Posts Tagged With: Ippudo westside

Tourist in My Own Town – Day 1

photo (9)There’s very little doubt as to what is my 12 year old’s favorite store in the entire world.  M&M’s World. Whenever we enter the store, her eyes bulge, and she’s not sure what area to hit first.  She’s like a kid in a candy store!  In a way, I felt similar symptoms when I found myself kidless for 9 days for the first time in 14 years.  There’s only one thing I love more than exploring NYC with my beautiful daughters.. exploring without them.  Although I normally feel free to eat wherever I want, this is a brand new level of culinary freedom, with endless wants and possibilities.  Instead of skipping town, Mrs Z and I decided to stay put and play tourists.  We wanted the real Australian tourist experience which includes staying in a trendy hotel, complaining about hotel A/C noise, and taking pictures of squirrels.  Day 1 out of 4…

*****Mostly iPhone pictures on day 1 as I wasn’t planning to do this post.  I don’t want you to think that I’m a terrible photographer.  I am, but I don’t want YOU to think that.

My weakened  eating adventure started the day before where I enjoyed a Don Antonio Diavolo pie and a shared this pizza Fritta, a giant fried calzone stuffed with mozzarella, tomatoes and salami.  Don Antonio to me is the closest to eating pizza in Italy due to the style, ingredient quality, and female employees speaking with Italian accents

Don Antonio Calzone

We started our day 1 around noon in Hell’s Kitchen, where we met Mr Hummus Whisperer and wifey for pre-matinee lunch at Ippudo. My goal for this weekend was to impress mrs Z with good food and get her dunk.  Good start so far.  The Akamaru Modern on point as usual.  Pork Buns so fine that will make you slap your mama.  Chicken wings, fried chicken (fried chicken won by a chicken skin hair), and some gelato and sorbet from Il Laboratorio del Gelato where the black sesame winning top marks.
Ippudo Pork Buns Ippudo Ice Cream
Book of Mormon. The show that upon purchase, made me tell my kids that they need to start being nice to their grandparents as they will need to rely on them for continued education from now on.  I believe its the most expensive broadway show in history.  And with all those inflated expectations, we still managed to enjoy it tremendously.  Like a bizarre, super clever Mel Brooks, Howard Stern collaboration that makes you want to “Baptize” someone in the next few days
photo (14)

I work in Hell’s Kitchen, and ‘Disiac lounge off 54th and 9th is the place my coworkers frequent the most.  I’ve seen the bar much more livelier than on this Saturday afternoon, but we did discover something important about us.  We don’t like CAIPIRINNA, the Brazilian national drink.  Getting mrs Z drunk – Failed!  We did enjoy however in this Israeli owned bar, a falafel platter, with hummus, babaganoush, grilled pitas, and fine red Yemeni S’chug.  My favorite Hummus in the area is still at Gazala’s however.

Hyatt Union SquareMy hotel of choice was the Hyatt Union Square, a stylish boutique with ultra modern rooms (the ones where you can see yourself shower), comfy bed and pillows, a magazine rack in the bathroom with magazine! (for those not willing to spend extra for wifi!), valet parking (if it costs $65 is that still considered an amenity), and perhaps my favorite amenity in any hotel.. A Flat Screen TV!  If there’s a flat screen TV in every single hotel in the world, is it still considered an amenity?  Why not list “Bed” as well?  But in all seriousness, this was a fine stay that would have been finer if they hadn’t put us next to the elevator.Hyatt Union Square Art

Washington Square ParkWe’ve been to Washington Square Park before many times, but never experienced it quite like this time.  A giant Star Wars flash mob cock fight.  It was quite a scene.  We didnt stay late enough but at some point we were told that they got divided into groups to fight each other to the death.  Or until their little Jedi swords broke, whichever came sooner.  There were also the usual park musicians and art like sand displays, and a fake birds eating fake pizza showing.

We capped off the night at Casa Mono, one of the premier tapas joints in town.  All 6 dishes including one dessert were quite good.  I especially liked the duck egg with potatoes, Mojama and some ultra perfumy summer black truffles.  The calamari like Razor clams were slightly overdone though still quite enjoyable.  Nice skirt steak with Romesco, reminiscent of the Gato scrambled egg.  Goat confit was expertly prepared with avocado purée.  I can’t get enough goat lately.  Perhaps my favorite dish however was the Fideo with chorizo and clams. I don’t understand why I so rarely see fideo on menus.  The one big issue I had was the frequency of the dishes coming out.  Started with two right away, and the next 3 came in at the same time pretty much.  In a place like this where sharing is key you would think they would get it by now

A nice walk back to the hotel included a visit to Union Square Park where I saw the the youngest street performer I’ve ever seen (5 maybe?) among a group of many other dancers.  Day 2 coming up!  Any comments?  Question? threats?

Day 2

Day 3

Day 4


Washington Square Park Star WarsCasa Mono Razor Clams Casa Mono Duck Egg

Categories: East Village, Gramercy, Flatiron, Midtown West, New York City, West Village | Tags: , , , , , , , | 34 Comments

Best Dishes in Hell – Round One

Little Chef - Egg BowlDear readers, it is with extreme pleasure and slight gastro discomfort that I welcome you to the first installment of Best Dishes in Hell, where we feature 5 dishes to target in this little foodie heaven I like to call Hell’s Kitchen.  Each of these bites is guaranteed to put a smile on your face and put all your troubles behind.  Or not!

Bourekas at Gazala’s Place – Bourekas, or Bourek is something I ate often as a child, but not really by choice.  I hated it!  So if I list a Bourekas in this space, it can only mean that this is not your ordinary Bourekas.  Your choices are normally Feta with spinach or Feta with sun-dried tomatoes.  I prefer the latter.  One bite of that beast to feel that explosive, rich, flaky goodness and you’ll understand why.  And did I mention that it comes with a side of my favorite Hummus in the city.

Gazala'a Place BourekasEgg Bowl at Little Chef – The winter version below, while the regular version is pictured on top.  Health food that I would gladly go out of my way for, but luckily I dont need to as I work 12.3 minutes from Gotham West Market (I timed it).  The current version features porky cranberry beans, salsa rojas (roasted red salsa), and just about the sickest breadcrumbs on the planet.  Same breadcrumbs featured in the non-wintery bowl which includes fresh greens and assorted roasted veggies like broccoli and potatoes.  Glorious stuff my friends

Little Chef Egg Bowl WinterSausage Pizza at Capizzi – Avid readers of EWZ already know that there’s no reason to cross bridges and tunnels for pizza.  However, very few places in the city (Manhattan) have that homey pizza parlor feel that is very common in Brooklyn and Staten Island.  Capizzi tucked away in “Downtown Hell’s Kitchen” got it and more.  This pie is a sausage fest of deep flavors made from fresh ingredients cooked in a wood fired oven.  Not quite NY style pizza, and not quite Naples style, but very NYC

CapizziAkamaru Modern at Ippudo – A recent article by the NYT reaffirms the belief that Hell’s Kitchen is a ramen force to be reckon with.  And in the middle of this ramen revolution is this super popular Ippudo branch.  Start with their terrific smooth pork buns and move on to the Akamaru, a complex porky broth and just about as addictive as Ramen gets in NYC

Ippudo - AkamaruCanotto at Sullivan Street Bakery – Love at first bite.  Sometimes its slightly off, but for the most part its pastry perfection.  Brioche filled with mascarpone, berries, topped with crumbs and some salt.  What I love about this is that every bite is different.  On one bite you taste chewy, cheesy, salty, next is crunchy, fruity, and so on

Sullivan St Canotto Sullivan St - Canotto

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

Ippudo Westside – When Ziggy Met Shigy

I told you a while back that Hell’s Kitchen is quietly transforming into a little Ramen mecca.  Even with the opening of Ippudo Westside, the lines at the previous lone Ramen king Totto 2 blocks away are not getting smaller.

Last week I went with my friend Sammy to a special event at Ippudo where I had the opportunity to meet Ramen king Shigemi Kawahara, founder of the Ippudo empire.  An Empire that started in 1985 in Japan, and expended into 10 other cities around the world including 2 now in NYC.  Ok, perhaps “10” and “Empire” don’t quite go together but you know what I mean.  And stop questioning me, its very annoying.

photo (59)Anyway, the event featured the Ippudo founder serving a traditional Shojin meal that can only be had for that day only.  Shojin is a totally vegan cuisine.  A Ramen dish consisted of non-meat based soup, whole wheat noodles and a delicious vegetable tempura that you dump into the soup for added aroma and flavor from the oil and veggies.  I enjoyed this to the last drop.  We then finished the traditional meal with Matcha Tea and sweets.  Except I screwed up, and forgot to turn the Chawan (tea bowl) clockwise twice before drinking.  I think it means I will not have any more children, or puppies.  With the master watching you the tea has to be drank to the last drop to show respect.

Ippudo - master at work Ippudo - Shojin Ippudo - Matcha

That was upstairs, in a small and intimate sort of private looking room.  On a previous visit, downstairs I really enjoyed the Akamaru Modern Ramen with egg and more spicy miso paste on the side.  The rich and complex pork broth, along with hefty pieces of pork belly and veggies was a beautifully done pork medley.  Highly recommend this one.

Ippudo westside has a new, modern, sort of  Ramen World Epcot feel to it.  “I love Ramen” t-shirts all around along with a plethora of chants.  Whenever a new customer comes in, leaves, gets his Ramen, goes to the bathroom, etc, the staff chants something (eg “welcome”, “aim well”).  You need to come early or late or be prepared to wait now that the word is out with the locals.  They now text you when your table is ready.

Ippudo - Akamaru Ippudo Ippudo Westside

Categories: Midtown West, New York City | Tags: , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

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