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New York City

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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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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Harry and Ida’s ~ NYC

New York City, Sandwiches By October 17, 2018 Tags: , , , , , No Comments

The Vitals:
the spot: Harry and Ida’s 189 Avenue A New York NY 10009
the eats: “The Pops” 1/2lb Pastrami Sandwich
the bucks: $17.50(!)
the full nelson: New School Pastrami joint aiming to be a contender for best in NYC

Founded in 2015, I suppose one could call Harry and Ida’s a new school pastrami joint, though their methods are very much connected to the days of old. Pastrami makes up only one of their sandwich offerings, and with items like Roasted Squash and Smoked Eel on the menu, I wouldn’t call Harry and Ida’s a classic Jewish delicatessen. Still there is a personal connection to Jewish Deli history: the owner’s grandparents, Harry and Ida, ran a delicatessen in NYC about 100 years ago. And these guys know how to make legit pastrami. The million dollar question is of course whether this pastrami sandwich is worth the almost $18 dollar price tag. Well, you’re gonna have to keep reading to find out!

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J.G. Melon ~ New York City

Burgers, New York City By September 14, 2018 Tags: , , 3 Comments

The Vitals:
the spot: J.G. Melon 89 MacDougal st. NY NY 10012  other locations in upper east side(original) and upper westside
the eats:Cheeseburger
the bucks: $12.50
the full nelson: one of NYC’s most celebrated burgers is worth a visit

The J.G. Melon burger has been on my radar for years now as it consistently makes the best of NYC burger annual round ups. Another classic example of the NYC pub style burger, much like Corner Bistro and PJ Clark’s, expect to find a thick patty cooked to requested temperature and a classic garnish of pickle and onion. In the age of chef driven concept burgers, the J.G. Melon burger relies on simplicity and quality but does it warrant a $12.50 price tag? Well, context is everything, but this burger is worth taking a closer look at.

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