Monday, June 25, 2007

A Sad Day for Udon

One of the best udon dishes I've had isn't from a Japanese restaurant. It's from a little market, Jubilee, on Broadway in Soho. Jubilee has groceries and a variety of prepared foods.

I was skeptical the first time I tried the udon bar, but I've had enough mediocre udon before that I thought I might be pleasantly surprised, which I was.

I ordered the shrimp tempura udon. The broth was extremely flavorful with lots of spices and vegetables (make sure to request it spicy - it gives it an extra kick). On top of the udon were two pieces of shrimp tempura, which soaked up the broth's flavor but didn't get too soggy (I'm sure you request them to be on the side). The udon noodles were also cooked nicely - nice and slippery to slurp up.

Since my first udon encounter I've had the dish 5 to 6 more times, but today is a sad day for udon.

Seems like Jubilee has shut down its udon bar for the summer, and will only start making udon again come the colder months.

I suppose since it's summer people don't order hot broth noodles. But what about those colder summer days? Wouldn't a bowl of udon be more comforting than a deli sandwich?

Maybe if we keep asking for the udon, they'll bring it back earlier. Until then, I'm looking forward to fall.

Jubilee Market
447 Broadway
New York, NY
(212) 966-6100
*Open 24 hours* (some prepared food sections close earlier)

Thursday, June 21, 2007

What's your name? Aroma

It's always surprising when you look at a place and think that you would never be caught dead in there, but then find out that it actually has something worth going in for.

This is what I found with Aroma, an espresso bar on the corner of Houston and Greene in New York. Looking in from the glass windows, Aroma resembles a modern European Internet cafe with its limited palette of red, white and black decor. The place looks like it is trying hard to impress - it almost looks too clean to be a good coffee place - it makes my skin itch.

So, one afternoon after lunch, I went with a couple of friends to get our daily latte. They said they found a new coffee shop to go to and that it was better than our regular spot. But, I protested, the atmosphere is so much better at Cafe Cafe!

But they said the coffee is better there. Also, they give you a free piece of chocolate with your purchase. I decided to give it try.

The latte I got (even though it was kind of expensive for a small - I mean $2.95! Come on!) was surprisingly good. Full bodied and rich without being too rich. You can still taste the espresso part (I found that many lattes taste too milky). I was impressed and I liked my small piece of chocolate. I guess it's a consolation for their prices.

This isn't to say that I like the place. There are a lot of things that bother me still. For example: they have different prices for items if you're staying there or taking it to go (which is good if you're taking it to go, but not if you're staying, but I guess I wouldn't be staying there ever); when you walk in the front door, you come right to the cashier counter and it feels awkward because you have nowhere to stand especially if there's already a line; the service is kind of mediocre; it feels really branded and chain-like and lacks that small coffee house feeling (maybe because it's an Israeli coffee mega chain!); AND here's the kicker - they've asked me for my name (to call out when when my latte was ready), and I spelled it out for them both times I've been there, and it's been spelled incorrectly both times on my receipt.

Which isn't a huge deal, except I feel chains do this thing where they insist on using names (instead of numbers) to connect with the customer, but when your employees aren't listening to the customers, then there's a problem.

This isn't going to prevent me going back for that good cup of latte and also to see when they will spell my name correctly. I'll keep you posted.

145 Greene St (actually on Houston)
New York, NY 10012
(212) 533-1094

Friday, June 8, 2007

Why Lunchbox?

"Do you want me to make you a lunchbox?" That's what my mom said after dinner every night. It sounds so strange. Shouldn't she say, "Do you want me to pack you a lunch?"

But, English is not my mom's first language.
And, that didn't stop me from enjoying leftovers the next day in my neatly packed Tupperware container.

My mom's weird sentence still tickles me to this day and her gesture of making me a lunchbox (even into my early 20's!) also made me feel very taken care of.

I hope that this blog will give you information about little treasures (be it restaurants or recipes) I have found.