Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Grimaldi's

A nice sunny day led to a walk over the Brooklyn bridge into Dumbo and pizza at Grimaldi's. I've been to this pizza joint before and thought that the pies were delicious and the crust thin and crispy. So we ventured out again with a few newbies in tow for some pizza goodness.
We arrived around 6pm and there was a line but it wasn't offensive. It was maybe 10 people deep but it moved quickly. That's the thing about pizza, it doesn't take that long to cook or eat. We sat down and ordered 3 pies to share amongst 6 people. That's a half pie per person or 3 slices.

The first pie was a classic with just pepperoni and cheese (large $14 each plus $2 each topping). They sprinkled some basil on top as well for decorative reasons. But the taste? Nice. The crust was thin, the cheese was melted, and the pepperoni was spicy. We only wished that the sliced meat would be sprinkled around more evenly towards the edge of the crust. Otherwise, really tasty.

And here's an obligatory upskirt. Just a little bit charred on the bottom. I wish there were more char marks because I like the bitter taste of it. However, the lack of charred marks didn't deter the pizza crust from being crispy and crunchy with each and every bite.

And look at the thinness of the pizza. Lovely isn't it? I really enjoy a nice thin crust.
The next pie was kind of a mish-mash of toppings. We had onions, roasted red peppers, and ham. Some people didn't like the texture of the red peppers on the pizza. However, I enjoyed it. I'm always a stickler for a nice balance of meat, veggies, and cheese on a pizza. Though texturally unpleasing to most, I enjoyed this pie.
And lastly, we had sausage and onions on the 3rd pie. I thought that this pie was my least favorite. I didn't think the sausage was plentiful and it was more like a cheese pizza with a sprinkle of meat. However, flavor-wise people still enjoyed it. Some even more than the previous pie.
Grimaldi's was really good and I enjoyed it for a second time. I'm more of a classic NYC pizza pie type of person. Some people would rather have neopolitan pies. Either way, I think Grimaldi's makes a fine pie.

Grimaldi's
19 Old Fulton St
Brooklyn, NY 11201
(718) 858-4300
grimaldis.com‎
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Sunday, May 29, 2011

Doughnut Plant

Oh Doughnut Plant, you make such delicious goodies. I'm a sucker for you and will stand in line for some of your offerings.

The Blackout doughnut is a favorite amongst many people especially chocolate fiends. It's a chocolate doughnut filled with chocolate cream, glazed with chocolate, and sprinkled with chocolate.

Look at that filling inside. Goodness in every bite.

I'm more of a traditionalist and had the glazed. Oh glazed, how yummy you were! Sticky, sweet and perfectly soft. A big doughnut indeed but not too much for my stomach.
And to try something new, I had the pistachio which was actually off putting. The flavor was very close to almond but more in the marzipan way. It wasn't what I was expecting and certainly wasn't what I would enjoy. This was actually the first doughnut that I disliked from the Doughnut Plant. However, I ate it all anyway.
And to redeem itself, I went to the relatively new location of the Doughnut Plant at the Chelsea Hotel. They were running down to their very last doughnuts so I snagged a oatmeal doughnut. This cake doughnut was heartier and tasted similar to carrot cake. The oatmeal on the outside was a nice textural balance with the softness of the doughnut and the creaminess of the glaze. It was good but not a favorite. I'm more partial to yeast doughnuts anyway.

Doughnut Plant
379 Grand Street
New York, NY 10002
(212) 505-3700

220 West 23rd Street
New York, NY 10011
(212) 675-9100
doughnutplant.com‎
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Saturday, May 28, 2011

Hell's Kitchen Pizza

Pizza again from my favorite neighborhood joint. We had 2 pies: white and sausage with onions.

Here's the obligatory upskirt. Actually a little disappointing this time. Not enough char on there. I've had better. Just a bad day, I guess.

And some lovely garlic knots. Mmm, garlicky goodness.
A closer look at the minced garlic and herbs dotting the bread.
Another solid lunch had by Hell's Kitchen Pizza. Always keeping me happy.

Hell's Kitchen Pizza
691 10th Avenue
New York, NY 10036
(212)765-8565
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Friday, May 27, 2011

Del Frisco's Steakhouse

One of the best steakhouses in Midtown is Del Frisco's. I think the space, the food, and the service are all great. Is the best steak I've ever had? No. Is it a solid winning dinner every time? Yes, indeed.

First, I must mention their drinks. They do them well here. I'm always very fond of their pineapple martini. They take pineapple and soak it in vodka. Oh yeah, it tastes really good and it's really strong. Be sure not to down this before your meal. You actually want to taste the meat.

And their bread which are 2 soft sesame rolls that come warm. Yes, warm to melt some delicious butter. Really nice to whet the appetite.
We don't normally order appetizers because we think the meal and sides are always better. But this was a special occasion for family visiting from out of the country. So we started with a tower of onion rings ($13). These onion rings are huge and one is plenty. But the flavor is good. Lots of onion inside that crispy crust of fried batter and a generous sprinkling of salt and pepper works well with me.
And on their secret menu (did you know there's a secret menu?) is their slab bacon. Yeah, they serve thick slices of cured pork belly too. These are around $6 a piece but well worth it.
Juicy, fatty, bacon! These slices are thicker than what I normally get at steakhouses. So very, very good.
And now the steak! I had the 16oz prime ribeye ($44) cooked medium rare. When it comes to your table, they ask you to slice into it immediately to make sure it's cooked to your liking. It was for me and I was really happy. The taste? Really good. Nicely browned and charred on the outside, superbly pink and red on the inside. Juicy, well seasoned, and just good. A solid steak every time.
The sides also come all at once. And they actually serve you. Have I mentioned I like tableside service? Hahahah! So the sides were asparagus ($14), potatoes au gratin ($13), lobster mac and cheese ($19), maque chous corn ($13), and spinach supreme ($13). I was less enthused about the sides. The potatoes were too oily in a way that the spud and cheese didn't meld well together. The lobster mac and cheese wasn't very lobster-y at all. But I loved the corn and the asparagus. The spinach supreme was similar to creamed spinach and tasted just fine. I'm not a creamed spinach connoisseur so I can't tell if it was superb or not.

All in all, another good dinner at Del Frisco's. Our waiter was really funny and totally read us perfectly. He joked around but also made sure we were happy and satisfied with the meal. Needless to say, we left him a nice tip.

Del Frisco's Steakhouse
1221 Avenue of the Americas
New York, NY 10020-1001
(212) 575-5129
delfriscos.com
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Thursday, May 26, 2011

Ocha

On the last lunch date with Mr. Knodel, we walked around the Midtown West area in search of something that answered our cravings. I didn't have anything specific in mind like I usually do so pre-planning was a failure. We ended up walking on Restaurant Row (W46th St between 8th & 9th Aves) and passed one mediocre place after another until we ended up at Ocha. Hmm, sushi? Why not!? And it gets an A for its health code. Weeeeeeee!

Ocha was unassuming and the place was pretty much empty when we got there. A little while after, a few other people wandered in and some showed up for take out. After a couple of minutes looking over the menu, he opted for the 2 rolls plus 3 piece sushi ($13.20) and I opted for the 3 roll lunch special ($10.20) which also came with the choice of soup or salad. We both asked for soup since it was a chillier day. It helped us warm up nicely.

But what's a proper lunch without some appetizers? Yeah I know this if overkill  but it's not very often that I get to dine with my favorite friend visiting from Germany. He chose the special Spider Roll ($10) to start. It's a fried soft shelled crab that's worked into a sushi roll. This roll came with some avocado, cucumber, and spicy mayo. The crab was fried nicely and wasn't overly greasy or heavy.
Here's a closer look at one piece of the roll. A nice distribution of meat to vegetable to rice.
I decided to start with the Gyoza ($4.75) which were fried very nicely. See that blackened crusty bottom? Yeah, I like that. The wrapper was thin and slightly chewy while the bottom was crispy and crunchy.
The meat inside was standard pork and vegetables. Though very simple, I enjoyed these.
And then our entree rolls came. Mr. Knodel had 2 servings of the shrimp tempura rolls and 3 pieces of eel sushi.
That's a big piece of eel on that bed of sushi rice. Nice!
Nicely fried shrimp in panko breading. Light and crispy. Yum!
My plate of the 3 roll special came out at the same time. I had eel avocado, spicy white tuna, and yellowtail scallion.
Here's a closer look at the yellowtail scallion roll which was just okay. Nothing special.
The spicy white tuna was have a little bit of heat but nothing too harsh.
And the eel avocado which was sweet and creamy.
The fish at Ocha is decent and didn't smell nor taste fishy to me. The service was nice and the food decent. I was full and happy when I left. I definitely see myself coming back here for more. It's hard to find decent sushi in the area.

Ocha Sushi
350 West 46th Street
New York, NY 10036-3882
(212) 581-3198
ochasushi.com
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Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Lunch Week 17: Rigatoni with Ground Turkey and 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: Rigatoni with Ground Turkey and Vegetables
I had a ton of leftover vegetables and no room in the freezer due to the copious amounts of marinara and stock I have in there. So, it was only logical to combine the 2 issues. I only had to buy some ground turkey and a couple more veggies.

First the ground turkey. I don't prefer turkey. I prefer beef. But alas, I'm trying to be healthy here. It doesn't taste the same, I know. But it's a nice compromise. Take the turkey and brown it in a large stock pot. It'll let a lot of water out. Keep cooking it until the meat has completely browned and starts to crust onto the pan. Don't forget to add salt and pepper as it cooks too.
While the turkey cooks, I chopped and grated some vegetables. Here I have some green onion/scallions, carrot, anise/fennel, zucchini, onion, and garlic. I chopped up everything into a small dice. The carrots and zucchini were grated.
And here's everything in a large bowl ready to be cooked. Once the turkey has brown, add the vegetables. Add salt and pepper again, then mix thoroughly.
While the vegetables cook, they'll release come more liquid. Take this opportunity to scrape up the brown bits from the bottom of the pan. Then let the mixture cook down until most of the liquid has been released and evaporated.
Once the turkey and vegetable mix is ready, add your marinara sauce. Mix well.
Lastly, add you cooked pasta. I used rigatoni here. Use any pasta that you please.
I also like to fold in some basil for extra flavor.
And there you have it. A easy one pot meal filled with lots of vegetables and lean meat but lots of flavor. Keep in mind to continuously taste as you go. You'll have to adjust the salt seasoning many times.
The flavor is really rich with all those vegetables melting down into the sauce and the pasta absorbing it. This is a very satisfying lunch.
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Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Tuesday Nights: Stout

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.

Recently, we headed out to: Stout
I know, I know...Stout again? Not sure why. I guess none of us were up to mentioning a new place. So it's easy to fall into easy places like Stout.

I started the meal with a Young's Chocolate Stout which was dark, heavy, and slightly chocolaty. It was just okay. Maybe I'll stick to Guiness...maybe.

On this night, we didn't want to order the same things as last time. But don't fear, there's plenty of fried foods to choose from.
We started off with a large Wisconsin style thin crust pizza ($14) with sausage, mushrooms, and onions (toppings $2 each). The pizza was okay. The crust was cracker thin and definitely had a nice crunch. The toppings, however, were very mediocre.
And an upskirt of the crust. Some spots of charring are always nice.
On my insistence, we ordered the cornmeal crusted oysters ($11) which were briny and pretty plump. Were they the freshest oysters? No. Were they satisfying? Yes.
Along with the oysters, we also ordered the fried clam strips ($11) which were just okay. I'm more of a whole belly type fried clam person. Strips are just cop outs. But that's another argument for another post.
For the seafood adverse folks, we had chicken fingers ($9) which just normal and did the job just fine.
And last, an order of pretzels ($5) which were soft but without much of a crust. Though I prefer that over a hard as rock pretzel. The mustard was nice and tangy though.
Although I don't love Stout, it's solid pub style food. And given the size of the place, I'm sure we'll go back.

Stout
133 West 33rd Street
New York, NY 10003
(212) 629-6191
stoutnyc.com
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