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Posts from the ‘Korean’ Category

Shovel Time: Mingles

threeshovel So, I didn’t end up eating any traditional food in Seoul but that’s not to say I avoided Korean cuisine altogether. I just went a little fancy with it. Mingles, though, is the funniest name for a restaurant freshly Michelin starred, South Korea’s first inclusion in the guide. It screams swinging singles a la Regal Beagle, and also makes me think of Mumbles, a fern bar-ish restaurant that was in Gramercy up until a year ago. Put those thoughts out of your head, though.

mingles interior

I didn’t have any urge to try a tasting menu type restaurant in Tokyo, but somehow it made sense in Seoul because it’s so modern and glitzy and status-y. I did a prix-fixe lunch, a pretty good value at 58,000 won ($50) even with multiple supplements. I went wild and added the 50,000 won beverage pairing because it was Thanksgiving and as the lone American I felt it necessary.

mingles menu

 

What follows isn’t going to be insightful at all. The menu descriptions are minimal and my server verbally explained things to me like “baby pine tree sprouts,” so I had no idea what the original Korean words are for a lot of the ingredients. Sometimes I asked, but my notes are not helpful as I typed what I thought I heard i.e. “choeksak” which turned up zero hits on Google.

mingles amuses

Amuses: omija kombucha, smoked eel, and fish cake with a mustard sauce. A lot of appreciation depends on your familiarity with Korean ingredients. Omija is “five-flavor berry” and commonly used in a tea. The corn and egg curd also contained cauliflower in the custard and chorizo hidden at the bottom of the shell.

mingles fish

The fish dish of the day was eel with sansho vinegar jelly. At least I did know that sansho is a Sichuan peppercorn relative.

mingles salad

Foie gras salad, described as autumn fruits and vegetables, herbs with a foie gras torchon and lobster. I do not know any of the fruits, vegetables, or herbs. I want to say there was a slight cherry flavor.

mingles duck

I chose the dry-aged duck as my main course because it was the only poultry, hence closest to turkey (which is always meh anyway). It was not totally un-Thanksgiving-like with a little dish of chestnut cream. Also, garlic leaves and that something that I noted as “choeksak.”

mingles tart

The autumn dessert was a fermented pineapple tart with “doen jang” chestnut, which I think is a fermented bean paste using chestnuts, and “makgeolli” ice cream. I’m not sure if the quotes around makgeolli meant that it was flavored with rice wine or something to mimic the effect.

mingles tea

There were a choice of teas (I guess technically tissanes) and I picked Jerusalem artichoke tea. Mignardises were chestnut choux and grape jello. It was a good thing that I love chestnuts.

mingles drinks

A sochu made with “baby pine tree sprouts.” Thankfully, it was not piney at all, more bready and yeasty. Also, a 2004 Australian Chardonnay and 2014 Chinon.

IMG_0766

Ok, if I ever return to South Korea I swear I’ll eat bibimbap (I did get that on Korean Air) and bbq and my favorite Korean thing ever, ddukboki.

Mingles * 94-9 Nonhyeon-dong, Gangnam-gu, Seoul, South Korea

 

Eaten, Barely Blogged: 48 Hours in Seoul

gontran cherrier duoGontran Cherrier This lovely matcha almond croissant prompted a Facebook friend to comment “Aren’t there any local delicacies you could eat?” Uh, no. Well, French pastry is practically Korean. Hello, Paris Baguette? I didn’t set out to eat absolutely no traditional Korean food (though I intentionally stayed in Itaewon, which has a lot of American and international influence) but traditional Korean food is extremely unfriendly to solo diners. The restaurant culture is super communal, social, and family-style, barring fast food and street food. I’d read stories of people being turned away at bbq joints even if they promised to order portions fit for two. Tokyo, was totally the opposite, thankfully.

pancake house

I almost went to the Original Pancake House instead of Gontran Cherrier, just because it felt like my duty as a native Oregonian. Yes, the original Original Pancake House is headquartered in Portland.

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Shovel Time: Han Oak

threeshovelEach time I visited Portland in 2016–more times than I’ve visited in 18.5 years combined–I reluctantly enjoyed a different New Portland restaurant. Langbaan in January, Mae in September, and Han Oak last month. All take foreign or regional cuisine and elevate it but not so much that a person accustomed to eating Thai or Southern or Korean food wouldn’t recognize it.

hanoak spread

Han Oak is the biggest bargain of the bunch. Just $35 (though Mae with a suggested donation of $65 and byob is close) for a shitload of food. It didn’t help that I had came straight from my family’s Christmas celebration (on the 23rd because they are monsters) where I ate ham and bacon-laced baked goods, and like 3 slices of assorted cakes.

hanoak cocktail

But I have to start with the cocktail, a Korean Goodbye (whiskey, Campari, vermouth, kimchi, smoked agave foam). I do not think this was a good cocktail. It was an interesting cocktail. Basically,  alcoholic kimchi juice topped with sweetened foam, and I think furikake. It tasted like when you start to throw up in your mouth but swallow it down. I might stick to beer.

hanoak banchan

All the banchan. This night we were served a mix of kimchi cabbage hearts and daikon, roasted brussels sprouts with miso,  squash with togarashi and fried garlic, and in the front an amazing sweet and sour potato, all caramelized, crisped edges and sesame. 

hanoak soup

Kalgooksu. This soup! It was so good. Little squiggly hand-cut noodles (they were being made in front of our eyes) and a very deep chicken stock. You could eat this broth all day.

hanoak ddukboki

I had to order ddukboki because I love the texture of rice cakes and I felt guilty for not seeking any out in my short time in Seoul. This was not the expected red, gochujang, fishy version. This version was a little swampy, green from padron peppers, and laced with bulgogi. 

hanoak meat

The ssam course comes with pork belly, pickled daikon, and rice noodles sheets as well as very rare smoked hanger steak, a slaw and ssam-jang dipping sauce. Oh, and chewy purple rice. It wasn’t until I took a bite of the beef that I realized the campfire smell that permeated the entire dining room (essentially, a garage) was the meat being smoked, an unexpected touch.

hanoak counter

I hate fruit as dessert! Not nature’s candy. I almost lost my shit on Korean Air when I was served half and orange and a giant wedge of cantaloupe and watermelon as dessert. On my return flight I was asked “If I wanted my fruits.” and I was all fuck, no, and the flight attendant looked at me with disbelief, “Are you sure?” Oh yes.

hanoak fruit

So, Han Oak serves fruit as dessert. I mean, the nicest apple and pear are just lost on me (kiyokawa family orchards, if you care to know) and they had run out of pear as we were the last diners (reservations at 9pm on Friday–Portland is not a late dining town). But I appreciated the server’s honesty. “You don’t have to eat all of them,” acknowledging the hefty amount of food we were just served, more than fruit being a sorry excuse for a dessert. The rosy-fleshed slices of apple were very pretty though.

Han Oak * 511 NE 24th, Portland, OR

 

Picnic Garden

H Mart—at least the brand new one in Edison, New Jersey that anchors a sprouted-up strip mall—is the grocery store of my dreams. I would swap it for Fairway without a second thought. We have one of these Korean supermarkets in Flushing, but as with so much of New York City, businesses become larger, cleaner, brighter, better stocked and more amenable the farther you get from the city’s center, like a pond ripple showing suburbia’s finest at the outer rings.

I’ve never seen a supermarket with so many free samples (and we’d just come from Costco—I don’t know where they’ve gotten the reputation for being sample-centric—in my experience if you see one lady handing out apple pieces, it’s a good day), an entire entourage of tables along the perimeter of the produce section offered tastes of miso soup, roasted sweet potatoes and more.

Upon entering, to your left you’ll see a food court with a vendor, Kono, not Kyedong, selling fried chicken, pork belly and blood sausage, and at the edge is a small platform featuring a lone microphone that apparently can be commandeered by anyone shopping or eating to sing pop songs and ballads. On the right is a tray-and-tongs bakery, Tous Les Jours, that was fairly decimated around 6pm. What most caught my eye when walking in the door was the sign reading no photography (as well as the two teens with Jesus signs strumming guitars and singing on the sidewalk). It only implied what I was feeling, that this was no mere grocery store but an attraction that had already drawn enough snap-happy to the annoy of the management.

So, no photos of the take-out by the pound tables including marinated meats destined for the grill, refrigerated walls of kimchi, pickles and preserves, the pristine fish section with everything clearly marked and ordering instructions. And now I know where to buy a variety of fish heads, a problem I encountered when trying to reproduce Singaporean fish head curry. Most shocking, considering the store is primarily Korean with a few nods the rest of Asia, was seeing fresh galangal. I’ve always relied on a mushy knob I keep in the freezer and slice off as needed for Thai curry pastes.

Picnic grill exterior

H Mart is flanked by two restaurants, a tofu house and Picnic Garden, an all-you-can-grill Korean bbq joint that also has a branch in Flushing. The interior is larger than it appears from the outside with three separate seating areas—each table with an individual grill, of course—and a central buffet that houses rice, a few side dishes and a selection of marinated meats to be taken back to your seat.

Picnic garden first round

I was initially confused by the process—it’s not leisurely or solitary. If you come back to your table with a small plate of food intended to feed just yourself, to cook on your own, you would be wrong. As soon as a head-setted staffer sees meat at your table, they come by, toss it on the grill and begin snipping it into bite-sized pieces. They might come back in a few minutes and turn everything over.

Picnic garden plate of meat

Third round

I finally got into the groove. You’re supposed to bring back a big plate teaming with meat for the entire table (in my case, just two of us) it all cooks up at once and then you dip in chile paste, wrap with lettuce and eat. Another round means a swapped out grill and you start the process again (I would hate to be the grill-scrubber at the end of the night—on the way to the bathroom I saw an enormous wheeled plastic tub filled with the dirty once-used metal grates).

Picnic garden grill
The selection is more than sufficient but not huge. For non-grillable items there were kimbap, octopus legs, noodles, tempura vegetables, fried chicken, ribs, whole grilled fish, romaine chunks with chile-flecked dressing and a few more things that I’m forgetting. For meats they had shrimp, pork belly, pork ribs, kalbi, bulgogi beef, chicken, sausages—no organ meats or soondae. Dessert is a plate of oranges.

Picnic grill buffet

Picnic grill interior

It’s fun, you do get your $27 worth (the dinner price on weekends–$15 during the week sounds like a bargain). I only wish they had beer instead of barley tea. Maybe alcohol would just induce lingering?

Picnic Garden * 1763 Route 27, Edison, NJ

Bon Chon Chicken John St.

If you told me we were going to have two banh mi options when I first starting working way downtown, I might not have believed you. And Korean fried chicken? Not at all. I’m happy for the new Bon Chon, though it's still not clear who the target audience is for this location. There is a counter to order takeout in the back, a row of maybe five tables for four along one wall and a bar opposite them.

It is still more inviting than the strip mall Staten Island Bon Chon, which despite a few stools near the window, is very much a takeout operation. If you were an office worker looking for fried chicken takeout lunch you might be weirded out by the prominent bar (unless you're ok with drinking during the day–I've been tempted many an afternoon). If you wanted the dark, clubbier atmosphere from the Koreatown original, the bright lights and small space would put you off. On a Friday around 6:30pm, the clientele was maybe 65% Asian and mostly young, mixed with a few curiosity-seekers like myself, checking out the new digs before heading home. Residents of nearby dorms also seem like an obvious customer.

Bonchon mixed chicken

No arguments with the chicken. The skin is shiny and shellacked to perfection as ever, the air pocket between the crust and the dark meat revealed after the initial bite. We ordered both hot and garlic soy because I couldn't remember which I liked better. The hot, as it turned out, which isn’t all that fiery.

Bonchon radish & kimchi coleslaw

Kimchi coleslaw was chosen as our side (fries or a roll seemed odd) and came served in a little square dish along with the standard pickled radish. Fresh cabbage shreds, fermented cabbage hunks and a sparing amount of mayonnaise to hold the two together, wasn't exactly cooling but complemented the chicken.

Bonchon calimari

More fried food wasn't wise and breaded calamari rings are in no way special like the chicken. Like the chicken, though, they aren't wildly greasy.  I just didn't want a salad or dumplings and had already tried the pancake before.

Bonchon black & tan

I've not had good past experiences with sake cocktails and love the novelty of pitchers, so yes to beer and no to Asian pear soju. This Guinness/Blue Moon blend was like a giant black and tan—is that normal?

Bon Chon Chicken * 104 John St., New York, NY

Woorijip

I was going to say that Woorijip is the Yip’s of Koreatown (yet actually good) but really Woorijip is more like the Café Zaiya of Koreatown. Only Yip’s can be Yip’s.

Woorijip exterior

Woorijip is geared towards Koreans and neighborhood office workers just happen to enjoy their grab and go lunch options where I’ve never seen a Chinese person ever perusing the steam table at Yip’s. Being my first visit, I was a little overwhelmed with choices and didn’t fully absorb all that was to be had. With refrigerated cases, warm cases, the self-serve buffet, dessert racks and supposedly an occasional noodle bar, this is the type of eatery that requires strategizing and more than one visit to develop a sense of what’s worth your time.

At the late-ish side of lunch, close to 2pm, the scene was less chaotic than anticipated. I got behind what appeared to be the Latino kitchen crew in line at the buffet. They were seriously loading up, mostly on meaty things and rice. Many of the trays were approaching empty, but I was at least able to survey based on signage what may be available on a typical day (not that it matters on a practical level since I’m in the vicinity during lunchtime like never).

Woorijip buffet togo

Partially out of thriftiness and mostly out of caloric caution, I hit these buffets with the notion of supplementing granola bars, yogurt, fruit, nuts, soup, whatever I’ve brought from home to work. If all I ate were the above, I would be depressed and starving. Small, inexpensive quantities of random Asian food cheers me up.

I rarely go over $3.50 at Yip’s but they’re only $3.49 per pound after 1:45pm. Woorijip is somewhere around $6.50 per pound so I kept that in mind. I still managed to only spend $4.09 on some cellophane noodles, bean curd slab, stir-fried pork, fried squid and seafood pancake that all got smooshed around in the styrofoam container. It's not pretty to look at.

Woorijip radish kimchi

I also picked up a $3 plastic tub of radish kimchi, which totally smelled up the subway. I didn’t realize I was the stinky culprit until I got to my desk at work and noticed the odor was following me and didn’t stay behind in the subway system. The kimchi I’ll eat throughout the week with other stuff.

I would trade Yip’s for Woorijip in a millisecond. I love greasy Americanized Chinese food on occasion, but the spicier, cleaner flavors of Korean would be more welcome on a regular basis. Though in a totally different vein, I am excited to hear that Bon Chon is coming down to the Financial District.

Woorijip * 12 W. 32 St., New York, NY

Kimchi Hana & Bon Chon Chicken Staten Island

Coordinating out-of-the-city errands isn’t always easy. I wanted drivable Korean fried chicken but that would involve Queens or Northern New Jersey and neither of those were places where I wanted to shop (Union and Middlesex counties).

Then I remembered Bon Chon Staten Island, which would be en route to my desired part of the Garden State. Initially, I didn’t believe there was such a branch, but more than once I found those keywords misguidedly bringing searchers to this site so I had to investigate. Yes, there’s Korean fried chicken in Staten Island. Weird. For all its bravado, Brooklyn certainly lacks in the Asian food arena, multiple Chinatowns or not.

But I wanted sit-down rather than takeout, which was the impression I’d gotten about S.I., so fried chicken was nixed and general Korean was substituted into the schedule. I’ll admit that I’m kind of a Korean food idiot having never ventured past the obvious like bbq and bibimbap. I do like spicy and pickled so there’s no reason why I should avoid it, it’s just never around.

Based on some internet randomness, I settled on Kimchi Hana in South Plainfield’s Middlesex Mall.  Now, Middlesex Mall is only a mall in that there’s a row of storefronts; some are empty, others occupied by the likes of Dollar Tree, Radio Shack (which saved my life with in-stock earphone pads. Do you know how difficult it is to find replacement pads for earbuds in stores? I ended up ordering from Amazon and incorrectly buying the wrong size, which were the circumference of an oatmeal cookie) and a more busted looking Macy’s than the one on Fulton Mall, which also isn’t a real mall. I knew what I was in for after reading a local resident’s lament.

What didn’t occur to me was to make a reservation. I clearly don’t have the suburban know-how down because I don’t equate strip mall restaurants with advance planning. And it was busy at an early-ish 7pm, but not insanely so. No one was waiting in the lobby when we showed up. We weren’t asked if we had reservations, though, just whether or not we wanted a bbq table. It seemed like getting a grill would be a problem, plus I trying to expand my culinary horizons, so we went the easiest route and agreed to any table available, which ended up being a standard four-seater in the back half of the smoky room.

This was fine for about ten minutes while we tried to interpret some language on the menu. There was a section of grilled meats but it said you could only order those at bbq tables (though later we noticed cast iron plates of kalbi and the like on grill-free tables. Perhaps they meant you just couldn’t cook it yourself?). While pondering, a woman who seemed to be the boss, came over and told us that we needed to move because someone had reserved this table.

Here we go…the Saturday night nuisance again (and I don’t need anonymous assholes telling me to stay home, thanks, everyone’s entitled to a reasonable dining experience). I don’t mind sitting at a two-top but I could already foresee a problem with fitting dishes into the abbreviated space. The banchan alone (which I do love about Korean cuisine) would take up a majority of the open area.

 

There were seven dishes, a spinach-like vegetable was off to the left. Those pictured included kimchi, baby bok choy, bean curd, octopus, radish and seaweed.

And sure enough, after ordering two appetizers and two entrees we were admonished, “That’s a lot of food.” No, not really. We were ordering a reasonably sized meal and it was now up to them to figure out how they were going to fit all of the dishes.

Sashimi came first, and the raised wooden board wasn’t too much of a hindrance. These were some hefty slabs of fish and considerably fresher than the disconcertingly room temperature slices I’d been served the previous day at Gold St. in the Financial District.

 

The girthy pajun arrived soon after. Pan-fried cakes can get a little doughy, though this seafood-stuffed one maintained a fair amount of crispiness. I will admit that these greasy treats are probably better divvied up between more than two diners, especially since it doesn’t lend itself to leftovers.

 

The seafood hot pot was a bit problematic to eat because of broth’s high temperature (the photo is steamy) and the weight of the vessel. Normally, I would ask for two small bowls as other tables seemed to have but there was nowhere to put them. So, I had to carefully rearrange the other dishes and scoot the little cauldron near me, trying not to splash, eat a few bites, then maneuver it back towards James so he could have some.

The soup was black pepper and chile flake hot, the type that doesn’t hit until you swallow and get the urge to cough. A little of everything was included: shell-on crab chunk, clams, tiny shrimp, hefty tofu squares, wedges of fish and decorative pink-rimmed fish cake slice. It seemed right for a spring day that had turned chilly and wet.

 

Chicken was a misstep. I still had fried chicken on the brain so those two words jumped out at me from the kan poong gi description, but as you can see it was essentially sweet and sour chicken. There was a hint of heat and a scattering of bizarrely firm peas and carrots. It wasn’t horrific by any means but wasn’t what I was craving.

The danger of not eating what you wanted is that you (ok, I) will just end up double dinnering to make up for that empty feeling (in your soul, not your stomach, duh). But really, would two measly midnight snack wings harm anyone?

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Momofuku Ssam Bar

Momofuku Ssam is like Fatty Crab to me: a restaurant I’ve always been reluctant to visit even though I know I would love the food, so I wait a million years, then end up going for lunch which isn’t even their raison d’etre. This is probably more egregious at Momofuku since the day and night menus are well…like…you know.

Momofuku_ssam_lunch_boxIt’s kind of annoying that up until 2004, James spent nearly a decade living a block from where Ssam Bar (and that damn mob scene Trader Joe’s) now exist. If I only had to meander from Third Avenue to Second, it wouldn’t have taken me over a year to stop by. But the neighborhood is ick. Why live on a makeshift NYC campus when you can move to Brooklyn and experience all the same obnoxious kids ten years later after they’ve bought condos and procreated?

But yes, the food: my pork belly buns were fairly amazing, and I absolutely dig the pickle mania that has swept foodie-dom even if I hate the word foodie. The buns and ssams were as I’d expected, but I hadn’t anticipated the sides.

Momofuku_ssam_pork_bunsI loved my fried cauliflower dressed (heavily) with olive oil, fish sauce, chiles and mint. I might try reproducing this for Thanksgiving. It’s one of those dishes where people who think they hate fish sauce wouldn’t necessarily realize that’s what they were eating unless someone told them. The kimchi’d apples and bacon mix I sampled were also a mishmash that worked.

Sure, I’d like to try the country ham, banh mi or wrangle enough people together for the pork butt, but there’s no telling when that will actually happen. It’s much more likely that I’ll eschew my typical wait and see approach and try upcoming Momofuku Ko first.

Momofuku Ssam Bar * 207 Second Ave., New York, NY

Bon Chon Chicken

1/2 Bon Chon is now Mad For Chicken. Doesn't quite have the same ring, does it? (5/15/09)

I have no idea how the Korean fried chicken craze of 2007 originated, but the New York Times article blew the genre wide open (I’ve really been liking some of the Times’s recent articles, sometimes I’m just bored. Last Wednesday’s suburban Latin supermarkets one was great. Huge, organized, well-stocked “ethnic” supermarkets are my raison d’etre and they’re too few and far between in the city. The article even made a point about having wider aisles for larger families [in number, not weight, natch] which ain’t happening here. Even the trying-to-be-mega Red Hook Fairway is cramped and illogical.)

Bon Chon is the type of place, along with Yakitori Totto, that I have every intention of visiting but never make it to because midtown is barely on my radar anymore and I need a catalyst. This time it was a friend’s birthday dinner, the venue chosen at the suggestion of her sister who’d become enamored with the chicken while working nearby.

Bon_chon_chickenThe peripherals don’t necessarily enhance the dining experience. The décor is industrial, blood bath chic, kind of like a cleaner more stylish version of the room from Saw. Music ranged from late ’80s Depeche Mode to a dance version of Dirty Dancing’s "Time of My Life. "

And well, the food itself takes more than its sweet time making its way to the table constructed from wood, glass and rusty gears. Flagging down a server was also tough. But that didn’t stop anyone from retrieving numerous pitchers of Killian Red (the only beer served in that rare less-than-urbane format) straight from the bar. The possible downside of that was that by the time the food started arriving, I was too tipsy to critically evaluate the poultry pieces.

More_bon_chon_chickenClearly, the chicken is cooked to order. But 30+ minutes seems a bit excessive. When we asked about breasts and whole drumsticks, our waiter looked at us like we were crazy, declaring “too busy.” That was fine. The extra skin to meat ratio on wings and drumettes is superior. The sensation is skin-centric with a papery crispness, more crackle than crunch. I enjoy thickly battered Southern-style fried chicken greatly, but this is a different beast.

Between a mix of hot wings and soy-garlic, the latter flavor was more popular. I’d agree by a margin, despite usually preferring spice over sweetness. The soy was just more welcoming where the hot required a pause between wings. I lost count, though I easily ate six. We ordered three $19.95 larges to split amongst seven eaters at our waiter’s suggestion and that was right on. Only two stray pieces were left on the plate, and even they were eventually devoured.

Bon_chon_rosemary_fries_2Accompaniments include a small bowl of cubed, pickled daikon and a heap of shredded lettuce with a thousand island type dressing. Sushi rolls, ramen and something for $12.95 called iced peach are also on the menu. The lone vegetarian in our party had to make a meal of edamame and rosemary wedge fries. We were accidentally given an extra order of these potatoes, for no reason.

Bon Chon isn’t cheap when you think about it, and definitely not fast food, but somehow that’s all clouded once you ascend to the nearly hidden second floor. There’s something about restaurants with no signs on the façade or ground level presence that change the rules. My sights have now been set on the Flushing location, Fort Lee’s Boom Boom and Jackson Heights’s Unidentified Flying Chicken.

Bon_chon_empty

Bon_chon_full

Bon Chon Chicken * 314 Fifth Ave. second Fl., New York, NY

Snacky

1/2 I hadn’t planned on going out the eve before Christmas Eve but somehow ended up meeting a couple of friends in Williamsburg (like it or not, whenever I’m home alone during holidays I seem to end up in Williamsburg) for drinks. I was hoping that no one brought gifts because I’ve been bad since the early ‘00s and have bowed out of exchanges. But I was bestowed with a handmade stocking filled with a bottle of Poochi-Poochi, anyway. Appropriate for a sake bar. I ultimately ended up breezing through two medium servings of a sake whose poetic name I can’t even recall.

Octopusballs It’s kind of hard to not order at least one plate when a place is called Snacky. The menu is larger and wider ranging than what you’ll find from searching online. It might be over-ambitious for the tiny kitchen but we didn’t experience any mishaps. There was no way I could pass up the cheese wontons, a.k.a. crab rangoon, a particular obsession of mine. I will try this silly east-west masterpiece on any menu where I find it. I also tried the takoyaki, because why not? I kind of liked the mushy texture with octopussy bits hidden inside, but the raw ginger strips were a little too zingy for me. The mini Popsie burgers looked appealing and I’m intrigued rather than scared by the pizza with Chinese sausage. Dairy can definitely work with Asian food. Just think of those mayora going nuts…ok, mayonnaise isn't dairy, is it?

DumplingsDeann got two orders of two different types of dumpling, which I thought was odd considering the numerous choices on the menu, but whatever. Everyone’s entitled their own eating ideas and I try not to impose my food beliefs on others (though I did have to pipe up with a resounding “no way” when she espoused the charms of nearby My Moon).

I noticed a friend of a friend at the bar and being full of the holiday spirit (as well as spirits of another nature) I said hi because he’s a food/music person with taste I generally agree with. I swear I’m not persnickety but I don’t always see eye to eye with others. Plus, I called him a foodie or some such horror earlier this year in a post about Belle and Sebastian of all things, and I can’t be known as a meanie even though I am 70% the time. CheesewontonsI’m just wary of food-obsessed folks because they’re usually annoying and/or humorless. I’m not naming names but it’s fair to say I find few food blogs entertaining (this isn’t a food blog, so there).

I don’t know why I’ve never been to Snacky before. Ok, I know why, because I rarely eat in Williamsburg (I just looked it up and my last meal in the nabe, yeah nabe, was at bizarro Lazy Catfish way back in April. They did have crab rangoon, I must add) but it’s as cute and breezy as its name implies.

Snacky * 187 Grand St., Brooklyn, NY