Showing posts from April, 2013

Melt Shop

I kind of wish I'd done that college-dorm-thing where you put a Kraft Single between two slices of white bread, wrap it in aluminum foil, and then heat the baby up with an iron.  But then again, I didn't live in a college dorm, and knowing me, I would have just eaten that slice of cheese straight up before I got around to melting it.

There is a fantastic little joint in the city called The Melt Shop that serves a vast array of grilled cheese sandwiches that'll give you a pleasant throwback of sorts.  Sure, you can get a plain white bread grilled cheese with tater tots and a milkshake, but then there are also some creative combinations like pulled pork, wild mushroom, tuna melt, buffalo-wing-fried-chicken, meatball parmesan, bacon and cheese and...cranberry chutney?  Sure enough, The Melt Shop won this year's The Big Cheese competition for the second time in a row with just that sandwich.  They took it off their menu by the time I went so I didn't get a chance to t…

Beauty & Essex

I just had my mind blown after my birthday dinner at Beauty & Essex!  It was quite possibly the most fun dining experience I've had in a long time!
Beauty & Essex is, as the name suggests, beautiful and located on Essex Street in the Lower East Side. It is one of two restaurants by Executive Chef Chris Santos, also known as the lovable tattooed judge on Chopped.  The concept of both Beauty & Essex and The Stanton Social (his other restaurant in the same neighborhood) is to have little plates for sharing: tapas, but without the pigs ears and with a whole lotta fancy.
Why is Beauty & Essex beautiful?  The restaurant will puzzle you, surprise you, and take your breath away, quite literally.  Its marquee is a dingy, falling-apart sign that looks like the covering fell off the neon letters, a leftover from the wild days of New York in the 80s.  I wouldn't be surprised if they intentionally made the ampersand dangle at an angle.  The vestibule of the restaurant is...a…

Ghenet Brooklyn

On The Simpsons, the always-vanilla Marge visits an Ethiopian restaurant, tries a few bites of the cuisine, and has a complete gastronomic revelation - and starts writing a food blog.
I've got the food blog part down, but I still had not tried Ethiopian food until tonight.  We popped on over to Park Slope to Ghenet Brooklyn for my first Ethiopian meal.  The restaurant has a romantic minimalist ambiance and the staff are quiet, albeit nice.  I had no idea what to order so I just sat back and agreed to whatever my dining companions wanted.

Very soon, our table was graced with a large platter that resembled an artist's palate: a layer of bread topped with colorful globs of dip-ables.  I think among the things we ate were beef in a red sauce, chicken in a yellow sauce, string beans and carrots, lentils, spicy beans, and collard greens.  I had often heard about the no-utensils rule at Ethiopian restaurants and although the idea of eating with just my hands and the bread was daunti…


If you're ever in Edgewater, New Jersey, chances are you are there for one thing and one thing only: Mitsuwa Marketplace.  As an Asian person living in New York City - with its three distinct Chinatowns (maybe more, depending on how you parse), Koreatown by Herald Square, and even a little Japantown near St. Mark's Place - I find Asian markets to be old hat so I'll be honest, I wasn't thrilled or eager to visit Mitsuwa, a Japanese market across two rivers from my house.  I can go down 86th Street and have two Chinese supermarkets within a block of each other.
Mitsuwa impressed me, though!  It was definitely the cleanest Asian market I've been to.  The aisles are wide and bright, and none of the packaged foods looked dingy or sketchy like some often do in my local markets.  There wasn't an extensive butcher or seafood section, but you can probably find a section for everything else in your Asian dietary needs: tofu, dried fish, snacky-snacks.
The biggest draw ab…