Monday, March 23, 2015

Smoking Goat

7 Denmark Street

So the food experts of London have been raving about Smoking Goat, talking about the ridiculous queues and the incredible platters of grilled meat. P and I perked up our ears and made plans to visit on a Monday night - we went early, around 6pm, and it was a bit rainy, and there were plenty of tables. I don't think the place was ever full during the entire 2.5 hours we were there, so maybe the craziness has died down. We ordered a couple of beers and the fish sauce chicken wings, which were so delicious that we got a second order of them. The coal roasted aubergine dish was really smoky and lovely as well - I think I am growing fonder and fonder of aubergine. Then we decided on the lamb ribs, which came with sticky rice and a green papaya salad. I liked it all, but the chicken wings were my favorite. I'd love to go back with more people and really get into the duck and pork belly options as well - even though P and I are greedy we just couldn't fit in any more food.

Monday, March 16, 2015


4200 North Lamar Boulevard
Austin, TX 78756

So this year, in a rare aligning of all the planets, my mom, dad, brother and I were all back in Austin at the same time, without any other people staying with us. It was like a reunion of family life back in 1998! J and I wanted to take the parents out for dinner for all the birthdays and other random things we have missed, and I made a reservation at Uchiko since I had eaten at Uchi a long time ago and still have fond memories of that meal. Sadly I did not take into the account how uncomfortable my parents would be with the price of the dishes. It was only tempered by the fact that our 6 pm reservation allowed us to ask for the happy hour menu, which our waiter was kind enough to arrange even though apparently it is usually restricted to the bar area. Anyway - the happy hour menu is full of reasonably priced things, so we ordered a bit off of that, but since it was a celebration dinner we still wanted to let my parents have anything else they wanted. My dad spotted mackerel, which he loves, but he did not clock that ordering it as sashimi would mean it was raw. And everyone at the table except for me DOES NOT like raw mackerel. On top of that, 7 tiny slices were $20. I know fish can be expensive, but mackerel is one of the cheapest fish to buy, so that was hard to reconcile. There were some dishes that were standouts (in particular a salmon and kale dish) but also a few that were just ok but nothing special. In the end, while the parents appreciated the gesture, I think they would have been happier at a more mid-priced restaurant, so let's try again next year.

Monday, March 09, 2015

Num Pang

140 E. 41st Street
(Btw. Lexington & 3rd Ave)
New York, NY

I knew I was going to get hungry at some point during my travels from NYC to Austin so before I went to the airport I picked up a sandwich for later. I was staying at my friend V's apartment (thanks V!) and this Cambodian sandwich shop (Num Pang) was nearby and came highly recommended. The woman at the counter was very friendly and when I asked her which sandwich would travel best, she recommended the coconut shrimp sandwich. It was probably four hours later that I actually ate it, and it was pretty damn delicious - but like with most things I think it might have been even better if I had it fresh when it had just been lightly toasted and handed over to me. Still, the flavors were great and it felt relatively healthy due to the amount of veggies in it - it's certainly on the expensive end of takeaway sandwiches but let's just call it a treat.

Monday, March 02, 2015


350 West 50th Street
New York, NY 10019

So one of the consequences of there being very few nonstop flights back to Austin is that I can usually have a stopover on the east coast without paying much extra. I take advantage of this on my way home for the holidays, so three days in NYC were quickly booked in to see some of my favorite people in the world. Y&A live in New Jersey now but still work in NYC, so we managed to schedule a Friday night dinner just a few hours after my plane landed, and my friend O was able to join as well. This is where my story takes a dark and unexpected turn. I got sick on the plane. Really sick. I'm not going to get into graphic descriptions, but let's just say I was not able to eat dinner, really. Which was a shame as Y&A had picked a Korean restaurant (Bann) because I had told them I was craving Korean. Above, you see the delicious tofu stew I ordered. I took two bites. They were delicious, and I was so sad that I wasn't feeling like scarfing the entire bowl, plus the amazing looking seafood pancake that Y&A ordered, plus the banchan on the table. Thankfully, I was in the US, where you can have anything packaged up neatly to take home, and I did manage to eat it a couple of days later when I had recovered a bit, and it was good, but I bet it would have been better if I had gotten to eat it when I ordered it.