Archive for the ‘new york’ Category

UM Redux: Shanghai Cafe (NYC)

April 8, 2008

This post is dedicated to Tmonkey and Wong Kar-Wai.

Went to see my acupuncturist the other day in Chinatown. Dr. Wu is a miracle maker, truly, and I send everyone to him for their ailments. Migraines, bad shoulders, allergies, bad knees, insomnia– whatever you’ve got, he’ll fix it, for real.

While pinning needles into my back, he told me I think too much and I eat too much. Perhaps he’s somewhat of a prophet? Dr. Wu multi-tasks: he’s not just a certified acupuncturist, but also my therapist and nutritionist.

So what do you do when the prophet tells you you eat too much? Well, go eat, of course. As a Dr. Wu visit ritual of sorts, I walked two streets over to one of my absolute favorite restaurant in NYC. Remember Tmonkey’s awesome video from last year? He wasn’t lying, this place is THE BEST for soup dumplings.

Check out this awesome lighting! As Tmonkey said, this place has a very 2046 vibe. When I come here, I like to pretend I am Zhang Ziyi on a hot date with Tony. I won’t let you break up with me, Tony!
As soon as you sit down, order the #1 on the menu- the tiny steamed buns with crab and pork. It takes some time for these to steam, so better to order them right away to avoid drooling all over the dumplings on the table next to you. Trust me on this.
What makes these superior to other soup dumplings in the city (Grand Sichuan, Joe’s Shanghai) is that the crab does not dry out, which leaves you with a hot hot bite of fluffy, moist goodness.
Make sure to get the Shanghai Lo Mein– saucy udon-like pan fried noodles. Another favorite. I get it with shrimp and mixed meats.
Not on the menu- sauteed pea shoots. Kinda expensive at $15, but if you’re there with a few people, it’s worth it.
Our spread. For all this- 2 trays of dumplings, noodles and the pea-shoots, it was $30 maybe? They have all sorts of other Shanghainese goodies on the menu, but I usually just gorge on the soup dumplings.

Ladies making the dumplings.

Dumplings steaming behind the counter.

Is that Tony?

Shanghai Cafe
100 Mott Street
twn. Canal & Hester Streets
New York, NY

Fridgin’ Out: Gay People

April 4, 2008

Editor’s Note: This post was conceived and written by Yamahomo in response to Fridgin’ Out: Married People. It’s an exclusive sneak peak into the fridge of Gay People. Enjoy!

Yamahomo lives in West Chelsea, on Super Starchitect row (19th St). Cameron Diaz might buy one of the penthouses in my building. Lucky me. Although there was a shooting right outside the apartment last week, it is becoming a VERY hot neighborhood. We don’t have Central Park to walk the dog, or go for a jog, but we have the gallery district right on 10th Avenue, plus soon, there will be the High Line, the fake park that is perfect for fake people like us Gay People.

Gay People are usually highly style-oriented, and appearance counts the most as you can see from the 8th avenue (b/w 14th and 23rd Street) crowd. They might not have any brains, but they put themselves together very nicely.

Having said that, Gay People’s fridges usually doesn’t look like one. It’s all blended in as part of the kitchen. Or the kitchen doesn’t even look like a kitchen. In my case, the kitchen is part of living room. Even if Gay People don’t use their fridge other than to store water and booze, it must be a Sub Zero or Wolf, with custom panels on front to make the blending effect perfect.

Gay People might wear $400 cashmere sweaters, but with a $5 torn T-shirt from K-Mart underneath. This fridge looks like this. This was taken right after a party, hence not much real food inside and filled with left over liquid items. Unlike Married People in Upper West Side, Gay People in West Chelsea have great shopping places, such as Fruit Exchange, Buon Italia, and other various bakeries at the Chelsea Market, where I stop by on my way home from work. Stocking up doesn’t usually happen. Vegetables and meats are purchased and used on the same day.
Unlike other Gay People’s fridge, mine is filled with stuff. From Hoison sauce, low fat mayo, to various Asian ingredients reflecting Yamahomo’s heritage.
Gay People drink the best vodka. Belvedere is the best. Unlike non-cooking Gay People, I have cooking sake, vinegar and other homey items next to the gay vodka. This makes a huge difference in Gay People’s fridges.
Aside from vodka, Gay People never lack chilled wines in the fridge. After happy hour at one of the bars in the neighborhood, Gay People keep on partying, where people can enjoy chilled wine, fruity cocktails or martinis. Discard Skyy vodka on the left. Someone brought it to a party. Low class vodka… Gay People don’t drink beer since it’s too fatty, hence there aren’t any chilled beer glasses either.
Gay people often times use non-“made from scratch” items, such as this chicken tikka masala sauce (on the left). However, creative Yamahomo marinated chicken wings with the sauce, mixed with yogurt, and baked until done. Healthy chicken wings for Gay People. Side note: I cannot live without diet coke. I know it’s unhealthy, and un-gay-like, but I need it when I wake up in the morning. I like coffee too, but it takes too long to wait for coffee and diet coke is my wake up drink.
Yamahomo keeps some weird jars in the fridge. This is stem gingers in sugar syrup. Instead of crystal ginger, it gives a sweeter and more moist texture to cake bakings. This was given to me from a friend who is from London. She is moving back and I went to her apartment and collected items I wanted. She knows I am the only one who would appreciate weird food items, so she gave me Goji berries, disposable paper cups to bake muffins, half used olive oil among others. Yamahomo can be a frugal gay.

Gay People keep their eggs in Sub Zero branded egg container.

Gay People’s freezer is a bit messy. It’s the same concept as wearing an expensive coat out, but their inner self is a mess full of issues, from depression to psycosis. I know you spot Friday’s artichoke dip, and I have to admit I bought this drunk, and had a last minute get together and didn’t have enough time to prepare everything. I like drawer freezers. It’s so much easier to look for items, especially things that have been frozen for who knows how long.
Us puffs like puffy pastries. I always keep puff pastry, as well as filo dough in freezer. You can make easy appetizers that looks and taste like “wow”.

Gay people only drink expensive coffee, hence Kona is stored in the freezer. Like tea, someone told me it keeps fresh being stored in the freezer, and I follow it… Any scientific proof for this?
Gay people usually don’t eat dessert because it’s too fatty. We have to watch our figures to be able to fit into skin tight T-shirts and jeans. However, when we do eat dessert, we buy the good shit. This is pistachio gelato from Buon Italia. It is freakin $14 a container, yet, this is the best shit. They have various flavors, and my fav is this and green apple sorbet. Sorbet, since there is no milk in it, is only $8 something, and all are made in Italy. Gay people are suckers for “Made in Italy”.

Gay people MUST have plenty of ice cubes for martinis, mix drinks, and other fruity drinks. Automatic ice maker definitely makes our lives better.

Gay people usually throw out ripened bananas, but Yamahomo is domesticated enough to keep it for emergency banana nut bread baking when we get invited to a cocktail party at the last minute.

Gay Jap keeps inari sushi (tofu skin cooked in sweet soy sauce) skins for Asian-flavored parties.
Final note: Gay People’s fridges are just as normal as straight ones.

*What’s in your fridge? Send pics to Check out all the Fridgin’ Out posts here. Come back every Friday to see all the scary shit we find in these dungeons of moldy condiments.

umamichatter: Rose Water Restaurant (NYC)

April 3, 2008

Larry works in publishing, and has lived in Park Slope in Brooklyn for the last few years. Had I known him back when I lived in the Slop (as I call it), I may have not moved out.

Ok no, I still would have. You see, the Slop, at least 7th Ave, is now barfbag yuppie central- lots of stroller rage, desolate by 10pm (except for the bars overcrowded with people who play professional frisbee), lots of brunch spots. You know what I’m talking about. Fucking brunch! Don’t even get me started.

But I will say that the Slop probably has one of the better, more quality restaurant communities in the city. Blue Ribbon, Al Di La, Flatbush Farm, blah blah.

Last week, Larry went to Rose Water on Union Street. Here’s his evaluation. Sorry, no pictures. Yes, Larry’s real name is “Lawrence”- Larry lives below 5th Ave, which makes him Marginal Slop Fringe, and much cooler in my eyes. Love ya, Lar.

Lawrence: i ate at rose water in park slope for restaurant week

me: oh wow i haven’t heard of that
how was it
what kind of food?
11:40 PM Lawrence: new american
the appetizers and the entree were okay.
but i was really wowed by the dessert
11:41 PM me: oh tell me more
what did you order
11:42 PM Lawrence: i just started with a salad.
me: go on
11:43 PM Lawrence: just a sec. i should look up the menu for a refresher.
me: ha
i like your style
11:45 PM Lawrence: ok. i started with the market baby greens and herbs.
11:46 PM boring, right? but i just came from the gym and was feeling like starting off light.
me: ha
it’s ok
i feel you
11:47 PM then whaddya get
Lawrence: then i got the “roast chicken under a brick”
me: wow lar, sounds kinda boring
how was it?
11:48 PM under a brick???
Lawrence: ha!
me: what does that even MEAN?
Lawrence: i think that it gets roasted with a brick on top of it.
11:49 PM me: oh, ok, that sounds kinda neat
what did it taste like though
Lawrence: it was pretty good.
11:50 PM me: was it marinated?
Lawrence: it was spiced up. i was like a fancier version of the rotisserie chicken you get at the supermarket.
11:51 PM me: hm yeah
Lawrence: there were turnips and onions involved.
me: typical restaurant chicken
nicely cooked?
i feel like restaurants never get vegetables right
at least roasted ones
Lawrence: it was. the meat was pretty tender and flavorful.
me: good good
11:52 PM ok now dessert
Lawrence: for dessert, i had the caramelized brioche.
11:53 PM it was really tasty.
me: i hope that came with ice cream?
Lawrence: yes, caramel ice cream.
me: ooooh
11:54 PM Lawrence: it was nice and flaky on the inside and but was all sugary and gooey on the outside.
me: droool
another thing that places don’t do right
Lawrence: i normally don’t have much of a sweet tooth, but i really enjoyed it
me: nice you found a good one
11:55 PM Lawrence: i also tried my friends cornmeal apricot cookie sandwiches for dessert
11:56 PM me: dude that sounds AWESOME
how was that?
Lawrence: i think i enjoyed that just as much
11:57 PM fresh apricots squeezed between two homemade cookies
me: OMG
with ice cream?
Lawrence: served with almond milk for dipping.
11:58 PM that sounds so great
apricots are totally my favorite
Lawrence: you would really love it then
me: apricots, apricot jam, dried apricots
poached apricots, apricot yogurt
11:59 PM but apricots stuffed in a cookie with dipping sauce?
dude i am so there.
ok now
interior? service?
12:00 AM Lawrence: the decor was nice. they’re going for the cottagey look, i think.
12:01 AM me: ah
Lawrence: it’s not a very big space, but i felt very comfortable.
me: the fucking cottagey look!
applewood, gramercy tavern…
Lawrence: i know — so typical park slope
me: for the love of god!
Lawrence: we had very good service as well.
me: total after tip?
12:02 AM Lawrence: well, since it was restaurant week the prix fixe was $23
plus $8 for my share of the wine
12:03 AM plus tip comes to $38
me: for a bite of the apricot cookie
so worth it

Thanks for a great report Larry! Make sure to check out Larry’s website, The Larry Page, where he obsessively orders and reorders his top 100 films and albums of all time. The lists are dizzyingly comprehensive- but the boy has good taste (Prince is a Gold Inductee in The Larry Page Hall of Fame!)

Rose Water Restaurant
787 Union Street

Park Slope, Brooklyn, NY
T: 718.783.3800

Batch & P*ONG (NYC)

April 2, 2008

Everything about Batch, Pichet Ong’s new bakery on West 10th Street, is just as lovely, adorable and amazing as he is. Pink walls, yellow peonies and eclectic hand crafted chandeliers made me almost as happy to be there as the first bite of chewy crunchy peanut butter cookie right out of the oven. Then came the chocolate chip cookies- crisp and buttery on the edges, warm and gooey in the middle. To die for!

I think my favorite, though, was the walnut melt- a bite sized cookie dusted with powdered sugar similar to a mexican wedding cookie (however, the Vietnamese coffee cake with icing was a close runner up). Coconut Raspberry Green Tea Cupcakes also looked tempting. I have to go back to try more!

The coffee was great, and was served with thick and creamy half-n-half in a glass bottle that came from Manhattan Milk & Dairy, organically produced in the Amish country. If you’re into foie gras, you can get your puppy a foie gras dog biscuit, and then go next door to P*ONG and get your self a foie gras taco.

Batch, which opened last week, is next door to Pichet’s restaurant P*ONG in Greenwich Village.

Pichet’s friend Gary works in the front and Betty is the baker

Gary talking to my friend, chef Tessa Liebman

Pichet behind the counter

Here are some other delicacies I recently photographed at P*ONG.

all photos © erin gleeson

Batch & P*ONG | 150 West 10th street new york ny 10014
T 212 929 0898 | Batch closed Mondays

Dinner with Barack Obama

March 30, 2008

I am one foodie who loves Barack Obama, so I was excited to see that Gray’s Papaya endorsed him.

Jack, the biggest Obama supporter I know, enjoys a hot dog in front of Gray’s Papaya on the Upper West Side.

Watch this video to see how you can win dinner with Barack himself! I’ve just donated $5 on his website and am now eligible. You can be too! If you win, he’ll fly you in, put you up, and buy you dinner (something better that hotdogs, i’m sure).

Fridgin’ Out: The Work Fridge

March 28, 2008

This post is dedicated to MelRoach. We miss you!

The Work Fridge tends to be a little scary, no matter where you work. You may have the most respectable colleagues, toiling away in spotless, clutter-free work spaces, but when you look inside the Work Fridge, all hell breaks loose. If you work in an office, you know what I’m talking about.

Let’s take a look- continue reading at your own discretion. I hope this isn’t breaking any code of conduct labor laws. Photos taken by me, and Yamahomo’s iPhone. Yes, we work together. Yes, he’s just as outrageous in the work place.

FYI, there are about 70 people who work at our glorious non-profit cultural institution (read: we all MUST pack a lunch, because we cannot afford to go out).

They are actually pretty strict about the Friday by 5pm rule. Our guys will throw your shit out mercilessly if you don’t claim it.

Funny cartoon:
Lots of different types of tea. They say that the leaves stay fresher in the freezer. Has that been scientifically proven?

Frozen meals:
Ice cream:
Nuking fries is just plain wrong.
“I’ll have the alfalfa sprouts, and a plate of mashed yeast.”
– Alvie Singer, Annie Hall
Cold compress- inappropriate:
Fridge door:
I’m finding that the fridge door is the most fascinating place in the fridge. People really love their weirdo condiments!

The fridge:
So scared to look inside:
This is healthy and wallet-friendly: just buy ingredients for a salad and toss right before you eat it. Here we have romaine, feta, olives, and a tomato. SMART!
Yamahomo and I held our breath when opening this:
Yamahomo brought in this huge oversized container of homemade mango lassi. WHO IS THIS MAN???
Ronnybrook Farm Milk. The farm sells their dairy products out at the farmer’s market every Wednesday, and so there are lots of their products in the Work Fridge. They make the best milk chocolate ever.

Everyone is always dieting!!!
A compact lunch neatly packed in a ziploc bag.

One of those “designer” lunch bags. A bit over the top. I think it’s really great to pack a lunch for work, but am not into these “lunch purses” that I see ladies holding on the train.
Ok, this is my lunch. Kinda cute right? Japanese people wrap their lunch boxes in handkerchiefs. It’s really weird.
Back of the fridge- NO MAN’S LAND.

Some other scary products you know have been in here for god knows how long.
The veggie box- not bad.

Butter box- individual things of grape jelly. Jam companies need to stop making this shit. WHO likes grape jelly???

By far the nastiest thing we found in the fridge- fucking mayo that expired back in July 2006. I swear this was here when I started in 2005. NASTY!!!
The Work Fridge also creates heated feuds over email throughout the organization. Here’s an example:

Mary: “Dear all, I found my leftovers in the trash today. Please be respectful of your colleagues, and do not randomly throw out things in the communal refrigerator.”
John: “Well, did it have your name on it?”
Mary: “Yes it did. They were leftovers from yesterday and I was going to eat it today.”
Henry: “Mary, let this be a lesson, and just eat your entire lunch next time.”
Mary: “Henry, that is disrespectful. I am reporting you to HR.”

*What’s in your fridge? Email photos to

umamichatter: Waverly Inn (NYC)

March 27, 2008

*umamichatter is a new column where I chat online with people about their food adventures. Chats may be edited down to make shorter, but will never be added upon or manipulated in a way that makes a more positive or negative review. Please expect stream-of-consciousness bitching, complaining and other random mumblings.

My dear friend Matt wrangled himself into Waverly Inn the other night. WI is a super exclusive celebrity hang out in the West Village, opened last year to a lot of buzz by Graydon Carter, editor of Vanity Fair. This place is no joke: a secret reservation line, Madonna and Kate Moss sightings in one night, camera-toting paparazzi outside, and $85 mac & cheese.

Here’s what Matt thought about the place. This was a work dinner, and the bill for three people was $700, after tip.

12:30 AM matt: yeah, not that coolme: to be expectedmatt: they were playing tom waits when i got in, and i was like, wow, gonna be cool

and then i turned around and there was this girl that looked exactly like kristen davis
12:32 AM and i was like, this is awesome bc charlotte is here
but then i looked again and it wasnt her
and then there were no more famous people
me: ha
12:33 AM matt: it was also pretty empty
the paparazzi outside said mcdreamy was supposed to be there
but i dont even know who he is
me: from grey’s anatomy
12:35 AM matt: yeah, i wouldnt know him if i saw him
it was also pretty emptyi will say, i had a much more enjoyable meal at smoke joint last night

12:39 AM
me: yup

12:41 AM matt: yeah
i would never do that myself it is the experience i guess
12:43 AM me: what did you eat
matt: tuna tartare which all the reviews said was what to get
not that good and braised short ribs
me: nice
how was that
matt: which was fine
but not special
me: right
12:44 AM matt: ive had better
not to be all particular, but the wine guy poured wine all over my menu
matt: like fine if a waiter does
me: that’s AWESOME
matt: but this is the wine guy
12:45 AM mainly its bc you look like a retard to everyone else
bc they dont know you didnt do it
me: ha
12:46 AM what did everyone else get
matt: same
but a chicken pot pie
me: omg

how much was that
matt: i think the braised short ribs was the most expensive entree we got
which was 27
me: that’s not so bad
matt: ALSO, the mac and cheese is now 85
12:47 AM me: how did the bill end up being 700
if that’s the most expensive
did you get a bottle of veuve?
matt: no
two bottles of wine
me: ah how was the service?

aside from wine guy
12:47 AM
matt: ha
ok, little disorganized i felt
we had like three waiters
so we asked for the wine list
12:49 AM and then three people came around about every minute to ask if we made a decision
me: oh geez

12:51 AM yikes

The bathroom is pretty uninspired for a place that charges $85 for mac & cheese.
Waverly Inn
16 Bank Street at Waverly Pl.
New York, NY
No Telephone!

Deal of the Year

March 25, 2008

Dear Poor New Yorkers,
Please do yourself a favor and go to Blue Ribbon Sushi this week for dinner during Brooklyn Restaurant Week. For $23, you get a seaweed salad, this below, and green tea ice cream. No joke, this is the best deal you will get all year. I do this every year- sometimes twice during the week. How could you not?

They don’t take reservations, but I went tonight at 8:30, was seated in 20 minutes, and the place was pretty much cleared out by 9:30pm. Deal ends Sunday.

Buon appetito,

Blue Ribbon Sushi
580 5th Avenue (at Garfield)
Brooklyn, NY
T: 718.840.0404

Fridgin’ Out: Married People

March 21, 2008

Newlyweds Beth and Darren just bought a really dope, spacious 2 bedroom in the Upper West Side, right off of Central Park West. That’s Park with a capital P. Married people like to live near Central Park so they can say things like, “We just went running in the Park” or “We just got back from walking dog’s name here in the Park”.

I live about an hour away from the Park, which conceivably says everything about me.

Beth’s fridge is heavily stocked with just about anything you want, all from Fairway (the only other reason to go to the Upper West Side). To save money, her and Darren have a pact to never go out for lunch or dinner except for special occasions. Good for them!!! I’ve made that pact with myself too. Um, yeah.

So what do married people have in their fridge? Let’s find out.

Married people get their groceries delivered from Fairway. Dreamy.

Freezer: many frozen pizzas and fruit. Married people keep bags and bags of frozen fruit around so they can make smoothies with the blender they got from the bridal registry. They spike it with rum when they want to live on the edge a little.

Married people freeze their glasses for beer.

Beth, not married people, freezes her bananas before they rot to oblivion. She does this so she can make her husband banana bread in the middle of the night.

Fridge: I told you it was crazy stocked.

A single Bud amongst the condiments in the fridge door. Love it.
C’mon guys, this is so 80s.

Married people make their own salad dressing, and keep them in cute jars.
Married people put their eggs where they are supposed to go.

Two huge grapefruit, a bottle of bubbly, and a can of whipped cream, all in one shot. There were a total of 3 bottles of champagne in their fridge. Married people like to have it around for when people “drop-in” unexpectedly.
Bags of flour tortillas for midnight snackysnacks. I used to live with Beth in college, and let me attest that she makes bombass quesadillas.
Cheesefest! Married people like to experiment with expensive cheeses I’ve never heard of before. But I love Beth cause she keeps it real and will never abandon Velveeta. EVER.

Something they got from her neighbors as a welcome gift. It’s an Indian sweet that comes in a tin can and sounds really good. Soft cheese balls! Let’s see how long it takes for them to open this. A year? 3 years? I bet Darren throws this out while Beth is not looking when they move out.

Organic tofu!

“Honey, what kind of sandwich do you want for lunch today? Roasted turkey or smoked turkey?”

Roasted bell peppers.
Married people eat their vegetables.

Their fridge was a bit bizarre- a piece of styrofoam divided it from the freezer.

Also, apparently the fridge gets so cold that food labels get stuck to the sides and won’t come off.

Married people will bake you cookies (two different kinds!), when you come over for dinner.

Married people sip wine from fine crystal glasses they got as wedding gifts. Why anyone would let me go near their crystal is beyond me.

Alright so we’ll stop there. Just a little glimpse for all you single folk of what married life is like. Or at least what’s in the fridge. Getting married has never been high on my list of things to do, but this actually doesn’t look so bad. Especially if I can get a high-powered blender out of it.

*What’s in your fridge? Email pics to

An aside from Beth:
“We actually already opened and had some of the Gulabjaman, they are cheese balls- how would you think I wouldn’t try them? :)”


Advertisement for Sake Tasting

March 19, 2008

It’s pretty cool this year. You will get to taste sake that you will never be able to in this country. Brewers will bring sakes that are submitted to this year’s National Sake Appraisal to be held in May this year. New Sake is very intense, and is truly a rare opportunity. Hurry and buy your ticket before it’s gone!!

Annual Sake Tasting & Lecture:
The 100-Year History of Sake Appraisal
Thursday, April 3 at 6:30 pm

For 100 years, Japan’s National Sake Appraisal has pushed brewers in a spirit of friendly competition toward continuous improvement in the art of sake making, as manifested in its flavors and aromas. Unlike industries that change as a result of new technologies, sake making still depends largely on the subtle quality of rice and water, unpredictable weather, and the skill and artistry of brew masters that allows both established products and lesser known new entrants with high quality sake to win medals in the competition. In this program, John Gauntner, renowned sake expert and a founding member of Sake Export Association, discusses how 100 years of history of sake appraisal has changed the sake industry and aided in the development of new flavors, aromas and styles. Participants will have the opportunity to taste many of the sakes that will be presented at Japan’s National Sake Appraisal in spring 2008. Co-sponsored by the Sake Export Association.

Tickets: $35/$30 Japan Society members & seniors

Must be 21 years of age.

For tickets, order online at or call Box Office at 212-715-1258.

Held at Japan Society
333 East 47th Street
New York, NY 10017