Posts tagged ‘beer’

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.

July 8th, 2011

Buffalo wings!

Hooters has the best wings”, I remember somebody saying when I first came to America.  So off I went to prove that theory.  I only had two concerns:  First, what is Hooters?  And second, What are wings?  I found Hooters and entered.  I have to say, it was a bit embarrassing sitting there by myself, especially, being female, but it was worth it, as I enjoyed my first plate of spicy buffalo wings.  While I probably won’t be going back for more of the Hooters experience, I did appreciate my introduction to this tangy, hot delicious mess.

Buffalo wings are an anomaly for my husband and me.  Finally, there’s an American comfort food that I love, that he has absolutely no enthusiasm for.  It’s as if he found a variety of Japanese fish that he loves but I avoid.  (which will never happen).  Why does he reply with, “Meh,” any time I bring up the idea of wings?  His reason–too messy!  The same criticism keeps us away from BBQ ribs as well.

So today was historic, as we ate hot wings together for the first time.  (He ate one, I ate the rest.)  The location for this fond memory– The Blue Dog Tavern in Sherman Oaks, CA, a hip beer pub with tasty versions of American bar food classics and an outdoor patio.  The perfect spot for a beautiful, breezy summer evening.  The beer was cold and my wings were hot, and if you can believe it, much better than Hooters’.

Americans aren’t the only ones who enjoy chicken wings–especially while drinking.  In Japan, wings are usually marinated in a soy sauce base then fried or broiled over the grill, yakitori style with salt and pepper.  My mother used to make fried wings for my little bento box when I was a kid.  Had my husband grown up in Japan, he would probably have appreciated wings more, as Japanese mothers have solved the ‘mess’ issue.  They either lollipop the wings, or cover the edges with foil, so kids’ oily fingers won’t ruin the furniture.  Korean wings are gaining popularity these days, but they are bit too sweet for my taste.  When it comes to wings, America is number one.  I love that mess.

We all know Buffalo wings don’t come from buffaloes thanks to Jessica Simpson, therefore, there must be a Buffalo, NY connection–and there is.  If you happen to be visiting Buffalo on July 28th, think of me as you enjoy Chicken Wing Day.  There will also be a wing eating contest in September reminiscent of the 4th of July hot dog eating contests around the country.  I guess you know a food has earned a place in America’s hearts when there’s an eating contest centered around it.

Want the buffalo wing taste but have no chicken?   Try this trick: a drop or two of Tabasco (not Tapatio, not Cholula, not Sriracha–it has to be Tabasco!) on a curly fry.  It’s not fancy nor scientific, but it does the trick.