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NY eats

the brooklyn flea and iron-chefing part 2

Before I embark on this blog post about my trips to Manhattan and Brooklyn, I should just explain that this post (like the previous one) is a compilation of 2 separate trips to NY that I smooshed together. I just thought the places I went to were more relevant and would make for more cohesive reading if I edited them like this.

So. Now that that’s out of the way, let’s get on to the actual adventure!

Last Thursday, my mom and I headed out to the city for the 2nd day in a row – our mission: to explore Chelsea.

car photos

that is, pictures taken in a car, not of a car.

We got there pretty early, so we spent most of our morning walking up and down 8th and 9th Ave., taking the occasional look inside the many interior design stores, stationary shops, and bookstores.

But soon, our tummies were a-rumblin’. And it was time to go a-eatin’.

At….

MORIMOTO

In all honesty, after our Otto adventure the day before, my mom and I kinda planned to go to Morimoto’s restaurant just so we could bask in all the glorious Iron Chef food. So we pretty much decided to explore this part of Manhattan JUST for Morimoto.

Don’t judge us.

We went around noon for the lunch special – my mom had a dinner here before with my dad, but we decided to come here again just so I could get the experience of eating at Morimoto.

Not gonna lie, I had pretty high expectations walking into the restaurant. After all, this is MORIMOTO we’re talking about – the uber-cool, ownsome, original Japanese Iron Chef with some cuh-razyy knife skills.

walking through the flapping red curtains..

The interior was pretty slick: all sleek lines with lots of glass and minimalist decor. Very Japanese, I guess you could say.

the eating area: you can be seated either at the bar or at a table

glass. lots of it.

the sushi bar

more glass... fancy glass bottle display

The restaurant was pretty empty, which is understandable considering how early it was. My mom and I took our seats and she perused the menu while I ooh-ed and aah-ed over the cool table setting.

ZOMG CLEAR CHOPSTICKS!

I’m not going to be around the bush – this place is EXPENSIVE. I guess when you’re an Iron Chef, you get the privilege of upping the prices a little. But like I said, my mom and I both got the lunch special (the black cod for her, the vegetarian for me) which was a more manageable $24.07.

The food came out quickly – I’m guessing it was because there wasn’t a lunch rush yet.

my mom's prix fixe

Along with the ginger-soy-glazed cod, my mom’s lunch set came with half of a tuna roll, 3 pieces of nigiri, tempura, miso soup, and a salad.

salad and tempura

My vegetarian meal was pretty much the same thing, except that instead of the cod and fish sushi, I got a vegetable gratin and vegetable sushi.

avocado roll and pickled vegetable nigiri

unbroken veggie gratin

strata of vegetables! zucchini, tomato, and eggplant.

After we had finished our meal, our boxes were whisked away and replaced with our dessert:

coconut green tea panna cotta with fresh fruit

I wish I could say I was blown away by our meal, but I really wasn’t; in fact, I was pretty underwhelmed. Maybe it’s because my expectations were so high or maybe it’s because the food at Morimoto was so fusion-y instead of being purely Japanese, but I thought most of the dishes were either too salty or too oily. The dessert was pretty mediocre too. Now granted, the lunch set gives a verrry limited scope of the Morimoto menu – I bet there are a bunch dishes on the higher end of the price range that taste absolutely amazing. But for both me and my mom, we thought that they compromised on the flavor of the food for the price of the lunch prix fixe.

And that was my lunch at Morimoto; kind of disappointing, I know. While it was exciting to be in Masaharu Morimoto’s restaurant with it’s uber-cool bathrooms, I much preferred my lunch at Otto the day before. It was still an experience though – and I’m looking forward to the day when I can go back and eat some of the really high quality dishes that the restaurant has to offer. Now if only I can go to Bobby Flay’s Mesa Grill, my NYC Iron Chef trifecta will be complete! Maybe someday…

Now fast-forwarding a couple of days, let’s move to my family’s Brooklyn trip. This was the same day we went to the Chelsea Market, but before we did any eating, we went to a couple of flea markets, including the Brooklyn Flea and Artists & Fleas.

the brooklyn flea at 1 hanson pl.

This was a first-time flea market experience for all of us, so my family and I were all in awe of the Brooklyn Flea. It’s one of the biggest markets in NYC, with over a hundred vendors selling vintage clothes, jewelry, home decor, food, drinks, body products, paintings, etc.

The cool thing about the Brooklyn Flea during the wintertime is that it’s actually located inside the old Williamsburg bank, so as you explore each area, the marble and the vaults really makes you feel like you’re on a treasure hunt.

Here are a few pictures from my family’s exploration of the BF:

soap... that looks like cheese.

a hall of mirrors.

oooo sparkly jewelry.

more shiny stuff!

goin' southern in brooklyn.

lego and typewriter key rings

The market itself spans 3 floors, and after thorougly looking around the 1st floor, my family headed downstairs. The basement used to be the bank vault so it’s got these crazy thick walls and doors, and that’s where all the food was being sold. It was only natural that we head down there next.

big, scurry door.

There were food vendors selling milkshakes, tacos, hot dogs, Greek food… And this wasn’t your average fast food either – everything was made from high-quality ingredients put together in sometimes tradition and other times unexpected ways.

Among the many food stands were the famous Red Hook lobster rolls and Brooklyn pupsas – both of course which we had to get.

For lobster that had been kept in a cooler all day long, the meat was surprisingly fresh and springy, perfectly seasoned and buttered in the roll. It was a little on the small side though, and Calynn and my dad devoured it all to quickly.

pupsas! that is, flat, doughy rounds filled with various stuffs.

The pupusas were just ok – I got a spinach one and a bean and cheese one. They were a little too greasy for my liking, and they were kind of… flabby from sitting around in hotel pans all day. I bet these would be amazing hot off the griddle though – the fillings would be piping-hot and gooey instead of rubbery, and the outsides would be crisp and doughy instead of soggy. All in all, the pupusa was a good dish, just one that had been sitting around for too long. I didn’t like the fried plantains either (once again, too oily) but my dad and I both loved the other sides – spicy tomato sauce and pickled onions and cabbage. Clean and refreshing, they were the perfect spicy and sour contrasts to the heavier pupusas and I wish the pupusa lady would’ve given me another ladleful of both of them.

Both my sister and I wanted to sample the food from the other vendors, but we had to leave room for Chelsea Market eats, so we resisted.

And… that’s all I have for this post.

I know it seems kind of abrupt to leave off there, but you guys already know what happened at Chelsea Market: we ate. A lot.

Well, I’m pretty tired, so I’m going to call it a night. It’s hard to believe, but I head back for school in a few days. Where did winter break go? It’s a little depressing that I have to leave home so soon, but I’m trying to make my week last as long as possible.

Stay safe in the snow, everyone!

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