May 19th, 2011.  Momofuku Noodle Bar

momofuku noodle bar

momofuku noodle bar

 

 

  Meeting DLee for the first time for an evening of fun in the East Village!  We had discussed a few different options for dinner, but in the end came to a consensus to make first impressions over Japanese ramen.  I know.  2 in a row.  But hey, how can you not love Japanese comfort food?

momofuku noodle bar

momofuku noodle bar

 

 

  The restaurant is tucked away in a niche on 1st Avenue.  The full windowed front shows the never-ending crowd of people inside slurping away on their noodles.  It’s one of my favorite kinds of interior styles with the warm, slightly ruggedness with the brick and wood but with a clean, modern silhouettes.  Love it!

momofuku noodle bar

momofuku noodle bar

 

 

  D had the Full Sail Session Lager from Hood River, Oregon and I had the Lychee Soju Slushie.  The slushie was pretty yummy!  As soju can be it kind of flies under the radar.  Paired with the sweetness of lychee, this could be deadly!!  Luckily, I knew what I was getting into 😉

momofuku noodle bar

momofuku noodle bar

 

 

 

 

  Baos again!  I have a thing for them   These are the Pork/Shiitake Buns with hoisen sauce, cucumber and scallions.  Juicy pork with the earthiness of the shiitake mushrooms, sweetness of the hoisen, cool freshness of cucumber and the mild tang of scallions.  Great precursor

momofuku noodle bar

momofuku noodle bar

 

 

 

 

 

  I usually don’t over-order.  I know I have a smaller stomache so I try to stick with just enough instead of too much.  But with D’s staple “eff it”, we ended up with a second appetizer, the Kimchi Pork Tamale

momofuku noodle bar

momofuku noodle bar

 

 

 

 

 

 

  I found that it was slightly underseasoned and still prefer the bun, but it was still fun to eat!

momofuku noodle bar

momofuku noodle bar

 

 

 

 

  We both had the Momofuku Ramen: pork belly, pork shoulder and poached egg.  It’s totally different from my ramen experience at Ippudo.  The broth is clearer, but the deep richness comes from the fatty pork belly and shoulder, which were fall-apart-melt-in-your-mouth tender! 

momofuku noodle bar

momofuku noodle bar

 

 

 

 

  Add the creaminess of egg yolk and you’ve got a heavy bowl of soup.  I liked the lightness the asian cabbage lent to the soup.  Unfortunately, we over-estimated our stomaches..and couldn’t finish our meal….which was, by the way, AMAZING! 

momofuku noodle bar

momofuku noodle bar

  

 

 

 

  Momofuku lived up to expectations and I only hope that I’ll be able to visit all the other Momofuku establishments sometime in my lifetime

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Ippudo NY

December 3, 2011

May 12th, 2011.  Ippudo NY

ippudo ny

ippudo ny

 

  My next great eating adventure, Ippudo NY!  Just as much as the Japanese Ramen culture is booming in Vancouver, the Japanese Ramen culture had already taken root in NYC and Ippudo has been one of them that’s paved the way.  Located in the little Japanese district of East Village, this place is always jam packed!

ippudo ny

ippudo ny

   

 

 

 

 

 

  A refreshing glass of iced Oolong Tea.

ippudo ny

ippudo ny

 

 

 

 

  There’s nothing more soothing than hot broth with perfectly al dente noodles and tons of savory flavors.  I was all ready for what Ippudo would dish out for my first experience.  I’d read some reviews on Yelp beforehand and knew that I couldn’t miss out on their pork belly bao either   I was so glad to be sitting at the bar so I could have the perfect vantage point of the flurry of bao action going on!

ippudo ny

ippudo ny

 

 

 

  The famous Hirata Buns.  Soft steamed buns stuffed with lettuce, mayo, and deliciously juicy, tender pork belly with their original spicy bun sauce.  Oh, yes, I was licking my fingers.  I love bao!!

ippudo ny

ippudo ny

 

 

  After contemplating and asking the really friendly waiter’s opinion I finally decided on the Akamura Modernwith the additional egg.  Come on, ramen is not complete without egg!  The original “Tonkotsu” noodle soup topped with Ippudo’s secret “Umami Dama” paste (the red blob on top), pork chashu, cabbage, kikurage, scallions and fragrant garlic oil (the black stain in the soup).

ippudo ny

ippudo ny

  

 

 

  This was unlike any ramen I’d ever had before.  Heavy, rich, savory flavors, delicious combinations, and so SO comforting!  There was nothing not to love!  Ahh~~  my happy little tummy!

March 5th, 2011.  Sugar Cafe on Housten & Allen (LES)

sugar cafe (les)

sugar cafe (les)

 

 

Sugar Cafe is a place of significance to me.  I have a sweet memory or two of this place. It’s literally a little corner cafe, most of it being exposed to the street when they open it up in the summer.  It’s a small space, but that’s what makes it cozy.

sugar cafe (les)

sugar cafe (les)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

  Smoked Turkey and Brie Cheese with Green Apple and Honey Mustard on Ciabatta.  The bread was the perfect balance of chewy an soft, the melding of flavors from the smoky turkey, the crisp and juicy apples, the sweet honey mustard and yummy cheese..Mmmmmmmm great sandwich!!

Yerba Buena – LES

October 25, 2011

February 24th, 2011. Dessert at Yerba Buena LES

yerbe buena - les

yerbe buena - les

After eating amazing baos I wandered into Yerba Buena looking for some dessert.  The whole staff insisted that I had to try the Panqueque: dulce de leche crepe, spiced pumpkin seeds and pistachio.  I have to say, I loved the sticky caramelly dulce de leche inside the slightly crispy crepe and the pumpkin seeds gave just the right earthy contrast to the sweetness.  The ice cream was also a nice cool compliment to the sweetness.

Baohaus – LES

October 24, 2011

February 24th, 2011. I  Baohaus

baohaus - les

baohaus - les

 

Baohaus Baohaus Baohaus!!!
I’d heard about this place via  “food in mouth”, a smart, sarcastic, hilarious and incredibly delicious food blog by an NYCer. Let me say this off the bat: I Love Bao. What can you not love about a pillowy soft bite-sized bun that’s filled with delicious meat, sauce and fresh green aromatics? it’s just a recipe for love… ♥

baohaus - les

baohaus - les

 

It’s quite tiny inside with pictures of the family’s history. The employees are not family members..but still dedicated to making my stomache happy with some well made baos! The best part are the gangster tunes rockin out from the little mini stereo…rocking out to “Gangsta’s Paradise” while eating my baos!!!

baohaus - les

baohaus - les

 

 

CHAIRMAN BAO: Braised slow and low using all natural Berkshire Pork Belly.  Served with: Crushed peanut, cilantro, Haus Relish, and Taiwanese red sugar.  The fatty pork belly was just rich enough to give that really delicious flavor without being super oily and all the ingredients together was like a symphony.

baohaus - les

baohaus - les

 

HAUS BAO TM: Signature all natural Hanger Steak Bao as seen on
Food Network’s Ultimate Recipe Showdown (March 2010).  Served with: Crushed peanut, cilantro, Haus Relish, and Taiwanese red sugar.  Ugh!!  So delicious!  Tender fall apart steak, sauce was perfection and with the crushed peanuts, fresh chopped cilantro and tangy relish it was perfection 😀

baohaus - les

baohaus - les

 

 

 

 

 

Because I loved it so much one more gratuitous photo of the 2 baos with the common Taiwanese staple beverage, Apple Sidra 🙂

Yerba Buena (LES)

October 17, 2011

February 10th, 2011.  Yerba Buena Feeds Me Good Food

 

yerba buena (les)

yerba buena (les)

 

 

Another trip out to Yerba Buena LES, this time to check out this oxtail stew I’ve been hearing about.

  Tallarin Saltado: oxtail + noodles + scallions + piquillos + peas + quail egg

yerba buena (les)

yerba buena (les)

 

 

 

 

Now, generally, I’m no fan of runny yolk…but, oh mama, this dish is amazing!! So totally comforting coming out in a piping hot steel bowl with the yolk running through the noodles and meat, the tang from the tomatoes and scallion and even the peas were a nice compliment to the dish. Love it!

 

I found that afterwards I just couldn’t stop craving this meal.  Total comfort food!

Yerba Buena – LES

October 13, 2011

January 31st, 2011.  Dinner at Yerba Buena LES

yerba buena (les)

yerba buena (les)

 

 

 

 

Another AMAZING dinner at Yerba Buena in the LES ♥

Aaron made me this lovely ginger & rose blended drink.  Subtle rose note gave a nice overall character to the drink.

yerba buena (les)

yerba buena (les)

 

 

 

 

 

 

Lechon – suckling pig, yucca puree, habanero mojo de ajo, chicharron. OMG, the yucca puree…SO GOOD! And I totally LOOOOVED the habanero mojo..and of course…how can you go wrong with a big mound of tender, juicy shredded pork??  Love!!

 

I absolutely loved this dish  😀

Yerba Buena (LES)

October 9, 2011

January 10th, 2011.  Yerba Buena on Avenue A

yerba buena (les)

yerba buena (les)

 

 

I’m becoming a regular here!  This little Latin bar/restaurant is in the Lower East Side bordering SOHO.  It’s always banging out Latin music you can dance to, which gives it this great energy despite the small space.  I go and always get smiles and chit chat from the staff. My first night there I brought my Bible for some reading to go with my late night dinner…and got to know Gio, the manager and Pablo, the server.  Pablo even ended up giving me a book by Deepak Chopra called “Buddah” as a gift! Yes, the guy is clever 😉

–>A wonderful ginger cocktail to ward off the extreme cold outside…thanks, Aaron 😀  You’re my favorite bartender!!

yerba buena (les)

yerba buena (les)

 

 

 

January 12th, 2011.  Yerba Buena

Time to try some food!  Everything on the menu looks interesting.  Not being overly familiar with Latin American food I was prepared to come here often and try as much as possible!

I got a little corner of a booth right between the bar and the front window.  Made myself a little nook and prepared to eat the night away~!

(Mmmm~~ Mojito~~!!)

yerba buena (les)

yerba buena (les)

 

 

 

 

  Ceviche: hamachi + red onion + rocoto + cilantro + maiz cancha.  Perfect zing and acidity.  The hamachi was well marinated and the grapefruit on top lent a nice sweetness that cut into the sour.  I loved the sauce….Mmmmmm…sauce….!

yerba buena (les)

yerba buena (les)

 

 

 

 

 

  Papas a la Provenzal: shoestring fries + chimichurri.  Who doesn’t love chimichurri sauce?  This was a lot more fries than I expected, which is not bad..except because the fries were so thin it started to get soggy towards the bottom of the basket.

yerba buena (les)

yerba buena (les)

 

 

 

 

 

 

Surprise complimentary snack on the house!  Empanadas: chicken tinga + sirloin picadillo with chimichurri.  It’s easy to make empanadas dry…these ones were pretty well done, despite the fact that they were smaller.  The manchego cheese flecked in the filling gave extra flavor, too.  Yummy bites!