October 25, 2010

Guang Ming Cun

Homemade Wontons


I rarely get the chance to experience the same restaurants that my parents visit when they were kids, but Guang Ming Cun is a wonderful exception. Nestled on the busy Huai Hai Middle Road, it is one of the few restaurants that has endured throughout the times. Breakfast is an epic treat. For under $2USD, you're able to buy a massive steaming bowl of freshly-pulled, perfectly al dente noodles in a savory broth topped with caramelized green onions, generous slabs of marbled pork, and sprouts. There's also an extensive menu of favorite Shanghai treats such as wonton soup, chicken feet, crystal shrimp dumplings, and stinky tofu. With the reasonable prices and quick service, it's no wonder that they've been open for over half a century.

October 13, 2010

Jardin de Jade

It's about time for some eyecandy! Below is a visual recap of my excellent meal at Jardin de Jade (aka Jade Garden) in Shanghai. Some dishes were a bit adventurous, but everything was delicious.

Spicy Pork Kidney
Spicy Pork Kidney

Crisy Fried Baby Eel
Fried Baby Eel

Fish Head
Sweet & Sour Fish

Vietnamese Style Braised Beef Rib Tips
Vietnamese Style Braised Beef Rib Tips

Clam Shell Steamed Buns

Sweet & Sticky Glutinous Cake
Sticky Glutinous Cake

Vegetarian Abalone Abductor Muscle & Soy/Wasabi Dipping Sauce
Vegetarian Abalone

And that's not all! More pics (dishes) can be found here.

September 29, 2010



Before I even had a chance to download and process my Shanghai trip, I was swept up into a flurry of work and life-related obligations. Next thing I know, I was on a plane headed for Steamboat Springs, Colorado for another short adventure (hint: involves many pre-dawn rises, a shotgun and camo gear). I know I have a lot to catch up on and hopefully I will be able to in the upcoming weeks. Stay tuned...

September 10, 2010


Vegetarian Bao Yu

Apologies for the lack of updates! I'm wrapping up a lengthy vacation in Shanghai and should be back soon with a massive post on the highlights of my eating adventures there. Stay tuned for more! (Photo above is vegetarian abalone... a bit strange in texture and flavor, but quite tasty!)

August 31, 2010

Dirt Candy

Chicken Drumstick or Tempura Poached Egg?


Carrot Steamed Buns

I recently watched Dirt Candy's Amanda Cohen duke it out against my chef idol Morimoto on Iron Chef America. I probably shouldn't have, but I guess it was better to have watched after my meal there than before. Why? Guess you'll have to find out for yourself!!! (Alton Brown captured my feelings so well during the show). What I can tell you is this: the episode's secret ingredient was broccoli! Also, one of Cohen's battle dishes featured a tempura poached egg, which I had experienced at her restaurant a few weeks ago. Like judge Kelly Hu's reaction, I found it to be quite aromatic, but lacking in flavor (guess it needed more salt?) Regardless, my overall meal at Dirt Candy was very delicious. I came away feeling just as satiated as I would have leaving a steakhouse (and now I know why). As Cohen puts it, Dirt Candy is not a vegetarian restaurant. "It's a vegetable restaurant." There is quite a difference, I think.

August 15, 2010

Men Kui Tei

Bowl of Goodness

Menkui Ramen & Curry Ramen

Men Kui Tei in Midtown West is still my favorite ramen shop in NYC for a few reasons:
  1. Its cheap: $7 to $9 on average gets you a huge bowl of ramen with broth (compared to the more expensive $12-15 options such as Totto Ramen and Ippudo. 
  2. It's quick: the food comes out in minutes, which is a plus when you're starvin'! 
  3. It's no-frills: If you just want a bowl of ramen, get in and get out, this place is ideal. No need to look chic (I doubt most ramen houses have a dress code, but NYC tends to do things up a bit) and the customers don't linger. During rush hour, the wait is still tolerable.
Shown above is the Menkui Ramen. A hearty bowl of seaweed-flavored broth with three pieces of char siu pork, bean sprouts, bamboo shoots, and scallions. The bamboo shoots provide a great crunch, while the pork adds a savory dimension. We also ordered the Curry Ramen to explore, but concluded that it is not to be recommended. The Wonton Ramen is not bad either.

August 14, 2010








Here are some of my favorite photos that I shot for TastingTable during their Born to Rum event at Cienfuegos. Check out the rest of the set here!

August 9, 2010

Matsugen: Summer Special

Matsugen Table

My sorority big sis, a rising jetsetter powerhouse, comes to New York City every so often for business and pleasure. This time, she had a huge craving for black cod with miso, so we decided to convene at Matsugen in Tribeca—the (nearly identical-in-appearance) successor of Jean-George's 66—for dinner. Their summer promotion was an elegant and indulgent five-course meal, tagged with a Restaurant Week price. More pics and meal details on the next page!

August 7, 2010

Ippudo NY: More than Ramen

Ramen Bowls

The last time when I tried to get into Ippudo, the hyper-popular ramen joint in the East Village, the estimated wait was an unbearable two-hours long. Fortunately, attempt #2 was more successful. I'm quite convinced that my new food buddy, Jesal of Veggiewala, brought good luck to the situation. The wait was only an hour this time (be grateful if you encounter that) and it went by super fast (sharing summery cocktails at Angel's Share in the meantime helped) and thanks to Jesal's vegetarianism, also I was able to try some mindblowing apps that I may not have ordered myself. More pics on the next page!

August 5, 2010

Happy National Oyster Day!

Poached Blue Point Oysters wrapped in lettuce, topped with lobster sauce and American Sturgeon Caviar

Happy National Oyster Day! To celebrate, I had some delicious Blue Point oysters poached in savory lobster broth, wrapped in braised leeks, and topped with American Sturgeon caviar at The Mermaid Inn UWS. This was one of their special appetizers for the day, only available on the UWS. I loved the crunchiness of the leek against the soft, squishy oyster. When cooked, the oyster's salty taste evolves into a rich, earthy deliciousness. The lobster broth and caviar were like the chocolate syrup and sprinkles on top of the sundae. This totally made my otherwise dreary and muggy day one worth remembering.

August 4, 2010

Compass: Do's & Don'ts

Salmon Tartare at Compass

Compass on the Upper West Side: do try the salmon tartare. Don't go for the lobster. Do have some of their delicious bread. Don't go for non-seafood fare. Do take a date (it's cozy and nice), but don't expect ultra crazy gastronomic fireworks.

August 1, 2010

Artisan Filet Mignon Tasting

Four Artisan Filets for Steak Tasting

Dad Taking OverTurning

A few months back, I discovered the The Oliver Ranch Company's Artisan Steak Tasters Pack through a Twitter convo with CEO & Founder Carrie Oliver. The idea is basically like a wine tasting, but with steaks. Tasters have the opportunity to discover four unique styles of steaks from natural and organic ranches across the country, each specializing in a different breed, diet, geography and aging technique. While there were several cuts to choose from, I opted for the Filet Mignon taster pack. Little did I know, my whole understanding of steak was about to change. More pics and tasting results on the next page!

July 22, 2010

Steamed Mussels

Steamed Mussels & Bread


I Heart Mussels

After an embarrassingly long hiatus from the gym, I finally decided to pay my local New York Sports Club a visit this afternoon. While I admit that it wasn't my best gym performance ever, I still managed to unclog my heart a bit. To reward myself, I wanted to make a low-key, cheap, relatively healthy, and savory snack/meal. Coincidentally, I was talking with B on gchat during this thought and he suggested mussels! Mmmm mussels... I love mussels and can eat a ton of them. They're surprisingly cheap too. We bought 4lb from Citarella for $12. Not bad right? Recipe on the next page.

July 16, 2010

Restaurant Week: Yerba Buena Perry


NYC Restaurant Week is here again! To celebrate, Sd and I went out to Yerba Buena Perry in the West Village for dinner. To be honest, I had no idea what this place was going to be about... but those situations often make some of the best dining experiences. Sure enough, I returned home happy, satiated, and glowing (mostly due to the two generous pours of chilled Malbec Rose). More amazing pics on the next page!

July 15, 2010

The Maine Event: Lobster Quest

Lobster Tails at Galyn's

While B and I had many reasons to visit Acadia National Park in Maine—to be one with nature, enjoy the seaside villages, relax without fuss—our first and foremost intention was to eat fresh, succulent, affordable lobster... and plenty of it! So we set out on our little road trip during the long Fourth of July weekend and happily accomplished our mission: seven lobsters total in three days. Not only did we manage to make a little dent in the lobster population at Bar Harbor, we also came away with some excellent lobster fishing and local eating know-how. More pics, tips and bits of our adventure on the next page!

July 8, 2010

Oysters 360 Part 3
Great NYC Shuck 'N Suck

The Live Band

Water Taxi Beach, South Street Seaport: the perfect scene for a 6,500 all-you-can-eat oyster free-for-all, a tag-team shuck 'n suck contest, and a series of short firms about the beloved bivalve. This was the stage for my third and final oyster adventure. The NYC Food Film Festival's premier event, "The Great NYC Shuck 'N Suck," was a multi-sensory homage to the oyster. However, the last time that such a quantity of oysters were in this location was probably in the late 18th century! An acoustic and strings folk band jived up the atmosphere, while I tried to get my hands on as many Beausoleils, Malpeques and Rhode Island Watch Hills as I could without looking like a massive pig. More pics and a special guest on the next page!

July 2, 2010

Oyster 360 Part 2
Blue Island Shellfish Farm Tour


A few days after the Essex meet up, eight of us (lucky ducks) gathered in front of Penn Station on a Saturday morning with coffee and bags of food. We were bound for Sayville, a small town across from Fire Island, where we were to rendezvous with Chris Quartuccio, owner of Blue Island Shellfish Farm and longtime oyster enthusiast. Chris and his friends were gracious enough to give up a gorgeous Saturday in order to host our little party. Since the farm is stranded in the middle of the Great South Bay, we had to travel by boat. Before the main trek, Chris took us around the office, storage facility, and hatchery. More pics and stories on the next page!

July 1, 2010

Oyster 360 Part 1
New York Oyster Lovers at Essex

Getting Ready to Take Notes

Blue Point Oyster

Everything I Need

Technically, it's not the best oyster-eating season anymore. But does the absence of an "R" in the month and eagerly spawning product stop me? Heck no! Since last fall, I've been charting an exciting edible journey across the world of oysters. A couple weekends ago, I took my obsession to the next level by attending a series of oyster-devoted events. It started innocently enough with a second New York Oyster Lovers meet up at Essex Restaurant. Then, a small cluster of us trekked out to the Great South Bay to tour the Blue Island Shellfish Farms with owner Chris Quartuccio. Finally, I attended the NYC Food Film Festival's Great Oyster Shuck 'N Suck party and met my hero, Liza of food.curated. By now, and thanks in part to Liza, most of you are familiar with my oyster log, but wait until you hear what I'm about to do next! More pics, stories and an exciting announcement on the next page!

June 30, 2010

Big Apple BBQ Block Party

Pulled Pork Shoulder Sandwich & Beans from Dinosaur BBQ

Monster brownie a la mode from Blue Smoke

Buttered and seasoned corn from Tabla

Dinosaur BBQer... RAWR!

I never got the chance to put my two cents in about the Big Apple BBQ Block Party! I didn't get to try it all, but what savored really made my day. The pork shoulder burger from Dinosaur Barbeque was absolutely fantastic. I could feel my eyes roll back in my head with sheer pleasure after each warm, tender, and juicy bite. It almost made me want to trek up to 131st St for an in-house experience. Just when I thought it couldn't get better, Mb and I shared a monster brownie a la mode from Blue Smoke, followed by cheesy, buttery corn-on-the-cob from Tabla. For those who want to partake in the festivities next year, a few words of advice: get there early and go on Sunday. You'll encounter less crowds, which ultimately translates to more eating and enjoyment. 

Click for more pics!

June 29, 2010

Lobster Rolls


One of my favorite foods of all time is lobster. Chunky, perfectly intact, unadulterated pieces of claw or tail meat. Dipped in butter or nothing at all—the flavor and texture just can't be beat. It wasn't until a couple years ago that I discovered a new way to enjoy this delicious crustacean: meet the lobster roll. Earlier this month I had the honor of participating in the TastingTable Lobster Roll Claw-Off, which made all of my friends supremely jealous (whether they admitted it or not.) My verdict and more pics on the next page. 

June 22, 2010

Sushi Yasuda


Peace Passage Oyster

Sea Scallop

There are already enough blog entries out there that hail Sushi Yasuda to be one of the best sushi experiences that they've ever had, so I won't reiterate what's already out there. Instead, I just want to showcase my favorite pieces from the omakase.

June 8, 2010

Naturally Chic: ABC Kitchen

Roast Carrot & Avocado Salad

Peekytoe Crab Toast

Heavenly Sundae

ABC Kitchen is the antithesis of what to expect from an organic restaurant and also a fine example of what it could be. Last Friday, I enjoyed a fantastic dinner there with my fashionista friends: Hg, Ct, and Aj. As each of us took turns diving into the warm roast carrot & avocado salad and buttery peekytoe crab toast, a continuous chorus of "MMMMmmmMMmmMm's" echoed around the table. Despite our delight with the food and drinks—the ultra refreshing basil lime daiquiri is a must-try—we paid little mind to the real magic behind the kitchen doors. More pics, dinner details and Renegade Craft Fair finds on the next page!