Archive for ‘Food Hall’

August 31st, 2011

High tech food court

You may remember me saying that the thought of eating at a food court makes me queasy, but the idea of a food court is still something I love. Why? The food court was the setting for almost every crappy American teen movie I saw when I was growing up in Japan, so it made sense that in my young mind, the food court was THE place to be. As an adult, the food court still has its appeal, but surely we can do better than Sbarro and Hot Dog on a Stick, can’t we?  Yes!  FoodParc in New York City is as close to a traditional food court as possible, save for a 21st century twist unrelated to food.  But first things first…how is the food?  It’s not overly gourmet (read: expensive) as Eataly or Food Hall, but that they offer non-chain fast food makes all the difference.
FoodParc serves up the usual suspects: burgers, pizzas, Asian food, cup cakes, coffee and even beer.  So why is this better than what’s found at your local mall?  One word:  Quality.  How much would you pay for delicious food that doesn’t leave your fingers with that greasy, barbecue restaurant feeling?  Instead of a reheated corn dog, FoodParc lets you opt for a tasty treat like grilled salmon with rice noodles.  But surely every food court offers variety, right?  What sets this place apart?  Just look around (and don’t call me Shirley).

It’s the future…or is it?  That FoodParc was designed by a conceptual artist for Hollywood movies like Blade Runner, Aliens, and Mission: Impossible III, means it’s pretty likely that the phrase ‘out of this world’ will be overheard describing more than just the food.  For a Japanese girl who grew up dreaming in Hollywood, eating at FoodParc felt as if I had just arrived on set.  But don’t take my word for it.  Watch for yourself, as even the most jaded New Yorker is taken aback at the scenery.
In the future, will we have to suffer through long waits on line for food?  Not if FoodParc has anything to say about it.  In the digital age, ordering from a cashier is just so passe. At FoodParc, orders are placed via computer, and payments made by credit card.  When your order is ready, you’re notified by text message.  With food of this quality, I suggest upgrading to the unlimited plan, as you’ll probably become a regular.
The future may only be just around the corner, but FoodParc is a few blocks further.  But if you’re looking for a unique place to catch up with friends without putting up with those annoying teenagers hanging out at the mall’s food court, FoodParc is definitely worth a visit.

June 1st, 2011

Ramen

Americans have burgers and fries to soak up way too much alcohol that you shouldn’t have consumed.  Japanese have ramen noodles to do the same job.  My memory of ramen in Japan is always at grandparents’ house.  We ordered ramens for lunch.  Although it is ok to slurp noodles in Japan, and often encouraged, my grandfather told me that a “lady” shouldn’t make such a noise.  30+ years fast forward, my American Jewish husband thinks it’s not classy to slurp.

It seems like there’s a lot of slurping going on in big cities in America last few years.  When you can buy 3 for $1  Top Ramen at a local grocery store, these almost $20 ramen seems bit steep, yet all hipsters are lined up outside of Ippudo, Totto or Setagaya (coincidentally where I’m from) in NYC or Daikoku-ya and Santoka in Los Angeles.  There is even one in the Plaza Hotel.  The Plaza.  Ramen, you came long way from drunks craving to being in the most well known luxury Hotel in the world.  Whereas all above mentioned ramen shops are Japanese owned, and originally have stores in Japan, the one at the Plaza is run by the celebrity chef, Todd English.  The Plaza Food Hall  offers Pork Ramen which comes with pork belly, spinach, poached egg and noodle in very rich (read heavy & salty) soup.

I don’t trust western chef making Japanese food, no matter how famous they are.  Often times they are an “interpretation” of original, i.e. worse than Chinatown knockoffs.  But this was actually quite good.  I always want my ramen with an egg.  This came with slightly soft yolk poached egg.

That alone made me think this wasn’t a bad imitation at all.  My grandfather would have been very curious to see how American would slurp noodles, and probably very surprised to see it in a fancy hotel.