On a cold winter day a few months ago I met up with my friends Jeff & Eva for a warming bowl of soba at Cocoron. I’d heard a lot about Cocoron but never been there; they first opened a tiny space on Delancey, but recently opened a (slightly) bigger space on Kenmare. The didning room was still pretty small, and every other diner in the place seemed to be shouting at each other. Never mind the dining room, let’s talk about the soba. There’s been a lot of talk about the buckwheat noodles from Cocoron, and they didn’t disappoint. They are slightly slippery, chewy, and actually fun to eat. There is a whole vegetarian section of the menu, and in fact they use a vegan broth if you order one of the vegetarian dishes. I had to ruin it by adding a soft poached egg, which added some nice richness to the soup. Next time I’d like to get one of the Dip sobas, where they bring you piping hot broth and you dip the noodles in as you want to eat them. I’ve also heard that during the summer, the cold soba makes an incredibly refreshing meal. But there’s no wrong way to get the soba at Cocoron, so make the trip when you get the chance.
Cocoron — 37 Kenmare St, NYC
I have the travel bug. You know that bug. We all get it some times. It’s especially hard when the bug wants to go to places like Tokyo, Iceland, ooohhh the Easter Island, and Ushuaia. I know where my bug came from. I’ve been diligently catching up on old episodes of No Reservations and The Layover. Plus I just recently watched 180 Degrees South, a documentary about this guy’s journey to Patagonia. AND currently I have a friend eating delicious fresh sushi in Japan and our very own Howard is in Taipei exploring the night markets.
Many times Bourdain would say, on his show, to just go and travel. While I would love to do it, money has always been THE biggest factor. How am I going to pay for this trip to Patagonia? I guess I can save but then I got so much crap to deal with here at home (rent, bills, bills…BILLS).
Of course I can start off with places more nearby. Did you know one of the places on my to-go list is Mt Rushmore? Yep. I like that sort of stuff. Toronto and Montreal is also nearby enough to do a quick long weekend trip. Heck even places like Portland, VT would probably make a good trip. Hopefully this year I’ll make another trek out to Seattle and go abroad (somewhere close like London).
Where would you like to go this year?
For a few months last year I was working on the UWS, and after so many years of working here in Brooklyn the biggest challenge was finding new places to eat lunch. There are a lot of mediocre restaurants around, and very few cheap ones. I had eaten a couple of meals at Hummus Kitchen, a mini-chain which was pretty good but more upscale than I usually like my falafel places. On one of my last days working in the neighborhood I came across a place named Ali Baba, and as soon as I walked in I knew I was going to like the place. Ali Baba is an Israeli-run falafel joint, with only one table (with about eight chairs) and a bunch of freshly made salads lining the counter. I got the falafel platter, which included some of the best falafel I’ve eaten outside of Israel itself — full of herbs and spices, not merely fried chickpeas. The salads were fantastic, and tasted homemade. There was a spicy cooked onion and tomato salad, slices of fried eggplant, sweet and sour cooked carrots, a salad of raw tomatoes and cucumbers, hummus, and pickles. Pickles are my favorite falafel topping, by the way, and one that is often overlooked. Over the next week or so that I worked in the area, I would pass by and see the restaurant closed at odd hours; not just during Shabbat, but at random times as well, so if you’re in the neighborhood and hungry, it’s worth passing by to see if they are open — but make sure you have a backup plan, just in case.
Ali Baba — 515 Amsterdam Ave, NYC,
If you’ve been a regular at Smorgasburg then I’m sure you know about Mighty Quinn’s Barbeque and the crazy long line of people waiting for their delicious meat. I got lucky once and went early enough with only a handful of people in line. Their meat is definitely good but oh hey they have a spot now in the East Village that will make getting their tasty bbq a whole lot easier.
Many have told me that their brisket was only okay so I decided to get the pulled pork. For about $8, you get a massive amount of pork, topped with bbq sauce and comes with cole slaw and one veg side (I opted for the pickled onions). This was one serious sandwich. Tender juicy pork overflowing out of the bun (is it okay to have wanted two thick slices of Texas toast instead?) and wash everything down with a root beer. Oh yeah.
Mighty Quinn’s Barbeque 103 2nd Ave at 6th St, East Village NYC
Since the abdication of King Adria and the closing of el bulli, the Scandinavians have taken up the mantle as the world’s most adventurous chefs. In fact it is a Danish restaurant, Noma, which is now considered the best restaurant in the world. And one of the founding chefs of Noma, Mads Refslund, is now cooking at Acme here in NYC. Refslund is quick to point out that he has nothing to do with Noma, and has not for some time. Instead he took over the space of Acme, a dive-y Cajun restaurant on Great Jones Street. They may not be doing the “world’s greatest” cooking at Acme, but the food is incredibly inventive and fun. I know this because when my parents and my sister were in town over the holidays, we met up for a meal there. Normally we go to a nice restaurant, usually Italian — we’ve done Felidia and Babbo — but this time I wanted to push the envelope a little further. Most of the dishes are meant for sharing, at least according to the menu, so we ordered a whole bunch of stuff to share.
Click to continue…
Last night a bunch of us attended City Grit: Brunch Village dinner. Yes! Brunch food for dinner, my kind of dinner. It was Sarah’s homage to the show Portlandia. I’ve only seen the pilot but judging from the awesome tasty food Sarah cooked up last night, I may have to at least watch the episode “Brunch Village”.
The dinner started off with Collin’s chicken and waffle. Hello bite sized goodness. I ate 4 and totally forgot to snap a photo. Next up (picture above) was “Craig’s crazy guac tacos” with pulled brisket, guac, queso, and scrambled eggs.
Click to see what else was on the menu last night