Tuesday, June 30, 2009

The Spotted Pig

So here's the real confession, I LOVE the West Village. I love downtown in general, especially the West Village, which is slightly ironic because I've always lived on the East side. To me, The East Village all about the convenience, but the West Village is a gem. It is less hectic, a lot of more quaint, and somewhere tucked in the narrow streets with pretty names like Jane Street, Gay Street, Horatio Street is an establishment which is conceptually still quite new to New York called The Spotted Pig, and it's a gastropub. If it sounds very English, that's because the chef April Bloomfied (also executive chef at John Dory) is from England.

For a restaurant with the word "pig" in its name, they actually don't serve a lot of pork dishes. The decor is simple, with wooden tables & chairs and a long bar in the front.

I tried a few things on the menu on a recent late night visit to The Spotted Pig. I loved the Sheep’s Ricotta Gnudi with Brown Butter & Sage. After doing some reading online, it seems that chef April Bloomfield started a gnudi frenzy. A gnudi is a small dumpling but instead of potato, it's made with ricotta cheese. It's more delicate than a gnochhi and the brown butter & sage sauce was simple yet fantastic.

The Prosciutto & Ricotta Tart with Marjoram was another hit, the ricotta tart was so fluffy & buttery, and I've never even heard of the word "marjoram" until I went to The Spotted Pig. After reading an interview online with April Bloomfield, sounds like she loves marjoram & think it's underrated. It's a green herb with aromatic leaves, it looks a little bit like the rocket/arugula.

I heard the Chargrilled Burger with Roquefort Cheese & Shoestrings was popular, turned out it's special not in the burger but in the cheese they put on top of the burger. Roquefort cheese is made with ewe's milk. It had the pungent taste of a blue cheese. Sounds fancy? Now you know what I mean by a gastropub?

The Deviled Eggs on the other hand was very so-so, it was very vinegar-y, I've definitely had better ones.

I laughed out loud when I read this interview on NYT - April Bloomfield said that her guilty pleasure is condensed milk, directly quoting her - "until you boil it for four hours and then it becomes sex in a tin!".....now where's my condense milk? :D

Address: The Spotted Pig, 314 W. 11th Street @ Greenwich St., New York, NY 10014.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Skinny Bitches @ Rice to Riches

Last week, I went to Rice to Riches after dinner with my friend YS. There was a sign on the door of Rice to Riches that says "no skinny bitches allowed". We looked at each other and laughed....theoretically, we should be rejected from this establishment but our goal is to walk out of there looking less skinny. We got the mango rice pudding with oatmeal coconut crumble topping. It was yummy. We shared the smallest rice pudding ($5) and yet, we couldn't finish it. The creaminess just gets to you after a while. I was never a big fan of rice puddings for this reason. I would suggest getting a fruitier flavor instead of the heavy chocolate or cheesecake, unless you can handle the creaminess. Or if you are completely shameless, you can try all the flavors until you decide what you want. :D

One thing I do like about Rice to Riches is the way they market themselves - edgy & hip. It seems like they take their rice puddings seriously but not themselves (in a humorous way).

I want to share my post-dessert-dessert story because it was THE highlight of the evening. I was walking home saw lots of girls standing behind a barricade on Mott Street (first picture below), there seemed to be a movie shoot going on and when I found out who it was that they were waiting for, I almost hyperventilated. If you read my previous post, you'd know that I was obsessing over the twilight books; low and behold, Robert Pattinson aka Mr. Edward Cullen was in the movie shoot!! He is SO the flavor of the month for me right now. Anyway, I saw the filming from across the street, somewhere in the second photo below (towards the right) is him. I could see him filming a carnival scene and he looked pretty delicious, more so than the rice pudding, so I have to say my post-dessert-dessert was better than my dessert. :)

Address: Rice to Riches, 37 Spring Street
(between Mott and Mulberry St.), New York NY.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009


Recently, I went to Centovini in Soho for dinner with my gfs prior to our girl-movie-night-out. Centovini is currently serving a 3-course pre-fix menu for $38, which is great for value but I was more in awe of the restaurant decor more than the food. I believe they get some of their furnitures & fixtures from Moss, which means, we were staring at some pretty expensive chandelier.

For appetizers, nothing really stood out but I thought the Fried Duck Egg with Asparagus Salad and House-Cured Duck Prosciutto was quite good. The Rolled Braised Pork Belly in Ragù wasn't as fatty as I expected but it tasted like meatballs, very homey.

For entree, my favorite was the Seared Sea Scallops with Fava Beans, Spring Onions and Castelvetrano Olives. The scallops were fresh and all the vegetables went really well with the scallops. The Lobster Filled Ravioli, with Herbed Butter Sauce and Corn Shoots was decent, but nothing earth-shattering. I later read that their Cavatelli (Apulian Flour Dumplings with Broccoli Rabe) is the star on the menu but we didn't try.

I had the Espresso Granita for dessert, and it was delicious. It was basically shaved espresso ice with panna on top. The other one I liked was the Steamed Chocolate Pudding with Crème Fraiche and White Chocolate Tuille, you can never go wrong with chocolate. :)

Worthy of a mention is the movie we watched - Departures (Okuribito), which won Best Foreign Film at the Oscars last year. I loved the fluidity of the movie similar to the hand gestures/mannerism of the main actor in the movie), and what I find unrivaled in a lot of Japanese films is their success in creating subtlety, without sacrificing the message they are trying to deliver. There is an aspect of the movie that is slightly morbid, but not in a scary way, and I highly recommend bringing tissue. It wasn't a pretty sight with four girls sobbing and none of us had a tissue!

All Centovini Pictures
Address: Centovini, 25 West Houston Street (Between Greene & Mercer), New York, NY 10012

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

2nd Avenue Deli (not on 2nd Avenue anymore)

I used to go to 2nd Avenue Deli quite often when it was still in its original location on 2nd Avenue & 10th Street but since they re-opened in the new location in midtown, I haven't been until three weeks ago. And check this out, 2nd Avenue Deli actually has a wikipedia entry! Hah! I don't know if it really is the "best kosher deli" in New York but it certainly is one of those vintage New York establishment. Not to mention, it serves my favorite matzoh ball soup in the city.

What they are really famous for though, is their delicious sandwiches, the most popular are the hot corned beef (see below), pastrami & tongue sandwiches. The sandwiches are huge, I can barely finish half a sandwich unless I REALLY REALLY try.

Another of my personal favorite is the salami omelette, it's brunch food but I can eat it at anytime of the day, how great is that!

Sometimes free stuff are just as good - they always bring out the sour pickles and coleslaw as soon you sit down. I love the coleslaw, not a big fan of sour pickles in general because I can't eat them without making a, well, sour face.

Address: 2nd Avenue Deli, 162 East 33rd Street (between Lexington & 3rd Avenue).

Monday, June 22, 2009

Minamoto Kitchoan

I am not that crazy about Japanese wagashi, that said, you can bet your dollar that everytime I walk into Minamoto Kitchoan, I'll end up buying some delicate little Japanese treats because everything in there looks so darn nice!

The Japanese really know how to package their products, everything you purchase comes in this beautiful box or bags, I do think they are wasting a lot of resources & creating unncessary trash with the elaborate packaging but if you want a pretty gift for a friend who appreciates traditional Japanese confectionary, this is a good place to go. Be prepared to spend though because it's not cheap. Most pastries are $2-6, and it adds up very quickly. Some of the pictures have prices for the wagashi, so you have an idea of the price range.

Address: Minamoto Kitchoan (photos). 608 5th Avenue (between 48th St & 49th St), New York, NY 10020 (by Rockerfeller Center).

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Peet Peet Peet.....

So my friend BKC flashed me the yellow card today for having an idle blog, I figured before they red card is out, I should write something to entertain.

First of all, I must explain my absense from the blog after my return from Morocco & Paris. The reason consists of two words - Twilight Saga. I couldn't put the books down, the last time I felt so compelled to breeze through hundreds of pages & sacrifice sleep was reading Dan Brown's books. The Twilight Saga consists of four book, it's a love story between a teen girl, and a vampire stuck in the body of a 17 year-old....Trust me, I know how ridiculous it sounds, and the truth is, it's even cheesier than you can ever imagine, not to mention the dialogues gave me goosebumps (not in a good way). I was secretly embarassed when I decided to read it, thinking that I am too old for this teenage soap opera bullsh*t. Turns out, the story was elaborate, the plot was interesting, the writing was smart, and most importantly the love theme triggered my estrogen & f*cked with my hormones. I am a woman, and an emotional one at core, so how can I not like it?? I went from feeling all gooey in the first book, to actually shedding a tear (don't worry, happens very often, the crying thing) reading the second book, to getting annoyed at the character in the third, to lastly having an adrenaline rush reading the last. This is a total guilty pleasure, it's so BAD it's GOOODDD...all my girlfriends (& gay friends) loved it.

So there is a point to this post, that is, how many of us believe that we don't get to choose who we fall in love with? When that happens, why does it always seem like it's with the wrong person, and how far will we go before you realize that you have to amputate the bad leg to save the rest? Anyway, let me know what you think. Meanwhile, I think it's about damn time I clean my apartment, do laundry, download pictures from my trip, and get back to reality (aka writing about food)....

Friday, June 5, 2009


So I disappeared for a while, took some time off to travel, did some interesting things and now I am back. Took Air France from Paris and landed safely in New York, thank goodness. I was obsessed with the Air France 447 news, still am, it's so puzzling to me. Whatever it was, I just hope that it was over quickly for the people onboard. It made me wonder, if it happened to me, what would be the last thing I would say, and what would be the last thought on my mind...

Anyway, hate to sound so morbid, I am still trying to get my groove back and my appetite back. I had food poisoning in Morocco, not sure what I ate wrong or where I hate it, but for about two days, I couldn't really eat much and my stomach made the weirdest sound. It was so unfortunate because even by the time I got Paris, I really had to force the last bits of the food at Pierre Gagnaire down my throat. I'm happy to report that I am starting to feel hungry again..and strangely, craving Asian food like nobody's business.

I'll be BACK!