Alas! We have arrived at the final week of my month in the city… which I have actually been able to extend for a few more weeks, so the title of this entire series is wrong and I’ve been living a lie.
Lunch find of the week: Woorijip. This Korean restaurant has a bunch of take-out options, from a pay-by-weight buffet section for $7.99/lb to a ton of pre-made to-go lunches. With a good price and good food, this is a perfect combination of some of my previous lunch choices (Speedy’s and Food Gallery 32), especially because Speedy’s is more expensive, at $9.95/lb.
This weekend was two days of hearty consumption. Saturday began with a trip to Smorgasburg, the food flea market heaven in Brooklyn. After experiencing the ridiculous lines last year, my friend and I capitalized on our trip by getting there at 11:30. It opens at 11 and even at 11:30, some stalls weren’t set up yet. The only exceptions were the Ramen Burger and the Home Frite stands, which had really long lines from the very start. I started with a Best Buds carne asada burrito, which was somewhat underwhelming. It was a good burrito, but the french fries weren’t crisp enough to make much of a difference and the hot sauce was pretty boring.
My friend had the fried anchovies from Bon Chovie. Store name on point. Anchovies were pretty good but not super exciting.
The Goa taco was the star of the show, with juicy pork belly, chipotle mayo, and Indian paratha flatbread.
We transitioned to sweets with a Goodwich from The Good Batch, which was an ice cream sandwich with oatmeal chocolate chip cookies, vanilla ice cream, fudge, and sea salt. Sea salt was a classy touch.
Then we finished up with a dulce de leche donut topped with almonds from Dough. The texture of the Dough donut was like the regular Dunkin’ Donuts donut with the chocolate or strawberry glaze on top.
Pro tip 1: Get there early if you’re alive and conscious at 11am on a Sunday. (A daunting task, I know.) Pro tip 2: Split things. You save money ($morgasburg is expensive), and a lot of stands give you portions large enough that it doesn’t feel like you’re ripping your heart in half and giving it away. (This clearly doesn’t apply to the tiny bite sized cheesecakes.) Furthermore, you’ll beat the law of diminishing marginal utility when you only eat half of that massive ice cream sandwich because you can enjoy the flavors to the very last bite instead of feeling numb when you get there. Plus, you’ll save stomach space to try out an array of foods rather than limit yourself to just a few.
Later that day my siblings and I paid a visit to Xi’an Famous Foods and had a feast. An oily, oily feast. The noodles are massive, the food is bathed in oil, and everything is so delicious. Try out their teas too; my jasmine tea was essential in balancing out the saltiness of the meal.
Sunday was originally supposed to be the day of Restaurant Week feasting, but plans changed, reservations were hastily cancelled, and my family ended up going to Eataly. We started with La Piazza, where the tables are small marble islands and you stand when you eat.
After that, we got pasta at La Pizza & La Pasta. Great pasta, cooked to al dente perfection.
Next, we got gelato from the Nutella section. The nocciola (hazelnut) flavor tasted like Ferrero Rocher in creamy gelato form. Get it in the waffle cup. It’s glorious.
Finally, we topped everything off with espressos and macchiatos.
After eating so much there, it felt like we were in the land of the lotus-eaters and were just never going to leave. I feel like I have an intimate connection with Eataly now. Pro tip 3: Put your name down for a sit-down restaurant when you get there and then browse/graze while you’re waiting. Pro tip 4: Consider checking out the Nutella section for gelato instead of waiting in line at the gelato section by the 5th Avenue entrance.
We meandered towards K-Town, where we stopped at Tous les Jours and got Mango Tango, one of their shaved ice dishes. Definitely meant for sharing…or a courageous sweet-tooth.
Finally, we finished the day with takoyaki and ramen from Hide-Chan Ramen. This ramen was just as good as Ippudo’s ramen, if not better.
When you can see the pork fat collecting at the top of the broth, you know it’s rich and packed with flavor. The pork was really good, and you get to choose your noodle type (wavy or straight) as well as the firmness. I went for straight and firm, and of the ramen places I’ve been to so far this summer these noodles were my favorite. The broth was quite salty, but that and the ramen customization was reminiscent of when I had great ramen in Japan a few years ago, so it seems very genuine. Or it’s confirmation bias. Either way, I enjoyed it a lot. Plus, the classic ramen is just $10, which is a steal in a city of overpriced ramen.
Here’s to a month of great eating. Now let’s see how many more things I can consume by the time I have to go back to school.