5 Napkin Burger [Click the photo above to go to 5 Napkin Burger’s website]
150 East 14th Street (corner of 3rd Avenue)
Being the lamest of the lame, I was really not in the mood to go out the Saturday after Thanksgiving (sometimes it’s nice), but my sister convinced me to go to dinner with her and her friend.
It really went more like:
“I don’t know if I wanna go out.”
“Come with me and Jamie to dinner. It’ll be fun.”
“K, where do you want to go?”
So, now that I was in for dinner, guess who gets to decide where we go? Me.
Having a food blog everyone assumes you always have a restaurant suggestion at the tip of your tongue. (every bar conversation: I have a food blog…what’s the best restaurant in the city? Shut up.) All it means is that I like to eat, and weird things happen to me when I go out to dinner. Anyway, I reached into my magic hat, and I picked out 5 Napkin Burger.
It’s reasonably priced, supposedly good fare, and considered relatively cool.
I still wore heels though and looked like a complete idiot. Everyone was casually dressed, and here I was with a collared necklace, sequin booties, and dark lipstick on (OVERDRESSED, OVERDRESSED, is all I could hear the other patrons saying in their heads).
Being that this was right after Thanksgiving, I decided let’s try the Dukan Diet again. Lets cleanse this body of mine, so I ordered two burger patties with no bun, and no fries as my dish. I love that meat is “cleansing.”
My sister and her friend however decided to split a rainbow roll. Yes, 5 Napkin Burger has both sushi and burgers, and then they each ordered a salad.
I decided to order the side of cabbage and vinegar to start, so I didn’t just watch my sister and her friend eat.
“How’s the sushi roll.”
“It’s ok. It’s like a California roll.”
“Yeah, but is it good?”
“Would you order it again?”
So, it’s supermarket sushi. Got it.
The cabbage salad I kid you not: amazing. I know it’s weird. It’s cabbage, but it’s crunchy and acidic, and I was munching the bejeezus out of it.
Then the mains arrive (come to mama). My burgers (notice the plural) were pretty effing delicious, with caramelized onions and pickles on top (vegetable garnish is allowed on the diet).
My sister got a salad with a burger patty on top so I don’t know, but one can convince themselves that anything is healthy when there’s lettuce. She ordered the dressing on the side, but the dressing was Thousand Island dressing, and she dunked each bite into the dressing, and ordered more. She didn’t say she was on a diet, nor does she want to be.
Her friend (my friend too) got the Asian chicken salad, and as it turns out it is actual chicken salad, not a salad with chicken.
“I wish it wasn’t chicken salad,”so she was pretty disappointed not gonna lie.
Don’t worry we fixed this problem, “we’ll have an espresso brownie sundae please.”
Oh, good-bye diet. I dumped you for ice cream.
Next thing you know my sister is practically making out with the ice cream so I managed a few bites (probably eight).
“Share the sundae!”
“You gotta get in there,” she says as she digs for brownie pieces.
After 2 courses, 2 drinks, and dessert, maybe an hour has passed by, so don’t give yourself to much time if you’re going straight to the bar after.
“This went by so fast!”
“Let’s just go to a bar before we go to the open bar,” my sister’s friend says.
Oh, to be young.
“Yeah, I’m gonna go home,” I say.
Guess I did spend the Saturday night in afterall.
Vinegar Slaw: now I know this look sort of meh, and it’s just a side, but it was sooo good!! It’s a great side dish to get to avoid fries or mac N cheese.
Rainbow Roll: It looks nice right? Don’t be fooled by the colorful row of fish and avocado. The rolls are thick with rice, and the sushi is not bad per say, but it’s not the freshest and best in town.
Burger Patties: I swear, they were delicious, and filling, and they didn’t overcharge for ordering two patties. Who knew the bun would increase the cost so much, because you know I’d have to pay full price for two burgers??
Burger Salad: beef, , endive, tomatoes, cucumbers, peppers, green beans, red onion, radishes, celery, blue cheese, pickled onions, red wine vinaigrette & 5n sauce.
5n sauce is Thousand Island dressing,and my sister loved every bite of this. It’s like a deconstructed Big Mac, so I don’t think of this salad as wimpy.
Asian Chicken Salad: napa cabbage, watercress, romaine, cucumbers, celery, apples, onions, scallions, peanuts, radish sprouts, creamy sesame – soy dressing & ginger vinaigrette.
Somebody show me where in that description they tell you it’s “chicken salad” and not grilled chicken. With exception to that crucial error in the menu, my sister’s friend seemed to like it, and was able to look past the chicken incident.
Espresso Brownie Sundae with 3 spoons
Do I think the brownie was homemade? No. Do I care? No. It’s a friggen sundae. Look at those nuts sprinkled on top, and whipped cream is my favorite. It’s not exactly breaking the mold in the dessert department, but I don’t think someone goes to 5 Napkin Burger for something innovative.
Beyond Sushi [Click the photo above to go to Beyond Sushi’s website]
229 East 14th Street (between 2nd and 3rd Avenue) New York, 10003
After attempting to get back on track with the gym, I figured I could try on and stay on track with food as well…I could try.
I decided to try this vegan/vegetarian sushi joint in Gramercy with my cousin. The restaurant is supa dupa small, so we figured we’d pick it up, along with some Trader Joe wine (around the corner!) and watch the Presidential Debate/Yankee game (I mean pay partial attention).
We were supposed to meet at 8, but my stomach felt that 8 was too late after the gym, and I was ready at 7:30, so I called to say I was on my way downtown and I’d meet her at the restaurant.
I brought my water bottle in the hope it would curb my appetite while we waited…eh.
I arrived first and decided to just stand on line instead of waiting outside for my cousin to arrive. Even though there is minimial seating, there is still seating, so while I waited on line to order, I watched these colorful vegetable sushi rolls get gobbled up two feet away from me. It was absolute torture.
The restaurant has pictures of the sushi rolls on the wall, and I’m pretty sure a group of diners thought I was grilling them when I was really just hardcorely staring at a piece of avocado sushi above their heads.
“We should probably get up so other people can sit,” I hear them say as they made awkward side glances at me.
This is so embarrassing. I wanted to scream, “don’t do it for me! I’m getting it to go! I’m just very hungry, and staring at sushi above your head,” but instead I buried my face into my scarf, and awkwardly turned around pretending to examine the beverages, “I’ve never seen lemonade before, what’s this?”
My cousin arrives, and we have to decide on rolls. However, she tends to ramble a bit, so we didn’t get right down to business.
“I just came from Trader Joe’s…You like rose right? I remember us drinking that last time. I was going to get this other wine that I loved, and I thought it was such a find, but when I went to get it, it was sold out, so it turns out other people like it too, so I got this one instead. I hope you like it….” I love her, but I mean you could give me grape juice and call it wine.
Rolls come in sets of 8, and even though this is common, whenever sushi comes with more than 6 pieces, I feel like I won the lottery, JACKPOTTTT!
“Should we get 2 or 3?”
“I’m so hungry!”
“I want one of these lettuce wraps. Those look good.”
“Me too, definitely one of those.”
“We could get 3 rolls and not finish them.”
“We’ll probably finish them if we get them.”
“Let’s just do it. It’s healthy anyway.”
Final decision: 3 rolls, and a lettuce wrap.
It’s our turn at the counter. They also make the sushi in front of you, so it was just a closer view of the food when we got up there.
“We will have the nutty buddy, spicy mango roll, the pickle me roll, and the green machine.”
The cashier says the green machine isn’t his favorite. Oh dear God no! Did we pick the wrong roll??
We switch out the green machine for the roll of the month, the October roll (very creative).
Waiting for the rolls were momentary torture. I heavily considered purchasing a bag of chips while we waited, but I didn’t, mostly because my cousin wasn’t into the idea, and I only wanted to do it if we were on the same page about it.
The to-go bag is placed in our hands and I’m practically racing to her apartment. As we’re maybe 20 feet from her apartment a biker almost gets run over by a cabdriver.
He starts punching the front of the cab, “hey watch where you’re going! Asshole!”
The cabdriver then pulls over, and they start screaming in each other’s faces.
I want nothing to do with this, this is just something else standing in the way of food going in my mouth. As I start walking I realize my cousin is riveted, and just staring.
I am so evil.
We get to the apartment and I begin unloading our food as fast as possible so I can take the pictures before we chow down. My cousin was attempting to make some brussel sprout dish before she met me, so I hear her scream something about how she’s gonna chop up some shallots and refrigerate the wine…blah blah blah. Food’s in front of me…
She walks back into the living room, and I have already divided our food up like a psycho into different containers.
“Here are yours. Here are mine.”
“Do you mind if I put the tv on?” Do people sit in a living room without the tv on? This is a foreign concept to me. I truly have no idea what she is talking about.
“Why wouldn’t you put the tv on?”
Debate is put on, after we peruse the channels, RHONJ reunion is on again. I’ve seen it a 100 times, and every time I’m riveted. I can’t stop watching.
“I don’t watch,” my cousin informs me, “but we can still watch if you want.”
The answer is yes, yes I do. I want to see Teresa point and scream. I want to stare at Melissa’s face and figure what work exactly she has gotten done, and wonder why Caroline’s cheeks sag the way they do. Yes, yes, please watch.
“Ok, maybe we’ll watch if there isn’t anything else on!”
My cousin sporadically (I hope not sporadically!) gets up to check the brussel sprouts and wine, while I try to slow my pace down on the rolls, which were amazing. I can hear her screaming from the kitchen.
“Did I tell you how I got this truffle olive oil in Croatia.”
“Yeah! You told me already!”
“Well, I wanted to get more of it…Here are the shelves I want to put up in the kitchen, because I don’t have room for anything, but we haven’t put them up yet. I hate the way it looks right now. I don’t have room.”
Straining to hear her I see a fish tank in the corner of her apartment.
“Hey, do you have fish?”
“It’s actually a frog. His name is Jerry, he’s very friendly. We originally had two but the other one just died. We’re not sure if Jerry killed him.”
The Nutty Buddy lettuce wrap was a little miracle wrapped in lettuce. “This is so good! Do you want some of the sauce.” The sauces come on the side in little tubes, which look a little medical. I’d say it’s the ugliest thing about this restaurant. It’s weird. It has no top, and just a little hole at the top where it squirts out. I am also 13 years old and see how that sentence might sound dirty, but it’s what it looks like.
My favorite roll was the pickled roll with avocado on top. One of the rolls came with a sauce that looked identical to spicy mayo, which was really toasted cayenne sauce. It doesn’t even taste like spicy mayo, and is way healthier, but it feels like a splurge, so you trick your body into thinking you’re not depriving yourself. I sort of fell for it.
We finish the food, and I’m sipping on my wine on the couch. “I sort of want frozen yogurt.”
“Should we get some? I don’t need it, but I’m not opposed to it.”
“No, I shouldn’t. I’ve been getting 16 Handles a lot lately.”
“You could get it on the way home.”
The thought of not going straight home so I could sit alone in my apartment and eat frozen yogurt sounds so sad, “No, I’m good.”
“What channel is the Yankee game on?” I did wear my Yankee shirt, Granderson, and turned it on just in time to watch him pop a ball right up in the air, while at bat. That was stupid. [Sports reference completed for the blog]
My cousin’s husband walks in just as her brussel sprout dish is completed. What timing!
“Did you bring dessert?” I ask.
“Hummus.” Ugh, he’s Israeli. Shut up.
As I get up to try some brussel sprouts my cousin starts showing me where her shelves are going to go, and shows me how she painted her entire fridge to act as a 6 foot chalkboard.
“But doesn’t it get dusty with food?”
“I don’t know, but it was so ugly before.”
“Look, I meant to write tomatoes, but I got distracted and wrote potatoes.”
Whatever, I’m doodling on your refrigerator.
“Ok! I think I need to go home.”
“Ok! Write something nice about tonight!” Ok.
Beyond Sushi (interior)
Since the restaurant is so small, I just wanted to give everyone an idea of why I didn’t eat there.
Beyond Sushi (Nutty Buddy: 8 Inch Wrap Buckwheat noodles, crushed peanuts, cilantro, jalapeño peanut butter, avocado, sesame oil, carrots, baked tofu and romaine. Served with Sweet Soy Mirin Sauce)
Look at that deliciousness! It was the first item of food I took a bite out of it, and it was hard for me to let go of it. They give you the soy sauce on the side so I continued to dab the wrap with it after I took a bite.
Octoberroll (top): 8 Pieces Black Rice, Roasted Kabocha Squash, Avocado & Baby Arugula, Charred Carrot, Mint & Lemon Zest Topping (Charred LIVE). Topped with Roasted Harissa- Pumpkin Seed Purée.
Spicy Mango roll (bottom): 8 pieces Black Rice – Avocado – Mango – Cucumber – Spicy Veggie. Served with Toasted Cayenne Sauce.)
They were both great! The Spicy mango sort of looks like tuna for some weird reason. I’m also immune to spicy foods so I didn’t think it was that spicy.
Beyond Sushi (Pickle Me: 8 pieces Six Grain Rice – Gobo – Carrot – Pickled Daikon – Avocado. Served withCarrot Ginger Sauce)
I loved it! The pickled veggies were crunchy and salty, and the avocado was sweet and creamy. So good!
My cousin’s awesome chalkboard fridge. This is what I did when I finished all my food, the debate got boring, and the Yankees sucked ass.
Please note that it says potato/tomato and also looks like the Paragraph symbol when editing papers.
KOTOBUKI [Click the photo above to go to Kotobuki’s website]
56 3rd Avenue (between 10th and 11th Street)
New York, NY 10003
After a relaxing day on the beach, nothing says Sunday Funday more than a yummy sushi meal.
I had just gotten off the train from Penn Station, still in my bathing suit (don’t worry I had a cover-up on), to have a complete stranger tug at my dress and tell me she could see my butt (it’s just a bikini bottom so my embarrassment was minimal), then to receive a prank phone call (yes I swear to Gd a prank phone call), and then finally a call from my friend asking to go to Kotobuki with her (ding ding ding ding, winner!).
The Long Island sushi spot recently opened a New York outpost, and it attracts the same exact crowd. Essentially it’s the new and improved Mizu, so it’s Jap.City.
Don’t use last names when talking smack about your friends, your latest hook-up, your last hook-up, ex boyfriend, roommate…you get the idea, because I can guarantee you that the person next to you knows them.
My friend has a full blown phobia of this, so the food must be pretty legit for her to want to come here. We arrive, and are seated. I got the booth seat, because I was tired from train ride yay!
We order drinks, and a second waiter comes over asking if we need any drinks. My friend stares at him for a second and goes, “I think you were my waiter last time I was here.”
“Well, it looks like I’m going to be your waiter again.” (best friends, I’m left out)
The menu is 7 pages. Why?
“The salad is amazing here. You have to write about the sesame seeds in it.” (consider it done)
So we each order two green salads. Sounds tame so far, right? JUST WAIT.
“Should we just share since you know what’s good here?”
“We can definitely share.”
I see some section labeled professional/specialties, I then see an appetizer labeled k-mac rolls, like a sushi burger. Ordered!
Salad and 1 appetizer. So far so good.
Mains are another story. 1 special roll is agreed upon. Now what do we do? That is not enough!!
We decide to each do a personal roll. My friend orders the Spicy Girl, I opt for the Philadelphia roll, and we each order a piece of sushi (ok ok I ordered 2 pieces).
Then the dishes arrive. It felt like a drive-by eating. It all came so fast, and we barely stopped to breathe.
You know you’re eating too much when you have to decide between talking and eating, and when you decide to speak you realize your mouth is filled with spicy tuna.
“When was the last time you texted?”
“Can I read the text message?”
Covering mouth with hand to hide food, “Yeah hold on.”
The waiter tells us that they are out of the uni sushi we both ordered. We order replacement sushi pieces (we did not need it).
“Can I try your Spicy Girl?”
“Do you want a Philadelphia roll?”
“I’ve never had one before. Will I like it?”
“It’s like a mini bagel and lox, but I won’t be offended if you don’t like it.”
“I love the Spicy Girl!”
“I love the Philadelphia roll.” (HOW FAT ARE WE??)
There is one roll left on the table. I can’t remember if it’s mine or not.
“Is this one yours?”
“Come here buddy!” as I finish the last bite.
Kotobuki (Green salad:romaine & iceberg – ginger dressing)
Great dressing, and the right amount of sesame seeds. Yum!
Kotobuki (K Mac sliders: spicy tuna sandiwched between a “crispy rice bun” with some tobiko sprinkled on top)
Yes, this was delicious! Slightly difficult to eat, but not as bad as you may think. I mean it’s questionable date food, but what isn’t?
Kotobuki sushi dinner.
Yeah, this is our dinner. Judge us. I don’t care.
Kotobuki (crazy roll: tuna inside, spicy crab on the outside, tobiko, avocado roll topped w/ diced fish, tempura flakes, scallions & spicy mayo concoction)
It’s like the sushi bar threw a party on top of my sushi. It’s always a skinny moment when you’re scooping up what you couldn’t fit on the roll, and eating it like it’s an extra side dish.
Kotobuki (spicy girl roll)
Sorry I couldn’t find a description of it, but it’s spicy tuna on top, and that’s all you need to know. It’s great. It’s sort of creamy (sorry if you hate that word some people do), so beware if you don’t like that.
Kotobuki (Philadelphia roll)
How do you eff this up anyway? Fab.
Kanoyama: 175 2nd Avenue New York, NY 10003
Momofuku Milk Bar: 251 E 13th St # A New York, NY 10003
After a celebratory St Patty’s Day I was really looking forward to a relaxing Sunday. I went to the gym to burn off yesterday’s alcohol and pizza, but I don’t know how productive it was since I spent the majority of the expedition texting (what? I was on the bike!), and then I showered and settled in to start Book #2 of the Hunger Games. I scheduled dinner with 2 friends for later so I wouldn’t get antsy in my apartment.
After reading only G-d knows (I know too) how many pages I realize I have to get up to go the lady’s room, because I haven’t moved in quite a long time. I decide to take a brief reprieve and check my phone, and see that my dinner plans friend has called. Slight panic creeps inside me: She’s cxling! She’s changed the place to something really unhealthy! No, I didn’t answer in time and she went for linner. Plans foiled!
Nope, she’s gone for a walk with our other friend and wants to know if I want to join them.
“No, but if you sit outside somewhere I’ll meet you.” (I didn’t want to give up on Hunger Games quite yet).
“I think we might sit at BBar.”
“K, let me know!”
Legitimatley 2 minutes later I receive a text, “we’re outside BBar.”
I realize I’ve been sitting inside like a cavewoman and need to get myself together.
“Are you guys wearing leggings, because I am?”…a minute later “Nevermind, I’m not changing.”
I throw on lipgloss and sunglasses, debate about wearing a scarf (veto it), and head out.
As soon as I get there…
“I love your lipgloss!”
I see they’re wearing spring attire on their feet, while I’m sporting my new sneakers (girlyfoodie + Justin Bieber = same closet). Win some you lose some.
“You have to go inside to get a drink.”
…decisions, decisions. Get the drink before I get settled, or hear stories and then get a drink? I don’t know! I don’t know!
“You do not want to know what we’ve eaten already today…”
I guess I’ll wait to get the drink.
“I’ve had the worst day!”
“She’s had the worst day!”
(sometimes they mimic each other)
They went to support their friend who ran the half marathon, and on the train ride home a runner puked on my friend.
“She puked on me”
“She got puked on!”
“The lady said it was spit up, but I got thrown up on.”
“She had the worst day!”
Bartender lady was sort of a biotch. She was wearing a beanie, and I immediately wasn’t her biggest fan (she wasn’t mine either). She took forever to pour me my beer (Listen lady, I am having serious FOMO, and I didn’t bring my phone to distract me. HAND ME MY DRINK so I can go back outside and socialize!).
When I return:
“I want guacamole.”
“We’re eating dinner soon.”
“Should we get guacamole?”
“Well, with the kind of day we’re already havin…”
“I want to have room for dinner.”
“Where should we go for dinner?”
“I still want guacamole.”
Dinner plans are decided on. We shall go to Kanoyama. Sushi, a few blocks away.
“Should we get the sushi for 3?”
“Do you want sushi pieces?”
“It’s like sashimi with rice underneath.”
“Should we do it?”
“I want a seaweed salad”
Waitress comes over.
“We’ll have the sushi for 3 please”
“It really is such a great deal. We’ll definitely be happy with it.”
Turns out we were really happy with it: wide assortment and TONS of sushi. It’s hard to feel fat and weighed down from sushi. Although I always say it just takes that one last piece to put you over the edge. We ended up leaving 3 pieces behind on the oversized plate. Probably so later we could say we didn’t eat the whole thing.
“I got my palm read on a date, and the fortune teller said I’m going to have a baby…soon. And it was really awkward, because it was our first date.”
“I don’t want to get pregnant.”
“I’m going to get so fat.”
“I don’t think you will.”
“My face will be huge.”
“I’m going to have a c-secton”
I should point out that there is a couple sitting 6 inches away from us not even speaking to one another, and just listening to our conversation. GET YOUR OWN CONVERSATION AND STOP JUDGING US. What kind of couple are you that just sit there and hold hands over your miso soup? I’m realizing it’s a pattern that my neighboring patrons always seem to be listening to my conversation. Do I have weird conversations? Am I just loud (yes, I’m definitely loud)? Am I paranoid? Or am I just THAT interesting?
“Where is our check?”
“Is she ignoring us?”
“I’m getting antsy.”
“We’re still going to Momofuku Milk Bar right?”
“There’s a line. I’m cold, I’m going home.” (man down, she leaves but turns around twice to see if we’re still on line…we are)
I have never been to Momofuku Milk Bar before, I’m not goin’ anywhere.
“What do I order here?”
“Everything is amazing.”
I end up ordering the peanutbutter cookie, and shove it in my sweatshirt pocket. I stroll home and do back to back conversation with my dad, and then my mom.
As I’m heading into the elevator, my impatience gets the best of me, and I start chomping on my cookie. It was SO delicious! Unfortunately I was holding in my delight so my mom wouldn’t ask me why I was making such weird noises.
My mom pauses for a second, “What are you eating?”
Kanoyama (seaweed salad)
That is a lot of sesame seeds. My friend wanted a seaweed salad with her sushi combo. She said it had “a lot of different types of seaweed in it.”
Kanoyama (miso soup).
Sushi for 3 comes with a choice of soup or salad. I opted for soup, and it was a great start to the meal.
Kanoyama [Click the photo above to go to Kanoyama’s website]
You can see my friend’s claws going at the sushi as I try to take a picture of it. I attacked piece after piece.
Momofuku Milk Bar [Click the photo above to go to Momofuku’s website]
I know they look like regular cookies, but they are definitely not. My friend got the cornflake marshmallow chocolate chip and the blueberries and cream cookie. I opted for simple peanut butter. If it ain’t broke don’t fix it. It was so gooey. I hesitated in turning on the television, because I didn’t want to stop eating my snack.