Saturday, April 30, 2011

Take Out: Weng's Palace

Back at Weng's Palace for some take out Chinese food. I ordered the beef in garlic sauce and pork fried rice ($8). I liked the beef because it was tender and juicy but the copious amount of onions was overkill. I ended up just pushing that to the side. The pork fried rice was just okay.

The combination plate came with an eggroll, as well. It was standard deep fried thick wrapper encasing cabbage, carrots, and other veggies.

Mr. M&P had the sweet and sour chicken platter. The sauce came on the side which is nice because the chicken stayed relatively crispy. However, quality-wise, it was just okay again.
Overall, Weng's Palace seemed not as good as the first time around. Everything was really mediocre.

Weng's Palace
304 W 40th St # A
New York, NY 10018-1400
(212) 868-6868
wengspalacenyc.info‎
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Friday, April 29, 2011

A Pou's Taste

After an event with the Feisty Foodie one night, I wanted something savory. We just spent most the night tasting sweet confections. However, she wasn't all too hungry herself. So as we passed by A Pou's Taste parked in Astor Place, I thought it would be better to grab a bite from their cart instead of making FF watch me eat at a sit down restaurant. Besides, I have a real soft spot for dumplings.

A Pou's Taste is more of the traditional food cart that's parked on the sidewalk. They serve mainly Taiwanese dishes but they also offer other select Asian foods like Korean and Japanese dumplings as well.

I opted for the small Taiwanese dumplings ($3.50) and asked for spicy sauce. I've been on a spicy kick lately. The comes with 5 dumplings while the medium is 10 for $6 and the large 15 for $9.

I'm not all too familiar with what Taiwanese dumplings are supposed to taste like so I can't make an "authenticity" review. They didn't taste nor look like the dumplings that I grew up with which were mainly Chinese/Cantonese. Instead, these were wrapped long and pinched in the middle.

So how did it taste? Not bad at all. The bottom of the wrappers were nicely browned and crispy. The pork filling was well seasoned and flavorful. The spicy sauce on the side was a nice touch.

I definitely appreciated the differences in these dumplings from what I'm familiar with. I would go back to A Pou's Taste and order the dumplings again. But before that, I curious about their other offerings.

A Pou's Taste
Various Locations
New York, NY
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Thursday, April 28, 2011

L'Atelier de Joel Robuchon [CLOSED]

So my girlfriends wanted to take me out one night to celebrate. They asked for a place to eat. Any place that I've been wanted to try. And of course, L'Atelier de Joel Robuchon came to mind. This small restaurant located in the Four Seasons Hotel has always been floating around in my radar but I never pulled the trigger. So they happily made my wishes come true with a reservation for 4 at the counter at 8pm on a Friday night.

We arrived a little early and sat at the bar drinking sparkling water and complementary nuts and olives. These were really really good. As we waited past our reservation due to the amount of people sitting at the bar, we were glad with the tray of food. We were getting quite hungry and antsy at the same time. However, we wished we had ordered drinks instead.

When were finally seated at the bar, we saw this (picture below) right in front of us. That's the kitchen, completely open for viewing. Lots of fresh food were placed on the shelves while workers finished plates. In the back were the stoves and ovens where chefs made fresh produce and meat into something fantastic.

For appetizers, Salami Esq. had the foie gras ravioli served in chicken and herb broth. This was really good. The fattened goose liver melted between the thin pasta sheets and the broth was clear and delicate. The herbage was a little overwhelming but easily pushed to the side.

I had the Seared Day Boat Scallops with Endive Salad. The scallops were really big in size and perfectly cooked to have a light sear on the outside while remaining raw on the inside. Taste and texture was perfect. The endive salad added a pleasant bitterness to the dish which paired well with the natural sweetness of the scallops.
Ms. Lollipop had the Soft-Boiled Eggs on Piperade, Iberico Ham and Parsley Oil. The flavors though delicate were really rich as well. You can't really see the eggs but they're in there. The piperade was different from what you would normally find in this Basque dish which is mainly onions, green peppers, and tomatoes. The Iberico ham was cut into slivers and strewn over the dish created a beautiful contrast in colors and flavors.
And lastly, Doc Nut had the Crab Meat with Avocado Cream and Tomato Powder. She not only loved this super delicate crab dish but she also loved the  presentation. So much so that she (jokingly) thought about stealing that egg. Anyway, the flavors of the crab wasn't overwhelmed with the avocado not the tomato powder. She was a very happy camper.
For entree, Salami Esq had the Free-Range Caramelised Quail Stuffed with Foie Gras, Potato Purée which she loved. Although a quail may be small in size, it was definitely rich enough to satisfy her hunger. The meat was tender, the foie gras was rich, and the potato was creamy goodness.
Ms Lollipop and Doc Nut ordered the Roast Hanger Steak, Sautéed Shallots, Shishito Peppers and was really happy as well. With a nice seared crust, they dug in and gobbled this up. The shallots had a nice channelization that added that slight sweetness to an otherwise savory dish. I knew they really enjoyed this and left nothing on the plate to be wasted.
For my entree, I had the Roast Duck Breast served with Cherries, Fresh almonds and Lemonbalm. The duck was prepared wonderfully. The meat was really juicy and flavorful while the skin was rendered of its fat resulting in a crispy treasure. This was a truly amazing dish and loved every single part of it.
And for sides, they gave each of us some whipped potatoes in its own mini Staub coccette.
Here's a closer look at the potatoes which I suspect were dotted with black truffles. The potatoes were so smooth and creamy that I knew that copious amounts of butter and cream were added slowly to get this texture.
To cleanse our savory happy palates, we were offered a small minty dish.
I don't particularly remember the name of this freebie but I do know that I didn't love it. However, the reason why I didn't love it was the mint. You see, I'm not a huge mint fan and this was very minty. It did do the job of preparing me for some sweets though.
And finally, the desserts. Salami Esq had Le Tendance Chocolat which included chocolate cream, bitter chocolate sorbet, and oreo cookies. I don't really have to say anything about this dish. I mean, look at it and read the description. Enough said.
Doc Nut had Le Souffle which was orange blossom and grand marnier flavored with a side of stracciatella cream. She thought that that souffle was really light and airy with just enough orange flavor. The stracciatella cream was really amazing on it's own and didn't need to be added to the souffle.
While Ms Lollipop skipped dessert but ended up finishing everyone else's food, I picked Le Sphere which was a golden bubble filled with champagne zabayon, mandarin sorbet, and orange supreme. Look how beautiful that dessert looked!
I carefully cracked though the thin layer of the bubble and was presented with the smooth and creamy zabayon which was accented with lots of citrus flavor. I really liked this dessert for being so refreshing after a good meal.
To finish the meal, they offered us some homemade candy. How cute!
Each little sugary piece had it's own picture/writing. One was a heart, one said L'Atelier, one said Merci (thank you), and one was a lemon wedge. I love it!
The food, service, atmosphere, and decor was absolutely amazing. I had a really good time. Although we waited well past our reservation to be seated, they apologized and treated us very well for the rest of the night. I would absolutely come back here again. Oh, and the counter is definitely the place to sit.

L'Atelier de Joel Robuchon
The Four Seasons Hotel
57 East 57th Street
New York, NY 10022
(212) 829-3844
fourseasons.com
joel-robuchon.net
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Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Lunch Week 13: Pasta with Summer Vegetables

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: Pasta with Summer Vegetables

I'm excited about the warmer weather. Not only is it nice to actually walk around now, but lots of spring produce is being harvested right now. So, in celebration of the lovely season, I made a lighter pasta salad with copious amounts of vegetables.

But first, the meat. I always like to have some kind of protein in my lunch to keep me full and satisfied. So I bought some chicken sausage from the market. I didn't pick chicken sausage because it's healthier (it's usually not) but for the flavor. I believe this was garlic flavored as well.
Into a hot pan with oil it goes. Don't touch it until it turns nice and brown on one side. Flip and repeat.
Once cooked through, I let it rest on the cutting board then sliced it up into bite sized pieces.
And now the vegetables. I decided to use some zucchini, summer squash, and eggplant.
I sliced them in half them sliced them again into medallions about a 1/4 inch thick.
Add a little more oil to the same pan you used for the sausage, then add the vegetables in. I did not add salt at this point because I wanted the veggies to brown nicely and retain their shape. When cooked, I added salt and let them release some of their liquid.
While the vegetables cooked, I boiled some farfalle (bowtie) pasta in salted water. Once cooked through, I drained it and tossed it in some tomato sauce. Then the spring mix went in. Use the residual heat from the pasta and sauce to wilt the greens down. If that doesn't work, then tossing in the cooked vegetables will. And don't forget that yummy sausage. Toss that in too. Keep tossing until everything is lightly coated with the tomato cause and the greens have wilted.
And there you go. A nice and light spring lunch that will keep you satisfied through the afternoon and keep your waistline and wallet friendly.
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Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Tuesday Nights: John's of Bleecker Street

Towards the end of the last year, my friends thought that we weren't hanging out enough. It's true, we weren't. So they started Tuesday night get-togethers. Every Tuesday, we'll pick a bar to drink, eat, and hang out for a couple of hours. Whomever can make it will attend. If you're busy, it's okay. There's always next week. So this is Tuesday Nights on Tasty Eating where you will find bars that serve food and how we like them.

This week, we headed out to: John's of Bleecker Street
Okay, so this isn't really a bar. However, I had a coupon that was expiring soon. So I made the suggestion to my friends and they happily agreed. Who doesn't like brick oven pizza and beer anyway?

We started off the night with a couple of pitchers of beer ($17) and some salad ($6.50). Both simple and exactly what we expected, we were satisfied.

And then the pizza started rolling out in their glory. First, one of their specials (#52 or something like that ~$22) which pretty much had everything on it from sausage, meatballs, pepperoni, olives, green peppers, and mushrooms. This was pretty good. All that meat was nicely balanced with the vegetables. Also, I liked that although there were a lot of topping, the crust didn't fail to hold them. No fork and knife here. All hands, baby.
Here's a closer look at the toppings overload (in a good way).
The second pie to come out was a simple sausage and mushroom pie (~$20). Simple indeed but definitely satisfied everyone. The cheese, the meat, and the mushrooms just went really well with the crunchy crust.
Again, another closer look at the sausage and mushroom toppings.
And lastly, a simple magarita pie with tomato sauce, cheese, and basil. Very simple indeed but good to see lots of basil throughout the pizza. This truly showcase the quality of the ingredients and the skill of the pizzaiolo.
And the last close-up of the meal. A basil leaf turning brown from the heat of the pizza. You knew it was fresh.
And the obligatory pizza crust upskirt. As you can see, lots of charring around and crispiness to be found. This was some pretty good pizza. Love that it's brick oven as well.
John's of Bleecker Street is not one of those fancy pizzerias that seem so popular these days. You're going to get NYC style pizzas with a good thin crust and copious amounts of toppings. The service was just good enough and we were really happy.

A bit of advice for large groups: they won't sit you until your whole party has arrived. However, we did sit with one person missing because we said we would order right away. Also, if you come as a large party and stand in line, chances are you'll be able to skip some people ahead of you. They do like to sit down large groups first. But, if you can't get a group together, a large pizza could feed 2 people with healthy appetites.

John's of Bleecker Street
278 Bleecker St
New York, 10014
(212) 243-1680
johnsbrickovenpizza.com
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Monday, April 25, 2011

Istanbul Kebab House

Walking around the Hell's Kitchen neighborhood, Mr M&P and I wanted to try a new place for lunch. So we stopped by the Istanbul Kebab House thinking of gyros.

On the menu, the gyros were offered as either a sandwich or as a wrap. The sandwich is just between 2 slices of bread, where as the wrap is more like a gyro that I'm used to. Oh and of course I got the lamb gyro.

The lamb was thinly sliced off the spit then wrapped with some vegetables. The flavor of the meat was pretty robust and actually a little salty for me. But The sauces really helped tone that down. Besides that, the lamb was of a pretty good quality. If you look closely, you can see the fibers which doesn't occur when you have ground up gyro meat. This was real sliced lamb. That's always a plus.
So here are the two sauces. I believe the white is tzatziki of some sort while the yellow bottle contained hot sauce. I was really a fan of the white sauce and squeezed a lot of it on my gyro.
The food at the Istanbul Kebab House was pretty solid. And although it was pretty empty on a weekend for lunch, I hope it stays around. The service was good, the place clean, and the food tasty. Even though the lamb was salty, I think it's still better than bland meat. A little squirt of white sauce, and you have yourself a pretty good gyro for the neighborhood.

Istanbul Kebab House
712 9th Avenue
New York, NY 10019-7330
(212) 582-8282
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Sunday, April 24, 2011

Cooking: Beef Ho Fun

If you read my blog often, then you would know that Mr Meat and Potatoes really enjoys beef ho fun. This dish is mainly made with thin slices of beef stir fried with flat rice noodles. So I decided to finally give a go to make this at home. First, I gathered my meat which actually was leftover rib eye steak. The noodles I bought from a tofu store on the corner of Grand Street and Bowery in Chinatown for $1. I also decided to add some bean sprouts for texture and freshness, as well as a side dish of bok choy.

I started the dish by marinating the beef a little bit in some xiao shin wine (or brandy would work as well), both light and dark soy sauce, salt, and pepper. Then I turned on the stove and heated up a pan. Some vegetable oil was added and let to heat until slightly smoking. I tossed in the beef and tossed it around until cooked through. A wok would work really great here.

After the beef if cooked through, I took it off the flame and removed it from the pan. Then I added the noodles into the same pan. I tossed it until it softened up and added some dark and light soy sauce and a splash of sesame oil. When the noodles are just about done, I added the beef back into the pan. I tossed the ingredients together until well mixed. Lastly, I tossed in some bean sprouts and turned off the stove. I tossed the dish again to distribute the sprouts. The residual heat from the dish will cook them though. Some green scallions would also work really well with the sprouts.

In another pan, I heated it up with some vegetable oil then added the boy choy. Some salt was added then covered slightly. I let the vegetables steam for about five minutes then I uncovered the pan. I tossed them around to make sure all the leaves are wilted and softened.
So how did the dishes come out? The beef ho fun was too salty. The trouble with using leftover steak is that it is already heavily salted. So the addition of soy sauce and more salt was overkill. Next time, I'll try to use fresh beef instead.

The noodles came out better. They weren't mushy and in fact was very good texturally. The flavor was pretty good as well since they absorb anything that you add to it. So in this case, they tasted like soy sauce.

The boy choy was a really choice for side dish since there wasn't any other major vegetables in the dish. For a little more flavor, I can cook the boy choy with some garlic and ginger next time.

I really enjoyed this dish and would definitely give it a go again. Hopefully, I'll get the salt right next time.
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