The Girl Who Ate Everything

Blogging about food and whatever since 2004.

A Whole Bunch of Stuff I Ate in June, Part I

I wanted to write a megapost about ten awesome things I ate in June (only three months behind, woohoo), but ten was too much for one post. Here's the first five; I'll get the second part up soon.

At the end of the post I put up my travel plans for the month, which will interest...not most of you. (Although if you live in Austin, I may request your navigational services.) But in case anyone tries to contact me and doesn't hear back for a while—which is admittedly not very different from when I am chained to my computer 24/7—I have a legitimate reason this time: I will be unchained from my computer! And I don't have a smartphone. WEEEE technology fail!!!

Homemade Pizza Suprema Party

Pizza, yesss.

In the spring of 2009, my friend Lee Anne was all kinds of excited about starting her first post-college job in Washington DC, working for the government. They told her it could start as early as the summer of 2009!

But it didn't. So she waited!

And then it didn't some more. So she waited some more!

And then it didn't some more. ...Yeah....

And then a year later*, after her family and her global network of contacts were fully checked out, she finally got the thumbs up to start her job. Up until then her homebase was my apartment. I live with her boyfriend (or she's my roommate's girlfriend; either way works), so it was a beneficial situation for all of us...aside from Lee Anne not knowing when her life would include a steady income.

*One of my friends waited two years for clearance, so I guess it could've been 100% worse.

To celebrate the government finally deeming her a safe person to absorb into their workforce, Lee Anne wanted to throw a homemade pizza going-away party. But when the dough proved too difficult to pull together in time for the party, she figured she could buy dough from a pizza shop. Except you can't if you want dough from Pizza Suprema, one of our fave pizza joints in the city for New York-style pizza. They won't sell you raw dough; you have to buy it in baked pizza form.

But you can get free dough if you' Don't ask me why. I mean, they obviously know who I am—they're a friend of Serious Eats and only located a few blocks away from our office—but considering I have no part in Slice, I never thought my name could garner me access to exclusive dough. Those two heavy glutenous plops were by far some of the best things my food blogger status has ever gotten me.

Lee Anne haz a pizza
Lee Anne haz a pizza!

Lee Anne baked up a medley of rustic pizzas, thick and oblong, and topped them in various combinations of fresh mozzarella, goat cheese, tomato sauce, basil, and cured Italian meats. From the first bite to the last, the pizza was fan-fuggin-tastic. She used a baking stone to get a great crunchy crust, and beneath the crust the dough was soft and chewy, resulting in the kind of bread that would taste great even without anything on it. I didn't know our oven could churn out something like that, but it was all about the dough (and Lee Anne's pizza craftsmanship—the toppings were awesome). As much as I love Pizza Suprema's thin crust fresh mozzarella with basil pizza, this fat and slab-y pizza is the sort of pizza I'll long for again. I wish Pizza Suprema could make these in addition to their regular pizzas.

Tristan and Chichi
A few eaters—hello, Tristan and Chichi!

What's the point of telling you about pizza you can't eat? Um. ....Sorry. I had to mention it so I could 1) thank the crap out of Pizza Suprema and their generosity (THANKYOUTHANKYOUTHANKYOU)—their dough resulted in an apartment-ful of happily stuffed people that night; and 2) show what their dough can do in a different application.

If you've never been to Pizza Suprema, go and get in on the fresh mozzarella action! The thick crust upside down pizza (mozzarella topped with tomato sauce) is also worth getting.

Pizza Suprema
413 8th Avenue, New York, NY 10001 (at 31st St; map)


mm, Rub burger
Mm, burger.

I've been to Rub BBQ six times. Each visit has resulted in me eating a burger. And each visit was on a Monday night. Because their menu only includes burgers on Monday nights. Hopefully this will change someday so the other six days have a chance to share the burger love, or they'll open a separate burger restaurant, because their burgers are awesome.

I prefer flat-and-charred to fat-and-juicy (not that I don't enjoy the latter as well), and they've got that style down pat. They manage to make the outside of the thin patty crusty and smokey while have it retain a bit pink on the inside. I've never specified how I want the burger done—it automatically comes out about medium rare, never dry. They offer plain hamburgers and cheeseburgers, but I've always gone for the special of the week or the Rub Burger ($7.50) topped with sautéed oninos, Velveeta (methinks), pickle chips, and chipotle aioli, all on a perfectly soft and squishy toasted bun. It'd probably taste good without all the fixings though; the patty is pretty beefy and salty on its own.

208 West 23rd Street, New York, NY 10011 (b/n 7th and 8th Aves; map)

Big Apple Barbecue Block Party

nom nom
Noming on the grass.

I remember when I first heard about the Big Apple Barbecue Block Party about five years ago. It sounded like sweat-soaked clusterfuck not worth the sauce-laden meatstuffs—no matter how delicious they were—that lay at the front of the hour-long lines that more resembled a chaotic sea of humans. Not my cup of tea. I'm weaksauce; I wouldn't endure that for any food. Or anything else for that matter.

On the Fast Pass side.

They've definitely improved it over the past eight years. I took advantage of my media pass—a Fast Pass without any credit on it, unlike the ones that are sold to the public—and spent the day with Greg and friends waiting reasonable amounts of time (I don't know what it was like in the non-Fast Pass lines) in pleasant weather and eating on the lawn in Madison Square Park. It was still sort of hectic, but not, "OH GOD I AM THISCLOSE TO STABBING MYSELF AND TAKING Y'ALL WITH ME TO GET OUT OF THIS HELL," hectic.

Ubon's pulled pork shoulder 17th Street Bar & Grill Ed Mitchell's The Pit Pappy's Smokehouse?
Foood. Click on the photos for more info.

The food is kind of a blur by this point. I remember being fond of the fall-off-the-bone baby back ribs from 17th Street Bar and Grill, but that may have something to do with it being the first thing I ate that day. I ended up going the second day of the event as well to help Greg use up his credit. It rained, so it was considerably less crowded—and infinitely less enjoyable.

The event was fun and something I'd go to again, but not something I'd knock down my grandma to get to. (Not to say that other people would. ...I do not know.) I don't like being stressed out when I eat, and events can't help but be sort of stressful. On the upside, the BABBP felt like a breath of fresh air—because I had plenty of breathing room—compared to Village Voice's Choice Eats or the Rachael Ray Burger Bash, where breathing room was less copious.

La Taza De Oro

La Taza de Oro Interior
La Taza de Oro.

La Taza de Oro is one of those places that has stuck in the back of my mind for years, but I never ate at because...I have no idea. It jumps out at you with its bright red facade and neon sign, and if you peek through the window (which I had done a few times—no, not in a creepy face-pressed-against-the-window way) you'll see a row of stools facing an open kitchen surrounded by wood paneled walls that look like they haven't changed in decades. Basically, it looks like the sort of place I'd love to eat at (and photograph). But I didn't actually step inside until Joyce suggested it for an inexpensive weeknight dinner near my office. And indeed, I loved it.

Arroz Con Calamares
Arroz con calamares.

In particular, I loved the arroz con calamares (also known as arroz negro) simply described on the menu as rice and squid, but also mixed with bits of onion and green pepper, with a bit of roasted red pepper on top. Every grain of rice was coated in squid ink goodness. And fat. The squid chunks had just a bit of chew, nothing near rubbery. I need to eat at La Taza de Oro more often, or find more Puerto Rican/Spanish places like it.

another view of...pork

I'd also go back for the fatty pork chunky pernil (roasted pork shoulder). But it'd be in addition to my squidy rice.

La Taza de Oro
96 8th Avenue, New York, NY 10011 (at 15th St; map)


1/4 LB. Sirloin Burger innards
Mm, burger.

I've eaten lots of burgers in the East Village. My favorite is still the one from Veselka, but Zaitzeff would be number two. The patty had exceptional beefy flavor, plenty of juice, and came on a great toasted Portuguese bun that was crispy inside and out. If you want to know more, I wrote a more in depth review on A Hamburger Today.

18 Avenue B, New York, NY 10009 (b/n 2nd Street and 3rd Street; map)
Another location at 72 Nassau Street

Travel Plans Galore

This is mostly for the benefit of friends I see in real life, but for those of you who are curious, I'm going on a bunch of Serious Eats-related trips for the next month to take photos for our upcoming book about the best food in America (and eat a crapload of food in the process). Why so much traveling in one month? Because I, along with three of my coworkers, bought All You Can Jet Passes from Jet Blue and we need to milk those babies for all they're worth until they expire on October 6.

Here's how it's going down:

  • Sept. 7: New Orleans, with Erin, Carey, and Ed. For one day. Yes, this seems nuts, but we still need to come back to the office and get some work done. :[
  • Sept. 9 - 11: Seattle, with Carey. Gonna stay with Rebecca, woo!
  • Sept. 14 - 15: Austin, with Erin. Not sure if we have any contacts in Austin. Um. ...Doodeedoo. Do I have any readers in Austin?
  • Sept. 16 - 20: Chicago, with Carey and Ed. We're exploring other cities near Chicago that we can drive to as well. Not sure what the itinerary for this is, but it will involve many hours in a rental car.
  • Oct. 6 (pending): Phoenix, with Erin. Planning to meet up with Lee Anne's sister, Kimberly!

And on top of that, from September 22 to October 2, THE NORWEGIANS ARE COMING!!! Yes, those Norwegians as previously seen, Norway, Italy, and New York City. Morten, his girlfriend Behnaz, and Kåre are visiting, which means I'm planning to be plenty occupied even though I won't be leaving the city.

In conclusion, SEPTEMBER IS A CRAZY MONTH! CRAZY AS BALLS! I don't know what that means. REALLY CRAZY! EXCITING CRAZY! I hope to not emerge from it 10 pounds heavier.


Angeline / September 5, 2010 8:23 PM

The pernil looks amazing. Mmmm pork.

The portuguese bun looks like an english muffin, is it similar?

I noticed your travel plans lack a trip to Toronto. What's with that?

Nicholas / September 5, 2010 10:40 PM

I notice you have the same criterion as me for whether or not a food is exceptional... if or if not you'd be willing to knock over your grandmother for it. NICE.

I like Zaitzeff's patty. Do not like their bun. It feels like using a white seeded bun might be more appropriate considering the heft.

roboppy / September 6, 2010 12:31 AM

Angeline: Yup, Portuguese buns seem quite similar to English muffins! Less nook-and-cranny action, perhaps.

Toronto isn't part of the Serious Eats book. :[ Wah!

Nick: Knocking over grandmas! That's what we do!

I've only had Portuguese buns on a burger twice, but I really liked it both times. Not that I'd mind a normal bun...but...crispy on both sides! Ahhh I love the crispy.

tristan / September 6, 2010 12:44 AM

yay! i got to eat both the pizza and at taza de oro (even if all i got was beans and rice). those were both great, great food experiences, yay.

adelyn / September 6, 2010 12:46 AM

I agree - Veselka has great burgers! (even though i rarely eat burgers). And I'm totally jealous about your upcoming trips to Chicago and Seattle. I've been meaning to visit those cities forever! Bon voyage and hopefully I'll see you sometime before Christmas! :)

Meister / September 6, 2010 8:52 AM

Man, I walk past La Taza de Oro every day and every day I think, "I gotta go in that place," but I never have. Now I really gotta!

janet / September 6, 2010 2:22 PM

ohgrrrraahhhhh burger porn. not fair.

i've always wanted to go in to la taza de oro too and have no idea why i've never entered. esp since they're supposed to have great cafe con leches. maybe it was so close and accessible that it never entered my dumpy brain whenever eating decisions had to be made? no that makes no sense either. boooo janet's brain.

you're hitting all the cool cities i've never been to! i hope jetblue does that pass every year. b/c in the high likelihood that i'm unemployed next fall... that sounds like a good way to fill up my time :D

jemily / September 6, 2010 7:17 PM

mm, that first burger looks absolutely junky, aka delicious!! but for some reason i'm really craving the baked beans in the block party photos! c: yum.

roboppy / September 6, 2010 8:59 PM

Tristan: We should go back and FEED YOU SOME SQUIDY RICE!

Adelyn: WE WILL SEE EACH OTHER BEFORE CHRISTMAS!! Your sheep lighter thingy weeps for you at night.

Ezra: That would be fun.. ;_; God knows there's a lot more stuff we could've eaten in Portland! Now ye just need to add a few more days to this month so I can squeeze that in.


Meister: Do it, and let me know what you think!

anna: I'm mildly worried about how we're gonna fit so much food in our bellies in one day. We have like 10 places to hit up. Not that we're gonna eat a lot at every place...mostly I just need to take photos of stuff. BUT STILL.

ACM: Prolly sometime this fall!

Janet: Nah, I totally get that feeling sometimes when stuff is nearby and you don't think of going's right there. Or you think you'll get to it sometime but you're not in a rush's right there! Forever! Until you move out of the city or something. :[ Next time you are here we shall go!

Thumbs up for unemployment if that means you can travel! Weehee...hheee...eee

jemily: I would pick the burger over the beans, but they were both good. :)

Su-Lin / September 7, 2010 12:41 PM

That trip sounds amazing!!! What a fab way to spend September - good luck!

And I want that Rub burger. And that rice too. Mmmm....

Julie / September 7, 2010 5:45 PM

Yeaaaahhhh, Phoenix! You'll be here just as temperatures are getting beautiful, too. I'm sure you'll be having Pizzeria Bianco/Pane Bianco while you're here!

Jason Chen / September 8, 2010 6:16 PM

If you get bored, you're always welcome to swing by Tampa. I'm only 1.5 hours from the new Harry Potter theme park and have enough Cuban sandwiches in the area to strangle a poorly fed goat.

margaret / September 8, 2010 7:40 PM

"Crazy as balls!" I totally luv this blog for so many reasons -- forthright exclamations like that being one of them. Also, I think the extra R in PORRK is right on.

jen! / September 8, 2010 11:14 PM

I live in Austin! Hit me up for whatever you need!

Email me/I think we're FB friends (Jennifer Cheng) if you need directions or another tummy for your crew.


roboppy / September 9, 2010 12:30 AM

Su-Lin: COME OVER HEERE, Rub burger is waiting for you!

Julie: We got the Phoenix tickets today, wee!! I'm so ready for Pane Bianco.

Jason: Oh man, I wish I could. I'm actually visiting Orlando next month, but for a friend's wedding...and was almost gonna visit Tampa, but only if my dad was gonna be there, and he's not (still in Taiwan). MEET ME IN DISNEYWORLD? ;)


Jason / September 9, 2010 12:49 PM

I'll consider Disney. We could stop by Harry Potter land, depending on how long you're there.

Shine / September 9, 2010 6:52 PM

I wanted to wish you safe and wonderful travels. I am excited about the culinary adventures that await you!

If this book goes really great...maybe you guys will want to do a Canadian edition!!! I know it's way too early to think about that when you are still eating the meals for this book still!

I loved the Rub burger and the Arroz Negro. I love squid but have not had it in ink yet so am devillishly curious about the taste. Must track that dish down in my city!!

emma / September 9, 2010 10:52 PM

OMG PHOENIX YES! a few new places to suggest...

the grind for burgers. FUGGIN AWESOME. also, st francis is pretty darn tasty, all local seasonal wood fired oven etc. they have a good burger too.

Sue / September 10, 2010 5:01 AM

Secretly, I'm glad you're behind in your blogging...'cause I get more time to catch up on reading your posts since I last visited here! ^^;

Can't wait for your Seattle posts! I'm visiting there, too! Next week though. Totally excited for the all-you-can-eat chocolate factory tour, weeee~ x]

roboppy / September 11, 2010 9:48 PM

Shine: We'd need to do first! ;) But after dominating the US!

Emma: Thanks for the suggestions!

Sue: You have so much time to catch up! I am so slow. Weep.

I ate a crapload in Seattle...I can't even remember everything I ate. But if I could give you one red, check out Pasao for sandwiches. If you like'll love their cuban sandwiches. :)

Saiqa / September 12, 2010 4:00 AM

if you want a great burger- casino el camino. just do it.
magnolia cafe, g'raj mahal, juan in a million are awesome as well. hope you like it down here!

Naomi / September 12, 2010 10:41 PM

I like going to La Taza de Oro to get their super-cheap espresso...I think it's $1.50 for a cafe con leche, pretty miraculous for that neighbourhood!

roboppy / September 13, 2010 8:11 PM

Saiqa: We put Casino El Camino on the list! And Magnolia Cafe. And Juan in a Million. Wooo exciting!

Naomi: Sometimes I wonder how restaurants survive on such low prices. I hope it stays open for a looong time.

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