Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Masala Wok Review
Locations in TX and VA, but I went to:
10940 Fairfax Blvd. Suite J
Fairfax, VA 22030
Phone - 571-432-1814
Fax - 571-432-1816

This place is not fast food but sort of Panera/Corner Bakery-ish. It's an "Indian Diner with a Chinese twist." I've had a few dishes here, since there was one near the office, and we'd go there for lunch. I like the condiment stand, because there are a variety of sauces including one that gives quite a kick for being a mainstream restaurant. The dishes were pretty much what you'd expect in quality, which were just meh. Even their samosas aren't so hot. But there is one thing that I order every single time. It's an appetizer, and now my orders consist of ordering two of these. They're called "chicken lollipops." These things taste so nice, and they're fun to eat! They are "chicken wings marinated in spices coated in zesty batter & deep fried." They have a long bone, like a lamb chop, and you dip it into the spicy sauce that's served and just gnaw away. Dare I say it? I like these better than Buffalo wings! There, I said it.

Not much of a review of the place and thought about just titling this "chicken lollipops," but it's done.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Target Italian Soda

I have to admit, me and the wife love our Target. Something about getting competitive prices on anything from packing tape, almonds, PS3 games, boxers, etc - you name it, they probably have it. Any who, I knew I was making some pasta so I ran into this Italian Soda that they sell.

Honestly, it's pretty delicious. Good flavor (subtle blood orange), nice fizz, and not overly sweet. Perfect with my Linguine alla Giaponnese. Supposedly made in Italy but hit with the Target "Archer Farms" brand. Definitely have to try the others...

Monday, September 28, 2009

Linguine alla Giapponese

Stopped by Mitsuwa, our local Japanese grocery store, and decided to try cooking the Tokyo negi (similar to the leek) for the first time. But being me, I had thoughts of pasta in my mind. I rounded out the dish with some sweet corn, shitake mushrooms, and a bunch of random stuff I found in my fridge - can't say enough how I love my new kitchen.

The negi ended up tasting like leeks except sweeter. This balanced with the sweet corn and sweet nigori sake - I know weird, but the nigori adding a slight sweetness and creaminess to the dish. Finishing the dish with butter (alla dell'anima) gave the pasta such a silky texture. Pecorino finishes it off perfectly - nice salt and more intense flavor than parmiggiano. Good times.

1/2 box linguine
10 shitake mushrooms sliced
1 tokyo negi sliced
2 tomatoes diced
2 corn cobs - kernels removed and milk extracted
4 garlic cloves thinly sliced
1/4 cup nigori sake
extra virgin olive oil
salt and pepper
pecorino romano
1 tbsp butter

1) Bring a whole mess load of water to a boil in a large pot.
2) Set a pan over high heat. Drop some oil in and add the mushrooms - salt and pepper. The key to cooking any mushroom is make sure you cook the f out of em so they develop an intense flavor - getting almost crispy on the outside. About 7-10 minutes.
3) Salt the water and drop the pasta in the pot.
4) After the mushrooms are good, drop in the negi and cook for another 5 minutes until soft.
5) Drop in the garlic and after 20 seconds, deglaze the pan with the sake making sure to scrape all the brown bits up.
6) When pasta is 1 minute from being finished, put pasta in the saute pan with the corn and butter. Cook over high heat for 30 seconds to 1 minute and stir well. Cut the heat and serve with percorino and more olive oil. Buono Appetito!

Friday, September 25, 2009

Terakawa Ramen

Located : Lex between 23 & 24th

I just finished my bowl of Terakawa Ramen with a side of Gyoza.
I gotta admit, I am one HAPPY s.o.b.

The dinner combo was reasonably priced at $12, and it was damn good.
Probably the best deal in Manhattan for the bang for the buck.

Terakawa is just the latest contender in the Ramen Wars of Manhattan.
Founded in Kumamoto, Japan, they pride themselves on Tonkotsu style broth.
That's the rich pork broth like Ippudo.

Not as intense but completely satisfying.
I suspect they make their own noodles as well. They had great al dente-ness to it and it worked well with the thick broth. The toppings rocked. Perfect roast pork belly, marinaded soft boiled eggs, a ton of scallions, bamboo shoots and julienned wooden jelly.

I can't wait to come back!
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Thursday, September 24, 2009

What's in your Refrigerator

We are starting a new series today called, "What's in your Refrigerator?"
It's a snap shot of our refrigerators or kitchens every Thursday of a mystery item.
As Aramis points out, it's kind of like MTV's Cribs where celebs let you in their homes to check out what they have, but since we only care about food... here's a glimpse into the kitchens of some of the Dudes on Foods.

Can you peg the personalities?
The Bachelor, Married Man, Health Nut and Beer Enthusiast...

Cardinal Richelieu

Bud Light

Edmond Dantes

from left to right:
Brooklyn Brewery - Local 1
Me Chouffe
La Chouffe
Corona Light

Mr. Risotto

from left to right:
Absolutely no beer, but some
Tropicana - Some Pulp
Silk Soy Milk
Elmhurst Dairy - Milk
Half drunk bottle of Red Wine


from left to right:
Kriek Lambic - Malted Black Cherry Beer
Brahma Beer


from left to right:
Stone - Vertical Epic 2008
Dogfish Head - 120
Greenflash - Imperial IPA
Weyerbacher - Double Simcoe
Dogfish Head - Palo Santo Maron
Ommegang - Abbey Ale
Avery - Imperial Stout

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Mikey Likes It!

Entertaining read about what the man behind posting calorie counts and banning trans-fats in NYC likes to eat.


When he does not like the food, he rarely holds back. After dining at Blue Smoke, Mr. Meyer’s barbecue restaurant on East 27th Street, the mayor told Mr. Meyer, “I just don’t like it.”

Mr. Meyer tried inviting him back, but the mayor would not budge. “It never feels good when somebody tells you they don’t like your restaurant, but it’s nice when a politician does not pander,” he said, adding that the mayor has heaped praise on Union Square Cafe.
Mayor Doesn’t Always Live by His Health Rules

Random Spanish Inspired Cooking

I decided to cook a Spanish inspired meal to say thanks to my parents for helping me with the move and work around the house. Pretty simple montaditos and tapas, but pretty friggin delicious. Served with a great cava I found from Whole Foods and it brought me back to Barcelona.

Cockles in Cava
I love shellfish and I'm usually one of the believers that all shellfish just need garlic, onions, and booze. These cockles were hella fresh, but I decided to add some tomatoes to the dish since I had way too many tomatoes in the fridge. It worked out perfectly and did not overpower the shellfish at all. Incredibly sweet, tender and flavorful...

1 pound cockles - scrubbed and let since in big bowl of water; change the water 3 times
3 cloves garlic minced
1 yellow onion - small dice
extra virgin olive oil
1 tomato diced
1 cup cava

1) Set saute pan to low heat and add oil, onions, and garlic. Make sure the onions/garlic don't get any color, you just want to soften them.
2) About 7-10 mins later, add the tomato and cook for another 5 minutes
3) Crank the heat up to high, drop the cockles in and add the cava
4) Shake the pan around and you'll eventually see them open after 3-5 minutes. As soon as they open up, pull them out. Make sure to serve with some bread since the sauce is siiiick.
Note - I would say if they open slightly, you can take them out and open them up but they'll be pretty soft. But, I now prefer waiting till they open up 1/2 way...the meat will have better texture while still retaining the plumpness and sweetness. Any longer though and they'll be tough and chewy.

Pan con tomate
It's strange how delicious this simple dish can be, especially when you have great ingredients. Be sure to get the best tomato you can find; I used a great Spanish Olive Oil and some homegrown tomatoes.

1 tomato halved - best you can find
Extra virgin olive oil
1 clove garlic halved width wise
salt and pepper
1 baguette - sliced

1) Toast the bread and drizzle olive oil over it - make sure it's not burnt, but nice and golden.
2) Rub the garlic clove over the bread - it'll be weird since the bread will have a heavy garlic taste just with a slight rub
3) Rub the tomato over the bread until the top of the bread changes color - nice and pink.
4) To finish, drizzle some more olive oil and season with salt and pepper.

Smoked Salmon, Yogurt, Caramelized Onions Montadito
I wanted to recreate this spectacular montadito from Quimet & Quimet, but I gave a slight little twist. Kinda like a fun breakfast bite - sweet, creamy, and salty. Incredibly delicious, but I will try to recreate that montadito with the same flavors. Also, need to get better salmon since the one from Quimet & Quimet was spectacular.

caramelized onions (vidalia onion's thinly sliced, salt and pepper, and cooked over low heat until it turns caramel colored)
greek yogurt
smoked salmon
1 baguette - sliced

1) Top the bread with some greek yogurt, caramelized onion, and smoked salmon. Eat.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Spicy Thousand Island Dressing

Another benefit of living in the new house is the larger kitchen allows me to see more random ingredients. No more having the cumin stuck in the back of the cabinet from 2001. Any who, we had some salad and I was sick of the balsamic vinaigrette, so I decided to throw a bunch of stuff together and it kicked massive ars.

I mixed together:
When I tasted this, I was like damn...this tastes like the best thousand island dressing ever. Creamy, spicy, nice acid, and slightly sweet. I definitely see this kicking ass over a reuben or even a homemade big mac. I think some finally chopped cornichons and minced garlic would make this kick massive ars.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Homegrown Tomato...

I've moved out to the burbs and I love cooking in my new kitchen and I'm excited about growing my own herbs - rosemary and sage are definitely the first ones up. The previous owners were nice enough to leave their tomato plant behind and I was always against growing tomatoes since it's so much work with the wiring and all that non-sense.

But, after taking one bite into this sucker I may change my mind. It's unlike any tomato I've ever had in my life - store bought heirlooms and cherry tomatoes ain't got sh!t on this home tomato. It's intensely sweet, juicy, and has a fruit like quality to it - yes, I know tomatoes are a fruit. I cut them up drizzled some extra virgin olive oil with some salt and pepper; and ate them with some rinsed and sliced Vidalia onions...kinda like Peter Luger's version, except much much better. Or, like Porthos suggested to me, pick it off the vine and just take a bite out of will be a life changing experience.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Chuck doesn't like us food bloggers

Charlie Trotter - "Who the hell has the time to write a food blog? Don't you guys have a real job?" he complains about food critics and food bloggers.

Isn't it up to the readers to choose what they read or who they listen to?

Seriously Charlie. All restaurants are nothing if not for the word of mouth. Blogging is just the newest and quickest medium in communication. Get with the program chump.

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Discussion Panel

Panel Moderator : Clark Wolf
Guests : Norman Van Aken, Charlie Trotter, Emeril Lagasse.

"What is American Cuisine?"
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Starchefs Congress NYC

If you are a hardcore foodie, there's no better gathering than the StarChefs Congress. Top chefs from around the country flock to the city to demonstrate and talk about what they do best.

Word on the street...
Charcuterie is continuing to grow at record pace.
The data through out the land shows homemade Charcuterie and Salumi programs to be in over 27% of all starred restaurants.

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Saturday, September 19, 2009

Hokkaido Festival at Mitsuwa (NJ)

Just a heads up for all you NJ/NY folks. There is a Hokkaido Festival going on at Mitsuwa in Edgewater today and tomorrow.

For those who don't know, Hokkaido is the northern most island of the archipelago nation of Japan. Famous for their frigid waters surrounding the island, they bear some of the best seafood in the world. Namely crabs, sea urchin and salmon.

There are a myriad of food vendors in the food court this weekend trying to seduce you,
but I highly recommend the Curry Pan.
The Ramen seems to be quite popular as well but the line was out the door and I just don't have that kind of patience.

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Friday, September 18, 2009

dell'anima - second look

Took the wife to dell'anima as a surprise, since we've been busting our ars moving in to our new home. Absolutely loved the food the first time, and the second time was equally as great. I can't stress how solid the cooking is here and love that they have the perfect balance of acidity to wake the flavors up. Can't wait to go back again and eat some more...

Our Menu
1) Sweet Breads "alla piastra" parsley root puree, blueberries, pickled chanterelles **
Comments - same as before. creamy, full flavored, nice acidity, and crazy delicious

2) Fegatini (chicken liver) with Toscana, Balsamic and Onion Marmallata *
Comments - liver flavor is good, but only a small "shmear" of livers on the crostini. Huge bright acidity with the onion marmalade. Still fun.

3) Linguini cherry tomatoes, mint, chilies, sea urchin, colatura di alici *
Comments - great pasta texture, not as much flavor as last time but still very delicious

4) Pollo "al diavolo" broccoli rabe, garlic, chilies **
Comments - super juicy (breast and thigh) and full flavored bird. My only wish is that the skin get crispy, but not sure if that's possible with the diavolo marinade on top. Broccoli rabe was a perfect foil for the chicken - well cooked and great flavor.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Konbu Mizu Shio

This new product is a specimen of Umami.
Yes, the Japanese are obsessed with this and I'm starting to understand why.
When you want to enhance the pure flavors of each ingredient, you can't really overload your senses with more salt, sugar, sourness or bitterness. But you sure can add umami to just about anything to punch it up a few notches.
I'm not talking about the MSG they use in really bad Chinese cooking either.
Natural Umami is basically Glutamic Acid that enhances the other acids like Lactic Acids or Amino Acids in protein. There is a stereo effect that happens in your mouth and the flavor is tremendously full tasting.

The best example I can give with regards to western cooking is with Parmesan cheese.
Imagine you have a bowl of Bolognese and you take that first bite... Yah, it's good. Perhaps great. You get tons of rich meaty flavor, the gentle sweetness from the carrots and onions and then balanced by the slight acidity from the tomatoes. Well what happens when you spoon some freshly grated Parmesan cheese over your bowl?
That is Umami! The glutamic acids from the cheese punch you in the face and enhance that dish big time.

The picture below is a bowl of mushroom risotto I made. Not wanting to add cheese to the dish, Mizu Shio from the guys at Matsumaeya was a great substitute.
(Mizu Shio literally means Salty Water)
According to the President of Matsumaeya (Matsumuru san), Mizu Shio was used in Japan before Soy Sauce was introduced to the island nation. For centuries, the Mizu Shio was the source of sodium to many dishes. And over time, the art of crafting a Mizu Shio with tons of Umami came to be.
The Umami from this particular Mizu Shio I have in my hands is derived from Mushrooms, Shrimp, Scallops, and Konbu.
Concentrated in Mizu Shio, and packed in an atomizer, it's easy to spritz just about anything to kick up the dish.

This was a complete revelation for me and I'm definitely going to promote this product to my friends and chefs in NYC.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Happy Place

I was back in Burlington, VT this week and thought I'd drop by one of my favorite beer pubs.
Unfortunately Greg Noonan wasn't around but never the less, good beer, good food, and good ambiance.

Mind you the weather Wednesday was 70 degrees, blue skies with fluffy white clouds.
Man, its perfect up there.

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Peak Organic IPA
by Shipyard Brewing Company

7.2% ABV
30s? IBU

You don't get much bitterness or citrusy hops from this really fresh IPA is from Portland Maine... leaving me to believe this was extremely malt heavy in the wort.
After trying this beer, I need to look into the Simcoe and the Amarillo hops a bit more... Although I'm usually a hoppy Columbus, Cascade Hop type of guy, I really enjoyed the balance of these more milder hops.

Nose - Mildly sweeter than most IPAs.
Taste - Real easy to drink. Good clean taste for an Ale.
Finish - Probably not much different than other American ales, just the lack of hoppy hops makes it finish a bit sweeter.
Recommended Pairing - It'll probably go with just about any non read meat summer "hand held" food. ie Chicken salad sandwich, Turkey sandwich, HotDogs (it's been overly processed... it's not a red meat in my book)

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Vermont Long Trail

Having my first beer after a long and traumatic day. (Incident with a State Trooper resulting in a speeding ticket and court date.)

"I fought the law and the law won..."

Vermont's Longtrail Ale.
Pretty refreshing. Good bite and decent finish. Marginally hoppy but definitely one of those beers you can have all night with no worries of being too heavy.
I'd probably pair this with some sushi.

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What if a honeydew and a cantaloupe listened to some Barry White...

You'd have this delicious melon I found at Whole Foods. I believe it was the cranshaw melon which had a pale yellow smooth skin with an orange flesh similar to that of a cantaloupe. The odd thing was the flavor profile had the sweetness of a honeydew (very honey like), but a whole intensely floral thing going on like the cantaloupe.

The key to picking cantaloupe is the smell test which works with the cranshaw. If it's incredibly floral, it's good to go. If it smells like nothing, take a pass. Also, the skin should have a slight give and no wrinkles on the smooth skin melon. Last tip, with all veg/fruits - the melon should feel heavy for it's size - more water I assume which means it's not old and dried out like Sharon Stone...I have no idea what that meant.

Any who, as comic book guy would say - best...melon...ever.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Chicken Salad Variations

Working downtown, I've come across all different variations of salads and sandwiches, but one thing has caught my eye and it's the Indian curry chicken salad. Unusual at first as the color is bright yellow and a tad disturbing, but it is in fact quite delicious. I've decided to play with the chicken salad dish and I've broken it down into the following key components:
  1. Poached Chicken (shredded) - a must if you want to use breast meat and have it tender
  2. Mayonnaise plus liquid/oil to thin it out - required for the creamy goodness
  3. Dried Fruit - providing that necessary sweetness which balances out the creaminess
  4. Crunchy Vegetable and/or Fruit (diced or cubed) - adding another hint of sweetness and texture
  5. Nuts - more crunchiness and different spectrum of flavors
  6. Spices or pastes (optional) - to kick it up a notch
Using those basic methods, I made a thai massaman curry chicken salad. I know, I sounds f'n weird, but trust me - served in a wrap or over some salad greens, it's quite f'n awesome.

My combo included - poached chicken, raisins, shredded carrots, sliced green apple, almonds, mayo, chicken broth, massaman curry paste, and honey. The basic combo yielded sweet and spicy flavors and a good amount of crunch...delicious and even great between your basic white sandwich bread.

You can really take this in any direction as asian pears, and shredded snow peas would be delicious or a touch of chipotle with the mayo would be a fiesta in your mouth.

Some Tips:
  • Poaching chicken is a great techinque for chicken breasts, but the key is to bring the water/veg to a boil, then drop the chicken in and simmer for 12 minutes. Let this sucker rest for a good 10 minutes and then shred. If you taste when it's warm, it may still have a tough texture, but once it fully rests in the mayo - it gets incredibly tender
  • Sad to say, but Bobby Flay is right when dealing with heavy spiced ingredients - a la curry or chipotle. A little honey balances out the chicken salad perfectly which makes the spices feel less harsh. Another Flay tip is too cook your spices in a bit of oil first to mellow it and let the spice bloom...

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Tekka Don

Tekka Don is a rice bowl covered with Marinaded Tuna Sashimi.
Usually garnished with finely chopped scallions, chiffonade nori, and a dollop of wasabi on the side.

Yah, it's quite satisfying if you crave sushi early in the day, especially since you are shit out of luck finding a sushi restaurant open 8 in the morning.
Luckily, I had some leftover sashimi grade tuna in my fridge so I whipped up a bowl for myself, and a bowl for my buddy and we devoured it like Reggie White devouring a bucket of fried chicken after a Monday night victory.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Friday, September 11, 2009

Maxwell Street

Chicago is known for different things like tall buildings, green river on St. Patty's Day, Electric Blues music, pizza, hot dogs, Polish Sausage, and so much more. A few things from this list come from Maxwell St.

Maxwell St. is on the Near West Side of Chicago. This is a staple to Chicago. Electric Blues music was essentially invented here. Maxwell St. is also called Jew Town. This is because it was an area where Jewish immigrants lived once upon a time, but then it later turned into a market where one can haggle the price, or "jew down the price." It was not a nice place to be, day or night. It was text book example of a "ghetto." But it's okay, because it all adds to the experience. Besides haggling, why would anyone go there? Food.

2009 marks seventy years of Jim's Original. 70 years! Besides the hot dogs and pork chop sandwiches, they're known for the Maxwell St. Polish Sausage. One can go to almost any hot dog stand around Chicago and its burbs and find Maxwell St. Polish on the menu. Many people don't realize why it's called that. Once I was in Arizona, and I saw a place selling Maxwell St. Polish. (Very poorly done.) But this is the original. What makes it "Maxwell St." besides the location? The obvious thing are the onions. When driving there, you can smell them in the air from several blocks away. Just follow your nose. In the past few years, Chicago has renovated that area, and Maxwell St. is no more. But they did preserve Jim's (and their competitor next door called Express Grill) and moved it over a block directly next to the highway. I went there a few weeks ago, and I was able to smell them, even driving 70MPH on the highway. I was also pleansantly surprised to see their fries improved drastically. The fries actually were some of the worst, but now they're actually crispy and tasty. You will notice the sign advertising "pop." I didn't know that this was a Midwest thing. When traveling to other parts of the country, people don't realize it means "soda." These two 24-hour establishments continue to live on. ChinaTown, Little Mexico, Little Italy, and other ethnic neighborhoods are all very nearby, but these are the places that need to stay open all day/night.

Here's a clip from another Chicago classic, The Blues Brothers from 1978. Notice from :35 - :40:

Though the "Italian Stance" was started from eating the Chicago Italian Beef, you'll see people eating that way in many places; Jim's was no exception.

Italian Stance

Here's a cool story I like to share - many years ago, my friend picked me up from my Parents' house where I used to live. (I told you it was a long time ago.) Her friend was with us, and we were hungry. I told them to go somewhere that's about 45 minutes but well worth it. As we were approaching Maxwell St., my friend's friend, Jodie, knew exactly where we were going. I learned moments earlier that she is from Wisconsin and was in town visiting. It turns out, her grandfather is the actual Jim Stefanovic of Jim's Original that started this place! In fact, they share the same last name! We pull up (among the crack heads trying to sell us underwear, pornographic movies with rocks/bricks substituting for the movie, etc.), and all the workers knew her. Amazing! Dinner was on the house for the three of us. This is something I'll never forget. What are the odds???

Due to its location, it was tradition for me, and whomever was with me, to eat there before &/or after a Bulls or Sox game. We used to race cars at ChinaTown, and that would be a stop, too. Just so many memories at this historic location.


Batten Ramen

2024 Center Ave
Fort Lee, NJ 07024
(201) 461-5465

If you're in Bergen County, NJ and need a fulfilling Japanese lunch, hit up Batten Ramen.

Highly recommended for home style cooking.

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Thursday, September 10, 2009

Bar Artisanal cheats their customers

I was just at Bar Artisanal again last week and happened to order some sparkling water.
I "was" a big fan of this place but unfortunately this second trip left me a bit angry and dissatisfied.
Can you believe they refill their bottles and charge you Pelligrino prices?
Horse shit!

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Less than $10 in Manhattan?

Shake Shack burgers with fries and a coke. Full meal for less than $10.
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Tuesday, September 8, 2009

The Krave

Jersey City food truck debuts Korean Tacos.

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Sunday, September 6, 2009

Truth in Advertising?

This Burger King ad is a few months old, but I just stumbled across it the other day.

Can you volunteer to be the sandwich?

More here...

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Buddha Bar Gone, but Buddha Pear Here!

It took about 6 years to figure out, but a farmer in northern China has grown about 10,000 pears in the shape of Buddha. And more are coming and shipping around the world. This article talks about it. I'd love to try it for the novelty, but buying *one* at £5 is too pricey.

Friday, September 4, 2009

Buddha Bar (NYC) No Longer

Back in January, the Meatpacking mega lounge Buddha Bar agreed to change its name after losing a lawsuit to Buddha Bar Worldwide (the NYC branch broke off from the group, causing the litigation). Now, just nine whole months later, a name has been chosen: Ajna Bar. Catchy!

But they don't just have a new name; they have a new chef. Chef Hung Huynh, winner of season three of Top Chef, is coming on board. The email to regulars simply says he's "joined our award winning venue," but according to a reservationist at the restaurant, he's working there full time and is offering a preview menu this Sunday. From Top Chef to Solo to the Bocuse d'Or to this? An interesting trajectory for the cheftestant.

A Mango a Day Keeps the Doctor Away?

The new apple shipping soon. Reading this article makes me want to try one. Stat. SweeTango... sounds yummy!

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Locanda Verde Sausage and Pepper Sandwich

Stopped by Locanda Verde the other day to try their "Broccoli Rabe Sausage Grinder with spicy peperonata and ricotta." Their's a lot of internet buzz on this sandwich and the masses are right. Another home run for the Tribeca sandwich scene - the Bar Artisanal Burger being the other.

Mr. Carmellini's sandwich starts off with what looks like a home-made sausage with some broccoli rabe actually inside the casing. Then, add some incredibly sweet roasted peppers and very soft broccoli rabe. It all lightens up with some ricotta on the inside. The sandwich is not spicy at all as the name would suggest, but really a perfect combo of porky goodness balanced by the perfect sweetness and lightened up by the great ricotta. Good times, but be forewarned of the beer. They charge $8-10 for a beer, but give you a kid's size glass.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Boqueria - Review

Boqueria - Not Recommended
53 W 19th St
New York, NY 10011-4202
Phone: (212) 255-4160

I'm having the post Spain blues as every single tapas/pintxos place I check out in NYC just don't satisfy. Same thing happened after my trip to Italy too. I realize that I can never compare tapas in NYC to the stuff in Spain, but at least the food needs to taste good. Unfortunately, the three dishes I picked did not. Overall, I give the restaurant a 65/100.

Our Menu
1) Patatas Bravas crispy potatoes, "salsa brava", roasted garlic alioli
2) Pan Con Tomate grilled bread rubbed with tomato, garlic and olive oil**
3) Pintxos Morunos seared lamb marinated in lemon and cumin, salsa verde

Rating System
--- What the F - in a bad way * Good ** Great *** What the F – in a good way

Dish Comments
1) Fried potatoes that were a tad mealy inside, but decent potato flavor. On top of that, not that much brava sauce or aliloi. Pretty average at best.
2) This dish was incredibly delicious and very simple. Grilled crunchy flavorful bread rubbed with juicy fresh tomato, garlic, and olive oil. Very satisfying - almost a pizza type of effect with tomato flesh instead of a sauce. Really delicious...
3) Really gamey lamb that was pretty tough and dry as well. Not a good combo...nuff said.

Overall Restaurant Experience (65/100)
  • Food 6.8/10 – I picked 3 simple dishes and 2 were pretty average to sub par.
  • Service 7.3/10 – Waitress was friendly, but the place is packed so the service was a tad slow. Once you get your order in, the food comes out quick though.
  • Atmosphere 6.5/10 – Not my type of place, but people seemed to dig it. Lots of beige all throughout the room and it felt more like a lounge than a tapas bar. When you first walk in, you're met with the crowd and the tapas bar to your left. Place was packed with loads of couples and oddly enough a couple of groups of 1 dude and 2 girls. We got there at 8pm on a Monday and the wait was 30 minutes. We sat with 10 though since the bar area is first come first serve - including the tiny tables across from the tapas bar.
  • Price 6.5/10 – Average price for NYC I guess - but I wasn't so happy to pay it. $5 for bread and tomato flesh. $7 for fried mealy potatoes. Seems standard for NYC tapas now...
Closing Comments
The reason we only picked 3 dishes is I decided for any small bites place (tapas, pintxos, stuzzichini) I am going to act like we did in Spain. Sample 3 small bites - if it's great, order more; if it's not, take a pass and check out someplace else. Hopefully, we'll find another tapas place that is pretty solid, since I've been checking out a bunch lately and can't find a place I'm dying to go back to...

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

You need to try one of these... Yum

Angry Original Chicken Sandwich (from Burger King)

Crispy premium white meat chicken topped with angry onions, spicy jalapenos and our signature angry sauce. It's a sandwich so tasty we haven't changed it since 1979. We just made it angrier.

  • 870 calories
  • 55g fat
  • 13g saturated fat
  • 1g trans fat
  • 95mg cholesterol
  • 61g carbs
  • 11g sugar
  • 34g protein
  • 2430mg sodium
Certainly not diet food. Quite the contrary, it's glorious obese food.
And they also forgot to put down Cocaine in the list of nutrients...
This thing is so good, you want a second one immediately.

I heart my Farmer's Market

I went out to pick up my dry cleaning and saw that the farmer's market was still open.
So I quickly perused through the produce and picked up heirloom tomatoes, perfectly ripened peach and some jersey corn for dinner.

Might I add, Jersey Corn is the best on the planet.
If I had a brix-meter, I'm positive it would have read close to a honeydew in sweetness.
As a matter of fact, the corn was sweeter than the peach.

So dinner consisted of a quick summer salad, corn on the cob, and sliced ribeye steak.
Accompanied with a bottle of Napa Valley Red given to me by the head sommelier of Jean Georges.
Summer never tasted so good.

Summer Salad :
2 Peach
2 Heirloom Tomatoes
1/4 Onion
5 Basil Leaves
5T Olive Oil
3T Champagne Vinegar
Salt and Pepper

Cut up peach and tomatoes into dice sized cubes and add the brunoised onions and chiffonade basil into a non reactive mixing bowl. Pour in the olive oil and champagne vinegar and toss. And finally season to taste.
The steaks were grilled a few days ago, sliced and drizzled with some ponzu for flavoring.

Bon Apetit!