Hello! I hope you all had a great New Year’s and have been successful in keeping any resolutions you have so far!
During my 8 weeks of pledging, I had to set up a lot of meetings and many of those meetings were over lunches, dinners and random snacks. In short, I had a lot of food and spent a lot of money during those two months. I didn’t take pictures of everything that I ate but I did manage to get pictures of some of them. Among the tasty food I had, here are pictures from Pop Yogurt, Pho 32 & Shabu, BaoHaus, IHOP, Amorino, Chikalicious Dessert Club and Zen.
Pop Yogurt is a quaint little frozen yogurt & Belgian waffle stand on West Broadway between Prince and Spring St. It’s pretty much a definition of a hole-in-the-wall, with the stand measuring not more than 6 feet across, and has a bunch of cute yellow chairs placed outside to sit and munch on. I had a Groupon for this place and so Steph and I headed there during the first week of pledging to grab some waffles & froyo before the autumn chilliness set in.
Steph got a waffle, regular tart froyo and Nutella drizzled on top. I got the waffle with red velvet yogurt, Nutella, Oreo crumbs and these fantastic passion fruit “pop” balls. Steph’s waffle was a bit hard, the result of it being cooked a bit too long, but my waffle was pretty good and chewy. Her tart froyo was pretty good and the Nutella drizzled on top of it became more of a solid chocolate due to the coldness of the yogurt. My red velvet yogurt was alright but what made the snack really fantastic were the passion fruit “pop” balls. They’re somewhat akin to salmon roe but y’know, sweet and passion fruit flavored. Each little ball was like an explosion of sweet, wonderful passion fruit juice. I would totally come to this little stand in the future if just to get these balls (insert your own “that’s what she said” joke here).
Pho 32 & Shabu (St. Mark’s Place)
I came here for lunch on a beautiful Sunday morning to satisfy a pho craving I had. Apparently, it’s a 24 hour pho place and I will definitely keep that in mind in the future. I ordered the medium beef flank pho with tendon and tripe. The soup came with a side of jalapeños, bean sprouts, a wedge of lime, cilantro and what looked to be a small bay leaf.
The pho was quite good; it had flavorful broth, good noodles, tender pieces of beef and tendon and chewy tendon. It wasn’t phenomenal but great for a cheap bowl of noodles. The medium bowl was also fairly large. My friend Natalia ordered a large bowl and it seemed to have the same amount of noodles but a lot more broth so I think I made a good choice.
BaoHaus in another hole in the wall place on 14th St. between 2nd and 3rd Avenues. They specialize in Taiwanese styled meat buns, which are a nice and tasty snack. I got the very cutely named Chairman Bao bun, which is pork belly with crushed peanuts, cilantro, their “Haus relish” and red sugar.
The bun was very good. The pork belly was fatty, tender and very hot. The peanuts added a nice crunch and the relish added a nice sweetness. When I’m here next time, I want to try the beef cheek bun, the fried oyster bun and especially the fries. Sweet taro fries and fries made from the bao itself? I’m there.
IHOP (14th St.)
I’ve only had one other IHOP experience before and I loved it. Of course it’s not something I would want to have for breakfast everyday but something for a once in a while occasion. The nearest IHOP to me before was at least a 15 minute drive from my house in Queens so I was very excited when a brand new IHOP opened up near Union Square. I met a few of my friends for breakfast one day and got a table. I ordered the breakfast sampler because I was pretty hungry and wanted a big meal. It came with hash browns, two slices each of Canadian bacon, regular bacon and sausage as well as two eggs scrambled and two pancakes.
Although I loved the individual foods itself, the food took a long time to come out and was cold when I got it. The pancakes took even longer to come out and was also pretty cold. Not sure if it was just my server or something but I wasn’t happy with the food. I’ll give this place one more chance but right now I’ve got negative feelings toward this IHOP.
Ever since I got back from Italy, I have been searching for decent gelato in the states. Although I haven’t quite found the same high-quality creamy gelato I found in Italy, Amorino’s gelato is pretty close to it. I came here quite a few times during the 8 weeks but only took pictures of the ice cream twice. They’ve got an assortment of flavors that changes daily and seasonally. Thankfully, they always have my favorite flavor: straciatella.
All the flavors are creamy and strong. The mango is especially good and the speculoos is nicely sprinkled with speculoos cookie crumbs. Unfortunately, the straciatella still isn’t as creamy and the chocolate not as solid as it was in Italy but it’s the best ice cream I’ve had in New York.
Chikalicious Dessert Club
I absolutely love this place. It’s a cute little dessert place on 10th Street between 1st and 2nd Avenues and in my opinion has the best cupcakes in New York. Each cupcake is moist and buttery with a light fluffy frosting that is to-die-for. BUT I’m not here to talk about the cupcakes. I’m here to talk about the molten lava chocolate cake.
The lava cake comes with a scoop of vanilla ice cream and is sprinkled with powdered sugar. It takes about 15 minutes from the time you order to get the cake since they make it to order and it is worth absolutely every second and penny. The cake is hot and perfectly baked and the lava sauce oozes out upon digging in. The vanilla ice cream is creamy, cold and perfectly complements the hot cake. As if I didn’t already love Chikalicious, the lava cake only reinforces it as my favorite dessert place.
Right after my 8 weeks of pledging ended, I went to celebrate with some of my class at Zen, a sushi and noodle place on St. Mark’s. I just wanted a nice bowl of soup to cure my morning’s hunger and so I got the Zen ramen. It’s ramen noodles in a chicken broth and comes with a slice of pork, half a hard boiled egg, bamboo shoots, dried seaweed, scallions and watercress.
The ramen was merely meh. I mean, I liked the variety of items in it but the noodles and meat were only okay. The dealbreaker was the broth, which was simply much too salty. It overpowered the rest of the ingredients and made it difficult to dink the soup. It’s a shame to end all those weeks of random food eating with a bad bowl of soup. Thankfully, I was able to go home to a nice home-cooked meal made by my lovely mother, which of course always makes my tummy warm and happy. 🙂