Fuku

163 1st AveNew York, NY 10003 • eatfuku.com

Normally I’m a pretty big David Chang fan, but Fuku is definitely missing the Momo mojo. The concept is fried chicken. In sandwiches, fingers and bites, with various builds in between. I went with the Spicy Fried Chicken Sandwich and despite the pickles and supposed habanero, it’s hopelessly bland. In fact, I emptied an entire ramekin of Saam Sauce (David’s answer to Sriracha) just to make it worth eating.

For those of you thinking, but Ferocious, it’s figgin’ chicken, how much flavor can you expect?! MUCH more. Just try the one at Son of a Gun and R+D Kitchen, both in LA. I realize neither are very convenient for a New Yorker, but if you’re ever out that way, my case rests in the City of Angels.

The bites are in the same bland boat, so let’s not waste your precious time reading about these balls of blandness either.

There is a silver lining on the TryCaviar menu however, should you choose to ignore my advice. The salad. Yes, salad. It’s a kale base, loaded with broccoli, shishito peppers and edemame peas. It’s the bomb.

And speaking of explosions, the Compost Cookie is always a strong go-to. Granted I feel like it’s not quite as good as the ones at Milk Bar. And even if it were, my advice to you, if you’re ordering on the aforementioned TryCaviar, get your cookies Dominique Ansel Bakery instead. You’ll thank me.

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The Ultimate Cookie

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City Bakery – New York, NY

Both the chocolate chip and the chocolate lava cookies are at the top of my list, and both from the same place. So that should tell you something. Something like, you should be putting on your shoes and heading out for these cookies.

Let’s start with the lava cookie, because it’s very simple to explain. You know those molten lava cakes you get for dessert in restaurants, where you break them open and then all of the gooey liquid chocolate oozes out? Well, this is that in cookie form. Nuff said. Oh, and it’s pulled off like a champ.

Then there’s the chocolate chip cookie. Now, considering there are SO many contenders in this bucket, and basically all of them are at minimum good (after all, they are cookies), I feel the need to clarify what puts these above the rest. First and foremost, they possess the single most vital cookie characteristic, they are moist. But not under-baked moist, where you still get a bit of that floury grain in every bite. No, that’s the cheap way at it. City Bakery takes the road less travelled making their cookies right-out-of-the-oven gooey. But here’s the thing, they are like this for hours after being out of the oven. I don’t know how they do it (other than a plethora of butter), but it tastes like the stuff dreams are made of. Hell, I don’t even dream of cookies this good. Well, now I do because I’ve had them. But until you do, you don’t. Trust me.

 

Sherry B – Chappaqua, NY

Now I know what you’re thinking. Really? Chappaqua? The Ultimate Chocolate Chip Cookie is from Chappaqua? Well, yes it is. Sharing the title with City Bakery and Dominique Ansel Bakery. It’s three inches of diameter deliciousness.  A clinic on balance and texture and decadence. Get one fresh baked and fuggetaboutit!

 

Dominique Ansel Bakery – New York, NY

It should come as no surprise that the inventor of the cronut also bakes a decent cookie. In fact, make that four decent cookies, the chocolate molten cookie, the salted white chocolate macadamia (my personal fav), the chocolate chip and the gingerbread cookie. All, baked warm and gooey to order if you ring those babies up on trycaviar.com. Yes, screw Seamless. TryCaviar has more game in its dot than Seamless has in its entire URL. And yes, that very well may be the first, and lamest, URL slam.

Santiago’s Bodega

 802 Virginia Dr. Orlando, FL 32803 • (407) 286-2903santiagosbodega.com

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While the location is a bit of a snore, as you enter you feel immediately transported by its thematic décor is nice. And while it is a touch on the Spanish theme-y side, at least it’s done well. And speaking of things done well, the food is no slouch, starting with the Port sangria, which much richer than its vino cousins, yet still refreshing.

Unfortunately that was quickly followed by the first miss. The pear and avocado salad was no bueno. The pears were unripe and hard. And the creamy dressing overpowered the other ingredients in the dish.

Fortunately, the hits would far outnumber the misses as the scallop special arrived. Perfectly cooked and prepared with a pear puree, then sprinkled with bacon, because why not? A bit rich, but a lot good.

Next came the Spanish plate and French plate and together I highly recommend them as a great way for two people to try a little of everything. The best of the batch was the Spanish plate’s spice rubbed pork with a raisin, mango chutney and the French plate’s tarragon chicken. France & Spain tied 1-1.

The spicy potatoes with capers and olives and peppers would be my next favorite. Obviously from the Spanish plate making it 1-2 in favor of Spain. Then after that I would go with the ceviche (1-3).

Rounding out the French plate was the asparagus with prosciutto and cheese- simple, yet delicious. And the only miss of the two plates came from the French, being the pastry. Sort of a mush of flavors wrapped in filo dough. Not terrible. Just nothing in it was discernable.

But Santiago ended very strong, bringing down a little NYC for dessert with a cronut on the menu. How could I resist? After all, I’m not about to wait 2 hours outside, Dominique Ansel Bakery. So, this seemed like the perfect opportunity to pop my cronut cherry. Or should I say berry as it was served with a compote of such (which was actually more like a drizzle if you ask me) and a phenomenal homemade bourbon whipped cream. And when that cream hit the berry drizzle with the sugary, dusted, warm, doughnuty center, my tongue did a flamenco in my mouth.

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