in Manhattan on Pell Street. Never heard of it? That's because, I believe, Pell St. only appears for those worthy enough of the soup dumpling journey -- a dumpling Platform 9 3/4 if you will. If you find the mystical side street and do happen to stumble into Joe's, you must bring with you two things: about $7.50 per person since the food is ridiculously cheap and the answer to the ultimate question "pork or crab?"
Joe's Shanghai
9 Pell Street
New York, New York 10013

Sunday, October 25, 2009

More Than A One Night Stand...

I'm very excited to announce that I met someone last night! It all began when I walked into Hill Country. After some confusion about how to order (think of a bbq deli), I walked up to one of the counters and began to survey my prospects. At first I was coy, choosing a small helping each of some slaw, mac and cheese, corn bread, and sweet potato mash. I walked over to the meat counter and ordered brisket and pork spare ribs. I had yet to realize the consequences of my seemingly innocent choices. The four sides proved to be more decadent than my expectations. I could have settled with any of them and been happy. We could have had a nice little life; each had a little twist to its taste profile which could have led to a fun happily ever after: The slaw, a hint of pepper; the mac and cheese, a flavor reminscent of truffle; the corn bread, accompanied by an ancho honey butter; the sweet potato mash, smooth and silky. Yet there was something missing.
And then.............

I carefully opened the butcher paper that held my meat choices. And there it was: the pork spare ribs - The One<3. Pork Spare Rib was hanging out with some pieces of brisket, seemingly unaware of his beauty. I didn't want him to think I was too available, so I started with the brisket. Brisket was like the sides, tasty but not quite worthy of upheaving my life. However, I knew the pork spare ribs were special just by their appearance. I took my first bite and I knew I would never be the same. The flavors were complex: a bit smokey yet sweet. I cherished every second I had until he was gone. In a few minutes, there were only bones and pieces too fatty to eat. At first I was sad. Should I order more? I was so full and slightly elated. Our love may have been fleeting, but I was happy to have had the experience. After all, it is better to have ingested and lost than to never have ingested at all.

And I totally know that I can go back and get another piece. He's a little slutty.

Hill Country
30 W 26th St (btwn 6th and Broadway)
New York, NY‎

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Snow White and the Seven Cupcakes

Gather 'round children, Auntie Laura wants to tell you a magical tale:

Once upon a time, two princesses, a prince, and a jolly knight were frolicking through the Isle of Manhatta. After feasting at the Palace of Yummyness, the royal crew was craving for more. "CUPCAKES!" suggested the younger (and more beautiful) princess. But from where? "Crumbs," suggested one of the merry men. The friends did love the variety and size of Crumbs, but their cupcakes are widely consumed throughout the land. The princesses craved something unique and delicious. Something - dare I say - that hasn't been cursed by the "hipster spell" of the Wizard of NYU. The foursome walked down many a street, past the Place of Astor, and through the Village of East. Just when our friends became disheartened, they stumbled upon something beautifully named "Butter Lane". Could it be? Why, yes it could - A BAKERY! A CURIOUS FIND INDEED! Our friends stepped inside the door of Butter Lane and breathed in the glorious smells of maple, butter, frosting, and, best of all, cake.

Now children, Butter Lane was no ordinary bakery. Butter Lane gave our friends options. They had the choice of three cakes (white, chocolate, or banana) and various frosting to mix and match. If our friends wanted something that was not ordinarily prepared, the bakers would pipe the desired frosting onto cupcakes. Princess Laura opted for a box of four cupcakes: a chocolate base with raspberry frosting, a vanilla base with pumpkin spice frosting, a chocolate base with maple frosting with roasted pecans, and a vanilla base with cinnamon frosting and a drop of honey. While our awesome baker was preparing the cupcakes, her helper gave the princess a card with four gold stars. The princess smiled widely as she noticed the card was labelled "The Baker's Dozen". The mystical card awarded its' holder a free cupcake after purchasing 12! The princess was ecstatic as she realized the rarity of a card that tracks frequent cupcake miles. Finally, the cupcakes were ready. The box smelled of maple, dreams, and rainbows. Alas, the first bite: deliciously delicious. Our royal friends, with their satiate palates, all lived happily ever after.

P.S. Not only were the cupcakes scrumptious, they were organic and made from local products!

Butter Lane
123 E 7th St (btwn 1st and A)
New York, NY 10009

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

East Village Pork Bun War. Should Momofuku raise it's white flag?

Spotted: Delicious Asian treats on 4th Ave. Has Momofuku retained it's steamed bun status, or has Ippudo stolen the limelight? xo xo.

As everyone should know, pork buns are 2009's cupcakes. Until recently, I was an avid Momofuku lover, carefully allotting biweekly time-slots to treasure pork steamed buns. Oh how naive! I must admit, I was a victim of a culinary fad. The Momofuku Empire that reigns the East Village had held my palate prisoner!

Alas, a coup d'etat! Ippudo struck a blow with their spongy buns and pork covered in a sauce/mayo connection of glory. And, could it be?! Yes, I think so - IPPUDO'S BUNS ARE LARGER. Momofuku remember the glorious words of the beloved Sir Mix-A-Lot, "my anaconda don't want none if you ain't got buns, hun". In the battle of trendy noodle bars, Ippudo may have won me over with their buns (and delectable ramen - more on that later). Perhaps my days of waiting on line at the Milk Bar at awkward hours of the day are over..... unless I want a shiitake bun or an egg and pork bun, then I <3 you, Momofuku. My pork bun love triangle has begun.

65 4 Ave (btwn 9th and 10th streets)
New York, NY 10003

Momofuku Noodle Bar
171 1 Ave (10th and 11th)
New York, NY‎

Momofuku Milk Bar / Momofuku Ssam Bar
207 2 Ave (and 13th)
New York, NY‎

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Harold Dieterle and Alicia Nosenzo, I salute you.

Dear staff at Perilla: Your food is fucking amazing.

Being an avid "Top Chef" fan, I have been patiently waiting for the day I would step through the doors of Perilla. Perilla is co-owned by Harold, the winner of "Top Chef" season 1. Perilla was everything I hoped for - small restaurant tucked into Greenwich Village, amazing light fixtures, extremely friendly staff, and, above all, delicious food. I opted for the $35 summer prix fixe menu, which was the best choice I've made all week. My boyfriend, Chris, chose the regular menu, which was an amazing culinary adventure as well. I started my meal with the steamed Bouchot mussels with cilantro, coconut milk, and sour yellow curry. I'm usually wary of ordering dishes with curry from restaurants that I have never been to, HOWEVER Perilla's sauce was amazing and well balanced. Chris began his meal with spicy duck meatballs with mint cavatelli, water spinach, and a quail egg ($13). Both appetizers were questionably sprinkled with serotonin, since we both were elated by the end of the course.

After a short conversation with the waitress about the need for dipping bread in the appetizers' sauces ("Dipping is ALWAYS necessary," she professed), our entrees arrived. I had the mustard green pappardelle with summer squash, aged pecorino, and a light, cherry tomato sauce. I am a huge fan of pappardelle to begin with, but Perilla gave me a new appreciation for the wide pasta. I will never take for granted another stCheck Spellingrand - until we meet again, pappardelle, I will long for you. Chris had the thai style fried chicken with mini bok choy, grilled scallions, and chili jam ($21). I may never look at fried chicken the same - it was crispy, savory, and well balanced by the jam. I feel I need to stress how good this chicken was: go to Perilla and eat it, now. And the jam! Sweet, succulent, delicious jam! I would dance in that jam if given the opportunity! Okay, I'll stop.

Dessert! By the end of the meal, I had almost forgotten the prix fixe came with dessert. After some intrapsychic battle between ordering the S'mores or the Local Strawberry Trio, the waitress helped me decide on the S'mores. This was not your average s'more. In between homemade graham cracker goodness, bitter dark chocolate mousse complimented the sweetness of a toasted marshmallow. If your taste buds still weren't satiated, on the side of the dish there was a small helping of cool and refreshing chocolate sorbet. Overall, Perilla was a wonderful experience and I think you should go asap.

9 Jones St, between W. 4th St and Bleecker St
New York, NY 10014
(212) 929-6868

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Numero Uno: Cracking Shells.

After a lengthy convo with some friends about food, I realized that I should share my passion with the world. Since I cannot cook and can barely bake, the best way that I could think of preaching to the masses about soup dumplings, pommes frites, kataifi, and etc. is by posting a blog about my culinary explorations. The problem I am running into now is what food to award the honor of my first post. Since there is a little voice in my head incessantly whispering "Old Bay", fueled by a yearning in my palate, I know of the perfect starting point: All you can eat crabs at Clemente's Maryland Crabhouse.

Now, Clemente's has other delicious goodies on their menu, such as fried rock shrimp (which comes with a delectable chipolte remoulade), but for $29.99 you can get a silver basin filled with crabs either with Old Bay Seasoning or Clemente's "Garlic Style". Let me tell you, there are few things in this world more enjoyable than tearing open a perfectly seasoned crab. The restaurant is located in Sheepshead Bay, Brooklyn, conveniently next to an auto repair shop and on the opposite side of where you would think Emmons Avenue actually is located - but the food is worth the 10 minutes spent looking for the place (it is almost inevitable that you WILL get lost). Also inside of the basin of hopes and dreams are fries and a piece of corn on the cob. Both taste delicious rolled around in the Old Bay and left over crab mixture. Please shut down your computer and go now.... unless you have a large group, in which case: call, make a reservation, and then go.

Clemente's Maryland Crabhouse
3939 Emmons Ave.
Brooklyn, NY
website: click