Friday, March 20, 2009

I've never met a bowl of beef noodles I didn't like... until Super Tasty

As unprofessional as it is, I sit here at work making a blog post. No, I'm not 'fraudin' my company or anything of the sort, but rather, I'm waiting for a migration (RoR thing... don't worry about it) to run and I'm bored as hell. Anyway, I figured it's about time to look back at the terrible fail that took place on Wednesday, on this gorgeous first day of spring (it was snowing this morning... wtf is that?).

I took a personal day on Wednesday since I was, again, running out of food. So in the morning I did the whole gym thing, checked the website, and headed out along Riverside expecting a nice breezy run in 45 degree weather. Um... no, 6 miles of 15 mile an hour wind in my face from the South West made for windchill of low 30s. Whatever, it wasn't that bad... I was running so it was moderately acceptable weather. In any case, I stopped at 14th street since I wanted to check out Union Square's Farmers Market, as well as Trader Joe's (which... don't laugh, I'd never gone to before). Union Square Market was pretty sweet, cheap ass apples, expensive dairy, and apparently Ostrich eggs(?)... who knew? I planned my route so as to hit the apple stands on the way back from Chinatown, so after a quick survey, I headed Eastward toward 'Joe's.' Holy crap was I impressed, it was basically healthfood central... with good prices to boot. Again, just a quick swing through, and I was on my way to Chinatown, where I'd grab lunch and do some grocery shopping.

At first I wanted to hit up the 'Wah Fung No. 1 Fast Food' joint for their $2.25 roast pork over rice. It's an aluminum container stuffed to the brim with white rice, some greens, and topped with some of the fattiest pork, all covered with the soy honey glaze... delicious. I really should have gone with my gut (haha, get it?), but against my better instinct, I trekked deeper into the confines of Chinatown towards Hong Kong Supermarket, ending up on Doyer. Now, I could've salvaged this trip by walking into 'Excellent Pork Chop House,' but no... I kept walking to the next shop, Super Tasty Hand-pulled Noodles. Ugh... what a mistake this turned out to be. Honestly, I was tricked by the sign in the window that said they had 'Shandong (山東) style knife cut noodles,' which I later found out, suck ass compared to 'Shanxi (山西) style.'

Even as you look from the outside, the storefront looks clean. This should've tipped me off that it wasn't awesome, but no... I figured there's no way beef noodles can go wrong. Inside, I found a series of tables linked together to be shared by the guests. This is alright, pretty authentic, since in Taiwan, noodle joints tend to be communal eating places... places where you'll often end up elbowing someone in the head when you pick up the bowl to drink the soup, and places where you'll get splashed by someone else's soup broth. Yeah... nostalgia haha, but back on point, I was there for the noodles... so scanning the menu, I went with my favorite... 'beef tendon noodle soup w/knife cut noodles.' I asked for it hot, to which I was promptly given a bottle of Sriracha... seriously, wtf... that's not the same as cooking it with extra chili oil... at $5.25, isn't the least you can do to cater to your customer better than the other noodle shops?

To be fair, there was one positive, it came fast. Like... 1 minute after ordering, and it was hot (temperature wise, not spiciness). The problem was obvious when I stared at the bowl though, the noodles weren't cut like I had thought (the whole Shanxi vs. Shandong thing). Instead of being the thick cut type of shard noodles, what I was given was basically Chinese linguini with retarded edges. Whatever, I could deal with it... I was hungry as a hippo... I had just ran 7 miles in cold weather! After dousing the bowl in Sriracha, which I'm still sort of annoyed with, I dug in. Oh no... another fail, the 'meat' was just tendon. Now you might be saying, "Isn't that exactly what you ordered?" Yes... I guess so, but in Taipei... tendon noodles are actually 1/2 tendon, 1/2 brisket. FAIL FAIL FAIL! I'm sorry, but at this point I was so angry at myself for 1) picking a more expensive place (more than 2x the cost of Wah Fung) 2) getting noodles that were subpar by my standards and 3) getting something other than what I had in mind that I didn't even finish the soup. I paid the ridiculous bill and left. Super Tasty, congratulations... you've done the impossible... you made me regret ordering beef noodle soup.

Basically, I walked out of the store... disappointed? no, that's an understatement, kinda pissed I guess. So on my way to Hong Kong, I spotted the Xin Jiang (新疆) BBQ man, with his assortment of skewers, all for a dollar. Of course, having just ingested a crapload of noodles, with no meat (yeah, tendons by themselves don't count in my book) I quickly scanned the menu for something that would satisfy my lack of protein haha. He has a decent collection of fairly exotic things, with the normal lamb, chicken, and beef, but then you notice that there's cuttlefish, grilled corn, fish balls, and tofu... but anyway, I went with the beef to make up for the noodles. All he asks is "Do you want it spicy," a request that apparently Super Tasty is too retarded to fulfill, let alone ask. Basically, this just means as it's being roasted, he lays on a thick layer of chili oil... yum.

How was it? Pretty satisfying for a buck, there's enough on the stick for a solid 5 or 6 bites. It's fatty enough that the juices flow down the stick, but not so much that it overwhelms the flavor of the smoked barbecue or the original flavor of the meat. As for the spiciness, well... it wasn't something that'd make you cry, but it definitely hit the spot, more on flavor than on the pain. Honestly, if I had known how good this was, and how crappy Super Tasty would be, I would've saved my money and just gotten one of each skewer here, it'd be the same cost, but way more fun and delicious having more skewers than I could try to hold at once. All in all, I'd definitely recommend this spot as a cheapskate spot, and tell everyone to avoid Super Tasty, hell just go next door and grab a pork chop from Excellent's. After that, things were looking up. All that remained was shopping done at Hong Kong, Trader Joe's, and Union Square market. I picked up my standard fare, some tofu, lots of Asian greens, pork belly from HK (and a crocodile steak from Deluxe Market... note: MAD good). At Trader Joe's I just bought egg whites and bread, and to support our local growers, I bought 3 pounds of apples from the farmer's market. Hopped on the 1 train and went back to Columbia. I guess the day was sort of redeemed, as it wasn't 100% useless, but still...


Post a Comment

oh snap. I can control the text here?