Pocha 32

By grace.g.yang · September 26, 2014
Under: Asian,Cheap Eats,Dinner,Drinks,K-town,Korean,Murray Hill,My Life,seafood,Things to do in NYC


A few weeks ago, Joe and I were talking about getting together for dinner. Joe’s and his girlfriend, Jane, recently moved from Gramercy to Murray Hill and I hadn’t met her yet so we decided to get together for dinner at Pocha 32. Since we are both walking distance from Koreatown, we decided to meet there and ended up going to Pocha 32, somewhere I’ve only been after a few drinks earlier in the evening. Their food is actually very good (although very salty) and they also have really good watermelon soju.

We started off by sharing the watermelon soju:

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Soju is mixed with sprite and fresh watermelon juice and then place in half of an empty watermelon. They ladle it out into bowls so when you’re drinking it, it’s almost like you’re drinking a gazpacho. It’s pretty sweet but you don’t taste any of the soju until it hits you all at once.

For dinner, we shared the squid that was stuffed with pork. They bring it to the table still intact and cut it up into slices for you at the table with a very sharp knife:

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The finished result:

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It is a really large bite of food but you want to get as much squid and pork into your mouth in one bite as possible to get all of the good flavors and textures. It’s slightly spicy (it’s cooked with lots of gochujang, which is the traditional Korean red sauce that’s the base for everything) and then the pork is cooked until it falls apart easily. It’s really quite good and hits the spot when you’re craving Korean food.

I definitely want to return to Pocha 32 again and I’m already thinking about the squid stuffed with pork!

Pocha 32 on Urbanspoon

Grace Street

By grace.g.yang · September 24, 2014
Under: Asian,Desserts,K-town,Korean,Murray Hill,Snacks,Taiwan,Things to do in NYC



After a fun meal at BCD Tofu with Ken and Hsiao Mei, we headed down 32nd street searching for dessert. I mentioned a few options since we were in the mood for shaved ice: Grace Street, a place in the East Village, or my usual for patbingsoo in Koreatown, Tous Les Jours. We decided on Grace Street because it was the closest to BCD Tofu and because it happened to be pouring rain when we were trying to decide where to go.

Grace Street is relatively new (less than a year old, I think). They sell artwork inside and it’s a coffee shop as well as dessert and tea shop. We opted for three different desserts. The first: black sesame shaved ice with vanilla ice cream, red beans, and mochi:

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The second dessert: green tea shaved ice with strawberry ice cream, red beans, and mochi:

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And finally, their donut, which is called a ho-dduk, with vanilla ice cream:

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Three desserts might have been too aggressive for the three of us, but we managed to finish all of them. I preferred the green tea shaved ice to the black sesame shaved ice; closer to what you’d get in Asia but still not as good. The shaved ice you usually get in Asia tastes just like snow – light on the tongue and dissolves into nothing in your mouth. It’s easy to survive off it during the summertime in Asia because it’s so refreshing and there are so many different combinations and flavors that you could just continue trying different mochis, toppings, and ice creams and never get bored!

The ho-dduk is the traditional Korean doughnut that was actually pretty good; it has a cinnamon-walnut type filling that tastes really good with the warm fried dough and very cold vanilla ice cream.

Definitely a cute spot in K-town – great for a quick bite if you are looking for something sweet!

Grace Street on Urbanspoon

Marta

By grace.g.yang · September 22, 2014
Under: American,Brunch,Cheap Eats,Dinner,Gramercy,Italian,Italy,Murray Hill,My Life,Pizza,Snacks,Things to do in NYC,Weekend Diet



Last weekend, a friend I met in Las Vegas invited me to brunch to thank me for some introductions I made earlier in the week. I was excited to try Marta, Danny Meyer’s brand new restaurant in the Martha Washington Hotel, and suggested we meet there for early morning pizza.

The hotel looks like it is completely new; they are still finishing up the lobby, the bathrooms, and possibly the entrance (there weren’t bellmen working by the entrance and there wasn’t a very prominent sign so a lot of people with suitcases walked right past the hotel entrance). Luckily, there is a Marta plaque on one of the outside columns:

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The restaurant is filled with natural sunlight and is in the lobby of the hotel on the left-hand side. There are two large pizza ovens:

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Lots of seating at the bar and the restaurant:

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And two floors for dining. We sat close to the bar and had a good view of the other diners enjoying the beautiful Sunday afternoon at the new restaurant. My favorite part of the meal might have been the free sparkling water they offer with your meal (and I also appreciate that they tell you it’s free…because sometimes when waiters ask you if you want still or sparkling, they’re not actually telling you both options cost money and the only free option is actually tap). We ordered a bunch of stuff to share, including the rabbit meatballs with ricotta:

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The Marta Mista salad:

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And the fried summer squash:

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The only appetizer I wasn’t a fan of were the rabbit meatballs; I thought they were a little on the dry side and a little under-seasoned. The fried summer squash was much better than I had anticipated; they were lightly fried and not oily at all (even after they had been sitting for a while) and the touch of lemon and tomato sauce were really fresh.

For pizza, we shared the mushroom pie:

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They separate the menu into fried foods, salads, cooked dishes, then pizzas with red sauce/marinara and pizzas without (with just cheese). We opted for the funghi pie and it had so many different earthy mushrooms on it paired with delicious red onion and thyme. It was definitely enough food to share for two people and we didn’t end up finishing the pie (although I think if we really tried, we could have!)

The restaurant was running like a well oiled machine even though they had only been opened for a week when we visited; it was so well run that I almost forgot it had just opened! The restaurant is close enough to our apartment that I definitely want to add Marta into our regular mix of restaurants (I love Maialino and Gramercy Tavern but Marta is right up there after my wonderful brunch there!)

Marta on Urbanspoon

Laduree Soho

By grace.g.yang · September 11, 2014
Under: American,Brunch,Burgers,Desserts,Drinks,Gift Ideas,High Tea,My Life,Snacks,Soho,Things to do in NYC



One of my new favorite places to go in New York is Laduree. Originally it was the Upper East Side location but then Laduree opened a huge bakery, restaurant, and open outdoor space in Soho, where Ken and I went one wonderful weekend. It’s such a beautiful bakery and all of the macarons and baked goods are always delicious and perfectly made. I love just walking in the bakery and smelling all of the delicious butter that went into their croissants and salted caramel macarons.

The beautiful backdrop:

Laduree Soho

Laduree Soho is similar to the Laduree’s in Paris (especially the one on the Champs-Elysees); there is plenty of seating and lots of beautifully made desserts:

Laduree Soho

The original location in New York only sells macarons, sorbets, and little trinkets but the (new) location in Soho sells sandwiches, croissants, caneles, and lots of beautiful sweet creations:

Laduree Soho

The macarons are all perfect (when the UES location opened, they were delivered from Paris on a weekly basis. Now that there’s a larger location in the city, I wonder if they make their macarons in house):

Laduree Soho

Ken and I purchased some macarons and an additional croissant:

Laduree Soho

And my personal favorite, a canele:

Laduree Soho

Canele’s are crunchy on the outside (thanks to the beeswax finish) and the innards are delicious; a little vanilla bean, rum, and egg yolk make the perfect bite:

Laduree Soho

Laduree already makes perfect macarons but you have to visit the soho location for their other desserts or to have a glass of champagne on their patio and enjoy a canele!

Ladurée on Urbanspoon

The Brooklyn Kitchen

By grace.g.yang · September 9, 2014
Under: American,Brooklyn,My Life,Things to do in NYC

I have been visiting Brooklyn more and more and really enjoy each trip there (once I get there…the commute is still less than desirable). On one recent visit, I stopped by The Brooklyn Kitchen, a general store with groceries, tools, and classes:

The Brooklyn Kitchen

They have a NYC-decorated cow outside that lured me in:

The Brooklyn Kitchen

The store has another store (or counter) inside – the meat hook – where people were picking up fresh cuts of meat or freshly made sausages:

The Brooklyn Kitchen

I didn’t want to buy any meat because it seemed like you had to pre-order anything good (I’m not sure about that, I would call beforehand if you’re interested in buying meat) and instead, walked over to the Le Creuset and knife area to admire the kitchen goods:

The Brooklyn Kitchen

They had a really good selection of both pots and knives and also had a lot of interesting items for the kitchen. I wanted to buy something and ended up buying this amazing yogurt by The White Mustache:

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These are pretty pricey (the cheapest I’ve found is at Whole Foods and they’re $5 there), but it’s worth every penny. The sour cherry is my favorite!

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The yogurt is sweeter than Fage, has a similar thickness, and the sour cherry flavor is tart but not too tart. It’s so delicious and a good substitute for actual dessert.


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