[yiddish] To eat like an animal, i.e., quickly, noisily, and in great quantity.

Sunday, April 5, 2009


Cocktails and desserts are the way to go here, no matter what time of day. Its fine to have cake in the morning if it comes with green tea and is made out of tofu. The savory food I have experienced have not totally been worth it, either too tiny or not so pleasant tasting. But moving on, the cocktail menu is creative. I love the signature Kyotofu with raspberry, mint, and white sesame shochu and I am sure it tastes even better when its half-off during the happy hour. The famous miso chocolate cake is perfectly complemented by the bitter green tea cream, it shocks your palette. The dessert sampler is a really great and adorable thing to share with your boo. We had the 5 item dessert brunch selection with rich chocolate souffle cupcake, a unique cheesecake, the soothing sweet tofu, the odd anmistsu which is most likely a dessert they eat on mars, and the perfect choc and vanilla soft serve with mochi. It was a great combination of flavors. The place can be a little expensive but many items are worth it. although we were advised otherwise, the teas could easily be shared if you are only interested in a cup or two. The space is pretty and they have a clean looking open kitchen. If I were a guy, I would take my dates here.

705 9th Ave

Orso Restaurant

Also had a great time. We got a pizza appetizer, which was very good. I think I pissed the chefs off, forgetting they don't substitutions, hopefully they didn't remove the arugula and switch it with spit. For the main course I had the pappardelle with wild boar ragout. I was wildly impressed with the home made pasta; it was so wide and smooth and felt absolutely amazing in my mouth.

The service here is good... but a little strange, its hard to put my finger on it. Everyone is maybe too friendly- pulling your table out when its not always necessary, too many people greeting at the door, I don't know... Also a little on the pricey side, but it is restaurant row. Still, its a really great restaurant for all times of day.

Had a lovely sunday brunch here. The place is kind of hidden, so look out for the stairs and tiny sign. The bubbly waitress encouraged us to break bread over the table and make a mess. Cute, but trying the white bean dip was made more difficult without bread plates. I had the grilled pugliese bread with poached egg, prosciutto, and fontina with a white wine sauce. I thought it was amazing and the epitome of the perfect brunch item. I am not a scrambled egg or omelet lover and tend not to go out for breakfast or brunch too often. I loved the way the crispy bread soaked up all the flavors. It was not at all weird that there was a shallot-white wine sauce on my brunch plate. Others ordered the frittata and the salmon and were happy with them. The dishware is adorable. Am looking forward to returning for dinner.

322 W 46th Street

Ninth Avenue Vintner

This place has everything that is delicious in the world. 5 stars purely for the beer, cheese, and food store on the right side bc I think the wine store is a little pricey.

They have an amazing beer selection with 10% off when you buy 6. Its worth it to pick up the fancy beers considering what they would charge for them at a bar.

The back area where they serve food is a little like Narnia. You make your way through the aisle of beer and cheese and suddenly you find yourself in a land where moderately priced gorgeous sandwiches filled with the freshest ingredients await you. Take a cold bottle of beer and they will pour it for you, or go for a glass of wine. They throw in some nuts and dried fruit to accompany your sandwich or pannini. It is perfect for a casual meal that is healthy and delicious in an unexpected environment.

669 9th Ave

Cha-An: open sesame

Clearly if you come here you must have the black sesame creme brule. It is as good as everyone says it is. My friends ordered some unimpressive dim sum; so I suggest sticking with tea, sake, and dessert. There are some very reasonably priced sakes and (although on the expensive side for hot water and leaves) flavorful teas to please everyone. The early gray chocolate mochi was so tasty and different, but really intense, so it is a good thing to share.
There isn't a wait before 630 on weeknights. Yes cash only, yes hilarious and amazing ladies bathroom. Oh, if you remember to ask, there is a weeknight happy hour special that gets you a few tiny but delicious snacks with an order of an alcoholic drink.

230 E. 9th St

Menchanko Tei: Big Slurps

Good ramen, worth going back. Exactly the carbs I needed as a post Passover meal.

Very quick with the ramen to-go orders. The half portion size is a nice option and leaves room for ordering other things. The regular size can last me two meals. The ginger in the hakata ramen was overpowering/distracting. I really enjoyed the noodle texture though. I was not really impressed with the quality of the takoyaki, although its nice they have that on the menu and maybe worth ordering if you have never eaten it. The dessert menu looks tasty and well priced, maybe I will try the panna cotta next time.

update: tried the panna cotta, it was tasty and home made and though listed as having strawberry puree on top, it was definitely rhubarb which is ever better

also tried the shoyu ramen which was good and much better if you add vinegar. hakata is my preference though.

43 W 55th S

Otafuku: Best balls of them all

Takoyaki definition from wikipedia: (literally fried or baked octopus) is a popular Japanese dumpling made of batter, diced or whole baby octopus, tempura scraps (tenkasu), pickled ginger, and green onion, topped with okonomiyaki sauce, green laver (aonori), mayonnaise, and katsuobushi (fish shavings), originating from Osaka

Little shack with a bench outside for sitting, I usually sit on the steps across the street. Their takoyaki is honestly one of the best things I have ever tasted. Combo B is the way to go, takoyaki and okinamiyaki (cabbage pancakes). I can't understand the negative comments about the mushiness and oversaucing. The flavors and texture made my mouth so happy. I daydream about these balls in my mouth. I really do.

PS There are definitely places to get this dish besides this place in NYC, but Otafuku is the freshest and most delicious in my humble opinion.

They now sell bottles of the addictive sauce- very worth picking up. I attempted to make okinamikayi with my sister and it did not come out half bad. Egg, cabbage, flour, Otafuku's sauce= easy breezy.

236 E 9th St

Village Mingala

This place is perfect in every way!

Its not easy to find a place in the city that is delicious, different, cheap, accepts large groups on weekend, and is BYOB.

We loved the green tea salad and the chickpea salad, they are a crazy mouth party, the mango salad was devoured in seconds, the thousand layer pancakes with chicken is great, the bermese tofu is unique-made of chickpea, the coconut rice is a flavorful and huge side dish for 3.50, and the green tea ice cream comes large and not too sweet.

21 E. 7th Street

Bamboo 52

1st visit for early office happy hour:
The happy hour is worth all the stars in the sky. These are serious cocktails! They have a great selection of drinks with tempting ingredients all for $4 or $5. I loved my geisha mojito and basil pear martini. The food was decent enough, I shared a shrimp tempura roll. I took my office here for our inauguration happy hour celebration very early on a weeknight. The service was great- Steve really put effort into taking care of us. We decided to go for the giant flaming volcano bowl (yea you wish your office is this sweet) which was a bowl of a lot of rum and fruit and a flaming 151 shot in the middle. It was strong and fun, although the happy hour drinks are more economical.
Its a very cute spot and we all look forward to the outdoor space in the spring. Actually, I plan on taking my sister back here tonight- its that good.

2nd visit at a more prime time hour:
2nd time around at a much busier time the quality of drink and service were definitely not as good. The wait for a table was not bad at all. But the basil pear martini did not taste anything like the delicious one I had while the place was empty and the bathroom line was a bit of an issue. I did learn that other drinks off the cocktail menu were also half off, including shots and $4 jack and cokes, which is nice. I also learned about severe sake hangovers and that they are really not fun at all. It is still a good happy hour, get there early if you want your cocktails to be tastier.

344 W 52nd St

Uncle Nick's Greek Cuisine: Where is my lemonade?

The good thing about Uncle Nicks is there is ample space for a big group to go during lunch, that is often hard to find in the area. We reserved a table and were seated in their mezzanine level, which worked out well for us. The menu has a lot of options. I wasn't up for getting a big platter so I ordered a beef souvlaki sandwich for $5. The sauce and pita were nice but there was not enough meat AND the meat was too tough anyway. My coworkers appeared to enjoy the mousaka, spinach pie, and massive salads. They did not serve lemonade- what greek restaurant doesn't serve lemonade? Greek restaurants are maybe the only places where I would order lemonade, grrr. My main complaint though is that it took 3 times longer to wait for the food than it took me to eat it!

382 8th Ave.

Mooncake Foods

Opening week:
I enjoyed the Soho location and was thrilled when I found out a location was opening up a few blocks from my office.
The space isn't as charming (at least as of now) as the one in Soho, but it is certainly bigger.
The portions were really generous, with many sandwiches,salads, and platers costing under $9.
My coworkers and I enjoyed the miso glazed salmon, lemon grass shrimp, and the braised beef shins. My beef shins were cooked perfectly, but they could have used a slightly stronger flavor. Most items come with rice and salad. We noted that similar, less tasty dishes would cost around 5 dollars more at any diner.
For $4 you can get a pot of tea for the table that they keep refilling.
They also deliver. Great addition for those who work and lunch near Penn Station.

Repeat visit notes:
Went back for lunch and shared the octopus with spinach noodles and the pulled pork. They were both prepared very nicely and had a lot of flavor. The spinach noodles are surprisingly addicting. This place is so great at having healthy, delicious dishes. The people who work here are so sweet. I am lucky to work so close to here and am so-far successfully converting my colleagues to be Mooncake food lunch time go-ers instead of heading to the diner.

263 W 30th St


I went twice to the buffet in 4 days and I am itching to go again. You can be completely stuffed and have enjoyed several different well prepared items for $7. They are constantly replacing the steam trays, so you know everything is really fresh. I loved the bulgogi style beef, the zuchini pancake,veg mandoo, and fried pork in different styles. Good for a group even thought its small- you can take it to go and eat in herald sq park- just ignore the schizos hissing at you.

12 W 32nd St

Sweet N Tart

So the owner recently went to China and got inspired. He updated the decor and menu and its pretty bangin. I loved the old Sweet n Tart. I wouldn't say the new Sweet n Tart is way way better, but its certainly different. Foi gras dumplings? Now we are getting fancy. We had perfectly grilled shrimp on sugarcane sticks. We ordered some delicious wontons and dumplings. They now have a selection of toasts, we had one that was covered in what tasted like coconut condensed milk- so simple, so delicious as a dessert. They now have a full mocktail bar. Besides the basic bubble tea varieties they have fresh fruit mixed cocktails for around 5 dollars- I was jonesing for a shot of rum in my gingery peach drink. I kinda miss the hand scrawled signs on the walls of the daily specials though.

136-11 38th Ave

Gala Manor

One of my favorite parts of this Gala Manor, especially when bringing guests, is the option of entering through the almost empty mall, going up in the elevator, and having the elevator open up to the restaurant. I usually arrive after the dim sum rush, around 1 and have never had to wait. The dim sum here is great, if you know what do order. There is one dumpling that seems to be stuffed with frozen corn and peas, so avoid that one.The leek dumplings, shu mai, har gaw, shrimp wrapper things, congee, fried calamari, are delicious. They once served seashell stuffed with an egg seafood mix- different and amazing. Occasionally the dishes won't be hot enough (like the fried calamari w sesame (which happens to be one of my favorite dim sum dishes/favorite preparation of calamari[or is it octopus?]))- sometimes you can ask to get a fresh plate of it... if anyone can understand you.

Also they do actually have several private parking lots- just look for the signs. This is extremely convenient when driving into Flushing.

3702 Main St

Joe's Shanghai

This restaurant will always have a place in my heart. I started going here for soup dumplings when I was about 7 and developed a huge crush on a waiter who later became manager and consistently gave my family free meals, Chinese New Year gifts, and birthday presents. When most kids were having their pottery making birthday parties, I brought my chopstick ignorant friends here. The soup dumplings are unparalleled. But you will burn your mouth on them.
Know how to eat them properly (as the hot waiter taught me: put one on your spoon, bite a little hole, let it cool a bit, slurp the soup, eat the thing) or you will look dumb.
The pan fried noodles are also stellar. Although simple, they prepare bok choy very well.

13621 37th Ave

Flava Cake Stand

Flava flave...This tiny food stand doesn't look like much, but for $1 you get a package of freshly made Flava Cakes. These are tiny, airy cakes reminiscent of sponge cake. The taste and texture is strangely comforting. You should eat them while they are hot.

Main St and 38th Ave

Flushing Mall

I love the Flushing Mall. You can spend hours here. Its clearly not a typical mall and its not really a place to do heavy shopping. If you are Asian, you can come here and enjoy things you may be used to, all wrapped up in one location- if you are a whitey, like me, its an adventureland of wonderment and deliciousness.

Shopping: There are about 2 cute clothing shops on the ground level that on occasion have amazing sales. Granted, 88% of the sale items are shiteous, but if you dig, you can find some great one- of -a- kind steals. Also it helps if you are smaller sized. There is an adorable store on the second level that sells novelty items like tissue box holders in the shape of anime poop.

Activities: There are some holistic ways to pass the time here. Tiny store fronts offer massages beds or actual massages in the sketchiest of settings. I tried cupping for 15 minutes, which was $15. If you are brave enough and into painful back massages, like myself, you may want to check it out. Voice your opinion if it gets too hard, I made the mistake of not doing this and it was pretty painful; the giant round hickys on my back will most likely be there a week from now. I surprisingly don't regret it though. I do warn you in advance - this is not a spa experience.

Food: This is the main draw. Fattytastic hand drawn duck noodle soup for $5, and you can actually watch the noodles being made. Fresh fruit shakes and juices. Homemade dumplings- I recommend pork and leek. Its just a blur of cheap yummy greasy food. At one stand they make a salt and pepper squid that is amazing and under $4. You can get tokayaki- which are good but they are not consistently great. Dumanjoo is kinda pricey for how many you get- ask for a sample of a damaged one instead. Next to it is a stand with popped rice cakes like the ones from Stew Leonard's that are worth picking up, they give you a good deal for 3 packs.

133-31 39th Ave

Corner 28 Peking Duck Sandwich Stall

If you are in Flushing and can find the place on the corner, it is worth it to pick a few up- they are also still tasty when you get home. The duck itself is crispy and full of flavor and the (hoisin?) sauce and pancake wrapper go perfectly. Its simply standard delicious peking duck preperation, as you would expect in any restaurant, but in affordable portions. And street food is always more fun! Prices were 75 cents back in the day but they are 1 dolla now.

Next door I got a serving of tasty pork rice noodle for $1.50 that they made fresh as we were waiting. They are now also doing random skewers. We tried the squid skewer, which was rather terrifying in appearance, decent in flavor- would not get it again unless attempting to freak out friends. Inside the is a restaurant that we have not frequented though there is an additional line to pick up portions of roasted items, like pork.

Main Street and 40th Road

Golden Mall: A recap of our first adventure

First there was buzz on and I knew I had to get there, then in the Village Voice, and by the time it got in the New York Times I had to head over before things got tainted, gringofied, or had a red hook or DOH situation and got shut down completely.
It was a family outing to the Golden Mall and we were so pumped for an adventure. Down the stairs and into a maze of food stalls we went, nary a white person in sight.
The first stall we went to was number 36, Xi'an snacks for the cold noodles and lamb burger. Articles about this stall mentioned the Muslim influence in this province of China that definitely shows itself in the food. Specifically, the cumin in the lamb burgers is a hint at this fusion. These ground lamb sandwiches are spicy and flavorful and really cheap. As much as the lamb makes this trip worth taking- the liang pi cold noodles are incredibly addicting with a unique flavor coming from the chili oil and special vinegar. The texture of the noodles is also great. Its really saucy and messy; its hard not to make a mess.
Next door to this stall on the right is a stand that I do not believe has a number (I asked a lady working there what number stall it was for identification purposes and she proceeded to write down her cell phone number for me)
You can watch the different steps in their dumpling making process- there is one gappy toothed guy who stuffs the dumplings and is so smiley you can't help but smile back. So these dumplings are 8 for $2 and stuffed with pork and chives. They are damn good. Put some chili oil and hot sauce from the tables and they are perfection. On another trip there I bought a frozen pack of 60 for $10, I am sure I will love them.
A good thing to know is that there is a dude who sells beer outside the mall. A lot of these spicy foods go perfectly with a cold beer. And there is no problem with drinking in the stalls, many do that anyway.
Since it was a hot summer day we skipped a lot of the delicious looking hot pot or homemade noodles soup stalls.
We got the dan dan noodles at the Chengdu Heaven stalls- the first one on your left when you walk in. The noodles had quite a kick and a great flavor. My parents ventured to eat the mixed meat cold salad, but it was a little too offaly for me. The people at this stall really do not speak English at all. recommended bringing a Spicy & Tasty menu to the stall to show them what you want.
Back outside the mall and a few doors down is another smaller mall with food stalls. One stall serves bing (savory stuffed fried thing) and giant dumpling things that are convenient, cheap, and great tasting.
So, in conclusion, its a great adventure and food experience. We are now regulars. The liang pi noodles in particular rocked my world, the to-go version comes with the sauce separate to avoid sogginess. I am a big Flushing fan and would recommend to anyone to take the trek over there.

41-28 Main Street