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Xi’an Famous Foods – NYC

3 Oct

After a month of ‘settling’ in to New York City and it’s ever vibrant -not worth missing-i’ll sleep when I die- cultural offerings, it took a bad douse of Bronchitis to finally slow me down!  Nothing like a bad case of disease to make you really home sick…

And so, for the past week, I have taken to curing my physical and mental illness by loitering around Chinatown every chance I get.  Something about the smells.  The crowds of people.  The rather loud often unnecessary hollering.  Did I mention the smells…?  I found comfort in hearing my mother tongue even if it were from the mouth of a stranger!!

Although i’d been more than successful in visiting a large amount of Asian Bakeries and grocery stores -yes I already have my firm favourites: Grand Bakery!  HK style milk tea and their egg sponge paper cake – I was still yet to dine at any of the many Asian restaurants…which, given my fear of eating out alone kind of makes it rather difficult.  So having spent much of the week obsessively ‘researching’ online for good recommended Asian eateries, I found the most commonly written about happened to be a little place called Xi’an Famous Foods.

Xi'an East Village

So on a night where it was cold, rainy and the thought of consuming another dumpling was enough to make me want to self harm (my freezer is FULL of dumplings!! That’s what happens when you put a lazy Asian girl alone… in New York City… who has been hitting EVERY Asian grocer in town!!)  I decided to give Xi’an a go!  It ticked all the boxes: within 0.5 miles (umm… i guess thats less than a kilometer…?)  from my house, did takeaway and was fast and cheap!

Xi’an offers a range of noodles, soups and starter dishes, and is most famous for it’s hand ripped noodles, a dish called the Lamb Face Salad (which I thought about ordering…. maybe next time!) and most highly touted The Cumin Lamb Burger.

Having done all my research online before going, I decided I wasn’t hungry enough to tackle the Lamb Face thing, and didn’t feel like dealing with the wrath of noodle soup done Take Out, so I went with the famous Lamb Burger.  Walking into the tiny shop that is Xi’an, I couldn’t help but feel relieved to find the shop full of Asians!! Not to be controversial… but choosing to adorn your Asian Eatery’s hoarding with the words “Western Chinese Cuisine” hardly instills confidence – and I do not have enough energy to start ranting about why no one (not even white people) orders Lemon Chicken anymore… !  (Upon more research, it seems the Xi’an restaurant chain ‘boasts a unique cuisine that may be best described as a fusion of Middle Eastern and Chinese foods.’)

Cumin Lamb Burger $3

So it took approximately 97 seconds between me ordering and paying, and walking out the door with my dinner!! It also took that 97 seconds of waiting whilst seeing everyone eating their hand ripped noodle goodness to give me SEVERE food envy and make me suddenly starving!!

Lamb Burger

I pull that neat little ‘burger’ out of its bag, to reveal a nicely toasted bun with the filling sitting neatly inside.  I was pretty delighted to find no sauce spills or mess when taken out of the wrapping.

Inside. Cumin spiced lamb

Although, after taking a few initial bites, it didn’t take long for me to wish it had been a sauce laden mess!  The bun tended to be a little… no… actually a lot on the dry side.  Given the Cumin Lamb is not meant to be saucy, it is kind of understandable!  But I wish I was given some hot sauce or something to relieve those bland chunks of bun!!

Having said that though, the lamb was very well cooked.  Not tough at all, and well marinated in the cumin giving off a nice subtle heat (it could have been hotter!! But then again, all the places i’ve eaten and ordered the item with the chillies next to it are lacking heat).

Maybe it was the slightly dense, dry texture of the bun… Or more likely the fact that I feel like i haven’t eaten meat in a long time … I found myself to be struggling at the half way mark.  This little ‘burger’ is surprisingly filling, amazingly cheap and as far as (VERY VERY) fast food goes, I think i’ll be revisiting this over McDonalds.  Now all I have to do is get over my fear of eating out alone and it’ll be Lamb Face Salad time…

Xi’An Famous Foods –

East Village  81 St. Mark’s Place, New York, NY 10003

China Town (counter only| no seating) 88 East Broadway #106, New York, NY 10002

China Town  67 Bayard Street, New York, NY 10013

Flushing 41-28 Main Street Bsmt #36, Flushing, NY 11354

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Bread and Jam for Frances

11 Apr
 Sandwich and Juice offering

If I was writing this post this time last year, you would by now be sick of reading about the 11th day of my ‘eating as many different Hot Cross Buns (… a day… ) Challenge.’  But with Easter only weeks away, I am still yet to sink my teeth into a fragrant, fruit filled, sweet, over buttered, cross covered bun!

You see, after years of delighting in eating Hot Cross Buns (rather excessively) over the recently extended Easter period (… YEP.  Its New Years Day.  And they are already selling Hot Cross Buns at Woolies) my indulging has caught up with me.   Last year I realised I was allergic to them – maybe it was the over consumption.  But lesson learned everyone;  everything in moderation – or suffer the consequences!

After a morning at the Farmers Market amongst all the fresh produce and fresh bread on offer, DDO decided to keep it local for brunch this week.  Since the Dench Bakery crew opened Bread and Jam for Frances in Hawthorn and N moved (momentarily) back to the burb’s, this place has been a GODSEND when we need a decent coffee, sweet treats and artisan style bread locally.

Freshly Made Hot Crossed Buns

Fresh made Hot Crossed Buns

As soon as I walk in all I can think about is ordering a Hot Cross Bun!  The sheer memory of them makes me salivate –  the bun itself, all soft and fluffy with that perfectly spiced fruit and a hint of zest… If you are so lucky to be able to enjoy a hot Cross bun this season, make sure you try at least one made by Dench.  They are AMAZING!!

In addition to bread and buns, BAJFF also offers daily specials, and a selection of tempting brunch options that cover sweet and savory, as well as, of course, a changing selection of freshly made pastries and cakes for those  sweet cravings.  N decided to go with the soup (soup of the day was Thai Pumpkin soup) 1/2 and 1/2 – which is a half serve of soup with half a toasted ham and cheese sandwich.  I got to have a taste, and as simple as this sounds, the soup was rich in pumpkin flavour and a really nice creamy consistency.  The toasted sandwich was made with Fresh Dench bread.  I’m not sure what cheese was used, but it tasted AMAZING! Really punchy flavour and nice and stringy!  The makings of a perfect toastie!

Soup of the Day: Thai Pumpkin soup

I was feeling rather defeated by my cursed food allergy, so I went with the Breakfast Trifle.  (I’m actually really surprised the word Hot Cross Bun didn’t spill out of my mouth like verbal diorrhea when it came to order time).  I rarely go the sweet option for brunch, but this sounded like it would look pretty and I figured that would distract me from temptation.

Breakfast Trifle; bircher, poached pears & apple with yoghurt and berries

As soon as mine arrived I couldn’t help but do the obligatory “ooohhh”-ing and “ahhh”-ing you’d expect any person to when presented with such a painterly assortment of food in a tumbler.  The fruit was not over cooked, and although you had to dig a little deeper to get to it, pushing the bircher  helped amalgamate all the juices.  The slithered almonds on top were a welcome garnish to mix up the textures, so I didn’t feel like I was eating baby food (or anything too healthy…)

Coffees

As we sipped our well made coffees at the end of our meals, I couldn’t help but feel like I was cheating myself.  There was nothing to fault about Bread and Jam for Frances, with it’s friendly staff and tidy interior.  And if it were any other time I would not question leaving 100% satisfied.  But I couldn’t help but consider suffering the consequences; dealing with the wrath of the dreaded delicious HCB and giving into temptation…

I may or may not have left with one to take home!  Lets just say, that later, in the comfort of suffering in my own home, I was finally satisfied!

Bread and Jam for Frances

1/701 Glenferrie Rd, Hawthorn, 3122

Tel 9819 2122

www.breadandjamforfrances.com.au