Gray’s Papaya

By grace.g.yang · May 2, 2007
Under: Cheap Eats,Dinner,West Village

Before the Brooklyn Botanical Garden trip on Saturday, I met up with Chris for a quick bite to eat. We couldn’t decide on a place that was nearby (we couldn’t decide between McDonald’s and Wendy’s) so we ended up going to Grey’s Papaya! I’ve never been to one, but apparently they’re supposed to be REALLY good hot dogs. We both ordered the recession special (two hot dogs and a drink for $3.50!).

I ordered one with relish and tropical relish (?) and one without. I think I still prefer Hebrew Nationals hot dogs (these weren’t meaty enough and the relish wasn’t that tasty). Since the recession special also came with a drink, I ordered the coconut milk and Chris ordered the orange DRINK. Not Juice, but DRINK. :) The coconut had pieces of coconut in it and was slightly too sweet. I don’t think I’ll be going back anytime soon. :)

Gray's Papaya (Greenwich Village) on Urbanspoon

Saturday Night: 230 Fifth

By grace.g.yang · May 1, 2007
Under: Celebrity Sightings,Dinner,K-town,My Life,Nightlife

After the dentist’s visit, dinner in Chinatown, and running to Herald Square for some last minute window shopping, I headed out to 230 Fifth for some drinks with Jason, Leo, and their friends. It was kind of a cold night to be out since 230 Fifth is known more for their rooftop bar (or the stuffed cheetah by the entrance). I haven’t seen Jason since March (he’s SO busy with work!):

Leo and I didn’t stay that long because we were kind of hungry (again), BUT, while Leo was ordering drinks, he noticed that one of the bartender’s was a model from ANTM (America’s Next Top Model)! Leo has seen every season since it started in 2003 (impressive!) and recognized Xiomara Frans (I had no idea who she was). She was booted mid-season (the season Yoanna House won). Now, she works as a bartender at 230 Fifth (I’m not sure if she’s still a model) and she was SUPER rude to Leo. She wouldn’t take a picture with her because she said she was busy (understandable) and basically blew him off. Before we left, he asked again and she wanted Leo to take a picture of her and another bartender…um, okay. Instead, I took a picture of Leo and her in the background:

Recognize her? Yeah…I didn’t, either.

Afterwards, we headed to K-Town for some seolleongtang, which is the ox-tail soup that I love so much and some beef brisket, thinly sliced:

You eat the beef with the green onion in the center for more flavor (Steve mistook it for lettuce when he came to visit in January). I didn’t end up going home until 3AM, but the meal was so good. I could live off seolleongtang (especially now since I have a temporary crown in and I’m not supposed to use my left side to chew).

230 Fifth on Urbanspoon

Best Dentist in NYC!

By grace.g.yang · May 1, 2007
Under: Grace's Picks,My Life,Things to do in NYC

On Saturday, I had to spend the day at the dentist’s office (after a brief eye exam). Last year, I had to get a crown put in on an upper right tooth. It was probably one of the most painful experiences I’ve ever had in dentistry (and trust me – I’ve been through a lot). I usually think I’m pretty good when it comes to pain + dentistry – when I was little, I could get cavities filled without Novocaine. Seriously. Anyway, at my last dentist in Champaign, he said putting the crown in wouldn’t be too painful, but he was totally lying to me. Also, when my new dentist took x-rays, he saw that my old dentist put the crown OVER the cavity filling, which you’re not supposed to do because there could be decay underneath the filling. ARGH! Anyway, I had to get a crown put in on the left side (I knew I would have to do it eventually because my dentist mentioned it to me last year, but I refused to get any other work done by him, even though I had been going to him for over five years).

I went in for a routine cleaning and to put in a crown (over 2 hours in the chair!). The dentist’s office, Park South Dentistry, is right by my apartment and I found it through citysearch and everyone had positive things to say about him, but I was still a little scared to put in a crown. The dentist was super gentle, I didn’t feel a THING, AND, get this – I had braces when I was little (I had them for three years and got them off when I was 11 or 12) and the orthodontist/dentist couldn’t take off all of the cement for some reason, so I’ve always had these little pieces of cement on my front teeth. It’s hard to notice unless you’re really close up (obviously a dentist can tell), but it’s never as white as the other parts of my teeth, and other dentists have tried to scrape it off, but with no success. The new dentist saw it and took it off with his special tool in like, TWO seconds! I was really happy with the entire visit and I haven’t been able to stop raving about this new dentist, Dr. Janash. Another great thing – you can book appointments ONLINE AND he’s open on Saturdays until 7PM!

Yankees vs Red Sox

By grace.g.yang · April 27, 2007
Under: Dinner,K-town,My Life

Today, my friend, John, offered me his extra ticket to the Yankees/Red Sox game (as long as I promised to cheer for the Red Sox) :) . We headed up to the Bronx for the game and saw a lot of Japanese television crews at the entrance:

I knew there was a Japanese guy that played for the New York Yankees(his name isHideki Matsui, but I didn’t know that there were Japanese guys on the Boston Red Sox team (Daisuke Matsuzaka) AND Hideki Okajima). BOTH of them are pitchers for the Boston Red Sox! It’s definitely a HUUUUGE deal in Japan – there were a lot of Japanese people at the game because they wanted to see Matsui face off against Matsuzaka/Okajima.

The game was really fun to watch, especially with all of the interesting people around us. I never really knew Red Sox fans hated Yankees fans so much (and vice versa), but John explained to me the history of the longstanding rivalry. (If you want to know the full story, click here: Yankees – Red Sox Rivalry ). An abridged version (and probably somewhat wrong since I’m telling it) is that The Red Sox’s owner needed money so he sold Babe Ruth to the Yankees, the Yankees started winning all these games, The Red Sox started losing all these games, and there was supposedly a curse put on the Red Sox, known as the curse of the Bambino). Anyway, now it’s just funny to watch the Red Sox fans get riled up and vice versa. For instance, I witnessed at least 4 fights take place during the game…and that was only in MY area! Here’s another funny picture:

I’m not sure if you can tell exactly what the guy is doing, but if you look REALLY closely, you’ll see that he’s trying to light a Red Sox hat on fire. Apparently, some Yankees fan picked up a Red Sox fan’s hat, threw it, and another Yankees fan picked it up and started lighting it on fire. It was like a domino effect because all of a sudden it looked like it was raining Red Sox hats from the sky!! After the hat fell one level, another Yankees fan would pick it up and throw it over the balcony, and when it reached the other level, another person would throw it around some more!! Isn’t that horribly mean?!

The highlights of the game include:

3. Seeing THIS on a jumbotron:

His REAL name is COCO. And his LAST NAME IS CRISP! A. How funny is that and b. what were his parents ON when they named him?

2. Seeing guys bond like this:

So the story behind this picture – these two guys were sitting in front of us, drinking, watching the game, etc. I look down at the top of the 8th and I see this guy passed out in his seat! Now, I know that baseball isn’t THAT fun when the game isn’t close at all, but there were fights, riots, and lots of yelling and screaming! Of course, his friend had to mess with him by taking funny pictures with him (the passed out friend is a big Yankees fan, the guy that’s still awake is a huge Red Sox fan…how they get along, we will never know).

1. Hanging out with my friend John and watching the Red Sox beat the Yankees, 11 – 4:

Thanks again for hooking me up with the ticket!! :)

After the Yankees game, John and I headed to K-town (Korea Town) for some oxtail soup and kimchee. We went to Oam Ni Oak (I totally just made that up, but I *think* it kind of looked like that). They only serve a couple of things – oxtail soup, bibimbap, thinly sliced beef, and one other dish (no jigae, bulgogi, kalbi, etc). Even though they have a limited menu, they definitely make everything REALLY well, especially their Kimchi (which I think is a big deal, especially since Kimchi is such a staple in Korean cooking):

Their radishes are SO tasty and crunchy…and just the right amount of time spent fermenting in the ground!! :)

John and I both ordered the oxtail soup (it’s not flavored so you season it with salt, pepper, and scallions…so simple, yet so delicious):

Tomorrow, I’m running errands during the day and then spending the evening with some friends from school – I can’t wait!

Lobster Rolls and Frozen Yogurt!

By grace.g.yang · April 26, 2007
Under: Desserts,Dinner,Grace's Picks,My Life,Things to do in NYC,West Village

On Tuesday (not Wednesday), Chris and I met up for lobster rolls and frozen yogurt (the best combination, EVER). We went to our favorite place, The Pearl Oyster Bar in the west village. The owner, Rebecca Charles, specializes in lobster rolls and clams (and all types of seafood, actually). She opened up the small restaurant back in 1997, back when no one in Manhattan had lobster rolls. Now, they’re everywhere!…but we still like the Pearl Oyster Bar the most. Look at how small the restaurant is:

There’s another room (the actual dining room), but there are only 20 some seats and they don’t accept reservations (a good thing, actually, because the lobster rolls are so good you’d probably never get a reservation!). We headed over around 7pm (prime dining time) and waited almost an hour for our seats (we walked around Bleecker Street and found a cute bench to sit on, so the wait wasn’t too bad).

So, you might be thinking, what exactly IS a lobster roll? According to Wikipedia, lobster rolls are sandwiches with around a pound of lobster (!), butter, mayonnaise, diced celery, all on a warm hot dog bun. Doesn’t that sound freaking fantastic?! It tastes EVEN BETTER! (All the ingredients are good for you, too). :) Actually, there has been a shortage of lobsters this season, according to a NY Post online article. The Pearl Oyster bar actually raised their prices by $4, from $22 – $26 (they’re already pretty expensive, but if you think about it, you’re getting a freaking POUND of lobster!) Chris and I both ordered lobster rolls and they came out surprisingly fast (the waitress apologized for making us wait so long so she made our lobster rolls extra fast!). They also come out with shoestring fries and malt vinegar (their fries are the absolute BEST!). Are you ready to see the meal? I don’t know if you’re prepared for all this lobster roll goodness: SO DELICIOUS! The lobster is so fresh and tender and I usually hate mayonnaise, but it just goes so well with the lobster! And on top of all that goodness, the buttery bun is perfectly toasted (the bun isn’t hard/crispy at all, just warm). How do you do it, Rebecca?! :) Chris and I scarfed down our lobster rolls AND our shoestring fries and saw a lobster roll being WASTED by the guy next to us! He was out to dinner with his neighbor (the seats are so close in the restaurant that you can basically hear what everyone is saying), but he only ate HALF of his lobster roll and NONE of his shoestring fries! Chris and I whispered to each other that we were going to grab the lobster roll from his plate and just eat it if he didn’t since it should be illegal to waste something so freaking good. Luckily, he got the roll put in a doggie bag, BUT STILL! How can you only eat HALF a lobster roll at a time?!

After our amazing dinner, we headed to a *new* yogurt place (new to us). I read about it online (some food website) and one of the comments from a reader was that it tasted BETTER than Pinkberry. We had to try it out for ourselves, obviously. The place is called Yolato, and there’s one opening up right next to Grand Central in May (free yogurt when it opens, too!):

The place specializes in frozen yogurt that has more of a gelato taste, but they also have a machine that pumps out Pinkberry-styled frozen yogurt. (Doesn’t that picture look so appetizing?!) They have a lot of flavors everyday, which I sampled, but I wasn’t too impressed with the flavoring (the mango tasted especially chalky, similar to organic frozen mango)….but THAT didn’t matter because we were getting the soft serve, not the yolato. Here’s a sampling of some of their desserts:

Another great thing about yolato is that they also do more than just frozen desserts – they also make crepes and some coffees/other drinks. Maybe Pinkberry should think about expanding into other foods (not like they need MORE business…their lines are already out the door during the winter time, I can’t imagine what it’ll be like during the summer!). We ordered a large frozen yogurt with mangoes, blackberries, and strawberries (the small didn’t look big enough for the two of us). Why don’t they have a medium? When we go to Pinkberry, we always order a medium because the large is too big and the small is TINY. One thing I don’t like about the way they serve the yogurt is that they leave the center of the bowl HOLLOW. WTF! However, at Yolato, they make sure the ENTIRE BOWL IS FILLED WITH CREAMY GOODNESS. Look at how HUGE the large is:

Another thing that annoys me about Pinkberry is the amount of fruit they put on your order. You literally get ONE little spoonful (and if you get berries, I think it’s usually like 6-7 berries…NO JOKE!) Like, what’s the deal, Pinkberry? Yolato definitely puts spoonfuls (plural) of fruit on (maybe it’s because it’s in the east village and all the NYU kids work there and don’t care how much they put on?). Taste wise, I thought it was a bit creamier than Pinkberry and less tangy. Yolato is a mix between 40 carrots and Tasti-delite (in creaminess). Pinkberry uses more ice, which is somewhat more refreshing, but overall, I liked Yolato a lot. Pinkberry better STEP IT UP with toppings or else I’m going to Yolato more often!

This weekend is going to be jam PACKED with events! On Friday, I’m going to the Yankees vs. Red Sox game! My friend, John, said that he had an extra ticket and I *thought* he said for the Yankees vs. the WHITE Sox. Since I went to school in Illinois, I thought it would be fun to go to the game, but then he started saying how there’s a HUGE rivalry between the White Sox and the Yankees…I thought to myself, WOW…the Yankees hate ALL the Sox teams!! That’s SO mean! But after talking to John more, I realized he meant the RED Sox, not the White Sox. hehe :) Since John’s from Boston, we’ll be cheering for the Red Sox (New York Yankee fans: please don’t kill me). On Saturday, I’m going to hang out with some friends that I haven’t seen in FOUR months (ahem, JEN) and then go out with Jason and some of his coworkers in the meatpacking district, and on Sunday, I’m going to the to see the cherry blossoms with Chris and then to Caroline’s to see Louis CK! What a weekend! I’ll be back with pictures on Monday!

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