Quite different from its Chinese restaurant neighbors, the new Bluebird Sky is a pocket-sized (re: hallway) coffee shop serving standard cafe fare. The food is nothing to write home about, but it’s fresh and tasty, and the sunny seating area makes for a great place to peruse the Sunday Times over lattes and pastries. Glad to have it as an option in the neighborhood. Above: tomato, avocado, and pico de gallo omelet.
New York’s trendy restaurant scene is a lot of fun, but this year I’m making an effort to try as many authentic ethnic restaurants as I can. I’ve lived on the cusp of Chinatown for almost two years now and feel pathetic that I’ve not taken proper advantage.
Thursday nite I was invited along to XO Cafe for hot pot, the Chinese version of fondue. Luckily I was with a cast of characters who knew what they were doing, so I sat back, sipped my almond bubble tea, and enjoyed hot pot without any worries.
Hot pot starts with a pot of spicy broth boiling in the center of the table. You order all the ingredients you want; we did tofu, chicken, beef, scallops, clams, dumplings, and a wide array of veggies. Some participants ordered tripe, or cow intestines. I definitely was not ready to try that.
The contents come to the table raw. You throw whatever you want into the pot, let it cook, then fish it out to enjoy.
It was a feast for the ages.
Although so far on my cultural culinary trail I would say I enjoyed my dim sum brunch a wee bit more, this was a unique experience and I would definitely return. The $24 all-you-can-eat hot pot includes beverages, appetizers (like the pan fried dumplings, below), and dessert.
On Sunday I finally accomplished my dream of having dim sum. Although we didn’t go to the most authentic of places (no food carts, BOO!), the food at Red Egg was outstanding. And we got to write down our orders on little score cards with mini pencils. I felt like I was mini golfing!
Besides all that, this seemingly unlimited amount of delicious food came to just $12 a person. My New Years Food Resolution is to try every dim sum place in New York. Once a week baby, once a week. Who’s with me?!
Here’s a smattering of tasty treats we enjoyed:
Vegetarian Spring Rolls
Shanghai Bun. Can’t remember exactly how this tasted, except that it was delicious.
Roast Pork Bun. If you know me, this is not something I would normally eat, but I didn’t feel like I would really experience dim sum without it. Thank God. This was the best thing ever.
Sweet Sesame Ball for dessert.