Archive for the ‘grocery shopping’ Category

For the Love of Mushrooms

February 3, 2008

It’s snowing. And it’s going to snow all through the night. It’ll snow through the show I’ll be playing tonight in Asagaya. So I’m staying in until then.

On my stroll back home this morning from Hatagaya, I stopped by the supermarket with a strong urge to make me up a hot bowl of soba.

I bought raw soba noodles, dashi stock and decided to have a mushroom festival. The great thing about mushrooms in Japan is that there is quite a selection, ranging from cheap to super expensive. Today I opted for the cheap end of the spectrum. So I bought enoki and nama-nameko. Enoki has entered the American-English culinary vernacular in the past few years – I’ve seen them on menus in California and catch glimpses of it on the Food Network.

These thin guys with small caps are great butter-sauteed, boiled, steamed, you name it. They’ve got an uber-satisfying texture, chewy with just the right slipperiness. And they are cheap as hell. One 100 gram package is 150yen (a little over 1USD). I decided to grab my other favorite – nameko. Its beautiful mustard yellow color screams fall coziness and it’s slimness is perfect in soups and sautes. Another steal for 120yen per 100 grams.

I get home, thaw my toes and make my noodles (erm, with hands washed in between there somewhere). Boil noodles, heat up the dashi, throw the mushrooms in, and then the noodles, mix it up and top it off with some green onions. Oh yeah, and the kamaboko my grandma gave me from her trip to Hakone was a perfect addition. Rawk.


The ingredients (sans kamaboko from Baba-chan):

Mitsuwa Field Trip

December 14, 2007

For some god foresaken reason, Roach and I were inspired to take a bus to Mitsuwa, all the way out in buttfuck Jersey the day after Thanksgiving. I don’t know what it was– fantasies of all the food shopping possibilities, or simply the food court extravaganza– that lured us to make the trek. Whatever it was, we were on the 11:30am bus. I was supposed to be sleeping, in a food coma all day for fucks sake. Damn Mitsuwa.

Mitsuwa is a very large chain Japanese grocery store that is scattered all around the east and west coasts. My mom practically lives at the one in Santa Clara. I’m not kidding. It’s where she can buy her matsutake mushrooms, Shiseido shampoo, a rice cooker and rent videos of Japanese TV shows all in one place. It’s like she never left Japan. It’s sick.

There’s a convenient shuttle bus out of Port Authority for all of us Japanese people (or just Japan-crazy people, or just suburban-grocery store crazy people, or just the foodie crazed people) to take to get to Mitsuwa– can you believe it? A bus specifically to take us to Mitsuwa, in Jersey?? Ain’t America grand???

We got there in time for lunch (just as planned), and all the food stalls tempted us with their plastic replicas of the food encased right next to the register (so Japan!). Why don’t American restaurants do this? It’s really quite ingenious.


Although all the plastic meals looked tempting (soba, sanuki udon, katsu, tempura, etc. etc.), we both couldn’t resist Santouka Ramen.

The above “set” menu (plastic) of a bowl of ramen and a small bowl of ikura (salmon roe) over rice, PLUS a wonderfully soy seasoned hard boiled egg was only $11. It’s a good price, and perfect for someone like me who can never decide whether to go noodle or rice. I’m all about carb overload- bring it on.

I had Santouka once at the LA Mitsuwa after reading all the raves via Oishii Eats and my friend Jim. It’s an extremely rich pork soup base, but really quenches that thirst for a good bowl of ramen (read- good, not the best).

Below pics are not plastic- they are the real thing. Could you tell?


If you like a really hearty soup, you’ll enjoy this. The chashu pork slices were flavorful, and not too fatty, like at Menkui-Tei.


The noodles were floury, which isn’t my favorite, but I would say that the noodles themselves were better than that of Setagaya.


My ikura don- nothing to complain about here:


I didn’t take a picure of the egg, which was the best part. It was dark brown, it had been stewing for so long. Mmmm, so good.

It took us about 15 minutes to slurp and chew. To work off all that we ate, we walked just a few feet to the sprawling jungle of a megastore specializing in all things Japanese– produce, condiments, kobe beef, facial masks– all under one sturdy roof. In the end, 3 hours and less $70 in the bank later, we were ready to go home.

I am from Cupertino, California. I am a suburban girl at heart. I love this shit.

Mangiamo 2007!: 24 Hours in Madrid

October 30, 2007

Stopped off in Madrid for one night to see my dear friends Marta and Jose. Marta and I lived together in Padova, and she’s like a sister to me.

But first, let’s talk airplane food. I took Iberia both back and forth from NY, and here are just some few points of why non-US airlines are better than American ones:
– Food generally taste better
– All you can drink booze– American airlines make you pay $5+, even on international flights now. You’re so screwed if you have to go to Australia or somewhere really far away!
– Real silverware

I got all these three things with my meal, which consisted of a chicken curry, spinach and rice. The tomato, grilled zucchini and mozzarella starter was really good (the cheese was excellent), as was the cheesecake-like dessert.

And do you see that? REAL SILVERWARE!!! Makes a HUGE difference, as I can’t stand plastic utensils. And yes, I’m one of those people with a growing personal collection of airline silverware. I’m partial to the design.

And let me say that in those 7 hours, they fed us not once, but twice!! Dinner and breakfast– pretty nutty.

A mere 7 hours after leaving JFK, I arrived in Madrid barely having slept at all. Here’s the new terminal at Barajas airport– it’s pretty neat.


I basically slept all day– which is sorta horrible, but Marta summoned me to rest up cause we would be going out that night (in Spain, that means until dawn). When I woke up, Jose took me around their neighborhood in Madrid– a really cute area which reminded me of Park Slope.

The bakery:


The “alimentacion”, which sells anything from basic groceries to toilet paper. This one specialized in jamon and other yummy pork products–there is nothing in the world I love more than cured meats hanging front he ceiling. If I ever open a restaurant, I think I’d call it the Jamoneria.


Went into an indoor market, which was like Chelsea Market or Essex Street Market, with different vendors selling all sorts of food stuffs under one roof.

Like the Jamon Man- they slice each piece by hand! I bet this one was jamon Iberico– which you still can’t get in the States, I don’t think– and is far superior to Italian prociutto, in my humble opinion.


Produce:

Seafood- these were weird little claw-like mirugai-like things that intrigued me:


HUGE prawns!
The supermarket, which locks up their precious cans of tuna (strange) and liquor (makes sense):


Dinner time- a nice restaurant in Madrid, Los Timbales, specializing in excellent Spanish cuisine.


Check out this beautiful cured meat plate! Drool Heaven! Jamon, chorizon, salsichon, lomo… and queso!

I forgot to take pictures, but we also had this incredible octopus dish, broiled on a wooden plank with potatoes.

Ah, Spain… after dinner we did indeed stay out all night drinking and smoking (INSIDE the bars!). No more smoking in restaurants and bars in Italy- which made me sad.

Natural Lawson Love

September 5, 2007

Up until Tuesday, I had to cross the street to go to nearest combini (convenient store) at work. In Japan, combinis are rampant – and don’t get the bad rap that convenient stores in America get. They sell a wide assortment of lunchables, drinks, magazines, etc. It’s also a great place to make an emergency bathroom stop.

So I was absolutely ecstatic to see one open up in the lobby of my work building. And it’s not just a regular one – it’s a Natural Lawson’s. Lawson is one of the most common combini’s in Japan. Recently there have been variations of the regular Lawson’s popping up around Tokyo – Lawson 100 (100 yen Lawson), Lawson Plus (Lawson with expanded specialties – i.e. produce) and Natural Lawson. Natural Lawson is my favorite – especially as a Northern Californian.

The marketing ploy is similar to say, Whole Foods, with Dr. Bronners toiletries and onigiri made with brown rice (instead of regular short grain white rice). I would only come across a Natural Lawson’s when I went to trendy areas such as Omotesando or Akasaka-Mitsuke, but now that it has become just one elevator ride away, I will probably become very well acquainted with all of their stock.

My first purchase was Lavender hand soap produced by a brand I had come across for the first time called Leaf & Botanicals for 700yen (about $6). It was a little pricey – but that’s also part of the package of purchasing something at Natural Lawsons in Tokyo. I sneakily snagged some photos of the shelves with my phone.


Baked goods

Usual Starbucks stuff on the left, Soy milk and Natural Lawson exclusive smoothie fruit juices on the right.

TRADER JOE’S IN BROOKLYN!!!

July 12, 2007
BREAKING NEWS!


Trader Joe’s to be opening at 130 Court Street (Brooklyn Heights/ Cobble Hill/ Boerum Hill)!!!!! No wine, but we’ll take what we can get. Opening date still to be announced.

Check out all the live blog updates at Racked.com

Photos of the exterior building and the interior courtesy of Racked.com

Thanks Matt for the tip!!!

S-A-T-U-R-D-A-Y night: Home Cookin’

April 8, 2007

Sometimes, staying in on a Saturday night is the absolute best option for dinner. This is exactly what we did yesterday. The evening started out with a visit to Life grocery store in Hatagaya – nothing fancy – kind of like an Albertson’s.

My boyfriend Washi who is Japanese, made… surprise: Japanese curry. Me being Californian, made… surprise: salad. So the nutritionally balanced menu was set for the night. My salad was quite standard consisting of spinach, carrots, Japanese cucumbers, avocados and apples (latter two representing Northern Californian-fare) with balsamic vinegar dressing.

Washi supplied a disclaimer that he had not made curry in five years. I was simultaneously scared and charmed. Scared of how a five-year hiatus will affect the end product, and charmed that I would be the first person in five years to try this said curry.

Turns out there was no need at all to be scared – in fact, the curry was absolutely delightful – why?
The twist: he used milk instead of water and added one can of whole, peeled tomatoes. Other ingredients included two cloves of garlic, one onion, two small potatoes, one carrot six small chicken drumsticks and Japanese curry cube stock.

Home cooking rules.

$100/ 2 Weeks/ NYC: Day 8, 9 & 10

April 3, 2007

$100/ 2 Weeks/ NYC: Prologue
$100/ 2 Weeks/ NYC: Day 1 & 2
$100/ 2 Weeks/ NYC: Day 3, 4 & 5
$100/ 2 Weeks/ NYC: Day 6 & 7
$100/ 2 Weeks/ NYC: Midway Meditation

Friday 3/30
Total Spent: $0

LUNCH–> $0

i boiled some penne in the morning and married it with some of the puttanesca that i had left over from last Sunday’s batch. seriously, it doesn’t get any easier than dumping a handful of dry pasta into a pot of boiling water, even at 8 in the morning. desperate times call for desperate measures! and the sauce flavors were a lot deeper after letting it sit for a few days. shave some parmigiano on top, and you have yourself an easy peasy lunch.

DINNER–> $0

we had plans to travel to Jersey City to visit this historic Loew’s theater, where they were showing Billy Wilder’s Double Indemnity on their gigantic screen (excellent film, Raymond Chandler is such a GREAT writer). it really is a magical, gorgeous theater, very gaudy and ornate, but it was abandoned for a long time so it has this brooding, dilapidating, Death in Venice morbidness to it. love it– totally worth the trip out there. we got a tour backstage and boy, what a labyrinth! the place is HUGE! it’s been around since the 20’s, and the community banded together in the 80s and stopped the city from tearing it down– volunteers basically run the place and are continuously restoring the theater as we speak. incredible!

so anyway, i think i sorta found the trick to how to stay out late without starving. it’s all about food conservation. i ate about half of the pasta for lunch, and saved the other half of it and ate it at around 5pm right before leaving for the night. that’s it! i didn’t get hungry for the rest of the night! brilliant!

it was sad though, when i had to say no to a meal in Koreatown back in Manhattan with my friends. i HATE saying no! especially to Koreatown!!!

***

Saturday 3/31
Total Spent: $0

i wish i could be more exciting, but i randomly came down with a bad fever on Saturday so i ended up really not eating anything or going out the entire day. i even missed Dawn’s birthday party. so sorry Dawn! happy birthday!!!!

***

Sunday 4/1
Total Spent: $10

Lunch–> $0

still feeling pretty groggy, i just had some instant miso soup.

GROCERIES–> $10
Key Foods
Washington Ave., Prospect Heights

grocery shopping in my neighborhood is not something i really look forward to. i basically have to walk about 15 minutes for the nearest DECENT store, which saddens me because there are few things that i find true pleasure in then grocery shopping (i know, it’s weird).

whenever i walk in, there is always this slight medicinal smell. it’s so not ok. but really, i can’t complain, their produce isn’t all that bad (i’ve definitely seen worse), and they carry good yogurts, which is all i can really ask for.

so i came out with a quart of Brown Cow maple yogurt (at $4.50, pricey as hell, but i’m sick so i splurge– Brown Cow is creamy and rich and so so good), broccoli, organic eggs (on sale, otherwise, i don’t generally care if my eggs are organic or not, although i do like them brown), scallions and bottled marinara sauce (on sale for $2.50).

DINNER–> $0

i was planning on just chilling out Sunday night, maybe go to see a movie, maybe just stay in, when i got a phone call from Troy, my old landlord (not to be confused with Troy Division). i talk about them a lot, him and his partner, Kumiko– they are basically my surrogate family out here in NY. i found my first apartment off of Craigslist in Sunset Park, and since i moved here without knowing anyone, Troy and Kumiko, who own the building, welcomed me into the neighborhood and into their home. they truly are wonderful people, and some of my dearest friends here in NY– they really take care of me and look out for me. it’s nice to have that in such a lonesome city, and i truly think that if i didn’t have them here, i would have left NY long ago. even though i’ve moved away, i still try to see them a few times a month.

ok, so back to my dinner. Troy knew i was sick and told me that Kumiko was making nabe, which is a traditional japanese stew, perfect for cold winter nights. this is EXACTLY what sickly Kayoko needed. and on top of this wonderful dinner invitation, Troy said he would pick me up. LUCKY ME!!!!

Kumiko is an excellent cook– she just puts stuff together and creates the most inventive, tasty dishes. this night, she said she threw in whatever she had in the fridge and freezer: fresh shiitake mushrooms, snow peas, scallions, carrots, crabmeat, shrimp, chicken breast, tofu and ground pork balls that she had used to stuff cabbage the night before. amazing. this was all simmering in a soymilk based broth that really brought out all the flavors of the ingredients in the pot. mmmmm… so hearty and soulful!

and in the japanese tradition, once you eat to your heart’s content, you add rice or noodles at the end to finish it off. we had ours with udon. slurp!

Tweezy, their bratty yet darling french bulldog, was one happy lad after our fabulous nabe feast– he eats everything!

***
COMBINED TOTAL:
$10 + $73.25 (Day 1-7 total) = $83.25

LEFT FOR 4 DAYS:
$100 – $83.25= $16.75

i’m gonna make it!!!

*k*

$100/ 2 Weeks/ NYC: Day 3,4 & 5

March 28, 2007

$100/ 2 Weeks/ NYC: Prologue
$100/ 2 Weeks/ NYC: Day 1 & 2

Sunday 3/25

Total Spent: $2.50

LUNCH –> $0

everyone, meet Ruby, Ruby, everyone.

i bought Ruby as a christmas gift to myself just this past December– she is a 3 quart Le Creuset dutch oven, in a deep emerald green. i named her after my favorite jazz composition by Thelonious Monk, “Ruby, My Dear”. she is gorgeous, i adore her, and i try to appease her by cooking at least one big dish with her every weekend, so that i also have enough left over for lunch during the week.

this week, i made pasta alla puttanesca.

i was introduced to puttanesca in italy, and often crave it. its origins lie in Napoli (named after local prostitutes, says wiki), and it is a simple sauce of capers, olives, garlic and anchovies. i remember i had been wandering around the grocery store a few months back, trying to figure out what to cook. i randomly found the recipe on the back of a can of italian pureed tomatoes (shown above–honestly, don’t ignore these random recipes, sometimes you’ll find something worth cooking), and bought the ingredients right then and there- all very cheap. i somehow never got around to cooking it though, so everything was just lying around my place, calling for me, begging me to cook with them. the time had come!

let me first apologize- it seems as though i have accidentally thrown away the can with the recipe. i am a horrible food reporter. so i’m just going to link you to Emeril’s recipe (i know i always reference him, but honestly, i find his recipes to be really simple, straightforward, and accessible, he’s not about the fancypants stuff. i like that). this dish is incredibly easy. the hardest part was pitting the kalamata olives. really.

a few adjustments i made to the recipe:
– i did not have an onion, so i put in extra garlic
– watch out when you add the salt- the capers and anchovies are already quite salty, so don’t overdo it
– i didn’t have basil so i added bay leaves
– as an afterthought, i could have added some red wine i had in the fridge- but then again, the capers have enough acidity to them so maybe it wouldn’t have made much of a difference
– anchovies are completely optional- don’t put it in if it’s not your thing (although i hope it’s your thing)
– i only had a box of linguine, so used that instead of penne

altogether, prep time plus cook time was about 45 minutes to an hour. you want to simmer the sauce for at least 30 minutes on low low heat, covered. when done, dump drained pasta into the sauce and mix till each strand is completely coated. i needed some cheesiness, so i shredded some parmigiano on top. not sure if the italians would have approved of this. chopped fresh parsley would have been good to sprinkle on the top as well, but i didn’t have any off hand.

i was a bit skeptical while cooking this, but it turned out quite good, i think. i love this dish for it’s saltiness, with the tarty tang from the capers. the anchovies are incredibly subtle, almost perfumy, and really brings the sauce to life. they didn’t name it after prostitutes for nothing! i have been watching a ridiculous number of Shohei Imamura films lately at BAM–according to him, all women are destined to prostitute themselves at some point. hooray for puttanesca! this one’s for the Insect Woman!

TEA TIME –>$2.50
met up with Alda in Soho for a cup of coffee. but where the hell do you go in Soho for coffee that isn’t overpriced, or isn’t Starbucks? turns out that pastry chef Iacopo Falai opened up a casual little place on Lafayette and Prince, Cafe Falai. i have been to fancy Falai restaurant in the Lower East Side, but wasn’t too impressed- “contemporary” italian. eh. but i do remember the inventive, peculiar desserts, i’ll give him that.

the original Cafe Falai is right across from Falai, so this would be Cafe Falai #2 in Soho. it’s a bustling little place with a small bar and about a dozen or so tables- serving coffee, exquisite cakes and pastries, and brunch/ light munchies. not really my scene, but our cafe au laits hit the spot, and at a $1.50, it may just be the best deal in Soho.

DINNER –>$0
had this work party to go to at Josephina’s restaurant on the Upper West Side. i was really not looking forward to having to schmooze all night, but i knew there would be a buffet and an open bar. SCORE.

when i got to the party, the buffet line was so looooong, so i kept putting it off. by the time any of us were hungry, they had taken away all the food!!!! UGH- we are such amateurs!!! take a look at the cheese board- these people are animals!!!

it’s so sad too cause this was my chance to eat a “nicer” meal during $100/2 wks/NYC. sigh. needless to say, i was starving and only had one pathetic piece of ciabatta bread. we were able to catch some of the dessert action, but Troy Division can tell you about that.

about the food, Kyoko, film historian extraordinaire, said, “The food there was so-so (grilled salmon, pasta with tomato sauce, and I forgot the rest), but desserts were good (very soft chocolate cakes, fruit, creme brulee, etc.).”

so turns out i didn’t miss out on much in the food department. regardless, i had multiple (free) drinks on an empty stomach and was a bit tipsy by the end of the night. you know you’ve been at a party for too long when the open bar turns into a cash bar.

***

Monday 3/26
Total Spent: $34

LUNCH–> $0
Fumiko brought a leftovers that Jorge made (Fumiko and i have a regular lunch club together- probably for over a year now, we take turns bringing leftovers for lunch. we text each other in the morning to see who is bringing what. it’s really cute. people at work think we are sisters). he created this recipe of chicken stewed with cauliflower, preserved lemons and olives. it was very good. good work Jorge!

DINNER –> $27

ok, this is where my lack of discipline becomes overly apparent and shameful (and is how i got myself into this $100/ 2 weeks/ NYC predicament in the first place). when i have money, i blow it. over a quarter of it. on Blue Ribbon Sushi. but really, i just can’t NOT go to Blue Ribbon Sushi during Brooklyn Restaurant Week (3 courses, $21!)- they have this sushi/sashimi combo as one of the choices, which has never ever let me down. Blue Ribbon is probably one of my favorite sushi spots in the city.

i am a true glutton, so i said YES. i ordered. i ate. i threw down $27. do i regret it? hell no! Troy Division will be telling you more about the meal, so stay tuned.

GROCERIES–>$7
Associated Supermarket
Park Slope, Brooklyn

after having spent $27 on dinner and feeling slightly guilty about it, i decided to really try hard to be strict at the grocery store. advice: don’t ever skimp on yogurt, no matter how poor you are. my absolute favorite is the Stonyfield Farms french vanilla (cream on the top- ooh la la!), but in a moment of overwhelming discipline, went for the cheapest stuff on the shelf instead. i used to actually get this when i lived in Sunset Park and there were no good grocery stores around- and i don’t remember it being this bad. i don’t even want to talk about it- the fact that i’ll be eating this for the rest of the week upsets me. it’s out: i am a yogurt snob.

***

Tuesday 3/27
Total Spent: $0.50

BREAKFAST –> $0.50
a banana and tangerine from my fruit stand man. he always gives me a discount, he’s great.

LUNCH–> $0
leftover pasta puttanesca, and i munched on Aya’s awesome grilled asparagus, rice and tomato/egg dish. yum!

DINNER–>$0
came home “early”, at 8:30pm, planning to cook up some chicken that i had defrosted over the weekend. but god, it’s so damn HARD to want to cook after work!!! i ended up just steaming broccoli and making my tuna broccoli dish. it’s about all the energy i could muster to feed myself. i have however, managed to marinate the chicken, but it will need to wait to be cooked another day (gotta do it before it goes bad!!!).

***
COMBINED TOTAL:
$2.50 + $34 + $0.50= $37 + $10 (Day 1&2) = $47

LEFT FOR 9 DAYS:
$100 – $47 = $53

…i’m so royally screwed.

*k*

footnote: to answer Jeni’s question: yes, all this INCLUDES tax and tip. everyone, please pray for me.

Whole Foods NYC Embraces Technology

March 21, 2007



when i got into the hideously long express line at Whole Foods in Union Square yesterday, i heard a robotic woman’s voice coming from above, rattling off numbers. a screen hung overhead, and the voice called out the random numbers “19…12…10…15” while simultaneously, these same numbers dropped down on the screen. i was taken aback by this new system and i had to observe for a few minutes while in line to figure this out– where did that guy go telling everyone which register to go to???

ok, so here is how this works: the lines are divided up, as usual, into express lanes and regular lanes, which both have their individual screens. so let’s say that you are in the 3rd lane in– then according to this picture above, your lane “color” is blue and you would go to register #19 when you reach the front of the line. get it?

this new system certainly beats the guys standing at the front of the line, yelling at you to go to register #19. this is the most “cutting-edge”, technologically advanced feature introduced to the NYC mass public since they installed train time clocks on the L Train platforms 2 months back (what about the rest of the train lines, MTA???). for such a “cosmopolitan” city, NY is SO technologically behind!

but this at Whole Foods gives me hope! from what i could see, this new system is well designed (love the entire look of the interface) and seemed to help control the craziness of the lines at Whole Foods. can’t wait to see one of these at Trader Joe’s… *k*

footnote: seems like a Whole Foods is in the works for Brooklyn. 3rd and 3rd, so basically Park Slope. awesome.

The Bánh Mì Taste Test: Boerum Hill

March 16, 2007

as Matt and I walked down Atlantic Avenue last weekend to browse their row of mid-century modern furniture shops, a Vietnamese sandwich, or bánh mì, at Nicky’s was definitely on his agenda. it was a beautiful day, people were out, indulging in as much of the springtime tease as possible (Saturday- warm, sunny; today- snow!)– it was the perfect day for a bánh mì for sure.

we found Nicky’s at the corner of Atlantic and Smith St., a tiny little place with just a few tables and a bar looking out into the street. this would be Nicky’s second outpost- their first being in the East Village on 2nd and A. Lydia (one of my favorite foodies who we just lost to the London fog- come back Lydia!) used to rave about Nicky’s in the city so this was exciting that they opened a shop in my borough.

i don’t know what i was thinking, but i completely forgot to take a picture of our sandwich at Nicky’s, so bear with me. we ordered the Classic, and for $4, it’s the best deal on Atlantic, as far as i can tell. the baguette was filled with pâté, ham, ground pork, pickled carrot, cucumbers, cilantro, jalapeño, and mayo. Matt says that the bread was warm and crispy (i don’t remember this, but he said he watched them toast it). the ham was not as good as it could be, but i loved the contrast of the spicy jalapeño peppers and the sweet ground pork. Matt said that he likes his pork roasted, so he wasn’t so into this.

when we were done with the sandwich, i wanted another. i had stupidly not ordered one cause i thought i wasn’t hungry, which is always a HUGE MISTAKE (Matt agrees here). but honestly, i wasn’t bowled over by the sandwich so i had this brilliant idea to hunt down this other Vietnamese sandwich place in Boerum Hill i had heard about.

so i used NY Mag’s new text messaging feature to find the place– i typed in “Food Vietnamese Boerum Hill” (seriously, you New Yorkers need to program this number into your phones) and a second later came the words “Hanco’s, 85 Bergen St., near Smith St.” right down the block! what luck! we were on our way.

right off the bat, let me say that Hanco’s makes a better sandwich. we ordered the pork sandwich (above- this time, i didn’t forget to take a pic!) which included grilled pork, mayo, butter, pickled carrots and daikon, and cilantro. the baguette came out hot and crispy (i definitely noticed this) and the pork was sweet and tender. we asked for the “spicy” version, and it was VERY spicy- my mouth was on fire when by the time the sandwich came to the last sad bite, but it was worth it. for $4.25, it was absolutely worth the 5 minute walk from Nicky’s. they serve different bubble teas too, for you boba tea fanatics (Anmol). inside, there are a few tables, and a magazine rack full of new magazines, so it’s a good place to kill some time– grab a bargain meal AND get the newest scoop on which country Brangelina are adopting from this week in US Weekly. awesome.

i must say that i am incredibly impressed by the fact that there is not one but TWO bánh mì joints within a 5 block radius in Boerum Hill. Matt still says that he likes the place on Mott and Broome in Chinatown better, but i would say this satisfied our craving just fine (right Matt?). i am yet to go down to Sunset Park where there are supposedly these shops lined up, but i sure am happy that there is one closer to home. *k*

foot note: there is this new, cute little gourmet grocer around Smith and Bergen called Chop Chop that was very minimal and sparse, carrying fresh pre-packaged salads, fruits and veggies, and racks of dry foods, such as these spices (i’m such a sucker for Colman’s mustard).