Oodles of Noodles

At least if you’re in the East Village.  Noodle eateries are all becoming increasingly popular these days in the region.  One example is Simone Tong’s Little Tong Noodle Shop at the East Village’s 177 1st Avenue.  Somewhat appropriately named (in the sense that Simone is, well, quite small) but does not represent the size of the servings, which are pretty large.  Using mixian for her dishes (which directly translated from the Chinese means rice threads, but are more commonly known as rice noodles) which have a springy texture and a little tang in taste due to fermentation.  They originally come from the Yunnan Province of China.  They are not seen all that much in America but that will likely change if Tong has anything to do with it.

So large is the noodle explosion in the area that when one eatery closes, another opens in its stead.  After Biang closed its doors at 157 Second Avenue, Jacob Ding took a detour in his career as a financier and use family recipes to open up a Guilin boiled rice noodle and dim sum parlor.  Responding to his wife’s wish that such a place existed, plans to open Yuan Noodle began to form.  And it seems like he has the backing for it, having been raised in Guilin (China) where rice noodles reign. At the restaurant, these will be served dry (unlike the traditional way of being served with soup), as well as classic dim sum dishes.

Then there is the Momofuku Noodle Bar from David Chang, featuring a slatted wood design and an antique credenza displaying the menu. Food options include Berkshire pork belly and deep-pink shredded shoulder as from the long-simmered stock, one can choose from healthier toppings such as chopped scallions, slivered snow peas and  chewy preserved bamboo shoots, as well as somewhat unique Greenmarket corn, briefly sautéed and still crunchy, topping.  Having been awarded the Best Pickle Plate (2006) and Best Pork Tamale (2010) New York Awards, this restaurant is most definitely holding its own in the New York noodle market.

Martin Meets Manhattan

Thanks to the Austrian Cultural Forum New York, New York-based artist Martin Roth came back with a new exhibit, entitled, I cultivated a piece of land in Midtown Manhattan nurtured by tweets.

Roth, born in Austria, has provided visitors a Zen sanctuary, enabling them to descend into the subterranean gallery and thereafter emerge into a simulated forest clearing.  He does this through a room that is made to feel like a forest with trees covering all the walls and seven tons of soil supporting 200+ lavender plants under fluorescent light.

But what makes it quite unique is the fact that its sources are none other than…Tweets. The way it works is the grow lights on top of the lavender plants escalate in conjunction with the tweets of powerful public opinion shapers.  While the statements are re-tweeted with greater frequency, the lights become brighter, turning the lavender plants into a kind of index of the political cultural climate.

Martin has definitely bought something quite manifest to Manhattan.

The Wonder of New York

New York is thriving in wonderment.  From eateries to architecture, history to modernity, New York is just simply impressive.  Alongside a book by Justin Davidson (New York magazine architecture critic) entitled, “Magnetic City: A Walking Companion to New York” is a recent review in the New York Post by Steve Cuozzo who basically concluded that: “New York City has never been so appealing or life-affirming as it is today.”

With decelerating crime and a population of almost 9 million, there is a true sense of powerful energy, deals being done, and more leading to a huge demand for property and accommodation. One need only look at 42nd Street, the Brooklyn waterfront, the Financial District, the High Line, South Bronx, Sugar Hill, Upper West Side, West Chelsea and the World Trade Center.

Of course there are still the squalid neighborhoods like the Meatpacking District, Lexington Avenue, Brownsville-East, etc.  But overall, when talking of art, affluence, culture and excitement, New York will often be included in that sentence.  Just check out Grand Central Terminal, the New York Public Library, the Chrysler Building and Times Square if you want to enjoy “the city’s nimbleness, its ability to navigate the chaotic present” today.

 

Six Degrees of Separation

Award winning drama Six Degrees of Separation has been revived on Broadway this year.  Now, close to Shimmie Horn’s Washington Jefferson Hotel, guests can take a stroll along the Theater District and enjoy leading roles played by Allison Janney and John Benjamin Hickey. The production is based on David Hampton’s true story, a con man who turns up at a Manhattan couple’s door pretending to be Sidney Poitier’s son, bleeding from a knife wound.  What transpires is fascinating to watch, how this con man ignites a kind of spiritual awakening in the couple.

Allison Janney has won seven Emmy’s and has been nominated twice for a Tony award.  She is most well known for her acting in The West Wing in the character of C. J. Cregg.

The show opened in New York’s Theater District on April 25 and will play until July 16.

 

We’ll Take The Lamb Please

What do people eat these days on Easter in New York? Historically, the tradition was ham but it seems times they are a-changing. aside from the numerous vegan options when it comes to meat eats, the ham may get a shove to make room for the lamb…

According to a recent New York Post article by Kim Severson:

“Today, the American taste for lamb is changing, in part because both new immigrants and more adventurous younger eaters are changing the American palate. Good-tasting, well-raised lamb is becoming more available. Since 2009, lamb sales have jumped by about 28 percent, rising to 59 million pounds in 2016 from 46 million pounds, according to a study of store scanner data. (The numbers do not include stores like Costco or lamb sold to restaurants.)”

So where can one go to enjoy a nice side of lamb, lamb shoulder, lamb chops or a leg of lamb? Given this spring seasonal delight it does seem to fulfill the Easter requirement of getting in a “taste of spring.” If one were to follow the advice of the investigation undertaken earlier this month by Foursquare Lists, they might have made their Easter booking yesterday at: The Breslin (16 West 29th Street), Xi’an Famous Foods (81 Saint Marks Place), The Halal Guys (West 53rd Street) or one of the other 12 places on their list of ‘15 Best Places for Lamb in New York City.’

But if one still finds lamb just too meaty, the vegan Easter options seem to be getting increasingly creative too. Sam Sifton recommended taking it simple with mushrooms on toast (having sampled David Tanis’ latest recipe) and then there was the latest Pop-Up to greet the region, the Vegan Shop Up, the first Vegan pop-up market in New York, which made its debut yesterday with an Easter Bunny Bash.

So whatever your tastebuds are telling you, New York probably had it somewhere for Easter yesterday! Hope you enjoyed!

 

Manhattan Moods: From Veggie to Meatloaf

What is there to do and eat in Manhattan these days? From veggie to carnivore it seems like there’s everything…and a lot of it. Here we take a review of just a couple of exciting additions to the scene.

On 22nd of this month, the Manhattan Friendship Garden is hosting a “Veggie Bowl” at the Laraway Lanes (1009 Laraway Rd. New Lenox) for lunch. Tickets for the 1pm event are $20 for ages 16 and over, $10 from ages 7-15 and children 6 go for free. As well as the food there is bowling, raffles and family-friendly fun and any monies raised will go toward the Manhattan Friendship Garden. With the funds, fresh vegetables will be grown for this year and next for those in need via local pantries and group homes. So as well as heat-healthy veggie delights, the yummy delicious will feel good for one’s emotional heart too.

But for those more carnivore lovers, there is something just as exciting. With specialty items from chef Michael White from his Nicoletta restaurant, the debut menu in Queens features a jumbo mozzarella stick wrapped with pepperoni, breaded and fried, served with a side of marinara sauce, plus “classica” and Calabrese stromboli rollups. The chicken Parmesan on a sesame roll is totally yummy too. Prices range from $9.50 to $14.

Likewise, Eddie Huang has his jumbo mozzarella stick served at Big Mozz with a hand-breaded and -seasoned, served with house-made sauce, for a similar price of $10. He is bringing inspiration from his Bauhaus menu, and is also offering a braised Berkshire pork belly inside a cloud-like bao bun, with a relish, crushed peanuts, Taiwanese red sugar and cilantro topping.

And not to miss out on dessert there is Kristen Tomlan’s Greenwhich Village Shop with her cookie-dough-flavored offerings in the following flavors: sugar cookie, chocolate chip and cake batter.

Clearly it is unlikely that Manhattaners will go hungry this spring.

Things to do in NYC

For those who find themselves in the New York City area and want to take in the area’s landscape and major monuments, this video is good place to start.

St. Patrick’s Day Parade

Midtown Manhattan just encountered its 256th annual parade in celebration of St. Patrick’s Day a couple of weeks ago.  The Upper East Side was transformed into bagpipe-playing, crazy-hat-wearing, drinking, flag-wearing, celebration of everything green…aka Irish.

The Parade was packed with excited spectators, alongside the more famous revelers, James O’Neill (NYPD Commissioner) and Mayor Bill de Blasio. And of course, East Village’s McSorley’s Old Ale House (NYC’s most famous and oldest Irish tavern) conducted a roaring trade.

So how come so many New Yorkers celebrate St. Patrick’s Day? In 1845, New York witnessed a slew of immigrants from Ireland. They came to escape their country’s potato famine. They didn’t have much when they came and thus many settled in poverty-stricken Five Points, neighboring Little Italy and Chinatown.

2017 Tribeca Film Festival

For a reunification of the cast of The Godfather, be sure not to miss the upcoming Tribeca Film Festival 2017, according to this report from ABC News’ Lara Spencer. This is just one of many events to be held at the Festival (which starts today) for the next two weeks.

Nordstrom Rack in Manhattan

Nordstrom Inc. will be opening a Nordstrom Rack in Manhattan. Located at 855 6th Avenue (at the Durst Organization, close to Herald Square), this will be relatively close by to Shimmie Horn’s The Evelyn hotel, set in Manhattan’s NoMad neighborhood. This marks the second Nordstrom store that will be in Manhattan.

According to Durst Organization President Jonathan Durst:

“We are proud to welcome Nordstrom Rack to 855 Sixth Avenue. With 375 rental units, 150,000 square feet of office space and now 46,500 square feet of retail, the building is a perfect reflection of the diversity, energy and connectivity of the NoMad neighborhood. We look forward to many years of success with Nordstrom Rack at 855.”

The off-price retail division of Nordstrom Inc. offers customers a savings of between 30 and 70% from the standard Nordstrom stores.