Jenny Famewhore

Starbuck’s Clover coffee

Posted in Boston by Jenny Famewhore on January 30, 2010

Tokyo, April 2009

I will admit that I have this shameful habit of ducking into a Starbucks to sip a saccharine, spicy chai latte, with foamy whole milk or a creamy caramel macchiato on the occasion. I should feel twinges of guilty when I go, “wee,” when the red holiday cups make its seasonal debut, or when I walked into a Starbucks in Tokyo in March and April to find sakura pastries and strawberry frappes with pink and white swirls. Pretty.

Starbucks is so prevalent in the landscape of big cities, that sometimes, I miss it when I don’t find a store across from a store, cannibalizing each other. I even get angry when I really, really, REALLY need to pee, and I can’t find one within a block and I have to resort to using the restroom at, ugh, a McDonalds. Their job is to be everywhere, isn’t it?

It’s frustrating how it’s always crowded no matter how many stores there are in the city, and when Starbucks announced that it would close a few hundred stores in NYC a few years ago, the Times sarcastically wrote, “Now, New Yorkers will ONLY have 10,000 branches to choose from.” These stores never kick anyone out either, which serves as a great procrastination space to gossip with friends, cut class, and beg the barista for free whipped cream.

Yet, the company is so evil and so sinister, that it has conditioned college students to associate their brand with the delights of coffee, caffeine, and class by embedding themselves in the dining halls (“we serve Starbucks coffee”) and using whatever currency system the university accepts. Then, when everyone graduates, they will naturally gravitate towards the same provider of liquid stimulant that they have relied on for the last four years. (more…)

Thursday in the Heights: Tasting El Salvador

Posted in Recipes, Travel by Jenny Famewhore on January 29, 2010

By Jenny Liu

Published: Wednesday, January 27, 2010

I am walking into Arbol del Dios, past a gallery devoted to El Salvador’s most celebrated resident artist, Fernando Llort. My mind absorbs the bright colors and bold outlines from my peripherals, but my feet keep me moving past the paintings, scenes of village life, courtyard, and sunlit emerald facade. Despite the vibrant colors and the view of paradise, I do not pause until I am in the restaurant, pointing at food and muttering my heart’s desires in fragmented Spanish.

workers at Tipicos Margoth, making pupusas

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St. Marks’ love letter

Posted in New York by Jenny Famewhore on January 21, 2010

In the brief two weeks flailing about New York City, preceding mi vuelo a Central America, Eric and I did a little, informal St. Marks Roundabout pre- and post- beating our livers into submission at divey LES bars.

I made a stylistic choice to bold “St. Marks Roundabout” because it is a noun that denotes the coming of age for any young NYC foodie and a crucial transition for out-of-towners attempting to assimilate into a ~relevant~ culture. It is V. V. important. (For those of y’all who are still stuck in the fundamentals, I leave you in the competent hands of this wikipedia article) It is a hallowed tradition that requires a stomach of steely stamina and appetite of unwavering fortitude–  restaurant/food-cart hopping around St. Marks Place, moving as much food down your esophagus until either your body gives or you mentally cannot withstand the fact that there are still. more. restaurants. to eat through.

In 2005, I experienced my first St. Mark’s Roundabout, under the tutelage of Eric, whose area-navigation know-how (where the best burger is, the best waffle fries, the best egg cream, and so on) was passed on from John. But since then, St. Marks’ has been like looking through a kaleidoscope while tripping on acid, with the comings and goings of little stores and restaurants that thematically lacks cohesiveness. One day, there will be futuristic Canadian vending machines spitting out grilled cheese and fries when fed money, the next minute, it will have been replaced by a yuppie fro-yo shop. All of these new-comers shifting in and out between the main fixtures.

You can get an “Alpine Burger” at Pauls’, the neighborhood burger joint, or a crispy takoyaki from Otafuku that had liquidated the insides of my mouth one too many times, and then walk by Kenka, the oldest Japanese restaurant on the block that doesn’t card if you’re “with the band.” You can order delectable bull penis complete with chewy foreskin. During peak hours, you’d have to wait next to a large porcelain bear with strobing red eyes, in front of the velvet ropes guarded by a bouncer with the taiyou bandana wrapped around his forehead like a bullet-wound on the verge of engulfing his face. And watch the broadcasts of German cartoon pornography with Belgium subtitles and Nazi propaganda films on the window of Search and Destroy above Kenka. And get $2 shots from Continental and then empty the contents later on the sidewalks of Union Square. Maybe hang around St. Marks’ hotel, which is frequented by callgirls  in need of extra cash to pay for college and the fly life. And then drink a lot of recession special wine at a wine bar, which leads to poor decisions afterwards like frolicking in Central Park at 2AM and receiving citations from cranky po-pos.

But there are some newly discovered places that I would love to include into my permanent memories of St. Marks’ Place and perhaps even into the sacred Roundabout. Like Spot Dessert Bar, where Pichet Ong draws inspiration from the “street sweets of Asia as well as classic American dessert,” for a White Miso Semifreddo, Ovaltine and Kabocha Roll, and Chocolate Banana Pudding. All highly recommended except for the Ovaltine ice cream that was much too salty and was left unfinished—disturbingly breaching my number one rule.

Secondly, for midnight snacking and some soju as a night-cap, Boka, where one can strip the dense, tender meat and crispy skin off the bone, picked from a platter of infamous Bonchon Korean fried chicken. I don’t care if those chicken hormones cause gigantism.

Referenced Locations:

Pauls’ Burger
131 2nd Ave (St Marks Place)
New York, NY 10003
http://www.paulsburgers.com/
Otafuku
236 E 9th St
(between 2nd Ave & Stuyvesant St)
New York, NY 10003
(212) 353-8503
Kenka
25 Saint Mark’s Place
New York, NY 10003
(212) 254-6363
Spot
13 St. Mark’s Pl
(between 3rd Ave & Astor Pl)
Manhattan, NY 10003
(212) 677-5670
www.spotdessertbar.com
Boka
9 St. Marks Place
(between 2nd Ave & 3rd Ave)
New York, NY 10003
(212) 228-2887

… And we’re back!

Posted in Travel by Jenny Famewhore on January 16, 2010

Ahh, I sigh with a contentment that can only be brought about by sitting in a lounge chair in a string bikini, sipping on a sweating glass bottle of Coca Cola while the ocean spread out before me sprayed foaming thick waves like a frothy milkshake. Alternating my hand, I take a bite out of the Steak Pepito, lapping up the falling guacamole and bean spread that were being squished out from the edges of the sandwich. Yep, pinch me hard, I had made it to El Salvador.

clinking that vintage glass at Club Joya, private beach in El Salvador

Dropped off the face of the planet for a vicious, relentless holiday cycle of eating, no, gorging, free-falling into food comas and birthing food-tuplets, cooking a little, and resume eating some more. No respite for the wicked & gluttonous.