another crazy catch-up post

Quilt Show

Yes, it’s time for another JustcookNYC crazy catch-up post. First up, a photo from the amazing red quilt show at the Park Avenue Armory. The American Folk Art Museum put this together, and the show is long over, but I still keep thinking about how great it was. I went with my mom — there had to be a story since it’s not my usual thing — and I’m really glad I did.

2nd Avenue Deli

No trip to the city for my mom would be complete without a visit to 2nd Avenue Deli. We don’t even bother with the menu because we always know exactly what we want to order. Truth is, I’m not a usually big meat eater, but their pastrami on rye is irresistible.

Maison Premiere, Williamsburg

This looks a little like New Orleans, right? I think that’s the idea behind Maison Premiere in Williamsburg. Great style, and despite how madly popular this place is, great service too.

Maison Premiere, Williamsburg

You’re going to think I’m kidding, but they’ve got $1 oysters during happy hour. I’m not talking about crappy oysters either — they had at least 20 varieties (including all those awesome Japanese-sounding ones) when I went there with Jason and Mika, two people who seem to love oysters just as much as I do. This place is basically my idea of heaven now. Just expect it to be packed and try to go early. P.S. They’ve got a great beer selection too, and I love that they serve drafts in mason jars.

Samurai Mama, Williamsburg

As good as those oysters were, we decided to wash them down with some Japanese food. Maybe you’ve seen Samurai Mama in Williamsburg  before and wondered about it. Udon… no big deal, right? Well, this is now my favorite Japanese place in all of New York City. I was literally astounded by how good some of the dishes are here. The udon was great, apparently made fresh on the premises, but I’m talking about the small dishes. I’m no expert, but this was like no Japanese food I’ve had before. Intense, rich flavors. Fortunately my dinner companions did the ordering. If you know me, ask me to go here with you. Now. It’s that good.

Clinton Street Baking Co.

Jennifer invited me out for breakfast recently and didn’t even have to look the menu at Clinton Street Baking Co. — she knew exactly what she wanted. But honestly, I usually avoid this place for breakfast because it’s too insanely popular. It didn’t take me long to decide though because the person at the table next to me was devouring this French toast. I did the same. In fact, I’m not sure Jennifer realized just how excited I was by this. I tried to play it cool.

Clinton Street Baking Co.

We noticed this cake on the way out. It appears to be iced like a black-and-white cookie. Gasp…

Sesame Doughnut, Doughnut Plant

The only reason we didn’t order a slice of that cake was because we’d already planned to hit Doughnut Plant for a treat. As you probably know, I go here quite a bit. Still, I’d never seen the toasted sesame doughnut before. Gasp again. This was outrageously good. If sesame seeds are your thing (you know who you are), then keep an eye out for this one.

Korean tofu soup

Quick trip to Palisades Park, NJ for Korean awesomeness at So Gong Dong. They’ve only got a few items on the menu, but everything they do is perfect.

Kimchi Taco

Speaking of Korean, I stopped by the new Hell’s Kitchen Flea Market Food Truck Bazaar on its opening day, a nice chance to check out some trucks I don’t normally get to visit. The Kimchi Taco Truck wasn’t open yet, so I got in line. About 30 minutes later there were at least 50 people behind me…

Kimchi Taco

Then I did what any smart foodie would and ordered three different kinds of tacos. Definitely go with the pork.

Kimchi Taco arancini

The real highlight had to be the arancini. They’re are usually an Italian thing, but these are spiced up, Korean-style, with a couple of dipping sauces. I’m craving these often now.

Kelvin Slush

A Kelvin Slush hit the spot to cool things down. Love these guys.

Fette Sau, Williamsburg

Fette Sau really deserves its own post on my blog, because it’s that great. First, how did I not hear about this place until just recently? Second, sorry for no photos, but it’s a little dark in there, and you won’t be thinking about taking snapshots when you get your tray of meat. Literally, they just pile your meat onto a paper-lined tray, toss you a couple of biscuits, and you’re good to go. Heavenly collards. Great beers too. The only downside is that this place is like the Grand Central Station of bbq. By 6:30 it’s totally packed, even on a weeknight, and people are lurking for your seat at all times, so you can’t exactly sit back and enjoy your meal unless you’re good at ignoring people. They could triple the size of this place, and it would still fill up fast.

La Bergamote, Chelsea

Breakfast at La Bergamote with Olga… she’s so nice.

Prune, NYC

Lunch at Prune… my first time there. My new author Jess was in town, and so I wanted to go somewhere nice with her. I didn’t want to bust out the camera during lunch, but the rumors of awesomeness about this place are true. And one nice thing about lunch is that you can actually get a reservation. I also picked up a signed copy of the chef’s memoir.

Di Fara, Brooklyn

As good as Prune was, I’ve been saving the best for last. Some intrepid foodies told me they were heading out to Di Fara, because they’d never tried it. Neither had I! How can I call myself a New Yorker, a pizza expert even, and never been here before? I agreed to meet them at 1pm when it opened one Sunday.

Di Fara, Brooklyn

Holy cow, it was already a mad-house. People standing everywhere. The guys behind the counter making each pizza from scratch, literally grating the cheese for just your pie and snipping the herbs. I’m gonna guess they’ve been making pizza this way for decades. Then the wait… the really long wait. Was it worth it? Yes, definitely. Di Fara is my new standard for pizza perfection. But like so many things in New York City, I could really do without the insane crowds. I guess it’s the price you have to pay for food this good.


28 thoughts on “another crazy catch-up post

  1. Holy food re-cap!!

    Clinton St. Baking is my fave. I have a simple solution for the wait: we go before it opens and wait about 30 minutes. We are usually the first in line, first inside, and first out. And I always get the blueberry pancakes. I have yet to find better pancakes anywhere in the NYC.

    Must try the Kimchi Taco Truck, Prune (been meaning to go for the longest time), Di Fara soon!

    I’ve never seen the sesame doughnut at DP either. Looks yummy!

  2. Justin, you played way cool with that French Toast. At one point, you seemed to be barely eating, and I was worried you didn’t like it. Little did I know you were actually savoring it.

    I’ve also had that black and white iced cake on my mind since breakfast. A perfect example of how something so simple, could create such a dramatic effect. And the doughnut, well, I may just call everyday to see when they’re going to have them again. I heart sesame seeds.

    Can’t wait to see you again, maybe at Fette Sau—the dark lighting means I won’t frighten you as I wolf down a rack of ribs in a very unlady-like manner.

    1. you know, it’s the tough thing about quasi-business meetings… i start talking a lot, then i forget to really think about the food, take photos, etc. i try to act normal. but that was some crazy-good breakfast. about fette sau, i’d go every day if i could. then i’d probably have heart failure within a year or two.

  3. That is so nice that you went to the quilt show with your mom.

    As for the food, the french toast looked divine, I am jealous that you have such good food trucks in NY and does the pizza place deliver to other states? 🙂

    Love these long posts…makes me hungry.

  4. holy cow, wowza, hot damn. these catch up posts of yours always make me think greeeedy thoughts. udon! pizza! cake! doughnuts!

    heavenly. thanks for starting this rainy day with a smile.

  5. justin i just love when you do posts like this.
    and because of that pic i saw on your flickr page i am still trying to recreate that cake even though i don’t know what it is. i’ll make my own spin on it.
    i hope one day one of your ‘nyc posts’ will include a trip to levain bakery. you will love it there.

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