Saturday, March 30, 2013

Shake Shack + HK Wonton Garden (Alone)

 Oh man, I'm almost too embarrassed to make this post. Yes, everything you see here is exactly how I have been eating every day for the past few weeks. And that doesn't even include my roast pork sandwich from Coppelia or everything I ate at Mission Chinese (post coming) or the fat salami and mozzarella sandwich I got from Parisi Bakery or the huge, fluffy pumpkin buns from that steamed bun shop on Mott and Grand whose name I still have not learned. Thank you New York, you really bring out the glutton inside of me. Not that it requires much effort. So indulgent.

The always photogenic Shake Shack

I never get the Shroom Burger at Shake Shack because I'm a carnivore through and through. It's actually kind of annoying because I love all vegetables, but I always default to the meat option. But I've heard so many good things about the shroom burger, I had to finally get it. God, so worth it. I might even like it more than the Shack Burger (just kidding, the romance will wear off soon). The portobello cap is breaded and fried and filled with oozing melty cheese. It has that nice crust and juicy interior just like the smashed hamburger patties do.

Then later that night (or really, early this morning) I found myself at this HK Wonton Garden having the most serious internal struggle I've dealt with in a long time. I couldn't decide on what to get. This was made even more difficult by the fact that I was alone with nobody to guide me and also totally not in a sober state of mind at all. I mean, I don't even know how I ended up there and I only learned the name of the restaurant once I woke up and checked my credit card charges online. Ok well, I do know how I got there. I was running away from a failed attempt at meeting Danni and Jordan because there were way too many flashing blue and green lights and people trying to be sweaty in a room together, and I couldn't deal with it. I was walking to the subway, passed by this Chinese restaurant, decided I was hungry, and went in only because I saw that they accepted credit cards.

 Wonton Noodle Soup, with shrimp and pork wontons. Usually the pork and shrimp get ground up together, right? In this one it was literally a shrimp and half a pork meatball, kind of a weird franken-wonton.

Once I finally decided what to get, I realized that everyone else in the restaurant kept giving me funny looks. Is it really THAT weird to eat by yourself in a Chinese restaurant at 2 am? I didn't think so, but then, the group of dudes in suits at the booth adjacent to me, were definitely laughing at me, so that answered my question. I mean, whatever, I was mumbling to myself and writing down food notes in my notebook, so really, an easy target. But I had such a weird, fun time. It felt like a quiet escape from the overwhelming party mess that I bailed out of, and I really needed to chill out with an egg roll. There were 3 other groups in there: the dudes in suits, 3 old Chinese men, and a couple that kept giving me what I assume were pitying glances or "stop staring at our food, you creep" looks. One or the other.

I also got fried tofu. I'm was pretty pissed about this, not because I didn't like it, but because I got tofu. What I REALLY wanted was like, beef and broccoli or roast duck on rice or shrimp fried rice. Something was in the air yesterday making me fight all my carnivorous urges.

At the time I thought I was getting a good close up to show you the silky tofu on the inside, but turns out, not so much. It really was so smooth and soft, a nice contrast to the crispy skin made more delicious by the sauces that I poured all over it. Loading up on sodium!!

 As I was kind of sadly slurping my soup and poking at the tofu, I decided I needed at least one bite of meat. So I ordered egg rolls too. The kind that have the super crispy, flaky wrapper. Everyone on Yelp is telling me this is "really authentic Chinese food," but I mean, "Chinese food" is so vague, isn't it? I think I would say it was a blend of authentic Cantonese and Chinese-American food, but I don't really know--I always go for the bastardized versions of food.

 Anyway, I get the egg rolls, and there I am sitting alone, with three plates of food, the same number of plates as the couple and the old Chinese men. And I'm feeling kind of self conscious now, but wanna know the worst part about this?

 NO MEAT!!!!!! It was a crushing blow.

Really though, I was bummed out. Of course I ate it anyway and totally loved it. Around this time, the quiet groups started leaving, and groups of party people started coming in. I took that as my cue to slurp the rest of my soup and leave with my bag of leftovers, but not before some guy came in, sat at a table by himself and ordered three dishes. It was so validating.

Monday, March 25, 2013

Mile End

The best part about having brunch at Mile End was that there was no wait for a table. My theory is that a lot of people in that area have babies so they eat at real breakfast hours. Not at 2 in the afternoon. Actually, maybe not the best part though.

 That would be my Smoked Meat Hash.

Meat bit

So you can see what the hash looks like--greasy, fatty, crunchy, salty mixed in with a little bit of a pleasant char. It looks burned, but that's not how it tasted. Oh and runny egg yolks filling all the little cracks and crevices! It added a nice creamy, sauciness to it all. So basically, it made this meal even heavier and more delicious. 

Sunday, March 24, 2013

windy weekend food

It's still so cold, but from the inside, the weather looks beautiful and you don't have to feel the sting of the wind. It makes me wanna eat like this:

Bloody Mary from Brooklyn Label
More vegetables! There are never enough. If restaurants were less skimpy with their pickled vegetables, I wouldn't need to have anything else for breakfast. 

Bagels and lox, nothing special except for those grated/shredded eggs on top?? So weird, but good.

Went to Corner Bistro and got a window-ish seat

I love Corner Bistro, but I can't totally explain why. Their burgers aren't the greatest-- the patty is too huge and the bread lacks structural integrity, which sounds stupid but really, it's so weak! Unless you have snake-jaw and can eat this whole thing in one bite, that bread is going to fall apart so fast. It wouldn't be as much of a problem if the patty was smaller. But despite all that, it's still one of my favorites burgers in New York. I think it's just the feel of the place and how straight-forward it is, like something your parents would make on the patio for the 4th of July. That, plus french fries and a cold root beer, makes for a good Friday afternoon.

Salted caramel and chocolate soft serve with cocoa nibs from Victory Garden, also in the West Village. Spending a weekday afternoon in the West Village is a nice way to pretend that I'm rich. Dream big, you know?

Oh P.S. this soft serve is made with goat's milk. It's amazingly good. The chocolate was my favorite because it had just the right hint of tangy-iness. The salted caramel was great too, but a little TOO goat milk-y for me. It's so creamy. 

Monday, March 18, 2013

Los Hermanos

What is up with this weather? It totally blows. Anyway, Mexican food. What's the usual speech about the lack of good Mexican food in New York? People need to learn to travel more than 10 blocks for food because there's good Mexican food here. It's called Sunset Park, y'all. But also, whatever because I'm from Seattle, not L.A. (or you know, Mexico...) so what do I know? I'll eat it all. These tacos from Los Hermanos (in Bushwick) weren't the best best I've ever had, but still totally delicious and way less of a pain to get to.

I ordered 3 items (a canitas taco, a chorizo taquito, and a steak toastada) because I thought they'd all be pretty different, aside from the varying fillings. I don't know why I thought that because it turns out, they're all the kind of same thing. I guess I thought a taquito would be one of those bastardized taco tubes that come frozen at Trader Joe's and I really wanted one. But it just was a small taco. Duh. Yeah, so here's the toastada in the pre-sauce stage. I got the steak.

Post sauce
They are not skimpy on the avocados. I liked the crunchy, fried tortilla, but it was kind of hard to eat. I'm actually not sure what the best way to eat it is. I just went for the half-face plant option. I liked the tostada mostly because there were avocados and more toppings since it didn't have to get all folded up. I'm a greedy eater.

 I would include a picture of both the taco and taquito, but they look the same. This also basically looks like the tosdada, but you can see a little bit of the chorizo poking out. A little bit spicy, just enough for me.

Thursday, March 14, 2013

dizzy steaks

This was going to be a post about my amazing dinner at St. Anselm last night. But I got way too drunk and my blurry pictures of food really show it. Also, the steak looked like a turd. Which is really too bad, because it was amazing. We all got the butchers steak with garlic butter, and you know, there's not really much else to say about that. Steak and butter, man. Plus a grilled halloumi salad (also excellent), grilled cauliflower, fingerling potatoes, and grilled shishito, which was actually a little overdone and oily, but I'm not picky. Besides, who's really going to complain about that when everything else was so great? People with more discerning palates than mine, I guess.

So instead, here's a picture of what I've been eating for breakfast/lunch every day. Kind of a boring eating slump these days, I think. Lately food is more fuel than fun, but I never get tired of avocado and toast. That's why dinner was extra good last night--I ate and drank whatever I wanted, instead of eating because I didn't want to starve. I paid for it with a dizzy and confusing walk to the subway later, but it was worth it.

Also, gonna take this time to not so subtly transition into "complain about my job" mode. I like waitressing a lot, actually, but what an eye opener to all the cheap jerks out there. Tipping below 15% is rude!!! Everyone besides me seems pretty jaded about this, but I guess my time will come and instead of getting mad, I'll just roll my eyes and sneeze into their food next time. Just kidding, I won't do that. I just wanted to whine on the Internet. It's so much more validating than angrily sending out bad karma. I don't think that's something I'm supposed to admit though.

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Carroll Gardens Classic Diner

Woof, work has kept me super busy and in serious no-friends mode. Ok, work has been fun, but by last weekend, I started having friend withdrawals after mostly interacting with hungry people. Also, waitressing has turned me into one of those people that says "ladies" a lot. As in, "Hi ladies, how's your wine?" Is that not weird? I don't know why, but it used to drive me totally crazy when waitresses would say that in a "I'm talking to you like a baby" voice, but now I'm that person. Go figure.

Anyway, so I actually managed to stay alive after work last Saturday so I could finally see some real people (not that customers aren't real people...), and short story kept even shorter: it ended at this diner in Carroll Gardens, which is sort of a weird place to be at 4 am. At the time, I thought I had made the greatest decision in the world, but we all know how things look in hindsight. 

I mean, 1 pm on a Sunday afternoon, and I would have been thinking up all the negative things to say about this pastrami sandwich, but during the sleepy super early morning, all I had were good thoughts and happy feelings. I still think they went too heavy on the sauerkraut and too easy on the pastrami. Fries were no good though. Nothing can cloud my judgement on french fries.

This is sad french toast, but when it's doused in syrup, you can be sure the whole thing is gonna get eaten

These looked like Funyuns, tasted like soft funyuns. Can't remember if there were really onions in there or it was just all onion flavored batter...

 OK definitely the best thing all night. Nikki and John ran into us and ordered some really depressing matzo ball soup and these mozzarella sticks, and they were so great. It's breaded and fried cheese so the chances for failure here are pretty slim, unless your deep fryer is totally broken. I haven't eaten one of these since college, like before the cafeteria decided to count mozzarella sticks as an "entree" instead of a "side" because they had too many calories. Hah, college food.

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Yaya Tea Garden

Some poking around on the internet led me to Yaya Tea Garden on Tuesday. This is kind of dumb, but part of the reason I went was because they accept cards and I didn't feel like getting cash. Unsurprisingly, there was a $10 minimum on cards, so I got a lot food so I could meet the minimum, which is kind of a bummer but also kind of a good thing because that means the food is cheap.

This sandwich sounded so weird that I had to get it. It's the "Japanese Sandwich" which means there's turkey, hard boiled eggs, imitation crab, and that seaweed salad. It was actually really good! But here's the thing, I'm not sure if I thought it was good because I was expecting it to be weird, or if I actually liked it for what it was. I think it was probably a little bit of both. Anyway, sandwiches here are cheap, under $6. I had to get a "large" onigiri rice ball to make up the $10. I put large in quotes because it was way huger than "large" implies.

This tastes exactly what you'd expect it to taste like, but you just don't imagine that it would actually be good--salty turkey, sweet fake crab, slippery, crunchy seaweed, and cool egg slices all tucked inside really squishy bread. The first half was great, but the second half was a little bit of a challenge. Not only was I full already, but it sweetness started to get a little overwhelming. I'd get it again, but I would have to split it with someone. But I feel like Japanese/Korean interpretations of a sandwich are always kind of like that. The sandwiches I tried when I was in Korea were a little sweet too.

Or maybe slather it in one of these sauces: wasabi mayo, sriracha, and what I'm pretty sure is mayo-ed down sriracha. And thousand island dressing?? 

I want to go back to try their rice and noodle plates (also under $6!) but also, so I can buy some of the snacks! They have such a huge variety of them that I've never seen (maybe I'm not exploring Chinatown hard enough) and they look so pretty on that wall. I think the key is to go at non-school hours. There were way too many high school kids in there and I started to feel weird and surrounded. Teenagers are loud.

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Jeremy Grills

Usually when Jeremy cooks, there's meat and a grill involved. I'm pretty sure that's where I get most of my protein from since I hardly ever buy meat for myself, unless it's of the cured variety. So here it is: pork meatballs, short ribs, blobs of rice, blobs of grated vegetables.

This was Sunday? Yeah, this food carried me all through Monday, I barely ate. I swear I'm not one of those people that "forgets to eat" but I just got so overwhelmed that I honestly kind of did forget. I have kind of a wacky schedule now with my new job.

Friday, March 1, 2013

Five Leaves

There was a time when I ate a lot of hamburgers, but before yesterday, I couldn't remember the last time I had one. I feel so sad about that. Hamburgers, I've missed you.

 There's not much to say about this one. I think Five Leaves makes a great burger--it's flavorful, juicy and has a nice crust on the outside. If anything, it's a little salty, but I love salt, so I'm not complaining. Well, and maybe the tomato could have been sliced a little thinner. It was nearly half the size of the patty. No cheese for me this time, just meat in all its meaty glory. I guess that's how it should be.

Rosewater Pavlova with passion fruit curd, whipped cream, and kiwis--brought to me by my friend Tessa, who I hadn't seen in a million years. 

I'm training for a new job today. I'm not gonna say what because I don't wanna jinx myself (as if there's anyone besides my friends that read this). But I am a little nervous. It's going to be a change of pace from what I've been doing, but I think it'll be great. Good things are gonna happen, I feel it.