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NYC Foodies, Get Thee to New Jersey


Fat Guy
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Your memories were most likely of the same chain, Santouka, which starting popping up in So Cal at the Yaohans in the 80s. A lot of Japanese chains made their way over to Cali, i.e. Yoshinoya and some of the convenience store brands, during those heady days.

Santouka will always be the best, but, Ippudo is imminent and may trump Santouka. While personal preference can steer a ramen-eater, It really comes down to execution at level, because noone is operating at Santouka's level of execution -

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(ad in Japanese newspaper soliciting opening staff)

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To the best of my knowledge -- and I would be shocked if it weren't true -- White Manna gets its beef pre-ground.  I suspect that it's not pre-formed in any way when they get it , although I couldn't say for sure that this is the case.  What you see is the burger cook reaching down into a refrigerated compartment and bringing out what seem to be pre-formed hunks of ground beef that are already portioned. 

This is all correct. A nearby meat distributor grinds meat to White Manna's specs, or so they say, each morning and makes a delivery around 8am. The meat comes in bulk tied up in large plastic bags set in cardboard cartons. Someone in the back at White Manna portions the ground beef into little meatballs and puts those in hotel pans in the big fridge in the back. Throughout the day, as needed, a new hotel pan of those meatballs gets brought up front and staged in the reach-in fridge next to the griddle.

Steven A. Shaw aka "Fat Guy"
Co-founder, Society for Culinary Arts & Letters, sshaw@egstaff.org
Proud signatory to the eG Ethics code
Director, New Media Studies, International Culinary Center (take my food-blogging course)

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This is all correct. A nearby meat distributor grinds meat to White Manna's specs, or so they say. . .

I wonder whether this means that they run a custom blend exclusively for White Manna. Given WM's price point, I rather doubt this is the case. But it's entirely possible that the meat distributor has various options (e.g., 80/20 or 90/10; chuck or sirloin; coarse, medium or fine grind; etc.). That would offer a reasonable amount of customization in a "choose an option from the menu" kind of way.

--

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So, FG, you're thinking of a White Castle as a "hamburger", and not as an entity all unto its own?

Is this not the same as saying that you abandoned the special fondness you once had for the liver and onions at your favorite diner because you discovered sautéed foie gras at a starred establishment?

I live right near the JCWM, though I've never been - and learned by pulling an all-nighter and researching it on eG, that the burgers there are not as good as those in the northern outpost. But they don't really look to me to be White Castle competitors, but rather something I'd contemplate when I was in the mood for a "hamburger".

Overheard at the Zabar’s prepared food counter in the 1970’s:

Woman (noticing a large bowl of cut fruit): “How much is the fruit salad?”

Counterman: “Three-ninety-eight a pound.”

Woman (incredulous, and loud): “THREE-NINETY EIGHT A POUND ????”

Counterman: “Who’s going to sit and cut fruit all day, lady… YOU?”

Newly updated: my online food photo extravaganza; cook-in/eat-out and photos from the 70's

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  • 1 month later...

Today's New York Times has a large "Escapes" feature titled "The United Plates of New Jersey". It uses the New Jersey Turnpike as its organizing principle, with mini-reviews of road-food-ish destinations running from north to south. White Manna gets a shout out, as does Edison. There are also a bunch of places covered that haven't been mentioned here.

Steven A. Shaw aka "Fat Guy"
Co-founder, Society for Culinary Arts & Letters, sshaw@egstaff.org
Proud signatory to the eG Ethics code
Director, New Media Studies, International Culinary Center (take my food-blogging course)

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Also of note, Maricel Presilla of Cucharamama (mentioned several times upthread) in Hoboken was just nominated for a James Beard award for Best Chef: Mid-Atlantic.

BEST CHEF: MID-ATLANTIC (DC, DE, MD, NJ, PA, VA)

Cathal Armstrong

Restaurant Eve

Alexandria, VA

Jose Garces

Amada

Philadelphia

Maricel Presilla

Cucharamama

Hoboken, NJ

Cindy Wolf

Charleston

Baltimore

Eric Ziebold

CityZen

Washington, DC

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Also of note, Maricel Presilla of Cucharamama (mentioned several times upthread) in Hoboken was just nominated for a James Beard award for Best Chef:  Mid-Atlantic.

Thanks, your mention got us to drive over to Hoboken for brunch at Cucharamama today.

For us it was an immediate keeper of a restaurant. Everything was not only interesting, but delicious, foods I would get hungry for. I can't wait to go back and try dinner. And try brunch at his smaller restaurant Zafra a block away, which seems to have more side dishes and little plates.

We started with a Piquillo pepper stuffed with squash in a white sauce. Sounds messy and overbearing, but it was excellent. My wife had a huevos rancheros sort of dish, except the sauce was another level up from most salsas. The fried potatoes and different salsa for them was excellent, and the little garnish of pickled onions, pozole and cubed white cheese was - Wow! Flavors I haven't had before, and want to have again.

I had an Arepa with honey and cheese on a bed of fruit. It was the tastiest corn cake I've ever eaten (not spicy, just savory). Not only were all the flavors fresh and interesting, there seemed to be a good concern for mixing different textures as well.

I had two different fruit drinks (non-alcoholic) that were both good, and an excellent hot chocolate. My wife liked the flan (cut from a loaf rather than the cup shape I'm used to) but it was the one thing that didn't excite me.

What a find for a Manhattan provincial like me, thanks for mentioning it!

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Maricel is a woman. And both of her places are wonderful.

Also of note, Maricel Presilla of Cucharamama (mentioned several times upthread) in Hoboken was just nominated for a James Beard award for Best Chef:  Mid-Atlantic.

....snip.... And try brunch at his smaller restaurant Zafra a block away, which seems to

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  • 1 month later...

I stopped into Mitsuwa on my way home to Manhattan. They are having an event today and hopefully it will be all this weekend. Octopus balls, a strange sashimi-ish concoction, every kind of croquette, fresh mochi, a delicious looking plum desert, sweet potato and much more.

They also had a special on some expensive thin cut angus beef short ribs that I have been eyeing for a long time. Now I need to figure out what to do with flanken that is cut 1cm thick. Suggestions are always welcome.

The Uni is a new brand and looks much more luscious. Another find is the raisin rolls at the Red Tomato counter. Sort of like Parker House rolls. Great with a slab of butter.

So, for those of us that summer where we winter, get thee to NJ.

Edited by pups224 (log)
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I stopped into Mitsuwa on my way home to Manhattan. They are having an event today and hopefully it will be all this weekend. Octopus balls, a strange sashimi-ish concoction, every kind of croquette, fresh mochi, a delicious looking plum desert,  sweet potato and much more.

They also had a special on some expensive thin cut angus beef short ribs that I have been eyeing for a long time. Now I need to figure out what to do with flanken that is cut 1cm thick. Suggestions are always welcome.

The Uni is a new brand and looks much more luscious. Another find is the raisin rolls at the Red Tomato counter.  Sort of like Parker House rolls. Great with a slab of butter.

So, for those of us that summer where we winter, get thee to NJ.

Looks like they're having another gourmet fair!

http://openpub.realread.com/rrserver/brows...e=/mitsuwa/njad

They also had a special on some expensive thin cut angus beef short ribs that I have been eyeing for a long time. Now I need to figure out what to do with flanken that is cut 1cm thick. Suggestions are always welcome.

Yakiniku, Shabu-shabu, sukiyaki, nabe, beef negimaki

(in order of preference...)

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  • 1 month later...

Two minor things I've noticed:

1. Bridge Kitchenware is moving from Manhattan to New Jersey.

2. Alan Richman, in his GQ piece, named White Manna one of the "20 Hamburgers You Must Eat Before You Die."

Steven A. Shaw aka "Fat Guy"
Co-founder, Society for Culinary Arts & Letters, sshaw@egstaff.org
Proud signatory to the eG Ethics code
Director, New Media Studies, International Culinary Center (take my food-blogging course)

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I've been back to Mitsuwa several times.

I've begged people to drive me to Edison. You heard me correctly. I think these words have never been spoken (or written) before

I found an H-Mart in Woodside. 7 express

No car and stupid gas prices = lack of NJ fun

I've been to Mitsuwa for ramen, and to Rutt's Hut for a dog, but I suppose I shouldn't be counted as I didn't go on the first trip...

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I've been back to Mitsuwa several times.

I've begged people to drive me to Edison. You heard me correctly. I think these words have never been spoken (or written) before...

No car and stupid gas prices = lack of NJ fun

And yet you never ask me!
Mayur Subbarao, aka "Mayur"
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I've been back to Mitsuwa several times.

I've begged people to drive me to Edison. You heard me correctly. I think these words have never been spoken (or written) before...

No car and stupid gas prices = lack of NJ fun

And yet you never ask me!

ok, you buy gas and I'll buy jalebi, deal?

Just go ahead and start the thread... "If you are keen to indian food, you bloody well get to new jersey!"

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  • 3 months later...
I'm going to Mitsuwa tonight, any requests?

BTW the current sale is an appliance sale, so it's about time you get a fuzzy logic rice cooker and a multi-cooker, it's getting to be shabu-shabu/sukiyaki/nabe weather!

Oooh, need a new rice cooker. Must consult on what to get first, though.

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There's 2 IH (Induction Heating) Tiger Rice Cookers on sale, 350 and 370 for 5.5 and 10 cup, and Zojirushi for 270 and 280, the fuzzy logic ones are all between 100 and 200, the Sanyo fuzzy logic 3.5 cup that I bought in japan for $90 3 years ago is $120 on sale. The Sanyo nabe/shabushabu/sukiyaki/yakiniku set is only 100 and it comes with a free takoyaki plate as a promotion. I want the takoyaki plate so if anyone wants to buy the Sanyo, I'll buy the takoyaki plate for $20 or $30 off of you...

Oh yeah and they're doing the the UMAIMONO fair again next weekend, Otafuku will be making okonomiyaki (I learned a thing or two from them altho they were making Osaka-style) and then a bunch of japanese dessert fair demos, the kind of desserts you find at fall matsuri in japan

My brother had a chashuu shioramen and I had the chashuu shoyuramen at Santouka. $20 even all in. Let me tell you, all 3 of those are the reliably best you will find in the northeast because Santouka simply maintains a very consistent high level of quality, high turnover, and enhances an already KILLER tare featuring bits of porkfat and marrow which you can see with the naked eye with your choice of salt, miso, or soy sauce. Naruto and 5 or 6 wide thick slices of pork belly. Big brother raji proclaimed it the second best ramen he's ever had, but that's cuz he visited me once in Tokyo :cool:

Edited by raji (log)
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Oh yeah LPS, you want IH

IH Rice Cooker

The heating method known as Induction Heating (IH) occurs when a magnetic material is placed in a magnetic field. In our case, coils within the bottom of the rice cooker create the magnetic field. When the special 2 ply inner cooking pan (nonstick coated aluminum with stainless steel outer lining) is placed into the rice cooker and the unit is turned on, a magnetic field is generated to create instant heat. Through this technology, the whole inner cooking pan itself becomes the heat source utilizing both high heat and finely tuned heat adjustments to control the cooking process. The results? Higher and quicker heat response that's more evenly distributed for perfectly cooked rice every time!

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