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

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Chinatown Ice Cream Factory

Om Nomz Hero Note to Self: Don't eat ice cream near the fish vendors, it hinders on the ice cream flavors

Whenever I am in Chinatown I always try to make an attempt to go down Mott Street and go to the Chinatown Ice Cream Factory. Granted you have to maneuver your way pass fruit vendors, wet sidewalks, the catch of the day (at least I think it was caught that day) and old Grannies with their push baskets, in the midst of all the hustle of Chinatown sits the Ice Cream Factory tucked away on Bayard Street. 

Chinatown Ice Cream Factory is not big, in fact you most likely need to squeeze by people in order to pay and look at their ice cream which now I think about it, is like almost anywhere is Chinatown. They have your regular flavors but you do not come all that way to get a vanilla cone. They have more interesting Asian flavors ranging from the staple of green tea and black sesame to the egg custard and Zen Butter. The Zen butter, as exotic mysterious sounding as it is, is a richly nutty peanut butter-like tasting ice cream mixed with sesame making it a wonderfully overwhelming nuttiness. No, it does not have healing powers and chi balancing agents, but it is tasty and if you want stuff like that, you passed that place, like 4 doors down. Though I like the eerie yet tasty pandan ice cream, I went with the almond cookie and the egg custard, two of the ice creams that are based off of Chinese pastries. The almond cookies I had growing up were stale, crumbly and just sweet. If it tasted like this ice cream, I would have enjoyed it better: rich almond flavor with soft pieces of cookies makes it like a cousin to the American Cookies and Cream. The Egg custard, can be found in any Asian bakery tasted exactly like the namesake pastry, rich in egg flavor and just sweet enough, you need to ignore the thought of how many egg yolks went into making this ice cream, no doubt would startle a Frenchman.

Almond Cookie and Egg Custard

Chinatown Ice Cream Factory, though I have been there multiple times (and nerdy enough to get a tee shirt) I have never really had a solid flavor that I get every time I have gone there because there are just so many options and flavors to choose from and they are generous with the ice cream making this a tasty dessert to have after chowing down at Xian Famous Foods that opened up next door.

Chinatown Ice Cream Factory
65 Bayard St
NY,NY 10013

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Le Grande Fooding Exquisite Corpse: Ana Ros

Om Nomz Hero Note to Self: When presented with a glass of champagne and a shot of espresso, champagne first then chase it down with the espresso. Have a good morning.

This previous weekend marked the beginning and the end of a pop up restaurant hosted by the Le Grande Fooding (Frenchies of course!) dubbed the Exquisite Corpse. Exquisite Corpse is actually a game, played by Surrealist artists each artist took turns painting on a certain section of canvas without seeing the other artist painted. In the end, you unveil what mish mash creation you have created, most likely stare at it for a bit, laugh and eat drink and be merry. Despite the morbid sounding name, the Exquisite Corpse was a 52 hour pop up dinner in which every four hours, a different chef and a new menu was presented which now makes sense and a fitting name for this pop up that was located by the High Line. It reminded me of the 30 Rock episode when Tracy Jordan has the after party and then the after after party and it just keeps going and going, same concept, except more food and no NBC stars present. 

Champagne in the AM...sure there is a rap lyric somewhere

Given my insomniac ways, I could have went to one of the earlier ones that started at 5 am, but I decided to be somewhat sane and hit up the 9am block on Saturday that featured Ana Ros head of the restaurant, Hisa Franko in Slovenia. Since I did not see Slovenia coming up in any travel itinerary, I thought it would be interesting to try her menu. 

Candlelit dinner, in the AM
Part of the excitement of a pop up is the discovery of a restaurant that seemed to have been conceived in a random space, and the Exquisite Corpse was no different. After walking up a fading whitewash stairwell you land in a studio that is filled with questionable art pieces and a long grand table that everyone is seated at. Think of any movie that has ever had a scene of a banquet dinner at Versailles and now take that image and forcibly clash it with hipster, artistic vibes and mismatched furniture and that will describe the atmosphere and the table setting. There were candles suck in previously drunk San Pellegrino bottles and as I dubbed a grab bag of utensils and bread all creating a median in the middle of the table with the addition of alternating red and blue vinyl table cloth lined the banquet set table that would have fit comfortably in an East Carolina Smokehouse, although cluttered is the first thing that comes to mind, one cannot help but be bemused by everything and rightfully fitting. Food After the Jump!

Sunday, September 25, 2011

One Last Bite: Byggyz at San Gennaro

Om Nomz Hero Note to Self: A good sandwich never ceases to amaze me

Happy knitted Animal hats not included

If you are like me you probably won’t admit, you stared at the word, “Byggyz” and have a brain fart trying to figure out how the heck you pronounce this without sounding like Bulgarian 5 year old trying to speak English. Pronounced “Biggie’s” this sandwich shop made a sneak peek preview at the feast of San Gennaro. Headed by Dewey Dufresne, father of Wylie the spelling of the shop makes complete sense on the name and that the Byggyz beef sandwich was not going to be any ordinary sandwich.

Despite the crowded streets and the passing parade, Dewey Dufresne took the time to actually explain the construction of the sandwich and it was not just throwing a slab of beef on bread. The beef itself is slowly braised in beef stock and pomegranate juice shredded and then with the help of Activa (meat glue) it is compressed into a block and seared on the flat top. Topped with a “XO-llent sauce” (word play much?) that consists of mayo, mustard, and sweet peppers, pickled vegetables, hot peppes and American cheese is contained in between a ciabatta bun from Falai this is a well throughout and multi processed sandwich.

The star of this sandwich is of course the beef which after going through all that care and deconstruction and rebuild tasted great. The beef block burst with meaty fatty goodness with each bite; making Boars Head meats looking like a cheap Southeast Asian knock off. The condiments offered a great balance and the ciabatta bun had a soft enough yield that make the sandwich a easy eat.

Though the sandwich shop is not destined to open till next year, if this sandwich is an indicator of what is in store this is a place, news and updates of the opening of this sandwich shop should be permanently on your food radar. 

For a more detailed profile: NYMag

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Big Gay Ice Cream Tru--err, Shop!

Om Nomz Hero Note to Self: Tastiness of Ice Cream is directly related to the amount of Mythical Animals within the vicinity

I sauntered down 7th Ave a couple of weeks ago and was greeted with a flash mob of people, all waiting for the grand opening of The Big Gay Ice Cream Truck Shop grand opening. All the times I have walked through there, I have never seen so many people and although I wanted to get their soft serve, the line was down the street and I wanted ice cream, but not an hour wait for ice cream!

The Unicorn is like staring into your soul

I came back this previous weekend and thankfully, the grand opening hype had died down and I was finally able to stop by their shop. Even if you do not like ice cream, stopping by their shop is just highly entertaining and to sum up the shop in one word, it would be in the words of Big Gay Al from South Park, “SUPER!” Stepping in you are greeted with a mural of a fairy tale Unicorn and an inflatable unicorn on propped on the opposite side of the wall, even the most hard ass person will utter a couple of chuckles. Everything that they have been serving from their truck is available at their shop and a few other additions as well. Seeing that it was my first time here and overwhelmed by the choices, I decided to go for their most featured creation, the Salty Pimp. Unfortunately not served in a golden chalice with a side of Olde English, it is a cone topped with vanilla soft serve, dulce de leche, sprinkle of sea salt and all locked in by a chocolate shell. It is no ordinary softee cone and makes it clear that pimping is anything but easy, but it sure is tasty. 

The jazzed up soft serve is just one of the few creations that they have and other interesting toppings like, olive oil, wasabi peas and key lime curd. They also have ice pops/paletas from La Newyorkina and ice cream sandwiches made from cookies from the Treats Truck. If you are like me and basically too lazy to go and seek out their truck, you can visit their shop in the East Village and get some whimsical and tasty soft serve. Also, if you are a Unicorn enthusiast, you should check out that Unicorn on the wall. 

Big Gay Ice Cream Shop
125 East 7th Street

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

The Brindle Room makes a great Burger

Om Nomz Hero Note to Self: Do not take good fries for granted.

I have been hearing so much about the burger at The Brindle Room that I finally dragged myself over there for a quick bite, and finally have a go at their burger and I am glad that I did (I consider a order of burger and fries a quick bite, go ahead, call me a fatty). I have only stopped by the Brindle Room previously to try their doughnuts which I was not completely in love with but keeping an open mind I ordered the burger. The first thing that perked my interest regarding the burger is that it is made with prime aged beef trimmings from the partnered steakhouse Sebastian’s in Morristown NJ.  In a Thomas Paine society, this aged beef, with its intense beefy flavor would be the way that all beef would taste like and for the grand old price of $13 dollars with the inclusion of fries and a pickle; it is hard to argue the price. Burger After the Jump!

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Torrisi Italian Specialties @ Feast of San Gennaro

Om Nomz Hero Note to Self: Within the 20 minutes spent walking San Gennaro, “Party Rock” I concluded is on a continuous loop. Liked it better when Usher songs were the summer anthems

The Feast of San Gennaro is the closest that New York will ever get to the state/county fairs found out in Middle America. Although the Feast will does not feature such culinary and avante garde cuisine such as the fried bubble gum and fried stick of butter, the amount of oil used during this two week feast is surely enough to give the cast of the Real Housewives of NJ and Jersey Shore crew a shine that will last them a good season. Also I do not think that the Iowa State Fair had MozzArepas, true fusion of Latin and Italian.
Though the Feast has been in the past years a 5 block radius of all the fried oreos and calamari, cannoli and the sweet smell of grilled sausage and peppers, the Feast has gotten a bit of an upgrade thanks to Torrisi Italian Specialties. Debuting last year at the feast this year they are stepping up their game. Not only is Torrisi producing some great grub, a few other New York notables such as the folks at Rubirosa, The Breslin, Brooklyn Bangers and Stellina to name a few have set up booths as well giving a nice upgrade and change up to the standard fare found at the Feast. Sadly, LAFMO will still be blasting from speakers. 

Torrisi debuted last year with fried mozzarella wontons, a recognition of Chinatown’s proximity and influence in Little Italy. Playing on the same theme, this year they have come up with ribs and wonton nachos. The ribs are served in the standard Chinese takeout oyster pail and have the all to familiar imperial red color and charred edged just like char sui pork. 


The meat had a divine slightly sweetened glaze and the meat, grilled perfectly had a tender chew and the meat just clings to bone, requiring little effort. The Nachos was a nice twist and I thoroughly enjoyed. It was fried wonton skins that got a sprinkle of sesame and although there was no Velveeta here, it came topped with Chinese hot mustard and duck sauce which balanced each other out. The Wonton skins were light, crisp and surprisingly not greasy. 

Wonton Nachos

The wonton nachos were a guilty pleasure for me because when my family went out to eat Chinese food, we never got the fried noodle crackers and duck sauce that was for Mei Guo Lain, Chinese people got pickled radish, cucumber and carrot medley and peanuts. The Feast runs till the 25th so I would suggest hitting up the Torrisi booth, located in from of their restaurant and getting some ribs. The other big food players formerly mentioned are all setup within that proximity so no need to go venturing all about Mott and Grand to find these tasty delights. Plus, you can get a temporary tattoo.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Screaming for Ice Cream Again

Om Nomz Hero Note to Self: Olive Bread and ice cream does not go together

It may be cooling down, but I am still eating ice cream. Actually, I do not think there is a time when I am not eating ice cream. I Originally wanted to stop by the Big Gay Ice Cream Shop on its opening day, but I saw the line at noon, and although I wanted their ice cream, I did not want it that bad and could wait a few days and weeks for the opening day shenanigans to calm down. I however decided to venture over to the Van Leeuwen shop for their ice cream. I noticed for the first time, that they were doing ice cream sandwiches. I already like their cookies and their ice cream and together just made sense. One of their seasonal flavors they had was the Brooklyn Brewery Chocolate stout ice cream. 

Ginger Molasses Cookie Chocolate Stout Ice Cream

The Ice cream was velvety and had a lingering malty flavor that tasted wonderful. The cookies were the molasses ginger cookies that I have had before so on paper, this should be a complete win right? Unfortunately, this was not the case. The ice cream had a gelato consistency, meaning it was very soft and almost runny and the cookies were chewy rather than soft. Biting into it, all structural integrity of this sandwich was lost and ice cream exploded from the sides. This resulted making my hands covered and dribbled in chocolate ice cream (tasty ice cream at least) and looked like I participated in some sort of weird Germanic Fetish show. In short, the cookies at Van Leeuwen are great, so are their ice creams but together ehh not so much. Mo Ice Cream after the Jump!

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Tehuitzingo Deli Grocery: Tacos in HK

Om Nomz Hero Note to Self: Old wood paneled TV blaring Charo enhances any dining experience

Hell’s Kitchen, the neighborhood not the show that Ramsay has people make endless risottos and called people stupid cows is an area that I often overlook for good food because of its proximity to Time Square and Port Authority which I always try to avoid. However, just a block away from the commuter hub and throngs of tourists is a different neighborhood that has good food. For one, Sullivan Street Bakery, which I can never get enough of is there and there is also, one of my favorite taco places there, Tehuitzingo Deli Grocery. 
First off, I cannot pronounce the name of this place for the life of me and I just call it that bodega in Hell’s Kitchen that has legit tacos. You will walk past it. This place stands out just as much as a Korean deli in the Village or another bodega in Queens. This is a place that if you were thirsty or edging for a pack of smokes, you would probably walk a block further for a more welcoming looking place. To avoid this place would be a mistake for any eater. Stepping into this narrow grocery, the walls and shelves are filled with stacks of tortillas, Mexican spices and can goods and snacks featuring flamboyant characters, no doubt of Latin descent.

 However, walk back a little further; past the cooler of Bodega popular beers, sodas and Mexican coke (not costing 5 bucks a bottle) you are suddenly transported to space in a jungle green glow and realize that they serve food here. A counter wrap the wall lined with swivel stools along with mirrors (just in case you wanted to check yourself out while downing posole) and at the end of the Grocery is a window that separates a kitchen, that is smaller than some walk-in closets I have seen and delicious tacos and food that you will find in this area. Tacos after the jump!

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Recipe Sunday: Tarte Tatin

Om Nome Hero Note to Self: When working with hot sugar/caramel, pants are required, or at least an apron

A Tarte Tatin is a deceptively simple dessert that I do not know why I haven’t tried making myself until now. I have weird cravings, like a crackhead or a hormonal pregnant woman and with fall just around the corner, honey crisp apples are starting to appear at the market I was in the mood for an apple like dessert and Tarte Tatin seemed to fit the bill.

History of this dessert is hazy, but the story goes that Tatin sisters from ye old France were baking an apple pie and one of them was doing up the filling, burned it and had an “Oh Shit” moment and threw on a pastry sheet, flipped it and played it cool and made a Tarte Tatin. Tender apples glazed in rich caramel and a flaky tart are part of making this such a great dessert but the real kicker in this dessert is that moment when it is done baking and you flip it onto a plate. If all goes well, you are presented with a hopefully intact tart that has a luscious deep amber shiny glaze and tender apples, billowing cloud of sweetness.

Most recipes have puff pastry, which is fine but I decided and also lacking puff pastry to just do a sheet of pate brisee (Frenchie for tart dough) which works just as fine. Although you can go complicated and put 20 varieties of apples, any apple will really do for this. If you are big money and have a Tarte Tatin pan go for it and use it, I used a skillet but cake pan (not spring form) would work just as well. This tart is best consumed right after you are done but it still taste great when it is cold as well. Served it with some Crème Fraiche if you have on some fancy pants or a scoop of vanilla ice cream if the elastic band pants are on. Recipe after the Jump

 Tartin Tatin

Pate Brisee (Recipe Follows) enough for 1 8 inch tart or 1 sheet (about 8 ounces) frozen puff pastry
1/2 cup sugar
3 Tablespoons of Butter, chilled and cut into cubes
About 4 sweet firm apples such as Fuji, Gala or Golden Delicious, peeled, cored and quartered or sliced into thin half moons

  1. Preheat the oven to 375°. In a small saucepan, combine the sugar, 3 tablespoons of water and bring to a simmer over moderate heat. Simmer without stirring until an amber caramel forms, about 6 minutes. Pour the caramel into an 8-inch ovenproof skillet, tilting to coat the bottom. Set apple slices in the caramel and arrange as nicely as possible depending on your taste of presentation

  1. On a lightly floured surface, roll out Pate Brisee into a little over an 8 inch round  or cut the puff pastry into an 8-inch round. Set the round over the apples in the skillet and tuck excess pastry into baking vessel Poke or cut a small hole to vent any steam and bake until it is richly browned, about 40 minutes. Remove the skillet from the oven and let stand for about 10 minutes or if you are feel brave and can stand the heat, 5 minutes. Carefully invert the Tartin onto a cake plate and let cool slightly. Eat until satisfied.
Pate Brisee
 Adapted from Thomas Keller Bouchon

2 C all purpose flour, sifted, plus extra for rolling
1 tsp kosher salt
8 oz chilled unsalted butter, 1/4″ dice
1/4 C ice water
as needed, canola oil
Place 1 C of flour and the salt into a mixer with a paddle attachment.  Turn on slow speed, and gradually add the butter, small handfuls at a time.  Once all the butter is in, turn up the speed to medium and mix until butter is fully incorporated, there should be no visible pieces.  (It will be a soft dough, but don’t overmix it.)
Turn off machine, scrape the dough off the paddle, add in the remaining flour and turn on to low speed.  Mix just until combined.  The mixture will be very dry and crumbly.
Add in the ice water and incorporate.  Again, don’t overmix.  The dough should be smooth and not sticky.  Shape into a 7-8 inch wide disk, wrap in plastic film and refrigerate for at least one hour.  Can be refrigerated up to a day, or stored in the freezer for a couple months.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Donut Quest: Ray's Candy Store and Bouchon

Om Nomz Hero Note to Self: Never had doughnuts served to me by a lady in power suit, thanks Bouchon for giving me that experience

Ray's Candy Store- Don't know if they really have candy

The Donut quest has been lacking for a bit, and took a bit of a hiatus due to over consumption of other sweet confections. However, this weekend I had the opportunity to go and chow down on some more donuts. On this leg of the donut quest, I went to Ray’s Candy Store in the East Village and then to Bouchon Bakery at Columbus Circle. These two places are complete polar opposites from each other. The only thing that they have in common is that they both have some kind of doughnut on the menu and they have coffee and the coffee at Rays is less than desirable. 

Ray’s Candy Store has been around for years (according to via internet, 1974) and reminds me of the non-alcoholic and I am hoping less debauchery ridden Mars Bar (RIP). It is in short a dive: there is no sign for the place, indications of food being served in this hole is the early 90s retro sign for soft serve with the words "NYC ICY" and “BELGIAN FRIES” hand painted on the wooden awing. Stepping inside, there is just a counter, a soda machine, ice cream freezer with tubs of unnatural colored ice cream and saran wrapped pastries abandoned in a wicker basket. This is the kind of place that I have a nostalgic like for. Opened in 1974 and closed multiple times either by rent issues or health code violations, Ray’s Candy Store is no doubt an East Village staple here especially for those that have experienced a boozy grease craving after much libations. Though you can get the Obama burger and there fries, I was there for their beignets which is a fancy Frenchie word for doughnuts and for ½ dozen for 3 bucks, it is a downright bargain. Food after the jump!

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Prime Meats- the Burger

Om Nomz Hero Note to Self: Despite the awesome Saloon/Western atmosphere of Prime Meats, I am 100% sure that Mr. Earp would never be caught dead rocking girl jeans and bright red suspenders

Craving a burger, my options are limitless in New York. After a failed attempt to get macarons at Laudree early Saturday morning (I like macarons, but not 2 hour wait for it) I decided to take the trek out to Carroll Gardens and try out Prime Meats from the Frankies. Prime Meats is just one of the many burger that many rave about and falling into the “fancy pants” burger as described via Serious Eats, I decided I needed to check it out.  

Stepping into Prime Meats for the first time, you feel as if you entered a time warp and entered into a mining town saloon (minus the cholera and dust) which I was liking and given the host and the waiters that day were quoting, Tombstone indisputably one of the best Westerns and portrayal of Wyatt Earp, I instantly fell in love with this place. Food After the Jump!

Monday, September 5, 2011

Jane's Sweet Buns (Insert Pun)

 Om Nomz Hero Note to Self: Eating sticky buns in Thompson Park while getting accosted by Amish trying to convert you is just a hazard of good food

St. Marks Place is an eccentric street that is filled with food from all around and on the street, decked out in hot pink, is one of the newest additions, Jane’s Sweet Buns. Jane’s Sweet Buns makes well, buns specifically cinnamon buns. Opened by Jane Danger, which by the way, is such a badass name is a mixologist/really good bartender at Cienfuego is baking up some delicious buns and other cakes. The bakery is a quaint and has a few stools for eating at, but with Thompson Square Park within a few feet, her treats are perfect for eating outside in the park, just now by the crazy dude prediction the end of the world @FatherCamping. Sweets after the jump!