Tuesday, November 3, 2015

NYC Foodie Field Trip

I recently went to New York to visit a dear, old friend of mine who lives in Clinton Hill, Brooklyn, and of course, eat at some restaurants I'd had a hankering to stuff my face in. So I hopped on a lonely, 12-hour bus ride and spent my first day walking across Manhattan with nothing but the personalized map I made on Google, 500 dollars, and the comfort of a Starbucks on every corner to pee, poop and brush my teeth in.

First stop: Momofuku Milk Bar.
Sort of cliche, but had to be done.

 Milk Bar is right down the street from Central Park, and I'd never been! So I took my treats and ate them looking into the green abyss.

 Little brown bag o' goods!
Composte, 5boro and Corn cookies with Cereal Milk. 5boro was my favourite - it's rich chocolate, moist and gluten-free! Paired with cereal milk it was the perfect New York breakfast (literally like drinking a bowl of milk at the end of a bowl of corn flakes)
One of my favourite flavours is black sesame. I saved this little cup of sesame bread for later - heated and spread with butter.

Couldn't resist a warm, salty pretzel - they're everywhere.

Next stop: Mission Chinese
What looks like an average, run-down chinese restaurant is actually the centre of the hipster food scene in New York. The food is reminiscent of that American chinese take-out you ate as a child, but with a contemporary play on flavours and ingredients, like, Kung Pao pastrami, beer brined sichuan pickles and pig ear terrine - all which I did not order, but wish I had the stomach big enough to do so.

 Little fried fish with malt vinegar aioli and chips tossed in seaweed. Obviously a play on fish n' chips (and I'm pretty sure the fish were Smelt.)
 Pork, eel and celery dumplings in red oil, and a heap of cilantro. As much as I try, I can never not order dumplings if they're offered on a menu.

Next Stop: Pok Pok Phat Thai
Another seedy looking lower-east-side joint is yet another, exceptional culinary destination, this time thai street-style food. Pok pok is perhaps more than exceptional. Award winning owner and chef Andy Ricker lived and studied thai cuisine and brought back his knowledge to begin the Pok Pok empire. This is one of three NY locations.

Cha Yen - Thai iced tea with evaporated milk. This drink was sweet and milky, there's not really anything I can compare it to, but maybe a Creamsicle with herbal undertones? Sounds weird but it was really good!
Hoi Thawt - An egg crepe with steamed mussels, garlic, chives and bean sprouts, served with hot sauce. The menu said this is a popular Thai street food at night markets.

Day 2: Smorgasburg - A Brooklyn flea food market
Basically this is everything I could ever dream of all in the same location, with the best weather and best view! This happens every saturday, and if I lived close by I bet I could eat my way through every vendor within a month. Smorgasburg is unique from Toronto food events because it's open free to the public, happens so frequently and all food items are priced roughly within the five dollar range. Something to think about Toronto!

 The view of Manhattan from the waterfront.
 Short rib taco with spicy nacho chips. Similar to the dumpling, a taco is another food item I simply cannot resist. Sometimes I regret not branching out a bit more.
 Scallion pancakes on the flat-top

 Fresh shucked oysters on a lovely saturday afternoon, yes indeed!

 Meet my succulent friend Indian Neck, from Massachusetts.
 Brooklynite host, and best friend, Jake!
 McClure's $1 pickles! I also bought a jar of their relish.
Grape and fennel seed soda to wash it all down.

Dinner Time: Umi Nom
Jake is Filipino and I've known him for many years, but I'd never really eaten filipino food (except for at his family dinners, but the filipino dishes were even scarce). Umi Nom is right around the corner from his apartment, so we thought we'd stay close to home, plus is had some good reviews.
 Our feast of plates, in the front is their homemade beef jerky with black bean paste. It was tasty, however it didn't sit well in my stomach the next day. (Tip: be weary of homemade beef jerky, who knows how long its been sitting out and drying)
 Of course, fish tacos.
Grilled Mackerel with a side of what I think was spiralled ginger. The fish was fantastic, the side salad not so much.

Last Supper: PRUNE
Here, I've skipped ahead to dinner due to uncatalogued daytime eats. Prune was a very anticipated destination on my trip after reading owner and chef Gabrielle Hamilton's book, Blood, Bones and Butter. Hamilton portrays Prune as her soul and the reflection of the profound hospitality and culinary experiences that have shaped her career, so I was ecstatic to make a reservation for two and sit in her quaint dining room.

 The atmosphere was soft and bright, with pink ascents all round, including the waitresses shirts. As a starting snack we were given fried and salted chickpeas, and a ramekin of salt was placed on the table for seasoning.
 My first course was these gigantic deep-fried oysters with a caper tarter sauce.
 Duck breast with cipollini onions, dandelion greens and a warm agrodolce dressing. This dish was perfect to a tee.
 Jake ordered buttered toast with blue cheese and shaved celery salad.
 For dessert, pistachio granita. Basically shaved ice and pistachio.
 Dark chocolates to finish, just so lovely!

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