Drooling for Doughnuts – Doughnut Plant

When I first arrived in New York City, I headed straight for one place: Doughnut Plant. Having heard sooooo many amazing things about the doughnuts, I made Doughnut Plant the top place I had to visit in NYC. That says a lot about this place since I don’t even like doughnuts that much.

The scaffolding blocked the sign. 😦

Since I was closest to the 8th Ave and 23rd St location (the second location), I headed there. Once you enter Doughnut Plant, you’re transported into a world centered around doughnuts. There was doughnut art lining the walls, doughnut tiles engraved into the tables, and a giant tv screen displaying and flashing through all of the doughnuts offered. Talk about doughnut overload or doughnut lovers’ heaven.

They even have doughnut shaped chairs!

Since my brother raved on and on about the tres leche doughnut, I bought that right away. I had also heard about the Peanut Butter and Jelly glazed doughnut, which is a square doughnut covered with peanut butter glaze and filled with raspberry jelly. Both were good, not too sweet, which I appreciated. However, the tres leche was a bit better. Like many have said, Doughnut Plant’s cake doughnuts are better than their yeast doughnuts.

All of the doughnuts… yum!

Not knowing the next time I’d be back in NYC, I paid Doughnut Plant one last visit on my last day. For some reason that day, a regular old Monday morning, they had sold out of most of their doughnuts by 10am. So I only had the choice of the carrot cake and blackout doughnuts. I had wanted to try their creme brulee doughnut, which I’ve heard is amazing, but due to unforseen circumsatnces, I tried the carrot cake doughnut instead. It was actually very good. Not too sweet, which surprised me a bit. The frosting wasn’t as flavorful as I had hoped and I wanted a bit more filling in the doughnut. But overall, it was delicious.

I highly recommend Doughnut Plant if you’re ever in NYC, even if you’re not the biggest doughnut fan. You probably can’t find a shop with such a wide variety of flavors. This should definitely be one of the top places you visit, if not the very first. 🙂

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Restaurant Review – Tacubaya

I’ve been reading Jen’s blog, use real butter, for nearly five years now. Whenever I wanted a break from studying in college, I’d look up her blog to read about her new adventures and drool over her amazing food photographs. Her kickass attitude and triumphant battle with cancer has inspired me to be a strong, independent woman like her.

So, when I saw her post about Tacubaya in Berkeley a few years ago, I vowed to myself that I’d go there someday, not knowing (but hoping!) I’d eventually be going to Berkeley for grad school. It took me almost a year to get my butt down there, but I finally paid the taqueria a visit after getting a pedicure on Fourth St. (It’s definitely not your hole-in-the-wall taco joint like the ones in the Mission or the taco trucks in Oakland, probably because it wouldn’t fit in with the classier, more posh part of Berkeley that is Fourth St.)

Despite having grown up in New Mexico, I am rather loath to eating Mexican food (although New Mexicans make a clear distinction between Mexican and New Mexican food). Perhaps growing up surrounded by tacos, burritos, and enchiladas (which I still cannot eat to this day after rather unappetizing versions served for school lunch) has dampened by desire for Mexican cuisine.

Tacubaya was much different than most Mexican restaurants I’ve been too. The food was very fresh, crisp, and surprisingly light. A lot of Mexican dishes can be heavy, loaded with beans, rice, or potatoes. It was actually quite refreshing eating the food at Tacubaya.

They offer a wide variety of tacos, from the traditional taco al pastor to the more exotic taco de lengua. Intrigued by the tongue taco, I knew I had to order it. The pieces of beef tongue were pretty moist and juicy, not as chewy as I would have guessed. However, I couldn’t think about what I was eating too much because the thought of eating a tongue did gross me out a bit. The taco was very light and refreshing, just what I’d want from a taco. If you’re ever in Berkeley, definitely check out Tacubaya on Fourth St! I know, why would you go to the Bay Area for Mexican food? But trust me, you won’t be disappointed.

Restaurant Review: Momofuku Noodle Bar

I recently visited New York City and one of the top places to visit was Momofuku. Having heard so much praise for David Chang’s restaurant, I made sure to eat there at least once. Last Monday, I visited the Momofuku Noodle Bar in the East Village for lunch with a friend.

Because one of the most talked about dishes served at Momofuku is the pork buns, I knew I had to try them. An order comes with two fluffy white buns filled with a large slab of pork belly, hoisin sauce, scallions, and pickled cucumbers. When I first saw them, I was a bit shocked at how much fat was in the pork belly. I know that’s the best part, but for me, a thick layer of fat was not really that appetizing. Although the fat was buttery and melted in my mouth, I had a hard time eating all of it and felt there wasn’t enough flavor in the meat. The buns could definitely have used more sauce and more pickles, which were a nice way to cut the richness of the fatty pork belly. Don’t get me wrong, the pork buns were good, just not as good as I had imagined from people’s raving reviews.

My friend and I ordered the Momofuku ramen to share, and I’m glad we did. The ramen comes in a huge bowl and was more than enough for the both of us. The broth was a bit salty for my taste and had a slight bitterness. My friend suspected it came from seaweed, which makes sense since dashi, which is a traditional Japanese cooking stock made from kombu (dried seaweed), is usually the base for ramen broth. The ramen noodles were a bit more springy than those I’ve eaten before, almost as if they weren’t cooked enough. The springiness made it a bit harder to chew the noodles, but I suppose I’d rather have springy noodles instead of soggy ones. Another unusual thing about this ramen was that it had a poached egg instead of a soft-boiled or hard-boiled egg, which is commonly found in ramen. Neither of us understood why a poached egg would be served because when we split it open, all of the yolk spilled out into the soup. Although the egg yolk did make the broth taste better in my opinion, it didn’t really make sense to have a runny egg in soup.

Now, I’m probably being a bit more critical than I ought to be. Don’t get me wrong, the food was pretty good and the service was great. But I was expecting a bit more out of Momofuku. I’m sure it was really good when it first started, which is why it probably earned so many accolades. But now, all of those reviews have built up the expectations for Momofuku to be so high that it’s difficult for it to continue to amaze diners. At least, that’s one of my theories. What should probably be praised more than the food is the fact that Momofuku and David Chang reinvented traditional Asian dishes and brought them into the spotlight again. He’s helped mainstream pork buns and ramen  and thanks to him, people think of ramen as being more than just instant noodles.