Interview on Woshi

I had the pleasure of being interviewed for Woshi.com – a blog from Australia. You can read my interview here.

Judging Beat Bobby Flay

fn_bobby-flay-about-jpg-rend-sni8col-landscapeI had the pleasure of acting as a judge on an episode of Beat Bobby Flay on the Food Network. The episode aired for the first time last week. You can view it here if you have Direct TV or Dish or one of many cable providers. You can also see it on iTunes or Amazon or it will air on Food Network again on January 5 and 6.

Eating My Way Through Tokyo

This summer I had the chance to visit Tokyo, Japan. Since I love sushi and Japanese food in general, I had a great time sampling authentic Japanese cuisine. I reviewed several restaurants and was featured in an article on Betty Confidential. Visit their website here to see my article.

Best Sushi
–Sushi Mizutani
Sushi Mizutani was my favorite restaurant in Tokyo. I had the sashimi and sushi option, which ended up being a flawless meal. I even liked the rice at Sushi Mizutani, which has the perfect acidity and texture. From a great selection of the freshest fish, like the perfectly not-at-all-chewy squid, to the delicate sweet cake-like Tamago (egg omelet); Sushi Mizutani served the greatest sushi and one of the best meals overall that I’ve had in my life. Mizutani was trained by the famous Jiro Ono. He cooks his rice differently, but uses creativity to make his food stunningly great.Mizutani

–Sukiyabashi Jiro
For those of you who have seen Jiro Ono’s movie, you understand that this is certainly a chef who is dedicated to making the best sushi possible. Jiro is almost 90 years old, and is well renowned to be the “Master of Sushi.” But the myths are true, at Sukiyabashi Jiro, Jiro is making some of the best sushi around. My favorites were the super creamy uni and the nicely salty kohada (gizzard shad). Although the meal is only about twenty minutes long and is quite expensive, it is well worth a visit if you are a true sushi lover.

Jiro

–Sushi Ikkyu
Sushi Ikkyu is a sushi restaurant located on the fourth floor of Barney’s in the Ginza area of Tokyo. It is a very small restaurant, similar to Sushi Mizutani and Sukiyabashi Jiro. Within the less famous restaurant, the sushi chefs are making incredible sushi in a much friendlier atmosphere. The rice is perfect and the fish is very fresh. The chefs are super nice and skilled, as they craft a very diverse sushi meal. My favorites were the chirasahi ebi (tiny shrimp pressed together, that flavorfully explode in your mouth,) and the soy marinated tuna which had a ton of flavor and just melted in my mouth. A great, well-paced sushi experience!

Ikkyu

–Sushisho Saito
Sushisho Saito was another one of my favorite sushi restaurants in Tokyo. At Sushi ShoSaito, you remove your shoes, get comfortable, and then have a first row seat to observe Chef Saito, who was trained by the chef at Sushi Sho.  The ikura (salmon roe) was served over warm rice, and the flavor from the tiny firm fish eggs exploded, creating a perfect salty blend of tasty flavors.

ShoSaito

Sho

Sh

Best Udon Noodles
–Hashida Honten
Hashida Honten has the greatest udon noodle soup that I have ever had. I had the perfect salty chicken broth and fluffy light soft udon noodles, which forever transformed my view on the American comfort food, chicken noodle soup.

Udon

Best Yakitori
–Birdland Ginza
Yakitori consists of a variety of grilled skewers. It is a really fun experience as the chefs craft a tasty meal out of skewers of different parts of a chicken and various vegetables and meats. The chicken and scallion was my favorite skewer and the Yakitori at Birdland Ginza is definitely worth trying.

Yakitori

Best Ramen
–Hirugao on Tokyo Ramen Street
My favorite ramen in Tokyo was on Ramen Street in Tokyo Station (the central train station). At Hirugao, although there may be very long lines, it is well worth the wait. You order what you want from a vending machine, and then they make you some of the most flavorful ramen ever. The pork at Hirugao is truly special and the steaming bowl of ramen is nothing less than amazing!

Ramen

Best Soba
–Akasaka Sunaba Soba                                                                                                                                                  My favorite soba in Tokyo is located at Akasaka Sunaba. The two different types of soba (either regular or buckwheat noodles) are available hot or cold. All of the soba noodles are thinly cut and cooked to soft, aldente perfection. I loved the delicious sauce or “soba soup” that came with the cold soba noodles, which was similar to a sweeter version of soy sauce. Whether hot or cold, Akasaka Sunaba serves fantastic soba noodles. This restaurant can have really long lines, so getting there early (around 11am) helps guarantee a spot for lunch.

Best Tempura
–Tempura Kondo
After going to Tempura Kondo and eating the tempura, I could never view tempura the same way. They make every piece in front of your eyes, and the lightness and thinness of the batter is mind boggling. My favorite pieces were the asparagus, the shrimp head (this was the first shrimp head I have ever eaten, and I was shocked by how good it was—particularly its juiciness and complexity of flavor) and the pumpkin (which is seasonal and you must order ahead).

Kondo

Best Kaiseki
–Nihonryuri Ryugin
I tried a few different Kaiseki restaurants in Tokyo and Ryugin was my favorite by far. Kaiseki is basically a traditional Japanese multi-coursed meal of the highest and finest haute cuisine. I loved the abstractness of the dishes, and I found myself excited to try the next course. Ryugin had some of the coolest and most creative dishes I have ever tasted. My favorite was the ayu fish, which was served whole and had the perfect crispiness (you actually are supposed to eat the head and tail, which are surprisingly crispy and tasty and not a bit gross). It was an awesome experience!

Ryugin

Best Crab
–Kanidouraku
The crab at Kanidouraku was extremely tasty and fresh. There are tanks of live crabs as you walk in, and this all-crab-restaurant serves some delicious crab, with some dishes that you can even cook at your table.

Crab

Best Chinese Food
–Din Tai Fung
Din Tai Fung is a Chinese restaurant chain from Taiwan that is also in the US. It has some incredibly thin-wrappered, great soup dumplings that are perfect if you are craving Chinese food in Toyo.

Din

Best Japanese Restaurant Overall
–Narisawa
Overall, the most perfect Japanese meal (other than the sushi meals) that I have had in my life was at Narisawa. Every course there was both highly interesting and delicious. From the clam with something similar to chowder inside of it, to the langoustine to the “bread of the forest,” that is cooked at your table; the variety of flavors and creativity of the dishes made for one unbelievable meal. My absolute favorite dish was the wagyu beef, which cut easily like butter and had a very nice mixture of seasoning around it.

Narisawa

Bread

Steak

Best Desserts
–Sadaharu Aoki
Sadaharu Aoki makes some excellent French pastries in Tokyo, many delicately and beautifully flavored. For example, the Matcha croissant had many layers and was soft, light, buttery, and flakey. It is a very good pasty shop!

Aoki

Eating My Way through Hudson Eats

I enjoyed exploring all the offerings at Hudson Eats to find the dishes I can recommend as my favorites. I wrote an article about it that was featured on Betty Confidential. Click here to view the article!

 

 

Throughout New York City, there are many modern food court-like spots that have a variety of restaurants and eateries. These food courts have become incredibly popular, and an important stop for any foodie living in or traveling to New York City. One of the newest and best food courts is Hudson Eats near the World Trade Center at Brookfield placeHudson Eats boasts a wide variety of offerings: from BBQ and dumplings to cupcakes and sushi, you can find just about any food you are craving! The individual eateries include Black Seed BagelBlue Ribbon Sushi BarChop’tDig Inn Seasonal MarketDos TorosLittle MuensterMighty Quinn BarbequeNorthern TigerOlive’sSkinnypizzaSprinklesNum PangTartinery and Umami Burger. The giant food hall is packed around lunch time

I set out to find the best foods in the Hudson Eats food hall. After trying all sorts of foods within each of the eateries, below are my favorite dishes and recommendations.

 

  1. Best Pizza: Skinnypizza

Plain Slice with original skinny crust-

This incredibly thin slice of pizza has a large amount of light, sweet tomato sauce and a thin layer of mozzarella cheese. The skinniness of the crust highlights the density of the cooked tomato sauce which adds a great taste to the simply delicious slice.

 

  1. Best Ice Cream Sandwich: Cool Haus @Umami Burger

“I’m Pei-nut butter” ice cream sandwich-

At Umami burger, they sell a variety of Cool Haus ice cream sandwiches. Cool Haus has an ice cream sandwich truck that travels around NYC, so it’s very unique that they sell their sandwiches at Umami Burger. I tried an ice cream sandwich with double chocolate chip cookies and peanut butter ice cream. After waiting two minutes for the ice cream to soften, the soft rich chocolatey sweet cookies went perfectly with the mild and subtle sweetness of the peanut butter ice cream.

LittleMuenster

  1. Best Grilled Cheese: Little Muenster

Grilled cheese with white American cheese and caramelized onions-

Little Muenster has the best grilled cheese in Hudson Eats. From the perfect crunch in the buttery, super fluffy toasted bread to the tasty caramelized onions and the white American cheese, it was a delicious grilled cheese!

  1. Best Bagel Dish: Black Seed Bagels

“#1” Bagel Sandwich with smoked salmon, plain cream cheese, capers, tomatoes, and red onions-

My favorite bagel dish in Hudson Eats was from Black Seed Bagels. They wood fire their bagels, which gives them a unique toasty but chewy layer. I ordered the #1 bagel sandwich and loved every bite of it. I got a toasted plain bagel which made the plain cream cheese even more melty. The creaminess of the light, warm cream cheese went perfectly with the refreshing cold tomato slices and the saltiness of the thinly sliced smoked salmon and the plump, fresh capers.

  1. Best Sandwich: Num Pang

 “Pulled Duroc Pork” Sandwich-

At Hudson Eats was the Pulled Pork sandwich at Num Pang. It was unlike any other pulled pork sandwich I’d ever eaten. On a perfectly toasted baguette-like oval roll laid a delicious layer of sweet and sour tender pulled pork. On top of the pulled pork was a light creamy spicy mayo spread. I added pickled carrots and a refreshing bite of the cold cucumber with some cilantro. It was an incredible mixture of ingredients in an unforgettable sandwich.

  1. Best BBQ: Mighty Quinn’s

Brisket Sandwich-

The fall-off-the-bone, well-seasoned brisket at Mighty Quinn’s was out of this world! They included a little sea salt which combines with the juiciness of the meat and creates a great salty flavor. The lean brisket on a soft roll with a few very lightly pickled cucumber slices makes for an especially flavorful meat.

  1. Best Sushi: Blue Ribbon Sushi Bar

Spicy Tuna Roll-

The Sushi at Blue Ribbon Sushi Bar was overall extremely tasty and super fresh. I loved the Spicy Tuna Roll which was very simple. It had just the right amount of tuna with the exact amount of kick needed, a lot of rice with a nice acidity and seaweed created the perfect simple yet complex-in-flavor sushi roll.

sprinkles

  1. Best Cupcake: Sprinkles

“Vanilla Milk Chocolate” Cupcake-

Sprinkles, home to the Cupcake ATM, produces some of the best cupcakes in New York City. This outpost reflects the same impeccable standards of the other outposts,  despite not having its own cupcake ATM, features amazing cupcakes. My personal favorite is the Vanilla Milk Chocolate cupcake. It is a light vanilla cake with super creamy and rich sweet milk chocolate icing.

Dumplings

  1. Best Dumplings: Northern Tiger

“Heritage Pork and Chive”-

Northern Tiger not only has the best dumplings in Hudson Eats, but features one of the best dumplings in all of NYC. I was shocked at how unbelievable the pork and chive pan fried dumplings were. They have the perfect levels of juiciness and saltiness. he chive adds a delicious complex flavor, with a sublime ratio of filling to dumpling.  The pan-fried wrapper was cooked to perfection With the citrusy-soy sauce, the dumplings are worthy of being named the best of NYC.

Hudson Eats is a cool place.  It not only has great food, but creates a vibrant and fun destination with spectacular views. It is well worth the trip downtown, but if you happen to be visiting the World Trade Center, Battery Park, or Financial District, you have no excuse for not stopping by to check it out.

2nd Edition NOW AVAILABLE!!!

9780984710829.main I’m very excited to announce that the Second Edition of Pines Picks: A Kid’s Guide to the Best Things To Eat and Drink in New York City is now available on Amazon.

I’ve been working hard to update the book with several new categories and have also named some new Pines Picks for categories that the previous winner has closed.  So visit Amazon and pick up a copy for the latest in the New York City restaurant scene from my perspective.