We started with a celeb chef sighting at the Union Square Greenmarket (which is an AMAZING place to spend your Saturday mornings perusing produce and sampling apples, cheeses and duck bacon) where renowned chef Alice Waters was signing her newest cookbook. I was a little bit star struck but Chris informed me he runs into the culinary 1% at the market all the time, like the previous week when he made a Mario "The Croc Guy" Batali in his signature holey shoes. (My pure, unadulterated hatred for crocs should be a blog post of its own) After we snapped a quick pic of Ms. Waters and had our fill of creamed honey samples we moseyed over to 4th Ave to the famed Ippudo restaurant.
You know when you have to wait 40 minutes for some hot broth and some noodles that it's bound to be good. Chris, mom and I killed time by sampling Brooklyn Brewery's brown ale and snapping selfies in front of the bowl covered wall in the bar. When the hostess walked us to our communal table right next to the kitchen she announced our arrival by shouting something in Japanese that I interpreted as "Welcome, it's time to get your noodles on." At this point Chris, ordered a cucumber roll and some pork buns to start, and both came out in seconds, accompanied by another Japanese introduction. Then cucumber was intricately scored and served raw with tempura, chili, sesame oil and a few other spices/flavorings and was so simple but so good. The pork buns had the softest steamed roll wrapped around braised pork belly and a crunchy piece of iceberg lettuce perfect for this application. I had Chris order me the basic creamy pork ramen, akamaru modern, with a nitamago (soft boiled egg) and it put to shame even my doctored up cup-o-noodles. The egg was the highlight of the dish, and must have been boiled in some sort of soy mixture because it was stained a lovely rusty color throughout the white. I was stuffed, but Chris and the attentive (if a little pushy) waitstaff were ready for us to move on so we headed just a few blocks down St Mark's street for another dish.
After being briefly distracted by the bong/sock retailers and tattoo parlors on St Marks (and a quick pit stop in a biker bar for a shot and a beer) we made it to Dumpling Man. When you walk in you immediately see three folks, who Chris assured me are there almost every day, rolling out hundreds and hundreds of all sorts of different dumplings. We opted out of the DoTD (dumpling of the day) and got chicken, vegetable and pork. They were f-ing amazing and you knew they were fresh because they were literally being made before your very eyes.
All in all it was a very productive foody sort of day and I couldn't wait to get home and blog about it. Seriously though, there is so much amazing food available in this city (The Union Square Greenmarket, Ippudo, Dumpling Man) and so much culinary talent (Alice Waters and Chris Arellanas) that I'll never be able to sample it all. And now that I've had a real bowl of ramen I don't think I can ever eat it out of a styrofoam cup again. R-Amen.