September Food

Hello. Here are the important things I ate in September that I haven't told you about already.

Restaurant Food

Here's the incredibly gooey torta al pastor from Taco Mix. Considering that a small taco al pastor at Taco Mix is $3.25 or $3.50 and this monster is seven or eight bucks, I don't know why you'd order a few tacos instead of this...especially since all the torta toppings help make up for the inherent blandness of Taco Mix's al pastor meat. There! I said it! Absolute New York taco sacrilege: the Taco Mix tacos al pastor aren't good. 

Speaking of tacos that aren't good, this is the No. 7 Subs broccoli taco, the dish that the sandwich shop has decided to rally their identity and branding around, telling you it's a classic until you believe them. Everything about this double decker taco was basically decent EXCEPT for the broccoli, and look at it, that's a ton of broccoli. I figured a broccoli taco would come with a mess of roasted broccoli, instead it's like a piping hot slurry of minced broccoli or a thick broccoli soup? Just posting this to recommend you avoid it OR that you roll up and order a "broccoli taco, hold the broccoli" which is the wiser boss move.

But here's something I can recommend without qualifications: The pepperoni pizza at Emmy Squared. Look at all those crispy peps!

As always, Superiority Burger remains a champion. Dipped in there before the Angel Olsen concert. Those crispy potatoes on the left were fine, but on the right, oh boy! That there was the night's special "Day Old Party Sub"—a cold slice of a giant veggie sub, it was oily and awesome.

A guilty enjoyment: two White Castle ghost pepper sliders with crispy peppers on top. 

Ex-New Yorker Ben was in town with his wife one week, he invited me to dinner at this popular new Korean place Oiji one night. I arrived assuming we'd be a small party of people, but only Ben was there. "Where's Hailey?" I asked. "At Hamilton," he answered "I sold my ticket." Ha! Food over Hamilton. I dig it. Since I haven't seen that show I can't say for sure if eating at Oiji is better than Hamilton, but for the time being I'm going to just assume it is because this dinner was spectacular. Just delicious hit after hit.

A couple of the stand outs (sorry no pictures of the house made tofu or fried chicken)

"Jang-jo-rim" with buttered rice and soft boiled egg

That ssam platter basically knocked me into the ground, but when we ordered the hot honey butter potato chips with ice cream dessert our waiter told us "This will be your favorite thing tonight" a statement which I just couldn't see being true, but...

HOLY SMOKES this is a combination to end all combinations. Apparently this past year Korea has been seized with a mania for honey butter potato chips, so Oiji paid tribute by whipping up their own, then the genius notion to pair them with ice cream popped into their heads and what you're left with is a curiosity of unbelievable glory.

In fact, they're so good, when Cory was in town the next week I made a late night reservation at Oiji JUST so he could try them. Of course, he couldn't help but wonder how great hot honey potato chips and ice cream could be but a few bites in he was converted, just as I had been a week before.


(worth noting, before Oiji we had a number of tacos at Otto's, which really isn't such a bad place. I tried their special short rib taco, it had a definite Chinese flavor to it. Cool.)

Also of Mexican note: the folks that run Tacos No. 1 at Chelsea Market have opened a second spot in the very same Market called Los Mariscos specializing in Mexican Seafood. Accessible by its own entrance on 15th street or from a twisting hallway near Tacos No. 1, the place, like its older sibling, is certainly a looker.

One thing has lead to another thing and I've eaten at Los Mariscos once a week for the past three weeks. Having now sampled most of the menu, this is what I have to say: There is a cashier that always recommends the spicy shrimp tacos, but they're not worth the upsell—shrimps aren't breaded and you can just add your own hot sauce yourself and save a dollar. Fried fish tacos and fried shrimp tacos are both nice, classic representations of their kind, but oddly I couldn't tell any difference between the taste or texture between the fish or shrimp. So on the taco side at Los Mariscos I don't have resounding endorsements but they're tasty enough and the space is fun enough that you'll do alright to just pop in and enjoy a meal there. HOWEVER, I have just finally tried their ceviche tostadas and they (I tried the fish and the Special, featuring a mixture of creatures, including octopus) are definitely better than the tacos. If you mess with Mexican raw fish, these I definitely do recommend. 

Picture of ceviche to come in October round up, I guess

Picture of ceviche to come in October round up, I guess

Now here's the superstar meal of the month. When Carol was in town she took me to breakfast at new Soho french spot Le Coucou. That's the move right there: if you can't get a dinner reservation at one of the city's hottest openings, just go have breakfast. Above all, Le Coucou is a beauty, one of the prettiest restaurants I've been to in ages. Hard to believe it's on such an unattractive block of Lafayette right over from my old apartment and a part of a hotel that used to be a Holiday Inn.

I mean, look at this bar! These dining rooms, that kitchen!

These cumquats! This cutlery!

Carol had the Coucou complete, no picture here. Just imagine a lovely plate of bacon, poached eggs, country bread and stuff. I had the avocado toast with poached eggs on it. Just look at that poaching!

I loved the eggs. I loved the toast. The avocado spread, though, there was a sweetness to it that, along with something to the consistency, that definitely brought grocery store guacamole to mind. SORRY! That's just how it was. Very thin and sweet. Like those tiny disappointing tubs in the dairy section.

BUT don't worry about my avocado toast because we split a French pancake, it was like eating a buttery, berry-topped cloud. This was the winner at the table.

One more thing to say about Le Coucou though: Our otherwise very friendly and helpful waiter charged us for $20 worth of food we didn't order, including a $12 charge for tap water. Things got straightened out (always email afterwards if you think it was weird that a restaurant was so European that it charged for water) but, come on, Coucou.

Home Cooking

Thanks for reading this far. I hope you've enjoyed yourself. Now, let's spring through things I whipped up at home.

Andrew's visit inspired me to whip up many abundant bowls of meat, pickles, peppers, rice and whatever else I had around.

And that was the noteworthy food of September. See you again in November when I talk about October!

A Brother Interruption

Yeah I was going to post my September food next but this Saturday Owen showed up in New York so I'm going to blog about that first. He got the news Friday that his work needed him in Jersey Saturday but by the early afternoon he was done with his duties over there and made it up to 118th street and I immediately put him on another long train ride down to Trevor's house for the afternoon session of General Conference.

Trevor's house has really got it all

Then we went over to Hank's Juicy Beef for our fellow OPRF/TOPS swimmer Henry's birthday party. Henry opened up Hank's Juicy Beef to bring Chicago style Italian Beefs to New York. 

And then we crossed over the river to the Jersey Lowe's for my first film of the new season, Casablanca. The line was the biggest I'd ever seen there, wrapping around the theater and all the way back through the alley alongside the theater (I guess you need to have been there to know what that means, though)

I was very glad to share my favorite place in New York with Owen. And to finally see Casablanca. I'd never seen it! But it's true what they say, it's a terrible movie*. And also, Karrie came too.

*I only said that to see if you were paying attention. Of course it was great.

Back in the city, all the construction on the Fulton street transit hub is finally done and you can walk from the PATH to just about every train imaginable via the Oculus. 

Sunday morning Owen and I played Street Fighter and watched conference and got hungry and went out looking for tacos.

My first pick was keeping the Sabbath Day holy. Kinda wish we hadn't walked all the way past 1st avenue to find that out.

I love health food!

We wound up at El Tapatio, a great place I don't go to nearly enough. Chips and salsa, tostada, taco, sope, just what we needed.

Time passes. It's time to go downtown for a big dinner at Mission Chinese Food.

Owen the Dragon Fighter.

Owen, the about to eat at Mission Chinese.

Owen, about to order at Mission Chinese.

And here we go, our dishes for the evening:

The menu called these buckwheat noodles, but what this was was Naengmyeon I'm pretty sure.

Walked the meal off through Chinatown and on up to Union Square. But this is all Chinatown stuff.

Congratulations! You did it!

Monday Owen had an afternoon flight back to Idaho, so we had time for one more meal. We dashed out to Williamsburg for a lunch at Emmy Squared. My third visit and I finally got to try the Le Big Matt

Ham graffiti

And then we pulled off some impeccable timing getting Owen over to Oddfellows for ice cream, onto a subway back to the city, and onto a train to Newark (where Owen's plane was quite delayed, of course).

Owen was born when I was in 4th grade, so he was still real young when I left for college. During High School I'd imagine how cool it'd be to have him come visit me in college or after college, wherever I'd be living, and stay in my apartment or house and see my grown up life. So this weekend it turned out my old dream unexpectedly came true, quite a bit later than imagined, but still, how lucky for me.