Saturday, April 30, 2011

Neighborhood Bistro

Saturday night and chillaxin at the neighborhood bistro with a new friend from Napa.

Meat Sizzling

Is there anything more primal than that?

I think not.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Hell on a Plate

Needless to say, this did not sit well with me for the remainder of the day.
But there are times in a man's life when you just need to quench that desire for something your really crave. No matter the price you pay.

And oh, did I pay!

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Braised Lamb - Latino Style

I've gotten a couple of requests to put up the recipe of the lamb dish I made as part of International Taco Night with my cousins. This uses my favorite technique the braise - sear, sautee, and simmer. Again, it's a combination of things that I dig. A little cuban with the orange juice/garlic and a little mexican with the achiote paste. Whatever this "style" is called, it's really friggin muy delicioso!

Ingredients (approximation)
4 pounds lamb shoulder - cut into large cubes
1 sweet onion sliced
1 tbsp minced cilantro stems
1/2 box achiote paste
1 tbsp ground cumin
5 garlic cloves
3 cups orange juice
3 Chipotle peppers with tbsp adobo sauce
1 lime - juiced
Extra Virgin Olive Oil

1) Sear the lamb over high heat with the olive oil. Season with cumin, salt, and pepper. When it's browned on all sides, remove the lamb from the pot. Remove all but 1tbsp of the oil/fat.

2) Sautee the onions, achiote, chipotle, and cilantro over medium heat. Season with salt and pepper. After 5 minutes when the vegetables are soft, add the garlic and sautee for another 30 seconds until fragrant.

3) Simmer the mixture adding the lamb, orange juice, and enough water to cover the lamb. Lower the heat to low and simmer for 2 1/2 to 3 hours. Add the lime juice and stir at the end to cut the richness. Serve with warm tortillas, fresh tomatoes, rinsed and diced white onions, cilantro leaves, and your favorite salsa/hot sauce. The lamb is really tender, smokey/spicy from the chipotle, slighly sweet from the orange juice, and complex due to the achiote seasoning. Buen provecho!

Boom Boom Fried Chicken - Aramis Review

Boom Boom Chicken - Dude Grade: A
553 Main St
Fort Lee, NJ 07024
Phone: (201) 592-9700

I was craving some fried chicken, so I hit up Porthos and he recommended the outstanding Boom Boom Chicken. There's been a wave of Korean Fried Chicken and Boom Boom (snickering aside) is far and away the best. Highly Recommended.

Our Menu

Small Drumsticks (half/half) ***
For those of you who haven't enjoyed Korean Fried Chicken, it's basically very crispy chicken (without the thick crunchy bits like the classic American version) glazed in some style of sauce - think hot wings, but less liquid. At Boom Boom, they have a soy/garlic glaze that's a little sweet and a spicy fried chicken that's not super spicy - both are delicious and very addicting. My first bite into the chicken and a complete WTF moment overtook my senses. It's insanely juicy, perfectly crispy, and surprisingly has good chicken flavor. By far the best fried chicken I've ever had and I 100% want to go back for more.

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) – The best fried chicken ever - so crispy and sooo juicy. 'Nuff said.
  • Service (N/A) – Typical fried chicken joint where you pay at the counter and you get the food from the counter when it's ready. Make sure you call ahead since it takes 20 minutes from when you first order.
  • Atmosphere (N/A) – 3 high tables in this joint with about 2-3 chairs per table, so plan on eating in the car if you go during the lunch rush hour.
  • Price (B) - $12 for 6 drumsticks (small order), a can of coca-cola, and pickled radish. Seemed pretty pricey for fried chicken, but after your first bite, you realize it's totally worth it.
Closing Comments
Don't let the wait deter you since this place friggin' rawks - tops in my book. It was so good I finished all 6 drummies in one sitting.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

One of the WORST

Just say NO!

I visited a few weeks ago and still can't get over how bad the food was.

The Short Hills Mall is considered a pretty ritzy place. Mostly highend garment and jewelry stores. But boy does the food selection suck.
To be safe, you only have Legal Seafood to go to. And thats still a crap shoot. Getting served Luke warm chowder is pretty common.

Service is one thing. But the food... When you have to wonder how on earth can someone plate this and serve to guests, there is somethig seriously wrong with the place.

I'm gonna have to dig for pics of the Reuben and Grilled Cheese Sandwich.
Will post shortly.

Troubles in Ramsay-ville

Looks like there's some trouble in Ramsay-ville. After the entire staff walked out of the Gordon Ramsay restaurant at The London NYC hotel, Gordon Ramsay admitted he has nothing to do with the restaurant bearing his name. Plus, the restaurant which he has nothing to do with is also raising prices by 22%!

From the pages of the NY Post -
"When the shuttered Gordon Ramsay restaurant at The London NYC hotel reopens next week, the customers will be picking up the tab.

An internal memo obtained by The Post shows that the eatery is planning to hike its prices by more than 22 percent, after being closed since last Saturday because male chefs staged a dramatic walkout after a female colleague lodged sexual-harassment charges.

Wednesday, commis chef Janet Kim filed a complaint with the State Division of Human Rights naming both the hotel and Ramsay that says she was sexually harassed in the kitchen.

"Neither Gordon Ramsay or [his company] GRH have any involvement with or responsibility for the operation of the restaurant, including anything to do with human resources, which is entirely the responsibility of the owners," Ramsay's spokesperson said."

Monday, April 25, 2011

Crab and Chive Mac n Cheese

I was inspired by a recent visit to a neighborhood bistro about a week ago.

So I set out to make a Mac n Cheese dish that I would be proud of.

Sharp Cheddar, Swiss, Mascarpone, Chicken Stock, Pasteurized Canned Crab, and Chives.


Braised Beef Ribs

Beef Ribs, Demi Glacé, Sake, Onions and Garlic.

Sear, Saute, Braise, Reduce, Sauce.

Easy Peasy!


Three Cup Chicken

An old Taiwanese dish I thought I'd cook up this weekend. It holds pretty well in the fridge so making it one of those perfect emergency meals later in the week.

Cooked and flavored with Soy Sauce, Sesame Oil, Chinese Cooking Wine, Thai Basil, Ginger, Garlic, Water and Sugar.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Brooklyn in da House

Singaporean Laksa Noodles

My neighbors invited me up for some lunch today.
They made Laksa and there was no way I was going to miss this.
Coconutty Shrimp Broth with Rice Vermicelli Noodles. Garnished with Fried Tofu, Fish Balls, Bean Sprouts, and Prawns.

Yum Yum Yum!

International Taco's - Take 2

My cousin's stopped by the other day, so I decided to do some cooking for them. I had this grand scheme of international taco's (Latino, Chinese, and Korean meats wrapped in corn tortillas) and as usual it was way over board. It was a fun day of cooking though (about 4-5 hours worth) and the food came out pretty tasty. The mixing and matching of meats with the different condiments yielded some very tasty results. A much better showing than my first effort :)

Our Menu
Prosecco with Watermelon Juice
A fun way to start the evening.

Mexican Corn Chips, Mexican Potato Chips, Tortilla Chips
Our favorite brand Takis is an addicting corn snack spiced with chili and lime - a nice amuse bouche :)

Ingredients: Avocados, Garlic, Cumin, Lime Juice, Extra Virgin Olive Oil, White Onion (rinsed), Salt/Pepper
Making this in a mortar and pestle (or molcajete) makes it so much better. Bashing the garlic in the m/p almost creams out the garlic like a spanish allioli. Never ever do this in a blender...

2006 Domaine Serene "Evenstad Reserve" Willamette Valley Pinot Noir

I'm not a wine connoisseur, but this was friggin delicious. It had this round almost buttery thing going on with big fruits behind it. Really worked out well with the meats we served. Thanks Che King / Wing Gee!

Asian Waldorf Salad
Ingredients: Asian Pear, Litchi, Cashews, Arugula, Yogurt, Mayo, Litchi Juice, and Rice Wine Vinegar
I've made this before and it's simple and fun. Replacing the American waldorf ingredients with Asian ingredients. A fun combo of tastes and textures.

Black Beans
Ingredients: Refried Black Beans, Black Beans, White Onion, Garlic, Water, Duck Fat
I like the combo of refried black beans (for a rich creamy texture) and whole black beans for more texture. The white onion gives some sweetness and texture and duck fat just makes sense.

Mexican Red Rice
Ingredients: Rice, Tomatoes, Onions, Chipotle, Olive Oil, Salt/Pepper
A very flavorful rice that has a little smokey kick to it. Olive oil is obviously not traditional but it rounds out the flavor.

Latino Style Lamb
Ingredients: Lamb Shoulder, Garlic, Sweet Onions, Orange Juice, Achiote Seasoning, Chipotle Peppers and adobo sauce, Cumin, Lime Juice, Cilantro, Salt/Pepper
Braised lamb for 3 hours makes this sucker uber tender. The seasonings are a little Cuban with the Orange Juice and a little Mexican with the Achiote. Whatever this abomination is, it was pretty damned delicious especially with the Guac and Tomatillo salsa.

Roasted Tomatillo Salsa
Ingredients: Tomatillo, Serrano Peppers, Garlic, Habanero Hot Sauce, Lime Juice, Salt/Pepper
A really bright and delicious salsa. Perfect tartness with a hint of spice, to breakdown the insanely rich meats.

Ingredients: Duck Breast, Chinese Five Spice, Salt/Pepper
First time cooking duck and the flavor was delicious - great duck flavor enhanced by the five spice. Simply seared and finished in the oven, but I left it in a bit too long so it came out slightly dry. A problem I guess when I had too many dishes going at once - next time no grilling and kitchen work at the same time :) However, adding the fun beijing duck ingredients (hoisin sauce, cucumber, and cilantro) minimized the dryness. Oddly, it was super delicious with the black beans and tomatillo salsa.


Ingredients: Thinly sliced short rib, Martinelli's Sparkling Cider, Brown Sugar, Sesame Oil, Garlic, Green Onions, Salt/Pepper
I tried cooking this on the grill since that's what they do at the Korean BBQ restaurant, but I completely forgot that the grills at the restaurants have very tiny holes. I adjusted though and broke out my grill plate and everything was all ok. This taco worked very well with a side of kimchee to add brightness and acidity. BTW - the sparkling cider made sense to me since we bought a bunch to serve and I remembered Korean BBQ uses pear juice - close enough :)

Cake (from Michele's Bake Shop
This was friggin delicious - light, airy, fluffy. Light chocolate sponge cake, banana flavored cream, fresh fruits, coconut threads and jelly beans on top. Thanks Susan/Ray for bringing it!

Glenfarclas 12 Yr Highland Single Malt Scotch

Full flavored with a hint of peat smoke and a little sherry type sweetness. Fun way to finish the evening.

The Entire Spread

Food Television Competition Shows

I'm trying to watch Top Chef Masters and 15 minutes into the third episode, I've decided enough is enough. The format of most of these cooking shows are oh so similar and the issue is there's massive over saturation of the market with these shows all overlapping each other. Top Chef, Top Chef Allstars, Chopped, The Next Iron Chef, and now Top Chef Masters - I won't throw in Hell's Kitchen since that's like comparing The Economist with National Enquirer :)

The worst part is I actually liked the original Top Chef Masters format since it was a breath of fresh air. It was real seasoned professionals not backstabbing each other and it was a lot lighter. I also liked the judging format of providing stars to each contestant versus the normal send you packing format. Definitely going to limit my intake to Top Chef only going forward...

Saturday, April 23, 2011


Sushi Class

I taught a Sushi Roll class the other day and have to say, it was a lot of fun.

All the participants got the hang of it really fast and were making some quality rolls by the end of class.

3 of America's favorites.
- California Roll
- Shrimp Tempura Roll
- Spicy Tuna

Friday, April 22, 2011


Say it again with me...

I have always been Katzs Deli's champion promoter. I was convinced nobody does it better.
But lately I hear good things about other establishments in NJ and Brooklyn alike.

My buddy is the chef at Prime Meats (Brooklyn), and made this monster of a sandwich.

To date, the best made Pastrami sandwich I've ever had.
I didn't know what else could have been perfected from a Katz's deli sammich, but apparently there was room for improvement.

At Prime meats, the meat is better. It's even more moist. The flavor is noble. Just simply put, you just taste the love that went into it.
Instead of rye bread and mustard, we now play with butter toasted wheat bread with house cured cabbage and their own unique Russian dressing.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Lasagna with Pesto, Potatoes, and Green Beans

I was watching Molto Mario the other day and saw Mario making the classic Ligurian pasta - trenette with pesto, potatoes, and green beans. I've made that style pasta in the past and it's uber fun, but for some reason I was craving a lasagna instead so I switched it up and made this in lasagna form. Pretty awesome and a great combo of flavors and textures.

1/2 box lasagna
pesto (recipe here - add 3 tbsp ricotta and 3 tbsp yogurt)
roasted potatoes (400F oven for 45 minutes - oil, salt, and pepper)
green beans
Salt and Pepper
Extra Virgin Olive Oil

1) Start a pot of water to boil - heavily season with salt.

2) Add green beans to water and cook for 2-3 minutes. You're looking for a softer texture, but not mushy. No al denteness here as that would mess with the texture of the lasagna. Pull green beans out and place in an ice bath.

3) Drop pasta in and cook according to the box directions - around 8 minutes. You're not cooking this again, so make sure you cook it through.

4) Assemble the lasagna. Start with a thin layer of pesto. Then lay down the noodles shingled one over the other. Add another layer of pesto. Then break up the potatoes and green beans into bite sized pieces evenly distributed. You don't want to completely cover the lasagna with potatoes and green beans as that would mess up the balance - you still want the noodle to be the star. Add another layer of noodle and repeat - about 3-4 noodles worth. Once you get to your top layer, press it down so it forms nicely. Finish the top layer with pesto, parmigiano, and olive oil only. Buono appetito!

Dean and Deluca

You're not in Kansas anymore!

Japanese Crab

Longer legs, way sweeter, more meat...

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

When there's no Time

Corporate America sometimes is the answer.

Sloppy Mess

From time to time, a Nathan's chili cheese dog is in order. You regret it afterwards, but the 2 minutes you are devouring this specimen of pure waste, it is just glorious.

Mac & Cheese

My mother never stocked the pantry with Kraft's Mac 'n Cheese, so I had to get my fix when over my friend's place.

If you are unsure of what I'm talking about, its basically little elbow pasta with processed bright orange cheese. This to me was the only Mac n Cheese I ever knew.

That was until I became an adult and started working and dining at restaurants.
To date, I've had my fair share to say the least, and yes, I've been to S'Mac, along with others as well. But nothing compares to the Mac & Cheese served at Marco & Pepe's in Jersey City.
This dish absolutely rocks.

With a blend of stinky cheeses, premium rendered bacon, and nice large pasta, this was the ultimate comfort food for me.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

RIP Nutella Man

Pietro Ferrero, Heir to Nutella Fortune, Dies at 47 While on Cycling Run

(click here for article)

In homage to one of the greatest inventions in the culinary world, I urge us all to have something Nutella today. 
RIP Pietro.

Monday, April 18, 2011

Junior's @ Grand Central

Not as grandiose as Katz's, but this pastrami sandwich really hit the spot.

D'Artagnan and I were to meet up Aramis, Dantes, Richeleu and Risotto at the ballpark later that evening and decided to rendezvous at Grand Central Station first.

I got a little hungry and darted around looking for something to satiated my appetite. After being away from NYC for sometime due to a ton of business trips, I sprung at the chance to devour a good 'ol NYC pastrami sandwich.

To my surprise, it wasn't the typical mass produced tasting, dry and overly spiced non-sense. This pastrami sandwich was extremely good. Better than most and quite possibly second only to Katz's.

I'm definitely heading to Junior's again for round two of this positive discovery.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Maxim Battle for the Ultimate Sandwich

Stumbled Upon this Video by going to the Maxim website to do research on food - honestly.

The B.A.D. (Bacon Apple Dill)

Wednesday, April 13, 2011


I usually end up having sushi or hibachi while on the road with clients, so it was a great change of pace to get some Korean BBQ in my tummy.

And now I have the taste for all things beef, it may have to be steaks tonight.
Steaks and Yamahai Style Sakes perhaps.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Braised Lamb with Hummus and Lemon Yogurt Sauce

My parents stopped by our house and I wanted to whip up dinner for one of their birthdays. I decided to do Middle Eastern inspired dishes which turned out to be a great hit. I've cooked for my parents 100's of times and they told me this was by far the best meal I've cooked for them. I tend to agree.

Our Menu
Clementine, Walnuts, and Red Onion Salad

Clementines are in season right now and super sweet, so I wanted to do something with them in salad form. The salad was dressed simply with a mayo, rice wine vinegar (for some sweet), and a little sriracha hot sauce which played nicely with the sweet clementines. Delicious and even more fun combined with the lamb.

Braised Lamb with Hummus and Lemon Yogurt Sauce
I've been playing with textures and acidity in my cooking, so I wanted to combine some of my favorite things together - hummus, braised lamb, and a garlicky lemon yogurt sauce. The richness of the uber tender lamb (basic red wine/tomato braise scented with cumin, coriander, and cinnamon cooked for 2 1/2 hours) worked well with the creaminess and earthiness of the hummus. Top that with the bright and acidic yogurt dressing with a sprinkle of mint leaves and you have a really rich dish that you want to keep on eating. I served this with a side basmati rice flavored with carrots, cinnamon, raisins, and walnuts (more texture and flavors) and sauteed escarole. Buono appetito!

Monday, April 11, 2011

She's Perfect

They say beauty is in the eye of the beholder.
Thinly sliced roasted turkey, cole slaw, swiss cheese, on a bun.

I've been having one of these every other day for the past 10 days.
Absolutely delicious. Plump and juicy in all the right places.

Seriously, this time it's different. She really likes me and she's like no other Sammich I've ever met.

New Dudes On Foods Facebook Page!

Find us on Facebook at: Click the "LIKE" button; you'll, umm... like it!

Breakfast Congee in Taipei

I really didn't like Conger when I was little.
But that's a whole different story now.
I think I could have it every morning for Breakfast.

Fobby but Good