Flushing Food Crawl

February 26, 2017 § Leave a comment

Finally made the trek out to Flushing, Queens during a week off from work to sample some of the cheap, delicious ethnic food on offer. Wes (possibly the only white man in all of Flushing that day) and I started at Ganesh Temple Canteen, a cafeteria-style establishment in the basement of a Hindu temple, and helped ourselves to an enormous buttery Pondicherry dosa filled with potatoes, onions and spices as well as a spicy onion uttapam, both paired with sambar and chutney for dipping – perfect for the rainy, grey day ahead of us and just $7 for each dish.

Next, we walked back to the main thoroughfare in Flushing and began eating Chinese food in earnest. Our first stop was Golden Shopping Mall, a collection of food vendors off Main Street, where we dug into a giant bowl of hand-pulled noodles and beef from Lanzhou Handmade Noodles (again…just $7). So fucking good and made me realize how much I’d missed this kind of down-home Asian comfort food. Perfectly tender beef, super flavorful broth and addictive condiments in the pickled mustard greens and fiery chili oil.

Next, we wandered around for a bit to make room for our next meal and got lost in JMart, a giant Chinese supermarket with huge fish and meat counters, aisles and aisles of Asian condiments and one of the biggest selections of exotic fresh vegetables and fruit I’ve seen. The best part, though, was the small outpost of New Flushing Bakery, with its insanely good Portuguese egg tarts, slightly caramelized on the surface with a crazy flaky, fall-apart crust.

And because we are fatties, we then walked the few blocks from JMart back to Golden Flushing Mall and got a couple seats at Tianjin Dumpling House. For $6, we got a dozen of the lamb and green squash boiled dumplings (again, with a ton of chili oil), a combination I’d never seen before but really enjoyed. Normally, I like my dumplings pan-fried but these reminded me of the boiled pork and scallion dumplings that my mom always made at home growing up – guess it’s a Northern Chinese thing?

Needless to say, we were feeling stuffed from all the starch and meat we’d already eaten and decided to make a stop at Fang Gourmet Tea, a tranquil oasis away from the hustle and bustle of the street, for a charcoal roasted oolong tea tasting. The shop owner was super friendly and patient with our tea ignorance and after some browsing, we each ended up buying a tin of oolong tea that cost way more than all the food we’d eaten during the day.

After more than three years of living in Manhattan, was so glad that I’d finally made it out to Flushing (and to be honest, the train ride out there wasn’t even that bad) and couldn’t believe the amount and quality of food we’d gotten for so cheap. Really need to make sure I make an annual or semi-annual pilgrimage out there, especially when I’m missing food from home.

Back to the NoMad

July 13, 2015 § Leave a comment

Visited the NoMad for the second time back in late May and had an even better experience than the first! Started with the fruits de mer “le grand plateau”, a beautiful selection of prepared raw seafood and the chicken liver mousse with pickles and rye bread, which was a favorite from the previous time. At this point in our meal, we got to meet Becky Quan (!), one of the NoMad pastry chefs who I’d spoken with online after my first post on the NoMad and who brought out their highly addictive potato-onion-caraway bread and butter. Such a small world! And the in-person introduction made the rest of our meal even more fun and memorable.

We then progressed to the mackerel cured with buttermilk, peas and nasturtium, which looked absolutely stunning on the plate and tasted so bright and clean. I hadn’t really eaten much mackerel before but since this meal, I’ve actually ordered it more often when on the menu because this dish left such a great impression (and only a few other versions have been as good). We also ordered the foie gras with rhubarb, celery and pistachio, which had everything you could possibly want in a foie dish. There was creamy and smooth against crunch, sweet and tart against fatty and herbaceous. So predictable of me but I really enjoyed this dish (and I dare anyone else not to). Our sommelier of the night also gave us a great wine recommendation – a Sicilian red with dry ripe fruit notes and hints of spice and tobacco – that paired well with all our courses and never overwhelmed.

For our main dish, we ordered the roast chicken for two (duh). Just as great as the first time – the combination of black truffles and (more) foie is so heady and I can never understand how they manage to keep the breast meat so juicy. And that “stuffing” of dark meat was just as outrageous and rich as I remembered.

For our dessert, we ordered the milk and honey with shortbread, brittle and ice cream and were also surprised with a complimentary strawberry cheese cake dessert courtesy of Becky Quan, Pastry Chef. While I loved both, I preferred the classic and simpler milk and honey, which had nice savory elements as well, which worked out perfectly because Ameya had basically finished the strawberry cheesecake by the time I looked up again from my plate. Can’t say enough how much we enjoyed our dinner here (thanks not only to Becky but also to James, our wonderful server who answered all of our questions and even shared the name of the artist who crafted all of the NoMad’s beautiful ceramics that I’d been obsessing over throughout the course of our meal). I’m already dreaming of the next time!

Also, even if you’re not able to stop by for a meal, I would highly recommend the NoMad bars (I like the Elephant Bar that’s connected to the restaurant itself but there’s also a separate, larger bar with its own entrance on 28th street that serves slightly more casual food). Well-crafted cocktails and though I don’t drink too much brown liquor, I’ve heard from various sources that they serve the best Manhattans in the city. 🙂

Spring approaches…

March 12, 2014 § Leave a comment

and all I want to do is sit outside and eat pastries all day. Please take me back to Paris.

Dominique Ansel Bakery

January 22, 2012 § 3 Comments

Lately, whenever visiting New York City, I’ve been more interested in exploring small, cozy coffeeshops (or places that serve afternoon tea, which is a topic for another time) or casual bakeries as opposed to more formal, sit-down restaurants (my wallet has been grateful). One such place that Laura and I visited was the relatively new Dominique Ansel Bakery tucked in the Soho district. Ansel used to work at the famous Daniel Boulud, including when it won its first three Michelin stars, four-star New York Times rating, and James Beard award but then decided to venture out on his own by opening a neighborhood cafe.

The space was much bigger than I anticipated, with plenty of indoor seating and a covered atrium with heating, and as with all great bakeries, there were cases of Ansel’s beautiful pastries, cakes, and desserts, a feast for the eyes.

The bakery also has a decent amount of savory offerings for lunch, so Laura and I ordered the roasted pork club, the truffle grilled cheese, and a Paris-New York pastry for dessert. The roasted pork club came stuffed to the brink with surprisingly tender and flavorful pork, halved hard-boiled eggs, tomato, lettuce, and a killer spicy mayonnaise that tasted slightly of chipotle. Laura’s truffle grilled cheese was an inexpensive indulgence, with slices of garlic rosemary sourdough bread slathered in butter on the outside and oozing with mozzarella, Gruyere, and Fontina cheeses on the inside. I’m considering buying a small tub of truffle butter to attempt a recreation at home. Our Paris-New York, a twist on the Paris-Brest, was a beautifully-presented pate a choux dough filled with peanut (the candied peanuts on top, so tasty!), caramel, and chocolate. What more could a girl want?

Places like Dominique Ansel – with their calm atmosphere, excellent and beautiful food, and friendly service – always make me a little (read very) jealous of my sisters living in the city, especially Laura, who lives close to Union Square and could easily walk to Dominique Ansel. How nice would it be to spend a day window-shopping and wandering in Soho and then indulge in some eclairs and coffee? Summer in New York can’t come soon enough, but in the meantime, I’m stuck in the frigid cold subsisting on painfully ordinary food.

Dominique Ansel Bakery
189 Sullivan Street (btw Spring and Thompson)
New York, NY 10012
212.219.2773

A stop at Bouchon Bakery

March 30, 2011 § 1 Comment

The Time Warner Center at Columbus Circle is home to some pretty big names in fine-dining. You’ve got Eric Ripert’s Le Bernardin, Masa, and of course, Thomas Keller’s Per Se. What isn’t as well known is Bouchon Bakery, Keller’s small bakery and pastry shop on the third floor, decked out in all its pastries and baguettes. In truth, it’s more of a stand than anything else, where you order and wait for your food before sitting down in an open area in the mall, but I think there’s also a separate area where you can sit down for a longer period of time and order your food via waiter.

Although Laura and I just split the chocolate almond croissant this time (we had a reservation at A Voce soon after), some of my favorite items in the past have been the TKO – Thomas Keller Oreo, the Linzer cookie, and the sticky buns, but I would advise against getting any of the macarons, which can’t compare to those at La Maison du Chocolat.

Flaky, buttery, and not too sweet, the croissant (and coffee) was a perfect pick-me-up in the morning considering how tired Laura and I were still feeling from the previous day. Although I would’ve liked a little more chocolate spread throughout, the almond paste wasn’t artificial tasting and I would definitely get it again.

Bouchon Bakery
Time Warner Center (third floor)
10 Columbus Circle
New York City, NY 10119
212.823.9366
http://bouchonbakery.com/

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