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!