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October 10, 2012

OHNY: Walking The High Line, Section 3

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It's Open House New York time in NYC again. You may remember my trip last year to the old TWA Terminal at JFK. I mostly shot that with film for my analog series.

This year, Tammi got us on the OHNY list for a walk through the undeveloped section of The High Line. The area from 30th to 34th Street wraps around the Hudson Yards, which will also be developed in the next few years.

See more photos after the jump and the whole set on flickr.

Continue reading "OHNY: Walking The High Line, Section 3" »

March 20, 2012

Self-Promotion: The BrunchCritic Tour

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Last month, Andrea of BrunchCritic hired me to shoot some places for her site. I spent the afternoon bouncing around half a dozen New York neighborhoods shooting some pretty cool looking brunch spots.

The adventure started with The Cupping Room in SoHo, above. After the jump, see where else I ended up - and check out brunchcritic.com for reviews and a spiffy brunch search tool.

Continue reading "Self-Promotion: The BrunchCritic Tour" »

January 23, 2012

New York Tech Meetup's SOPA Protest

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Unless you were stuck in a cave, you almost certainly heard about the proposed SOPA and PIPA bills and last Wednesday's day of protest all over the internet that it resulted in. If somehow you missed what the whole bill was about, see The Oatmeal's hilarious SOPA explanation. While websites all over the world were blacking out their pages in a new form of activism, the folks at New York Tech Meetup decided to take an old school approach and led a rally in front of the office building of New York's two Senators.

As with last year's Meetup with Mayor Bloomberg, NYTM brought me in to document the event. See some of the photos after the jump.

Continue reading "New York Tech Meetup's SOPA Protest" »

February 11, 2011

Analog: 1600 Speed

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When I was in Hong Kong, I picked up a roll of ISO 1600 film in the hopes of using it for some interesting shots at night at Angkor Wat. That never happened, but when I got home, I found a dark and snowy city perfect for high speed film.

The results are interesting. Being able to shoot on a gloomy, overcast day without opening the aperture all the way or having to slow the shutter down too far. Check out Analog UltraClay for more ISO 1600 shots from this roll and some others from a while back.

November 22, 2010

Self-Promotion: I'm profiled in today's NY Post @Work

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If you look on page 38 of today's New York Post, you'll find me looking back at you. I was profiled as part of their @work column in a piece about workers around town who have 'unusual' lunch habits, mine being seeking out new foods and restaurants for Midtown Lunch. Sadly, my photo didn't make the web edition. I'll try to scan it in some time today and post it.

I have to say, it was interesting being on the other side of a photoshoot. Lorenzo the photographer and I wandered back and forth through Koreatown looking for proper backdrops.


Update: See the scan of the printed version after the jump!

Continue reading "Self-Promotion: I'm profiled in today's NY Post @Work" »

November 16, 2010

Lunch at The John Dory Oyster Bar

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Today I strayed from my path of finding Midtown Lunch priced dishes in order to partake in some deliciousness from under the sea at the new John Dory Oyster Bar at the Ace Hotel.

The meal was a splurge to be sure, but was absolutely worth it. In the name of posting this now rather than waiting to make time to bloviate about each course, I'm going to post the courses after the jump with some brief notes. Enjoy!

Continue reading "Lunch at The John Dory Oyster Bar" »

November 10, 2010

Analog: Shooting with the Kiev 88

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In my exploration in shooting analog, medium format has fascinated me. That's most likely because it's sort of arcane and the frames are big and square. Unfortunately, I've had a pretty unfortunate track record shooting 120mm film - thus far at least. That's finally starting to change thanks to the the Kiev 88.

Read more about the Kiev after the jump and see photos I've taken with it on Analog UltraClay all week.

Continue reading "Analog: Shooting with the Kiev 88" »

September 23, 2010

Food Finds: Admiration Mayonnaise

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Curry Cart, Midtown, NYC. 2010.

September 9, 2010

Greg Stamper Sings

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Last month, my friend Greg Stamper gathered friend and family to the release party for his new album, "One with You." Greg is a talented singer, which is something I had no idea about when we worked together as computer techs years ago.

As I pursue my own passions beyond the office life that I've lived for the last decade, it's completely inspiring to see Greg doing his thing.

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August 6, 2010

Pig Roast at The Breslin

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When I last mentioned The Breslin, I wasn't so pleased. The scene of 'sophisticated' frat-boys doesn't do anything for me and the fact that the 'gatekeepers' types stand between me and really magnificent food only made me that much more resentful.

I hadn't been there since my early visits, though I'm regularly tempted. That is until I got the note that The Tower of Justice was gathering friends there for a pig roast as a part of his Bachelor Party weekend of gluttony. The TOJ has guided me, again and again through some of the best food on the west coast, so he is definitely one for picking the right meals and this one was spot on.

Snooty host station and a douchey clientele can only keep me from so much deliciousness before I breakdown and eat some pig. After the jump, see how the pig above turn into this:

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Also, check out the brain shot (last one if you'd prefer to skip). It was the first brain I've ever tasted. It was interesting in texture, sort of pasty. The rest of the meal was amazing - as would be expected. The shoulder offered the juiciest, most succulent portions of meat, but, really, it was all amazing. I'm pretty sure I'm not going to be able to hold up my avoidance of trendy jackasses and pissy hostesses for very long after that meal.

Continue reading "Pig Roast at The Breslin" »

August 4, 2010

Quick Bite: Fried Chicken at Blue Ribbon Sushi

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Blue Ribbon Sushi, Columbus Circle, NYC. 2010.

May 7, 2010

Recently on Midtown Lunch: Flatiron Excursions

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It's been a while since I've plugged my posts on Midtown Lunch. That's in part because I've been spending a lot of time eating and writing for it instead. There have been plenty of posts, from Taco Trucks to restaurant openings and even some tasty, if overpriced meatballs. But the big news for me is that I've now taken over the weekly Flatiron Lunch column every Friday.

Working on the southern edge of Midtown means that I've got as many options out of bounds as I do within Midtown proper. I've posted before about wanting to go out and explore my food options further afield and this has become a great excuse to do so.

See some of what I've been checking out after the jump.

Continue reading "Recently on Midtown Lunch: Flatiron Excursions" »

April 20, 2010

Self-Promotion: Honorable Mention in Kodak Ektar Contest

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Back in December, while I was still in full-tilt analog shooting, I submitted the above photo of cranberries at the New Amsterdam Wintermarket to a contest on Flickr for images shot with Kodak's low-grain Ektar film.

Recently, I was notified that I made the honorable mention list! For placing, I get my photo posted on the big Kodak screen in Times Square and 20 more rolls of Ektar film.

The film is wonderfully smooth and I enjoy using it when lighting situations allow. It'll be great to get it for the summer time, when I hope to be spending more time outside shooting.

The official news release hasn't gone out yet, but it was announced to the contest's group on Flickr.

When I started posting all this Self-Promotion jazz a couple weeks ago, I hadn't actually expected it to become a weekly thing. Here's hoping it keeps coming!

April 1, 2010

Lunch: Single Serve Korean Barbecue at Don's Bogam

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Korean Barbecue is awesome: the big plate piled with meats, the sizzling grill and the smell of all of it cooking in front of you and a group of friends sharing it all. The whole experience is fun and filling and leisurely time-consuming.

The only problem is that it's not so conducive to the lunch schedule and doesn't really scale down for one person so well. Or it didn't, until I found Don's Bogam a couple weeks ago. It sits in relative obscurity a block away from the main Koreatown strip. I happened upon it one day during lunch and decided to give it a try. What drew me in were the lunch specials, which at $12.95 may be outside the Midtown Lunch price range, but still makes for a great bargain for barbecue.

Food and pics after the jump...

Continue reading "Lunch: Single Serve Korean Barbecue at Don's Bogam" »

March 28, 2010

Recently on Midtown Lunch: Lines and Lent

Village Voice Choice Eats 2010

This week, I covered Monday's Village Voice Choice Eats, a food festival featuring over 60 restaurants. The good news is that there was plenty of good food and even though I had to stand in a line for an hour, which is totally something I don't do, I managed to stuff myself quite well before the crowd became so ridiculous that I had to bail.

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The Friday before that, I got a chance to meet up with my ML colleagues for a Lenten Lunch of all the seafood dishes under $10 at the Grand Central Oyster Bar. That was pretty fantastic, even for a heathen like me who has no idea when Easter is and tends not to eat a lot of fish. Brownie, of Blondie and Brownie posted a recap of the meal the other day.

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I'm so going back up to GCT for one of those Po Boys. Like, this week. The Rock Shrimp sandwich, above, was pretty fantastic too. I'd love to get a cup of the shrimp and eat them like popcorn. It was great to meet and trade notes with B&B, Jason of Me So Hungry, Amy of Amy Blogs Chow and Jenn.

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Most of my Midtown Lunch coverage this month has been stalking Kyochon, the new Korean Fried Chicken joint that opened, closed briefly to bad reviews and opened up again. That's all still in progress, so I'll have to get back to you on that in a week or so.

March 10, 2010

Recently on Midtown Lunch: Pizzacones

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This is a pizzacone. It's an odd little invention that captured the fascination (and for some, disgust) of the blogosphere last week.

This pizza in a cone concept was introduced to the Manhattan eating audience for the first time when K! Pizzacone opened up to much attention last Monday. I had a front row seat covering it for Midtown Lunch.

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I'm not a stodgy traditionalist in pizza or much else, but giving a balanced report on something so weird was a struggle. While I did appreciate the opportunity to eat a wad of melted cheese, I think I'll stick with those boring flat pizzas I've known so well over the years.

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My report last week on Izakaya Moku, on the other hand, was no trouble at all. The latest in a trend of Korean-run Japanese restaurants offers a pretty good lunch deal and I made a point of doing as much -ahem- research as I could. Strictly for research purposes, I assure you.

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It may not be the best Japanese food in the city, but Moku and the other new places in Koreatown offer some very good options within walking distance of my office. If nothing else, I'm psyched to finally have a nice bowl of pork ramen available nearby.

What I'm really interested in is checking out the after work menu, which is far expanded and includes yakitori and various other izakaya fare. I think an Examiner post is in order.

Stay tuned.

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February 10, 2010

Midtown Lunching

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So, I wasn't particularly subtle in my recent post about new things afoot, but I wanted to make a point of not mentioning that I'm a part of the new editorial team on Midtown Lunch until something I wrote was actually posted.

So, here's the rundown for those who don't slavishly follow the food blog world: Zach Brooks of the blog Midtown Lunch has moved on to warmer pastures to Los Angeles. We'll forget all the terrible things we feel for LA and instead just be jealous for the warmer weather. I'll be posting, among a handful of other talented contributors in his stead.

I started with a post about the expansion of Little Italy Pizza, the place I posted about last year that's been my go-to slice spot that's been a favorite of mine for some time. They opened up a place a couple blocks away that I checked out last week.

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The short version is that I'll be plugging another site, but if you are a midtown wage slave, I'd also love to hear about what your favorite (non-chain) food options are. And I'm always looking for news. Checking early and often.

More to come. . . .

January 27, 2010

Analog: Diana Mini's half frames

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An interesting feature of the Diana Mini is the ability to shoot half frames. In addition to the square frames, which match the number of exposures typically on a roll, it can be adjusted with the flick of a switch to shoot twice as many rectangular exposures. All of these are from the same roll. I was surprised at how long it took to take 72 shots.


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My biggest issue with the Diana is what I've had with the Holga, which is figuring out exposure. I seem to only have luck shooting in daylight, regardless of the speed of the film. If I try to adjust the exposure time by using the bulb feature, it ends up being overwhelmed by camera shake. I'll keep at it at see what I manage to get up here in the mountains.

Check out more shots after the jump. More to come.

Continue reading "Analog: Diana Mini's half frames" »

January 12, 2010

Lunch: The Breslin

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Today, Sam Sifton of the New York Times will be reviewing The Breslin, the new restaurant in the Ace Hotel. Mere blocks from my office, I've had my own opportunity to check out the place and I'm not sure there's a lot that Sifton might say that would make me want to check it out again.

It's a sad thing, because everything I've had and heard tells me that the food is pretty amazing, but the culture of the place puts the scene first and customers second.

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The lamb burger, the only thing Ive had there is wonderful. The rest of the menu seems ridiculously magnificent. But much like The Spotted Pig, by the same folks, the crowd of 'see and be seen' types takes all the fun out of it and the staff seems to buy into that culture deeply.

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In a perfect world the entire clientele of the place would change. The people who show up to places because it's popular would forget it ever existed and the wonderful meat dishes would be available throughout the day for the rest of us to peruse at will.

Instead, there's a crowd of loud, unpleasant people talking about their polo weekends in Florida and Argentina and the staff spends more time ignoring you than finding out if you need anything. Apologies for being crotchety, but this is exactly the sort of thing that upsets me the most. Not sceney places that I'm not remotely interested in, but places that I would love to go to were it not for the nonsense.

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January 7, 2010

Lunch: Salt and Pepper

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I've been passing Salt & Pepper by for the last five years. Besides being the type of hole in the wall that is entirely missable, it's also wildly varied in a way I haven't really seen anywhere else.

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The front counter offers Latin and American food, serving everything from cheesesteaks and fried chicken to oxtails and pepper steak. There's also a strong Italian contingent with chicken parm, lasagna and meatballs.

That selection alone is vaguely unusual, but if you can squeeze through the narrow space up front and the tight seating area, you'll find another counter in the back.

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There you'll find an Indian and Pakistani spread with all sorts of options including vegetarian dishes, Naan and various curries like the Goat Curry I tried out. You don't see goat offered in many places, so I had to give it a go.

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I grew up with goat as a regular dish at home, so I don't think of it as very unusual, but I guess it's not so common. You'll almost always find it braised in a strongly flavored sauce, like curry, which makes the expected gaminess unnoticeable.

If you can't get past the whole goat thing, there's chicken and fish and lamb along with a number of vegetarian options if that's your thing.

See more photos of the space after the jump.

Salt & Pepper, 139 West 33rd Street, between 6th and 7th. 212.268.1919

Continue reading "Lunch: Salt and Pepper" »

On Examiner: Korean Barbecue

Kunjip Slideshow, by clay williams

After a lull in coverage, I'm back on Examiner posting about late night foods. This week's focus was on 24 hour Korean Barbecue in Koreatown. It's a wonderful thing.

Look at those ribbons of meat, ready for a ser on the grill. It's even better with a charcoal fire, but there aren't so many of those any more -- probably for the best at the places that cater to the post-karaoke crowd at 4am...

I'm also trying to find more events, parties and shows in the next couple weeks to cover for Examiner. If you know of any, let me know in the comments.

January 6, 2010

Lunch: Wolfgang's Bar Menu

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Last week was that languid period between Christmas and New Year's Day is a little surreal in New York. Those of us who actually show up to work, the office is a ghost town. Midtown is more crowded than ever, but it's made up almost entirely of tourists. Even the commute is more relaxed and roomy.

Keeping with the indulgent mood of the week, I met up with Eric one day for lunch at Wolfgang. Now, luxury week or not, we weren't getting Ribeyes or Porterhouses in the middle of the day. Instead, we go every once in a while to snack on their excellent bar menu.

I had the Cheeseburger topped with a thick slab of rich unsmoked bacon above. Getting a burger from a steakhouse is a habit I picked up years ago upon learning of Peter Luger's burger. That is a magnificent thing. Sadly, it's not nearly close enough to go to for lunch, so Wolfgang is my next best thing. They don't have the thick slice of muenster cheese or the buns made from their Luger's great dinner rolls, but they do have one thing that is centrally important: great meat. Both the beef and the bacon are juicy and tender and done just right.

Eric went with something you can't get at Luger's: the most literal take on a steak sandwich I've ever seen. It's actually a steak, grilled and chopped up to fit on a bun. Dab a little sweet and tangy house steak sauce on top and you've got one of the best sandwiches you're going to find around.

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At around $20 each, it's a splurge that only fits in the budget every now and again, but it's definitely worth it.

Wolfgang's Steakhouse
4 Park Avenue, New York, NY.
212.889.3369

January 4, 2010

Lunch: Haru Hana adds a new Japanese option in Koreatown

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This afternoon I had lunch at the new Japanese restaurant in KoreaTown, Haru Hana. It calls itself a Japanese Pub and stocks many of the izakaya favorites I know and love, but the decor and crowd, particularly on a Monday afternoon was much more subdued than all that.

Signs prominently advertise that they are open 24 hours a day, so I'll have to report in again after a late night visit. In the meantime, here's what I had for lunch.

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I passed on the katsu and udon, which I've had quite a bit of in the last month or so and chose a broiled eel rice bowl. I love Unagi. The sweet syrup that coats the top of the eelskin and gets soaked up by the rice is a thing of beauty.

I also tried a couple of the skewers to see what that was all about. Here I had one with bacon-wrapped sausages and the other with chicken and garlic. The sausages were sweetly tangy , like those I had the last time I visited Go Go Curry. Being wrapped in bacon, it's an automatic win. The chicken skewers sported leg meat and garlic cloves toasted until the two were visually indistinguishable. Thankfully, I noticed the different in texture before biting into the garlic by mistake. The flavors may have mellowed out as it grilled, but I don't think my co-workers would really appreciate the difference

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I do have to say one thing about the yakitori. They were wonderful, but after years of eating Japanese skewers at izakaya after izakaya, I have come to expect an open kitchen where I can watch the flames lap at the meat leaving bits of char and juices dripping. When I don't see them, it doesn't detract from the experience exactly, but I notice that it's not there.

Really though, it's not hard to tell when you look at the space. The restaurant is shotgun-style, like many of the other ground floor spaces on the block. There's precious little space to offer up for the ceremony of open cooking.

The menu is widely varied, with everything from Tonkatsu to Udon to Yakitori to sushi. This could be a good thing or a bad thing. Most Japanese restaurants tend to focus on one cuisine and do it really well, so it's a little unusual. That said, the dishes I had were wonderful and I'll be happy to work my way through the menu to take advantage of the of all that variety.

Haru Hana
28 W 32nd St
Between Fifth Ave and Broadway
KoreaTown
212.736.5393


Analog: Diana Mini

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The holidays brought me more photography gear that I'm looking forward to playing with in this brand new year. I've already mentioned the Lensbaby Composer that Tammi got me, but that's not strictly analog and I haven't really used that on my film Canon yet.

These photos are from the Diana Mini that my aunt gave me. The camera is a miniaturized version of the popular Diana toy camera from Lomography.

Unlike the 'grownup' Diana, the Mini takes 35mm film, which is much more convenient to find and get developed. It also has two frame sizes, square boxes, like you see here or rectangular half frames that effectively double the number of exposures you can make on a roll. I have only just started shooting half-frame, but check back here for an update in the next week.

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I'm still learning how best to use it, but these are some of the test shots I took last week. Lesson number one for me was that it's all but useless inside. I'll have to either only use it outdoors or get really good at timing my shots to the fraction of a second in 'bulb' mode.

This is my second foray into toy cameras, the first being the Holga, the mastery of which continues to elude me. Between being put off by the medium format film, the lack of metering and the larger shape that makes it more difficult to carry around, I've all but given up on learning how to make good photos with it. I'm hoping that the easier to manage Diana Mini can work as 'training wheels' to get the hang of shooting with a toy camera. One day, maybe I'll be ready to graduate to the medium format goodness of the Holga.

December 16, 2009

Lunch: Is Go Go Going?

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It's a testament to my priorities in the world that the first reports that Hideki Matsui was leaving the Yankees for Los Angeles, all went something like this: "What about Go Go Curry?"

The hazard of basing your entire business around a single free agent player is pretty clear. But then, we've all enjoyed the quirks that make this place so interesting. According to reports, there is no plan to close up shop, although a Los Angeles branch may be in the works and the owner maintains his allegiance to Matsui.

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Despite the recent abundance of Katsu in my diet, I decided to stop in yesterday to check out the scene on the ground.

There was no sign of a change in color scheme or Angels gear anywhere. The staff still wore Yankee colors and most importantly, they still give out free toppings coupons on 'Go' days, that is any date with a '5' in it.

Best of all, the Katsu is still wonderful, the curry still think and the new-to-me pork sausage makes for a tasty combination with the other elements of the meal.

December 14, 2009

Lunch: Arang -- Japanese Fusion in KoreaTown

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According to Midtown Lunch, Arang in KoreaTown used to be Korean/Sushi Buffet. ML also reported that they had shut down. I discovered it after that, once they had revamped and got rid of the buffet.

They still specialize in the Korean and Japanese, but the buffet has been scuttled. Now, you can order one of a number of bentos, like the one above with kalbi or lunch specials of Tonkatsu.

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I'm on a katsu kick these days, so the last time I was there I tried out the Cheese Donkatsu. I can't name too many Asian foods that work with cheese, so it take a moment to wrap your head around. But then, as I've observed before, katsu is just schnitzel. And fried, breaded things can be quite tasty with cheese.

The crust is crisp, the cheese is gooey and the katsu sauce adds a sweetness to it that can be unsettling at first, but works pretty well.

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On an earlier visit, I tried their Curry Katsu just to see how it stood next to Go Go Curry. The answer is that there's no comparison. It's entirely different. Arang's curry sauce is chock full of potatoes and carrots and chunks of meat. It's thinner in texture than the dense sauce of Go Go, but there's so much stuff in it that it doesn't really make a difference.

The best part of all these lunch specials is that they are reasonably priced for a sit down meal, with most if not all specials under $10. The place is rarely crowded during lunch hours, so it's a good place to go when you need a break from being surrounded by office mates all day.

Arang
9 West 32nd Street, 2nd Floor
New York, NY 10001
(212) 947-3028

December 3, 2009

Lunch: In the mood for Japanese

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I haven't shaken my craving for Japanese food since getting back from Hawaii. Coincidentally, I ended up having to run lunch errands in Midtown East two days in a row this week. As I've mentioned before the East 40's is basically JapanTown North. So, I took the opportunity to slurp down some more noodles and enjoy the dulcet tones of "Irrashaimase!!" upon entry.

Above is a Tuesday's Kara age Curry Udon, a favorite of mine from Udon West's uptown branch. Without repeating myself too much, I'm a big fan of Udon. It's thick and hearty and perfect eating on a chilly fall day. Combine that with the warming spice of the rich curry broth and the visceral satisfaction of the crunchy on the outside, tender and herby on the inside fried chicken and I could eat this all winter.

Below is a bowl of Pork Belly Ramen from Manchenko Tei on 45th Street that I had on Monday. The two could not have been more different. The noodles were thin, soba, I think and the broth was lighter and silkier. Topped with a hunk of pork belly that was beautifully braised it was easily as satisfying.

There's so much food in New York, I'll probably end up back into my usual patterns of a little of this a little of that soon enough, but I'm really enjoying exploring the many many Japanese options available right now. The weather has had me craving soups, but I definitely want some yakitori sooner rather than later.

More to come.

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(PS: Welcome Midtown Lunch readers! Apologies for the poor navigation, I'm working on it. Please feel free to look around.

November 9, 2009

Lunch: Buffalo Chicken Pizza at Cafe Rustica II

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The idea of spicy chicken and bleu cheese on a pizza may seem wildly unusual to many, but for me it brings back memories of my college days. Back in Amherst, Mass, there is a pizza shop called Antonio's that specializes in odd toppings. There were plenty of others including Potato Bacon, with thin slices of baked potatoes with cheese and crispy bacon bits on top, but 'Spicy Bleu,' was always one of my favorites

So, when I saw this buffalo chicken pie come out of the oven at hole in the wall Cafe Rustica II on 35th Street, I had to have it. Though not nearly as good as my far off memories of Antonio's, it was close enough to take me back for a moment.

A firm layer of mozzarella sets the foundation of the slice. It holds what might otherwise be watery ingredients in place. The bleu cheese is a thinner dressing that I'd like, but is just strong enough to balance out the tang and spice of the buffalo sauce. The chicken chunks are breaded and fried, a departure from the slices I had back in college and maybe an improvement. The crispness of the breading adds another texture to experience and manages to soak up some of the hot sauce, making it a better vehicle for flavor.

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The way I found it was entirely by accident. My usual Herald Square pizza spot, Giuseppe's apparently closed down but I still wanted a slice, so I stopped in here.

In the 5 years I've worked in the area, I had only gone to Cafe Rustica once. Passing by, the signs out front declare it a 'Trattoria Pizza and Pasta House.' This is ridiculous. The closest thing to decor in this dark, cave-like space are the exposed duct work in the ceiling. This is not Trattoria. It's not even a Restaurant. It's a Pizza shop. Make no mistake.

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August 16, 2009

Another Mystery: Jennifer Denapoli

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Much like the guys I saw in Fort Greene, I felt like I was walking into someone else's story when I saw these pages taped up to the walls at the exit of the walls of the Herald Square station on my way to work. I don't know who Jennifer Denapoli is or who it is that misses her so much, but maybe posting this will one day yield even a glimpse of the story behind it all.

August 12, 2009

Lunch: Shut Out of the Outdoors

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My favorite (read: only convenient) outdoor space near my office has been locked up and fenced off for the better part of a month. It's doubly disappointing as it seemed to coincide exactly with the arrival of seasonal weather.

There's no sign or readily apparent explanation as to why it's locked up, but it is certainly a disappointment for the many local workers, like myself, starved for daylight and seeking a mere 15 minute respite from the office to soak up a little sun. Being on a side street, the space benefited from being just out of the way enough to avoid the throngs of tourists that shuffle around the base of the Empire State Building.

But now there's nothing. We either have to wade through the crowds to get to Herald Square, the heart of the swarm, where aimless tourists and shoppers meander or the benches in front of the old B. Altman's building where you can vie for spaces with the homeless.

Or, it's back to shoveling food into your mouth at your desk before someone says, "I don't want to interrupt your lunch but..."

August 10, 2009

Lunch: MFC (formerly Bon Chon)

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A month or so ago the Bon Chon Chicken in Koreatown (and I believe the location in Flushing) suddenly changed its name to Mad For Chicken. According to Midtown Lunch, this is a familiar story:

Ah yes- the old open a franchise... steal the recipe... decide you don't want to pay the royalties anymore game. If this whole thing sounds familiar, it's because it is. Shorty's (on 9th Ave. btw. 41+42nd) did the same thing to Tony Luke's. Thankfully for Midtown Lunch'ers one commenter is reporting that the chicken pretty much tastes the same as it always has, but I'm guessing it still takes forever to get your order. Thanks to Lunch'er Paul for passing along this link to the Bon Chon Website.

I stopped in for lunch before a couple weeks ago and can verify that on all counts, things are about the same. The chicken was the same, if slightly spicier and the service was just as slow.

I will say this though, the place did seem more crowded that I had ever seen it during lunch. And the waiter actually warned me that the food would take about 45 minutes, which I don't think I've ever seen before - it always takes that long, they just don't usually warn you.

July 30, 2009

Lunch: Soba Totto

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A couple weeks ago, work took me up to a satellite office in the Grand Central area. As soon as I knew I was heading up there I started contemplating my lunch options.

Then it came to me: Japanese. While there's plenty of Korean food coming out of K Town, there isn't much in the way of Japanese food in the area besides some anonymous sushi spots here and there. The east 40's on the other hand hosts a veritable Japantown, catering to an older crowd than the raucous scene down on St. Mark's Place.

Soba Totto is one of my favorite places in the area. One of three upscale izakaya in midtown, I've often enjoyed the yakitori and somewhat exotic fare. All three locations roast interesting skewers of cartilage and rare chicken thighs and such. This location specializes in soba noodles, as seen in the soup on the right.

Most noodles are striking for their texture rather than flavor. Soba's buckwheat base adds another dimension. I'm told that the Japanese consider soba noodles to be comfort food, a taste of home. I'm not sure I have the vocabulary to pinpoint the difference, but I find the flavor to be heartier, meatier.

Paired with that was the bowl of ginger-marinated sauteed pork belly slices on a bed of rice. The whole meal, at $15 was a great deal.

I may have to return for lunch even when I don't just happen to be in the neighborhood.

July 16, 2009

Lunch Explorations

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I complain about the culinary wasteland that is Midtown, but all things considered, I'm in a relatively good spot to eat if I take a little more than the customary 15 minutes to grab something quick and eat at my desk.

Last week, Tammi and I started working on losing some weight. I refuse to call it a diet, but healthier living is probably for the best, so we'll see what happens. There may be some mention of it here and there on the blog, but if you want weekly updates on such things, see Ed Levine. That's not my thing.

Here's where it's relevant: One of my goals is to walk more and I figure what's more motivating for me that food? So, I'm trying to get out to some of those places that are pretty close to my office, but further than I would usually consider for lunch. Think 2nd Avenue, Curry Hill or Chelsea. All within 10 blocks of my office, but outside of the 2 block radius I typically lock myself into.

My trip to Baoguette was my first such excursion. My goal is to do this at least once a week. If nothing else, it should make for some more interesting eating options which can't be bad.

May 29, 2009

Taking Back The Streets of Midtown

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Starting Monday, May 25th, the Department of Traffic blocked off traffic on two stretches of Broadway in Midtown. It's part of a pilot program that creates a pedestrian mall for five blocks in Times Square and two blocks at Herald Square.

As someone who worked in Times Square for four years, I can't begin to tell you how much that extra room is needed. Just being able to bypass the tourists will be a vast quality of life improvement. Beyond that, having more outdoor space to sit in the sun and eat lunch in is greatly appreciated.

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On Sunday I was in the area and got to see the DOT workers repainting the road. It's exciting to see where the city is going with these pedestrian and bike-friendly programs. It started with more bike lanes popping up all over town, which has been very helpful to me as a nascent bike-rider. Then last year, the Summer Streets programs opened up miles of
road to bicyclists and runners and strolling pedestrians every Saturday in August.

Apparently, this is all the work of Janette Sadik-Khan, the Transportation Commissioner. I won't bother to paraphrase the more extensive New York Magazine article, which goes more in-depth into the commissioners plans as well as her opponents around the city.

I, for one, support the idea that since pedestrians vastly outnumber drivers, we should probably get more space. But that probably makes me as much a 'radical' as she is.

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Depending on how the pilot program fares, the spaces will be made permanent and the areas will be redesigned to cater to the new use. For now, orange barriers like these will keep the streets safe for pedestrians.

The unfortunate part of the entire arrangement is that most New Yorkers, myself included will still rush through these areas due to the complete saturation of tourists. But at least we'll be able to get by faster.

May 4, 2009

Lunch: Go Go Curry

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I love Go Go Curry. It's the perfect convergence of quirky Japanese culture and yummy Japanese curry.

Japanese curry is an interesting thing. It's certainly not like the Jamaican curry I grew up on. It's thick and muddy, almost like a chili, spicy and full bodied.

Go Go specializes in serving this curry gravy over plates of rice and then adding toppings that are the centerpiece of the meal. Chicken, pork, shrimp, and any number of other options including boiled eggs or natto, fermented soybeans are offered.

I chose katsu, pork cutlets which are pounded thin then breaded and fried, a preparation borrowed from the Germans, who call it schnitzel. The difference is the sweet sauce that accompanies katsu, here drizzled on top of the pork. It's awesome because there's so much going on here: The flavors of the sweet, the spicy and the porky compete with the textures of the crunchy breading, the tender meat and the slight mush of curry sodden rice.

Then there's the quirk. The entire theme of the restaurant revolves around Hideki Matsui of the New York Yankees, formerly of the Yamiuri Giants. The name Go Go is Japanese for 55, Matsui's number. Any day after he hits a home run, anyone who comes in gets a free topping.

I have no idea what baseball and curry have to do with one another, but as I've seen in Tokyo, it's more than just a game.

For a peek at all of the options, here's the awesome plastic display in the window:
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May 1, 2009

Lunch: Rafiqi's

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A couple weeks ago, when the weather first improved from the dreary rain mess of April, the hordes of office workers, myself included, flocked outdoors. Unfortunately, we all got in each other's way. The line for my usual curry cart was jammed.

I wandered around a bit looking for alternative curry suppliers and found Rafiqi's on Park and 32nd Street. I've often heard about the wonders of Rafiqi's, a chain of curry carts around the city which has blog reviews posted on the side of the cart.

The first noticeable difference was how quickly the line went. With 3-4 guys in the cart, they were churning out meals like a machine. Where I'd usually have to wait 15 minutes for my regular spot, I was in and out of line in 5 minutes.

The lamb, which had already been charred and was piled up on the skillet, was excellent. I found the chicken lacking, mostly because it wasn't actually curried. It was fine, certainly juicy, but it didn't hit the curry spot I was really looking for.

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Rafiqi's also offers a much bigger array toppings and additions than I've ever seen before at a curry cart. There was corn and cilantro and olives among other things. I didn't try too much this time around, but I could see myself giving Rafiqi's another go if old E&G Pyramid is a bit too overloaded.

Rafiqi's
Park Avenue South & 32nd Street

April 27, 2009

Kyochon Still Under Construction

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In the last week, Midtown Lunch reported the news that the KoreaTown announced Kyochon will not be opening for another couple months.

Today I peeked in the door and what I saw pretty much confirms that. Here are a few pics of the demolition still in progress:

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March 25, 2009

Lunch: Tina's Cuban Pork

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I've been eating at Tina's since it opened as Sophie's before the schism. Since the beginning, the pernil or slow roasted pork has been central to my meals there. I know, it's shocking. I used to get the Cuban, but they pre-make them, which just doesn't seem quite as fresh, although it's clearly quicker during the lunch rush. So I just go to a pernil sandwich with whichever combination of toppings that strike my fancy on any given day, these generally include cheese and raw or sauteed onions.

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Occasionally, I'll want something more substantial and have a whole meal, like this Pernil with rice and beans. This particular order defeated me, leaving me stuffed with quite a bit left over.

The pork is juicy and flavorful. Though it lacks the citrus flavor you get at Cafe Habana/Habana Outpost, given that neither of them are available in midtown, I'll take what I can get.

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Much more importantly is a recent addition to the offerings that I just discovered this on my last visitat Tina's: chicharrones. Chunks of crisp fried pork skin are available in large trays on the counter at Tina's. Ask for some and you'll get a bag and the opportunity to take as many chicharrones as you can fit. I crushed them up and sprinkled them over my meal, adding the random crunch to each bite. Glorious.

I'm not sure if Tina's is offering the 'Pernil with a Twist' Midtown Lunch special, but I'm much more interested in a 'Pernil with a Crunch' option.

March 23, 2009

Lunch: Little Italy Pizza

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This is the Marinara Mozzarella Pizza from Little Italy Pizza a block away from my job. It's no bargain at $3.50 a slice, but it's one of my favorite slices in New York, so I end up here almost every week.

Constructed counter-intuitively with thick slices of cheese directly on top of the crust then topped with dollops of sauce which leave thick puddles of sweet tomato and shredded basil on every slice.

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For all the wonders of the topping, the crust adds a dimension lacking in most regular slices: The inner layer is soft and chewy, complementing the slight resistance in each bite of the firm cheese. By contrast, the bottom layer is crisp and slightly charred, dotted with sprinkles of breadcrumbs all along it.

The sign says Little Italy Pizza, but it doesn't appear to be at all related to the much better known Little Italy on Vanderbuilt near GCT. Looking it up on Google Maps, the closest hit I get is "Big George Pizza," with an address on the corner, 2 doors down from the actual space. Whatever the pedigree, they must be doing something right given the recent expansion into the tobacco shop next door. That's a good thing

Little Italy Pizza
33rd Street between 5th and Madison.

March 20, 2009

Spring in Midtown

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Despite the snowfall this morning, today is the first day of Spring. Wednesday we got a preview of the season with highs around 60. My fellow Midtown denizens and I rushed out and took advantage of the opportunity to spend some time in the sun for lunch.

That evening, Tammi and I grabbed a round at Mé bar, which was full about 15 minutes after this shot was taken.

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Of couse, the next day we got rained on, a preview of April showers no doubt. Regardless, we'll ake what we can get.

March 16, 2009

Markets: HMart

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HMart is so ridiculously convenient to my office that I would probably love it just for being there even if it wasn't such an excellent source for otherwise obscure or hard to find ingredients.

Right in the middle of the KTown strip, stopping there on the way home takes me all of a block out of my way.

Marbled Short Ribs

Add to that the fact that I can get beef short ribs, pork belly, udon noodles and a vast array of Asian spices and condiments, and I'm amazed I'm not there every day.

H Mart NYC
25 W 32nd St # 1
New York, NY 10001
(212) 695-3283

Lunch: The Curry Cart

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There are few things I miss from my days of working in and around Times Square, but the street food definitely ranks up there. Unlike most of Midtown, the Murray Hill/Herald Square/Empire State Building area has a pathetically light Street Food population. When I read Midtown Lunch's pieces on carts and trucks serving all manner of food from Middle Eastern to Jamaican to Korean, I pine for Midtown North in a way I never really thought possible. Not that being below 23rd Street wouldn't be vastly better in all regards, but it's relative.

Besides a couple hot dog carts with pretzels and shish kababs, this cart, on the corner of 32nd and 5th Avenue is the only consistently available vendor of street meat. It's sad. But he's good and always has a decent crowd, so I'm sure he's not going anywhere any time soon. Until I stood there last week taking pictures while I waited in line, I had never noticed a name on the cart. Apparently it's E&G Pyramid Halal Cart.

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This is my usual: Chicken curry and lamb on yellow rice, topped with hot sauce and white sauce. Love it.

On the side he throws in some iceberg and a couple tomato chunks along with some sauteed cabbage, which is pretty tasty. But the main event is the meat. The chicken is season with a great curry mixture that I've tried and failed to replicate at home. It's spicy, but not over the top. The lamb is pre-cooked gyro meat, but he sears it on the griddle until it's got a great crispy char on the outside that adds depth to the blend of flavors and textures.

When I want something smaller, I just have the chicken wrapped on a pita. The mixtures of the sauces and the curry soak into the thick walls of the pita and become a medium for the combined flavors.

So, while I wish there was a bigger variety of street food in the area, at least part of that desire is so that I'd have a shorter wait to come back to this one.

March 11, 2009

Lunch: By Mandoo, Denied

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Weeks ago, I went to a dumpling party at Eric and Marni's. It reminded me that I had yet to partake in one particular treat in Koreatown, Mandoo, a dumpling and noodle house where the food is prepared fresh in the window for all to see. I've been passing it for some time, but always put off by the rather intimidating line that often stretches out the door.

Over and over since then, I have tried to pop in before the lunch rush, to no avail. I've avoided the option of calling in an order largely because it would require me to eat them at my desk, when I want to enjoy them uninterrupted by work-related nonsense. I hold onto it as my last ditch attempt. More to come...

March 3, 2009

Lunch: Golden City

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It's easy to forget Golden City is there. Between name changes, a move across the street last year, and an innocuous location in the middle of 33rd Street, it seems more like it's trying to elude attention than attract it.

Honestly, the Chinese food selection blends in with thousands of others across the city. And the buffet in the front has an anemic selection of offerings that I rarely give a second look.

What makes it worth remembering is the other cuisine. Behind Golden City's Chinese menu is an entirely different offering: Vietnamese food. Pho, Pork Chops, Summer Rolls, the whole shebang. Sadly, no Banh Mi sandwiches, but I make do with what I can get.

Before I discovered Pho 32 in Koreatown, this was where I went whenever I needed a hot bowl of soup on a crappy day. It's still a good backup if the crowds on 32nd Street are too much. Meat selections are standard, offering Brisket, Sirloin, Tripe and Tendon.

The star of the show to me, is the Pork Chop lunch special seen here. For $6.50, I get a pile of thinly sliced chunks of grilled pork on top of fried rice.

While the char is not quite as intense as I'd like, the coating of juices that permeate every bite more than makes up for it.

It also makes up for the odd music that was playing last time I was there. It was a compilation of pan flute music including "My Way" and "Take on Me." Yes, "Take on Me."

While I can't vouch for the music, the pork is wonderful.

In case of any confusion, here's a picture of the shop, with all three names clearly on display:

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February 25, 2009

Lunch: 2nd Ave Deli

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After watching Anthony Bourdain's special, "Disappearing Manhattan", I found myself suddenly and deeply hungry. In scene after scene, Bourdain hit classics around Manhattan that I really, really wanted, none moreso than the glorious pastrami sandwich at Katz's Deli.

I decided then and there that I had to have some pastrami for lunch the next day.

I knew I wouldn't be able to make it downtown during my lunch break, so I set my sights closer to home.

The new 2nd Avenue Deli re-opened in Murray Hill to much fanfare last year after an extended hiatus. A bit too much fanfare for me as my first attempts to eat there failed due to lines out the door.

Things are more reasonable now and I was able to get the lovely stack of thinly sliced smoked meat you see here in short order. The pastrami is lean and meaty with crisply textured edges. I slathered some tangy house mustard on the sandwich and it was gone in minutes.

Of course, I washed it down with a cream soda.

I can't say that I'm not still craving Katz's Pastrami, which is juicier and sliced thicker, but this was still great and worth coming back for. Next time I'm here, I'll be trying the tongue sandwich and maybe the gribnes I keep hearing about.

February 18, 2009

Lunch: Mondello's Chicken Parm

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The Chicken Parmesan, seen here, is the main attraction at Mondello. I've been coming here for lunch since I started working in the neighborhood five years ago and pretty much every time I've gotten this sandwich. When I get there, invariably there's a line of others at the hot food station all waiting for the same thing. It's no coincidence that that station is located closer to the door, I've seen the line go out the door on more than a few occasions.

The chicken is done right. They're plump and moist, probably due, in part, to the heavy turnover since the cutlets are never out long enough to dry out and shrivel up.

The sauce may be the best part of the whole sandwich. Mondello calls attention to this integral part of parmigiano dish that's so often overlooked. Where other places may dump pizza sauce on top, here, they offer a choice of regular and a meat sauce. Both have a salty, sweet flavor, but the meat sauce has a richness that adds another dimension to the sandwich.

Lately, I've been getting a mound of extra cheese on top to supplement the mozzarella that's already on the chicken when it's in the steam tray. It's not entirely necessary, but it just adds to the gooey awesomeness of the whole experience.

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Mondello
3 E 37th St
Midtown, New York, NY 10016
(212) 684-2411‎

February 11, 2009

Lunch Returns to Bon Chon!

Bon Chon Drumstick

I first wrote about Bon Chon Chicken almost two years ago, inspired by the buzz in the Times and on the blogs. A few weeks later I tried to take go with a co-worker and they had stopped serving lunch. I was crushed.

Yesterday, hours after getting the skinny on Kyochon, Midtown Lunch had another post about Bon Chon. Apparently it's been open for lunch for months and no one knew!

So, today after a particularly aggravating morning at work, I recovered with a Medium Hot & Spicy Combo:

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It was all I remembered: sweet and sticky with a tingly with a subtle spice that builds after the first two, three, four pieces. I stopped there out of a modicum of self-control, but also because I needed to proselytize. I brought back a handful of wings and gave them to the co-workers I knew would appreciate them. My first stop was the guy who missed out the first time. I felt I owed him.

What I had forgotten about was the particularly long wait time for the food. Despite the mostly attentive service and ordering as soon as I sat down, my order took about 35 minutes to show up. So, it's not a quick lunch, but it's delicious.

February 10, 2009

Kyochon, Coming Soon

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I've been passing this sign for a couple weeks now on the corner of 32nd and 5th Avenue, mere blocks from my office, but I had no idea what KyoChon was. Today I got the scoop from Midtown Lunch (which linked to my Pho post last week - thanks!):

Kyochon, the Korean fried chicken chain with U.S. branches in Flushing and L.A., is replacing the Brooklyn Bagel Cafe on 32nd and 5th in Koreatown. Called the "granddaddy of the Korean fried-chicken scene" Kyochon features fried chicken flavored with soy sauce, garlic, and ton of spices... oh, and there are spicy version available. And of course, the most important thing... it's open for lunch! No word on when it will open, but it can't be soon enough.

I'm so happy to hear about this as the two best Korean Fried Chicken places that I know around here are bars that don't open until 4pm.

February 8, 2009

New York Comic Con

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Yesterday I attended my first Comicbook Convention in about 15 years. I've been a regular reader of comics since I was 7, but the whole con thing died out for a while in New York and I never picked it up again after they started showing up again.

I totally forgot how crazy they can get. I led an expedition into the madness with Tammi and our niece and nephew in tow. We met up with Jason, who has kept up with the scene and waded through the hordes of costumed geekery for a few hours.

At this point, I'm not up for standing in line to get autographs or to check out creator panels and such, so we mostly wandered from one end of the show floor to the other, shopped a little and peeped some previews od video games that our nephew was very excited to see.

The costumed folks provided great photo subjects, and I took quite a few shots, although many of the good ones were obscured by the many many people there. The (mostly) good stuff is posted on Flickr, as usual.

February 6, 2009

Photo of the Day: Under the Red Light

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Midtown, NYC. 2009.

Hot Soup on a Cold Day

Pho

With the crap weather we've had lately, this big bowl of Pho hit the spot yesterday for lunch. I've mentioned the soup at Pho 32 before. This was my usual, the #4 with slices of brisket, tripe and tendon on top of a pile of noodles in a deeply beefy broth. All for $8.

February 3, 2009

Photo of the Day: The Secret

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CUNY Graduate Center, Midtown, NYC. 2009.

January 30, 2009

Graffiti of the Day: Think Twice


IMG_8734, originally uploaded by ultraclay!.

Midtown, NYC. 2008.

January 11, 2009

No Warm Welcome

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This isn't exactly what I found when I got home this morning, but it might as well be. While I was enjoying my great San Francisco day, walking around without a coat and sitting outside drinking wine, the Northeast got a dumping of snow and ice.

I guess it's just as well that I get used to winter weather now. In a week I'll be off to Aspen, where I'll be padding up in my thermals every day.

September 16, 2008

Brother Jimmy's


Brother Jimmy's, originally uploaded by ultraclay!.

Brother Jimmy's, a new bbq spot opened up a month or two ago near my office. I had never heard of it before, but the buzz at the time of opening was that it is part of a chain based mostly on the upper east side - and tended to attract a UES style crowd.

To the uninitiated, the ues pretty much has 2 groups, rich old people and twenty-somethings fresh out the frat house.

That said, most of the posts I read about Brother Jimmy's stuck to maligning the customer base, not the food, which generally got good marks.

This was the first time I came across it since it opened. I was on my way elsewhere so I didn't get a chance to go in, but I'll definitely be trying out their bbq soon.

Stay tuned.

Graffiti of the Day: Because We Need to be Heard


IMG_8681 - Version 2, originally uploaded by ultraclay!.

First Avenue, near Stuyvesant Town, NYC. 2008.

September 9, 2008

The Upside of Fall


IMG00014.jpg, originally uploaded by ultraclay!.

I can't say I'm particularly happy that summer just blew by this year. With so much going on, I didn't get nearly enough time to relax outside and enjoy the season. But with September here, there are some benefits to cooling weather.

I took advantage of today's dank and rainy weather to tuck into a nice bowl of Pho from Pho 32 in Koreatown. I came across it late in the spring and couldn't bring myself to have soup when it was upwards of 80 degrees out. So, this was my first opportunity to return.

This bowl, the number 4, I believe, has thin slices of beef brisket, flank, tendons and tripe along with noodles. All the different textures of meat and the rich broth were incredibly gratifying. If nothing else, I now know how I will survive the winter ahead.

Continue reading "The Upside of Fall" »

July 17, 2008

Breakdancing at the Library

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New York Public Library, Midtown, NYC. 2006.

This troupe performs on Fifth Avenue in front of the Main Branch of the New York Public Library. The most obvious member in the group is Q, a Japanese woman who was highlighted in a NY Times article last year. She's not just there as a gimmick though. Her moves are daring and playful. The rest of the group did their thing as well. I particularly liked the popper who strutted and bounced back and forth, posing the whole time.

Note: I posted the photo above among others and the description below to Flickr when I first signed up. I hadn't planned on blogging, so I just editorialized in the set description. I just came across it and thought a repost was in order.

July 14, 2008

Photo of the Day: Gun Hill Fence


Gun Hill Fence, originally uploaded by ultraclay!.

Midtown, NYC. 2006.

June 23, 2008

Bars: Rudy's


Rudy's, originally uploaded by ultraclay!.

Free hot dogs and cheap beer! There's nothing else to say. It's in Hell's Kitchen. Go!

Ok, there's a little more to say. Rudy's is this kick-ass little dive that is prolly not the best place for a first date or pre-theater dinner. When I worked in Times Square, I ended up here pretty regularly. It's definitely a good escape from the tourists and crowds, especially now that Bellevue and (I think) Siberia are gone. There's a small backyard that fills up pretty quickly.

June 8, 2008

Photo of the Day: Melting


IMG_0162, originally uploaded by ultraclay!.

Mé Bar, Koreatown, NYC. 2008.

Based on the weather reports, Tammi and I got out of town just in time to miss the heat wave that was set to hit New York. It's certainly not much cooler down here in Atlanta, but the AC is blasting wherever you go, so you only ever feel it briefly.

And we're heading to San Francisco this morning where we may actually be pining for temperatures over 70 degrees.
::c::

June 4, 2008

Photo of the Day: Tourists & Locals


Tourists, originally uploaded by ultraclay!.

Times Square, NYC. 2006.

May 29, 2008

Graffiti of the Day: Bombed


IMG_4695, originally uploaded by ultraclay!.

Hell's Kitchen, NYC. 2007.

DJ Dhundee at the Renaissance Times Square


IMG_9501, originally uploaded by ultraclay!.

Last night I stopped in for a couple rounds at the bar at the Renaissance Hotel Times Square. Typically, I'd avoid lingering in Times Square, but my friend Mike, a.k.a. DJ Dhundee DJs there every Wednesday night.

As soon as I got out of the elevator into the lobby, I heard "Feel Like Makin' Love" by D'Angelo and knew I was in the right place. There weren't a ton of folks out last night, which Fiona, the organizer attributed to the long weekend. I'll be sure to stop in again to see what a regular night is like. Crowds or not, it's nice to find a place to to hear some good music and have a beer in that part of the city.

Renaissance Hotel New York
714 Seventh Ave
New York, NY 10036

May 28, 2008

What's Old is New Again on the A Train


IMG_8754, originally uploaded by ultraclay!.

For the uninitiated, please excuse the subway geekery, for the subway geeks, please excuse the lack of precision. I'm into subways enough to notice when the MTA changes hardware, but not enough to memorize model numbers.

In the last few weeks, I've been seeing this relic circulating around the A line, my local train. The first time ,I thought it was a part of a movie shoot at Hoyt & Schermerhorn, where I believe they have been shooting parts of the Taking of Pelham 123. But then I started seeing it again and again to the point that I'm seeing them almost everyday now.

i mei on Flickr posted some shots of one and we've discussed this sudden mystery, but neither of us has any clue to it's reappearance.

It's an odd thing, because I haven't really seen this model around in years, yet suddenly it's back in rotation. I have to wonder if this is a money-saving attempt on the MTA's part. I'm all for it if it means more trains in the schedule, but somehow I expect the answer to be less in the interest of the riders than that.

May 8, 2008

Resto's Tete de Cochon Sandwiches


IMG00837.jpg, originally uploaded by ultraclay!.

Apologies for the low budget food porn, my cameraphone was all I had on hand.

I first heard about Resto and their Pig's head sandwiches when Eric passed me a link to a Grub Street post about it. The story goes that the chef started making this for the 'family meal' the crew shares before the dinner rush. It was so popular that they added it as a regular dish for customers. In fact, it's been the only thing I've ever seen on their specials board in either of the visits I've made to Resto.

The sandwich is served with pickled vegetables and crisply charred bread. Both offer a complexity that might otherwise be lacking, but can occasionally be overpowering. The char on the bread in particular can be a little more bitter than I really want. The pork is wonderful. Depending on which parts are included, you may experience the gummy chewiness of the skin or shreds of meltingly tender cheek meat.

It's a good thing this place is just outside of the 2-3 blocks I'm typically willing to walk for lunch. Otherwise, I'd be eating this a couple times a week.

March 17, 2008

Photo of the Day: St. Paddy's Day


IMG_3997, originally uploaded by ultraclay!.

St. Patrick's Day Parade, NYC. 2007. ::c::

March 5, 2008

Photo of the Day: Spice Rack


IMG_8712, originally uploaded by ultraclay!.

Kalustyan's has one of the best spice selections in New York. I love to go there and just find something I've never cooked with before to take home and play with. ::c::

Kalustyan's
123 Lexington Ave
New York, NY 10016

March 4, 2008

Photo of the Day: Smile!


IMG_8758, originally uploaded by ultraclay!.

Times Square, NYC. 2008.

February 27, 2008

Photo of the Day: Captain Polonia


Captain Polonia, originally uploaded by ultraclay!.

Polish Parade, Fifth Avenue, NYC. 2007.
::c::

February 23, 2008

Photo of the Day: Snow Storm


IMG_6630 - Version 2, originally uploaded by ultraclay!.

Sixth Avenue, Greenwich Village, NYC.

February 15, 2008

Photo of the Day: Liberties


IMG_6048, originally uploaded by ultraclay!.

February 11, 2008

Winter Makes an Appearance


IMG_6501, originally uploaded by ultraclay!.

For the first time this season, it actually looked like winter in New York. It was pretty surreal, given that it was sunny when I got on the train and was nearly a whiteout when I got out.

I, for one, haven't particularly missed winter and can happily report that none of it accumulated.

The Recession Special


IMG_5975, originally uploaded by ultraclay!.

In case you hadn't heard (over and over again) the economy isn't doing so hot these days. One of these days the folks who declare such things will have to admit that there's a recession going on. In the meantime, I've taken to shooting the going out of business signs and vacant storefronts that I come across. They're collected on Flickr.

This afternoon, I came across about a dozen vacant spaces on the 3 block strip on 8th Street, right around the corner from Gray's Papaya, the home of the original Recession Special.
::c::

February 7, 2008

The Biggest Loser? The Knicks


IMG00637.jpg, originally uploaded by ultraclay!.

Last night Eric and I went out ot the Garden to watch the Knicks lose and then eat Korean food. Everything went according to plan, the Knicks gave it up in the last few minutes and then we stuffed ourselves at Won Jo.

The game was actually pretty exciting, since they were playing another really bad team. Apparently the Pacers were also coming in on a long losing streak. It was a battle to see who was the biggest loser. The answer, of course, was the Knicks.

I've never been to a pro Basketball game before, so I found the entire experience interesting. What struck me was how small the court looked.

Inititially, we felt like our seats were really close, then during a time out the cheerleaders and other entertainers came out on the court. With dozens of normal sized people on the court, the space looks a lot bigger.

I'm think that baseball could learn from this. The upper deck would provide a much better view of the game if the athletes were 10 feet tall.

Something to think about...

January 31, 2008

Photo of the Day: The Dentist's Office


IMG00588.jpg, originally uploaded by ultraclay!.

Going to the Dentist sucks. ::c::

The Wedding: Venue Booked


IMG_0771, originally uploaded by ultraclay!.

This morning we signed the contract and booked Gary's Loft for the Wedding in November. This is where it all starts...

See shots of the venue in my Flickr Set.
::c::

December 14, 2007

New Hardware


IMG_0877.JPG, originally uploaded by ultraclay!.

Christmas came a couple weeks early this year.

Yesterday I bought a new camera, the Canon 30D. It's my first SLR, which means that everything I shoot is going ot crap for a while. The learning curve is considerable.

I figured I'd start out with some familiar subject matter and there's precious little I've shot more than the Empire State Building.
::c::

October 30, 2007

Shooting in the City


IMG_9470, originally uploaded by ultraclay!.

I went for a short walk with the camera during my lunch break and stumbled upon a giant crowd in front of the NYPL Main Branch. I was across the street when about 100 people with cameras darted downtown after a woman in a wedding dress. I thought about crossing the street to get a better look, but decided I really didn't care enough to deal with the crowd. I guess I'll never make it as a paparazzo.

I gather that it was more filming for the Sex in the City movie...
::c::

October 22, 2007

Photo of the Day: The Empire Strikes Back


IMG_7276, originally uploaded by ultraclay!.

I've finally gotten around to sorting through my flickr stream, along with some archives for a new batch of POTDs. Apologies for the absence for so long.

I figured I'd start with a familiar sight, my most photographed building.
::c::

September 11, 2007

Go!

Note to self (and anyone else reading this):
I have to go here.
::c::

July 5, 2007

No go at Dixie's


IMG_6012, originally uploaded by ultraclay!.

Last Thursday, we were supposed to meet up at Dixie's for their opening party. When I got there I found this line of people going all thr way to the corner. We bailed and went downtown instead.

What's funny is that we only ever saw anything written up on this place on Thrillist, which I hadn't even heard of before. I didn't see or hear about it anywhere else. Maybe everyone came to see the pony...
::c::

May 24, 2007

Photo of the Day: ESB Details


IMG_8685.JPG, originally uploaded by ultraclay!.

The Empire State Building, up close.

March 28, 2007

Bars: Mé Bar

IMG_2917.JPG

Spring is here. Yesterday New York had the warmest day of the year so far. It got up to 78, which beats the hell out of the frigid temperatures we had for most of the second half of winter.

After work Eric and I met up at Me Bar on the roof of the La Quinta in Koreatown. The bar is small and remarkably unglamorous, considering how fancied up so many roof bars can be. I got there just around 6pm, which is apparently the perfect time. When I got there, only two or three of the outdoor tables were taken, by the time Eric got there around 6:45, it was standing room only.

The beer selection was unexpected. It had some of the usual generic beer, but it also had some relatively obscure mid-shelf beers as well. I drank Red Hook ESB and Anchor Porter, Eric had Kirin. They also stocked Sol, a Mexican beer that you don't find in too many places.

Continue reading "Bars: Mé Bar" »

March 5, 2007

Bon Chon Chicken

All this talk of wings inspired me to finally check out some of the Korean fried chicken that I've been hearing about recently. I first read about it when The New York Times wrote about it. After writing the last post, I had a craving for more chicken wings, so I IM'ed Eric, who was down, obviously.

It's just around the corner from the main strip of Koreatown, 32nd Street between 5th and Broadway. I knew it was on the second floor, so I was expecting a non-descript side door to get in. It was definitely non-descript - and totally sketchy. There was a hand-written sign next to the elevator that said, "Elevator was broken, use stairs. Bon Chon Chicken." I walked down the hall to the dark stairway with a broken first step and wondered exactly where the hell I was going. The second floor landing was unlit, all that was there was a single, unmarked door. I had no idea if this was the right place and sort of wondered what sort of hole it was going to be.

Continue reading "Bon Chon Chicken" »


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