Big Apple Eats

I love being back in the North. The drivers are crazier, the rolls are pork-ier, and the proximity to my friends is at an all time high.  So, instead of planning a huge weekend that involves flights and taking off work, I can just hop in a car, then onto a train, and VOILA I’m in the city!  Since I saved all that money on flights, I figured that I’d spend it all on food.

Priorities, right?

Luckily, there’s no shortage of tasty treats in the Big Apple, and I take big bites.

First up, Flea Food Under the Archway from the folks that brought you Brooklyn Flea and Smorgasburg.

Yeahhhh buddy!

First up, Landhaus. Farm to Sandwich, this spot’s steak sandwich with cheddar sauce was flavorful and juicy, with a nice salty mouthfeel. I’ll admit, the potato chips were a little soggy, but the star of the show was the sandwich, and that’s what I was in it for, so I wasn’t disappointed. Next time, I think I’d like to enjoy their Bacon on a Stick. That just sounds orgasmic.

Up next: Brooklyn Oyster Party!

No party like an oyster party, right?

There’s the La-la-la-lovely Laura in the top left, nabbing us a fried oyster plate.

And then, on the bottom right, the oyster plate itself, complete with pickled onions and Old bay Aioli.  While I normally go for the raw oysters, these were practically bursting with tasty brine and the pickled onions added a fresh acidity to the mix. And you can’t really go wrong with aioli, right?

Right.

Later that night, inspired by one of my very favorite bloggers, Lauren of Sugar Coated Sisters, I made a rez for my brother and I at Mesa Grill.  Though her post is SERIOUSLY detailed and delicious, here’s a fun collage of my Restaurant Week Meal!

In no real order. Because this photo collage thing does crazy things to my pictures.

The appetizer (bottom right?): Fresh Tomato Tortilla soup with Avocado + Queso

The OTHER appetizer (NOT from the restaurant week Menu, but we HAD to get it!) (bottom left): Cremini Mushroom Quesadilla with Fontina, Ricotta, Fried Egg + Salsa Verde

The entree (Upper left): Cornmeal Crusted Chile Relleno filled with Roasted Eggplant, Manchego Cheese with Sweet Red Pepper Sauce + Balsamic Vinegar

Dessert (top right): Vanilla Bean Custard with Summery Berry Salad

Though I know that Lauren RAVED about the soup, I will have dreams about that Quesadilla and the Chile Relleno. Seriously, maybe I’m just a cheese fiend, but fontina, ricotta, manchego OH GOODNESS!! And topping a quesadilla with a fried egg?

BRILLIANT!!

My beverage of choice

I’ve already raved about the Chipotle Ale, but seriously, it was that good.

Birreria did me dirty

I have only see La Birreria completely swamped every time I’ve gone. Admittedly, I’ve only been twice, but both were in the middle of a weekday before work lets out, so I was surprised at the crowds (maybe everyone else is enjoying some funemployment like me?) When we asked for a seat for two for lunch, we were told that we could wait for 30-45 minutes OR check out the bar upstairs, which was standing room only. We opted for the bar, to at least grab a drink before lunch time.

When we reached the rooftop, it was hot, sweaty, and crowded, but a beautiful day. After spotting a small family getting ready to leave, we obtained a seat without hardly waiting at all. We ordered our beers, of which they had an excellent selection of Dogfish Head and house-brewed brews, and were offered some homemade bread made from the spent grain from their brewery (Upper Left). We didn’t try any cask beers this time, but next time I’ll be sure to.

Despite getting the text to let us know a table had opened up, we opted to keep our seat at the bar for the bonus of people watching and proximity to the bartender. I’ll say that the Captain Lawrence Liquid Gold was nothing to write home about, but all the other beers I tried were thoroughly enjoyed. For lunch, my partner and I ordered a cheese plate with gorgonzola, taleggio, and robiola bosina (Upper Right) which was served with a sort of honey hazelnut thing (Bottom Left). Along with the spent grain bread, this was the ideal dish before our “main course” the ProBusto sausage platter with coriander potato and mustard greens. While it seemed a little pricey initially, the sausage was more than enough for the two of us, and was plump and juicy (Bottom Left). Not usually a fan of mustard, this was especially fantastic to enjoy and the potatoes were so well seasoned and well mashed.

And now, I’m on an all salad and omelet diet.

Well, until Happy Hour tonight…

 

Friday, I’m in NYC! Eataly, Ippudo, and Farmer’s Market!

Hey there all!! It’s Monday, already, and despite that extra hour, I feel like I could’ve used at least 6 extra hours of sleep.  Such is the life of a jet-setter.

In case you missed yesterday’s Six Pack Sunday: Brooklyn, Baby and hate following me on twitter, I’ll clue you into the good stuff. I spent the past weekend in NYC with my dear friend Claire (yup, the one that I spent Halloweekend with only a few days ago) and, though I’ve been in NYC a bunch of times in my life for conventions, weddings, or field trips, this was the first time I’ve gone in without much in the way of a schedule. I had a list of things I wanted to accomplish or visit, and that was about it.

Luckily, both Claire and I have one thing in common.

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No, it’s not just that we love the Hoff.

We are totally and completely Type-A when it comes to planning.

Armed with smart phones and maps and print outs and lists, we will handle our BUSINESS to jam as much into a weekend as possible.  I love that in a traveling partner.

After flying into JFK (and arriving half an hour early!), I navigated the public transportation (if you’re flying to NYC and you wanna use public transportation, FLY TO JFK!! Their AirTrain situation can get you from the airport to Manhattan in about an hour-ish, and for $7.25.) I killed it.

After dropping off my bags at Club Claire (aka her workplace), I was on my own for about 2.5 hours. I decided to kick my legs into high gear and walk ALL OVER THE PLACE!!

First up: Union Square Greenmarket!

Bustling on a Friday afternoon

There were so many options of something to nibble on, but I decided to save my tummy for an exciting dinner later and picked up a few little hard pretzels for crunch and some DIVINE tea to warm my chilly bones.

Hot and DANGEROUS!

The hot wild mint tea was sweeter than I thought it would be, and tasted more like cider than anything else.  Luckily, that’s exactly what I wanted so, gloves on hand, tea in gloved-hand, I headed over to 5th Avenue for a little shopping.

Knowing that I didn’t want to fill up my carry-on with stuff I could get in NC, and not wanting to pay for a checked bag, I held myself back.  The other thing that held me back?

H&M (Hectic Madhouse?)

I feel like H&M is always crowded and messy and crazy, no matter where you go.  Oh well.

Next stop was somewhere Claire had mentioned, but I only accidentally stumbled on it (and I’m so glad I did!)

Eataly , an “Italian Culinary Funhouse”, was also a madhouse, but in a much more organized fashion.  This place seemingly had everything, from fresh produce to gourmet cured meats and cheese plates.  Although the Florence-lover in me was initially tempted by the wine, Eataly had something else pretty amazing to offer.

Molto Birra.

Molto Birra.

Their rooftop beer garden, Birreria, was more pleasant than I could’ve imagined.  The heat lamps scattered all over kept me warm (important, considering it was on the 14th floor) and the beer selection was top notch.

I nabbed myself a Captain Lawrence Liquid Gold (mostly because it was a NY based brewery and because it reminded me of this hilarious Velveeta commercial) and enjoyed it, while giving this fellow a side eye.

So much for chivalry

I guess he decided that, although the bar was completely full and people were trying to sit down, his jacket was more deserving of a stool than the rest of us lonely stander-uppers.  The man stayed like that for the 30 minutes I was there, never sat down once.  Thanks for nothing, buddy.

Anyway, after I left Birreria, it was time to meet up with Claire and get our own culinary fun going.  As I mentioned before, we headed to Ippudo (home of Anne Hathaway Drinking White Wine and Reading a Book).  Unassuming from the outside, this place was popping inside!!

In case you can't tell, that says Ippudo.

In case you can’t tell, that says Ippudo.

Once inside, we nabbed ourselves some Sapporo (when in Rome err Japan , or just a Japanese restaurant) and waited about 40 minutes for our spot.  Well worth the wait, though, once we arrived at our seats.  We were greeted with some Japanese words shouted at us (I was told they meant something like, welcome! or Eat! but they could’ve been calling me a clap-having jezebel for all I know) and seated at the “bar” right by where the food was prepped. This was the best seat in the house for a nosy Nelly like myself, and I had front row seats to watch all the food being plated, prepped, cooked, flipped, and served.

Oh lawdy.

Oh lawdy.

The Hirata buns were ordered, described as: Steamed buns filled with your choice of pork, chicken, or shrimp served with Ippudo original spicy buns sauce.

We went with the pork, and were not disappointed in the slightest. In fact, if this had been the end of my NYC trip, I think I would’ve gone hope happy (well, at least my belly would’ve).  Luckily, it was only the beginning.

Next up, the main course!

Having never tried Ramen from anywhere other than a pot in college, this was an experience that just blew my mind. It was hot and delicious , from the broth to the pork, and I think this was the one I got:

Akamaru Modern: The original “Tonkotsu” noodle soup topped with Ippudo’s secret “Umami Dama” miso paste, pork chashu, cabage, kikurage, scallions, and fragrant garlic oil

Totally on point, I slurped up the last drop.  Couldn’t get enough.

Pure Bliss.

Pure Bliss.

After dinner, we waddled our way back to Brooklyn to drop off our things and enjoy some brewskies (Lagunitas, to be more specific).

It was then that I realized the perfect simplicity of something which I tweeted immediately after.

Gloves are like koozies that you wear.

Why didn't I figure this out earlier?

Why didn’t I figure this out earlier?

Ignore the devilish grin and the weirdy out of focus shot, I needed to illustrate this.

We took a bus to The Woods which was loud and fun and crowded.  Someone snuck this picture of me, and I’m pretty sure I make this face ALL the time when I feel bars are too crowded.

Oh, Jordy.

Oh, Jordy.

But, after a Pickle Back (recap: shot of whiskey chased with pickle juice) and a few beers, I was in better spirits.

We danced the night away, then cabbed back to Brooklyn to fall instantly to sleep.  It was an ideal way to start my NYC vacation!

Have you ever had ramen at a noodle house?  What’d you think (and what’d you get in it?!)

What kind of bar is your favorite?

Cozy and dark, loud and flashing lights, discotheques, open, crowded, empty? SHARE WITH THE CLASS!