This weekend I was stripped naked, poked, pulled and prodded into submission. No I didn’t spend a night in the slammer, I went to King Sauna, a Korean day spa, for a body scrub and a “relaxing” massage. My mom told me it would feel like heaven, but if that’s heaven, I’m scared what hell would be like. At one point, the massage involved my hair getting repeatedly pulled. But to be fair, my skin now feels incredibly soft and all the dry skin that had been building up on my body during the cold winter months is gone. My boyfriend says I’ve been tenderized. In addition, all the different hot tubs and saunas were pretty cool. I especially liked the cold Ice Room and walking over the hot stones in the Herbal Steam Sauna.
King Sauna has a real restaurant with an extensive menu, but after spending three hours at the spa, my mom and I decided to grab a snack from the juice bar and go home for dinner. Upon my friend Ellie’s recommendation, we got the Roasted Eggs (eggs roasted in their shells over hot stones, $2 for 3 eggs). MORE »
I should really title this post “Desserts at Sun Say Kai,” since I went there after eating a few spring rolls and an entire bowl of pho, but Chinese pastries aren’t really desserts. They’re more like portable mini-meals that a normal person would probably eat for breakfast or a mid-day snack. So, for the sake of appearing less like a glutton, let’s just say the snacking took place a few hours after lunch, not a few minutes.
At a Chinese bakery, I normally get either a roast pork bun (char-siu bao), a pineapple bun (bo lo bao), or a slice of rice cake (baak tong gou). At an attempt to watch my weight, I decided to nix the pineapple bun and got a sticky rice roll, a roast pork bun, and a slice of rice cake. Yes, I could have gotten just one pastry, but my rationale at the time was that I would just have a few bites of each. Of course that didn’t happen, but each baked good was only seventy to ninety cents. In my mind, if it’s that cheap, it doesn’t really count. MORE »
I’ll be making this post short, because I don’t want to waste more time with Megu than I already have. Basically, I went to Megu New York last week because it was Restaurant Week (i.e. participating restaurants offer a 3 course prix fixe meal for $35) and had a very mediocre meal. And for those who’ll say, it’s because I had the food from the Restaurant Week menu and not the regular menu, that wasn’t the case. David, of course, stubborn as he is, refused to order off the Restaurant menu and ordered from the regular menu. In fact, had he not done so, I would have thought Megu wasn’t all that bad. Surprisingly, the non-Restaurant Week dishes were actually worse than the Restaurant Week dishes. It was quite bizarre.
In addition, interpret it as you will, but when we were given menus, the Restaurant Week menu was not given to us. It was after the waiter came to take our order that I had to ask if there was a Restaurant Week menu. When I did, he stuttered a bit, and then returned with two heavily creased menus. No apologies. Was it an honest mistake? I doubt it. MORE »
I can’t stand Throwdown! with Bobby Flay. If you aren’t familiar with the show, basically Bobby Flay, a classically trained chef, goes around the country challenging small-time cooks to a cook-off of their specialty dish. Unfair is an understatement, especially when you consider Bobby appears each time unannounced at the poor victim’s mom and pop shop, with high tech gadgets and gizmos, fancy ingredients, and two sous-chefs in tow. It’s completely absurd, but even more absurd is that Bobby Flay usually loses, even with the odds in his favor.
So normally, I don’t give in to the hype of any restaurants featured on the show, but when I saw the Fish and Chips Throwdown! a few weeks ago with Mat Arnfield from A Salt & Battery winning, I have to admit I was intrigued. David loves the fish and chips at the Coffee Shop in Union Square, so once in a while I’m dragged there against my will. You see, I’m not a big fan of the Coffee Shop. The food isn’t horrible, but the pretentious wannabe actors/models working there drive me crazy. The place seems to be more about scene rather than food. Once the bouncer there actually tried to start a fight with a guy in my group because he claimed he pushed him. Now aren’t bouncers supposed to be stopping fights not starting them? So as a result, I’ve been trying to find a decent fish and chips place without much luck in New York for the past few years. A Salt & Battery I heard was good, but when their 2nd Avenue location closed a while back, I thought they were gone for good. However, after watching the Fish and Chips Throwdown!, I learned they still had a shop in the West Village, so this past Sunday, I dragged David to A Salt & Battery with hopes of finding him a new favorite fish and chip shop. MORE »
Yes, yes, y’all, it’s a post about jokbal (족발), pigs’ feet! If pigs’ feet make you squirm, get over it. It’s delicious. Fatty and gelatinous, it’s good eaten alone, wrapped up in a ssam, or eaten as a bar snack (anju, 안주) with some refreshing soju. Jokbal is made by boiling pigs’ feet in a stock of soy sauce, ginger, garlic, and rice wine. It’s then sliced off the bone and served, along with the smaller joint pieces for the brave few to gnaw on. It’s quite a long and tedious process, and many people don’t make jokbal at home. In the US, it’s usually sold at Hmart or Korean butcher shops. When I was little, I remember Ellie‘s mom was one of the few who used to make jokbal. Not only would she make it, she would remove all the meat and roll it up and chill it, which we would then slice, dip in sehwoojut (tiny shrimp brine, 새우젓), and devour after school. No milk and cookies for us! It was good without the hassle of all the bones. Thanks Mrs. P for the tasty memories!
This weekend, I went to visit my parents in New Jersey, and I finally had some jokbal from Hankuk Jungyuk (한국 정육). (Hankuk Jungyuk is a butcher shop on Broad Avenue with lots of prepared foods. The space it’s in also houses Kyedong Chicken (계동치킨), which is similar, but according to my brother, inferior to Bon Chon Chicken. The front of the store actually has two signs in Korean, Kyedong Chicken on the left and Hankuk Jungyuk on the right. Since the same owner seems to own both, for all intents and purposes I’ll be referring to the place as Hankuk Jungyuk.) My mom has been talking about the jokbal there ever since they moved to Palisades Park four years ago, but I’d always been too full gorging on one thing or another to ever try it. This time though, I was ready. Bring on the feet! MORE »