A week in review (part deux): eating can take you places

Time:               Monday Jan. 15, 7:00pm 

Location:         West Chelsea, unassuming corner of 10th and 20th

Hypothesis:     I, the whiner, make poor life decisions (as Mi would say).

Abstract          
It’s crunch time, 5:30pm the night before the start of a full week of relentless interviews. As other Wall Street hopefuls engaged themselves in some last minute immersification in this very very thought-provoking, life-changing literary piece called the Vault Guide to Finance Interviews, I, a very poor life decision maker, decided it’s about time to catch up with my dear mentor/friend Shar and responded to her post (Sorry Shar! It would be too selfish of me to not share this with other people. =p):

CLASSIFIEDS

Single 21 yr old avid Miss Piggy who believes she has skills in the kitchen but mostly in consumption is responding to post made by Miss Hsieh on her Facebook. Petite, Asian, voracious eater and willing to travel far and wide for her food. Adventurous, discerning palate and an appetite that can beat a brontasaurus on certain occassions. Willing to detox liver in preparation for a night of alcohol consumption as well.

Look forward to a rambunctious evening filled with much ooh-ing and aah-ing over pretty, dainty fare, or of stuffing her face with comfort foods. Please contact the author of this post for more information, and feel free to invite other fellows and fellellas (female fellows) to join in the fun.

Dates available are Thurs. 01/11; Sat. 01/13 (evening only); Sun. 01/14 – Wed. 01/17 for breakfast, lunch, dinner, tea, or supper unless otherwise indicated. Reservations for dates are closed for the last half of the month of Jan. until late Feb./early Mar. Reservations for March can be made two (2) months in advanced but are subject to changes due to the author’s rather spontaneous flights of fancy and episodes of indecision. Please excuse any confusion that may result from this product of the author’s extremely boring life as a graduate.

(She really wrote this to me. hahaha. How can you not love her, right? =p )
As Shar and I toiled over where to go for our long overdue fantasmical, romantical dinner date, then all of a sudden – it was like a blitz episode of divine intervention – I was hearing all these voices telling me, “Cookshop, Cookshop.” How could I not heed the guidance of these mysterious deities (or more like Frank Bruni, Hal Rubenstein, and Sofia Leung who have raved and raved and raved about this little gem, and Sofia, please note that I put you in the same sentence as Frank Bruni, haha)? So merrily I skipped down to the subway station and off I went to meet up with Shar at the unassuming corner of 10th Avenue and 20th Street, our rendezvous for the night.

Because I am working on keeping each entry down to a 500-word-length (in response to all your much-appreciated feedbacks) and  because Mr. Bruni’s review of Cookshop is much more comprehensive and eloquent than any gibberish I could ever spew out, I’m just going to keep it brief here:

GO TO COOKSHOP NOW. IT’S CURRENTLY MY FAVORITE RESTAURANT IN THE CITY. GO NOW. THEY MAKE SUCH GOOOOOOD FOOOOOD.  EVERYTHING TASTES VERY FRESH AND IT’S ALL ORGANIC OR LOCALLY GROWN (OR PURPORTED TO BE). OK, YOU HAVE TO GO THERE NOW AND GET THE SPICED FRIED HOMINY FOR STARTER.

And I don’t have a picture of the spiced fried hominy, quite possibly one of the most addictive snacks in the City. Hulled kernels of corn get a dip in the batter then deep-fried and seasoned to perfection. Only 4 dollars! GET IT.

Then our entrees arrived (we weren’t even half done with the hominy!) Service was friendly and incredibly (also a little excessively) fast the night we were there. Shar got scallops (4 big hunks!!!), and I got duck (huge portion also). WORTH IT. GO NOW.

scallops.jpg

Maine diver scallops with romanesco cauliflower, lemon tahini, and pine nut-golden raisin gremolata

duck.jpg

Catskill duck breast with wild rice, kumquat, pomegranate, and almond

WHOLESOME GOODNESS. The scallops and duck were so fresh and cooked perfectly. I’m usually pretty picky with duck breast because oftentimes they are overcooked and stringy, but Cookshop did it perfectly, and I was thankful for that. Besides the main stars themselves though, I was especially blown away by the vegetably, grainy, nutty concoctions that accompanied both the scallops and the duck – very innovative combination but still delicious and fresh-tasting – real palate teasers. The wild rice-kumquat-pom mix with its citrussy flavor and contrasting textures was probably one of the best duck accessories I’ve ever had – it kept the whole dish relatively light and enjoyable until the very end, which is not always the case with fattier or gamier protein like duck or lamb, or so I think.  

crisp.jpg

Winter fruit crisp with creme fraiche ice cream

And for dessert, we shared a fruit crisp comprising all the wintery fruity flavors – prunes, apricots, plums, to name a few. The warm crisp came with a small scoop of creme fraiche ice cream which complements the sweet and tart and crumbly crisp beautifully. The scoop was so tiny that we had to order second. Shar and I, bottomless pits indeed.

Now you ask, how does this have anything to do with the title of the post? Well, it has to do with the hypothesis I proposed in the beginning. Although the food was definitely worth the trip, I did suffer some serious guilt pang on my way back from dinner – maybe the timing really was off….maybe I should have stayed home…crap I wasted 3.5 hours…crap I have interviews tomorrow…

Well, I wasn’t remorseful for long. You see, I put food down as one of my interests on my resume. More specifically, the last line of my resume read, “Avid cook and amateur restaurant critic” (I know I’m silly). For better or for worse, a good number of interviewers noticed that and asked me questions about it. One interviewer asked me what my favorite thing to cook was (no favorites. It’s the means not the end, well at least if that’s how the question was phrased). A GS interviewer, whom I think was trying to test if I had lied about my interests (apparently people do that. what idiots?!?), asked me to pick a restaurant for a business lunch with his private client (Gramercy Tavern). He made me list out my reasons and asked how many times I’ve been there, in an inquisitive way (Yea, I didn’t like him too much). Then finally, an MS interviewer asked me to name my three favorite restaurants in New York. Man, that was a hard question, but I said Momofuku Ssam Bar, Fatty Crab, and Cookshop. Then another interviewer came back in from lunch break so the first interviewer relayed my answers to her, then she bursted out, “Oh my godddd, Cookshop was sooooo gooood. I went there for Sunday brunch. The brunch was sooooo diviiiinne. Oh my goddddd, I have to go there again.”

I knowwwwww. I love that place too. The dessert was soooooo gooooood. 

*instant connection*

So it turned out, I ‘ll be working at MS this summer. I’m sure that was not exactly why they picked me, but I like to think that it’s our mutual love for Cookshop that got me the job. It just makes for a much better story that way.

So no, I don’t make poor life decisions. I might go eat at the wrong time,  but it was the right place. I make good decisions. Hypothesis rejected with 100% level of confidence =p

Cookshop
156 10th Avenue
New York, NY 10011
(212) 924-4440

p.s. I’m going there again tomorrow for brunch. I really love this place!

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1 Response to “A week in review (part deux): eating can take you places”



  1. 1 Cookshop: the addendum « Food and Whine Trackback on February 5, 2007 at 2:27 am

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