Food, Japanese, New York, Travel

I’ve never had ramen in America till my visit to Totto Ramen in New York. I’ve had some pretty darn good ramen in Vancouver so let’s see what New York has. Located just a few steps below the streets, in a run down looking alleyway crammed area, Totto Ramen serves handmade ramen noodles in a rich chicken based soup broth. There was barely any walking space inside the ramen shop and everyone was busily slurping their ramen. We got to Totto Ramen at around 2:20pm and we still had to wait half an hour outside on the little sidewalk before our turn.

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See what I mean? People inside and outside.

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Totto Spicy Ramen

Handmade noodles cooked to al dente in a whole chicken and soy sauce based soup broth with scallion, char shiu, spicy chili oil, and nori.

The chicken broth was very misty and rich in chicken flavours. If it weren’t for the chili oil, I would have finished the soup.

The char siu was so fatty and big. After finishing their noodles, I had some trouble finishing the char siu because it was so filling.

The noodles, at first, did taste like average noodles you could buy at a typical Asian supermarket. After a few more bites, their noodles were actually bouncier and chewier than regular noodles; so here’s the difference.

Totto Ramen on Urbanspoon

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Cafes and Bakeries, New York, Travel

I have always loved Mille Feuille but I was never a fan of crepes, but combine Mille and Crepe, then I’m all yours. Tiffany took me to Lady M Cake Confections on the Upper East Side and I knew I was in for something amazing when I saw the line up outside of the small cafe. The foundation of Lady M Confections is their fresh and exceptionally light and creamy cakes with a fuse of Japanese and French tastes. The cafe was a narrow walkway with the cakes placed on the right side of the store and 1- 5 tables against the wall on the left side. The middle of the cafe was mostly occupied by people lining up to sit down or take out.

Tiffany and I waited to sit down, but since we didn’t want to stand in line for 45 minutes, we decided to buy a slice of Mille Crepe to go and we ate it before visiting Jeff Koons Exhibition.

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Once we got in, I felt like I reached dessert heaven when I saw the delightful array of fine cakes on my right. It was so hard to choose one piece out of all of them.

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Since we were going no where with our decision, we decided to go with the most popular and lovable choice – their Signature Mille Crepes.

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Signature Mille Crepes

I apologize for this photo because we already forked away half of the cake before I took the photo. Clearly the struggle would be too real to not eat it once we opened the box.

No less than 20 thin crepes with fresh vanilla cream in between and a caramelized golden top, the mille crepes is a heavenly dessert. The pastry cream is so light and fluffy that it instantly melts in your mouth with a sweet after taste for a tease. Switching between crepes and cream, the mille crepes will leave you wanting more after you’re finished.

Lady M Cake Boutique on Urbanspoon

 

Cheap Eats, Events, Food, New York, Travel

Go big or go home – my way of living when I was in New York City. Tiffany and I decided to go to the Smorgasburg Food Festival on Saturday, August 2nd to eat and enjoy the local street foods of the Big Apple. I was surprised that it wasn’t as crammed as the Richmond Night Market or the Vancouver Food Cart Festival so I was extremely lucky to try most of the popular booths. It was eye opening to eat some local flavours instead of what all tourists would eat, cough, Shake Shack. The weather was pretty gross and hot with clouds covering the sun, but I still managed to get a sun burn. Who cares, let’s feast on! wpid-wp-1408569161361.jpeg

Eating to a view like this was definitely a highlight for the event. No big deal right?

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First stop, Noodle Lane by Lane Li. To me, Noodle Lane served spicy Sichuan noodles with a blend of Western taste buds into it. There were three types of noodles available at the food festival – Dan Dan Noodles, Cheong Fun Noodles and Cold Peanut Noodles. wpid-wp-1408568780332.jpeg

Cold Peanut Noodles

What’s in it: Egg noodles with cucumber, scallions, chili oil.

I really should have been more brave and went with the medium spicy because mild was definitely amateur spice. I even overheard the guy say that mild spicy was nothing and most people go for the medium spice – I chickened out.

The chili oil and peanut sauce blended very well together and the cold cucumber gave the dish a refreshing and summery kick. Near the bottom of the noodles, the peanut sauce does get a bit too heavy and overwhelming. I also should not have started with noodles because noodles have a lot of flour and I was feeling my stomach get a bit full afterwards.wpid-wp-1408568814888.jpeg

Arnold Palmer and Cold Peanut Noodles

What’s in it: 1/2 tea, 1/2 citrus slush and white peach mix-in.

You seriously cannot miss the Arnold Palmer from Kelvin Natural Slush. The slush was not too watered down and I could taste the incredibly peachy flavours from the mix. On the other hand, the peach was so strong that I couldn’t taste the tea.

Kelvin Natural Slush on Urbanspoon

 

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Charred Corn

What’s in it: Charred corn, turnip, chili and mint.

Sweet corn grilled with a smoky flavour could never taste any better.Everything about this golden salad was sweet and herbed.

I usually don’t like the taste of turnip but the flavours from the mint and chili made the turnip a delicious and crisp addition to the salad. It was fun to chew on something extra crunchy once in a spoonful.

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Next stop was the famous ramen burger. We lined up for about 45 minutes under the sun for this trendy burger thinking it was around $5 per burger just like the other vendors – turns out it was $9 when we got closer to the booth and saw their menu.

As you can see in the picture above, the person flipping burgers purposely set up the grill in a slanted position so that all the oil would drip into the floor bucket instead of anywhere else.

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Finally! We ended up sharing one ramen burger since it was a bit pricey and we wanted to try other foods before getting too full. We took things slow and small so we could try more –  this is called eating smart.

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Ramen Burger

For a 45 minute line up, I hate to say it, but the ramen burger was bit of a disappointment.

The patty was very dry and even when they added sauce into the burger, I could barely taste anything. I would not line up 45 minutes for this again.

wpid-wp-1408568837829.jpegBrisket Burger

That barbeque sauce smothered all over the brisket though. I’ve never had such perfect barbeque sauce in my life!

When the lady was cutting the brisket, smoke would creep out from the sides. Placed on a properly toasted bun, the brisket was moist, tender and very hot.

It wasn’t possible for us to eat this with our hands without making a mess so we ate the burger with forks. I think if we did eat the burger with our hands, I would be able to experience the full BBQ flavour exploding in my mouth with cole saw and brisket.

Mighty Quinn's Barbeque on Urbanspoon

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Enough salty foods for now. There were several dessert options – ice cream sandwiches, shaved ice, or popsicles. I felt like popsicles were roughly all the same anywhere and I wasn’t a fan of shaved ice so we ended up sharing a blackcurrant soda from Brooklyn Soda Works and an ice cream sandwich from The Good Batch.

wpid-wp-1408568848096.jpegThe Goodwich

What’s in it: Oat chocolate chunk cookie, sea salt, chocolate fudge, and vanilla ice cream.

Normally ice cream sandwiches would have a soft chocolate with vanilla ice cream in between, but I really enjoyed the hints of saltiness in the Goodwich.

The fudge was rich and very chocolately that went so well with the extremely creamy vanilla ice cream. The cookie’s texture was similar to a granola bar with salty bits that complimented the ice cream and fudge.

I can’t describe how perfectly brilliant the salt complimented the dessert.

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