Thursday, August 30, 2012

Lunchin' @ Sophie's Cuban Cuisine - Fried Pork Sandwich

So I hate thinking about what to get for lunch when noon reaches. I don't like being so indecisive while having so many options around me. I don't like how there's nothing around me that appeals to me half the time which sometimes makes me go back to eating the same thing. And I don't like spending a fortune for lunch just for myself. Yup, I'm a little cheap-y when it comes to getting food for myself.

After much contemplation, I decided on Sophie's. Although I wanted their cod fish stew, I'll just stick to a sandwich since it wasn't a Friday. I've read somewhere that the Fried Pork Sandwich is really good, and with the description the person gave, I know I must have it.

I went a bit after the rush hour of lunch so there was no one on line, success!
I told the lady behind the counter I wanted a Fried Pork Sandwich ($6.95), she got to work right away. Seeing her prepare my sandwich was like heaven. Seeing her stack the pork (which didn't look fried to me!), then the plantains (that's the surprise), then onions and then she squirted mayo and this green sauce (which I assume it was hot sauce). I was already salivating.

I was staring at the pork thinking that it would be dry cause it looked dry. But the second I bit down, it was so tender that it nearly fell apart. I was impressed. I also love how the sweet plantains gave the entire sandwich a nice twist in flavor. The onions were amazingly good, lightly pickled with cilantro to enhance the flavor. A really good sandwich.

Sophie's Cuban Cuisine
Lower Atrium
805 3rd Ave

New York, NY 10022
(212) 308-1024

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Book Chang Dong Soon Tofu

Finally, the boyfriend can get his tofu fix. I've been wanting jigae for a while and J has been wanting tofu stew, it worked out.

J heard that BCDS Tofu was good and not just from one person but from multiple people like his coworkers and friends. We came on a Sunday, after a tiring work day for me, good thing J drove.

Got seated immediately and were given water and menu. They don't play. The place was really spacious with a literal runway down the center where the waitresses and waiters can strut their stuff while serving us.

Mmmm the delicious banchan. I'm starting to appreciate Korean's banchan a lot more now. Even though majority, actually it's everything, are vegetables they taste pretty darn good. The usual kimchi will always be there and if you're lucky, you'll get tofu which I personally love.

Ordered a bottle of Bokbunja ($13), black raspberry wine. Shhhh...I know J is driving but a little won't hurt. Plus our tolerance isn't like the average Asian's - if ya know what I mean.

I sort of wanted a meat dish, like kalbi or bulgogi but J brought up Seafood Pancake ($13) so I just nod in agreement and didn't pursue my meat quest. It was good. Thin but still dough-y and even had clam meats, yum! Slightly crunchy on the outside which wasn't so disappointing. I mean, I fairly enjoyed it.

My delicious Mandoo Soon Du Bu ($9.95) with rice. Oh the fluffy rice was good, too bad I couldn't finish it. I had 3 ginormous mandoo in my little pot. I chose spicy as so did J, you have a choice of 4 different levels of spice in your broth - mild, medium, spicy, very spicy.

Besides the mandoo, there are pieces of meat at the bottom and the ever so silky smooth tofu. It was a great soup. I would come back in a heartbeat in the winter weathers.

Remember the eggs you saw in the photo with the banchans? You crack them in the soon du bu! I was so excited to do this part because it was actually quite fun and amusing to me. As to my failure, the yolk broke...

J had the Seafood Soob Du Bu ($9.95) which I was surprised with. I thought he would choose something bolder but seafood? That's usually what I choose, then again I think I stole his choice of the mando...bwahahahaaa

The meal was excellent. I haven't been this satisfied and full in a while. Definitely a spot to come for some good tofu stew.

Book Chang Dong Soon Tofu
152-22 Northern Blvd
Flushing, NY 11354
(718) 961-2001

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Momofuku Milk Bar - Midtown West

My coworker recently brought up Momofuku Milk Bar and remembering the first time I ever had it wasn't so memorable. It was a couple of years back and in the East Village when Momofuku wasn't so popular.

Since my coworker wanted to go, I was thinking - why the heck not. It was a bit of a walk for us but no complaints since it was a beautiful day. MMB is a small spot and you could totally miss it if you didn't know it existed there. I was surprised at how empty the place was. Looking at the menu which was written on the chalkboard, I was trying to find the meal deals that was posted on the website. I asked the girl behind the cashier and she looked completely lost, so I said maybe this location doesn't carry that offer? She nodded frantically and said yea, don't think we have that. Basically I just answered my own question, lame.

I ordered pork buns and 2 types of sweets. The buns took a while and I didn't know Má Pêche existed behind the milk bar. We waited about 10 minutes for our buns, and couldn't wait to get back to the office and have a bite into it.

Too bad there weren't tables or chair for the milk bar, I probably would've appreciate it more if they did.

Truthfully, the Pork Buns ($10) are tiny. I was so disappointed to see how small they were. I've had pork buns or any sort of buns at other places before and it never appeared to be this tiny. But I did appreciate how much pork they gave.

I actually really enjoyed the pork buns. There was 2 slices of pork belly and each was loaded with pork fat, delicious. I wished they gave a bit more cucumbers because it was lacking a bit of texture.

The Compost Cookie ($1.85) was extremely weird. I didn't like it one bit. Seeing that it was the popular cookie of MMB, I decided to get it and was utterly disapopinted. There was too much happening within the cookie, too much odd ingredients and it just didn't work out for me. It was confusing and the taste was so oddly off.

On the other hand, the Birthday Cake Truffles ($4) were quite amazing. Even though they were small, they pack a lot in those little suckers. The center was densely compressed with cake while the outside was sugarly coated. It wasn't overly sweetened which is a plus because I'm always afraid they add extra sugar so it taste "good."

There were ups and downs with going to MMB. I don't think I'll be heading back for pork buns just because it seems so overpriced. I mean, $5 for a pork bun, really? But I do want to try the fish bun and the crack pie. Maybe I'll purchase those at their original milk bar in the village. We shall see.

Momofuku Milk Bar
15 W 56th St
New York, NY 10019
(212) 757-5878

Friday, August 24, 2012

Menkui Tei

J and I came here often before for their great appetizer platter but it's been over a year since we ever step foot back in here. We needed something to eat and I was really feeling for some noodles. Knowing that Menkui Tei had a big selection of different ramen and hoping they would have the platter we want, we decided to eat here.

They weren't crazy busy since it was a Tuesday night. We sat in the front with a wobbly table, they seriously need to fix that. The waitress was too nice, she keeps saying thank you after every sentence. I have something against really nice and extremely friendly staff, awkward. I mean, I appreciate it but there are times when too much is really too much. But it's ok, she actually knew when to stop.

J saw the little menu on the table and ordered a Peach Flavored Beer. I'm the one who usually looks at those little menus but he beat me this time and ordered without me. I took a quick glance and saw the Yuzu Flavored Beer and I knew I must get it. I love yuzu! The beers were fantastic. If you don't like regular beer, this will probably make you think otherwise. The flavors brightened up the beer a lot and made it easier to drink, it tasted fruity and summery.

So, they didnt' have our platter *throws a tantrum* It's actually not the first time this happened because the last time we were here they said they were out of one of the ingredients in the platter. But this time, we couldn't get any of it. Oh well, I ordered the Nira Reba instead which was chicken liver and leeks. Was a bit iffy about the chicken liver but ordered it anyways and to my surprise, it wasn't as irony or gamey. Quite a really good dish.

J was torned between the Tan Tan Ramen or the Mabo Ramen, he decided on the latter because it came with tofu. Really delicious broth/sauce and the tofu was really silky smooth. Also had a nice kick to it because it was spicy, delicious!

I ordered the Sutamina Ramen because I saw it was spicy. I wanted something spicy ever since the last time I had Totto Ramen. This totally hit the spot because it wasn't just spicy oil, there were little chili peppers infused into the broth. I really enjoyed this bowl, the thinly sliced pork and leeks with the pouched egg added a great touch.

Photo fail!
It was suppose to capture and focus on the noodles, not the meat! Guess my camera was as hungry as I was. They used the wavy noodles for this and there was a nice "bite" to it.

We gotten so full after this. Usually we would be fine and just right but lately I think our stomach shrank. Not a good thing since we'll be going on a trip soon. Stay tune for that and all the awesome food adventures.

Menkui Tei
63 Cooper Sq
New York, NY 10003
(212) 228-4152

Tuesday, August 21, 2012


There are so many hidden gems in Korea Town that sometimes my boyfriend and I would overlook. Besides the obvious restaurants on ground level, there are a ton on the second and third floor. I would've missed Arang if not for the bright color door and the crowd that was blocking the sidewalk in front of KunJip (another Korean restaurant).

The walk up the stairs were short, which I appreciate. We got seated by the window which I thought was amazing. You get to see the shops across the street and the people walking by underneath, I also really like how the night gradually got darker.

We were starving so we ordered a bit more than we used to, but no worries, we were able to sort of finish our food.

I've always wanted to try their Korean soju straight from the bottle. Having drank a lot of soju and sake in the past, I wasn't too afraid how strong or bad it would taste. The Chum Churum soju had a clean after taste and just a slight tinge of alcohol. Comparison would be like a weak vodka.

The banchan were pretty good that night, unless we were just really hungry and anything that was given tasted really good. I liked the kimchi and potato salad best, radish was just ok. I usually stray away from potato salad because it's too creamy with the mayo but this was the total opposite, I approve!

The star of the night, the real reason why we came. This massive dish of Calamari Dduk Bokki with Cheese is like a dish made in heaven and sent down directly to us. It was that good. Different than the usual dduk bokki we get since this was slightly on the sweet side which really toned down the spicyness of the dish. Although, we didn't mind if it was more spicy but we were satisfy with what was given. What really stood out from this dish were the thinly sliced zucchini which you don't see in dduk bokki dishes, clever addition.

After having the Seafood Pancake so many times at different locations we slowly appreciate it and consider it one of our fall backs for Korean food if needed. You can tell the different color contrast on the pancake, definitely wasn't cooked evenly. We ate all the charred and browned crispy pieces while giving the other side no love. The pancake by itself lacked flavor but once you dip it in that wonderful sauce, it brings out all the hidden flavors in the magical! This was one of the dishes that we couldn't finish.

J is pretty crazy about fish, I like fish but not insanely crazy about it. We saw the Grilled Mackerel on the menu and I just gave J the "ok" so if he wanted it he could order it. The fish came with no bones, yes!!! Mackerels have a lot of tiny thin bones and it's a pain to eat but since this was de-boned, even better. It was also really meaty as you can see in the photo. It wasn't seasoned at all so the lemon and the sauce helped a lot. Though, with just the zesty lemon it still tasted amazing.

Our set up and chow down of the night.
I really enjoyed this meal just because it was really laid back and comfortable.
Note - the cheese dduk bokki is a great, and I do mean great, comfort food when you're tipsy or drunk.

9 W 32nd St, 2nd Fl
New York, NY 10001
(212) 947-3028

Thursday, August 16, 2012


J and I came in for a quick bite. I never knew they actually had a storefront, probably opened sometime recently? My initial reaction was - this place is quite small but little did I know that there was a second floor with all the seatings.

Their menu is pretty straight forward, you choose anything from a burrito to tacos to sliders (there's more) and then choose your type of meat. They also have sides and drinks. The wait wasn't that long and there were much people there on a Friday evening.

Our food was put together in no time and we started to head up the stairs. That flight up took forever because it was so narrow and steep. Good thing I wasn't the one holding the tray of food because there would probably be a high chance of me spilling everything. The second floor is extremely room-y, lots of seats and there's even pillows for you to use if you want to sleep after you ate (joking!).

I decided on Pulled Pork Tacos ($9.25) since I didn't want anything heavy. I didn't realize that they come in triplets. Just looking at it makes me full. One thing though, the pulled pork taste like pho! Oh my god, it was like eating my favorite bowl of beef noodle soup. It was insane and it made me like it that much more. The pickled red onions were a great addition to the tacos because it gave it a nice crunch and wasn't too overly sour. You also had a choice better soft or hard shell but I chose soft since it's a lot less messier and easier to mold to fit my mouth.

J had the BBQ Brisket Sliders ($9.95), and of course we shared. I was surprised at how much they pack into that small bun. The brisket was a bit on the dry side for me, if only they had more BBQ sauce handy on the side. The slaw was good, I always like a contrast in texture when it comes to sandwich-looking kind of things.

Last but not least, the Green Chili Mac and Cheese ($2.95) was ordered because we were afraid the tacos and sliders wouldn't fill us up. We gotten the small and was so glad we did. The mac and cheese was really thick, packed a nice little kick to it with each bite. I probably wouldn't order it again since it tasted a bit weird to me as a whole.

For beverages, I had the Arnold Palmer and J had the Juarito bottle drink in grapefruit. Mine tasted bland while J's tasted good. Damn, the usual happened... he wins in the beverage ordering department also!

Will we return? Maybe? If we're in the neighborhood and we really want mexican food but other than that I doubt we're going to purposedly trek to Mexicue.

345 7th Ave
New York, NY 10001
(212) 244-0002

Friday, August 10, 2012

Bubble Me: Bubbly Tea

I was in a crappy mood the day I went to Bubbly Tea, hoping it would cheer me up with some good Bubble Milk Tea...

The interior of this place is modern and chic, and also clean. There are signs everywhere of different drinks you can choose from and also snacks for you to munch on.

I went for the BMT and they served it to me in no time. Alright, so I wasn't impress with this at all. The milk tea was watered down and lacked any tea flavor. I was really disappointed. I was hoping this would lift my mood but it didn't. The tapioca was nicely cooked though, really chewy and soft and not too sweet. I would avoid their BMT and just get something else because apparently, they don't make the milk tea well here. It's a really simple drink but if you can't master it then you're not really up for calling yourself a tea shop. Maybe it was just me or I came at a bad time but either way, I won't be getting the BMT again.

Overall --
Price $2.75
Service 3.5/5
Atmosphere 4/5
Taste 1.5/5
Likelihood to return for BMT is 0%
55B Bayard St
New York, NY 10013
(212) 608-3688

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Bianca Restaurant

I love affordable and delicious food.

Ever since I read about Bianca in the AMNY paper, I told myself I had to visit it. Described as a home-y and comfortable restaurant with amazing food, and it was everything it said.

I took my boyfriend here for his birthday and because we haven't had good Italian food in a long time. Other restaurants are either over-rated or just not authentic enough. Upon seating, we ordered a bottle of red wine. They only sell it by the bottle here so if you want to drink, drink up.

We definitely don't know which to choose so I chose red because J prefers that over white and I chose whatever sounded nice. Yes, I know it's totally the wrong way to order something but hey, gotta trust my instincts at times. This bottle of Rosso Veronese ($36) is smooth and light, I can really down this sucker but then what's the fun in that...

The bread and olive oil was good. I mean you can't really mess that up unless you give us really cheap and bad olive oil but that would totally ruin their reputation. Love the old rustic bread which soaks up the oil perfectly.

We had 2 appetizers and were really excited about it.

We're not so crazy about liver but we do give animal innards a try, a lot. The Fegatini con Aceto Balsamico ($7.50) is rich and decadent. Chicken liver swimming in a pool of aged balsamic along with toasted bread went perfectly with our wine. They give a generous amount of chicken liver too, there goes my weekly intake of iron!

Another amazing dish. How can J and I pass on cold cuts nowadays, it's just not possible. Gnocco Fritto ($9) was light and airy and when you bit it in half, it's like a mini hot pocket where you can stuff the cold cuts in. Genius! The cold cuts ranged from sopressata, prosciutto, mortadella, and capicola.

J had the Tagliatelle alla Bolognese ($9.50). It was what I wanted originally but it was his birthday and it sounded like he really wanted it. I gave that up for something else. But the pasta dish was really good. I haven't had such tasty pasta in a long time and this definitely hit the spot. The tagliatelle was cooked al-dente and covered in meat sauce. The shredded parmigianno really combined everything together.

I ended up getting one of the specials of the night. This Grilled Sea Bass ($??) was a ginormous portion, came with sauteed spinach and potatoes. Loved the spinach which had a garlic-y flavor to it. There was 2 pieces of sea bass, usually I only get one and it's a tiny piece which is probably the size of my palm. But here, it's like they served me the entire fish. It was nicely grilled with herbs and spices which I enjoyed a lot.

Wrapping up everything, I wanted to get a dessert. It was either the Tirasmisu or Panna Cotta ($6.50), and as you can tell we opted for the latter. The panna cotta was really rich in flavor but not overly sweetened. It's a lot denser than the usual ones I eat, it also really taste like the Breyer's vanilla bean ice cream. So milky and good.

I thoroughly enjoyed Bianca. This is definitely my absolute go-to spot for some Italian food.
Take your girlfriend here.
Take your boyfriend here.
Take your family here.
Take your friends here.
Take your first date here.
No regrets.

Bianca Restaurant
5 Bleecker St
New York, NY 10012
(212) 260-4666