Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Arirang Handmade Noodles

Fleurise, Huiwon, and I went to this secret Korean handmade noodle place based on a tip from one of Huiwon's co-workers.

It is one of those third story restaurants that would have been impossible to find without insider information. The staircase up to the restaurant was narrow and generated a feeling very similar to the feeling you get walking up the staircase to Bon Chon Chicken - like you were the only ones in Manhattan walking into this hidden eatery. However, unlike Bon Chon, the restaurant was not super trendy; thankfully, it is just a normal, down-to-earth family Korean restaurant. We ordered a seafood scallion pancake and a bowl of Seafood and Kimchi Noodle/Dumpling Wrapper Soup as well as this milky-sweet rice alcohol beverage called makguli.

The portions were huge! The three of us were full on just the soup and the pancake. The pancake was pretty good, although the scallion to batter ratio might have been a little high. It was good soup. The noodles were good, but even better were those dumpling wrappers; they looked like random, thin bits of dough that might have been leftover from making the noodles. Next time we want to get a bowl of soup filled with just those wrappers.

We got a basket full of sauces for the pancake. Fleurise thought the basket looked like one that Baby Moses might have slept in as he floated down the Nile.

The walls surrounding the staircase had these fun, bold murals.

Fleurise liked this mural in particular.

Note the dog (cat?). The world is replete with funny representations of animals.

Arirang Handmade Noodles
32 W 32nd St
New York, NY 10001
(212) 967-5088

Sunday, July 5, 2009


We never finished the story about Ko and what happened after we got an elusive reservation there.

I was so nervous about getting there late and having our reservation voided that we got there about 20 minutes early. The entry way was intimidating.

Once we went inside, we were told that we were a little early, but they seated us anyway. The counter, large enough for only 12 diners, was L-shaped. We were seated at the short horizontal part of the L, which ended up being the best seats because we could see the chefs' hands and watch their every move. As the other diners trickled in, I wondered, "Who are these people, and why do they have an entire Friday afternoon free?" The lunch menu is actually more extensive (and more pricey) than the dinner menu. We were there for 3 or 4 hours.

We didn't want to get the wine tasting because we wanted to stay lucid during the entire meal. We started with 1/2 a bottle of sake. We finished it and ended up getting another full bottle anyway.

There were too many dishes to count. They were all delicious. I'm a big fan of bento boxes because you get to taste a lot of different things with one visit. So it was even better that Ko did an omakase ("it's up to you" in Japanese, meaning entirely of the chef's choice) menu. One standout was the Shaved Torchon of Freeze-Dried Foie Gras over Rieseling Gelee with Lychee and Pine Nut Brittle. Shaved freeze-dried foie gras is a brilliant innovation. It tastes like fois-gras ice cream - creamy, melting, and rich. We were tempted to ask for a second helping.

I was a little afraid of talking too loudly and initially wasn't sure where to look. But the music was just loud enough to provide cover for our voices without being distracting, and I think Ko had been open long enough that the chefs were used to being observed. One of them nonchalantly brought out an enormous wheel of blue cheese, cut out a wedge, and returned it to the fridge, afterwards casually checking his Blackberry.

David Chang made an appearance during our meal. He poked around the back, whispered in a few chefs' ears, adjusted the stereo sound once or twice, and then left.

163 1st Ave
New York, NY 10003
(212) 777-7773

Saturday, July 4, 2009

Ringling Bros. and Barnum and Baily

The Ringling Brothers and Barnum and Baily came to New York City! I had never been to the circus so I bought tickets straightaway.

The circus was at Madison Square Garden. I missed this, but apparently the night before the circus opens at around midnight, they close off the Queens Midtown Tunnel and march the elephants in. You can go and watch. Something I also didn't know was that an hour before each circus performance, you can go to the part of the arena that is blocked off and pet the animals. I was pretty bummed about missing that.

But the circus was fun! The whole thing was kind of like a ballgame, with the food coming to you. It was, however, ridiculously expensive. We bought an icey in this plastic cup that lighted up in the dark, and it was $14!!

A bag of popcorn was equally expensive, maybe $10-12. But we went along with it. It was a festive atmosphere. We felt like little kids.

The acrobatics were not as impressive to me having been spoiled with Cirque du Soleil. However, I loved watching the animals. The dog show was incredible. There were dogs of all sizes and types doing clever antics and jumping over and off various objects. They also brought out zebras (!) and horses and had them run around in a circle. Which doesn't sound that amusing now, but was somehow extremely amusing to me as I was watching. The zebras were not as bright as the horses and tended to clump together despite the trainer's encouragement. The horses ran around their circle pretty evenly. I couldn't help but clap to encourage them along.

And there were elephants!!!!!!!

The only animals that did not seem happy and content were the tigers. I felt a little sorry for them. One of them was a particularly bad troublemaker - Princessa - and she wouldn't stay on her stand. The trainer had to constantly reprimand her and she would roar irritably. I was a little afraid he would get eaten.

Overall, it was a good time. Go to the circus the next time they're in town!

S'mores in our fireplace

This is from a while ago from the winter.

We lit a fire in our fireplace and roasted marshmallows. Then we made s'mores with graham crackers and Hershey's milk chocolate. It was fun! We couldn't remember the last time we had s'mores.

This is when one of my marshmallows caught on fire.