[Initially I hoped to write about stuff I ate a month ago. But the meals...oh, they keep piling on. Because I've procrastinated too much and have yet to stop consuming. So that I'm no longer a month behind, here's a recap of what I ate yesterday. I'll have to catch up on the other stuff later.]
Yesterday morning my brain sputtered into consciousness to the sound of my phone ringing. What? People don't call me on Saturday mornings.
I rolled over, grasped the phone and brought it within three inches of my squinted, horribly nearsighted eyes. The monochrome caller ID display read Alex Brey.
"AHH, AHH!" I frantically shouted in my head. Excitement and half-consciousness got the best of me, causing me to accidentally hang up as I fumbled with my phone.
"NO NO NO NO NO, JEBUS!" I internally shouted as I clumsily flipped my phone open. (As you can see, half-awake Robyn translates into a useless, mildly insane Robyn.) I punched some buttons to get him back. More internal shouting followed. "I'M AWAKE NOW, I'M AWAKE DAMMIT, YOU BETTER BE THERE."
And he was! And by "there" he was actually in New York City with his dad!! And for some crazy reason he requested my presence!!!
"I AM IN THE CITY NOW WITH MY AWESOME DAD, WANNA HANG?"
"YES, YES I DO!"
"WHERE SHOULD WE EAT FOR DINNER?"
"I DUNNO! HAVE YOU HAD KOREAN FOOD?"
"DO YOU LIKE SPICY THINGS?"
"OKAY, WE ARE EATING KOREAN FOR DINNER!"
That wasn't our conversation verbatim, but that's how I remember it. All in caps. All shouting.
And so after browsing the Frick Collection with Alex and his dad Pat (a great art museum by the way, and you must use the complimentary audio guide for the overly lavish descriptions of the artwork), we made out way to Cho Dang Gol in Koreatown for some tofu goodness.
The first time I went to Cho Dang Gol was with Adam Roberts for lunch. I expected dinner to be pretty much the same, but the dinner banchan was missing kimchi. Or rather, I only felt like it was missing kimchi because I had been expecting it. Maybe I shouldn't have. I'm not Korean so I can't really claim to know what should or should not appear in a dinner banchan selection.
...But I wanted me some (cabbage) kimchi...
As we were presented with our banchan we were also given Pat's vegetable pancake, which he ordered as an entrée. Once again, my preconceptions resulted in slight disappointment. I was expecting something like Han Bat's pancake, which is a golden crispy manhole-sized beast cut into bite-sized diamond pieces for ease of consumption, but Cho Dang Gol's was a much more subdued version. [Update (11/26): Polimorfos pointed out that they're different because...um, they're a totally different kind of pancake called bindae duk! Oops. That's what I get for not being well versed in Korean pancake-ness.] Their pancakes were not manhole-sized, nor radiating with as much golden crispiness. That doesn't mean they were bad—Pat happily ate them all, comparing them to the deliciousness of potato pancakes—and maybe it's a good thing they weren't manhole-sized to prevent the onset of "stomach feels like a goddamn brick" syndrome, but...you know. I think giant pancakes are more fun. If I ever get another chance to give Pat some Korean pancake goodness, I'll take him somewhere else.
And then came the bubbling mini-cauldrons of light, porridge-like tofu stew, aka one of the most perfect foods you can eat on a bitterly cold day. Because it will boil your innards. Really, this stuff is super hot and when mixed with kimchi like mine was will give your throat and belly all kinds of tingly sensations, partially due to the singed tissue matter. Ha.
The hotness is eased by the accompanying semi-purple rice. Take half a spoonful of rice, fill the other half with jiggling tofu curds, shovel in mouth, and VOILA, you have protein-enhanced happiness.
If Alex can do it, so can you!
At the end of my previous lunch at Cho Dang Gol with Adam the waitress had filled our black pot of rice with tea, but for dinner our pot of rice wasn't even left on the table. So no rice tea. Which is okay, but I don't know why they would do it for lunch and not for dinner. If anyone has any input, let me know! I'm not very knowledgeable about Korean practices.
Our meal couldn't end with tofu. That just ain't right. What were we going to do for dessert? Alex craved milkshake while Pat and I didn't want anything in particular. So milkshakes it was.
We squeezed through the human laden 34th Street stretch between 6th and 7th avenues to get to 9th Avenue on our way towards the Ronnybrook Milk Bar. Since Billy's Bakery was on the way, we stopped in for an intoxicating whiff of butter. But we still had milkshakes on the mind.
...And of course, the milk bar was closed. (It's only open until 7PM. Ugh.) I had dragged poor Alex and Pat for over a mile through one of the most boring parts of Manhattan (although thankfully easy to walk through because nothing's there) so we could stare into a darkened store. Sweet!
I redeemed myself by dragging us back uptown to brgr. (By the way, I pronounce it bee-are-gee-are. This is the wrong way to do it, but I see it in my head as the letters, not the word.) Despite the name, I'm afraid I wouldn't recommend brgr for burgers. The burgers aren't horrible, but in my opinion they just aren't good enough to justify the high price that comes with sourcing ingredients from small farmers and whatnot. If you're going to use high quality ingredients, you should make them into something that...uh, tastes better.
Thankfully, their milkshakes, which are made from Ronnybrook Farm ice cream, are awesome. They're super thick, smooth, flavorful, and very likely to give you an ice cream headache. Since I knew I couldn't finish one shake on my own (at least, not without suffering from dairy overload), I shared a strawberry shake with Pat. They'll divide a shake between two cups if you ask them to.
Alaina once told me that each cup packs in four scoops of ice cream, which doesn't surprise me at all considering how hard I had to suck the straw (as though my head were going to collapse on itself) to get the blended ice cream goo up the skinny tube into my mouth. After one or two of these intensely mouth-numbing sips, a sharp pain filled the space between my eyes usually occupied by brains (at least, I think they're brains; it might just be empty). All went black. Life...faded...
And then I gave a few hard squints and all was back to normal.
Alex drank an entire black and white (chocolate and vanilla) milkshake on his own! How did it all fit into his skinny body? Dunno. His head was probably full of phlegm that night, as he had been hacking up substances from the inner depths of his respiratory system for most of the evening. But was it worth it? Oh yes!
Many thanks to the adorable Brey men for treating me to fine art, Korean food and brain freeze. I WOULD DO IT AGAIN IN A HEARTBEAT! A++!