Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Baoguette - A revisit to try other Vietnamese Foods

this Cha Gio is from Baoguette -- so delicious...
just the perfect amount of meat in every bite ... and the crunch made it even more delightful!

some of Baoguette's other items ... such as the Sticky Rice pictured below was ok (perhaps an off-night since my friend LOVED the dish on a prior visit). It just lacked -- an ease to eat the food - the chicken was presented in three lumps and was not soft enough to separate the meat with a fork) ... though the combination of sweet rice, Chinese sausage and stewed chicken conceptually would have made this dish very appetizing, it was ok.

btw, St. Marks location has a tendency to have "flies or bugs" flying around (but perhaps, it was just that one visit?). I would recommend visiting the Christopher Street location in the West Village.

to read my previous review on the Vietnamese Sandwich from Baoguette, click this link.

Monday, July 27, 2009

What do you do when the rain strikes?

I usually grab my umbrella and start looking for cover... and of course trying to avoid getting JABBED in the eye by someone else's umbrella (yeah, you know what i mean)... but, wow, with thunder clapping sounds, rain going sideways and gorges of water running through the streets -- the last thing i would be thinking of is smoking...

but that isn't what someone else was thinking -- as i turned the corner, i saw this guy huddled in the corner -- shielding himself from the wind so he could light his cigarette... and as the rain continued to pour down, he was sheltered by a small alcove roof covering as he enjoyed a few puffs from his cigarette. photo taken with my blackberry built-in camera.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Baoguette - Pho Sure

yummy goodness from Baoguette! this is the CAT FISH banh mi -- which, sounds weird, but surprisingly isn't soo bad. the texture is something you wouldn't be used to in a banh mi sandwich (well not me), but the flavors went well... The seasoned catfish was very velvety, the bread was crisp, and the mustard and onions paired well with the catfish - nice blend... BUT, next time I must try the pork chop with fried egg (probably will put me right to sleep).

btw -- at the west village location (only one with Pho for now)-- you can add bull's balls to your pho! um, its a delicacy - don't you know? or didn't you watch Fear Factor?

p.s. the vietnamese coffee - not a fan!

p.s.2 i will also have to revisit An Choi again.

Baoguette Locations
East Village - 37 Saint Markets Place, (347) 892-2614 (very small)
West Village - 120 Christopher Street (has some seating area, also has Pho here)
Murray Hill, 61 Lexington @ 25th/26th Street, (212) 532-1133 (smallest)
Wall Street - 9 Maiden Lane @ Broadway/Nassau Street

Barbie Birthday Cake

How would you like to have this as your birthday cake? Barbie? Sponge Bob Square Pants, a handbag, the cookie monster... you name it and I bet they can do it! When I was growing up, I'd be lucky if I got a cake -- but wow, a barbie cake - how special is that! If you're interested in that special cake, check out Ruthy's Bakery in the Chelsea Market...

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Eggplant, Steam Fish and Green Beans!

eggplant with spicy bean sauce

steamed fish w/ soy sauce

string green beans
w/ garlic

Ok, I admit.. I don't exactly love the photo of the fish or the eggplant above, but damn it tasted good !

I love making steamed fish with soy sauce, garlic and green onions -- and this time I added some mirin to give it a little sweetness. Its such a simple dish that is savory and sweet. Traditionally I steam this fish, but I tried a new method... the microwave! Wahhh??? -- some may say ... but, try it for yourself! I put the fish in the microwave for about 5-7 minutes and I would have to say, it came out more juicy and less watery than the steamed method.

Advantage: Juicy, more flavorful (sauce is not as water downed as the steamed method b/c of the steam), and easier clean up (one dish vs. pot, steamer rack and dish)

Disadvantage: I used saran wrap to keep the moisture in as it cooks. And I am not sure if there are any toxins are released since I remember hearing that saran wrap in the microwave is not a good thing.

all the other dishes were quite easy.

Eggplant -- I cooked this with the spicy bean sauce from Lee Kum Kee ... and the sauce is not as spicy as the label states (thank goodness b/c i don't eat spicy)... so you just fry the eggplant, put in some water so the eggplant can cook in it. After a few minutes, you'll notice the eggplant soften and then I add in the sauce (do it to your taste)... and wah-lah, all done. Feel free to cook some ground pork or beef beforehand and mix it in once the eggplant is cooked..

String Beans - I love them crunchy, but for some reason, when you fry them -- it takes a long time and doesn't get the "crunchiness" that I like. My trick? Boil some water on the side, when its boiling -- throw in the string beans, add some salt, wait for 2 minutes or less -- just let it "blanche" for a bit.. while that is getting ready, get the frying pan hot and ready. Put some oil on the pan and when its hot, throw in some garlic ... let it cook until you smell the "garlic" and then throw in the blanched string beans and fry for a few minutes... and you're done! yum yum yum!

happy cooking!

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Would you get your haircut more often if you sat in this?

Well, if I could fit into that thing, MAYBE. :D But, what a cool invention for little kids who hate getting their hair cuts... Now, instead of just getting a lollipop at the end, the child can sit in a cool car and forget that they are getting a haircut! and, if you don't like cars, well, there is a boat too... if you're a girl - well, i hope you like cars or boats because there is no barbie. maybe that will be the next invention.

Doodle Doo's Salon for Kids
located in the West Village

Saturday, July 11, 2009

NYC's Modern Kimono vs. Japan's Kimono

Last week I walked around the city with my friend, Irene, and we saw this absolutely fabulous person walking down Prince Street... we were intrigued with her modern kimono and the "pursuit" ensued... yes, I did follow her to grab this photo ... but, I mean, just look at her outfit -- you would have done the same thing ... ok, well, maybe not - but I did!

This person and her outfit reminded me of my Geisha encounters when I traveled to Kyoto many many years ago... I am not embarrassed to admit that I had also chased down geisha in Kyoto -- first on a rented bicycle and then with my two feet... so, with a little luck, I was fortunate to meet these two Geisha on the train platform and asked them if I can take a photo of them. See the photos below and look at the differences in the kimono styles (very different from the modern NYC kimono) ...

Tidbit: Did you know that the kimono was worn not only by women, but also by men and children. The word kimono literally means "a thing to wear" and is often associated as part of Japanese culture and was traditionally worn for special occasions. But did you also know that the kimono was originally influenced by Han Chinese clothing (according to wikipedia). Also look at this amazing photo of women wearing kimonos in the 1890's.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Michael Jackson Hits Newstands

If you haven't walked by a newstand, you should -- Everything about Michael Jackson can be found in the magazines -- Newsweek, Time, TV Guide, US Weekly and much more -- and of course, you can find a lot more stories online via streaming videos or additional news articles.

And though he was an music icon, we shouldn't forget about the contribution Farrah Fawcett (Charlie's Angels) and Billy Mays (oxiclean) work, both of whom died in the same week. Btw, doesn't this remind you of the time when Mother Teresa's death was overshadowed by Princess Diana?

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Fire in the City - 49-51 Prince Street

New York city always has a lot to offer, but who knew, one day I would be at the right place and at the right time to witness a fire in the city. Before I go on, you should know that no one was severely hurt and the fire was put out rather quickly.

So what happened at 49-51 Prince street?

A fire erupted from an apartment on the fourth floor. How did it happen? The inhabitants of the apartment left the stove on and soon enough a fire started from the stove and stretched out along the cabinets. One of the firemen on the scene mentioned that this was one of the most common causes for fires in the city... So mental note to everyone reading -- make sure your stove is turned off before you leave!

Take a look at my photos and you will witness the event for yourself.

Firefighter tip: If you find yourself in a building that is on fire (and if its a walk-up like this one), exit towards the fire escape!

Thursday, July 2, 2009

NYC Street Fight - Food Cart vs. Brick & Mortar Shops vs. Food Trucks

We used to say, different strokes for different folks; now, we're saying different food for different people... no matter how you look at it, many people are getting bored of their daily lunch routine and opting for something different to wet their palette. So where do people go? Food carts! Anywhere you walk in New York, you're bound to see the hot dog cart, the gyro carts, the fresh fruit carts... well, now you're seeing an influx of food trucks - yes, food trucks!

So, really, how many of these people are truly legit? Who knows, but according to the NYTimes, a 1979 law only 3,100 permits can be issued citywide and currently a bill is out there to increase that amount to 25,000 (So for those eager New Yorkers wanting to taste the food at the Kogi Taco Food truck we may have to wait longer! -- booo!!!). Ok, but really - 3,100 permits? If you've walked around the streets of Manhattan -- I think there are more than 3,100 carts out there right now! Crazy! So what is happening? People are buying "licenses" off the black market, latching onto someone else's license, using fake ones, and the list continues - I'm sure the Health Department has a lot to say about this... Well, don't be surprised, but six people were recently arrested for using illegal permits. Yes, the sting operation begins...

And now, imagine if you were the veteran food cart like the one on 53rd and 6th avenue (ah yum), and a food truck comes rolling on down the street from you - what ensues? Fight Fight Fight!! Ah yeah, if you go back to the NYTimes article re: Turf Wars that is exactly what will happen. Welcome back to the playground or the infamous line of - you're on my block! (ok, maybe not so much as a famous line, but you've heard it before!) and then the next thing you know - the cops were called, your tires are slashed, people are yelling at you, etc, etc. Wow, how extreme can this go? ... i guess stay tuned in and we shall see who will win - food carts? brick and mortar shops? food trucks? or no one?

So what's the end game for these food carts? Its a business - so make money of course! But, as we know, not everyone will play fair -- so good luck food carts!!!

Btw, I love the food carts - reminds me of the good ole street food I used to eat when I traveled around the world (sigh, I hope to travel again soon!) -- but I recall all the exquisite tastes and textures of the different foods and secretly hoping that I didn't get sick from it! And then, I remember the food carts peddaling deep fried grasshoppers among other critters -- eeks, but again, different food for different people ... but, all in all, i still love the food carts!

Two of my favorite food carts ...

1. the gyro food cart on 53rd and 6th (on the south west side of the street - do not get confused by the many knock-off carts surrounding the area; and you will notice it because of the long long line!)

2. Calexico - man, those are good burritos; almost as good or just as good as California burritos! Btw, because the food cart was so great --> the brothers who started the cart opened their first restaurant in Carroll Gardens!

For a list of the TOP ELITE FOOD CARTS, check out this article and see if you've frequented any of these before...

Happy Eating!
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