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Monday, September 28, 2009

Seen From Above


Across from Buddakan, we seek solace on top of Hotel Gansevoort. Fat chance. Up top, a hundred drunk kids in Prada are dancing their brains out while some dude plays drums on a bucket to accompany some loud music. Fun for another night.

We taxi north, walk through the Hudson’s lobby and get in the elevator. It lets us out on a deck halfway up the side of the building and we find a quiet nook. The city floats so calmly at our feet, it doesn’t matter that we’ve ordered another incredibly expensive and poorly-crafted drink. We’re paying for the view and the calm.

Worth every penny.

Hudson Hotel - MAP
356 West 58th Street
New York, NY 10019, United States
+1 212-554-6000

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Sunday, September 27, 2009



By Joe Ray

“The Shake Shack?” asked a friend, “That place is a gimmick.”

I brought another friend when I went. We had burgers for breakfast.

That might be a bit of a stretch, but not by too much. We got there at around 11. On a nice day, the Shack has a line that stretches clear across Madison Square Park. I have no idea how long you’d have to wait, but I’ve got no desire to find out.

We ordered two cheeseburgers and two black and whites and, feeling generous, I told my pal I’d pick up the tab.

“Twenty three dollars,” said the woman at the register.


It’s still worth it as a special treat. Plus, it’s a good burger and I had struck out looking for really good burgers on a recent trip to the Pacific Northwest. It’s not perfect, but there’s a friend, a seat in the park and a happy mouthful.

Shake Shack - MAP
Madison Square Park (not to be confused with the faraway Madison Square Garden)

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Wednesday, September 23, 2009



I was late for an interview at Fort Defiance.

I took the subway. I took a bus. I ran.

I was also hungry.

While I was running, I passed the Brooklyn Ice House and it was about that time when I smelled the barbecue.

The owner was sitting on a bench out front with some friends and I asked if I could get a quick pulled pork sandwich. Truthfully, the three of them looked so relaxed and friendly, I just wanted to sit with them for an hour.

The owner brought me inside - fantastic and saloon-like, a bar and a place to hang out. I watched a father and daughter sitting at in the corner, playing Rock’Em Sock’Em Robots.

My favorite part? At a serious beer bar, I asked what the owner would recommend to go with my sandwich.


Pabst Blue Ribbon.

She could have said something that cost twice as much - and I would have enjoyed it - but for a guy who’s running late and might not have a ton of time to appreciate what he’s eating, she stuck with something good. And cheap. My whole mini-meal cost $7. Woohoo!

Good thing she didn’t ask me to marry her.

Brooklyn Ice House - MAP
318 Van Brunt Street
+1 (718) 222 1865

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Saturday, September 19, 2009

First We Take Manhattan


***Celebrating Eating The Motherland’s 100th (or so) post, we’re heading to New York!***

Want dining as entertainment? All the show you need is on display at Buddakan. Outed by “Sex and The City” and now (Fortunately? Unfortunately?) full of mini Carrie Bradshaws, I’m not normally a big fan of this form of pomp and glam, yet here I ate it up; it’s impossible to stand at the top of the stairway and not look slack-jawed into the dining pit.

For its part, the food is up to the task, but the food is not why you come. Buddakan is an East Coast cousin to Betelnut – the San Francisco beautiful people restaurant where I once worked as a cook – it’s high end Asian fusion that’s very well thought out like long beans with shrimp and soy and a rather exquisite Peking duck salad served French style with frisée and a poached egg.

There are a few cracks showing. A pricey martini arrives with miraculous speed from the packed bar yet it’s barely cold. I’ll leave more than half of it on the table at the end of the night.

Later, our astute waiter asks about our appetizers.

- Me: I really liked the duck.

- Him: Yes, the duck salad is quite good.

We both intentionally left out the short ribs.

These are quibbles. We were here for the show and got it in spades – Carrie might have to elbow her way back in, but she won’t be disappointed. Dinner also turned out to be rather reasonably priced for a special treat kind of place – about $50 per person with drinks and a doggy bag full of lunch for the next day.

Buddakan - MAP
75 9th Ave, New York, NY‎
(212) 989-6699‎

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