Wednesday

momofuku's bo ssäm at home

David Chang has made his popular restaurants into New York legacies. I went to momofuku ssäm bar and had their famous pork buns, which were up to the hype. But also famous is their special order bo ssäm. An Asian marinated whole pork butt served with kimchi, rice, bibb lettuce, oysters and sauces. It's got a $175.00 price tag and meant to be shared with ten friends. Sans both, I decided to try making the famous momofuko bo ssäm myself.

So, here's what I did...

Marinade and Sauce
3 tbsp Canola oil
1 tsp chili pepper flakes
2 tbsp rice wine vinegar
1 cup soy sauce
1/4 cup honey
3 tbsp diced red onions
2 tbsp minced garlic
4 tbsp chopped green onions
1 tbsp Cilantro
1 tbsp minced ginger
Juice of 2 limes
pepper

Mix and divide, 1/2 to marinade pork shoulder and 1/2 for table sauce.

Marinade approx. 8lb bone-in pork shoulder for 24 hours then, roast skin side up for 3 1/2 to 4 hours at 300 degrees.

Cilantro-Lime Rice:
Make rice by substituting canned coconut milk instead of water. Add fresh cilantro and lime to cooked rice.

Serve pork whole, rice, store bought kimchi (my apologies to Koreans), reserved Asian ginger sauce, Chinese hot sauce and Boston bibb lettuce.

Wrap a bit of everything in a lettuce leaf and enjoy.
Cocktails: peach tea with Japanese rice shochu.

It was delicious! One thing, my pork skin was not as crispy as it was suppose to be. I'm not sure why? I guess I need chef David Chang's help after all. (how awesome would that be?)

Sunday

IS THAT THE SUN? MY SKIN SCREAMED!

Sunday and a high of 92 degrees so of course the natives were restless. New Yorkers were everywhere but mostly in Central Park and the surrounding area. Scantly dressed, they all had one agenda, taking in several doses of vitamin D. I started my afternoon with an iced coffee from La Bergamote (52 ST btwn 10 & 11 AVE). Their pastries and other delicious treats are very tempting and the outdoor seating area creates an inviting atmosphere. Afterwards, a walk up West End Ave then Riverside South introduced me to all the new buildings that have been going up. Columbus Circle was swarmed with people entering and exiting the park, all who seemed to be carrying an ice cream cone. A long walk up the Upper West Side brought me to Brother Jimmy's, a popular BBQ joint with several locations. They have the best nachos I've had in NYC, along with a rum punch and an order of ribs, it was the perfect unromantic sunset dinner.

I ended my night with a jumbo mug of coffee at Cafe Lalo, where I sat feeling melancholy on a stool at an open window which provided the perfect place to think about my day and contemplate my future.

Friday

Bueno Aires in New York

After walking around a lot, I ended up having dinner at Buenos Aires, you guessed it an Argentinian restaurant. All the tables were full, the soccer game was playing on the two plasmas and everyone seemed to be enjoying their meat dishes. Forty minutes later I had a table, a bottle of wine and a hand-cut meat empanada. Another appetizer worth mentioning is the Provoleta Argentina which is grilled provolone cheese with pepper, olive oil and oregano and is a must have if you're into hot stretchy melted cheese. As an entree the Parillada Buenos Aires is the best way to get a taste of everything. It includes a mixed grill of short ribs, skirt steak, sausage, blood sausage, sweetbreads and veal kidneys. The kidneys and sausage were over done but everything else was perfect. After dinner, the owner asked me if moving tables was possible since he had a large group to sit. I agreed as long as he bought me an espresso, he said he'd do better than that and send me over any dessert I wanted too. GREAT! I had the dulce de leche crepe. Over all this is a very good restaurant when feeling carnivorous. (website picture)

Cooper Square Hotel

Friday night in the East Village is always a frenzy of walking for me since, I don't want to miss a thing, plus now all the bars and restaurants have outdoor seating, turning the E. Village into what seems to be a giant block party. I came upon the Cooper Square Hotel which is architecturally tantalizing. It makes you want to stare at it until you figure it out. I was snapped out of my gaze, by a woman who greeted and welcomed me by the giant door, she then proceeded to give me a mini-tour of the new hotel which will soon open restaurant Table 8 by chef Govind Armstrong, his third location, the others being in L.A. and South Beach. The hotel bar on the second floor is open with the terrace area soon to follow. The hotel over all is attractive as are the people in it. This hotel will definitely be the next trendy hipster must go to spot, specially once Table 8 officially opens. So make your reservations.

Saturday

KYOTOFU DESSERT BAR

Kyotofu is a Japanese dessert bar in Hell's Kitchen, but this is no ordinary dessert, it is all soy based however, you wouldn't know it by tasting it. I ordered the chef's three course tasting, which is perfect for two people and a great excuse to indulge in guiltless healthy sweets. At least that's what I convinced myself. The first course was the strawberry shortcake, a sansho pepper shortcake with tofu cream and strawberries. Second course, were three modern plated desserts, warm ginger-infused soy milk rice okayu, the warm miso chocolate cake with valrhona chocolate soybean ganache & green tea cream and, the sweet potato cheesecake which was delicious. The third course was a soy milk soft ice-cream twist of chocolate mochi and green tea. Kyotofu has a full cocktail, coffee and tea bar. It's a fun and delicious alternative to the everyday but, it can get crowded and seating is limited.

RESTO 2nd ANNIVERSARY

The ever so popular gastro-pub RESTO had its 2nd anniversary on Saturday and celebrated by roasting a 100lb Berkshire pig in a caja-china. This is a well known cooking device and technique used among many cultures and a great treat. I was eager to reserve my plate, so 2 for 9:00pm. We got there at 8:57pm and the place was busy while a lonesome table for two was waiting in the wing, yet we were not seated there and waited 30 minutes for another table. Eventually that other table was given out to someone whom came after us. Upon sitting we asked about the special only to be told they had ran out, even after we had reserved the plate as recommended. We were given a free beer by a very nice waitress which unfortunately was not our server. We ordered appetizers, first the boudin noir which is a blood sausage which was taken out of its casing to be spread on charred bread, second was the tete de cochon terrine, which essentially was a pigs head finger sandwich which was too spicy to taste the pork. Third, the deviled eggs, sliced and served on pork toast which was nothing but a square greasy croquette. We decided we would share the "famous" Resto burger we had heard so much about, what we got was a uneatable well done patty with no flavor on a cheap bun. The nice waitress advised us that the burgers are usually cooked medium-rare, which made sense, we had just got a dud. I mean how could a burger like this one possibly be on par with the Spotted Pig burger which is great! Our server, an older slower man, a few minutes later in contradiction told us that the burger is served medium-well. We were confused and told him the other waitress had said different, he was livid and shouted "WHO?" and went after her. The manager then came by and took our plate and said he would ask the chef. They all huddled by the cash register as if planning a great scheme. The manager told us he would take it off our tab, but immediately the server began to argue his point once again. So I laughed it off and said, Oh, UR so crazy man.. Well, the bomb exploded as he yelled "NO, YOU ARE CRAZY!!!" So enraged that the manager grabbed his shoulder. I couldn't believe the overreacting. As I sat there, the waitress came by again, so I asked if I had got her in trouble? She said, "Don't worry about it, he's just a cranky 70 year old ballet dancer" and walked away. I felt I'd just fell down the rabbit hole. Then, my companion says "Wow, cranky, 70 yr old, battling cancer." I said WHAT? REALLY? Is that what she said? So after explaining what I had understood, we proceeded to laugh uncontrollably, with a bit of guilt due to the presumably ailing waiter. So, I ask the waitress again; listen, did you say, battling cancer or ballet dancer? She said, "the last one". Thank goodness, I'm not going to hell.

Friday

Good Friday



Good Friday is a day of mourning since it commemorates the crucifiction of Christ. In observance of Good Friday, Christians refrain from eating meat as well as abstaining from other personal vices and celebrations. Lent in general is a time when I tend to brush up on my seafood dishes. Tonight, I prepared a snapper marinated with olive oil, fresh herbs such as lemon thyme, rosemary, thyme and sage. I also stuffed the fish with slices of lemon and Meyer lemons which taste like a mix between an orange and a lemon. I baked the snapper for 30 minutes at 350 degrees and Voila! Side dishes consisted of garlic brown rice with pecans and greens beans topped with herb marinated tomatoes. It turned out well.
(Pictured: before cooking and after)

Sunday

Blue Smoke Bonanza!

Sunday night and a hankering for barbecue, so off to Blue Smoke! A casual yet large by New York standards barbecue restaurant. Ordered the delicious Kansas styled ribs, the tasty baked beans, the mac & cheese that was just okay and the hot and airy fried bread w/ chipotle butter. The fried chicken plate was eh! with three smallish pieces, two of which were white meat, mash potatoes which were a bit gummy and a hockey puck biscuit. Over all the meal was good but, I still left a bit unsatisfied. A few tables down sat famous chef Tom Colicchio which explained the peeking out of the kitchen window by hopeful future top chefs.