Not those kind of balls

Some people like to kick off the weekend with drinks, and while I’m usually right there with those people, this weekend, which for me officially began at 3:30 this afternoon, started off with balls instead. No, not those kinds of balls. Octopus balls. Yea, no, still not those kinds of balls. Jeez, c’mon, an octopus doesn’t even have those kind, does it? Either way, we’re getting off topic here. I’m talking takoyaki, delicious fried Japanese savory snacks.

As soon as my shift ended I walked over to the tiny Otafuku in the East Village, known and loved for their takoyaki and other Japanese street eats, and got an order of octopus takoyaki.  Otafuku has them in three varieties— octopus, cheese and plain— but from everything I read online (i.e. a million and one gushing reviews) octopus was the way to go.

Otafuku

Octopus tokoyaki from Otafuku. The weekend has officially begun

For $6 I got half a dozen golf ball sized, fried-to-a-golden-brown-on-the-outside-and-gooey-hot-on-the-inside balls filled with octopus, scallion and pickled ginger. The guy at the counter handed them to me naked and asked what I wanted on them so I asked him what was good. His answer? “Everything.” Letting him go to town on my balls (you’re loving this ongoing balls thing, aren’t you?) I watched him dress them up in a drizzle of mayonnaise, a generous all-over pour of okonomi sauce (a thick, tangy, sweet brown sauce), a dusting of aonori ( crushed up seaweed) and finally a topping of bonito flakes (bonito being a type of fish).

Always a fan of mixed textures and tastes in my food, I liked that the octopus balls were slightly crunchy on the outside put softer and a bit creamier on the inside. The sweetness of the okonomi sauce also paired well with the tanginess of the mayo, both making for a thick, tasty sauce to go with the subtle flavor of the octopus.

The only thing that could’ve made my start to the weekend even better? A frosty beer to go with my balls.

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Street meat: Iceland edition

Hot dogs are so tasty that these Icelandic ones are eating their own kind!

I know they’re made out of weird animal odds and ends, and really, as an adult who occasionally is concerned with what she puts in her body, I should mistrust and dislike hot dogs… buuuuuuut, I just can’t. I friggin’ love ’em. I really do. I love hot dogs.

In Iceland, like New York City and Chicago (both whose dogs I’ve eaten),  they’re pretty proud of their weiners. And rightfully so, because even though I only ate one icelandic hot dog  during my trip, it was a great one.

How do you say DELICIOUS in Icelandic? Cause that’s what this hot dog was

SS Pylsan is the Oscar Meyer of Iceland and based on their ubiquitous SS logo, they seem to have a monopoly on the hot dog scene.  Unlike regular ol’ American dogs, theirs have lamb meat added into the mystery meat mix, which is probably why they’re extra tasty. I like to eat my hot dogs however the locals do so I ordered mine with everything, which meant one long, skinny hot dog dressed up with a sweet remoulade, mustard-mayo mix and my favorite part,  crunchy fried onions.

Cheap (definitely the cheapest thing I ate in Iceland), easy and delicious, if you forget about the hodge podge of animal parts that go into making a hot dog, what’s not to love about them? They’re great… all over the world!

A new obsession in an unlikely place

I’m gonna come clean about something: I kind of really don’t like Little Italy. The spaghetti and meatballs (not Italian), the guidos (obnoxiously not Italian), the greasy haired waiters standing on the sidewalk trying to lure customers with “Ciao bella!” (Listen buddy, it didn’t work in Italy, it sure as hell isn’t working on grimey ass Mott Street.) All of it just bugs me.

But now that I’ve been to Parm, the Torrisi spinoff located smack dab in the middle of Little Italy on Mulberry Street, I’m willing to overlook everything I dislike about the neighborhood because here’s my next confession: I’m kind of obsessed with Parm.

The best calamari I've ever had

When I was in college, I had a serious love affair with Krispy Kreme, especially when their famous “Hot Doughnuts Now” sign was lit up. When I walked into Parm and noticed they have a similar sign, this one advertising calamari, I got that same giddy rush.  The sign is modest though, because if it were up to me it would read, “THE BEST DAMN CALAMARI IN THE WORLD. HERE NOW.” Seriously, that good. Battered and fried to a perfect not-too-chewy or rubbery consistency, Parm’s calamari are soft and juicy with chunks of spicy fried peppers added in for an extra kick. And while it comes with the classic tangy marinara sauce, Parm’s also comes with a delicious Tabasco infused mayo. Continue reading