Sunday, February 28, 2010

Momofuku Noodle Bar > Milk Bar

During our recent trip to Vail, we met a chef who worked in Colorado. After telling him we were from New York, his first question was, "How is Momofuku?" Sadly, we had not tried it and made it our mission to do so when we returned. We figured this weekend was the perfect chance to try Momofuku, since it was snowy and we thought that most people would not brave the elements. Since they do not take reservations, it's inevitable that we'd have to wait. We underestimated the place. There was a 90 minute wait when we got there, but the hostess was good enough to tell us that we could leave and come back in an hour, which we did. After a martini and some arcade photo hunt, we ventured back to wait just a few more minutes before getting seated at the bar area.

I wouldn't say much about the ambiance there - it's crowded and minimalistic. But that's not why you go there. The food was great - we started with the famous pork buns, which were delicious - although, not what we were expecting:

The buns are soft, almost pita-like, and filled with two big pieces of pork with a hoison sauce. They were succulent and very satisfying. For the main dishes, we ordered both the pork ramen noodles and the scallion noodles, both of which were very enjoyable. The scallion noodles were flavorful for not having a broth - the noodles were accompanied by mushrooms and scallions and the ginger just infused the dish with goodness. The pork ramen noodles come with a super-flavorful broth, a healthy portion of noodles, pork (belly & shoulder), egg (that you break & stir into the broth), and veggies (mushrooms, scallions, etc).

After eating our faces off at the Noodle Bar, we decide to have dessert around the corner at Momofuku Milk Bar, which is a place that may be mistaken for heaven. It's crowded and there's not much place to stand, but their dessert options are mind-blowing. We got a swirl of the red velvet cake and the cream cheese icing soft-serve ice creams. It was divine. Getting ahead of ourselves, we also ordered a piece of the chocolate malt cake, which was also superb! If you're a chocaholic, come here & try this ASAP - you'll be in heaven! They had crazy options like cinnamon bun pie, pie with pretzels and potato chips, banana bread ice cream, and so much more. We highly recommend the Momofuku Noodle and Milk Bars and look forward to trying the other Momofukus soon! They are not to be missed...and worth the wait!

Brooklyn Bagel Co. - Our vote for New York City's best bagel

We learned about Brooklyn Bagel on (8th btwn 24th & 25th) from some friends of ours who swore by it. We didn't have a go-to bagel spot that we LOVED, but we did gravitate towards David's Bagels (1st & 18th) and Bagel And Shmear (28th btwn Park & Lex). After trying a BK Bagel, we quickly learned that this is what a New York bagel should taste like... soft & doughy on the inside while crunchy & well-done on the outside (when toasted). This is the type of bagel that redefines everything you think you know about bagels.
Taboot, they have a wide array of bagels to choose from (our favorite is the whole wheat everything) and an even wider array of spreads (everything from cinnamon walnut raisin tofu to strawberry cream cheese). You can be sure that you'll be able to pick out a combo that is right up your alley. Our favorite spread is the veggie tofu -- the more they put on our bagels, the better, and don't be scared to tell them not to skimp you!
We also prefer to have our bagels scooped out & toasted to give the bagel even more crunch, while not getting too full from it (don't worry, their scoop jobs are pretty half-ass so you still get to enjoy the soft doughy inside of the bagel). Most of the time, they nail it right on the head and give you a warm, toasted, crispy bagel with a healthy portion of veggie tofu inside - it's a great contrast in textures.

We've also sampled their tuna salad & chicken salad.. both are above-average. But then again, you can put just about anything on one of their bagels and you'll go home a happy camper.

We'll continue to head to Brooklyn Bagel to have a quick, cheap breakfast & satisfy our bagel cravings. Check it out, and let us know what you think...

Saturday, February 27, 2010

Joe's Shanghai - Midtown West

We were very excited to try Joe Shanghai's famous soup dumplings! We went before seeing a Broadway show, so it was on the earlier side. The place was pretty much empty when we arrived but was filling up as we left.

We put in our order for soup dumplings right away - they come as a mix of crab and pork meat. We had read how you're supposed to eat them before coming, so we were somewhat prepared. We took our soup spoons, held the soup dumplings, took a bite so as to let out the soup liquid, sipped it up and then ate the rest of the dumpling. It was delicious! Our only complaint was that it was a little greasy. I'm not sure what type of broth was in the dumplings, but it was great - super flavorful - and just what you would want on a cold winter night!. For the rest of the dumpling, you are given a soy-based dipping sauce to dunk the dumpling in. Eric liked the sauce and thought it made the meat come to life, since you can't really taste the pork/crab. I wasn't as much of a fan so I ate the rest of the dumpling sans-sauce.. yummy!

The other food we ordered (chicken & broccoli/shrimp & scallops with garlic sauce/moo shoo vegetable) was just OK - standard Chinese food. The midtown west Joe's is supposedly a lot more spacious and "less authentic" than the Chinatown spot so I still wanna head down to Chinatown to check out the Pell Street restaurant.

You really should go here for the dumplings!

Friday, February 26, 2010

Flip Burger - Atlanta

Since learning about Flip Burger and trying it out for the first time almost a year ago, I’ve returned to Atlanta 3 times and made sure to stop by Flip Burger each time. Two of those times, I opened the restaurant up at 11 AM to make sure I could get a burger before an early afternoon flight.

When I learned that I was going back to Atlanta for work, I was ecstatic. More Flip Burger!

Three of the four times I’ve been to Flip I’ve gotten the Chorizo Burger:

It’s spicy pork sausage, romesco ketchup (a fancy way to say spicy ketchup), hash browns, fried egg, manchego cheese, & smoked mayo between two lightly toasted buns. Basically, it’s the most delicious burger you’ve ever had :-) But seriously, this is a burger packed with flavor and one of the finer ones I’ve ever chomped down on (and I’m a burger guy). With every bite, you discover something new. Whether it be the ketchup “sauce” that has the perfect amount of kick (not too hot for those who are heat-averse) or yolk dripping out of the egg & on to the patty (and those ARE the best bites), each bite is a new adventure and is more tasty than the next. It’s one of those burgers that you never want to end. So, rationally, you prolong the life of your burger by taking a lot of breaks to eat something else.

Like what? How about something fried? At Flip, my favorite fried veggies are the onion rings. I’ve also had the okre & French fries, but they don’t stack up to the rings. The onion rings are vodka battered and served with a beer honey mustard dipping sauce. I'd be lying if I said I could taste the vodka. I can't, though it doesn't matter. The rings are fried to perfection, salted just right, and the dipping sauce pairs oh-so-well with it. I'm a big fan of the sweet & salty combo so the honey in the sauce pushes this over the edge for me. In my mind, all other onion rings will be measured up against these. Unfortunately, most will fall short.

Now, we're 2/3 of the way there. We got the burger & the fried veggie. What's missing you ask? Just a nutella + burnt marshmallow milkshake!! Yes, you read that correctly.

And it tastes as good as it looks. I'm not a chocolate guy but this is a campfire s'more in a milkshake in your mouth! And who doesn't love that? They use liquid nitrogen to "roast" the mini marshmallows on the top of the shake and they taste like you just pulled them from a fire. I slurped this down to the last drop and highly recommend you wash down your burger & rings with this shake.

None of the portions are too big so you don't walk away feeling like you are in a food coma. Don't get me wrong, you are plenty full, but you're not "ugh, get me a couch, I can't move FULL!"

As you can see, I absolutely adore Flip Burger and will continue to come back here any time I'm in or around Atlanta. I suggest next time you are in the ATL and want a burger (or onion ring or milkshake) fix, you check it out and let me know if I steered you in the right direction. Enjoy!

Monday, February 22, 2010


We went to Alta last Saturday night with a group of 10 people. We’ve been to Alta before in slightly smaller settings and know it’s a great place to go with a group for tapas. However, it's always trial and error with the ordering, and depends on the food preferences & eating habits of the other people at the table. Some dishes are smaller and less easy to split than others, but at least the more people you go with, the more excuses you have to order more dishes (and run the bill up)!

Items we got and are they a must?:

-Bacon-wrapped dates and olives: A must! Bacon-wrapped anything will be good, but the dates balance out the bacon perfectly and are a great way to start the meal. Everyone who tried this, loved them!

-Brussels sprouts: Another must! They're crisp, delicious, and everything you would want out of a Brussels Sprout. Is it just us or does it feel weird that Brussels has an ‘s’ at the end?

-Shrimp and chorizo skewers: Eh. Good, but plain.. Did not inspire us.

-Skirt steak with chimichurri sauce: Good but not a must. I've had better chimichurri sauces but at least it was a filling dish. Side note: Eric thought this dish was a must, and one of the better dishes he had all night.

-Goat cheese balls: Our third (or fourth) must of the evening. With the honey dipping sauce, it's a delicious and playful dish. Once again, this was a hit with everyone who tried one.

-Mushroom flatbread: Was definitely a hit, but wasn't exotic at all.

-Red Sangria: Get involved! It’s tasty, and will sneak up on you by the end of the meal!

All in all, Alta was a big hit, and confirmed our belief that it’s the perfect spot to go to with a group looking to dine on some tasty tapas & throw back some drinks. Check it out yourself, and tell us what dishes we should try the next time we’re there…

Monday, February 15, 2010

Robert @ MAD (Museum of Art and Design) - Valentine's Day Edition

We read about Robert and it seemed like the perfect spot to go to for Valentine's Day: on the top floor of the MAD @ Columbus Circle, overlooking Central Park, window-side seating, good-looking menu, etc, etc. We head up there and realize that we don't get to order from the regular menu (that we had analyzed online prior to the meal)- we're forced to order from a 3-course $85 prix fixe V-Day menu. We didn't know this going in and probably wouldn't have gone if we did...oh well, we made the best of it! So here goes our experience at Robert...

Atmosphere: Absolutely beautiful layout. As soon as you walk out of the elevator, you walk into the "lounge" and are staring over Columbus Circle & up Central Park West through large windows that surround the restaurant. There was a piano player to set the scene (we imagine that he's not always there, but it was a nice addition) amid modern-looking tables and seating.

Amuse Bouche: Robert served an oyster with a relish on top - a welcomed surprise.

Apps: Hashimi was served with grapefruit, avocado, scallions, micro greens & a little bit of a cream sauce. We both got it & it's a good thing cause I don't think either of us would have wanted to share it... it was amazing! We highly recommend this app - it was light yet full of flavor.

Drinks: We each ordered 2 dirty martinis ($11 each) and they both hit the spot.

Entrees: Medium-rare beef filet was a hit! It was served with a bolandaise sauce that was delicious! It was a dark sauce that worked well with this piece of meat. Vadalia onions, spinach & potato gratin were the perfect complimentary sides to this steak... The portion was more than enough for one person. The lobster was also excellent - it was butter poached and perfectly tender. It was served over pureed cauliflower, spinach and a light sauce.

Desserts: Red velvet cake was served a little bit colder & not as moist as usual. However...we ate the entire portion and didn't want it to end. Pistachio ice cream alongside the cake worked really well. The flourless molten chocolate cake was also delicious - it came with vanilla ice cream and was a nice, sweet note to end the meal on.

Conclusion: $135/person is a bit steep, but on V-Day, Robert was worth it. If you are looking for a special evening, with great food, a spectacular atmosphere/view, and good service, Robert will hit the spot!