The Girl Who Ate Everything

Blogging about food and whatever since 2004.

Ramen, Gelato, Pizza, and a Pile of Meat

I likey the orangina
I likey the Orangina

Water usually does the trick for me when I'm in need of thirst quench-age, but on Saturday night I was...running out of water. And I wanted something else while walking through the muggy air filling the dark deserted streets of NYC. So while walking from Japan Society (where lots of cool movies are playing this week) to Penn Station, I stopped into a random deli with just one beverage on my mind.

Orangina. The bubbly, orange, not entirely artificial (hey, there's pulp!) beverage of my youth. It was one of the few sodas I didn't have to fight my mildly health nutty mum over to let enter our house, meaning that—to fulfill my role as an annoying daughter—I asked for it a lot. But hey, better than screaming for sugary cereals and candy, right? Right.

Orangina also reminds me of Paris, in particular hanging out in a park while sharing a six-pack and baguette with some friends. It's one of the best memories I have. That might be sad. But if you tried it, I bet it'd be a good memory for you too.

Now for some...real food.


Last-last Wednesday (yes, I am that far behind) I went to Menchanko-Tei with Beth and her boyfriend, David. I had never been there before, but I heard it was good for ramen. And you know how I like my ramen. I like...eating it.

calamari salad
calamari salad

Beth started off with a calamari salad. It's like regular salad, but with deep fried squid rings. Yeah! Yeah. The calamari didn't look like any fried calamari I had ever seen—they were so dainty and uniform looking—but they tasted good, so who gives a crap? Not me. No craps are given.

dumpling butts!
dumpling butts

We also shared dumplings. David called the crispy blackened underside of the dumplings "butts". It made so much sense, I was mad that I hadn't thought of it first. And it's just the kind of thing that I would say. Because I like to say inappropriate things.

ramen with fried chicken and extra pork

I ordered their basic bowl of ramen with fried chicken and extra pork. Sadly, this was not a revelatory ramen eating experience. The noodles were a little too soft for my taste, the broth wasn't especially flavorful, and the pork was disappointingly tough and missing the "mm, melting fat" factor. I liked the chunks of fried chicken and loads of thick, crunchy cabbage bits, but noodles and broth are kind of the key. I wasn't feeling it. Sigh.

curry noodles
curry noodles

Maybe I should've gotten David's curry ramen. Then the broth would taste like...curry. CURRY IS AWESOME.

Beth's noodles noodles
shoyu ramen

Or maybe I should've gotten Beth's shoyu ramen, bursting with soy sauce goodness.

Ah well. It wasn't really bad, it just wasn't as good as I was expecting it to be. I still crave Minca's thick sodium-tastic broth.


Of course, a so-so dinner can be lifted by the inclusion of gelato. Gelato is also good at making one happy after a crappy day, or making one happier after a happy day, or destroying one's diet. It has multiple uses! So versatile!


The closest source of gelato in the area is in the food-filled basement of Grand Central Terminal at Ciao Bella. It might be the most worthwhile place to eat at down there. It's not just gelato, but good gelato. Gelato whose flavors don't taste like crap. That's important because sometimes the flavors do taste like crap. Yes. (Can you tell that I'm writing this after midnight? I CAN!!! I CAN FEEL IT IN MY WOBBLY BRAINMEATS.)

We got stuff.
we got stuff

My cup of pistachio (with chunks of pistachio and thankfully no bright-green food coloring) and strawberry sorbet was refreshing. Creaminess, good flavors, and not too much sweetness; that's all I want, yeah? One of these factors is usually screwed up, but Ciao Bella does a good job of not screwing up. I clap for them. Clap clap. David got a cup of strawberry and balsamic vinegar, which tasted like strawberry aside from the pockets of vinegar surprise that kinda just attacked your tastebuds without warning, like "BOOYA I AM AN UNEXPECTED FLAVOR, HA HA, I BET YOU DON'T LIKE ME THAT MUCH." Because in my mind, vinegar talks like a shouting lunatic. Beth's deep purple jasmine cassis sorbet was strongly fruity and, I'm assuming, tasted like whatever jasmine cassis is supposed to taste like.

Beth and David were awesome people to go fooding with. They're cute, funny, and, most importantly, didn't mind me dragging them to eat wherever I wanted to. "RAWR, NOW WE WILL EAT RAMEN. RAWR, NOW WE WILL EAT GELATOOO. RAWR, WHY DO I SOUND LIKE A DINOSAUR?" I guess it's not too hard to follow those orders. :)



Last-last Friday Amy and I meant to eat dinner at Sakagura, but found out that without a reservation we would have to wait 45 minutes. Which wasn't cool. Not to me at least, for I am...impatient.. So we roamed around the Grand Central Terminal area and came across Muldoon's. Since I had never eaten at an Irish pub before, I figured...why not? And what the hell is Irish pub food anyway?

tato skins
potato skins

POTATO SKINS! Maybe. Well. Amy wanted them and I like potatoes stuffed with melted cheese and crispy bacon bits as much as the next person, assuming that the next person likes potatoes, cheese, and bacon bits. I also liked that they were also on a bed of shredded lettuce, almost like we were eating a tiny salad garnished with baked potatoes halves. Which would be a pretty damn tasty salad. Or "salad."

steak sammich
sammich? halp?

Don't ask why I felt compelled to get a sliced steak sandwich drowning in gravy and piled with sauteed onions. None of it sent my tastesbuds to heaven, but it was enjoyable for what it was. Lots of meat. On bread. With a thicken sauce of meat water and fat. And onions. And fries. So many fries. I ate a little more than half of it before waving my white flag that said, "Holy shizz I am stuffed."

crab cakes and mashed potato
crab cakes

...Although not so stuffed that I couldn't dig a few forkfuls out of Amy's neatly piped mashed potato mountain. She ate both her crabcakes but preferred to get most of her potato-matter from the potato skins that I had abandoned after I started filling my stomach with steak. I really liked the light, peppery mashed potatoes. Actually, I'm a fan of most mashed potatoes as long as they're seasoned well enough and not too watery or paste-like.

Our waitress sounded Irish. REAL IRISH PEOPLE! IN AN IRISH PUB...wait, that's not very surprising. I hadn't recalled ever meeting an Irish person before though (yeah, really can't), so I'd say it was somewhat cool.

Amy and I are going to Sakagura this Friday, this time with RESERVATIONS. You'll hear about it later.

It's a mall. A giant mall. Of things you don't want.


I celebrated America's day of independence with my brother Bert and friend Jesse by visiting a symbol of our country's freedom and glory and contribution to the world: the King of Prussia Mall. It's a giant mall in Pennsylvania, you see. It's big. And. ...Um. It's also the halfway point between my home in NJ and Jesse's home in Maryland, about two hours away for each of us.

(A little history: Jesse is a mutual friend of my brother and me from Taiwan. He's my age and we've been friends since 6th grade. You can do the math if you feel like. I wouldn't say we're very close friends, but we're very comfortable friends. He even came with me to my senior prom [due to his school being shut down early by SARS, hahahaha]...not that we danced or anything, as we preferred playing card games all night. By the way, if you're in high school and aren't sure if you want to go to your senior prom, I'd say don't. Spend your money on something awesomer, like...anything.)

So. I had actually visited the mall once before when I was little, at which point it felt impressively large. On this visit however, it seemed less big and not very interesting. I think I've been desensitized by going to malls near my house for too long. There's nothing else to do here, man, nuuthiiinnggguhh. (Besides go to NYC, something that I do most of the time.)

For lunch we went to California Pizza Kitchen, another place that I had definitely liked better when I was a kid before being desensitized by eating lots of good pizza in the past few years.


Not that it's horrible or anything. I went with a healthy-sounding pizza topped with baby broccoli, grilled Japanese eggplant, roasted corn, sliced red onions, mushrooms, sun-dried tomatoes, and mozzarella cheese. With so many tasty vegetables, I thought it would be...tastier. Instead, it was rather meh. Meh. What is meh? Meh. You'll know when you taste it. It looked better than it tasted. Perhaps if all the vegetables had been cooked in butter, it would've been better. Yes. Butter. I would've preferred the onions cooked instead of semi-raw. And I would've liked more eggplant considering that the pizza was named after it. But...whatever. It wasn't bad. The toppings may not have tasted like much, but I'd say it was somewhat balanced and not drowning in cheese.

thin crust
thin crust

I had problems with the crust. The thickness was fine, but it had no...personality? Like it couldn't crack a joke if I had asked it to. Partially because dough can't talk. But even if it could talk, it wouldn't have any jokes to tell. It required very little chewing and just didn't have much flavor. Which was a problem the whole pizza seemed to have. On the upside, it held up to the toppings well. A crust that has been soggified by its toppings is quite sad indeedio.

cado! Bert's pizza...I forget what it was
other pizzas

Maybe Bert's and Jesse's pizzas were better. They finished them, at least. I ate about 3/4ths of my pizza and Jesse finished the rest for me. Yay, human waste bin! That's usually the role that I play.

California Pizza Kitchen isn't a bad place to eat in the mall, but there are better choices. I think I would've enjoyed Chick-fil-A more.

wall of cand-eh

We checked out Five Below whose wall of candy I found to be most awesome and impressive, until a cashier shouted that no photos were allowed, at which point I vowed to steal all of Five Below's secrets, which go something like this:

  1. Price everything at $5 or below.
  2. Display candy on shelves in neatly stacked boxes.
  3. Profit

I would've never figured this out had I not taking a photo of the store. Never. By posting this photo and these secrets, I will cause great harm to the Five Below empire and thus fulfill my duty on earth.


What makes the King of Prussia Mall slightly cooler than other malls is that they have at least two gelato counters. GELATO! It's not as good as Ciao Bella, but it's still gelato. It's still vaguely magical.

more gelato

On the left is my older brother Bert and on the right our friend Jesse. They probably wouldn't be happy to know that I put this photo up since neither of them look very good. But too late. OOPS.

My brother inherited some genes that somehow prevent him from ever getting fat. I didn't inherit the genes. Made evident by my smushy arms.


The three of us shared a large cup of pistachio and cookies and cream. The pistachio wasn't bad...or great. Same with cookies and cream, which needed a lot more cookie to go with its cream. Still, it was an enjoyable experience—mediocre gelato still tastes good.

We roamed around for a few hours, during which I entered many clothing stores and exited many clothing stores. At the end of the day, my total clothing expenditure was $0 due to a mixture of me being picky and not fitting very well into anything. I have an awkward body structure: squat and semi-flabby.

That night my mum, brother and I went to Tawara where I ordered...oh, you'll never guess...

my bowl of ramen

RAMEN! Oh. Okay, you're not surprised. They call it chanpon for being topped with lots of things like shrimp, calamari, pork, and cabbage. The pork was too tough for my taste, but I enjoyed the firm noodles and the miso broth.

fried noodles
fried noodles

My mum's fried noodles topped with perhaps the same stuff that my noodles were topped with may have been better. I ate a few chunks of the crispy fried noodle matter, like eating a cake...of fried noodles. Fried...deliciousness...friednoodleraft...

...It's almost 2 AM. THIS IS WHERE I STOP. Sorry. Next week's entry should be better because I probably won't write it in the wee hours of the morning. I'm supposed to wake up in less than 6 hours. Arghghgh why did I waste my whole night watching videos on YouTube? Whyyy?

BILL AND TED, WHY MUST YOU DISTRACT ME?! (Bill and Ted's Excellent Adventure used to be one of my favorite movies. Hell yeah, I'm not afraid to admit it. That trailer sucks though.)


131 E 45th St

Ciao Bella
Grand Central Terminal, basement
42nd St and Park Ave

692 3rd Ave

King of Prussia Mall
160 North Gulph Road
King of Prussia, PA 19406

53 W Main St
Ramsey, NJ 07446


Kathy / July 9, 2007 3:24 AM

Oh man, you went CPK! In Hawaii people are OBSESSED with CPK (myself incuded)...somehow the Hawaii locations just taste so different, like better different, than the ones I've gone to in other states. The Ala Moana CPK in Honolulu generates the most revenue of all their location in the entire nation...we eat a lot for such a small state! :)...but adding on to the list of things we don't have is...CIAO BELLA! Gah, alllmost back to NYC! ;)

I think that might be the first picture I've ever seen of your brother, you need more family people pics! :)

Marvo / July 9, 2007 4:19 AM

Hmm...I thought the ends of gyoza look like butts. Also, to follow up on Kathy's comment about CPK, I think people in Hawaii are obsessed with CPK because we don't have ANY good pizza places here. We also don't have ANY good Mexican restaurants. Bah!

Michelle / July 9, 2007 7:42 AM

The first time I saw the sign for 5 Below, I seriously thought it was a freezer store or something. Maybe I'm just an idiot......

yoko / July 9, 2007 10:00 AM

King of Prussia Mall! It *is* a crazy-big mall, and I try to avoid it like the plague, although somehow, I end up there once a year. I never eat there, though, and judging from this post, I think I never will.

That said, I really wish there were a good ramen place here in Philly.

Paris Gelato / July 9, 2007 10:05 AM

My eating habits have totally changed since you've come back to NYC...
I never used to eat fried things...
But now...
I found a gelato place with good texture!
HAve you tried Agatha's on 79th and 1st avenue?
Almost as far as the King of Prussian Mall but the noucolo is EXCELLENT!

soopling / July 9, 2007 10:43 AM

sakagura is amazing. i love the sake oyako don, the tofu salad, and the sanma onigiri. the miso soup that comes with the sake oyako don is awesome too, very rich and thick, not like your usual watery sop.

maria~ / July 9, 2007 11:41 AM

yo rob! i was at nyc this past weekend helping my sis move and thanks to your recs, i had a damn good food weekend! the highlight? chinatown ice cream factory!!! yep, the black sesame ice cream was so good that it deserves three exclamation marks!!!

Fredric Koeppel / July 9, 2007 12:11 PM

1st, you get fantastic close-ups with that camera.
2nd, have you eaten at Momofuko-Saam? Last time i was in NYC, i ate there twice, once Thursday night and then Friday night, I liked it that much. I would be interested in your reaction.

Eric / July 9, 2007 1:41 PM

As far as the above commentor, I would love to try that place as well...the noodle place I usually go to in the East Village is Menkui Tei! Their noodles are great and they have awesome and unusual appetizers!

2 comments above: Black Sesame Ice Cream is great! I gotta try their wasabi ice cream! (or is it a sorbet). They didn't have it last time, and they said that they would have it during the summer....well, it's 95 degrees out in NYC today!

Marsha / July 9, 2007 1:44 PM

Yes, Paris on a hot day in April, Orangina at about six euros a pop, the woman who served me so proud that she managed to scare up two whole ice cubes to go with it . . . not sad at all. No memory of Paris can be sad - wistful, maybe, but not sad. We all must return to Paris (for those who haven't been there, hurry up, so you can return). Merci pour votre memoire.

Marvin / July 9, 2007 1:50 PM

Thanks to posts like this Robyn, you have turned me into a gelato fiend. I just returned from Paris where I heeded your rec of Pozzetto. I am a changed man. Now I just need to find some decent gelato in SoCal.

Tina / July 9, 2007 3:25 PM

I have to try Ciao Bella's gelato. They seem to have more innovative flavors than Grom. But I still love Grom's pistachio.

Jeez, I miss the city...good thing there's the existence of Restaurant Week next week; so I have some reason to be there.

Mickjagger / July 9, 2007 7:59 PM

First time I went to the US in 1991, me and my family ate at some CPK in Chicago. My mother discovered a lot of tiny green midges in her salad... after all it's only proteins!
Besides of that, my pizza was allright.

Christina / July 9, 2007 8:43 PM

There's an Irish pub-ish restaurant downtown of my area and basically all the food is fried. Nothing wrong with that. What I don't like is that nothing as flavor... I mean, nothing. I tried adding salt and that made it taste like salt. I was about to think all Irish restaurants were similar but I guess I'm glad that isn't the case.

For pizza, which I'm actually going to eat tonight, I like Polito's. Their crust is awesome, has a lovely chew, large holes, the sauce has real flavor, and they saute their toppings instead of leaving it raw.

Reading your blog makes me wish there was a ramen place here. I suppose I'll have to make my own but it seems better when someone else makes it. Which is why I like to go out to eat.

Jeanne / July 9, 2007 9:54 PM

Hahaha Robyn you cracked me up with your dinosaur comments...RAWRRRRRR! I had some macarons from Miette Patisserie last weekend. Mmm it has awakened an immense craving within me. Must. Eat. Macs! Sorry you ate a of my old roommates LOVED it and we went often. Often enough for me to figure out the most delicious thing on the menu was the fried calamari, which is now gone because it was too "unhealthy". So said our waiter. Right, like pizza dripping in oil is healthy. *bitter* Annnnyway, great post & pictures, as always. I will share Five Below's secrets with everyone I know! Let's undermine their business completely!

roboppy / July 9, 2007 11:11 PM

Kathy: Really? OBSESSED? Damn. Well, I did USED to like it, or perhaps I just got a bad combination, but the crust...not so awesome. Hohum. It didn't taste unhealthy at least. I had no idea Hawaii was CPK central! :)

Ahh, family photos...nah, my mum doesn't want her face on my blog. ;D

Tahlia: Thanks! I bold go where my wallet takes me! LEAD ME, WALLETT...and stomach.

Okay, that candy is mildly disturbing. Like...why? But. I'd try it!

Marvo: There is nothing better than CPK? Really? .__.

Well. Think about all the other awesome stuff you have that we don't have in NYC. OKAY! Yeah. Are we even?

Michelle: The first time I saw the sign for Five Below I just had no idea what it was. But I guess the title is self explanatory now that I've been inside one. I just thought it was funny that someone set up a whole bunch of stores that's like..a pricier dollar store?

Yoko: There are some good places to eat in there, I think. ...Well, Legal Sea Foods is always fine with me, a reliable place to eat at for yummy fish. We were mildly tempted to go to the Cheesecake Factory. CHEESECAKE FACTORY. Their portions are like death. It's like..a challenge...that I'd rather not take.

Carol: Never used to eat fried things? My god! You were so much better off without me!

Nope, haven't tried Agatha's! Can't say I'm ever on the UES...but I will keep that in mind.

soopling: Oo, I can't wait to try it then. I suppose we'll order a bunch of things and share. Mmmm.

wonders: BEST DRINK EVER kinda!

Maria: Black sesame is one of the best flavors everrr. So glad you liked it!

Fredric: My macro lens BETTER give me good close ups. ;)

Yup, I've eaten there! You can check out my entry about being porkified. I really liked it, although my budget doesn't allow going very often. Lunch is definitely affordable (especially since a wrap last two meals!), dinner less so. Their pork is sooo good.

Eric: I've only been to Menkui Tei once, but I liked it! I got the curry ramen. Nice..curry broth. And chewy noodles. I also got some eel rice thing. Mmm mmm.

Marsha: 6 EUROS?! WAAH! I am a big fan of finding little supermarkets where things are cheap, hehe. Although once I went to a supermarket and they didn't have normal Orangina, just the ones with special flavors or DIET Orangina. Diet? Mrah!

Ahh paris, take me baaack...

Marvin: There's a gelato fiend in all of us. I'm glad you found yours.

Tina: I went to Otto today...OH JESUS BEST GELATO EVER.

Okay, I'd have to try Grom's and Otto's side by side to figure out which pistachio is better...perhaps grom, but I love love love Otto's caramel gelato. And olive oil. Ugughg [makes drooling noises]

Yann: MIDGES? I had to google that. Although they ended up being what I thought they were. Eeeuhh!! I hope you got your money back or...something!

Christina: Flavor-less fried food is sad. It's like...crunchy! And that's it. Oh, and edible. Crunchy and edible. Hm.

I think in Ireland they do have good food. I think. Yeah. I should go and find out for myself.

I agree, all food seems better when someone else makes it. Which is why I don't like to make things. But even when I cooked in my cooking classes stuff tasted better than when I tried to cook at home, I suppose because i had partners to help me out. Ah well.

Jeanne: I cannot believe that fried calamari would be taken off the menu because of health reasons. CPK isn't exactly...dieter's paradise. I remember once I had a salad there and it was the size of a whale. A baby whale, but still. I don't think it was healthy. Eeuh.


Mickjagger / July 10, 2007 7:44 PM

After that nice "insect touch" I think we complained and leaved the place...
yeah, sorry I typed "Moucherons" (which comes from "mouche" or fly) in my french to english translation widget and didn't know if it was the exact word... but you know the kind of summer annoying greenish mini insect thankfully not sucking your blood like a mosquito at least!!

Mousie / July 11, 2007 6:25 AM

I think all asian boys with sisters have all inherited the same traits: No fur (I mean hair, of course, but I think of "fur" when I see the arms of some of my friends), the inability to get fat despite eating all sorts of junk, and longer eyelashes and prettier eyes than the poor tubby sister.

salli vates / July 11, 2007 1:35 PM

Your pictures are so delicious! I'm getting hungry already and I just had lunch.

susannah / July 11, 2007 6:34 PM

I ate at a CPK in the Short Hills mall once with my mom in a time of desperation (we were furniture shopping and it was getting really late). Needless to say, it was not good.

I went Kofoo yesterday for the first time in SOOOO long. Yaaaaay. =)

All your pictures of gelato make me want to try Grom . . .

roboppy / July 12, 2007 11:18 AM

dynagrrl: Haha, you're right. I've never tried Boboli before, but I remember the gazillion commercials on TV.

Mousie: HAHA, we are so hairless. Euh. My mum's brother is kind of chunky while she is skinny, so perhaps things got reversed with us.

Janet: With the universal ARM SMUSH!


salli vates: Thanks! Maybe it's time to eat...MORE FOOD.

Susannah: KOFOO! Ya! I don't go there as much as I used to (I bring my own lunch to work now) but I grabbed a kimbab from there last week and mm mm mmmm burny tuna, my fave.

Go to Grom! :D

seth / July 14, 2007 12:21 AM

The Irish definitely like their spuds. I was in at a Chinese restaurant in Limerick a little while back and most dishes were served with fries. Little odd.

You should really try an Irish breakfast though. Not the prettiest plating but yummy, with a capital YUMMY.

Leena! / July 14, 2007 4:29 AM

Yay, Chik-Fil-A!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I thought I was the only person left in the USA who remembers that delicious brother to the Butterfinger. Way to be, Robyn. Way to be.

roboppy / July 18, 2007 2:15 AM

Crap, I am slow.

seth: Fries make everything taste better. I'd so want fries with my CHINESE FOOD! Ireland, here I coooome...

Leena: GO US! I don't know why there aren't more Chil-Fil-As over here. ...Not that I'd necessarily eat there if there were more locations, but I liked dem waffle fries. And chickeny nuggets.

Nan / July 22, 2007 8:41 AM

Holy schnikey this is a long post! I've been lurking for a while and I love your slightly crazy-sounding writing. ;) I wanted to comment on this entry because KoP is so close to where I grew up and it's reallyreallyreally cool to see food blogging going on somewhere other than NYC or LA or France! I'm currently trying to write my own blog...would you mind if I linked to you?

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