I hate people who are not serious about their meals. -- Oscar Wilde

Sunday, July 31, 2011

Victory Garden and Cones

Om Nomz Hero Note to Self: I need more soft serve ice cream in my life

Lowfat...so that means I can eat 2x as much of it?

I realized I have almost sampled all the frozen confection shops in the vicinity of Christopher Square and I am kind of proud of that is a super-glutton way. It is something I keep in mind when I run every morning and justify my sadist behavior. Enough about my own problems I finally got to try the newest on the block, Victory Garden and one of the old ice cream standbys Cones. Strangely enough, both are not gelato shops!

I started out by going to Victory Garden which not only is doing soft serve ice cream, which is a nice change up but it is goat milk soft serve. Victory Garden plays the farm fresh card hard touting using fresh local goat milk. Walking into Victory Garden can leave you a bit unsure that they serve anything edible let alone ice cream, the space is small and sterile looking, but after you get past the fact that you may of accidently stepped into a cosmetic store the warm service is assuring and helpful in deciding on what you want. They have a limited number of flavors that can vary depending on the day and when I went it was a rose, honey lavender, the choco-mastic, plain and a yogurt. I expected the ice cream to taste similar to goat cheese ice creams I have tasted in the past so I went with a mix of the chocolate and the honey lavender. They also have various toppings which are seen rarely out of a Baskin Robbins anymore but they were offering different ones such as wheat germ, honey, strawberries and even halvah, a crumbly Middle Eastern sesame candy.  I went with the halvah which I was told that they make themselves.  The ice cream had a crisp and refreshing taste and was not as texturally creamy but it was still smooth and if you had goat cheese ice cream in the past, it did not have the tangy barnyard aftertaste either. I expected to like the chocolate more but I found myself liking the honey lavender and wanting more of that, the flavors were playful and subtle and the wisps of lavender made me wanting more. 

Goat Milk Ice Cream Soft Serve
One serving of ice cream would be enough for one person, but in a blog called the Om Nomz Hero, proceeded to walk down Bleecker and go to Cones, the Argentinean ice cream shop. From a bit of research, Argentinean style ice cream is like a hybrid of ice cream and gelato in which it is suppose to have to intensity of flavors that gelato has but the ice cream are more similar to well traditional ice cream. I sampled some of their ice creams before I decided on what I wanted and I tried their corn ice cream because I have always liked corn ice cream and given they are a South American ice cream shop, they should be able to do that right. Unfortunately the corn ice cream was tooth decaying sweet and the corn tasted artificial and canned and given that corn is in season, this flavor let me down. I ended up with the mascarpone with tutti frutti and the zaboyone (hey that’s how they spelled) the moscato-spiked Italian cream. The mascarpone, while it was smooth and creamy the zaboyone unfortunately had ice crystals in it which downgraded the ice cream making me feel I got hosed.

Cones Ice Cream - Marscapone with Tutti Fruitti and Zabaoyone
The ice cream at Cones did not seem like anything special and did not stand out to me especially with the service when the dude gave me the laziest explanation of the zaboyone and then ignored me while a co-ed walked in. Victory Garden, as much as they push the natural and healthiness undertones on to you, has legitimately good ice cream and it is good to have some soft serve that that is not from a Red Mango or Pinkberry.

Victory Garden
31 Carmine Street
 New York, NY 10014
272 Bleecker St
New York, NY 10014

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Motorino: Italian for scooter or something but they got pizza!

Om Nomz Hero Note to Self: Those that have not eaten a Neapolitan pie have been doing a disservice to themselves

I admit, I rave and coo about Neapolitan pies way too much. The obsession is only comparable to a Korean teenager discovering StarCraft (Zerg fo life!). I never really realized that I had a problem or weird obsession with it until I had an afternoon to myself and I was really craving for a nicely charred and chewy Neapolitan pie. So much so that I travelled all the way to the original Motorino location in Brooklyn and proceeded to eat a pie and meatballs on my own. And then, still feeling peckish, I went to Forcella a couple blocks away and ate another pie. The point that I realized I really like Neapolitan pies and is probably one of my favorites foods after pork is that the next day, I kind of wanted a Neapolitan style pie…something light like a Margherita. I am pretty sure that this is the reason that I am single; I mean, no one of the opposite sex should find this an attractive quality, at all. If you do however, call me.

I have sampled the pizza at the Motorino East Village location and given I had a nice afternoon; I decided to make a trek to Brooklyn, to the original location of Motorino. Motorino opening in 2008 is part of the second wave of the revamp of New York Pizza opening after Franny’s and the grails of all, Una Pizza Neapoletana (RIP). Motorino is now a member of the pantheon of pizza greats in New York in which many New Yorkers use as a catalyst of a quality Neapolitan pie. Food After the Jump!

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

The Dutch: Comfort American Food (No need to go all the way out to Brooklyn!)

Om Nomz Hero Note to Self: Do not be self-conscious when people constantly look over at your table while you are eating, it is most likely looks of jealousy

Andrew Carmellini’s The Dutch is the most buzzed about restaurant that has opened recently, eater.com has been following the opening of the restaurant like a stock ticker. The name is short and bold and for some reason the name, “The Dutch” sounds like a blunt to me or an herb of questionable legality, but then again not everyone can have such lawless acquaintances as I have. Carmellini starting in the Bouloud kitchen and then establishing himself in Italian fare with his success at A Voce and his first restaurant Locanda Verde and with his track record, many thought the Dutch would be another Italian joint but he flips it and goes with American comfort influenced cuisine.

Where do you get these pictures from?

The space and décor of the Dutch certainly fits the bill of American influence with the wood paneled walls and black and white photos, it feels like a chic version of the 21 Club. Walking in, I feel I should know things like, horseracing and the current price of gold but the nonetheless, despite the closeness of the tables the dining room is spacious and comfortable enough. Although the Dutch has been classified as comfort American and initial impressions all point to Americana, the food strays, especially the dinner menu from what you would expect. 

Jalapeno Cornbread- Not quite Southern, not quite Yankee

After taking in the space and ordering, we were presented with a small loaf of fresh and warm jalapeno cornbread with salted whipped butter. The cornbread is a fusion of Southern and “Yankee” cornbread in which the cornbread was not sweet that is typical of Yankee cornbread and had more savory notes like Southern cornbread but texturally, the cornbread was soft and quick bread-like, Yankee style. Although the cornbread was a tad dry and crumbly it tasted fine although I had to employ a pinching method in order to eat it without making a complete crumbly mess. 

Small Oyster Sandwiches- I'll take 5 more

The snack menu is not to be overlooked and we ordered the oyster sandwiches and the playfully dubbed Asian (it would have been funny if it was spelled, “AZN”) white boy ribs. The Oyster sandwiches are reason enough to even stop by here and a good omen for the rest of the meal. A nice ode to the oyster po boys of the South, the oyster was plump and juicy and had a great crispy crunchy shell thanks to the cornmeal batter. The sauce is a tangy pickled okra sauce which is reminiscent of a remoulade and worked magically with the oysters. The White boy ribs were less successful; an order of the Asian white boy ribs came with 2 ribs and a black lacquered glaze of hosin and heavy on the black bean. The ribs although were tender, they were grayish looking and seemed like they were boiled and had that musty Chinese medicinal taste that I was all too familiar with. 

Asian White Boy Ribs- wait..a TwinkieRib?

Since we got the snacks we decided to get one of the appetizers and we went with the Asparagus Okonomiyaki. An okonomiyaki is a Japanese street food composed of egg and flour pancake/omelets that is filled basically with anything, but usually either pork, shrimp and topped with mayonnaise and an okonomiyaki sauce, which taste like a tangy Worcestershire sauce. 

Asparagus Okonomiyaki

The dish was spears of asparagus, topped with a poached egg under bonito flakes and swimming in an okonomiyaki-esque sauce. The asparagus was surrounded by chunks of pork belly and fried pieces of shrimp. Although all the parts of the dish were cooked well, the dish seemed forced and except of the bonito flakes and sauce, it did not remind me, even if I closed my eyes and focused really hard of an okonomiyaki.
For my main I got the Pecan Duck that was served on a bed of wild rice and pecans and topped with celery shavings. Since duck is the new pork, I am happy it is getting the attention it deserves and liked that I was actually asked how I like the duck breast to be cooked. The duck was cooked to a nice medium rare and the wild rice was rich and saucy. The addition of crushed pecans brought an extra welcomed crunch and meatiness. The spices in the dish were warm and earthy and had a bit of a smokiness that made me think of Latin or Southwest flavors. 

Pecan Duck- Duck is the new pork, like really dark meat pork

The other main that we got was the Sea Bass, in a mussel lemongrass curry, vegetables and crushed peanuts. The curry was resembled more a broth but had the same spice and flavor intensity as a curry. The lightness of the curry not only tasted great in the summer heat, it paired perfectly with the crisp vegetables and the still flaky sea bass. 

Black Sea Bass, Thai Lemongrass Curry

Though the portions were generous, dessert at the Dutch is something that you need to save room for or force the limits of your stomach. Pastry Chef Kierin Baldwin is a padawan of Karen DeMasco and learned well and I could easily just come here just for the desserts. The pies are the popular options here as they change with seasonality but the regular desserts are something that should not be missed as well.

Devil's Food Cake, White Russian Ice Cream

From the regular dessert menu we got the Devil’s food cake with black pepper boiled icing and served with a smear of fudge sauce and a White Russian ice cream. The Devil food cake was the kind of cake that you dream about, moist with layers of chocolate frosting and a chocolate cookie base and the black pepper icing accented the already perfect cake. The fudge sauce was bittersweet, balancing the sweetness of the dessert and paired with the White Russian ice cream, I really did not want to share this. They had two pies that day and we went with the peach pie that had raspberry syrup and a scoop of buttermilk ice cream. The peach filling was sweetly in tune and the raspberry sauce with the buttermilk ice cream brought a cool and refreshing sourness to the pie. The crust of the pie was tender and buttery and worthy of the hype and attention that it has been getting since opening. 

Peach Pie, Buttermilk Ice Cream just as American as Apple Pie

If you are expecting the typical American comfort food of fried chicken, macaroni and cheese or burgers and fries you are in for a surprise. Carmellini is doing American comfort food, but doing it cleverly. He recognizes that America is actually defined by the multiple cultures and their cuisines which from Chinese to Mexican and if anything, he is doing comfort flavors in which the food are reminiscent of places and foods that you may have had in the past or elsewhere in the country. If you want something closer to comfort food or “Brooklynese” then I would suggest the late night or the brunch menu in which his burger and fried chicken is featured. The hype and attention of the Dutch is well warranted, even with flaws in certain dishes the food taste great and executed well and the vast array of flavors and cuisines showcased at the Dutch is a solid contemporary take on American comfort food.

The Dutch
131 Sullivan Street (Literally at the Corner of Sullivan and Prince)
New York, NY 10012-3043

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Checking out Dekalb Market: Supermarkets do not exist in Brooklyn

Om Nomz Hero Note to Self:the way Dekalb market stacks and positions all the shipping containers, it would be an optimal place/fortress to hole up when the Zombie Apocalypse happens

I do not need to emphasize on how hot it was this previous Saturday, I wanted to have Slushies feed to me intravenously. So most people would stay in there cool and thankfully air conditioned place, lounge in their boxers and watch Aqua Teen, play COD and eat blows of milk ice cream (bowl of ice cream and pour milk over it, it will change your life). I had the bright idea of going out venturing out to the latest (and will bet not the last) market to open, Dekalb Market, I mean the heat is just a mental thing.


Dekalb market differs from most of the markets that are currently in operation in which it is a permanent fixture, opened daily and instead of relying on pop-up tents and fold up tables, you got shipping containers. Though many would find the idea of using shipping containers as an odd place to be operating in and a Hooverville-like, they are spacious and stepping inside most of them, a lot of the vendors doctor and build them up that would make X to the Z, Xzbit jealous. Think of it as the most eco-friendly strip mall.Food after Jump!

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Mille-Feuille NYC: Its a fun word to say

Om Nomz Hero Note to Self: The French are Master Engineers of packaging...pastry packaging

Mille-feuille bakery is located on Laguardia Place by NYU and Washington Square and can easily be overlooked; the first time in search of this place, I actually walked by it, but the Subway nearby though was very noticeable. However to skip this place when you are having a sweet craving is a mistake. Mille-feuille bakery is a French pastry shop opened by Olivier Dessyn whose past experience has been at Pierre Hermé, pastry legend that would make the Pilsbury Dough Boy white with fear (well…whiter I guess). Pierre Hermé was making macarons before it was cool, giving him ultimate hipster street credibility. Dessyn’s former employment is reason enough for anyone in search of buttery French pastries. Sweets after the jump!

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Forcella NYC: Your New Source for Neapolitan Pies

Om Nomz Hero note to Self: After eating at 2 Neapolitan pizza joints in succession under an hour, I have come to the conclusion, it is not possible for me to get tired of eating Neapolitan pies

Hidden on Lorimer Street- sadly they do not sell furniture nor books

When I first discovered the joys of a Neapolitan style pizza, one of the places that I first visited was Olio Pizza e Piú. It was somewhat hip, new and also had a crazy Italian sounding name with accents and such so I had to try it. In addition, their main guy was a man named Giulio Adriani, which is a sorcerer of pizza, I mean if you ever see a picture of the guy, he looks like Dumbledore (hey, it’s a Harry Potter weekend right?) decked out in Caputo flour gear.

More awards, plaques on the wall than my Doctor's off

To say this man knows Neapolitan pizza is an understatement, it is asking if Jay-Z knows how to rap. He is an instructor for the Vera Pizza Neapoletana association (VPN) which teaches and certifies Neapolitan pizza joints all over, straight up Obi Wan status. Unfortunately, the pies at Olio were on the level of “ehh” and wet and I never went back. Adriani has recently showed up back on the pizza radar with the quiet opening of Forcella, in March and SeriousEats recently did a profile on the place giving it a rave review, I needed pizza, pronto.
As they say on Cribs- where the magic happens

Located in Brooklyn, a few blocks down from the Lorimer stop I came here from brunch and arrived a little after 12. I apparently was the first one there and had that awkward moment of standing in the basically empty space and roaring pizza oven, wondering if it was open. For future reference, they open at noon for brunch and in my defense, no where on their website or online menu does it say what time they open. After a bit of a rocky start, I ordered a Capri salad and since I got there stupid early, I wanted to try the fried pizza mentioned on SeriousEats, however, Adriani was not in yet so I opted for the other interesting and brunch suited pie, the Carbonara. Food After the Jump!

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Stuff I am Digging: Ines Rosales Olive Oil Tortas

The first time I saw these, I ignorantly scoffed at them, thinking,

“They look like hard tortillas, what are so special about them? Made is Spain? Dude, I will just get some pitas and toast those suckers.”

My curiosity got the best of me and I broke down and finally bought a pack of them at Despana and I was hooked. These Olive Oil tortas are crispy and flaky, like a thin, crispy pie crust of like crack. The tortas have a glaze of sugar giving it an extra boost but the kicker to the Olive Oil tortas is the anise and bits of spices sprinkled on top bringing your taste buds to another flavor dimension. The Ines Rosales tortas hails specifically from Seville and are handmade which makes accounts for the bit of a hefty price tag but it is worth it. Although you can eat these as it, try it with a bit of cheese or drizzle of honey or a combination of both! Cheese wise it pairs perfectly with assertive cheeses like goats and blue cheeses. I found out that Ines Rosales makes slight variations on these one with a hint of orange and one that lacks the sugar glaze and anise. But like Star Wars, the original one is vastly superior and should be the first ones to try for those uninitiated. 

Ines Rosales Olive Oil Tortas 

Thursday, July 14, 2011

La Cremeria Gelato

On Nomz Hero Note to Self: Brain freeze is just a consequence that I will happily accept

I have put the doughnut quest on the back burner because as much as I like doughnuts, it is hot outside and I want some frozen treats. I have ranted constantly about the amount of gelaterias in the West Village and I have always wondered why they have sprung up in the West Village rather than in places such as Little Italy. I mean, gelato is a Italian, southern Italian creation, would it not make sense that great gelato should be found in Little Italy? The only place that comes to mind is Ferrara’s that is constantly mobbed this time of year by tourists but recently, there has been a newcomer on Mulberry that is quietly making quality gelato and pushing to be one of my favorites in the city. 

La Cremeria quietly opened in the spring, but it steadily building a following. Opened by Capri (island with all the lemons) native Martino Caciagli, he is sourcing all his ingredients from Italy so he may not win points with the local-vore crowds, but one taste of their gelato and all your Alice Water-like notions disappear.

Not only are the sorbets such as the blood orange intense and flavorful, he is also dishing out flavors such as zabaglione, the cream made for tiramisu which captures the sweetness of the Moscato or the Nerone, their intense chocolate gelato. I however, have been drawn and loving the Monella, which has cherries, almonds and bits of chocolate, like a suave version of a Cherry Garcia. La Cremeria coaxes out all of these flavors in their gelato and imparts a smooth and creamy texture. I suggest hitting up La Cremeria as soon as possible before this place starts to explode especially in the current heat, La Cremeria is a nice remedy against the heat…that and hydration. 

This looks more like a flower than the gelato at Amorino

La Cremeria
178 Mulberry St
Manhattan, NY 10012

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Beecher's Cheese

Om Nomz Hero Note to Self: Seriously dude, who would say no to a piece of Surryano Ham?

Seems that a lot of West Coast businesses are opening up outlets here in New York with the latest being Beecher’s Cheese from Seattle. First cupcakes and now cheese I believe the universe is trying to transform me into Jabba the Hut. If Tartine Bread and salumi house opens up in New York, I will be dead and looking like the first victim in Seven within 48 hours. Beecher’s is not only a cheese shop, they are cheese makers and their Flatiron location doubles as a cheese making facility.

Cheese making, well not at 10:30 in the morning...
I stopped in and was instantly accosted with samples and samples of cheeses and they were mostly pushing their cheese. I tried their flagship, which is a hard somewhat crumbly cheese which was slightly nutty and creamy. Then I tried their smoked and their 4 year aged the later I ended up buying. The 4 year aged was tangy and creamy and the smoked was a bit too mellow for me and the smokiness was light. Although Beechers has their line of cheeses and naturally were pushing their cheeses, they also had other American cheeses. Not only that, they also had cheese curds which have a string cheese like texture and squeaks a bit when you bite into it. Curds are nugget-sized pieces that are formed in the cheese making process when the rennet is added to the milk and “curdle’ the milk leaving chunks that are the curds. Instead of shoving the curds into molds and going through the whole process, curds are just eaten as is. Curds are great for melting, snacking or if you want to go for the homerun, batter them up and fry them. Pictures of the inside after the jump!

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Surf Taco: Seaside Park, NJ

Om Nomz Hero Note to Self: “No shirt, no shoes, no problem” is only a suggestion or a guideline, some people need to wear a shirt

I have been to California a couple of times in my past life playing paintball. There were two unavoidable things that happened every time I went to California:

1.       In and Out would be immediately be located
2.       The consumption of horrible pizza
3.       Mexican/Latina influence cuisine making up 80% of my diet

There was something about going to California and all the paintballers that I travelled with that craved and wanted to constantly eat Mexican food, plus the cheapness factor was a plus and paintballers are notorious cheap when it comes to everything non-paintball related. I did not realize it then, but the huge burritos and addition of rice, beans, sour cream, avocado and all that is really more of the Mission style/Baja style of Mexican which is an off shoot of Mexican food, adapted to the California style of eating. Such thing as fish tacos is really more of a California surfer rendition, that here across the way Surf Taco in Seaside Park is doing. 

On my inaugural trip to the beach and pretty much everytime I come home from the beach, I like to pick up some food from Surf Taco because it’s a good driving snack (DISCLAIMER: I do not endorse eating and driving at the same time, but if I were too, tacos are a compact and a one handed food that makes it easy eating) and my parents like the tacos and almost insist on me picking them up. Surf Taco plays the surfer/beach club hard. It is like the designer of Hollister and Crapplebees got together to decorate the place. Slap on a couple of Roxy and Billabong stickers to fend off “poser” label and pretend legitimacy and that would describe the interior. Food After the Jump!

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Shake Shack July 4th

Om Nomz Hero Note to Self: Going to the Shake Shack in the Theater District is not a good idea.

I was craving a burger and sure I could have went to Minetta and finally see if their burger is worth the sticker price or the numerous other restaurants that are making a good burger but getting a burger at Shake Shack especially during the July 4th weekend seemed to make sense. Although Shake Shack is considered to be under the classification of fast food, the quality of the burgers is nowhere near the burgers at Mickey Ds. In fact, I have to confess, I actually never been to a Shake Shack until this weekend. Sure I have had a burger from there and have weaseled my way into getting family and friends to get me take out from there but I manned up and went to the Shake Shack on 8th, which opened up last summer and would pay my dues and wait in line for a Shack Burger. 

Smells like USA #1

  When waiting in line anywhere in the city, you are in such close proximity that you cannot avoid over hearing other people’s conversation, and unfortunately, this has caused a lot of brain fart incidents. Such incident occurred while waiting in line, which was about a 10 minute wait which was not horrible but I cannot imagine how long the line would be later in the day because I showed up about 10 minutes after it opened. The family behind me was obviously from out of town and she was debating on her beverage option and concluded that although a shake would be deemed appropriate it had too many calories and “fatty”. However, she then proceeded to just get a beer because it was a healthier alternative. This is why a bunch of pasty, Anemic looking Swede kids rank higher than us in academics.  

Tasty corndog, See ya 2012 Memorial Weekend

My brain fart incident was thankfully cut short by placing my order and getting my food. I of course got the Shack Burger but I also got the corndog and the flamboyantly named, “Blueberry pie, oh my!” concrete. The corn dog and the concrete were a must order, especially the corndog because it was only being offered during the July 4th weekend. The corndog is a Shack special that only appears on the menu during July 4th and Memorial Day weekend. The corndogs are dipped to order ensuring deliciousness with every bite. The corndogs are served with a pickled corn relish from Rick’s Picks and is a perfect accompaniment with the corndog although not really much of a dipping or spreadable condiment on the corndog. The Shack burger was cooked perfectly and shoved on a Martin Potato Roll scream USA #1. A freshly griddled burger with a blanket of processed singles cheese slice shoved in a Martin Potato Roll is the formula for anyone that was grilling during the holiday weekend. This burger is a symbol of America as much as the America flag, constitution and supersized meals.  The blueberry concrete was a simple and tasty concoction of vanilla custard and blueberry pie and basically blueberry pie al a mode in a cup. Big chunks of blueberry pie in every bite and the blueberry filling did not have that weird canned filling taste which made waiting in line at the Shake Shack worth it.

Blueberry concrete, spanks DQ Blizzards

Shake Shack
Various Locations in NYC, Coming soon th Fulton St. Brooklyn

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Waffels and Dinges

Om Nomz Hero Note to Self: Speculoos spread is the new peanut butter

After dining at Buvette, right by Christopher Square was one of my favorite food trucks, Wafels and Dinges. No secret that I love waffles, crisp and airy and cooing sweetness that lends itself to being topped with an array of toppings. Waffles and Dinges does not just serve any old waffles, they are serving straight up legit Belgium waffles that bear no resemblance to Eggos or the flip and turn waffles in your College dining hall, which by the way, to get waffle perfection I always did an extra minute or two on the griddle because the timer was kind of off and the waffle always came out mushy. 

Waffels and Dinges have 2 kinds of waffles, the well known Brussels waffles that many of us know and served in any diner everywhere and my personal favorite kind of waffle, the Liege waffle which is a yeasted and before they are thrown onto the waffle iron, gets a coating of Pearl Sugar, which caramelizes the waffles giving it that extra crunch, sweetness and a denser waffle. The liege waffle is the perfect dessert vessel which is why the Spekulator is one of my favorite desserts. This sorceress creation is a liege waffle, which is topped with speculoos spread and speculoos ice cream. This is a magical special that they have that is not always on their menu but when it is, this is a must have regardless. Waffels and Dinges not only offer sweet treats they also dabble on the savory side with their pulled pork which I have yet to brave and try. Waffels and Dinges have multiple mobile carts and even an outpost at Seaside Heights where you can easily get a waffle fix but I would say to try and seek out the original mobile truck for one of the original street trucks to pop up in New York.

By the Beard of Zeus this is good

Wafels & Dinges
Various Locations