Showing posts from March, 2011

National Chain: Fast Food: Checkers

Once when hungover during a lunch break at work, I decided it was time to finally try out one of the fast food chains at which I'd not yet dined, especially as it was the closest place I could get a burger and fries.

They employ a classic, no surprises fast food menu, so I had the number 3:

Happily, they do have ranch dressing, though it does cost an extra $.50.  The fries were actually pretty awesome.  I mean, if you're in it for fast food fries, you could do a lot worse.  They're seasoned, they're a bit crispy on the outside but soft and mushy on the inside, just like I like almost all of my food.

The burger tasted a lot like the burgers from my grade school days, which is to say "bad" but also pleasantly nostalgic.

If you hurry, by the way, you can apparently get it on a limited time only 2 for 1 special on a fish sandwich and a chicken sandwich they advertise as "2 Unreal Tastes. 1 Low Price", which I have no doubt accurately describes the flavor…

Best Snack Ever

And it's $.25 per bag, at least at all the bodegas in my neighborhood.  What what!

Every now and then after trips to my bodega that didn't go as planned, the angel on the one shoulder goes over and sits down next to the devil on the other and kind of says, “Okay, yeah…good call on insisting on buying those honey, bbq and cheese flavored cheetos.”


And I love how a lot of companies just won’t go there, insisting on only two flavors of fake, chemical bull shit flavoring per snack food, and then the good people of Wise said, “The people want honey, bbq, and cheese, we'll give them honey bbq cheese!  Hell, we’ll give the people honey bbq cheeze sour cream & onion, pizza blast sriracha pomegranate acai pork belly southern fried chicken foies gras puffs.”

Well I guess they haven't quite gone there yet, but one can dream.

Hecho en Dumbo: NYC: Greenwich Village

Having paid $1 for a 30% off coupon from Blackboard Eats to this place whose menu I'd long since drooled over, I penciled it in for brunch with Jenn before my UCBT class in Chelsea.  And yes, Hecho en Dumbo  was originally located in Dumbo, and yes the name and logo are taken from Hecho en Mexico, and yes, it seems that plenty of irony abounds.

Anyhow, the discount could be applied to the brunch, lunch or late night menu (anything but dinner, in other words), so we did brunch.  Our little complimentary brunchy appetizer: So these things were lame and not really conducive of butter and/or jam spreading (well maybe the jam was spreadable, but the butter wasn't soft enough for that).  I know I'm one of the few people in the world who don't really care much for flaky pastries, but these were, like, crisp thingies instead of soft, fresh, warm breadstuffs.

Everything on the menus at this place is kind of expensive, but I was expecting excellent food.  Neither Jenn nor I were …

Best Cookies in the World: Levain Bakery, NYC

This bakery is famous for it's dark chocolate cookies. It's a little bitty bakery in slightly underground little space in the UWS. They were near closing, but they just had a few cookies out, plus one pizza and a couple of buckets of scones (one of which was Valrhona sourdough, which I would've loved to have had for sure). But I had read that no matter what happens, no matter what you're tempted to do, you have to get the dark chocolate cookie, so I did.

I mean, honestly, when you cram this much good dark chocolate into a cookie, it's gonna be fucking good, but still. And the thing is awesome at any and every temperature. And it lasts at least a few days. Over the course of three days I had some as they handed it to me, some from the fridge, some cold on the inside but warm and melty on the outside* (toaster oven), and then some all warm and melty (longer toaster oven).

Worth every penny of its $4 price tag. Get it.

We had a bit of this one at room temperature, but…

New Spot in Bed Stuy: Sud: Vino & Cucina

Or, in English: South: Wine & Food

The sign for this place went up a week or so ago:

And finally today it seems to be open, with this menu and these hours (presumably to be eventually expanded and extended, respectively, and obviously not including the wine) posted outside:

It's just south of Lexington on Bedford Ave. on the opposite corner of SCRATCHBread.

Update 3.21.2011:

Update 3.22.2011:

From June 2011:

Black Swan: NYC: Brooklyn: Bed Stuy

I've been meaning to go to this restaurant and bar on my freakin' corner pretty much since I moved in, and yet, other than one beer on my birthday in August when I was already quite beered out, I had never been until the other day (March 6th).  This is partially because, because it's so close, it's been easy to put off as something I'll always be able to do whenever.  On top of that, it's the kind of place you want to go to with someone else, and I don't so much of that in my neighborhood, other than taking people to Dough.

But Andrew and I finally planned to have dinner there, and we kept this plan this time.

Fortunately he knows well enough to defer to me when it comes to what to order.

I didn't bother to bring my backpack of my camera, in order to take good pictures with the flash in this darkly lit restaurant, and I'm sorry.  I just couldn't get it up to be a total asshole that day.  These were fine, but honestly they didn't really rock…

My Corner of Bed Stuy (The NW Corner) As of March 2011

Here's how I delineate my corner of Bed Stuy:

A walk-through the 'hood:

Not mentioned but actually the most interesting place in Bed-Stuy:
DoorDine (their Twitter, their Facebook) - A ridiculously interesting, irreverent and delicious menu by house workers (as opposed to trained chefs) from The Modern.  Fabulous food (sometimes foie gras donuts!!!) and outdoor dining available in Bed Stuy.  Of this little micro neighborhood section of Bed Stuy, the even more micro area from Green to Lexington is its own thing yet again.  A little yuppie alcove in Bedstuy instead of Clinton Hill, basically.

When I visited, I was so full and they didn't have the foie gras donuts that day, so I didn't eat there, but here are the things from that day's menu that leave me salivating:

-Watermelon Borscht with smoked blackberry "caviar" $11
-New Zealand Duck Breast with sansho, kiwi and fennel $19

From the Map:

1. Dough
2. Umi Nom
3. Pilar Cuban Eatery
4. Sweet Revenge
5. Alcatr…

Sahadi's: NYC: Cobble Hill

This past week I got robbed at a party and  found out my cat is missing, probably forever.

In other news, I'm finally doing my Sahadi's post. Sahadi's is this grocery store near Trader Joe's that imports all kinds of crazy awesome shit from all over the world.  Anything you buy there that you can get at Trader Joe's or Whole Foods will be lower at those higher mass stores, but there's a crap load of stuff I've never seen anywhere else (in the U.S.), and I pay a lot of fucking attention.  Sorry about all this cursing, the cat news was received less than an hour ago.

They sell coffee beans, bean beans, lentils, spices, dried fruits, nuts, various freshly baked breads, tons of olives, mountains of cheeses, jams, cookies, crackers, prepared foods (Mediterranean stuff), and on and on.

I tried the kibbee and tahini sandwich today.

And it was good, but I'm still not the world's biggest lamb fan, though the beef helps.  I'd still go with the classic $3 …

Tio Pepe: NYC: West Village

During NYC gay pride last year, a group of friends and I popped into this place for drinks and/or food.  They really should've let their foodie friends (Amber and me) choose the spot, but they didn't know any better at the time.  This place is overpriced, the food is fine but not great, and the portions are small.  Instead of ordering some $20+ entrée that anywhere else would be $8-$12 and probably bigger in better, Amber and I opted to share the $11 guacamole.  It came in a big granite (or whatever) bowl, and it was probably about 6 oz.  It wasn't even that good.  I recall a lack of cilantro.  Eleven fucking dollars for that bull shit.  Ugh.  This is what people mean when they say NYC is expensive.  But that's why you should read my blog and take my recommendations, so you can avoid fucking traps like this piece of shit restaurant/rape center.

That being said, this $10 blueberry colada was tasty.
The one really redeeming thing was that it worked out well for me to put …

1 or 8:NYC: Williamsburg

I had salivated over the menu at 1 or 8 months before I even moved to NY, due to its interesting fusion sushi rolls.  Plus, can you even think of a cuter name of a sushi restaurant?

So when the Time Out New York reviewer gave it 1/5 stars and said he wished there'd been "something here worth eating," I was shocked and concerned.  But then I realized he never mentioned trying any of the sushi at this sushi restaurant.  I tried three of the rolls the other day, and they were all very good.

Our drinks were just okay though, the lychee martini my sister ordered being a simple mixture and my shiso mojito being more aesthetically than gustatorily pleasing.

We had some fava beans that were tasty, though nothing special:

But we also had the pickles dish, which was a great appetizer. The pickling juice was light enough to really let the flavors of the various roots and vegetables shine.

I tried the yellowtail, mango and jalapeno roll served with a cilantro sauce; the sauteed mush…

Am I Really Leaving this City with all these Restaurants?

I get into a lot of conversations every day (on top of friends, acquaintances, co-workers, and roommates, there are the strangers of daily life as well as an average of maybe 100 customer interactions per day, 94% or so of whom are completely new faces).  And I encourage and elicit as much conversation from these people, the strangers that is, as I can because it's a fucking treasure trove of information and randomness with hundreds of life stories and perspectives and outlooks on life, suggestions of and opinions about music, books, movies, Broadway shows, bars, restaurants, book readings, podcasts, websites cultural events, sites in NY and elsewhere, free things you can do or acquire, how food stamps work, how to be happy, what it's like to be a new mother or father, what it's like at 6 months, what it's like at 20 years and 58 years, politics and economics, the places they're from, and everywhere they have lived and to which they've ever traveled, their care…

Things I've Cooked this Winter

-Baked salmon with red peppers in a cilantro, sriracha, peanut butter chili sauce.  Pretty good!

I got this recipe here.  In lieu of PB Co. peanut butter, I used peanut flour from Trader Joe's, which has about as 1/4 as many calories as peanut butter as the fatty oils have been dehydrated from it.  Would it have tasted better with regular peanut butter?  Oh for sure, but then you'd have more calories on your hands.  And by hands I mean stomach.

-Coffee Biscuits: Sounds fun, right?  I made these for the first time for a party.  Because I didn't pay attention to the ingredient list, I neglected to realize that these were actually going to be cookies.  Fucking British people* with their silly terms for things.  So next time, I'm going to get a regular ol' fluffy biscuit recipe and just add powdered instant coffee to it and see how that goes.

-For breakfast the other morning, I threw something together from the random elements at my disposal and came up with a coconut …

Mikey's Burger: NYC: LES

The Mikey in question being one of NYC's celebrity chefs, Michael Huynh, not to be confused with another NYC Asian celebrity chef with a difficult H- last name, Eddie Huang.

They both have pretty good senses of humor, and I like their food and inventiveness, so I'm not taking sides (there are sides).

You really ought to read this, in case you've ever wondered what foodies could possibly care about keeping up with:

"Just coming off the opening of his nightclub restaurant Baotique, restaurateurMichael 'Bao' Huynh has a new concept up his sleeve. He's partnering with Nicole Van Croft a Playboy Bunny who often hangs at Baotique and Covet, on a burger, fried chicken, and waffles concept on St. Mark's Place. Croft, who Bao says makes "the best southern style fried chicken and waffles" will be the culinary force behind the place, which will be located at 125 St. Mark's Pl. The tentative name is Bao & Buny. But that's not all. He's also…