Category Archives: Food

Bagel Oasis

Bagel Oasis – New York’s Best Bagel

I always hear New Yorkers bicker about their favorite foods and how there can only be ONE pure variety of anything: Laduree for macarons, Magnolias for cupcakes, Dominique Ansel’s cronut, Levain’s cookie, blah blah blah, and eventually someone will say something like ESS-A-BAGEL for bagels.  What? Ess-a-bagel?  Wait, you’ve been in New York for how long?Ess-a-bagel is GREAT.  A very delicious Manhattan bagel with multiple and accessible outposts.  They’ve benefited from word-of-mouth marketing.  I admittedly go there when I’m craving a bagel and have sent multiple people on the mini-pilgrimage to the so-called best bagel of NYC.  Service is always kind, rushed, and follows everything by the New Yorker way.But obviously these Manhattanites haven’t been to Bagel Oasis (or haven’t had a friend kind enough to bring them one).  I hardly go there, if not for my best friend requesting when I come to visit her in Grenada to bring New York bagels.

I’m a bit biased because like every other New Yorker I have grown up on THE BAGEL–my idea of perfectly delicious and always consistent chewy soft circular bread with a layer of crust.  This bagel is from Bagel Oasis in Fresh Meadows.  Yes, this coming from the girl who hates bread.  I used to eat it “Chinese-American style” with roast pork from my Great Aunt’s restaurant Fan Fan right down the block.More objectively, I can still say I think this is the best bagel in New York.  Not only is it perfect when you buy it fresh and room temperature, but also when you toast it (which I can’t say for Ess-a-bagel).
If you have any friends who drive or feel like taking a detour on the way to JFK, totally stop by Bagel Oasis.
18312 Horace Harding Expy
Fresh Meadows, NY 11365
(718) 359-9245 | bageloasis.com
Tamago at Sushi Nakazawa

Sushi Nakazawa

I’m not sure if NY’s supposedly best sushi restaurant is actually the best. Everything is GREAT. Nakazawa, the man himself, has an incredible personality, fish is freshly sourced from our two coasts and Japan, and service is spot-on.  However, I still prefer Sushi Yasuda which certainly isn’t as hard of a reservation–you’ll need luck getting a reservation at Nakazawa now that they have four stars from the NY Times.

The whole sushi bar is seated at the same time, and omakase service mostly starts together.  If one person is very late, likely the whole service will be a little behind (that was me, whoops!).

Here are some photos:

www.sushinakazawa.com/?

 23 Commerce St
New York, NY 10014
(212) 924-2212

 

 

Moon Cakes – Kwong Wah Cake Co.

Kwong Wah Cake Co. Moon Cakes Chinese NYC

Whenever I don’t know something about Asian culture, I always get a “you didn’t know that?”  Hey now, I’m actually an ABC (American Born Chinese) and you can’t possibly expect me to know everything.

My latest discovery are the different (weird) stuffings for mooncakes.  A group of Chinese Americans brought me to Kwong Wah Cake Co.; to their surprise I bought one of every flavor with full shock-and-awe exclamations and they had each only bought a snack for the day. Whoops!

Kwong Wah Cake Co. is a petite bakery on Grand St and Mott, just a stone’s throw away from Di Palo’s, my favorite deli.

They have a few flavors (which all also come in a salted yolk option–it looks like a hardboiled egg yolk in your mooncake):

  • Black bean –  a sweetened black/red bean, not those funky fermented ones that come with your Chinese takeout black bean sauces
  • Coconut – a shredded coconut with nuts that is only barely sweet by comparison to your typical American coconut dessert.
  • Mixed nuts – a semi chewy composite of coarsely ground nuts (though my Grandmother remarks that they should have been whole nuts, that probably would have broken her teeth!!)
  • Mixed nuts with ham (photo above) – the same mixed nut moon cake with some additional pork
  • Lotus seed/White Lotus seed – I’ve been told this is the most authentic and luxurious.  The funny thing about demand is that now this filling is also mass produced and is easily found in Chinese supermarket boxes.

 

Kwong Wah Cake Co.
210 Grand St # A
New York, NY 10013

 

If you are interested in more mooncake information this site proved pretty comprehensive: http://www.chinatownconnection.com/chinese-mooncake.htm

Gramercy Terrace Revisited

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Gramercy Terrace is still a never fail lunch spot with lovely cocktails and a revised menu since I last went months back. They are done with the chicken fried steak and now have extra delicious chicken and waffles! The waffle is a lot more dessert-like than I expect for a breakfast waffle, but in an oh-so-good way. Highly recommended for a solid neighborhood eat in a beautiful setting. It also helps that it’s a stones throw away from my apartment.

2 Lexington Ave (at 21st St)
Manhattan, NY

Mochi Fillings – Basic How-Tos!

The wonderful thing about mochi is that you can put anything inside. If you need some inspiration you can go with chocolate ganache, ice cream, fruits, peanut butter, crushed cookies, jam, sweet bean/seed pastes, and even savory things. The only caveat is that you probably want whatever you are making to look good, so I would stick to foods that you know will keep the shape you want.

Red Bean Paste and Black Sesame Paste – you can get right out of a can (or make it yourself)

Sesame Peanut ButterI didn’t have sesame paste in my house so I crushed sesame by hand with a mortar pestle and mixed it with peanut butter. I used about equal parts of both because I didn’t want a very sweet mochi (with too much peanut butter), and when you use more sesame it keeps it’s shape better.

Chocolate Ganache AKA Chocolate Truffles - It’s pretty straightforward to make a simple chocolate truffle; it is so simple that you’ll possibly not buy one ever again. You have two basic ingredients: chocolate and milk.