August 19, 2008


I have eaten at Joya many-a-times, on account of it being a favorite restaurant of my aunt's and it also being near her house. Therefore, whenever we'd visit and she didn't feel like cooking, we'd often end up here. Upon moving to Brooklyn, I continued to make the occassional Joya visit, as I did this past weekend. To sum up, 'bout time I reviewed this place.

Joya serves Thai food, including fried rice, homemade noodle dishes, curries, spring rolls, and more. The prices are one thing that bring me here for repeat visits, as most entrees are around the $7 mark, and can easily feed two people. You know what that means? Two people can eat fresh and tasty Thai food for $3.50 apiece, plus tip. Nice. The other thing that brings me back here is, as you might have guessed, the food. It's not what I think of as cheap food--it's well made with fresh ingredients, nicely spiced, and generously portioned. I'll review a few of my favorite dishes from here, two of which I had this weekend.

One thing I often order from here is the Pad See Yue ($6.95), a noodle dish with chicken or beef, chinese broccoli, egg and homemade flat noodles in a brown slightly sweet sauce. It's some of the best Pad See Yue I've ever had, and the noodles are delicious. The broccoli gives it a bit of crunch and the sauce is tasty but not overpowering. This weekend I ordered the fresh mango salad ($4.95) and the chicken spring rolls ($2.95). The mango salad has loads of fresh sliced mango, spring onions, lettuce, cherry tomatoes, carrot and a light citrus dressing. So summery and fresh, and really great if you love mango. The spring rolls (includes 2) are hot and crispy and come with a plum dipping sauce, and make a good appetizer.

The interior of Joya is industrial and modern, with a concrete floor and a long bar in the front. There's a good amount of seating and some garden seating in the back, but dinner (especially on the weekends, which I just don't attempt) is often really crowded, and because of said concrete floor, is very loud. That, and they have a DJ at night. Does not good conversation environment make. I'd suggest going at lunch, especially when it's nice out and you can sit out back, dinner on a weeknight (and with someone you don't really like to talk to), or their takeout/delivery is also very good. The service isn't overly friendly but pretty attentive and accurate (and by no means rude).

So try it if you're in the area. You might see me there. -Laurel

Laurel has been talking about Joya since she moved to New York (which would explain why her post is much longer than mine). Let's be honest, Thai food gives me a little bit of a scare. My stomach can't handle curry, and I'm quite the weakling, so I was extremely hestitant to eat at Joya. However, I love Pineapple Fried Rice, probably one of my favorite foods, so I know not all Thai food is scary.

Unfortunately, they don't serve this at Joya. BUT, their regular Shrimp Fried Rice is excellent and largely portioned - I definitely had enough for lunch the next day. Also, it wasn't greasy at all, the vegetables were fresh, and the balance of flavors were perfect - not spicy, but just a hint of soy sauce.

And of course, the outside patio is beautiful and perfect for a nice afternoon lounging in the sun to discuss how excellent Tropic Thunder was. No crazy bathroom stories at this restaurant - but as a warning, they aren't labeled, and unisex. - Jennifer

Address: 215 Court St @ Warren (Carroll Gardens, Brooklyn, New York)

Website: Yelp

Payment: Cash Only

Take Out: Yes

Delivery: Yes

Open Late:

Large Group Friendly: Yes

Bar/Happy Hour: Full Bar

August 15, 2008

Pop Burger

I heard about this place from Roland and Alyson at work, and I was instantly interested. Okay, it was probably because I thought they said Pot Burger, and I was amazed at the idea. Either way, I was ready to give the place a try. It's pretty big - in the front you order from the bar and they yell your name when it's ready. There are about 10 tables, and then the back is darker and you can have table service if you would like.

Taylor and I went last night to kick off a night of adventures at gay bars and UCB. Let's just say I was a tad disappointed by the food. The burgers were tiny - like Krystal's, but the taste and size resembled the late and great SLAMMERS from Hardee's (Carl Jr.'s for you west coasters that read our blog, which would probably be no one) mixed with a BIG MAC, aka there was crappy shredded lettuce and Thousand Island dressing. The fries were great, and the onion rings were like Burger King. Let's be honest - it was a mixture of fast food with a much better logo.

One more thing - the bathrooms in the basement are absolutely disgusting, no details - just know they are. But there is a Simpsons pinball machine lurking in the corner, so it kind of made up for it. Except that you think about all the people who didn't wash their hands and were like "OH, PINBALL! LET ME PUT MY DISGUSTING POO HANDS ALL OVER IT!" and then went back upstairs and ate their food or touched their girlfriend's food or WORSE - touched your food somehow (as in, you come out of the bathroom, think wow - this pinball machine looks impeccably clean, play a game and go upstairs and touch your food, your significant other, etc.) Either way, think twice about touching the pinball machine. Just sayin'. - Jennifer

(I just realized that I stereotyped hetero-men and lesbians as the types who do not wash their hands after pooing. Please except my sincerest apologies, I did not intend to offend.)

Address: 60 9th Ave (between 14th and 15th Streets)


Payment: Cash & Credit Cards

Take Out: Yes

Delivery: Yes

Open Late: Yes

Large Group Friendly: Yes

Bar/Happy Hour: Nope! - But the Milkshakes looked...interesting

August 12, 2008

Food at the Brooklyn Flea

So, we've brought you one review from the Brooklyn Flea--a fab flea market with all sorts of goodies in Fort Greene--Kumquat Cupcakery. Those delightful little treats are tasty goodness, but Brooklyn Flea offers a few other options--a couple of which I tried out this past weekend.

A few notes for beginners: The Brooklyn Flea is a Sunday-only event, open from 10-5. It offers items like jewelry, antiques, furnishings, clothes, records, original art, food, and other random things. The market is outdoors and is located on the track field of a high school, but, barring a major storm, is rain or shine, since vendors are under tents. Food-wise, the flea regularly has waffles, ice cream, french food, sandwiches, cupcakes, and best of all.. some vendors from the Red Hook Ballfields.

If you don't know about the Latin American food at the Red Hook Ballfields, google it, for it will be covered in a later post. I decided that this Sunday warranted a pupusa, a thick corn tortilla that is stuffed with different ingredients. The pupusa stand offers several different variations, of which I have tried the pork and cheese and the bean and cheese, and they all cost $2.25. Bargain. Two would easily make a meal.

These tasty creations are topped with raw shredded cabbage, red chili sauce (much like an enchilada sauce for you Mexican food fans), and sour cream. Pickled jalapenos are optional. They make the pupusas right there in front of you--patting then out and tossing them on the grill. And they are delicious--a little crisp on the outside from grilling, with a tasty bit of filling in the middle. The cabbage adds more crunch, the chili sauce adds some nice flavor, and the sour cream adds a little cool to the mix. Tasty combo indeed.

The other item I tried this weekend was a chocolate chip cookie from Wanna Hava Cookie ( They offered samples, which I am a total sucker for, and had various kinds of whoopie pies (chocolate cakey cookies with vanilla, mint, chocolate or peanut butter filling) and your usual cookies, like chocolate chip, oatmeal, and snickerdoodle. I went for the classic chocolate chip cookie, of which I am a big fan, and have yet to master in the kitchen.

It was definitely a good one. A little crispy around the edge, chewy in the middle, with both milk and dark chocolate chips. I was satisfied, and would eat again. Cookies are $1, or 6 for $5. A wee bit steep if you're not buying 6, as they aren't huge, but they use quality ingredients.

So if you haven't been flea'ing, you should go! Find a bargain, and stuff yourself. Two of my favorite things ever. -Laurel

Address: Lafayette Ave b/t Vanderbilt and Clermont (Ft Greene)

Payment: Cash Only

Take Out: Yes

Delivery: No

Open Late: Nope, and only open on Sundays

Large Group Friendly: Yes

Bar/Happy Hour: Nope!

August 7, 2008

The Smith

I've walked past tons of restaurants on 3rd Avenue that I've wanted to step into every time I decide to walk from St. Marks to Union Sq (or vice versa). However, my fear of just up and walking into a restaurant to eat stems from the fact that I'm generally poor, and am quite embarrassed when I cannot even remotely afford the restaurant I just walked up to. Generally, when this happens, I make some comment like "Oh, that food sounds absolutely horrid," or "I'd die before I'd eat steak" (both of which are generally untrue, and I love steak).

Either way, at the advice of Ryan, a few weeks ago I finally stepped into one of those seemingly expensive, "hip" restaurants on 3rd - The Smith. It's a cute spot that's a little too loud, but I dig the music so it's not annoying.

Every time I've passed this place in the past, it's bustling. That night was no different. The four of us got a table in the middle of the restaurant in no time at all though, and soon we were enjoying our loaves of bread and bottle of wine. Dinner-wise, I opted for the burger, as usual. I've never in my life eaten so much red meat, but lately, I can't seem to kick the habit.
Either way, look at that burger, could you resist that? Didn't think so (unless you're a vegetarian and the very sight of meat makes you go into convulsions...) So yummy and greasy and melt in your mouth - everything a burger should be. My fellow dining companions chose to either stick with wine, a little dessert or Char Broiled Organic Chicken in a Red Wine Vinaigraette and fries (which are delicious by the way), and I believe they were all equally satisfied with their choices.
The restaurant not necessarily that cheap (13 smackers for the burger, 17 for the chicken), but it definitely makes me less nervous to walk up to menus on 3rd Avenue and attempt a bite to eat. And on Sunday nights at The Smith you can get a burger and a beer for $12, maybe we'll do that instead of biscuits and gravy for our next Book Club Meeting...
Just as a note - the owners of this restaurant also own Jane and The Neptune Room, and expect to see me there soon for a little taste. - Jennifer

Address: 55 Third Ave (10th & 11th St)

Payment: Cash & Cards

Take Out: Yes

Delivery: Yes
Open Late: Sun-Tues til 12am / Wed & Thurs til 1am / Sat til 2am

Large Group Friendly: Yes and No - Depends on when you go

Bar/Happy Hour: Yes, with a fantastic drink menu

August 5, 2008

N. 28

Pizza is such a great thing. It's the perfect combination of all worthy food groups, and one of the best smelling things ever when it cooks. I loved pizza before I moved to New York, and then I loved it more. For NY has some of the best pizza out there, and tons of choices to eat from.

N. 28 is located in the heart of the West Village a few doors down from a bookstore with some great deals (aptly named the Unoppresive Nonimperialist Book Store... no joke). There's outdoor seating on the sidewalk, and inside it features a coal-burning brick oven to the left and some cozy seating to the right. The menu is relatively small, but offers options for meat and veggie eaters alike. The ingredients are high quality and Italian. The pies come in 14", 18" and 29" and start out circular, but the latter two sizes grow in length only and are cut into rectangles.

There were four of us, so we got two 18" pizzas, which turned out to be the perfect amount. We ordered the 5 formaggio (five cheese, including mozzarella, gorgonzola, parmigiano, fontina, and provolone) and the pizza alla diavola (hot soppressata, red chili pepper, and mozzarella). Both came out piping hot and delicious, the former a very cheesy "white" pizza, with great flavor from all of the quality cheeses, and the latter with a tasty fresh tomato sauce and a lightly spicy soppressata. Both had perfect crusts-- thin but not too thin and lightly crisped all the way through.

The service was Italian and decently attentive. The prices are normal.. $16-26 for an 18" pie ($8-13 a person). The atmosphere here is good, with a good view of the oven, outdoor seating, and a cozy interior. I would suggest this place for some tasty brick oven Italian-style pizza anytime you're in the neighborhood. P.S., they take reservations. -Laurel

28 Carmine St at Bleeker St


Payment: Cash Only

Take Out: Yes

Delivery: Yes

Open Late: Midnight on the weekends

Large Group Friendly: Yes

Bar/Happy Hour: Yes
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