Tag Archives: restaurants

On a Mission.

As has been well-established by now, I am not one to jump on the sceney-restaurant bandwagon. It’s not that I don’t want to try the latest and the greatest; I do. But a combination of minor social anxiety (does anyone ever feel skinny and well-dressed enough for trendy new restaurants? Please say no), a growing dislike of crowds (not at all caused by an inherent lack of personal space here in New York—why do you ask?), and a low tolerance for two-hour wait times at tiny spots that don’t take reservations for parties of less than five means that I just don’t tend to enjoy evenings out at this city’s hot spots.

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One solution to this problem? Brunch.

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Southern Surprise.

Back in March, I spent a weekend in Atlanta, catching up with old friends over evening beers, afternoon beers, and even, for variety’s sake, the odd brunch or two. My first time in the city, we went for boiled peanuts and burgers and had some stellar southern-style seafood, but the highlight of the visit, food-wise, was the last meal I had before flying out on Sunday night.

Given my perma-cravings for cheesy grits and barbecue, I didn’t expect a Vietnamese restaurant to play host to the best dining experience I’d have in town, but that it did. I wish I were more of an expert on Vietnamese food — sure, I enjoy the occasional banh mi and bowl of pho — but I’d love to be that person who has an encyclopedic knowledge of all things authentic. That way I’d know whether or not the standout dish I had at So Ba is the real deal or some crazy-addictive fusion concoction. (So far, my powers of Google-Fu have failed me.)

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Ramen Reminder.

Hey, remember our ramen obsession? Rest assured that it’s still going strong. Fear of sounding like a broken record has kept me from reporting on every bowl of noodles I eat, but this one deserves a mention.

Though Ippudo is still my hands-down favorite, 15-month-old Totto is just a couple of blocks from the office and ideal for a quick, indulgent lunch. Buyer beware, though: Much like Ippudo, Totto has its own rabid following—go solo, during off-peak hours, for the least frustrating experience. After a ten-minute wait on a recent (very cold) afternoon, I snagged a seat at the counter and watched the staff torch slices of pork belly and stir steaming vats of broth until my soup arrived.

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Friday Five: Puerto Princesa’s Best Bites.

The great thing about doing the reverse commute from El Nido to Puerto Princesa, other than avoiding a repeat of that god-awful van ride? Everyone else had already been to Puerto, so we reaped the benefits of their experience: Within minutes of meeting new people, we were scribbling down restaurant recommendations for the next leg of our trip. Forthwith, five dishes we enjoyed in Palawan’s capital.

1. KaLui.

When our new British friends mentioned the set menu at the self-described “most famous restaurant in Palawan,” we called to make a reservation that same afternoon; less than a week later, we were in situ.

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Better Than Therapy.

The past couple of weeks have been hard on us Arsenal fans. (I know you don’t come here for sports talk, but please bear with me for a moment. I promise I have a food-related point.) Let me recap: A depressing defeat at the hands of Barcelona on Tuesday, a frustrating tie with a midlevel (but highly competent) team on Saturday, and, the week before that, a fully preventable defensive error—with minutes left to play, I might add—cost the Gunners what would’ve been their first trophy since 2005.

This, folks, is what heartbreak looks like.

The only thing we could think to do—well, the only thing worth mentioning on a family blog like this one, at least—was drown our sorrows in a giant bowl of ramen. Our first choice was Ippudo, of course, but that turned out to be a popular idea for a Sunday afternoon: The projected wait time was an hour-plus, which wasn’t in the cards, so we meandered east until we found ourselves, quite by accident, in front of Momofuku Noodle Bar.

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Friday Five: Restaurants to Try.

I talk quite a bit about my to-try lists—recipescookbookstravel destinationsrestaurants—in these pages, but other than offering a quick peek at the travel-planning process, I haven’t shared much list-related content. Until now.

You’ve all been dying to know what I’ve been dying to eat, right? Narrowing pages of restaurants down to my top five wasn’t easy, but anything for you, readers.

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Dim Sum Story.

It’s unfortunate: One of our most enjoyable meals in San Francisco is also the one that I feel least qualified to describe. I was thrilled when the Carnivore’s brother and sister-in-law suggested a dim sum lunch—I’d had a few such establishments on my to-try list and had been secretly hoping to go with a couple of pros—but I knew I’d probably do it a disservice with my reportage.

Bob and Nicole joined the four of us for what would turn out to be a whole lot of food. This, friends, is the calm before the storm.

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Menus of El Nido.

When we weren’t laying claim to a bay-view perch in our favorite El Nido establishment, we did manage to squeeze in a meal or two elsewhere.

We had our misgivings about the El Nido Artcafé. The customer service, as Jill mentioned, was hit or miss. They were the only shot in town for cash advances, as well as the go-to spot for booking tours; clearly, they had a lock on the town’s tourism trade. Despite all that—and against our better judgement—we gave them quite a bit of our business. Between the free internet, the convenience of a quick breakfast before our boats’ departures, and the shaded, breezy patio for post-tour drinks, we just couldn’t help ourselves.

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Things I’ve Eaten Lately, Part III.

As I get closer and closer to departing for Southeast Asia—oh yeah, by the way, I’m going to Thailand!—I find it more and more difficult to string together sentences in a coherent fashion. (Case in point: It took me ten minutes to write that opening sentence, and it’s not even that good.) Instead of pacing myself like a normal person might, I’ve crammed a whole lot of preparation into the past two days; my brain is still buzzing over the various loose ends that come with the two-week-vacation territory. Perfect timing, then, for another installment of that old standby: (even more) Things I’ve Eaten Lately.

Watermelon pickle and crispy pork, at Fatty Crab, Upper West Side.

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