Last weekend was also July 4th weekend, and K and I didn't do anything out of the ordinary. It was quite a quiet weekend; I mean, I also had to work on Friday (from home) so I really didn't have an extended weekend or anything. It was also a mini break before my second session of summer classes started so I actually got to breathe a little bit. On Sunday, we decided to head out and do a little shopping for our upcoming trip to St. Croix. We've been having the weirdest weather in New York this summer; it's almost like we haven't had a summer yet and we're just going straight into fall?! And to illustrate this point, I was not able to find swimsuits except for the occasional small rack of mismatched sale items. What the heck?! I was sorely disappointed.
Which leads me to our visit to Ippudo. Since we were in the SoHo area anyways, we decided to take our chances... and guess what! Apparently when it's a long weekend, nobody goes to Ippudo so we had no wait whatsoever. In fact, there were quite a number of empty seats.
We ordered the Harata Buns... which is seriously indescribable. You just have to eat it and you will know what I mean. SO GOOD. I am salivating as I recall the memories of it, haha. They are little steams buns (in Taiwanese, we call them "gua bao") filled with fatty pork bellies and a little bit of lettuce, drenched in a spicy & sweet sauce. It's very similar to Peking duck, but even better because it's not as oily as Peking duck. They are quite expensive though - 2 for $8... but I think it is definitely worth a try (or two or three...) We will definitely have these in the future, despite the high price tag.
So K ordered the Classic Ramen, while I ordered the Tori Ramen. The only thing that seemed to be different from the menu description was our broth, which is really what makes or breaks a bowl of ramen. His was just the regular tonkatsu, while mine was chicken soup with tonkatsu. (Classic on the left, Tori on the right)
65 4th Avenue
New York, NY
I made a few changes to the recipe:
• I made the crust exactly as described, but with vanilla wafers instead of cornmeal; I thought of using graham crackers, but I wasn't sure how that would taste with green tea, so stuck to vanilla wafers.
• I halved the recipe for the filling since I felt like there would be TOO much cream cheese.
• Instead of the lemon zest and lemon juice it called for, I used green tea powder dissolved in warm water.
As you can see, I had a little trouble getting the cake out of the springform pan. I'm not sure what it is, but when I tried to slide a knife between the cake and the pan, it would pull up the cream cheese filling? Why does it do that?! It made my cheesecake look really ugly, that's for sure. Even K was like, "Uhhh what did you do to it?"
So after nearly destroying it with a knife, I put it in the fridge overnight. In the morning, I also had a LOT of trouble trying to get the cake OFF the bottom of the pan. What a nightmare. I actually had to cut out each individual piece in order to get them off, so I'm not sure how I would fare if I had to serve this as a whole.
HOWEVER, all this hard work really paid off, because the cake came out really good (taste-wise, of course). It was creamy, yet not too cream cheesey, which I think a lot of cheesecakes tend to do. It wasn't heavy due to the mascarpone used and the green tea flavor was subtle, not overwhelming and just really added to the taste.
Now, if only I could perfect the aesthetics.....