Eating my way around NYC (part 2)

A few weeks in NYC and I feel like I understand how a food business can be successful. Just get on the social media bandwagon and become overhyped. Some places deserve the attention, but others….not so much.

Clinton Street Bakery:

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2014-09-14 10.33.40When you ask a new yorker where to go for brunch, Clinton St will be on top of that list. The over hype means that queues start forming before 8:30am on the weekend before they open their doors at 9am. We arrived at 8:45am and still had to wait an hour for the second seating. The Fried Chicken and Waffles, which came with maple butter was bland – not well seasoned or flavoured, but very crispy, and the waffles were the best I’ve had in NYC – fluffy and oh-so-satisfying with the maple butter. The Huevos Rancheros consisted of simple ingredients but did not combine to be anything spectacular. The Southern Breakfast: sugar-cured bacon with cheese grits, fried tomatoes and poached eggs. I never understood the concept of sweet and savoury with bacon before, but now I do. Crispy, sweet, just delicious. Each component of the dish was cooked perfectly but again, it did not come together well.  Overall, over hyped but I might need to come back to try their famous pancakes before I finalise my judgement.

Totto ramen:

2014-09-15 19.26.23Busy, even on a Monday evening, this place had to be good! And I was not disappointed. The broth! Thick, flavourful, delicious! I had the Paitan ramen with pork($9.75), which had a small amount of pork and char siu, which comes with most bowls, topped with LOTS of spring onions and a piece of nori. Surprisingly, the noodles came al dente, which I didn’t particularly like, but is the way the dish is supposed to be. The ramen in the other dishes are served soft.

Murray’s Cheese Bar:

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2014-09-17 19.20.59Burrata, with pesto, grilled artichoke and toast ($14). The burrata was served chilled, was firm and incredibly creamy inside. For me, they overdid the olive oil drizzling – I would have liked to have done my own drizzling. But overall, simple ingredients, good dinner. I also had a bite of my friend’s mac and cheese with fried onions. It was delish but simple. Not particularly unique or memorable.

Smorgasburg on a Saturday:

2014-09-27 15.26.10The Hibiscus doughnut ($2.75) from Dough was so soft, the icing had a nice tanginess to it, and the dried hibiscus was interesting – sweet and slightly chewy. However, if the dough was flavoured too, it would have been 5 stars. I have high expectations, I know. There are other intriguing icing flavours on offer including Tropical Chilli, Chocolate Salted Caramel, Toasted Coconut etc.

2014-09-27 15.40.08Mighty Quinn’s BBQ Lil Brisket ($5). The outer edges of the brisket had a good smokiness to it, but the majority of the meat did not have this flavour. For me, it was slightly dry, but the worcestershire-type sauce was delicious – slightly sweet and tangy. Just a piece of advice: the Lil brisket is so much more worth it than the big brisket, which had a similar amount of brisket in just a larger bun for $10.

Woorijip (12 W 32nd St):

2014-09-07 Woorijip Korean RestaurantQuick stop Korean food. There’s a buffet priced by weight with a hot and cold section, and already boxed dishes behind heated cabinets. We tried the kimchi fried rice, which did not have much kimchi but was nicely spiced. We also had fishballs with rice cakes. This was very filling – too many rice cakes for my liking, but the sweet spicy sauce was delicious. We also had the spicy chicken, which was lightly battered and not too hot. These 3 dishes was plenty for 2 people at ~$14.

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Apologies for my lack of posts! I’ve started training for my new job and been in New York for 5 weeks. It’s time for a food update! 😀  This city is food heaven! There’s so much choice here – it is so concentrated! There have been good and disappointing experiences.

Smorgasburg market on a Sunday:

2014-08-31 Smorgasburg Beef cucumber roti canai

Outer Borough ($8) for two beef wraps. The pastry was sooo good: flaky and soft, similar to roti canai. The beef was tender, and was garnished with a sweet hoisin-type sauce, and cilantro (note: not coriander here!).

2014-08-31 SmorgasburgMimi & Coco shrimp takoyaki 6 balls for $10. This was the first time I tried a takoyaki, so not sure how it’s supposed to taste. Personally, I found the batter too raw/soft. It was liberally doused in mayo (not very authentic), bonito flakes and takoyaki sauce.

Chinatown:

2014-08-30 Sheng Wang-Wonton peel noodlesChinatown is the place to be for homecooked CHEAP eats! Where else can you get a filling bowl of noodles for only $5?! And they don’t add tax or expect a tip! However, you have to know what to order, otherwise it can be pretty disappointing. Like my Fuijanese wonton soup peel noodles from Sheng Wang. They had some good reviews for good noodles, but the peel noodles were undercooked and slightly hard, and there were only about 6 TINY wontons. They were literally marble sized, and who knows what kind of meat were in them…But I do want to go back to try their handpulled noodles.

Madison Square Eats:

2014-09-09 Asiadog, Red Hook Lobster Pound Maine lobster rollAt Madison Square Park, they have a food market on until October called Madison Square Eats, with around 10-15 vendors. We had a late night venture there after work. I love markets for their variety of offerings but the portions are pretty small. We tried two hotdogs from Asia Dog, which offer asian-fied hotdogs. We had one with mango pickle, peanuts and a chilidog (2 hotdogs for $9). The sausages were so thin, so it wasn’t very satisfying, and the mango pickle was a strange combination with the savoury sausage.

We also had a Red Hook Lobster Pound Maine lobster roll ($16), which was so good! Lobster is always expensive, but there was a generous amount of lobster in the roll. Again, one roll was not satisfying enough though! Maybe that’s just me and my big stomach…

Great Burrito (…not that great):

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2014-09-05 Best BurritoAfter a long day of training, nothing is more appealing than hearty Mexican food. We ordered a beef burrito ($10) and a mixed beef and pork enchilada ($11). I thought this was expensive for a tiny, basic shop on 23rd street, especially since the food was nothing to rave about. The burrito was packed with yellow rice, beef and beans, and covered in white sauce (which I still don’t understand…is it mayo?). The beef was dry, but the rice was cooked well and the chilli sauce was tasty. The enchilada was hearty, but again, the meat was dry and the taste was covered by the white sauce and beans. All in all, there are better and cheaper places for good Mexican food in NYC.

Peruvian Lunch at Lima Floral

Lima London’s first restaurant has been a huge success in London. It is only one of a handful of Peruvian restaurants in London, which is growing in popularity here. My first experience at Lima London, which has gained a Michelin star, was breathtaking. The flavours, the presentation, the polite and helpful staff – everything was perfect! So when they announced the opening of their second restaurant: Lima Floral, I had to give it a try!

I took my family, so I managed to taste more dishes on the menu:

For starters, I had the Tuna Causa: tuna tartare, yellow potato with crudo vegetable roots. The presentation was outstanding, especially with the bright, fun colours. The tuna tartare was well prepared and tasted very fresh, the potato mash was seasoned with tiger’s milk (a lime dressing used in ceviche), so it had a refreshing and unique sour taste, which complemented the fish well. However, the raw vegetables only added aesthetics. The crunchy texture juxtaposed the soft textures of the dish, and did not enhance the flavours.

Tuna Causa

Tiradito: sea bream, green tiger’s milk, giant crushed corn. The sea bream was tender, smooth and easy to eat. The tiger’s milk was very sour, personally, too sour. But overall, the taste and colours of this dish were refreshing.

Tiradito

Crudo Mar: salmon, rocoto chilli pepper, blue potato. Have you ever seen a potato with such a vibrant colour? Amazing! It tastes like the average potato, but its subtle flavour combined with the punchy, sour rocoto chilli pepper tiger’s milk and soft, creamy salmon was delicious. The tiger’s milk was not spicy, just slightly sweet and very sour.Crudo Mar

For mains:

Organic Lamb: lamb rump, eco dry potato, queso fresco, black quinoa, crispy blue potato. This was the star dish of the meal. Amazing presentation, and the lamb was cooked to perfection! It was juicy, tender, with just the right amount of fat to lean meat ratio. The mashed potatoes was creamy and queso fresco was tangy, and the blue potatoes added a crisp texture. This dish had everything. My only complaint was the quinoa, which was very oily, but the sesame oil flavour was delightful. Surprisingly, the portion size was generous and made this dish worthwhile in every respect.

Organic Lamb2Chicken Chalaca: chicken breast, Andean corn, raw asparagus, wood sorrel. This was a very generous portion of chicken, which was dressed in a sweet pepper and mildly sour sauce. It was accompanied with giant corn, which is not your usual sweetcorn. It has a denser, softer texture, similar to potato, and tastes more like rice or a similar grain. The corn mash, which has a heavier and grainier texture than potato mash, made this dish very substantial. The raw asparagus, again, only provided aesthetics and a refreshing crunch but didn’t complement the rest of dish well.
Chicken Chalaca2

Hot Ceviche a la Piedra: Sea bream, hot tiger’s milk, sweet potato, Yuyo seaweed. The sea bream was very well prepared – the skin was crispy, and the flesh was tender and juicy. The sweet potato went well with the sour tiger’s milk, and the overall dish was very refreshing. The flavour of the seaweed was subtle with the fish, so my only criticism is that more seaweed would have highlighted its flavour better. And maybe better presentation.Hot Sea Bream Ceviche

Grilled Monkfish: monkfish, yellow chilli pepper, courgette, green and red tiger’s milk. The monkfish was tender and juicy, and was presented in a warm tiger’s milk broth, which was sour. The combination of lime and fish reminded me of south east Asian cuisine, but it may not suit everyone’s taste. Again, the vegetables in this dish did not enhance the flavour or textures.Grilled Monkfish

Desserts:

Cafe Peruano: coffee ice cream, blue potato, red kiwicha. The blue potato reminded me of malt powder. It had a similiar powdery texture and was laced with sweetness. It had a very subtle earthy flavour, which complemented the coffee ice cream, but it was very dry in the mouth, and there was too much of it compared to the ice cream. The red kiwicha is a small grain, but it did not have a strong flavour so was unnecessary.Purple potato, coffee ice cream

Chirimoya: chirimoya mousse, maca root, purple potato. This was not my favourite dessert, but the ingredients sounded intriguing. Chirimoya is a native Andes fruit, which added a subtly sweet, almost banana, tropical flavour to the mousse. The mousse was slightly lumpy, the maca root was a similar powder to the purple potato powder in the above dessert, and added a sweet and contrasting texture to the mousse. The purple potato seemed baked so it had a soft, rubbery texture, which did not enhance the flavour or texture of this dessert.Chirimoya mousse

Drink

Pisco Sour. Pisco is the spirit used in this drink, combined with lime. It is sour and invigorating!Pisco Sour

Overall, Lima Floral is a great place to try unique Peruvian ingredients, which are well prepared. Their dishes are flavourful, although some ingredients only have aesthetic purposes (their use of fresh vegetables could be improved). The portion sizes are very generous for a London restaurant, and it is one of more worthwhile Peruvian places to try. Next time, I’ll order from their piqueos menu (tapas style), which is quite extensive and would be a great way to try a few more of their unique dishes.

Lima Floral: 14 Garrick St, London, WC2E 9BJ

Rating: 3.5/5