Saturday, August 22, 2009

Tokyo, Land of Cocktails

Photo by Tony Law.

Utada Hikaru, Shibuya street style, anime, drifting, scramble crossing, subways.

What isn't Tokyo known for?

While cocktails may not top your list, this article by Bon Appetit will have you considering Tokyo's other fine points. Writer Hugh Garvey conducts interviews with bartenders and notes some colorful observations concerning Tokyo's imbibers. The accompanying annotated map eagerly tempts you to dive into Tokyo's cocktail revolution.

Cucumber Croc

Image by Funky Lunch.

OK, I am a dork and I think this is cute. I'm still in awe of these culinary designs. Funky Lunch brings you whimsical food creations, including Pacman and Hello Kitty! Made with such skill, who could actually eat these?

Funky Monkey

Photo by RealMomsGuide.

Wish I had one of these lunch boxes when I was a kid. Frecklebox sells one-of-a-kind personalized lunch boxes, journals, coloring books and even growth charts. I think I would've enjoyed indulging my inner rockstar. Just think - my own monogrammed drum set!

Strange Birds.

Inspired by Theme Magazine's Issue 20.

Close your eyes and imagine a world in which:

Squirrels converse with HUMANS.

Shoplifting is the newest hipster FAD.

Upstanding citizens engage in random punch-outs in the name of LOVE.

Women take more than just a motherly interest in their CHILDREN.

Robots arrange walking marathons to proliferate the cause of BAGEL.



Now open them.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

The Biggest Food Coma: Woorijip

Lincoln Center. Upper West Side.

Russian Tea Room. Theater District.

Radio City Music Hall. Theater District.

Woorijip. Murray Hill.

It's 10 p.m: Do you know where your children are?

I don't, but I can tell you where my stomach is!

At Woorijip, where you can stock up on your fill of cheap and tasty buffet-style Korean food.

Above, clockwise from top: Kimchi, zucchini pajun (pancake), kimchi pajun, kimchi fried rice (gotta have my kimchi intake), egg roll with sauce, ddukbokki (spicy rice cake), rolled omelet, zaru soba, bok choy with shiitake mushrooms, fish.

I swished it down with Pomegranate Blue Honest Ade Tea, an organic thirst quencher that adds just a hint of sweetness without all of that artificial gunk.

It looks like a lot of food, but surprisingly it all went down without so much as a burp. I'm an animal.

Sticky nubs of rice awash in kochujang.

My sister [who asked me to take down that picture of her food coma] thoroughly enjoyed her share of hot Korean food. Promptly after the meal, she sat slumped down in a daze and refused to move. Methinks she had a rather severe bout of food coma. Woorijip's homestyle Korean food is so good that it makes you want to stay there forever listening to the jazzy jams of Clazziquai filtering through the restaurant. (Our friend Sarah is over there in the blue, checking out the desserts).

Get a plate to go! Woorijip also has a wide selection of foreign sake, soju and beers. I was entranced by all the shimmering colors and intricate bottle of which resembled a stout perfume bottle, dressed up in pink. But it was sake. Go figure. Also on hand: Fizzy lemonades in blood orange and grapefruit flavors, $1 cups of citron tea, kimbap-in-a-box, red bean desserts.

It's fun to people-watch here. There's your pick of lanky Korean power couples dressed in coordinating swanky threads, hipster club kids, dress shirt-clad working people clinking Heinekens out of paper cups and, of course, the tourists who linger at the buffet for 20 minutes agonizing over what to get (AKA confused about what's on the menu).

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars. Pancakes were a bit on the mushy/soft side and could've used some crisping up, but I do appreciate how Woorijip keeps their dishes considerably reduced on the grease-o-meter. Even after I consumed the egg roll, I didn't automatically feel like I was sweating oil. The tender, salted fish (I wish I knew what kind it was) was the highlight of my night, along with the solid kimchi fried rice. The only thing missing was an egg on top!

12 W. 32nd St
New York, NY 10001

Sunday, August 9, 2009

NEW Kero One video - Keep Pushin'

Bay area hip-hop head Kero One's got a new video out! You may remember him from my Epik High post when he opened for them at Irving Plaza in May.

The video shows off Kero One's lighthearted, goofy side. Check out those water gun zappers! He's got me reminiscing about childhood again.

Where can I cop one of those Kero One canned drinks??


"God is Love."

Eating, The Art of

Char siu red pork, assorted fish, broccoli.

Daeji bulgolgi (Korean spicy marinated pork).

Korean appetizers: Spinach, Gobi (cauliflower), etc.

Eight Treasure Rice.

Ingredients: Lotus seed, red date, red bean paste, sticky rice oil.

Dong Suh Brown Rice Green Tea.

Monday, August 3, 2009

Rockmeisha: Fit for a Rockstar


This review originally appeared on The Gotham Palate.

All hail the legions of wannabe rockstars.

That's the theme of the night at Rockmeisha, or what I perceived it to be. My friend Chloe and I have always harbored secret dreams of starting a rock band (who hasn't?). Rockmeisha indulges you with the momentary illusion that, Yes, I'm a rockstar...AND what??!

Rockmeisha is styled exactly like izakayas (snack bars) in Japan, and is ideal for drinks and grub into the wee hours. Not exactly a dinner place, though, as I realized at 7 p.m. when it was still light out and the vibe was dead. The black walls contrast the white curtains flowing from the ceiling like a giant floating canopy. Old-school pictures of Japanese pin-up girls and "Uptown Martini Bar" art deco surrounded us, finished off with cherry wood accents.


Regarding drinks, there's lots to choose from: domestic and foreign beers, wine, soju, tea and half a dozen sake options, including the Lychee Sake cocktail. Most individual drinks hit the $5 to $8 range.

Nanban fried chicken.

I thoroughly enjoyed the cold Sapporo draft ($5), Nanban fried chicken with tartar sauce ($12) - my pick, and Octopus pancake ($9) - Chloe's pick. Both dishes were edible, but the Nanban was my favorite. Something about greasy, fried slabs of rotund chicken dipped in fatty, rich tartar sauce really did the trick. Tartar sauce should certainly not be relegated to just fish and chips!

However, the service was noticeably slow, especially since we were one of only a handful of customers. We waited at least 20 to 30 minutes for our dishes. Our food suffered from a moderate case of mayonnaise overdose, but then again, this is Japanese tapas, or snack food - not intended for a full sit-down meal.

Also, Rockmeisha charges a $13 minimum to sit at a table, so our four other friends (who weren't interested in drinking) ended up eating down the street at Pinto for Thai cuisine. I thought it was a little weird that we had to split up, but we still had a great time afterwards.

Octopus Pancake.

Things I would try next time: Hakata Ramen, Buta kimchi donburi (sauteed pork strips, onion and kimchi over rice) and Gobo chips (Japanese burdock root, best deep fried to a golden crisp).

This is a decent place to get a cold beer or knock back sake shots and chow on some finger foods. It's where I would go with my bandmates after ripping up a late-night gig, starved for sustenance. But I wouldn't recommend it for a nice dinner. And don't take your date here. Unless she's your Number One fan and piling on greasy food and beers is her M.O. In which case, go right ahead. Methinks the ambiance is better after 10 p.m., when the crowd gets more raucous and the dazzling lights in the front window blind you to the slow service and other shortcomings.

Bottom line: Don't expect five-class service. Come for the drinks and snack food. Leave full of giggles and silly stories. And maybe, just'll get your true rockstar status.

Rating: 3.5 out of 5 stars. Didn't approve of the $13 table minimum, nor the Tortoise-and-the-Hare wait. Dug the decor, drinks and comfort food.

11 Barrow St
New York, NY 10014

Kung Fu Kickin'

Photo by LyndalWines.

I don't get "Kung Fu" supposed to be code word for "Fierce"? "Strong"? "Potentially lethal"?

If I drink this, will I instantly become a warrior princess, sprout nunchucks and kick some major Crouching Tiger butt?

And what's up with her lack of eyes?

...I'll think about it.