Friday, February 28, 2014

Lunch Week 8: Turkey Meatloaf with Roasted Broccoli and Cauliflower

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: Turkey Meatloaf with Roasted Broccoli and Cauliflower
I really enjoy meatloaf. It gets a bad reputation though. Some think it's greasy, flavorless, and boring. Well, if you don't add any seasoning, of course it's doing to be a dense tasteless mess. Ketchup can't save everything.
Read more...

Thursday, February 27, 2014

Pig & Khao

When the Feisty Foodie, Dessert Zombie, and FFBFF suggested Pig & Khao as the location of our Holiday Cookie Swap, I was a little hesitant. On my first visit there, some of the dishes failed. But they wanted to try it and who am I to say no to that? I arrived early and looked over the menu. Looks like that changed a bunch of things since I have last visited. That's good! Always a good sign that someone is checking on things.
We started with the chicharron ($4) again. These crispy little nuggets of fried pig skin dusted with five spice powder were delicious was always. The side of coconut vinegar added some acid to cut the fat but really it's unnecessary. No soggy chicharron for me.
Read more...

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Costata

Have you noticed that I've been blogging a lot recently? Well, I get inspired when I have a wonderful meal and experience. Writing about that trip was a joy. You probably noticed the lengthy posts. And now the slew of birthday dinners which were another happy occasion. Delicious dinners to be had with wonderful friends and family.

The first dinner was with my sister, her husband, and Mr. M&P. Every year, we alternate who picks the restaurant for our joint dinner. The ladies get one, and the gentlemen get one as well. This year was my pick and I honed in on Chef Michael White. He's been very busy recently opening place after place in NYC. Being the fan that I am, I jumped at the opportunity to try his new places. For this meal, I chose Costata knowing well that my group would enjoy a nice steak dinner.
While Chef White is known for his pasta, I was curious on his take on steak. Dry aged beef is not cheap in NYC. In fact, it can be one of the more expensive meals you can encounter here. So, it's mostly left for special occasions for me. And this certainly was one.

After looking over the menu, we decided to share everything so that we may try more dishes. We started with a dish from the crudo menu: sea scallop ($23) with celery root, and black truffle vinaigrette. At first, we thought this to be a pricey dish for an appetizer. But once the dish came to the table, we were happily surprised. This was definitely made to share. In fact, this would have been too much for one person to eat. It was a great start for four people to share. The light and sweet scallops with the earthy but tangy dressing. It was my sister's first time eating raw scallop and she enjoyed it. No surprise that raw scallop is one of my favorites.
Read more...

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Valentine's Day 2014

Valentine's Day is a happy occasion in my house. No, I'm not into that mushy bullshit. I don't want overpriced flowers. I don't want jewelry by Jared or Kay. And no, I don't want a crappy prix fixe meal. So years ago, I decided to celebrate against Valentine's Day by doing the least sexiest thing I could think: fried chicken and beer. Yes, eating fattening foods with your hands while drinking a bloat friendly beverage.
This year, Mr. M&P and I were supposed to go to Bob White's again. It's out favorite fried chicken place. But I realized I had a bunch of prep work to do in the kitchen for the weekend. I wasn't really in the mood to start working after 9pm. So instead, we scrapped our original plans and instead procured fried chicken locally. That's right, McNuggets and KFC.
Read more...

Monday, February 24, 2014

Lunch Week 7: Salad with Shrimp, Pomelo, and Avocado

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: Salad with Shrimp, Pomelo, and Avocado
I spent the whole long weekend eating leftovers. Lovely delicious leftovers but super unhealthy like fried chicken, steak, and fried rice. Yeah, I overdid it a bit. So to help detox, I decided to eat salad for this week. But just because I'm eating a salad, it doesn't have to be boring.
Read more...

Friday, February 21, 2014

My Trip to Washington, DC: Founding Farmers

Another great dinner passed and a good night sleep in (this time we stayed at a hotel). We woke up the next morning and had a late brunch at Founding Farmers. Even with a reservation, we waited about 20 minutes. The place was packed. Normally, we would complain and leave but we didn't have too much to do that day so we patiently waited.

Once seated, we were given the menus to look over. Lucky for us, we were being served at "the magical time when they serve both the brunch and lunch menu" as the waitress described to us. I ordered a hot chocolate and the plate of Southern Pan Fried Chicken and Waffles ($16) with macaroni and cheese and a choice of one side. I chose grilled broccolini to add some healthy value to my plate.
I was happy to see that my plate of chicken and waffles from the lunch menu was different from the one from brunch. The brunch menu chicken is strips as opposed to the bone-in, skin on chicken that I had. The chicken itself was okay with its crispy skin and okay meat. It needed more seasoning and the white meat was dry. The waffles were crisp, the mac n cheese creamy, and the broccolini steamed until just tender while retaining a crunch. Overall, I enjoyed my meal though the chicken was not nearly as good as my favorite place in NYC.
Read more...

Thursday, February 20, 2014

My Trip to Washington, DC: Blue Duck Tavern

After that lovely breakfast, we were fueled up to travel again. To my surprise, we drove to Washington DC which was my initial guess. So I was partially correct. Throughout the day, we snacked on some pastries we bought from Stonyman and the rest of our meats and cheeses. We also spent the day visiting a few monuments and museums. Helloooo Smithsonian. After a cold day walking around we relaxed a bit in our hotel until it was time to go to out to dinner. Lucky for us, the location was only a block away so we didn't have to spend too much time in the cold again.

We walked through the hotel lobby to where the restaurant was located and suddenly realized we were here before. In fact, we were in this hotel for someone's wedding. We didn't go to the restaurant but we remembered walking by it. Woah, how uncanny. We entered the restaurant and it was very lively. People chatting away happily, the kitchen within each table's view, and food coming to and fro. It looked like a fun time.

After looking over the menu, we decided to start with the wood oven roasted bone marrow with spiced pumpkin butter and granola ($16), and a shaved brussels sprouts salad with apples, walnuts, and creamy cider dressing ($11).
Look at that stack of bone marrow. There were 3 long bones filled with deliciously fatty but scoopable marrow topped with a sweet spicy butter and some crunchy granola. Normally, I like my marrow just roasted but the addition of the other ingredients worked well. This was definitely a show stopper appetizer. The table next to us had buyer's envy.

The brussels sprouts salad was a really nice contrast to the heavy bone marrow. Fresh, clean, and lightly dressed. It's what we needed after all that wonderful eating all weekend.
Read more...

My Trip to Washington, VA: Fairlea Farm Bed & Breakfast

After that amazing meal, we went back to our bed and breakfast, Fairlea Farm, and slept really well. We woke up the next morning to a beautiful sunrise over the nearby hills. We dressed and went downstairs for breakfast. We were happily greeted by our host who had put out settings for us. Look at how lovely and country this is. Wow, I certainly was someplace other than NYC.
Before our meal started, we enjoyed some fresh juice, tea/coffee, and hot muffins served from a mini basket.
Read more...

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

My Trip to Washington, VA: The Inn at Little Washington

After our lovely lunch, we walked around the town some more before returning back to our bed and breakfast for some downtime before dinner. There wasn't much to do so we decided to play some good ol' fashioned Scrabble where I proceeded to beat Mr. M&P. Yes! I'm still champion! After I did my victory dance, we went to get ready. A little before we headed out for our meal, the owner of the bed and breakfast gave us some tips about the restaurant. At the Inn at Little Washington, the waiters and hosts watch your every expression discretely. So if you're dissatisfied with something, they will know immediately. They will be there by your side to correct anything that may have made you furrow your brow. They want each and every patron to leave with the notion that they exceeded any and all expectations. That's service for you.
So we drove over to the beautiful historic building to have an amazing meal. This specific meal was the one thing that made this vacation happen. In fact, everything else was planning around the Inn at Little Washington. Yes, we travel for food. Everything else is secondary.
Read more...

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

My Trip to Washington, VA: Stonyman Gourmet Farmer Mercantile

After breakfast, we were on the road again. The map led us through some local roads and I really got to see some small towns. Wow, so often I forget what the rest of the country is like. A simpler life. A happier life? Probably. We drove for awhile until we got to Washington, VA. No, not Washington DC. Who knew there was another Washington in Virginia? Not me. I'm kind of geographically stupid. In the 6th grade I learned all the states and their capitals and got a 100% on an exam with a blank map. Since then, that information has left my brain. It's really embarrassing how bad it really is. Anyway, back to food blogging.
After finding our next bed and breakfast, we headed into town for something to eat. We didn't want too much since we had a big dinner ahead of us. We walked around town and stopped by the Stonyman Gourmet Farmer Mercantile store. They are described as a farm to table light meals restaurant and cheese store. We hopped inside and immediately could smell how good this place was. Our noses were justified later when we found the chef in the kitchen with a CIA coat on. This is the real deal, people.
Read more...

My Trip to Frederick, MD: Hollerstown Hill Bed & Breakfast

That night we stayed at a local bed and breakfast named Hollerstown Hill. Let's say this places was very eccentric. The owners had a collection of dolls that she displayed everywhere. Think foyer, bedrooms, and even your bathrooms. Otherwise, they were extremely friendly and accommodating. As with any bed and breakfast, we had our morning meal there.

Along with a variety of beverages like juice and coffee, we start with some apple crisp. I really enjoy fruit in the morning. Unfortunately this crisp was much too sweet. Even the tartness of the apples didn't help cut the sweetness. I couldn't have much more than a spoonful of this.
Read more...

Monday, February 17, 2014

My Trip to Frederick, MD: Volt

My first meal was at Volt headed by Brian Voltaggio famous from Bravo's Top Chef and Top Chef Masters. I've always thought that the Voltaggio brothers were some of the most talented people to appear on that show. After seeing them, I have definitely wanted to visit their restaurants. Unfortunately, none of them are close to where I live. Luckily for me, Mr. M&P is awesome and planned our trip around such restaurants. Yes, you read that right. He planned the trip around our food destinations. Isn't that awesome or what?

Our meal start with an amuse bouche from the kitchen. This was a beet macaron with foie gras and carrot powder. It was really good. Super light and just melted in our mouths. It left us wanting more immediately which is basically what an amuse bouche is supposed to do; that is, to whet your appetite.
Read more...

My Trip to Maryland and Virginia

Last year, I was really stressed with all things life oriented. To relieve some of this stress, I suggested a short trip to Mr. M&P and he obliged. The catch, however, is that he had to plan the whole thing with no input from me whatsoever. You see, I can't plan a trip without pouring into every detail and finding every possible review about a place. The internet is a godsend and a nightmare for me. So to avoid the whole frustration of planning a trip (I was stressed enough already, thank you), Mr. M&P hesitantly agreed to plan. He very much enjoyed teasing me about all the wonderful things that I didn't know would happen. He picked the area of the country, the restaurants, the accommodations, and the timing of the whole thing. So how did the trip go? Let's just say that I'm one lucky gal.

So the trip started as a very, VERY long drive. I thought I had guessed the destination correctly (meaning Washington, DC) but one turn later and we were in the middle of nowhere. "Where are you taking me?!" I exclaimed loudly. He just snickered and drove on only to stop at a winery in Mount Airy, MD. It was Linganore Wineries and they provided us a wine tasting with some snacks and tour of their facilities. I tried a bunch of wine which I mostly liked except for a few sickenly sweet ones. I surprisingly liked their chocolate wine that thankfully didn't have any cream in it. Instead, it's infused with chocolate.

After our delightful wine tasting, we drove some more but this time to Frederick, MD where we found our bed and breakfast for the night. By this time, you would think that I haven't really eaten much except for the snacks at the wine tasting. Well, Mr. M&P was smart enough to pack a whole bunch of snacks in the car to keep me happy. A hungry me in a car makes for a very bad car ride. And not just any kind of snack. Hearty meats, cheeses, and pastries to enjoy. It was enough to keep me sated on the drives until dinner that night. Dinner by the way was still hours away. So what did we do until we sat down for a meal? What else is there to do in Frederick, MD? Why antiquing, of course. This quiet little town had shops and streets filled with all sorts of old stuff. I saw some cool old guns and lots of old kitchen stuff. One thing led to another and I was another set of gold rimmed plates richer after a quick sale. I liked them so much that I went back the next day to buy the set of matching appetizer/dessert plates. They were a steal. I even scored another cheeseburger paraphernalia. It wasn't an antique but just another knick knack to put in the house. Quaint little towns are good to find things like that.

After all that, it was finally time for dinner. And this is where my food adventure truly begins. So please go on and read this week's posts filled with all kinds of delicacies both simple and complex. I had some the best foods of my life on this trip. Enjoy! Read more...

Friday, February 14, 2014

Blanca

Blanca is the type of restaurant that does not allow cameras nor cell phones. We asked our waitress about it and she said that it slowed down the food service. In fact, it pushed it an extra hour. Why? Well, it's a 20+ course menu. So if they had to stop for every dish, it adds up. I mean this meal was already a couple of hours long. I really can't imagine it being another hour. That would be too much. So instead of a post filled with drool inducing pictures, I'm giving you a list of their dishes as I remember them.
Read more...

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Chinese New Year 2014: Year of the Horse

Chinese New Year is one of those holidays that is near and dear to my heart. It reminds me of my childhood. And you know what they say about nostalgia and food memories, right? Well, these memories tend to be much stronger and life changing that other kinds of food memories. Heck, the food might not be that great but because it's from a happy childhood moment, it might taste like liquid diamonds on fat steroids (if that had a taste I'm sure it would be awesome). Well lucky for me, my mom was a fantastic cook. And so I know my childhood food memories was no joke. They were filled with delicious dishes left and right. The holidays were especially precious. And this, my friends, is why I was a fat child growing up.
Read more...

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Lunch Week 6: Broiled Miso Salmon Steaks with Sauteed Garlic Spinach

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: Broiled Miso Salmon Steaks with Sauteed Garlic Spinach
I've finally figured out the best way to make a weekly lunch involving fish without all the drawbacks like:
1. The deterioration of flavor and texture as the week goes on
2. Odor bombing the common kitchen pantry and torturing my coworkers
3. The difficulty of cooking fish
Read more...

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Lunch Week 5: Chinese New Year 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: Chinese New Year Leftovers
I say over and over again how great it is to host dinner parties. Not only do I get to design the whole menu and feed those whom I love but I am granted with lots of delicious leftovers. Not into cooking a whole feast by yourself? Host a potluck and invite people that can cook. Lots of delicious leftovers still!
Read more...

Monday, February 10, 2014

Lunch Week 4: Black Rice with Butternut Squash, Edamame, and Pomegranate Seeds

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: Black Rice with Butternut Squash, Edamame, and Pomegranate Seeds
I've had this bag of black rice in my cupboard for years now. I never got around cooking it because I didn't know what to do with it. Then I came across a recipe for a black rice salad filled with tons of fresh vegetables from the spring bounty. But we're in the dead of winter. Fast forward a few more years, and I finally decided to make it. But this time with some winter vegetables like butternut squash.
Read more...