Secret Summer 2017 Preview

Summer is almost halfway over, which means time’s running out on how to make the most out of these precious sunny weekends. Luckily there are still tickets left for Secret Summer 2017, the city’s best summer party, which is back for its third year at The Foundry in Long Island City, Queens on Sunday, August 6. There’s no better way to spend a #Sundayfunday than day drinking unlimited artisanal farm-to-bar cocktails underneath the stunning urban skyline, so click here to buy tickets today!Read More

Secret Summer 2016

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Secret Summer 2016 was a hot one. I’m not talking about the weather, which did get up there in the high 90s. I’m talking about Lucky Chops, a brass band whose sassy, high-energy performance was scorching. All six members played like they were having the time of their lives, and their positive vibe was infectious. The crowd went wild for the group’s spirited take on pop classics like Spice Girls’ “Say You’ll Be There”, and band member Leo P really put his back into it with his crazy booty shakes. Whoever said band camp is just for geeks hasn’t been to this jam session, because all the cool kids were dancing to the beat of a horn and saxophone. Not even a little rain could stop this party.Read More

Secret Summer 2016 Preview

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In less than two weeks’ time, Secret Summer NYC will be hosting its second annual farm-to-bar cocktail festival on August 14th from 4-10 pm at the Foundry in LIC, Queens. I covered last year’s event and was pleasantly charmed by how the industrial space had been transformed into a whimsical Shakespearean playground overflowing with the most delicious food and drink. I can honestly say it was the best summer party I’ve ever been to in NYC and would highly encourage you to buy tickets at this link before they sell out. Judging from the preview event I attended, I’m confident they can pull it off again. Artisanal cocktails crafted by Bespoke Solutions and featuring the stunning herbs of Farm.One, a hydroponic farm in Manhattan (my mouth nearly burned from trying their “toothache” herb!), will be like no drinks you’ve ever had. Plus this year will feature a good lineup of live entertainment–Coyote + Crow, Lucky Chops, Ida Blue, DJ Ryan Vandal, aerialists Roxie Valdez and Ellie Steingraeber, and the one I’m most looking forward to, the Secret Summer Street Ballet troupe! Van Leeuwen will be back with their ice cream truck, because nothing says summer like eating an ice cream cone outside. Take a sneak peek with the pictures below, get your boho chic on and buy a ticket today!Read More

A Day in LIC: PS1 and Casa Enrique

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One of the best parts about summer is being outside, and my favorite seasonal activity is attending Moma PS1’s Warm Up dance party. Warm Up is held every Saturday in the summer and features experimental music and DJs. Guests can drink and mingle in the outdoor courtyard, and the price of admission also includes access to the modern art exhibit inside. The party gets better towards the end of the day, where people start getting a little more buzzed and a little more into the music, and the courtyard turns into a huge dance floor.Read More

Mu Ramen in LIC

On a hot summer day, the last thing I want to eat is a bowl of ramen, especially one with a thick tonkotsu broth. But it’s not everyday that I’m in Long Island City, Queens, and I figured I should take advantage of my trip out here and stop by the super popular Mu Ramen.

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mu ramen’s table settings
all of the lights
all of the lights

Luckily, it seemed like visiting during the ramen off-season was a good call, and we only waited 30 minutes on a Sunday at 6:30. (The restaurant doesn’t take any reservations other than those for the Chef’s Counter tasting dinner.) We were pretty efficient in our approach to ordering–going just for the restaurant’s signature dishes, the “okonomiyaki” and the house bowl of Mu ramen.

"okonomiyaki" - scallion pancakes with smoked trout, tobiko, shaved bonito and syrup
“okonomiyaki” – scallion pancakes with smoked trout, tobiko, shaved bonito and syrup

I now understand why the “okonomiyaki” was listed in quotes. It really has nothing in common with its Japanese roots. The Japanese version reminds me of a big, messy omelette, but Mu Ramen’s is like the Kendall Jenner of the Kardashians, beautiful and refined in a line of trashy vixens. These petite, silver dollar pancakes were more like sweet and fluffy corncake blinis, topped with some smoked fish and salty roe, and wearing a wreath of orange and yellow flowers. There was some depth to this Instagram beauty, luckily, and it was a perfect, dense bite that was filling and fulfilling because of the way it engaged all of the senses.

mu ramen - oxtail and bone marrow based soup, brisket, half sour pickle, menma, cabbage, scallions
mu ramen – oxtail and bone marrow based soup, brisket, half sour pickle, menma, cabbage, scallions

The Mu ramen also defied expectations, as the oxtail and bone marrow-based broth was actually of a lighter weight than the cloudy, heavy soups that seem to be all the rage. Rebellion is a recurring theme here, as the Mu ramen did a lot of things differently from a traditional ramen. Instead of a pork chashu, a brisket was used, a decision I didn’t totally agree with, as I felt this cut of meat was a little too lean and stringy for the purposes of ramen consumption. The pickled cucumbers were unexpected, adding a tang that brightened up the broth, and bringing some good texture to the dish. I thought the thin al dente noodles were perfect, and they could do no wrong wrapped around my chopsticks with a little bit of everything in between.

From the few things I’ve had so far, Mu Ramen isn’t trying to make a classic bowl of ramen noodles. It experiments with embellishments you wouldn’t have considered, and that seems to be paying off. This little preview was such a tease, I’ll have to come back for the proper 11-course tasting menu and stay for the whole show.

Mu Ramen
12-09 Jackson Ave (between 47th Rd and 48th Ave)
Long Island City, NY 11101
(917) 868-8903

Mu Ramen