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Asian Girl in the City: Mexican, Chinese, French, Brooklyn

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For all of you who read the title and thought: "Men?"
Sadly, I have misled you.

This week, I want to tell you about some fabulous food happenings in New York City. It was cold so I was lazy this week and didn't really go to any theater or concerts. But I ate out around the city, because nothing warms you up like a hot meal and a bottle of red. Read the Times all you want... but sometimes, they take forever to get around to the restaurants. This is the raw (but the food is cooked) version.

So, here is what I did this past week in the city and my recommendations for what you should do... if you can get in.

Excuse my crappy pictures. Despite my Asian heritage, I don't bring those giant cameras with me to eat.

Mexican:

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Dear New Yorkers, I'm sure you've heard of the infamous Danny Bowien who owns Mission Chinese. I first came across his cooking at Mission Chinese in SF. It was kind of mind-blowing and mouth-numbing due to his crazy use of chinese spices that make you want to cry and rejoice in the same breath.

He's won a lot of recognition (Food and Wine, People Mag, James Beard), and has managed to look like a dirty, bleached-hair, Asian hipster the whole way through. So when I heard he was opening a new Mexican restaurant in LES, called Mission Cantina, I was intrigued. My best friend and I made (read: weaseled) our way into the friends and family opening thanks to the general manager.

Here's what to eat: Get the tacos. All of them. Although, having lived in California, the al pastor wasn't what I was expecting. It was gussied up and less meat-centered. But Bowien managed to add all sorts of complexity using ingredients not often found in tacos, like pineapple and peanuts.

I was also a huge fan of the Hokkaido scallop and beef heart ceviche. Although, once my friend pointed out that the beef heart really made you feel like you were eating flesh, it made me stop for a second. Still, I like that gamey, crunchy, chewy, bloody thing. This one is not for the weak of heart (#dadjoke).

Chinese:
Right down the block-ish from Mission Cantina is another new restaurant from a couple familiar names. Wilson Tang (Nom Wah Tea Parlor) and Jonathan Wu (Per Se) just opened up Fung Tu, which is kind of a bougie Chinese food spot. Nom Wah is awesome at dimsum, and Per Se is awesome at, well, you know... bougie. And a beautiful lovechild is born.

Here's what to eat: The raw bok choy with shrimp paste. It's going to come out and you are going to be like, "This is it?!" (insert dirty joke). But the paste is umami on steroids. It's fishy, salty, spicy, sweet, savory. And you dip the bok choy for a fabulous crunch.
Also, don't miss the soy bean sprouts with squid, salty pork and black vinegar over rice. There's something about salty stuff and veggies served over rice that reminds me of my childhood. Meeeemoriessss. Anyway, I have no idea if you will have the same reaction, but I liked it.

Oh and I don't have any photos of the food on this night because my phone shattered and died. R.I.P. phone.

French:
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I even put an instragram filter on this and its still a crappy photo.

This is one that I'm not POSITIVE you will get to experience. But his people tell my people that this experience will happen again. Ok, sorry for burying the lead.

I went to a macaron class with Francois Payard at his bakery on Houston. He taught us how to make ganache in the flavors of pistachio, mandarin orange, chocolate, caramel and vanilla. The recipes for these beyond delicious on his website here.

He also showed us how to load up a pastry bag, pipe on the ganache and compile. He was debuting his new make-it-at-home "makearon" kit at the bakery. So, for all of you who want to try it at home, knock yourselves out with the sugar rush.

Brooklyn:
Did you know that Brooklyn Fare Market opened in the city? Yea, you probably did. But did you know that the cheese guy at the cheese counter is freaking bananas? He is the big cheese.

I live a block away and have found this to be troubling because I am definitely going to end up eating more cheese than a Packers fan.

His name is Alfredo and he worked the Citarella cheese counter for 15 years. Go see him. He will let you taste everything before you buy it and also recommend cheeses depending on what you like. More often than not, he is spot on. Also as I said earlier, I live a block away, and sharing is caring.

That is all. Peace out, New Yorkers!