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September 2008 Archives

September 3, 2008

When You Turn 23, You Get Rickrolled and A Giant Manatee

[Warning: THERE IS NO BIRTHDAY FOOD IN THIS ENTRY. That will come later. Maybe October at the rate I'm going. On the bright side, I'm 2/3rds of the way done with a real entry about food. That should appear soon.]

Last Wednesday was my 23rd birthday. It was pretty much like any other work day, aside from the breakfast at Shopsins Ed invited me to and the pile of apple cider doughnuts Erin bestowed upon me (people like feeding me; I can't refuse!). One moment I'm taking photos of food by the window of the Serious Eats office, the next I'm being whisked to the center of the room by a tall, male stranger wearing a tan trench coat.

And then he breaks into song. But not just any song.

WUT! Raphael took this photo. He's crazy like that.

"Never Gonna Give You Up" by Rick Astley. See, the trench coat isn't creepy; it's part of the authenticity of being Rickrolled. As my coworkers stared and laughed (and took photos...and maybe a video), a smile spread across my reddening face and stuck there for a few uncomfortable minutes until he went into the second verse, at which point the smile froze into something conveying both happiness and pure horror. "This song feels much longer than I thought it was..."

I was also repeating, "OMG WHAT IS GOING ON WHO SENT ME THIS?" over and over in my head.

Continue reading "When You Turn 23, You Get Rickrolled and A Giant Manatee" »

September 7, 2008

Vegetarian Restaurants That Underwhelmed Me For Various Reasons: Sacred Chow, Candle Cafe, and Counter

tristan is cookin
Tristan's cooking! Nom nom!

I like vegetarian food. Or some of it. But every now and then when I eat at a highly praised vegetarian restaurant I can't tell if I have to be a vegetarian to fully appreciate it. "Vegetarians love this place, thus I CAN TOO! I...can...I...want a pork chop."

My favorite places to get vegetarian food are be Asian (mainly Chinese and Indian), natural food stores with vegetarian-friendly delis, (Life Thyme and Earth Matters being my two favorites), Tiny's Giant Sandwich Shop, or my kitchen when Tristan is cooking (I'd almost always rather eat whatever random stew of spicy deliciousness he cobbles together than go out to eat vegan food). Exclusively vegetarian or vegan restaurants that fall outside these categories usually leave me wanting more. For the high(er than I'm used to) prices these places tend to charge I expect to eat something pretty awesome, but instead I usually feel underwhelmed, like something is missing (and that "something" isn't animal-derived).

In the past two months I've eaten at Sacred Chow, Candle Cafe, and Counter, three vegetarian restaurants I had known about for years but hadn't tried until I went out with vegetarian friends. Here's a quick overview of my thoughts about these restaurants and a few notes about those thoughts:

  • I only ate at each restaurant once, which doesn't necessarily give a full impression of their dishes
  • ...My impression being that they're not bad, but not as good as I would've expected from the reviews I read
  • For the prices they charged, I expected something better
  • I know it costs a lot to run a restaurant, and their ingredients may be better than most others, but the food should still taste...better
  • Since I tend to eat cheaply so I can pay my bills without going in debt, pricey food has to taste REALLY FREAKIN' AWESOME for me to think it's worth it (and I will happily pay for REALLY FREAKIN' AWESOME food). Richer people may have different standards
  • I know that there's plenty of so-so, overpriced food in the "omnivore-friendly restaurants" category
  • My idea of what tastes good may not be the same as what vegetarians think tastes good
  • Vegetarians, please don't hate meee

My next entry will be about vegetarian/vegan eateries that I like, if that helps at all.

Continue reading "Vegetarian Restaurants That Underwhelmed Me For Various Reasons: Sacred Chow, Candle Cafe, and Counter" »

September 12, 2008

Alta is Great, and Then Dessert Comes, and It's Less Great

I'm going to do that thing where I don't do what I said I was going to do. Oops.

The promised list of my favorite vegetarian restaurants is currently taking too long for me to cobble together, so before that happens, I'd like to share an experience I had about a month ago involving a pleasant meal that ended with a mindbogglingly crappy dessert. These things occasionally happen, but you don't expect them to. If you did, you wouldn't order dessert in the first place. And then everything would be happy joy joy.

Unfortunately, a bad dessert cancels out the goodness of the rest of the meal. For me, at least. Mediocre, I could accept; "WTF is this?"-inducing, not so much.

It began and ended at Alta. I had been there once before; it's a nice place, maybe not "oh my freakin' god" good, but good enough that I'd recommend it to other people and want to go back despite it being pricier than what I'm used to. When Tim suggested meeting there for dinner, I was all for it. I brought Nathan, Tim brought his girlfriend Sara, and then there were four...stomachs to share food between.

Fried Goat Cheese
Oo, cheese, Gromit!

Fried goat cheese. with lavender-infused honey proved, as always, that you cannot go wrong with fried cheese. Or fried anything. The fried-ness didn't bring out any gooey properties—goat cheese doesn't gooify, it just stays soft and creamy—but eating a warm ball of goat cheese with a light, crunchy shell rolled in honey is a lot better than eating a plain ball of goat cheese.

Continue reading "Alta is Great, and Then Dessert Comes, and It's Less Great" »

September 14, 2008

HALP: Food/Agricultural/Environmental-Related Jobs in NYC Wanted

vegetables
Mm, bounteous!

[I still owe you my vegetarian/vegan recommendations post! It will get done. Pinky swear.]

I know everyone who reads my blog likes food (you good grade-A human you!). Narrowing it down, many of you live or work in NYC. But narrowing it down some more...how many of you work with food, agricultural, or environmental organizations? (Like Slow Food. Farmers' markets. Stuff. You know what I mean.)

My roommate/bff Tristan needs a new job, preferably related to the aforementioned sectors of food-ness. And I need him to get a new job so WE CAN STILL BE ROOMMATES. This is very important. (Not the most important part of finding a new job, but pretty important.) New job and continuation of living in Brooklyn equate to happiness for Tristan and me. Happy Tristan = happy Robyn = I eat more food. Such a beautiful cycle!

Of course, Tristan has been/is looking for jobs, but I'm reaching out to whatever community I may have to help him as well. Continue reading after the jump for more info on Tristan, and please email him at tristan.jones@world.oberlin.edu with any helpful information you may have, or leave a comment for him to email you. Thank you!

Continue reading "HALP: Food/Agricultural/Environmental-Related Jobs in NYC Wanted" »

September 18, 2008

NYC Vegetarian Eatery Recommendations, Part I (1-5)

While some vegetarian restaurants may be disappointing or just plain suck, there are more places that don't suck. I hope.

Here's the first half of my list of top ten favorite vegetarian and vegan eateries.

Taim

FALAFEL TIME!!! Taim fries
Falafel pita sandwiches!

I don't look at Taim as a vegetarian eatery—I just call it, "BEST FALAFEL EVER!" Or in NYC. And aside from the sabich, which contains hard boiled egg (and is one of the best sandwich-like things you could ever eat) and some smoothies, I think most of the items are vegan. Few other places make falafels so light and crisp, or pita bread so thick, soft, and fluffy. The fried-on-the-spot french fries are also great, although best shared between two or more people (unless you're really hungry). The only downside is the lack of seating, although I've been lucky and have always been able to grab a stool or space on the outside benches. 222 Waverly Place, New York, NY 10014 (at 7th Avenue; map); 212-691-1287

Related: Amy Ruth's, Cafe Mogador, Taim, NYC eats: so many, oh dear god, Merry Christmas + McDonalds, Random Russian Stuff, Pudding and Falafels, Tristan Week: Day 2 (Israeli Sandwiches and Mild Tipsiness)

Continue reading "NYC Vegetarian Eatery Recommendations, Part I (1-5)" »

September 22, 2008

NYC Vegetarian Eatery Recommendations, Part II (6-10)

Here's the second half of my list of top ten favorite vegetarian and vegan eateries. It's more recycled than the first half; nothing on this list is new to my blog. I also fudged the line of vegetarian and vegan, including some places that are mostly for omnivores, but have good vegetarian dishes. It was hard coming up with 10 places I'd recommend; I've been to a few other vegan places in the last month that, while not terrible, fit into the "meh, underwhelming" category.

Now you should feel free to give me recommendations.

Life Thyme

salad pudding life thyme
Foods from Life Thyme

I first started going to Life Thyme in 2003 when I was on a raw food diet. They had some interesting raw food "pizza"-type things and other prepared foods that weren't bad, but not things I'd want to eat when not on a raw food diet. However, I continue to love their salads long after the reign of raw food terror has ended. A small container of colorful chopped salads from their salad bar along with a cup of vegan tofu (chocolate and banana being my favorite, or pumpkin when it's in season) makes for a satisfying lunch. I also loved their vegan tollbooth cookie and their banana chocolate chip cookie. Their vegan cakes are also very good. They have seating on the second floor; I usually sat by the windows overlooking 6th Avenue. 410 Avenue of the Americas, New York NY 10011 (b/n W 8th Street and W 9th Street; map); 212-420-9099

Related: I'm squishy and full of various meats, Saigon Grill and Cafe Lalo, Kitchen Secrets, salad, and pudding

Continue reading "NYC Vegetarian Eatery Recommendations, Part II (6-10)" »

September 25, 2008

I Momofuku Ssam Bar-ed, And All Was Good With the World

If you don't like Momofuku Ssam Bar, you're with the enemy. Or you're a vegetarian/vegan, which is perfectly fine. Except that you'll never be able to appreciate the goodness of pucks of deep-fried pork fat, or tofu cubes deep-fried in pork fat, or pork laden with pork fat. I've accepted the fact that I probably won't live as long as you will, and I'm at about 95% peace with my pork-loving self.

On all previous visits to Ssam Bar I had ordered the bo ssam, my favorite slab of pork matter in the history of the universe and the universes of my unborn great20 grand children and their alien pets. But on my last visit about three weeks ago, I didn't get bo ssam. And my taste buds didn't suffer for it. Don showed me the light, which is, "Ordering a lot of things at Ssam Bar—half the menu, perhaps—is the way to go to achieve optimum gustatory pleasure." This is assuming you have at least six people to share the food between; otherwise your liver will be like, "Oooh, WTF mate" (if your liver is Australian). So in honor of Londoner Su-Lin's visit to NYC, she, three of her colleagues, Don, and I ate a buttload. Observe.

Diver sea scallops
Scallops

Diver sea scallops with pickled cherries, lemon, and sprouts of some sort: Mm, tender, sweet chunks of the sea, you are delicious. As scallops aren't one of my favorites foods, I would never order them on my own will. But when they're good...they're good. Each fat slice of adductor muscle packs a clean hit of sea-ness.

Continue reading "I Momofuku Ssam Bar-ed, And All Was Good With the World" »

September 30, 2008

The Good and the Bad at the Flushing Mall, Plus Mooncakes

The Flushing Mall isn't a dead mall, but it's not exactly bustling. As far as I can tell, most people go there for the food. Or to get wedding portraits taken. Or to learn chess. (The cornerstones of being Asian!) If you walk out of the food court to the second floor and make your way towards the eastern part of the mall, you'll come across the more retail-oriented section that veers on dead-ness. But unlike conventional malls, it has a secret weapon, buried somewhere past the clothing and near the "not quite 99 cents, but still cheap" store.

Chinese Korean Noodles and Dumplings
DUMPS!

HANDMADE DUMPLINGS! And noodles. But I had my mind on dumplings.

menu
Menu!

Here are the dumpling choices:

Continue reading "The Good and the Bad at the Flushing Mall, Plus Mooncakes " »

About September 2008

This page contains all entries posted to The Girl Who Ate Everything in September 2008. They are listed from oldest to newest.

August 2008 is the previous archive.

October 2008 is the next archive.

Many more can be found on the main index page or by looking through the archives.

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