Food Favorites: NYC eats

I love DC – I’ve lived here for over 6 years now (including undergrad), and still find new things to explore and new places to go out and new foods to eat. However, this foodie wants to move to NYC so badly! There are a multitude of reasons, but I love food and honestly the food scene in DC is lacking compared to NYC. Whenever I head up for a few days I always have to go to a couple of my favorite places to grab delicious food I can’t get in DC. With the damage from Hurricane Sandy (boo) this past weekend, everything south of 34th St. had no power, and thus my usual haunts around SoHo and Chinatown were off limits.

When I have control over the remote at home, I love watching food network or travel channel (when the food shows are on). As a result, even when I eat the simplest thing I tend to critique it, sometimes jokingly, as if I were a judge or personality on food network. My boyfriend and I will try any new or crazy food (well no mushrooms for me), but we definitely are picky about quality. If we’re just grabbing lunch during work or on the go, we don’t expect glory, but we still won’t settle for crap either. But if we are going purposely to eat a specific food, and possibly spending a lot of money on it, you know it better be amazing.

On weeknights we usually cook, as it’s cheaper (unless we shop at Whole Foods in which case its cheaper to eat out seriously), but cravings strike that we cannot create ourselves. This weekend in NYC we wanted sushi – there’s good sushi for a price in DC, and a few mediocre gems in a sea of not very fresh sushi places. We went to a place called Neo Sushi Studio on 75th and first. The fact that there’s a cool and small sushi joint on nearly every block made me super excited, and our friend listed several other options with amazing sushi in addition to where we ended up going.

We started with monkfish liver pate, which I thought was amazing, probably because I like both pate and fish. It came with a sweet and savory sauce with some sort of fruit (preserved plums?).

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Monkfish live pate

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On my plate before being in my belly

We also had spicy tuna rice crisps, which was spicy tuna filling to layer on top of fried crispy blocks of rice, and a spicy soy dipping sauce. The spicy tuna filling really psyched me up for the sushi to come, as it was very fresh and flavorful. Only downside was that the rice blocks were a bit over-friend, and was very crunchy on top and chewy.

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Spicy tuna topping on left, spicy soy dipping sauce in middle, crispy rice blocks on right

Last appetizer was edamame with lava salt. Pretty basic, nothing spectacular. Black lava salt was a nice touch.

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Looks like edamame

The star of the night was definitely the sushi and sashimi we ordered – eel & avocado, salmon & avocado, spicy tuna rolls, tuna, salmon, snapper, sea bass, and salmon roe sashimi. Everything was very fresh, tender, and melt in your mouth. Despite our friend claiming there was better sushi to be had, as a good sushi deprived non-New Yorker, it really hit the spot.

So much eating was done Friday and Saturday in NYC – mostly Japanese food, with udon noodles and Japanese curry for lunches, and sushi for dinner. Of course with my boyfriend’s raging sweet tooth, we trekked to a childhood favorite of his, Levain’s bakery for enormous cookies.

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Where the magic happens

Ambitiously, we bought a dark chocolate chocolate chip, dark chocolate peanut butter, and chocolate chip walnut. We didn’t finish eating those cookies until Sunday night at home in DC, and even snacked on them during the weekend. I must admit I am not a huge help when it comes to sweets because I’d really rather have meat on a stick, but they were pretty decadent cookies. Fresh and warm, they had a thin crust hiding gooey and warm innards and melty chocolate or peanut butter chips. So good.

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Dark chocolate chocolate chip – at least half a pound in size and a stick of butter in it

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Innards shot

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Innards shot of dark chocolate peanut butter chip

My boyfriend is also obsessed with bagels, and is very knowledgeable about the bagel making process, and how a good bagel should look and taste. There are no good, non-chain, bagel places in DC – so Saturday morning, before brunch, we tried two bagels from a nearby, recommended bagel place. I honestly have eaten bagels so infrequently that I can’t tell the difference between a merely mediocre bagel and a great bagel, but the boy seemed to enjoy them more than usual, so success. I’m a bigger fan of brunch foods and needed desperately to consume vegetables and crushed an enormous broccoli, onion, and smoked salmon omelette. It was good but nothing super special.

The thing I love about NYC is that I walked everywhere – from where the bus dropped us off (28th and 7th Ave) all the way to the UES where we were staying with a friend, then trekking down to grab lunch, crosstown for Levain’s, through Central Park back to the UES and dinner. We walked from where we stayed to the bus stop by the Javits center to check out the marathon expo (despite it being cancelled), for a total of at least 12.2 miles walked. Considering how much we ate, that was totally necessary! I hope I can move there soon…

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