Nola inspirations manifested into decadent dishes in Flatiron.
This year, in 2015, I wanted to start a new Blog Segment, called SPOTLIGHT ON--real original I know, where I focus on a food/drink venue to highlight the things that I think make them special. And for the first one, I'm starting it off with a little something special in the East Village: Korilla BBQ.
If you don't know about Korilla, please read this and then go to their restaurant immediately and eat some of their damn good food! Like many of the coolest new restos today, Korilla started out on the streets of this cruel city, as a food truck back in 2010. And way back then they were the only ones in NYC to be slinging Korean-Mexican BBQ, which is now it's own genre of food [truck]!
Korilla made waves in the food truck scene, not only for their unique style of food, but also with their crazy bright and unmissable colors! And did I mention their family secret kimchi added a tantalizing taste to their tacos and burritos?! My mouth is watering right now just thinking about it. Actually, I'm now recalling that theirs was the very first kimchi I'd ever tried! Aw, now I'm getting all foodstalgic.
Anyway, the truck became successful rather quickly and with a huge following in NYC already, they decided to try broadening their scope to a more national audience when they appeared on Season 2 of Food Network's The Great Food Truck Race (You know, back when they still cast already established trucks). They actually left the season a midst a controversy as they were accused of putting their own money into the show earnings, although they were the front-runners of the competition anyway.
Luckily, for us New Yorkers, their TV stint didn't take them out of the food-producing game, AND they returned to their home to sling some of that delicious kimchi bacon fried rice (YES) goodness! Back when I spent a summer helping my friend--owner of the Feed Your Hole truck, I enjoyed the spoils of working next to them on several occasions. In the food truck world you often trade food with the trucks parked near you!
After a little hiatus from the truck in 2013, to travel to Korea and work on their already solid kimchi game, they came back with a new gameplan that included sites on a brick and mortar shop, which finally opened in October of last year on 3rd Ave, just north of St. Mark's Place.
I had seen it a few times and I finally had an opportunity to have a late lunch there just a few weeks back and was SO HAPPY I did! First, because of the time, there was barely anyone there, so I got full-service by their eager and super-friendly staff. The space is small but comfortable and while the bathroom is tiny, it does exist, which is good enough for me! And while the front of the restaurant is mostly taken up by the food--it's a build your own type spot, the back of the space is painted by a local artist with historic East Village scenes, which warms my tiny little NY heart!
Of course, by the time I was there I was starving so the number of options, which really isn't too many on a normal day, was daunting in those first moments. But fortunately the nice guys working behind the counter informed me they were offering a limited special menu that day as they had paired up with another bomb ass team, Kimchi Smoke, who are based out of New Jersey where they conjure up their Fat Boy sauce, which you know I threw into my everything!
The guys suggested I get a bowl so I could get the most bang for my buck and I obliged. For my protein I picked the special smoked pork and for my rice I went with the B.K.F.R. or bacon kimchi fried rice. I also said that YES I would definitely take the special kimchi fries, and so by this point the boys knew I was serious, so with appropriate assumption they asked: you want everything on top? UM yes. And although I said--I don't think I need meat on the fries, they're smarter than me and so they gave it to me anyway!
Behold: what fat girl dreams are made of!
With the food in front of me, I inhaled a few whiffs of deliciousness and took the mandatory photos of the feast before a very unpromising Tinder date just hours later. All of the food groups were there and I was a happy camper. There was nothing between me and my food. And so I just enjoyed with a few groans and moans about how spoiled my tastebuds were. "Tell the boss!" Yelled the boys, and I did!
That's what I call BEASTed.
As I sat and drank some water, and digested the food, I had a thought. If the owner's here, perhaps I can talk to him--not only to gush about my amazing lunch, but also to see if perhaps he'd be interested in participating in my new show, The Food Funny. So I introduced myself to Edward "3D" Song, who's a fellow native to these boroughs and lucky for me, interested in joining in on the Fun on the UWS! When I sent him the deets of the show he asked if he could participate in the Stand-up competition and I was happy to oblige, as I knew I'd pair him up with my good friend and hilarious funny lady Adriane Hamilton.
So, to wrap up, I want you to eat at Korilla, because it's the smart thing to do. And tell you that if you're already a fan of theirs then you should come check out a show where the owner gets to try out his funny-man chops! Lastly, I don't have public tours of the East Village, however I am happy to bring a group to the area for a private group, and if you want to do an Asian-Fusion tour, I couldn't think of a better neighborhood to do it in!
Don't get me wrong, I'm not one of THOSE people--you know, the kind that gets all excited about Summer, freaks out when it's too hot and then cringes as soon as it starts cooling down at all...ok maybe I am a little. I mean I love the beach, when I can go, which I have yet to do this summer! Until THIS WEEKEND! YIPPEE! So, while I'm thrilled to give my AC a break for a few days and I was happy to do a tour today in much cooler climates than the 100 degrees of a week ago, I would be happier if the temps were a little higher given my final escape is now upon us. But I'm not freaking out about it, because either way I will be sitting on a beach, so screw you guys I'm leaving home! ;) BUT if you're not as lucky as I am, or stalking me out to Cape May, NJ...then perhaps you should look into some of the following activities and you can tell me all about it!
Obviously I must mention RESTAURANT WEEK Summer 2013 Edition! Yes, the prices have gone up, but you knew that was going to happen--I mean the monthly metrocard is now $112 so clearly good 'ol restaurant week is gonna change too! Alas it's still much cheaper than what you're usually going to spend for a three-course meal at one of these establishments. So, here's the lowdown: the deals started Monday and continue through at least August 16th (some will continue into September). Lunch is $25 and dinner is $38. While drinks, tax and gratuities are not included, there are usually pretty good pairing options or deals to be had on house wines, etc. Each restaurant can make their own drink options as they'd like. Most restaurants are Monday through Friday only, but some offer weekend menus as well. My advice is always lunch over dinner if they have it, but I would also just see what they offer, as some places are much better deals than others. You can check out the 293 restaurants that are participating at NYC & Co's site. From there most of the menus and online bookings can be accessed and you can narrow your search results by cuisine, neighborhood, meals served, etc. Happy EATING! :) Also keep an eye out around town for unofficial restaurant week deals they're usually better than the official ones, just from places that aren't members of NYC & Co.
Several tastes and one vote! Check out the Taste of Chinatown experience today and tomorrow! Several competitors will be duking it out an hour at a time as you make your way through to help celebrate Time Out New York's Chinatown Issue. Tell them who you think does it best--will it be the newbies or the old school? Also--your ticket gets you a comp beer to wash down that Dim Sum!
If you're a fan of food & Hip Hop, then you're probably a fan of Questlove's, cuz he clearly loves them both (and no that's not a dig at his frame). This Friday you can extend your lunch hour and head over to Marquee for a little midday dance party. While the parties happen every week, for the masses of working stiffs looking for a little break from reality, this week you can shake your hips to the music stylings of famed DJ Questlove. You can read about these funky lunchtime jams in the NYT, or you can experience it yourself! I'd say go for the latter--and take pics!
For a little free daytime fun you can make your way over to Williams-Sonoma at the Time Warner Center at Columbus Circle. Tasting Table has brought back it's live demo of the great Sous Chef Series, where you can to watch the masters make the food that you'll then get to taste. In the past menu cards have been provided. And as we're in tomato season, you'll be indulging in some great Tomato tastes from Anup Joshi of Tertulia.
Where's Brooklyn at? Well, from me it's South East, but I don't know where you are, so Google it. You're already there you say? Or you wanted to try my Carroll Gardens food tour this weekend but I'm going to NJ for their beaches? OH, I see...well you should definitely check out the Bushwick Block Party then! This year's party includes performances from some of your favorite hipster and non-hipster bands, contests, skate demos, raffles, a photobooth, and lots of FOOD! Roberta's will be slinging pizzas, Yuji Ramen will also be providing pizza--I kid, they'll have ramen for ya! Crif Dogs will be there, Red Hook Lobster, and MORE! See and eat for yourself! Did I mention that 10% of all pizza sales go to charity? I did now!
If I was to pick ONE event to go to this weekend it would probably be this next one...you know, if I were going to be here. The first ever New York State Food and Beer Expo is going to be at the East River State Park in good ol Brooklyn! In addition to the over 20 microbreweries there will be food...of course, it's in the title I know! There will be local vendors represented AND a cheeseburger cookoff! If you get the VIP pass you'll get some food samplings from some greats, including Mrs. Dorsey's Kitchen(a stop on my holiday tour)! My mouth is watering just thinking about it. So let the BIBA of Williamsburg show you a good time and don't forget to take some pics for me!
OK, so I would also want to check out Tequila Fest at Tequila Park. Obviously. Also, as it's in Manhattan I'd probably be more likely to make it. Your ticket gets you 5 tequila tastings and 3 tacos. Tacos and Tequila?! What more could you ask for in the summer. Oh, you want a discount too? Well then you should head over to Urbandaddy. Ask yourself why you haven't been a perks member up until now and sign up! You won't regret it, unless you don't like good deals. Then definitely don't do it. Then, if you're lucky there will still be some discounted tix for Tequila Fest for you.
Actually I'm glad to be out of town for the weekend, because I wouldn't know what to choose...I didn't even get to the Pig Roast. That's right. Those crazy kids at 3rd Ward are having a Pig Roast starting at 2pm. There will be music, dancing, fun activities like double dutch and, of course, FOOD & BOOZE! Get your pork on! Not only will there be your standard slow-roasted pork, but Coolhaus will be there with their amazing ice cream sandwiches! It is summer after all!
Another Brooklyn event, but this one will transport you to the Middle East. A Persian Food Tasting Menu will make you believe you've left NYC and gone overseas. Andy Baraghani will cook for you in his own home, and share with you his Persian roots and the exotic flavors he left behind. You'll get to bring your own beverages to pair with the food form Andy's past. What better way to enjoy your own friends or make new ones than in the comforts of someone else's home?!
Brunch always. So, go on and get out there. Do it for me! So I can live vicariously through you and then, hopefully I'll have some new tour photos and updates for you next week. And then we can spend the weekend together! :) TTFN
Happy Pig Day Y'all!
Several restaurants are celebrating in a variety of ways, but I would highly recommend One Cup Two Cupcakes, making the above Maple-Bacon yummies for the day! And, of course, Baconery. Even if they celebrate the swine EVERY day. Speaking of which, 'Swine is probably a great place to go to as well!
I know, I LOVE bacon. But the truth is, it's not very good for you! So, after you've come out of your sodium-coma, go ahead and make your way over to the New York City Vegetarian Food Festival. The festival takes place this weekend at the Metropolitan Pavilion. The space is open from 10am-5pm both Saturday and Sunday, March 2nd and 3rd. VIP Tickets are $30 a day and $50 for both days, and get you priority entrance with 5 raffle tickets. General admission is $5 and can be purchased at the door. Just a couple of their vendors include: PETA, Earth Balance, Harmony Cafe Kitchen, Chicago Vegan Foods, & Back to the Roots. Not to mention the lectures, performers and entertainers there to educate your mind and body! Did I mention there's stuff for your kids? There is!
So PIG out today and cleanse your soul tomorrow...that's what I would do anyway!