The Girl Who Ate Everything

Blogging about food and whatever since 2004.

Black Pearl, Odessa, brgr, Tebaya, Big Booty, and More

fried clam, mountain of
the mountain of clams compells you

I had never eaten a fried clam sandwich before I went to Black Pearl, partially because I'm not big on molluscs. But you know what I am big on? THINGS THAT ARE COOKED IN HELLISHLY HOT FAT. It's a magical process that makes everything taste good. Kid doesn't like vegetables! Fry em! Don't know what to do with those week-old hot dogs that are starting to ooze something that looks inorganic? Fry em! So I was excited about my Ipswich Clam Roll and all its sea-filled goodness hiding under a light crispy cornmeal coating.

I was first hit by the buttery roll. And by that I mean it tasted like it had been soaked in butter. Which is kind of awesome. And then I got into the soft, clammy belly of the roll. Thank god these clams were baby-butt tender and not chewy with a hint of indigestibility like the few clams I recall eating (and being terrified of) as a kid that I would chew for 5 minutes straight and ultimately swallow whole because the acids in my saliva made no impression on the rubbery clam matter.

So...what was wrong? I think my stomach just wasn't used to eating that many clams, "that many" being more clams than I would eat over the span of fives years. With 1/4th of the clam filling left on my plate, I felt a briny mass slowly swirl in my stomach. No more clams. For the rest of the day the little souls of the sacrificed bivalves left my stomach in the form of tiny sea-flavored burps. Many souls.

bread and sausage

Later that Friday Ed, Alaina and I went to the grand opening of Hill Country with the intention of just taking a peek. A PEEK. But the peek ended up turning into a mini feast. I posted some food porn at Gothamist if you want to take a lookie.

And then...I went to dinner. Dinner was planned; clam stuffening and Hill Country tasting were not. Ah well; sometimes you have to be a glutton. Actually, no you don't. I'm just making up excuses for laughing in the face of good health and moderation.


I went to Odessa with John, Pete and Aleks for a bit of cheapy diner action. YES, THAT IS ONE OF MY FAVORITES, especially when blintzes are involved.

But first, a look at the decor.

Ceiling of death

9.5 out of 10 interior decorators agree that this ceiling looks like it's caked with dried blood. Or maybe that's just me. I'm no interior decorator; you can tell by looking at my disheveled bedroom. Seriously though, this could've been a room in Johnny the Homocidal Maniac's house. Maybe. If it were real blood. Of course it wasn't. I mean, the sanitation department wouldn't stand for that. Odessa would be closed like [...waits 5 seconds...] that [virtually snaps fingers, as I cannot snap my fingers in real life, because I do not have FUNCTIONAL HUMAN FINGERS].


The bar is also interesting. You see all the things dangling around it? The dangles? They encourage alcoholism. Maybe. Probably not. The sanitation department wouldn't stand for that.

Unphoto-ed are the many prints and paintings and strange pieces of artwork that lined the walls. We were sitting right under a painting of a green-tinged view of...the backside of some people walking away from a lake. I thought maybe there was some story about it, like, "Did these people just cross the lake? Did they step out of the lake? ARE THEY MERPEOPLE?" but alas, that shall remain a secret that the artist takes (or probably has taken) to his/her grave.

blintzes blintz innards

Behold, bloated blintzy action! My strawberry and apple blintzes were not the best, but they were satisfying enough. Thin, somewhat crisp crepe-like skin filled with diabetes-inducing fruit-based filling makes for a balanced dinner! IN MY IMAGINARY WORLD OF RAINBOWS AND UNICORNS!!! I couldn't finish it all, but I made a good effort, only stopping when I suspected that my brain had sprung a leak of sticky strawberry goo.

spinach pie
spinach pie

John's hefty spinach pie and fresh Greek salad looked quite good and non-deathly. My body probably would've appreciated those more than the blintzes.

On to the next week

number 1 burger

Last Monday I went to brgr for lunch with most of the Serious Eats gang and to meet up one of my best friends, Jen. I think I've previously mentioned that I'm not a fan of brgr. And...I'm still not a fan. But this burger was better than the first time I had eaten there, during which my otherwise photogenic burger was somewhat mushy and tasteless. This time my burger was firmer and had some taste of meat. Spectacular! If not for the price, I would feel like going back more often. Maybe. This lil' cheeseburger set me back $7.59. If you're a solid brgr fan, you must tell me why. Not that brgr is bad, but I have yet to grasp what makes this place super awesome.

veggie burger
veggie burg

Jen enjoyed her veggie burger except for when the patty started to splodge all over the places as though it were made of pudding. I think the patty acts as an amorphous solid due to the lack of binders (or small amount of) holding the fresh veggie matter together, which I wouldn't say is a bad thing. I think a deep-fried version of the veggie patty would hold together well, but they might look at me funnily if I asked. I don't even have to say anything to be looked at funnily; they just know.

ingredients bag in a bag single serving ice cream paste
making ice cream

After lunch I was given the mission to make ice cream in a bag. The recipe is very easy to follow, so if you one day find yourself very, very bored and you happen to have sugar, milk, vanilla, salt (recipe calls for rock salt but coarse salt worked fine), a pint sized and a gallon sized Ziplock bags and ice cubes, go for it. I'll just add that you should wrap the bag in a towel or some kind of barrier before you start shaking it because that thing gets really damn cold and frostbite isn't amusing. People have asked me what the salt is for; without any scientific explanation, it's there to make the bag colder or else your puddle of ice cream goo would remain a puddle of ice cream goo. Little children would cry in the face of their failed experiment. Do you want to make little children cry? DO YOU?


Ta-da! I cream paste! It tasted surprisingly good for something that only took 5 minutes of shaking in a plastic bag. There was too much vanilla, so I'd recommend cutting that down a tad.

And here's more stuff I ate

fried chicken

On Wednesday while walking back from City Bakery (where I loaded up on some cookies), I randomly passed by Tebaya, a small Japanese fried chicken take-out. All thoughts of going to Kofoo immediately vanished.

Mm, chicken time!
mm, chicken

For $6.95 you can get a lunch box of rice, side salad and 8 crispy wings doused in some kind of...tasty sauce. And sesame seeds. I don't know what's in the tasty sauce, but it's awesomely peppery, so there's at least...that. You open the box and BOOM, black pepper attacks your nasal passages. Which is cool with me because I like black pepper, perhaps not so much with you if you hate it. The wings are not overly saucy, but they will make your hands messy and they don't come with wet wipes. Be sure to keep plenty of napkins on hand for you will want to eat all the SWEEET TENDER MEAT INSIDE.

I wouldn't say it's worth going out of your way to try Tebaya, but I work close enough to it that I'd definitely go back. They have chicken katsu, for one thing. KATSU! I prefer pork, but chicken is close enough. They offer katsu over rice or in the form of a sandwich. A SANDWICH.

Big Booty
biiig booty

On Thursday I denied myself of the might Kofoo once again to try out Big Booty Bread Co, a nearby bakery that I surprisingly had rarely been to considering that it's a bakery and I tend to get addicted to those places.

grilled cheese innards
it glows

For about $5 I got meself a gooey grilled cheese sandwich on their thick, floofily soft white bread. Oh, how the sight of semi-fluorescent cheese makes my heart skip. I think due to the time it took to get the sandwich back to the office and take excessive photos of the grilled surface and dripping cheese filling, the once-present crispiness of the bread had disappeared. Oops. But it was still damn tasty.

booty buns bun!
booty bun

My strawberry and cream cheese filled booty bun was alright. I'm good with the soft, sweet bun, but I think it could've used more filling, like a jelly donut that is near bursting with sweet innards as opposed to a wheaty cave where some strawberry and cream cheese matter happened to be hiding out in.

chocolate chip cookie
mmm choco chip

As I'm a chocolate chip cookie addict, I must try any chocolate chip cookie that looks promising despite knowing that City Bakery's CC cookie will always be my favorite. And it still is. But Booty Bakery's satellite dish-esque cookie is also worth trying. Soft, moist, sweet, not too much chocolate, blah blah, etc, tasty. They also have a peanut butter chunk cookie that appeared to be bursting with fatty sugary goodness. I'll pick it up next time.


That night my mum, brother and I ate at our favorite local Japanese restaurant, Tawara, where my mum got this moutainous seafood and vegetable combination platter that could've fed...well, many more people than just herself. This would comfortably feed two, or uncomfortably feed one. I ended up eating a good deal of it, resulting in a mild "my brain feels like oil" coma. As delicious as it was, I don't think I'll be eating any more tempura for a while.

cold sesame noodles
cold sesame noodles

I would've felt less deathly if I had just stuck with my cold sesame noodles. They were refreshing, just a plate of chewy ramen-ish noodles accompanied by pickled cucumber, seaweed, scramed egg strips, mung bean sprouts, ginger, steamed chicken, and probably other things I can't discern from the photo. But maybe it tasted...too healthy and I needed to balance it with DEEP FRIED VEGETABLES.

Sometimes I make stuff


I made this lemon sherbet (or as I say it, sherbert) from David Lebovitz's new book, The Perfect Scoop, and it came out rather awesome. Milk, sugar, and lemons are all you need. You could even eat it for BREAKFAST! Maybe.

kettle corn
kettle corn

I also tried to make kettle corn. And failed. I mean, the parts that weren't burnt were alright, but the parts that were were...n't. Probably shouldn't have used butter or kept it at such a high heat. Ooops. I have a slight addiction to microwavable kettle corn, which I wouldn't say is really like traditional kettle corn but just popcorn that is slightly salty and sweet. IT'S SO GOOD. And I cannot reproduce it in my pot. Sigh.

A year ago...

mountains n stuff!

I WAS IN NORWAY!!! Land of the Weegies. Bergen, to be exact.


The Bergen that loves jam.

pizza sauce

And pizza dressing...

fish cakes

And fish cakes...


And hot dogs...


And indescribable beauty...

sad face

A year later, I still feel this sad. Worse, actually. Morten, maybe not so much. Once you leave Bergen, you are sad. Forever.

However, Morten, Diana and I may meet again soon. I WILL KEEP YOU POSTED.


Black Pearl
37 W 26th St

Hill Country
30 W 26th St

119 Avenue A

287 7th Ave

144 W 19th St

Big Booty Bread Co
261 W 23rd St

53 W Main St
Ramsey, NJ 07446


Jeanne / June 17, 2007 10:56 PM

Hey! We made ice cream like that in chem during high school. We also made peanut brittle...and that was not so successful. As usual your photography makes me crave stuff...however, my brain is confused. First it was all...mmm fried stuff, but then got distracted by the grilled cheese and then the cookie...and then back to the fried stuff with that MOUNTAIN of tempura. What to do...

fanny / June 17, 2007 11:44 PM

Hi Robyn,
everything looks really yummy - as usual on your blog.
Regarding the icecream, the addition of salt enables the temperature to reach -21.4°C. Indeed when ice + water from ice fusion + salt are in contact (euctetic mixture) the temperature of the mixture automatically reaches -21.4°C.

- fanny

Kathy / June 18, 2007 5:16 AM

i think i need to stop reading your blog robyn! everytime you post, i have this urgent feeling that i need to move to nyc RIGHT NOW as opposed to in august. so much food! so much fun! an blintzes! i don't think those exist in hawaii either! man, if you only we could trade places just for a week! ;)

maria~ / June 18, 2007 10:03 AM

Whoa, that sorbet looks so good. It'd be so perfect on a hot summer day! I'm totally going to make it! Thanks for the inspiration!

mona / June 18, 2007 11:27 AM

What's the texture of the bag ice cream like? I'm dying to make David Lebovitz's Malted Milk Ice Cream and I haven't an ice cream maker T_____T

Eric / June 18, 2007 11:30 AM

Damn...reading your blog at work always makes me huuungggrryy! Maybe I'll take lunch early today lol.

I have yet to try out those Korean/Japanese fried chicken wing places and Big Booty Bread just cuz of the name alone!

2 Questions for you: how is the sushi at Tawara? The menu looks good, and fairly priced as well.
Have you been to Asahi Restaurant in Fort Lee? It's probably MY favorite Japanese restaurant. It's a small place that has a lot of homestyle traditional items in addition to the more standard stuff.

Asahi Japanese Restaurant - Japanese Restaurant
1475 US Highway 46
Fort Lee, NJ07024

Annie / June 18, 2007 11:31 AM

I think I need to remind you that the white bread at 'wichcraft is in no way foofy. Maybe that's a drawback. But at any rate it is so.

Sera / June 18, 2007 11:56 AM

Ahhhh, so *that's* what the salt is for...huh. How can you tell I wasn't ever that good at science? :P

It's great to see you're getting more comfortable with making stuff in your own kitchen. It's FUN!!

I also am addicted to microwave ketter corn. *drool*

susannah / June 18, 2007 5:39 PM

the picture you took of that bun is breathtaking. it looks so squeezable. wow. I had a dream about chicken wings a few nights ago .. though ive never had korean style . .

a year ago i was in Italy. =( sad.

Molly / June 18, 2007 6:53 PM

Wow, where do you work? Because I work on 18th St. and these are all places I've been wanting to go to but keep forgetting until I walk by them penniless. :( Being broke is sad.

I've been especially curious about the Big Booty Bread place, if only for the amazing window art. Now I think I need a grilled cheese from there....mmmm. AND that place is right next to Burgers & Cupcakes and F&B! It's like a miracle mile! OK, a miracle block. Or something.

roboppy / June 18, 2007 9:09 PM

Jeanne: Damn, your chem class was much more fun than mine, which I remember as being midly torturous (because I had a bunch of annoying classmates).

I AM SORRY FOR CONFUSING YOU...with delicious things.

Fanny: Thanks for the explanation! That is much better than mine. "Durh, it gets colder." ;)

Kathy: Gee, reading your blog makes me wanna move to Hawaii!...I think I've mentioned that before. ;) But you'll actually BE here and I WILL NEVER GET TO LIVE IN HAWAII, so yeah. :( We could trade places if only someone invented teleportation!

Maria: It's perfect on any daaay! Which reminds me, I gotta go eat some more. The recipe makes a lot of it. :O

Mona: The texture is kinda like...paste-ish? But not? It's like mooshy ice cream.

If you think you're gonna make a lot of ice cream, it's worth getting an ice cream maker. I don't even use mine much!..euh...

Eric: Big Booty is a great name, ehh? I mean, they tell it like it is. You will get...a big booty.

I've never had the sushi at Tawara, actually. I tried some sashimi once but I don't like I can't judge. But I'd think it's good cos everything else they make is pretty awesome. I've never been to Asahi; I may have to try it out now! I like homestyle stuff.

Annie: No foofy? :( That's like ..not having a SOUL!

Sera: I wasn't good at science either! Or I got sick of it quickly. My most science-y class in college was...uh, also the one I got the worst grade in. Eh.


Susannah: You had a dream about CHICKEN WINGS? Like..eating them? I suppose they weren't attacking you.

Korean style is so good. We should get soooome.

Life was so much better a year ago.

Molly: I work on 27th between 7th and 8th Aves. Kind of in your neighborhood..ish. This week I'm gonna try to bring my own lunches to work so I can SAVE SOME MOOLAHS...for eating out for dinner. Hm.

Yup, go to Big Booty!

Brenda / June 18, 2007 11:36 PM

That last picture cracks me up. It looks like you simultaneously dropped your ice cream cones on the sidewalk and don't know what to do about it except look unhappy.

Does the five-second rule apply in the case of ice cream meets sidewalk?

Tina / June 19, 2007 5:37 AM

I miss the city and I hate working out in the outer boroughs...lack of any good food.

Anyways, I want to try Big Booty Bread. I've been meaning to go there but I tend to forget stopping by and I'm not always in the area. I heard their rock bread is good. It's supposed to be a type of cheese bread. love cheese and bread.

Grace / June 19, 2007 5:57 AM

Mann, that fried clam sandwich reminds me of the Fried Calimari sandwiches I had in Madrid, for only 2-3 Euros!

Paris Snacker / June 19, 2007 12:35 PM

Clam rolls...I haven't seen anything like that since the demise of Ho-Jo's and theirs were never like that. That place has a Tuesday Lobster night deal too!
Where do I find Kettle corn for the micro?
I had a BRGR yesterday when I longed for a hunk of meat and it suficed...just
But clam rolls..outside of Ipswich..
PS I just got sympathetic hicups

Kim / June 19, 2007 12:59 PM

OMG...I feel you on the kettle corn thing.

I eat about 12 mini bags of Pop Secret 100 calorie kettle corn a week. It's my most favoritest snack ever.

The combo of slightly salty and slightly sweet is unbeatable. I crave it, 'cause it's YUM.

Manda / June 19, 2007 4:05 PM

I LOVE kettle corn...but there's only one dude I buy it from and I forget which farmer's market he's at on certain days. Sweet + salty = YUM!

Ice cream in a bag...hmm. I have milk, sugar, sodium chloride, and many ziploc bags. *looks sneakily around* I have an idea for an "experiment"...

roboppy / June 19, 2007 5:03 PM

Brenda: I think any dropped ice cream is unfortunately unsalvageable depending on where it lands. Once the scoop of ice cream on my cone rolled off...but onto my pants. I immediately smooshed it back on the cone. EDIBLE. YES.

But off of a NYC sidewalk? Nah. ;)

Tina: Oo, I shall check out the rock bread tomorrow! I kept going for all the sweet stuff and ignored the cheesy bread, hehe.

Grace: Whoaa oh oh I would MUCH rather eat a fried calamari sammich! Wah!

Carol: I think any supermarket should have the microwavable kettle corn. I got Orville Reddenbacher and it was great. Probably not that healthy, but eh.

Kim: I tend to eat a whole bag in one sitting. But I won't it know, every day. :)

Manda: I need to try "real" kettle corn. I guess it's not like the microwavable stuff. :P

Jason Perlow / June 19, 2007 5:59 PM

Oh man. I've been looking for some serious fried clams for a while. We've got Legal Seafoods here in Jersey but it doesn't quite do it for me.

roboppy / June 20, 2007 3:20 PM

Jason: I used to like Legal Seafoods, but...I got bored of it. :\ Not that it's bad or anything. I mean, when you're at mall it's the nicest thing there, haha. Never tried the fried clams before though!

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