New York City Eats

Ten Under a Buck

text and photos by iLuvpotato © 2014

text and photos by iLuvpotato © 2014

With high cost in rent, food, transportation in most cities these days, it can get depressing living in a big city like New York City where on a daily basis where most of us are watching our budget.  I am probably the worst Chinese when it comes to crunching numbers but what I did inherit is a tolerance for cheese (my god, I love cheese!) and being economically savvy.  I went on a mission to find what is available for a dollar and still eat well, without the usual greasy fried dumplings or 2 Bros Pizza – which I have never tried before and still hesitant to.  Here are 10 items under $1 or less in New York City metro area and no, it’s not an April Fools’ joke:

1. Sullivan Street Bakery
Pizza Bianca:  Sullivan Street Bakery is celebrating their 20th Anniversary and for a limited time only they are offering their signature pizza bianca for only $1. Until April 17, so get there fast.

2. Hong Kong Hot Cakes
Hong Kong Hot Cakes: These are similar to the French madeleines, Southern hot cakes or Belgium waffles. There used to be a popular red kiosk selling Hong Kong Hot Cakes on Mosco Street in Chinatown.  The lines would be as long as the lines for cronuts.  It closed in the early/ mid-90s and now are sold in street carts in various locations in Chinatown.  The way it is made is on a cast iron waffle-like pan with no more than few ingredients of egg, sugar and flour.  A treat for all ages. $1 for 15 pieces.

3. Fried Dumpling
Hot and Sour Soup: Located in one of my favorite streets in Chinatown on Mosco Street, Fried Dumpling is a hole in the wall shop and has a variety of items for $1 including fried dumplings of course.  Although, I recommend having their hot and sour soup instead.  It’s served piping hot and perfect for a frigid day or to fight a cold. There are generous amount of ingredients in the soup that includes tofu and mushrooms. Though avoid going on weekdays after 3pm as the place will get very crowded with school kids.

4.  Fong Inn Too
Herbal Tea: I have been going to Fong Inn Too since I was a child.  My mom would buy their turnip cakes or soy pudding dessert. Since then I have become a regular myself but for their $1 herbal tea.  It comes in black and unlike many herbal tea, it is not bitter and naturally sweeten.  It is also said to get rid of toxins or inflammations. Its purpose, although not proven should have similar affect as juice cleansing if not greater and much friendlier on the wallet.  If you’re lucky sometimes they bottle the chrysanthemum tea for $1 too.

5. Bakeri
Assortment of cookies $1 each (lavender shortbread, earl grey tea, peanut magic bar):  I’m obsessed with Bakeri in Williamsburg, Brooklyn and their $1 assortment of cookies have me return consistently.  My favorite is Bakeri’s lavender shortbread cookie.  I usually dislike lavender baked goods because of the perfume taste but this version is fresh and subtle that I could eat a jar of it.  Its a charming little cafe, bakery and I guarantee it will be hard  to resist not to spend more than a dollar.

6. Golden Manna Bakery
Egg Tart:  A variety of baked goods in Chinatown are still $1 or less but if you must choose wisely on how to spend the dollar, I recommend the egg tart from Golden Manna Bakery. The inner egg has the texture of a flan or a custard on a flaky miniature pie crust. It’s a favorite among many during dim sum or for dessert.

7. Bagel Bob’s
Assortment of bagels: New York City hands down has the best bagels and is an iconic food item.  It’s cheap and satisfying.  Bagel Bob’s in Greenwich Village has probably one of the best hand made boiled bagels and on Mondays from 4-7pm they sell their freshly baked bagels for only $.45 cents! It’s so cheap it almost feels wrong. There is usually a mini line but moves efficiently with friendly counter staff, armed and ready.

8. Kossar’s Bialys
Bialy (onion, garlic, or poppy seeds):  Kossar’s Bialys on Lower East Side is an old school bakery making their signature bialys for over 65 years. The recipe and craft is based on traditional methods past down through generations and truly defines the meaning of artisans. For $.90 cents each, there are 3 kinds of bialys, traditional- onion, garlic and poppy seeds.

9. Tea Eggs
Tea Eggs: I got the idea of writing $1 food when my local dry good store on the corner of Catherine and Division street introduced selling tea eggs, 3 for $1.  The aroma of the marinated tea, soy sauce and spices could be smelled from a distance and it’s a great replacement as a hand warmer in the winter months. Since then they have raised it to $1.25 but it’s worth the extra quarter.

10. 83 Elizabeth Street Chinese Sausage ( lap cheong)
Chinese Sausage (lap cheong):  Chinese sausage is cured meat and is similar to chartcuterie.  There are various grades of Chinese sausages but my favorite is their house cured one which you can get it loosely, 2 for $1.  It’s one of my favorite ingredients and a better alternative to Spam meat.  In fact during Hurricane Sandy, it was one of my survival gourmet food items.  All you will need  is a butane gas stove, clay pot, rice, water and Chinese Sausage and you have yourself a clay pot rice or an inexpensive version of paella.

{ Directory }
Sullivan Street Bakery (both locations)

Hong Kong Hot Cakes (various Chinatown locations)
a. Corner of Canal St and Mulberry St
b. Corner of Bowery St and Pell St

Fried Dumpling

Fong Inn Too


Golden Manna Bakery (various Chinatown locations)

Bagel Bob’s

Kossar’s Bialys

Tea Eggs (various Chinatown locations)
a. Corner of Catherine St. and Division St.
b. Corner of Rutger Slip and East Broadway
c. Corner of Hester St. and Elizabeth St.

Chinese Sausages or Lap Cheong
83 Elizabeth St.

Events, New York City Eats

summer has only begun…

Summer of 2011 has been eventful so far and I admittedly love it!   It’s always been one of my most dreaded season of the year because I do not do well with heat, humidity and  did I mention summer in New York City rancid smell is unbearable.  This may sound depressing to some people but the only thing I ever looked forward to during summer is longer daylights and juicy watermelon.   Since working for a non-profit local, regional farmer’s market, New Amsterdam Market, I’ve been enlightened and introduced to many amazing food, from fresh seasonal produce to dining at restaurants who cooks and source ingredients mindfully.

Things I ate at the market today 7.10.2011 includes:

Maple Sugar on Pretzel Stick Cotton Candy from Liddabit Sweets 

Sour Cherry Soda from P& H Soda & Co.

Avocado Ice Cream from La Newyorkina

Mast Brothers Chocolate Chocolate Cookie from Blue Bottle Coffee

And a specially made a BOMB Mi (Chef Scott Bridi’s interpretation of a Vietnamese Bahn Mi with handmade pate and pork rilette, cilantro, sriracha mayo, and pickled garlic scape ) from Brooklyn Cured. – it’s da bomb!  yeah Breuklen

In addition the market highlights a lot of fresh, vibrant and seasonal produce.  Today was a  fruit day.  I end the day with  5 types of fruits to carry home and perfect for any fruit salad, jam, tart, yogurt, honey…  Or simply enjoy the fruit on its own with a gentle wash under running cold water.

Blueberry from Flying Fox

Hand picked apricots and blueberries from Flying Fox

Peaches and sour cheeries from Toigo Orchards

And the smallest plums I have ever held and tasted from Do Re Me Farms

I am fascinated by the abundance of fruits and the variety that grows in the NY State and in the Northeast region.  The vastness and richness of what our region provide is a gem and we need to appreciate it more and it starts by supporting and eating local.  Come say hello at New Amsterdam Market.  Every Sunday 11am -4pm near the Old Fulton Fish Market.  South Street,  (Between Beekman St & Peck Slip)


I apologize I have not been writing as diligently as I like to but all that will change soon or at least that is my goal.   As a recap of my summer thus far :

Rockaway Taco: Fish Taco and Chorizo with Guac Taco

7. 9. 2011 – Sunbathing at Far Rockaway Beach and a bite at Rockaway Taco with friends.  Far Rockaway is an example of gentrification as it continues to with new restaurants and food concession opens on the boardwalk.   The neighborhood feels less threatening, much safer and a lot more trendier than 2003.  And the beach is fairly clean comparably to any beach within New York City with waves suit for a surfer.

7. 2. 2011 – Hiking and foraging for mushrooms at Bear Mountain in the Hudson Valley region with family.  My mom has her eyes on fungi.  She spotted a number of different mushrooms which we only photographed and left it untouched in the wild. 2 years later the Appalachian trail which cuts through  here from Maine to Georgia have completed building steps along the trail making the hike extra leisure and easy but still mesmerizing to walk through with tranquil sounds of nature.

6. 29. 2011: Celebrated my awesome mom’s 55th birthday at a vegetarian Korean restaurant, Hangawi,  with an elaborate menu.  The decor of the restaurant transports you to Korea and the floor seating design will make anyone sitting in lotus position look like a master yogi.  What I enjoyed most was to eat barefooted as it is an dining etiquette.

6. 28. 2011:  Shake Shack  now closer to home.  Visited their newest outpost in Financial District.  Shroom burger is the best option for any vegetarians.  Wash it down with  a milkshake or concrete!

6. 24. 2011:  Used my novice oyster shucking skills at my friend Anneliese’s birthday home-cooked party.  On the birthday menu included East Coast Oysters, Seafood Paella, Greenmarket tossed salad, baguette with cheese and quince (YUM), and Adirondack ice cream affogato!

Radegast Hall & Biergarten: Pretzel, Grilled Sausages, Sauerkrauts and Fries

6. 23. 2011:  Took advantage of the free East River Ferry from Pier 11 to North 6 Williamsburg to celebrate first week of summer solstice with friends at Radegast Hall & Biergarten with draft beers and sausages and sauerkrauts.  Pretzel is freshly baked and soft with unique condiments on the side.  A great comfort dish is their Spatzel with gouda cheese, cabbage and Hunter’s bacon like a classic mac n’ cheese.

Bobo Lamb salad at Edible's Seven Ingredients Festival

6. 18. 2011:  Attended the Edible Local Seven Ingredients event during their Eat, Drink, Local Week.  7 ingredients: Rhubarb, Strawberry, Peas, Chives and Green Garlic,  Oyster, Lamb and Yogurt.   Appetizing appetizers all evening long.

6. 9. 2011:  Volunteered at Tasting Table Lobster Rumble (General admission: $130; VIP admission: $250; Volunteered: FREE)  17 different lobster rolls to sample from and all  intrinsically different.  Some lighter than other, other more mayo, more butter, more bun…mmm  I helped two chefs from Boston, MA,  B & G Oysters & Menton to griddle countless numbers of hot dog buns and ate countless of lobster rolls.   The team I helped out B & G Oysters were of course the best!

6. 7. 2011:  Grand Opening restaurant, Casa Nonna Party.   American food meets American Italian food.  Cute petite cup sized milkshakes.

And summer in New York City has only begun…


Casa Nonna ///310 West 38th Street (between 8th & 9th Avenue) New York, NY 10018

Radegast Hall & Biergarten /// 113 N. 3rd Street Brooklyn, NY 11211

Shake Shack /// Multiple locations: 215 Murray Street New York, NY 10282

Hangawai /// 12 East 32nd Street New York, NY 10016

Rockaway Taco /// 95-19 Rockaway Boulevald, New York NY 11693

New Amsterdam Market /// South Street Between Beekman Street & Peck Slip, New York NY 10038

text and images © iluvpotato 2011

Beyond 5 Boroughs Travel, New York City Eats

Hot! Hot! Hot!

AUG 3, 2010: Last Tuesday I met up with four of my friends including myself were 5 for 5 Knapkin Burger.  Ever since walking by this corner restaurant on 9th avenue Hell’s Kitchen early summer I couldn’t stopped thinking about it, it was love at first sight.  5 Knapkin Burger, Hell’s Kitchen is one of three locations in New York City, with the other two on the Upper West Side and Astoria, Queens.  It was packed on a Tuesday night and being packed is a positive sign that it had to be good.  Since college I had stopped consuming beef, for religious and for health reasons and quite frankly I never crave for beef or beef burger.  It has become part of my diet but occasionally I do crave for a burger and 5 Knapkin burger stands apart from Shake Shack, Good Burger, BRGR, BLT, etc with the creative alternative options they serve.  These alternative options are rather innovative and mighty delicious!  I ordered the Ahi Tuna Burger with a fried tempura onion, wasabi mayo on a sesame egg roll bun.  Rarely do I see Tuna burgers on the menu so I was very curious to try one.  The waiter asked me how I liked my tuna steak so I had requested for a medium rare and holy cow it was cooked to perfection.  I cut the burger in half then into a quarter to trade for Cynthia’s exotic Lamb Kofta burger and it reminded me of delicious Chinese pork dumplings and the other quarter I traded for Anita’s Turkey burger and I think it was by far the best Turkey burger I have had in I don’t recall when.  The Turkey burger was outstanding, the meat tasted clean, fresh, healthy and herbal white turkey meat unlike places that I had claims to be turkey but makes you wonder…really?  Michelle had the original 10oz beef burger and Jane had the inside out burger which anti-carb friendly and for vegetarians out there, 5 Knapkin Burgers did not single out on  with their version.  5 stars for 5 Knapkin Burgers!

AUG 7, 2010: Later in the week, my sister has been itching to go out of the city since our trip back from Maine.  So we made a visit to our neighboring state, New Jersey for a county fair and a hot air balloon festival.  Summer is nearly ending with the scorching heat wave but the best thing I have eaten this summer is Cajun Corn cob at the fair for only $2!  It is no surprise how fresh and sweet the corn is since the abundant acres of cornfields on our drive to the festival.  Eating locally certainly tastes different and supporting a local farmer feels good too.  The corn was prepared by washing off the husk then it was thrown into an outdoor roaster and finally brushed with melted butter and seasoned with cajun spice…mmm.  We later enjoyed the 30 hot air balloon all simultaneously inflate and departed one by one dancing into the sunset.


5 Knapkin Burger/// 630 9th Avenue 45th Street New York NY 10036

New York City Eats

Long Live the Bread!


“jim’me’s bread”- as my co-worker quoted 

A little bit of margarine spread onto a day after fresh baked baguette transports me back to my visit to Paris, France in mid-autumn October. No, it’s not Balthazar, Sullivan Street Bakery, or Amy’s Bread.  I am referring to my brother Jimmy’s debut in artisanal bread baking.  

After ten years with Lehmann Brothers, my brother Jimmy is one of many people who are close to me dearly that are affected by the recession and one of few who have taken the news optimistically.  Growing up with my brother, I knew he showed many interests and he has occasionally talked about entrepreneur in a tea parlor to a karate gym and now in a very likely horizon and with great potential: a bread shop.  

He enrolled in a nine week Art of International Bread Baking career program with renowned French Culinary Institute.  On the first day of class, my brother brought home a French Baguette which the French takes seriously of and as I recall almost every other Parisian on a bicycle or pedestrian had a baguette in hand.  I was really impressed with the French Baguette my brother had made.  The exterior crust of the baguette is hard and crunchy but not in the way where the roof of your mouth tears apart.  The interior of the bread is light and fluffy, not hollowed or completely mold together.  With a little bit of butter spread, I am in Paris and a fan of jim’me’s bread!    




Later in the week, working the ArtAsiaPacific booth at the Armory Show, since I was in the Hell’s Kitchen area I made my very first visit to the highly acclaimed by foodies and my long awaited trip to Jim Lahey’s Sullivan Street Bakery.  After hearing so much positive reviews about Sullivan Street Bakery, I needed to know what the hype is all about.   I did have high expectations beforehand and I admittedly have to say Sullivan Street Bakery did meet my expectations in terms of taste.  It was noon, I walked in and through the bread display there was a selection of panini (sandwiches), pizze (pizza), dolci (tarts & desserts) or simply loafs of breads.  The front counter lady barked at me, “are you ready? are you ready?” when there was not really quite a line.  The service was typical New York City unpleasant but I was not there to judge the service though it would make the overall experience better.  I decided to order a panino cubano (Cuban Sandwich) and pudica al Giuliano ( i think, the tomato bread stick).  I have not had too many cuban sandwich in my twenty – something years of life and the only one I can compare to is the one I had at Cafe Habana.   Sullivan Street Bakery’s panino cubano consist of a layer of roasted pork, prosciutto di parma, gruyere cheese, fresh cucumber pickles, a bit a mayonnaise, mustard seed, and according to their site menu aioli (that’s new!  aioli: olive oil + garlic + egg) on a subtle taste of garlic bread.  The prosciutto di parma was not too salty and the gruyere cheese is freshly and thinly sliced to perfection. Each component compliments one another pretty well but just about any good amount of fresh cold cuts between good bread should taste. 

The second item I ordered is what I believe the Italians call it pudica al Giuliano or what I call a baby tomato bread stick.  I had eaten this late in the day at the Armory Show, Jesse and I had  agree it was a very good end of the day snack.  The size of this bread stick is almost the length of my arm!  The presentation was very unusual with half -sliced, sweet and juicy baby tomatoes submerged into the bread for every 3 inches apart.  I was only going to eat a quarter of the bread stick but I end up eating the whole bread stick to myself after sharing another quarter of the bread to Jesse…that was how good it was! 

The next day Jesse brought in samples of sliced Sullivan Street Bakery pane alle olive (olive bread).  Amazingly there are fresh olives in the Olive bread in which maybe preserved in red wine…mmm drunken olive bread, very distinctive indeed.


Sullivan St. Bakery ///  533 West 47th Street Between 11th & 10th Avenue