Friday, November 30, 2012

North End Grill

Wow! It's been a really long time since I've blogged about something in NYC. Between my hiatus and my post about Australia and NZ, I have collected so many things to write about. One of the places that I most anticipated writing about is North End Grill. If you don't know already, I am a very big Danny Meyer fan. I think he is a fantastic restaurateur and we're lucky to have him and his policies in NYC.
Before I start talking about the food, I wanted to let my audience know about my experience with their service. This dinner happened a long time ago, back in May in fact. We had made a reservation in April, far in advance to ensure an optimal dinner time on a busy Saturday night. About 1 week before our dinner, we call to confirm the reservations. Unfortunately, they had gotten the time wrong. Normally, we would suck it up and take the later time. However, we had guests coming in from another state and the later time would mean a very late drive home for them. We didn't want our guests to drive home late and tired. The reservationist said there was nothing they could do. We took the later time and started searching for restaurants in hopes for an earlier dinner.

This is where things surprised me. Upset and frustrated, I took to social media to vent my feelings. Twitter to be exact. I made sure to copy Danny Meyer on that tweet. I slept it off and felt better in the morning. When I checked my phone, I was surprised to see a private message from Mr. Meyer with an apology and telling me to contact the general manager there with name and email. Wow! So we email the GM but of course he's out of the office that week. Oh well, we tried. And we already felt good that it's gone this far. But it doesn't end there! The GM emails us back from his vacation with an apology and tells us that we're all set. Double wow! We were so happy! This was service that was above and beyond our expectations. Honestly, an apology would have sufficed but we also got a reservation at our specified time. That was fantastic. I made sure to thank everyone and tweet about that experience. We were so happy and satisfied and we still didn't have the dinner yet.

Read more...

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Lunch Week 31: Thanksgiving Leftovers Revisited

So every Sunday, I head over to the kitchen to whip up a big batch of food for lunch the next week. Yes, I brown bag. And I almost always do it every week 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: Thanksgiving Leftovers Revisited
Sometimes I have so many leftovers, I get sick of the Thanksgiving food. It's not the food itself but the flavors. Sure I can eat the same lunch day after day during the work week. But if I'm having leftovers for more than a week, I'm calling it quits. But I don't ever like to throw things out. Instead, I try to reinvent the dishes with other flavors. You see, most of my dishes and recipes include similar ingredients. It's just the spices and sauces that make them different. So with the extremely old leftovers, I made completely different dishes to appease my palate.
Read more...

Monday, November 26, 2012

My Trip to Baltimore, MD: Faidley's

When I travel, I'm such the tourist. I really go and eat what the city is known for. I mean, it's famous for a reason right? Sure, there can be crappy renditions of the dish but I'm looking for the best of the best. And usually, I can find it with some research of course. For Baltimore, they are famous for their crab cakes. I, for one, love crab cakes. I love all seafood really. But crab cakes are one of the top for me. Why? Well, it takes a lot of time to pick meat out of a crab. And it's even harder to pick large lumps of crab meat out. It's costly and time consuming. So if someone can do all the work for me, then I'm eternally grateful. Don't get me wrong, I love sitting down at the table and cracking crabs for hours on end. But sometimes, I don't want to get messy and really want to just dive right into the immediate satisfaction of that sweet meat.
While looking for a city's best dish, I usually start at establishments that have been around for a very long time. All those years of experience definitely adds something that no one else has. And if the business can stay in the family the whole time, then that's even better. So with these things in mind, I looked for the best crab cake in Baltimore. Faidley's came up several times from different sources. That was good enough for me to seek it out on our trip down to Maryland.
Read more...

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Lunch Week 30: Thanksgiving Leftovers

So every Sunday, I head over to the kitchen to whip up a big batch of food for lunch the next week. Yes, I brown bag. And I almost always do it every week 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: Thanksgiving Leftovers
Thanksgiving is my absolute favorite holiday. I live for this day every year. Why? I'm in charge of my family's Thanksgiving dinner. I plan it, I host it, I cook everything. The only thing my guests bring are their stomachs and drinks. And Cheez Doodles. That's a tradition in my house growing up. Trust me, the kids love it (and the adults too!).

This year, in my haste to get everything done on time and perfect (meaning to my own high standards), I forgot to document and take pictures of everything. So I'm left with just the leftovers to photograph which aren't nearly as photogenic when the dishes are plated beautifully and untouched.

Read more...

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Tuesday Nights: Tavern 29

Towards the end of  one 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. Whoever 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.

On this recent Tuesday Night, we headed out to: Tavern 29
There was a while that we started going to more restaurant oriented places for Tuesday night. We didn't mind but it was getting pricey as a weekly get together. So we tried a little harder to figure out places to try out. Mr. Peanut Head suggested Tavern 29. This two floored bar also boasts a rooftop biergarden. It's the winter now so the roof was out of the question. Instead, we snuggled up in a booth drank from the list of craft beers and scotches.
Read more...

Monday, November 19, 2012

Ramen Misoya

On a cool morning walking around the city shortly after Hurricane Sandy, Mr. M&P and I found ourselves downtown to see how NYC was faring. Some places were still closed while most were reopening for the first time since landfall. People here are resilient and we were happy to partake in helping those get back to business as normal. We ended up at Ramen Misoya after many failed attempts at other places. Cold and hungry, ramen seemed to be the right thing to eat just then.
Read more...

Friday, November 16, 2012

Lunch Week 29: Tuna and Egg Salad

So every Sunday, I head over to the kitchen to whip up a big batch of food for lunch the next week. Yes, I brown bag. And I almost always do it every week 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: Tuna and Egg Salad

The holidays are coming up and there will be lots of eating involved. So to prep myself for the delicious yet fattening foods, I'm eating salad this week. But I'm making sure it's a good mix of vegetables and protein for energy.

I tossed together some spring mix, red bell peppers, cucumbers, mushrooms, tomatoes, tuna, and hard boiled eggs. And the dressing is balsamic vinegar and olive oil. Read more...

Friday, November 9, 2012

My Trip to Auckland, NZ (Day 18): NZ-NYC

And off we went! Saying bye to our amazing trip and back home to NYC. The food on the plane was worse coming back home which was disappointing. Here's a hodge podge of what was offered.

Dinner: chicken and mushrooms over potatoes with a side of couscous.
Read more...

My Trip to Auckland, NZ (Day 18): Zarbo Cafe & Bar in Auckland Airport

Unfortunately, we had to leave for the airport before we could continue on our walking food trip. So we finished up the meals for the day at the airport. After checking in, we still had some foreign currency left over. We bought some souvenirs and finished it off with some food at Zarbo Cafe.
Read more...

My Trip to Auckland, NZ (Day 18): Isha Sushi

After the awesome pancake we walked around the area and looked at shops and enjoyed the city. We stopped briefly for some sushi rolls from Isha Sushi. Sushi shops like this were aplenty in Auckland and it seemed like people grabbed the food to go.
Read more...

My Trip to Auckland, NZ (Day 18): No 1 Pancake

After our first night in Auckland was disappointing, we decided to walk around the next day to find other treats. We didn't have an agenda so we were going on luck here. The first stop, No. 1 Pancake. We literally just stumbled upon this place just walking around the city. I noticed a delicious smell in the air and followed it. Then I came across this stand with lots of people gathered around. They were mostly students since we were in the University area.
Read more...

Thursday, November 8, 2012

My Trip to Auckland, NZ (Day 17): dine by Peter Gordon

We wanted to end our epic trip to Australia and New Zealand with an extravagant dinner. So we settled on dine by Peter Gordon in the Sky City Hotel and casino. It was a fancy affair and we dressed up nicely for it.
We went for the a la carte menu as opposed to the degustation menu which we oohed and aahed over. The issue was that we weren't very hungry. No point in wasting money and food if we didn't think we could finish it.

Read more...

My Trip to Auckland, NZ (Day 17): Mrs Higgins

After we landed in Auckland, NZ, we walked around to get a lay of the land. We weren't very hungry but knew we needed to eat something small to tie us over until dinner. Lucky for us, we passed by a cookie stand. Oven fresh cookies? Sure! Thanks Mrs. Higgins.
Read more...

My Trip to Queenstown, NZ (Day 17): Aggy's Shack

On our last day in Queenstown, NZ we decided to take it easy and have a meal at our favorite seafood shack: Aggi's. We only had a few hours so this quick meal was just perfect. I tried the steamed New Zealand mussels which were great. These large, thin, and green bivalves had juicy, plump meat inside. I'm not sure how many graced the take out container but definitely more than a dozen.
Read more...

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

My Trip to Queenstown, NZ (Day 16): Lick's Dessert Bar

Later that night for dinner, we polished off the rest of our purchased foods with a picnic of ham, edam cheese, crackers, and garlic hummus. For dessert, we went out for gelato. Instead of Patagonia which had disappointed us before, we found Lick's Dessert Bar.
Mr. M&P had the cookies and cream while I had the kiwi sorbet ($5 each). The cookies and cream was better than the one at Patagonia but still a far cry from Australia's gelato. The kiwi sorbet wasn't very good. It tasted very artificial and sweet like candy. I threw most of it away.
Darn, I really hate it when I have to throw away food but this wasn't good at all. Where can I find good gelato in Queenstown, NZ?

Lick's Dessert Bar
40 Shotover Street
Queenstown 9300
New Zealand
(03) 441 8505
Read more...

My Trip to Queenstown, NZ (Day 16): Roasted Lamb & Mint Kettle Chips

After lunch, we looked around for one last adventure since we had so much time before the end of the day. We wound up signing up for a zipline eco-venture that started back up at the Peak. Instead of paying for the gondola ride again, we decided to hike up. They said it was considered an easy hike and many people walk up to work every day. Okay, sounded nice to us. Oh how wrong I was. It was great seeing the forest but it was not an easy hike at all. Sure I wasn't in the best shape but this was no joke. I struggled with the steep steps and unmarked trails. I finally did get to the top but it was one hell of a trip. Once at the top, I rested up a bit before going back down by zipline which by the way was awesome. We learned a lot about the wildlife there, both animal and plant based. In between, we rode quickly between platforms on wires at a high speed. They even taught us to do tricks while zipping. I, being afraid of heights and all, just rode sitting up with my hands gripping the harness tightly. But if you're the daring type, you can go upside down, backwards, etc.

Once back at the hotel and rested, I dug into a bag of kettle cooked chips. It was roasted lamb and mint flavored. And another fail in meat flavored potato chips. It didn't have a lot of lamb flavor and the mint was overpowering. This just hasn't been a very good trip for chips.
Read more...

My Trip to Queenstown, NZ (Day 16): Fergburger

After our short breakfast, we took the gondola down back to town and returned to our hotel. We were hungry by now and stopped by our local burger joint, Fergburger. We wanted to try some of their other burgers so this time I had the Little Lamby ($11). The local lamb is cooked as a patty and dressed with mint jelly, lettuce, tomato, red onion, aioli, and tomato relish. Everything served on that big soft bun.
Read more...

My Trip to Queenstown, NZ (Day 16): Skyline Cafe

Another day with adrenaline filled events like speedboating and a helicopter ride. Halfway between our adventures, we stopped at the Skyline Cafe on top of the Peak. The views of the city were beautiful. The cafe found there, not so much.
Read more...

Lunch Week 28: Three Squash Parmigiana (again)

So every Sunday, I head over to the kitchen to whip up a big batch of food for lunch the next week. Yes, I brown bag. And I almost always do it every week 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: Three Squash Parmigiana (again)
Last time when I made this dish, I overestimated the amount of squash I needed. So I ended up with two trays of parmigiana and a whole bag of extra fried squash. So during a busy weekend, I decided to reheat the tray of squash for an easy yet homemade lunch for the week. For the recipe and step by step pictured directions to make this three squash parmigiana, you may find my previous post here. Read more...

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

My Trip to Queenstown, NZ (Day 15): Patagonia Chocolates

After dinner, we walked over to Patagonia to try out some of their chocolate confections. We picked a milk chocolate alajfor which is a shortbread sandwich cookie with ganache, and two bon bons: passion fruit and coffee.
Read more...

My Trip to Queenstown, NZ (Day 15): Botswana Butchery

After lunch, we headed out for a short hike around Lake Wakapitu. It was absolutely gorgeous with the crystal clear glacial water, mountainous backgrounds, and green trees in the forest. It was so relaxing. Any uptight NYCer would enjoy the serenity of the whole thing. After our walk, we went back to the hotel to freshen up for dinner at Botswana Butchery, a steakhouse and grill.
Read more...

My Trip to Queenstown, NZ (Day 15): Cookie Time

On the walk back to the hotel to relax, we passed by Cookie Time, a bakery that sells mainly cookies. Sure, I wanted something sweet at that time.
Read more...

My Trip to Queenstown, NZ (Day 15): PJ's Fish & Chips

On this morning, I bungy jumped. It's called the Nevis bungy: one of the highest jumps at 134m/440ft. I have a fear of heights. This jump did not cure me of my fear. It was ridiculously scary. I'm never doing that again. And now, onto better things ON THE GROUND like a post jump lunch at PJ's Fish and Chips.
Read more...

Monday, November 5, 2012

My Trip to Queenstown, NZ (Day 14): Patagonia's Chocolate

As we walked off our dinner, we decided to cap the night off with some gelato. Shocker, right? We stopped at Patagonia, a dessert shop serving coffee, chocolates, and gelato.
Read more...

My Trip to Queenstown, NZ (Day 14): Aggy's Shack

When we finally arrived back to the hotel in Queenstown, we wanted to tour the town a bit more and slowly made our way. However, we were quickly stopped in our tracks when we spotted this hut. It was a fish and chips hut. Oh yes! I immediately requested a stop for dinner at Aggy's Shack.
Read more...

My Trip to Queenstown, NZ (Day 14): Milford Sound

After scarfing our faces with burgers, we walked around town to look for supplies for our room and for our picnic at Milford sound (a day trip we booked for the next day). We stopped by Fergbaker to pick up some bread and the local supermarket for sliced meat, cheese, and more bread.
Read more...

Friday, November 2, 2012

Lunch Week 27: Pasta with Meatballs in Boursin Tomato Sauce

So every Sunday, I head over to the kitchen to whip up a big batch of food for lunch the next week. Yes, I brown bag. And I almost always do it every week 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 Boursin Tomato Sauce

I'm in the process of cleaning out my refrigerator, freezer, and pantry. And what a process it is. You never know how much you really store away until you start going through it. To some I may be a pack rat but I just like to be ready and supplied.
Read more...