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A Taste of Ippudo

I enjoyed a wonderfully delicious lunch at Ippudo East Village today.

Ippudo East Village is the first international Ippudo to introduce the world to Hakata tonkotsu pork soup. While Ippudo East Village is rooted in traditional Japanese ramen culture, they also offer a modern interpretation that is both inspired by Japan and the culture of New York.

Spotlight Dishes


Pork Belly Buns
Two steamed buns filled with pork and served with Ippudo’s original spicy buns sauce and mayo. These are probably the BEST pork belly buns I’ve savored. The meat was so succulent and tender, the buns warm and soft and the original sauce was so tasty. I definitely recommend this appetizer!

Akamaru Modern
The original silky “Tonkotsu” (pork) soup noodles topped with Ippudo’s secret miso paste, pork chashu, cabbage, sesame kikurage mushrooms, scallions and fragrant garlic oil. The ingredients blend well together – simply delicious!

Although there is always a wait to get seated, overall dining at Ippudo is a wonderful culinary experience! Delicious food, attentive service and a warm, soothing ambience – a neighborhood gem.

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Falling in Love with East Village

I’ve decided to start a photo series and commentary centered around the neighborhoods and cities I’ve visited. To kick off this passion project, I’ll begin with one of my favorite neighborhoods in New York – East Village.

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A Cultural Melting Pot of Art, History and Good Food

I moved to the East Village last September. Over the past 6 months, I’ve enjoyed exploring all this eclectic neighborhood has to offer. The more I discover, the deeper my fascination.

The East Village — the blocks east of the Bowery between Houston and 14th Streets, was once considered to be part of the Lower East Side, but began to develop its own unique identity and culture in the late 1960s, when a flurry of artists, musicians, students and hippies began to move into the area.

The neighborhood has since emerged as a center of the counterculture in New York, and is regarded as the birthplace of several artistic movements, including punk rock and the Nuyorican literary movement. It has also been the site of protests and riots. Although in recent decades it has been argued that gentrification has transformed the character of the neighborhoodEast Village is still known for its diverse community, vibrant nightlife (boasting the highest concentration of bars in the city) and artistic charm. Recent years have seen an influx of trendy bars, street art, boutique shops while an abundance of affordable eateries has made the East Village, the mecca for budget-minded foodies.

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Neighborhood Gems

Here is a list of my favorite spots in the neighborhood:

  1. Cafe Orlin: Cafe Orlin is a charming cafe serving American & Middle Eastern food. I recommend the hummus with mushrooms and avocado toast (pictured below). These mouthwatering appetizers will leave you craving for more.
    www.cafeorlin.com

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    Cafe Orlin: Orlin burger, hummus with mushrooms and avocado toast

  2. Kenka: Located on the lively St. Marks strip, Kenka serves tasty Japanese street-style food and beer at a reasonable price. It’s quirky and risqué décor make for an interesting culinary and cultural experience. Don’t forget the cotton candy machine on your way out. Upon receiving your check, you’ll be given a small cup of pink sugar that you can spin into your very own cotton candy (pictured below).
    www.kenkanyc.com

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    Kenka: Enjoying cotton candy after the meal

  3. Spot Dessert Bar: Spot is an innovative dessert parlor that serves delectable Asian-inspired desserts. The line is usually long but it’s always worth the wait! My personal favorites are the honey toast and green tea lava cake.
    www.spotdessertbar.com
  4. Jules Bistro: Jules Bistro is a charming, intimate French restaurant located on 8th street, between 1st and 2nd avenue. The warm cosy ambience, live jazz music and delicious food make for a great date spot or a fun night out with friends.
    www.julesbistro.com
  5. Bean Cafe: The Bean is the quintessential East Village coffee shop. The staff, décor, food and beverages as well as music are inspired by the vibe and personality of East Village. It’s a popular spot for students, entrepreneurs, creatives and neighborhood residents who want to get some work done while enjoying a nice cup of coffee.
    www.thebeannyc.com
  6. Box Kite: This cosy little coffee shop is a neighborhood favorite for East Village residents. Come here to enjoy a cup of quality coffee and soak up the low-key ambience. House, hip hop and experimental music is often blasted through the speakers, giving this neighborhood coffee shop an edgy and modern feel.
    www.boxkitenyc.com
  7. Tompkins Square Park: This popular park in the middle of the East Village is a perfect centerpiece for the eclectic neighborhood (pictured below). It is where the lives of artists, musicians, families, students and old neighborhood residents intersect.
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Tompkins Square Park during Storm Jonas 2016

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Despite its grit and grime, East Village is a fascinating, lively and trendy neighborhood with a cult following. It’s culturally diverse community, plethora of food options, dynamic nightlife and artistic allure make it one of my favorite neighborhoods in New York, and quite possibly, the entire world.

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You are enough

I used to think that self-worth was something that you had to earn; as if you had to prove yourself to acquire value and qualify as a worthy human being. I thought that self-worth was rooted in the external; dependent on personal and professional outward “success”. Over the last year or so, I’ve come to realize that this ideology is deeply flawed. I had it wrong all along.

Self-worth is not something you accumulate, it is inherent.

Your sense of worth shouldn’t depend on external validation, it should come from within. If you don’t accept yourself and recognize your inherent value, you will never feel good enough, regardless of how hard you try and how much “success” you achieve. Ultimately, you will never be truly happy.

Sure, external accomplishments might make you feel good about yourself momentarily, but relying solely on accomplishments to fuel your self esteem is problematic. If you equate personal success with self worth, then you may equate failure with not being good enough. If you subscribe to this type of mindset, it is harder to recover from failure or a setback. When you “fail”, you may assume it’s due to your lack of abilities, when in reality its not. Everyone experiences some form of failure in life, it is important not to let the setback damage your self confidence and realize that failure and struggle is part of being human.

Moreover, no amount of validation and love from others can replace the need for you to love yourself. Yes, it feels great to receive compliments from your friends and family and sure, being loved for who you are feels wonderful. However, when you give others the power to determine how you feel about yourself, the moment someone starts to criticize you and the moment someone dislikes you or rejects you, your world starts to crumble. This mentality results in a fluctuating self-esteem; one moment you feel great about yourself, the next you’re wallowing in self-loathing. Such a mindset is unsustainable and does not guarantee long-term happiness.

Ultimately, our self-worth shouldn’t be determined by things beyond our control. We can’t control what others think and we can’t control what happens to us, we can only control how we feel about ourselves. The truth is, we are all deeply flawed, but worthy of (self) love anyway.

you are enough

When Passion Meets Purpose

After a semester of design school at Pratt, my portfolio site has been updated with new work and recent projects. My site showcases my work in photography, videography, design, marketing & writing over the past few years.

I’m glad to have discovered my passions in life and I’m excited to be on this lifelong creative journey! 🙂 This is just the beginning.

http://www.sarah-ong.com

 

sarah ong website