Wednesday, December 30, 2009

A few of my favorite things.

As I type that the first thing going through my head is the song from The Sound of Music.  Appropriately enough considering this is a food blog, most of my favorite things are food-related.  Well, either food or puppy-related.  I am rather in love with my puppy.  Isn't he beautiful? 

Anyway, moving on.  Back to my favorite things.  My top ten favorite things in NYC (in no particular order) include:

  1. New Amsterdam Market - Unfortunately I didn't discover the New Amsterdam Market until a few weeks ago, but next year I plan on being a very frequent shopper there.  While there for their holiday market, we sampled a delicious lobster roll from Luke's Lobster, some amazing cheese, fantastic fresh oysters from W&T, hot apple cider, Mother-in-Law's Kimchi, and spicy pickled green beans from Rick's Picks.  The market happens roughly once a month in the old Fulton Fish Market space and is well-worth the trek down to the South Street Seaport.
  2. Kalustyans - For all the spices and basmati rice that a girl's heart could ever desire. 
  3. Fatty Crab UWS - For the best version of eggs benedict that I have ever tasted.  Two perfectly poached eggs, with a fresh herb salad served over crispy rice cakes.  Yum.  While I love the watermelon and pork salad as much as the next person, it cannot compare to their eggs benedict.  Also, since they have started doing delivery it has become my new go-to on a cold winter night for the wonton mee and the claypot chicken.
  4. Xiao La Jiao (aka Little Pepper) - The best Chinese food in NYC by far.  I haven't had Sichuan hot pot this deliciously spicy since I lived in China.  Order the hot pot, the fish-fragrant eggplant, the dry fried stringbeans and the spicy lamb with cumin.  You won't be disappointed.  I promise.
  5. Momofuku Milk Bar - You have to try the cornflake marshmallow chocolate chip cookies.  Amazing.  It is the best mix of salty, sweet, crunchy and gooey ever to take cookie form.  Some of the soft serve flavors are an acquired taste, but if they bring back the lemon verbena flavor I would trek down from the UWS regularly.
  6. Momofuku Ssam - Ssam is where I first learned that I love brussels sprouts and cauliflower.  And that honeycrisp apples can be quick kimchi-ed and served with arugula and labne.  Delicious.  I still haven't tried the bo ssam, but I will try it someday!
  7. Fairway UWS - I have to admit that I have a love-hate relationship with Fairway.  For anyone who has ever been grocery shopping in NYC, you understand.  Shopping here during peak hours can be like trying to navigate Penn Station or Grand Central during rush hour.  But where else can you find such a great selection of produce, meats and seafood on the UWS?  While I would love to buy everything from the Greenmarket, a girl's gotta buy her toilet paper and other staples somewhere.
  8. Union Square Greenmarket - While I love all farmer's markets, none can compare to the Union Square location.  It is huge and has just about everything you could possibly imagine.  During the fall I love all of the New York apples.  Honeycrisps are my favorite, but they have just about every variety you can imagine.  You can also buy wonderful squash, squash blossoms, rhubarb, fresh pastas, pastries, and farm-fresh eggs.  When I am at the Greenmarket I feel like a kid in a candy shop.  I could spend hours just wandering around.
  9. Mercadito and Mercadito Cantina - For shrimp tacos, baha fish tacos and creative margaritas there is nowhere else in NYC that I would rather be.  Cantina also has a salsa bar with certain salsas served with cornbread croutons that is a definite must.  While the portions are small and the bill can get pretty high in a hurry, it is well worth it.
  10. Ippudo - On a cold and rainy day, there is nothing better than a bowl of ramen at Ippudo.  I have tried most of the different varieties and love them all.  Granted, the wait is often insane at Ippudo and when it's cold out standing outside in line is the very last thing I want to do. 
    Runners-up include:  drinks at the Boat Basin with my puppy and good friends during a nice spring, summer or fall day (although the food just isn't that good); fried chicken at Miss Mamie's Spoonbread Too and Charles' Country Pan Fried Chicken (while I liked the chicken a little better and the atmosphere/neighborhood a lot better at Miss Mamie's, I thought the sides were better at Charles'); Magnolia Bakery's banana pudding; Xinjiang BBQ skewers from the carts in Flushing; and the chicharrones from Momofuku Ko.

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