East Village

Where:
Edi & the Wolf
102 Ave C
New York, NY 10009
East Village, Alphabet City
USA

Phone:
+1 (212) 598-1040 or fuck yeah, OpenTable.  My American homies recommend making a booking.

Price:
USD8 for Bloody Marys. USD14 for burger. USD8 for a side of fries.  Before tax/tip.

The deal:
Edi & the Wolf was a place which was consistently recommended by all my US homies for brunch or drinks.  It’s cool as fuck with its open, airy dining room and its rusted metal and wood filled industrial interiors which back straight onto the outside greenery (check it here).  Its decor is a mix of looped rope, carefully selected curios (how fucking twee, the lamp over our table had a tattered top hat on it), dried foliage and casual arrangements of fresh flowers which punctuate the space.  On a Saturday brunch slot, they are playing requisitely chill indie jams, no doubt picking a Spotify playlist called “Dreamful chill times on a weekend afternoon”. Load The XX and MSMR motherfuckers, it’s brunch time bitches.

I ordered the Schnitzel Burger for lunch which promised pork schnitzel, cucumber salad and a toasted brioche bun.  While we waited, I ate a choc au pain – I can get behind any complimentary bread basket which comes with choc au pain in addition to the other types of bread (rye + white in this instance).  My burger arrived and on initial bite, I was fucking disappointed cause it just wasn’t saucy enough rendering this a pretty fucking dry and flavourless fuck no experience. I’ve concluded, I fucking hate burgers on toasted brioche buns – I don’t know why people are persisting with this other than it sounds a little bit fucking fancy to write it on your menu. Brioche just doesn’t respond well to toasting, it dries out on the inside and in the final killer blow, cuts your goddamn mouth all up – you can fuck right off toasted brioche.  The avocado cream was a sad, tiny schmear (my insatiable lust for avocados continues) and added nothing to the burger.  The schnitzel was a fuck yeah though – so I set to work doctoring my burger by putting the creamy shredded cucumber salad that was chilling on the side onto the schnitzel, adding some bacon aioli and some of the ketchup from our fuck yeah paprika dusted fries. The menu actually declares it to be very fucking fancy Gray Kunz ketchup (the chef behind Cafe Gray in Hong Kong).  By the time I was done with sufficient saucing, my burger was back on track for fuck yeah times.

For drinks, I ordered a Bloody Mary and one thing I can say is that the cocktails in the US are strong as fuck yo. This isn’t my first time at the drinking rodeo and I estimate that the average drink here is three times as strong as the obscene measured 30ml jiggers of Australia and probably two and a half times stronger than the drinks of Hong Kong.  Edi & the Wolf’s Bloody Mary was a fuck yeah, topped with the requisite celery stick and a toothpick which skewered an olive and a pickled baby carrot.  I had two of these over breakfast which would normally provide me with some Vitamin C, two sticks of celery and perhaps a mild feeling of well being, but two Edi & the Wolf Bloody Marys had the end result of me sitting in the back of a taxi later, head askew as I declared that I was fucking wasted.  FYN estimation of vodka shots per Bloody Mary = 3+.   Welcome to the Land of the Free Pour, bitches.

Verdict:
Yeah, so the burger was a bit of a dud pre my adjustments, but shit was cute as fuck here and I reckon if I’d asked for more sauce, it wouldn’t have been an issue.  Full disclosure, maybe my strong as fuck Bloody Marys have softened my sentiment but I’d come back / recommend it – fuck yeah!

Where:
Caracas Arepas Bar
93 1/2 E 7th St
New York, NY 10009
East Village

Phone:
+1 (212) 529-2314 (I dunno if it’s really a booking kind of place though)

Price:
Arepas range from USD7 – 8.50 each (excluding tips, etc.)  

The deal:
We had a US Supercoach (abbreviated to USSC) who provided us with many fuck yeah New York pro tips.  Given his East Village expertise, one of his MUST DO recommendations was Caracas Arepas Bar.  After finding pictures of arepas before we touched down, Mr Noms and I were already trading anticipatory single worded messages to each other simply declaring “AREPAAAASSSSS” for weeks in the lead up.  When we finally tumbled into Caracas Arepas Bar, jetlagged and literally hours from finishing a fuck no 15 hour flight, we stared at the menu overwhelmed by feelings.  For those that don’t know, arepas originate from Venezuela and consist of a grilled and baked corn bun (fuck yeah, no gluten motherfuckers) which is then stuffed with ingredients such as chicken, pork, cheese and black beans.  Dazed and confused as fuck given the timezone changes, I settled on the La Sureña arepa (USD8.5) – promising grilled chicken, chorizo with avocado and quote “the classic and always enigmatic spicy chimi-churri sauce”.  I am unsure what made it enigmatic but I know that once I had that gritty bunned arepa in my life, a million fuck yeahs ricocheted through my travel weary body.

FYN artistic rendition of my reaction at this point in time:

myemotions

I begged Mr Noms to let me order another so I could double fist arepas into my goddamn face, but he claimed (reasonably) we should exercise restraint given the amount of eating available in the East Village.  I grudgingly agreed, reflecting upon our FUCK YEAH arepa as we walked down the street as I wistfully sang “Near, far, wherever you are I believe that the heart does go on” in its memory.

Given we are travelling, our time is limited and to double down on the same restaurant shows the extent of our FUCK YEAH love for Caracas Arepas Bar.  Granted our return visit was under less illustrious circumstances – following a marathon drinking session at The Top of the Standard, fuelled by a Jamaican/Australian barman homie who after learning we were Australian he declared “WOOOHEEEEE, someone’s getting fucked up tonight” (hot tip, it wasn’t him).  Our new friend idly paid no attention to the fact he was free pouring rum into a jug of mojitos before providing us with another separate glass of rum to add once we’d had a glass so there’d be more jug room. MY AMERICAN HOMIES, do you feel that drinking in countries other than the Land of the Free Pour is an exercise in merely drinking mint and soda with a hint of some sort of alcohol?  Unable to feel our faces, we cabbed back to Caracas to Go and I deployed Mr Noms to order a De Pabellón (USD8 – shredded beef, black beans, white salty cheese and sweet plantains) and a Reina Pepiada arepa (USD7.50  – shredded chicken mixed with my love, avocado) to try and mitigate some of the free pour damage.  The Arepas Homie may or may not have asked him “Is that your wife leaning against a tree outside?” as I mashed my fingers against my phone, in an unsuccessful attempt to message the USSC that we were back, buying more fuck yeah arepas and that Murica is the tits.

We woke up in the morning to a sea of plantain chips, aluminium foil and paper towels.  But no fucking regrets.  My heart will indeed go on when I return to the Kong and a fuck no arepa-less existence.  Too fucking sad, I will miss you dearly Mr Areppaaaasssss.

Verdict:
FUCK YEAH, arepppppaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaas!!!

Where:
Black Ant
60 2nd Ave (between 3rd & 4th St.)
East Village, NYC 10003
USA

Phone:
+1 (212) 598-0300 or online reservations are available here (fuck yeah, OpenTable)

Price:
USD70+ for two people, after 20% tip/tax, excluding drinks.

The deal:
It’s so fucking hard to get decent Mexican in Hong Kong, I temper that statement with the hard fucking facts that I’ve never been to Mexico, I’m not Mexican and I have no Mexican friends who are showering me with Mexican food.  But I can only assume that good Mexican food shouldn’t taste like bland mushy textures, sadness and the optional extra of bankruptcy (given the price of Mexican noms in the Kong).  We went to Black Ant because I wanted something spicy to push out the jet lag and the niggling suspicion of coming down with a cold after 15 hours of fuck no germ bag times on the plane.  Black Ant was packed and people were eating some pretty impressive looking noms.

The first thing I knew I had to get in my life was their guacamole.  Everyone knows that while I’m all aboard the Fuck Yeah, HK train that the one thing I fucking miss in the Kong is being able to buy decent fucking avocados (check my interview over at The Branded if you want to see what’s up) – this is pretty much my reaction every time I buy an avocado and I’m fucking excited that imma gonna have guacamole and then when I finally cut that fucker open, it’s inevitably a black, rotten motherfucker inside and I’m all:

nooooo

The Black Ant Guacamole (USD13) was the fuck yeah answer to my parched avocado existence, smashed up creamy beautiful avocados with orange segments, passila (a type of chilli), crispy shallots, fresh radishes and lime juice.  I wept joyous tears as I delicately shoved crispy tortilla chips into my greedy, wanting maw, only pausing to shout self-serving abuse at Mr Noms that he was messing up his guacamole to tortilla chip ratio and if he kept that up, we were going to be out of dip before tortillas.

We ordered a serve of the Tacos de Cocochas / cod cheek tacos (USD13) which looked really fucking good with its colourful slaw and microherbs but I just wasn’t feeling it.  The cod cheeks (a slice of meat taken from a cod fish jaw) just had too much fucking batter going on and the cod cheeks were too rubbery, taking on a calamari like texture.  The taco had this fuck no earthy undertone – I wasn’t sure if it was the fish or the beet sprout elements in the slaw but there was just too many fucking flavours going on that weren’t working together.  The Enchiladas de Conejo (USD24) was a spicy braised rabbit and chilacayote ragout which was ok, but again, it just seemed like a whole bunch of flavours were thrown together which should work together but shit just didn’t seem to gel together.

For dessert, we saw everyone ordering the Churros Fondue (USD10) and what’s not to love about fuck yeah deep fried cinnamon style doughnuts which you dunk in three different types of sauces (cajeta/caramalised sweet milk, orange blossom flavoured cream and salty chocolate sauce)?  It was FUCK YEAH dessert times.

However, the best fuck yeah moment of the whole meal (apart from dat guacamole) was listening to the Class A1 wanker at the table next to us (and the Black Ant is noisy as fuck and you are crammed together, so we got front row seats to the show) who was telling his lady friend how he pretty much knew everything, ever, from how to seat people at a wedding, why people ate grasshoppers (high protein content which made them perfect carriers for flavours…not because cows are in short supply in any of those grasshopper countries) and then even punctuated an opinion with repeating “I AM AN ENTREPRENEUR” four times in one minute (not even fucking exaggerating).

Anyway, I’m on fucking holidays and I’m already feeling the arduous as fuck toil of writing about NYC NOMAGEDDON so fuck writing some meaningful and well constructed conclusion and check this graph I made of my meal at Black Ant in lieu of a proper summary:

blackantchart

Verdict:
Shit wasn’t terrible – but no dice for a recommendation/return unless you’re going for the guacamole only.  Fuck no.

Where:
root & bone (Land of the free and functional websites – HK TAKE NOTE)
200 East 3rd St.
New York, 10009
USA

Phone:
+1 (646) 682 7080 (Walk in style though.  Website says you can make reservations for more than six people.)

Price:
USD100 for two people, including a couple of drinks.  Before 20% tip.  My US homies tell me 20% is standard, so don’t be a non-tipping/under-tipping tourist asshole.

The deal:
After 15 hours on the plane, we were worn out and jetlagged as fuck.  We were getting pretty fucking dozy on the couch but knew that we had to power on for a few more hours if we had any hope of getting on the right time zone (the fact I started writing this at 4am EST suggests that I have not exactly fucking nailed this).  So one of our US homies messaged us telling us about fried chicken waffles at root & bone (argh, Y U no caps your name? Proper Nouns motherfuckers, capitalise that shit) and after googling the hype that this was meant to be Manhattan’s Best New Fried Chicken, we dragged ourselves there, figuring we were unlikely to fall asleep in a pile of fried chicken.  We got there around 830pm and shit was real – the place was heaving and the door homies let us know that we could be waiting for 90 minutes, as we left our name on an ominously filled waitlist.  I was wavering on trying somewhere else but the door homies assured me that tonight was a good night (I gotta feeling, wooohoooo) and shit was only gonna get more packed Thursday, Friday onwards.  “Go for one drink, your table will be ready by then” – clearly underestimating my capacity and drinking speed.  So we took ourselves up to Bibi Wine Bar for a punchy aperitif of a bottle of red wine and the barman’s super rad 80s filled playlist, before we got called back in about an hour.

root & bone only opened a few months ago and is headed up by Executive Chef Jeff McInnis (Top Chef Season 5, ex-Yardbird Miami – ermagerd, I saw him in the kitchen too.  Yes time for my Usher-style Confessions, I fucking love Top Chef) and Chef de Cuisine, Janine Booth (also ex-Yardbird and originally hailing from Perth, Australia and she was on Top Chef Season 11.  JANINE, I WAS ROOTING FOR YOU ON LAST CHANCE KITCHEN) and they’re focussed on producing Southern influenced food, referencing coastal, rural American cooking and are committed to local, seasonal farm-fresh ingredients.  Their website lays it on a bit and promises a “casual yet elevated experience” but description aside, the place was dimly lit, packed and dat atmosphere shit was working for root & bone.

The fried chicken is clearly the main event here and we witnessed “Buckets of Bird” and Fried Chicken Waffles stream constantly out of the kitchen.  We ordered the half crispy fried bird (USD18) which is a free-range bird from Pennsylvania which is billed as being sweet tea brined, lemon dusted and served with spiked tabasco honey sauce.  Four large pieces came out and praise be for Mr Noms and his predilection for boring ass white breast meat meaning that I got to claim all the glorious dark meat.  I pressed him on this, asking why he prefers breast (except for health reasons but lolz, as if anyone eats fried chicken breast to be healthy) and he claims it’s easier to eat.  But who wants easy to eat boring as fuck breast times? Answer:  White Folk.  But seriously, this shit was a massive fuck yeah, with the lemon dust in the batter taking this up to some next level fried chicken shiz.  To get dat lemon flavour in there, root & bone dehydrate lemon slices before pulverizing that shit up with sugar and salt, giving you that salty / sweet flavour contrast.  The tabasco honey sauce added that sweet / spicy note, reminiscent of an Asian style sweet chilli sauce but fuck no logistics, it was served in a bottle with the tiniest fucking nozzle, meaning I could barely get any of that fuck yeah sauce out despite my vigorous as fuck shaking.  root & bone, get on top of yo physics!

We were struggling with what to choose for our second main, given that the menu had so many fuck yeah options.  But we channelled our #WWRS (What Would Roxette Say?) and when we saw the 18 oz. Kurobuta Bone-in Pork Chop (USD33) getting smashed together by the kitchen our destiny was set given my immediate reaction was GET IN MY LIFE.  While everyone’s raving about the chicken, dat pork chop was the star of the goddamn masterpiece for me.  Thick cut and grilled, they serve it still on the bone which is always my fuck yeah favourite way to get mah pork. Get dat flavour in my life. We ordered it medium rare / medium, in line with the kitchen’s recommendation (yes, I’m fucking primal when it comes to the temperature of my meat but I haven’t degenerated so far that I’m on the rare pork train yet).   I’m always conscious of becoming a food tosser by waxing lyrical over pork, but this magnificent fucker arrives on a bed of fuck yeah mash with a peach sweet and sour style BBQ sauce, which contrasts perfectly with the accompanying salty and slightly bitter baby brussel sprout leaves, tossed with bacon and pickled shallots.  I even managed to convince Mr Noms to get involved, assuring him that brussel sprouts in the 21st century aren’t the bitter, mushy fuckers from his distant childhood memories and relied on some bacon wank to convince him that shit was gonna be tight. Shit was so fucking awesome – the chefs saw me going hands on the bone and looking emotional over the pork chop and told me that this was their favourite dish as well. I felt my heart swell and I looked over at Mr Noms and as we gazed lovingly at each other, united by pork, we uttered romantically at each other “This shit is TITS”.

We also got a side of Waffle Cut French Fries (USD6) which came seasoned with dill pickle salt and a remoulade sauce but my personal preference is just fuck no to waffle cut fries.  They were good for what they were (ie. crispy potatoes) but I just prefer my fries straight up shape-wise. During my early morning jet lag, I tried researching to find any scientific or culinary based reason why you should do waffle cut fries instead of straight up fries and can’t find jackshit. I did learn you can call them pommes gaufrettes in French though, so I can fancy up my next review.  If I went to root & bone again I would get involved with the quaintly named Grandma Daisy’s Angel Biscuits, because that shit looked legit.

I also gotta give you the fuck yeah recommendation that if there’s only two of you, sit at the counter so you can see the kitchen action go down. The two kitchen homies in there were hauling ass and it was fucking awesome to watch them do their fuck yeah kitchen dance, sauteing vegetables, grilling meat, making mac and cheese and pulling their shit together.  They were having such a fuck yeah time and I just fucking loved watching it.  It was clear that most people wanted to sit at the tables, we even watched a party sit at the counter and then move.  I told the kitchen homies that they just need to market it better – just tell people when they’re asking for seats that you have the tables or there’s a chance to sit at the ‘chef’s table’ at the counter, but it’s very limited but it will allow you to see the kitchen action from an intimate perspective.  Guarantee that people will be all over that shit and getting their food wank on, clamouring to be at the counter vs the tables.

Cocktails were fucking legit as well, but given I was pre-lubricated with half a bottle of red and then stuffed with FUCK YEAH MURICA serving sizes of fried chicken + pork chop, I only managed to suck down a Whiskey Cobbler (which used peach as the fruit note).  I’m now just trying to figure out the holiday dilemma of, do I double up on root & bone during limited time holiday times or do you keep pushing onto new noms?

Verdict:
Shit was super tits here.  Dat pork chop was one of the best things I’ve fucking eaten this year.  FUCK YEAH.

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