Location: 184 9th Ave (bw 21st and 22nd)
Price: $3.25 – $4.50
I had to give Serious Eats a little more credit when they finally wrote a negative review on Lucy’s; surprisingly, they were brutal for once. So with a regained trust in Serious Eats, I had to try the pumpkin bar from Billy’s Bakery when I saw the picture of a perfect looking dessert from Billy’s Bakery. Even though I’m not a huge fan of Billy’s cupcakes, on paper, the bar seemed like everything I wanted; what’s there not to love? Cream cheese frosting, LOVE. Pumpkin cake, LOVE. Walnuts, LOVE. I was already in love even before I tried it because even my trusty NFT claimed Billy’s to be a favorite of theirs.
The pumpkin bar was severely disappointing (severely, maybe because my expectations were severely elevated?). The frosting lacked the flavor of cream cheese and the texture was grainy; it just tasted like pure sugar. I immediately stopped tasting the frosting and just proceeded onto the cake. Whilst the cake was moist, the cake lacked pumpkin flavor and spice; it was boring and disgustingly sweet. I stopped with the bar after the initial tastings.
Thank goodness my friend spotted and bought the pumpkin cheesecake because we were both pouting from the pumpkin bar. Unlike the bar, I was severely surprised at how awesome the cheesecake was (severely, maybe because my expectations were severely low?). The cheesecake was heavenly; the texture AND flavor was a mixture of pumpkin pie and cheesecake, more on the pumpkin side. The flavor of the pumpkin was right on and the cheese was more of the supporting flavor, which I loved. It wasn’t too sweet and it was the perfect companion to my cup of joe. The crust had broken pieces of pecans in it which made this dessert the perfect autumn treat.
Location: 113 Ludlow St. 2nd flr.
Ever since I went to a Filipino house party back last summer in Chicago I’d been looking for a good place for some Filipino noodles & eggrolls. Those handmade dishes had a distinct flavor to them that hit a different note than other asian dishes I’ve tried. I’ve never seen a Filipino restaurant in the city to except for the crappy one down the street from me so, when my coworker suggested Kuma Inn for good Filipino food I was psyched. First of all, the restaurant is pretty tricky to find if you’re not paying attention since it’s on the second floor with no signs on the dark block of Ludlow st. in LES. The upstairs dining area was quite decent with ample seating and nice intimate lights. Much to my surprise after glancing at the menu, this restaurant was more of a pan-asian food with tapas style dishes. *sigh*arg…I need my NOODLES & EGGROLLS!!
Despite my utter disappointment, I had to admit they had great selection of small plates (asian tapas) and apparently much of the dishes are inspired by Chef’s parent’s Filipino cooking. So, pseudo-Filipino food. We ended up getting the tiger shrimp, dorado fish, coconut rice, tuna tartar, & my personal favorites the Chinese sausage & fried pork belly. I would definitely go back to this place for my favorite dishes…big fat delicious juicy chunks of PORK BELLY, FRIED …SERIOUSLY?! Wow. Extra bonus for Kuma Inn is that they have BYOB with a small corkage fee. Nice. Even after a good meal here, I haven’t forgot that I have to keep on searching for my noodles and eggrolls. Suggestions are welcome.
Location: 204 Van Dyke St., Pier 41, Red Hook, Brooklyn, NY
Cost: $15 for entire pie. $5 for chocolate covered key lime pie on stick.
On a recently episode of Dexter, he is on a search for the best key lime pie for Camilla while she is on her death bed. He asks his sister Deb where one can get the best key lime pie….her reply is ““You can’t. They all taste like sour dog sh*t.” While that maybe the case for Deb and many other people, me and some friends found a spot worth treking out to for a good piece of key lime pie in Brooklyn’ Red Hook.
Although you can get a slice of this stuff at a few restaurants in the city, the journey to Red Hook is part of the experience that makes the pie pretty tasty. Considering the actual bakery is located in Red Hook you know that you’re getting some fresh stuff. You can get a whole pie or get a key lime pie on a stick dipped in Chocolate. I personally preferred the stick version since it offset the sourness of the pie a bit…and who doesn’t love anything chocolate dipped. Overall, the crust is great and has a great consistency in the lime filling part. I hear that the slices work great with whipped cream which I didn’t do. I suggest anyone planning a trip down to Brooklyn Ikea to stop by this joint. Who knows maybe this pie will go well with the Swedish meatballs?
Location: 366 Columbus Ave & Madison Sq. Park
Sometimes we’re so accustomed to getting the same thing at a food joint we overlook the fact there may be something far greater and tastier on the menu. For example, my experience at a Mediterranean restaurant called Pita Inn located on the Northside of Chicago. I had gotten the combo meal every time from high school to early college. It wasn’t until my higher education kicked in and decided to try the chicken shawarma that my life swiftly changed with each bite of that yellow chicken…well sort of changed. I never looked back and I’ve been getting the same crazy yellow chicken shawarma everytime I go back to Pita Inn.
I feel like this could be the case at Shake Shack, the darling burger joint to which every New Yorker gladly will wait 30mins to an hour in line to get their food. I recently realize that people over often go for the Shack burger and overlook the mutated shack burger which births a portabella mushroom deep fried and injected with cheese called the Shack Stack. This burger which recently changed its name from the former name “Double Stack”, adds an entirely different dimension (size & flavor) to the burger experience at Shake Shack. If you’ve tried both then, you know what I’m talking about…but, if you have not then, please deviate from your routine and try it out. Your life might change…sort of.
Random last note: The delicious Cranberry Cinnamon frozen custard almost tastes like strawberry flavor.
Location: 354 Metropolitan Ave, Brooklyn, NY
Cost: Approx. $15/person for hearty portions of meat, sides, & a pint beer.
The two words Fette Sau means something if you are German or have been to the homey BBQ joint in Williamsburg, Brooklyn. Fette Sau means “fat pig” in German and after devouring pounds of meat and sides from this place, that’s exactly how I felt…but, in a good happy way. This restaurant is tucked away behind a pseudo alley off of Metroplitan ave and once you enter the establishment you are transported to an off the beaten path southern-esque restaurant. You immediately smell the wood burning smell and the varieties of BBQ meats along with the LCD screen fire place. The seating system is a bit weird since you have to wait randomly for people to get up from the bench style seats to claim your own. Its not a big deal since you can enjoy the varieties of craft beers that are served while waiting, & they even serve gallon portions of beer!
I came here with Kah & 2 other friends from out of town & It was an educational experience waiting for our tables since I got to study the anatomy of a cow and the different meat cuts.
You can buy the meats at the counter by the pound or by pieces. We decided to get a little bit of everything (pulled pork, beef rib, pork chop, sausage, pork belly, Pork & beans, & pastrami). All the meats were well cooked, juicy, and had plenty of flavor but, the pastrami & pulled pork were my personal favorites. The potato salad and broccoli sides were nothing special but, the pork & beans are a must. I would consider this place my favorite BBQ place in NYC so far but, I do have a few more places to try…& I will continue to be a “fat pig”.
I had Veterans’ Day off and it seemed like I was the only one, amongst my mostly banker friends, that had it off. And being the asshole that I am, I dedicated the day to myself as my “mental health” day, instead of honoring our veterans the proper way. So what does one do on a “mental health” day? It’s only natural that I would pick to do the most “couple-y” and “mom-y” things in the city, duh. Enter.. Guggenheim. If abstract art is your thing, it’s a good time to go
Alice’s Tea Cup
Location: 220 E 81st St (bw 2nd & 3rd Ave), 102 W 73rd st and 156 E 64th St.
While staring at Kandinsky’s art, all I could think about was the pumpkin scone that was soon going to be in my stomach. Once I got to Alice’s Tea Cup, I couldn’t get myself to sit next to moms having tea parties with fellow moms and daughters so I had mine to go. For $3, you get a huge scone and a side of preserves and cream. I tore off a small piece as I walked out the door and the first thought was “Oh shit, that’s good.” Afraid of becoming a victim of thoughtless eating, I placed the scone in my bag for later consumption. I thought the scone was seriously lacking the pumpkin flavor but too strong on the spice. A little more moist than the generic scone and it was actually topped with a caramel glaze that tasted nothing like pumpkin. It was the combination of the pumpkin scone and the slighty burnt caramel-taste glaze that I absolutely loved; too bad they didn’t drench the whole scone with the glaze. Muffin tops exist, why not scone tops?
Good, but doesn’t deserve a dedicated trip to the UES for it.
Ronnybrook Milk Bar
Location: Inside Chelsea Market (9th Ave bw 15th and 16th St.)
With so many mentions in the New York Diet (nymag), I was thoroughly excited to try Ronnybrook Milk Bar. Because my uneaten scone was still in my bag, I trekked down to the Chelsea Market for a leisurely lunch and to soak in the smell of heavenly butter produced by all the bakeries. I ordered the Pressed Mozzarella (pesto, tomato, basil, eggplant on olive panini). This sandwich was so disappointing, the pesto was lacking, there were maybe 4 pieces of basil (I opened my sandwich to check), the tomato wasn’t ripe, and I totally forgot about the eggplant because I didn’t taste any eggplant. It was so bland that I topped the sandwich with the side salad, making it a little better. I do give Ronnybrook credit with the fresh mozzarella and the olive bread. The bread was flavorable for bread standards and the mozzarella was fresh with the right texture. Such a shame the bread and the cheese flavors couldn’t shine through this sandwich.