Jack’s Wife Freda

After a few failed attempts by all of us on separate occasions to try Jack’s Wife Freda, we finally managed to have dinner at their original location in Soho. I know that they’re famed for their brunches and lunches, but we were in the area and the wait was only around 30 minutes for dinner. We were seated in their corner booth and were given time to look over their menu, which also works as a placemat.

We opted for two appetizers to share: the Salt & Pepper Eggplant ($8.00) and Spiced Beet Dip ($9.00). The Salt & Pepper Eggplant was diced into cube-like shapes and then lightly fried. The cubes are paired with a delicious Tzatziki sauce that I actually used later to eat the fries. The Spiced Beet Dip was a nice surprise. I was a bit apprehensive about it since I’m not usually a fan of beets but it was pretty good. The dip was a bit sweet and was topped with one of my favorites – goat cheese. The Beet Dip was served with warm pitas, which I quite enjoyed.

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I had the Peri-Peri Chicken ($20.00) with a diced salad of cucumbers, onions and tomatoes. I quite liked the diced salad because it was sweet and vinegary at the same time – great for opening up the appetite! The chicken was very tender and juicy. The portion size was huge and had I not given pieces of it away to the other members of my party, I probably wouldn’t have finished!

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I also sampled their Bloody Mary Mussels with Fries ($18.00), which was really good. I was skeptical because I’m not a big fan of Bloody Mary’s as a cocktail but with mussels, it works. The broth was tomatoey and just a bit spicy, which didn’t overpower the mussels at all. The mussels themselves were super plump! There was so much more mouthfeel to each mussel than the smaller ones in other restaurants.

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We opted to skip dessert since we were all so full but I did have an iced latte. They serve Stumptown! This was a huge plus in my books because I absolutely love Stumptown coffee and love restaurants that serve it. Service was  attentive enough but I do think the space is too small. The tiny space meant a loud dining room so I don’t recommend Jack’s Wife Freda if you’re looking for an intimate date location. Come for the food but definitely plan an alternative if you want to sit and talk.

Smorgasburg 2014

It’s time for my annual trip to Smorgasburg! Every summer, the Boyfriend and I try to make it to Smorgasburg at least once to try out the new vendors. We always see some familiar stands – Red Hook Lobster Pound, Mimi & Coco, Blue Bottle Coffee Company, Dough, Brooklyn Soda Works, and Mighty Quinn’s. But every year, there are brand new stands that we’ve never seen before – and definitely want to try out.

We arrived around 11:00am, which is when they open, so we walked around to take a look at all the stands first. Our first stop was at the Ramen Burger stand. Despite trying it last summer when it first came out, we both wanted to get one this time. Because we were there just when the stand opened, we only waited about five minutes since we were 3rd in line. This time around, they have cheese option – I’m a cheese lover so I opted in. Each burger with cheese comes up to $10 each, which is a bit pricey but you’re paying for a delicious burger! I actually prefer having the cheese on it since it gives the burger a bit more flavor. I only wish the burger wasn’t so fully cooked!

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After we polished off our ramen burgers, we walked around a bit more to see all the options. We walked by Lonestar Empire just as they pulled out a beautiful piece of brisket. The smell and amazing appearance hooked us and we ordered their Slow-Smoked Texas style Brisket Sandwich ($9.00). You get your choice of moist, lean or a mixture of the two so we went for the moist. They have a few toppings you can add on to your taste but we decided to do it plain. The brisket was so soft and tender! It was very well flavored. We’re both not big brisket fans but this one definitely changed our minds!

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By now, we’re getting pretty hot so we stopped by People’s Pops for some Shave Ice ($2.50). They have two flavors and we opted for the Plum Orange Blossom flavor, which was both tart and sweet. The shave ice takes a long time to melt so it’s great for snacking on while you walk around the stands.

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At 12pm, the beer garden opens so we went straight in for some day drinking! I opted for the Rum Punch ($12.00). They use a good amount of rum in the cocktail so it’s at medium strength. It was just enough rum for me to taste it but not so much that it was like a punch in the face. It was nice and refreshing – I love summery-tropical drinks!

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We then headed over to Ca’pisci for some Calamari Salad ($8.00). They toss chunks of squid, tomatoes and homemade croutons together to made this calamari salad. It’s a better deal than their squid sticks, which are the same price. It’s light and refreshing and a must have if you’re a squid fan! The salad was a perfect for the hot weather because it’s chilled.

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My favorite drink of the day, which I went back for seconds of, was from Bellocq, which sells loose leaf teas as well as two iced teas. The iced teas of the day ($3.00 each) were #21 White Nixon Tea and #82 The Phoenix. Both teas are white teas and taste amazing chilled. I had the White Nixon Tea, which has hints of white peony and grapefruit while the Boyfriend had The Phoenix, which has hints of fruit, orchid and honey. We both agreed that the White Nixon is better suited for summer since it is fruiter and lighter. We finished both our teas and went back for a second cup!

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For dessert, we went with an ice cream sandwich from The Good Batch. A friend had previously Instragram-ed a picture of the Nutella-Chocolate Cookie Ice Cream Sandwich ($6.00) from them so I knew I had to try that one. And it was a great decision because it was so good! The cookie was just hard enough to hold the sandwich together and the nutella + nuts in the sandwich made it both smooth and crunchy at the same time. I quickly gobbled it up and hardly left any for the Boyfriend!

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If you haven’t been to Smorgasburg yet, I really recommend that you make a trip soon! There’s so many different cuisines to try out – there’s West African, Ethiopian, Columbian, Japanese, Chinese, Korean, American, Mexican, and so much more! But remember to go early or else there will be huge crowds and lines.

Lunching by the East River at Smorgasburg

Cookiesandnoodles here, taking a nice break from blogging to introduce a guest blogger, my good friend, Nancy Chen! Check out her food adventure!

The winds were light, the sun was high, and where was I?  Soaking up the delightful spring weather at Smorgasburg, of course!

A popular food flea market nestled right by the East River in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, Smorgasburg returned for its second year on Saturday, April 7th with a slew of food vendors, hoping to impress the palettes of native Brooklynites and tourists alike with their creative menus.  This particular Brooklynite was certainly impressed.

As I walked around the market on opening day with a friend, I was determined to take one spin around to see all the vendors before buying anything so I could stay below my $20 cap on spending (read: broke college student). With more than 50+ vendors set up for business, this proved to be a difficult task. From elaborate cemitas (10-layer Mexican sandwiches) to cleverly named sweets (e.g. S’more Bakery’s S’morgasm), the options were incredibly alluring.

Before succumbing to my growling stomach, I did note that this year’s food market had a greater diversity in the cuisines represented by the vendors. You could see everything from Korean kimchi to Indian paranthas, but even better—Asian cuisine was exceptionally prevalent.  Asian fusion hot dogs, classic noodles dishes, and thai tea flavored soymilk were just a few of the specialties being served up.

I really enjoyed seeing the diversity of our city reflected in the choice of vendors this year and think it’s a great path to embark on for future food markets in Brooklyn or the surrounding boroughs. What tells the story of NYC better than the amazing variety of cuisines you can find here? Smorgasburg is a great visit for foodies as well as for those looking to try new things because it offers the variety in cuisines in addition to twists on American staples (e.g. s’mores, donuts, pizza, ribs, etc.).

Now, here’s a look at my meal choice for the afternoon.

I started off with a Thai Tea flavored soymilk from Soy Hound , which was delicious as a chilled drink. My friend bought the Matcha Green Tea, which was actually better than the Thai Tea but that’s just a matter of taste preference.  The owners hand squeeze the soymilk using soybeans, raw sugar, and honey in Queens and it looks like a promising alternative for the lactose intolerant out there.

Then, I bought an $8 Lamb burger from Landhaus, which looked and smelled amazing but after eating it, I wouldn’t say it was the best lamb I’d ever had. It was good, but I’d recommend being more daring with your choice and try some of the more interesting concoctions available.

Dessert was definitely the most satisfying end to my trip, as I opted for the ingeniously named S’morgasm from the S’more Bakery. Best overpriced s’more I’d ever bought at $3. The chocolate oozed out and mixed perfectly with the fluffy marshmallow as I took my first bite. As you can tell, I didn’t even bother to stop and take a clearer picture.

Been to Smorgasburg or other food flea markets before? I’d love to hear about some of the great food you’ve discovered. Feel free to leave a comment below and recommend some new food establishments to explore.