June 2, 2013
Norway, here I come! For the fifth time! A number of visits previously reserved only for cities possessing Disney theme parks or my grandparents, now expanded to include the city where my boyfriend lives.
I've been to Bergen so many times that, for better or worse, I've grown comfortable spending my vacations there as a useless heap of laziness. I've seen most of the tourist spots; I've hiked along Mount Ulriken, which I'm still surprised didn't result in me passing out or rolling down a rocky hill (or one then the other); I've been pushed closer to death than I'd prefer by eating hot dogs; I've witnessed the natural splendors of a fjord from a boat filled with more Asian tourists than I'd ever seen anywhere else in Norway; and eating out isn't a priority when my friends can provide me with such great home-cooked meals (also, I'm cheap and eating out is mostly expensive). Of course, I haven't done everything; there are some big gaps in my trips that I hope to fill someday, mainly, I have yet to experience the national pastime of skiing and I've never been to a local concert (the latter really irks me because a handful of my favorite musicians are from Bergen, but I'm never there when they're performing). But overall, my main reason for visiting Bergen is to see Kåre and hang out with our friends.
May 27, 2013
I rarely leave my desk at work unless I want to refill my water glass, eat a snack, or pee. But recently, I had an errand to run that would take me beyond the comforts of the 15-foot radius around my desk; I had to haul myself to Union Square. (Not much of a haul from my office in Chinatown, but it required putting on shoes, so...yeah. Haul.)
"You should head to Photo Tech now so you can get there before it closes," said the part of my brain that dictates responsible actions, like maintaining a well stocked supply of toilet paper, washing my sheets before—not after—they start to smell funny, and, in this case, getting my lens repaired. (A few weeks ago the zoom ring broke, out of the blue. I couldn't tell how bad the damage was at first, until I felt something being crunched under the ring as I twisted it, bringing me to the diagnosis of, "Oh, that sounds bad.")
And then, another voice butted in, shrill and uninhibited. "OMG IF YOU'RE GOING TO UNION SQUARE YOU CAN GET PULLED PORK FROM TABOONETTE YOU WANNIT UUGHGUHGG [INSERT GURGLY SOUND OF AMPLIFYING GLUTTONY]." That came from the far more dominant part of my brain that thinks about gratification and how to get it, preferably now.
What's great about Taboonette's pulled pork rice plate ($10)? Just about everything. I'll break it down for ya.
May 19, 2013
I couldn't get it out of my head. The question I asked myself shortly after stepping onto the streets of downtown Taipei. What's that smell? Not a lip-curling, is-that-the-stench-of-decay-or-did-someone-fart smell, but a mild, omnipresent scent that says, "You're definitely in Taipei."
And thus I became unnaturally flush with excitement* when one night out of the blue Lee Anne said, "There's a distinct smell here." Oh, Lee Anne [clutches chest]—you totally get me. In addition to "BFF" you have earned the badge of "SMELL PARTNER 4 LYFE." And you're really smart, so I bet you know what the smell is.
* I mean, I'm easily excited, but it's usually at the hands of a voluminous ice cream sundae or a puppy acting helpless in a totally nonthreatening situation and thus looking immeasurably cute, not by smells.
"Oh my god, yes! The smell! There's a smell! You know the smell! ...What is this smell?"
"I think it's a mix of food and exhaust," Lee Anne started. "With some incense." Keep going. "And a bit of air freshener." Keeeep going. "And...toilet?" I nodded. It's not a scent I'd apply to my skin, but If I could bottle up Taipei street air and take it home for the occasional closed-eyed whiff, I would. It would transport me back to Taipei in a way nothing else can.
April 25, 2013
Happy New Year, everyone! 2013 is going to be awesome! Yeah!
...Oh, it's been 2013 for about five months, you say? The year is already a third over? Mmmmk [leans back and flumps into bed, slowly rolls into center of bed, curls knees up to chest, smothers lumpy self with comforter, does not move for five hours]
Yup, I'm slow. But I'm not dead. Yet. And so I shall chug along at the speed of a broken slug, as you've grown accustomed to. (THANKS FOR STICKING WITH ME, GUYS!!!)
If you're wondering what I've been up to during this period of blog abandonment, here's a lil' recap of the last month:
- End of March: Visited Istanbul! It was awesome! You can see a few hundred photos on my Flickr page (I still have a few hundred more photos to edit). If I'm not a total failure, I might write about it in six months.
- Beginning of April: Got sick immediately after returning to NYC. I spent the first week not being able to taste much of anything. I spent the second week regaining my sense of taste, but losing my appetite. Then my digestive system stopped working at full capacity. "Ima go take long nap. Sorry about the funny poops. Ok bye." I think that's what it said to me.
- Mid-April: I entered "gross ball of sweat/phlegm/dizzyness" mode for a few days. At the end my poops upgraded from "nightmare" to "close enough to normal."
- Late-mid April: Everything pretty much returned to normal aside from my lungs hurling out the occasional phlegm bomb and my inability to shake off a weird dream involving a huge pink marble toilet—I mean, like a pool-sized thing—featuring raw slabs of meat resting and/or smeared on the seat and dead pigs and various flesh slabs danging on hooks overhead.
You didn't need to know all that, but it's too late now.
Here's my probably incomplete list of my favorite foods from 2012, mostly in New York City, categorized by restaurants, individual dishes, and sweet things.
El Tenampa: Thanks to El Tenampa, I rarely eat anywhere else in my neighborhood. I doubt any other place near me could beat El Tenampa's deliciousness-to-dollar ratio. For $6 I can have a two-taco dinner (plus as much guacamole, radishes, and cucumber as I want from their accompanying toppings bar), or if I'm in the mood for getting disgustingly full, I can get a meat-avocado-cheese-n-bean-laden cemita for $8. My favorite fillings are their lengua, cabeza, buche, and suadero, and the well toasted bread and blistered tortillas never disappoint. The only downside is that waits can get long for what's mostly a take-out spot. It's worth it the wait; just don't go if you're in a rush. (If you want someone to help you eat your tacos/cemitas, let me know. I'm like a three-minute walk away from there.) 706 4th Avenue, Brooklyn, NY 11232 (map); 718-369-7508; eltenampadeli.com
March 24, 2013
I was hoping to finish writing a big roundup of my favorite bites from 2012 before leaving on my trip to Istanbul today. Haha. HAHA. HAHAHA nope, that's definitely not happening.
But before I go to bed and get five hours of sleep, I can write about this one thing I ate yesterday. Look at this sandwich:
And how about again, because I turned the plate around:
And this! [points wildly]
March 3, 2013
Everyone I know who's been to Istanbul has said in some form or another, usually with crazed eyes of excitement, "ISTANBUL IS AWESOME AND YOU WILL LOVE IT!" And thus I am going there for vacation from March 25 to April 1 with Diana and Kåre (same travel buddies as last year's trip to Berlin)! Friends have been giving me advice and I have some guide books to study (flipping through Istanbul Eats' book is giving me all the drools) in addition to all these Serious Eats posts, but if anyone out there wants to throw in their two cents about "things you must do in Istanbul," I'd love to hear it. (And while I know this is a big reach, if you live in Istanbul and am interested in sharing a meal, do contact me, please? :D) We're staying in Cihangir, if that helps to know. Thank you for your help!
March 1, 2013
Ever since I first tried the marshmallow sundae at Eddie's Sweet Shop in Forest Hills, every other sundae I've tried just can't measure up. The appeal of Eddie's isn't their homemade ice cream—ice cream that's perfectly satisfying—but the sauce it's drowned in. I mean. Look at this disgustingly beautiful thing:
The thick, gooey, throat-gaggingly sweet (you know, in a good way) marshmallow sauce drips out of the cup like a lava flow. You repeatedly drag your spoon up the side of the cup to catch the excess goo, but it keeps spilling out from the top. The cup appears to be generating marshmallow goo out of nothing. WHAT SORCERY IS THI—nevermind, they just put a shitton of sauce on top. And by "shitton" I mean "just the right amount." Moderation, meet the mighty fist of American gluttony. A fist thrusted by jet packs running on fat and sugar.
February 25, 2013
If the phrase "treat yo' self" doesn't mean anything to you, watch this:
(And if you're not familiar with Parks and Recreation, you should watch that, too. You've only got five seasons to catch up on. Piece of cake.)
"Treat yo' self" may be a once-a-year thing in the world of Parks and Recreation, but in my world it's "any time I'm in the Serious Eats office during off-hours by my lonesome, which is many of the times." And my favorite way to treat myself on the cheap without straying far from the office is to walk five minutes to Yaya Tea Garden and plop down $5 in return for one of these babies:
Tokyo Fried Chicken. It's a simple thing—chicken katsu topped with katsu sauce on top of too little cooked chopped cabbage and too much white rice—but I love it to the point that I've eaten it twice in the last week. The generous two-cutlet amount of chicken is mostly moist, except around the edges where it's most crisp; the rice is well cooked so that each fat, sticky grain is well defined and not too soft and I can easily shove satisfyingly big clumps of it in my mouth; the cabbage provides some vegetable content, allowing me to pretend I'm not totally destroying my health; and it only costs $4.95. That's a good happiness-to-dollar ratio right there.
Since I have trouble eating all the chicken without feeling disgustingly full (and I ignore the sensible option of not eating everything), I've gotten in the habit of asking for more cabbage and less chicken. The last time I asked this (which was, um, last night), the cashier told me, "People usually ask for it the other way around."