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October 2010 Archives

October 5, 2010

Pre-Weegie Week: Seoul Garden, Paulie Gee's, Taim, and L'Arte del Gelato

post-burger glow
Shake Shack = happy weegies!

While I'm not one to set goals for myself (because goals = POTENTIAL FAILURE; also, I'm a crap role model for kids), I have foolishy not abandoned all hope that I will catch up on what I ate in June, July, and August...

...Wait, that's three months of eating. Over a hundred meals to sift through and compile for easy Internet reading. Fuuuuuu

Anyway. I'm going to break my rule of blogging in order, whiz by my some-hundred photos of summer eats while making this face (spoiler: the link directs you to a photo a sad cat, followed by more photos of sad cats), and catch you up on the latest in exciting Robyn eats: WEEGIE WEEK 2010!!!

What? Weegies = Norwegians. Still lost? If you're a new reader, let me catch you up on how a girl from the suburbs of northern New Jersey become besties with some swell dudes from Bergen. [flexes fingers]

Sometime in high school I became good Internet friends* with Morten, who lives in Bergen, Norway. In 2006, I took the Internet friendship into REAL LIFE MODE (against my mom's wishes) by visiting Bergen (with Diana) to meet Morten and get my first taste of the weegie lifestyle that Morten loved so much (for good reason: it's da bomb. Except, perhaps, in the winter when it's perpetually dark and cold, which sounds like a potent formula for depression). During that trip we met one of his best friends, Kåre, a most excellent human being whom I didn't get to really know until our next encounter: when Morten, Kåre, Diana, and I went on a trip to Bologna in the fall of 2007. A relaxing two and half weeks of brain meltingly good gelato, tortellini, mortadella and then some (Venice will forever mar our impressions of Italy) made us better friends, and I realized, "Oh shit, Kåre is awesome!" (Many will attest that he's sunshine and rainbows in human form.) So, in the fall of 2008, he made his first trip to the US by visiting me in little ol' South Williamsburg, a trip that left a good enough impression to garner another visit just two years later to coincide with Morten and his girlfriend Behnaz's week-long trip to New York City at the end of last month. (And to complete the weegie timeline, I also shared many calories with Morten and his then girlfriend Giso in the fall of 2006 in Paris when they were on vacation and I was studying abroad.) Overall, I've spent a helllllluva lot of time with these guys, hours that collectively amount to more time than I've spent with most of my good friends, such as those who live within a five mile radius of me instead of 3,500 miles away.

*I suppose I should explain this too. I was (and still am) a huge fan of of Norwegian musician Even Johansen, so much so that I had (and still have) the only good website about him back in the early 2000s. Morten was a fan too. He's actually one of two very good friends I've made through Even, among other amazing friends that I regrettably don't keep in contact with as well as I should. Even, your fans are very cool. PROPS. Out of all those friends though, Morten is easily the most food-obsessed.

So. Um. I guess it was good to flesh that all out, even if it's not important for the purpose of writing about food. JUST TRYING TO GIVE SOME CONTEXT. Now you haz it.

Kåre arrived two days before Morten and Behnaz on Wednesday, September 22, and the mega-feasting didn't really begin until the following Saturday since Morten and Behnaz arrived late on Friday the 24th. I consider the stuff that happened before Saturday "pre-weegie week." Here it is.

Continue reading "Pre-Weegie Week: Seoul Garden, Paulie Gee's, Taim, and L'Arte del Gelato" »

October 11, 2010

Weegie Week, Day 1: Dim Sum and Shaved Ice in Flushing, Momofuku Pork Buns, and Otto

My Norwegian friends Morten, Behnaz, and Kåre visited New York City from September 24 to October 2. I skipped a few months of unblogged material to jump ahead to Weegie Week, which in turn will probably take another month or more to fully cover. ...Yes. Well. If you've stuck with me this long, you'll probably continue to hang around as I flail about in a sludgy vortex of aging memories mildly brought to life by my photographs, photographs that jab at my brain's weak memory nubbins so that I may slap together these strings of words. And that is how blog post is made.

This post originally took place on September 25.

Morten and Behnaz had been in New York City for little more than 12 hours—a period that was mostly spent sleeping—before I made them haul themselves on a hour-plus long subway ride to a neighborhood they knew nothing about. Why would I do that to my tired guests? WHYYYY?

dim sum eaters POINT AT THE FEET!!
Dim sum!

Aw yeah...that's the stuff. Dim sum. My favorite group brunchtime activity. Sit and wait for ladies to aggressively push their steamer and plate-laden carts to your table. Choose what you want. Eat it. Wait for more. Repeat 10 times.

I picked Dong Yi Feng for my Weegie friends' first New York City dim sum experience, not because I liked it, but because I had never tried it. This is opposite of how I usually choose places for friends visiting from out of town, but since I don't have a favorite dim sum restaurant (I'd estimate that I've tried about 10 of them in the city), I figure I may as well try all of them. So far I've learned that I'm incredibly unpicky when it comes to dim sum. And thus my Chinese heritage continues to leak from my soul.

Continue reading "Weegie Week, Day 1: Dim Sum and Shaved Ice in Flushing, Momofuku Pork Buns, and Otto" »

October 17, 2010

Crispy Duck at Pam Real Thai Encore = :(

Update (10/20/10): The longer that Adelyn and I have had to think about this, the more we've realized that THIS WAS SOO SHITTY. I could've saved a chunk of time (to be spent watching even more cat videos on YouTube) by drawing a heaping mound of fetid poop bursting with tears (for it is a sad poop) and labeling it "CRISPY DUCK" instead of writing complete sentences. Alas. Delayed reaction. ...Actually, I might still draw it.

Update (10/26/10): Here is my sad poo:

20101026-crispyduck.jpg
Wah.

I'm realizing now, five or so hours after I ate dinner, that my meal at Pam Real Thai Encore was sort of...un-good.

I mean, it was edible. And I ate most of it. Probably because the hunger was clouding the part of my brain that determines whether or not the food I'm eating is actually tasty.

Some backstory: This afternoon I met up with Diana, Claire, and Adelyn at the Jacob Javits Center for the Meet the Breeds show, where I determined that I'd one day like to own a chartreaux or exotic...[turns around, stares at bedroom door while imagining a fat lil' nubby cat poking its way into my room]...[imagines scooping up said cat]...[but there is no cat]...[feels sad]. Not knowing where to eat in that area because we're in that neighborhood pretty much never, after we left the show around 4:30 p.m. we walked to Hell's Kitchen, figuring that with about six Thai restaurants on every block, at least one of them would be worth eating at. After roaming around for 10 blocks we ended up at Pam Real Thai Encore because 1) I had heard good things about the original Pam Real Thai, which I didn't realize was just two blocks north, and 2) we were hungry and didn't want to spend more time looking for food (my lunch consisted of an apple and some corn chips).

I ordered the yum crispy duck, "sliced crispy duck mixed with lime dressing, roasted chili paste, onion, scallion and cilantro," along with a side of sticky rice. It seemed promising—the menu featured a whole section of crispy duck entreées and next to the dish name it said said something like "Recommended by the NY Times," although I've since found that the review is from 2001.

I can't tell if time has been cruel to this dish or if the kitchen was in apathetic mode this afternoon, but I'm putting this dish on my "do not recommend ever" list. The thin slices of duck were plenty crispy—about two steps away from incineration. That every piece was soaked in sauce made it edible; if not for that, the dryness and chewiness would've been too much to handle. It didn't taste like duck—it tasted like...dry and chewy. Adelyn's duck with ginger sauce was possibly even worse. The piece I tried was quite tough, the meat separating in little shards. No wonder she didn't want to finish it.

But as I said, I did eat most of my dish, although on retrospect I probably should've sent it back and asked for something else. I also ate all my rice and a bit of Adelyn's—the rice was perfectly fine. Diana and Claire liked their non-duck dishes.

I'm sure some of you have eaten at Pam Real Thai (or Encore); did you like it? Was my failed crispy duck an anomaly? Is is suppose to taste like that?

Writing negative posts makes me feel crappy (you may have noticed that I rarely do it), and I know you can't write a meaningful review after just one visit and one dish, but that duck...that duck bothered me, and I wanted to get it out of my head. I hope it doesn't always taste like that. :(

Okay, let's look at this cat try to catch its own reflection:

It's so fluffy..

Heehee. Okay I feel better.

October 26, 2010

Weegie Week, Day 2 and 3: Diner, Shake Shack, and Pho Grand

This post originally took place on September 26 and 27. ...Good lord, are we really only on day two and three? Was my post about day one really two weeks ago? Fail. I spent a few hours trying to write this post last-last weekend, but it sucked so I started over again in the wee hours of last Tuesday morning, to be continued on my flight back from last weekend's trip to Orlando for a friend's wedding. Which means this post has been smushed together in scraps of time over a 10-day period. Yaaay.

fish sandwich
Fried fish sandwich from Diner.

Obama. Obesity. Burgers. ...I'm just trying to think of things America is known for, and that's all I've got. Whoa, brain, slow down before you think of something good...er.

Oh, I thought of another one: hot dogs.

But I'm not here to talk about hot dogs. Scandinavia has plenty of bun-hugged meat logs; they don't need our version. But what they could use are some good ol' American burgers, something we're skilled at making, as George Motz has documented well in book and documentary Hamburger America. New York City in particular excels in burger-craft. So for my Weegie friends' second full day together in the city, I took them to two of my favorite burger spots.

First was Diner in Williamsburg, not just good for burgers, but for simple, well executed "New American" cuisine made with the freshest local, seasonal ingredients in a charming old diner that feels about half a century past its prime. It's casual, nicely priced, and something about their food is comforting and interesting, as opposed to just plain old comforting (not that there's anything wrong with that), or worse, boring (that, on the other hand, blows). Without specific numbers to back me up, I have the impression that there are many restaurants in this city who use local, seasonal ingredients as their selling point, and while their food may not be bad, many of them are underwhelming. The ingredients may be great, but they're missing just a pinch of thoughtfulness that would elevate them to something more memorable.

Diner has that pinch, and then some. At least, that's how I feel after three visits, a feeling that says, "Man, my belly is so happy. Why the hell don't I eat here more often?" ...No really, my apartment is just a 20-ish minute bus ride away; I have no idea why I don't eat there more often. Damn, let's go back now. Or better yet, when it's not 2 a.m.

Although I love their burger—it was the reason I first visited Diner— when the waitress mentioned a fried fish sandwich ($13) as one of their specials, my brain flushed out all memory of the burger and my love for fried fish sandwiches filled in the gap. That's what a childhood voluntarily filled with Filet-O-Fish sandwiches from McDonald's has done to me. Some part of me is always ready for the combination of fried fish and tartar sauce in a bun.

Continue reading "Weegie Week, Day 2 and 3: Diner, Shake Shack, and Pho Grand" »

October 30, 2010

Weegie Week, Day 4: Hot Pot at Bamboo Pavilion in Bensonhurst

This post originally took place on September 28. Read more about Weegie Week here, here, and here.

so much tasty stuff on this table, oh yeah
I'm gonna eat you, and you, and you. ...And you.

The first and last time I willingly ate a variation of hot pot in New York City was nearly five years ago at Quickly in Chinatown. The meal left me wondering why I had given money to a restaurant so I could cook my own food. ...And have someone else clean up the dishes, I guess. But still. As someone who wasn't (well, still isn't) adept at cooking, nor skilled at mixing dipping sauces from the ingredients the restaurant laid out for us, it seemed like a waste of a good meal out—the kind where the dishes require no further cooking by my ill equipped hands. And thus followed five years devoid of hot pot.

(I'll add that I grew up eating hot pot at home. It was an occasional, special "dad" dinner for those times when he wasn't out working late and we could all do that "sit around the dinner table and squeeze in some quality family time" thing. It was plenty fun as a kid—"Ooh I'm dipping stuff in this vat of boiling water! Look at this slice of beef go from red to grayish! I'm having the time of my life!" How nice it was to be a child. Denaturing beef proteins is but a simple joy.)

But after eating hot pot with Morten, Behnaz, Kåre, and Diana at Sichuan restaurant Bamboo Pavilion in Bensonhurst, I had the opposite reaction: "OH MY GOD, WHY DON'T I EAT THIS MORE OFTEN? WHAT IS WRONG WITH ME? ...Do you see this bounty of pork?" The meal was better than my first experience in many ways: 1) There was a flat price for unlimited foodstuffs (aside from a few special items), allowing us to order with semi-abandon; 2) We could order spicy and non-spicy broth (it being a Sichuan restaurant and all); 3) The sauces were already made by someone possessing knowledge in sauce-craft; and 4) I was spending my time with Diana and the weegies.

Continue reading "Weegie Week, Day 4: Hot Pot at Bamboo Pavilion in Bensonhurst" »

About October 2010

This page contains all entries posted to The Girl Who Ate Everything in October 2010. They are listed from oldest to newest.

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