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This Is Love Calling Earth...
...Do You Know How Much It Hurts
Things to do in NYC while you're looking for Nippon 
21st-Aug-2009 09:45 am
Jun Food
I have this thing about New York City. I love it there, love to visit, love to impose of my friends who are still there, yet I am glad as hell to get out when I did. I spent the better part of five years stumbling around downtown and spending money. The main reason I even got out was due to the fact that the 1.) the recession was hitting hard and I hated my job in a sinking company, 2.) the ridiculous cost of living in a box,  and 3.) the level of pretension and discontent that was oozing out of the people I knew there drove me crazy. I feel like a fucking yuppie scare monger when I say that though.

However, I love love love some of the places I left. Here's a collection of musings on some of those places:

Menkui Tei (RAMEN):

I get it. everyone loves the shit out of Ippudo, I like my ramen without the side of pretension and ridiculous crowds. Granted every time I go to Menkui Tei it seems to be around Christmas and I need to fight my way through Radio City crowds to get there. Menkui Tei is small. A hole in the wall even, with limited seating and demure decorations. It's also normally packed with regulars and nearby neighbors. When they run out of stuff its also done for the day. OUT. It is, however, the best place to go for a nice steaming bowel of shouya ramen on a frigid December day. I love eating at the bartops too. It's a freakin OVEN in the summer though. Beware your seasons.

Yakitoi Taisho (izayaka):

It is what it is. An izayaka. If you're expecting glorious perfectly delicious food...it's a no go. It's a place to drink and get fatty food. Keep the ptichers of Sapporo going and get some okonomiyaki, kawa, and takoyaki. It's crowded as hell normally and you're all shoved one on top of another. But that' the charm of the place, you see what you get. It's one of the few places that I need to go to when I visit NYC every time. They make okonomiyaki in Philadelphia, but it's almost too perfect here. It should basically be a slab with crap thrown all over it with bonito piled high...which it exactly is here. The bacon is also thick as hell normally so chewing sometimes can be a problem. I love sitting at the bartop just watching them cook the food with a few friends.

Angel Share's(overpriced worth it bar):

$14 a drink is steep. It's really steep when you are around my age. Angel Share's is about the only place I am willing to throw down three rounds of this. Stuffed behind an unmarked door attached to a second floor Japanese restuarant, it's not a place to get wasted at (ah I miss you The Library), but rather sit, enjoy the company, and savor their concotions. The bartenders and waiters are dressed to the nines and meticulous with everything. I go for something sweet normally followed up by the oolong tea cocktail. There's a limit on how many in a party you can have (4 max). And during peak hours the wait can be ridiculous. I avoid it then and tended to go around the 5 o'clock hour. I hate standing and if I'm pay $14 a cocktail I want my relaxed ambiance. By the time I would leave at 7 you could barely squeeze your way out. I tip well here because...well don't be a shitty tipper and they won't run you down. Literally. If you can get a spot by the windows during a snow fall...YUM.

Kinokuniya (You can literally spend all day here):

Kinokuniya is like my home away from home still. I love ti dearly. The design from the outside, the layout inside, the adorable guy who has worked here since I started going and most of all the cafe upstairs. They have a fantastic collection of architecture and photography books upstairs as well as a stationary area downstairs where I have spent $8 on a single pen before. My little sister once picked up Murakami's "Underground" here for me and the shop girl went off on a stream of conciousness about the Tokyo subway gas attack and the Aum cult. Another friend left his wallet here and the cafe worker actually chased us down to give it back. Basically the employees are absolutely delightful here. And the cafe...packed during peak meal hours, but an amazing place to grab a pot of tea and watch the skaters in Bryant Park during the winter. Sometimes over run by teenage anime/manga kids though. Try the mango mousse (if they have it that day)....it's light and fluffy heaven. I've spent hours wandering the shelves, having some tea and sandwiches, and ending the day with a dessert.

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