Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Tuesday Nights: BXL Zoute

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: BXL Zoute
I've been to sister restaurants of the BXL Restaurant family before and enjoyed them. So when I found out that there's one flatiron area, I wanted to try it out too. BXL Zoute is a bigger and newer version of this chain of Belgian restaurants. I do, however, enjoy the kitsch at the other locations too. So it's personal preference, really.

We looked over the menu and picked a few things to share. Above (from left to right), Bitterballen ($8) which are meat studded bechamel croquettes. These were awesome! If you like Spanish croquettes, you would love these little balls of creamy, cheesy goodness. We also had the Boudin Noir-Coquille ($14) which was an interesting plate of seared scallops and blood sausage. This take on surf and turf combined sweet tender scallops, and funky meaty blood sausage. And finally, one cannot go to a BXL restaurant without ordering the Moules Frites ($22). They offer several different flavors but we opted for the traditional kind: Marinieres (white wine shallot broth). Perfectly plump mussels in a delicious broth ripe for some crusty bread. And the frites were no slackers either. Crispy and well seasoned. Delicious!
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Monday, September 29, 2014

Aldea

For Mrs. Pattis Magician and Ms. Pastry Chef's birthdays, we went to Aldea to celebrate. This George Mendes restaurant focuses on Spanish and Iberian Peninsula cuisine. Seafood is showcased here as well as any seasonal ingredients. You may choose to dine a la carte but the $75 4 course meal is ideal if you prefer to get more bang for your buck. You get to pick any snack, first course, main course, and dessert from the menu. The dishes are not made smaller if you choose the prix fixe. So if you're a big eater, this would work very well for you. For myself, I had some issue finishing all my food but that's just me.
Before I continue, the prices listed below are the a la carte prices. However, we did choose to do the prix fixe.

To start, the snack I picked was the Croquetas de Bacalhao ($11). These creamy little balls of bechamel and fish was light as can be. The side of roasted garlic aioli was nice addition of strong garlic flavor without overpowering the lightness of the croquetas.
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Friday, September 26, 2014

Lunch Week 32: Eggplant Parmesan and Sauteed Kale

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: Eggplant Parmesan and Sauteed Kale
What do you do when someone gifts you fresh eggplant and tomatoes? Why make eggplant parmesan! I already have the main ingredients but you'll just have to add some cheese and breadcrumbs. But that wasn't enough for lunch. I also added a side of sauteed kale.
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Thursday, September 25, 2014

Baking: Berry Streusel Pie

PIE! PIE! PIE! Berry streusel pie to be more exact. A sweet, tart, nutty, and buttery pie that perfect for the summer season. Berries are in season making this pie so naturally sweet that you won't need to add much sugar. What can be better? Oh maybe a scoop of rich vanilla ice cream. A la mode? Oh yeah!
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Wednesday, September 24, 2014

The Capital Grille

Me: Hello, Mr. Haribo Mule
Mr. HM: Hi
Me: Steak dinner in NYC?
Mr. HM: Why yes, of course.
Me: Capital Grille in Midtown?
Mr. HM: Sounds good.

And that's how it usually goes when Mr. Haribo Mule comes into town.
First up, some shrimp cocktail to share. Not huge by steak house standards at all. But the taste was decent.
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Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Cooking: Cumin Lamb Noodles

This is one of the dishes that I contributed at the last FBM Potluck, cumin lamb noodles. At first, I was expecting a Xian kind of spicy dish. But instead, this kind of turned out to be more Middle Eastern/Morrocan to me. None the less, it was still tasty. A couple of tweaks need to be done (more on that later), but otherwise it's pretty good.
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Monday, September 22, 2014

FBM Potluck

Another awesome potluck with my FBM friends. Here's my first plate which I tired to take a little bit of everything. Unfortunately, the plate wasn't big enough so another and another was necessary.
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Thursday, September 18, 2014

Barchetta

For Ms. Lollipop's birthday, we went to Barchetta. She is known to love seafood both raw and cooked. Barchetta is David Pasternack's new seafood place. It opened with mixed reviews but we wanted to go and judge ourselves. The space is open, bright, and modern. They didn't change much from the previous restaurant (La Promenade des Anglais) so we recognized it right away.
Due to lighting and our larger group, it was difficult to take pictures of other people's dishes. So I only took my own and the birthday girl's food.

To start, I had the Calamari alla Piastra ($16) which was grilled whole squid with red hot pepper and arugula salad. The squid was cooked nicely and I enjoyed it being left whole with tentacles and all. Inside, they left the ink sack as well so it became a sauce. I enjoyed this and was the perfect amount of food to start the night.
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Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Del Frisco's

It seems like steak has become the meal to celebrate good news. And good news it certainly was. With The Feisty Foodie and Dessert Zombie, we gathered to wish her good luck on her new job. And what better way to congratulate her than with big pieces of charred meat. Oh yeah. You know you want it.
To start, we had the off the menu slab bacon ($6 each). This is no ordinary diner bacon. This is a thick slab cooked to order. Be careful though. All that bacon means extra salt. All that salt means thirst and downing hard alcohol to quench it. Ahem ahem...
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Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Tuesday Nights: Bar Bacon

Did you know there's a bar in Hell's Kitchen that serves all things bacon related? Oh yes, my friends. BACON BACON BACON. What did you say? Bacon has jumped the shark? Shut up. As for the rest of you, please continue and read about all the bacon foods we had that night. With beers too, of course.
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Monday, September 15, 2014

Balaboosta

As someone who is very much into food, I've had my fair share of good to even great meals. I've also had my share of mediocre to bad ones too. But very rarely, do I come across a meal that not only satisfied my hunger but also impressed me so much  that it left me with the feeling of elation. Balaboosta is one such restaurant. From top to bottom, I was just happy. The food and the service was great. This is one restaurant that I would highly recommend to you even though I haven't even gone through what I had there yet. Yes, it was THAT good.
Balaboosta has been on my go to list for awhile. So when Mr. Matzo Ball's birthday came around, I suggested it. He was as excited as I was. I made my reservation for a group of 6 and happily waited until it the day of the meal. A few days before our reservation, we needed to add 2 more people. No problem, I thought. Oops! It seemed to be difficult for the restaurant as the space is not that big. They'll try to accommodate us but no promises. So as the date crept up, I became more and more nervous. And this is when the front of the house went above and beyond their duty. They made it work for us. They had every right to deny us a table for 8 due to the last minute changes but they worked their magic. The accommodated us in every way and I was very grateful.

And that was only the beginning. Now onto the food! We started with a bunch of appetizers to share. First up, the fried olives with organic labne and harissa oil ($8). These delicious morsels of briny olives breaded and fried until crispy. And the ultra smooth strained yogurt with a punch of chili oil. A really great way to start off the meal.
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Thursday, September 11, 2014

Restaurant Week: Fogo de Chao

I thought about writing a more lengthy post about my Restaurant Week experience at Fogo de Chao. But really there's not much else to say than, it was not good.
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Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Baking: Race Car Cake

Another kid's birthday means another attempt at a specialty cake. This time, it was my nephew's birthday who turned 5 years old this year. And what did he want for his birthday cake? A race car. Damn, I knew it was going to be difficult. I scoured the internet for ideas and pieced together some good ones.
Before I started, I tried to find an orange race car to use as the basis for the cake. His favorite color is orange. Once I found that, off to make the cake.
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Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Momofuku Ssam Bar: Duck Dinner

Awhile ago, TT & CT, and Mr. M&P and I went on a double date. No reason except that we really wanted to try the duck dinner ($140) at Momofuku Ssam Bar. This is one of the special dinners that they offer. You can also do a bo ssam or a dry aged ribeye steak. But we had our eyes on that luscious duck.
But this is no ordinary rotisserie duck. They take a whole duck, stuff the duck and pork sausage under the skin of the main body. Then they take the other parts and make a stock out of it. More on that later. Before, the beauty is cut up for us, they bring it table side to show us the beautiful lacquered skin. So shiny. So pretty. So drool inducing.
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Monday, September 8, 2014

Baking: Lotus Seed Moon Cakes

This post has been in the making for 2 years now. If you're a frequent reader then you know my goal of making traditional dishes from scratch. One such dish/dessert is moon cakes. Every year during mid autumn or moon festival, these cakes are given to your loved ones as a gift. Now, many store bought ones are pretty good. If you can find a bakery that makes them fresh then that's even better. But as you know, I like to try to make things from scratch so that I know exactly what is going into things.
A couple of years ago, I started my moon cake experiment. I bought molds over the internet and then research for recipes. A good and easy recipe was really hard to come by. I finally settled on one and tried it out. The results I got were just okay. It wasn't bad per se but I also wasn't entirely happy either. Fast forward 2 years and I found another recipe. It looked easier but still seemed to be okay. To my surprise, it was way better  than  the first. The results were better and it was less time consuming. That's a win win in my book.
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Friday, September 5, 2014

Lunch Week 31: Salad with Sauteed Chicken

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 Sauteed Chicken
Just a simple lunch this week since I'll be doing some traveling soon. Some green leaf lettuce with sliced cucumbers, cherry tomatoes, and sauteed chicken breast. The dressing is homemade honey mustard sauce.
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Thursday, September 4, 2014

Gato

When it comes to birthdays with my sister and her husband, Mr. M&P and I split up the year. The spring/summer is focused on the boys. The winter is for the girls. This past birthday celebration (the boys), we wanted to try something new. Lucky for us, Chef Bobby Flay had just opened a new restaurant in NYC. It's been a long time since he's opened up a new restaurant and we were excited to try all the new influences he's been playing around with.
We decided to share everything so that we may taste more dishes together. To start, we had the White Chicory Salad ($14) with chorizo, egg, fontina cheese, and apricot almond dressing. This was a really nice salad both bitter and luxurious from the richness of the egg and fattiness of the chorizo. The dressing added the slight sweetness that it needed.
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Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Baking: Hello Kitty Cake

Ever since I decided to be the sole birthday cake baker for my niece and nephew, I've decided to push myself. I started with very simple layered cakes. But then I started playing around with marshmallow fondant (the only kind I will volunteer to eat and make). And one thing led to another and I'm making more complex cakes. There's still a lot for me to learn but this is a good start.
So when it was my niece's 3rd birthday this year, it was of no surprise that she wanted Hello Kitty as her cake. Lucky for me, the shape of Hello Kitty's head is relatively round and uniform. Unfortunately for me, the simplicity of her face can lead to obvious mistakes. I didn't want to give her a ghetto looking Hello Kitty whose face may have gone through a stroke. Nope, I want the cake to look like the real deal. And so I tried really hard on this cake. And as you can see above, it came out really good! I am really proud of this cake. It's the best one I've made so far.
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Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Kin Shop

Dinner with the family: Mr. M&P, Ms. Pastry Chef, Mrs. Green M&M, and Mr. HP Sauce. We spent the night in the city and celebrated with food. And lots of it. Our first meal that weekend was at Kin Shop. I have previous enjoyed Chef Harold Dieterle's Perilla and The Marrow. Kin Shop is a contemporary Thai restaurant with a casual feel. The dishes are all made to share so it's a great group place.
To start, we had the lobster summer roll ($16), fried broccoli and Chinese sausage ($12), stir fry of aquatic vegetables ($9), and fried pork and crispy oyster salad. While everything was delicious, I personally enjoyed the stir fry of vegetables and pork and oyster salad the most. The former for the simplicity and the latter for the wonderful textural and flavor contrasts.
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