June 2012 | I just want to eat!

Saturday, June 30, 2012

Falafel at Azuri Cafe in NYC, New York

Image of Azuri Cafe in Hell's Kitchen NYC, New York
We decided to try Azuri Cafe in NYC, New York as some say that it is the best falafel in the City; better than Taim, Mamoun's, etc...

The place is very small with only 4 tables. We saw the owner there who not only did not say hello, but was very grumpy. Well, we went there for the food, not the owner! Anyway, they play on it as they quoted the NY Times who in 1999 said:
"With just a few rickety tables, Azuri Cafe, a kosher Israeli restaurant and takeout shop, is not the most stylish place around. It's not the friendliest, either. But when you taste the food, you can see where the gruff owner, Ezra Cohen, puts his energy. ".

Then, on their website they wrote: "A place you want to call home"! Really? Maybe for the food, but not for the owner for sure!

The place serves vegetarian as well as non vegetarian specialties. You can find Shawarma Gyro (isn't it kind of the same?) that is made with chicken, beef or chicken shish Kebab (where is the lamb?), chicken liver or falafel. The problem is that they do not describe their menu and a lot of dishes clearly either needed a description or a definition! Considering the personality of the owner, I could not picture myself asking him questions. Especially after I ordered the Shak Shuka plate (I wanted to see if it was the shekshouka) and he responded in a growl that it would take 25 minutes! So we just ordered falafel.
Image of falafel sandwich in pita at Azuri Cafe in Hell's Kitchen NYC, New York

The cook (who was nicer) prepared them. He first fried the falafel. Then, opened a whole wheat pita (we did not have a choice between whole wheat and white as other customers who came after did) and stuffed in it hummus, red cabbage, taboule...and of course the falafel. They topped the sandwich with tahini sauce and pickles.

The sandwich was big for sure. You immediately notice the crunchiness of the falafel. They were very good and I did not detect any greasiness. The sandwich was overall good, but was missing some flavor. 

I definitely prefer Taim not only for the sandwich, but also because their menu is more original with sandwiches like the Shabish that was delicious! So, in the battle between Azuri Cafe and Taim, Taim won!
The owner would have been nicer, it would not have changed my mind...

Enjoy (I almost did)!

Azuri Cafe on Urbanspoon

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Vynl, Disco restaurant - NYC, New York

Image of Vynl in Hell's Kitchen NYC, New York
It has been a while since I wanted to try Vynl located in Hell's Kitchen. The name and spelling was intriguing, and they had truffled mac & cheese on the menu (yes, I just need to see one yummy item to make me want to try...).

The decor is pretty interesting: disco balls on the ceiling, mosaic everywhere, even on the table (ours was a displaying a big Atari logo) and a big bust of Elvis. On the walls, you could see action figures from bands like Kiss, or actors, shows...

There was definitely a disco feel accentuated by loud music: you do not go there for a romantic or quiet dinner!

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

The Mussel Pot in NYC, New York - Closed

Image of The Mussel Pot in Greenwich Village NYC, New York
As you can imagine from the name, The Mussel Pot is mainly about mussels, although the restaurant offers other alternatives for those who do not like it, such as fried chicken, fish and chips...

The restaurant is located in Greenwich Village, on Bleeker. We went there to meet our friends Jen and Chris on a Saturday and the restaurant got reasonably crowded. The setting was modern, with an outdoor space in the back enhanced surprisingly by a small waterfall! The service, although courteous, was very, very slow. At some point, they completely forgot our order and they offered us a round of beers to apologize.

The principle of the restaurant is derived from the Moules Frites (Mussels and fries) concept: mussels are served with French fries; you then either dip the fries in the sauce or in mayonnaise. You would typically drink beer with it.
Few years back, I use to go to a restaurant called La Tour on the Upper East Side that was serving mussels and fries all you can eat. I remember that I went one time with  my Dad and we ordered four servings, each of them made with a different sauce. Unfortunately, the restaurant closed. Today, I enjoy all you can eat Mussels and Fries at Bin 14 in Hoboken (Tuesday night only). At the Mussel Pot, it is not all you can eat and they do not serve the mussels with fries: just with a piece of bread. If you want fries, you can order a side. I was a bit surprised about it, especially considering the price ($20 to $26).

Sunday, June 24, 2012

The Windmill in Hoboken, NJ

Image of The Windmill in Hoboken NJ, New Jersey
When Lucky Burgers closed in Hoboken, I was a bit disappointed: I liked that place. They had good burgers, onion rings and fries and offered different types of sauces such as the chipotle mayonnaise. The Windmill defines itself as a gourmet fast food that serves award winning burgers and hot dogs. 
This chain restaurant originated in Long Branch, New Jersey in 1964 (the restaurant had the shape of a Windmill). It was later bought by Ed and Leo Levine who opened since then several locations in New Jersey.

Friday, June 22, 2012

Tony Di Napoli in NYC, New York

Image of Tomato and mozzarella salad at Tony Di Napoli in Times Square NYC, New York
It had been a while since I ate at Tony Di Napoli and in the past, I use to go to their location on the Upper East Side, before they close there. So, when my cousins told me they would come to visit us from Europe and wanted to eat in a reasonably priced Italian restaurant, I thought that Toni Di Napoli in Times Square could be a good idea. I never went to that location and, to be honest, I was a bit apprehensive that the quality of the food would not be great considering the location and the flow of tourists. I was wrong!
It is for sure a big place. And noisy. Clearly, the noise level was pretty high service wise, it was perfect: diligent, fast, but they did not rush us at all, giving us the opportunity to take our time to enjoy each other company.

In term of food, it is family style, meaning that each plate if for sharing. It is perfect when you are more than three people.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Hoboken Burrito aka Mission Burrito in Hoboken, New Jersey

Image of Guacamole from Hoboken Burrito aka Mission Burrito in Hoboken NJ, New Jersey
Ok, it seems that this restaurant has two names: Mission Burrito and Hoboken Burrito. Whatever the name is, we were craving for mexican food that day and decided to order from them. It was not the first time and we knew that we would not regret it!

They have a large menu that proposes many standard dishes: fajita, burrito, taco, enchilada...

Each time we can, in a Mexican restaurant, we order guacamole. It better be good, because, not only do we have it as an appetizer, but we always have some in the dishes we order. I hate when they give you some already made one!

Monday, June 18, 2012

5 Napkin Burger in NYC, New York

Image of 5 Napkin Burger restaurant in Hell's Kitchen NYC, New York

5 Napkin Burger in Hell's kitchen opened many years ago, after the owners of the Upper West Side restaurant Nice Matin, Simon Oren and Andy D'Amico, thought that their signature burger was worth creating a burger place. The burger was named 5 Napkin Burger because the meat was so juicy that you would need five napkins to eat it! Since then, they have opened several locations in New York and are also present in Miami, Atlanta and Boston.

The restaurant in Hell's kitchen is always packed and it is better to have a reservation.
The decor with its white porcelain tiles is supposed to remind a slaughterhouse, especially with the meat hooks on the ceiling. What I like is that they have plenty of booths: yes, I like booths! It is something very rare in France and I always though that they add a nice classic touch to a place. It is also (most of the time), more comfortable than a chair!

Sunday, June 17, 2012

French Restaurant Week in NYC, New York - July 8th to July 15th

For its second year edition, the French Restaurant Week event celebrating Bastille day (7/14) will take place in New York City from July 8th to July 15th!

This event will feature several great French restaurants who will be proposing a menu for $17.89 (the French revolution took place in 1789). Reservation will be necessary and will be available through opentable.com. 

  • Affaire Bistro & Lounge
  • Alouette
  • Antibes Bistro
  • AOC
  • Artisanal Bistro
  • Ayza Wine & Chocolate Bar Midtown
  • Ayza Wine & Chocolate Bar West Village
  • Bacchus
  • Bakehouse Bistro & Café
  • Bistro Vendôme
  • Brasserie Cognac
  • Café Noir
  • Casimir
  • Cercle Rouge
  • Chez Oskar
  • FADA
  • Felix restaurant
  • Flute
  • Gaby Restaurant
  • Intercontinental New York Barclay
  • Jeanne & Gaston
  • Jubilée
  • Jules Bistro
  • La Bonne Soupe
  • La défense
  • La Mirabelle
  • Le moulin à café
  • Le Singe Vert
  • Lina Frey
  • Lyon Restaurant
  • Madison Bistro
  • Opia
  • Parigot
  • Pates & Traditions
  • Pic Nic
  • Santos Anne
  • Sel & Poivre
  • Serge Bistro
  • Tartinery Nolita
  • Tree
  • Yatenga French Bistro&Bar
More information at: www.frenchrestaurantweek.com

Bon appétit!

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Sri Thai - Restaurant in Hoboken, NJ

Image of Vegetable Spring rolls at Sri Thai restaurant in Hoboken NJ, New Jersey
Sri Thai is a small restaurant off the main street of Hoboken. I think that with T Thai, it is one of my favorites there. The restaurant is small, a bit dark and the service has always been good there.

The food is also good, particularly the frog legs...Yes, I usually go to to Thai restaurants hoping that they will have frog legs. There are few restaurants in New York that offer them, like Chez Napoleon (50th between 8 and 9th avenue in New York) or La Grenouille, but with more expensive prices. When I was a kid, we use to cook it for New Year, sauteed first and then cooked in a creme fresh, garlic, parsley and lemon sauce (i probably forgot some butter...). People sometimes ask me what it tastes like and the usual answer is "like chicken". No, it does not taste like chicken. It has a blander taste, so seasoning and / or sauces are very important. What is great is that they propose three different frog legs (Kha Gob) dishes:

Friday, June 15, 2012

Event: The Seed - A Vegan Experience - June 16th & 17th in NYC, New York

Vegan? Vegan curious? Vegan skeptical? Health conscious? Foodie? Whatever you are, this event can interest you! Discover the world of vegan food this week end!

During two days, some of the best vegan restaurants, speakers, chefs... will reunite at 82 Mercer in New York. You will not only be able to taste food, but also watch documentaries, participate in workshops...
Tickets on sale on the Seed's website below, between $20 (single day) and $30 (both days).

Saturday  June 16th, 10am – 7pm
Sunday June 17th, 10am-5pm
82 Mercer St., 2nd Floor (Spring & Broome Streets) NYC, New York, 10012

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Falafel at Taim in NYC, New York

Image of Taim in NYC, New York
In my quest for the best falafel, I decided to try Taim (pronounce Ta-eem) in the West Village. Taim means in Hebrew tasty, delicious. Seems a bit pretentious, no? So let see!

First, the place is tiny and you can only sit on one of the stools near the window or outside, on a bench. If the restaurant is packed, as it seems it can be, this can be a problem....Especially as there is no park nearby where you can enjoy your sandwich!

Anyway, I am there for the falafel and even this small detail cannot stop me. 

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Colicchio and Sons in NYC, New York

This post is about one of the best culinary experience I ever had! Yes I know: this is a bold statement, but when you will read this, I am sure you will want to go there! Hopefully...

So, everybody who loves shows about food knows who Tom Colicchio is. If you do not know, let me tell you: he is the mean judge on Top Chef! Tom, please be nicer! 
So I went to Colicchio and Sons thinking that if I had a bad food experience, it would be Karma!

The restaurant is located next to two great places in NYC: Morimoto (Chef Morimoto) and Del Posto (Chef Mario Batali). When you enter, you arrive in the Tap room with its wood-burning oven. You can in fact either eat in the Tap room or in the dining room. While we were waiting for our table, there was this guy who ordered a burger. When the burger came, I started to drool! The bun looked like a brioche bread and the patty seemed juicy. It was served with homemade potato chips. Based on the discussion the patron had with the barman, I understood that it was delicious! I really need to go try this at some point!

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Molyvos, Greek Restaurant - NYC, New York

I always loved Greek food, but, when living in Paris, I hated when people where proposing to go Rue de la Huchette to eat there. Each restaurant had a guy outside calling people and trying to persuade them that their restaurant was the best. Most of the time, it was not!
In New York, I have two references: 
  • Ithaca on the Upper Eat side (308 East 86th Street  New York, NY 10028).
  • Molyvos.
I have been to Molyvos many times and have never been disappointed. In fact, one of my colleagues if from Greek descent and once told me that Molyvos is the best Greek in New York. Considering my experience there, I would agree!

Saturday, June 9, 2012

Taste of Times Square Food & Music Festival - June 11th 2012

This Monday will take place the Taste of Times Square Food and Music Festival! Will be participating in this event several well known restaurants who will serve different types of cuisine: American, French, Argentinian, Russian, Turkish...

Among the participating restaurants: Junior's, Ruth's Chris, Blue Fin, Virgil's Real Barbecue, Le Rivage...

Times Square is always crowded so I wonder how it is going to be!

June 11th from 9am to 5pm
46th Street between Broadway and 9th Avenue including historic Restaurant Row

Enjoy !

Love and Yoghurt in Hoboken, New Jersey

I am not sure how many Frozen Yoghurt stores Hoboken needs! There was already Mon Cheri Yoghurt Bar (pretty good) and Koa Koa (I do not like it). Then, Red Mango announced that it will be coming soon, replacing the Homemade Pizza Company that closed earlier in the year. You would think that it is enough! No! Love & Yogurt is a new one that opened on May 25th 2012. The location is in fact perfect as, although not located on Washington street, there is quite a lot of foot traffic in front of it. 

The place looks pretty neat and is a self serving yoghurt bar. So you can taste whatever flavor they offer: there is no limitation! 

Friday, June 8, 2012

Big Apple BBQ Block Party - June 9th & 10th 2012

The annual Big Apple BBQ Block Party is back and will take place tomorrow and Sunday at Madison Square Park. The party will feature some of the top pitmasters of the country who will cook their specialties such as:

  • Baker’s Ribs (Dallas, TX): St. Louis Style Ribs, The Original Fried Pies
  • Big Bob Gibson Bar-B-Q (Decatur, AL): Pulled Pork Shoulder
  • BlackJack Barbecue (Charleston, SC): Pulled Pork Shoulder
  • Blue Smoke (New York City): Salt & Pepper Beef Ribs
  • Checkered Pig (Danville, VA): St. Louis Style Ribs
  • Dinosaur Bar-B-Que (New York City): Pulled Pork Shoulder
  • Ed Mitchell (Raleigh, NC): Whole Hog
  • Hill Country (New York City): Beef Brisket
  • Jack’s Old South (Unadilla, GA): Beef Brisket
  • Jim ‘N Nick’s Bar-B-Q (Birmingham, AL): Smoked Sausage
  • Martin’s Bar-B-Que Joint (Nashville, TN): Western Tennessee-Style Whole Hog
  • Memphis Championship Barbecue (Las Vegas, NV): Baby Back Ribs
  • Pappy’s Smokehouse (St. Louis, MO): Baby Back Ribs
  • Rack & Soul (New York City): Baby Back Ribs
  • The Salt Lick BBQ (Driftwood, TX): Beef Brisket, Sausage
  • Scott’s Bar-B-Que (Hemingway, SC): Whole Hog
  • 17th Street Bar & Grill (Murphysboro, IL): Baby Back Ribs
  • Ubon’s Barbeque (Yazoo City, MS): Pulled Pork Shoulder

Besides food, there will be music as well as some free seminars (limited seats).

Madison Square Park
June 9th and 10th 2012
From 11am to 6pm
Music and seminars are free!


Thursday, June 7, 2012

Mamoun's falafel in Hoboken, NJ

Did you notice that there are more and more restaurants proposing falafel as the main specialty? There is Maoz, Taim and Mamoun's falafel, Moishe's falafels. Yes, falafels are definitely good when well done, meaning for me: good chickpea taste (not too many breadcrumbs please), cooked all the way through, crunchy and not oily. People debate about the benefits of falafels. The pros:

  • it is only chickpeas, no meat.
  • low calories: 50 to 60 per ball.
  • High in protein, iron and fiber.
The cons:
  • it is deep fried.
  • a falafel pita can contain up to 550 calories and 32 grams of fat.

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Yogo Frozen Yoghurt Truck in NYC, New York

Within the madness of the food trucks, I found this Frozen Yoghurt truck called Yogo (I guess Yoghurt on the Go). 
You can often see this pink truck at Union Square. If you do, get some: it is delicious and refreshing.
I really like the idea of frozen yoghurt: a good healthy treat. It is more and more popular in fact in the City, with chains like Red Mango or  Pinkberry opening everywhere. 
According to Yogo, here are some of the benefits of frozen yoghurt:

Sunday, June 3, 2012

Farmers Rotisseria A La Brasa in NYC, New York

I think a lot of people are missing when eating in Times Square instead of exploring the little gems that are on 9th Avenue! We like to walk around and randomly pick a restaurant we have never tried (I admit that we avoid the Grad Pending ones...). That is how we picked Farmers Rotisseria A La Brasa.
I love rotisserie chicken. Each time I pass in front of a rotisserie,  I cannot not smell that particular scent of cooked chicken: so irresistible! 
Back to Farmers Rotisseria A La Brasa: the restaurant is of a good size with a brighter dining room in the back. The service was just ok.

Saturday, June 2, 2012

Tastes NYC Fifth Annual Culinary Extravaganza - June 2nd 2012

If you do not have any plans today and want to get some great food, You can go to Tastes NYC at Gansevoort Plaza. This culinary event will feature the following restaurants:

  • 5 Ninth
  • Abe & Arthur's
  • Amy's Bread
  • Bakehouse
  • Baluchi's
  • Bill's Bar and Burger
  • Bistro de la Gare
  • Buddakan
  • Chelsea Thai
  • Dos Caminos
  • Fatty Crab
  • Frankies 570
  • Friedman's Lunch
  • Macao Trading Company
  • Macelleria
  • The Meatball Shop
  • Pastis
  • RYU
  • Serafina
  • Smorgas Chef
  • Spasso
  • Spice Market
  • Stella's Pizza
  • Tía Pol
  • Tipsy Parson

Proceeds will go to the Lab School, a non profit organization, to fund additional academic instruction and faculty training (Chess, Math, Stock Market and Robotics teams, Model UN, The Lab School newspaper, Design and Development Program,e tc...).

When: June 2nd 2012 from 11:30am to 3pm
where: Gansevoort Plaza
Info: http://www.tastesnyc.org/index.html


Friday, June 1, 2012

Szechuan Gourmet - Chinese Restaurant in Midtown NYC, New York

Recently, I went to Szechuan Gourmet with my colleagues for lunch. Be aware that there are several Chinese restaurants called Szechuan Gourmet! This one is located on 56th avenue. They even refer on their website to Szechuan Gourmet 56.

So, the particularity of Szechuan cuisine is that it is spicy. Fortunately, they put a chili in front of the dishes on the menu so you are not surprised, but you can anyway asked for mild or spicier if your stomach can make it!

The restaurant has two floors and can accommodate large parties. The service was fast and they kept checking on us to make sure we had a nice experience.