Tuesday, July 18, 2006

anatomy of kimbap

As soon as you start eating any number of cuisines, you realize that one dish in one cuisine serves the same function as it does in another. For example, the purse phenomenon. We love food buttoned up onto satchels whether it's ravioli, pierogis, chinese dumplings, mandoo, mantoo, the russian dumplings. Eating these is always a little more special because of the extra work it takes to stuff food into various kinds of pastas.

A more everyday food Americans love to eat is the sandwich. When it crops up in other cultures, it's easy to feel a pang of familiarity. The Japanese use the same principles of hand-friendliness (nori wrapper), a carbohydrate to make your belly feel full (rice), and something to flavor it (meat/fish/roe). The French have their tartines. The Koreans have their kim-bap.

In addition to loving sandwiches, there's a peculiar delight to things in miniature as well. This accounts for the pinky fingernail sized mini tacos served as hor d'oeuvres.

Korean Kimbap gives us all of those things, mini sandwiches in each bite. This beef roll is filled with tasty bulgogi (soy sauce marinated beef), scrambled egg, carrots, pickled daikon (radish), cooked spinach, wrapped in rice and nori and brushed with the essence of sesame oil. For the squeamish about raw fish, one can eat these very easily since everything is cooked inside kimbap.

My sister maintains that sandwiches made by other people always taste more delicious. I maintain the same about kimbap rolls.

The words Kimbap mean separately kim which means nori or toasted seaweed and which is the korean word for rice.

I've had great success finding delicious kimbap at E-mo on 32nd St. between 6th and 5th Avenue. Look for the black awning. Each order is a scant $5 and a filling and healthy meal.

I've tried both beef and cheese (some gooey orange cheez-wiz substance), and beef wins hand down. For those whom have satiated their beef kimbap fill, there's spicy tuna and etc. rolls for the curious.

For a quick and easy lunch drop by E-mo. You might run into me in the midst of one of my kimbap cravings.

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

a bouchon, please?

"What is a bouchon?" I asked approaching the ravishing display of pastries.

Apparently, bouchons are these rich chocolatey mini cakes which are right between the texture of a dense cake and brownie with a center of soft chocolate chips inside. They immediately hit the chocolate spot.

After eating the bouchon, I had to go back and investigate more and went there for lunch.

Who wouldn't want to investigate after looking at that pastry case. I ordered their soup and sandwich. First off, it's wonderful that Bouchon Bakery understands that sometimes you just want some tomato soup and a grilled cheese sandwich. I love grilled cheese sandwiches so much that I both wrote a poem about them, and cite "He Made Me a Grilled Cheese Sandwich Last Night" by Lauren Rathvon as one of my favorites.

I loved the pointy ended breads they serve you to munch on with salted butter before your entree comes, but I wasn't overly impressed with my soup and sandwich, although if I do go again, I might try one of their salads or sandwiches. But I guess I'll stick to bouchons in the meantime. At two dollars a pop, you can be sure I'm going to be stopping by often.