Category Archives: New York City

Katsuhama @ NYC

This will be the last post of my 4 day 5 pound eating adventure at the Big Apple. I have to say that right now all I want to eat is a head of romaine lettuce for lunch and dinner every day for the next week or two instead of this crazy carby/sweet/fatty food diet that I’ve been on. I’ve had fun, but seriously, its time to stop.

wasabi tako

Anyway, I was agonizing over what to eat for this meal because I was eating alone. It also doesn’t help that I have a whole map of places people recommend online, and when it comes to restaurant choosing I am SUPER indecisive (unless I crave something specific). Somehow I still managed to make a decision and ended up in Katsuhama, where their specialty is katsu, Japanese fried pork cutlet. I wanted a small meal and on the cheap side so I went with the hire katsu don (Donburi with pork loin katsu) and tako wasabi (raw octopus with wasabi).

Their meals come with miso soup and marinated cabbage

The katsu was so, so good. Tender, porky and well seasoned. There was katsu sauce on the side as well. However, unfortunately the eggs covered my katsu so I can’t tell you how crispy (or not?) it could have been, but I’m sure it was amazing. Honestly, I am quite impressed by this store. Also, the tako wasabi is just like the one I had at Ippudo, albeit with some scallions and pepper flakes. Delicious as well. For the price I’m paying in New York City, I would come back to this place any time.

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Le Pain Quotidien

Le Pain Quotidien is a French Cafe/bakery chain in New York City.  Still, the amount of delicious pastries and bread they offer is just ridiculous. I stumbled upon this place and decided to have lunch here. I ordered Earl Grey Tea, Grilled Chicken & Smoked Mozzarella Tartine, and an apple cannele.

Tea set

I think overall they are trying to go for a classy but rustic feel. All the tables and chairs are wooden, but the tea set is a beautiful white. The tea came in a tea bag with hot water and cream on the side. It was good tea.

Grilled Chicken & Smoked Mozzarella with arugula and basil pesto

This was the first tartine I have ever had, and it was very delicious. I loved the artisan bread, and each bite was a world of delicious flavors. My favorite was incorporating the radishes on the tartine, although the pickles went really well too. They used very smokey and slightly firm mozzarella, which I loved. The only problem I had with this dish was the chicken. It was brined, but other than that it didn’t lend much flavor. Overall I’m not a big fan of chicken I suppose.

Apple Cannele

Having just had authentic canelé from Dominique Ansel Bakery, I was not impressed by this psuedo cannele. However, it was a delicious treat in and of itself – sticky and slight caramelized exterior, moist and chewy interior was good. There were also solid chunks of apple. I would have loved to try some of their other pastries, but the tartine was really filling – I almost couldn’t finish the cannele.

Afternoon Tea Time

I think this place is a great location for breakfast, lunch, or afternoon tea. Their tasty breads, amazing pastries, and rustic atmosphere were all memorable.

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Dominique Ansel Bakery @ NYC

I first heard of canelé from chow.com, where they had this one video about the best canelé in the US. By their description, crispy caramelized interior plus a custard interior mesmerized me, and I was determined to get such a rare treat on my trip to New York. (On a side note, if you look at the recipe for a canelé it looks like pancake batter, or crêpes batter… count it on the French to make simple things so complicated.) Then there’s kouign amann. Serious Eats is crazy about this stuff, but this bakery seemed to specialize in selling these delicacies as well so that also went on my list.

Canele and a Kouign Amann

The canelé was everything I had expected. Sweet and caramelized, the exterior indeed was a shell that produced a nice crunch when I bit into it. The interior was a like a custard cake, super moist but also chewy. I think I would have liked this treat to be baked (say, in my handy dandy toaster oven) so that the exterior could be more crunchy and the interior warm. However, it was definitely very good, and I would most definitely come back again next time I’m in NYC.

Kouign Amann

The kouign amann was better than the canelé, I have to say. It was also very much caramelized, so the exterior was crunchy. The interior was sweet and fluffy. This was also my first time trying this treat, and I definitely love it.

Long story short, I couldn’t imagine visiting NYC again without coming back to this place.

The innards of a tasty kouign amann

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Waffle and Dinges @ NYC

Waffle and Dinges food truck menu

For some absurd reason when I first heard of the word dinges, it meant sausage to me. I was quite embarrassed to say that I kept on asking for dinges on my waffle, only to discover that dinges meant toppings! Anyway, their menu is quite interesting, with a choice of Belgium (crispy and fluffy) or Liege (chewy)) waffles, and a choice of 1 dinges for free. They also have interesting combinations such as chili con carne or pulled pork waffles. Their toppings include strawberries, bananas, nutella, walnuts, spekulos spread, dulce de leche, ice cream, and other normal things you would find as waffle toppings. I ordered a Liege waffle with strawberries, but I totally should have went for the pulled pork or chili con carne. =(

Waffle and Dinges!

The waffle itself was lighter than I expected, but also chewy. To be honest, I don’t usually like liege waffles, but something possessed me to get it anyway. I usually find them too dense, but this one was not. The exterior had also some caramelized sugar which was quite tastey. Still, I think there was something texturally off about this waffle that I couldn’t put my finger on… as if… it was a little undercooked? I’m not sure. It was good, but it wasn’t mind-blowingly-amazing. Strawberries were fresh and went well with the waffles. Would I seek this place out just to come back? I’m doubtful, but it was an enjoyable lunch.

A cute display case on the truck

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Ippudo New York @ NYC

I love good ramen, and I’ve heard of this place even before I planned on going to NYC. They are a chain store from Japan, and unlike stupid Ding Tai Fung in LA which tastes nothing like the Taiwan stores, Ippudo was amazing and worth the money. We ordered a tako wasabi, hirata pork buns, and akamaru modern ramen. I was completely stuffed by an amazing dim sum lunch, and my friend wasn’t very hungry either so we shared the three dishes.

Tako Wasabi – Raw baby octopus in fresh chopped wasabi sauce

This dish is not for people who are scared to venture out of their comfort zone. It was slimy and heavy in octopus taste, not to mention raw. However, I thought it was delicious. The wasabi really brought out the sweet undertones of fresh tako, and the texture was quite chewy. I think it might have been salted (or maybe sea water octopi?), but overall it was a very delicious dish.

Hirata Pork Buns – Steamed buns filled with pork served with Ippudo’s original spicy buns sauce

Everyone recommends the pork buns here and now I know why. The pork is tender and slathered with a salty and slightly sweet sauce. The buns were warm, soft, and slightly sweet, complimenting the pork perfectly. What made it so unique was the special sauce. It wasn’t spicy, as the menu had said, but it brought tang to the party. The buns were amazingly flavorful, and more than worth your money. As my friend put it, don’t make the mistake of sharing 2 buns between 2 people! Order it just for yourself, you won’t regret it. (We on the other hand, were too full for food in general so that’s a different story, haha).

Akamaru Modern – The original silky “Tonkotsu” (pork) soup noodles topped with Ippudo’s secret “Umami Dama” miso paste, pork chashu, cabage, sesame kikurage mushrooms, scallions, and fragrant garlic oil

And finally for the ramen itself. The ramen definitely lived up to the appetizer’s amazingness. The “umami dama” miso paste was red, hence the name of the dish, and I was surprised that it didn’t make the broth red as well after mixing. The broth had a deep umami flavor from the tonkotsu and miso paste. The noodles were fresh and firm, making a nice “snap” when they were bitten. They were on the thin side, but still delicious. The kakuni in the bowl was very well seasoned and tender as well. I did not taste garlic at all, but I’m okay with that because it really allowed the tonkotsu broth to stand out. As with Santouka in San Diego, they had kikurage mushrooms, but they weren’t as crunchy as the ones at Santouka so did not lend as much texture to the dish. However, the noodles were much better so it was still good. The food here is genuinely amazing, and I understand the long lines, even if it weren’t famous.

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