Saturday, December 29, 2012

I like big pork butts and I cannot lie

Momofuku Ssam Bar
207 2nd Ave
New York, NY 10003

A few months ago, I made reservations here for a very special 30th birthday celebration dinner for Thompson and a few friends. T and I always wanted to try the pork butt from Momofuku, but never found a good opportunity to celebrate, or an awesome group to share with until now. Since I wanted to secure the time and date, I placed a special order for the Bo Ssam (which means pork wrap) a month in advance. Despite the name, pork butt doesn’t actually come from the rear end of the pig. It is one of the two cuts from the pork shoulder. Butt or not, we wanted it.

Maine Uni with heirloom tomato, cantaloupe and shiso (not included in Bo Ssam meal)
Seasonal pickles (not included in Bo Ssam meal)
Accompaniments: fresh crisp bibb lettuce to make wraps, white rice, 2 types of kimchi, ginger-scallion, and Korean BBQ sauce
1 dozen oysters to be eaten individually or with wraps
This 6-8 pound tendered pork butt is slow cooked for 8 long hours. The best part? The outer layer of charred pork skin lacquered with sweet brown sugar.
The delicious pork falls right off the bone, oozing sweet and savory juices.
Guests are encouraged to make wraps with pork and condiments as they please.
Oyster and Ssam sauce combo!
With flavorful ginger-scallion sauce. Now that's a wrap! :)

The skin of the pork butt was glazed in brown sugar and sweet deliciousness. The meat was mouthwateringly tender, moist, and drenched in absolute tastiness. To make the perfect wrap, you'll need a good ratio of everything. With the crisp and buttery lettuce leaves for wrapping, a good bite of rice, a generous spoon of the savory ginger sauce, a little bit of kimchi, and a slab of flavorful meat. And... voilà! The combination of all the ingredients created a great medley of sweet, savory, spicy, cold and hot! Everyone was able to eat about 4 -5 wraps, and it was enough for everyone to be full and extremely happy.

We couldn’t stop raving about how good the meal was. It was delicious, plentiful, and engages the entire table in conversation and interaction. For $200, the Bo Ssam fed all 10 of us, not including tax and tip. If you don’t mind losing a couple days of your lifespan to gastronomical delight, you should definitely try it with a party of 6-10 (10 guests maximum) who will appreciate all the porky goodness.

Mickey’s rating: 9/10
Price range: $$$

Momofuku Ssäm Bar on Urbanspoon

Monday, August 27, 2012

Enjoy an entire day of freebies on your birthday!

I’m reposting Thompson’s awesome birthday experience from his blog from last year! I highly recommend doing this once for your birthday. I saved over $500 on food and entertainment, and Thompson was a happy camper. I think he wants to do this every year, and I'm totally fine with not spending a single dime. =]

Here’s what he says:

So with a little bit of planning, you REALLY CAN eat, drink and play for free on your birthday! You just have to do some early planning and sign up for all the loyalty programs below. On or around your birthday you will receive an email or postcard with instructions on how to redeem your gift. Here’s how my freebies birthday looked like.

10am - Free Starbucks drink of choice - I opted for the most expensive thing on the menu, a venti java chip frappacino! The cash register expressed a very emphatic happy birthday. :)

10:30am - Free admission to MOCA - This is a wonderful little museum tucked on the edge of Chinatown. They had a family day celebration yesterday and the sweet old lady made me a lucky origami crane that I wore on my shirt the rest of the day. I’m a museum worker so I have access to a majority of the museums in the city but most museums already have corporate partnerships that allow for free admission. No happy birthday from the cashier. :(

12pm - Free sandwich from Au Bon Pain - I went to the Rockefeller Center location where they did not offer the lobster salad sandwich but any of the signature sandwiches were fair game. I opted for the Roast Beef and Herb Cream Cheese sandwich. No happy birthday from the cashier, but the dude making the sandwich hooked it up with the herb cream cheese.

12:45pm - Free scoop of ice cream from Ben & Jerry’s - I ordered a scoop of the coconut 7 layer cake flavor. Yum!

1:15pm - Free gift from Sephora + splash of cologne + samples (if you ask for it) Located right on 5th Avenue; I stopped by the cashier to pick up my free 8oz bottle of birthday cake shampoo/body wash. My girlfriend made me pick this up, so if she doesn’t mind me smelling like “birthday cake” then why should I? Also took a walk around the store and sprayed myself down with “$1 million dollar cologne”, lol. The cashier gave me a big smile, joked about me smelling like birthday cake and wished me a very happy birthday.

2pm - Free cup of ice cream from Baskin Robbins - I'm starting to get a little full but I'm not even half way done with the day! I order the rainbow sherbet and share it with my girlfriend. Delish!

2:30pm - Free street art/performances at Union Square - I hung out in Union Square for a little bit before dinner. There was a great live jazz band playing and some hip break dancers. Was also able to catch Joe Mangrum in the middle of another 15 foot sand painting.

4:00pm - Free $40 entree from City Crab and Seafood - I made sure to come by during their Sunday happy hour (12-7pm). $1 raw oysters/clams. Half off drinks and appetizers. I order a dozen oysters, clams... an order of oyster Rockefeller and a pound of Alaskan King crab legs (on the house!). I ordered way too much food but slammin’ good deal! Our waiter Scott was very nice and kept coming back to wish me a happy birthday throughout my meal. Yay!

5:45pm - Free Au Bon Pain sandwich - Oh wait, I had made TWO copies of the Au Bon Pain coupon (accident I swear!). Tried to see if the Port Authority location would give me the lobster salad sandwich for free and they did! Mike, one of the managers there, even came down and made the sandwich himself! Small wink, happy birthday, sandwich in hand... happy customer I was!

6pm - Free Auntie Anne’s pretzel (BOGO) at Port Authority - I didn’t want it but the coupon was in my pocket. I was going to meet up with some friends later so thought I’d share my birthday goodies. 2 cinnamon pretzels and a lobster salad sandwich FROM the birthday boy = 2 happy girls. No birthday shout from the cashier though.

7pm - Free tickets to Million Dollar Quartet - You can score free tickets and discounted broadway show tickets @ I was lucky enough to get tickets to the Million Dollar Quartet on my birthday but there were plenty of $5 tickets available to other shows as well!

8:45pm - Free as you like it ice cream from Cold Stone Creamery - Completely unplanned, I find a Cold Stone Creamery right on 8th Avenue as I come out of the show. Not going to waste a coupon, I go in for my free ice cream. The guys behind the counter found it amusing that the coupon read “ONLY FOR TRINIDAD LOCATIONS”. Oops. We had a laugh about it and he made me sinless cake batter ice cream with cake topping. Probably not the best thing to eat before you grab drinks, but it’s my birthday... I do whatever I want!! The guys behind the counter were more excited about my birthday than I was (Hell’s Kitchen flair) and I was sent off with a big happy birthday shout out! =)

9pm - 3 free drinks at Bamboo 52 - What’s a birthday without grabbing some drinks? The hostess sat us at the bar and gave us 3 drink coupons after verifying my birthday. I ordered a volcano, lychee grapefruit martini and a blueberry bay breeze. No hassle at all, the bartender was very friendly and she didn’t skimp on the alcohol either. The volcano had 151 in it so I was getting tipsy! Gave the bartender a sweet tip and bounced out of there. NO PURCHASE NECESSARY, and with a big happy birthday as I walked out!

10:45pm - Free burger at Ruby Tuesday - I hustle back to Times Square, there’s only an hour left to fire my freebies bullets. I tell the waitress I have a bus to catch and she hustles to get us our food. All the gourmet burgers on the menu are fair game, each with 2 sides included. I order the bacon cheeseburger with a side of grilled zucchini and French fries (on the house!) and some guacamole & chips as a light sobering snack to go with my burger. In and out in 30 minutes. I was impressed that I was able to clean the house… the waitress was equally impressed and bid me a safe journey and a happy birthday. Yay!

11:30pm - Free $10 game coupon at Dave & Buster’s - 30 minutes to play $10 worth of video games! I squeeze in “Spin the Giant life sized wheel” and a few games of Trivia. 300 bonus tickets later… I redeemed the coupons for a free D&B shot glass! Lol, D&B closes at midnight so the lights go out as I walk out of the arcade. 

All in all, a freakin’ fantastic birthday. Part Scavenger hunt, part foodie galore… a great couple’s event if you guys plan it correctly! I think I gained about 20 lbs but who cares… it was worth it!

Note: There were a slew of unused coupons including: 

Buffalo Wild Wings - free dessert 
Benihana - free $30 towards lunch/dinner. Only valid M-Th. 
TCBY - free yogurt with loyalty card 
Red Mango - free yogurt with loyalty card 
and many more!


Thursday, August 23, 2012

Happy slurping!

Ippudo NY 
65 4th Ave 
New York, NY 10003

Ippudo NY
Hirata pork buns - perfect steamed pillowy buns filled with tendered pork belly and cabbage served in a spicy mayo sauce
Here's another delicious view of the Hirata pork buns. Can I get like 10 orders please?
Garlic miso ramen with a poached egg - perfect al dente springy noodles swimming in fragrant garlic broth
Garlic miso ramen with a soft boiled egg - yum!
The famous Akamaru Modern ramen - this broth is magic! Filled with absolute buttery deliciousness. I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE! 

I don’t think I need to rave about how much I love Ippudo, because everyone knows about this hotspot. Happy waiting, and happy slurping!

Mickey’s rating: 9/10 
Price range: $$

Ippudo on Urbanspoon

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Will you be my bridesmaid?

Georgetown Cupcake 
111 Mercer Street
New York, NY 10012


What’s a better way to ask your girls to be your bridesmaids and maids of honor, then to ask them with a pretty cupcake? I’m a huge cupcake lover, so this is probably not my most creative way to ask the girls, but definitely the most expected from me. :P

Strawberry and vanilla cupcakes

Georgetown Cupcake is a cute cupcake chain located in Soho, that recently opened early this year. These good-looking cupcakes are dressed to impress with their decorative fondant hearts, that comes inside GC's iconic pink boxes. It’s like getting a Tiffany box with a much sweeter surprise in it. The girl helping me at the shop was really sweet and nice, making my experience at the shop very pleasant. She even threw in a free cupcake congratulating me, after I bought six boxes of cupcakes. That totally made my day. These decadent cupcakes are the perfect combination of cute, girly, sweet and of course yummy! I'm so glad all my girls said yes. :)

Mickey’s rating: 8/10 
Price range: $$

Georgetown Cupcake on Urbanspoon

Wednesday, June 27, 2012


Zen Fusion Cuisine 
79-28 Parsons Blvd 
Flushing, NY 11367

If you’re a fan of Kyoto Restaurant in Fresh Meadows, then you’ll definitely enjoy their newest competitor, Zen Fusion Cuisine. It’s the newest Asian fusion establishment in Queens and they’re only a block away from each other. Kyoto is one of my favorite local joint and has been around for years with plenty of loyal customers, so I like having another restaurant just like it. Both places carry a lengthy menu with similar dishes, serving Japanese, Thai, Vietnamese and Chinese cuisine. 

Garden salad served with ginger dressing
Spicy maki combo - spicy salmon, spicy yellowtail, and spicy tuna
Cooked maki combo - shrimp tempura, eel with cucumber, and Boston roll
Shrimp tempura
Fried calamari
Green curry - eggplant, zucchini, peppers, asparagus, onion and basil with beef
Masaman curry - potato, zucchini, peppers, asparagus, onion and basil with chicken
Bo Luc Lac - stir fried steak cubes
Ca Chien - crispy fried whole Sea Bass
Thai twin lobsters
Pineapple fried rice with chicken
Yaki stir fried noodle with shrimp

The interior is trendy with a nice vibe, comparable to restaurants located in the city. It’s always nice to have a few good options in the local area when I really need a quick sushi fix, some sizzling hot beef, or even some Thai ice tea; Zen is definitely a place with a good variety. The food was all presented beautifully and the service was excellent. This isn't the best fusion restaurant ever, but it would definitely be the go-to-spot, if and when you don’t feel like cooking dinner.

Mickey’s rating: 7/10 
Price range: $$

Zen Fusion Cuisine on Urbanspoon
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