Friday, April 30, 2010

Snack: Spinach kabob

So what's this? A spinach kabob. A Parsi snack. It's fried creamy spinach. Just eh to me. Read more...

Sergio's: Creamy Chicken Pesto

So, Mr Meat & Potatoes surprised me one night with something tasty. It was creamy chicken pesto from Sergios. It's one of the most favorite dishes from Sergios. However, they don't make it too often. I was lucky enough to finally have it. The sauce is amazing. Creamy but super flavorful from the pesto. The pasta held up well and wasn't mushy at all. And what's this? A love piece of bread to lap up all the sauce. Ooh la la, this was good. Read more...

Final Four Eating: Hoagies and Chucks

Sports and greasy food. They go hand in hand. So what's good in West Windsor, NJ? Well not too much. But if you head over to Princeton which is not too far, you'll find a plethora of greasy food. And that's thanks to the university there. College students = greasy, fast food. And when college basketball comes around, these places are very hot. This year, we went with Hoagie Haven for subs, and buffalo chicken wings from Chucks.

This time, someone else ordered and picked up my sub. The order was slightly wrong but not in a bad way. Usually, I like to get a half cheesesteak with double meat, a fried egg, fried onions, lettuce, tomatoes, ketchup, and spices. Everything was in order except I got a double egg. And you know what? I really liked it! I love eggs. This sandwich was really massive and delicious. I even outdid all the guys there. Hahah! I'm truly a fatty.

But that sub wasn't enough. I had some buffalo wings to go with that too. Spicy and tangy. Just yummy.
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Thursday, April 29, 2010

New Spring Garden: Dimsum

Dim sum at New Spring Garden again. It's just okay. It gets really crowded though. But I'm always up from some dim sum. Yum! Read more...

Amy's Bread: Quiche and Cheddar Biscuit

So every time I have to travel outside of the city during the weekend, I stop by Amy's Bread for some snacks for the ride. I've been in love with their quiches ($5.50) lately. I've had the ham and cheese, the spinach and mushroom, and roasted vegetables. I really enjoy the spinach and mushroom. But this time around, I had the roasted vegetables. It's just alright and my least favorite. And he had the cheddar biscuit ($1.25). This is always a good buy. Soft and flaky. Cheesy and buttery. What's not to like? Amy's Bread will heat up a variety of their baked goods. But it usually takes a really long time because they use a flat grill press instead of the oven or microwave. Read more...

Leftovers from Pio Pio

And what's the best thing about Pio Pio again? Leftovers!! Look at how much chicken and rice I had left. Enough for 2. But a really stuffed belly for me! And to add to the deliciousness, I poured that green sauce over the rice. So very very good. Read more...

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Pio Pio

Hello my dear, Pio Pio. I've heard of your delicious chicken but have yet to try to you. With chicken being my favorite meat, I would think I am a good judge of the flavor, texture, and juiciness. And off I went to try your delicious chicken. But first, some appetizers to whet my palate. Here's a good view of what the Hell's Kitchen location of Pio Pio looks like. The sign isn't that noticeable but I like glass walls. The room is modern but comfortable. Supposedly there is a downstairs to the restaurant as well. So don't worry about space. I also noticed that the bar was packed constantly. I didn't notice any specials going on but people seems happy and inebriated there. Caution: Bad, grainy pictures to follow. So, we started off with the some apps. He picked the papa rellenas ($8). It's described as deep fried mashed potato balls with meat sauce. These were just okay. They weren't super flavorful and at $4/piece, they didn't seem worth it. I picked the cebiche mixtp ($16). It's citrus marinated seafood. There were shrimp, scallops, squid, and octopus. It was lovely and delicious. I love my seafood cooked lightly and this is one of the best ways. Light, and tangy. The seafood tasted good. And it wasn't chewy. Pricey but I would get this again. For his main course, he picked the Arroz Chaufa ($12). It's described as a Peruvian fried rice. I thought it was just okay. It's fried rice. I've had a life time of fried rice. But with the special green Pio Pio sauce added, it was much better. The green sauce is mayo based but doesn't contain any avocado. It's slightly spicy. Jalapenos maybe. Whatever it was, it definitely made the rice delicious. It added the missing kick of flavor. I picked the Chicken Pio ($14). It a whole chicken that has been seasoned and roasted. It was delicious. I couldn't get enough of the spices. So good. I would definitely get this again. Juicy, tender, and just so flavorful. They also offer this in half and quarter prices. Next time, I'll just the quarter, though, I had lots of delicious leftover for 2 more meals. Oh, I definitely suggest to get a side of rice with your chicken. This saffron rice ($4) is fluffy and light. It was a nice complement to the chicken. So Pio Pio did come through with their chicken. It was delicious, juicy, and tender. At $14, it was worth the price with leftovers to last 2 meals. Even if I did share the meal, I still think I would have leftovers for the next day. As for the rest of the meal, I would skip apps, though I enjoyed the cebiche. It was all about the chicken. Pio Pio 604 10th Avenue New York, NY 10036 (212) 459-2929 piopionyc.com Read more...

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Lunch Week 17: Mixed Chili Noodles

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: Mixed Chili Noodles I was craving Asian food really badly. And I wanted to make something good for lunch. I've been working really long hours at work. So something hearty and substantial was the way to go. I was shopping at an Asian food store the other day, and found this interesting bag of noodles. They look like normal rice based noodles. But in fact, they're mung bean noodles. Yes, these noodles are made of beans. The texture was completely different: more chewy. The instructions on the bag tells me to soak the noodles for 10-20 minutes. They're really stiff and hard right out of the bag. But a nice soaking in cold water loosened them up nicely. However, they weren't soft enough to eat yet. They needed to be boiled and cooked lightly. More on that later. The next ingredient is Chinese sausage. They usually come in a pack of 8 or so. They're many different kinds but I usually buy the kind that doesn't involve liver. I keep these frozen until I'm ready to use them. I put them in a shallow pan of water and bring them to a boil. I put in enough water to come up halfway up the sausages. I boil the sausages until they water completely evaporates. Once that's done, I saute them until the skin is crispy. You can tell that the sausages are cooked when they're plump and bright red. Do not feel tempted to cut into them too quickly. The oil and juices will leak out and they won't be as tasty anymore. Once cooled, I sliced them in half lengthwise. Then I cut them into small slices on an angle. Next up, the vegetables. I really enjoy snow pea tips. They're kind of difficult to find. It's even more difficult to find tender snow peas. If the veggies are remotely aged, then they're difficult to eat. Chewy and very stringy. I was lucky that these were tender and delicious. They're very easy to cook. Get a large pan heated. Add some oil. Then add the snow pea tips to the hot pan and oil. Add salt and let the leaves wilt and become tender. Once softened, remove from the heat immediately. Overcooking these will surely leave it unappetizing. When cooled, run your kitchen scissors through them roughly to make them into smaller pieces. And now, the ingredient: tofu. Fried tofu, in fact. These are already cooked. So all you have to do is slice then up to bite sizes. These taste pretty good by themselves. No need for seasoning. I could eat these as is. Yum! And lastly, the mushrooms. I used enoki mushrooms here. They're long and tender. They cook really easily and taste fantastic. I take a pan and add some oil. Once hot, I add the mushroom in small piece. I saute them until brown. I added some soy sauce for taste. And now we're back to the noodles. Remember they need to be cooked, right? So bring a large pot of water to boil. Add salt. When it's at a rolling boil, add the noodles. Once the water comes back to a slight boil, drain the noodles. You do NOT want to overcook these as they will disintegrate into the water. Then you won't have any noodles anymore. Just mush and pieces. Once drained, add some sauce and oil to prevent them from sticking together. Here, I used regular vegetable oil, sesame oil, garlic chili sauce, soy sauce, and fish sauce. I added the sausage too because they contain oils that will flavor the noodles. Once mixed, I added the other ingredients thoroughly. Don't be too rough to break the tofu pieces or the noodles. So how does it taste? Awesome! The noodles are chewy and holds up well from the fridge and microwave. It's slightly spicy from the chili and garlic sauce. I love the flavor of this sauce. The sesame oil adds a nice toasted taste. The sausage is so flavorful and delicious. The snow pea tips and mushrooms balance the fattiness of the sausage. The tofu adds a nice clear balance of flavor. And texturally, it's definitely welcomed. I would definitely make this again. The ingredients are cheap but the outcome is delicious! Read more...

Monday, April 26, 2010

Chinatown Ice Cream Factory

Chinatown Ice Cream Factory. I remember coming to this place since I was a kid. It wasn't my favorite place because it had these weird flavors. As a kid, I wanted the sweetest and most delicious kinds: chocolate. And I wanted what all the other kids wanted: chocolate. So naturally, I always begged my mom to bring me around the corner to Haagen Das. But true to mom, she brought me to both. And I'm glad. I have a better understanding of what she was trying to do. She was trying to expose me more flavors. I'm totally appreciative. So I've been back since those times. All on my own. This time, I went for the almond cookie. And my friend, Ms. Lollipop, went for the taro. I've had the taro before and it's good. But I like the almond cookie more. It really reminds me of those cookies. Lightly yellow, it doesn't look like it's very flavorful. But don't be fooled. It's full of those delicious cookies. Yum! I really enjoy this ice cream shop but it can get crowded at times. The Chinatown tours like to stop here. And lots of tourists too. I wouldn't really wait on line for this. But I've been here so many times already. Also, I will many more times to come. Chinatown Ice Cream Factory 65 Bayard Street New York, NY 10013 (212) 608-4170 chinatownicecreamfactory.com Read more...

Sunday, April 25, 2010

E-Mo

It's getting warm enough for me to walk to K-Town for lunch again. So I wanted to hit up some place new though Woorijip would be so good and easy at the same time. But new was on my mind. A recent post from Midtown Lunch about E-Mo led me there. E-Mo is a kimbap hole in the wall place. If you want kimbap, they have many varieties here. If you want anything else, they won't have it. I love places that just specialize in one thing. So kimbap is what most people would call Korean sushi. But it's so different to me. First, I've never seen raw fish used here. Yeah, the seaweed and the rice is there. And it's in a roll. But the seaweed and rice tasted different to me. It looks similar but tastes so different to me. A brisk walk and I was there. I ordered the #2 which is the beef kimbap ($5.50). They were assembling the other ingredients for the lunch hour rush so my order came pretty quickly. They asked if I wanted soup but I declined. Back at my desk, I opened by container and was happily surprised with the amount of food I got. It was definitely enough to satiate me. More importantly, it was enough to keep me full through the afternoon. And here's a closeup of one piece of kimpbap. A nice layer of rice with tons of veggies (some pickled), and the lovely crunch of that radish. The beef flavor was pretty none existent for me. Too bad. However, I would definitely come here again. The kimbap in general was very tasty. The price is right. And I just got to love places like these. Hard working people perfecting the one thing on their menu. E-Mo 2 West 32nd Street New York, NY 10001 (212) 594-1466‎ Read more...

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Lunch from the Office Cafetaria: The Lodge

It was a cold, dark, and rainy day. And I was left without lunch! Wah! So what's a person to do? Delivery? Maybe. But I was hungry, now! So I ventured down to the pits of the building AKA the cafeteria. Or as my company likes to call it, The Lodge. It's always a mad house during lunch hours. So I perused around to see what was available. Nothing too special so I picked the shortest lines there: the grill station. The special of the day was this Roast Beef Sandwich with grilled onions and cheddar sauce. Can't be all the bad. Five minutes later and less than $6 later (banana included), I ventured back to my desk to figure out if I should have gone out like a true Midtown Luncher. So this bad boy was pretty big. But I soon discovered that was because of the giant kaiser roll. The meat, onions, and cheese sauce looks like it was just thrown on. Okay with me. I always like to re-arrange my food anyway. But first up, the fries. I always like to eat a couple of fries first. I don't know why but I do. And always the first without ketchup. Anyhow, the fries weren't too bad. They didn't get soggy. They were crisp and well salted. And there were a ton of them. And now the sandwich. The roast beef was rare to medium rare. Just the way I liked it cooked. But it was sliced thick and it was kind of gristly. I couldn't bite through it cleanly a couple of times. Not good. The onion were almost non-existent in flavor. And the cheddar sauce? More like cheez wiz to me. So would I get this again? No. But I'm picky like that. I can see why people would come here. It's damn cheap. The serving is huge. They offer a lot of other stuff there too. The most popular looks like the salad bar. The stuff actually looked pretty fresh. Although they do weigh your salad, it's definitely cheaper than getting it from an outside venue. The Lodge, I will be back but not too soon. Maybe on another rainy (and lazy) day. Read more...

Friday, April 23, 2010

Nissin Ramen

I have a soft spot for instant ramen. I grew up with it and nothing else tastes like it. Yeah, it isn't anything special nor amazing. But it's the memories that brings me back every time. I especially love the Nissin brand. Now a days, I only but this kind for the sesame oil flavor. I got to Chinatown and buy them by the box full. It's cheaper that way and lasts forever. I used to eat 2-3 of these at a time. Well, without anything else. But now, with homemade dumplings in the fridge, I can offer a little more depth to the meal. I haven't used the flavor packet in the longest time. I'm more of just the sesame oil type of person. But I decided to put it in this time around. I took a quick peek at the nutrition value and wasn't shocked at the 80% of daily sodium value there. It's all MSG, isn't it? Whatever, until my doctor tells me to cut down on sodium, I will salt away! Besides, I pretty much cook all my own foods from scratch so I control my own intake. a hot steaming bowl of noodles and dumplings in about 15 minutes or so. What could be better? Eh, could have used more veggies. But otherwise, yum! Read more...

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Frites N' Meats Truck

I've heard so much about this food truck. Saving the World One Burger At a Time? Okay, that's saying a lot. So I had to go and see what they were up to. They were around the midtown area one day and I went over to order. while on line, you take a card and mark down what you want to eat. I decided on the special they had that week: Marital Bliss (~$8). It was an angus burger with cream cheese, jalapenos, and bacon. I also added some mesclun greens and ketchup to the mix. All this on top of my choice of an onion roll. And of course, I needed my fries ($3). Double fried potatoes? Yes, of course! So I get back to my desk and was worried that the order might be cold. Or worse, the fries might be soggy. They did staple the top of the bag. But I was happily munching on the first few fries right out of the bag and they were crispy and well salted. Delicious! I guess the paper bag helped breathe a little. And soak up some of the grease. Now onto the burger. It was quite big. But not too big for me to handle. It actually looked like one of those fancy burgers you see around town these days. I'm not really into fancy but I ordered this anyway. Why? They were really promoting it at the truck. So why not? A nice look at the greens. Fresh and unwilted. Nice. That'll add nice texture to it. The cream cheese was everywhere though. I guess the burger softened it a little too much. A couple bites in and I knew what I thought. The bun had to be that big to hold this baby in. The meat was not the juiciest. Kind of dry in my opinion. However, you do see that it wasn't cooked to well done. I like that. It also had too much of a char flavor. I guess that was from the major flames coming from grill inside the truck. The cream cheese definitely helped in the moisture part. It came through where the burger lacked in juices. The jalapenos added a nice kick to it. Not too much but not too little. It was noticeable. The bacon, however, got completely lost except for the crunch. It certainly was crispy but I couldn't taste it at all. Better to pull it out and snack on it as a side. And at the bottom of the bag, I found this little surprise: a tootsie roll! Lime flavored? Interested. I did, in fact, eat this piece of candy. All I can say is that traditional flavor rules. Lime sucks. So would I go back to the Frites N' Meats truck? Definitely yes on the fries. But the burger can use some work. Maybe I'll try a normal cheeseburger and give my assessment on that. We'll see how good the burger can be without the cream cheese keeping things moist. fritesnmeats.com Read more...

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Attempt #2: Burgers at home again

So I'm determined to master my own burger. From the mistakes I made last time, I wanted to at least to have some improvement. I know I won't master my burger for awhile. So this time I worked on the cooking time and the seasoning. I heated up a pan with vegetable oil. While that got heated up, I worked on my meat. I used the same kind of beef: ground chuck 80/20. I seasoned the meat liberally with salt and pepper. Then I formed the patties with a light hand. No overworking the meat. When the patties were formed, I also seasoned the outside. Then they immediately went into the pan. Sizzle! Just 1-2 minutes and they get flipped. A couple of minutes on this side as well. Once flipped, the sliced cheddar goes immediately on the cooked side. Out of the pan and onto a plate to rest, I prepped the non-meat parts of the burgers. I toasted the potato buns. I find that they tend to hold up better with a slight toasting. Some condiments and a couple of sliced of pickles too. The patties go on the buns. And a side of cheesy mashed potatoes. You may be wondering why the potatoes are brown. Well, skins on. And here's the cross section. Not bad with the medium rare. However, I thought the middle was still a little cold. Next time, I'll let the meat come to room temperature some more. Also, it still wasn't seasoned enough. I'm using a new salt and haven't come to terms to its saltiness yet. So far, I found out that I need to add more than what I have been used to. Also, I would have like a better crust on the meat. I'll make the pan even more screaming hot next time. But the buns were great. The toasting was really nice. There was definitely an improvement in my burgers this time. The meat was closer to medium rare. And the beef was better seasoned. But there's still some work to do. More salt, higher heat, more resting. Read more...