Sunday, October 31, 2010

Totto Ramen (New York, NY)

All you ramen fans out there, there's a new place in midtown west that's definitely worth checking out. 

This place boasts its MSG-free and "made-with-chicken-only" soup base, but I actually thought their Vegetarian Ramen was far better than their signature Totto Chicken Paitan Ramen. 

Trust me when I say I'm no vegetarian by any means, but definitely check out Totto's Vegetarian Ramen.  The best secret to making this a more perfect dish is adding the Char Siu Pork as a topping (sshhh.... I know that defeats the purpose of ordering a "vegetarian" dish, but its konbu seaweed and shiitake mushroom-based soup is just that much better than the Chicken based soup.) 

Totto Chicken Paitan Ramen

Vegetarian Ramen with Char Siu Pork

Location: 366 W 52nd Street
Dress Code: Totally casual (whatever you want to wear)
Occasion: dinner with friends (small group only), casual lunch / dinner with anyone
Price Range: $9.25 for Totto Chicken Paitan Ramen; $11 for Vegetarian Ramen ($2 extra to add Char Siu Pork)

Eleven Madison Park (New York, NY)

Only my second time here, and already one of my very favorites.

It's hard to find a restaurant like Eleven Madison Park, even in a city where dozens of new restaurants open up each week.

Everything about this place is just perfect - the food, the service, and the lovely decor.  (It's also located in one of my favorite NYC neighborhoods - Gramercy / Flatiron.)  Daniel Humm deserves some respect for making this place one of the top 50 restaurants in the world at such a young age (the executive chef himself being just 33 years old). 

This place definitely deserves a more thorough review than what I'm posting now, but rather than waiting another six months before posting it here, I've decided to at least put up a few pictures of the absolutely delicious dishes here for the time being. 

It's too bad that I didn't have my camera with me when I went for the more complete dinner pre-fixe.  The pictures here are from the very special lunch menu offered at EMP during the week.  (used to be the best deal in town... before they raised the prices by some 80%)

I was also very lucky to squeeze in another visit to this place before they spent a week on minor renovations - significantly reducing the number of seats in this restaurant and increasing prices by some 50 to 80%.  This place was by no standards "cheap" before Sept 2010, but it now will cost you a fortune to taste some of this most delicious food in the city.

Location: 11 Madison Avenue (Gramercy / Flatiron)
Dress Code: Formal
Occasion: romantic date, business lunch, family dinner
Price Range: Lunch - $56 / three-course, $74 / four-course; Dinner - $125 / four-course, $155 / five-course (tax, gratuity, and drinks not included)

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Annisa (New York, NY)

I had the honor of visiting Anita Lo's (Top Chef Masters) flagship Annisa.  This special little restaurant opened once again in the West Village after the terrible fire that had the restaurant closed for several months.  I really like how cozy the restaurant is, with only a few tables available.  This makes everything seem so much more personal.

My favorite dish of the night was the Duo of Lobster and Corn appetizer dish.  Absolutely amazing.  The lobster is served fresh and raw -- which reminded me somewhat of amaebi (sweet shrimp), but only... better, I would argue.  Here are some of the dishes we ordered.  (Too bad the lighting was so dim.... I see that the photo quality definitely suffered, although I really liked the atmosphere)

Duo of Lobster and Corn
Millefeuille of Strawberries with Ricotta, Pink Peppercorns and Aged Balsamic
Seared Foie Gras with Soup Dumplings and Jicama
Softshell Crab with Summer Squash, Lardo and Sea Urchin
Sautéed Filet of Wild Striped Bass with Creamed Kohlrabi and Bacon
Barbecued Squid with Thai Basil and Fresh Peanuts
Pecan and Salted Butterscotch Beignets with Bourbon Milk Ice
Chilled Pink Grapefruit, Elderflower and Fennel Soup with Almond Milk Jelly
Assorted Desserts

This little restaurant is definitely worth a visit if you are a fan of Asian-accented French cuisine. 

Location:  13 Barrow Street (West Village)
Dress Code: Business Casual
Occasion: date night dinner, business dinner, family dinner
Price Range: $75/person for the 5-course tasting menu (excludes tax and tip), for a la carte, ~$18/dish for appetizer, and ~$35/dish for entree

Friday, September 10, 2010

아.... 저 유혹많은 세상.  혼자서는 자신없고 두렵지만

함께 해 주시는 분이 계시기에 용기를 낼 수 있다.

나에게 가장 유익한 길, 내가 마땅히 가야 할길을 보여주실 분 계시기에.  :)

Saturday, August 14, 2010

photo diary #1 (July 31-August14, 2010)

7월 31일 토요일.  정말 오랜만에 고등학교 친구들 Kuri랑 Stephanie를 만나서 brunch를 즐기면서 수다를 떨었다.  1년중 6개월은 뉴욕에 살고 6개월은 세계 이곳저곳으로 여행을 다니는 Stephanie, 그리고 각자 바쁘게 살고 있는 Kuri 그리고 나.  우리 셋이 한번 모이려면 두달정도 전부터 열심히 스케줄을 coordinate해야 한다.  이번에도 Stephanie가 유럽 여행을 마치고 잠시 뉴욕을 찍고 다시 일본으로 가기 전에 겨우겨우 시간을 맞추어서 만날 수 있었다.  아 정말 얼굴한번 보기 힘들지만 만나면 항상 즐겁다.  99년 Harvard Summer School에서 열여섯 꽃다운 나이에 만났는데 ^^;; 그 인연이 이렇게 오래 갈 줄이야.  :)  10년동안 다들 참 많이 변하기도 했고,,,, 어쩌면 내가 이들을 고등학생 때 만난지 않았더라면 이렇게 친하게 지낼 수 없었을지도 모른다는 생각을 하면서,,,, 나와 참 다른 이 친구들과 이렇게 가깝게 지낼 수 있다는 것이 세삼 감사했다. 

그렇게 brunch를 먹고 나서 Union Square로 걸어나오며 앞에 있는 빌딩을 올려다보았는데 이게 웬일. 정말 깜짝. 놀랐다.  옥상에 있는 저 '사람'은 뭘까.  누가 저런 장난을 하는거지 왜.  -.-;;   심장 떨려 정말.

날씨가 너무 좋아서 좀더 놀고 싶었지만, 아침내내 놀아버렸다는 죄책감에 마음이 무거워지기 시작했다.  소호로 걸어가면서 잠시나마 짧게 기분을 내고 다시 indoors로 들어가서 책을 펴고 앉았다.   여기는 Housing Works Book Cafe.  뭔가 새로운 분위기이긴 했는데 여기저기 펼쳐있는 책들이 뭔가 나랑 잘 코드가 맞지 않아서 strawberry lemonade만 마셔주고 얼른 자리를 떴다.

슬슬 East Village쪽으로 걸어 올라오다 보니 코너에 Think Coffee.라는 곳이 눈에 띄었다.  재현이 말을 들으니 무한도전.에 나와서 한국에도 제법 알려졌다고 하는데. 
그런게 중요한 건 아니지만, 코너에 있는 책상이 너무 맘에 들어서 앉았다.  오- 여긴 공부가 좀 더 잘 되는 것 같았다.  Upper Westside에는 요런거 하나 안생기나?  흠흠.

여기까기 간 김에 East Village나 들려서 저녁을 먹고 가야겠단 생각에 슬슬 걸어올가기 시작했다.  앗, 그러다가 나의 모교를 지나쳤다.  뭔가 뉴욕 한복판에 저렇게 특이한 건물로 뚝 서 있으니 살짝 멋있는거 같기도 하지만...아---- 그래도 내가 다니던 그 모습 그대로가 아니라 좀 슬프다.... 예전 건물도 그냥 가지고 있었으면 좋았을텐데.... student center나 gym 같은거로 개조해서 쓰면 좋았을 텐데.... New York Film Academy한테 팔아버리다니,,,,, 우앙 - 캠벨 할아버지 너무하셔.  그래도 저 빌딩에서 공부하고 있을 내 후배들을 응원하면서 이곳을 지나갔다.

저녁은 결국 ippudo에서 기다리다 포기하고 momofuku noodle bar에 가서 먹었다.  (see restaurant review below).

그렇게 또 바쁜 한주가 시작되고,,,, 8월 2일 월요일에 완전 기대하던 Annisa에서 환상적인 team dinner를 마치고, 그 다음 이틀동안 다시 야근을 해줬다. -.-;;

그리고 8월 5일에 급하게 보스턴 출장을 또 다녀옴.   아래는 기차에서 찍은 사진들.


그 짧은 일정속에 Top of the Hub도 한번 넣어주고

돌아와서는 계속해서 바쁜 일주일을 또 보냈다.

사이사이 재현이 생일이랑 이런저런 일들로 회사일 끝나고도 엄청 정신없이 다녔더니  어깨통증이 더 안좋아지고 말았다.  그래서 할 수 없이 오늘 아침에 57가에 있는 Israeli spa에 가서 neck and shoulder 마사지를 받았다.  끙.

날씨가 너무 좋아서 집에 걸어오는데 내가 참 좋아하는 Columbus Circle이 오늘도 역시나 참 예뻐보여서 사진기를 꺼냈다.

그리고 오늘길에 Borders에서 산 책 한권을 들고 혼자 Lincoln Center Atrium Cafe에 앉아서 strawberry hibiscus tea를 마시면서 독서의 시간!  :)

참 좋구나.

그러다가 결국 챕터 하나도 다 못 읽고 다시 걸어나가서 Beard Papa cream puff랑 chocolate frappe를 먹으며 M104를 탔다.   내려서 Duane Reade에서 Burt's Bee conditioner랑 foot cream을 사서 집으로 고고. 

그 동안 다녀온 음식점들에 대해서는 따로 review를 올려야겠다.  Hopefully soon?  ^.^

momofuku noodle bar (New York, NY)

I still haven't written up my review for momofuku ssam bar, but I've decided to save the better for later.

momofuku noodle bar was certainly an enjoyable experience, and I'd definitely say, "It's worth a visit."  But it didn't quite live up to the expectations I had for a "David Chang original recipe." 

Certainly a more casual feel than its momofuku siblings, the noodle bar is a good place to visit with friends.  But do expect there to be a wait, unless you can beat the crowd for an early dinner.

momofuku noodle bar, nyc

At any momofuku, you *must* try to steamed pork buns.  These were no different from the ones I had at the ssam bar the other time.  Don't leave this place without first trying the pork buns. 

steamed pork buns
steamed pork buns
 I also very much enjoyed the cold spicy noodles. But these noodles are spicy. Really Spicy.

spicy noodles

spicy noodles

The most boring (and disappointing) dish of the day was ramen.  I had such high expectations for this dish,,, and maybe that was why, but I really thought that I could expect more from momofuku than this.  I thought the soup was way too greasy with no real flavor.  Maybe I was unlucky.  Maybe I'll give it another try next time.

ramen with pork

Would I go here again? 

Yes, probably.  But only for the pork buns, not for the ramen.

Do Eun @ momofuku noodle bar, nyc

Location: 171 1st Ave (between 10th and 11th streets), NYC
Dress Code: Casual
Occasion: any casual occasion
Price Range: ~$20 / person for appetizer and entree (tax and tip not included)

Friday, August 06, 2010

보스턴에서 집으로 가는 기차 안

두달쯤 전에 보스턴 출장을 다녀오면서 이 블로그를 다시 시작할 생각을 처음 했었는데, 두달이 지난 지금 난 또다시 바쁜 보스턴 출장 일정을 마치고 뉴욕으로 돌아가고 있다.

이번 client 미팅도 잘 끝나고 해서 아무래도 한동안 보스턴에 출장으로 올 일은 없을 듯 하다.  너무 일정이 빡빡해서 사람들은 만나지도 못하고 돌아간 적이 더 많아서 좀 그랬지만, 그래도 보스턴은 언제 와도 뭔가 낯설지 않고 참 좋았는데,,,, 그런 생각하니 그래도 약간은 섭섭한듯?  ^^

무엇보다 워낙 버스멀미를 심하게 하는데, 출장으로 다닐때는 편한 Acela train 비즈니스 클래스만 타고 다녀서 나름 편했는데.  ^^;;  다음에 personal reason으로 방문할 때는 또 다시 megabus를 애용해 줘야 겠구낭.  하핫.

지금 창 밖에 보이는 풍경이 너무 맘에 들어서 사진을 찍어 올리려고 시도해봤으나,,,, 무언가 technical difficulty로 창이 freeze되고 말았다.  ㅠ.ㅠ

이 풍경은 일단 내 마음속에만 담아두기로 하고, ^^ 다음에 기회가 되면 올리도록 해야겠다.

아직도 회사에는 나의 discussion guide를 기다리는 사람들이 있어서 이제 다시 일을 해야겠다.  뉴욕에 도착하기 전에 일을 잘 마무리 지을 수 있으면 좋겠다.  주말에는 다른 해야 할 일이 너무 많아서,,,, 이 일은 오늘안에 잘 끝내야 할텐데.    어디 한번 해보자!  화이팅!!!!

Saturday, July 31, 2010

recette (New York, NY)

One thing I really enjoy doing is checking out new restaurants and cafes / dessert bars in the city.  Thanks to my friends who are truly big time foodies, I've often had the honor of being among the first to check out some of the best little restaurants and cafes.  (one example that comes to mind is kyotofu, which has now made its spot on many people's lists as one of their favorite dessert bars)

recette may just be one of those places again.  

recette is a small -- I mean, very small -- restaurant in the West Village that has a very simple look on the exterior.  But what you find inside is nothing simple, nothing ordinary.  For starters, we have an ex-Gordon Ramsay chef and an ex-Per Se pastry chef at your service.  The menu is comprised of "snacks" and "plates," which can be roughly translated into "appetizers" and "entrees," although the portions are very small.

recette, NYC
You can also choose one of the two tasting menus (5-course, 7-course), but unless you have a really big appetite or want a really full meal, I would instead recommend carefully selecting your favorite dishes and ordering a la carte.  One snack dish and two plates should be enough to satisfy just about anyone's appetite in my opinion (and trust me, I have a BIG appetite).  Also, you might want to leave room in your stomach for the ex-Per Se pastry chef to do some magic.

I'll share some pictures of the dishes I had tonight.  I thought each and every dish was special in its own way, although I must point out that my favorites were the "marinated hamachi, uni, sea beans, harissa" snack dish and the "chilled corn soup, roasted foie gras, parmesan tuile, thyme" plate dish.  The tuna crudo and lobster risotto dishes were just as delicious, but given that my expectations for these two dishes were already very high, I think it was difficult for them to further escalate the level of blissful satisfaction I experienced after the first two dishes.    

These are the dishes I had:


Marinated Hamachi, Uni, Sea Beans, Harissa


Chilled Corn Soup, Roasted Foie Gras, Parmesan Tuile, Thyme

Tuna Crudo, Fennel, Mussel Vinaigrette, Caramelized Orange, Caviar

Lobster Risotto, Porcini Mushroom, Lobster Emulsion, Summer Truffle


"Smores,” Graham Cracker Ice Cream, Toasted Marshmallow, "Hot" Chocolate Ganache

This place might just become one of my favorite restaurants in the city.  It's definitely my kind of place.... and only a short walk from the beautiful Highline Park too.  :)

Do Eun @ recette, NYC
Do Eun @ recette, NYC

Location: 328 West 12th Street, NYC
Dress Code: Casual
Occasion: dinner with friends, date night out, first date
Price Range: ~$15 / snack, ~$25 / plate (tax, tip not included); $75 / 5-course tasting menu (tax, tip not included)