Brunch at Irving Mill

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I love brunch but I’m always a bit perplexed when I arrive at a celebrated brunch spot–Prune, for example–and see crowds of people huddled outside, waiting desperately for eggs and pancakes and coffee, foods they can easily and much more cheaply prepare at home. Don’t get me wrong: a place like Prune can dazzle you with its brunch food, but at the end of the day, it’s brunch food and no brunch food–however spectacular–should require a one hour wait.

Which is why I’m delighted to tell you about the brunch I had a few weeks ago with my friend Lauren at Irving Mill, one block east of Union Square. The place is enormous, like a farmy banquet hall, and on Sunday at 12 noon it was almost totally empty, which should’ve been a cause for alarm. Instead, though it was a cause for celebration: Irving Mill serves a pretty killer bunch and the best part is, you don’t have to wait.

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The Toasted Marshmallow Milkshake at Stand

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Friends don’t let friends go to Stand–the burger place on E. 12th Street–without ordering the toasted marshmallow milkshake. It fell upon me yesterday, after seeing “Synecdoche, NY” with Craig and his filmmaker friend David Russo (whose own movie, “The Immaculate Conception of Little Dizzle”, premiered at Sundance this year) to shepherd them both to Stand for burgers and, of course, the toasted marshmallow milkshake. I was so forceful on the latter front–“You’ve gotta get the toasted marshmallow milkshake,” I began; “It’s really one of the best milkshakes I’ve ever had”, I continued; “Aren’t you going to order it?” I begged when neither person ordered it–that my plan backfired: these two were going to need a more direct intervention. I ordered the milkshake for myself.

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Momofuku Ko

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If you live in New York and you’re a food blogger who writes about restaurants, it’s inevitable that, at some point, you must visit and write about Momofuku Ko, David Chang’s most celebrated and impossible-to-get-into restaurant. So many food bloggers, in fact, have visited Ko–among them, The Wandering Eater, Food in Mouth, The Girl Who Ate Everything–that the restaurant now has an official “no pictures” policy. This, I must admit, was a bit of a relief when I surprised Craig on Sunday, taking him there for his birthday; now I wouldn’t have to spend half the meal adjusting the aperture and manually focusing over plates of rapidly cooling food. For great pictures of dinners at Ko, click any of the links above. For a brief account of our time there, click ahead.

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Cold Weather Lunches in N.Y.C. (Setagaya & Pearl)

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There are cold days and then there are really cold days and on those really cold days you probably want to stay at home, under the covers, and never get out of bed. But then you have to get out of bed and, more importantly, you have to eat and if you’re in Manhattan running errands, you may find it difficult to find the cold weather comfort food you crave. Sure you could snarf a burrito, you could scarf a sandwich, but will that really warm you up? No, it will not. But here are two N.Y.C. dishes that will.

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Lunch With Steven Shaw at Ippudo & Momofuku Milk Bar

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On October 3rd, 2003, I shared my very first piece of food writing ever on a forum called eGullet. The post was called Charlie Trotter Superdud and it set off a storm of comments from hundreds of subscribers, some of whom were well known entities in the food world (Anthony Bourdain among them.)

After that happened, my friends told me I should start a food blog and that’s why this blog exists. So it’s quite clear that I owe something to eGullet and, more specifically, to its creator Steven Shaw. And yet we’d never met or had any contact until, years later, I met him at an offal tasting dinner at the Astor Center. Then we became Facebook friends. And, most recently, we met for lunch to talk about his new book, Asian Dining Rules.

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