Lauren offered some pretty great pro-tips for winter survival in her last post, but DANGGGGG this Polar Vortex nonsense has got to end!! This break, I’ve become somewhat of a winter hermit, exercising my right to stay inside my warm, cozy apartment. I’ve been maintaining my butt firmly planted on my couch, but sometimes I can’t resist those uncontrollable food cravings. If there’s anything that’s going to motivate me to peel off that Snuggie and brave the cold, it’s some warm, hearty, tasty meal. Here are my top five foodie picks for warming up your bones this brutal winter season:
1. Soondubu Jjigae from Miss Korea
There’s nothing like spicy foods to ignite that internal fire. One of my favorites is the soft tofu stew from Miss Korea in K-town, known as soondubu jjigae. The stew is traditionally made with seafood like mussels, clams, shrimp—though as a proud carnivore, I usually indulge in the mixed beef and seafood version. It’s cooked and served in the same stone bowl, and it’s brought to the table still bubbling hot. With a side of Korean brown rice, this hearty, spicy dish will definitely satisfy your tummy.
2. Cassoulet “Touloussain” from Les Halles
Who needs Parsons Paris when you got authentic French cuisine right at your fingertips? Les Halles, made famous by former Executive Chef Anthony Bourdain, brings the classic tastes of a Parisian brasserie to The Big Apple. I usually swoon over their steak tartare, but when it’s -602° plus windchill, the traditional cassoulet is the most mouthwatering way to warm your soul. What is a cassoulet you ask? It’s a hearty, rich casserole made from white beans and veggies with a party of meats including duck confit, pork, and sausages…all slowed-cooked to perfection.
3. Pho Bo from Saigon Market
For those wanting something light, but will still warm-up your bones, look no further than Saigon Market. Located on University Place just two blocks from campus, this Vietnamese restaurant is a great spot to check out on your breaks between classes, especially if you’re able to make it for their $8.50 Pho Bo lunch special. Rice noodles and slices of beef brisket swim in a hot oxtail broth, while you add your own bean sprouts and basil for a refreshing kick. Personally, I like to add a couple squirts of sriracha for that extra heat.
4. Ukrainian Borscht from Veselka
It’s 1am and you’ve finally finished your homework, but you completely forgot to eat dinner. In the dead of winter, you scour the East Village in search of warm food. Luckily, Veselka, located just down the street from both Loeb Hall and Stuyvesant Park Residence Halls, is open for business 24 hours a day to defrost your frozen soul. The Ukrainian beet soup known as borscht can sometimes be served cold, but I’ll wait to order those variations in the summer. The Veselka borsht begins with their homemade beet broth, which is then used to cook hunks of pork until it’s oh-so-tender. This mixture of ingredients makes for an interesting texture for a soup, and the sweetness of the beets complements the savoriness of the pork and vegetables harmoniously. But don’t take my word for it, why don’t you just ask Food Network’s Ted Allen for his opinion?
5. Crying Udon Noodle from Bodhi Tree
The picture makes this dish look so innocent. What could be so bad about some noodles sautéed with some vegetables, squid, chicken, and shrimp? Just because it’s not gleaming in spicy red vibrancy doesn’t mean this dish doesn’t pack a punch. Hell, they don’t call it the Crying Udon Noodle for thing, because that’s exactly what I did when I had it. If you really want to warm up this winter, head over for some incredible, authentic Thai cuisine at Bodhi Tree in the Greenwich Village and you’ll surely savor every glorious, delicious, burning bite.
Stay warm and bon appetit!