Co

By grace.g.yang · June 18, 2009
Under: Chelsea,Lunch



Company, the new-ish pizza joint opened by the famed bread maker Jim Lahey (the mastermind behind Sullivan Street Bakery), has been on my list of places to visit since it opened. Co/Company is one of the only restaurants I know of that charges for bread and butter (the only other place I’ve encountered is in Spain), but since Lahey owns Sullivan Street Bakery, I assume it’s more normal (although at Jean-Georges, they give you Lahey’s bread for free…well, it’s included in the meal cost.) I finally made it to Chelsea over the weekend and was in the mood for pizza, so I crossed my fingers that the line wasn’t going to be ridiculous and stepped into the restaurant:

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I was in luck because there was practically no one in the restaurant and we were seated immediately (3pm on a Sunday afternoon might be the best time to go). I read a lot about the different types of pizzas (mostly good things) and was thinking about ordering the Popeye (with lots of spinach), but I decided to order an appetizer and one pizza to share instead. We started off with the artichoke salad with arugula, capers, pecorino, and olive oil:

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Sadly, the artichokes had no taste whatsoever. The arugula was doused with lemon infused olive oil and wasn’t unpleasant, but was definitely something I wouldn’t order again. I thought the artichokes would definitely have more flavor, especially since they were marinated in some kind of olive oil, but they tasted like I was chewing on a fibrous stick of some sort. Definitely skip this salad.

For the pizza, we went with the fennel and sausage pie:

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The pie comes with crushed tomato, roasted fennel, sausage, red onions, chili flakes, buffalo mozzarella, and parmesan and was very hearty. While I was enjoying the pie, I was thinking to myself that this is definitely something I could eat all the time, but I definitely missed the tomato sauce that usually comes on pizza. I mean, there were crushed tomatoes on the pizza, but it’s just not the same – I could eat pizza with crushed tomatoes AND tomato sauce! The pizza was semi-healthy (minus the pork sausage) and very filling. After I finished two slices, I felt full but not stuffed and decided against ordering another pie (even though I still wanted to try some other choices on the menu).

I liked the whimsical decor of the restaurant (there are globes hanging from the ceilings with animals glued upside down to the continent they’re from) and the service was good (we were the only table the waitress had to deal with), but the pizza definitely didn’t blow me away.

Calexico Cart

By grace.g.yang · June 17, 2009
Under: Cheap Eats,Lunch,Mexican,Soho



After hearing a lot of great things about Calexico Cart (and watching a segment about it online), I dragged some friends there for lunch. Andy, Lou, Harlan, and I walked over from our offices and got in line for some of the burritos:

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The guys that own Calexico are from California and started the cart because they didn’t think there were any good burrito options in the city. The menu is straightforward and I ordered two carne asada burritos (one was for my brother, I swear!)

Here they are making our burritos:

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The carne asada burrito is grilled hangar steak with rice, beans, cheese, pico de gallo, and avocado cream. The finished product (that I had to take all the way from Wooster and Prince!):

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And the innards:

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Honestly, I wasn’t a huge fan of the burrito because I thought the flavors were all really muddled together. When I was on vacation in California in the mission district, I thought the burritos were heavy, but the meat tasted a lot fresher and more flavorful. I thought Calexico’s steak was too tough and chewy. The guys, however, thought I was crazy for not devouring the burrito for its deliciousness (well, I did finish mine, and some of my brothers, but it wasn’t easy!) A lot of people from the office LOVE the place now and go there once a week even though it’s a far walk, but I haven’t been back since. I might give it another shot if I’m in the neighborhood, but I wouldn’t make a special trip for their burrito.

Calexico Carne Asada - Cart on Urbanspoon

DBGB Kitchen and Bar

By grace.g.yang · June 11, 2009
Under: Burgers,Cheap Eats,Dinner,LES,My Life



Remember how I made this birthday list of all the things I wanted for my birthday? Well, my family took me to Minetta Tavern, my mom’s taking me to Jean-Georges this weekend, and my other friend is taking me to Annisa on Tuesday. I have to say, I have really great friends and family and they love making me happy (by feeding me lots of good food!!)

On Tuesday, my friend Lou took me to DBGB, the new Daniel Boulud restaurant that opened on Bowery. I’ve been eagerly anticipating the opening (as have many other bloggers) and I was so excited that I made a reservation last week. The restaurant features a bar in the front and a main dining room in the back (which is surrounded by the kitchen!) The walls of the restaurant are decorated by really beautiful copper pots, all of which were sent by famous chefs (I noticed Thomas Keller’s, Ferran Adria’s, and Pierre Gagnaire’s while I was walking around) We sat at the last two top by the dessert station, which gave us a perfect view of the awesome sundae’s being made throughout our meal.

Our waitress was really friendly and brought us a bread basket to start:

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Have I ever mentioned how I’m a huge fan of large chunks of salt on butter? Well, I am. The bread wasn’t anything great, but it was enough to satiate me while I looked at the menu – actually, the wine/beer menu was so large that I had to give it back to the waitress since it was taking up too much table space!

I already had a pretty good idea of what I wanted to order (which kind of surprised my friend considering the restaurant officially opened the day before our dinner). I read that the matzo ball soup was a great appetizer, but it was too warm for a hot soup, and none of the other appetizers really caught my eye, so we decided to just get two entrees and dessert. However, immediately after we placed our order, we changed our minds and decided to go with the cucumber soup (Lou had been eying it, anyway):

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The cucumber soup is served chilled with smoked salmon grassini and a little dill tapioca. I have to admit that I’ve never had cucumber soup before (actually, the only cold soups I’ve had are gazpacho and a beet soup my mom makes), but the cucumber soup was mellow flavored, very creamy, and overall very delicious. The soup didn’t arrive until after our entrees arrived (even though the waiter asked if we wanted to get the soup first), but no biggie – just more food to eat all at once!

Since I definitely wanted to try a burger and I really dislike Daisy May’s BBQ (they top one of the burgers with Daisy May’s!!), I went with the most original – the Yankee: 6 ounces of beef served on a sesame bun with iceberg lettuce, tomato, lettuce, an Essex St. pickle, and fries:

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I must be in some kind of bun funk because I really could not stand the bun on the Yankee burger. I mean, it was so dense that it almost felt like I was eating two really thick pieces of pound cake with a beef patty sandwiched in between it. Also, I really dislike shredded lettuce in burgers because it reminds me of a Big Mac from McDonald’s. I mean, if I eat a burger at a restaurant, I think the lettuce should be Boston lettuce. The meat was tender (I mean, it could still be mooing by the looks of it, but I really couldn’t taste all of the flavoring because the bun overpowered all other tastes)

The inner Yankee:

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Even though the meat is incredibly red and looks really juicy, I just didn’t get the juiciness from it. Lou said he thought I was crazy for not thinking the burger was juicy, but maybe it’s because I was spoiled by the black label burger last weekend, where I had to lick the juice off my fingers because it was dripping everywhere…but I digress. The fries lacked the freshness you get from freshly fried fries – they didn’t taste stale, but they definitely weren’t fresh or super hot.

There are a lot of sausages to choose from on the menu (Daniel Boulud is a big fan of sausages- ha!) and they’re made in house by a…sausage man. You can order one (they range from $9 – $15) or you can get the sausage duo for $21. Obviously I wanted the sausage duo (because of the savings but more importantly, MORE SAUSAGE!):

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I definitely wanted to try the beaujolaise (any sausage filled with pork, mushrooms, onion, bacon & red wine is a-ok in my book) and we also went with the tunisienne (spicy lamb & mint merguez, lemon braised spinach, and chickpeas). The beaujolaise, on the right, had a lot of great textures and the lentils + dipping sauce added more rich flavors that all exploded in your mouth. A mouth party, you might say. The tunisienne was actually my favorite item of the night because the mint really made the lamb not as heavy as you’d expect. Plus, the lemon braised spinach was pretty excellent – something I could eat everyday.

Originally, the plan was to get two entrees and dessert because I really wanted a sundae, but I really didn’t think I could stuff two scoops of ice cream into my belly (although if I really tried, I could’ve done it). We decided to pass on dessert, but here’s a picture of the dessert prep area:

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The restaurant ran really smoothly (I guess that’s why they have a soft opening!) and was absolutely packed for a Tuesday night – almost every table was occupied and the bar was pretty full as well. I don’t think their burgers are worth ordering, but I will definitely be back (actually, on Sunday), for their sausages AND ICE CREAM SUNDAES!

DBGB Kitchen and Bar on Urbanspoon

Shirtstastegood.com

By grace.g.yang · June 10, 2009
Under: gracenotesnyc.com,My Life

Two days ago, the awesome website Shirtstastegood.com launched. Two of my friends that I did the Idiotarod with started STG (with two of their friends) and they’ve worked really hard to put it together. The website features youtube.com inspired shirts that are hilarious – here are some of my favorites:

1. Motherlover

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If you haven’t been living under a rock, you’ve seen the Motherlover video featuring Andy Samberg and Justin Timberlake (with special appearances by Susan Saradon and Patricia Clarkson). The guys at Shirtstastegood.com created the waffle shirt because of the line Justin sings (I’m gonna be the syrup, she can be my waffle). Delicious and hilarious.

2. I Like Turtles

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I actually ordered one of these shirts because my friend Josh liked it so much – basically, a reporter tries to interview a kid (on a local news station or something) and instead of responding to the reporter’s question, the kid just says “I like turtles.” Go to the link above to check out the video.

3. I’m on a Boat!

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Yet another Andy Samberg inspired shirt where he’s…on a boat and singing about it (T-Pain’s in the video, too).

4. Battle at Kruger

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Crocodile vs. lions vs. water buffalo….the video isn’t that funny, but somehow the guys made a shirt that captures the video and is also hilarious.

5. I Twatted

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I saved my favorite for last – the I Twatted shirt. Watch the video (the link above) to see Meredith Viera’s reaction to Stephen Colbert telling her that he has “twatted” before.

The shirts (all American Apparel) are printed in New Jersey and the designs are done in-house, too. If you don’t see your favorite youtube video converted into a t-shirt here, you can always make a suggestion (and if your suggestion is turned into a shirt, you get some kind of awesome reward!) Check out the website when you have some extra time (although you might end up spending an entire afternoon on the site since the videos and shirts are so funny)

The Di Fara Pizza Eating Experience

By grace.g.yang · June 8, 2009
Under: Brooklyn,Cheap Eats,Dinner,Italian



A while back, Chris and I decided that it would be fun to take a field trip to Brooklyn to try Di Fara pizza. I had it on the list-of-places-I-absolutely-have-to-try, so we took the 30 minute subway ride over to Brooklyn to find Di Fara. To pass the time, Chris and I talked about how excited we were to finally try Di Fara (we went to a bunch of blogs to check out pictures before we left Chris’ house). ANYWAY, Di Fara is a block away from the subway station and really easy to spot, although we didn’t even see it until we almost passed it (it reminds me of the time I was in Italy with my family and we were looking for the Colosseum, even though it was LITERALLY RIGHT IN FRONT OF US.) Doesn’t this picture make Di Fara look like it was transported through time:

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The restaurant is really small and kind of dingy, but no one was complaining. I mean, it’s a pizza joint! Chris and I knew exactly what we wanted, so we placed our order with Dom, the owner, and he went to work. Here’s his workplace:

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I suppose he liked us because he put our pizza in a lot sooner than other people that were waiting, so we only waited another 20 minutes or so before our pie came out. I’ve read about his place getting shut down by the DOH because of the way he handles the pizza, money, and other things without gloves, but WHATEVER it’s pizza and I didn’t get sick from it. Here he is finishing off our pizza:

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Chris and I were a little afraid of the massive quantities of olive oil he used – I seriously think it was at least 20 ounces!! Actually, I think he might’ve forgotten that he already put olive oil on the pizza so after he cut up some fresh basil, he spread it again….and once more for good measure. Here’s another shot of the entire pie:

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Olive oil heaven:

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The pizza crust was a combination between Patsy’s (extremely soggy because of the sauce) and John’s (crusty and firmer). I think I might’ve overdosed from the olive oil, but the combination of cheeses, salty pepperoni, and fresh basil was absolutely mind blowing. We couldn’t finish the pizza, which is actually kind of shocking considering I usually eat about 4 slices, but I think it was the olive oil sitting in my stomach that did me in. Di Fara was definitely worth the 30 minute train ride to Brooklyn and I definitely recommend a visit.

Di Fara Pizza on Urbanspoon


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