eat. shop. love. nyc.

$24 all-you-can-bowl Mondays
February 27, 2011, 12:30 pm
Filed under: Go | Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

On Monday nights from 9 pm to 1 am, the Union Square Bowlmor runs a $24 all-you-can-bowl special (including shoe rental) called Night Strike. Given that each game would otherwise set you back $12 or $13 per game at any other time on any other night plus an additional $6.50 for shoe rental, and assuming you plan to play more than two games, you’re getting some serious bang for your buck (I mean, for NYC – this ain’t 99 cent midnight bowling like Seattle, but it’s the best we got here in this fine city of ours with its sky-high rents).

Go: Bowlmor Lanes (Union Square) 110 University Place between 12th & 13th Streets, New York, NY 10003. (212) 255-8188.


Downtown NYC walk, shop & eat circuit

[tweetmeme]Some girlfriends are coming in from out of town and they are staying with another mutual friend in Union Square. I have plans to ride my bike to Brooklyn with other friends after brunching with them, so I wrote up an e-mail with suggestions of where to go and what to eat given that their home base is Union Square. What emerged was what I think is a great rough itinerary for a weekend day when all you want to do is eat, shop, and fall in love with NYC. My perfect Saturday (or Sunday – or any day you don’t have to work, I guess):

I’ve taken the liberty of drawing a walkable downtown Manhattan shopping map for you (with words). We can start with brunch in the East Village, the earlier the better bc then we won’t have to wait for hours. I would like to go to Cafe Orlin at 10 am so we can get in before the 11 am brunch rush, or we can do Cafe Mogador if you want slightly more ethnic (Moroccan and Mediterranean), but if they’re too busy, Paprika can be our backup backup. After brunch, I’ll be leaving you, but here are a few suggestions:

Recommended shopping (that you can’t get in DC)

East Village – walk down East 9th St. (very close to brunch) between Second Avenue and Avenue A to find a sweet collection of boutiques, clothing and otherwise. I like Cadillac’s Castle for jewelry and I picked up a gently used Alexander Wang dress there for $88. I like Think Closet as well and I think they’re having a sale, and there’s Roni and so many other stores on that stretch that are so cute but I don’t remember all their names. A great area to spend a few hours shopping. If you’re hungry after, head over to E 7th St between 1st and Ave A where there’s Luke’s Lobster for a lobster roll, Porchetta for a slow roasted pork sandwich, and Butter Lane for the most amazing FRENCH (not the American) vanilla buttercream on vanilla cupcake that you have ever had – seriously, the frosting is so good I want to rub it all over my body. I rarely feel this way about vanilla. One block up on St. Mark’s is Crif Dogs for a deep fried hot dog – I like the Chihuahua – or Xi’An Famous Foods for a lamb burger and some hand-pulled noodles. So many choices, so little time…

If you want a quick break from shopping and eating, swing by Tompkins Square Park on Ave A and 7th/9th. Usually there are musicians or sometimes concerts and festivals. You can just hang out on the green for a bit and rest your feet if you like, or just cruise on through.

From East Village, you can make your way down south to LES past Houston, stop by Szeki on Rivington (she’s a doll!), Honey in the Rough, Pixie Market, Miks, Yumi Kim (sale section in back of the store), Foley & Corinna… If you want jewelry there’s also Hillary Flowers on Clinton St. By this point, you’ll probably be ready for a snack. I would recommend swinging by Baohaus to try the pork belly or beef brisket bao, or just get a Straight Frush between the three of you to share. If you are in the mood for sweets, go to Sugar Sweet Sunshine for a $1.50 cupcake and some bomb-ass banana pudding. Or swing by Meatball Shop for a $4 homemade ice cream cookie sandwich – ginger snap cookie with vanilla ice cream is the best.

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Ippudo’s ramen broth is the awesomest
February 18, 2010, 12:50 pm
Filed under: Eat | Tags: , , , , ,

I get it. Ramen is super. But how much better can one ramen be than another ramen?

A lot. A whole lot.

Ippudo has the best pork ramen broth I’ve had in my life, and for me, it’s the most important part of any noodle soup. Ippudo’s broth is milky in appearance, the texture is rich and full, and the flavor is undeniably pork-y without being overly so. It’s way better than Momofuku (I feel a little blasphemous saying this since I’m a huge David Chang fan) and way way better than Minca (which is still really good). It’s actually better than any ramen I had during my ten days in Japan, though it’s possible that I didn’t eat at any of the well-known ramen places there. The pork buns at Ippudo are pretty darn good, too, though Momofuku wins in this category for me because I prefer a thick slab of fatty pork belly to the pork Hirata buns (whew – I feel a little less guilty now).

The space itself is really cool in a kitschy modern Japanese kind of way. Huge dining room, open kitchen, high ceilings, communal seating. I especially liked the all-white wall with 3D kanji characters above the booths and the rock/stump garden lit with candles on our table. The communal seating actually gave us the opportunity to meet the people dining next to us, and it was a great evening.

I ordered the Shiromaru classic ramen with a poached egg, but found that the richness of the milky broth didn’t need the extra oomph from the onsen tamago (poached egg), and I think I would have preferred the nitamago (seasoned soft-boiled egg).

Next time, I’ll be having the Akamaru Modern, which is like the classic except with a little more spice.

If you’re famished, don’t finish all your broth. For 2 bucks, you can get Kae-dama, which is basically noodle refill, and then you can extend your eating pleasure for another round.

There’s going to be a wait, but it goes more quickly than you’re told, and you can have a drink and a Hirata bun at the bar while you wait. The bartender is super sweet, and it’s a good time all around. Get thine ass to Ippudo.

Go: Ippudo NY (Union Square/East Village) 65 4th Ave, New York, NY 10003 (212) 388-0088

Hot alcoholic drinks to keep you warm in the NYC cold

[tweetmeme]UPDATE! For a new list of hot alcoholic drinks, please visit More hot booze to keep you warm posted January 3, 2011.

Brrrr. It’s winter. It’s frigid outside. The wind whips through you like an open window. Fancy a hot alcoholic beverage, do you? I’ve rounded up a list of places to go for a warming drink in NYC, and how to make them at home, approximately, in case it’s so cold you can’t bring yourself to step outside. In no particular order:

Hot Obama at Joe Doe (Pictured. EVill/LES: 45 E First St. between 1st and 2nd Aves.)
Served in a glass jar with a handle, your bartender Mike will heat up the apple cider with the milk foamer on the espresso machine, then adds two shots of Rum Clement, one shot of fresh lemon juice (diluted 1 part lemon to 9 parts water), quickly refoams, then grates fresh cinnamon on top of your drink and drops the rest of the stick into your $11 Hot Obama. I don’t get the name. Obama = boozy apple cider? Why is this called a “Hot Obama?” Feel free to take a crack at it in the comments.

Grandad’s Coffee, Hot Buttered Rum, or Freemans Toddy at Freemans (LES: End of Freemans Alley between Bowery and Chrystie.)
Freemans knows there’s nothing like a warm, spiked drink to make the world right again when it’s 15 degrees outside. On the cocktail menu under “Warm and Soothing” are three (!) warm boozy drinks for $12 each. Grandad’s Coffee is coffee spiked with brandy and walnut liqueur and served with a sweet cream float. The Hot Buttered Rum is made with a dark rum, spiced butter, and hot water. Here’s Emeril Lagasse’s recipe for a Hot Buttered Rum cocktail. The Freemans Toddy is made with applejack (Jack Daniels and apple cider or juice), lemon juice, and apices (likely cloves, cinnamon, nutmeg). Continue reading

Dave Eggers book signing at Strand’s
January 14, 2010, 12:08 am
Filed under: Go, Read | Tags: , , , , ,

My lunch break today (Thursday Jan 14 from noon – 1pm) will consist of my chasing down Dave Eggers, one of my favorite authors, and making him sign his books for me!

From Flavorpill NY:

Dave Eggers’ wrist doesn’t get much rest, not with his do-it-all mentality of late: he’s been composing prose, handshaking at sundry appearances, and signing copy upon copy. Eggers heads to Broadway today for a trio currently found on the just-released shelf: Zeitoun, his incredible nonfiction chronicle about the eponymous Syrian-American family and the patriarch who disappears in Katrina’s aftermath; The Wild Things, a novelization of Spike Jonze’s crackerjack translation of the Maurice Sendak picture book; and McSweeney’s, No. 33: The San Francisco Panorama, a branded newspaper that features noteworthy contributions from Chris Ware, Dan Clowes, Art Spiegelman, George Saunders, and nearly 150 others.

Go: Strand Bookstore, 828 Broadway at 10th St., 212.473.1452. Thursday Jan 14 from noon – 1pm.