Williamsburg Smorgasburg – Worth it?

What surprises me the most about myself and Smorgasburg right now, is the fact that I have never been there. How is it possible that a foodie like me have never made their way to Smorgasburg??

Capture

For those who do not know what Smorgasburg is, it’s an all in one food spot for all types of cuisines. They have food from the cultures of Moroccan, Mexican, Japanese, Taiwanese, American, Italaian, and many more.

There are many vendors within Smorgasburg that you can find outside of Smorgasburg and around the city. Two that I can state on the top of my head is goa taco and C Bao. So if you find something at Smorgasburg but you cannot make it there all the time, these restaurants got you covered by having more than one location.

Me and my friends went to the one located in Williamsburg, however, Smorgasburg currently has 3 locations within NYC. Their current schedule is Saturdays in Williamsburg, Sundays in Prospect Park, and Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays in Varick/Canal Street. I am a little biased since I have only been to the one at Williamsburg, but the location there is great. There are a bunch of places to sit, benches and grass. Plus, you get to view Manhattan’s skyline! Since I live in Manhattan, I only ever get to see the skyline when I am crossing the bridge from other boroughs or when I hit up Brooklyn. If I ever get a chance to go to the Prospect Park or Varick/Canal Street location, I’ll do a follow up article, but for now, Williamsburg Smorgasburg is my favorite.


To see the vlog about my day at Smorgasburg with my friends, click here!


As you can see in the vlog, I got a skewer set from Yakitori Tatsu (Japanese). I got the Tatsu set which consisted of a chicken breast skewer, a pork belly skewer, and an eel skewer. It was a bit pricey, $13 for all three, but it saves you a dollar or two. Although it was expensive, the skewers were really good. My chicken breasts were cooked well, rarely smokey or burnt on the outside, and it was juicy. My pork belly skewer was awesome, but that’s also because I am a sucker for pork belly. My eel was also really good. There was the right amount of teriyaki sauce on it, and it was also not burnt or smokey. Though I do think that $13 for 3 skewers that only contained 4 pieces on each of them is expensive, it was of good quality. If it was a treat yo’self kind of day, I would treat myself to this.

Then my friend Esther got a Vegan Beef Bahn Mi from Si Chuan Bahn Mi (Vietnamese and Chinese). Although I did not get a bite of hers, she really enjoyed it. I did get to try a bit of her vegan beef because she could not believe how great it tasted. She has also been a vegetarian for a long time so she does not remember how actual meat taste like. For my regular meat eaters – you could tell it was not real meat. It kind of tasted like tofu that has been submerged and marinated in a soy sauce or stir fried sauce. Not sure if she got a half or a full, but a half is $9 while a full is $14 (since she only got one side, I believe she got a half).

For dessert I got an ice cream from Bona Bona Ice Cream. I forget what the exact item was called, but it was a scoop of ice cream topped off with a toasted marshmallow. As for ice cream, I got a cookie dough and brownie flavored ice cream. One scoop of ice cream on a cone with the toasted marshmallow was $6. For $3 more, I could have gotten an extra scoop of ice cream. I really enjoyed eating the ice cream with the warm marshmallow. It was kind of like eating a fresh baked brownie that came right out of the oven with a scoop of ice cream.

One of my other friends got a mango flower with spice or paprika sprinkled on top. I know that this can also be found around NYC with all the mango carts so this is something that may be accessible to more people.

My friend Esther was also eyeing desserts and got something from kokus. She got the vitality which had a bunch of toppings on raw cacoa. This was a really lightweight dessert that was much healthier than mine. It cost $9, so it definitely makes a dent in your wallet.


Although I really want to like Smorgasburg, I think it’s because I am a foodie that I have been going to other places for alternative food options than those at Smorgasburg. I do have to admit that all the things I got at Smorgasburg was good, and the scenery was amazing and it was a perfect way to spend my Saturday. However, my wallet would not be able to keep up. I was happy to be surrounded by all the different food at Smorgasburg so that I could see my options, but there are definitely more things within the city (all 5 boroughs) that are friendlier to your wallet for the same quality. I think the good thing is that everything is there so that you do not have to travel far if your friends want different cuisines, but once you know what you like, it might be better to venture into different places for those options.

Grace Street: K-Town: NYC: Shaved Ice Cream

To add on to your summer dessert cravings – here is another bingsu (빙수) post for you all!

Capture

This joint is located in Koreatown (West 32nd street).
Until 5 or 6pm, there is no table service, in other words, there is no need to pay tip until this point! In case some of you are trying to save some money, I got you covered! Plus, prior to this time, there is an better chance of you getting a table. It can get full and busy after 7pm, especially on a Friday night.

I really like the ambiance here and it is perfect if you are out with your friends and you want a chill area to sit and chat. If you are also in the area and tired from all the shopping, this is also a great pit stop for resting and energy reboot.
The different flavors of bingsu or shaved snow that they have here are green tea, black sesame, and sweet milk snow (with different toppings). The one in the featured image is the black sesame, which they call The O.G. on their menu. With the black sesame as the base, there is mochi, strawberry, misugaru (grain sesame powder), red bean, and it is all drizzled with condensed milk. If you have read some of my other dessert stuff, you will know that I am a HUGE fan of ice cream and mochi, so Grace Street already has that down. This shaved snow definitely reminds me of Snowdays, rather than using ice as the base, like many other bingsu, it uses ice cream. This definitely is a step up from the original bingsu because now you aren’t paying for ice and toppings.

There are definitely other things on the menu, but since I have not tried them yet, I cannot comment on it. I guess this means I gotta head over to Grace Streets again.

This definitely is an Instagram worthy food, as you can see in the picture. The price of this dessert is similar to Snowdays, but Snowdays offer different sizes thus different prices. If I were to get this dessert on a daily basis, it would definitely accumulate over time, so I would save this for special events or occasions.


Bottom line – is it worth it?

It definitely is a good quality dessert that is worth the bucks. I would definitely try it if you are in the area, and have never gotten bignsu or shaved ice cream before. However, this is not a dessert that I could probably afford everyday. If you are looking to treat yourself, or are out with your friends, hit this place up!

Too early for dessert? I think not.

There are three Spot Dessert locations currently in NYC:

So if you are looking for an early dessert, your best luck would be to head over to Korea Town!

307700c74fff9d8e66903b67a3cadd84

 

 

 

The main dish that Spot Dessert is known for is their chocolate green tea lava cake. However, there are many other items on the menu that are worth mentioning such as the Golden Toast, the Kabocha Brulee Cake, and the Coconut Monkeybread.

 

 

 

I definitely remembering heading over to Spot Dessert back in high school, about 5 or 6 years ago. Before, Insider and Buzzfeed were the platforms everyone used for the latest news on innovative and cool ideas, everything was solely left to Facebook and word of mouth. The moment I saw the gush of chocolate escaping the cake in the virtual world, I knew I had to have it in reality. It definitely was worth the hype. It was a decadent cake, that was accompanied with a green tea ice cream. Although it is not shown in the picture, there is also a thin cookie on top of the cake. Everything just goes great together. I remember the first time eating it with my friend, that a couple beside us had also ordered it, and one of them actually took the plate and licked it clean. Yeah, it was that good. Though the price could have also been a factor (one of these dessert costs $9.15!!!!!!)

Other things worth mentioning of just the dessert tapas is The Harvest. Although this one is not one of my favorites, it definitely is unique. Everything except for the pot is edible! It is made to look like a plant. The little pot on the side that contains “water,” is actually a black rose milk tea. The “soil,” are actually crumbs, and everything within is the actual cake. Although I do think this concept is one of a kind, the whole cheesecake with fruit thing just did not do it for me. Plus, there was not much of the cake since the pot is so tiny.

Something that I do like on the menu, despite its simplicity, is the Golden Toast. It is a nice airy toast drizzled in honey with ice cream, cream, and strawberries on the side. This is a toast I would not mind eating for breakfast. I may also be a little biased to this because I have a thing for ice cream with bread, but hey, everyone has their preferences.

I also really enjoy the Coconut Monkeybread, however, I have had some hits and misses with this tapas. It comes in a cast iron, so do not, DO NOT, DO NOT, ignore the fact that it is being served on a wooden board to you for a reason. Within the cake there are pretzels, which often does go well with the ice cream on top and the chocolate drizzle, but for some reason, I have gotten it overly salty sometimes.

The Kabocha Brulee Cake is also really simple but if you happen to come by Spot Dessert in the Fall, highly recommend it since it has a pumpkin cake. I would eat it on the regular, but if you had to pick only one thing on your visit to Spot Dessert and it also happens to be Fall, why not opt out for this.

Although I do really like Spot Dessert and their tapas + other items on their menus, my wallet just cannot keep up with it. It definitely is a dessert bar that serves more upscale items, but there are definitely dessert places in the city that are nicer to your paycheck.
With that being said, there is the option of getting the tapas for a cheaper price if you order 3 and more, so bring friends!


This post was made in addition to my:

Follow me around NYC: Museum of sex + dinner & dessert vlog

If you have not seen the vlog yet, click on the image below!

Untitled drawing-17

Boka – The crispiest fried chickens in NYC

-crunch- That’s the first thing you’ll hear when you bite in. Followed up by flavor and happiness. Leaving you with satisfaction.

Boka is located at 9 St. Marks Place.

This was a hard find at first because it is located on the lower level, and the only thing that was indicating that the store was there was a little poster stand. It did not help that the store was also dim inside, making it hard to tell whether it was open or operating in the first place.

This restaurant is known for its ties with Korean Fried Chicken (the other KFC). For those who do not know what the hype about Korean fried chicken is, I’ll break it down to you right now.

  • Unlike the fried chicken we have here, it is not as greasy and oily. Without a doubt, fried chicken is still fried chicken. However, fried chicken in America is insanely heavy as compared to Korean fried chicken.
  • The coating of the fried chicken is different. In America, it is thiner and not as crispy as Korean fried chicken. Often times, Korea fried chicken is coated a little thicker and fried more than once.
  • Korean fried chicken is known for their different sauces. Now, I’m not talking about sauces that come on the side. It is often already layered in the flavor. Typical sauces are black pepper, soy sauce, honey-red pepper paste. Usually people would order ban-ban, which means half and half. If you refer to the featured picture, that is what me and my fried ordered.

Overall, I’m just comparing the differences between Korean fried chicken and American fried chicken. I’m not stating one is better than the other – though I prefer Korean fried chicken more, this will really depend on a person’s taste buds. I know people who want more grease and heaviness that Popeyes or KFC gives when you eat fried chicken. Then there are individuals like me who want a crispier coating and more options of flavor.

The other thing shown in the picture is called JjamPpong (which I already have written a post on). But to sum it up, it is a spicy base soup with seafood and udon noodles.

Another thing on their menu that I have ordered in addition to the fried chickens are their seafood pancakes. Many Asian countries have savory “pancakes” like scallion pancakes in China and Taiwan. So do not be scared by the name – just think of it as a really thin stuffed pizza!

Untitled drawing-17
I also mentioned in my vlog that they have lychee flavor calpico on their menu, which was also really good, like realllly good.

If you want to see more about my vlog click on the image!

Although I love eating at Boka, it definitely is on the pricier side of fried chicken. However, if you’re feeling like it’s a “treat yo’self” kinda day, I highly recommend the place.

Puerto Rico {Day 2}

Watch my vlog on my YouTube channel here: http://bit.ly/2sDci5t

As for day 2, we first went to Fatty’s for brunch/lunch.

I got the Arroz con Pollo (stewed rice with chicken). It was beautiful. We ended up at Fatty’s because the day beforehand, when we were walking around Old San Juan, it was a location that caught our attention. Honestly, we did not know what this place had to offer, but one of my friends said she heard good things about it from others. Trust me. It did not disappoint.
My chicken was cooked really well and it was so easy to take apart. The avocado was also really delicious, as expected from Puerto Rico. I also really liked my rice, which came with beans. The plantains were also amazing. It was a bit crunchy on the outside, but it was all delicious inside.
The service was also really good. They let us know when our food would be coming out and how much longer we needed to wait. Honestly, it only took 10 minutes from the moment we ordered. Even when they said it would take longer to make the rice, we only had to wait 5 minutes. So service was A+

Menu: https://www.yelp.com/biz_photos/fattys-san-juan-2?select=URIwE_TnUMoZeuDF_0jUPA
There are more options for dinner.

After eating we headed over to paddle boarding at Lagunda Del Condado.

We first went to Marshall’s before going to paddle boarding because I needed to get flip-flops and the others wanted more summer things like hats, sun glasses, etc. From Marshall’s, we took an Uber to the paddle boarding location. We had passed over this location when we were driving from the airport to our Airbnb location. Our taxi driver had told us that this location was popular for paddle boarding, which we had seen people doing that day, so we definitely had to go back.
On the day we went, it was a bit cloudy but that was perfect because we were not about to get ourselves burned. This also made the weather bearable and a bit breezy. I believe it was $20-$25 for 2 hours and they provided us with everything, even a life vest. The person who was at the paddle boarding place was also really helpful and told us what to do like how to stand, how to paddle, and where it was shallow – cause this girl cannot swim and was not about to go in for a dive that day. Nonetheless, I was still able to go all around the lake AND stand on the paddle board. ACHIEVEMENTS. Post this, we were also given water for free. Again, service is A+

More about Uber:

Puerto Rico in Old San Juan and the main island area does have Uber, which will be the main mode of transportation. There are places like Vieques, which does not have Uber (this is day 3!)
Some of the Uber drivers do speak English, and can offer some travel tips and places to go. For the most part, the Uber drivers are pretty nice and do their best to help out. All of our Uber drivers were awesome.

Dinner at Vaca Brava

First off, I loved the guy in front – so shout out to him!

Second, we ate a meal like no other. It was meat, next to meat, next to meat, on French fries, with a bit of grass on the side. The whole thing was beautiful. The meat that it came with were chicken, ribs, and steak. Everything was cooked really well and I could not have asked for a better meal. We were also offered the mushroom sauce, and there were also other sauces that the meal came with as well. I can’t remember them right now, but just believe me when I say it was really good. This definitely is a meal for 3 to 5 people, unless you want a challenge and chow that down yourself.
There were also other really good things on the menu that the neighboring tables had gotten that I was peeping at while eating my own delicious meal – cause that’s what I do. There was a meal that came in this wooden bowl, that kind of looks like one of those pots that you mash things in. Not really sure what was in it, but it seemed to be a really popular dish in Puerto Rico.

After dinner, we walked around the area and stopped at a few souvenir stores and the open area that had a market.

Some things I saw that were interesting in the shops and the market area was the artworks. They all had pretty similar pieces, but there were a few that I was contemplating on buying and bringing back because it just screamed Puerto Rico. There were also shot glasses in the shops that I was also thinking of buying, but there was a local supermarket nearby that sold them for cheaper so I bought it there instead.
One of the shops also had a whole section of cat items – like statues, postcards, mats, etc. This was due to the fact that Puerto Rico has a high population of street cats. The merchandise was an attempt to help these cats with a facility other than the streets. Thus, some of the money would go to an organization that would help these cats out. When we go out around Old San Juan, we definitely did see a lot of strays. For the most part, they are harmless and are used to humans. I can’t imagine them getting violent, unless you are approaching them. So just let them be.

That is it for day 2 in Puerto Rico. Make sure to check out my video for a better depiction of everything, and day 3 will be posted soon!

Blue Ribbon Friend Chicken – #cluckyeah

So New York City is known for their burgers from Shake Shack, but could there be competition in town??

This is Blue Ribbon Fried Chicken – located in New York City and also in Las Vegas. I honestly just learned about them through Instagram explore. Of course, me being the food lover that I am, Instagram decided to share this account with me. I was attracted to their burger posts and I knew that I had to try it when I went back to NYC – I might have been studying abroad in China at the time or away at college.

I got The Blue Ribbon with a side of small fries. Honestly, it is not too different from other burgers – definitely no where like Shake Shack because Blue Ribbon Fried Chicken uses only chicken, whereas Shake Shack uses beef. The fries were also nothing special. However, what I did like about this restaurant is the environment and feel. It gives off this southern feel, making it feel homey. This place is also really clean and well lit (lighting-wise) so it feels like a fast food joint for the family. I also really liked the array of sauces they had on the table, giving you the option to build whatever flavor you want.

Definitely a place to try out if you are in the city and is looking for a good burger joint that is not too crowded or mainstream like Shake Shack – not saying the Shake Shack is not worth trying out if you come to New York City. However, if you are into restaurants or food places that are not well known, this is a good place to hit up.

Ice Cream Rolls: 10 Below Edition.

The hype has finally toned down, so the wait is no longer out the door.

Ice Cream Rolls: literally ice cream that are rolled, and usually decorated with whatever topping you desire. AKA stir-fried ice cream.

The way they do this is by adding cream, and the flavor: matcha powder, fruit, etc … to the cream that is on this machine. This machine is cold so that the cream mixture can develop into the “ice cream” texture. The person making your ice cream roll would have to mix and spread this mixture often (usually takes 5 minutes) for the consistency to form.

Enough of that … onto the taste and important stuff.

The ice cream roll featured in this post is from 10 Below. This ice cream roll joint gained popularity and all of Chinatown jumped on to the ice cream roll trend.

Honestly do not remember what I got exactly in this picture – but it was my first time. These ice cream rolls – and this is also true about other ice cream roll joints in the city, is that it is light yet creamy because you’re only catching a thin layer of ice cream each scoop. The flavors are also highly customizable to your likings – it is literally whatever you want with cream. Thus, making it the perfect dessert for those who like to get creative without getting into a food coma. Most places also allows the customers to get as many toppings as they want. What saddens me about 10 Below is that they do not have mochi (rice cakes) – ice cream with mochi is literally the perfect combination. Thus, for this reason, 10 Below is not my favorite ice cream roll spot. But it still is a really good place to go to since it is one of the OGs (original gangsters – the classic and the grand daddy) of ice cream rolls.

Other ice cream roll spots that I enjoy are:
1) Juicy Spot (actually prefer over 10 Below)
2) Penguin Ice Cream
3) Minus Celsius