Wednesday, April 25

To Write, or Not to Write

i've had this blog for about 7 (HOLY COW-that long?!) years now, and my enthusiasm and my time for it has severely waned since when i began in 2006.  while some of it can probably be attributed to my lack of 7 am nights out and reedonkulous stories, i personally think that most of it is just because i'm lazy.  if i could direct dial a line into my head that transcribed my thoughts onto this blog, then this blog would always be jam-packed with commentary, posts, and events. alas, no one's invented that yet (and probably shouldn't).

so it's with much appreciation and gratitude that i read the blogs listed on the bloglist in my sidebar. these writers post almost every day, and, for the most part, make it interesting.  if you've never written a blog, then you have no idea how hard those 2 tasks are to do simultaneously.

which brings me to present post. should you bother to write about things that are "meh"? for reviews, i actually really love reading that a restaurant or venue or movie was "meh" or worse. it's a clear warning not to go. but to make the effort to write that something's "meh" is actually much harder than to write that something's "yeah." 

i recently had a date at Ardesia on the west side. like FAR west side.* past Tenth Ave west side. but at least on the way over i finally learned where Totto Ramen and Casellula are located. as soon as i walked in the door, i understood why reviews had pegged this as both a "good date" place and a good "catch up with a friend" place.  it's small enough and intimate enough to be date-y while at the same time open and bright enough to be friendly. and during the afternoon, with the wall to ceiling windows, you can imagine how bright and sunny this place is.

Duck Banh Mi
Quail Egg Toast
Roasted Cauliflower
Homemade NY Style Pretzels
the food at Ardesia was fine, although nothing really blew me away and wine by the glass/bottle is a little bit pricey but not overly so. all the reviews on-line had touted their Home NY Style Pretzels ($6) so we got an order to start. meh. it was a little too chewy for me, reminding me of those frozen microwave pretzels you can get at the supermarket. maybe because it had chilled? the dipping sauces of a very spicy mustard and light cheese sauce was good though. similarly the Duck Banh Mi ($14) was also just ok. not bad, just not great. it had all the ingredients for a banh mi, while at the same time being just 2% short of perfect on each ingredient. the best things we ordered were the Quail Egg Toast ($9) and Roasted Cauliflower ($8).  the cauliflower had a tart and smoky flavor from the garlic and lemon and gremolata. the only difficult part about it was trying to be lady-like while picking at the smaller crumbly pieces of cauliflower. the Quail Egg Toast was a perfectly fried quail egg on top of a sliced baguette with bacon and hollandaise. and in this instance, the individual ingredients made a perfect sum of its parts.

i didn't get to see the check, but i'm going to guess it was a pretty penny since aside from the food, we'd also each ordered 3 glasses of wine and then shared a bottle. as to Ardesia, i would probably go back if i lived in the neighborhood, but i wouldn't make a special trip. which, oddly enough, sort of reflects how i felt about my date too. 

then there's a place like Son Ja Jang 손짜장, which i went to a bajillion years ago back when i was still living in NJ. i had gotten off work early and decided i wanted to stop at Face Shop in Pal Park and brought my cosmetic loving cousin along since she had finished classes for the day. we went and looked at crazy face masks and other fun stuff before stopping into Son Ja Jang for some jjajang noodles and sweet and sour pork. they do these amazing half-and-half bowls where you can pick between jjajang noodles, sweet and sour beef and jjambbong. so my cousin ordered the half sweet and sour beef + jjambbong while i ordered the jjajang noodles + sweet and sour beef (both were $10.99 each).

the noodles are all hand made, and there's a window where you can watch the chef making your noodles (and by chef i mean that mexican guy). and korean sweet and sour beef is a very different flavor from chinese sweet and sour beef. in both texture and taste. i really liked my combo, as did cousin, although her spicy seafood noodle soup was really spicy. like melt your face off spicy. and we are not timid spice eaters.

so why wouldn't i write about the delicious food at this place? am i trying to be greedy and keep this place a secret all for myself? no, not really. and although i would definitely travel back here and eat again, it's not some place i would take a guest/friend to as destination dining. this restaurant is literally a hole in the wall in the back of building. it's really small and has absolutely no atmosphere to speak of. but if i lived in Pal Park, i would probably get food here a lot. and based on the frequent take-out customers that kept coming in, i'm guessing they do good business in that respect.

*do you remember that movie, How High? "you east coast? i FAR east coast."

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