Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Short and sweet for the fine fried chicken at Sweet Chick

I wanted to just write something quick for one of my new favorite fried chicken places in the city - Sweet Chick! I never made it to the Williamsburg location when I lived in that neighborhood, but finally, I could not resist the lure of their chicken and waffles any longer after finding their LES spot.

THREE delicious flavored butters come with your waffle order (our flavors were lemon - my favorite, berry and herb), and it is well worth your while to try each and every one of them with your waffle.

But Han! Please tell me about the chicken!

Okay, bossy (just kidding, I love you very much)! The chicken is good!! Nice and crispy, a little thin on the batter but plenty crunchy, and well-seasoned.

But the real perk is the waffle. Crispy and light and perfect to soak up all that BUTTERRRRR. I put a little pat in each cube and then drench all that in syrup, but you feel free to eat it however you like (just make sure you use all that BUTTERRRR).

And definitely! Save room for dessert !! !!! ! !!

The toffee pudding is the best - a jarful of HOT HEAVEN drenched in toffee caramel and oozy goozy yumminess.

The peanut butter pie is a healthy portion of love in a bowl also, but gets quickly outshined by the toffee pudding. Please. eat. that. now.

I've since been to both locations of Sweet Chick (LES one takes reservations!) and love them both, because the chicken is consistent, the butters remain amazing, and the toffee pudding keeps me going on in life, because just knowing it is always there is all I need in life.

Han's Nonsensical Rating: Solid fried chicken, perfect waffles, and incredible toffee pudding.

178 Ludlow St, New York, NY 10002

Monday, September 14, 2015

The Best. Rose's Luxury

This post is dedicated to Anne, our biggest fan (and only reader).

In July, I visited Diana in D.C. for a weekend. Any weekend with Diana is my favorite weekend of the year. While she is supportive in everything I do in life (emotionally, professionally, spiritually), she exhibits her support the most when it comes to eating. My bloated face will utter, "Should I eat this? I'm just so full." and she will be the first to say, "I'll share it with you," and sometimes she will just eat most of it for me, and that's when I know we are really best friends.

We supported each other a lot as we waited patiently in line at Rose's Luxury, easily D.C.'s hottest restaurant, Bon Appetit's Best New Restaurant of 2014, and probably the only restaurant in town that you have to wait around two hours before it even opens to secure your meal that night. That's right. No reservations. Just lots and lots of ladies who want to eat and willing to stand in line at 3 p.m.

It gives you a lot of time to think about your life's priorities, check out the fashions of the people in front of you, eavesdrop on conversations, mutter curses under your breath for people whose parties suddenly triple in size, and yada yada.

And then when the doors open at 5p, you pray you make the first cut (they stagger seating to not overwhelm the kitchen), or you'll wait just a slim half hour for the second seating. You could also give them a preferred time you'd rather eat, if you don't feel particularly geriatric in wanting to dine at 5p.

We made the second seating, marveled at the charming interior upon entry, and all the gorgeous plants they have on the window ledges (I'll take one of everything please!)


look at this furry little fun guy.

And then after all the gushing was over, we ordered practically everything on the menu, minus the family style, because, we had to call the limits somewhere.

The complimentary bread is the most brilliant ever - potato bread served with buttermilk butter, the itty bittiest bacon bits and even tinier chives .

With each swift spread of butter on the slice, you feel like you're eating a baked potato, and what can be better than that?!

The Vietnamese pate was a dream, served with lusty crusty bread, the lightest, fluffiest pate you can imagine piled high with fresh herbs and peanuts.

Slather everything onto the bread (don't forget the pickled cucumbers or the chilis!), and it's everything you love about banh mi! My belly bursts with happiness!

The most popular dish at Rose's Luxury is the lychee salad, which in and of itself sounds pretty awesome,

but its the coconut cream foam that is pure magic - it envelops absolutely everything when you mix it altogether,

like over all the herbs, and slivers of red onions, and the peanuts, the pork sausage, and habanero and the other random bits and bobs you'll never be able to identify, but which you'll love all the same, because the flavor combination is nothing short of sublime.  Really! And later we thought about ordering another one of these, and I don't think we ever did, and now that is easily one of my life's regrets.

The Japanese hangar steak, served with Japanese mustard and eel sauce,

was sweet and ever so tender. Melty meaty goodness.

Our waitress surprised us with the grilled avocado - "you must try this! you'll love it!" and she was 150% right. Something seemingly so simple but completely fantastic - I started looking into cotija cheese the minute I got back into NYC, because this is how I want to eat all my avocados, with tomatillo, poblano, cotija cheese and onions. Spicy, savory, fresh, amazing.

The softshell crab was a meaty marvel, lightly battered for just the right amount of crunch. Served with slivers of white asparagus and tangy balsamic, the dish was remarkably light and fresh tasting.

The housemade reginetti pasta, squiggly little buggers, tasted equally as fresh, simply tossed with parmesan, chili, garlic and squash blossoms.

The world needs more squash blossoms, amirite?

And finally we ended with just a couple of desserts, a gorgeously plated coconut ice cream with tuile cookies that transported us to the tropics,

and the eggplant tartin, which sounded all sorts of bizarre, but ended up being so delicious.

Served warm with luscious ice cream, you probably wouldn't be able to guess that it is eggplant if you were served it blindly, but you'd sense that something was strange about it, but in a good way, no, a great way.

Sad to see the meal to end, but our check brought a smile. One, that feast totaled less than $100 (!!! !! !!!) and two, check out the third line item: "5 Side of Winning." They knew they had made believers out of us, and it is true. I can't wait to go back, two hours wait or not, that lychee salad beckons me in my dreams.

Han's Nonsensical Rating: Just yes. Yes. Yes. A million times yes!

717 8th St SE, Washington, DC 20003

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Oiji: Adorable Korean Tapas in East Village

What?  Korean food outside of K-town?

And you should go.  To Oiji.  Soon. (Maybe put some pants on first.)

Take a seat among friends.  Share libations like rum & pepper cocktails with pepper syrup and blackberry shrubs.

Remark on the simple decor (it's really so cute) while you wait for your food - order several plates to share, it's the only way.

The fried chicken arrived first, and the waiter swiftly stated, as I grasped my camera with both hands, "You really should eat this as soon as possible."  Fine.  I know the tapioca flour batter waits for no one, but it really took no time to polish at all - the batter was almost ethereal, so light and crisp.

The smoked mackerel was a must order for us - one of my favorite fish.  We dressed it with a simple squeeze of lemon and citrus soy - it really didn't need the soy, so naturally flavorful, but who can resist using that charming brush made of chives?

The beef tartare, topped with a brilliant glob of slow-cooked egg yolk, was instantly the table favorite, topped with ramp aioli, sticks of daikon and immaculate cubes of sweet cantaloupe.  The beef was exceptionally light and amazing.

The truffle seafood plate with crisp rice is finished tableside with a pour of the hot seafood broth over crisp rice.

The rice soaks up a bit of the immensely flavorful broth, but maintains all the crunchy fun you'd want for the party in your mouth.  The soup comes with a few mussels, calamari rings and shrimp, and feels like spoonfuls of instant comfort.

The slow-cooked oxtail with root vegetables is a hearty, meaty plate with two thick pieces of oxtail.  The dish is unexpectedly sweet and would be wonderful with a nice bowl of steamed, white rice, which could be ordered on the side.  We didn't bother with any rice though, instead, we just picked up the oxtail with our grubby hands and chewed that braised meat clean off the bone.  (Okay, I wish we did that.)

We ended with the honey chips, freshly fried to order, unbelievably light and crispy, yet somehow glazed with honey and absolute magic.  The chips are just the slight bit spicy and sweet and all the bit as delicious as everyone says.  Apparently these chips are THE rage in Korea, and now you can get it for $5 in your very own city!

We ended up getting dessert in the LES later, because sticky toffee pudding is all the rage in my stomach right now, and we'll have more on that later, but next time I'll have to see what Oiji has in the sweets department, because there definitely will be a next time.

Han's Nonsensical Rating:    Best chips.  Best beef tartare.  And best water refills (gotta love these little things!)  So much more on the menu to explore and hopefully adore!

119 1st Ave, New York 10003

Sunday, April 12, 2015

A Small Flushing Dumpling Crawl

Regrets in life:
1. Not going to Flushing enough
2. Not having a big enough stomach to eat everything in Flushing

Anybody who is anybody should go to Flushing and do a dumpling crawl.  Like get on all fours.  Go spot to spot.  Ignore weird looks.  Devour too many dumplings.

The gang met up in Flushing ages ago (too long ago), and this was what we ate:

1. Tianjin Dumpling House - Golden Shopping Mall (home of the original Xian Famous Foods)

Tianjin makes dumplings to order, which is the coolest thing you can imagine, and which we would definitely have to try next time - I mean, squid dumpling can be a reality?!

And while they offer a variety of prepared foods like duck heads and innards, we stuck to the dumpling menu, which had several options, including their famous lamb and squash dumplings, which no one was game for (pun intended as always),

and instead stuck with the classics of the egg and glass noodle dumplings

were light and lovely, tasting so, so healthy.

The pork and chive which always, always hits the spot, especially with the slightly thicker and chewy wrapper here that was quite delicious.

Ask for a side of their house sauce which is just pure garlicky goodness that adds a spicy punch to every bite.

The quintessential chili oil is a great complement too.

We enjoyed the golden blobs of pumpkin sesame balls, served in a very slightly sweetened broth,

perfect glutinous chew and satisfying ground black sesame.

2. We also tried a bit of the pork dumplings at Lan Zhou, which took some convincing to get a plate of.  These dumplings had a bit more funk, reminiscent of red wine and a thinner wrapper, which makes them go down all more easily, but I did prefer the chewy pork from Tianjin.

3.  We took a stroll around the block to White Bear, a literal hole-in-the-wall 

manned by a husband and wife team who just churns out

these gloriously white beauts.

The dumplings are more like rounds of pork wrapped in pristine rice crepes and dressed only in gritty spice, vinegar and chili oil.  It's not as spicy as it looks, but it's as tasty as you can imagine.  Completely unique texture than any other dumpling you've ever had, it's definitely recommended as your destination dumpling.

4.  We made our final stop at Sifu Chio, renowned for their authentic Hong Kong style noodles and wonton.  Our vegetarian eater opted for coconut tapioca pudding (cold and creamy)

while we tackled a couple bowls of wonton noodles with the brainy dumplings I attribute to Hong Kong.

Upon first bite, you'll find a large shrimp hugging its little ground pork friend for dear life, making it a terrific little turf and surf dumpling to devour.

The broth and noodles, lovely with a few healthy spoonfuls of chili sauce, and tasted pretty close to the bowls I had in Hong Kong (*sigh* of happy remembrance!).

Every time I go to Flushing, I'm reminded how much I love it, how much I need to visit it more often, and how great Chinese food really can be.

Tianjin Dumpling House
Basement Store #33, 41-28 Main St, Flushing, NY 11355

Lan Zhou Noodle
41-28 Main St Flushing, NY 11355

White Bear
135-02 Roosevelt Ave, Flushing, NY 11354

Sifu Chio
40-09 Prince St Flushing, NY 11354