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Jjajangmyun, Cocktails, and Otto Gelato

February 28, 2008

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Off to sleep in a little bit.

But check out these noodles Don and I had in NJ last weekend!

I mentioned my cravings for a good dish of jjajangmyun earlier this month, and before you know it, Saturday night we’re in a car heading to New Jersey in search of an elusive restaurant. Don had only been there once before, and didn’t remember two very important facts:
1) the name of the place
2) the address
But a few detours here and there, coupled with gut instinct and hunger, and soon enough we found ourselves at the door of Mandarin.

The noodles are hand-pulled on the spot, served separately from the dangerously deep and gleaming raw onion and pork studded black bean sauce. It’s a DIY pour and mix affair – wear black, or be careful not to spill. We ordered it spicy and they sure delivered, almost to the point where the heat overwhelmed the dish. The texture of the slippery fresh noodles was the highlight, with a luxurious toothsome pull. Completely coated in the sauce, each bite, perhaps with a chunk of pork or crunch of onion, satisfied a hunger you never knew you had…all you wanted was more, and more…till your stomach could really hold no more ^_^

And then you had to stop.

We each had our own hefty delicious bowl and split an alarmingly large dish of fried pork, which I was told, is the traditional accompaniment to jjajangmyun.

As for dessert? We headed back to the city, where Don concocted cocktails and a hot toddy.

And then for no particular reason, other than a craving (and isn’t that reason enough? ;) we placed a gelato delivery order from Otto. Hooray!!

No more than 30 minutes later, a pint each of Olive Oil and Caramel arrived at the door…

…we alternated between pints, and goodness, it was difficult to decide which one I liked better so I took three spoonfuls of one, then three spoonfuls of another, repeat, repeat. OOOh much deliciousness! In the end though, if I had to commit to one, it would be the caramel. I’ve spoken about the flavours here before, and indeed the caramel is this crazy dark, smooooked caramel that teeters on the boundaries of sweet and bitter. The texture is velvety, full-bodied and demands to be savoured with endless spoonfuls. OH manns. I can almost taste it again. This is bad. Am getting hungry again. And I was just about to go sleep!

(Shuffles to the fridge)

Goodnight! :)

Mandarin Chinese Restaurant
110 Broad Avenue, 2nd Floor
Palisades Park, NJ 07650
(201) 313-0121

Otto
1 5th Ave
NY, NY 10003
(212) 995-9559



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