Monday, September 30, 2013

Dudley's - LES brunch

J and I along with a friend had a NYC scavenger hunt last Saturday and was in desperate need of food. Actually, it was only me that was in desperately need of food since the previous night was a bit wild. Originally wanted to go to the Classic Coffee Shop, but we all fail to realize it was closed on weekends! So, we just walked around until we found a place that caught our eyes and stomach.

Dudley's caught our eyes and looked very modern and welcoming. We sat at the bar, took a while for a staff to realize we were there to give us the menu and also took a while to flag down one to take our order. Pretty poor service. What's even worse is that this couple next to us got their utensils before we did and we came and ordered before them...I'm starting to sense some discrimination here...

Anyways, enough of the service, let's move onto the food.

J ordered the Cortado, pretty bitter which I didn't like. I would need to add more milk and lots of sugar.

I had the Flat White which I wasn't too thrilled about. It wasn't as great was I hoped it to be. It tasted a bit bland and didn't give me that velvet-y texture, also got cold really quick (no beuno).

So, I still had a light "hangover" from the previous night which usually means I don't want other people's food but my own which also means I didn't get to try the other two dishes. I was cradling my plate which was the Fried Egg Sandwich. It was good, but I just couldn't finish it. The sandwich felt like a fancy version of a breakfast sandwich, I can totally deal with this.

The other two dishes looked really appetizing but I didn't really hear J or our friend rave about it... The Wild Mushroom Eggs Benedict and Avocado Toast were a lot smaller than expected. Overall, not too bad but the whole experience was just average, or maybe even below average. Very mediocre.

85 Orchard St
New York, NY 10002
(212) 925-7355

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Pocha 32

I've heard good things about Pocha, things like it's a great place to hit up when you're drunk and have the munchies. Pocha is a Korean joint that gives off a really casual atmosphere, casually enough to sit back, relax and get wasted. Lines can get really long especially when it gets later into the night. But I have to say, I really enjoyed it.

Been here twice already and both times my group ordered the Watermelon Soju. Basically a hollowed out half watermelon that contains watermelon juice, soju and some club soda. It's pretty fun when you drink out of bowls also, which is all they give you so don't ask for cups/glasses. They usually water down the watermelon soju which plays no affect on us so we would order bottles of Chamisul or Chum Churum aka soju and pour it into the watermelon. Their yogurt soju is really good as well.

With all that drinking, there has to be food. Pocha is really well known for their casseroles. Nice and piping hot, great for the colder weathers but it's good in the dead of summer also because they occasionally have air vents and circulation running through the joint.

A lot of places serve budae jigae, a smaller version of the Budae Jungol which they serve here. Consisting of a lot of random things, it's very comforting after 5+ shots of soju. I love the spicy broth and the bits and pieces that gets crushed and breaks down at the bottom of the pot. Do not waste the soup!

One of our friends wanted pork and he decided on the BBQ Pork. It wasn't anything special, felt a bit jipped since there wasn't much pork. Flavor was a bit off and it felt like they forgot to season it. But when you're tipsy and happy, you pretty much have no idea what you're eating, but you'll eat it.

I forgot what exactly happened but I think someone wanted pork belly but they didn't exactly just have pork belly but they had it with kimchi, and we ordered it anyways! The Kimchi and Pork Belly Stir Fry was definitely not what we expected but it was good. Spicy good. I really dig the tofu that came with it, flip it fast enough and you'll crisp each side.

Pocha is one of those boozey and loud places. They have fish nets all around the restaurant and you can write little notes on the chopstick covers or napkins and stick it through the fish nets. Service is average and you need to hail down the waiters/waitresses when it gets later into the night. Don't expect them to come to you and ask how you're doing. One thing though, just be careful of the stairs when you leave.

Pocha 32
15 W 32nd St - 2nd Fl
New York, NY 10001
(212) 279-1876

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Lunchin' Solo: Tanaka - Lunch Box

Tanaka is really close to my office and my coworkers always order from here. I finally gave in and tried out their lunch box because it was the biggest bang for you buck kind of deal.

I ordered from Seamless and it said it would be ready in 10 minutes. There was a lot of food for about $10 (I also used a code so it was cheaper than the original price). The entree came with soup and salad which was already more than enough.

I haven't had Miso Soup in forever, this wasn't bad but I also forgot how salty it can be also. I always like the pieces of tofu that came with it. There was also a small side salad with the ginger dressing but I passed on that since I want to be able to eat my box.

I ordered the Salmon Teriyaki. Everything was placed really neat in the box. Salmon was really tender and had just the right amount of sauce, there was also some grilled vegetables on the bottom. The fried dumplings were really good too, still crunchy by the time I picked it up and brought it back to the office. Best of all? Was actually the California Roll, I'm not a big fan of it because it's just a simple roll with imitation crab meat, cucumbers and avocado, but for some reason Tanaka makes it really well.

I would order this again on days that I'm starving or want a bento box. For midtown, the quality is quite good. Usually, I can't justify the price to what I'm getting in Manhattan because I always find it more worth it to get the same thing in Brooklyn for a cheaper price. But this was far better than I expected, apparently not a lot of people agree. Should give this place a go for lunch, you won't be disappointed.

222 E 51st St
New York, NY 10022
(212) 308-6976

Monday, September 9, 2013

Il Corallo Trattoria

I've been to Il Corallo Trattoria twice already within a month. And yes, J and I are quite addicted to this place.

It was first introduced to us from our hair stylist (and yes, we go to the same salon and have the same hair stylist also), we actually sat at his salon for a good 10-15 minutes trying to find the place he was talking about on our phones, it was quite hilarious. Immediately after finding it, J and I had to go try it. According to our hair stylist, the price was cheap compared to city prices and the food was delicious. I pulled up the menu and saw they had endless amounts of pasta dishes - I need my pasta fix!

Il Corallo has a similar vibe to Bianca but a lot more laid back and casual. We got there around 2pm (for both times) and got seated right away.

The bread with olive oil and balsamic was really good. I like how dense the bread is so it can soak up the yummy oil. Each table had their own bottle of olive oil and balsamic so you can just pour away.

I ordered the Elderflower and Lychee Spritz which was very refreshing. Felt like I was cleansing myself - internally, it's nice to steer away from alcohol once in a while.

J had the Grapefruit Spritz which was good also, not a bit bitter and you can't really tell it was grapefruit.

Appetizer was the Bocconcini, a really nice light salad. The mozz was amazing, thank god we get to have two to ourselves. They also have prosciutto somewhere inside and pieces of shaved parmesan, one of the best starter plates I've had in a long time.

As for entree, we each had our own pasta. J ordered the Fusilli Tiberio because he likes fusilli, this dish wasn't creamy but it had a nice heavy flavor and aroma with it. What I liked was the lamb chunks, generous amount with nice artichoke hearts also.

I had to get the green noodles just because our hair stylist was raving about it. It was good but too creamy for me. The Fettuccine Molisane was filling and I really liked the texture of the pasta, a bit chewy and interesting to eat. There were a lot chicken chunks, my complaint would be that the mushrooms were sliced too thin, I can't find them!

After everything, we were stuffed but when the waiter came over and told us about dessert, we couldn't say no.

Oh my god, the Homemade Tiramisu was absolutely the best dessert I've ever had. So light and perfect. The mascarpone cheese was so fluffy and not too overly sweet. The cocoa on top didn't stick to the roof of my mouth, the lady fingers were entirely soaked in espresso leaving it un-soggy. Amazing! This is a must get, must!!!

So our meal, which was lunch literally felt like dinner. We had food coma after stepping out of the restaurant but that didn't stop us from coming back 2 weeks later.

We saw fresh pizza being made in the back and had to order it. Went with Pizza Napolitana because it was simple and we sort of learned from our lesson from the first time we were here. It was a decent size and it's enough to feed a person and have him/her be stuffed. We shared this (although I didn't really want to) and it's a lot better to eat it quick because it gets cold fast. The pizza had a really thin crust so it was really easy to just down like 3 pieces in less than 5 minutes.

Besides for pizza, we ordered the Cappellini Limone to share because we knew 1) the pizza wasn't enough and 2) if we ordered 2 pasta and the pizza we would most likely die. The pasta was so lemon-y good. Really light, a lot better than the creamy sauce. Wish I could've ate this all myself (haha, I hope J doesn't see this) and the pizza also...

I really don't want to rave so much about this place because we really want there to be less people coming here, we need tables for ourselves! But because I want to share the love, this is definitely a spot to go if you're looking for a place to take a date and you're a sorry broke ass person. It'll work, the lady will be impress.

Il Corallo Trattoria
172 Prince St
New York, NY 10012
(212) 941-7119

Sunday, September 8, 2013

Bluestone Lane Coffee -- Midtown

About a month ago, I was on a crazy rampage with coffee. Basically that week I came back from skydiving, I drank a whole weeks worth of coffee, mainly lattes.

Literally each day of the week I had coffee from a different place. Then I somehow landed upon Bluestone. It just opened near my office so I had to try it.

Apparently, they were really well known for their Flat White and knowing me, I was curious. Bluestone is an Australian based coffee shop and a flat white is the Australian signature "latte." They are similar but the flat white is described as a more velvety and smoother coffee with a lower content of milk so you can taste the coffee even more.

First sip and I was in love. I really enjoyed the flat white and it was perfect with just one pack of raw sugar for my liking. It was $4.25 for the large which isn't a bad price. Heck, I would dish out more for something like it because it tasted perfect. There isn't a lot of flat whites in NYC so I'm glad that there's one right by me, I hope these Australian coffees are able to spread around NYC because they are just that fantastic.

Bluestone also carries pastries, like the croissant from Bathlazar. Nice and flaky with a hint of butter. But, $2.75 was a bit steep for a croissant. I did enjoyed it while it lasted...only 1.5 minutes haha

For now, Bluestone is my go-to place for a flat white. How can I say no when it's just so convenient.

Bluestone Lane Coffee
805 3rd Ave

New York, NY 10017
(212) 888-8848

Thursday, September 5, 2013

Cocoron -- Little Italy

Cocoron opened up a second location not too far from its original shop. J and I have been to the one on Delancey and it's always packed with people. We were hoping that the new location would be different and it was.

We came during lunch and it was pretty empty. The atmosphere was very similar to the Delancey location (barely any a/c) but food and decor was no different than their mother shop.

After looking at the menu which was filled with different sobas, we started with some appetizers. Shuto was J's choice, it was raw tuna liver with cream cheese. Very pungent, it also had that fermented scent and taste to it. Really salty and is definitely an acquired taste so beware!

I chose something on the safer side, Pork and Okara Croquettes were very delicate and delicious. Minced pork and potato mashed together and rolled into a ball to deep fry, really like the sweet and salty dipping sauce that came with it.

I had the Cold Zaru Soba. One of my all time favorites and also the simplest form of soba available. All I need is the soba noodles and the soy dipping sauce and I'm a happy camper. The best part would be the hot broth that's given to you at the end; pour it into the remaining soy dip and voila, you got yourself some soup to wash everything down. I also got a side of kimchi, really good. It's different than the average Korean kimchi because this is a lot sweeter.

J had the Japanese Chicken Style Curry Dip Soba. The dip sobas are usually the fun kind to eat since you get to dip it. He got a poached egg as his side because he loves the runny yolk.

I'm glad Cocoron opened another location because the other one was getting too stuffy and the long wait can get ridiculous at times. The new location at Kenmare is just as good and has a lot less people. At least I get my food quicker.

37 Kenmare St
New York, NY 10012
(212) 966-0800

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Bocca Lupo - glass windows throughout but it didn't make up for it

It was one of those nights again where J and I don't know where to go for dinner. This time we decided to try out Brooklyn. Since we always eat in the city, a change of scenario would be good. I really wanted pasta and somehow searching on the internet, Bocca Lupo came up. Menu didn't seem too bad so we gave it a shot.

Presentation was nice but I found it a bit hard to take the rope off. J just slid it off while I literally sat there and undid the knot.

The drinks weren't too bad but it felt a bit watered down. I would rather stick with their wine selections than order these cocktails again.

We had two appetizers, the Misti Antipasti (lower left) and the bruschettas (upper left). The bruschettas were a bit disappointing, the flavor was dull and there wasn't much excitement to the taste palette. The Misti Antipasti was pretty good. For once, I didn't really care for the meats, but the cheese really stood out, especially the brie, really creamy and delicate tasting and worked really well with the candied walnuts.

Entrees were disappointing also. I wanted pasta and the only pasta they had was their special, which was the Swiss Chard Dumpling. Tasted very much like gnocchi but literally looks like miniature cucumbers. Didn't really like the texture much but the flavor of the sauce was good. That goes the same for J's dish, the Tuscan Spareribs Stewed in Tomato Sauce. This would've been perfect over a simple pasta like spaghetti.

Overall, not a flattering meal. Most likely would not return but I do like how the place looked.

Bocca Lupo
391 Henry St
Brooklyn, NY 11201
(718) 243-2522