December 29, 2008

Wafels and Dinges Truck

Laurel has been raving about this place for quite a while, and working in Chinatown, I can never find a food cart that I trust. Seriously, for all the crap I put in my mouth, I just don't trust these carts.

Either way, I finally got to experience the fantastic Wafels and Dinges this past Sunday at the Brownstoner Flea Market in Fort Greene. Made how you want, you have a choice of a few different types of wafels: Brussels (light n' crispy) or Liege Vanilla or Cinnamon (soft 'n chewy, packed with a lil' extra flava) and more. I chose one with Cinnamon cooked inside, and "dinged" it with melted Nutella (totaling $5, $4 for the Wafel, $1 for the Dinge) and powdered sugar (FREE). It was yummo mcgee. I walked around attempting to eat it with a melted (recycled) fork. Not a good situation, but it slowly turned into more of a knife rather than a fork, so it almost made it easier to cut.

Also, I hear they do some pretty cool "get free dinges" promotions, but I'll let Miss Laurel tell you about that, since she's actually experienced it. - Jennifer

Seriously, people. What about a WAFFLE truck is not totally great? When I heard about this dream come true, and learned that they often park near work, I pretty much ran all the way there.

I've tried a couple if different combos: the Brussels (which is similar to your standard Belgian waffle) with strawberries and whipped cream, and later the Liege (chewier and, as Jennifer said, more flava) with strawberries and powdered sugar, as seen above. They offer other toppings like chocolate, bananas, honey, and now I hear they have a savory waffle with BBQ on one side and cole slaw on the other. As you've noticed, I haven't been able to pull myself away from my love affair with strawberries and waffles. So good!

These waffles are definitely tasty. They make them when you order, so they are fresh and delicious. My favorite type is the Liege; I could eat this waffle all by itself, no toppings necessary. The value isn't too bad-- $5 for a waffle, $1 per topping. The waffles aren't huge, but they are good for a breakfast or dessert.

Also, they often have something every day that if you repeat or answer, you get a free topping. I've done this three times: once I said the word of the day, once I answered a trivia question, and once a few co-workers and I sang The Muppet Show theme song on 45th Street. Totally worth it.

Check out their website to see where they are parked in real time (and what today's word or task is), and go get one. You deserve it. -Laurel

Address: parks in Midtown and near Union Square usually, call the number on their website or check their Twitter for updates.


Payment: Cash Only

Delivery: no

Open Late: nope

Bar/Happy Hour: nope, no drinking on the sidewalk allowed

December 21, 2008

Desserts by Michael Allen

You better believe that I was excited when I discovered a little bakery opening up around the corner from me (they are literally located in the next building over). I went in on the first day they were open, and they were starting out slow with just a few items to sell. We sampled a bit of brownie, madeline, and Michael handed us a little almond-flavored treat hot out of the oven. It was all delicious, and we left with a baguette and brownie, having spent $4.

An issue I often encounter with brownies is that they are not chocolatey enough. His brownie was very chocolately and not too sweet with a lightly crispy crust and almost gooey underneath. Delicious! The baguette was good, but not the best. I decided I needed to try a few more desserts.

So far, I've tried their mini tartlets, which were delicate and lovely and would be pretty at a cocktail party, chocolate croissant, which wasn't quite flakey enough but the chocolate filling was yummy, and the cupcake and truffles pictured below. The cupcake was a little dry, the icing was very good, and the truffles were rich amd smooth. And the bit of their chocolate chili we sampled was really, really good.

He offers lots of items, including muffins, pastries, tarts, cakes, cookies, bars, and fancy chocolates. They also have two soups a day, coffees, breads, and offer free wi-fi. The space is cozy and rustic, and the service is friendly. I would definitely recommend giving them a try-- I'm hoping this lovely little bakery with thrive.. I'm doing my part. -Laurel

First of all, I must point out that the cupcake looks like it had little babies - but those are actually truffles. I wish cupcakes could have babies.

So Desserts by Michael Allen just opened literally around the corner from Laurel's house. And since I'm sure many of you have either A) Ever been to Clinton Hill or B) Don't plan on going any time soon, I'm about to do my best to convince you otherwise. The combination of this and Brown Betty (which we are reviewing later) will make you hop a train right over.

This little shop is run by Michael Allen (SURPRISE!) and his wife and their son. When you walk in you are greeted with a friendly "Hello!" and told everything you should eat. I, of course, being as easily swayed as I usually am, wanted EVERYTHING. Luckily, I was totally satisfied, and they like giving out a little bit of sampling.

On this particular visit (the picture visit), I purchased a half dozen espresso truffles, which are pretty much as amazing as they sound, and oh-so-fresh. YUM. And I also got the chocolate-iced vanilla-cake cupcake, which wasn't the best cupcake I've ever had, but certainly not the worst. The cake part was moist, but obviously cooked on the bottom rung of the oven, because the bottom was a little burnt. We also sampled the "Chocolate Chili," which consisted of beans, vegetables, and cocoa - kind of like a mole sauce. Michael apparently put a whole chocolate bar in the soup. Excellent decision - it's absolutely delicious.

The next time we stopped by for me to grab a quick brownie - which Laurel had been raving about. Moist, but not overly decadent. it was definitely one of the best brownies I've ever had.

Okay, here's to hoping that I've convinced you to take the A/C to Clinton Washington or the G to Classon and eat at this place. Or, since they don't deliver, maybe we could convince Laurel to deliver some for you. Just ask nicely. - Jennifer

Address: 1015 Fulton St, Brooklyn (Clinton Hill)


Payment: Cash or Credit

Delivery: no

Open Late: nope

Bar/Happy Hour: no, but they have coffee and an espresso machine

December 17, 2008


We came upon Lil Frankie's quite by accident the other night when Momofoku was too crowded (we're going there soon, don't worry). It looked so cozy and smelled delicious and the price was right., so we decided to give it a try. While we waited by the bar for our table we ordered a round of beers. Amy and I had the cream stout on tap, and though I don't know what it was, I would suggest it (a lot of help, I know). After about 20 minutes, we were seated by the kitchen (or the one that makes the pasta, anyway), which luckily wasn't too loud or ridiculously hot.

We decided to order a couple of pies and share, the choices being the Pizza Margherita ($10) and the Pizza Polpettine ($11) which was topped with baby meatballs, tomato, mozzarella, and sage (although they used Italian parsley the night we went). Amy and I also ordered a side of Spinach al Forno ($5.25), although the two pizza were enough for the three of us.

The pizzas, which came out really quick, were cooked in a wood-burning oven, and were pretty freaking delicious. Not the best pizza I've tried in New York--that would be quite the feat-- but nothing to shake your head at. The dough had a nice chew, the ingredients were fresh and quality. The little meatballs were tasty and adoreable. The spinach was really good, kind of like a fresher creamed spinach with a nice crust of parmesean cheese on top.

I would recommend Frankie's from what I tasted for sure, especially if you're looking for some late night dish, since they are open until 4 AM on the weekends. -Laurel

Lil' Frankie's was quite the find, especially considering we struck out twice with Momofuku Noodle and Tuck Shop, which were both overcrowded. And considering we were panged (pung?) with hunger and pretty much broke (after all it's the holidays, and I just bought myself some clothes...I mean, starving children presents).

This restaurant was a little crowded as well, but we got in fairly quickly. We ordered a round of beers (I didn't particularly care for the wheat beer, but I'm not that much of a beer person), and I just got a simple Paulaner. Either way, while we were standing there waiting for a 3-person table, I realized that sticking out the short 15-20 minute wait is worth it - if you have only 2 people in your party. I say this because as we were standing there, a 2-person table became available, and they went through FIVE sets of names before they found someone that hadn't left. And while that sounds like people had waited a long time, that's not true. We had been there when there was only 2 people on the waiting list before us and they were both parties of 2. So I know 15-20 minutes sounds like a lot, but really - this place moves fast.

So fast in fact, that by the time that it took for us to get a table (took much longer for us, pays to have a significant other and that's it, I guess), as soon as we ordered, literally 5 minutes later, the pizzas were on the table. I must admit, either I was in a little bit of a tipsy haze (beer does that to me, that's why I don't drink it) or it was just really dark in there so maybe I just lost my sense of time, but it was like magic. POOF. And the pizza was DELICIOUS, but as my counterpart said, wasn't the best in NY. The pizza was made well and the dough was soft, and the sauce just right. The meatballs were a tad spicy (Thatza spicy meat-ball!) but we figured that's why they were so tiny - so they didn't overpower the pizza. That sage/parsley was weird, so I just picked it off, but I'm sure it would have tasted okay. And I can't eat you go! Eat here. That is all. - Jennifer

Address: 19 First Ave (btwn 1st and 2nd St)

Payment: Cash Only

Delivery: Yes

Open Late: Totes, Sun-Thurs, 2am / Fri-Sat, 4am

Bar/Happy Hour: Full Bar

December 12, 2008

Shanghai Asian Cuisine

At work, we call this the "Awesome Soup Place." Mainly because, as the name suggests, the soup is Awesome. Said soup is Wonton Noodle Soup, with hand-prepared wontons that instead of being too thick and filled with some weird gray meat, are made more like dumplings with fresh, homemade dough and delicious pork and chives. Also in the soup has noodles and the broth has scallions and bok choy. It also comes with a side of fresh chilis. All this for only $4.75.

Most of the people who work there don't speak English very well, so be prepared to point. And also, they really, really, really want you to sit down, eat, and then leave. But take your time and wave them off and it will be fine.

The time I went there with Laurel I tried their dumplings. They were exactly right. They were basically the wontons deep fried, which is fantastic. The other day I decided to step outside of the box and order something different. However, I wasn't in to the Sesame Chicken. The rice was delicious and there was fresh broccoli. However, the chicken was tough, and the sauce wasn't sweet enough. However, it was definitely some of the more authentic Chinese I've ever had, so maybe I'm just too Americanized.

Seriously, go by the Awesome Soup Place. The woman who owns it is adorable and always there, and the people around you will probably be eating crab, lobster, and about 100 billion other things that I'm not sure are on the menu. Or there will be middle-aged white women talking about how good CSI is. -Jennifer

P.S. - The first one to spot "The That's What She Said" in this review, I'll buy you the soup.

Jennifer has a lot of experience with this place, but I'll give my two cents. We went here one night after work for some din, and were greeted fairly enthusiastically by the staff. The space has about 8 tables or so, and two of them were taken. We were asked if we were ready to order about 3 times, and one of the times the lady taking our order tried reeeeally hard to get us to order lobster. We must look like we're made of money. Instead, I ordered the wonton soup with noodles ($4.50). I'm worth about $6.00 including tax and tip, as she found out.

The soup came out after a few minutes and was very hot. It was a big bowl--I ended up taking half of it for lunch the next day--and had ramen-like noodles, bok choy and wontons floating in the broth. The wontons were really more like little dumplings with tasty filling, nothing like the cheap Chinese take-out place on the corner's wonton soup, which contains tough noodles, mystery meat and not much else. I could have eaten a whole bowl full of these little dumplings, and the broth was pretty good too. I love bok choy, so that was a welcome addition, although I have to say I'm not sure the noodles were necessary. I'll take them, though!

Since all I've had is the wonton soup, I'd definitely recommend it. It's tasty and the price is right. -Laurel
P.S. I spotted THREE that's what she said's in Jennifer's review.. what does that say about me?

Address: 14A Elizabeth Street (btwn Canal and Bayard)

Website: No's not listed anywhere

Payment: Cash Only

Delivery: Yes

Open Late: Somewhat

Bar/Happy Hour: A few beer selections

December 8, 2008


We found this place nestled between Tiny's Giant Sandwich Shop and Welcome to the Johnson's (world's darkest bar) when we finally stumbled out of the bar starving last week and saw that our fave sandwich shop was closed.

I was most excited by the fajita quesadilla (aka fajita-dilla, $6.50), and even more so by the fact that you could get spiced steak for the same price as chicken or any other meat. And it was greasy and pretty unhealthy looking and tasting, but everything was fresh and I'm going to pretend that means it's healthy. Also, the tortillas and chips are seem homemade (clarification: they aren't :) ), and you get your choice of mild, medium or hot salsa. The mild is simply pico de gallo without the spicyness, and then it slowly gets hotter from there. I actually dig that, because most of the time mild means it burns my tongue. But if you want more flava, go a little hotter.

The next time I went I built my own neighburrito, with chicken, soy cheese, black beans and rice. This one didn't have as much flavor, even with the medium salsa, but it was still good. The next time I had it was today, when it was delivered to my office. I'd like to pretend like I got something other than the spiced steak fajita-dilla, but 1) I LOVE steak, and 2) there isn't really a two. I just love steak.

Meanwhile...there are also lots of vegetarian and vegan options for those with special diets, whether chosen or otherwise. -Jennifer

Neighburrito is a tiny spot in the Lower East Side near some of my favorite places, including Sugar Sweet Sunshine, so it was only a matter of time before we discovered it. The spot largely serves as a take-out and delivery spot, but there is a saw-horse like counter dissecting the restaurant with a few stools for those who choose to stay. Food is made when you order it, so they aren't the speediest.. or the slowest, either.

Their menu offers various signature burritos (including a "breakfast" burrito, served all day, that included eggs and chorizo that I need to try), quesadillas, tacos, and make-your-own options. The meat options include carnitas, steak, chicken, and marinated tofu.

I also ordered a fajita-dilla with steak during our first visit, and it was pretty delicious. It was a good portion, sliced into four piecesand contained peppers, onions, cheese and steak. The steak was cooked just so and pretty generous. On my next visit, I ordered a fajita burrito, which contained black beans, cheese, peppers, onions, corn salsa and steak. It also came with sour cream and salsa, as well as chips. This was a pretty big burrito, big enough that I couldn't eat my chips, but mine also wasn't as good as the quesadilla. It lacked a little.. something, and the steak wasn't as good this time. Still a pretty tasty burrito.

All-in-all, I like Neighburrito. They use fresh ingredients and make things to order, and have lots of options. The prices are also good, and they're open late. I'd recommend for take-out or late night nosh. -Laurel

Address: 127 Rivington Street (btwn Essex and Norfolk)

Payment: Cash, Cards

Take Out: Yeppers

Delivery: Pretty big delivery area

Open Late: Sunday-Wednesday, open til Midnite, Thursday-Saturday, open til 2am

Bar/Happy Hour: Nope, but there are horchatas!
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