Daily Archives: November 28, 2011

First Avenue Coffee Shop: 1433 1st Ave, New York NY


Oh Yelp. You really let us down this time. I was so excited to see the 4 star reviews for First Avenue Coffee Shop. I LOVE finding little hole-in-the-wall places that turn out to be awesome and from reading the reviews, I thought that’s what we were in for. It certainly doesn’t LOOK like anything more than a typical coffee shop, but people were raving about the service and the food here so we gave it a shot.

We sat down in the back and looked over the incredibly reasonably priced menu before placing our orders. I was feeling very positive, already thinking that we’d be back for breakfast soon- and to try some of the other appealing sandwiches on the menu.

I ordered a cheeseburger with grilled mushrooms and the baked potato skins appetizer and Gabriel got a burger with fries and a milkshake. (We planned to split the potato skins)

First, they brought Gabriel a burger that was totally different than the one he’d ordered and he had to send it back. When he explained again which one he wanted, the waiter had to refer to the menu to see what was supposed to be on it. Then, my burger arrived, which was fine- although it was served with 2 tiny little excuses for pickle spears that were probably the tail end of a jar…but still no appetizer had arrived. Ooookay. I guess we’ll eat our entrees first and then have the app later. The burgers were okay- but nothing special. Neither was Gabriel’s fries or his shake. Just nothing exciting typical diner food. The service was really slow and sort of incompetent. Sorry, but just because you say ‘my friend’ before and after everything else, that does not equal good service.

Ten minutes later, 2 little pathetic potato halves arrived. They looked nothing like the photo in the menu, and were covered in little pieces of green pepper instead of the scallions that were described. We also realized that a baked potato with bacon and cheddar was actually 2 bucks LESS than the app- which was essentially one sort of hollowed-out baked potato- not a plate of the crispy skins we were expecting. We also had to ask for sour cream- which was in the description but not brought out with the dish. Although they tasted pretty good, we were pretty pissed about the pricing and complained to the waiter about it who agreed to charge us at the baked potato price instead. The whole thing was kind of weird.

Overall, we were totally disappointed with this meal- and neither one of us felt very well for the rest of the day. Hmmm. I will not going back after all. Womp Womp.


Chez Carey! Thai shrimp lemongrass soba soup


                                                                                                                                                                                                           After a chilly evening run, I decided to experiment with a belly-warming soup for dinner. One of my favorites is the Tom Yum soup that most Thai restaurants serve. Not being someone who likes to follow recipes, I attempted to recreate something similar that could satisfy my craving. I also wanted to feel full, so I decided that adding buckwheat soba noodles to it would make it a more complete meal than the soup which is normally just broth and shrimp and a few veggies. As always, this recipe is really just a concept and can be played with as you see fit. I’ll give you a list of ingredients I used and a basic idea- and you can run with it from there. This turned out wonderful but (note to self) next time I will only add the noodles to the portion I plan to eat because the following day, the remaining noodles had pretty much sucked all of the soup up and I had to add some water to reconstitute it.

Add to 8 cups of chicken stock the following:

grated fresh ginger

sliced garlic

slivered scallions

chopped chiles or jalapenos.

a couple of teaspoons of oyster sauce

long pieces of lemongrass (so that you can easily remove them later)

a couple of teaspoons of soy sauce

a couple of tablespoons of almond butter (whisk this in once the soup has simmered for 10 minutes or so)

Let that all simmer for 20 minutes or so and them drop in a pound of cleaned shrimp. Continue to simmer until the shrimp turn pink and curl up.

Cook your soba (or vermicelli, or udon etc) noodles in a separate pot of boiling water. (this is the part I didn’t do…I made the mistake of adding the noodles to the soup along with the raw shrimp. I won’t do that next time)

Put a cup of raw baby spinach in a big bowl. Add a scoop of noodles on top of that. Fill the rest of the bowl with the soup and finish with a little hot sauce. Voila. Yum. Well, Tom Yum. Sort of.

P.S. I think next time I will also add some baby corn and straw mushrooms to this.