Apologies for the long hiatus since my last entry. Blogging takes a lot of effort, especially for someone who doesn’t have the gift of writing. That and the fact that I have been very uninspired by my pictures creates the perfect recipe for no posts. Not to worry though, my eatings have continued and thrived and my blog has been active behind the scenes. During the past few months my pictures have been used on various website including www.tasteoftribeca.com and they will be used in some upcoming NYC centric Iphone apps. I am hoping to use this summer to learn about food photography and upgrade my camera to get better shots in dark restaurant lighting. Hopefully that will inspire me to post more often.
With that said, I introduce you to the venerable Amy Ruth’s in Harlem, NYC. The last time I had chicken and waffles was in Vegas at Bouchon, yes at a 5 star French restaurant. It was probably one of the best chicken dishes I’ve ever had but it wasn’t real southern cooking (let’s pretend I know what that is). Amy Ruth’s, which my coworker promises is the best soul food joint in NY, delivered what I was craving for. The chicken was fried and perfectly seasoned; think the flavor of KFC original with the crispiness of KFC extra crispy five times over. (no I am not comparing it to KFC). The meat was plump and juicy, the waffle was fluffy, sweet and buttery at the same time. I usually dislike sweets and absolutely hate sweets with my meats but this, I could do. I’ll have to try the smothered chicken next time, as well as the jerk meats. Word of caution however, don’t come here for the sides. The mac and cheese was plain, the candied yams were too sweet and the grits had no flavor and the texture was slightly odd. I wasn’t blown away by this place but all in all, a solid place for chicken and waffles.
113 W 116th St
New York, NY 10026
As recent as a few weeks ago, whenever people would ask me for brunch recommendations, I’d give the typically hot brunch spots – Clinton Street, Prune, Sarabeth’s, Penelope, Balthazar, Little Owl, Calle Ocho and so on. Now however, there is one and only answer – MOTORINO! Yes, pizza for brunch. Yes, the best savory brunch I’ve ever had in NYC. Before you start wondering how pepperoni or sausage pizza would taste in the mornings, stop. Think fried eggs, mozzarella di bufala, panchetta and fresh basil drizzled with olive oil.
Not only are the toppings wonderful, the pizza itself is glorious. Neopolitan pizza comes with specific rules. The dough must be kneaded by hand and after then formed by hand without the help of a rolling pin. It must be made with specific Italian flour and is cooked a ready after only 90 seconds in a stone oven. There really isn’t a “crust” but a outer rim that rises because there are no toppings on it. You can see how the flour just bubbles up, creating a wonderful, slightly chewy yet crispy “crust”.
This really the perfect way to start off your day. But wait, there’s more. As good as the egg pizza is, the appetizers more than hold their own.
The Scarmorza Cheese Crostini with pecorino, white anchovy and garlic combines super fresh ingredients and powerful aromas….think of the best garlic cheese bread you can imagine.
Then there’s the Spicy Roasted Octopus and Potato with chilli oil, lemon and parsley. I’ve never seen octopus and potato as a dish but wow, the wonderful colors and strong distinct tastes make this an amazingly well put together dish. I’m not going to vouch for their other pizza’s or entrees. This post is about their egg pizza and about brunch. Go check it out Saturday and Sundays from 10am-4pm.
349 E 12th St
New York, NY 10003
So an old post for free pinkberry was one of my most popular posts, I’m guessing this will be right up there with it. Anyone who goes into Butter Lane and mentions my blog gets two for one cupcakes on Mondays, Tuesdays, Wednesdays through the month of February. You can get a max of 4 cupcakes per person per day (buy 2 get 2 free). For all you February babies, I deem this my bday gift to you.
Now, we all know everyone is cupcake crazy, especially my NY readers. Surprisingly, most of you haven’t heard of Butter Lane. Completely organic with locally sourced ingredients and no artificial flavors, this is one amazing cupcake. I was there the first week it opened last year (old post here) and I’ve brought dozens of friends there. Almost every agrees that this is one of the greatest cupcakes in NYC. (hint – try the banana cupcake) Now that they are effectively 50% off, why are you still reading this?
123 East 7th Street
New York, NY 10009
Living in Murray Hill has its downside. Food. Don’t get me wrong, according to Yelp, there are about 1,000 restaurants/food providers within a 5 block radius of my apartment. Yes, ONE THOUSAND restaurants. I don’t get it either. There’s a reason why Murray Hill is also known as Curry Hill, we probably do have some of the best Indian in NYC. However, there’s not much else that Murray Hill is good for. Besides Sarges. One of the classic and well known deli’s scattered around NY, Sarge’s is one of the best.
The above picture is one of my favorite standby’s when I crave a burger and don’t want to venture far/wait in line. Make sure to order it medium rare and you get one large juicy burger patty with cheese topped with a generous portion of fatty and tasty pastrami. It doesn’t much better.
Well, it doesn’t get any worse either. Not feeling pastrami? 1) We’ll you’re no longer my friend 2) Order the hot dog topped cheese burger with a side of sauteed onions and surprisingly great thick cut fries. 3) Let me pick at your place and you’re back on the friend list.
Called Sarge’s Favorite on the menu, this is a thing of beauty. Slices of juicy beef served on Latkas (a shallow fried pancake made of grated potato, flour and eggs then covered in homemade gravey. An order of fries on the side would make for the perfect utensil for sopping up any leftover gravy.
Open 24 hrs a day. This makes staying up until 5am on weekends that much better.
548 3rd Ave
New York, NY 10016
New York lost part of its soul a few months ago when Chanterelle all of a sudden shuttered its doors for good after 30 years of being one of the most enchanting restaurants in NYC. My only brush with it had been at a Taste of Tribeca event where they were serving chicken. Yes, chicken. I never even dreamed that chicken could taste so divine and I never got a chance to eat at the restaurant.
Then, my friend shot me an urgent text message one night, “Chanterelle at James Beard House!” and I more urgently shot back “um yes!” The James Beard Foundation had brought back Chanterelle for one night for one last encore. For $150/person including tax/tip and including a glass of wine for EVERY dish, we indulged in every single item below
Chanterelle Mushroom and Truffles Croquettes
Prosuitto wrapped Figs
Ginger Pickled Salmon with Seaweed Salad and Wasabi
Grilled Seafood Sausage
Butternut Squash Ravioli with Oxtail Ragout and Sage Cream
Marinated Roasted Loin of Lamb with Marjoram and Mini Moussata
Bartlett Pears served Two Ways
Assorted Chocolates and Cookies
Karen and David hinted at opening a new restaurant sometime in the future, and until they do, this was definitely a once in a lifetime experience.
I try to justify all the junk I eat by eating healthy ever once in awhile. I mean, brussel sprouts are veggies right?? (albeit usually served with compound butter, bacon and/or deep fried)… wow, those three things just got me very hungry. Deep fried bacon dipped in garlic butter…
I’m lost….oh yes… Trying to eat healthy, I’m sitting here right now with a large bowl of high protein/high fiber kashi cereal with unsweetened soy milk. With 13 grams of protein and 40% your daily fiber needs, it sounds like you’d be eating pieces of cardboard covered in protein power, but it actually tastes pretty reasonable. What I really wish was in front of me in this 20F degrees weather is a big bowl of the knife cut noodles you see above. If you’re ever in Asia you have to treat yourself to a noodle stand that makes knife cut noodles fresh. It’s quite a show as the cook holds a ball of dough and starts knifing off thin strips directly into boiling water.
With one hand holding chopsticks and one hand on my camera I tried snapping a picture of the noodles. Notice the wavy sides and the irregularly cut thicknesses throughout each noodle. While most my friends prefer hand-pulled noodles, I think this is the best stuff. The irregularity of each noodle adds so much to the differing texture and taste in each bite you have. The thin edges are soft and have soaked up the flavor of the soup while the middle of the noodles offer appealing resistance to your bite. Besides the great noodles, this place serves up soup that leaves something to be desired. It seems to be a very simple soy flavored soup without much to it. But, for $5 for a beef and beef tendon noodle soup, you can’t expect everything. Next time I’ll have to try their pan-fried knife cut noodle dishes.
Somehow, for some odd reason, their dumplings have a hint of sweetness to them and the sauces on the table are also sweet. Why would anyone want sweet pork dumpings?! The skin is thin and crispy and it could be a winner, but why are they sweet?! Come for the noodles. Pass on the dumplings.
Tasty Hand-Pulled Noddles
1 Doyer Street
New York, NY 10013
Tired of Pinkberry and Red Mango froyo? Enter Yogorino. This stuff is softer, thicker, creamier and taste very much like real greek yogurt. It has a much more subtle, delicate and sophisticated complex with a lingering vanilla aftertaste. What makes this place standout is the melted toblerone cholocate and other melted flavors you can top your yogurt with. It’s just a matter of time the rest of the froyo industry catches on.
Almost everyone I know likes this better than traditional froyo. That all said, I prefer my froyo icy and tart without any chocolate sauces. Sorry, I’m a simple guy, give me Pinkberry any day.
233 S 20th St
Philadelphia, PA 19103
Tiny hole in the wall? Slightly dirty and filthy? Cheap? Check, check and check! All the markings of some great Chinese food. Walk in, choose your seat and make your way through the simple menu posted on the walls. Then gawk at the man making hand pulled noodles right near your table. He’s used to being stared at but was slightly taken aback when I pulled out my obtrusive SLR. Luckily I have no shame and snapped away.
The noodles are good but the soup takes the crown. It is rich and full of flavor. The only complaint is that they don’t give you much meat. Considering the sub $5 price, I guess its understandable.
What makes this place a keeper however are the fried dumplings. These delicious bags of meat and juices are easily the BEST dumplings in New York City, and at 12 for $3 it is a no brainer. The skin is so thin its translucent. You can see the pork and chives nestled inside the golden crispy skin. Don’t you just want at it? This picture is making me hungry. Luckily I have 100 frozen ones stashed inside my freezer… just sitting there…waiting for me…
Oh, and don’t get this place confused with Lan Zhou Hand Pulled Noodles which is 2 blocks away. No, pay attention. Lan Zhou Handmade Noodles is the place to scarf down dumplings. Happy New Years! Go, be full!
Lan Zhou Handmade Noodle
144 E. Broadway
New York, NY
I never had the chance to explore food in south bay but after my experience at Alana’s, maybe I should make some time. Not knowing what to expect, I choose Alana’s based off of, yes Yelp. Guys, this is the perfect brunch date place. It has its own parking lot and from there you walk through a beautiful garden complete with white benches some small waterfalls. You then walk up a porch into a historic building and feel like you’re walked into somebody’s dining room.
All this would be pointless without great food and Alana’s serves up some tasty treats. I got the Alaska Scramble, three eggs tossed with smoked salmon, tender spinach and bits of soft cream cheese. The eggs were silky and the ratio of salmon, spinach and cream cheese were perfection. Bits of salty smoked salmon paired great with the creaminess of the cream cheese and the spinach helped clean your palate after every bite. Added some tabasco to the tasty homefries and it was good to go.
I also got a side of their famous Swedish oatmeal pancakes with ligonberries. If you like oatmeal, this is a good pancake. It is a bit on the thin side but it was moist and had great texture.
A friend ordered the thick-sliced french toast made with housemade raisin focaccia. I was too engrossed in my scramble and the discussion on how to ask a girl out to try a bite but it was very well liked. Definitely get one for the table if you enjoy French toast.
Hope everyone is having a merry christmas!
1020 Main Street
Redwood City, California