NY with New Eyes

You didn’t think our summer vacation was done being told, did ya?!

Williamsburg Waterfront

It had been quite some time since I left New York, and I hadn’t been back to visit for the two years since I left for China. So this summer, after Maine, we made sure to make a stop in the city, to see if I still loved it as much as I did they day I left.

Guess what – I did.

A friend who was out of town was so generous and let us stay in her Prospect Heights apartment – a part of Brooklyn that I didn’t spend so much time in the first time around, so I’m glad we were able to explore that ‘hood on this short trip.

Of course as soon as I touched down at JKF, I missed the city. Walking around Brooklyn, I kept turning to my DiploMan and saying, “I love Brooklyn”. I’m just proud of him for not rolling his eyes in front of me. What a good man.

A lot of people don’t like the frantic pace of New York, the loud buses and crowded trains, the lack of smiles and the constant hustle and bustle. But I love it all, and I still do. And really, it’s not always like that.

NY from the East River

Don’t get me wrong, I loved spending two years in China, and I love living in DC right now. Here in DC, we’re eating well and exercising regularly again. We’ve picked out a few spots that we love and even more that we want to try. I’ve begun to establish little routines for my days and weekends, I’ve been writing more (though, still not enough), exploring the world of blogging, and reaching out to old friends who are in town (or soon moving here).

But for some reason, there’s no feeling like living in NY, broke and cramped. Somehow it’s desirable, even. You know what it is? The saving grace? Every day you’re able to get out of your tiny living quarters and bump elbows with other humans, with so much potential to eat/see/hear/do new things every day. It’s this potential and human contact that keeps people in New York. If you don’t believe me, watch this movie.

This is just me waxing poetic, by the way. I certainly did not feel like that every day I was living in New York, and in fact more often than not was fed up by sky-high rents and lack of space, and my feet always being dirty and my legs generally pale. But, the grass is ALWAYS greener on the other side, even when there’s not really much grass on that side.

And I, by no means, have regrets leaving that city behind. In fact, I know I left at a good time because I’m always looking forward to going back.


Momo Mustard Seed Sauce

Yesterday I boasted about my belated inter-national participation in pig day.  But I forgot to mention one key ingredient that I used: Momo’s mustard seed sauce.


Everyone in New York knows that word, as do a lot of people outside of New York (for those who haven’t, it’s not a bad word, I’m not trying to insult you).  Momofuku- or, as we endearingly call it, Momo- used to be one of my friends and my go-to joints in the city.  Several years ago, it was still relatively unknown, and upon our discovery we just couldn’t get enough. Though it’s lessened it’s appeal as it’s gotten more expensive, the waits longer, and David Chang seemingly everywhere now, we still aren’t shy about going back to get our Momo fixes of brussels sprouts with fish sauce, tomatoes and tofu, Benton’s ham and red-eye gravy, and of course, their fried chicken dinners.

Momo has this amazing mustard seed sauce they serve with their ham as well as a few other dishes.  Leafing through the cookbook the other day, marveling at the number of things I’m able to cook out of this cookbook (hooray for Asian ingredients!!), this is the second inspiration for my Banh Mi creation.

Momo Mustard Seed Sauce

**adapted from the Momofuku cookbook, Page 173

  • 4 tbsp. whole-grain mustard
  • 3 tbsp. dijon mustard
  • 1 tsp. wasabi powder
  • 3 tbsp. Kewpie (japanese) mayonnaise- regular mayo will do, but this is much better
  • 3 tbsp. thinly sliced scallions- white and green parts
  • 1 small kirby cucumbers, sliced into 1/8 inch discs
  • 1 tbsp. sugar
  • 1 tsp. kosher salt

**the cookbook tells you to use your own pickled mustard seed, which though is right up my DIY alley, have yet to get my hands on any mustard seeds around here.  More market adventures!!!


  1. Combine the cucumber slices with the sugar and salt, mix well and set in fridge to rest for about 5-10 minutes.
  2. Meanwhile, combine the rest of the ingredients in a medium bowl.  Stir until evenly mixed.
  3. Take the cucumbers out of the fridge, and taking handfuls at a time, squeeze out the liquid from the cucumbers. Add to the mustard-mayo mixture, and stir well.
  4. Taste, seasoning with salt and freshly ground pepper.
  5. Spread all over everything!

Yield: about 1 1/2 cups