Upstate: In Search of Simplicity from the Sea

December 24, 2012

Tucked in a corner... 

Rating: ◊◊◊½

Growing up in a coastal city in Northern China, my family and I often bonded over large spreads freshly steamed fish, crustaceans and mollusks. We would drink, laugh and feast all night until there was nothing left but piles of empty shells and clean bones. It was during those wonderful meals that I fell in love with the unadulterated flavors of the ocean.

Now that I’m older (and living on a different continent), my heart and stomach are constantly looking for restaurants that remind me of those delicious feasts. This is what led me to Upstate.

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Veselka: All American with an Ukranian Flair

November 17, 2012

Al fresco - the New York way...

Rating: ◊◊◊

It’s 11:47AM and you finally rouse from sleep, feeling the remnants of fatigue from the past work week and exhilaration from partying the night before. Your hair is a mess and you desperately need to brush your teeth. But before you even make it out of bed, your phone buzzes. One word flies across the screen: “Brunch?”

You feel an unexpected pang of hunger and mentally list your options. CafĂ© Orlin? Clinton Street Baking Co.? No – dainty and delightful is out of the question when you look like a raccoon that just came back from dumpster diving. Endless Drunch at the Sunburnt Cow? Double no – you can’t stomach even the thought of alcohol right now. Then, it hits you. You’re going to Veselka.

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Double Ginger Cookies

October 28, 2012 

Double ginger cookies fresh from the rack. 
"When you get a chance, could you wipe that butter off the wall?" - A. the Kitchen Cleanliness Inspector

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Double Ginger Cookies

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Sunday, October 28, 2012

Beyond Sushi: Mind-blowing VEGAN sushi - Is that your brain splattered against the concrete?  

October 20, 2012

For a quick recap of the meal, check out the slide show at the bottom of the post. 

The unassuming store-front with sexy vegan food inside... 

Rating: ◊◊◊◊ ½ 

Here’s a question: can vegan food be sexy? When we talk about sexy foods, oysters, foie gras and chocolate are usually involved. But, what about vegetables and grains?

Now, most people (myself included) probably feel that the words “vegan” and “reckless abandon” are not symbiotic. It’s understandable, really. More often than not, vegan food comprises of some combination of tasteless tofu and tasteless vegetables with a side of tasteless starch. How are you supposed to feel deliciously wild and naughty when your entire meal feels like cardboard in your mouth?

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Big Gay Ice Cream Shop: Novel Novelty

September 23, 2012

So many colors! 

Rating: ◊◊◊ 

Ok, I admit, whenever I’m genuinely interested in something, I totally buy into the hype. Handmade in France and lovingly kissed by a hundred virgin nuns? So delicious it will permanently disfigure my taste buds? Great, you’ve sold me. I’ll take five!

Knowing this about me, it should be absolutely no surprise that I was excited to sample some of the fanciful concoctions at Big Gay Ice Cream Shop (A. was dragged along for quality assurance and calorie sharing purposes).

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Robataya NY: Why Yes, Do Come at Me with That Paddle!

September 12, 2012

For a quick recap of the meal, check out the slide show at the bottom of the post.

Lighting the way to robatayaki...

Rating: ◊◊◊ ½ 

Once in awhile, A. and I get the itch to blow all our money on fancy-schmancy Japanese food. We like to think that it transports us back to a better time – a time when we were studying abroad without adult responsibilities haunting our young, impressionable minds.

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Cheeky Sandwiches: Gnawin’ on Nawlins

September 9, 2012 

Cheeky Sandwiches from the outside – Keep an eye out or you might miss it!

Rating: ◊◊◊◊ 

To be honest, I don’t have much experience with Southern food. The world of fried green tomatoes, white sausage gravy and peach cobbler always seemed like a faraway fantasy. Perhaps this is what inspired me to “cross the Mason-Dixon” and hit up Cheeky Sandwiches.

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