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.

1 comment:

Dining Alone said...

Everything looks amazing, especially that shroom burger!