The Girl Who Ate Everything

Blogging about food and whatever since 2004.

Fried Chicken, Gelato, Falafels and Burgers (and Indigestion?)

Bon Chon

About four weeks ago (yes, I know I am very, very behind here) I met up with Jeanne, on vacation from California, and her friend Stephanie to eat at Bon Chon, one of many Korean fried chicken joints that have been popping up lately. Or later than lately. I didn't even know fried chicken was a popular dish in Korea until I read the NYT article. Even after reading the article I was only slightly interested in checking out the craze; even though I like fried chicken, I'm not crazy about it.

But this is not the fried chicken I used to eat at Popeye's and Roy Rogers when I was a young little fat-blob-in-training (oh, how the training paid off). Korean fried chicken is really really...awesome.

taped sign

Bon Chon sits on the second floor of a building that otherwise looks boring, and by "boring" I mean "lacking in food". The elevator was not the most promising entrance with its hastily taped on sign, as though Bon Chon were just a temporary fried chicken joint filling in for whatever was officially inscribed underneath the sign.


Thankfully it was a legitimate establishment with some kind of sleek industrial/metal/concrete theme going on and REALLY FREAKIN' LOUD MUSIC. This place may specialize in fried chicken, but it feels more like a bar. I think the alcohol may be the most important thing, chicken secondary, and your eardrums somewhere at the bottom of the list. After a short wait we were seated in the corner with a huge-ass speaker. Oh...crap.


We started with fries, expecting something like the regular McDonald's variety, or at least a quantity of potatoes that was worth $8, but found out that Bon Chon's idea of fries more resembled wedge-like home fries in a "this isn't worth $8" sized pile. Not much crispiness here, just lots of fluffy potato innards. Which isn't...horrible. But it wasn't what we were expecting. Meh.

plate of chicken
plate o chicken

Thankfully the chicken made up for it. We shared the large assorted plate, half flavored with soy garlic sauce, other half with spicy sauce. If you can't handle spicy, avoid this at all costs—it's quite burny. I happily fought through the pain though while crunching through the paper thin, not very greasy skin (I could say "ungreasy" but ye know, there's gonna be some grease after its been dunked in fat) to reach the juicy meats. It was some of the best fried chicken I have ever had, possibly the best.

mm, bones

Wing after wing, drumstick after drumstick, I just kept going. This fried chicken doesn't weigh you down. Not at first, at least. Your belly might feel the effects later (I expect to look back on this experience when I'm a senior citizen with multiple organ failure and think, "Probably shouldn't have eaten all that fried chicken...but it was really good!") but when you're in the moment you have no trouble cleaning the flavorful meat and skin off of each bone. Keeping in mind that I'm horrible at eating meat off the bone (while growing up I could get maybe 50% of the job done and then pass off the rest to my family members, all more adept at ripping apart meat than I was), getting so much out of the fried chicken was a big feat for me.

YOLATO! gelato

Since the weather was comfortably warm (just a little bit cooler than it is now, which to me is on the border of "too hot", "too hot" equating to "I SMELL FOREVER LIKE B.O."), we headed down to the newish "healthy frozen dessert" outpost Yolato for a temporarily temperature reducing treat. Although the name gives the impression that all they have is yogurt-flavored gelato, they primarily have regular gelato with a separate machine that churns out the yogurty stuff. At least, that's the impression I got. It ended up that their yolato machine was broken when we were there.

partial menu peach and ferrero rocher
gelato time

I ordered a cup of peach and Ferrero Rocher (actually wanted mango instead of peach, but I didn't realize the mistake until I was eating it outside the shop, at which point I figured, "...Eh, whatever"), both of which were okay, not in the category of "awesome". The peach tasted too much like peach candy and the Ferrero Rocher tasted like...well, Ferrero Rocher, which is candy. I definitely liked it better than the peach. Ignoring flavor, I at least liked the soft, creamy texture.

I'd rather go to Pasticceria Bruno for gelato if I happened to be in the area, which is cheaper and has better flavors than Yolato. Cones is another good ice cream choice in the neighborhood with lots of flavors, but I think their opening hours are shorter and it's more expensive than Bruno or Yolato.

Jeanne and Stephanie were great fooding partners! If anyone else wants to go on another fried chicken/gelato expedition, just let me knoooow.


Bow down to your Dutch falafel master

Maoz is a vegetarian falafel sandwich chain based out of Amsterdam that has recently made its way to NYC. Seeing the bright red sign made my heart squeak since the last time I had seen it was in Paris near Saint Michel. I never tried it in Paris because as you may or may not remember, the area around Saint Michel is laden with meat. In the form of gyros. Beautiful gyros. Given the choice between a pita stuffed with juicy, glistening meat chunks and generously salted fries or stuffed with falafels and hummus, I choose the former.

someone likes green

Since Union Square has no gyros stuffed with meat and fried potatoes, John and I braved the bright green falafelrie and its command to "Feel Your Falafel", a phrase whose meaning I haven't yet completely deciphered. I mean...feel it physically or psychologically or stick a chunk of falafel in my soul or WHAT, WHAT DO YOU WANT ME TO DO, the choices, they confuse me.

salad bar
salad bar

After you order your falafel sammich you're instructed to top it with whatever you want from their salad bar before they neatly wrap it up for you. It's a cool idea, but there's hardly any space in the falafel-exploding sammich for any toppings to be...topped. I squished in whatever I could to get the most out of my free salad.

veg out!
veg out!

John and I took our brown bags of vegetarian friendly goodness to Union Square Park where we battled against strong winds that threatened to take away our falafel goodness. Displacement of air, I say, SCREW YOU! And stop taking my napkins, you don't need them!

my falafel
my falafel!

My "Maoz Royal" pita sandwich stuffed with lots of falafels, some eggplant and plenty of hummus was surprisingly huge. Although I ended up eating the whole thing (because I tend to eat everything against the wishes of my belly), I'd go with the "junior" size next time, which I assume still packs a dense chickpea punch.


These falafels were in my opinion better than average, but not as good as Taim or Mi-Va-Mi for any of you Parisians. [tumbleweed rolls by] Maoz's mini muffin-shaped falafels were a little too dense for my liking and only sometimes crispy, although on the upside they were moist and the pita was soft and fluffy. The falafels had a slightly sweet flavor sans-sugar that I liked but couldn't put my finger on. I'll go with chotda's suggestion of fennel and fenugreek


Neither John nor I had any complaints about the rest of the food. The medium-thick fries were crispy enough (as in it hadn't been fried to the crispiness of a potato chip) and well salted.

carrot juice

I was most excited by the option of getting carrot juice with my combination meal. CARROT SQUEEZIN'S?! Say it ain't so!...wait, I was kidding, gimme my carrot squeezies. For whatever reason, I love carrot juice. Because it...tastes good. Yes, that must be it. It's not as sweet as fruit juice, but it's still sweet. And it has beta carotene! It's like eating a carrot without the pesky chewing. Also, I dunno about you but I'm pretty bad at digesting raw carrot. As for how I know that, you can use your imagination.

I'd go to Maoz for convenience's sake, such as being too lazy to go to Taim in the face of a falafel craving. Maoz does have a nice salad bar though; perhaps I should try that next time.

upper-class sliders

mm, baby burgs

A while ago I went to Bouchon Bakery to take photos of their special Wagyu beef sliders (basically miniature hamburgers, a place of which is like eating one normal burger) topped with tomato marmalade and ricotta cheese. You should check out what Ed Levine wrote about them on Serious Eats since it's a helluva lot better than anything I'd come up with. The general story goes...

"I had some Wagyu beef trimmings from the Per Se kitchen and the pastry department had a little leftover fresh ricotta, so I decided why not go for it," McDuffee said. He told me they blew through all 45 orders in an hour.

I took something like a gazillion photos in varying degrees of awesomness and then Ed and I brought the sliders back to Serious Eats HQ to share with the others. I suppose they're worth the $15, but that's easy for me to say since I didn't have to pay for em. Bwahahaaa aahhahrr! I mean, of course they were delicious. The huge salt chunks on the bun made quite a difference.

plate of sliders
More sliders!

Ed, Alain, Meg and I met up at Bouchon Bakery last Friday since they were offering the sliders again (burger lover Adam was unfortunately on a furniture buying assignment at IKEA and couldn't join us). The four of us shared three orders of sliders and...

grilled cheese grilled cheese
gimme the cheese order of grilled cheese and tomato soup (grilled cheese = awesomely butterfied, soup = alright) and...

pretty bread
bread, oh yes!

...complimentary bread basket with a little tub of butter.

slider innards

Our uber-rare burgers were a little different from the previous versions, this time smooshed with oven roasted tomato goo and melted taleggio. I think I liked this one better just because of the melted cheese. I like my cheese gooey, as opposed to ricotta-y. These little suckers were surprisingly dense; I could only down two of them before my stomach in the towel. (I also ate a huge muffin for breakfast. And some of the bread. And the grilled cheese. Er. Whatevs.) I feel like I should say more about these burgers, but...I dunno what else to say. They're very neat, moist without the dreaded meat juice pee everywhere and have a good meat to non-meat-substance ratio. They don't erupt with that salty goodness that Shake Shack's burgers have going for them, but not everything needs to be doused with sodium. I guesssss.

filling? needs more filling needs more filling innards
oh, maccies...

After we finished our meal, we each received a complimentary box of macarons. I believe that somewhere under the Thomas Keller empire there are awesome macarons being churned out, but Bouchon Bakery's are so lacking in filling, eating one is like...tearing a hole in my soul...with a cannon ball...a really big cannon ball...oh never, it's nothing like that. I just look at both sides of the macaron as they almost touch and think, "WTF, they shouldn't be touching, the filling should serve as a forcefield that prevents the two cookies from getting so dangerously close to one another, for if they touch BABY JESUS WILL CRY!!!?!?"

Or something. Ahh god nevermind, I'm sleepy. Really, I thought I would take a nap but instead I decided to update my blog...and drink a lot of water and waste time on You Tube.

Anyway, to whoever makes the macarons at Bouchon, here my cry: just give that piping bag or whatever it is you use to fill the cookies another squish. ONE MORE SQUISH. PLEEEASE? Also, put a lighter hand on the sugar. Or something. And put in more flavor. I couldn't tell what two of the macarons were supposed to be, as they both tasted like almond. Which makes sense, but there's usually another flavor in there. I think one was vanilla because it had vanilla specks in int, but the pink-ish one was a mystery. Also, don't sell macarons that have become too dry/chewy (each of the three macarons I had was at a different stage of moistness!) because that just kinda sucks.

Update (2:45 AM...why?): I didn't really describe the macarons. Probably should've done that...a few hours ago. The best was the lemon blueberry for being the freshest (as in the cookie didn't resist too much when I cut it with a knife) and most flavorful. I could tell it was lemon and blueberry! Because it tastes like lemon and blueberry! Swell! As for the others, I couldn't discern the flavor because I wasn't trying hard enough and they probably weren't intensely flavored enough for my weak taste buds. Out of the other two cookies, one of them was much too chewy, while the other was okay. The filling in the orange one tasted very buttery, which is okay except I DON'T KNOW WHAT IT WAS SUPPOSED TO TASTE LIKE. Ugh.

Okay, I need to sleep...or something.

OH, I want to say hello to Anastasia, who recognized my photography obsession from afar while I was at Bouchon Bakery and came around the table to say hello! :D You made me feel oddly special for a day. And then I slunk back into mediocrity! Hehehe!


Bon Chon
314 5th Ave, 2nd Floor

120 MacDougal Street

38 Union Square East

Bouchon Bakery
Time Warner Center, 3rd Floor


Kathy / April 24, 2007 2:09 AM

OH man, Robyn, this is toooo weird! I am eating spicy salt and pepper fried chicken at this taiwanese tea shop right now, and then I go to your site and find you korean fried chicken post! And this is just a few days after the stroopwafel business! I HAVE TO SEE YOU WHEN I MOVE BACK!!!!! And we'll do the P*ONG tasting and find insanely great sandwiches with lots of avocado...or something nutso like that! :)

Jen / April 24, 2007 2:29 AM

That's quite interesting that you don't enjoy the Bouchon macarons so much--when my friends and I visited a couple of weeks ago, tears of happiness sprung out when we bit into their caramel macarons. (The picture is still the screen saver on my phone) Also, how were you lucky enough to get a box of complimentary macarons? We are all incredibly jealous :) Btw, you have many a fan in Berkeley, CA!

Tina / April 24, 2007 6:28 AM

Argh...I still have issues with maccies from Bouchon Bakery. Even though I haven't touch them since we have eaten last time together, seeing your photos still discourage me from eating them. But at least I eat everything else there and I MUST eat those sliders!

Ooh...If you and Kathy are going to P*Ong, I'm soo going there with you! Even though I'm hearing slightly bad reviews recently from Chowhound, it should be better as time goes on.

Luther / April 24, 2007 7:19 AM

"It was some of the best friend chicken I have ever had, possibly the best."


Can you compare those falafels you mentioned to the one from Hoomoos Asli? That one's my favorite.

nellie / April 24, 2007 10:10 AM

I want macarons, so badly.

Is there such thing as too much filling, though? Like, I know you said you wanted a forcefield and stuff, but... then you'd have to deconstruct it to eat it and then you wouldn't get the same effect.

Marvin / April 24, 2007 11:17 AM

"...for if they touch BABY JESUS WILL CRY!!!?!?"

Hilarious Robyn. I've never had a macaron before, but when I do, I know to look for lots of filling thanks to you. I wouldn't want Baby Jesus to cry either.

Mikey / April 24, 2007 12:26 PM

Mmmmm, falafel...

Here's the best way to eat your Maoz falafel:

Fill your pita up with as much stuff from the salad bar as you can.

Chomp down until there's room again in your pita. Try to leave leave as much of the bread intact as you can.

Return to the salad bar and fill 'r up again.

Go to step 2 and repeat until there's nothing left to eat (of your falafel that is, not in the world).

Now I'm off to get my own falafel and fries, 'cause I'm hungryyyyyy! Ta.

redrhino / April 24, 2007 12:45 PM

Hey Rob"E"

Those "Bouchon Bakery" slider burgers look just like the ones I had at "Pop Burger" over in Chelsea last year when I was in NYC. They came three to a box and were $5.00 bucks. The burgers were OK, I would eat them again. The only complaint I had was they were already boxed and sitting under a heat lamp when I got there.


susannah / April 24, 2007 1:24 PM

your analogies never cease to make me laugh hysterically at my computer . . others must wonder what I'm looking at.

Chicken wings, sliders . . I want da meat!

Patty / April 24, 2007 3:41 PM

Korean fried chicken is soooo good! Another great place is Baden Baden (I think on W. 32nd St near Broadway). It's kind of hidden and it's upstairs. Try the chicken and order soju and ask for those small white cubes of radish. Yum!

Mila / April 24, 2007 8:19 PM

Quite the chuckle reading your curse at the wind, and for some reason, maybe subliminal on your part, the sound from some Clint Eastwood spaghetti western went through my mind at the point you wrote re: tumbleweeds.

If there's one thing I've learned from reading your blog over the years it's that maccies should never touch sides!!! One more squish o Bouchon pastry chefs!

roboppy / April 24, 2007 9:46 PM

Jen: Man, if you had tears of happiness from eating Bouchon's macarons, you'd probably DIE if you had Pierre Hermes! DEATH! TASTY DEATH! Um. Yeah. It's really good.

Complimentary macarons came courtesy of being...Serious Eat-ers? ;) Ed Levine is well liked at Bouchon.

Berkeley fanbase? Cooool! So if I ever decided to visit I'd have a place to crash and some foodie minds to guide me? :)

Tina: Oh yes, go for the sliders! No maccies! JUST MEAT..IES.

Maybe by the time Kathy gets here (in August) P*Ong will be more solid? Unless it really is just okay, in which case...we should og to WD-50 for dessert!

Luther: Ah, I haven't been to Hoomoos Asli despite having passed it god knows how many times. I will keep it in mind next time I want a falafel!

nellie: I have never witnessed too much filling in a macaron, so this problem just might not exist. That'd be like...having too much frosting on a cupcake, a problem I've only seen once (as it's usually too little frosting that's the problem).

If anyone wants to make me a macaron with too much filling, BRING IT ON.


I hope your first macaron eating experience is a good one. Best to start in Paris. ;)

Mikey: That also sounds like a good way to eat way too much. WEEOOO!!

Red: Heat lamps? Nooo!...oh. Well. At least it didn't cost too much.

Susannah: Oh, those other people just think you're crazy. [pat pat]

Patty: Thanks for the rec! I think I know the place you're talking about. 2nd floor all these fried chicken places like to be elevated?

Mila: Oh my god, I want to make that into a t-shirt..."All I want is just one more squish".

[gets drawing]

Oh yes, I love bringing up tumbleweeds whenever I can. It's kind of weird.

Cassandra Tan / April 24, 2007 11:02 PM

I had the orange macaroon as well. I was hugely dissapointed, it's supposed to be CARROT! No joke, and the other color? Jasmine Green-Tea. Nada, zip, no flavor. The ones I made myself? Sooo much better.

lutkie / April 24, 2007 11:32 PM

I'm so proud of Bouchon for changing it up! I totally would have gotten you all that for free if I was still around. Man, everything from the menu, is fixed in my mind from when I left. I want to try new things!!! ahhhh... how delicious.

lutkie / April 24, 2007 11:33 PM

I'm so proud of Bouchon for changing it up! I totally would have gotten you all that for free if I was still around. Man, everything from the menu, is fixed in my mind from when I left. I want to try new things!!! ahhhh... how delicious.

Jessica "Su Good Eats" / April 25, 2007 12:55 AM

I agree that Yolato's flavors aren't that special. I do like the plain yolato (yoggi) though. It's not to be confused with the plain soft-serve, which is kind of icy and bland like Pinkberry.

Bouchon has just the right amount of filling in their macaroons. :-) Stop eating macaroons that are more filling than cookie! They're freaks of nature!

Jeanne / April 25, 2007 12:56 PM

I feel famous...=) Eating chicken with you was so much fun, I just wish we'd had more time to go fooding! I never thought I was a macaron person before, but I think your photos are brainwashing me. After 12148294 viewings, I'm thinking "Chewy. I like chewy. Sweet. I like sweet. Cookie. I like cookie." This means, of course, that I will soon be obsessed and trekking all over California for them.

Sam / April 25, 2007 4:16 PM

It's me, your water street roommate! Oh I miss you! I rediscovered your food blog, and thought I'd send out a hello. Helllloooooo!

Are you up for a road trip to Boston? They opened up a Wagamama out there, and no one will leave the state with me for yummy noodles!

roboppy / April 25, 2007 5:29 PM

Cassandra: ...CARROT? Carrot? Wuh? I guess that's not really surprising--the filling reminded me of something that would go maybe they were going for a carrot cake thing? Except it didn't really taste like carrot. Um. And as for the jasmine green tea, I tasted neither jasmine nor green tea! WHAT IS THAT?! Someone at Bouchon must have tried PH before. Oh god. WAAH.

Are your macarons for sale? Ehehe...

Sarah: Ohh, how much weight did I gain when you were working there? "HELLO ROBYN, I BOUGHT YOU THREE MUFFINS AND A COOKIE AND AN ECLAIR!" :] When you come back here we can have a Bouchon tasting.

Jessica: NOOOOOOO THERE IS SO NOT ENOUGH FILLING! I'm going to side with whatever the French are doing, which for the most part is "using a lot of filling". Gooo France!

Jeanne: I'm pretty sure you'd like macarons. Or at least not DISlike them. You may not like em as much as I do, which would be...uh...normal, I think. Out of the whole state of California (cos its like..the whole coast) there are definitely places to get em, but I don't know what the best place is!

Sera: Oh my god, that website is beautiful. And those one of them squash? And another is soy stuff? And OMG BLACK SESAME! Matcha chocolate sounds good too! I want! Ohiodfisg [sobs]

Sam: HI, so glad you've come to my food blog. :D It's funny you mention Wagamama, as another friend just told me about it today. I feel like if I'm gonna travel I may as well just go back to London for Wagamama-ing, hehe....but now I know where to get my fix. MASSACHUSETTS! Hm.

Robert / April 26, 2007 4:12 AM

Your macaron description is funny. Like their macarons have somehow strayed... to the dark side. :)

(sound of Darth Vader's heavy breathing here)

chocolatesuze / April 26, 2007 5:02 AM

did you know if you drink too much carrot juice your skin starts turning a shade of orange? no joke man its like the one thing ive learnt from college!

Sera / April 26, 2007 12:08 PM

Yes, Robyn, there's definately a kabocha squash flavor there (OMGWANTWANTWANT) which is second on the top row and black sesame too. I also see pepper and purple imo there...*drool*

Adalmin / April 26, 2007 12:28 PM

I laugh at the elevator labelled ELEVATOR.

"Oo, what's that shiny metal thing over there with the floor numbers blinking above it? AN ELEVATOR!"

Anastasia / April 26, 2007 6:06 PM

I heart you so much. It was like meeting a celebrity when I saw you at Bouchon! (I am so glad that my husband convinced me to leave my shyness behind and say "hi'.)
Those little sliders were good, but there was something weird about them, maybe the texture, just felt like they weren't cooked, but not in that good sashimi uncooked sort of way...

roboppy / April 27, 2007 12:24 AM

Robert: The macarons of Darth do not please me.

Suze: Wuuh? Damn, I've never drank THAT much carrot juice!

Sera: I need to go to Japan. [sigh]

Adalmin: Sometimes those huge metal rooms with buttons are hard to miss!

Anastasia: Aw, I'm glad your husband was there to convince you. :) It was so nice to meet you! I AM VERY NON THREATENING, I SWEAAAR!!!

I can see what you mean about the burgers. They were more like a little slab-o-meat patter than a ground up meat thing. I was fine with them, but they are definitely...not conventional? :)

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