Monday, February 22, 2010

We found live octopus!

After our pathetic failed attempt at live octopus, I was in despair. But thanks to Alex, WFC member and avid fan of Anthony Bourdain's "No Reservations", we found a Korean restaurant in Flushing that is authentic enough for our appetites. (Although, I later discovered that simply typing in "live octopus" on yelp gives us Sik Gaek (16129 Crocheron Ave, Flushing, NY) as the second result but I digress...)



Live octopus lived up to our expectations for a truly bizarre food. I had never eaten anything that still moved in my mouth. Never did my food try to escape from my plate before. The tentacles wrapped around our chopsticks, the suckers stuck to our tongues and moved around our mouths. We couldn't ask for more from this perfect live octopus, so we award the live octopus sashimi at Sik Gaek a 10 out of 10 rating. The dish comes with jalapeno peppers, garlic, dipping sauces and is sure to incite curiosity, fear, excitement, laughter - all of the above.

We were also curious about the hot pot, which was highly recommended on yelp. We saw a neighboring table with it and the sheer gigantic size of it made us want to order it. We didn't realize how horrible it would be to watch a living octopus boil in front of our eyes until it was actually brought to us.

We did not feel good about it. It was sad to watch and we felt worse about ourselves.

We documented this dish on video just so you don't have to get it if you are ever faced with the option. Please be advised: this video is disturbing.

Even though "squeamish" is the last word to describe Weird Food Club members, we didn't have the stomach for this. Despite being absolutely delicious, the live octopus hot pot gets a 1 out of 10 for cruelty, and we do not recommend nor condone it. Perhaps we should have attempted to kill the octopus by striking it in the nerve center (between the eyes) but we were too shocked and ignorant of its anatomy to do so.

After boiling in the water, the octopus was cut up for us with large scissors. Its tentacles were juicy and tender, and we felt that we gave it justice by enjoying it.

RIP Mr. Octopus.

Although arguably equally cruel, the live octopus sashimi just didn't seem as evil as the hot pot, and we think it is an absolute must-try-at-least-once-in-a-lifetime for all adventurous eaters. Continue...

In search of live octopus...

When I came across Sushi UO's menu containing live octopus, live abalone, live scallop, live giant clam, live pen shell and live orange clam, I thought I hit the weird food jackpot. Sushi UO at 151 Rivington St is a hidden gem, most people say, so I could not contain my excitement and even brought a video camera to record my experience there.

Unfortunately for us, we discovered that Sushi UO's definition of "live" is merely "very fresh", and although the sashimi was delicious, this misnomer was a huge letdown for us weird food fanatics. In our opinion, if it doesn't have a heartbeat, it's not alive, and we don't like gimmicky marketing.

Sea Urchin Roe at Sushi UO

But we didn't let this ruin our night. We enjoyed the sea urchin roe (7 out of 10), which was delicate and creamy, but presented on a plain white dish rather than in the spiky urchin shell.

Their perfectly grilled sea eel on the other hand was truly sumptuous (9 out of 10, only because it is not "weird") and might be the item worth coming back for. Continue...

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Bacon It In NYC

Bacon usually goes with pancakes, eggs, or some other breakfast entree. Occasionally, bacon is used with other dishes: scallops wrapped in bacon, bacon-wrapped cocktail wieners, the classic BLT, and also chopped up in salads and added to other veggies.
Coincidentally, I started coming across some non-traditional uses of bacon and wanted to dedicate this post to NYC-based baconites and their creations. Behold!

1. Chocolate-covered bacon

Sure, we've all had chocolate covered pretzels, chocolate covered cherries, and chocolate covered raisins. However, this wonderful marvel is sure to please. Sold at Roni-Sue's Shoppe at Essex Market, about a quarter pound (~$10) of this item will give you and your friends a fixation that you won't be able to shake. Coronary insurance not included. Recommendation: 8 out of 10.

Photo: Choco-bacon lover from Roni-Sue's Shoppe giving away samples at the 2009 Chocolate Show

On Avenue A there's a joint known as the Double Down Saloon that serves up "booze, booze, and more booze" making one consider the reason or reasons people drink to begin with.

First, bacon-infused vodka. Second, Slim Jim garnish. Third, drink. Getting the drink down was tough. If you want to re-live the experience, it might help to have a few drinks somewhere else first, so you're prepared for the atmosphere as well as the actual beverage. Review: 5 of 10.

3. Bacon Bubble Gum

Okay, so there isn't exactly any real bacon in this one, only artificial flavoring. However, the trip to Dylan's Candy Bar on the Upper East Side is worth it. I found this gem on the lower level. Verdict: 3 of 10, only a must for the most hardcore bacon lovers.

4. Bacon Ice Cream
A few people cringed upon hearing this phrase. Do not. Embrace. Applewood in Park Slope has one of the greatest desserts ever devised (Its other food is exceptional as well). Bacon ice cream over a maple cake that was so heavenly, even this self-ascribed savory-salty tooth gobbled it down with delight. Word of caution: we were informed that the restaurant does not offer this item daily, so be sure to call head and tell them you're a bacon guy (or gal) as I did. Overall 10 of 10. This is arguably the best bacon incorporated item, ever! Or if you can't make it to Applewood, try making your own bacon ice cream at home


Thursday, February 11, 2010

Weird Food Club mailing list


As the organizer of Weird Food Club outings, I am running into a now common problem of restaurant capacity. We often have lots of people who want to go (yay!) and too few reservation spots (nay!).
So... I am creating a WFC mailing list.

If you would like to be notified of the next WFC outing by email, please send a note to weirdfoodclub [at] gmail dot com.
Once a new event is organized, we will send an invite to everyone on the mailing list. The first people to respond get the spots!

We swear we won't send you any spam.

You can also use this email address to contact us about anything - tips, comments, ideas.

Thanks and I look forward to eating weird stuff with you! Continue...

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Whole Frog at Kenka (22 St. Mark's Place)

Kenka is where it all started. I tried bull penis at Kenka on a dare and from then on, the weird food just wouldn't stop. Now when I think back, bull penis doesn't even seem so strange to me and when I recount the story, even though everyone generally tends to cringe they continue to ask with wide open eyes what it tasted like.

I went back to Kenka last night to try their whole fried frog. I've had frog legs before, but they weren't prepared well (too dry). Frog legs can often be found in French and Thai restaurants, but rarely can you find a place that will serve you a entire deep fried frog.

The frog at Kenka was lightly breaded, deep fried whole, placed on two skewers, served on a small mound of cabbage and lettuce, and covered in kewpie mayo. It was absolutely delicious. It tasted very much like tender fried chicken and its legs look a lot like skinny drum sticks.

I liked playing with the frog's feet and even tried chewing on those scary long curly toes. But more fun than anything is the fact that you can tell what animal you're eating because you can see it in its entirety. It was delightful! Playing with my frog and eating it made me feel like a wacky kid.

Not all frogs are edible. Edible frogs tend to be brown. Bright-colored frogs may be poisonous, so don't go out and eat your exotic pet frog.

Like alligator, in terms of taste, frogs could really be a great replacement for chicken, except they cost about $9/pound whereas chicken is $1-2/pound. Frogs are not very meaty, either. Someone should start a frog farm and feed them some roids to compete with chicken on equal terms. I can just see the future of frog meat markets: "Organic, free range frogs!" I'm actually not sure if this frog was steroids free - look how enormous it is. It's almost the size of my head.

A whole frog is definitely worth trying, and I rate it 7 out of 10. It's fun, not too bizarre, and tasty, plus at Kenka one whole frog will only set you back $8 (but order something else in addition if you're hungry). Kenka's awesome menu and prices continue to blow my mind. Next time I go, I'll have to try their turkey testicles, deep fried garlic, cow intestines, and pig feet. Continue...