Taim, Kom Tang, Magnolia & Tiny’s

Okay, so I’m going stop talking about how happy I am to have found and moved into our new apartment in less than a week, and go back to the focus of this blog: food. So…FOOD!

For lunch yesterday, I stopped into Taim in the West Village. It seems like forever since I’ve had a falafel, as they are not easy to come across in Hawaii! The falafels come in three flavors: Green (traditional, with parsley, cilantro, and mint), Red (with roasted red pepper) and Harissa (with tunisian spices).

They were doing fairly brisk business during a late lunch hour, and though the place was very tiny, it didn’t feel the least bit cramped.

After a quick debate, I ended up going the red falafel, (though it would have been cool to have a whole mix of all three falafels in my pita)! Since the weather was so nice, I decided to eat on the bench right outside. I like sitting outside in the west village, cause it’s so much quieter than other parts of the city. Lots of trees, people walking dogs, babies on strollers, it’s cool, calm, and seems to be a world of it’s own.

I thought you might be curious as to what the innards of the falafel looks like! My gosh, this was an insanely good falafel. Like REALLY GOOD! It’s like you bite it, and…whoaaaa, what did I just eat? And then you bite it again, and it’s like…wooooowwwww. Crisp little falafels were nearly bouncy light with moist red pepper dotted innards. Not a touch of grease. The toasted whole wheat pita (in place of white) was definitely thicker and more hearty than other places, smears of creamy thick hummus, tahini, and a mix of tomatoes, cucumbers, parsley, held everything in place. It was beautiful. Whereas a falafel at Mamoun’s is more of a snack, this one was a full on meal that makes you perfectly full, but far from overstuffed. I’m coming back for sure.

After Taim, the rest of the afternoon was spent signing leases with the Broker, trying to convince my mom that we’re weren’t being swindled or conned, even though the leases were signed in the broker’s bedroom, where she demanded $400 cash on the spot. Precisely, she said, “gimme da money.” Nice lady, but takes a bit of getting used to! We had dinner at Kom Tang on 32nd Street.

I didn’t have a particular Korean restaurant in mind, so Shann and I browsed a few menus, and decided this would be a suitable place. We split the dolsot bibimbop and a tofu squash soup. For the last few evenings we’ve been having rice with every dinner meal. Kind of like comfort food. We spend the whole day running around here and there, in panic I-need-to-move-in-an-apt-asap mood, and by dinnertime, I’m tired beyond words, and could really use a hot bowl of rice. Well, a hot bowl of crispy rice in this case!

I ended up enjoying the bibimbop much more than the soup…must be cause I ate too many bowls of soft tofu soup while I was at Claremont! Oh! I forgot to tell you about the banchan. Well it was ordinary. So ordinary that I’m not even going to post a picture of it! Kimchee, cucumbers, broccoli, bean sprouts, and a mayo laden mix of cubed apples, peas, and potatoes, hehe. We were given cut oranges following our meal…but that’s not really dessert, is it?

Which explains why we took the train back down to the village in search of dessert. It was late, and the places we had in mind, such as Build a Green Bakery and Milk & Cookies, were already closed :( So we walked and walked, until we ended up at Magnolia’s of all places. I think their cupcakes are sort of junky. But I do love their banana pudding, and I really love their chocolate icebox cake. However because I was in an especially cookie/cakey mood, I decided on this flourless chocolate cake. We took it back to the hotel and enjoyed a midnight showing of Law & Order with the cake, now what a good way to end the day! Dusted with a light coating of powdered sugar, the cake was all fudgey, super melt in your mouth-y and surprisingly not too sweet.

After picking up the keys to our new home this afternoon, we tested them on the front door/mailbox, etc, and strolled down to Tiny’s on Rivington for a late lunch. My eating schedule has been really out of whack recently. Lunch at 4pm, dinner at 9, dessert at 12…and a whole lot inbetween. The sandwiches here are priced extremely well, this veggie meatball on brioche was only $3.50! The ‘meatballs’ themselves were tasteless, like someone forgot to season it, but the generous layer of pesto spread across the bottom bun surely made up for it!

Shann’s cobb sandwich was served hot on a sesame spotted semolina with slices of grilled chicken, bacon, avocado, lettuce, tomato and blue cheese dressing. She ate it all. So it was good. Okay…gotta run, off to buy cleaning supplies for the apartment! :)

222 Waverly Place
NY, NY 10014
(212) 691-1287

Tiny’s Giant Sandwiches
129 Rivington St
New York, NY 10002
(212) 982-1690

Magnolia Bakery
401 Bleecker St
NY, NY 10014
(212) 462-2572

I’ve Got 5 Bits of News, if You’ve Got a Bit of Time…

1. I think we have an apartment! Found an awesome, super bright & almost new 2-brdm, right next to some of my favorite restaurants and bakeries ever.

2. It all came down to a huge studio or a small 2-bdrm – same price. Both were in awesome locations. You’d think: studio versus 2-bdrm? At the same price? Easy. Take the 2-bdrm! But it wasn’t that easy. After many discussions, we concluded that the only reason we liked the studio (a lot) was cause the (very cute) climatologist who owns the studio was an excellent interior decorator. Clouded judgement aside, we went with the 2-bdrm!

For dinner one night we had fries. Yes. Fries for dinner.

Mmmm, good yeah? We got a side sauce of blue cheese mayo, and those are chopped onions on the left. I burned my tongue super bad but it was all for a good cause. No one wants lukewarm fries! :)

3. The whole dealing with a broker in her bedroom and up front cash business is really sketchy and somewhat scary. If all goes well, we’ll sign the lease this afternoon and move in on Saturday.

Today’s breakfast with Shann: orange juice, lemonade, peanut butter cookie (the cookie was especially good!) from Think in the village

4. Paying $4 for orange juice or a latte every morning is starting to get expensive. I’ve really taken my parents for granted. But I appreciate them!

Last night’s dessert at Sugar Sweet Sunshine: my most favorite banana pudding in the world, and Shann’s pumpkin cupcake

5. Exhausted. 10 apartments in two days. A lot of running around. A lot of sweat. A lot of bank visits, and even more visits to bakeries. Little sleep.

Sugar Sweet Sunshine
126 Rivington St.
NY, NY 10012
(212) 995-1960

Pomme Frites
123 2nd Ave.
NY, NY 10003
(212) 674-1234

I’m Here!

I had planned to do a whole bunch more Hawaii posts after I moved here, cause there’s simply no other way to account for the abundance of awesome food on our island. But. And doesn’t there always seem to be a ‘but’? But Shann and I have been running around crazy trying to get an apartment since we arrived in Manhattan. And I really do mean crazy. We’ve inspected everything from studios in the east village to 2-bedrooms on the lower east side, using brokers, no brokers, some sketchy people, and some nice people.

But between running from apartment to apartment where our emotions ran from scared/horrified to delighted, we’ve eaten. Of course we’ve eaten!

In seach of free wifi in an air conditioned place this morning, we headed to Think in the village for breakfast and some Cragis List-ing.

To get our energy up and brains revving, Shann and I split a bagel with…what else? Nutella! Butter and cream cheese are sure stable options, but today just called for something more exiting at 9am. They really laied on the nutella which is a very good think, thick chocolatey smears melting over the warm, crusty bagel.

We also shared a pumpkin spice muffin. I forgot Shann doesn’t like raisins (Shann: sorry for picking a muffin with so many raisins)! But I looove raisins, and these were a critical factor in keeping this baby moist and tender. The muffin top had a thin, crisp sugar dusted surface, but the innards were too airy and light – the crumb more akin to a cake than muffin.

In between looking at apartments in the village, we stopped in at Saint Alps for a cool refresher. In the back is Shann’s gingerbread boba, while I went with a black sesame boba, my favorite drink there. This was a particularly welcoming drink given the insanely hot weather today. You know how in Hawaii when it’s hot, it’s never just hot hot? It’s always hot + trade winds. Here it’s just HOT. H-O-T.

For a late (3pm) lunch, we headed over to Boky in Chinatown.

I’ve already mentioned that this is hands down, my favorite Teo Chew noodle shop in the city, and since it’s bean nearly a year since my last visit, I felt the need come back and make sure nothing has changed.

For a mere $3.50, the wonton mein makes an insanely delicious and complete (minus dessert) meal. I like how prices never seem to change here. The wonton mein was $3.50 when I first visited Boky over six years ago. And it’s still $3.50 today!

While their noodle soups are fantastic and reliable on their own, it’s really this sauce you see above that gives Boky the extra push. It’s chunky, somewhat spicy, there’s definitely peanuts inside, and I don’t know what else…but it’s GOOD. Some people mix a spoonful in with their noodles. But I like to spoon it into a dish and dab on as much as I want onto the wonton and spoonfuls of noodles.

Here’s Shann’s curry chicken with funn, another one of my personal favorites.

After arriving in the city, I seriously ran down to Shake Shack for a cup of the raspberry chocolate custard. The burger line was too long (hungry, and no patience!), though I’ll be back soon!

Melting…it’s melting sooo fast! But good, very good. Aside from a few tiny ice shards it was super creamy with a predominate chocolatey flavor, the raspberry component toned down quite a bit.

Well I better be off now! I’m blogging from Bryant Park, and can’t find an electrical outlet…computer is going to shut off right about now! :)

Think Coffee

248 Mercer St.
New York, NY 10012
(212) 228-6226

Saint’s Alp Teahouse
39 3rd Ave
New York, NY 10003
(212) 598-1890

Shake Shack
nr. Madison Ave. at 23rd St.
New York, NY 10010
(212) 889-6600

Bo Ky
80 Bayard St
NY, NY 10013
(212) 406-2292

Mac Nut Pancakes, Brownie (with Walnuts), and Taro Rolls…Could I Survive on Flour, Butter & Sugar?

Mom and I drove to Kailua for some early morning errands this morning, and decided we should have breakfast. Breakfast options in Kailua are aplenty and it was difficult to decide between Cinnamon’s, Moke’s and Boots & Kimo. However, Moke’s was closed, and we were just at Cinnamon’s last week, so Boots & Kimo it was!

We got in just past 7am, and lucky for us there was no line. But time we were leaving, there was already a 15 minute wait for tables. On a Tuesday morning nonetheless! Ordering is simple here. Because I always get the same thing.

Mac nut pancakes! I know the picture looks kind of creepy. And even gross I bet. But, you know, sometimes pictures are deceiving. Such is the case with these pancakes. I went with the short stack today cause I’m meeting someone for lunch in a few hours. But whether you get the pancakes in a short or tall stack, you must get them smooooothered in the warm mac nut sauce. This ‘sauce’ is really nothing more than a rich anglaise in all its egg yolk rich glory, dotted with ground mac nuts. Pancakes at Boots & Kimo are of the spongy sort (for crispy pancakes go to Jack’s in Aina Hina, and for crappy pancakes go to the IHOP in Waikiki), which is a good thing in this case, because you want spongy pancakes to soak up all this glory that will send you to straight to a sugar coma. Maple syrup is unnecessary. Butter on the side for those who dare.

After filling up on a morning sugar high (some people get sugar comas, apparently I get sugar highs), what’s the first thing that comes to mind? Why, we haven’t had dessert yet! So I whip out my handy notebook filled with notes and addresses of restaurants/bakeries/food, etc, you get the idea. At the same time, mom takes out her newly purchased map book from Costco. Put the two together, and in less than 5 minutes we find ourselves in front of Agnes Portuguese Bake Shop. Talk about teamwork!

It’s our first visit here, so we browse around a bit. Half of the shop is taken up by small tables and chairs. It seems they do a wide selection of coffee, tea, and Italian sodas. These seats are mostly occupied by people having breakfast of pastries and coffee on their own.

Turn around and you’ll find two long bakery cases filled with tons of pastries! Exciting! There’s so much to see! Brownies, berry flips, bread pudding, butter rolls, blueberry wheat muffins, and even an “Anti-Gravity Cake” on the bottom left corner…

This Rocky Road Brownie Cupcake was interesting…but I thought it was too sweet for a 9am treat.

I had my heart set on the brownie from the start. Hah! You thought I was going to get the bread pudding, didn’t you? Well I was. But. The bread pudding didn’t look so awesome. I like super custardy bread pudding. Not super solid hard ones. However the brownie looked downright decadent. And I it was less sweet than the brownie cupcake above, right? Hehe :)

We also got a pack of whole wheat pita bread for dad, cause he wasn’t able to join us for breakfast this morning…kind of like a consolidation prize? Well it’s about 11am right now, and I haven’t had either the brownie or pita yet, so I can’t give you any feedback on those items. But unless the brownie fails me miserably, it looks to be a super fudgey creature with lots of walnuts!

Ooohhh! Wait! While we’re on the subject of baked goods, I was Costco this past weekend and bought a package of the Mauna Kea taro rolls.

They come 12 to pack for $5.99. It’s not a super good deal, but you’ll never know if it’s worth it until you try right?

Soft and plush, like Ani’s sweet bread, only not as sweet with a strong taro taste. These really do melt in your mouth! Just pull of a small piece, let it sit on your tongue, and in a few second, viola…it just melts away. Okay. Maybe I’m exaggerating, but it is as if thet do melt away! At least you get an idea of how soft it is! If you’re going to get taro rolls don’t get the ones they sell at Sam’s Club cause they use artificial taro powder/color…or something that’s not real taro…which defeats the whole purpose of eating taro rolls!

Boots & Kimo

131 Hekili St

Kailua, HI 96734-2866

Phone: (808) 263-7929

Agnes’ Portuguese Bakery

46 Ho’olai Street

Kailua, Hawaii 96734

(808) 262-5367