Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Shake Shack [[Flatiron District, NYC]]

I finally made my way to Shake Shack this past Sunday, after being thwarted twice this past month (mostly, my friends and I decided to meet somewhere else for dinner). I thought the line was long but apparently it sometimes goes around the park and outside, too. While waiting for 45 minutes, I thought about hype versus genuinely good food. The wait is the same (long, very crowded), the reviews are all favorable. So instead of doing school work, I braved the sun and the people for my chance to try this beloved New York burger.

Since the menu is on the side, if you don't already know what you want you'll have to quickly scramble over before placing your order. Luckily for you, I took a photo, complete with prices. These don't include special custards or milkshake flavors, nor does it give descriptions but it's a nice heads up:

I ordered the Shake Stack, which was a beef patty (they didn't ask me how I much I wanted the beef to cook, but thankfully it was medium), a fried portobello mushroom melted together with gruyère cheese, tomato and lettuce and American cheese. The buns were toasted, which I'm always in favor of.

Two things to note: 1. It is quite expensive since it doesn't even come with fries or anything and I will definitely not make this place a habit; 2. It is quite small. It fits in my hand. I mean, I wolfed it down as ladylike as possible (oxymoron) under 5 minutes. Weirdly, the last few bites were super salty, but I think that's because the bun has probably been soaked by the cheeses and oil.

I also ordered a black and white milkshake, which is basically half chocolate and half vanilla. The shake was pretty creamy and SUPER rich. I was actually thirsty afterward, that's how rich it was.

Overall, the patty itself is nothing too special although I did enjoy the fried portobello mushroom and gruyère cheese together. The wait is way too long if I'm hungry (i.e. impatient and cranky) and too expensive to make it any more than a treat.

If you do just want a lemonade or something, there is a "B" line so you can avoid those New Yorkers hankering for the meatier stuff. They also offer hot dogs and crinkle cut fries, but I already spent $14 on lunch and was no, I ain't made of money!

P.S. I don't know why these photos are uploaded blurry. They shouldn't be! But if you click on the photo, it will direct you to the original in all it's SLR glory.
Shake Shack in Madison Square Park
E 23rd St & Madison Ave
New York, NY 10010

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Yakitori Taisho [East Village, NY]

I decided on a lark that for dinner, I would walk on St. Marks and find a Japanese place that looked good--on menu at least. My roommate, neighbor, and I decided to enter Yakitori Taisho, a small and narrow little place brimming with people. Lots of people on a Tuesday night? That should already be a good indication, no? Luckily, we didn't have to wait.

The menu has a lot of yakitori options, but nothing will compare to Shin Shen Gumi in terms of diversity. In addition to yakitori, there were ramen and yakisoba dishes, some rice dishes, and a lot of tapas. We decided not to share any of the tapas which is probably a good call because I would have ordered EVERYTHING, running up the bill.

I did have a hankering for some ramen, but decided that I wouldn't try any ramen until I went to Ippudo. So instead, I ordered 1 skewer of: tsukune (chicken meatballs), gyutan (beef tongue), butabara (pork), yakitori (chicken), and 2 orders of tebasaki (chicken wings). They came on a bed of chopped cabbage, which was odd because I was expecting them to come on a plate with marinade. The marinade was at the bottom of the plate, but very watered down.

My favorites were the gyutan and butabara: both were flavorful and very tender. I wish I ordered more of these. The chicken was also good (thigh meat) but I was surprised it didn't come with some chopped scallions or onions. My least favorites had to be the tebasaki chicken wings and the tsukune. The tsukune was not very flavorful and it lacked the depth that I am used to at other yakitori places. The tebasaki was burnt in places, and not very meaty. Usually I see them cooked as fatty chicken wings but these were very lean and offered very little to munch on.

My neighbor, Kurtis, ordered a rice bowl that came with a few skewers and some kimchi. He agreed that the tsukune was average, although he didn't react as strongly as I did to the taste. Since I couldn't even finish the meatballs, I gave him the rest of mine.

He got the memo that this is an awkward eats blog.
My roommate Sadie was hankering for some noodles and although there were a handful of choices, she ordered a staple. Yakisoba with sliced pork and garnished with fish flakes. Judging that she finished the entire dish, I assume she was happy with it.

Overall, I am still on the lookout for a yakitori place that will blow Shin Shen Gumi out of the water. There are some gems at this place, especially ones I want to try next time like the salmon cream yakisoba. The prices are decent ($1.75-2.75/skewer, dishes range from $6-15+) although I wish the tapas were just a tad bit less expensive (a plate of 5 takoyaki for example was $6).
Yakitori Taisho
5 St Marks Pl
NYC, NY 10003
(212) 228-5086

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Simple lunch

I have a few posts brewing about NY eats but I just want to preface/post this entry first to tell you that I rarely go out to eat. It's expensive, I'm lazy and a homebody, and I can control my portions at home.

This is a meal that I make that is very versatile. You can exchange the beef for another protein (I also added tofu for heartier fare), you can add veggies, and you can make do without tomato sauce and eat it with rice (which I will also do).

I cooked three portions: one for lunch today, one for a meal some other time (also with pasta and sauce), and one without sauce to eat with rice.

(note: Since I just eyeball everything, the measurements are definitely not professional)

  • Olive oil, salt, savory spices (I used Trader Joe's 21 Spice Salute)--to your liking
  • Half an onion, diced or sliced--depending on your preference
  • Ground beef--however much you want. I added more than I would eat because I was making three meals!
  • Chopped tofu
  • Pasta of your choice (I used fusili)
  • Store-bought tomato sauce (I used Prego's Roasted garlic and Parmesan sauce to make it more flavorful and fragrant).
1. Heat up pan and drizzle olive oil. In the meantime, chop onions and boil water for pasta. When the pan is hot, cook the onions until they are slightly brown (sprinkle some salt and seasoning).
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2. While the onion is cooking, make little balls from the beef. Add these to the pan (Again, sprinkle some salt).
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3. Add sliced tofu to the pan, mix gently.
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4. When everything is cooked, you can either remove from heat and eat as is (with rice, optional) or keep it on the stove and add a little bit of tomato sauce to the pan. Stir until everything is coated.

For another meal!
5. Add cooked pasta and stir until your pasta is completely covered with sauce.

6. Add a side of salad or garlic bread if you choose.