Bouchon Bakery

By grace.g.yang · May 5, 2008
Under: Lunch,Midtown West

To prepare for our Thomas Keller experience at The French Laundry (in a MONTH!), Chris and I went to Keller’s affordable bistro in Manhattan: Bouchon. Located in the Time Warner Center just below Per Se, Bouchon is a small cafe/restaurant that serves bistro goodies. The wait on a Saturday afternoon was about 20 minutes; not bad at all since there are so many stores to distract you while you’re waiting. We were promptly seated and given a bread basket while we contemplated what we wanted to order (we had a general idea of what we wanted, but had to narrow down the choices!).

Our bread basket with butter:

Each piece of bread was connected to the next so you could just break off a perfect-sized piece for yourself. The bread was extremely good, but would’ve been great if it had been hot (it’s asking a lot, I know). Also, the butter was really creamy and was the perfect spreading temperature (I love it when you can stick your knife in the butter and get exactly the amount you want without it being too hard or soft).

Chris and I decided to order a grilled cheese and tomato soup as well as a wagyu beef brisket sandwich (and dessert, of course). I started with the grilled cheese and tomato soup:

Grilled cheesy goodness:

The grilled cheese had two types of cheese (fontina and gruyere) sandwiched between two slices of brioche. The tomato soup tasted like fresh tomato puree and was very simple yet delicious. I read a couple of reviews before going to Bouchon and people usually complained that the food wasn’t hot (the kitchen is pretty small and it’s close to the bakery on the side of the restaurant), but my tomato soup was extremely hot – so hot that I burned my tongue!

Chris ordered the Wagyu Beef Brisket sandwich with side salad:

Initially, we wanted to order the lobster macaroni and cheese (since we both LOVE macaroni and cheese), but they only make a certain amount everyday and they were out by the time we got there. The wagyu beef brisket sandwich was okay, but not something I’d order again. The meat was a little dry, in my opinion. The side salad was overdressed and the dressing actually tasted a little bit like olive juice.

I was really interested in trying their desserts (there are so many to choose from!) and Chris and I decided to go with the Nutter Butter with vanilla ice cream:

Thomas Keller’s take on the nutter butter was soft, chewy, and and the filling inside was a lot better than what Nutter Butter offers. The cookie isn’t that sweet (even though it’s a ton of sugar and butter – I know because I recreated the recipe over the weekend), but the vanilla ice cream balanced the cookie out. It was amazing!

After our lunch at Bouchon, we walked over to the bakery to see what we could for take out:

They have TKO’s (Thomas Keller Oreos), sticky buns, and lots of macaroons. I didn’t order anything, but I’ll be back in a couple weeks for their macaroni and cheese!

What to order: Tartine Of Tuna Nicoise On Pain De Campagna, Tomato Soup & Grilled Cheese, Vegetable Jardiniere On Toasted Multigrain, and the Nutter butter cookie for dessert.

Bouchon Bakery on Urbanspoon

Jeff Koons on the Roof

By grace.g.yang · May 1, 2008
Under: Things to do in NYC,UES

Last night, Chris and I were lucky enough to go to the Met to attend a social gathering with Bloomberg and Jeff Koons. If you recognize the name but you’re not sure from where, maybe it’s because you saw his name and artwork on Google; his chrome tulips were on the homepage:

Google launched iGoogle Artist Themes yesterday and had his tulips on display (his tulips weren’t on display at the Met rooftop because they’re too large for the space). Google is also showing some of the artwork from their 70 collaborators this weekend in the meatpacking district – you can find more info here. (I’m not sure if anything by Jeff Koons will be there…but I’m going to check it out anyway!).

The Bloomberg/Met event was fun and we were able to see Koons’ work and listen to him explain his amazing stainless steel sculptures that are currently being shown in the Iris and B. Gerald Cantor Roof Garden. Here are the three sculptures on display:

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Who doesn’t love a balloon dog?!:

The detailed creases made me want to touch it to make sure it wasn’t an actual balloon. :)

Sacred Heart:

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Coloring book:

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Coloring book is supposed to be a sloppily colored-in illustration of Piglet – cute, right?

The exhibit runs through October 26th and is worth checking out – if you don’t want to see the art, at least check out the amazing view of Central Park and the Manhattan skyline!


By grace.g.yang · April 29, 2008
Under: East Village,Japanese

I’m always on the lookout for great noodles. We LOVE ramen, udon, and soba, so we decided to check out Sobaya for some noodley goodness. The interior is small but neat and we decided to sit at the counter for dinner. The menu doesn’t have that many options, but you can choose the type of protein you want (duck, shrimp, tofu skin, etc) and the noodle (either soba or udon). Their soba and udon are both handmade and fresh, so we decided to do one of each – I ordered the duck with udon and Chris went with the tempura with soba.

My duck with udon:

The udon was very chewy, but the broth and the duck didn’t taste right (there’s orange zest in the broth, which totally threw me off). The duck also had a lot of fat, and was tough and hard to chew.

Chris’ tempura with soba:

Chris’ tempura shrimp was tasty, but his soba noodles weren’t that good. They were a little overcooked (at least I thought they were).

If we could do it again, I would’ve paired the tempura with udon and the duck with soba, although I think I’d pick a different protein since I didn’t like the duck broth with orange zest. Sobaya has a good deal for lunch (a huge lunchbox for $15 filled with lots of goodies), but they don’t serve it for dinner, so we were out of luck.

Tip: get there early because it gets crazy around dinner time. You might end up waiting up to an hour for a bowl of homemade noodles on any given night!

How to get to Sobaya:

229 E 9th Street between 2nd and 3rd Avenue
New York, NY 10003

DuMont Burger

By grace.g.yang · April 28, 2008
Under: Brooklyn,Burgers,Dinner

Back in March when I was looking all over Manhattan for an apartment, I met a broker that used to be a waitress at Aqua Grill in Soho. Even though I didn’t find a place through her, I got some good restaurant recommendations, including a burger joint in Brooklyn – DuMont Burger. I meant to check it out sooner, but getting to Brooklyn is a hassle. :)

Chris and I took the L train to Brooklyn for dinner, which is a pretty big deal because taking the L train on the weekends can be a huge pain in the butt; there is always some kind of construction going on! We ended up getting to Brooklyn and finding DuMont Burger:

Initially, we walked into the take-out portion of the restaurant (we were a little disappointed because it was a hike from the subway stop to DuMont Burger and we didn’t see any chairs to sit in while we enjoyed dinner), but when we got up to the counter to order, the cashier told us there was an actual restaurant a couple doors down – whew!! DuMont Burger is actually an extension of their restaurant, DuMont; they opened up DuMont Burger because people always ended up waiting forever for burgers and bar food. We walked into the restaurant, took seats at the bar, and ordered a cheeseburger with fries and macaroni and cheese.

Chris’ cheeseburger with fries:

Juicy medium rare:

The burger was actually pretty good – I’d say it’s worth it if you’re in Brooklyn, but not worth the hassle of going to Brooklyn JUST for a cheeseburger. It was juicy, flavorful, and the brioche bun was the perfect proportion in relation to the meat. The lettuce, something I hardly ever mention in burger posts, was very crisp and the perfect size as well (boston lettuce, I think). Their fries were all small bits (similar to Soho Park’s leftover fries!!).

Since I didn’t want to order the same thing as Chris (we because we always switch plates halfway through our meal), I ordered the DuMac and Cheese:

Remember how I said that the burger isn’t worth going to Brooklyn for? Well, the macaroni and cheese DEFINITELY is; it has an amazingly cheesy crust, lots of perfectly cooked rotini noodles, lots and lots of gooey cheese, and bacon. TONS OF HUGE BACON pieces. I was so amazed at how much pork was in the macaroni and cheese (it was even better than Artisanal’s).

The walk back to the subway didn’t seem as far as the walk over because I was so stuffed from the macaroni and cheese and the cheeseburger. I will definitely go back – for their mac and cheese!

What to order: The DuMac and Cheese, tempura onion donuts, and the DuMont burger.

DuMont Burger on Urbanspoon

Olafur Eliasson: Take Your Time

By grace.g.yang · April 27, 2008
Under: Midtown West,My Life,Things to do in NYC

Yesterday, Chris and I went to the Olafur Eliasson’s exhibit at the MoMA:

Part of the exhibit is in Queens (at P.S. 1), but we didn’t have a chance to go – we’re definitely going soon because we’ve heard it’s equally interesting there. Here are some of my favorite pictures from yesterday’s visit:

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A fan, suspended from the ceiling, floats just above people’s touch:

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I forgot this was part of the exhibit and leaned against it:

The artist installed intense orange lights down two halls:

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Jumping around a room that changed colors:

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