Summer Eating in NYC and Los Angeles

See some food photos from my trip here.

New York is by far my favorite place to eat. When I was last here in 2011, I felt the same as I stepped on my flight to leave. My feelings have not changed. There’s something about walking, public transit, or even flagging a yellow cab as your methods of getting to and from each restaurant – it makes the experience more complete, more of a destination. From the (crack infused) white sauce at Halal Cart on 53rd and 6th to the ‘lightly cooked’ fish at Le Bernadin, food in NYC somehow elevates their game, setting the benchmark unparalleled in other cities. San Francisco, I reside with you, but NY holds my taste buds captive.

Here’s what I ate:

Shake Shack (7.5/10) – Burgers are great but not worth the wait when I have In n out at home.
Momofuku Saam Bar (8/10) – I craved the roast duck from 2011 but I leave this trip with fond memories of the ginger scallion sauce.
Corner Bistro (8/10) – a Burger that you would want at a neighborhood BBQ. Crisp and Simple does it.
Momofuku Milk Bar (4/10) – Crack pie…?
Le Bernadin (9/10) – Quite possibly my best meal of the year until…
Chef’s Table at Brooklyn Fare (9/10) – this intimate experience blew me away. Vegetable centric tasting menus in CA are great, but BK Fare reminded me that $200+ for vegetables isn’t the luxury I crave every fine dining meal.
Ippudo (8.5/10) – Still the standard bearer for Salt Ramen. Had Santouka a week later and it didn’t compare.
Dominique Ansel Bakery (8.5/10) – Cronuts are for real. The 4 hour wait is too. Fig and Mascarpone flavored. #sonutsforcronuts
the NoMaD (7.5/10) –  Egg Quinoa and Asparagus dish is surreal. Food that doesn’t try too hard but is still an awesome meal.
Katz Deli (5/10) – Good but dry after 2 bites!

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I have always considered LA as home but I never felt comfortable with the city. I spent my pre-college years there, a.k.a. ignorant years, so I spent time fussing over SAT’s and not culture and neighborhoods. I was fortunate enough to spend a week in LA this summer which allowed for weekday dining, evoking a ‘local’s experience.’ Happy hour specials at Pizzeria Mozza after 10pm on weekdays? Check. Not needing to wait for a table at Son of a Gun? That would never happen on a weekend. LA is full of diverse, cultural, and great food, but besides a select few restaurants like Providence and Alma, I feel that the restaurants lacked a connection with the world trade of food. Perhaps this is a positive thing? Forging its own identity; its own sense of Time and Place if you will…

Spago (8/10) – the Japanese chirashi and seasonal agnolotti are real stars here
Baco Mercat (7/10) – I wasn’t a fan of the baco’s but the vegetable dishes here were stellar
Son of a Gun (9/10) – probably my favorite place in LA. Their fried chicken sandwich is incredible, words cannot describe. Octopus salad and lobster roll are all amazing too.
Dino Chicken (8/10) – the white meat portions aren’t as juicy but the dark meat and marinade is worth the trip (plus its $6 bucks for a flavor soaked meal!)
O Dae San (7/10) – Korean BBQ will always have a place within my heart
Pizzeria Mozza (7.5/10) $20 for a pizza, dessert, and beverage after 10pm on weekdays? Yes Sir – late night meet up spot.
alma (7.5/10) – Alma and noma are the two most conflicting places I’ve had this year. The food was interesting and striving for depth but at the expense of flavors sometimes. I did enjoy the tofu beignets and pigeon.

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