Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Bahn Mi So 1: I've Got Banh Mi Fever!

With the economy, everyone has been talking about cheaper, yet still delicous, foods. There's been especially a lot of talk about Banh Mi sandwiches. These are Vietnamese sandwiches with pork, pate, pickled vegetables, and cilantro. I've had them in the past but it's probably been about 9 years since I last had one. But reading about it in various blogs, especially Danny of Food in Mouth, I couldn't stand it anymore. I had to get a taste of it again. But I work in midtown. Real and cheap bahn mi sandwiches are hard to come by. So I decided on a warm Friday afternoon to head down to Chinatown for one. Another reason to maximize my use of the unlimited Metrocard before the price goes up. Through suggestion, I went to Saigon Vietnamese Sandwich/Bahn Mi So 1.
Look at the size of this thing! It's almost the full length of my keyboard!
There was a bit of a wait because everyone had the same idea as I did that Friday. But the bahn mi was made to order. I had it unspicy. That later proved to be a mistake. It cost $4, but the sandwich was huge. And very flavorful. The meat was good. The pork roll was fatty. And the pickled vegetables were a good compliment to the greasiness of the meat. And of course, you need cilantro to balance everything out. Now, while eating this, it tasted very good. Delicious in fact. But there was a slight room for improvement. First, I should have ordered it spicy. It lacked that slight kick that would have made the sandwich awesome. And it also lacked pate. Now I ordered the #1 which is the house special. I guess that didn't include pate. I'll have to read the menu more carefully next time. But I'll definitely go again, especially since the weather is warming up.
Lots of meat packed into it. And veggies on top.
Saigon Vietnamese Sandwich/Bahn Mi So 1
369 Broome Street
New York, NY 10013
(212) 219-8341

Monday, March 30, 2009

Lunch Week 3: Triple Decker Egg Salad Sandwiches

So every Sunday, I head over to the kitchen to whip up a big batch of food for lunch next week. Yes, I brown bag. And I almost always do it, unless I become too busy to even buy cold cuts from the deli. I do it for several reasons being health, finance, and laziness. Now, you may think that spending hours on a day off to prep and cook five meals at once is hardly lazy. But let me remind you, I hate it when the time comes to decide what to eat for lunch every day. I work in Midtown so the choices are endless. My problem, the more choices, the harder it is for me. So it's much easier for me to have my lunch ready and already decided. So my lunch for the week: Triple Decker Egg Salad Sandwiches. This week is very simple. I made some hard boiled eggs. I added them, sliced, onto honey wheat bread with leafy green lettuce. I added dijon mustard and fresh pesto sauce for some flavor. The pesto really is the kicker in this sandwich. Otherwise, it would have been very bland. The mustard is actually over-powered. I'll just have to add some more. The fresh lettuce adds a good crunchiness to the texture. And the bread is slightly sweet. It's a very simple sandwich but it's filling and tastes good. Read more...

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Sundaes and Cones

It's never too cold for ice cream. Recently, I was walking through the East Village and saw a picture of two ice cream cones. It completely intrigued me. It turned out be Sundaes and Cones. It's a place that Doc Nut wanted me to try out. She shares my loved for good ice cream. I quickly crossed the street to get a peek. They had lots of traditional flavors like vanilla, strawberry, chocolate but they also had interesting flavors like sesame. I went for a twist on tradition: Cherry Vanilla. And my date went for Chocolate Fudge Swirl. Both were excellent! The ice cream was really creamy. But it wasn't too rich or thick. It had a consistency between soft serve and hard ice cream. That made it much easier to eat on the streets on a cold night.
Cherry Vanilla!
Chocolate Fudge Swirl!
Sundaes and Cones
95 East 10th Street
New York, NY 10003
(212) 979-9398

Friday, March 27, 2009


I went to Kanoyama with Mr. Meat & Potatoes. I've been wanting to check out this East Village sushi place for awhile since hearing about the freshness of their fish. It was considered a hidden gem. We arrived there at around 6:15pm on a Tuesday. There were still plenty of tables open. We were looking for something simple. So we just ordered some edamame ($5) and sushi for two ($46). It came with miso soup. The food came quickly and the fish tasted fresh. On the sampler platter for 2, they gave us tuna, salmon, eel, yellowtail, caviar/roe, shrimp, salmon roll, tuna roll, and california roll. It definitely was enough for the two of us. I really like the place because it didn't smell fishy and there were plenty of Japanese people dining there. It helps me think that this place is a little more authentic than the million other sushi places in the East Village. And by the time we left, the place was packed. I think that speaks pretty well for a restaurant on a Tuesday night. I really liked it. It's simple enough for me. It might turn into my go to Japanese joint.

175 2nd Avenue
New York, NY 10003
(212) 777-5266
www.kanoyama.com

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Krispy Pizza

The great thing about being in brooklyn is that there's always a good pizza place around. It may not be the best but there's always a good stand by around the corner. I like to go to Krispy Pizzaria. Their regular slices are good which is what I usually get there.
I love the large NYC style pies. So thin!
Look at the great char underneath.
And the only way to eat it is with your hand, folded in half. Look mom, no drooping!
This blurry picture is supposed to show how the yeast made the dough rise and chewy.
As always, the crust is thin and crisp. The sauce is slightly sweet. The cheese is salty and gooey. That makes a good slice. There are plenty of choices to get at Krispy. But it's hard for me to stray from my staple. I will never get tired of going here. Plus, it's one of the few places where Italians are still making the pies and selling them to you.

Krispy Pizza
7112 13th Avenue
Brooklyn, NY 11228
(718) 745-9618

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Cooking: Udon Noodles with Meat Balls

My go to dish to make when I'm hungry and don't want takeout is Udon Noodles with Meat Balls. Udon is a thick Japanese noodle made from wheat. I like the texture and taste over regular egg noodles. Plus, the thickness gives it some heft. I add fish balls and beef tendon balls to the mix. These meat balls can be found in the frozen section of any Chinese grocery store. Many people seem to think that the fish balls are rubbery and too fishy. But that's why I like them. I grew up on them so they're quite nostalgic for me. I crave them once in awhile and you can't find that kind of taste or texture in anything else. Thanks to Danny, I've been reminded of FuZhou balls (fish balls with meat filling). However, I haven't been able to bring them back into my diet. It will take a trip into Chinatown. Once I can find them frozen, I can stock up. Speaking of stocking up, usually there are dumplings, but my house ran out. It might be time to make a batch of my own wontons. Oh and the beef tendon balls are rubbery too. They're not regular beef balls. They also have tendons in it. It has this weird cartilage-like bite to them. They're excellent! Well, if you're into that whole cartilage eating thing like me.
Ingredients: Udon Noodles, fish balls, beef tendon balls.
Step 1: Bring pot of water to boil. Add meat balls. Bring back to boil and add noodles. Cook 10 minutes.
Step 2: When finished cooking, add some flavor to the dish. My favorites are soy sauce and oyster sauce. Sometimes I add chili garlic sauce.
Finished Product! Yum!
Remember, chopsticks in your right hand, spoon in your left. This promises for non-stop slurping and eating. Well, except to wipe your mouth. I like to twirl some noodles onto the spoon, then dip it into the broth. Each spoonful becomes one bite of deliciousness! Read more...

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

PJ Clarkes

So I went to PJ Clarke's this past weekend. It's been a staple institution in NYC. I've been wanting to go there for a really long time. Of course they are known for their burgers and so that's what I ordered.
Cheeseburger with Griddle Onions
Ordered it medium. It looks a little overcooked to me.
Some onion strings.
And shoe string fries!
Although my burger was overcooked, it was still very juicy. The meat was loosely packed and flavorful. The griddled onions were a nice addition and added a slight sweetness to it. The onion strings were great. Lightly battered and not greasy at all. These aren't like onion rings at all. They have a lot more onion flavor, which is what I prefer. The fries were good too. Crispy on the outside, and tender on the inside. I like my fries thinly cut just like that. Oh and I also had a bloody mary. They do it the traditional way with horseradish. Yum! I like PJ's. Their food was good and their service was good. Sometimes the place can get really crowded. But if you go at the right time, then you don't have to wait. I went on a Saturday afternoon at around 12noon. There were people coming in and it was starting to fill up. But most people liked to sit at the bar. I had a group of 8 people and they didn't have a problem seating us. On the burger scale of 1-10. I would give them an 7. Good but not the best. And overcooked. On the restaurant scale, I would also give them an 7. Meaning, I had a good time and would go again.

PJ Clarke's
917 3rd Avenue
New York, NY 10022
(212) 317-1616

Monday, March 23, 2009

Lunch Week 2: Curry Lamb Chops

So every Sunday, I head over to the kitchen to whip up a big batch of food for lunch next week. Yes, I brown bag. And I almost always do it, unless I become too busy to even buy cold cuts from the deli. I do it for several reasons being health, finance, and laziness. Now, you may think that spending hours on a day off to prep and cook five meals at once is hardly lazy. But let me remind you, I hate it when the time comes to decide what to eat for lunch every day. I work in Midtown so the choices are endless. My problem, the more choices, the harder it is for me. So it's much easier for me to have my lunch ready and already decided. So my lunch for the week: Curry Lamb Chops with Sauteed Spinach and Hummus with Pita Chips I was really craving hummus this week. So I decided to make it for the first time. It seemed simple enough. Though trying to find tahini paste was a little more difficult where I lived. So instead of the sesame paste, I used pine nuts which has a light nutty flavor that wouldn't overpower the chickpeas. It worked pretty well.
Hummus Recipe
Ingredients: Chickpeas, garlis, lemon juice, olive oil, and pine nuts (my personal twist instead of tahini), salt, and pepper
Step 1: Blend together in food processor. I find it easier to blend the nuts and garlic together first. Then lemon juice, oil, salt, and pepper. Last are the chickpeas. Make sure to taste for the amount of garlic or lemon juice you prefer.
Finished product!
And now the lamb chops which were nicely browned on the outside and still pink on the inside. I like to undercook my meat a little bit. So when I microwave it the next day, it isn't overcooked. Also, I always like to add some vegetable in my diet so I thought spinach would be a compliment to the lamb. Spinach is a strong leafy vegetable. The curry wouldn't mask the flavors.
Curried Lamb Chops with Sauteed Spinach Recipe Ingredients: Lamb chops, frozen spinach, curry powder, ground cumin, ground thyme, paprika, salt, and pepper
Step 1: Create rub with dry ingredients and spread all over chops.
Step 2: Pan fry in hot pan with olive oil until done to your liking. I like my chops to be medium.
Step 3: Saute Spinach until cooked.
Finished Product!
So how did they come out? Great! The hummus was really garlicky. Yum! If you can't handle lots of raw garlic, I would only put in 2 cloves. I put in 5 per serving. I added extra lemon juice to counter it too. The hummus tasted much better today after sitting in the fridge overnight. Everything came together in a nice balance. However, the lamb chops were overcooked. I was aiming for medium but got medium-well instead. But they were still tender. Next time, I will try to cook them medium rare and hopefully in the microwave the next day, they become medium. The spices were well balanced. The curry helped smack the game-y taste. But it didn't overpower the actual taste of the lamb. And the smell wasn't too pungent for the office. No one has complained yet! And I am very glad that I added some spinach in the mix. I need something different and green! It helped cut the fattiness of the lamb. I also need to buy a leaner cut next time.

Saturday, March 21, 2009

One If By Land, Two If By Sea

Last night, I had dinner with my best friend, Doctor Nut. We always like to go to our stand by, One if by Land, Two if by Sea. It's been our place to go since the last chef was there, Craig Hopson. But now he's left to work at Le Cirque and they've promoted the sous chef, Sam Freund. We got to meet him at the end of the night. He's sweet! Anyhow, we know this place is a romantic restaurant but we like the atmosphere. We always eat at the bar where there's a separate menu and where the bartenders (Mike, Venicia, Caroline) take great care of us. Plus, we can enjoy the piano player doing his thing at the front of the house. This time around, they didn't have the bar menu. They were doing the extended restaurant week menu ($35 for a 3 course meal). We dove in and split the dishes.
Guava Curry Margarita
Some bread to snack on Amuse bouche: Pureed Pear with Smoked Paprika Appetizers: Mushroom Soup with Creme Fraiche And Saffron Orzo with Duck Confit Entrees: Grilled Bavette Steak And Roasted Pork Leg Desserts: Key Lime Cheesecake And Rocky Road Fondant And Espresso Tasting And to end: Petit Fours
Everything was delicious. The Margarita was really nice. They were testing new flavors for the spring. The curry was very subtle so it didn't overpower the guava. The appetizers were good. My friend's saffron orzo was al dente and flavorful. But I liked my mushroom soup better. It was hearty and warm. The creme fraiche added a delicate richness. However, the entrees were the best. My steak was cooked medium rare. It was very tender and juicy. It came with some onions and mushroom and some whipped potatoes. But the steak was definitely the star of the dish. Even better was my friend's pork leg. It was nice and tender and juicy. A lot of times pork can come out dry. But it was great. The seasonal vegetables added a nice balance to the dish. Next up, desserts. I had the key lime cheesecake. It was great because it was surprisingly light for a cheesecake. I loved the lime flavor. The chocolate dessert was just okay. The cake was a little dense and wasn't very chocolate-y. It was better when you combined the maple ice cream with the cake. Oh and that's beer foam on the side. I wouldn't miss it if they left it off the plate. And we got an espresso tasting dessert to share. I really liked the creme brulee/pot de cream in the middle. It was delicious. It also had a espresso cannoli type dessert. It was alright. Definitely had better cannoli's in Little Italy. And now the petit fours. It was banana muffin, pomegranate gelee, butter cookie, and peanut brittle with sour cherries. The last was the best one. The sour cherries adding some acidity to cut through the sweetness of the brittle. At the end of he night, we got to meet the new chef, Sam. We thanked him for the delicious dinner. And reminded him that we would definitely come again...especially since it's been our go to place for so long.

One if by Land, Two if by Sea
17 Barrow Street
New York, NY 10014
(212) 255-8649

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

St Patrick's Day At Bar Stuzzichini [CLOSED]

Another St Patrick's Day comes and goes. I've recently grown to celebrate this joyous holiday not in my local pub, but in offbeat areas where I can just relax and enjoy a drink or two. This year, two friends join me at Bar Stuzzichini. It's a wine bar with a vast menu. It's become my go-to place recently when I can't decide on any where else. The good thing about Bar Stuzzichini on St Patrick's Day is that it is low key. No one was getting drunk off cheap green beer. To celebrate, my friends and I enjoyed glasses of Peroni and Moretti all night. Meanwhile, we had some bread and small plates. We ordered the Polpo (grilled octopus) and Carciofi (fried artichokes). The food was good and simple. It's not the best place on the block, but it's solid fare at a reasonable prices. The beers were $8 each for large glasses. And the Polpo was $9 and the Carciofi $8. We weren't very hungry so we didn't order much. But if you are hungry, they have a great deal for 5 stuzzichini's (small plates) for $29. I would have taken a picture of the artichokes (my favorite) but I was preoccupied by an accident involving me and a tipped over glass of water on my friend. Sorry, Lady Lollipop! I expect to go back again; so next time I'll be sure to take a picture. Basically, this is a great place to just sit and chat with your friends over some wine and simple food. Bar Stuzzichini 928 Broadway New York, NY 10010 (212) 780-5100 www.barstuzzichini.com Read more...