Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Quickie: EN Japanese Brasserie

TL;DR: ★★★★☆

EN Japanese Brasserie ... left me speechless. I don't think a full review is even necessary because everything (food-wise) was amazing. So, here's just a bunch of pics of the two tasting menus that we ordered and shared cause pictures are worth a thousand words, right? Blech, cheesy.

We got two of the tasting menus, Soyo Kaze ($65) and Sakura ($105), and both were seemingly endless and beautiful. Here are some of the highlights (please excuse the subpar quality — the lighting was quite dark!):

Sashimi collection. Left is from the Sakura menu, right is from Soyo Kaze.

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Quickie: Baohaus

TL;DR: ★★

So this one's a no-brainer. While $4 for a single pork bun may seem expensive, I think it's worth every single penny at Baohaus. The buns are soft and delicate, the pork belly is stupidly juicy and succulent, and the rest of the ingredients are fresh and glorious. There isn't a single flaw about these buns, and I am clearly deeply in love with them (I personally think they're even better than the ones at Momofuku and Ippudo).

Chairman bao: pork belly, peanuts, cilantro, Haus relish, Taiwanese red sugar ($4)

Keep in mind that this place isn't really a sit-down restaurant — no servers. It's in a tiny space with about four seats on a bar along the wall and maybe about 6 more on a separate table. Definitely more of a drop-in-and-go place.

Also keep in mind that the wait can get long. I came here on a Sunday afternoon once, and while it didn't seem too packed, it still took us about 20-30 minutes to get our orders.

Either way, I love me some pork buns, and Baohaus is the place to go for a quick fix. 

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Grab a: Spoon & Tbsp

TL;DR: ★★

Charming, casual brunch spot with pretty good food at reasonable prices.

Food: ★★★★☆
Ambiance: ★★☆☆☆
Staff: ★★★★☆

Price: $$
Number of visits: 1

(20th St. between 5th & 6th Aves.)

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Lazy Latte Log: Perk Kafe

TL;DR: ★★☆☆☆

Cute, cozy venue, but the drinks are quite subpar.

My chai with milk ($4) and my friend's apple cider (closed lid) and croissant
(37th St. & 3rd Ave.)

On a rainy Sunday afternoon, I came to Perk Kafe in Midtown for a quick coffee date with a friend. While I was immediately enamored by the cafe's cozy, rustic vibe and decor, I was seriously underwhelmed by the quality and taste of my chai with milk (yep, I went with a chai instead of a regular latte because it was already quite late in the afternoon, and I didn't want the espresso to keep me up all night :x).

The chai spices and flavor, while strong, were definitely not well-balanced with the milk and sugar, making the drink way too spicy and even a bit bitter. The consistency was also kind of off — it wasn't as thick and milky as I usually prefer but rather quite watery and very thin. In the end, $4 seemed way too much for what this was, especially given the subpar quality and taste.

But as I said, this place does have a very nice venue for one to read his/her book or do some work. It's pretty quiet, and the big window in the front brings in a lot of nice, natural light even on a rainy day. However, seating is a bit limited as there are only two or three small tables and one semi-long communal table that seats about seven to eight people.

Though Perk isn't as well known as other coffee shops, I kind of had high expectations for it but unfortunately was disappointed. I may give it another chance and try their regular latte though, since everything deserves a second chance.

Friday, April 4, 2014

Best Bagel Bets: Bagels From Everywhere

In honor of a random weekend in which I went out for bagels and coffee twice, I've decided to make a list of four great places (and one not-so-great spot) to experience the ever-famous New York bagel. Here they are, going from my most favorite to least:

1. Ess-A-Bagel (21st St. & 1st Ave., 51st St. & 3rd Ave.)

Famous for being one of Anthony Bourdain's picks, Ess-A-Bagel just knocks it out of the bagel park. Service is super swift, the bagels are soft, chewy and fresh, and the spreads are amazingly rich, creamy and delicious. My favorite, from what I've had so far, is the apple cinnamon on whole wheat ($3.95), but I'm dying to try chocolate chip and berry berry spreads next.

Apple cinnamon on whole wheat everything because I messed up my order -_- ($3.95)