December 17, 2010

del posto

It’s been awhile since I’ve done any fine dining as the last few places I’d been to hadn’t really quite impressed me enough. However, a recent glowing New York Times review upping their previous 3 star review of Italian fine dining staple Del Posto up to the coveted 4 star rating was enough to peak my curiousity. My sister and brother-in-law had previously been there and enjoyed it and also wanted to give it another try for dinner under the new 4 star rating.

We decided to go with the decadent Menu Tradizionale of 7 courses. The menu is shared by the table (we all receive the same dishes) and the dishes decided in advance by the chef. Well, let me go ahead and spoiler you now by telling you that this is one of the best meals I’ve had in New York- well, maybe one of the best meals I’ve had anywhere.

So without further ado, LET THE EATING BEGIN!!

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little sis @ 12:53 am | categories: italian,nyc

December 13, 2010

kin shop

for my brother’s birthday we went to top chef harold’s new thai restaurant in the west village, kin shop.  i thought everything was pretty tasty, if not as tasty as sripriphai in queens… but then again… that place is probably the best thai food ever.  the consensus was that the food was good but not amazing, and while my sister really wanted a pic with harold, she was a little embarrassed by R’s comments that the chef was only famous due to top chef within earshot of said top chef who was behind us in the open kitchen.  i enjoyed everything though… even if it’s not the best thai food ever.

some type of tartare which i didn’t try

scallops with snap peas… solid dish

i think this was the crispy oyster and pork… sounded good on the menu, was good… how would you screw up crispy oysters and pork though?

bone marrow- yummy!

an indian tasting soup…

snapper, which was quite delicious

a yummy duck dish

thai noodles…

big sis @ 1:24 pm | categories: thai

spot dessert bar

introduced my brother and sister to spot dessert bar, one of my fave spots on st. marks.  i typically get their coconut sorbet with chocolate pearls, but they have taken that off the menu and are really pushing their “tapas tasting menu” – basically a multi-course dessert experience- right now.  since we did have six people, we went ahead with the tapas menu which turned out to be the right decision since not only did we get to try a variety of yummy dessert, such as the yuzu eskimo (hard to describe… like yuzu sorbet in bar form) and cupcakes and brownies and cookies and sorbet and ice cream…even with six people we couldn’t finish and had to take some stuff home!

some type of miso cake which was a little strange

the famous yuzu dessert

everyone liked this pear crisp

mmm… chocolate……

big sis @ 1:16 pm | categories: dessert

how to make a perfect filet mignon roast

…or, how the we-eat-everything sisters spent their Thanksgiving.

This delectable specimen of a filet mignon roast is brought to you by Ottomanelli’s & Sons, one of those almost landmark New York butchers that seems to have been around forever, and whom everyone seems to go whenever they need a quality cut of meat. As our parents were in Taiwan this year at the end of November (and thus did not host Thanksgiving) I journeyed east for Thanksgiving in New York. Originally my sister wanted for us to do prime rib but there were only going to be 4 people at our Thanksgiving dinner and the smallest cut of prime rib the butcher showed us was still too large to feed 3 Chinese people and 1 white man. I should mention that the butcher was probably the super nicest butcher I have ever run into. There were a ton of people in the shop clearly there to pick up their Thanksgiving turkeys and the line was snaking rapidly outside the door while big sis and I hemmed and hawed about what kind of meat we should buy. He recommended the filet mignon roast cut instead. We hemmed and hawed some more. The line continued to build. People gave us dirty looks. An elderly customer with a thick New York accent wouldn’t stop inquiring about how many we were feeding, what we wanted to do with the roast, giving us advice, etc. Finally we decided on the filet mignon roast. As the line still continued to build out the door, the butcher patiently explained to us exactly how we should cook it, for how long, what I should coat it with, etc. As we were leaving, the elderly gentleman who’d been asking us questions before leaned over in a conspiratory manner and whispered, “You made the right choice, girls.”

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little sis @ 12:06 am | categories: cooking,meat,nyc

April 19, 2010

guerilla ramen night

a semi-recent new york times article about exploring tokyo via its ramen shops left me desolate, homesick, and hungry. i whined to friends about the lack of REAL quality ramen here in the bay area- hell, even in los angeles, which has some pretty decent ramen. a friend kept suggesting ramen joint after ramen joint up here that i kept shooting down again and again. sorry, i told him, but when you’ve lived out in the japanese countryside and eaten ramen made by some 60 year old man who has been making ramen for the last 50 years, who got up at 5 am to start making that magical pork broth, really, nothing else can compare. he told me my standards were too high if the barometer was that the chef had to have been making the dish for 5/6 of his life haha. but it can’t be helped, my friends, because i am a ramen snob.

it wasn’t always this way. i used to associate the word with that instant cardboard drivel so many friends and boyfriends seemed to subsist off of in college. but then i moved to the boondocks of japan, where only a few days off the plane, a few days of settling into my tiny apartment, i slurped down my first real bowl of ramen. porky, soothing, a perfect mix of textures, it soon became our go-to after karate meal, the perfect lunch during weekend trips to tokyo, and i knew that i’d finally earned the trust of my coworkers once they shared with me the secret of their favourite ramen shop just out of town- a magical place with truly magical broth and 500 yen bowls of ramen. it was there that for the very first time i drank every single drop of the broth following my meal- japanese coworkers had confided that the mark of a truly delicious ramen is one where you feel compelled to drink all the broth. so for me, ramen has that extraordinarily powerful wallop of sentimentality. reading that new york times article, i missed, with almost a physical ache, the perfect bowl of ramen. well, the universe must have heard my cry, because lo and behold, last night i was lucky enough to secure the very last spot in a secret guerilla ramen night at a private home in san francisco.

guerilla ramen night was organized by my friend yoko’s collective food blog, the very cool umamimart. back when i was a student, yoko and i worked together one summer at a crazy computer camp on the berkeley campus, and after i graduated, she and i moved to japan around the same time. she’s back in the bay area now, and her friend/founder of umamimart, kayoko (who also, funnily enough, knew my sister in new york- what a small world!) knows a guy- a guy who is not only crazy about ramen, but also crazy talented at MAKING ramen. he’s gone to japan to research making ramen many times. he makes his own homemade noodles, stews a from-scratch broth for hours, and marinates the pork loin to perfect succulence. this past sunday night, he and his very gracious wife opened their home to a small horde of hungry ramen fans, and treated us to an unforgettable evening.

homemade ramen noodles waiting to be cooked.


a single bowl of broth waits patiently on the stove for its dollop of noodles

puttin’ in all the fixins’


yoko digs into her bowl of spicy ramen with relish. she and her husband had dressed for the ballet earlier that day and added another level of ambiance to the evening.

look at that hot ball o’ spice!!!


a juicy bite of pork in yoko’s ramen


my bowl of ramen- the special. included pork, spicy roe, and wood ear.


oh my god you guys, so good… SO GOOD!!! best i’ve had since leaving japan. i don’t know if any of you have ever watched japanese television, but my favourite show is one called “my little chef“, where a young japanese chef makes food so good it makes the eaters go into ecstasies of sentimentality and nostalgia. eating this, i felt like i was back in the countryside again, looking out a window at rice paddies, enjoying a quiet afternoon, thinking about where i was going to explore next. look at how creamy that broth is. the consistency of the fresh-made noodles were soft, but not too soft, and contrasted nicely against the crunch of the bamboo, the green onion, and the pickled ginger. the spicy roe gave an extra kick to the already wonderfully flavourful broth.

the pork was perfect- juicy and tender. the egg was a revelation- the yolk had absorbed all the porky-goodness of the broth, and was just the right silky consistency. i wish i had taken a photo of the bowl when i was done, i was very tempted to lick the bottom clean. i drank ALL the broth, sodium intake be damned.

but wait, the excitement isn’t over yet…! our gracious host even made ICE CREAM!! there were two flavours to choose from- a coconut porter made from a homebrew our host and his friends make, and a mint mint ice cream. i went with the coconut, which was a very nice way to end such a rich meal- fresh, light, and very delicious.

once again, thanks so much to umamimart and to our host and his wife for such a wonderful, delicious evening! i gave up my current cycle of vegetarianism for this night, and believe me, it was so, so worth it. if y’all do another guerilla ramen night… let me know… i’ll be the one slurping down the noodles and crying nostalgically into the broth.

little sis @ 12:07 pm | categories: japanese food,memories