New York City Eats

Hungover from Pancakes

Blueberry Pancakes  from Clinton Street Bakery – start to somewhat finished

February 19th, 2010

“February is Pancake Month!”  At Clinton Street Bakery that is.  Clinton Street Bakery is celebrating all month long this February in this official national Pancake week (February 14th -20th, 2010).  Whoever comes up with food holidays are a genius!  It encourages someone like me who doesn’t eat pancake often to be pressure to order pancakes.  I must admit I don’t really like pancakes that much to begin with.  Perhaps the reason is I have only had pancakes from franchise restaurants such as Denny’s, Ihop or McDonald (Hot Cakes) while growing up and have never really had authentic pancakes on American soil before …(?)  I think pancakes are fun to make at home and to eat it is rather bland but for me it is all about the topping.

“Voted for the best Pancakes in New York City Since 2008″ —  Clinton Street Bakery is a hot spot for brunch in New York City.  The wait for a table for 4 on a weekend brunch hours could last to one and a half hour or more, even on a snow day.  Anyone crazy for a pancake for a Friday night dinner? Apparently everyone.  The wait was a hour long for 5 : me,  Jesse, Hayley, Lauren, and Peter.  While we waited we watched the table before us indulge in their stacks of pancakes but what seem to be in utter pain towards half of the pancakes they have eaten which I had second thoughts about ordering pancakes and was debating whether to order the Buttermilk Fried Chicken with a Jalapeno cornbread with coleslaw instead or to stick with our purpose ” pancakes.”  In honor of pancake week: blueberry pancakes it is.  Hayley, Lauren and Jesse all ordered the Chocolate Chunk pancake special (2/18, 2/19, 2/22).  On top of the Chocolate Chunk Pancakes, Jesse ordered a split pea soup and Peter apart from the pancakes ordered fish tacos.  Watching the last table struggle through their pancakes, we were determined even if it meant stuffing our face.  Our stack of fluffy pancakes came in three with a side of warm butter maple syrup which the syrup is the definite star.  I think I can chug a jar of this heaven.  The density of the the syrup is perfect, not too liquidity nor too thick and the sweetness is just right.  If anything the warm butter maple syrup is really what enhanced the pancakes.  Halfway into our pancakes we were all punch, drunk, love.  Feeling a bit nauseated,  I do not want to see or eat another pancake for a very long time.

Fried Turnip Cake – Courtesy of Jane’s Ma Ma

February 18, 2010

Jane and Cynthia made a visit to Chelsea for lunch at La Grainne Cafe on Thursday.  Jane delivered her mama’s homemade turnip cake they had remaining over the Chinese New Year but when Jane’s mama realized Jane was giving her turnip cakes to a friend, Jane’s mama made a fresh batch that morning, so sweet!  I had the royal treatment.  Turnip cake (Cantonese pronunciation: Law Bock Gow) is a common dish found on the push carts at dim sum and is commonly eaten during Chinese New Year at particular regions in China, Hong Kong.  The sound of turnip cake in Chinese is “growth” which is a positive connotation for children “growth in education or height,” and for adults “growth in career, etc”  Same for New Year’s Cake (Cantonese pronunciation: Neen Gow) though the taste differ with it’s sweetness.  The turnip cake is made of freshly shredded turnip radish with fillings of Chinese sausages, dried shrimps, and scallions / green onions.  You can have turnip cake both ways steamed or pan fried.  Which is exactly how I enjoyed mine.  Thank you Mrs. Tam!

That evening, I met with my friend Jervilyn for Bon Chon – A up and rising gourmet Korean fried chicken franchise opened nationwide and soon worldwide, Dubai…wow!  Jervilyn is obsessed with Bon Chon and the CEO of Bon Chon should endorse this girl as the official spokesperson or model.  After our first Bon Chon dinner at Boka’s in St.Mark’s Place, I was not blown away.  Though the stainless steal canister which I thought was hoping for to be used for a complimentary bottle of champagne was will you believe this, it is used to discard your chicken bones. Over the top fancy indeed.  Jervilyn suggested we have Bon Chon again, so I decided to give Bon Chon a second chance by trying their newest 38th street and 7th avenue location.  The new location in a corporate district had a sports bar essence.  With the first floor as a full bar and the second level as a dine in.  Bon Chon’s fried chicken is covered in sauce with  two flavors to select from is soy sauce garlic or spicy soy sauce garlic.  What was exciting was this location came with sides!  Unlike the Southern fried chicken complement with mac n cheese or mashed potates, sides at Bon Chon includes coleslaw, french fries, and it is a Korean franchise so going with the Asian flair there is rice and kim chi coleslaw.  I ordered the spicy route with spicy soy sauce garlic chicken wings and kim chi coleslaw and all platters comes with a side of cold radish salad with Asahi beer.  The kim chi coleslaw was pretty much ordinary coleslaw.  The radish complement with spicy soy sauce garlic fried chicken wings is really smart.  It lessens the heat level.  I think I got sucked into the Bon Chon paradigm.


Clinton Street Bakery /// 4 Clinton Street (btw. East Houston & Stanton), New York, NY 10002

La Grainne Cafe /// 183  9th Avenue, 21st street  New York, NY 10010

Bon Chon /// 207 38th Street, New York, NY 10018