Thursday, March 31, 2011

Salad from Expensive Leftovers

After the phenomenal meal at Marea, we had some leftovers since the wife couldn't finish her portion. Using the leftover bistecca and bone marrow panzanella, I decided to whip up a salad and it friggin' rawked. I ended up heating the croutons and beef up gently and added a black bean and corn relish. A light and delicious meal!

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

銀ダラ Black Cod Miso (Day 2)

A little change in color.
Good sign the miso and sake is penetrating the protein and doing it's thang.

Another day or so and it's showtime.

Marea - Review

Marea - Dude Grade: A-
240 Central Park S
New York NY 10019
Btwn Broadway & 7th Ave
Phone: (212) 582-5100

Porthos has been raving about this place for a while now, so my wife decided to take me out to Marea for my birthday. I've been to Michael White's former place Convivio and I was such a big fan, but this place is at a whole 'nuther level. I'm completely blown away how delicious the food is here - the technique, the balance - just everything is spot on. Highly, highly recommended.

Our Menu

Ricci ***
Sea Urchin, Lardo, Sea Salt
The ultimate example of food porn. Unctuous pig fat on sexy, sweet uni? Seriously - a complete WTF little bite.

SABA local spanish mackarel, tangerine, almonds taragon **
SCAMPI pacific langoustines, murray river pink salt ***
PASSERA long island fluke, lemon thyme, ligurian olive oil **
Second course and this was outstanding to me. I've had crudo before, but this was definitely at a whole 'nother level. Each fish was pristine - great texture and clean flavors. The accompaniments were just that - little things to enhance the flavor without losing the flavor of the fish. Reminded of what Psilakas did at the phenomenal Anthos. The winner was the ridiculous langoustines - a perfect little sweet bite.

Oysters *
with morellino mignonette & cucumber-lemon vinegar
These were fun, but after going to Elliot's Oyster House in Seattle I'm always jaded with oysters. What did make this more fun was the cucumber-lemon vinegar - just perfectly bright and clean.

nova scotia lobster, burrata, eggplant al funghetto, basil
Fourth course and a complete WTF moment. The creamy flavorful burrata against the sweet perfectly cooked lobster and you're in heaven.

UOVO ***
slow poached egg, snow crab, leeks, cardoon, bagna cauda

Another dish, another WTF moment. This thing was sex on a plate. Egg was perfectly slow poached - combine the sexy yolk with the sweet snow crab and the crispy bread and my head exploded. At this point we initially ordered a 6 course tasting menu - but after reading the line of scrimmage I decided to audible to the 8 course tasting menu.


ruby red shrimp, chilies, rosemary
Texture on the orchiette was so spot on and this was a delicious dish. My only complaint was it was a tad over salted for me. My wife thought it was fine though.

veal ravioli, sweetbreads, funghi
Rebound on the pasta as this was the best pasta dish I've had in a long friggin time. The agnolotti had a perfect texture and the filling was so flavorful and uber juicy. The creamy sweetbreads and delicious mushrooms were overkill, but in a good way.

new zealand john dory, hen of the woods mushrooms, potatoes, artichokes, charred onion, salmoriglio
Perfect cookery of the john dory where it was crispy, flavorful and still relatively moist. The combination of all the ingredients seemed like it would be too much, but it definitely worked out.

grilled creekstone farms 50 day dry aged sirloin, bone marrow panzanella
I never order steak anymore since I am usually disappointed for the price. This dish may have changed my mind. The steak was soooo flavorful and perfectly cooked and they rocked a play on the caesar salad with the cooked romaine and the bone marrow bread crumbs. This thing completely rocked.

hazelnut, dark chocolate, lemon, mint
This was a chocolate and hazelnut flavor bomb. The gelati had a perfect texture and great flavor and the cake was pretty damn tasty. Unfortunately, I was stuffed and hit with a bit of sensory overload, so this was a bit too much for me at this point. But, if I ordered this any other time, I think I would have been floored by this.

fromage blanc panna cotta, mandarin orange, pink peppercorn, thyme
A bright and creamy panna cotta with a delicious mandarin orange. The peppercorn was a nice twist and gave the dish a pop.

Rating System
--- What the F - in a bad way | (no stars - poor to average) | * Good | ** Great | *** What the F – in a good way

Overall Restaurant Experience
  • Food (A) – Spectacular Italian food and completely blown away with the stuff they're doing here. The breads were delicious - olive focaccia was so light, fluffy and flavorful.
  • Service (B-) – Service was off in my opinion for an expensive joint. We were seated immediately, but we did not get a menu till a good 10-15 minutes. It also appeared there were 5x the number of bar backs to waiters, so the waiters were definitely scarce making it hard to get their attention there for things like drinks. Once the food was ordered though, the food came out a decent pace. The waitress was very friendly as well and the service got better after the initial hick up.
  • Atmosphere (B) – The place reminded of Convivio even using the same leather chairs if I recall. Very bright and colorful atmosphere which was refreshing for a high end restaurant. The place consisted of large groups and couples young and old. We got there at 6pm on a Thursday and it was getting pretty busy. Towards the end it was completely packed.
  • Price (B+) - About $165 for the 8 course tasting menu and the caliber of the ingredients and cooking was definitely worth it. A bit pricey, but not as bad as some of the really expensive joints like Per Se, Daniel, etc.
Closing Comments
This is definitely tops in my book for fancy Italian food in NYC - no comparison.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Drunken Chicken

This is a staple app dish at most Chinese restaurants.
Served chilled and usually accompanied with julienned jelly fish.

Clearly this was a free range Chicken. Notice the dark muscular meat on this bird.
Definitely firm texture with good Chinese wine and spice marinade.

Love it.

デンタイフォン / Ding Tai Fung

I was in Taipei, Taiwan last week and had the urge to revisit one of my favorite Taiwanese restaurants. Ding Tai Fung.

They are famous for the soup dumplings called Xiao Long Bao.

Needless to say, super yummy.

銀ダラ Black Cod Miso (Day 1)

Fat Ho Burgers

If I was close to Waco, TX, I'd totally check out this place. Even if the burgers were bad, which apparently they're not, I'd do it only because of the funny principle. Why? Check out the video to see the new burger joint in town.

Go on with yo badself, Lakita Evans! I'm with you. People need to laugh. Even the rednecks come out for it. Check out the video at 2:02 where he says he'll get the "Supa Dupa Fly Ho."

"...with cheese."

Monday, March 28, 2011

Pack it in

You should only pack the essentials.

Sometimes, that extra shirt you think you're gonna wear, or the extra pair of shoes you think you might need if you decide to go somewhere fancy just isn't that important.
But making sure your hosts whom you are visiting are well stocked is.

This pic was taken a few months ago but just happened to stumble upon it again.

Too funny not to post.

Gummy Vites

I was over Porthos' joint a while back and he introduced me to Gummy Vites - a delicious and fun way to get your vitamins on. When I saw these at our local Costco, I figured I had to have me some. The taste is pretty delicious and spot on with the texture. Definitely a fun way to start your morning :)

菜肉包 Steamed Bun

For $10HKD ($1.50), I picked up the ultimate steamed bun for breakfast in Macau.

Right on the ground floor of my hotel, the food court and restaurant alley was up and running at 6am.
One can pick from Western Buffets, Congee stations, and my favorite quick bite stalls.

This steamed bun was piping hot and had all the fixin's inside, and then some. Not what you get here in our Chinatowns for sure.

Living in Asia is slowly becoming a possibility for me.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Crispy Suckling Pig Skin

The Cantonese do this dish which I love. Not represented much in North America so when ever I see it, I tend to order it on impulse.

It's suckling pig skin roasted til completely crispy, then meticulously separated from any fat to ensure just a CRISP bite. Then it's reconstructed with tender roasted suckling piggy meat nestled on the bottom, and sometimes (like this one here) accompanied with a thin slice of bread for more chew.

Standard "Hoisin Sauce" applies here too.

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Duck Duck, Duck?

An onslaught of duck this trip to Asia.

Here we have a pic of the Peking Duck served up at the famous Deer Spring Restaurant right off of Nathan Rd on the Kowloon side of Hong Kong.

I'd easily pay USD100 to have this dish in NYC.

Friday, March 25, 2011

Costco Pizza

I found myself at Costco again. Good food, good electronics, good tires... this is sort of like Mecca for a Dude. Hungry for a quick snack, I got a slice of za. I always thought plain pizza looked naked, but the cheese blend is so damn good here that I ordered it the last few times I wanted a slice - just. plain. cheese. You can also get pepperoni and combo (green pepper, black olives, red onion, shrooms, & pepperoni). $2 for a slice is how it should be. And it's pretty good, especially considering it's an eatery.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Costco Hot Dog

Fargin car had a flat tire, so Costco to the rescue. On 2 fronts. They gave me a good tire with a price other places can't touch, and they gave me a delicious, nice-sized beef hot dog. I added deli mustard, relish, and onions. Hot dog and drink = $1.50. Rock on, Costco!

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

IKEA Hot Dog

I was driving by IKEA during lunch and made a quick stop, since I remember seeing some cheap eats when I was there before. 50¢ a hot dog. Not great tasting, but definitely not bad. But even if it was bad, dude... it's fitee cent.

IKEA, surprisingly, has decent food. Check out their Swedish meatballs if you're ever shopping there.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Lupa - Review

Lupa - Dude Grade: B-
170 Thompson St, New York NY 10012
Btwn Houston & Bleecker St
Phone: (212) 982-5089

I was against going to any Mario restaurants based on my past two experiences, but I was in the village with the wife and she wanted some Italian and she wasn't feeling Gusto/Dell'anima so I figured why not give Lupa another shot. I've been here years ago and I remembered the pasta being massively undercooked. Well, the second time around the pasta was still a miss, but everything was crazy fun so I would definitely come back.

Our Menu

Finocchiona (special for the day) ***
Mario's pops has a salumeria in Seattle and this is his product. Basically, paper thin slices of salami with huge fennel flavor all throughout. A big time WTF dish and a great way to start the meal.

Broccoli Rabe **
with ricotta
Simple and delicious. Blanched broccoli rabe where it's pleasantly soft and quite mild with only a little bit of bitterness. The ricotta and lemon zest really makes this an addictive dish to eat.

with Tripe Ragu
A miss for me. The pasta texture was meh - not super silky nor al dente. The flavor of the dish was OK, but the tripe was nowhere to be found in the dish. Quite odd, but a reoccurring theme for me as the last couple of pastas I've had at Mario joints were misses.

Sea Bass **
with swiss chard & grapefruit

Perfectly cooked seabass - crispy skin, moist and very flavorful fish. The swiss chard and the grapefruit were a shockingly delicious combination which I will definitely steal. I usually don't order entrees at Italian joints since they're sometimes misses, so this was great surprise.

Rating System
--- What the F - in a bad way | (no stars - poor to average) | * Good | ** Great | *** What the F – in a good way

Overall Restaurant Experience
  • Food (B-) – Really fun dishes, but points taken away for the pasta since I love pasta so much.
  • Service (A) – Servers were very attentive/friendly and the sommelier was so on point. She really made the night better as she recommended a phenomenal wine and gave great background on why it was so good.
  • Atmosphere (B) – Vibrant atmosphere and the feel was similar to Peasant with brick walls and a dark cavernous vibe. The place was jam packed with a mix of all types - couples, groups, young, old. We got there at 9pm on a Friday and surprisingly was seated for 3 immediately.
  • Price (B) - About $80 a person with a bottle of wine. A bit pricey but worth it since the wine was great, the service was spot on, and the food was generally pretty delicious.
Closing Comments
Definitely recommended although I still don't understand why they can't get pasta right here.

Monday, March 21, 2011


Could a chilled RenBu right out of the fridge be better than Gatorade on a hot summer's day?
I'm thinkin yes.

Street Food 12:15am (Taipei)

Bee-Tai-Bak - thick rice noodles in chive broth
An-Sho-Ba - pork refried in chasiu flavored panko
Dnga - stewed tripe with julienned ginger root

First time for me to wonder the night alleys.
I met up an ex-coworker who lives in Taipei now and got to taste the night scene a bit.
Still so much to explore but really happy to have lost my cherry with these simple but delicious dishes.

3 bucks

Pretty damn good breakfast for $3 this morning.
Steamed dumplings with a nice chilled cup of freshly made soy milk.

Tamarind Tribeca - Revisit

Stopped by Tamarind Tribeca for lunch the other day and had another killer meal. I had some Indian co-workers with me and they told me it was spot on authentic. Their chicken and shrimp cookery was phenomenal - juicy, moist, and incredibly flavorful. Unfortunate that the service was worse this time - slow as hell.

Sunday, March 20, 2011


We were visiting some friends in Scarsdale, NY and we stumbled upon this great produce market Hutchinson Farms. I can't emphasize enough how much better local markets and farmer markets are compared to the big grocery chains. Any who, the nice people at Hutchinson Farms mentioned clementines are in season and they are friggin' spectacular right now. Amazingly sweet and juicy, these were a shock how delicious they were. Go out and get some now!

Hutchinson Farms
833 Post Road
Scarsdale, NY 10583
(914) 723-7603

Fruits of Taiwan

Frothy Advances in Beer Can Technology

We offer this blog from the dudes
Most often discussed are the foods
To relieve the parch
'Bout midway through March
Swill beers and thus brighten the moods

Beer: Coming to a head | The Economist

Anyway, seeing mathematicians finally put their skills to good use makes me almost as happy as beer does.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Southern Fried Chicken

Those of you who know me, know I love a good fried chicken.
Ever since I was a little boy, Chicken has always been my jam.

Well, growing up in the states, you always here "southern fried chicken" is second to none.
And I don't mean Kentucky Fried Chicken, or Popeye's... but real Southern style buttermilk soaked pieces of chicken fried in lard and served either piping hot or cooled. The sides don't hurt either...
An assortment of Biscuits, Fried Okra, Fermented Beats, Chix and Dumplings, Mashed Potatoes, etc...

Well, I finally got a chance to have some authentic Southern Fried Chicken the other day when I was down in Georgia on business.

I give credit where credit is due. This stuff was dyno-mite!

Perfectly crispy on the outside, with just the right amount of flake. Super tender and moist chicken on the inside. Seasonings were right on, making sure the true taste of chicken was never compromised. This was definitely one of those When Harry Met Sally "moments".

I never expected this big a difference in quality from what I had considered a pretty darn good fried chicken from Popeye's. But this was truly at a whole different level.
True artisan work. Well done folks!

Oh, did I mention this was food from a diner? Sunday lunch to be exact.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Keste - Review

Keste Pizza and Vino - Dude Grade: A-
271 Bleecker Street
New York, NY 10014-4102
Phone: (212) 243-1500

I've been wanting to go here for ages, but the lines are always way too long - about 30mins to an hour. Too long especially after my third or fourth beer at Blind Tiger. On this past Tuesday, me and Mr. Risotto decided to check it out as miraculously the line was only 15mins at 9pm. 1000% worth the wait and definitely my favorite pizza in Manhattan.

Our Menu

Margherita ***
tomatoes, fresh mozzarella, basil, extra virgin olive oil
The beauty of Italian food is the simplicity - a few ingredients that are cooked perfectly and you end up with something magical. This pizza is the embodiment of that mentality - a few ingredients that are a WTF moment when combined together. Crust was actually a tad thick - not paper thin like Pepe's, but no matter since the flavor is friggin off the chain good. The tomatoes were amazingly sweet, the cheese was perfectly melted, and the shocker was the basil that permeated the whole pizza. No idea if they rubbed the basil on the dough first, but it was amazing.

Mast'Nicola **
lardo, pecorino romano, basil

Same phenomenal crust, but this time with lardo aka pig fatty goodness. The only problem I found with this was it was tad salty, but no matter - still a great pizza.

Rating System
--- What the F - in a bad way | (no stars - poor to average) | * Good | ** Great | *** What the F – in a good way

Overall Restaurant Experience
  • Food (A) - Best pizza in NYC. Table wine they served brought me back to Rome - no fuss wine that's perfect with the pizza.
  • Service (B) – Servers were real cool and food came out relatively quick..
  • Atmosphere (B) – Cozy atmosphere with lots of brick and yellow walls. We got there at 9 on a Tuesday and still had to wait 15 minutes. Thursday-Saturday you should just forget it since the wait will be at least 30 mins-an hour. Crowd was mainly groups of 2-4 although there were some couples there. Average age was probably mid 40's that day, so we brought the average age down.
  • Price (B) - $10 for probably an 8" pie, which is generally pricey for your local pizza joint but this is a serious pie so totally worth it.
Closing Comments
Best pizza in Manhattan, but I think Pepe's and L&B Spumoni still takes the cake for me in terms of happiness. Still, I will definitely come back and check out the other pies.

Note - some people on menupage are complaining about the pie being real soggy, but we did not experience this at all. However, I'm not a big fan of a ton of toppings on my pie any way, so I probably wouldn't order something that could be soggy any way.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Bubby's - Pork and Chicken Tacos

Bubby's - Dude Grade: C+
120 Hudson Street
New York, NY 10013
Phone: (212) 219-0666

Bubby's is a real fun place for comfort food in Tribeca. I've been here many a time, but realized I never wrote anything up on the blog about it. Definitely recommended if you have some time for lunch.

Our Menu

3 Tacos *
On A Handmade freshly ground corn tortilla carnicita pork and chicken ala plancha served with green rice and locally grown organic black beans

Huge flavors on the tacos that's definitely a lot more high end than the local taco trucks. Flavors are nice and bright and the fresh tortillas make a big difference in flavor. Real fun stuff although the meat was slightly dry - still very flavorful. Rice was phenomenal in flavor and texture.
Rating System
--- What the F - in a bad way | (no stars - poor to average) | * Good | ** Great | *** What the F – in a good way

Overall Restaurant Experience
  • Food (B-) - Real fun and satisfying comfort food.
  • Service (D+) – Waiter was real friendly, but the service is insanely slow. It's like they have 1 waiter for the entire place during lunch. Took about 10-15 minutes to get our check. We didn't mind as much since we were taking a leisurely lunch.
  • Atmosphere (C) – Lots of white walls with an almost farmhouse type feel inside - very casual. Got there at 1:30pm on a weekday and was seated immediately. It was packed though although the noise level was manageable. Mix of corporate and some locals that live near by.
  • Price (C+) - $16 for three tacos, green rice, and black beans. A bit too pricey, but it is a ton of food and it did taste very good.
Closing Comments
Great place to check out if you have time to enjoy your lunch, but not so great if you have an hour deadline. The killer item to get here is the chicken fried chicken sandwich - highly, highly recommended.

Monday, March 14, 2011

The Burbs - Not So Bad...

Moving out to the burbs, our first concern was our food options - would it be consisting of Houlihans, Red Lobster, etc only? Not so, as we've found some great eats out in da burbs.

Never in my wildest dreams would I think we would have a decent yakitori joint and a decent sushi joint nearby. Although not in the conversation of a yakitori totto, it is on par with a yakitori taisho.

Tsukune (chicken meatball), Negima (chicken thighs and scallions), and ankimo (monkfish liver) below and pretty damn fun for food in da burbs.

Yakitori 39
252-254 DeGraw Ave.
Teaneck, NJ 07666
Phone: (201)692-0700

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Visual Menu

There's something about pointing and getting what you want. Perhaps not as civilized, but there's really no room for miscommunication there.

Omu-Rice オムライス

Fried rice with a plain omelet split over on top, then ladled with hashed beef stew.

I love Japanese B-Kyu dishes.

Friday, March 11, 2011

Ode to Sriracha Sauce has some great "articles," and this one is very fitting for Dudes on Foods. Check it out!

Oh, and here's a little trivia. Sure, there's a place in Thailand called Sriracha. But this isn't Thai. It's not Vietnamese, either. It did not even originate in Asia. Chalk one up for another good product from the You Ess Aye! Back in '84 when the Olympics were in LA, this dude wanted to have a more Asian flavor for the international visitors. And that's how & where Rooster Sauce was conceived.

Oh, and folks... Porthos is in Japan now. Thank God he's on the southern tip of the island and wasn't hurt in the quake/tsunami incident.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Frisee aux Chinois Lardons

Been on a salad kick lately and decided to do a play on Frisee aux Lardons except I "fused" it up. I made an Asian dressing with rice wine vinegar, ponzu, and sesame oil and used Chinese sausage which made it very rich and slightly sweet. A really delicious and satisfying salad.