Tuesday, December 3

Japanese for Jews

so the title of this post is a little racist. i'm not actually sure that Kotobuki is Japanese cuisine for Jews. however, when i googled the restaurant, that's what practically every review and Yelp entry referenced. 

the food at Kotobuki doesn't indicate any Jewish heritage. instead, it's more like Asian fusion cuisine. at a very reasonable price. the only reason the restaurant doesn't "speak" to me is because i'm not a big sushi roll person. i usually go for the basic and plain options (yellowtail, Boston, Alaska, etc.) or else i go straight for sashimi. but if you're a big fan of crazy and inventive sushi roll combinations, then Kotobuki may be just the place for you.

i was at the restaurant at the suggestion of a date. i'd mentioned in conversation that i like Japanese food, so it was a good first step that he remembered my comment and chose Kotobuki for our first date. but he got a slight minus point for not liking salmon, which i am a big fan of. so in that spirit, i tried to order foods we could share that didn't have salmon in it.

i'd heard great reviews about their sushi and sashimi platters, which are served in portions for 2, 3, or 4. the price on these platters is more than reasonable when shared and, based on the pictures on-line, can usually feed more than the allotted people.

first off, i like the little yam noodle side dish they serve at the beginning of the meal. it's a little spicy, but in a good way.



My date chose:
1. Age Tofu ($5): this was actually very good. the sauce was light but flavorful, as it should be.  and the outside was crispy but the inside was still tender. i don't order this dish often, but if it's always served this way, i would order it more often.



2. American Dream ($9.50) (tuna, yellowtail, salmon, shrimp tempura, eel, avocado, cucumber, tobiko, and spicy mayo in a blended roll topped with sweet sauce): this was good, although it's really just a mishmash of fish and acceptable western sauces. 



I chose:
1. Hamachi Kama ($9.50): Kotobuki is the first restaurant i've come across that offers this in 3 ways (fried/broiled/marinated). usually, this dish is served broiled. the portion of this dish is huge but it was drier than usual. it also wasn't the most attractive dish to pick at while on a date...

2. Yellowtail Jalapeno ($14): a generous serving with delicate and tangy sauce.

(photo courtesy of Chopstick NY)
I also choice something that i can't currently find on the menu. The Viaduct is black pepper seared tuna thinly sliced and wrapped around lobster salad served on top of a cucumber slice. while the flavor was ok, the texture of this dish was way too mushy. maybe that's why i can't find it on the menu anymore...


i would give Kotobuki another try, if only to share a sushi and sashimi platter with friends. seriously, according to the pictures, the serving is very generous. otherwise, i'd rather stick to the less fancy but tried and true favorites on St. Marks. 

Thursday, September 5

Youngins

last night i went on a second date with a nice, adorable guy. 

who is 5 years younger than me. 

seriously, he's like a baby compared to me.

admittedly, when i went on my first date with him, i was more enticed by the restaurant he had picked vs. him. i had been reading a restaurant review for Psari and happened to get a text from the Youngin asking me to go to dinner at the same restaurant. and that's how i found myself on our first date. 

side note: Psari is off the hook good. if you like seafood, then absolutely run there. it's affordable and the food is very well cooked. the service is also affable and homey. we had the most adorable woman as our waitress. she was like my cool aunt giving us winks and nudges since we were obviously on a date. 
Seafood Combo ($30)
Grilled Octopus ($15): this was so good.
the date went well: he was easy to talk to and kind of adorable. 

which brought us to our second date. this time he came to my neighborhood (i won the coin toss) and we went to Brooklyn Buschenschank for some pizza (yes, it's a German bar. but it has a wood-fired oven and makes incredible pizza).
The Villager ($13)
Pretzel with Bier Cheese ($8): epic bier cheese, a little spicy, but the pretzel can get a little salty.
i forgot how perfect this bar is for a date. during the daytime/afternoon it's not bad either, but is suitable for both friend outings and dates. at night time, the place is dimly lit with only the candles on the tables providing the ambient light. très romantic. 

it was a pleasant date with nothing to really complain about. and i haven't really thought too much about where this whole thing is headed, since part of me considers him too young to be thinking about anything seriously. hence, we haven't had the "expectations" conversation yet.

what i did find interesting was the obvious "boldness of youth" that he had. most dates i go on, who happen to be closer to my age or older, tend to be reserved in the initial few dates, and that's fair, because so am i. 

so i was little surprised when, after we exited the bar, Youngin reached out to hold my hand for the walk back.it's a bold move for a second date. but also kind of sweet. people don't go for the simple hand-hold anymore during the casual dating phase of getting to know each other. it's usually one extreme or the other e.g. no physical contact at all or too much too soon.

but then again, Youngin is young enough that he still sees everything with rose-colored glasses. he hasn't experienced too much rejection and can still shake off bad experiences because they're few and far between. and that allows him to be bold and act without fear. it's adorable but also a stark reminder of just how far apart we are in age and our experiences.

but for now, i'm just gonna enjoy the ride and let myself get swept up a little in the capriciousness and straightforwardness of youth.

Thursday, August 29

J.Rabbit

i recently stumbled upon the korean indie group, J Rabbitt, and immediately became enamored with their songs and style. definitely out of the realm of the usual kpop i listen to.




the fact that they're not a manufactured, over-produced group makes them more endearing. plus they're a women duo (don't see many of those) who write and compose their own songs. one girl plays all the instruments and the other one sings. and they're only 26-years old. PLUS, although they have officially debuted and released 2 albums, they're pretty much part the amateur-youtube-movement, which, Bieber aside, i like because acts that come from that medium without all that corporate backing usually truly represent what the people like/want. they're actually part of a collaborative project with other indie artists called friendz.net



Monday, August 26

even i wanted to be a hipster

i always have a comrade to explore Williamsburg now that Bubby has moved into her new residence in the midpoint between Williamsburg and Bushwick (which we have affectionately named "Bushburg"). 

and so it was that this past sunny Sunday, i hopped on the B62 which dropped me off right in front of Supercore for brunch with Bubby. even though it was 1 pm when i met her, the place wasn't very full. i guess hipsters wake up late, because the place got packed right in the middle of our brunch.


Supercore has a clearly Japanese influence and food style, although it also caters to the less adventurous by offering American brunch and entree options as well. the indoor space is small but there is an adorable backyard in the back, with plenty of shade to avoid the sun but still enjoy the warm weather.

Bubby and i were immediately enticed by the $20 unlimited brunch option, which allowed you to pick any entree from the menu and have unlimited brunch drinks: sake bloody mary; beer with lemon, ginger, and honey; sake mimosa; and 1 other option which escapes me. if you plan on drinking more than 2 drinks (each drink costs $6), then i recommend going with the brunch deal.  since Bubby and i were both recovering from our prior night out, we skipped the option since we only had 1 drink each. i highly recommend the beer which is super light and refreshing with fresh ginger and lemon slices added directly in the drink. like a beer lemonade. 

we were both looking for stick-to-your-ribs hearty food, so it's no surprise that i ordered the Beef Curry (stewed for 4 days served with brown rice and roasted potatoes) ($9.50) and Bubby ordered the Meatballs (with homemade tomato sauce served with brown rice and roasted potatoes) ($9.50).  both of us housed our dishes as soon as they came out and it was the perfect remedy for our minor hangover discomfort. 

Photo courtesy of Stella Im Hultberg

afterwards, we walked off our meals with a trip to Brooklyn Flea for all the unique but ridiculously-priced wares where we ran into Bubby's friend. she directed us to Fabbrica for some coffee in a cool setting. although we didn't sit down, the place looked good and was full but not packed, which is a good sign. 

i also realized how "liberal" Bubby and i are: 2 men got in line in front of us to purchase coffee. 1 of them was holding the most adorable half asian/half white baby bay. being in Williamsburg, i made the assumption that the baby belonged to the 2 men, e.g. the 2 men were a gay couple. when i commented about how adorable "their" baby was, Bubby also made the same assumption and agreed. as soon as i said it, i realized that the baby didn't have to belong to the 2 guys, it could just as easily be that the father was in a heterosexual relationship/marriage with an asian woman who just happened not to be there with the 2 men.

about 5 seconds later, an asian walked in and approached the father and baby. 

just goes to prove, you should never jump to assumptions. 

Thursday, August 22

Hypocritic Oath

nobody likes being lied to. However, although we know this, that doesn't mean we don't lie to others.

nowadays, i don't find myself having to lie very often. i also tend not to put myself in situations where i do have to lie. the biggest fibs i usually tell people now is when someone asks me to go out and i don't feel  like it and i use the "i have work/errands/stuff to do" excuse.  The older you get, the better you get at lying. It's because you learn that you should lie sparsely and, if you do, use it judiciously. Spur of the moment, panic lies are often the ones that get you in trouble. Meticulously thought out and judiciously used lies can usually pass undetected.

most importantly: you should never ever get caught. because, and bringing the argument full circle, nobody likes being lied to. and when they discover that you have lied to them, no matter how big or small, the trust between the 2 of you has been broken.

i recently, inadvertently, caught my friend in a lie. i'd point-blank asked him something that morning which he denied. later on that afternoon, i found out, through someone else, that my friend had lied to me. it wasn't something big that he'd lied about and it certainly doesn't significantly impact my life(ok, well that's debatable, but it doesn't affect me immediately), but it still bothers me. and to pinpoint it down to 1 thing: the act of lying to me is what bothers me. nothing else, just that action. the act itself speaks volumes more than what he lied about.

sometimes a seemingly innocuous act is what creates the small crack in the ice that can break the whole the pond. 

Monday, August 12

Lunch Special

i don't often get to partake in amazing lunch specials because i work in the land of lunch-suck aka FiDi. 

but every once in a while, i'll take a secret staycation day off and during those days, i can go to Soba-Ya to partake of their lunch special.  lunch is only served from 12 pm-3:30 pm and there is always a wait.  on the day i went, Puppy and i were lucky to have gotten seated before they stopped seating people. which they do even if there is a giant crowd of diners waiting.

i'm never fortunate enough to get there in time to get the Lunch Box Set ($17) of which there are only 25 servings prepared each day. it's my elusive Holy Grail along with the cronut. so instead i ordered the Salmon Sashimi Don Lunch Set ($14.50) which is a small bowl of rice topped with salmon sashimi, a small cold soba with dipping sauce, a trio of oshinko, and a miso soup. 


i love their lunch sets. they bring out the tray laden with all my food and it makes me so happy. and it's pretty filling but without that afternoon food coma feeling. 

Wednesday, June 5

The Road Not Taken

TWO roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveler, long I stood
And looked down one as far as I could
To where it bent in the undergrowth;        5
Then took the other, as just as fair,
And having perhaps the better claim,
Because it was grassy and wanted wear;
Though as for that the passing there
Had worn them really about the same,        10
And both that morning equally lay
In leaves no step had trodden black.
Oh, I kept the first for another day!
Yet knowing how way leads on to way,
I doubted if I should ever come back.        15
I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.
                                                             
      -Robert Frost. "The Road Not Taken" from Mountain Interval

although i live in the beautiful and bustling city of New York, as a resident, i often take it for granted. until recently, although it was only 4 blocks away, i had never walked to the piers at Brooklyn Bridge Park. in fact, unless it was for something specific i.e. Smorgasburg or Photoville, i wouldn't travel to BBP much at all. 

so imagine my surprise when i found out how close Pier 6 and Pier 5 were to my apartment and how much i'd been missing out.  so what else was i missing out on? 

luckily, more and more of my friends have begun moving into the neighborhood, which means more people to explore with. which is exactly what Goldilocks and i did on a random evening after work. 

we started at Piers 5 & 6, observing the newly turfed soccer fields and the amazing view across the East River/Hudson (i don't know which one it is. i'm geographically challenged). did you know there is a whole barbecue area with accompanying picnic tables available? who needs a backyard space when i can just go grill in the park?

from there Goldilocks and began walking up towards Pier 1. there's been so many changes to the park that i never knew about. there now exists a suspension bridge to connect the Promenade to the park. 


but the most interesting finds were the secluded pathways within the shrubbery that take you from the inner walking path to the outer walking path near the water. usually i wouldn't take this kind of route because (as is probably obvious) i'm not really an outdoors girl. and dark pathways where i can't see the end don't entice me very much. but thanks to Goldilocks, i did that particular evening and learned something more to love about my park.

since then, i've been heading over to the park at least twice a week. who knows what else i'll uncover?

Thursday, May 23

pasta for breakfast

Groupons will probably be the bankruptcy of me. 

even though i've curbed my addiction, i still have a giant pile to get through (which is probably why i related so well to the episode of Happy Endings where Alex attempted to use up all her expiring vouchers. and if you've never watched Happy Endings, you should get on that).

and so i found myself at Spina during one of the nicer Saturday mornings to meet Pal for brunch. it's a small restaurant in Alphabet City that is easily overlooked due to it's proximity to some other more hyped restaurants, but it has a nice neighborhood/comfort feel to it. it also never seems to be packed (when Pal and i arrived, we were the only people who chose to sit inside the restaurant). i could imagine that on a summer evening this place could be a nice romantic spot.

part of the offer allowed each of us to order a brunch cocktail, although the $10 bottle of Prosecco offered regularly on their brunch menu was tempting. however, Pal, recently discovering she's allergic to gluten and recovering from a minor surgical procedure, smartly opted not to drink alcohol so i drank both her drinks.

we ordered the PEI Mussels (white wine, black pepper, cherry tomatoes, and chive oil) to start. holy these were good. the sauce packed a peppery punch while still remaining light and the portion was a good size for sharing. if only they served bread with the appetizer...

for entrees, Pal decided to "man up" and try Steak and Eggs for the first time. it was kind of adorable how she thought a 6 oz steak, eggs and potatoes was a "manly" breakfast meal. i didn't try it but it looked good and was a sensible portion for brunch e.g. enough to feel satisfying but not make you want to go home and go to sleep right afterwards.

i was waffling between ordering a breakfast item or a pasta. in the end, on the waitress's recommendation, i ordered the Malloreddus (saffron gnochetti with veal and pork tomato ragu). best decision ever. tiny little gnocchi pieces topped with a rich and flavorful meat sauce. i was in breakfast pasta heaven. and again, sensible portions so that i felt satiated at the end of the meal, but not like i had eaten a ginormous bowl of carbohydrates.

the Groupon deal was $29 for an appetizer, 2 entrees, and 2 drinks which made our meal a good deal but even without it, i would probably go back. the prices are reasonable and the food is good. plus, with so many other restaurants in the area touting 1+ hour waits, it could be a good place to go in a pinch.