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Ippudo ~ NYC

Asian, New York City By January 18, 2020 Tags: , , , , No Comments

The Vitals:
the spot: Ippudo 65 4th Ave New York NY 10003
the eats: Ramen
the bucks: $16 
the full nelson: a ramen that comes with a ton of hype and some seriously good pork belly buns

How much should you pay for a bowl of ramen? That answer has changed dramatically over the last 20 years, in the US at least. In college, I never touched the stuff. And by “the stuff” I mean the ramen packets my pals would turn to when they realized that their food allowance took deep of a hit from last night’s beer run.

Cut to around the mid 2000s and I finally went to a respectable ramen joint. A spot that gets the people hooked with that super rich Tontkatusu pork broth and a line out the friggin’ door. The place was called Daikokuya in Little Tokyo – downtown Los Angeles. Back then the line was fierce but the tab was pretty tame. 14 years is a ways back but I’m pretty sure a bowl of ramen loaded to the loaded to the gills should have set you back no more than $10. Today, expect to drop about $14. Which takes me to a ramen joint in NYC with a big rep and wide net: Ippudo, a ramen joint that can be found in locations spanning four continents.

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Cafe China ~ New York City

Asian, New York City By November 20, 2019 No Comments

The Vitals:
the spot: Cafe China 13 E. 37th St. NY, NY 10016
the eats: Spicy Chengdu Wonton, Scallion pancake, Double Cooked Pork, Baby Cucumber, Shredded Tripe in chili oil, Ma Po Tofu, 
the bucks: plan on spending $25-30 a person to feast comfortably 
the full nelson: legit Szechuan that comes with a renowned food producer’s stamp of approval

I have been to New York City many times over the years and yet every time I go I feel like I overlook getting a good dose of Chinese eats. Neighborhoods like Flushing Queens have long been on my radar but save for a trip to Brooklyn for Cheap Eats, I usually find myself in Manhattan where Chinese eats are served to the masses. But that don’t mean it ain’t legit . . .

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P.J. Clarke’s ~ NYC

Burgers, New York City By April 22, 2019 No Comments

The Vitals:
the spot: P.J. Clarke’s 915 Third Ave NY NY 10022
the eats: The Clarke Burger
the bucks: $19.95
the full nelson: An age old NYC burger classic priced like 21st century NYC real estate 

P.J. Clarke’s has got history. Surrounded by skyscrapers in Midtown Manhattan, P.J. Clarke’s has been open for business since 1884. If you have ever seen the movie Gangs of New York, you might remember the ending when the camera widens out from the gravestones to a wider shot of a New York skyline that fast forwards through time; starting with almost nothing then swelling with height and density. That growth continues today and effects not just the real estate but also cherished burger institutions. To eat at a burger restaurant that has been immortalized by Nat King Cole and Mad Men is a real treat and worthy of your bucks. But is the P.J. Clarke’s Burger alone worth a near $20 price tag? Read on to find out!

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Pietro’s NYC ~ an old school Italian steak and pasta experience

New York City By March 12, 2019 Tags: , , , , , No Comments

The Vitals:
the spot: Pietro’s 232 E. 43rd St. New York NY 10017
the eats: Shells a la Nat, New York Strip Steak for two, Caesar salad with bacon
the bucks: $26, $106, and $16 respectively, plan on $100 a head with a stiff drink in the mix
the full nelson: historic NYC steakhouse that twists the traditional line up with pastas, parms and a bacon laced Caesar salad.

Pietro’s has been on my radar since 2007, when I came across a tasty blog called Beef Aficionado that sang the praises of an old school Italian Steakhouse in Midtown Manhattan. I love steak. I love to make it at home and I love to order it at restaurants. And I love the idea of a steakhouse. But, being the thrifty foodie that I am, time and time again I find myself disappointed in the Steakhouse experience. I mean, in the end of the day it just ain’t that big of a deal for me to buy a pricey steak at a top shelf butcher and still spend a fraction of what I would at a steakhouse. Yet I keep going back and dropping more than I probably should for a beefy over the top dinner. Well, that you will certainly find at Pietro’s my friends.

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Bang for your Bengali Food Buck: Haat Baazar NYC

Indian, New York City By December 7, 2018 Tags: , , , , , , No Comments

The Vitals:
the spot: Haat Bazaar 3711 73rd st suite 73 Jackson Heights Queens NY
the eats: Biriyani, beef curry, dal, dimmer chop(fried egg), bhaji – basically get everything you can but fair warning: the fish has a million bones!!
the bucks: $10 a person
the full nelson: legendary Bengali grocer serving authentic home cooked Bengali food in the heart of Jackson Heights Queens

Beyond Chicken Tikka Masala and Naan lies a complex world of regional Indian cuisines, like Bengali cuisine of which I grew up on. Not unlike some 1st generation American kids, I longed for hamburgers and pizza over funky fish curries and lentil stews but as I grew older and Mom’s kitchen grew further and further away, I reminisce for the OG stuff I grew up on.

Fair warning: Bengali food is not for everybody. The curries come off oily for the uninitiated, the fish is loaded with bones and can be dangerous to eat if you’re not careful, and yeah, the kabobs are cooked to a temperature beyond well done. Still the spice profile is distinctly different from the all you can eat Indian buffets where cumin and coriander are made almost irrelevant by copious amounts of heavy cream. The bottom line is that there is a lot more to Indian food than your neighborhood Indian restaurant, and if you are looking for a true foodie adventure, head to Haat Bazaar in Jackson Heights, Queens.

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