Words and Photos by Tiffany Yang-Tran
We set off to New York City for the weekend with a full itinerary that would make us very full. Our goal? To try as much food as possible. We had looked up “Best Food in NYC”, “50 Things You Must Eat in NYC Before You Die,” “Most Instagrammed Foods in NYC,” and more until we made a list of all that we wanted to eat. In order to try everything on our list we were going to have to have five stomachs and eat five desserts a day, but it was worth a shot. We were going to see if these popular gastronomical destinations were truly as amazing as people say.
We arrived in the city on a Friday night and it was pouring rain. Our first stop: Her Name is Han. We had a dish consisting of rice cake, fish cake, noodles, beef sausages, assorted seafood, and vegetables in a spicy fish broth. They have multiple other flavors but these are prepared with fresh ingredients and stewed in a stone pot. What an absolutely magnificent dish! It had so much variety and so much body. I am not one for spicy food but this had just the right amount of spice such that it created a nice sweet and spicy flavor rather than a tongue-burner. The flavors were soaked into every ingredient and the noodles were extraordinarily juicy. This dish truly hit the spot, especially on a wet and rainy day.
Next we tried Cafeteria. I will admit I chose this restaurant only because of their one appetizer -- the mac and cheese spring roll -- but I’m sure you would have done the same. The mac and cheese spring rolls are a novel idea and quite good although I don’t think I’d make a trip back here just for this dish. They used some quality cheese which, made the spring rolls crunchy on the outside and soft and melted on the inside. They also serve it with a smoked gouda sauce, which was excellent. I also had a croissant Cuban sandwich that was very nicely prepared, but I wouldn’t add it to my list of favorite sandwiches.
Perhaps the best part of the whole weekend’s gastronomical adventure was Black Tap for burgers and milkshakes. They are known primarily for their crazy milkshakes, but they are also the creators of New York City’s best burger for three years in a row. Indeed this burger deserves its title. It’s called the Greg Norman and it is a juicy wagyu beef patty topped with buttermilk-dill sauce, blue cheese, and arugula on a potato roll. This was by far the best burger I have ever had. Reading the small ingredients list makes this burger seem unimpressive, but the simplicity of these few strong and flavorful components makes this burger amazing. Another nice detail to note is that their fries also taste really good. They have the perfect amount of crisp on the outside and are flavorful all the way through. The natural saltiness and aromas of the blue cheese and beef are nicely complimented with their fantastic and crazy milkshakes. We chose to try the cookies n’ cream milkshake and man was it delicious. It captured all those great childhood memories with the mountain of whipped cream, oreo cookie crumbles, and a giant ice cream sandwich on the side. They also serve a variety of other very grand milkshakes that look absolutely decadent. This is a small restaurant with fewer than 15 seats so make sure to get in line at 10:45am before they open at 11am, otherwise you’ll be standing in line for at least an hour. But no matter how long you have to wait, it is so incredibly worth it.
Our last stop before we headed home was Pokeworks for some sushi burritos. This is my third time coming to this place for sushi burritos and every single time I am impressed and totally satisfied with my food. There are a couple of different pre-set menu options for bowls and burritos, but the most popular seems to be to make your own. It’s ordered just like what you would do at Chipotle and you can choose from a wide variety of proteins, veggies, toppings, etc. They have salmon, tuna, shrimp, scallops, seaweed salad, mango, crab salad, masago…you name it, they probably have it. They make the best sushi burritos, not just because they have so many ingredients for you to choose from, but also because their sauces are so flavorful. They have umami shoyu, sriracha aioli, wasabi aioli, spicy ginger, sweet chili gochujang, and more. My personal favorite is the sweet chili, which adds the perfect amount of spice and flavor. They pack their burritos to the max and there is flavor in every bite. This place is a must!
All in all, no New York City trip is complete without a little (or a lot in our case) foodventure. That’s what is so nice about NYC is that you have all kinds of foods from different cultures within reach. Head to Midtown for some Korean food or head downtown for some all-American burgers. No matter what it is, be open to trying everything, take some cool pictures, and have your taste BUds ready!