We were in the city over the weekend. We met up with a friend in Nolita, walked around enjoying the warm (for December) weather, had coffee, saw Santas all over the place, and ended up wandering in Chinatown.
I considered buying some lotion...
We had dinner at Buddha Bodai. I'm usually wary of Chinese food because it often has meat in it even when it's a veggie or tofu dish. So I was psyched to eat at a Chinese restaurant that proudly advertises "no meat at all!"
We started with fried spring rolls filled with mushrooms, water chestnuts and other assorted veggie bits. They were so hot! We had to let them sit for awhile so we didn't burn our mouths. But they were good when they cooled down.
Jackson found it hard to wait.
Tony had the "chicken" with black pepper sauce, served over a type of Chinese greens called choy sum. The greens had a strong sesame oil flavor. Tony really enjoyed it.
I had a hard time deciding what to order. Almost every dish featured a meat substitute. Since I'm not familiar with actual lobster, prawn, lamb, abalone or duck (to name just a few of the faux meats on the menu), I wasn't sure what the veggie form would taste like.
I ended up playing it safe and ordering the orange chicken with broccoli. This is the same dish I had when I dined at Grasshopper in Boston earlier this year, and that was one of the best meals I've eaten in my entire life. While the Grasshopper version was made with tofu, Buddha Bodai's features a chicken substitute that's chewy and mildly seasoned. The chicken pieces are breaded and fried, then doused in a sweet, citrusy sauce. It's by no means health food, but it is addictively delicious.
I also got a piece of tofu cheesecake to take home for dessert. It came with a little container of berry sauce to pour on top. I'm thinking of making a tofu cheesecake for Christmas and I wanted to see how the pros do it. Oh my goodness. It was amazing. Not too sweet, a little bit lemony, and super dense and creamy the way cheesecake should be.
"If strength were all, tiger would not fear scorpion." We had just been talking about strength, about certain experiences that make you stronger, so it was one of those plate of shrimp moments when I opened my fortune cookie.
It was a great experience. The restaurant is spacious, so we didn't feel conspicuous walking in with two strollers, like we would in some tiny NYC cafes. The waitstaff were super nice and fawned over the kids and didn't bat an eyelash when a teacup got broken. I'd love to eat there again some time and be a little more adventurous -- I'm looking at you, veggie jellyfish!