I go in cycles of food obsessions. They’re like cravings, only they go on for weeks at a time, are very specific, and sometimes indecent. I had a flaming affair with the spicy fried chicken at K Town Chicken & Hof. For almost two months, I dragged my friends there once a week (sometimes twice) and couldn’t stop talking about it. I still don’t, but currently, I’m distracted with some new obsessions:
I’ve had a lot of bubble tea in my day (Kung Fu Tea, CoCo, T Baar, Ten Ren, Spot, the list goes on), but ViVi’s bubble tea is officially my favorite because of their Moo Milk concoctions. And who can resist the friendly green pillow? Ironic that bubble tea originates from Asia, a habitually lactose-intolerant part of the world, so they cater to their lactose-intolerant guests. In China, 99% of the milk used is lactose-free, so their bubble teas are lactose-intolerant-friendly. ViVi’s milk teas and fruit teas are good, the tapioca’s texture and flavor are perfect, and you can customize sweetness, ice, and add-ins. The Lactaid is just the cherry on top.
Each location is also slightly different in terms of menu items. I hear the John Street location used to offer bao buns. The 14th Street location (with which I have a VIP card) offers Taiwanese-style snacks, such as sausages and takoyaki, and personalizes the decorations with adorable silhouettes of cats at play.
Addiction level: Twice a week (sometimes three). World Trade Center location: 39 John St., New York NY. 10038, 212-574-4849; Gramercy location: 226 E 14 St., New York, NY. 10003, 212-777-8988.
The croissants. Oh, the croissants. I’m on a croissant kick in general, but these are my one true love. The oatmeal raisin cookies and berry muffins are equally delicious. What I love about Our Daily Bread is that their creations are fresh and even survive the jam test (the jam-based fillings don’t taste like they hopped off a store shelf) and the sweetness isn’t too sweet. Everything just feels so natural.
Addiction level: Three times a week. Every time I’m on my way to work. This is why I’m training for a 5K.
SkyIce is the Thai lunch spot that makes me remember why I make the daily commute from Manhattan to Brooklyn. Again, freshness is the key here. The shop is small but stylish, the servers are patient and friendly, and there’s a nice family-owned feel to the place. Sometimes you may spot a little girl showing off her gymnastic prowess. Just wait, one day the International Olympic Committee will delight little girls everywhere by announcing parallel-table-hopping as a sport.
My go-to is the No-Carb Pad Thai, which is essentially a papaya salad with pad Thai sauce, peanuts, vegetables, and a choice of protein (I always go for the tofu). The Pad See Yue is delicious as well, and my friend always gets the spicy noodles. Each lunch entrée also comes with a free mini scoop of ice cream or sorbet. SkyIce doesn’t skimp on their serving sizes and their ice cream comes packed with flavor, so a mini scoop is just the right amount.
63 5th Ave, Brooklyn, NY 11217, 718-230-0910. Note: not open on Tuesdays! Addiction level: Once a week. Le wallet demands that I bring lunch once in a while.
4. Han Dynasty
This Sichuan/Szechuan staple is permanently saved in my phone as a bookmark. It’s been said that Han Dynasty stays in business because of my deep feelings for their dan dan noodles, but that’s blatantly untrue because they’re always packed. That’s okay because I can take my noodles to go, and we can have “alone time” back at my apartment. They also do a good job with Dry-Fried (or “Four Season”) Green Beans and double-cooked pork. The garlic eggplant is a great choice as well. Addiction level: strictly a once-a-week tête-à-tête. 90 3rd Avenue, New York, NY 10003, 212-390-8685.
Feature photo: Yelp/Inga C.
A foodie in perpetual wanderlust, Rose makes it a mission to sample the best ugly delicious delights around the world, but also enjoys the occasional dress-code-required fare and is always ready for a spot of afternoon tea. Currently based in the Boston area, she has been writing for GMF since 2013 and called DC, NYC, and Mexico City home. Rose is a graduate of the University of Virginia and New York University, and is on the board of the University of Virginia’s Asian and Asian Pacific American Alumni Network as well as the Thomas Jefferson Partnership Fund, which supports the Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology in Alexandria, Virginia. She pays her bills by helping companies communicate with Wall Street as an investor relations professional.