GET IN MY BELLY!
Rest your weary feet, you NoMad
A spread burger is pure #foodporn
A little rum in the tum
A fun lunch date with a coworker!
Restaurant Week all day everyday!
Taking a Lunch Break in the Bahamas!
Excellent Dumpling House Offers a Great Lunch
Ah, to be a part of the justice system! My civic duty was recently called upon through a jury summons! While I was waiting for hours, I spent some time researching where to have lunch - best use of my time for sure. Since I was in Chinatown, I started to crave soup dumplings. Based on the amount of time I had and my location, I chose Excellent Dumpling House (no website, http://www.yelp.com/biz/excellent-dumpling-house-new-york).
I didn't have breakfast, so I was hungry! I ordered the Chicken with Garlic Sauce lunch special - $6.95 (served with choice of soup, fried rice and a spring roll!). I ALSO wanted the pork soup dumplings, so I ordered those too - #yolo
The Hot and Sour soup was really tasty - large pieces of tofu that were delicious.
The soup dumplings were great! The dipping sauce served with them was sooooooo tasty!
By the time my entrée came, I was losing steam! I ate all the chicken and most of the peppers, but I couldn't really tackle the rice or spring roll. The chicken was very saucey. The chicken was tender and great quality - especially given the cheap pricing. Sometimes, I am a bit weary of chicken at cheap Chinese restaurants.
If you find yourself in Chinatown at lunch time, especially on jury duty (eek!), this is a good bet.
$27.50 Gets You a Fancy 3-Course Lunch
I read recently that Tao is offering a Dim Sum lunch on Sundays. I brought it up to Melissa and she suggested that we check out the $27.50 3-Course Lunch instead. It is from Monday - Saturday till 5pm.
After we spoke to the server, I knew what I had to order as my appetizer. I got the Crispy Vegetable Rolls with Duck Mustard Sauce. I figured it would be a small serving but it was actually three large rolls! I was impressed.
Melissa felt like venturing into the soup option. It looked delicious and had ample (4!) dumplings!
I haven't had good Kung Pao Chicken in awhile so when I saw it on the menu, I knew what I wanted. It was a large serving and I took a lot home for later!
Melissa got the Hanger Steak with Miso and Asian Spiced Fries. She ordered it rare and really enjoyed it. I tried one of her fries and it was much better than I expected from an Asian joint.
For my dessert, the most interesting option was the Chocolate Zen Parfait. It had layers of milk and white chocolate with nuts mixed in between. The scoop on the top was whipped cream and disappointingly not ice cream. Looks can be deceiving!
Melissa got the Mango Sorbet, Seasonal Fruit and Coconut Milk. It looked like a fruit chowder with an island in the middle.
I loved checking out the Koi fish under the "floating" Buddha. Adorable!
This lunch special is a great deal if you want to eat at this otherwise expensive Asian hotspot.
Incredible Indian Food in Flatiron
After our disappointing Indian meal at Dhaba, I wanted to look for a new go-to place. I spoke to my friend Aditya and he recommended Devi (http://www.devinyc.com/home.html). He is a fellow foodie and Sternie, so I trusted his judgment. I noticed on their site that they have an awesome lunch special: $20 for any appetizer and any entrée!
The interior is beautiful and spacious! Unlike some other Indian restaurants I've gone to, you're not sitting on top of your neighbors and you can hear what is going on!
It was a hot day when I went to Devi, so I ordered a Kingfisher. Because they don't have it on draft, I requested a frosted glass. Gotta love the service!
When you check-in on Yelp! or FourSquare, you get a code for a complimentary appetizer (value $12)! This is in addition to the appetizer that comes with the entrée. Scott and I split the Manchurian Cauliflower - delicious! The four pieces of cauliflower were huge and well coated in the tomato-based sauce.
For our included appetizers, I ordered the Lamb Seekh Kebab (served with mint sauce and apricot chutney) and Scott got the Bharwan Aloo (homemade Indian cheese stuffed in roasted potatoes). I LOVED mine - great flavor in the lamb and the sauces were a great compliment. Scott's was good, I just preferred mine much more (which is probably why I ordered it!)
The vibe on the inside is refined. The Interior lanterns are so beautiful!
With the entrees, we were served a bowl of rice for the table. This was a decent portion size - sometimes you don't get enough to sop up all the sauce!
For our entrees, we ordered the Nizami Chicken Korma (mildly spicy royal curry with almond paste) and Kadai Lamb (sautéed with onions and peppers in a brown sauce). The chicken is great - white meat that was fork tender. The lamb was also lovely but a bit tough.
We also ordered garlic naan - it was perfectly puffy and just the right amount of crispy. It could have used more garlic though - never enough!
I wanted to order another Kingfisher but THEY WERE OUT! Is that even allowed at an Indian restaurant? I ordered a 1947 instead - it was good, but not as good as Kingfisher.
I took a shot of the interior layout - I love the leather booth seating. I also love the voluptuous bottoms of the statues - HEYYY!!!
If you're sticking to a budget, come here for lunch as dinner is much pricier.
A Ladies' Lunch to Celebrate my Graduation
My mom and I met up with my Aunt Shirley for lunch. The weather was cooperating so I was pleased with my restaurant choice: The Pavilion (http://www.thepavilionnyc.com/). I went here nearly 8 years ago when it was Luna Park (you may remember it from Sex and the City (Episode: The Monogamists) when Carrie went there and met Jared (the hot shot writer)and Big couldn't find the entrance).
It opened up three weeks ago and occupies a controversial part of Union Square. The photo below shows the stone structure that is part of the park. Opponents of the restaurant claim that it is "unfairly commercializing" public space. This battle has been fought for two years and the restaurant owner (Simon Oren, also the owner of Five Napkin Burger) invested several million dollars to restore the structure. Oren has a 15-year contract with the city and will pay $300K per year to lease the space. Read more here: http://www.zagat.com/b/new-york-city/the-pavilion-in-union-square-park-is-finally-open
A celebration is not complete without Champagne!!! My mom and aunt ordered a glass and I opted for a unique cocktail. The waiter instead brought out three flutes - I was more than ok with that! Cheers! :)
The Park-Side cocktail features light & dark rums, fresh mint & lime, guava "foam" and local pollen. It is a very unique drink - the guava foam has some seeds in it from the fruit. Also, you're not supposed to mix it up. So, don't drink it with a straw. In order to get all the flavors, sip it!
I read a lot online about how great the complimentary bread basket was, especially the spread that comes with it. I'm not sure what the spread was, I should have asked, but it tasted delicious! I had to ask the waiter several times (maybe 5?) for the bread. The service is still lacking a bit. Hopefully it is just because the venue recently opened and isn't going to continue - this place is simply too great for poor service.
I ordered the Blue Maine Mussels & Fries. As you can see below, the fries are beautifully presented. They were SO tasty!
The mussels were delicious, prepared with white wine, garlic & shallot puree and butter.
Our server recommended the Greek Salad, made with tomato, cucumber, peppers, onion, olives, croutons, local feta cheese & lemon vinaigrette. My aunt ordered it and I tried a nibble. It tasted really fresh and light.
I took some photos of the enclosed area of The Pavilion. The weather was nice so we chose to eat outside, also the inside area is a bit louder. The structure amplifies sounds so it can get a bit loud. This makes conversation with your mom and aunt difficult! I love the ceiling lights - white globes are simple and beautiful.
I ordered a cappuccino. I was really disappointed when it arrived cold! If you're paying $5 for a cup of coffee, it better be piping hot. I asked the server to bring a new cup and it was hot! I think the issue comes back to the slow service - the coffee was likely made and just sat there. Get your act together on the service Pavilion! This is a great venue, so don't mess it up so early!
I look forward to coming back here for brunch or dinner and hopefully much improved service!
Celebrating Our Last Assignment with Szechuan!
After we clicked "submit" on our last final, Christine and I celebrated at a favorite restaurant of the Class of 2014 (and smart people everywhere): Han Dynasty (http://www.handynasty.net/). On our walk to the restaurant, we had to take a commemorative photo of the NYU sign that was just put up for graduation festivities!
NYU Photo? Check! Now, onto a frosty beverage. I ordered a Stella and it arrived in its "chalice" - so corny, but great marketing.
I don't think you're allowed to come to Han Dynasty without ordering the Dan Dan Noodles.
These noodles are so simple: spicy chili oil, ground pork and noodles. Uncomplicated and delicious!
The last time I came to Han Dynasty, which was my first time, which also happened to be with Christine and Olivia, we ordered the Dry Pot Style Lamb. It is one of the spiciest dishes at the restaurant (10/10), so we ordered it at a 5/10. I think it still numbed my entire mouth, but in a good way!
I can't wait to come back here again and (maybe...) order something different!
Bottino for Delicious Italian
One of my block 3 mates, Lilian, thought of organizing a lunch for some of us during Senior Week. She had the great idea and I contributed by thinking of a place to eat on the West Side (we were going to the Frying Pan after). I ended up on Bottino (http://www.bottinonyc.com/). Check out the open-but-enclosed seating area. We had a lovely corner table.
I was intrigued by a cocktail on the menu, so I absolutely had to order it! The Grey Gardens Martini is made with Organic Black Tea and Grey Goose, St. Germain, Preserved Lemon Syrup and Honey.
This was a fantastic cocktail! If you come, you MUST get it!
There were so many options on the menu, I struggled with what to order. Luckily, Jillian and I were interested in the same two entrees, so we split them. Problem solved!
Each dish was very different and I'm glad we split them. Initially, I was a bit scared of the boar sausage but it was delicious! The lasagna was also so great - much heavier than the pasta but very tasty. Lilian also got the Orecchiette. Kate got the Sautéed Shrimp with Lentils and Garlic, White Wine and Herbs.
After we finished our meal, we ordered a coffee and got dessert. Jillian and I got the Warm Tuscan Bread Pudding, Kate got the Pecan Tart and Lilian got something with Biscotti...I believe Affogato.
Usually I LOVE bread pudding, but this one was a bit too custardy. The custard was very eggy and almost looked scrambled, so it was a bit of a bummer. I'd recommend getting a different dessert if you go!
Spring has Finally Sprung!
One of my closest friends at Stern (Liv) recently got engaged and a small group of us wanted to throw her a surprise engagement lunch. Another friend of mine, Beth, organized the event and made a reservation for the group at Pera SoHo (http://soho.peranyc.com/)
Since it was Cinco de Mayo, I chose to order an Apricot margarita with my lunch.
I LOVED this drink. It was far too easy to enjoy and, given the amount of work I had to do during the rest of the day, I only had one.
While we waited for our food, we were given a basket of warm, seeded rolls served with an herb butter and oil - really tasty! After looking at the menu, I decided to order the Pera Steak Burger with Kasseri Cheese.
This was DELICIOUS! I asked for it to be medium and it was perfectly so - juicy and flavorful. The hand-cut fries were also awesome - I loved the addition of oregano.
We sat outside since the weather was beautiful. It started to get VERY hot and I appreciated the attentiveness of the staff in propping up some of the umbrellas to provide shade.
I think I will come back here for Happy Hour (http://soho.peranyc.com/happy-hour/) the menu features tapas (choice of 2 for $6) and wines, draft beers and cocktails for $6 each.
Check this place out, especially if the weather is good to take advantage of the ample outdoor seating!
Agave FOR THE WIN!
Last Friday, Melissa and I met up for lunch at Agave (http://agaveny.com/). The weather was turning around and Melissa researched places near campus that had outdoor seating and lunch specials. I had no idea that Agave offered a Two-Course Pre-Fix Lunch for $14.95! It is served with a fruit-infused margarita "tasting" (image below). We got a pomegranate and mango one. Clearly, this is a smart ploy to get you to order a full-sized one. I already know how good they are, so I was planning to order one anyway.
I didn't snap a picture of it, but for my first course we both ordered the Mother Road Roadhouse Chili. I'm not typically a huge fan of chili, but this was absolutely DELICIOUS! It is a blend of braised beef & pork cooked in Dos XX and Chile. It is served with soft tortillas for dipping. Yum yum yum! The other first course option was a salad. We clearly made the best choice.
For the entrée, there were four choices. I got the chicken wrap, served with mango chutney and sweet potato fries.
My mouth is watering looking at that photo. The wrap was utterly fantastic. The fries were great too and served with a delicious chipotle mayo. I cannot rave about this enough!
Melissa ordered the steak wrap, which was served with regular fries.
Poor Melissa really struggled with eating her wrap. I have no idea why they thought it would be a good idea to cut it up like a sushi roll. All the filling kept falling out! I felt the chicken wrap was much tastier.
When we were wrapping up lunch, we rolled right into happy hour ($6 margs down from $10). You can add the fruit flavor for $1 extra...so worth it! We both got mango!
I love Agave so much! The happy hour, lunch special and brunch special ($27.95 for two-hours of bottomless mimosas, wine or frozen/shaken margaritas) are hard to beat! You're doing yourself a disservice if you don't check it out.
Lunch for One
You know when you REALLY REALLY crave a certain food but no one wants to go with you to get it? Well, I felt that feeling last week about ramen, specifically Ippudo (http://www.ippudony.com/). I had only gone there one time and it was during a snowstorm, so the wait wasn't bad. Typically, this place is notorious for epic wait times (1-3 hours), so I went right when it opened at 11am to beat the rush. This was a good call. You may think it is too early for ramen, but honestly, it is ALWAYS time for ramen.
I decided to order the classic Akamaru Modern with Nitamago (seasoned soft boiled egg). The broth, which is pork based and called "Tonkotsu", is absolutely fantastic. Look at this beauty below!
The first time I came to Ippudo, I thought it was the best ramen I ever had. Since this experience, I went to Totto Ramen and it has been my new high bar. Given this comparison, Ippudo is no longer my favorite. While the ramen is still fantastic, I don't prefer the noodles or spicy paste as much.
My main take-away from this visit was to go to Ippudo at weird times and that I LOVE Totto!
A Chelsea Spot with an Incredible Lunch Special
Napa was cancelled. Only creepy people have reached out to me this Valentine's Day on OKCupid. Where is the silver lining in this sh!tstorm? The silver lining, my friends, is Rocking Horse Café (http://www.rockinghorsecafe.com/). I walked from the subway to meet Melissa for lunch. I also managed to walk through a 2 foot deep puddle of questionable sludge on the sidewalk that I THOUGHT was frozen or at least only an inch deep. This is one of the few situations in which I've been disappointed that something has been bigger than I thought!
This cute Mexican spot has a kick-ass lunch special. For $8 you can get a soup or salad WITH enchilada! I also love that you're greeted with free homemade chips and salsa when you sit down. Many of the uber-fancy Mexican spots don't offer this for free, so I appreciate that.
The chips are delicious, just the perfect amount of salty and not greasy at all. The salsa was smoky and had a hint of spice to it without being overwhelming.
The three soup specials for the day all sounded lovely. Melissa and I both ended up with the butternut squash. A gentleman that was dining next to us gave it rave reviews and Melissa had it before. Two positive reviews was enough to encourage me!
The soup had a wonderful depth of taste to it. I loved every spoonful! The enchilada was the one featured on the menu: Enchilada de Pollo, made with pomegranate charred chicken, pomegranate-guajilo salsa, refried beans and pickled cabbage.
The addition of pomegranate to the enchilada was delicious! It added an unexpected surprise to a typically traditional Mexican dish.
I look forward to coming back here for brunch or dinner! If you're looking for Mexican with an updated twist, this is your jam!
Five Minutes Was All It Took for Some IPPUDO!
Tomorrow was a rollercoaster of emotions. There was a snowstorm (see below) BUT school was not cancelled. After trekking through the wasteland outside my apartment, I arrived on campus to check into my flight to Napa TO SEE IT WAS CANCELLED. I checked to see if there were other available flights to prevent a total disaster of my weekend. There were only flights going out on Friday but, naturally, these were all sold-out...UNTIL SUNDAY!
In order to combat this disappointment, Christine suggested we go to lunch at Ippudo (http://www.ippudony.com/) and take advantage of whatever perk terrible weather is; in this case, it is an incredibly short wait time!
We started with the Hirata Buns. They are steamed buns filled with pork or chicken (we picked pork) served with Ippudo's original spicy buns sauce.
These were incredibly delicious! I could have eaten several of them but I didn't want to be a complete animal, so Christine and I split an order and had one each.
While reading the menu and picking what to order next, we each ordered a Sapporo Light.
Out of the different Ramen styles available, I ordered the Akamaru Chashu. This is the original silky "Tonkotsu" (pork) soup noodles topped with Ippudo's secret "Umami Dama" miso paste, pork chashu, cabbage, sesame kikurage mushrooms, scallions and fragrant garlic oil.
This was delicious! Ippudo is certainly worth the hype though I am not an expert on Ramen. I have been happy at many other spots, including Ramen Setagaya and Minca, so I'm not sure if I would bother coming back here if the wait was over 30 minutes. It is good but to my unrefined palate it may be a *tad* overhyped.
A Chain with Decidedly Delicious Food
After class last week, Ingrid suggested somewhere for lunch that was not on 8th Street. Immediately, I was alarmed. Are there other places to eat at Stern that are not on 8th Street? Ingrid calmed my fears and told me it was the same distance just in the other direction! Who knew?
The spot she suggested was Aroma Espresso Bar (http://www.aroma.us/) in SoHo. There are four locations in NY and locations in Maryland, New Jersey and Florida.
When I stepped into the location, I was overwhelmed with delicious smells and an exciting menu. I love that the menu has photos! It makes it easier to visual your lunch with an actual visual! I felt like a salad and the Warm Grilled Chicken Salad looked yum yum! It is made with warm grilled chicken (SHOCKER!), chopped tomatoes, shredded carrots, red onions and a handful of peanuts on a bed of mixed greens with a drizzle of olive oil. It was served with a honey mustard dressing. You get to choose bread with the salad and I went with grain. A great choice!
I look forward to returning to this place to try out different menu items.
Veggies for DAYS
Friday was a fun day! I had two girl catch-up dates on the calendar! Lunch and manicures with Kate to kick-off the day and THEN dinner and a cocktail crawl with Aish to round it out.
Kate suggested we meet up at Westville East (http://www.westvillenyc.com/) for lunch. I've heard GREAT things about this place from multiple people. I was glad she picked this spot. We both ordered a coffee to get the day going. Our server was very attentive and kept our cups full - this matters when you're thirsty AND tired!
We ordered a plate of three veggies to split. Each day, there is board outside and inside listing all of the vegetables and there preparation. We picked the Brussels sprouts, mushrooms and kale. They were delicious, fresh and tasty!
Our entrees came right when we finished up the veggie plate - perfect timing! Kate ordered the Grilled Salmon Salad with mixed greens, fresh mint, baby spinach and cherry tomatoes. She seemed to love it! I didn't snap a pic but trust that it was beautiful.
I ordered one of the daily specials: a frittata! It was an Italian-style one, with mozzarella, red pepper, spinach and prosciutto. It was served with the choice of a side salad or fries - I went with the side salad. It was dressed lightly and delicious!
I look forward to coming back to Westville for dinner and trying some different veggies! For vegetarians and all good food lovers out there, check out this spot. There is also a West, Chelsea and Hudson location.