Archive for January, 2010

Momofuku Noodle Bar, New York NY

Momofuku Ando is the name of the man who invented instant ramen noodles. David Chang, of the “refined meathead” school of cooking, named his restaurants Momofuku, one assumes in tribute. On the other hand, Chang also says in his recently published cookbook, “It is no accident that Momofuku sounds like mother-f—.” Whatever the story is, I consider myself an unrefined meathead. So maybe a trip to Momofuku Noodle Bar could help civilize me.

Our group of six arrived just as they opened. We were seated right away, which was a small miracle. Shortly after we sat down, the power went out. So much for getting refined. It was feeling more primitive than prim. But the loss of light just added to our excitement, creating a sense of shared experience between us and the rest of the huddled diners.

Luckily, the lights came back on in a few minutes. Eliza ordered the prix-fixe lunch special, which started with this nearly microscopic morsel. I snapped a photo of it with my electron microscope.

Behold the steamed pork buns. These were some of the tastiest things I’ve eaten in recent memory. Sweet, fatty, doughy. How can you go wrong?

Eliza’s meal came with a fried skate bun, which she graciously shared. It reminded me of a McChicken sandwich, and I mean that in the best possible way. The McChicken was one of my childhood favorites.

The main event: momofuku ramen, featuring pork shoulder, pork belly and a poached egg. After traipsing through the New York winter, burying your face in this steaming bowl is like an answered prayer.

Eliza’s was the clam ramen.

Eliza’s meal finished with a nice little dessert: chocolate and peppermint ice cream with a chocolate chip cookie mixed in. She had a few bites and handed it over to me. By this point, my animal tendencies had taken over completely. As we headed back out into the cold, I felt renewed. If this is what it’s like to live life as a refined meathead, I may just have to move to New York and finish my education.


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It’s easy to get in a rut, foodwise, especially when there are decent options on the way home after work. But lately my curiosity has gotten the better of me. After work last week, Yelp led me to what is now one of my favorite new places in town: odd duck FARM TO TRAILER. It combines several things I’m fond of: trailer, wood-burning grill, fresh local ingredients, and a doughnut trailer next door. The night I stopped in, there were five things on the menu and I ordered one of each to take home. Everything was fantastic. Who knew grilled broccoli was so good? Or creamy cauliflower soup for that matter? Eliza was partial to the grilled romaine lettuce.

They keep odd hours, so check their web site before you go.

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Barney Greengrass: New York, NY

We visited the museum of natural history in New York, where we saw this diorama, which raises the question: Did Wes Anderson design this, was he heavily influenced by diorama design, or did the diorama designer just watch the Royal Tenenbaums one too many times? Either way, it was a nice diorama.

After the museum, our trusty friend Yelp let us to Barney Greengrass, aka “The Sturgeon King.”

Once again, there was a wait involved. As you can see, everyone was thrilled to spend some more quality family time together on the frigid streets of New York.

We started with some Potato Latkes.

I went with the Sturgeon on a sesame bagel.

Eliza had smoked trout. Yikes! That thing’s got a head.

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Osteria al Doge, New York NY

Our sister-in-law Kathy found Osteria al Doge, which was conveniently located near our hotels in the theater district. Austin isn’t exactly known for great Italian cuisine, so this was a treat.

I had the pappardelle with Lamb Ragú, and it was one of the most memorable dishes I had during the trip.

Eliza was all about the shellfish during this trip. Pretty much any chance to eat oysters or mussels, she takes. This evening she had the mussels.

We shared some dessert. I think I ended up having about one and a half of these little guys.

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Kocurek Family Charcuterie

Last Saturday morning, Ben and I sprung out of bed early, eager to get downtown to the Farmers’ Market to check out the new (for Saturdays) charcuterie vendor, Kocurek Family Charcuterie. We’ve been hooked on Dai Due lately, but were excited to try a new source.  Kocurek didn’t disappoint – we were able to sample many of their goods, and ultimately took home some duck bacon and chicken and duck liver pate.

After we finished our shopping, we enjoyed our new Saturday morning ritual – biscuits with sausage and gravy from Dai Due. There seems to be a dearth of good biscuits here in Austin, but I think Dai Due does them real well.

Little Stevie Wonder agrees.

Here’s our platter of goodness, featuring both Dai Due and Kocurek: baguette, cornichons and pearl onions, pate, chutney, rillette, and liverwurst. The pate was my favorite. I can’t wait to try more Kocurek goodies.

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