Author Archives: Irwin Chen

December 13, 2008

Borscht Borscht Borscht

by Irwin Chen

Probably one of the most labor intensive soups I’ve made next to home-made pho. I had this notion in my mind of borscht as a cold beet soup and therefore the thought never occurred to me to make it or like it. But Aya basically held a gun to my head and made me make […]

September 30, 2008

What To Do On Your Last Night in Barcelona

by Irwin Chen

Okay, it’s our last night here in Barcelona, and while we’ve had some great personal advice from Kayo and some old friends who have spent some time here, I must admit that much of my research on where to eat has taken the form of Googling Chowhound. It took about a half a day spent […]

July 29, 2008

The Most Beautiful Cafe in the World (Kyoto)

by Irwin Chen

If you know me, you won’t be put off by the title, because you will know I am prone to hyperbole and you will know that my hyperbole is usually in jest. In this case, however, I am utterly sincere. What I didn’t know about Kyoto, a city renowned for its beautiful temples, was that […]

July 23, 2008

Tsukiji: Wall Street + Fish Guts

by Irwin Chen

We took supreme advantage of our jetlag and got up at 4:30am to go to the Tsukiji fish market. Here you can see the fish buyers taking core samples of the frozen tuna and inspecting them (sometimes eating the pieces straight) for fat content. We tried to sneak into the section where they supposedly auction […]

July 20, 2008

UM Redux: DanRan II (Tokyo)

by Irwin Chen

(For some Umamimart Rashoman, please see ayagwa’s perspective on this very same day.) So the day I flew into Tokyo, I met Aya, dropped off my stuff in the Shinjuku Washington Hotel, took a shower and a nap, and we headed over to the Shinjuku station to meet up with Yoko, fellow Umamimarter (or is […]

June 3, 2008

Tmonkey Does Hellish Kitchen: Nice & Spicey

by Irwin Chen

I don’t know what the official name of this restaurant is. It’s between 36th and 37th on 9th Ave. The awning says “Cuisine of Pakistan” but somebody took the trouble of bending some neon to say “Nice and Spicey”. So I’m going to go with that. I like the fact that they play up the […]

May 19, 2008

Tmonkey Does Hellish Kitchen: Introduction to the New Nabe

by Irwin Chen

I moved into a new office on 39th and 8th Ave — beautiful view right across the street from the new Renzo Piano New York Times building (which btw will house another Muji store on the ground level), crummy area, many new and old denizens loitering around in front of Port Authority, and after a […]

April 10, 2008

Umamimart Recession Survival Kit: <$10 wines

by Irwin Chen

If Greenspan himself says we’re “in the throes”, well, dammit, I guess that means we’re in the throes. I don’t know about you, but staring down the barrel of a recession makes me want to drink more, not less. I’m sure kanshefle will have much better tips but again, I must toot the horn of […]

November 22, 2007

Umami Buzz

by Irwin Chen

October 18, 2007

Saucing Pasta

by Irwin Chen

There seems to be a war brewing (and if there isn’t I’ll gladly be the instigator). In one corner, we have Mario Batali, holding down the traditional Italian line that Americans drown their pasta in too much sauce, and in the other, Mark Bittman, who asserts that, Poppycock! that’s an old way of thinking, coming […]