CULINARY OCCASIONS
Cooking Paella with Tio Pepe

On March 28th, Joonbug.com was lucky enough to be invited to a cooking demonstration at New York City’s own Tio Pepe in honor of World Paella Day where we were treated with an impromptu wine tasting and desert sampling. For those who don’t know, paella is a traditional Spanish dish. Almost like Spain’s version of Jambalaya, it’s considered to be “scavenger food” made with rice, meats, and veggies.

BEST OF
Stick It for National Something on a Stick Day

#1 POP TART ON A STICK

Who knew that Pop Tarts needed any improvement? These itty bitty pop tarts look adorable and delicious; if only we could have some coffee on a stick to pair it with.

#2 DONUT ON A STICK

Practical yet creative, a munchkin donut on a stick is a sweetooth's dream appetizer.

#3 MINI PANCAKES

We'll be taking our gourmet breakfast to go on a stick today!

#5 Burgers on a Stick

Is it just us, or do these make you feel like Alice in Wonderland when she grows too much? We are so down with sliders on a stick!

SWEET TOOTH
NYC's First Cupcake ATM

Inspired by the unpredictable cravings of a pregnant woman, the Cupcake ATM can dispense up to four cupcakes at one time, including doggie cupcakes (which are sugar free and made with yogurt, so they’re pup friendly!), being sold at 2 for $5. The touch screen system allows you to make selections like a bank ATM would, and a claw retrieves the one you want, stored in an adorable brown and pink cardboard box.

The machine holds an incredible 760 cupcakes, with 20 different varieties that, yes, do include vegan red velvet. It is restocked at all hours by Sprinkles' employees, who bake the goods round the clock for guaranteed freshness. And if cupcakes aren’t your treat of choice, no worries: Sprinkles hopes to add the options for brownies and cookies by the end of next month.

HOW-TO
How-To: Pat's King of Steaks Philadelphia Cheese Steak


Ingredients:

  • 6 tablespoons soya bean oil
  • 1 large onion, sliced
  • 24 ounces sliced rib eye thinly sliced
  • 4 long rolls (bonus for Amoroso Baking Co. or Vilotti-Pisanelli)
  • Sweet green and red peppers, sauteed in oil (optional)
  • Mushrooms sauteed in oil (optional)
  • Cheez-Wiz
  • Ketchup

TIP: We learned to keep our martini glasses aside while playing with all of these ingredients! Oops, spillage.

WEEKEND PICKS
Weekend Eats: OYSTERFEST at Brasserie Beck

You will 100% want to eat everything offered at Brasserie Beck, but nothing is better than the oysters! Oh, and how about UNLIMITED oysters? We think yes!

When: Saturday, March 15th, 12pm-4pm

DAILY BITES
Delicious Japanese Curry in the East Village

It's often the hole-in-the-wall places that surprise you. Nestled in the East Village, a red circular sign boldly announces Curry Ya's presence among the other Japanese restaurants and bars on the block.

Space is limited here, so be prepared to squeeze your way in. Despite the size, the interior is clean and simple with plain white walls and tall wooden stools with a little storage compartment at the bottom for your personal belongings. A long counter stretches from one end of the wall and bends around. Behind the counter you get an unobscured view of the kitchen, where the chefs work quietly around the stoves and oven.

DAILY BITES
Seafood and Kimchi at Sik Gaek

Dinner is never a dull moment at Sik Gaek. The Korean restaurant in Woodside is pretty famous for the Sannakji — live octopus — and yes, you can see where this is going.

Even if you’re dead set against having slimy tentacles squirming on a sizzling black plate in front of you, your neighbors at the next table might not share the same disdain. In fact, they might want to order the huge seafood platter with lobsters, crabs and octopus — all alive, of course. Go big or go home, right?

As you can tell, Sik Gaek is not for the faint-hearted. If you can handle the Sannakji, kudos to you! The squishy tentacles are sliced up, so technically, they're not alive (but they're still moving, though). They are coated in sesame oil so the slippery texture helps the tentacles to slide down your throat quite easily. After all, we all try to avoid choking on tentacles. But once you get past the initial fear, the freshness of it is overwhelming.

DAILY BITES
Mad For Chicken

Are you going mad for chicken? Don’t just wing it and settle for regular fried chicken. If you’re going to satisfy your craving, you might as well go all out and experience one of the best fried chickens the city has to offer.

Mad For Chicken houses the famous Korean fried chicken, which is crispier and less greasy in comparison to other fried chicken out there.

Our friends had been egging us on to try the chicken. So on a Saturday night, while the air was crisp and chilly, we arrived at the Flushing location for dinner and waited 20 minutes to be seated. We took that as a good sign. When there’s a line, the food is most certainly divine. Besides, 20 minutes is a pretty standard waiting time for restaurants in New York.

DAILY BITES
Pok Pok Phat Thai's Pad Thai

The Lower East Side is amazing for its never-ending plethora of cheap, tasty dishes. When we discovered Pok Pok Phat Thai over the weekend, we couldn’t keep this to ourselves. We just had to share the goodness! Located on 137 Rivington St, this tiny outlet offers authentic Thai food, with marble counters protruding from the walls to serve as tables. Photos of Thai artists from decades ago consumed the walls, dating the restaurant back to an older period. It was a clean, cozy setting, nothing too overwhelming.

Pad thai is one of Thailand’s national dishes. It is also one of Pok Pok’s best-sellers. It would be a pity to go all the way to one of the city’s favorite pad thai spots and not try the signature dish. That would be like jetsetting to Asia and settling on McDonald’s. The pad thai arrived in all its steaming glory, garnished with chives, eggs, dried shrimps, peanuts, bean sprouts, chili powder and lime halves on a layer of banana leaf. Asian dishes are usually colorful, and the pad thai did not lack in visual appeal.

BEHIND THE PLATE
An Interview with The Cinnamon Snail's Chef

When Chef Adam Sobel decided to launch an organic, vegan food truck, he had one thing in mind: to capture the attention (and appetites) of passersby who might normally opt for an animal-based meal. Like a morally-charged version of MTV’s Pimp My Ride, Sobel and a few kindhearted friends came together to transform a ramshackle hot dog truck into The Cinnamon Snail: a vibrantly painted, fully renovated mobile food purveyor dishing out gourmet vegan cuisine and desserts in Hoboken and Manhattan.

Since opening, The Cinnamon Snail has been moving at anything but a snail's pace. It's been dubbed one of Yahoo's top ten “remarkable food trucks,” named one of the top five vegetarian food trucks by PETA, and was a finalist in the 2010 Vendy Awards.