Thursday, December 31, 2009

Christmas Dimsum at Northern Manor

Christmas morning in Queens with the family at Northern Manor for dimsum. Just a plethora of foods on the table. A large variety of dimsum including phoenix feet, shrimp dumplings, pork dumplings, tripe, tofu fkin rolls, noodle rolls, spring rolls, fried taro balls, beef short ribs, pork spare ribs, and much more. Northern Manor 25115 Northern Boulevard Little Neck, NY 11362 (718) 281-1500 Read more...

Brunch at Home

I like brunch but I'm always too lazy to get out to eat at a restaurant. Instead, I make it at home. This time, I have some over easy eggs over tomatoes and onions and potato pancakes. I have a side of sausages and a croissant. He has the same over easy eggs with onions and potatoe pancakes. He also has a side of sausages. But he opted for a cheese biscuit instead. Yum! Fulfilling and cheap. Just the way I like it. Read more...

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Sergios (again)

Craving something that will hopefully redeem the bad meal recently, we had some food from familiar territory; Sergios. Ah, they have never disappointed. From their sandwiches, to hot food, to service. It's always been top. Too bad they're in NJ. They would do a killing here. Though slow, they are always nice and apologize for any kind of wait. Yes, that's service for you. Now on to the food. We started off with a couple of cheese. First, fresh mozzarella. You can buy as much or as little as you want. They'll cut it to your size. Then they'll salt it for extra flavor. Yum! Always good. Next, a new cheese for us: . It soft and really flavorful. It's really rich and creamy. It's also slightly pungent in a good way. I like it! And onto the main dishes. I had the crab with linguine. It was really good and wasn't fishy at all. However, it lacked the superb flavor that it once had when prepared in the kitchen. It lost it's robustness through the travel and time back to NYC that night. Nonetheless, it was still good. And a chicken in mushroom sauce with a side of penne. This was really flavorful as well. The chicken was a little dry but that was because I reheated it in the microwave as opposed to using the stove. I still ate and enjoyed it. Whenever I'm let down by food, I can't always count on Sergios to bring me back to life. Yum! Sergio & Co 28 Broadway Denville, NJ 07834 (973) 627-1043 Read more...

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Christmas Eve Dinner

I started a new tradition this year. Usually during the holidays, I travel to my family's home. You see, I'm sitting low on the totem pole in terms of hosting a holiday get together. I'm unmarried, nor do I have kids. I also live in the smallest space. So when it comes to having people get together, I always travel. So to break the tradition of me having to travel all the time this holiday, I decided to make a special dinner for Mr. Meat & Potatoes and myself. I wanted it to be special. So I opted for things I've never made before. And decadence was definitely in mind. So, on the menu for my first Christmas Eve dinner: bread with white truffle butter: Wagyu steak salad Lobster mac n cheese And chocolate mousse. First, the bread was a loaf of rosemary bread from Amy's Bread. I was afraid that the rosemary would be too strong for the white truffle butter but it was just fine. The butter was rich and creamy. The truffle was really good. It didn't taste like black truffles at all. The best thing I can compare the taste to is really rich creamed mushroom soup. So rich and delicious. I couldn't get enough of it. So now I know what all the hype is about. Though truffle butter is nothing compared to actual shaved truffles. For appetizers, I made a simple steak salad. I stopped by a store near the East village that specializes in Japanese style wagyu beef. However, they only sell American beef. I went in and the shop is pristene. I asked the butcher for the best cut of beef with the most marbeling. He suggested the ribeye which was $49.99 per pound. Yes, that's a lot of money for meat but this was a special dinner. I ordered just one pound because it was going to be an appetizer. The cut a piece off for me and wrap it in a container with a small piece of fat. That piece of fat is for seasoning and oiling the pan for searing. But before that, I let the meat come up to room temperature which is about 1 hour on the counter. Next I heat up a pan and melt the fat. When it starts smoking, I season the meat with salt and pepper and add it to the pan. Do not touch or move it now! You should hear a nice sizzlign sound. I lower the heat a little to allow the steak to cook instead of burn. At this point, I turn the oven on to 375 degrees. After a few minutes, I flip the steak over to cook the other side. Do not touch again! I allow the steak to just sear and caramelize to creat e delicious crust. I only cook this side half the amount of time. Then I throw the entire thing into the oven for about 10 minutes. I finally take the steak out of the oven and out of the pan. I place it on the cutting board to rest for about 10 minutes. This allows the meat juices to run back into the steak. This is how steaks stay really juicy. Once rested, I sliced the steak in half and placed it on top of some romaine lettuce. The steak was cooked to a medium rare. The fat had melted into the meat. This was the most tender steak I've ever made at home. It is also more tender than a few steaks I've had in restaurants. The flavor was intense and fantastic. So good. I couldn't stop eating it. Now I know why so many people will pay the big bucks for wagyu beef. I wonder what dry aged wagyu meat tastes like. For our main courses, the lobster macaroni and cheese. I bought 2 live lobsters totalling 4 pounds. I steamed them in a large pot until cooked through (about 7 minutes per pound). When they're cooked, I quickly throw them into an ice bath to stop the residual heat from cooking the lobster into a chewy mess. When they are cooled enoough to handle, I take all the meat out of the shells. The whole lobsters may seem big but there's much less meat. Next, the pasta. I like to use a pasta with ridges so it will hold the cheese sauce better. I boil it in salted water as directed in the box. I undercook the pasta a little to prevent it from being mushy when I bake the entire dish at the end. As that boils, I heat up some heavy cream for the cheese sauce. I heat it up on low to prevent boiling. To that, I add about 1/2 pound of brie to the cream. Stir constantly until melted. When the pasta is cooked, drain well then add to lobster meat. Mix well. Lastly add the cheese sauce to the pan. Top with bread crumbs and bake in an oven until bubbling and the bread crumbs have browned nicely. The lobster mac n cheese is so rich. The cheese sauce is thick and creamy. The pasta is not mushy. And the lobster still holds up because the brie isn't a very strong tasting cheese. Yum! For dessert, the chocolate mouse. I melted some semi-sweet chocolate and bittersweet chocolate with vanilla extract and water. After it is melted and cooled, I added the butter. As that melts down, I work on the eggs. I seperated 4 eggs. Then I whipped the eggs yolks with sugar until light yellow and smooth. Then I add the chocolate mixture to the eggs until mixed well. In another bowl, I whip the eggs whites until stiff. Then I slowly fold in the egg whites in parts to the chocolate mixture. Lastly, I whip some heavy cream to make whipped cream until thick. I fold that into the chocolate mixture in parts as well. I put them into ramekins and refrigerate them in order to let the mousse set correctly. At this point they should be very light and fluffy with a nice chocolate flavor. After they've set, they should be thicker. It should have the consistency of whipped chocolate pudding. The chocolate mouse is so good. Light but decadent. Not too sweet but not too bitter either. Yum! It was nice ending to very special meal. I really enjoyed this meal. It was really special and had lots of foods that we don't normally eat. For my first Christmas Eve dinner, I was quite satisfied. Read more...

Monday, December 28, 2009

Finally Pizza from Lazzara's

We finally ordered pizza from Lazzara's. I've heard good things about it some several sources. So when I ordered a sausage and mushroom pie one night, I was surprised with what came at the door. First of all, the box was small. Personal pan pizza small. I opened the box and found a square pie cut into 6 slices. Normally, I wouldn't mind a smaller pizza but this was $17 and I asked for a pie. I didn't specify large or small. But they didn't ask either. I assumed it was the large because they charged us the large pie price. Maybe it was really good pizza, I asked myself. The crust was so thin. It looked good. And upskirt showed that it was nicely charred. Was this pizza about to redeem itself? No. Unfortunately, the crust was soggy. So much so that I couldn't eat it folded in half with one hand. It was a two hander. One hand holding the outside edge of the crust. And the other hand preventing the topping from sliding off. It was a real disappointment. Nothing about this pizza warranted the price. Flavor wise it was okay. But a small, soggy pizza for $17? I think not. We won't be ordering pizza from here again. Fortunately, their regular food passes the test. Lazzara's Pizza 617 9th Avenue New York, NY 10036 (212)245-4440 lazzaraspizza.com Read more...

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Daisy Mays (again)

On the coldest night in December so far, a couple of friends came over to celebrate. We were thinking of doing sushi since they've just come back from a major eating adventure in South Africa. But while looking through the take out menus, one's eyes lit up with the words 'BBQ'. It was decided then and there that we dismiss our light dinner for something for filling and soul satisfying on this dead cold winter night. We went with a variety of food starting with the jumbo beef rib platter ($21.50) And some sweet and sticky pork ribs platter ($17.50) And a chopped brisket sandwich ($11.50) Each platter came with 2 sides. We got a variety plus 2 more (~$4.50 each). Going clockwise starting on the top left: creamy corn, mashed potatoes, mac n cheese, baked beans, cole slaw, and creamed spinach. The food was good this time. The ribs were much better. They were meatier and the sauce wasn't gummy. The beef rib was larger than last time but still tasted great. The brisket sandwich was devoured by one and only one person so I have no idea what it tasted like. However, I do know that he quickly fell into a nap after eating that. I assume it's okay to say that it was good. Most of the sides were good but some do not grant a second time. I like the mac n cheese. Thick and creamy. They do not skimp of the cheese. I also liked the creamy corn which has cheese in it. The cole slaw was okay. Baked beans were good. The creamed spinach and mash potatoes were too soft. The consistency was so thin that it seemed like it wasn't homemade. It almost tasted pureed. Otherwise, a good warming meal on a cold night. Daisy Mays BBQ USA 623 11th Ave New York, NY 10036 (212) 977-1500 daisymaysbbq.com Read more...

Spicy Soupy Noodles are Great in the Winter

Old Man Winter is knocking on the door. As the temperature drops, the warmth of my food goes up. Nothing like a big steaming bowl of soupy noodles to keep warm. And this time, I used a little spice. Even more warming. Yum! I start off my taking a piece of flank steak and cutting it into thin strips. Then I marinate the meat in soy sauce, chili garlic sauce, sesame oil, and worcestershire sauce. Maybe just a little salt and pepper. Not too much since these sauces already have a lot of flavor in them. While the meat gets really flavorful, I take some dry udon for boiling. Udon is a thick Japanese wheat noodle. It's really hearty and tastes great. Plus, they already bundle each package by serving size. On bunch per person. Just boil away in salted water, just like pasta. It takes about 8-10 minutes of rapid boil to cook. When it's cooked, I place them in large bowls. I leave a little liquid so that they don't stick together too much. I do NOT rinse them off. You want the starchiness here. In the same pot and water of the noodles, I boil 2 eggs for 7 minutes. This leave a slightly runny egg yolk. It a half and half egg. For a really runny egg yolk, do a 6 minute egg. Once the time is up, drain and run under cold water until cool enough to handle. Peel shell but do not cut in half until the very last minute before serving the noodles. While that boils away, I take a pot of chicken stock to a boil. You can use any kind of stock here. Usually, I would pick beef to go with beef. But I didn't have any beef stock available. While that comes up to temperature, I prepare some bok choy. I love having some greens with my noodles. Just peel the leaves off the stem and wash them. I keep the stems too. They can be very sweet and not very tough. Also, bok choy is generally not very dirty. When the stock comes up to boil, I blanch the bok choy. This adds another layer of flavor to the soup. Bring that back up to a boil and cook until softened and the green turns a darker color. Remove from the heat and add to the bowls of noodles. Add the soup first, then place the vegetables on top but on the side. As the soup rewarms the noodles, I bring a pan to a high temperature. I add oil then the beef. I quickly stir fry until just browned on the outside. You do not want to fully cook the beef here. Now add the beef to the noodles and soup. The soup will continue to cook the beef. Lastly, slice and add your eggs. The beef if slightly spicy and adds great flavor to the soup. The vegetables are soft and sweet. The eggs add a nice creaminess to everything. The soup is savory and really hearty. I have issues finishing the soup. But I didn't work that hard on the stock so I didn't care about pouring it down the drain. Who's afraid of the cold when you're warmed through by noodles, spicy beef, and soup? Read more...