Monthly Archives: November 2018

Hell’s Kitchen Guide – 2018 Update

TaladwatYou may have been wondering why I havent updated the Hell’s Kitchen Guide in a while.  Maybe I dont hang out there nearly as much anymore.  Or watch too much Daredevil?  One is true.  I still hang out there often, especially before or after the Hell’s Kitchen tour.  But I do watch Daredevil.  I even saw the Devil of Hell’s Kitchen himself in action, slurping on Ivan Ramen noodles in Gotham West Market. No joke.  I asked his buddy Luke Cage what they were up to and he said they were filming The Defenders.  Jessica Jones was eating elsewhere, obviously not a fan of the just updated Hell’s Kitchen Survival Guide.

But thanks to Daredevil, the neighborhood is much better and safer today.  You can walk around the kitchen after 8.  Thai joints continue to make babies, without protection and protection money concerns.  And there’s even a Momofuku now.  Two of them actually.  One of which, Bang Bar, which I wrote about last week, is in the guide.

Pure Thai Cookhouse is a well oiled machine that is perhaps the most important Thai among dozens in the area.  It was just a matter of time until the husband and wife team open Taladwat, dishing out small plates a few blocks down.  So far so delicious, and an obvious addition to the guide.  Another exciting addition is Saar Indian Bistro (below) from another master, Hemant Mathur, bridging Indian fine dining and typical curry houses ever so smoothly.  And about time I added Corner Slice at the constantly changing Gotham West Market.

I removed some dead skin and closings like Tehuitzingo and Larb Ubol which were the most shocking ones.  But on a more personal note, the closing of the neighborhoody Cafe Ole hurts the most.  I spent countless of hours there eating sandwiches and soups, while talking to Ana.  She will be missed.

The Hell’s Kitchen Survival Guide



Categories: Midtown West, New York City | Tags: , , , , , | Leave a comment

Momofuku’s Latest is a Bang for Your Buck

Bang BarI rarely stand on lines for food.  It took me four years to try the Cronut.  I happened to pass by Dominique Ansel one early morning and there it was.  A Cronut staring at me in the face, with no lines.  So I picked it off the ground, brushed it off, and took a few bites.  It was adequate!  In the city that never sleeps, where the food options can be exhausting, lines are usually for FOMO (fear of missing out) sufferers.  Perhaps if you are in the city for a short time, and you have your mind set on something, I get it.  But for the rest of us, its like going to the Statue of Liberty.  We have a lifetime of opportunities and endless possibilities.

But then there’s Momofuku.  Over the years, I’ve waited and sometimes even elbowed my way to Ssam Bar and Nishi.  And with the new Shawarma-esque Bang Bar opening at the Time Warner Center, a 40 minutes wait for a snack seemed very doable.  5 minutes answering email, 5 minutes on Trip Advisor forum, 20 minutes playing “Woody”, 10 minutes looking for new knife set (can knives be gifts to a spouse considering they can be used as a weapon?).  And before you know it, you are in the delivery waiting room, having a conversation with David Chang.  Ok, it was more like him saying “how is it going”, and me just staring at him.

This is not one of those posts where I woo you with food porn.  Instead I woo with… lines I suppose.  Simply leave it to Momofuku to make waiting fun.  The line is broken down into three sections.  Like a special exhibit in a museum, or in a way, a hospital delivery room

Bang Bar Meats


First section:  A roped line near, but not directly in front of the entrance.  Employees will chat with you, hand out menus, suggestions, knock knock jokes, and explain how the process works.  The anticipation builds partly because you cant see anything.  When time comes someone takes a small group to…

Second line:  The lucky few get to stand by the wall watching the action through the glass.  Anticipation continue to build, and so are second thoughts about what you want.

Third room:  You now enter a small open waiting room where you place your order and just hang out, talking to the staff or other patrons.  You may be given some freebies like rice pudding with kimchi stew, or a potato, mortadella casserole.  Both almost as delicious as the main event.

The Bang (bread) like a soft middle eastern Laffa filled and rolled with spicy gochujang marinated pork or chicken, along with the accompanied sauces and pickled veggies.  Looks like something you may get from a halal cart but undeniably Korean and delicious.  The pork was packed with enough heat and flavor so no sauces required.  But if you must you have the Ssam and the rest of them by the wall.  There are also two “Dips” that come with the bread like the herby eggplant which is more of a salad.  There are two communal tables.

But here’s the best part.  The price!  In this entire EWZ universe, I dare you to find a NYC post where I’ve said this.  But $5.79 for a Momofuku product in the high end Columbus Shops, is what you would expect to pay at a Halal cart.  Card only

Bang Bar Spicy Pork

Categories: Midtown West, New York City | Tags: , , , | 2 Comments

What to Eat in Getaria {Basque}

Elkano TurbotWhat should you eat in a small fishing village where the specialty is Turbot?  You guessed it… Steak!  Its actually quite delicious in this part of Spain.  Same goes for the green Shishito-like peppers they call here Gernika, which can be seen on just about every menu.  But the story is similar to the one in Segovia.  People Pilgrimage (yes its a verb too) from all over for the world renowned holiness, the Turbot.  Heard of the Camino de Elkano?  Me neither.

But the town of Getaria happens to be a major stop in the UNESCO’d Camino de Santiago where 250,000 pass by annually.  I took a walk with Mrs Ziggy one morning where we briefly walked on the Camino path, and made an ill advised left turn, only to see some of the walkers following us making the same turn.  Oh no buddy, you need to go THAT way.  We are just chilling, picking on grapes.  Curious how many hikers give in to temptation, and stick around for a few days to eat and drink in this culinary wonderland.  Getaria is particularly unique.  I cant compare it to any other town we visited in Europe.  Here’s a little food guide to help you out.

Mayflower – This became the family fave after spending a week here.  The tables outside lining up under the umbrellas are some of the most sought after in town.  Reserve them in advance (for 8:30 or 10 seating).  Fresher than fresh fish cooked on a charcoal grill dominate here as in just about every other restaurant in town.  We indulged in Monkfish (Rape), Sea Bass, Hake (Merluzza), and even the Bonito which is like the best canned tuna you will ever eat.  Start with the green Gernika peppers, tomato salad and their terrific Pulpo Gallega (smokier and spicier than the usual Galician Octopus).  Wash it down with a local Txakoli of course.


Elkano – This is the reason why people take expensive taxi rides to Getaria.  Its considered one of the best restaurants in north Spain, and a whole fish (Turbot of course) eating experience like no other.  I asked the friendly owner what happens when they don’t have Turbot or run out of it.  He explained that they try to convey and market themselves as more of a complete seafood establishment that is not just about the Turbot.  A few minutes later you are presented with the Turbot, treated like the holy grail.  Later on, chocolates come on a plate shaped like Turbot, followed by the bill with a Turbot shaped magnet!  Ok?!?  The owner will explain the various parts of the fish, and the different textures and flavors resulting from them.  This is also a good place to try Kokotxas (fish cheeks).


Kaia Kaipe – If the Elkano experience is a bit too rich for your blood, its baby sister may do just fine.  Like a nice cross between an Asador and fine(r) dining.  Popular with locals partly due to its inviting terrace.  A similar menu to Elkano where you can indulge in the Turbot among other local species.  And if you are finally ready for some meat in Turbotville, the Sirloin here is top notch.


Giroa Taberna/Politena – Perhaps the two most frequented bars serving Pintxos and an assortment of simple large plates.  Politena seems the busier and more “Pintxos friendly” of the two

Araneta – A very lovely, simple looking Asador up on the mountains, very popular with locals.  About 20 minute drive from Getaria.  Here you can get a fantastic Ribeye, and an even better wild mushrooms with Foie and egg yolk.  When you have a group of mushroom haters (the rest of my family) wipe a mushroom plate clean you know you got something very special. On the drive back stop by at…


Txakoli Ameztoi – One of many Txakoli producers in the area.  Stop by at the very least for the amazing views off its parking lot (bottom)

El Astillero – The one that got away.  Tried to eat here on multiple occasions but it was either booked one night, closed on another, and “no terrace? Neh. Lets try again tomorrow” night.  Well, tomorrow never arrived.  Its a similar Asador to Mayflower, but the lack of a terrace did make a difference in this case.  I’m not one to usually choose restaurants based on their outdoor space but there was a clear difference between eating in and out here.  The terraces of Getaria should have their own Twitter account.


Mayflower Terrace

Gaintza – Another Txakoli producer and a 6 room hotel which served as our base for the week.  Sometimes accommodations dont quite work out as you fantasize, and sometimes you fantasize about your accommodations for days to come.  This was the latter.  We also took a tour and tasting of the winery.  Very interesting, informative and quite delicious (more Bonito please, and anchovies).  Loved waking up here every morning.


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