Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Onya - Manhattan

Delicious Midtown Udon
Puffin is perfect so far during this NY trip, she's picked out the last three places. My status is slipping after bad meals at Minca Ramen and Shake Shack (OVER-RATE-ED, clap, clap, clap-clap-clap.) This may be the best of her picks - a Japanese noodle spot in Midtown, not far from Grand Central where the Udon is made fresh. If you're thinking to yourself "I'm not much of an Udon fan" then you definitely should go to Onya to have your mind changed.

Monday, March 29, 2010

Iris Cafe - Brooklyn

Newbie Cafe Test Run
When I was young and had game, I used to play ball on Columbia Place. It was a nice run where I tested my skills against the Puerto Rican and Middleastern kids from the other side of the BQE. The court became a victim of mindless 90's gentrification - it was torn up and replaced by a dog run and herb garden. Now, a decade and a half later even more has changed - I've become one of those type who gets all excited about trying out a new cafe - this one just 50 feet from where I used to float my patented finger rolls.

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Loading Dock - Brooklyn

Baja Mexican in Downtown BK
Things happen when you're away from home for long spells. Change, to be exact. It's weird to find so many new restaurants - have I been gone that long? Case in point: Loading Dock, which serves up the type of Mexican I used to enjoy in Southern California. Of course, this being Brooklyn, it's also about the space: a converted garment factory cum art gallery tucked in a forgotten corner by the BQE and the Ingersoll projects.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

La Patisserie des Rêves - Paris

I Want to Hate It
This isn't the NY Times - I don't have to be "fair or balanced" - I have a bias. I dislike overly-fancy, affected, froofy places. So, when I walked into the "dream" patisserie and saw what appeared to be a jewelry display I knew this was more likely a nightmare. Each treat was guarded like a crown jewel beneath domed glass and there was an employee trailing me with a pda, waiting to tap out my order electronically. "All show and no go" I thought to myself.

Friday, March 19, 2010

Fulvio - Paris

Sardinian Lunch Extravaganza
I've walked by Fulvio many times on my way home from work but decided to have a taste after reading the Lost in Cheeseland review. Fridays tend to be slow so my colleagues and I usually enjoy a languorous lunch a la Francaise. Is there a better way to spend a warm Parisian afternoon? Ok, well, if my girl were here I could think of better way, but that only lasts about five minutes. So, with that manly admission, let's get back to the pasta. I had a forkfull of the orecchiette - it was deliciously loaded with garlic. But let's just say it's a good thing there were no post-lunch meetings scheduled in our airless offices.

Friday, March 12, 2010

Shan Goût - Paris

One Foot in China, the Other in France
As suggested by its name, a melding of Chinese and French that could be translated "Tasty Meal", Shan Goût is a fusion of two cuisines. I'd describe it as de-fanged Sichuan with a French accent. Case in point the Dan Dan noodles, which had a pleasingly tender texture but lacked bite. I had to adjust my expectations, this is neither a Sichuan nor a Chinese restaurant. Once I did, I began to enjoy it more.

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Mirama - Paris

Cantonese in St. Michel
Just returned from two weeks in SE Asia and am not quite ready for the French diet. So, how about a bit of Cantonese in the city of lights? Mirama is a small, no frills restaurant in the 5th, just a few steps from Notre Dame. I try to avoid this area like I would a Jehovah Witness ringing my doorbell. However, a Chimerican colleague recommended the place for its duck so I fetched my eurotrash scarf and my bus pass and jumped on the 47.

Monday, March 1, 2010

Ah Seah Teochew Porridge - Singapore

Getting Ethnic with Uncle
Singapore is a melting pot - it has four official languages: Mandarin, English, Malay and Tamil. The population is 75% Chinese and a large portion of that 75% are Hokkien or Teochew, two groups who trace their ancestry to southern Fujian province (just opposite Taiwan.) The former is the official coffeeshop language - one of my first Singapore food lessons was learning to order coffee in Hokkien. The other thing I learned is that Puffin is a pure Teochew and her uncle is a proud Teochew eater. He took me for some Teochew comfort food: porridge.