The Foodie Duos: Japanese BBQ at Gyukaku

So CC had not had Gyukaku for a while. She told BB about Gyukaku and off they went to Gyukaku in East Village.

BB got hooked with Gyukaku. He said he will definitely come back again!

Gyu-Kaku
http://www.gyu-kaku.com/

$ meter: $$-$$$
Reservation: Yes.
Nearest Transit (East Village location): Astor Place 6 Train, 8TH ST NYU N, R Trains.

Yours Truly 🙂

Advertisements

Things That I Love: URBANSPACE

Way before I moved to New York City, I always knew that this city offers something different when it comes to food fair and distinctive cuisines. I know that NYC is one the most vibrant city in the world — hence the nickname ‘truest melting pot on earth’. If you don’t believe me, just go to Queens county especially around Jackson Heights and Elmhurst area. Or if you are the one who loves looking for something different, then pay a visit to Brooklyn and you will know what I mean.

If i ever write a book about New York City and its’ culinary feast, guaranteed it’ll be as thick as a Bible.

Okay, back to what I am going to write about…

After those dreaded winter days, we New Yorkers are always looking forward for spring and summer. When the temperature is nice and hot, we like to indulge in all those foods at the vendors or pop up markets located in Manhattan. Tasting all different varieties of cuisines from around the world together with a cold beer or sangria or lemonade or whatever cold drinks we can get. And yes, thank you so much for Urbanspace NYC.

Read more about Urbanspace here.

Urbanspace is a pop up food vendors that open during spring and summer for certain period of times in Manhattan. What I love about Urbanspace is that there is no limitation when it comes to the food they offer; whether you wanted a nice to-go gelato or arancini balls or you wanted to splurge your taste bud in a nice piping hot pad thai with yummy tacos then this is your place to go. There are several locations in Manhattan and they are mostly in the very accessible plus touristy areas. However, mind you that Urban space does not last long — mostly around one to two months so you gotta make sure to follow their Facebook or Twitter or their website for further information.

Oh yes, I just remember they actually held holiday markets in two locations sometime in the fall till before Christmas so if you are planning to visit NYC in November and December and want to experience this then make sure you mark your calendar 🙂

I have visited 3 of the Urban space markets this past few months and each market offers different varieties of vendors even though later on i could see the same vendors again at the other Urban space locations. The first one is the Urban Space Garment District held from May 4th till June 14th 2015. I got back at least three times because I was so in love with Arancini balls from Arancini bros and the lobster roll from Red Hook Lobster Pound.

image-07-07-15-06-45-2

image-07-07-15-06-45-3

Ragu and Nutella Arancini

image-07-07-15-06-45-4

Nutella arancini. THIS IS THE BOMB!

image-07-07-15-06-45-5

Ragu arancini

image-07-07-15-06-45-6

Lobster roll from Red Hook Lobster Pound. DELICIOSO!!!

 

Okay, the ragu arancini from Arancini Bros was delicious but the Nutella Arancini was way more than delicious — IT WAS F**KINGLY AWESOME! I mean, seriously, when you bite on that arancini, the nutella chocolate just melt in your mouth together with the sweetness of cinnamon that coated the outer part of the rice balls. When typing this, I feel like calling Arancini Bros and tell them to deliver those balls every single day to my apartment. I forgot how much they costs per piece but I bought half dozen arancinis for around $12 ish. I know it’s a little steep for a small rice balls but trust me — once you bite one you want another one and another and another … 🙂

As a lobster fan I am very critical when it comes to lobster roll. Lobster roll is one of the comfort food that I can’t have every single day because of the price (around $13 to $15 even $19 in some places). Well i know it is expensive because it is lobster meat anyway but I am always upset when a lot of place shouted something like “we have the best lobster roll” when in reality it shouted different things. Either they don’t put enough meat inside the warm toast roll or they don’t season the lobster meat. When I saw the Red Hook Lobster Pound booth, I was so excited I feel like hugging the lady behind the counter LOL. The lobster meat was so good and delicious; perfectly seasoned and cooked and best of all — they were not stingy with the portion. Finished eating it in like 5 minutes but for $15 and the quality, it was very worth it.

The second Urbanspace market that I went to was the one in Flatiron called Madison Square Eats. Seriously speaking, this one was the least of my favorite because of the size of the market and it got super cramped during the night time. However, because of the Teresita Fernandez exhibition held nearby so I decided to just go there and tried the Asian Hot Dog by Asiadog.

image-07-07-15-06-45-7

Ginny Hot Dog by Asiadog. $5

The Ginny Hot Dog has beef frank with kim chi and nori inside. I added a little bit of kick — which is the sriracha chili sauce. Actually without the sauce it was already delicious but I was just in the mood for some spice that night. Who knew that kimchis can actually increased the nom-nom factor inside a hot dog?! 😉

The third location (and by all means it is still open till July 26th 2015) is the Broadway Bites located at the intersection of 33rd Street and Broadway. I love this location because it has this feeling of ‘summer food markets’ in the big city. I tried summer rolls from Two Tablespoons (which surprisingly were vegetarian rolls and were so good) and homemade lemonade by Renegade lemonade (pictured here).

image-07-07-15-06-45-17

Summer rolls from Two Tablespoons : Tofu and Quinoa with Almond Sauce and Lentils, Beets and Goat Cheese.

I am not a vegetarian but I love eating lots of vegetables and enjoy them in every type of food — especially rolls. So when I looked at Two Tablespoons booth and saw how they prepared the rolls, I just had to try them. I got lentils, beets, and goat cheese rolls and also the tofu, quinoa, and almond sauce rolls. The lentils rolls was kinda unique especially with the goat cheese but the tofu, quinoa, and almond sauce was even way better. that one was definitely the winner rolls for me. And yes, kudos to Two Tablespoons because they really packed the rolls with lots of vegetables. With 2 rolls for $7.50 those rolls were definitely worth the bucks. And if you don’t like rolls then they have the summer salad too. Vegetarian or not, you will definitely like this one. I think I am going back to try their sweet corn with coconut and curry sauce — i have a feeling that is also gonna be good! 😉

So, are you dying to munch on those delicious rolls?! Then go to the nearest Urban Space market and taste all the foods and drinks before they run out of time.

P.S.: updated as per 7/20/2015 Urban Space Broadway Bites is still open until 7/26/2015 from 11 AM to 9 PM.
Website: http://urbanspacenyc.com/broadway-bites/
How to get there: 34TH Street Herald Square B,D,F,M,N,Q,R trains (close by), 34TH Street Penn Station 1,2,3 trains also NJ transit, LIRR, Amtrak train (2-5 minutes of walking), NJ PATH trains (close by), uptown M5 and M7 buses (close by)

Yours Truly 🙂

Mijn Mode Keuze: Kate Spade blue Leslie

Since i am the sole owner of this blog/web then i can post anything i want.

Including fashion 😉

If you read my “about me” section, you’ll notice that i added some paragraph about my degree that is somewhat related to fashion industry. Yes, i have a bachelor degree that is concentrated in business and fashion marketing management. As now, i am a graduate student with a concentration in another field that is nowhere near fashion industry yet needed also sometimes by fashion peeps. Ha, i will let you guess and wondering 😉

Anyho, i am a Leo and a July baby and my birthday is coming real soon. If anybody else have their own wish list for their birthday then me personally, i rarely create or even write wish list for birthday let alone Christmas presents. What i would do is i save money then will most likely forget what i’m going to buy later on. Funny thing tho, God always give me hints sometimes whenever i am at a store or browsing something online on certain things. Like for example, i went to Zara and tried some of their pants. They were running out of my size but i lovedddd those pants. I was murmuring “yea maybe not my day” on my way home. Then all of a sudden, i was walking around Herald square when my gut told me: “you’re here already. Now drag the lazy butt to that Zara right now!”

So i went inside and lo and behold, those pants were there — the exact type and design i wanted, in my size! And then another blouse, another t shirt, another top, another skirt! And they were on sale, ladies and gentlemen! Even tho the sale still gonna costs you at least more than $50 but heck i already have the money! I bought them and couldn’t be happier!

That’s the weird side of me, lol :p

Ok what am i rambling?! Oh yea about my birthday well about a week ago or so i saw the announcement from Kate Spade about their 4th of July weekend sale that has been extended until 7/7/15. I browsed around and found a nice blue handbag that kinda reminds me of Saint Laurent’s handbag. I was contemplating of getting it but at the same time i also loved another handbag that can be easily modified as a clutch. And then i began procrastinating. A day went by, weekend went by, and next thing you know : 2 days before the sale end came. That dreaded email notification that came like crap early in the morning yet i thanked for reminding me. So i looked, there it was, the blue handbag is still there and on sale and great thing was, i could apply more discount! Meaning more saving! Can i hear Amen?!? 😉

image

The collage of my Kate Spade bag

image

Beautiful um Bellissimo!!! Love the color, love the design, even more so : loveddd the discounts baby!

So here is my fashion choice post: Kate Spade Blue Leslie handbag.

My early birthday present 🙂

PS: i own two other handbags that are also from Kate Spade and everybody complimented them. My mom is also a fan of Kate Spade and she is always pleased with the bag’s quality and material.

And yes, i don’t mind higher end designer handbag too; still saving for that cute Louis Vuitton Alma or Chanel lamb skin flap. Everybody seems into Chanel boy flap — seriously i don’t like the Chanel boy collection kinda too masculine for me :p

Yours Truly 🙂

When In Doubt: Ippudo

When you talk about ramen, most likely you will hear three names that most people are familiar with. it’s either the Totto Ramen (which is famous for its’ forever long time waiting list), Santouka (Santoka ramen) which is also quite famous for the pork cheek, and then we have Ippudo which (unfortunately) is also famous for its’ East Village always-takes-forever-to-wait-in-line location and delicate soup broth.

Wait, what ever happen to Ichiran ramen? aren’t they famous too?

Technically, we are speaking about ramen in New York City so since Ichiran has not expanded to NYC then post about Ichiran will have to wait until I actually travel to Japan again — maybe later on with my boo 😉

Ok, enough rambling.

I have been to Ippudo (both East Village and Hell’s Kitchen location) for couple of times and I must say that they still offer the best ramen in NYC area. I would not give them perfect five stars though because the portion was somewhat little for me (even after the kaedama i still crave for more lol blame my salty tooth i guess) and they tend to charge more for the toppings. If I have to compare to smaller yet more “Japanese” like Hide-Chan ramen then i would say I definitely put Hide-Chan on top and then Ippudo second.

So that night after the Broadway show  I asked boo whether he wanted to eat at Ippudo because I knew they open pretty late on Saturday. since the nearest ippudo from Longacre theatre would be the Hell’s kitchen one then we agreed to just went there. It was around 11 PM when we got there and there would be a ten minutes wait. lo and behold, it did not take ten minutes (more like four lol) before we were seated.

What did we order?

image-07-07-15-06-45

My order of Karaka-Men: The original “Tonkotsu”(pork) broth with an added kick; thin noodles with Ippudo’s special blend of hot spices, topped with pork chashu, sesame kikurage mushrooms, cabbage, scallions, and fragrant garlic oil.

 

image-07-07-15-06-45-1

Boo’s order of Akamaru modern ramen: A more bold translation of the original pork broth; thin noodles topped with Ippudo’s secret “Umami Dama” miso paste, pork chashu, cabbage, sesame ki- kurage mushrooms, scallions, and fragrant garlic oil.

 

Both ramen tasted delicious although I just wish the Karaka-men has more kick on the spiciness level. To be honest, every time I go to Ippudo I always order Karaka-men because it has the perfect balance of delicate pork broth and spicy paste. Boo’s akamaru was also good and perfect for those who does not favor spicy paste at all. Although in the end boo actually thought that my karaka men was not that spicy and he said if we go back he might just order Karaka-men like me 😉 And yes, we also had Kae-dama which is system that offers you an extra serving of noodles. When you have almost finished your first servingof noodles, order by saying, “Kae-dama, please.” In a few minutes the server will bring yo u another ‘ball of noodles’ and put it in the soup. Mind you that you need to have at least a good amount of soup still in your bowl otherwise they won’t let you do that.

For both of our order (with the Kae-dama), the bill came to just under $40 (I believe it’s around $34 excluding tax and gratitude) so yes for me this is part of the reason why I did not place Ippudo on the first place. However for some ‘die-hard’ ramen lovers out there who frequent lots of ramen joints then this price might be okay but if you order more than just the ramen entree (like the appetizer and stuff) then most likely your bill gonna costs more than $40 for two. I mean i loved ramen (I adore ramen to be honest) but I cannot see myself frequently eat at Ippudo every week let alone every day. However, Ippudo can be your next go-to ramen place if you feel like trying something new or just curious about it.

Ippudo West Side (Midtown)
321 West 51st Street, (Between 8th and 9th Avenue)
New York, NY 10019
Phone: 212-974-2500
Nearest transit: 50th Street C and E trains (close by), 50th Street 1 train (1-2 minutes walking), 49th Street N, Q, R trains (4-5 minutes walking)

Blacklisted Restaurant : Ho’Brah

I never thought in my whole life I would actually write this in my own blog / website. Let alone adding a category like “blacklisted”.

But I have to.

Remember my post about Ho’Brah sometime last June? If you don’t, well here is the link for it.

This happened last Sunday 7/5/2015 at around 1:30 PM. together with Boo, his parents, a friend and her niece we decided to go back to Ho’Brah for lunch. We dropped Boo’s mom, friend, and her niece first in front of Ho’Brah while Boo, me, and his dad went to look for parking. It was a fine Sunday and we got parking in less than ten minutes. When we arrived at Ho’Brah, we noticed that our party already got seated at the round table in the back. In my mind, wow surely the service is getting better in here. Moreover, they already served the guacamole, salsa, and chips even before we got in.

So we were seated and the menus were already on the table. five seconds later, God knows, this bearded man came to our table and put down a paper receipt saying that during our last visit we haven’t paid our bill. All of us were in complete shock knowing that WE ALREADY PAID the bill and demanded explanation. He kept on insisting that we haven’t paid the bill.

FYI, whenever we go to a restaurant we always have separate bill. And we always, I repeat, ALWAYS, pay the bill.

This man said: “oh I was not here during that time. I just happened to know that you guys haven’t paid the bill.”

Dude, seriously? You just happened to know?! what kind of lame explanation is that?!

And if you have a brain,  if we haven’t paid our bill, then why on earth would you serve us guacamole and gave us the table?! why didn’t you actually talk with us before we were given the table? were you trying to set us up thinking that y’all can fool and trick us like that? I have a strong memory and don’t even mess around with me.

And last but not least, last time we were there on 5/3/2015 after we paid at Ho’Brah, the waitress said ‘Thank you and have a great day’. YES, SHE SAID THAT! If we have not paid the bill, she would have stopped us and yell or scream something like “I’m sorry guys, looks like you have not paid the bill.” NOPE, SHE DID NOT SAID ANYTHING AFTERWARDS!

And FYI, the little girl tooth fell after we left Ho’Brah on 5/3/2015 and she came back inside to grabbed some napkin to stop the bleeding. if we have not paid, your waiter/waitress should have tell her something about payment but nobody said anything about it.

So, do you still want to say we have not paid our bill?!?

Anyway, thank you for making an unpleasant day for the 6 of us. Thanks to you, Ho’Brah, you have made an unpleasant remark for a little girl and of course the other five adults. You have lost our business and customers and we gladly will pass along this story to other foodies / potential customers out there. And yes, like boo have said, the Staten Islanders will be warned too.

Meanwhile, a taco joint that is located in Manhattan (yes in the city, not in Brooklyn) called Tortaria has much better food selection and prices. And yes, I have dined there last year and their service was much better and friendlier than you guys. Looks like we will be going there again sometime soon.

Yours Truly 🙂

Randomly Random: June Diary

Lately i have been under the radar.

this lazyness strucks me faster than the thunderbolt.

there is the urge of writing something here but alas, i always forget to do it.

plenty of pictures and stories waiting to be told and shared but for some reason i don’t have the energy to just jolt down a paragraph or two.

could it be fatigue? Who knows!

Anyway, just gonna write down small post here. And trust me, you don’t want to scroll down and read the rest of it.

Some of my friends asked me questions like:

what’s it like living and working in NYC?

boy, you must be enjoying life like the gals from Sex and the city!? Right?

Does your apartment look like the one i have always seen in sitcoms like Friends or Seinfeld?

Et cetera et cetera…

to answer those questions:

1. Living and working in NYC is pretty much the same like when i used to live back in Asia. Except with the expensive living cost, then i’d say there’s not much significant change. Sure NYC has its’ own niche and ghetto but i guess it is the same like any other big cities around the world. I have had the taste of living in 3 different boroughs: Manhattan, Brooklyn, and Queens. Even Manhattan has its own sketchy neighborhood which i try to avoid. Melting pot is what i always like to describe NYC as you can find all types of languages, ethnicities, cuisines here. If you want great Southern foods then Harlem has some of the best soul food restaurants. If you want authentic Italian cuisines then some restaurants in  Little Italy in Manhattan and some parts of Brooklyn have them. Or if you are in the mood for Southeast Asian snacks and savories then look no further as Woodside, Jackson Heights, and Elmhurst in Queens have the best restaurants cater to those who are a devout fan of Filipino, Indonesian, Malaysian, And Thai cuisines. (And after this the list goes on and on and on). What about working? Well i can only say for myself that works in education so i guess for me it’s pretty challenging yet sorta relaxing because i don’t have to work 7 days a week. Income is not the best one (yet) but i can still save and survive. Yes i live in one of the most expensive city in the world but i guess it depends on how well you manage yourself. I know somebody with a 80K income barely able to save yet there’s a person with around 40K but she can still save and even go on vacation once a year.

2. Well tbh, i am not a worshipper of Sex and the city series so truthfully i do not live the lifestyle of Carrie and the gang. Yes i have seen episodes of SATC (heck i even saw the movie lol) but if you are assuming that i always go to Saks or Barneys and always dine at Per Se / La Bernardin / Nobu / budakan then you are wrong. Yes i used to live in the prime Upper West Side area but i did not act or shop like Carrie. I will save for a nice dinner/lunch at a fancy restaurant but i’ll do that ONLY for special occasion. As for shopping, i’ll shop at Saks or Bloomingdales once in a blue moon but only because they’re on sale or after i have saved enough money. Otherwise, i’m always happy with H&M, Forever 21, Topshop, and sometimes GAP. I even found good deals at Target and JC Penney. No Macy’s? I love Macy’s but i just hate shopping at their herald square location. For some reason, i always have a headache whenever i go there. Lol. And ooh, i love my Rebecca Minkoff, Kate Spade, Michael Kors, and Coach. I normally wait until Thanksgiving or Christmas to get one or two handbags or simply wait till they have end of season sale. If other plan fails, Century 21 is the best bargain. Sure they don’t have the best collection when it comes to bags but look for the designer shoes! I found my Calvin Klein boots and Cole Haan flats there, were 70% off and everybody complimented them.

3. If you are saying whether my apartment resembles Monica or Joey apartments in Friends then you are so wrong, my friends! The type of apt like Monica (2BR,1Bath,balcony,big livingroom, separate kitchen) in West Village is more likely to costs you $4-5,000 per month. Hurts?!? Sure! But that’s the reality. I used to rent a 2BR in Astoria Queens and i paid $1,000  /month. That was 4 years ago. After a while, i rented a studio in UWS and i paid $1,700/month. Sucks? Well i coped for just under 3 years before i moved to my current place. A big almost resemble 1BR studio with lots of ventilation, 2 closets, big kitchen, and big bathroom. It costs less than $1,500 but i have to commute at least 30 mins to work. Sad? A little. But it works fine with me. Yes i don’t live in the city but i’m perfectly fine. Like i said, NYC isn’t cheap but it is doable if you know how to do it. The closer your apt to the city, the more you’ll have to pay.

So that’s it, guys! I hope you enjoy this “short” post and i’ll see you on my other writing! 😉

Yours Truly 🙂

My Show Review: New York Spring Spectacular 2015

P.S: I know this post will sound a little bit old but better late than never, right?

Anyway, last April I had a chance to actually watch The Rockettes plus Laura Benanti and Derek Hough in the show called “New York Spring Spectacular” which I heard was so well demanded that they actually added more dates to extend the show. Unfortunately for that night, no Derek Hough present so he was replaced with another performer who did a very good job.

To be honest with you, the story was rather cheesy and predictable with the main casts were the protagonist and antagonist. Derek was the protagonist one while Laura was the antagonist. Laura Benanti plays as Janet who runs this multi billion dollars company and was contemplating whether she had to fire the old guy or give him a chance. of course in the end we knew what happen with the old guy. (still in the company and Janet turned into a better person).

IMG_7312

IMG_7315

IMG_7325

IMG_7658

Me with one of the Rockettes girl. Noticed how tall she was?! lol I looked like a midget!

 

Yes the story might be a bit cheesy and boring but the Rockettes and the other casts performance was jaw dropping awesome! I mean, I have no idea how many hours those girls needed to rehearse the movements in the show but I gotta say: KUDOS! Now i know why a lot of female dancers wanted to be in the Rockettes. It was more than just a dance or a show — they are the show! And if you have seen the Christmas Spectacular featuring The Rockettes during Christmas time then by any means this one was totally different! different because they suited the theme with spring season and added more special effects (real rain drops onto the stage, bright LED, even interactive session with the audience). I was also given a 3D paper glass which I used during certain sequence but i felt that it was not really worth the experience.

I am not sure whether they will continue on doing this show next Spring 2016 but if they do and you happen to visit NYC sometime from March 20th till May 7th 2016, then reserve your ticket and see this show! This is definitely a show that will please all ages!

My rating meter: 8/10

P.S: normally tickets range from $40 until $190 but they have what is called in advance purchase if you subscribe to either Ticketmaster or the Radio City Music Hall newsletter. I personally got my orchestra level ticket for around $50ish after tax and stuff so it was a real deal bargain consider orchestra level ticket costs around $90-190.

Yours Truly 🙂

Live away from Manhattan? Good luck!

We New Yorkers are born tough.

We New Yorkers love using our feet to go almost anywhere.

However,

We despise the subway system runs by Metropolitan Transit Authority aka MTA. Why? Just take a look at these notifications:

image

image

image

image

image

What sucks is that, if you are already underground then less likely you will be connected to the wifi and you will ended up getting stuck AT LEAST ten minutes because either there is a train traffic or signal malfunction problems.

So, it is our breakfast every single day as a New Yorker to always check on mta.info website and we always pray / fingers crossed that the announcement won’t be something like this picture:
image

Yes, that’s how tough we are.

and to those New Yorkers who live in Manhattan, just be thankful to yourselves! At least you don’t have to suffer as much as we do.

Yours Truly 🙂

Ps: suddenly i miss my old UWS neighborhood. I’ll be back and live there again someday! I promise!