The Girl Who Ate Everything

Blogging about food and whatever since 2004.

dense meat, burgers, gelato, eel, etc

so many choices, so little stomach space

When you're hungry, you tend to forget that your stomach will reach that point of over-satiated-ness. You know, when you feel like your stomach has expanded to reach your throat or that you're well into the gestation period with a new baby bolus. Dim sum looks manageable with its wide variety of enticing, cute little plates holding cute little portions, but those dishes hold lies. LIIIES! Tasty steamed, fried, baked, and sauteed lies.

fried taro bird things
fried taro bird things

On Sunday I met up with Kathryn and Dan at Oriental Garden for my first meal in Chinatown since I got back from Paris. (As much as I'd love them to, egg custard tarts don't qualify as a meal.) We started with a trio (most things come in threes; it's "lucky") of deep fried bird-shaped taro-filled...things. There is probably a real name for it that sounds less stupid than what I came up with (aka, anything else), but I don't know what it is.


I don't know how they make the light, holey crust that doesn't seem to resemble any other batters I've seen, but I like it. Chomp through that and you've got smooth, mashed taro innards with some other bits in it. Like organs. Suspended in taro plasma. This was my favorite dish during the meal, partially because it didn't render me immobile, which has to do with it being the first thing I ate and not consisting of 200% meat like some of the other dishes. Oh, you will see.

pork buns innards
pork bun

We also got cha siu bao, roast pork buns, which were glazed with some kind of sweet syrup. I'm no expert on roast pork buns, so I guess they usually come with glaze, like frosting on cupcakes but instead consisting of sweet goo on a soft, baked bun stuffed with chopped meat. It's just like that. Not really.

meat flaky pocket things
meaty pocket things

Char siu sou are like char siu bao but in a different dough of the uber flakified variety. It was also different for seemingly compressing twice as much meat into the same area. After one bite I felt like my stomach was going to die of meat overload. It was a very weird moment, to be defeated by something whose conquerable-ness I would have never questioned due to it's small size.

bacon wrapped shrimp stuff
bacon wrapped shrimp stuff

Next up were deep fried bacon-wrapped shrimp rolls. Oh, the things Chinese have invented. How did it come about?

"Hey, this shrimp is boring. What should we do with it?"

"Uh, let's wrap it in something!"

"Okay! Like what?"


"...Bacon? What kind of sick person would eat shrimp wrapped in bacon?"

"I would."

"Yeah, me too. Let's try that.

I've never had bacon-wrapped shrimp before due to not especially liking bacon or shrimp (but not hating them either), so I wanted to get that one under my belt. Chomping through the crunchy crust uncovered, once again, an impossibly dense mass of shrimp stuffed into what looked like a weeny nubbin. What the hell? I'm not saying it's a bad thing to give the customer lots of meat, but I can't handle it. I have limits! And now I know what they are. Crap.

turnip cakes
turnip cakes

Oh, sweet turnip cakes, you can do me no wrong. Kathryn was opposed to their texture, but Dan and I didn't care. WEE, MORE FOR US. :] I ate one and a half of the smooshy, pan-fried slabs before getting that, "Mugugh, belly full" feeling.

meaty dumplings
meaty dumplings

We ended with siu mai, steamed open-face pork and shrimp dumplings (or perhaps the shrimp is optional). Once again, it was ridiculously meat-stuffed, surely a dream for any pork lover but for me was more like a ginormous mountain of meat that I had to eat my way through despite being the size of a ping pong ball.

Oriental Garden is great if you like meat. Lots of meat. I would like to go back to see how their vegetable dishes fare. Most of the tables are too cramped to push the standard dim sum cart around the restaurant, but there are plenty of waiters constantly walking around while carrying trays of food for you to stuff yourself with. They also keep close watch on your teapot so that you're never at risk of suffering from dehydration.

egg custard tarts egg custard tart innards
egg custard tarts!

After parting with Kathryn and Dan, I wandered over to Lung Moon Bakery despite knowing that my stomach was about 5 calories from exploding. I wanted something sweet, dammit! Since they were only 60 cents I figured I'd buy two; if I could only eat one, I would give the other one to Nathan, who I was going to meet at the MoMA later that day. Indeed, after eating one (or mid-way of eating one) of the warm tarts, my stomach went into revolt and declared, "NO MORE CUSTARDY GOODNESS FOR YOU." Sigh. The custard was a bit runnier than others I've had, but was otherwise awesomely flaky and eggy and all the other good things that make egg custard tarts one of the best inventions in the world. Certainly worth more than 60 cents.

At the MoMA we watched Fine Dead Girls, a Croatian film that follows a string of tragedies and horrible things that will leave you feeling completely numb and thinking about how fucked up life can be. If you want to be depressed, you've gotta check it out!

:D :D :D

Florent and gelato

On Saturday morning I met up with Tina, The Wandering Eater, for brunch at Florent, my first foray into the Meatpacking District. Ish. I've walked around the area but I've never eaten in a restaurant there. Like many sections of Manhattan, the vibe is different from other areas. Sometimes it feels gritty and out of the way, but then in between the old buildings masked with dirt some polished shop or restaurant suddenly appears out of the wide cobblestone roads and it's like..."Huh?" That might just be me though since I rarely go there.


Florent felt rather random, like most other things in the area that I wasn't used to. There's nothing fancy about it's old diner interior washed in pink lighting with walls covered with framed maps, but it's pretty cozy and comfortable.

tuna burger innards
tuna burger

I ordered the special burger, "grilled cajun spiced ahi tuna burger (MR) on a toasted English muffin w/ lettuce, sliced tomato, sliced avocado & a chipotle aioli; served w/ french fries". I was pleased to chomp into the burger (well, 50% of it; it was too big to get my entire mouth around it at once) and find that the tuna came in the form of a tuna steak and not some ground tuna patty. The thick, seared tuna steak was definitely awesomer than if it had been a fish patty. It was spicy enough to please me (tingly without making me wish I had a fire extinguisher for my mouth) and I found the lightly toasted English muffins preferable to the standard hamburger bun. Crispy salted french fries (completely with potato skins) were also very good, although they would've retained more tastiness (in the form of heat) if I didn't wait to eat most of them until after I finished my burger. I'd order this again if I didn't think a repeat visit to Florent should demand trying something else to follow my philosphy of, "MUST TRY EVERYTHING."

eggs benedict
eggs benedict

Tina went with the quintessential brunch dish, eggs benedict. She said that it could've used more salt and wasn't love-worthy, but was otherwise good.


After feeling adequately stuffed at Florent, we roamed up a few blocks to Chelsea Market without the intention of eating any more. Seriously. ...But then I was enticed by the beauty of L'Arte Del Gelato's rainbow display of creamy, smooth mounds of gelato (besides the free sample of cherry vanilla gelato being handed out) and knew I had to get something. Tina felt the same way. What a horrible influence I am. :)


Although I wanted maybe 5 flavors ( know, all of them), I settled on pistachio and strawberry. I rarely go for fruit flavors, but a part of me wanted something fruity, or at least reminiscent of a raw, sweet, and juicy ripened ovary. The non-scary green (aka, real green) pistachio gelato had that roasted nutty flavor that told me, yes, this is damn good pistachio gelato. Strawberry adequately fulfilled my desire for fruit without the nutritional benefits. Tina enjoyed her mascarpone and intensely chocolatey gianduja (good combo too). MORE, WE NEED MOOOORE.

I mean...their gelato is really good. Yes. A small cup is only $3.75 and quite filling, although I might spring for a larger cup next time so I can try more flavors. And call it "lunch".

stuff in Chelsea

Since I am interning at Serious Eats this semester (not that I've done much yet, but I will...unless they realize that I am brain dead) I got to eat at a few places around the office, which is on the other side of Manhattan from my east side apartment. It's an easy walk, but a bit brutal if it's way below freezing. The legs, oh how they tingle.


My first real meal was at brgr, or as I have to tell people, "bee are gee are". Of course, I can say "burger" but then I have to explain it further anyway. "Oh, today I ate at Sndwch. Yesterday I ate at Stk." It's easier when I'm typing it out.

So, you figure out what brgr specializes in, I hope. They offer beef burgers, turkey burgers and veggie burgers, some with pre-defined combinations of sauces and toppings, but you can also make up your own creation. Someone should make one with all the free toppings—lettuce, tomato, onions, pickes, grilled onions, brgr sauce, ketchup, dijon mustard, mayo, horseraddish cream—just for fun ...Okay, nevermind.


The place was stuffed with customers and staff members. After you place your order, you get a number on a stand that you take to your seat so that someone can bring you your food. It's like semi-table service, woo! Mitsuwa used to work like that way some years ago until they switched over to the "calling out numbers" system.

time to make burgers
time to make burgers

We sat way in the back in front of the patty making station where one can witness the transformation of raw, ground meat into compressed protein discs. Mm, meat blobs.

mm, 100000 calories

I started with a black and white milkshake (mixture of chocolate and vanilla). This baby was thick. And thus awesome. It passed the standing straw test and the "I feel like I'm sucking in my face when I drink this" test, in addition to the "Does it taste good?" test. I was horribly sad when I couldn't bring myself to finish the whole cup due to overloaded belly syndrome, not because I didn't desire more highly caloric drinkable ice cream goodness. Sigh.

sweet potato fries
sweet tato fries

Adam and I shared the sweet potato fries. They weren't bad, but I would've liked them more if they were crispier. We couldn't finish what looked like a manageable portion of fries, although that probably had something to do with both of our bellies containing burgers and milkshakes. Maaaybe.

burgerrrr innards
brgr time!

Oh yes, so onto the burger. I ordered the gruyere, avocado, herb mayonnaise, onion, lettuce and tomato burger, done rare. It didn't come out anywhere near rare, but I've heard they have some problems with getting things cooked the way you want them to. So! That's a warning for you. The burger was...satisfying. It's not going to blow you away, but it won't disappoint you either. I probably would've liked it more if it had been cooked less and had more juicy meat-ness. After eating the whole thing, I felt like I was going to explode.

If I lived/worked near brgr I can see going there for regular burger stuff-agel, but there are other places I'd rather go if I had a burger craving. ...Except Shake Shack is currently closed, Corner Bistro is not the most fun place to hang out with friends (in my opinion), and The Spotted Pig is busy seemingly all the time, besides that their burger is freakin' huge (and so good). Hm. Well.

If I go to brgr again I want to try their kid's sized burger for the sake of not having to waddle out of the place after I'm done. :)

spicy tuna
kimbab, yes!

Right around the corner from Serious Eats is Kofoo, one of my favorite cheap eats that I first discovered two summers ago when I took classes at SVA and would walk from the Port Authority bus terminal to the school to kill time, get some exercise and give off a few buckets of sweat in the process. I passed the tiny Korean take-out one night and after ordering a few things found that I liked kimbab, the Korean version of sushi, more than the Japanese kind. As lashes457 said, "its like sushi on steroids", in the sense that there's a lot of filling, not rice. One roll (about $5) is enough for dinner. Hopefully it's not evil that I prefer mushed up cooked tuna wrapped in rice more than mushed up raw tuna wrapped in rice. Or perhaps my palette just isn't mature enough. ...Meh, whatever, I've eaten enough raw spicy tuna sushi in my life to realize that I just like kimbab more. :\


Grilled eel smothered in sweet sauce is one of my most favorite dishes ever, especially when it doesn't cost over $10 like it does at most restaurants. Kofoo's eel rice bowl is around $8 and is extremely filling to the point that I couldn't eat it all even though I love the crap out of it. In between the layer of eel and bed of rice is a ton of sauteed chopped mixed vegetables, something I've never seen with other eel rice dishes. There's some balance! Fiber! Nutrients!...maybe! It's a great value, but I have to keep in mind (or restrain myself) that attempting to finish the whole thing will result in stomach pain.

Breadstix pain au chocolat innards
pain au chocolat!

Enticed by Breadstix's display of baked goods and breads, I went inside for a basic pain au chocolat. It was doughier than I'd prefer, but had some good separated layering action, adequate chocolate content, and a crispy, flaky exterior. Not bad. I'd eat it again.

For intense NYC croissant ratings, check out Tina's posts: Who Has the Best Croissants in NYC? and The Best of Croissants...Part 2. She uses a real rating system! With numbers! And eats a lot! That's dedication.


Oriental Garden
14 Elizabeth St

Lung Moon Bakery
83 Mulberry St

69 Gansevoort St

L'Arte Del Gelato
75 9th Ave (Chelsea Market)

287 7th Ave

334 8th Ave

254 8th Ave


susannah / January 29, 2007 9:54 PM

holy crap! My steroids comment was quoted! INTENSE!

That eel looks sooooo good, I never tried anything but the kim bob . . good thing I'll be spending plenty of time at FIT again this summer.

I've never gone properly dim-sum-ing, due to not enough humans to dine with. You need at least 3 people, and I usually don't eat out with more than one. I also have picky eaters for friends . . grrr.

Gorgeous shots!

Tina / January 29, 2007 9:56 PM

Oh Robyn, you're really a huge influence on me with the gelato. I'm planning to go to Otto for some great gelato. heehee...gelato,

Anyways, don't remind me of the croissant stuff. As much as I love those buttery, flaky, crisp pastries I'm still trying to avoid them temporarily. It's just too many croissants and I'm still doing one more RW review. Eek!

maria~ / January 29, 2007 10:50 PM

What a gloriously delicious post!!! That dim sum place looks awesome and the fried taro birds look almost too cute to gobble up... well, not really, it IS food ;)

Anyway, I know what you mean about overcooked beef/burger. I prefer my meat on the raw side and however good the condiments/accompaniments are, the burger is all (well... about 95%) about the meat, no?

Kathy / January 29, 2007 11:24 PM

Hey Robyn!

I think I found the apartment I'm going to move into when I start work!!! It's right in West Village...which means....well I don't know what it means...but it does mean we'll be in the same state...and so we can eeaaat :) Man if you want dim sum, please come to Honolulu. It's a tiny city but I'm pretty positive there's more dim sum places here than in nyc. And then maybe Tristan will come also!

I will have to go get a milkshake tomorrow! It's a vicious cycle, this food blogging, read, get hungry, eat, get full, read, eat again even though you're already full! Unfortunately most people in California do not know what a black and white is :( I'll see you in a few months!!!

Jeanne / January 30, 2007 12:06 AM

Oh my goodness. I am stuffed full from dinner (mussels pistou, frites, & four cheese "mac & cheese" with leeks) but those pictures look so tasty...dim sum rocks! I love ham sui gok (the glutinous fried mochi filled with meat) & those rice noodle rolls filled with shrimp or beef. For the record, if it hadn't been invented already, I probably would have come up with the shrimp wrapped in bacon thing. I had veal bacon confit on Saturday night and then wanted to weep because it was OH SO TASTY. And I have no idea where I can buy veal bacon to try & recreate this. As an aside, good grief, why is my roommate so loud? I have my door closed and I can hear every word of her conversation.

I'm sorry, this comment is like word barf. Totally random and kinda chunky.

santos. / January 30, 2007 12:38 AM

that taro crust is actually made up of more mashed taro, cornstarch, and um, 'magic' (which is my new word for 'lard'). i think the taro puff thing is generically known as 'woo kok' (芋角 wu gok, 芋角 yùjiǎo), but i'm not sure, that might be a specific non-bird looking type o' puff.

they let you take photos in florent? every time i've tried i've been stopped. dang. you special.

Marvo / January 30, 2007 1:25 AM

No room for all those dim sum choices? If you only take a bite of each, you'll be able to chow down on all of them -- and still have room for Jello.

amanda / January 30, 2007 3:46 AM

mmm the tuna burger looked particularly good. you know, my problem with ordering the kids burger (and i've done it a lot with the same mentality you've got) is that they still use the same damn bun and in order to fill the bun most places press the damn burger out into an incredibly thin patty...which tends to defeat what i'm looking for in a burger! big juicy meaty bloody goody(nessy) :-)

Karen / January 30, 2007 4:00 AM


Long time no talk... I just rediscovered your food blog after my friend sent me a link to a page with pictures of food (Tastespotting) and I recognized your pic with a caption about a girl who ate a lot of macarons in Paris... :) Just wanted to say hello!


the pauper / January 30, 2007 9:42 AM

not completely sure, but...

baked cha siu baos look like the ones you ordered.

steamed ones have that white, airy bread like bun instead (and obviously no shiny glaze on top)

nick / January 30, 2007 1:00 PM

I've been meaning to get to brgr, but people keep saying it's just ok. That shake might get me there, though.

Sara, The Wine Makers wife / January 30, 2007 2:51 PM

Holy crap! That fried taro batter in the first pic you posted is CRAZY insane! How the heck did they do that? Dim Sum is love. I used to go to a place near my house that was perched upstairs over a smoky karaoke bar. the place was filthy and you knew the waiters and cooks never washed their hands, but you didn't care because the food was AMAZING. I was the only blond kid in the entire restaurant, everyone else was Asian, so I knew if the locals liked it- it had to be good. Just last year it was condemned for severe health ordinance laws that had been broken. Sigh. I will miss that place!

Pia / January 30, 2007 3:36 PM

I've been reading your blog forever! And now you're working near where I work...and live. I'm always always looking to try new places so if you need a new buddy/a buddy to try a new place, etc, I'm your gal. I'm not a weirdo, I promise. Just love love your blog. Going to Paris in April and have already referenced a lot of your archived posts for some excellent eating suggestions.

Take care, hope you hear from you soon!

roboppy / January 30, 2007 6:40 PM

Tina: OTTO OMG WAIT FOR MEEE I want to go!!@#@! [hops up and down]

Oh yeah, don't eat too many croissants (or too much of anything!) to the point that you don't like it anymore. That would be saad.

Maria: Thankfully they don't look enough like birds for me to think they were too cute to eat. ...Actually, even if they did look realistic it wouldn't matter. BWAHAHA!

Ah, the patty is key for me! And the other stuff helps. If I had to choose between awesome toppings or awesome meat, I'd rather have better meat. Ideally it'd ALL be good.

Jeanne: Whoa, that sounds like lots of yummy food. I like glutinous fried mochi...but only the sweet kind! Eek. On the other hand, I only like the steamed sticky rice stuff if it's savoury. I tried some sweet versions and found them all blech-y.

Veal bacon confit? Jebus! I've never heard of veal bacon...but that works, I guess?

Sorry about your noisy roommate. At least you have a door! God, I love having..a door. Cut out the other humans, bwahahaa.

Random and chunky is okay. I would liken that more cookie! With lots of random ingredients. Of the tasty sort. Or barf, whatever you prefer!

santos: Thanks for the info! Mashed taro, cornstarch, and lard—I definitely wouldn't have guessed those. Lard is magic, you're right.

Florent smacked down on your photography? That sucks! Tina and I weren't bothered by anyone. Hopefully we didn't bother anyone else. Um.

Marvo: One bite? I guess I would've done that if we had like...9 people sharing each dish. But that would be a good idea. I guess thats how those 100000 course tasting menus work. They give you just a spoonful of something so you dont go into a food coma right away.


Amanda: It WAS a particularly good tuna burner. Impressed, I was. Good warning about the kid's burger. It doesn't make sense to use the same sized bun, but, would most kids care? Probably not. Rawr. Maybe I should just split a normal burger with another person.

the pauper: I know it's baked; that's why I said it was a baked bun. ...Right? Am I missing something?

Nick: "It's just ok" sounds right to me. I love a good shake though. Every time I drink a sucky, overly liquidy shake my soul dies a little. While a ice cream-tastic thick shake just shortens my lifespan. ...Uh...yes.

Sara: As Santos said, it's MAGIC! (Lard.)

Damn health laws! They're really hard to follow from what I've learned in my classes. No food business for me! Because I'd probably kill someone accidentally.

Pia: Sweet, you can give me food recs! :) Let's start with bakeries, bwahaha. ...You know I'm serious.

Oo, going to Paris as well? YAAY! I need to type up my list of Paris recs.

Abby: Egg custard tarts are better than my site! Mm mmm.

Marianne / January 30, 2007 11:38 PM

Ooh, sweet Robyn, I'm going to be in New York in a couple of weeks and am scouring your site for good eats. It's been a few years since I lived there and there's so much good stuff! We're thinking Dim Sum for one meal, would you recommend this place over any others?

Pee Ess--glad to have you back in the States but know you must be missing Paris like crazy. I miss it every day...

Cat / January 31, 2007 2:44 AM

Now that world tong is back open you really should go, that and east ocean about a dozen blocks further. Personally I think someone should offer dim sum with an asian inspired gelato like "longan" or "sesame almond". Ummmm, har gow and ice cream.....ummm...

Jamie / January 31, 2007 10:43 AM

i have never heard of a baconwrapped thingamajig in dimsum! and i'm chinese! it's prob an american thing. sheesh. oh who am i kidding bring on the bacon and the shrimp please.
oh yeah steamed charsiew buns are actually those wrinkly white things with the red dots on the top. the dough should be sweet and light enough to complement the savoury charsiew filling. ooh have you tried those packets of sticky rice and nuts and meat wrapped by leaves into a triangle shape? im not sure what they're called but try them they are heavennnn !

roboppy / January 31, 2007 11:40 PM

Marianne: Oo, I hope you'll be here long enough to try a lot of stuff! I honestly don't know enough about dim sum to recommend any one place, but I wouldn't NOT recommend Oriental Garden. (Jeez, how helpful is that?) I heard the best dim sum is in outer boroughs Chinatowns and I haven't tried any of those places yet. :|

I think about Paris every day. :[

Cat: Ooh yes, I SHOULD GO TO ONE OF THOSE PLACES! Okay, thanks for reminding me to put that back on my list. I just need at least two other people to eat with, hehe.

Mm, Asian ingredient-flavored gelato...I WANT TARO!

eatdrinknbmerry: Oo yes, the smell of fried stuff! And pork. Surely someone out there would know how to make those scents.

Jamie: I've seen bacon wrapped shrimp at most places, so it must be pretty popular? By all those people who love bacon and shrimp!

Are you talking about zongzi? That's one of my most favorite foods EVER. I was hooked since the first time I had it.

Skip / February 1, 2007 9:12 AM

Ttlly agree about brgr. I was in the neighborhood around the time it opened and chose the same one you did, but went back with a friend a few weeks ago and got the Roquefort+bacon+sweet onion marmalade. The meaty to roque-y ratio was off; with a better balance it would have rocked (still not as much as Nice Matin's or the Spotted Pig's).

Marianne / February 1, 2007 9:52 AM

You wouldn't NOT recommend Oriental Garden? Okay. We've got a couple of tasty-looking places in mind, I think due to rotten time constraints we have to keep it in Manhattan this go round. I'll let you know what we end up doing!

Jess / February 1, 2007 11:03 AM

Hi Robyn,

Would you, could you, possibly, pretty please compile your Paris food recs for me, too? (saw your response to the lucky Pia!) I'll be in Paris next month and have been taking notes from your site in preparation -- I first started reading the day before you left for Paris, great luck! -- but having it all in one place would be so amazing (right now it's all scribbles and post-its and bookmarks).

Or is there a part of your site w/that info and I'm just totally missing it?

Thank you, as always, for sharing with us! I'm really enjoying your blog; I feel like I'm right there with you when you're eating an egg custart tart! (only, not in a creepy, stalkery way. right. anyway. . .)

roboppy / February 1, 2007 11:24 PM

Cat: Shall do!

Skip: Meaty to roque-y ratio...I like that. :D Needed more roque.

Abby: Thanks! That is the official name. FRIED TARO BIRD THINGIES.

Marianne: I don't have time constraints and even I keep it in Manhattan! Haha...sad.

Jess: Ohhh yes, I'm going to get on my Paris food list! I'm planning to compile the lists in the forum, but I could also put it in a word document or something. You're not missing anything; I really should've done it by now!

I want you to feel like you're right here with me in egg custard tart heaven. In the non-creepy, non-stalkery way!

Sera / June 28, 2008 7:59 AM


I'm in Taipei for study abroad
your blog makes me go "shit i miss New York!"

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