Tag Archives: foodie

Ten Years Later, Chang Still Shines

In 2004, David Chang opened his first restaurant: Momofuku Noodle Bar, in the East Village. For the past two years, ever since I saw the first episode of Mind of A Chef (aptly entitled “Noodle”) I have been craving his cuisine. And after two years of making knock-off Chang dishes (read: cooking rice noodles in chicken broth with soy sauce, topping it with scallions and a poached egg), I finally made it down to his restaurant on 1st Ave.

My friend and I arrived at around 9:40 pm on a Saturday night. This was our mistake. If you don’t want to wait at this place (or any of Chang’s restaurants, for that matter) go for lunch on a weekday. As it was, we were told it would be around an hour and a half, so we put our names down and headed over to Momofuku Ssäm bar on 2nd Ave. That wait would be an hour, but we decided to put our names down there too and walk around. Both restaurants texted (they’ve got a pretty snazzy system) about a half hour later and we chose to go to our original goal, Noodle Bar.

We were seated at the chef’s table, with a perfect view of the kitchen.

Now for the food:

We started off with the famous pork buns. Pork belly, hoisin sauce, scallions, and marinated cucumbers. These guys are famous for a reason. They’re not actually listed on the menu, but they’re a staple of Noodle Bar so one can always order them. The pork is melt-in-your-mouth delicious, and paired with the sweet sauce and tart cucumbers, these buns are a must have at this restaurant.

Perfection in a bite.

The buns were followed by pea shoots, with chicory, sesame, and a kimchi vinaigrette. I was pleased to see pea shoots on the menu, as they’re one of my favorite greens; the chicory cut into the spiciness of the kimchi with a hint of refreshing sweetness. It was a very clever dish, a take on kimchi that I haven’t seen before.


I had read that they had brought a long time classic, chicken and rice, back on the menu for a limited time:

Smoked chicken, marinated cucumbers, scallions, and a poached egg over rice.
Smoked chicken, marinated cucumbers, scallions, and a poached egg over rice.

How to eat: like one might with bibimbap, mix everything together so you get a perfect bite in every bite.

This dish was fantastic. The chicken was smoky and moist and the egg was poached perfectly. It is hard to poach eggs in a restaurant setting, to make them consistently perfect. I could see the cook cooking all of the eggs and have to say, he did a marvelous job.

My friend did get noodles, ordering the spicy miso ramen.

Smoked chicken, poached egg, and sesame.

I thought the dish was good, though the noodles were a bit strange. Sour, perhaps. Momofuku uses the same noodles as Ivan Ramen—Sun Noodle, but these aren’t rye noodles, as far as I know (Ivan’s are). The spinach and nori were both a little bit out of place, in my opinion, but the chicken and the broth were great.

We ordered two desserts: pretzel cake truffles and pb & strawberry sweet cracker soft serve.

Pretzel cake truffles.
Pb & strawberry sweet cracker soft serve.

The desserts were both good, not great. Noodle Bar’s forte is not its dessert; despite the fact that the desserts come from the well-known Milk Bar, the options don’t include Milk Bar’s classics, like their crack pie or cereal milk ice cream.

As we were getting ready to leave, Tony Kim, the chef de cuisine, walked by. I shook his hand and thanked him—it’s always a nice touch to thank a chef for his food. A chef’s job is to please you, so it’s always gratifying to know that you’re happy.

All in all: go. It’s fantastic, and a New York staple. Well worth the trip down to the village.

Momofuku Noodle Bar,

171 1st Ave, New York, NY 10003; (212) 777-7773.

Atmosphere: light wood, communal tables, and a loud, open kitchen give the restaurant a friendly, welcoming feel.

Sound Level: Loud.

Recommended Dishes: pork buns, pea shoots, chicken and rice.

Price Range: ~$30 per person for an appetizer, main, and dessert each.

Hours: Sun-Thurs: 12:00-4:30, 5:30-11pm. Fri-Sat: 12-4:30, 5:30-1 am.

Reservations: None, except for the fried chicken dinner. Go for lunch if you don’t want to wait.


“To me there’s nothing sexier than egg drizzling out.”—Chef Chang






Le Ventre de la France

Paris versus New York von Vahram Muratyan

      Le Ventre de la France

La Rencontre: « One must eat to live, and not live to eat » Molière, L’avare, Act III, Scene 1. Apologies Molière, but that might have been one of the times when you were wrong…


“Oh my god that was good, I love my people”


Sometimes things can get lost in translation, but when it comes to expressing that pure ummyummyohMYGODgoodness of sensory ecstasy, c’est facile! These were the words of Jeanne Bernard, a visiting student at Barnard this year from the one, the only, Paris, and also one of your future guides to Le Ventre de la France. So introducing my Francophone “Watson,” the expert du goût and accomplice of all things French food : Jeanne, a twenty-year-old Parisian, baguette obsessed, and now re-impassioned French food enthusiast. Bienvenue et bon appétit!


This is a column about eating, learning, and finding out all about French food, culture, and the best places to discover the closest thing to its authentically delicious flavors in New York. Feeling your palette beginning to dawn a shade of blandness ? Check in with us every other week to spark your curiosity in the delectable ! That being said,  Vous aimez vos croissants bien croustillants et vos époisses forts en goût? You’re just absolutely deprived after that glorious semester abroad in this sushi and yoghurt-on the go culture? You’ve never even heard of coq au vin, but Hell, doesn’t that just sound good? Point in case, all food enthusiasts’ welcome !


Now that brings us to the term you’ve been dreading to hear, dare you call yourself a “food-ie”? While right off the bat, I’ve just got to be frank with you– je déteste ce terme de “foodie.” “Foodie” implies an elite club that turns the simple recognition of a daily sensory MIRACLE into a dreaded image of pompous eaters that like the connotations that surround the wine and cheese clan today, are too “high class” for me and full of jerk-like snobbery (both the genre hipster and old-men included). So dear World, please do not do to America’s wonderful young generation growing more and more food-conscientious what you have done to the poor people of the vines, and soon to be cows too. Let’s keep food real and call ourselves “enthusiasts” because as Americans, we’re a little late to this whole art de vivre scene when it comes to loving good food, and it’s about time we just became hungry over food’s amazing quality to inspire our quotidian!

So some guidelines to becoming a good ‘ole “enthusiast”: the simplicity of good food lies in three things: Seasoning, Seasonality, and Simplicity- that is in regards to the crucial aspect of quality ingredients! And personally, being synesthesia-obsessed, I’m going to throw in Aesthetic Artistry of Craft in there, because however much I’ll acknowledge a good boudin (yea seriously google it if you haven’t dared tread the waters of « blood sausage ») does taste strangely good, you’ve got to dash some fleur de sel and speckle some REALLY bright greens on there to disguise that black blob of subconsciously hidden, but oh so really disgusting looking deliciousness before me. As however dubious it may be it’s actually a proven fact that color does influence our perception of taste! (http://www.eufic.org/page/en/page/FAQ/faqid/food-colour-structure-influence-taste/)



But here is where we arrive at our next fundamental issue; who am I to assert all these claims about food? Still working through some late philosophy homework here now, I’ll answer Hume’s jargon-filled Standard of Taste stipulations: What makes you a good critic and can taste be educated? Well, my name is Amelia and I’m also a new transfer student this year at Barnard. Long story short, I took a year off after high-school and went to culinary school in England for a while, did some pastry training in France, and came back and somehow started running my own little odd catering “company” (although let’s just say “lucrative operation” for now in case any Board of Health & Sanitation devotees are lurking in the background). Fortunately, the following year, I was lucky enough to spend my first semester abroad in Dijon, France, la maison de l’escargot, la moutarde, le cassis, et le MEILLEUR vin du monde (my apologies to all Californians reading). Anyways, my time in France, mostly thanks to my formidable host family, changed my whole conception about food and life, and most of all, how passionate I had become about food just through a culture (oh yes, did I mention my motivation in first learning to speak French the year before was mostly so that I could spend a semester EATING in France? Hey, don’t judge ok, food is puissante!). Fast-forward to my phase of one day aspiring to become a cheese-monger, all the way to last Spring when I found myself literally writing my transfer essay about the metaphorical education of “liberal arts through artisanal cheese” et me voila la bienvenue dans la ville de mes rêves, la capitale américaine de la gastronomie! So here’s a quick “taste profile” speed-dating: My last supper would consist of copious amounts of Mont d’or, a good bottle of Nuits Saints George Red année 2009, Belon Oysters, the deepest darkest chocolate hazelnut espresso dacquoise on earth, crispy duck with a huge pot of moutarde à l’ancienne on the side, Serrano ham, King Trumpet mushrooms, and spankin’ pink raw tuna- omg wait I forgot Humbolt Fog Goats Cheese on Polâine bread with lavender honey OF COURSE ! I know, the collected combination probably makes you wants to barf slight, and even in saying it aloud myself am slightly disconcerted- well, welcome to the world’s funkiest palette.


Alright, now before I lose you, here’s my quick “philosophy” on Hume’s second stipulation; educating taste (in the realm of food). Here’s the thing, of course “good food” (well-prepared with quality ingredients) is going to taste good, that’s an innate sensory reaction that we all posses. But, like walking into MOMA and staring at a painting that makes you feel something inside- some sort of emotion, but you just don’t know what or why. Donc, being a cook will help you be able to identify and appreciate ingredients and original stimulating combinations. Secondly, being exposed to a lot of different flavors and good dishes in your life, will ultimately help you get from just Pepperidge Farm, to asking for that brioche bun actually, s’il vous plaît. Thirdly, growing up in an environment that appreciates or places importance on food might make you more prone to love this artistry we forget to classify as an art form often (Fact: The shaping of taste preferences begins in the womb and continues through the rest of our lives. Even Though our ancestors have gathered taste experiences, our own food behavior is rarely mere intake, but rather coupled with emotions, social aspects, and digestive processes that may influence the mere exposure effect (http://www.eufic.org/article/en/health-and-lifestyle/food-choice/artid/how-taste-preferences-develop/). That being said, I am no child of diverse Brooklyn-hipster parents, and sure my mom threw a Greek yoghurt in my lunchbox, but I didn’t grow up particularly obsessed or interested with good food (but to my wonderful mother’s defense, thank-god she never let me buy Fruit Roll-Ups). I’m a cook (leaning more towards aspiring pastry chef/cheesemonger one day!) but I’m no “pro,” and I still haven’t crossed Ethiopian or Kimchi off my list. All I am, is a girl who loves to cook, eat, encourage others to recognize the daily delicious art form we can experience every day, and someone who fell in love with a particular cuisine through a culture where food is life. So here’s the prerequisites guys for French “food-ist” appreciation initiation: To appreciate food- French or not- just please get hungry, in both the literal and figurative sense, to be more conscious of the miraculous in the seemingly mundane, and just maybe why it is so. To be a true enthusiast, is to just be hungry.


Bon, finally this is a blog about French Food, but why so? Because it’s what I love and I know (and am still learning myself!), not because French food ranks high on some stupid “hierarchy” of worldly cuisines. French food has got a Hell of a lot of history, a lot that makes it no better than, but definitely special, among the world’s cuisines, and is more so a living part of culture that so fiercely defines its patriotic roots in the distinctness of its wonderful people, who in turn identified themselves originally by hundreds of years of strongly regional culinary traditions- of which these days will literally they will do anything to protect (heard of the AOC? Google away!). So here we go, a gourmet parisienne et une américaine obsédée par le monde francophone, are here to guide you through the best places to find “authentic” French food in New York (and Paris!), the ins and whimsical details of its food and cultural education, and of course, offer some mouthwatering tips and tricks to recipes, shopping, and finding l’esprit du ventre français in your everyday life. So don’t be afraid- yea, you’re twenty-something and you’re hungry to be enthusiastic about French food.

Bon Appétit à tous !


Check Back in a few days for our first OFFICIAL post on demystifying le “Bistro” and get to know our newly arrived frenchy – you know that one who’s in such a tiff over all the yoghurt she has been eating while walking. 



A.A et J.B


Summer in the South

The first thing my roommate, Susan, and I bonded over was food. Literally. Our families met up at City Bakery a couple days before the beginning of the semester to get acquainted and work out some last minute who’s bringing the mirror kind of stuff. Susan was nice. I was extremely awkward. In between talking way too much and telling embarrassing stories in a desperate attempt to get a chuckle, I noticed Susan’s plate. She had some fish, salmon if I remember correctly, on a bed of lettuce and kale salad with a pesto like dressing drizzled on top. It was beautiful.

One day during NSOP we found ourselves caught in the rain after having half-heartedly raced through Madame Tussaud’s. We were hungry. So when, as we sped back toward the subway, I noticed a Dean and Deluca’s, I dragged Susan in. We sat for quite a while, munching on salads and making meaningless chitchat until somehow the topic of Brussels sprouts came up. We both fervently plunged into rants about how it was the most misunderstood, underrated vegetable on the planet. I mean really! All you have to do is roast it! Or sauté it! Of course it tastes bad boiled! What doesn’t? After a few minutes we exhausted our long list of reasons why everyone should love Brussels sprouts and, perhaps a bit more calmly, moved onto discussing the merits of roasting cauliflower. I think Susan and I would both agree that that was the start of our friendship. We clearly were both foodies. We would be friends.

Needless to say, we are friends and we spent most of our free time last school year going out to eat, drooling over food blogs, and reading the menus of all sorts of restaurants, some of which were halfway across the country and we knew we would never go to. For my birthday Susan arranged a Hewitt free day for me, complete with two different kinds of cake (best birthday present ever.) So, this summer, when I went down to Dallas to visit her, I had some very high expectations on the food front. And I was not disappointed.

I learned what “Tex-mex” really means, that Pillsbury biscuit mix is not the same as a real homemade crumbly, buttery biscuit, that yes, fried pie is a thing, and yes, it is as good as it sounds. I had griddled buttermilk drops, brisket enchiladas, and a lot of salsa. Susan’s father, the meat whisperer, made spatchcock chicken and steak packed with so much flavor I was at first unclear as to what I was eating. We went to Susan’s favorite Dallas restaurant, Fearing’s, where I was treated to the most beautiful barbequed shrimp taco I will ever have the pleasure of eating, a delightfully tangy cast iron seared tilapia, and a downright orgasmic banana pudding. I got the best burger, ham, and hot dog of my life in one day. I ate and ate and then ate some more and right about now, I think I’m ready to go for round two.

Gift or Selfish Treat: Foodie Decor

"Know Your Coffees" by BlimpCat

Anyone who knows me at all is aware that I am a poster girl (not to be confused for a poster child or anyone else who might be the primary persona associated with a product).  I have racked up several wall posters over the years, including a slightly crumpled attitude-ridden scene from The Breakfast Club, a print of Jack Vettriano’s The Singing Butler, and a gloriously moody poster of James Dean.  I have a serious problem with blank walls.  I fight my silent battles against plaster with posters that make me amused or inspired (the best ones do both).  There is one, however, that I think about every time I enter a coffee store.  And again, if you know me, then you know that’s several times a day. Continue reading Gift or Selfish Treat: Foodie Decor