Monday, April 27, 2009

Boston foodie girl heads to NYC

NYC is close enough to Boston that I think it warrants an entry, especially with the amount of food I consumed while in the city.

First stop was Kampuchea in the Lower East Side for dinner. I love Cambodian food(if you've never had it, think of it as a Vietnamese/Thai hybrid), so I was pretty excited. However, the menu was a bit ridiculous. The noodle soups were around $14-18, which I find exorbitant. I can get better noodle soup in Chinatown for half that price. My friend's ox-tail stew came with two pieces of ox-tail, barely any broth, and cost $18.

On the other hand, my sandwiches were excellent. I got a sampler of the ox-tail sandwich, the tiger shrimp and coconut sandwich, and the veal meatball sandwich. The ox-tail was rich and flavorful (and came with more meat than came in the stew), the shrimp was complemented perfectly by the shredded coconut, and the veal meatball had hints of hoisin and ginger throughout the moist meat. Each sandwich came with chili mayo, pickled carrots and cilantro. The only drawback was the chef's refusal to make my sandwiches sans mayo (I'm not a huge fan, most places slather it on and I only like a little bit). While I understand that the mayo is part of the experience, if I'm paying $17 for three sandwiches, I should absolutely have it done the way I like it.

For dessert, we headed to sugar Sweet sunshine for cupcakes. My friends raved about it, and I got the black and white cupcake (dark chocolate cake with vanilla frosting), spicy pumpkin cupcake, and the sassy red velvet (red velvet with vanilla frosting). They were delicious, and I took special note of the red velvet. I knew we were heading to another bakery the next day and I wanted to compare the red velvet cakes. The black and white was phenomenal, and the pumpkin was also delicious, but I wasn't too impressed with the red velvet. My friend had a red velvet with chocolate frosting and enjoyed it a lot more, but mine was not great. One dish I wanted to try was the pumpkin trifle, which had pumpkin cake, eggnog pudding and whipped cream. Perhaps the best part of the whole experience was the price -- each cupcake was only $1.50.

The next day, we headed to Harefield in Brooklyn for some of its famous brunch. Each dish is $12 and came with coffee/tea, and a mimosa/Bloody Mary. I fell in love with the Harefield eggs, which was basically Eggs Benedict with salmon instead of Canadian bacon. The hollandaise sauce was light and creamy without being overpowering, and the dish came with just the right amount of sauce. More often than not, I find most brunch places pour entirely too much on the dish and my eggs end up swimming. The Bloody Mary was wonderfully spicy and peppery, with a nice lasting kick. For $12, it was a great deal and a great meal.

In the afternoon, we tried out the bakery my friend works at, Amy's Bread. I tried the red velvet cake and the black and white cupcake. While I'd say sugar Sweet sunshine had better black and white, the red velvet cake was by far, the best I'd ever had. The cake was light, fluffy, yet rich in flavor and incredibly moist. What really made the cake was the whipped buttercream frosting. It had the flavor of a heavy buttercream frosting, but the light airiness of whipped cream. I could have eaten an entire cake in that one sitting.

Later that night, we had dinner at Balthazar. I had heard great things about it, and I was not disappointed. While I felt their cocktail list could have been a little bigger, the food was excellent and had very generous portions (without being ridiculous, like the Cheesecake Factory or something). My homemade fettucine with wild mushrooms and spinach filled me up halfway through the dish, and my friend's spinach and ricotta ravioli was delicate yet filling. My boyfriend's trout was a surprisingly large portion, which I did not expect with fish. It came with two large filets of trout grilled with a balsamic dressing. And with none of our entrees coming above $25, it was well worth the money.

Balthazar was incredibly similar to one of my favorite Boston restaurants, Eastern Standard. It had similar decor (red leather with gold accents and buttons), the menus were extremely similar (compare online menus and you will see what I mean). However, while I adore Eastern and everything it has to offer, I have to give it to Balthazar for being the better restaurant. Eastern has a significantly better drink list, but Balthazar's food is better.

You can't go to NYC without getting some real NYC pizza. We decided on Bleecker Street Pizza, an extremely busy pizza place known for catering to the drunk and the famous. It certainly lived up to its reputation. I could not believe how crispy the thin crust was! Most thin crust pizza sags when you pick it up by the crust, but not this deliciousness. We polished off an entire pizza between the four of us and could have gone back for more. They also serve beer here, only adding to the allure of the place. It was easily some of the best pizza I've ever had in my life.

Were there any spots in NYC that we missed? Let me know!

1 comment:

  1. balthazar does have a very similar atmosphere as eastern standard (i've never been; passed by many times), also one of my few favorites in boston, and of all times.