Monday, February 28, 2011

New York: Eat & Stay and Momofuku Shortcakes

My dear friend Joanne has great ideas. Earlier this week some friends visiting from out of town asked Jo for eating and lodging recommendations in NYC, not too expensive, but not necessarily budget. So, being the great organizer that she is, she sent out an email to all her New York friends asking for a favorite affordable hotel and handful of restaurants we think should not be missed. She has generously allowed me to publish them here and in return, I've attached as many links as possible for easy browsing. 

And on the cooking front, I never intended to post heavily on dessert, the heart of this blog is really dinner, however last night Chris and I went to our friends apartment in Greenpoint again and had a stellar, very classy, pot luck sort of meal. I was in charge of dessert so here is a sweet treat from the Momofuku Cookbook. 

And if you have any favorite places to eat and stay in New York, please leave a comment with link!


We love going to yakiniku west in east village (not my hood) on
Sundays and Wednesdays for discount kobe specials and Mondays for
discount short ribs.  It's Japanese-style Korean BBQ, meaning
basically less sauce, more refined cuts of meat. On those nights,
those dishes are half off, making for a pretty inexpensive night of

Bonchon is amazing to try for Korean fried chicken - this is a new
discovery of mine.

Tanoreen down in Bay Ridge is great Lebanese food.

Can't think of any places in Greenpoint that I'd be dying to
recommend.  Oh, but also, Daisy Mae's on far west side, 50's, in
Manhattan for really good ribs - recommend the Memphis dry rub.

I could go on and on and on....


In my neighborhood of Chinatown I recommend the following places to
eat, which are safe, clean, delicious:

New Chao Chow -- 111 Mott St - get the wide noodle soup w/ Chicken
Xi'an Famous Noodles -- 88 E Broadway - tiny tiny place - 3 seats, get
the lamb noodles.

Hotel - This place is clean and very inexpensive, like around
$200/night,  Its in Tribeca


Gotta say I'm partial to the Cosmopolitan Hotel in Tribeca, it's
clean, affordable and downtown. My family always stays here when they
come to ny. As for restaurants, Blau Gans in Tribeca, Emilio's Ballato
on Houston, Gahm Mi Oak for bib bim bop in Korea Town and Angelica Kitchen 

in the East Village. Spain is a great, weird, old Spanish
restaurant on 13th street where you get a free tapas with every drink
you order at the bar. City Bakery and Grandaisy Bakery (on Sullivan
street) for sweets, bread and lunchy things.


The Jane Hotel is the hot spot these days, perfectly located on the
WSH and very affordable ($70/night). It's got a kinda mariner theme
but not in a cheesy pirate's way. I think each room looks like a

What are the dates? If Andrew and I happen to be out of town, our
apartment could be a possibility.

For food- my favorites still are Freeman's Alley, Smith & Mills,
Ruby's for Australian burgers, Park Meridian burgers (there's a
theme), La Esquina tacos, Peasant or Bacaro for Italian.

For fun- Bar 119 for dive bar dancing on Saturday nights.


Westville on West 18th Street. Here is a B&B I have passed many times -- Veneiros, 10th Street between 1st & 2nd Aves.;
Bergamote, 9th Ave. & 20th Street.


-(cheap!) Vanessa's Dumplings *for sure* on Eldridge between Broome and Grand.
- (not as cheap) the Fried Chicken at Buttermilk Channel in Carroll
Gardens (
- (not so cheap) Beauty and Essex on Essex between Rivington and Delance


there is this amazin place to stay, it is a hostel sort of at this
women's house. She devided her huge loft into sections and then also
has tents in her backyard. My friend from Israel stayed there I will
find out the name. 

*Erica here: I think this might be it: New York Loft Hostel


In Cobble Hill/Carroll Gardens:
Prime Meats for dinner/drinks
Brooklyn Inn for drinks (where my party was)
Fairway Steakhouse (for cheap dinner prix fixe and cheap wine, or brunch)


ok, a few suggestions:

in korea town, there is a rooftop bar on top of a hotel (drawing a
blank on name, will try and figure out). it's awesome and cheap. did
you come there with me and bjorn after we went to new jersey that one
time?? somewhere in the 30s, easy to find with a google search!

*Erica here: I think this might be it: Me Bar

the burger joint is an amazing burger place in the meridian hotel on
57th b/w 6th and 7th. it has the best burgers and is a VERY odd place,
hidden by a thick red velour curtain and then there's a neon sign.
have you been? very awesome.

westville is so yummy, as we all know.....

oh man, brooklyn is a WHOLE other story!!

Now on bberry. lodgings? That's tough. Though if they're
looking for dirt cheap I know of a few hostels in bklyn and I think
the 92nd street y has rooms or terms of hotels, I know a
couple places on upper west that run around 250/night which is super
cheap for that neighborhood! There is a holiday inn in the park slope
area but its not super cheap or anything.

There are so many places to recommend for eating in bklyn! Can you
give me a sense of their style? Do they want total dive or something
lovely or cozy or just delicious? What are they into?

Am I taking this task seriously enough!!??


Hey darlin! The only b&b's I know of are in Brooklyn south slope area.
I don't know the names of these places but I know they exist:) good

*Erica here: Here is one I found: South Slope Green B&B


small older guest house in west village_ Abington Guest House.  Quiet
- not trendy.

beautiful, near Central Part on West Side -  hotel but not cheap on
upper west side:  Excelsior House across from Museum of Natural
History on 81st.

No leads on the B&B's, but as far as eats:

-(cheap!) Vanessa's Dumplings *for sure* on Eldridge between Broome and Grand.
- (not as cheap) the Fried Chicken at Buttermilk Channel in Carroll
Gardens (
- (not so cheap) Beauty and Essex on Essex between Rivington and Delancey


-Burger Joint in the Lobby of the Parker Meridian on 57th

-Shun Lee Cafe

That's all for now.



yo yo jo

back at the beginning of law school, instead of doing my summer job, I
used their computer to make this

it's kind of broken (cuisine colors don't work), but the basic idea is
there: just click different regions on the map to reveal restaurants
placed by me and some of my colleagues at the US attorney's office.

downside: some of those places have since closed (but not that many I
don't think...maybe i should update it)


Love the idea - can I get a copy when it's over? My territories cover
mostly Williamsburg and Soho/Nolita.

West Village - The Jane Hotel has these crazy, $70 /night (I believe)
little bunks - CHEAP for NYC, and with Cafe Gitane just below it. I've
had many meetings in the cafe.


Williamsburg - The Commodore has an incredible "Adult Cheese"
sandwich, Garden Salad and Mild Chicken Sandwich. Atmosphere professes
a kind of abandoned beach bar - but a great place to jump into and
dine, along with -

Pies and Thighs - the most incredible pulled pork sandwich and chicken
biscuit this side of the Mason Dixon.

Fatty Cue in lower Williamsburg has the most amazing (and the only)
"Polynesian street food" I've ever had.

Pates et Traditions has AMAZING crepes (esp. the savory ones) and has
become a favorite brunch place of mine. Try the La Socca appitizer and
the chicken curry crepe...hard to explain how good it all is.

Mother's Bar - a pretty great/cheap hamburger that legitimately feels
like your mother made it for you.

Grand Morelos - the best cheap Mexican in NYC...maybe the only good
cheap Mexican in NYC. Try the Tortas and Cemitas. Always ask for

Diner - Great bizarro gourmet brunch in antiquated diner car.

COCKTAIL BAR: Hotel Delmano - my favorite cocktail bar in Williamsburg.

COFFEE SHOP: Roebling Tea Room - the best couches in Williamsburg for meetings.

Bushwick -  Il Passitore - is amazing and cheap Italian food.

Manhattan - Bianca - really cheap Italian food. Try the chicken liver
appetizer (seriously).

Via De La Paca - slightly less cheap but still cheap Italian food. The
bruschetta plates are great and the Mama Mundo platter amazes me.

Frank - is even less cheap, and has little legroom - but is divine.

Ruby Rosa - has the best Vodka slice in Nolita...NOT Palmadoros.

COFFEE SHOP: Ceci Cela - great little place with a hidden back-room
worth discussing screenplays within.

Gotta run, but hope that helps.


So I think they most affordable hotel in the city in the Ace when it
comes to something hip and centrally located.
In my hood there is a great tapas place that has the sickest happy
hour around and really great beer. It's called Sip on Amsterdam
between 109 and 110.
Two of my fave bars downtown are DBA which is great for Sunday
afternoons and No Malice Palace which is great late night bar that
plays great hip hop and has couches.
O and a good bar for tourists cause it's in the middle of soho (and a
personal fav daytime drinking spot cause the rad people watching) is
Spring Lounge on Spring and Prince. I
Fave affordable ish restaurant is Westville in the west village.
Fave mid range breakfast is Little Giant in LES.
Best bagels in my opinion are Absolute Bagels on Broadway between 107 and 108.
Lastly, in my hood people MUST check out St. John the Divine.


The Jane Hotel has rooms for 99$ a night. Little tiny rooms with
shared bathrooms but they are cute.

Also there is an apartment on like jane or 12th and 8th avenue has a
great view of the city- its high up. it was about 250 a night i think?
but has a kitchen and was really special. the email for the owner is :
Clifford Hart <> My parents stayed there and LOVED IT

also the b & b on 8th ave is really cute, next to bon bonniere-
abingdon guest house: my parents
stayed there once and liked it

there is also one across the street : Incentra Village House
32 8th Avenue, New York, NY (212) 206-0007

looks good- haven't had anyone stay there.

Bars- the rusty knot on the west side highway while its still light
out- sunset (good view of the sunset from the bar plus small foods and
great drink specials)

A slice of pizza at Bleecker Street Pizza the "nona maria" is divine
Noodles at the "noodle bar" on carmine sitting at the counter
breakfast at shopsins in the essex market wed-sunday, they close by 2,
cheap and good pasta at pepe verde
jamaican infuses small Japanese place "AKI"
If they wander to williamsburg- "5 leaves" has great brunch and dinner

all my suggestions are economical fun and delicious!


145 Avenue C, New York, NY 10009 (212) 505-6559 ‎ 
There's a cool whiskey bar next door called Louis'
Chez Oskar in Fort Greene is nice
211 Dekalb Avenue, New York -(718) 852-6250
My favorite dive bar in all New York, maybe ever, it's really, really divey, 
is Nancy's Whiskey Pub in Tribeca 1 Lispenard St New York, 
10013 - (212) 226-9943

Bozu- Williamsburg BEST Sushi tell them they have to order the sushi Bombs.
Little Korea for Korean BBQ or Yaki NIku West which is on 9 between 2 and 3 for Korean BBQ. It's a cute place.
Brooklyn Bowl, If there is a good show, the line up is on their website. 

momofuku shortcakes

1 large egg
About 1/2 cup heavy cream
1 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/3 cup packed light brown sugar
1 tablespoon kosher salt (I only used two teaspoons and it was very salty)
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
8 tablespoons (one stick) butter, cut into pieces, chilled
1/4 cup vegetable shortening, at room temperature
About 1/2 cup confectioners sugar

1. Crack the egg into a small graduated measuring cup and whisk it to thoroughly mix the white and yolk.   Decant or spoon off half of it )you can discard this part of the egg or use it for another use). Add enough cream to the egg in the measuring cup to make 1/2 cup. Stir briefly, then put the mixture in the refrigerator to chill.

2. Combine the flour, granulated sugar, brown sugar, salt and baking powder in the bowl of a stand mixer outfitted with the paddle attachment and stir them together. Add the butter and shortening and turn the mixer on to it's lowest setting. Mix the fat in until the batter is gravelly, with pea-sized lumps everywhere, which shouldn't take much more than 4 minutes. (I don't have a stand mixer so I combine the ingredients with my hands as I would a pie crust, breaking the butter into the flour mixture.)

3. Once you've got the sandy, lumpy, dryish, short batter together, grab the cream mixture from the refrigerator and stream it into the batter, stirring it in with the machine still on its lowest speed. Do this for as short a time as humanly possible, just until the liquid is barely absorbed; do not overmix. Let the dough rest in the mixer bowl 10 minutes.

4. Scoop the batter into little balls, using about 2 tablespoons for each (you can assist their shaping lightly with your hands) and line them up on a baking sheet. You should have 8 balls (I got 14 using two heaping tablespoons for each). Chill in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes, and as long as overnight.

5. Heat the oven to 350 degrees. Line a couple of baking sheets with parchment or silpats.

6. Pour confectioners sugar into a wide shallow bowl. Roll each of the shortcakes through the the sugar to coat very lightly, tap off the excess. and place the dusted cakes on prepared baking sheets, with enough room between them to allow them to double their footprint while baking.

7. Bake for 9 to 10 minutes (mine needed 15-20). The cakes will spread and then rise-the baking powder in it will give them the final poofy kick and the confectioners sugar on the outside should crackle when they're ready. Overbaked is preferable to underbaked with these cakes. If their centers fall after you pull them from the oven, bake them for another 60-90 seconds. Transfer to a wrack and let cool.

8. Serve with either rhubarb or strawberries (I used both) and a generous dollop of whipped cream.

momofuku poached rhubarb

1 1/2 pounds peeled rhubarb (I think you could even use 3 pounds with the same amount of liquid) peeled and cut into 1/2 inch pieces (4 cups)
1 750 ml bottle of elderflower syrup, 3 cups (I used one cup as the syrup is expensive and more lychee juice)
the juice strained from 2 or 3 cans of lychees (save the lychees for another use or just eat them)
2 cups sugar (don't cut down on this)

1. Heat the oven to 225 degrees (I turned it up to 250)

2. Combine the rhubarb, elderflower syrup, lychee juice and sugar in a medium oven-safe saucepan and cover with a lid. Poach the rhubarb in the over for 35 minutes until tender.

3. Remove the pan from the oven and let the rhubarb cool almost to room temperature with the lid on.

4. Remove the rhubarb from the poaching syrup with a slotted spoon and serve at once (figure about 1/2 cup per serving, and make sure to use some of the poaching syrup as part of the dish--drizzle it over the shortcakes and rhubarb), or store the rhubarb in the syrup in the refrigerator for up to 1 week.

macerated strawberries

4 cups strawberries, preferably a naturally sweet and not-too-big variety like Tri-Star, hulled
1/4 cup sugar

One to two hours before you serve them them, gently toss the strawberries with the sugar; the sugar will draw out the juices from the strawberries. Serve cold or at room temperature allotting about 1/2 cup per serving . Use the macerating liquid as part of the dish--pour it over the shortcakes and strawberries.

whipped cream

1 1/2 cups heavy cream
1/2 cup sour cream
1/4 cup confectioners sugar
pinch of kosher salt

Combine the heavy cream, sour cream, confectioners sugar and salt in a large bowl and whisk with an electric mixer or by hand until medium peaks form. The whipped cream can be made ahead of time and kept in the refrigerator for up to a few hours. Rewhisk before serving.

Monday, February 7, 2011

And the Winner is..........


Thank you to everyone who posted such wonderful recipes and stories, I can't wait to try them all. I hope that everyone has a sweet Valentine's Day filled with chocolate, white chocolate (Anna, I'm also a fan) and all the lemon bars you desire.

Sharon, will you email me your address to and I'll send you something sweet!