Friday, May 31, 2013

Lunch Week 18: Shrimp and Crab Salad in Lettuce Cups

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: Shrimp and Crab Salad in Lettuce Cups
A light lunch this week due to the hot weather. First, I made the shallot vinaigrette and let sit on the side. While that settled, I sauteed some shrimp in garlic and oil. I set that aside to cool while I prepped the other ingredients. I chopped up some small sweet peppers and washed the leaves of small romaine lettuce to form the cups. Lastly, I opened up a can of lump crab meat. In a large bowl, I combined the peppers, shrimp, and crab meat. I tossed it lightly with the vinaigrette and let sit overnight. Then I scooped it into the lettuce leaves. Some diced avocado would have worked really nicely in this dish but it was too expensive so I left it out.

Didn't I say this was simple?
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Thursday, May 30, 2013

My Trip to Marseille, France: Le Malthazar

By the time we arrived in Marseille and to the hotel, it was pretty late. And we were pretty tired. We walked around just a bit until it was dinner time. We picked Le Malthazar because it would seat 6 people and it was a suggestion from the Michelin Bib Gourmand. As we looked over the menu, we snacked on the complimentary fish salad, olives, and bread.

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Mr Trip to Paris, France: Cafe de l'Olympia

The morning before our flight to Marseille, I wasn't going to waste any last minutes in Paris. I needed to maximize the time. So in the morning fueled with croissants and coffee, I trekked out to find the cookware specialty store that I got lost trying to find the other day. Well, if history was any indication, I got lost again. I took a wrong turn and led my friends much further north than expected. Luckily I realized this just as we were due north of the location. So an inpromptu shortcut was called and south we went. Finally, we arrived at E. Dehillerin. Shelves and shelves of cookware both large and small. Pots and pans big enough to fit a humans and ladles to match. I left with a small ladle in hand a big smile on my face.

After gathering my purchase, we headed back towards the hotel to do some last minute souvenir shopping including chocolates and other edibles that we were bringing back. Once we packed our goodies into our bags, it was off to lunch. We were short on time since the airport wasn't very close so we just hopped into the a local cafe for lunch: Cafe del Olympia. It was very busy so service was quick hoping to turn tables over during the working lunch hour. Though the French do allow you to linger as long as you want without complaint.
At this time, I realized I didn't have a crepe yet so I ordered a ham and cheese crepe with a side salad. The crepe was very large and overloaded with cheese. Too much cheese isn't usually a bad thing but it wasn't well balanced. It became too heavy for the light crepe. It was kind of the bastardize American version of a crepe. Kinda harsh, I guess.

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Wednesday, May 29, 2013

My Trip to Paris, France: Spring

On the last full day in Paris, Mr. M&P and I set off on our own to see the last bits of the major tourist attractions: the Eiffel Tower. We stood in line and waited to buy tickets. The elevators brought us to the very top in two trips. Sure it was cliche and cheesy but I enjoyed the view from up there. Due to a delayed opening, we weren't able to do much else before we met up with our friends for a falafel sandwich at L'As Du Fallafel. After a quick lunch, off we went again to see Napoleon's tomb and amory at the Invalids. If you like weapons, then this is the museum for you and it was for me. Both old and modern exhibits (knight's armor and WWII memorabilia) were very interesting.

We headed back towards our hotel to drop off a few items then we went to look for souvenirs. Most of my souvenirs are food related regardless of the trip. So the area near our hotel called Place de Madeline was the perfect place to look for such items. We found several chocolate shops, the Maille mustard store, and other specialty gourmet food stores. It was perfect. I got hungry on my quest so this is when I picked up the foie gras and fig sandwich from Fauchon to snack on with Mr. M&P and Ms. Poutine Esq to share.

After the long day, we went back to the hotel to rest a bit, shower, and head out for some drinks before dinner. Already tipsy from the wine, we arrived at Spring right on time for our reservation at 9:30pm. After a brief wait, we were led to our table. We ordered even more wine while the waiter reminded us that there was no menu. Everyone was served the same thing for €79 with 2 entrees, a main course, and a dessert.
The bread hit the table and I inhaled it along with the butter. I needed to sober up a bit to fully enjoy the meal. The dishes started light with sliced ham, radishes served with butter, and fried oysters. All really wonderful. The ham was salty and very thinly sliced. The radishes were fresh, crunchy, and spicy. Dipping it into the butter added a creamy, fatty richness. The oysters were so incredibly fresh. Just a squeeze of lemon accented the brininess of it.

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Tuesday, May 28, 2013

My Trip to Paris, France: L'epi D'or

After that gorgeous lunch at Le Cinq, we split up and walked around Paris. Mr. M&P, Mr. Matzo Ball, and I went towards the Pantheon to explore. Then we walked north through the Ile de Cite and around the Les Halles area. I was looking for a cookware specialty store but had gotten lost. Oops! But luckily, we made it to a wonderful street filled with boutiques and small food purveyors. We were on Rue Montorquiel. We stopped by a fromagerie, butchers, flower shops, and all sorts of places with goods. Normally, I would buy up a storm and have whatever I find for dinner. But we had already agreed to have dinner at L'Epi D'or. But I made a mental note to go back to Rue Montorquiel for my next trip to Paris. Oh yes, there will be a next trip.

So L'Epi D'or. It's a small bistro located on a small street that even the concierge had difficulty finding. But once we arrived, the place reeked of quirkiness from the decor to the service. Our waiter was friendly and amused us with his lack of English skills. We amused him with our lack of French skills. But food is a universal language. We eventually figured out the menu and what to order. For myself,  the special roast leg of lamb with a side of haricot verts. A giant hunk of meat landed in front of me but it was so tender that no knife was needed. The accompanying sauce tasted like a rendered version of the meat juices plus wine and aromatics. It's comfort food. And I loved it.

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Friday, May 24, 2013

Lunch Week 17: Buffalo Chicken Mac and Cheese

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: Buffalo Chicken Mac and Cheese
This past weekend, I made buffalo chicken mac and cheese for a party I was hosting. However, foolish me, I strayed from the original recipe and decided to experiment. It left the dish undesirable. First, I ran out of bread crumbs while breading my chicken so I tossed in panko crumbs instead. The crunch was fine but it made the pieces too large and when baked as a completed dish, the panko soaked up a lot of the sauce. Second, I left out the roux and instead just warmed milk and melted the cheese. This seemed fine until I added the Frank's Red Hot sauce to the mix. The vinegar in the sauce broke the cheese sauce and left it curdled. The flour in the roux would have kept it together. But I went on anyways as there was no way to turn back. I poured the broken cheese sauce into the dish and baked it as usual. It set but seemed kind of dry. The pasta and chicken pretty much soaked up a lot of the moisture from the sauce leaving it kind of dry. Again, the roux would have prevented this. Sigh... And finally, I crumbled nacho flavored Doritos on top instead of bread crumbs (again, I ran out of bread crumbs). They seemed okay but didn't last through the next day. They were soggy and left nothing to be desired. Oh and I forgot the blue cheese dressing as well. In fact, I just realized this right now as I'm writing this post several days after.

So with little eaten at the potluck (to be honest, it didn't come out good), I reconstituted what was left with more cream, milk, and cheese. Then, I rebaked it. The result was something creamier and more homogeneous. Lesson learned: always have extra bread crumbs on hand and don't stray from what some people may say is perfect already.

For step by step instructions and the recipe on how to make buffalo chicken mac and cheese, go to my previous post here.
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Thursday, May 23, 2013

My Trip to Paris, France: Le Cinq

The next morning, we went to the Lourve. As expected, I was underwhelmed my Mona Lisa but reveled the Greek and Roman wing along with Napolean's Apartment. After a few hours of walking around, it was time to go back to the hotel to change for our special lunch at Le Cinq. While planning this trip, I wanted one opulent meal. Well opulent in Paris can mean a lot of money. And I mean a lot. I'm no stranger to saving up to having an expensive meal in NYC but Paris was at another level. A level that didn't seem worth it. At least not at this point in my life. So instead of the usual dinner, I had an opulent lunch.

Le Cinq is a place where men wear jackets and women cocktail dresses, even at lunch. Menus with prices are offered to the men while women just pick among the list of dishes. Stools for the purses and several servers per table. Service is the grand luxury here. After we looked over the menu and decided on the 3 course prix fixe for €95 or €110 with the cheese course (also offered: a la carte, a tasting menu, and a speedy business lunch). Shortly after we chose our dishes, the amuse bouche arrived in front of us. From right to left, we enjoyed fried olives, a parmagiano crisp, and smoked salmon with cucumber. All very nice and delicate but strong flavors. I enjoyed the salmon the most.

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Wednesday, May 22, 2013

My Trip to Paris, France: La Fountaine de Mars

After lunch, we walked down Champs Elysses towards our hotel while stopping for snacks along the way (to come at a later post). After a quick stop, we headed back out towards the Seine for a sunset boat ride around the city. If you're looking for some theatrics in the spring season, take the 7:45pm boat ride from the foot of the Eiffel Tower. By the time you return back, the Eiffel Tower will light up before your eyes then glitter for a bit. You know, if you're into that and all.

After this long day, we were all beat. But we were still hungry. We made a late reservation to La Fountaine de Mars but were still pressed for time when we left the boat. The ride took longer than what they quoted. So as we rushed down the Paris streets looking for our restaurant, I got bombed by a local bird. In hindsight, I should have bought a lottery ticket as it's considered to be good luck. But what I really wanted was some food. So when we finally arrived to our destination, I was famished and quickly ordered.
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My Trip to Paris, France: Marie Suzy

After a long morning of visiting Versailles and exploring the gardens grounds via golfcart, we were famished. We were in the area of Place Charles de Gaulle and were looking for something simple. Unfortunately, something simple isn't too easy to find on Sundays in Paris. Many restaurants were closed. Luckily we stumbled upon Marie Suzy, a cozy little restaurant with a small menu. But it gave us exactly what we needed at the time which was some sustenance until dinner.

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Tuesday, May 21, 2013

My Trip to Paris, France: Le Bis Repetita

One of the first formal meals we had in France was at a local brasserie that we stumbled upon. We were all quite tired from jetlag and walking and exploring Notre Dame. So without having to discuss too much about where to eat, we just dropped into Le Bis Repetita.

After looking over the menu, we decided to just have main courses. The portion sizes seemed decent. I opted for the duck breast in a pink peppercorn sauce with haricot verts (€23). A beautifully cooked duck breast left pink in the middle was extremely tender. The accompanying sauce was rich and flavorful. The string beans on the side were buttery and well seasoned. I had no issue finishing this plate.

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Monday, May 20, 2013

My Trip to Paris, France: Sandwiches

While I was in France, I ate a bunch of sandwiches because the bread is so awesome there. You see, I don't generally love bread like some other people but it made a difference to me in France. It was just that much better. Crispy crunchy crust, soft inside, and complex flavors from the flour and yeast. These French boulangers are truly masters of their craft.

Here is a foie gras and fig sandwich (€15) from Fauchon. Thick slabs of foie gras with fig spread. The richness of the fatty liver paired with the sweetness of the fig was perfect. Even the bread was good though slightly chewy. This made the perfect snack for 3 people on a shopping spree in the area. It fueled us just perfectly.
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My Trip to France: Air France (JFK-CDG)

I always like to show what airplanes provide to their customers. It's a good way to remember to bring some of your own food to eat on the plane. Otherwise, you'll be served this stuff...well, that is if you're flying economy like me. If you're lucky enough to fly business or even first class then these pictures really wouldn't pertain to you. Food is significantly better in those sections of the plane, especially if you're flying internationally.

Below is my dinner on Air France flying out of JFK headed to CDG. The main dish was chicken with mushrooms in wine sauce with a side of pasta. Of course the chicken was ridiculously salty. It was mandatory to mix it with the pasta to make it the least bit edible. The accompanying cabbage salad was terrible. It has a sweet flavor and too soft texture. It was obviously overdressed. The dinner roll was cold and the brownie cake was disastrously sweet but not very chocolaty tasting. This meal was pretty much a disaster except for the Mott's apple sauce. Sugar free and green apple flavor, it had a nice refreshing tartness to it.

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Friday, May 17, 2013

Henry's End

A few months ago, Dr. Mandoo wanted her birthday in Brooklyn. After looking at a few places, we settled on Henry's End located at the end of the Brooklyn Bridge. At the moment I entered the restaurant, I knew I would love it. It seemed like a small establishment but the people who worked there were putting their heart and soul into it. I especially loved my waitress, an older woman who could still be on her feet all day and get the orders right. She was a character that made our night really fun and enjoyable.

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Thursday, May 16, 2013

Baking: Peach Pie

Last year, I made a peach pie. I wanted use a fruit that I haven't tried to make in a pie before. You don't see a lot of peach pies these days which is a shame. This naturally sweet fruit lends itself very well to this pastry wrapped dessert.

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Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Lunch Week 16: Chimichurri Steak and Roasted Asparagus

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: Chimichurri Steak and Roasted Asparagus
It's a really super simple lunch this week. I grilled some steak seasoned with oil, salt, pepper, garlic powder, chili powder, and oregano. Then I made some chimichurri sauce (a parsley and garlic based Argentinian sauce) to add brightness to the meal. The vinegar and herbs was a nice contrast to the meat. On the side, I had roasted asparagus which I tossed with oil, salt, and pepper then roasted in the oven at 400oF for 15 minutes.
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Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Tuesday Nights: Wharf Bar & Grill

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: Wharf Bar & Grill
One warm spring day, we decided to try an outdoor bar to enjoy the good weather. We headed out to Wharf Bar & Grill due to their advertised covered outdoor space. It was quite crowded since everyone had the same idea as we did but we managed to get a table anyway.

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Monday, May 13, 2013

Brisket Town

I had a fairly good experience with Brisket Lab so when they opened a brick and mortar location, I jumped at the chance to eat more brisket made by Daniel Delaney. So off I went to Williamsburg, Brooklyn to meet up with Beer Boor, ChiefHDB, and DegustAsian. At this time, Brisket Town was still BYOB so we bought some beers nearby and enjoyed our meal with a few cold ones thanks to ChiefHDB.

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Friday, May 10, 2013

Chikalicious Dessert Bar

Chikalicious Dessert Bar is a great dessert place to go to if you want to class it up a bit. It's a place where you sit down and enjoy dessert and only dessert. I started off my meal with a delicious cup of coffee (~$4). I love that they have such nice cups and saucers. Makes me feel fancy.

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Thursday, May 9, 2013

Wallse

It's been a year since I've been to Wallse. A shame really because the meal was lovely and deserved to be written about. Now that I am writing about it, the timing is a bit perfect since what I ate that day will be pretty close to what they'll offer you on their seasonal menu now. Did I do that on purpose? Nope but things just work out like that sometimes.

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Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Lunch Week 15: Jap Chae

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: Jap Chae
I have made jap chae before and really enjoyed it. So I formally put it in my rotation for lunch. This time, I changed it up a bit by adding some gochujang (spicy chili paste).

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Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Tuesday Night: Murray's Cheese Bar

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: Murray's Cheese Bar

I've been wanting to try Murray's Cheese Bar for awhile. I'm a big fan of their store with the variety of delicious dairy and meat products they sell. What better way to explore their offerings than at their very own cheese bar. As their name suggests, this is hell for the lactose intolerant. Cheese pretty much is in every dish minus a couple of sides. What's bad for them is good for me.
We started with the Grilled Artichoke Hearts ($10) with some baby greens and buttermilk dressing. The artichoke was perfectly fine without the dressing. Lightly cooked and tender. A nice contrast to the heavier items. To the right of that is the Cheesemonger's Choice ($36) with 8 mix of cheeses and meats. I can't remember all of the items but they were really good. A nice balance of soft and mild cheeses to hard and robust ones including blue. The meats were equally satisfying. Some slices were fattier while others meaty. And on the far right, a crock of the Sweet and Sassy Pickles ($5). Tart, savory, and crunchy. Perfect for nibbling in between cheeses.
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Monday, May 6, 2013

De Lorenzo's Tomato Pies

There are so many pizza places in NJ that it's hard to decipher which is actually good. Most recommendations come from word of mouth. So when De Lorenzo's opened up in Robbinsville, NJ with decent reviews, I was curious to try it out.
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Friday, May 3, 2013

Tia Pol

A night out with my coworkers. Nothing too crazy (ie: boozing like hounds) but more food centric this time. We hit up Tia Pol because who doesn't like tapas? Small plates, strong flavors, and a variety of foods.
We started off with the Chorizo ($5). Spicy, paprika heavy Spanish sausages cooked in a crock until sizzling and dripping with oil. Oil that is perfect for sopping up with bread.
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Thursday, May 2, 2013

Fatty Cue (West Village)

With the Brooklyn location of Fatty Cue under construction (it has now since reopened), the West Village restaurant has taken up a lot of the business. When I saw a coupon for a meal there, I immediately jumped on it. You see, I've pretty much have weened myself off all these coupon sites.  Once in a long while I might check the websites to see what's going on. But normally, I just forget. Luckily, I stumbled upon a coupon for Fatty Cue. But it's not like I need a reason to go there. I loved it in Brooklyn.
They started off our meal with some bone consumme. It was really rich in flavor. You can't drink a lot of this so I was glad it came in a small cup.

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Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Lunch Week 14: Salade Nicoise

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: Salade Nicoise
Sometimes when I go on vacation, it takes awhile for me to get back to my normal habits of eating healthy. The no-holding-back attitude while I was in France was wonderful. All those calories were offset with tons of walking. But when I got back to NYC, it has been mostly sitting (mainly in front of the computer at work) but the eating hasn't stopped. So instead of stopping what I love (eating delicious foods) I decided to make healthier delicious French foods. This week's lunch is no different with the salade nicoise.

Although a salad may sound boring to you, this one is hardly in that category. Sure it's not a buffalo chicken salad in a fried tortilla shell (can you really call that a salad though?) but it's got so many textures and flavors going on that it's really satisfying.

I've read a few recipes online and although this might not be the most authentic salade nicoise, I've selected the ingredients I think would work best for me. That includes: chopped bibb lettuce, canned tuna, anchovies, grape tomatoes, blanched haricot verts, boiled potatoes tossed with vinegar and dijon mustard, nicoise or kalamata olives, hard boiled eggs, sliced cucumbers, and a dijon vinaigrette. Very little dressing is needed since each and every element has its own unique flavor.

Fresh, crisp, crunchy, creamy, filling, satisfying, healthy, and interesting. Sweet, savory, tart, briny, salty, and spicy too. The colors and flavors of the food rainbow. Read more...