eat. shop. love. nyc.

Le Grand Fooding

I’m going to be out of town during this sure-to-be-epic East Coast chef vs. West Coast chef showdown in September, but if you’re around in NYC September 24 & 25, you should check out Le Grand Fooding. Basically, a bunch of chefs trash talking each other (mostly in jest) and battling for food supremacy – with tastings! The Friday7 pm Le Grand Yummy lineup looks particularly delish. $50. Tickets go on sale Monday, Sept. 13th at 2 pm – get yours here.

David Chang (Momufuku, NY): “Fuckin’ every restaurant in San Francisco is just serving figs on a plate with nothing on it. Do something with your food.”*
Laurence Jossel (Nopa, SF): “In all my eating trips to New York, nothing I have eaten has come close to the sensual perfection of a tree-ripened Northern California Black Mission fig – except maybe the pastrami at Katz’s Deli.”
Brian Leth (Vinegar Hill House, NY): “No comment.”
Mourad Lahlou (Aziza, SF): “The best thing I have ever eaten at any of David’s restaurants was the second dozen of fresh oysters I ordered at Ssam bar without the kimchi consommé.”
Daniel Patterson (Coi, SF): “David who?”
Robert Newton (Seersucker, NY): “I’ve been too busy these days to stay on top of the San Francisco food scene, but I am sure it’s great. Let’s face it though, New York is the center of the food world in America. And besides, it’s all about Brooklyn right now.”
James Syhabout (Commis, SF): “To keep it simple, best rhymes with West.”
Dan Barber (Blue Hill, NY): “Looking forward to learning how to wrap a great burrito.”
Nate Appleman (Pulino’s, NY): “The difference between New York and San Francisco is that SF is a food city and NY is a restaurant city.”
Rich Torrisi and Mario Carbone (Torrisi, NY): “When Sinatra said ‘if you can make it there, you can make it anywhere,’ he wasn’t talking about San Fran !”
Jeremy Fox (Plum, SF): “So basically the argument is New York technique versus California ingredients; but oh shit…look who’s got both now. Watch out !”
Melissa Perello (Frances, SF): “NY cuisine versus San Francisco cuisine…it’s like comparing apples and oranges, they’re just different.”


Bo ssam at Mandu DC

David Chang has a lock on the big feast format of Korean dining, and bless him for all of his family-style Korean fried chicken and bo ssam (pork shoulder/butt lettuce wraps) dinners at Momofuku Noodle Bar and Momofuku Ssam Bar.

But what about those of us who can’t find 6 to 10 like-minded diners? What then? Should we be denied our bo ssam?

Enter: Mandu DC. See how amazing this bo ssam platter looks? They use pork belly and chill it so that the meat is firm to the touch but fork tender, and the fat (largely trimmed) has a pleasant coolness and easy chewiness. The bo ssam platter comes with lettuce leaves (sangchu) for wrapping, spicy pickled daikon radish for a zesty crunchy topping, and ssamjang (wrap dip) for sweetness, spice, and a little funk (from the fermented bean). It’s a truly refreshing summer meal, especially when eaten outdoors on Mandu’s cute little patio.

On the corner of 18th and S in Northwest DC, just off-center from the craziness that is Adams Morgan, Mandu is a lovely gem of a Korean restaurant, perhaps the only of its kind within the city limits. The food here has a home-cooked feel, but with attention to presentation, ambiance, and all of the other things you don’t usually find at Korean restaurants in the States. Sure, there’s great Korean food to be had in Annandale, but then you’d have to find your way out to Virginia, and you wouldn’t even get to have an aloetini! Aloe juice + aloe pulp + soju = delicious x drunk. You do the math.

On weekends, Mandu has an $11.00 Korean Brunch Plate with gimbap (Korean rice & seaweed rolls – like sushi rolls without any fish), Korean omelet, chive pancakes, Korean-style hash browns, and a choice of marinated beef, chicken, pork or vegetables and tofu, all with a side of fruit. They have $4.00 Sojutinis and $4.00 Soju Bloody Marys to boot!

The Mandu Bloody Mary is made with soju, Clamato, Worcestershire sauce, pepper, sriracha, and a cucumber kimchi garnish. It is not for the spice averse, but it will cure your hangover. I felt AWESOME after drinking mine!

Not to be missed at Mandu: the mandu (dumplings) – 6 pieces for $5, the bo ssam – $13 for the platter shown above, the dak jjim (sweet and spicy chicken simmered with potatoes & onions, served with rice), aloetini, Mandu Bloody Mary.

And it gets better… there’s a happy hour! Daily 4-7pm: $4.00 Sojutinis, $4.00 liquor drinks, $2.00 beers, $3.00 mandu (dumplings).

Eat: Mandu (Adams Morgan, NW Washington DC) 1805 18th St. at S St., Washington, D.C. NW (202) 558-1540. Follow mandudc on Twitter.

Ho fun? How fun! Wide flat rice noodle stir fry

I was doing a little grocery shopping in Chinatown the other day and came across a shop on the northeast corner of Grand and Chrystie. Little old Chinese ladies were hawking freshly made noodles called ho fun, shahe fen or sen yai, wide flat rice noodles, almost gummy or sticky in texture, often found in dishes such as chow fun or pad see ew. For $1.50, I picked up 2 huge bags of ho fun. I only wanted 1 bag, as that was already 2 pounds, but the fresh noodles don’t keep long, maybe 3-4 days max, so the ladies try to turn inventory quickly. For $1.50, I figured if I could eat a few different incarnations of chow fun throughout the week.

There are a few basic ingredients for any Asian noodle stir-fry sauce: oyster sauce for sweetness, soy sauce for saltiness, rice vinegar for acidity, sesame seed oil for depth, and some kind of hot sauce or pepper for heat (I am a huge fan of sriracha).

Continue reading

Korean Southern, not South Korean
December 15, 2009, 4:05 pm
Filed under: Cook, Eat | Tags: , , , ,

I just finished reading David Chang’s Momofuku cookbook, and after trying his brussel sprouts with bacon and kimchi puree at Noodle Bar, I decided to go with the Southern-Korean flow when recreating the dish at home and paired his kimchi bacon brussel sprouts with another Southern staple: grits.


  • Brussel sprouts really are good for you. They may help prevent cancer, and they are good for your skin.
  • Brussel sprouts are super cute – halved through the core, they look like perfect little mini cabbages!
  • Add a little water or oil to kimchi if trying to puree it, otherwise it’s too pulpy.
  • Bacon lard makes everything taste better.

Adapted from the Momofuku cookbook:

Bacon Kimchi Brussel Sprouts and Grits Continue reading

Momofuku Fried Chicken Dinners launch
July 21, 2009, 2:36 pm
Filed under: Eat | Tags: , , , ,

This Eater post made me so happy. Momofuku’s David Chang has launched online reservations for his Fried Chicken Dinners at Momofuku Noodle Bar in the East Village. I’ll be going with some out-of-town friends for lunch in August! (The reservations are going fast, by the way.) From their FAQ:

q: what does the fried chicken dinner include?
a: the fried chicken dinner includes two whole fried chickens, one southern style and one korean style. the dinner comes with mu shu pancakes, long spicy peppers, baby carrots, red ball radishes, shiso leaves, bibb lettuce, four sauces and a herb basket.

q: how do I reserve a fried chicken dinner?
a: on the momofuku website here.

FYI: Their Korean chicken is TRIPLE FRIED with a light glaze. $100 feeds 4 to 8 people. That’s right, gather all your friends. It’s fried chicken time!