Churro ice cream sandwiches and more at Playa Betty’s

Continuing from my last post’s Upper West Side-ish theme, we have Playa Betty’s.  A trendy, casual Americanized-Mexican joint that does it well. We started with an order of “Tot” Chos – tater tots topped with cheese, guacamole, sour creame, pico de gallo, and chili (choice of vegetarian or beef), $12. We got beef. This was…

Finding West Africa in Harlem

I spent a week this month catsitting for my friend while he went to Europe on spring break. I stayed in his Morningside Heights apartment near Columbia University, where he is a student. Right next to Morningside Heights is Harlem, which is a much more interesting neighborhood, at least in terms of culinary matters. The…

Three words: Self. Serve. Boba.

Along with basically every other young Chinese person, I love bubble tea/boba. I wish the drinks didn’t frequently come out to 600 calories and $6, but that is another issue. It is hard to have a bad boba experience, but some experiences are better than others. Conieco, in Seattle’s U-District, stands out because of the…

Visiting the factory that makes Obama’s favorite chocolate

President Obama’s favorite chocolates are made by a Seattle company: Fran’s Chocolates. Specifically, he likes their smoked salted caramels, their (deservedly) most well-known product. Obama prefers the milk chocolate version, but there’s a dark chocolate version as well. (You can see both caramels in the open box below.) The caramels are extremely soft and creamy…

10 Corso Como brings Milan to New York

10 Corso Como is an aggressively fashionable network of concept stores combining art, design, fashion, music, culture, and cuisine. Each 10 Corso Como is unique, but inspired by the consumer culture of Milan, Italy, where the brand was founded. Stores are expansive and can be divided into different sections. It’s not just shopping, it’s an…

Happy Halloween from Sleepy Hollow

A couple weeks ago I took the train up to Westchester County. Westchester isn’t very far from New York City – thousands commute between the two on the daily – but it looks really different. It’s classified as suburban, but there’s enough nature exposure in the Hudson Valley it might feel rural at points. So…

Earth, wheat, and fire at Michelin-starred Faro

Who says a Michelin-starred New York restaurant has to be expensive? Not Faro. Located in a former MoMA art storage space (seriously, how hipster-Bushwick can this get), the casual nighttime hangout puts out plates of handmade fresh pasta made with locally-sourced grains priced around $20. The menu is constantly changing to reflect seasonal ingredients, but…

The Osprey

For visitors to Shanghai, the Bund is a must-visit attraction. It’s a waterfront area on the historic side of Shanghai (Puxi). Across the Huangpu river is the newer half of Shanghai, Pudong (literally administered as Pudong New Area). Pudong is home to the modern skyscrapers featured in the famous Shanghai skyline; to get the best…

Style over substance at BoCaphe

For my friend’s birthday, we went to BoCaphe in SoHo. All of New York’s SoHo area is trendy, and BoCaphe’s location, mere meters away from Jack’s Wife Freda and down the block from the mothership Supreme store, may have reflected in its menu too much. Visually, the place was stunning. The atmosphere of the light-filled…

Another Australian cafe

Located in Sydney, Australia’s central business district, a short walk from both the waterfront with the famous opera house and the Sydney Harbor Bridge in another direction, Dutch Smuggler Coffee Brewers is a not-so-hidden gem tucked in the shadows of some shiny corporate skyscrapers. The outdoors cafe can be accessed by going down some steps;…

Flower jelly at La Floraison

Calling itself Sydney’s most Instagrammable cafe, La Floraison is a pretty underground space located in Sydney, Australia’s Regent Place Shopping Center. The very, very trendy Regent Place is a smallish urban mall dominated by East Asian eateries and shops, including places selling matcha ice cream, ramen, jianbing, sushi, and taiyaki. There’s even a maid cafe,…

Queens Comfort – absolutely disgusting

I dislike stunt food, which is that Instagram-nurtured trend of people taking all the unhealthiest, greasiest, fattiest foods and combining them, because if things taste good on their own then the whole is greater than the sum of its parts right? WRONG. Queens Comfort is such a place. It has a sizable Instagram following for…