Asics Cloud Pop-Up

Dreamland in Manhattan.

While wandering around a busy Soho street, my friend and I stumbled into the Asics Cloud Pop-Up shop. Not only can you try on the latest Gel Kenun.

The various colorways hang against the walls, as well as a DJ booth set up in the corner. The biggest appeal, however, are the colorful clouds hanging from the ceiling. Once you delve deeper into the room, you find an entire wall covered with clouds lighting up in similar patterns to that of lightning bolts flashing through the sky.

Behind the cloud mural, a dark room hosts photographed cloud walls and a city-covered floor. Once laying in the bean bag sofa, you peer up into a giant circular mirror that makes you feel like you’re on top of a New York building.

Visit the pop-up through the rest of the month at 63 Greene Street.

A culinary experience at Perry St

Jean-Georges creates delicious American dishes that sent my tastebuds to heaven.

My birthday is a special week-long celebration. The weekend before my special holiday, I decided to try Perry St, a Jean- Georges restaurant thanks to a positive review from my friend (and food expert) Cole Neuffer.

It’s a romantic establishment with dim lighting throughout the entire area. The restaurant accommodates parties of all sizes from a table for one to a large group that will fit in an oversized round booth.

I ordered a Ginger Margarita, which embodied a nice ginger-lime zest. The texture looks flawless although it arrived after my appetizers.

The meal came with a slice of bread from Balthazar. I never tried anything from there, but it’s a great marketing technique as now I’m wondering how great all the carbs might taste and made a note to go in the future.
  Soup served in a shot glasses added a nice palette cleanser and foreshadow of future dishes.

Above is the Charred Foie Gras and Duck Ravioli with spiced sweet potato puree on the side. The pasta was homemade and soft to touch. The dish was the highlight to my meal as it used a ton of different flavors from zest to hearty spices. Below is the famed Rice Cracker Crusted Tuna, which I understood why so many people enjoyed. The rice crackers add a nice soft, but hard crunch along with the thickly sliced raw tuna. Next to it are scallions and other small vegetables smothered in sriracha-citrus dressing. It overpowered the raw component of the dish since scallions have a distinct taste to it.
   

 

Justin ordered the signature Perry St Fried Chicken, which came out just as we predicted: good, but not to-die-for. The presentation was beautiful as greens and black wild rice framed the meat. I ordered the Butter Poached Lobster, which came with a delicious lemongrass-kaffir lime broth that a waiter poured onto the dish. Potato Ravioli sat on the side to fill my stomach in case the bit of lobster didn’t complete my meal. I would go back for this dish, although my wallet might not ($41).


For dessert we knew we wanted one chocolate dish and one citrus. We decided on the Valrhona Chocolate Mousse that came with a scoop of mint ice cream and chocolate shavings scattered all over the plate. We also decided on the Citrus Pavlova that included a scoop of blood orange sorbet and several pieces of oranges on the side. Both desserts blew my mind and tasted outstanding. I can imagine coming back solely for this final part of the meal. 

Justin and I both had upset stomachs a few hours after our meal. We reached out the restaurant, but didn’t receive a response back. We suppose it was the ahi tuna. We reached out to the restaurant and never heard back.

 

Perry St is located on 176 Perry St in New York and accepts reservations. 

Restaurant Review: Bao.

BAO offers a classy setting for Londoners looking for excellent Taiwanese cuisine.

Probably one of the trendiest foodie spots on London, BAO offers delicious Taiwanese “street” cuisine.

My excitement couldn’t be contained, especially because when we arrived there was only a 15 minute wait. I read that in the beginning of summer, lines queued for almost an hour. I can wait a few minutes for tasty dishes, but an hour on an empty stomach is a bit much.

Beware, it’s a small shop similar to a cafe-like setting. Customers encircle a small bar where waitresses compose drinks and wash dishes. Delve a bit deeper into the depths of BAO and you’ll find a handful of tables ideal for groups of four.


  

I’m in love with BAO’s logo. It’s simplistic and defines the atmosphere of the shop. Similar to Americans enjoying burgers, it appears the Brits love Taiwanese cuisine.

Water is poured in slightly-larger-than-a-shot cup. For someone like me who downs a ton of water, especially after long London walks, I downed two glasses easily.

I traded my afternoon saké for afternoon tea. Waiters served an unsweetened iced tea, topped with whipped cream. The drink was perfect for cooling off from all the upcoming warm food and it didn’t hold absurd amounts of sugar, which often happens in the states. 

It’s rather beautiful to watch the barista create the drink, noting the whipped cream falling slowly to the bottom of the cup.   
  

The Eryngii Mushroom reminiscent of a long piece of portobello mushroom with the same chewy texture. It was perfectly cooked with egg-like flavors and barely any excess oil.

You would probably be afraid to order a Pig Blood Cake, but have no fear because it’s one of the best items on the menu. It’s sticky rice with soy sauce, hints of pig blood (that you can’t taste) and topped with a gooey egg yolk that easily breaks at any point of touch.   

Baby trotter nuggets came crispy, light brown colored and tasted moist and flavorful. The worst part: there’s only four pieces.

Another must-order: Sweet Potato Chips, which otherwise known as fresh fries. The exterior comes dipped in fried tempura flakes with a tasty mayo sauce. 

The Taiwanese Fried Chicken comes in larger pieces with a brown sauce. It’s surprisingly spicy and almost braised on the inside.

The 40-Day Rump Cap aged in white soy sauce comes thinly seared in rare-cooked style. It’s easy to take all the beef in one bite, but learn to savor each and every bite. The bits of fat on the sides actually add to the chewy texture.   

The pork bao comes heavy on the dried shallots, but there’s still a good bit of pork belly in between the fluffy bao. The inside comes smothered with pork sauce that isn’t too salty for the tasting.

The Classic bao comes overflowing with crushed peanuts and braised pork. One bite and all the juicies begin to drip out (not that it’s a bad thing!).

The Lamb Shoulder bao is probably least memorable, only because the other two pork clearly take home the gold. It’s still worth the try as it comes with roasted peppers.

The Fried Chicken bao comes on a black sesame bun like a slider. There’s barely any mayo on the bottom that taste exquisite with the crispy fried and instead of classic lettuce and tomato, there’s kimchi on top.

Never skip dessert, especially at Bao. The Fried Horlicks Ice Cream Bao comes in a deep-fried sweet bun with the most perfect ball of coldness. It tasted like a light, fluffy, ice-cream filled doughnut (why isn’t this sold in the district?!) When you squish the two breads together, you can fit the whole thing in your mouth.

The debate between my beloved Baohaus and BAO goes side-by-side because they both offer two completely different atmospheres. BAO is where I would take my family for lunch/dinner, while I would enjoy Baohaus after a late night of work. The two restaurants (let’s be real, Baohaus isn’t really a restaurant) offer different outtakes on beloved Taiwanese cuisine. Whether you want “street” food, you won’t find the same quickly, made orders at BAO that you would see Eddie Huang whipping up in New York.

Yet in America, we’re seeing Asian food coming in high-end and street-market versions. While I can’t fully enjoy a high-end Americanized Korean venue, I’m always excited to see more popping up the U.S. because that’s what Murca is, a melting pot of cultures.

The verdict: it depends whether you’re looking for a quick stop home or a sit-down meal. Either way, these are the finest baos I’ve ever tasted.

BAO is located on 53 Lexington St in London. Go early, wait in line and enjoy because you can’t make a reservation here. 

Restaurant Review: Bone Daddies

Ramen in London might be even better than America’s offerings.

The best part about London: the food. A melting pot of cultures and international cuisine fills the small city. British food contains significantly less oil and grease in comparison to the heaps seen on American dishes.


Naturally my first instinct is to find the best Japanese ramen, especially because dark skies and a drizzle of rain makes for the perfect setting. After debating trying the international Ippudo, I headed to Soho’s Bone Daddies for a delicious hot bowl of noodle soup worth the extra steps.

With a group of four, I sat immediately in the shop’s window, similar to bar seating. A contemporary look fills the small venue with young adults of all cultures scattered throughout.


  
  
Bibs are available for those with white shirts. Wine bottles filled with tap water can be easily poured into metallic industrial cups. If looking for a cocktail, try the YUZU Drink for a refreshing, citrus taste perfect for pre or post ramen.

While we skipped appetizers, we started with a small side order of kimchi. While it tasted more pickled and less traditional, it still had all the best qualities any Korean tried to define in this must-have side.

Featured below is the spicy miso ramen. Noodles in each bowl came out perfectly, a slightly hardened texture but still soft of the outside. The broth while had a bit more oil than necessary (baby pools can be seen when the bowl comes out), it tasted absolutely delicious with no butter in sight.

BoneDaddies-JustSouledOut BoneDaddies-JustSouledOut

Full jalapeño peppers come perfectly placed on the side of the bowl, as well as a gooey tea boiled egg (approved for its texture and quality).

Th kimchi ramen came out in a full red color, not that we expected anything less. Extra spicy, my tastebuds lit on fire (in a good way) and the corn added a nice composition to the overall bowl. The side came in handy when I wanted an extra crunch and coldness, but it pored well with the flavor of the broth.

BoneDaddies-JustSouledOut BoneDaddies-JustSouledOut

If you crave a warm bowl of noodle soup, there’s no other stop than Bone Daddies. The waiters act cool, calm and collected. They serve quickly, but not in a rushing manner that makes you feel forced to leave. The ambience brings out the best of a British-gone-Japanese hot spot. Skip your convenience store carbs and be sure to add this ramen joint to your bucket list, especially when you’re abroad.

Bone Daddies is located on 31 Peter St in London. No reservations. The shop suggests to “simply walk in, sit down and get going.”