Saturday, July 31, 2010

Cooking a Proper Breakfast

Once in awhile I'll cook a proper breakfast. Usually, I'm only drinking some milk, having a yogurt, and some fruit. But today, I went proper. I cooked up some eggs (runny yolks, of course), some breakfast sausages, and some hash browns. And a large-ish mini brioche bun from Sullivan St Bakery. Ugh, stuffed! What a way to start the day than with protein and fatty carbs! Sullivan Street Bakery 533 West 47th Street New York, NY 10036-7903 (212) 265-5580 sullivanstreetbakery.com Read more...

Friday, July 30, 2010

Panini Lunch

Still in NJ. And guess what? Still being fed. Nice! Today, we had panini's. In my creation, turkey, ham, swiss, pesto, and hot pepper spread. Oiled and pressed. Mmm, crunchy, gooey, savory goodness. And a side of delicious summer yellow corn. If you look closely, you'll see how anal I am about corn. I eat it kernel by kernal creating a very clean cob. I even do designs like a spiraling staircase. Hahah! I'm weird. Read more...

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Parsi Lunch: Porah and leftovers

Waking up in NJ has its advantages, especially when I'm in West Windor at Mr. Meat & Potatoes' parents house. Why? Because I'm not in charge of home cooked meals. Yay! Instead, I bask in the plethora of food made from scratch with love. Even the most simple meals/food are freaking delicious. And today, on the menu was porak sandwiches with some leftovers of pattis and spinach kavobs. So what is porah? It's like an Parsi omlette. Egg based with lots of spices and herbs. Delicious between some white bread with some ketchup. The leftover pattis and spinach kavobs were good as always. Read more...

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Wedding #1 at the Inn at Pocono Manor

So it's the summer and the start of the wedding season for me. I'm really happy that my friends are getting married and starting a new life with people that they love. So this first wedding was at the Inn at Pocono Manor. This couple decided to make a weekend out of it. They reserved activities like hiking and biking around the area. I love that idea. Unfortunately, I wasn't able to partake. However, I made it a point to go to their actual ceremony and reception. The ceremony was set beautifully outside on a deck next. The sky was clear but the heat was intense. A very hot day left people sweating through their shirts and dresses. But we all cooled off at the cocktail. There was a spread of cheeses, fruits, and shrimp cocktail. Waitresses handed out hors deurves including: coconut chicken, and raspberry and brie puffs. It was just okay. Good enough for seconds and thirds. But nothing to rave about. I enjoyed it. And the reception was setup buffet style. There were stations setup for: carved meats, pasta, meats and cheeses, build-your-own risotto, and dessert. I started on the carving line and had some turkey and salmon. Next up, the pasta station. However, this was the most popular station. So instead, I jumped ship and headed for the meats and cheeses area. Jackpot! Lots of great variety and some salad, pepperoncinis, and olives. I definitely filled up on this. Mmmmm, meats and cheeses. Dessert was the wedding cake sliced up. It was nice and chocolatey. Sorry, my camera severely broke down at this point and I couldn't take any more pictures. So what's the best way to de-bloat your stomach that's filled with lots of food? Dancing! Yeah, break it down on the dance floor! The Inn at Pocono Manor Route 314 One Manor Drive Pocono Manor, PA 18349 (800) 233-8150 poconomanor.com Read more...

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Lunch Week 29: Stir Fried Vegetables with Pork

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: Stir Fried Vegetables with Pork Nothing fancy this week. Just some more cleaning of the fridge and freezer so that I can buy more stuff. And one of the easiest ways to get everything together is to just cook it up in similar flavors. For me, that means stir fry. I start with some pork chop meat. I debone them, remove the fat, then slice into strips. The marinade is dark soy, worchestershire sauce, rice wine vinegar, mirin, salt, and cornstarch. Mix well and set aside. Next up, the vegetables. I saw some awesome oyster mushrooms that I had to purchase. They were large and beautiful. They're connected through the stem. Just a quick rinse and remove the stem. Then you're left with slices/fans of each mushroom. I also had some white button mushrooms and shitake. I sliced them into strips too. And here are the rest of the other vegetable ingredients: green and red bell peppers, carrots, scallions, cilantro, and sugar snap peas. First the mushrooms get sauteed in some olive oil and seasoned with salt. Just a splash of oyster sauce for flavor. While still hot, I added the cilantro to the mushrooms. Next up, the other veggies. You can use the same pan for everything. That is what makes this dish so easy. Just a little more oil and some carrots. Cook those for a bit. Add salt. Then the bell peppers. Then the sugar snap peas. Cook until softened. Add the same oyster sauce. Mix with the mushrooms. Lastly the meat. Add some more oil to the pan again. When hot, add the meat. Stir fry and cook through. Add to the vegetable and mushroom mixture. And there you have it. So easy. So what does it taste like? Salty and savory. The meat is tender. The vegetables are still crisp and crunchy. The overall flavor of the oyster sauce was nice. Read more...

Monday, July 26, 2010

Welcome Guests Parsi Dinner

So a bunch of Mr. Meat & Potatoes' relatives flew over from Hong Kong to visit. They're staying with his parents in NJ. And we were invited for a good old homemade Parsi dinner. Mmm, haven't had this in a while. We started off minimally with some appetizers. It's very easy to overeat so this was good. Some port salut and monterrey jack cheese. Some potato chips, and a Parsi snakc. It's like seasoned corn flakes and rice puffs. Addictingly nice. And on to the big guns. The entrees! Everything is served family style and you serve yourself. A fan favorite, the pattis. Seasoned ground beef wrapped in mashed potatoes and deep fried. God, these are good. Dunsakh: a lentil based dal. It's not curry per se since it's lentil based. It's usually ladled on top of rice. More like a gravy, I would say. Thick and comforting. I'm loving lentils more and more. The usual salad but this time with avocados. Mmm, a refreshing moment within a heavy meal. Shrimp palov: seasoned rice with shrimp, hard boiled eggs, and onions. This is one of my favorite things to eat. It reminds me of a mix of Chinese fried rice and Spanish saffron rice. The seasoning is so good that you don't need to put anything on it. It's good as is. And Mrs. Executive Chef doesn't skimp on the shrimp. Yes! And this was my plate of food. Some salad, a pattis, some rice and dunsaj on top. Look small but remember that a lot of this food is heavy. It's harder in the summer. And we still had dessert. Always save room for dessert when Ms. Pastry Chef is around. *Also, this is pretty much the time when my camera started to crap out. You can instantly see the different in quality. Sigh...it's been so many good years. But time to let it go. And dessert time! Cheesecake. Thick and creamy. Sweet but with a light tang. This is some serious cheesecake. And a side of oreo truffles for the chocolate lovers. A nice slice for me please! Another good meal gobbled up by me! I love home cooking. I love homemade desserts! It's a good eating life. Read more...

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Shorty's

After a long weekend and a long ride home all I wanted to do is sit back and order delivery. Something fatty and greasy was on the mind. After a peruse of the menus, we picked Shorty's. Even though my mind was mush right now, I still had the right mind to pick something new to eat. So I picked the Cutlet Special ($9) which is a breaded chicken cutlet with broccoli rabe and provolone cheese. This is a 6 in sandwich which is only considered a half. This was enough for me. The flavor was nice. The chicken was tender. The broccoli rabe was soft and flavorful. The provolone cheese was sharp and tangy. I really enjoyed this. It was exactly what I needed and wanted at the time. Completely satifying. Mr. Meat & Potatoes ordered the burger ($8) with cheese. This was so much better than I thought it would be. The meat was tender and still pink in the middle. Flavorful and juicy. The bread was soft but held up to the meat until the very last bite. It came with some lettuce that added some nice crunch and texture. I would definitely order this again. Our friend ordered the buffalo chicken steak ($10 for a whole). I didn't taste it but it looked really good. Saucy and tender. I heard it was good. And to share, we ordered some Yuengling onion rings ($6). The crust was crunchy but the onion was soft. I like these because you can actually taste and see the onion. And some cheese fries ($4.50). I promise they weren't neon colored even though they used Whiz. But again, my camera sucks now and good pictures are hard to come by. These got soft by the time we received them. But no worries, they still tasted of potatoes smothered in cheese. I wonder what awesomeness these would taste like if they came out fresh. After that filling meal, we all took naps on the couch. It was a good day. Shorty's 576 9th Avenue New York, NY 10036-3733 (212) 967-3055 shortysnyc.com Read more...

Saturday, July 24, 2010

H&H Bagel [CLOSED]

Having breakfast before a long car ride is really important to me. If I don't eat, I'll actually suffer. I get headaches and would be more prone to motion sickness. It's really weird. So we got a couple of bagels from our local H&H. I wanted cinnamon raisin but they didn't have any. Instead, I was presented with an onion bagel. Nice car breath for the trip! Haha! Sucks for them. I was going to smear some cream cheese on this bread but someone hogged it all up. Instead, I jazzed it up with truffle butter. It was a slightly muted by the strong onion flavor. But I could still taste and enjoy it. Mmm, this hit the spot. H&H doesn't have the best bagels. In fact, they can be very hit or miss. They're pretty good when you get them right out of the oven. But who knows when that actually happens. But it's the best bagel I've found locally. Until I find some place else, this will remain as my go-to. H&H Bagels 639 West 46th Street New York, NY 10036-1916 (212) 765-7200 hhbagels.com Read more...

Friday, July 23, 2010

RUB BBQ [CLOSED]

A random walk around town led me to the Flatiron/Chelsea area. I went to do a couple of errands. I was thinking of hitting Shake Shack for lunch. But we were stuck on the sidewalk due to a parade. It's impossible to cross the avenue when there are parades going on. Oh well. So we headed back towards home when we walked past RUB BBQ. We haven't been there in so long. It's a shame because we enjoyed it every single time. I jumped in asking about the burgers. But it wasn't Monday night. They only do burgers then. Boooo! I left and we started walking away. But we couldn't agree what to eat. So we headed back knowing we would be satisfied and happy with RUB. And we were so glad. Hardly anyone was seated at RUB. But that just meant faster service for us. The menu was quite extensive but I was thinking of getting my usual: ribs. But I should really try something different, should I? I picked a quarter of dark meat chicken ($4.50). It came with a slice of white bread and pickles. I also ordered a small onion strings ($3). The piece of chicken was juicy and well flavored. The size was decent too. It was the drumstick and the thigh connected. I ate the whole thing and it was delicious. Just enough for one person. The skin held all the seasonings which was delicious. But only one bite for me. I was worried about my cholesterol. But he didn't have an issue gobbling that up for me. The onion strings were crispy, and super flavorful. This is my favorite thing to get as a side here. A small goes a long way. And it just tastes so good to me. It's so addicting. Like chips but better. He ordered the BBQ ham sandwich ($8.75). It came with tons of thick slices of real ham and your choice of bread. He picked the bun. Look at that mound! Definitely too much for one sandwich. Splitting it was a good idea. The ham was juicy and really flavorful. You could tell this was not just some simple ham from the grocer. It was delicious and slightly smokey but completely tender. You can definitely taste the pork. And for fun, we ordered the BBQ Bacon Chunks ($8). Completely smokey and fatty. These little nuggets of pork godliness was a little salty (even for me!) but was well worth the one try. Would I get these again? Probably not. I wish they were a little more crispy. A flash fry would be nice. Otherwise, delicious and completely filling. The pickles helped along the way. I was really happy again with the experience at RUB. The service was friendly and attentive. But most of all, the BBQ was good. It's much better than the other places around the city that just mask hard work with gloppy sauces and liquid smoke. No, this is the real deal. I just wish I can try their burgers soon! RUB BBQ 208 West 23rd Street New York, NY 10011-2306 (212) 524-4300 rubbbq.net Read more...

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Landmark Tavern

So the theme recently is exploring the neighborhood. I want to make sure I take full advantage of what's around me. And if it sucks, I'll go somewhere else. But in the meantime, I have a lot of work/eating ahead of me.

One of the places that's been on my radar for awhile now is The Landmark Tavern. It sits on the far west side of Manhattan. It's kind of off the charts for tourists unless you happen to pass by from a visit to the Intrepid. What people don't know is that this pub has been around since 1868. It's changed several ownerships since then but it still holds true to tradition. The inside looks like a real pub but not dirty nor dingy. It's actually quite nice. White tablecloths on tables for guests who dine. But a long wooden bar for those who seek beverages. Actually, there's just wood everywhere. It's on the columns, the walls, the floors. If feels homey and inviting. This is what I want from a pub. Nothing fancy but nothing divey either.

We get seated really quickly and the waitress is super friendly. We're served a basket of bread with some butter. I didn't partake since I wasn't very hungry. But I didn't want to skip a meal. So I ordered on. Something light caught my eye: The Scotch Egg Salad ($10). A scotch egg is a hard boiled egg wrapped in sausage and then deep fried. Yes please! The eggs were delicious. I love eggs! These were slightly overcooked (the egg part only) but the sausage was really nice. The thin layer crisped up nicely in the fryer. The meaty, fatty outside was crunchy and tasty. The whole thing sat atop some salad that was well dressed and tasted fresh. I really liked this and would definitely get it again.

He ordered the Sirloin Burger with bacon and cheese ($10.50). It came with from fries. The burger itself was delicious. I think it was the prime sirloin that they used. The meat was super flavorful and cooked to order. It was nice and pink inside. The meat to bun ratio was great too. The size wasn't too big nor too small. It was a nice sized pub style burger. The fries, on the other hand, wasn't good. It lacked a severe amount of salt. They weren't crispy enough though they weren't soggy. I could tell these weren't the frozen kind but they were so disappointing. A heavy hand of malt vinegar and salt helped it a bit and made it palatable. But still, I stopped picking at them very early in the dinner. That almost never happens. Oh, and the burger came with a dressed salad which was the same as my own. A nice refreshing veggie addition.

Landmark was really good. I like the decor, the service, and the food. Yes, the fries could be much better. But I'll let that pass for now since the burger was really good. And my scotch egg salad was tasty. I'll definitely be back.

Oh, and to mention that they make their own lager and ale. They're $5/pint. A nice refreshing and simple taste. I enjoyed those too.

The Landmark Tavern
626 11th Avenue
New York, NY 10036-2002
(212) 247-2562
thelandmarktavern.org
Read more...

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Westside Sushi

Exploring the neighborhood again for decent sushi for a low low price. This time, I went on a recommendation: Westside Sushi. I've always passed by this place but thought nothing of it. Never really looked crowded in there. But if I'm willing to eat generic deli sushi, I could handle this too. Inside, we were seated quickly. Not many tables were full. The waiter came by quickly with some water and some little plates. We figured it to be seaweed, mushrooms, and something with mayo in it. Just meh. I could have lived without this. After looking over the menu, I ordered the gyoza ($6.50). They were freshly cooked but tasted meh. Is this a recurring theme? They were certainly hot and crispy. But the skin was overly hard and tough to chew. The filling itself was fine. Maybe they should have done the boil and fry method instead? Much better for the skin. Then onto the rolls. I had 2 house rolls: The Joanne - eel and avocado on real crabmeat ($7) and the Ichi Roll - shrimp on real crabmeat ($7). Every roll on the house menu said "on top of real crabmeat". Weird but ok. The rolls were decently sized. And the taste? Not too bad. Not the greatest but for the price, I won't complain. It tasted fresh enough. And the crabmeat? I couldn't really tell a difference. In the end, I'd come here again for just a normal sushi craving. It's cheap enough and good enough to warrant that. However, if I'm looking for something really good and impressive, I'd skip it. Westside Sushi 717 9th Ave New York, NY 10019 (212) 581-2366 Read more...

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Davidburke Townhouse

For Mr. Meat & Potatoes' birthday, I took him out to David Burke Townhouse. Ever year for each others birthdays we pick new restaurants. In a city like NYC, it's not a difficult task since new fabulous places open up all the time. David Burke is a small intimate place. it's very narrow and sits inside a townhouse. Because of the size and proximity to others, I decided not to take any pictures. I didn't want to seem rude. Honestly, though, it's nice to just have a meal without thinking about getting a nice picture to blog. So you'll just have to read about my experience only through my memory. We sat quickly. The service was friendly and attentive. After we ordered drinks, martini for me, beer for him, we were offered some bread. It was a huge! It looked buttery and fluffy. But instead, it was dense and kind of dry. Eh, could be better. Then the amuse bouche same. It was served on tasting spoons. It consisted of a yellow bean custard topped with smoked salmon. It was very nice. Just enough flavor to invoke my taste buds but subtle enough to keep me wanting more. For appetizers, I ordered the special: pan seared foie gras ($20). It was just what I wanted. Smooth and rich. Complete decadence. They serving size was quite large too. Enough to make me a very happy person. He ordered the sea scallops benedict ($16). It came with chorizo. Delicious! Simple but really complicated in flavor. The scallops were perfectly cooked. Soft yet not mushy. Just slighty raw enough in the middle. The chorizo was thinly sliced so it didn't overpower the delicate scallop. The bread (forget what kind) was a good vehicle for the whole dish. For my main dish, I had the special again: veal chop (~$35). It was so tender yet had a nice crust. I really enjoyed it. It was cooked to my preferred doneness, medium rare. And it was a very good size. I was actually afraid of not being able to finish it. But I worked slowly and behold, I polished it off and all the veggies things that came with it. Do I remember what specifically? No. That's the harm of not taking pictures. He had the filet mignon of veal and veal cheek ($39). These came out so red. I was surprised that maybe it was undercooked. But the reality is that they sous vide it and then browned the outside. This is a very popular cooking method now. It keeps meat at the perfect temperature, then you quickly sear the outside for that delicious browning and caramelization. This is especially efficient and good for leaner types of meat. It almost guarantees that it won't dry out. The veal cheek was the best. It was even more tender than the filet. Amazingly flavorful too. I couldn't decide if I liked his dish better or my own. They were both really good. I really enjoyed my dinner at David Burke Townhouse. The service was attentive, the atmosphere and decor was nice. And the food was really satisfying including the flavors and amount offered. Will you be amazed about new cooking techniques or layers of flavor? No. But you find expertly executed meals with familiar yet delicious flavors. And the winning touch? The free peanut brittle on the host stand. David Burke Townhouse 133 East 61st Street New York, NY 10065-8101 (212) 813-2121 davidburketownhouse.com Read more...

Monday, July 19, 2010

Jade Asian with FBM

A bunch of us woke up early and headed out to Flushing, Queens for some dim sum. Some people griped about the early wake up. But seriously, I hate waiting in the afternoon. I'd much rather go early and get a table right away. Some of the diners were new to dim sum. So I made sure to order a good variety of food. Tripe, stomach, noodles, dumplings, snails, chicken feet, duck feet, lotus sticky rice, turnip cake, etc. Though, I think their favorite was the bacon wrapped shrimp. They ordered 3 plates of those! Though one guys loved the black bean snails. Jade Asian Restaurant 13628 39th Avenue Flushing, NY 11354 (718) 762-8821 jadeasiannyc.com Read more...

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Brunch: Gnocchi with Poached Eggs and Fries

Home alone and trying to find something good to eat. I dug through the fridge and found a couple of things. First, some wonderful white truffle butter. Ooh la la. Makes everything better! And some chiffonade (pretentious enough?) basil on the bottom. Eh, just cut basil. Then I went off to poach some eggs. A pan of water right under simmering. Add a splash of vinegar to help. Spoon the water on top of the eggs if it is exposed. Just a couple of minutes for the whites to cook leaving the yolk runny and beautiful. Boiled up the last of my butternut squash gnocchi I made in the winter. Boil water. Add salt. Put gnocchi in. Boil until it floats. Scoop out and mix with butter and basil. Mmm, gooey truffle butter sauce. And adding to the simple decadence, the poached eggs. And since I didn't think I had enough carbs, some sweet potato fries. Frozen then heated up on the toaster oven until crispy. I know boring right? Whatever. Laziness. Read more...

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Aoki

A couple of friends on mine wanted to meet up for some dinner. They were feeling sushi. I looked around the neighborhood for something affordable but better than Kodama. I went with Aoki. I've ordered lunch from there before. I thought the food was decent and the price was fine then. We ordered the grande sushi platter for two ($47) and added some rolls and nigiri to the mix. By the size of the whole thing, we could have been good splitting this one plate amongst 3 people. So here you have some salmon,tuna, whitefish, mackerel, eel roll, and salmon roll. The fish tasted fresh and tasty. The rice was nice. It was good. And here are our add-ons. Sorry about the dark picture. Anyway, on the left are some uni ($5 each). In the middle is toro ($6 each). And the end is a spider roll ($14.25). The sea urchin was smooth and creamy. Not fishy. Just nice. Not the best but good enough. The toro was soft and creamy. It didn't melt like butter but it was really nice. The spider roll was freshly fried and crispy. Aoki was just lovely. Much better than kodama. Though this meal was more expensive, we also ordered more expensive foods. I would definitely come here again. The only gripe I have is that the service was pushy. We we sat down, we still had the menus open. We were trying to decide what to get. Two different waiters must have come around at least 5 times each asking if we were ready to order. Umm, no. We said that each and every time. If we have our menus still open, don't you think we're still discussing it? They eventually stopped bothering us when sternly said that we'll be ready when our menus are closed. After that, they knew not to be rude anymore. Aoki 234 West 48th Street New York, NY 10036 (212) 956-2355 aokinyc.com Read more...

Friday, July 16, 2010

Kodama

Exploring the neighborhood a bit. I've walked past this sushi joint many times over and over again. And every time it's crowded with people eating there. Besides, I've been meaning to find a neighborhood hole in the wall sushi joint for awhile. We get seated pretty quickly and order a few rolls to share. Here we have eel and avocado roll ($5.50), uni/sea urchin ($5 each), Philly roll ($5.25), spider/soft shell crab roll ($8), and tuna cucumber roll ($5). Honestly, the fish wasn't fresh enough. The eel was completely masked by the thick, goopey sauce. The sea urchin wasn't fresh at all. Total fail. The Philly roll was so completely thick with cream cheese that you can't taste anything else. The spider roll was just okay. The tuna cucumber roll was okay as well. Not fresh but not food poisoning bad either. We also ordered some gyoza ($5.25) to start. But it didn't come out until after the sushi. Just means that they were defrosting some frozen dumplings. I didn't mind the small wait too much. What I did mind was the poor quality of the gyoza. They were really terrible. I've had better from the supermarket freezer section. It was mostly the meat filling. The flavor and texture was off in a very bad way. There wasn't enough soy sauce and hot sauce in all of Asia to save this dumpling. As an overall experience, this place was terrible. The sushi was not fresh. The gyoza was late and tasted terrible. I definitely would NOT recommend this place. There are better and cheaper sushi places to be had in Hells Kitchen. Kodama 301 West 45th Street New York, NY 10036-3822 (212) 582-8065 kodamajapanesenyc.com Read more...