New York, USA
New York is a fantastic place if you like eating. Which, as you may have noticed I really, really do. My cousin Heather and blogger friend Sarah took us out to some fantastic places (thanks guys!). Here are some of my favourites (please excuse the poor quality of some of the photos… I didn’t have a good camera with me:
Crammed full of people sitting at benches in the funky East Village, Yakitori Taisho is a fantastic place to eat. And better yet, it won’t break the budget. Bring some friends to share so you can taste as many things as possible. Order big… remember you can always take it home for later in the US if you find yourself getting full (just ask for a box). Yakitori Taisho has a range of dishes but also skewers with various grilled vegetables and meats. The atmosphere is frenetic and loud, with laughter and chatting people filling every nook. Make sure you order the pork with glass noodles, slippery and salty with the tangy bite of scallions (spring onions for those of us hailing from different climes). Of the skewers we loved the spicy green peppers.
We were lucky enough to have an exclusive preview of this amazing restaurant a few days before opening since the other Heather was friends with the chef. Located in the Downtown Dream Hotel, if you’ve got some cash handy it’s definitely worth a visit. I highly recommend the steaks. You will never eat such a tender juicy steak in your life. In fact, steaks are their specialty. And believe me, I don’t usually even like steak but this was fantastic. They have a range of other options, a great vegetarian dish is the sweet corn and truffle pasta. Don’t miss out on the desserts, we got a taste of four of them (compliments of the chef) and they were all delicious. Once you are sated see if you can get into the rooftop bar. Ultra-cool with a phenomenal view of the city lights, they play music that is a little bit different to the run of the mill, what’s-cool-on-the-radio-right-now hits that seem to be everywhere else. Also, you might even spot a celebrity (we did… though not a very exciting one).
If you find yourself in New York on a Sunday don’t miss the great tradition of brunch. You have heaps of different options including buffets and all you can drink cocktail brunch (crazy brunch). Many places offer very good deals where you can get a very filling brunch for around USD$25. We decided to go for the crazy brunch and headed again to the East Village to the very hip and popular Poco… it’s crowded, it’s loud, it’s dripping with Bloody Marys and it’s a great way to start the day (no matter when in the day that may be for you as long as it’s before 3pm). At Poco they have different menu items with lots of great breakfasty options like eggs cooked in various ways and French Toast, as well as a little bit lunchier like lobster mac n’ cheese and skirt steak. I had the Poco Benedict, eggs done Benedict style but with a twist of tiny pieces of chorizo and machego cheese, served with a pimento hollandaise sauce. The food was pretty tasty but the real winner here is the unlimited cocktails. You can choose from Bloody Marys, Mimosas or Sangria many of which are served in old jam jars.
Asian food in Flushing
My blogger friend Sarah was kind enough to show us around the Chinatown that has sprung up in Flushing, Queens (check out her great blog here… she likes to write about food too and takes phenomenal food pictures that will make your mouth water). We went out for some delicious food at Sunway Cafe. Sarah recommended the Korean barbeque ribs and they were amazing. Jesper’s golden fried tofu had the perfect contrast of crispy shell with a soft melt-in-your-mouth inside. We also tried some dim sum, shrimp dumplings, chive pancakes and turnip cake. The turnip cake was particularly good, a slightly gelatinous but not unappealing texture with little chunks of bacon here and there. We also tried bubble tea for the first time, a rather shocking contrast of sweet drink with very chewy jelly type balls at the bottom. It was really quite addictive though. Sarah took us for a stroll down the main street to look at the various markets and shops along the way and to stop for more tasty snacks. If you visit, eat your way down the street stopping for small, tasty morsels along the way. You can get all sorts of great things. We tried some spicy, seasoned chicken skewers and red bean cakes for dessert.
Upstairs at the Kimberley Rooftop Bar and Lounge
My cousin, Heather saved the best table for us at the rooftop bar where she works. Another place with a breath-taking view (it feels like the General Electric and Chrysler buildings are right next door) After she finished work we tried some of the tasty snacks. Stuffed mushrooms with goats cheese, tiny lobster hamburgers (sliders) and the most wonderful crispy artichokes with Parmesan cheese and lemon. It’s a great place to meet up for a drink and a bite to eat.
Beauty and Essex
If you’re dressed well enough or happen to know someone who used to work there stop by Beauty and Essex. Who knows, you might even see the lead actor from Sweet Home Alabama (we didn’t but apparently he was there whoever he is). Hidden in an old pawn shopfront, harking back to the speakeasy days, Beauty and Essex is done up like a jewellery box. Dripping with pink and pearls and glamour they have a wonderful selection of cocktails (I tried the Earl the Pearl which was a fusion of earl grey tea and lemon, mint syrup and belvedere vodka). They also have two of the best things I have ever eaten, a tomato tartare with sunnyside up quail eggs that burst in your mouth and are so good they make your eyes roll back in your head, and the creamy thick Black Bottomed Butterscotch Pot de Creme with rich, dark chocolate at the bottom. So good!