When David’s cousin, Alvin, told me he never had a banh mi before, I knew this problem had to be immediately rectified. The big question though was whether to take him to cheap but reliable Banh Mi Saigon or to fancy pants Baoguette. I’d been meaning to try Baoguette ever since TimeOut New York declared Baoguette’s classic banh mi to be the Best New Banh Mi of 2009. I’m not exactly sure why I trusted TimeOut, considering I’ve had quite a few unpleasant experiences with their past recommendations, but sometimes it’s hard not to fall for the hype. For example, Da Vinci Code, WTF?!
At the end, I chose to take Alvin to the new Baoguette on St. Marks since it was 1) closer to the train, 2) I never tried it before, and 3) I was trying to be a kind hostess by not dragging David’s cousin to a possibly scary hole-in-the-wall sandwich shop. We ordered two banh mis to share: the Catfish ($7) and the classic pork Baoguette ($5). Alvin laughed at me when he saw the prices. He hadn’t expected “the expensive Vietnamese sandwiches” to cost seven and under. OK, I know, $5 or $7 dollars is not a lot for a hero, but in Chinatown, a banh mi is only $3.50! Call me cheap, but those are the facts. Double the price = Expen$ive. MORE »
Living in a tiny pseudo one bedroom in the Lower East Side (and I’m not being modest when I say tiny), you would think David and I wouldn’t get too many visitors. On the contrary, we have guests every other month, at least. In the beginning, I wasn’t too thrilled about most of these guests. Not because these people were jerks, nasty, or had bad B.O., it’s just that I’m, to a certain extent, a private person (aside from the, ahem, blog, Twitter, and Facebook account). Recently though, I’ve begun to enjoy having friends stay over. I mean when do you have an excuse to go to nice restaurants and party it up during the work week unless you have guests from out of town? Sure you feel like death the next day at work, but it’s always worth it. And best of all, guests usually come bearing fun, and sometimes, delicious gifts. MORE »
For the past few years, I’ve suffered through bad brunches at David’s favorite French cafe in the Lower East Side. Watery salads, runny eggs, bad mussels that made me puke all night, I’ve eaten it all. Of course I could have refused, but considering all the grilled intestine and pigs’ feet dinners he’s braved, it’s the least I can do. Give and take, right? So you can imagine how happy I am now that David has a new favorite brunch place: Macondo. Hallelujah! Finally, the weekend torture has ended. MORE »
Last year, David and I went to Nougatine (Jean-Georges’ more budget-friendly restaurant) for lunch. The food was decent — except for a splodge of old micro basil gunk atop of my grilled squid — and affordable (3 course lunch prix fixe for $24.07), but the entire time I longed to be at Jean Georges next door. Sitting right by the entrance of Jean Georges, I felt like I was sitting at the uncool table while the cool table was just a few feet away. So this year, when the opportunity to take out-of-town guests to a nice restaurant presented itself (Gruezi Alvin and Alli!), I made reservations at Jean Georges. Unlike high school, coolness was just a click and $98 away. MORE »
After a mouth-scorching meal in Curry Hill, I always crave something sweet, something intensely sweet to counter the fire burning in my belly. My favorite Indian sweets are jalebis. At Curry in a Hurry, these sticky saffron-hued coils of fried batter are crispy on the outside and soaked with sugary syrup on the inside. Sold by the pound, around eight to ten jalebis — more than a sane person can eat in one sitting — will cost you about $2.38 ($7/pound). Jalebis are great paired with a cup of hot masala chai, but I gobbled these down with a disgusting chai latte at the Starbucks in the Union Square Barnes & Nobles because the BF wanted to read. The things you do for love. MORE »