December Wrap-Up – NYC & TO
Happy 2015! How did 2014 go by so slowly and so fast at the same time? Mine was full of ups and downs, and I think I mentally aged a lifetime in the process, but I’m still alive, kickin’, and eatin’.
In 2014, I fell in love with Breads Bakery. Recently, my new bae surprised me with a box of pastries from the aforementioned bakery, and it made my heart go pitter-patter. The cannelé ($3.25; pictured at top of post), larger than the ones from Dominique Ansel and with a denser shell and wobblier custard center, is a must-buy. The crisp, nutty marzipan cookies with a not too sweet jelly center ($2.75) are also a favorite, as are the rich, cocoa-heavy chocolate rugelach (2 for $3.25). Chocolate is scrumptious, but also do try the sweet cheesy rugelach as well.
But one can’t survive on sweets alone. In December, lots of pizza was had.
The Patate alle Carbonara ($17) at Marta — topped with potatoes, guanciale, pecorino, and a barely cooked egg — is the best breakfast possible.
GG’s in the East Village is cranking out all sorts of pizza deliciousness as well. There’s about five pies on the menu, but you can also customize your own. Anchovy and fennel agrodolce ($19; pictured above) is a nice combo, but when in doubt, order the square Grandma Pie ($18), with crunchy edges, lots of salty pepperoni, and enough dried oregano to remind me of the Sicilian slices of my youth.
Naturally, Chinese was also had. I was in Toronto for work half of December, and the best meal I had was this bowl of roast duck noodle soup from King’s Noodle (C$5.99). I’ve had LOTS of roast duck in New York, and also in Hong Kong, but the roast duck at King’s was the most tender to date.
More xiao long bao were also eaten at The Bao, probably my favorite East Village restaurant of the moment, but don’t miss out on the apps like the squishy, spicy Squashed Pepper & Eggplant ($12.95) which comes with a pestle to continue the mashing fun.
And because passed $1 pinxtos are always a great deal (every Tuesday), a visit to Huertas was inevitable. The pinxtos are tasty, but truly single bites and slow in coming, so a few items from the menu are necessary. The Arroz Negro ($14), squid ink Calasparra Rice with aioli is briny and satisfying, but the Huertas Rotos ($13), potato pasta-like strands with a chorizo vinaigrette and a gently poached egg on top, is always a crowd-pleaser. Surprisingly, the vegetarian version without the chorizo is also very good.
Again, Happy New Year! My life is still a bit crazy at the moment, and as you may have noticed, posts on the blog aren’t as frequent as past years, but I’m still eating full throttle. Visual evidence of said eating can be found on my Instagram account (@TiaJKim), so please follow me there if you haven’t already. I have a feeling 2015 will prove just as, if not more, delicious.
18 E 16th St (b/n W Union Sq & 5th Ave; map)
New York, NY 10003
29 E 29th St (b/n Madison & Park Ave; map)
New York, NY 10016
511 E 5th St (b/n Ave A & B; map)
New York, NY 10009
296 Spadina Ave (map)
Toronto, ON M5T 2E7
13 St. Marks Pl (b/n 2nd & 3rd Ave; map)
New York, NY 10003
107 1st Ave (b/n 6th & 7th St; map)
New York, NY 10003
Hello. I have been remiss in following your wonderful blog. Also, you. I did notice the new BF on FB, so I hope you are happily reveling in the first few months of new love, you know, before the farts stink.
That potato pizza looks just wonderful. I had a potato pizza in Germany some years ago, but kind of forgot it. As a Hebrew-American, this combination is kind of 11 on the 1-to-10 scale. Maybe even 12. Throw in some lox, and it would be totally off-scale.
Last august, I had a wonderful Korean retirement lunch on 32nd street, restaurant unremembered. It was about 8 people, and there were endless unordered little side-dishes. I have, in the last year, lost lots of weight, and one of the major snack replacements has been kimchi. The restaurant meal had many kinds of kimchi. Our local Asian market has exactly one kind. The last time we were there, I spotted the manager (at least, that’s what his name tag said) and griped to him about it at length (“There are endless varieties of kimchi. You can carry only ONE?”) He looked kind of sheepish. Do Korean-americans make their own? Are there Korean shops that carry more? I just recently learned about the kimchi refrigerators–do americans own those too?
One of my main lunches is the fusion cuisine kimchi-on-rye-bread-with-caraway-seeds.
And on a final sad note–the Hello Kitty store on 42nd street closed a few months ago, apparently along with all the east-coast Hello Kitty shops. But the Hello Kitty airline seems to be expanding. I think it now serves Europe.
@Ephraim! – Miss you too!
Yes, I love potato pizza too! Carb-on-carb action, THE BEST!
Yes, Korean-Americans make their own kimchi and we do have kimchi refrigerators. My mom has 2! If you like weird kimchi combos, try a bagel with cream cheese & kimchi. I used to eat that a lot when I was little.
Haha, funny about that Hello Kitty store, but again, glad to be away from Times Square!