Tuesday, May 15, 2012

New York: Once More in Eataly - Day 4

Been somewhat busy with work but finally got time to finish the last post of my trip to NY during this past St. Patrick's weekend!

On the last day, we decided to walk around Central Park and others wanted to meet up with a few friends.  Before we split off, we decided to stop by Eataly once more and grab some food from one of the eateries inside!

La Pizza & Pasta (Eataly)
200 5th Ave
New York, NY 10010

la pizza & pasta
La Pizza & Pasta.

pasta menu
Part of the menu.

pizza oven
Pizza oven imported from Italy!

EVOO + balsamic is a must.

Rustic artisan bread.

La Pizza Margherita!  Mozarrella, tomato sauce, Parmigiano Reggiano & basil.

Awesome fresh mozza and super crispy crust.

There was only ONE basil haha. Sorta ridiculous to have only ONE basil leaf on the pizza :P

Neopolitan pizza done right and the fresh mozzarella is great with the sauce.

Tagliatelle al Ragu di Manzo
My Tagliatelle al Ragu di Manzo.  Housemade pasta with braised short rib ragu. Savory with tender short trib. A little salty.

short rib
Short rib hiding underneath!

Pasta al Forno al Ragu
Ben's Pasta al Forno al Ragu.  Lasagna with Italian ragu. Probably my favorite. I'm a sucker for lasagna.

Pasta al Forno al Pesto
Ahrhan's Pasta al Forno al Pesto.  Lasagna with pesto & bechamel sauce. Nice pesto sauce.

Audrey's Pappardelle.  Housemade pasta with chicken in tomato sauce & basil. It's not on the menu but as a special of the day.

Pansotti di Ricotta e Spinachi
Diana's Pansotti di Ricotta e Spinachi.  Housemade pasta with local ricotta, spinach, lemon butter & pistachio. Sounds sorta heavy but it's actually pretty refreshing thanks to the lemon.

espresso gelato
I wanted something sweet afterwards so headed off to the gelato section.  Decided on the Espresso Gelato, and wow it packs a punch!


Afterwards, we took the subway and headed towards Times Square and Central Park, and after a looong walk, headed towards Shake Shack for our meal before our flight!

Shake Shack
366 Columbus Ave
Between 77th St & 78th St
Upper West Side
New York, NY 10024

shake shack
After hanging out at Central Park for a bit, decided to end our trip with some good ol' American food from Shake Shack!  Went to the Upper West Side location.

burger fries
Shack Shack Burger with Fries.

Just as good as I remembered it, but still, In-N-Out takes the crown!

Crispy fries!

malt concrete
Decided to try a "concrete" this time.  "Concrete" is essentially their term for frozen custard that is blended with toppings!  Went for the Natural History "Crunch-stellation" which has Vanilla custard, malt, Valrhona chocolate crunchies, and chocolate toffee.  Creamy and sweet.

The tables there are made from recycled bowling lanes!  I thought that was pretty cool.

And with the end of that meal, we walked back towards our hotel to grab our bags for our trip back to LA. Always feel a little sad at the end of a trip, but this was definitely one of those trips that I can say we tried to do as much as we can for a "long weekend!"  Till next time, NYC.

A little bonus:IMG_9107.JPG
There was a food truck serving Taiwanese-style bento!  Didn't get to try it... wonder how it tastes?

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

New York: Momofuku Ssam Bar - Day 3

To end our 3rd day in New York, we had dinner at one of the most popular restaurant in NY, Momofuku Ssam Bar.  I made a reservation weeks ago and only ended up with a 10:30pm slot.  Nevertheless, we prepped ourselves so we can eat to our heart's content and I can honestly say, I've never been this excited for a meal!

So the big thing at Ssam Bar is the Bo Ssam Dinner.  For $200, you get to feast on a 7-10lb pork shoulder that has been slowly oven-roasted for hours!  They say it feeds 5-10 people, but really... you gotta have some big eaters to kill it.  Ssam literally means wrapped in Korean, and it generally refers to food wrapped with lettuce or other greens.  It's a fairly healthy way of eating... until you get a huge piece of pork in front of you.

I will say though, the pictures for this post is absolutely horrible.  After a day's worth of activities and recovering from St. Pat's still, I just didn't want to carry the DSLR with me anymore, so I opted for the Panasonic P&S.  It does well in low-light setting, but blah, miscalculated.  Didn't think it would be THAT dark at the restaurant.

Momofuku Ssam Bar
207 2nd Ave
Between 13th St & 12th St
East Village
New York, NY 10003

Momofuku Ssam Bar!


steamed buns

We started off with some of the famous David Chang's Steamed Bun.  It is essentially a Taiwanese Gua Bao.  Super soft & tender pork belly, with hoisin sauce, cucumber, and scallions.

pork belly, cucumber, hoisin, scallions
Awesome awesome awesome pork belly.

naked cowgirl oysters

Naked Cowgirl Oysters.  Super fresh.

Small, but creamy and delicate.  I'm not a fan of oysters, but these I can eat.

bibb & sauce
Lettuce bib for the ssam.

Sauce for the pork belly but I didn't really use it.

pork butt slow roasted

Finally!  The pork arrives and it was a huuuuuge piece of pork.  Roast a pork shoulder for 6-8 hours with simple brown sugar and kosher salt rub results in this amazing chunk of pork. Most of the flavor is from the pork itself but the crust was great with the sugar all caramelized.

brown sugar, soy sauce
What an awesome color.

Toppings for the pork and for wrapping.

scallion & ginger
This was the best: Ginger Scallion Sauce.  Exactly what it sounds like.  I think we asked for this to be refilled like 3 times haha.

Of course, gotta have kimchi!

chopped kimchi
They even provided chopped kimchi!  Think of it as Korean salsa haha.

Ssam sauce or "Korean BBQ sauce" as they called it.  Didn't care too much for this.  Ginger scallion sauce all the way!

Some white rice to curb the pork overload.

My little creation: pork, kimchi, chopped kimchi, some crispy pork skin, ginger scallion sauce, and a piece of the oyster to give it a different dimension!

off the bone tender
The pork was very juicy and I did expect a lot of fat but the cut was a good mix!  This was the aftermath... and as you can see we failed at finishing it :P  Probably still a good 2-3 pounds left.

Really though, after about 3-4 wraps, I had to change it up, either with different amount of toppings, difference sauces, with rice, or even just using a different part of the pork! It gets really heavy and towards the end, I just grabbed the bowl of rice and started to eat the pork like a charsu pork rice bowl with some kimchi haha. In the end, the 8 of us only killed about 4-5 lbs out of the 8-pounder that we got. Pretty sad...

Is it worth the $200? Besides the meat sweat, I say yes, especially in a big group. We had a blast and it is such a primal experience, just tearing off the juicy pork and eating with our hands! Next time I will probably just order off the regular menu, but still definitely an experience and am really glad I got to feast on the glorious pig shoulder with 7 of my good friends!