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Showing posts from June, 2012

A Preview: Cook Out NYC and Kimchipalooza

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Today, Alex and I got to shmooze with a bunch of fellow food writers at a preview party for next weekend's Cook Out NYC.  Who would have thought we'd be hanging out at a dark basement bar/restaurant on a weeknight?  The event was a lot of fun and I am pumped for Cook Out NYC!!  Boy, do we have a treat in store for you, dear readers of Veritasty!
The evening began with people trying to ply us with alcohol: fancy Belgian beers and the like.  I'm not so much a beer person (and I didn't want to start glowing) but Alex had a strong, smoky-flavored ale that he enjoyed very much.  To me...it tasted like bitter liquid bread (which is what beer is, I suppose!). Not my cup of tea.  To accompany the free-flowing booze, we had little noshes like a meatball slider and a chorizo hot dog.  The meatball was very successful and delicious.  It was just like a hamburger patty, just chubbier and ball-shaped.  It was impressively juicy and topped with a bunch of sweet caramelized onion.  …

Cafetasia

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I'm sort of on a quest to find the best plate of pad thai, and I pretty much think I found a winner.  With reservations.


Cafetasia is an affordable casual Thai restaurant right around NYU so in the past 4 years, I've obviously  been there loads of times.  The first thing that got me hooked was this "block party" that NYU had, with local vendors giving away food samples.  Their crab and cheese rangoon had me hooked.  Hooked, I tell you!  Crab meat and cream cheese, stuffed in a deep-fried wonton wrapper and dipped in a spicy tomato sauce.  Four years of ingesting plates and plates of their crab and cheese rangoon appetizer and I still love it and get it every time.
Their lunch menu and early bird dinner menu allow for appetizer + entree, but otherwise the menu is categorized by "extra-small," "small," "medium," "large," and "extra-large" dishes.  A typical entree, like pad thai, is considered medium.
So, the pad thai…

Artichoke Bastille's Pizzeria

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At long last, I can check one thing off my food spreadsheet: artichoke pizza from Artichoke Bastille's Pizzeria.
We went to the one on 14th Street that apparently has a new tiny dining room.  We ordered a large pie to split between three people (hi NSM!)...which was maybe a mistake because after 2 slices each, we were already in food-pregnancy states, and there were still 2 slices to go.  Leftovers!
The artichoke pie was beautiful.  It was enormous and thick, unlike the usual New York pizza (you know what I'm talking about, the thin crunchy crust that barely holds up when you lift the slice).  The pie was covered in this cream sauce, dotted with wilted spinach and chopped artichoke hearts.
First, I dug into the crust.  This is how I eat pizza, end of story.  The crust tore off easily, and was flaky rather than dough-y!  Such an interesting texture.  The pizza was piping hot and retained that heat while we ate.  Once I bit into the actual slice (from the outside in), it was li…

Joe's Shanghai

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There's a scant list of Chinese words that non-Chinese people sometimes learn, usually having to do with food.  The average American knows "lo mein," "bok choy," and even "cha siew bao," but I think another one that's making its way out of anonymity is "xiao long bao."
Xiao long bao are Shanghainese soup dumplings.  It's pretty much what you would imagine when you hear "soup dumpling": there's a meaty filling and a soupy broth inside a dumpling wrapper.  My cousin says that Joe's Shanghai has some of the best in the city, so he treated us to some xiao long bao there.


Joe's Shanghai is a small restaurant on Pell Street in Chinatown that is infamous for long waits and famous for its xiao long bao.  I kid you not, we waited for an hour and a half on the narrow sidewalk for a table.  It was worth it, though.  When you first step inside the restaurant, your nose is filled with this almost-offensive sour smell: vineg…

Eataly

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One of my favorite places in the world is Italy.  One of my favorite places in New York City is Eataly.
Eataly is a sprawling establishment across from Madison Square Park that contains several restaurants, an enormous marketplace, and a cooking school.  It was the brain child of Mario Batali, intended to be like a European food hall. Usually, I'd be a bit cynical about projects that intend to turn American things into European institutions, but two thumbs up to Mario Batali and the Eataly team because it is really just spectacular.



One of the best things right up at the front of the store is the gelateria.  Alex and I contend that Eataly's gelato is the best in the city...perhaps even good enough to rival the gelato in Italy.  I've had plenty of gelato in Italy, and while nothing has really disappointed, few were memorable as the gelato in Eataly. Interestingly, at Eataly, one scoop in a cone is cheaper than one scoop in a cup! They have a smaller array of flavors than in…

Otto

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I know I've just written about Otto, but tonight I had a marvelous dinner that cemented its reputation as one of my favorite restaurants in New York City.  Did I mention that I shook hands with and exchanged a brief conversation with Mario Batali???  STARSTRUCK.


We ordered a cheese platter that came with a trio of condiments: truffle honey, cherries in brandy sauce, and apricots in mustard and chili oil.  The cheeses that we ordered were: triple cream goat cheese, ricotta, ubriaco, quadrello, and rosso di langhe.  Hands down, this cheese platter was the highlight of the meal for me.  Although I wasn't really sure what I was eating, besides the more obvious ricotta and creamy goat cheeses, all the selections were delicious, creamy, and rich. We specifically asked for cheeses that wouldn't assault our noses and taste buds, and this was a great selection.  The ricotta was fluffy and light, the goat cheese was similar to French brie that Alex loves so much, and the remaining …

Max Brenner

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There's a restaurant on Union Square called Max Brenner: Chocolate by the Bald Man.  If that's not intriguing enough, I don't know what is.
Max Brenner serves a lot of incredible food that relates to - what else - chocolate!  You don't really go to Max Brenner to eat savory food...you go there for Belgian waffles, chocolate fondue, and the dessert pizza!  Their food is really a feast for all your senses, from the beautiful plating to the bold flavors to the heat radiating from the marshmallow-roasting mini-stove (seriously).  The sauces that accompany a dish (chocolate, caramel, syrup, etc.) come in Erlenmeyer flasks (seriously).  Many times, I've wanted to lick my plate clean, and the plate of my dining companion (seriously).

I am unlike most people, though: I go to Max Brenner for their savory food and then share a dessert.  Their savory dishes are American comfort food and diner food, but elevated to an elegant and modern level.  I particularly love their macar…

1492

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When I was in high school, the closest thing that I did that made me feel like a cool/grown-up/classy/precursor-to-hipster/New York lady was have dinner with my friends in the Lower East Side repeatedly.  Specifically, at the tapas restaurant 1492.  It left a weird imprint on my soul that made me yearn for it, now, more than four years later.

The restaurant's storefront is almost like a hole in the wall. When you first walk in, a mirror hanging diagonally from the ceiling over the bar gives you a really trippy view.  There are small, cozy tables all the way through the restaurant and even in a quaint garden courtyard inside.  When I came once for a friend's birthday, we sat in the garden and sipped virgin mojitos under the summer sky and beneath a string of twinkling lights.  I felt so fancy!  This most recent visit, we went on a Monday evening and I'm sad to say we were the only patrons in the restaurant.  We sat at a small table inside and shared a meal over romantic ca…