Poon Kee: Cheap Eats from the Far East (of NYC!)

March 21, 2013

Poon Kee's store front on a cold day. 

Rating: ◊◊◊

NYC Chinatown is iconic. There’s a duck hanging in every window, cheap trinkets spilling out from souvenir shops onto the sidewalk and produce carts manned by wizened ladies gabbing loudly in Cantonese. But the sights that we’re familiar with only tell half the story. Literally.

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Fang Gourmet 2013 Tea Expo - Part 2: More Tea but Also Nut Butter and Jelly?

March 17, 2013

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

To read the first half of this post, click HERE.

Bundled oolong tea leaves. 

In the weeks following my first trip to Fang Gourmet’s 2013 Tea Expo, A. and I returned several times to satisfy our curiosity and taste buds. Not only did we drink more tea, we also sampled some unique treats from Taiwanese tea culture.

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Pulino's: My Go-To Sunday Brunch

February 28, 2013

Giant red sign - you can't miss it.

Rating: ◊◊◊◊

After you live somewhere for a while, you naturally start integrating yourself into the community. You develop habits and preferences, like buying groceries from the same corner deli, going to a trusted dry cleaners and of course, eating at your favorite neighborhood restaurant. Living in the Lower East Side for just under 2 years now, I certainly have my preferences. Pulino’s is the place that I always rely on for a great brunch and a relaxing afternoon.

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Fang Gourmet 2013 Tea Expo - Part 1: Tasting without Pretenses

February 26, 2012

Gorgeous tea cups and saucers. 
When it comes to tea, I’m no stranger. I've observed tea-drinking cultures all over the world, visited famous tea-centric locales and even participated in several traditional tea ceremonies. Yet despite all of these exotic first-hand experiences, my edification and enjoyment of this versatile beverage was finally sparked a few weeks ago in a place I least expected… Queens.

Believe me, the irony is not lost on me.

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Soba Totto: King of the Midtown Lunch Special

February 25,2013

Endless buckwheat. 

Rating: ◊◊◊½

My job is a bit like firefighting. When there’s work, it comes in tidal waves, filling my weeks with late nights, stress and headaches. And when there isn't work, I’m often left twiddling my thumbs and counting down the seconds to the end of the day. As monotonous as an everyday 9-5 job may seem, I’m actually pretty envious of people who have a predictable work schedule.

However, one perk I enjoy on the slow days is the option to sneak out for a "grander-than-the-everyday-soup-and-salad" lunch. My office is not too far from what I dub the “Triple-S Triumvirate,” a cluster of excellent Japanese restaurants consisting of Sakagura, Soba Totto and Sushi Yasuda. Craving noodles and rice, my coworkers and I decided to visit the least extravagant of the three, Soba Totto.

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2013 Winter Restaurant Week: DB Bistro Moderne

February 24, 2012

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

Typical Boulud-style interior - sophisticated and posh.

Rating: ◊◊½*

* indicates a proxy rating, meaning that the meal being reviewed was part of a special event or promotion.

Twice a year in winter and summer, NYC sponsors a city-wide Restaurant Week. During this time, diners can enjoy pre-fixe 3-course meals in many high-end restaurant for only a fraction of the normal price.

Sounds awesome, right?

Well, yes and no.

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Valentine's Day 2013: Chocolate Haul!

February 17, 2013

Hmm... I wonder what is inside?
Just wanted to do a quick post about the lovely chocolates I got to eat on Valentine's Day this year!

The past few weeks have been extremely hectic, so A. and I didn't have plans to celebrate. Instead, we each bought a box of chocolates and ended our February 14th with some long-awaited sweets.

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Eating in Winter

February 3, 2012 

Please comment below if you would like any of the recipes for the dishes in this post!

One-pot wonder.
Winter may be a magical time of year filled with snow, family and nights by the fireplace, but it is also the season of inevitable weight gain. We've all been there: when the thermometer red begins dipping, we also can't stop dipping... and slurping, noshing, schmearing and chewing. The eating never seems to end and the calories just keep piling on.

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Eating in Winter

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Sunday, February 3, 2013

Café Habana: Bringing the Sabor to Soho

January 27, 2013

Snowflakes in Cuba? 

Rating: ◊◊◊

When I’m starving and looking to gorge on something delicious, I don’t immediately think to go to the one place in New York known for trendy boutiques and skinny people. You know where I’m talking about: Soho.

But between the clothing racks and expensive labels, there’s actually a lot of really tasty (and surprisingly hearty) food in Soho. Café Habana, a little Mexican-Cuban diner on the corner of Prince and Elizabeth, is the perfect example of this.

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Not Your Mama's Fruit Plate

January 20, 2013 

As much as I love the entirety of the food pyramid, my favorite food group is probably fruit. I think it's because fruits have so many varying flavors, fragrances and textures - eating them never bores me.

One of the best places to get fresh fruit is Flushing, Queens. This Asia-away-from-Asia has some of the most exotic fruit I've seen in the United States. And in recent years, the produce quality just keeps getting better and better.

This time, I picked a few things to make myself a proper fruit plate.

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Not Your Mama's Fruit Plate

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Sunday, January 20, 2013

Ichimura at Brushstroke: Precision, Brilliance and Transcendence

January 14, 2012

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

Symbolic lighting, no?

Rating: ◊◊◊◊◊

Once in a while, something will come along and knock the wind right out of you. Whether it's a person, a place or an experience, it touches you so intensely that you find yourself irrevocably altered and deeply humbled by its arrival.

I had such an experience when I met Eiji Ichimura.

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Economy Candy: A Real-Life Candyland

January 5, 2012

Just when I thought I finally had the Lower East Side all figured out, I visited Economy Candy and had my mind blown all over again.

Since 1937, Economy Candy has been supplying Manhattan (and other boroughs, I suspect) with endless amounts of sugar-highs and nostalgia. This massive candy store literally has over a thousand varieties of sweets, ranging from the common Halloween fun-size bags of chocolate to rare and discontinued candies from abroad.

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