I love the term foodie as it expresses a person who appreciates and loves food, but isn’t a formal food critic. My NY Eats were a big part of my weekend in New York, and trying new restaurants is a big part of any adventure for me. I hope you enjoy reading my recap of where I ate, and I give you a sense of the space and flavors. I didn’t take notes so it’s all from memory.
Our first stop on Saturday was Williamsburg. Wei explained Williamsburg is what Los Feliz is to Los Angeles. Which, for the reader unfamiliar with both; can then compare to the hip part of town where successful architects, musicians, artists, and other creative types reside who have moved far out of the starving stage of their craft. We got brunch at an adorable rustic looking restaurant called Rabbit Hole. It was still fastened with its late 19th century character. Molded ceiling and narrow bar running down the side. Apparently the back outdoor portion of the restaurant is really nice, but we were starved and I just wanted to be seated. So we were right in front next to a large window facing the street. It made for some great lighting, and I was seated beneath a funny sign.
The brunch menu was creative and hip. A balanced selection of savory and sweet. One could easily be torn between, stuffed brioche French toast with strawberry mascarpone or salmon egg benedict on an herb biscuit. Since my friend ordered lemon ricotta pancakes and was willing to share a bite. I ordered the salmon benedict. I’m a bit of benedict addict, or in a classy sense a connoisseur. And the Rabbit Hole’s benedict easily made my top 3 benedicts of all time. It was a good hollandaise sauce, but what stood out the most was the fantastic biscuit the salmon and poached egg rested on. It had the texture of a drop biscuit but was incredibly light and buttery. It easily crumbled just enough to get a bite on your fork and melt in your mouth. I will dream of that salmon eggs benedict. Liz’s lemon pancakes zinged with zest, but were not tart. Sweet like a lemon cake. Surprisingly I don’t like lemon desserts, but I enjoy lemon pancakes. The service was also delightful, I ordered Orange Juice and a coffee to combat last night’s mule, and our waitress was really great at keeping the joe flowing.
Fast forward through a day of sightseeing and bucket list accomplishments. We met up with Wei’s friend Chris, and Liz’s boyfriend Darren at Bryant Park. Darren’s birthday was the following day, so it was his choice for where we’d go for dinner. And not sure of what he wanted to eat, his only request was that he wanted a big frosty mug of beer. There are only two types of dining establishments that sell large frosty mugs of beer, and those are German restaurants and Japanese restaurants. Chris and Wei the actual New Yorkers, were racking their brains when Darren was making his mug request. After repeating it a third time, the light bulb above Wei’s head burst and she knew exactly where to go. A Japanese restaurant called Kenka, there is a blinking badger outside of it.
— WARNING FOOD GETS GRAPHIC & NOT VEGETARIAN FRIENDLY —
Japanese people, culturally are emotionally repressed, hence the twisted horror films and bizarre game shows. This Japanese restaurant was decked out like a rock n roll samurai soft core party palace. I wish it existed in LA. We sat next to a window display that inside had a naked male mannequin with a kabuki mask over his man parts and leaning on him a female mannequin with exposed boobs the size of large watermelons. Why? Why not! The back of the menu even has fees for if you break anything or start a fight.
Collectively we decided that we’d just point to a bunch of things on the menu and dig in. As I didn’t take any notes, here is what I can recall we ordered; salmon belly, char siu pork, pork fried rice, gyoza, smoked tiny fish, mackerel, bone marrow, frog legs, turkey testicles, and rice balls with salmon eggs. I have a feeling we ordered more, but that’s all I can remember right now. Oh and Liz, Darren, and I enjoyed $5 large frosty mugs of Sapporo. Everything was delicious! And yes I ate a bit of everything.
The frog legs were disappointingly attached to a full fried frog, so there were only two legs. After Darren took picture with his new fried friend, Liz and I went in and ripped off the legs. Frog really does taste like chicken, and this frog was prepared with a Cajun blend of spices with an Asian twist and fried in a light batter. The next day I had frog remorse as I realized I should have let Darren have the leg, as he had nibbled only on the arms. Next time I’ll treat him to a frog. The turkey testicles however not as spectacular nor will I ever want to order again. I took the smallest testicle and after Liz, Darren, and I toasted with the balls, popped it in my mouth. It has the skin of a sausage, but the inside is like a smooth patte’. It had a gamey flavor, but it was the texture that did me in. Almost like a pureed hot dog, I had to rinse it down with my beer.
I have no idea what our adventure in Japanese rock n’ roll cuisine cost us as Chris took the bill. Chris, our dining guest that didn’t eat half of what we ordered because he doesn’t eat fish. Talk about one cool fella. Saturday was the height of my culinary adventure in New York, Sunday brunch falling flat. It was at a very popular NY eatery too, so I’ll recap and add a few foodie traveler tips too.
Basically till next time ….give the birthday boy the frog leg.