Veselka

After inciting shock, despair, anger, and sadness in many, this year’s election has revealed a great divide in our county. With all this in mind, a restless, anxiety ridden day at work left us in much need of each other’s company and a comforting meal. Naomi and I headed over to the famous Veselka for a bowl of their sweet and sour borscht, perogies, and meatballs. You might know Veselka as simply the delicious East Village Ukrainian pierogi and borscht restaurant, but believe it or not, it’s more than that. Today, we would like to dedicate this post to the immigrants and minorities who have been helping to create and support local communities right here in New York City and across America.

Current Veselka owner Tom Birchard married Marta who was the daughter of Wolodymyr Darmochwal, an agronomist who was expelled from Ukraine after World War II during the Soviet rule and housed in a displaced-persons camp in Germany for two years. After settling in New Jersey, Darmochwal opened Veselka in 1954 as a newsstand, canteen, and community center. Now the sole owner of the restaurant, Birchard has throughout the years welcomed the diverse community of the East Village, from sponsoring performance artists to offering jobs to Polish immigrants, opening up its doors to both hippies and punks for hot coffee and free challah. Veselka was and is today a safe haven, providing good food as well as comfort and a sense of community.

It’s in times like these that we must come together as a community for strength and remind ourselves who we are, where it is we come from, what we will and will not stand for. As President Franklin D. Roosevelt once said, “Remember, remember always, that all of us, and you and I especially, are descended from immigrants and revolutionists.”

Veselka
144 2nd Ave, New York, NY 10003
www.veselka.com

Anna’s Soba Noodle Recipe

One thing we love equally as much as eating out is cooking at home. For our very first recipe post, we’re sharing a quick and easy way to whip up a heartwarming noodle dish for the cold months.

Soba noodles hold a very special place in our hearts. When we were growing up, every Sunday when our grandpa would visit our home, we would order from a noodle place that delivered delicious soba and udon noodles, hot or cold. Maybe it’s the nostalgia, but when I make soba noodles, it brings instant comfort and happiness to any dull day.

Of course, it’s up to you what you prefer in your noodles, but nailing the broth and perfectly cooked noodles are key. Most days I don’t feel like making my broth from scratch, but lucky for you and me, a lot of grocery stores nowadays carry soba or udon noodle concentrates. My personal favorite is the Kikkoman brand hondashi, a mixture of bonito and kelp broth with soy sauce, sake, mirin, and sugar. If you have a hard time finding these ingredients at your local grocery store, there’s always Amazon. I’ve added links of products I recommend for some of the harder-to-find ingredients below.

Ingredients

Directions

  1. Bring a pot of water to a boil. Once water comes to a full boil, place soba noodles in pot. Refer to package for proper cooking time.
  2. While the soba noodles cook, combine Hondashi and water (1:4 ratio) in a separate pot. Bring to a simmer and include dried seaweed, chives, and egg.
  3. Take out soba noodles while still al dente and include in the Hondashi mixture with other ingredients. Cook another minute, and serve in a bowl.
  4. Optional: sprinkle togarashi pepper to taste

Look out for more recipes to come!

Taiyaki NYC

Although fall is in full swing, we couldn’t resist posting about this cold treat. Taiyaki NYC is the newest dessert place that has everyone, including us, talking. Located on Baxter Street between Hester and Canal Street, this sweet joint brings an exceptionally unique take on the traditional Japanese (also Korean) fish-shaped cake, known as taiyaki. The shop specializes in soft serve with taiyaki “cones” with their distinct twist being the fish’s mouth is stretched an inch or two to accommodate a variety of ice cream flavors. There’s topping and filling options too, from mochi to fresh strawberries, custard to red bean paste. Since it was our first time, we decided to go with The Classic ($7), complete with vanilla soft serve, custard filling, fresh strawberries, wafer sticks, and chocolate drizzle. The soft serve was a welcomed addition to the often times plain treat, although midway through, we did start to panic as the upper half threatened to topple over. So our recommendation, do not take your time eating this…you won’t regret it!

Taiyaki NYC
119 Baxter St, New York, NY 10013
www.taiyakinyc.com

Cafe Clementine

Having an office job can be tough. Aside from the workload, you’re sitting in front of a computer all day, sometimes with no time to even take a stroll around the block. As an effort to get a good bite in and also get in the habit of taking more breaks, we headed over to one of our favorite sandwich shops around our work neighborhood, Cafe Clementine. This convenient little joint in Tribeca offers a true to-go experience with pre-made sandwiches where one can simply choose, grab, pay, and go. One of our favorites, the Mediterranean Tuna Sandwich (located in the refrigerated section), is a creation of white tuna, roasted red onions, peppers, olives, chunks of hard-boiled egg, and romaine lettuce all pressed between a fresh ciabatta. And since fall is already upon us, we ordered a not-so-ordinary side of tomato soup. This one was hearty, complete with rice and bits of cheesy goodness. Can’t leave your desk? They also offer delivery for super busy office days.

Cafe Clementine
227 W Broadway
New York, NY 10013
(212) 965-0909
cafeclementine.com

Pause Café

Acai bowls. You’ve probably seen them on Instagram or Pinterest, they make for a pretty picture. But aside from aesthetics, acai bowls are sweet, delicious breakfast bowls that not only taste good, but also come jam-packed with beneficial nutrients for your body. Today, we would like to introduce you to a little café called Pause Café in the East Village that serves a variety of these morning treats, as well as offering an exquisite Moroccan dining experience.

For those of you who are unfamiliar with the acai berry, here’s a quick fact check. Acai is a tropical fruit native to Brazil. Its most notable health benefits are the fruit’s heart healthy antioxidants that have the ability to lower cholesterol and improve overall blood circulation. Pause Café offers four varieties of acai bowls but we decided to go with the classic, Very Berry, which included acai, banana, blueberries, raspberries, and blackberries for the smoothie mixture. For toppings, the bowl came with crunchy granola, banana, strawberries, goji berries, blueberries, and honey. What really made this dish though were the beautifully elaborate mosaic tables and the silver platter it was served in, which really added to the Moroccan vibe. The mixture itself was a fresh blend of fruity deliciousness, something close to a version of nature’s Starbursts.

If you’re looking to start your morning right, we highly recommend trying one of the Acai bowls from Pause Café. There are also other heartier options like eggs and toast if you prefer a savory breakfast.

Pause Café
3 Clinton St, New York, NY 10002
pausecafenyc.com