What did we do last week? Not much, we just built a restaurant. You know, then we drank some beer and thought a little harder about what would be cool to eat while we were drinking it. Typically, salty stuff, carby stuff, baked stuff, cheap stuff, deep fried stuff, fresh fruit. You know what sucks? Paying a lot of money for food that tastes like crap. You know what rules? Getting really good food that tastes like nothing you’ve ever had for not that much money.
We just opened up a micro-restaurant inside 285 Kent Ave, home of a new music venue, art space, Babycastles arcade, and also, it’s in the old “Paris London West Nile” space. We pretty much serve the best snacks. It’s dirt cheap, why even bother eating at home, you can eat here everyday, and probably save money, you know what I mean?
Here’s a taste of what our menu looks like:
Grape Kool-Aid Fritters $3
Waffle Grilled Cheese $3
Pizza Waffle Sandwich $4 or $5 w/pepperoni
Black Bean and Queso Muffins $2
BBQ Tofu Summer Rolls $2 or 3/$5
Spicy Boiled Peanuts $3
Lime Coconut Bars $2
Fat Watermelon Slice $1
Fruit Flavored Ice Pops 2/$1
We add new stuff almost everyday, so no one gets bored.
AND we open DAILY 8PM-1AM!!!!!! Who knows how long we can keep this up for!
So as an experiment I decided to go vegetarian for Lent (I’m not a practicing Catholic, I just use it as a timeframe), and so far it’s sort of been “eh”. It hasn’t been that hard, even though I should note that I gave myself a meat pass when I went to England for a few days and I’ve accidentally had a piece of chicken here or there. I should note that I’m still eating fish too. But overall, I just don’t find myself as satisfied with meals as I did when I ate meat, and I feel hungry all the time.
That all changed today when I made my maiden voyage to No. 7 Sub located at the Ace Hotel. A sub shop (duh) run by the same folks be No. 7 in Fort Greene (a place I haven’t been to even though I live in the neighborhood), they are unconventional to say the least. A look at their menu and you’ll see a roast pork sandwich cheddar, melon, chinese mustard, and peppers. Feel like a bologna sandwich? Well that is stuffed in a hoagie roll with Parsnip Mole, Ricotta, Pickled Red Onions, Pumpkin Seeds. Not your everyday stuff here.
And, there are a few vegetarian options which was great to see for fake vegetarians like me. After deciding I didn’t feel like having strawberries on my fried clam sandwich and my disliking of zucchini, I went with the asparagus sandwich, that came with granny smith apples, cilantro, and some kind of white sauce that I couldn’t figure out. And by “couldn’t figure out” I mean I was too busy eating the hell out of this sandwich to stop and think. The asparagus was firm yet tender, serving as one hell of a substitute for the protein. The apples, julienned and looking almost like cole slaw, were bright and crunchy, countering the earthiness of the asparagus almost perfectly, and the hint of cilantro rounded out the filling superbly. And the bread was exactly as a sub roll should be: crusty, tender, and slightly chewy. I’m not good as guessing the length of anything, but I’d say the sandwich was about 6 inches, and for $9, isn’t that bad in regards of “bang for your buck” (so many sexual innuendos in that sentence).
The bottom line is that in the last month or so that I’ve been vegetarian, this was easily the best and most satisfying purely vegetarian meal that I’ve had. I’ve heard only good things about the rest of their menu, and judging by the line that went out the door by the time I left, I should strongly consider another visit. Maybe you’ll join me, won’t you?
Believe it or not, within the 4 years that I’ve lived in New York, I have never gone out for dim sum in this city. This shocked and appalled my friend Sandra Chi. Unfortunately the day that we finally decided to go was the Sunday right before Chinese New Year. We showed up at 11am and sat down at 12:45? The crowd was crazy! The host of the restaurant was on a megaphone the whole time in the lobby calling out party numbers.
Once we finally entered, oh boy, what a presence! This is what HEAVEN looks like. This is a DIM SUM PALACE.
THEY HAVE EVERYTHING! I cannot emphasize that enough. It was almost too bad it was just the 2 of us, because if there were at least 4 of us, we would’ve been much more greedy in our sampling. Sandra and I partook in succulent steamed short ribs, chicken feet, tripe, shrimp in rice blankets, juicy buns, pork meat balls wrapped in tofu skin, greens, and SNAILS! We were not EFFING around.
This amount of dim sum at this place would fill enough chandeliers to circle the Earth.
We were just getting started here.
THESE SNAILS WERE THE SHIT!!!!
This was all that was left after our one hour eating spree, but 5 minutes later we ate the last foot and the last juicy bun.
What’s also awesome is apparently they do this EVERY DAY. It’s not just a weekend thing. A girl can get really spoiled on Dim Sum in NYC.
At the end of the summer, during the dregs of August, nothing is better than meeting up with friends and enjoying good food in a city far, far away from New York. Well, we got as far as Philly and decided that was far enough! Time for Camp Lauren 2010!
One of the highlights of our trip this year was a little place called Carman’s Country Kitchen! (1301 S. 11th St) Here is a photo of the restaurant from the outside:
Carman’s is run by a woman named Carman. (duh) I imagine her to be a former southern belle, though I may be wrong. The menu has four or five items on it everyday. Each item has a recommended meat side, which is awesome! All the food is made by Carman. She also answers the phone. She has one sassy waiter helping her and that is it. You better call ahead and reserve a seat or you will wait a while. Did I mention that the place has boobs and peen everywhere? And THIS sign:
Here are some of the things around the restaurant:
Here is Carman serving food from her kitchen under what appears to be a portrait of younger Carman:
So we perused the menu for the day:
I decided on the challah french toast with nectarines and blackberries plus country sausage. Brenden got the broccoli and corn beef hash with ham, potatoes, eggs and a side of bacon. Let’s take a look at these dishes:
You gotta love a dish made with corned beef and ham that has a recommended bacon side. The hash was really good. I have never had broccoli in hash form and it was rather enjoyable. The ham was clovey and Beecy said it “tastes like the South” or something sentimental like that to him. He returned the favor by giving Carman’s the CPC Award. (Clean Plate Club)
Here’s my french toast. Homemade whipped cream is the best thing ever. Just wait til I post my recipe for lavender whipped cream. FOR REAL. Anyways, this breakfast was fucking sweet! And also, it was sweet. But not too sweet. The fruits were tender and juicy and the french toast was really spot on. Also, the sausage was so toothsome. It was the best sausage I have ever had. EVER.
One more thing, any restaurant that knows to place the mug that says THE BOSS at my seat at the bar, is totally fucking sweet. See?
So this past weekend I went to celebrate a grandmother’s 100th birthday in Kansas City. I should also note that I was born in Kansas City, moved away when I was 5, but went back almost every year to visit the many relatives I have there. I hadn’t been there in a good 5 or so years and when my parents said they were going, I said, “sure why not?”
Here are the highlights (please pardon my lack of photos).
Right off the plane I explained that I was hungry and I went with my cousin Khoi and his kids to Zarda BBQ for a quick barbecue fix. Kansas City is considered one of, if not the bbq capitals of the world, and bbq spots are to Kansas City what Kennedy Fried Chicken is to New York: ubiquitous. Zarda, I think because of its close proximity to my cousin’s house and good fare seems to be a go to when even I’m in town and I’m not complaining. I had a burnt ends sandwich and some cheesy potatoes, and both were solid stick to your ribs eats. The burnt ends were meaty and smokey, the sauce tangy and spicey like I like it.
A few hours later, still full from my barbecue lunch, I accompanied Khoi and the whole clan to a fried chicken dinner at The Stonewall Inn, which is known for its pan-fried chicken and supposed ghosts. I had entered “I’m not hungry but I can force myself to eat” territory at this point so I wasn’t daring enough to go for the all-you-can-eat fried chickenn for $11 special, but I did get the two piece dinner which included mashed potatoes and pepper gravy (its been a while) and green beans. I chose leg and thigh for my pieces and once again, shit was solid. I kinda wish there was a little more spice to the chicken, but that’s just me being picky. Mashed potatoes were good, green beans I don’t like, and if I ever go back I’m getting the chicken livers with gravy. I’ve never been to Stroud’s, which some claim has the best fried chicken in Kansas City, but I was told that Stonewall rivals if not betters it. Stonewall also had an adjacent pizza place which looked packed, and long story short, I am definitely making this place the next time I’m in town.
The next day I went to a Thai buffet with my parents and some relatives. It was pretty good but I can’t remember what it was called. The highlight of that meal was the Thai curry pork fried rice (I’m a sucker for crunchy fried rice) and a slightly chilled spicy beef dish.
That night we all went to my aunt’s house to celebrate grandma’s 100th, and while it’s nothing new, the spread made me smile as it was a testament to some Vietnamese immigrants living in Kansas City. There were noodles, egg rolls (!), Vietnamese meatballs, and rice balls, and right next to that was some sliced brisket from Oklahoma Joe’s, ham and cheese croissants, and those Chinese pastry wrapped hotdogs. I had a nice mish mash of all of it and once again, ate myself silly.
The next day we stopped back at my aunt’s place where I had a great bowl of Bún bò, which literally translates to “cow noodles”. Later on for dinner I indulged myself on some smoked pork butt that my cousin Khoi had been smoking for the past day and I have to say that it was some of the best barbecue I’d had in a long time, and I’m not just saying that because he’s my cousin. I think he used a combination of hickory and apple and smoked that thing for about 14 hours and the meat was moist and smokey like a mofo. Topped off with some Gates’ barbecue sauce and I was somewhere in pork nirvana (come as you are).
Also in the mix for the weekend were aunts, uncles, cousins, the first house I ever lived in, the second house I ever lived in, where my dad used to work, and cases of Miller light, which were available in 16oz 12 packs(!). I didn’t make it to Winstead’s(though I’ve been there before) or get any Mexican, but there’s always next time right? I should also note that while much of the country suffers, KC has a Sonic for what seems like every 5 miles.
And then this morning I woke up at 5am to catch a flight. It was sort of a rude awakening to a short but jolly little weekend in cow town.
Here is the sign you pass when you leave Kansas to go into Missouri. I think it’s pretty funny.