Tuesday, September 2, 2008

NYC Labor day weekend: Food highlights

M and I went up to NYC for the three-day weekend, here are some food highlights:

*chicken rice, our first stop after getting off the bus

*B & H Vegetarian restaurant (dairy restaurant; the link shows a picture of one of their sandwiches, showcasing the awesome bread)

*pimento olive schmear on marble rye bagel at Absolute bagels (eaten on the grounds of nearby St. John the Divine). All of their spreads (savory and sweet) looked really fresh and were generously loaded with ingredients. My schmear came with chunks of red and yellow bell pepper in addition to the green olive slices.

*bibim gooksu (cold spicy noodles with a fried egg) at Momofuku noodle bar; toasted sesame horchata to drink and a swirl of blueberry and smoked peach soft-serve for dessert.

And, last but not least: Everything that we ate in Flushing's Chinatown. We did good this time; last year, in our exuberance at being in a place where we could get the stuff we missed from living in China, we loaded up on too many heavy things. This time we chose wisely and the results were very satisfying (I'm being a dork, but I have to proudly proclaim that I ordered everything on this list in Mandarin, which I guess may have been implied...).:

*Peking duck buns, .75 cents apiece, in buns similar to those we had in David Chang's pork buns at Momofuku, from Corner 28 (“旺角”in characters) at 40-28 Main Street,

and, from the same streetside window,

*gaicheungti - I discovered the characters for an approximation of gaicheungti, one of my favorite snacks that Gram used to make for me: 虾仁肠粉. It's basically a chewy roll made of a rice flour batter. Hers are steamed; this was fried in a thin cake on a griddle. They asked me whether I wanted 1) egg and 2) scallions added, and I said 'yes' to both. In retrospect, I don't think the egg was necessary.

*Hong Kong-style milk tea 港试奶茶

*the Best: Boiled dumplings at one of the stalls in the underground mall that I found out about from reading the Flushing thread on Chowhound (the link leads to an update as well as a link to the original thread). These were 韭菜三鲜 - Chinese chives with beef, pork, and shrimp, $3 a dozen. Seriously, I had not had boiled dumplings (水饺)this good since I was living in Shanghai six years ago.

*yang rou chuan 羊肉串 (barbecued lamb skewers) from a street cart, one apiece.

All these cost us a little over $10 total. All environmental and other potentially nail-biting concerns aside, it's pretty satisfying to procure so much tasty food so cheaply (and in my second language, no less).

Back in D.C., I have decided that this fall, when I will be starting teaching, will be soup season because soup is easy and usually quick to make, cheap, and healthy. My first contribution to this effort, made earlier tonight, was a barley and mushroom soup that was deemed "hearty" and "satisfying" by M. It was inspired by the thick soup that we had at B&H Vegetarian.

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