eat. shop. love. nyc.

Xi’an Famous Foods in Manhattan
May 25, 2010, 10:49 am
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Behold: the perfect noodle.

The $5 “spicy and tingly lamb noodles” (D1) from Xi’an Famous Foods are definitely spicy, and I suppose the tingle comes from the burning sensation in your mouth that intensifies with each glorious mouthful. I had to pat dry the tiny beads of sweat that appeared on my nose after the first few bites, but I didn’t care because it was so messing good. The ancient city for which this restaurant is named (Xi’an) is home to the famous terracotta soldiers and fuses Middle Eastern and Chinese flavor profiles together seamlessly. The smokiness of the cumin, the  mellowness of the lamb, the crunchiness of the bean sprouts and scallions, and the crazy heat from the chilies all added to the dish’s hearty, toothsome goodness. The thick, chewy noodles have a delightful texture, and they are pulled and cooked to order by this woman and her magic hands:

She takes the fat pieces of dough and splays them across the counter so that they stretch and flattens them with a few quick pounds, and then she takes the long, flat noodles one by one and *poof* magically whirls them around with a few quick flicks of the wrist and voila! They become thinner in width (though still thick in girth) and they are tossed into the pot to cook. Continue reading


Soft shell crab season is here
May 4, 2010, 12:50 pm
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Just had my first soft shell crab of the season at Great NY Noodletown for lunch. $8 each.

The photos really don’t do it justice. Trust me, this is some effing good ish. Dip in vinegar and chili sauce mixture. Eat. Enjoy. Repeat.

Also very good: egg plant over rice $4.95 and sauteed pea shoots $9.95 (shown below), and pretty much all of the noodles. In fact, it is from Great NY Noodletown’s Lo Mein with Ginger and Scallion that David Chang got the idea for his own ginger scallion noodles. Note: Tsingtao beers are $3 each.

Go: Great NY Noodletown (Chinatown/LES) 28 Bowery, New York, NY 10013. Open to 4 am nightly.

Baohaus should have a topping station
February 22, 2010, 1:27 pm
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The beef was meaty.

Continue reading

Top Ten Charlottesville and UVA Eats
September 2, 2009, 8:27 am
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My beloved brother has recently taken up the UVA colors as a transfer student into the prestigious University of Virginia McIntire School of Commerce. I couldn’t be prouder. As a UVA alum myself, I have fond memories of the Rotunda and the Lawn and the Ampitheatre, but also of the plentiful cheap eats around campus and downtown Charlottesville. This top ten list is for you, Dan!

  1. Bun Thit Nuong (901) and Shaking Beef (605) at Saigon Cafe. (Ok, so technically Top 11 Eats.) 1703 Allied Lane, Charlottesville, VA 22903. (434) 296-8661. 901: Vietnamese BBQ pork served over cold rice vermicelli noodles and salad with fish sauce. So delicious and so cheap at $5.50 a bowl. 605: Huge plate of tender marinated beef chunks and perfectly steamed broccoli. $7.25 for the dinner portion; take home what you don’t finish. The weekday lunch specials used to be $2.95 when I was in school there, but I’m not sure how they’d survive on that! Service will be slow, but worth it. Avoid the pho here. It’s better in NoVa.
  2. Soup Dumplings at Marco and Luca’s on the Downtown Mall. 110 2nd Street NE, Charlottesville, VA 22902. (434) 295-3855. 6 dumplings for $3. Moist, soupy, and makes you feel warm and fuzzy inside. If I’m wrong on the prices, you can blame inflation. It’s been a long time.
  3. Blackened Voodoo Burger with Cajun Cheese Fries at St. Maarten’s Cafe. Go on a Thursday night for discounted burger ($4.99 plus extra for fancy burger, $1.19 extra for Cajun Cheese Fries.) Finish off the meal with a Bananas Foster Pie. Be prepared to burst.
  4. Fried Chicken at Wayside Takeout. 2203 Jefferson Park Avenue, Charlottesville, VA 22903. (434) 977-5000. Great homestyle Southern fried chicken. Goodbye, life’s worries. Hello, clogged arteries.
  5. Archers at Arch’s Frozen Yogurt. 2214 Ivy Rd Suite 110 or (Corner) 104 14th St NW, Charlottesville, VA 22903. (434) 979-2724. Pick your flavor combo. Call the Arch’s hotline for the flavors of the day. (434) 963-9363.
  6. Caribbean Jerk Wings at BW3 (Buffalo Wild Wings). 1703 Allied Lane, Charlottesville, VA 22903. (434) 296-8661. Do they still do twenty cent wing night there? Looks like they’ve gotten more wing flavors since my time at UVA. Try them all!
  7. Lunch Buffet at Panda Garden. 380 Emmet Street N (near Lambeth), Charlottesville, VA 22903. (434) 979-7150. Unlimited hot & sour and egg drop soup. Eat your fill of greasy, hangover Chinese food here. Get ready for some MSG-induced food coma.
  8. Wild Turkey Sandwich at Littlejohn’s New York Delicatessen. 1427 W Main Street, Charlottesville, VA 22903. (434) 977-0588. One day, you’ll be hungry at 3 am, and this is the only place you’ll be able to get decent grub. Open 24 hours! Also, $2 Sam Adams. (Other notable late-night eat: Pita Pit near Arch’s, not 24 hours but you get to fill your own pita pocket.) Apparently, Pita Pit is gone. =(
  9. Pokey Stix at Gumby’s Pizza. 104 14th Street NW, Charlottesville, VA 22903. (434) 977-6539. Pokey Stix are Gumby’s version of breadsticks, but the ranch dipping sauce turns it into a magical snack. Gumby’s is also gone! Where do kids get their pizza from nowadays?
  10. Gus Burger at White Spot. 1407 University Avenue, Charlottesville, VA 22903. (434) 295-9899. Who knew a fried egg on a burger could be so goshdarn good? Also open late.

When you’ve tried everything from this list… turn to Yelp. I’ve got the link to C’ville restos here for you, just type in what you feel like eating or refine using type of cuisine. I’ve picked three that look promising, though I can’t vouch for them: Aqui es Mexico, Michie Tavern-Ca 1784 (near Monticello), and Ludwig’s Schnitzelhouse (Fontaine at JPA).

If you get homesick and groceries from Harris Teeter just aren’t doing it for you, you can check out the Asian grocery Yuan Ho (Chinese takeout and convenience store, 117 Maury Avenue, (434) 977-5868) or the World Market on Ivy if it’s still around.

I love you lots, brother dear. Study hard. Eat well. Make lasting memories. Wahoowa!