Thursday, December 20, 2012

Dinner at Anejo in NYC

Risheen, Tracy, Nicole, Dan and I finally went to Top Chef Angelo's restaurant Anejo in Hell's Kitchen.  Overall the food was pretty good, but small plates that definitely left some of us wanting more, except that we had already paid a lot of money.  Also, the churros were a big disappointment.  Way too doughy and not even crunchy.  Though apparently the chef burned the first batch, which resulted in one of the managers giving us a free round of Avion tequila, which was by far the smoothest and tastiest tequila I tried there.  A pleasant meal but probably won't be back anytime soon.  Angelo should stick to his Asian dishes a la Social Eatz.

Snapper Ceviche with fried tortillas - pineapple, fresno chili avocado, cactus blood orange.  Tasty but I was surprised by the amount of avocado.  I think it overwhelmed the dish and I could barely taste the fish.  Not as good as ME Casa.

Trio of guacamoles - one with pineapple, another with pomengranate, and the front is verde

Fried tortillas instead of chips

Various margs.  Tasty but the best in NYC?  I don't think so....

My tequila flight.  I think it was the "Anejo" one.  Could not distinguish between the three.  Except they all shared the commonality of burning ha.  I appreciated the chocolate almonds, which I originally thought were olives (ick)

Dan's flight.  Again, burn-y.

Short rib tacos - I LOVED this.  The meat was marinated with cocoa.

Dan's fish tacos.  Good but not that memorable.

Shrimp tacos - Nicole got these.  I think she enjoyed but don't know how it tasted.

Tracy's pork tacos.  Looks good but I wonder if they are better than Taqueria's $2.50 carnitas.

Chorizo Tamale - probably second tastiest thing I tried after the short rib tacos.  It looked like a baked potato ha.  It was interesting to have the chorizo mixed in with the corn. 

Churros with chipotle chocolate and dulce de leche dipping sauces.  On paper this sounded DELICIOUS.  But $7.00 for three doughy midget sized churros with some ehh sauces?  LAME.  We were all so excited too.  Made me really miss Spanish churros.  Speaking of which, I need to go to La Churreria in LES for some authentic Madrid style churros.  Costco churros knock these out of the park.  What does that say?

Flan with coconut I think.  Very tasty, and 200x better than the churros.  Somewhat redeeming in the dessert category.

Dinner at ME Casa in Jersey City, NJ

Dan and I tried a new Puerto Rican restaurant in the neighborhood - ME Casa.  So I don't really understand why it's called "ME" Casa vs. Mi Casa.  To tell the truth HP is a little perturbed by this grammatical anomaly.  But anyway, I digress.  All of the food here was AMAZING, and though I'm definitely no expert in Puerto Rican cuisine, everything seemed authentic and better than other similar restaurants in the area.  Also since it's new, the chef Eddie really goes out of his way to welcome you and have you try new things.  He came out to us and talked to us shortly after we got seated.  I should note at that time we were the only ones eating there haha, but he also did that when others came in later.  He talked to us and let us know how things had been going since they opened a few months ago.  Since we were first time customers he gave us a free appetizer - shrimp ceviche.  The ceviche was by far the freshest and most balanced that either Dan or I had ever eaten.  Plus he was certainly not sting-ay with the amount of shrimp.  Unfortunately that addition kind of put us over the time in terms of our order.  We had wayyyy too much food and I had leftovers.  But I can't really complain because everything from the garlic buttered bread to our entrees was DELISH.  Eddie also said if we "liked" the restaurant on facebook or emailed him, he would send us an invite to a special event with free desserts only for customers who had been there before.  So even if you haven't gone I think you should like it on facebook so you get this exclusive invite.  Apparently during the few weeks that he had desserts, he sold out almost immediately.  He showed us the menu - there were things like coconut flan and tres leches.  The rest I can't remember b/c I was already wanting to try those haha.  Anyway, enjoy the pics!
Complimentary garlic bread with butter.  SO GOOD.  The bread was perfectly crisp and crunchy and every morsel enveloped in butter.  But not greasy.  I could've just eaten that and been happy.

Shrimp Ceviche .  BEST.  EVER.

Mini Mofongos!  We got the trio - (L to R) beef, shrimp, chicken.  The beef was definitely my favorite.  I think because the garlic flavor was the most potent.  I could have eaten this whole appetizer plate as my entree.  A big fan of mofongo now.

Pollo Asado - delicious and the skin was so crisp.  Also loved this green salsa.  Had a great kick but not too spicy.

Giant plate of Pernil Asado - traditional marinated roast pork.  Dan loved this.  I have to say I was less impressed with this.  But that's because both my dad and I make this.  And ours are better.  I may be biased about mine.  So his is def better haha.  However, a solid attempt.

Arroz Blanco con Habichuelas Guisada - White rice with beans stew.  Great accompaniment. 

Arroz con Gandules - yellow rice with pigeon peas.  Good but a little dry.

Monday, December 17, 2012

Brunch at Max's of Manila in Jersey City, NJ

Be forewarned regarding the following post.  There are MANY MANY dishes pictured below haha.  My parents and Dan apparently all like to order way too much at Max's.  Hence, the eight dishes for four people at noon on a Sunday.  Regardless of the enormous quantity, everything was delicious as usual, and plenty of left-overs to take home.  Some of these dishes are repeated, but a few are newly featured on HP.  For people interested in trying Filipino food in a "nicer" environment, I definitely recommend Max's.  The service is not always the best but the food is consistently good and things aren't so scary (i.e. at a turo turo place where you heaps of unfamiliar, saucy foods). 

Lumpia Ubod i.e. Fresh Lumpia - Heart of palm eggroll  mixed with vegetables, pork, shrimp and crabmeat.  Served with peanut sauce.

Whole fried chicken.  Max's speciality.

Small order of Nilagang Baka - beef soup with potatoes, greens and peppercorns.

Large order of garlic fried rice

Lumpia shanghai - small fried pork eggrolls

Sizzling Tofu - slightly spicy tofu cooked and served on a hot plate

Cripsy Pata - pork knuckles simmered in a special marinade and deep fried to perfection

Bicol Express - a new fav.  Lechon kiwali cooked in a spicy coconut sauce

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Dinner at Mono + Mono in NYC

Risheen and I went to Mono + Mono for her first Korean fried chicken experience.  Overall the meal was pretty good and we had a LOT of food and drink for not too much money.  We spent $45 each with tax and tip and got two soju flights, one beer, one order of potato wedges, two orders of corn on the cob, order of pancakes, and medium order of chicken.  Wow now that I list it I feel a little gross haha.  But actually I didn't leave feeling disgusting like I have before.  The chicken was nice and crisp.  I don't think it was as good as Bon Chon, and I really wanted to find something better.  Not because I don't love Bon Chon, which I do, but I just wanted to try something new but I guess this goes to show I just love BC so much ha.  Also, we got half and half chicken, and the spicy was WAY TOO HOT.  Like my tongue hurt after the first wing but we had so many more to go ha.  I legit think that those of you who claim to love spice might find it too spicy.  But maybe I'm just a wuss haha.  Overall though a great time.  They have an awesome happy hour deal that I'd love to take advantage of you but the times aren't so great with work, plus you need a group of four.  So I'll plan but need some company :)

Jeon with shitake mushroom and marinated beef.  This was NOT the pancake we envisioned.  We thought it would be more like a scallion pancake - you know, doughy.  Instead it was basically like a flat meatball haha.  Not that that's necessarily bad, but I was hoping for more carbs.

Soju Cocktail Sampler Special - all really nice, mild, and sweet.  (L to R) Pink lychee, passion mint, snow white yogurt, and bloody tangerine

Infused Soju Sampler Special - (L to R) Apple, Blueberry, Grapefruit, and Pomegranate.  Much strongerrr than my sampler ha

Medium size order of chicken - half soy garlic and half SPICY.  Plus radish.  Thank god for the radish.  Slight calm after the spice attack.

BEST PART OF MY MEAL!  Grilled corn-on-the-cob with cotija cheese and paprika.  SO GOOD.  I would come back just for this

Monday, November 26, 2012

Home-made Thanksgiving pies!

As usual I made multiple pecan pies - both regular and mini versions.  Every year I think I'm trying to gain more and more supporters of my pecan pie ha.  Also I wanted to try to make coconut custard pie since I couldn't find Entemanns version.  That may seem sacreligious, but I swear their coconut custard pie is better than ANY other fancy ones I've tried.  Mine came close in taste, but I need to work on making the custard itself more smooth/velvet-y.  My dad did comment that if someone like Trader Joes or Whole Foods sold this pie, they'd probably get a lot of buyers because it seems more authentic/home-y.  I'll take that as a compliment ha.

Full version of my coconut custard pie

One slice gone

Delish though looks very...liquid-y ha

Instagrammed pies

Mini pecan pies all individually wrapped.  I tried to make a fun shape with them all haha

Dinner at Nha Trang Place in Jersey City, NJ

I felt like Asian food and hadn't had Vietnamese in awhile.  Dan and I both ordered vermicelli dishes.  I think I like it because the texture of the noodles is very different from any other Asian noodle dish.  I eat vermicelli noodles a lot in Filipino pancit or soup dishes, but the sort of semi-wet way the Vietnamese prepare it is unique.  I love adding the fish sauce to it.  I also love the way they cook their meats.  The dish sort of reminds me of bibimbap since you mix the meat and veggies with the carb.  I also love how everything is so huge and cheap so you feel like you get your money and tummy's worth.
Bun/Vermicelli with grilled chicken

Same dish but with grilled beef

Brunch at Thirty Acres in Jersey City, NJ

Finally hit up Thirty Acres for brunch a few weekends ago.  I would definitely recommend it but understand if it's kind of out of the way for those who don't live in JC.  But the price is right!  Considering how an average meal for two could cost at least $70 (AND this is without booze since it's BYOB), a thirty-dollar brunch isn't so bad.  Dan and I left feeling supremely full, but everything was tasty as usual.  We had to sit at the bar even though brunch had only been going on for less than an hour, but I enjoyed actually getting to kind of see what was going on in the kitchen.  Unsurprisingly we ordered WAY too much food.

Grilled kielbasa with cheddar on rye.  Topped with a fried egg of course

Brioche french toast with sauteed apples and fresh made whipped cream

Side of bacon and fingerling potatoes.  I seriously think there was a pound of bacon there.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Home-made Fried Pork Chops, Spanish Rice and Beans, and Veggies

I was REALLY craving some hearty meat last night, but home-made meat.  After a trip to the grocery store I decided on pork chops since I know it takes the least amount of time and preparation.  I was also craving rice and the Goya aisle just summoned me.  Also the usual sides of zucchini and mushrooms - HP's fav. veggie combo.  I handled the dipping and breading of the pork chops while Dan fried.  HP hates hot oil haha.  He also sauteed the veggies with garlic and butter, and I made the rice and beans.  All in all a veryyy filling meal that didn't take quite as long as I thought, which was good because I seem to always be starving by the time I get home from work.  Lots of leftovers too!  Success!

Pork chop, sauteed veggies, and cups of Spanish rice and beans

Another shot

Extra pork chop :)

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Home-made Shepherd's Pie

To celebrate power post-Sandy and pre-emptively celebrate the election, Dan and I decided to cook Shepherd's Pie.  We wanted something home-y and winter-y and also that would last for more than one meal.  Unfortunately we ended up eating so much of it that there's probably only enough left-overs for one more dinner ha.  But that's just because it was SO delicious :)  We wanted to make it more healthy so Dan added kale in addition to the mixed veggies.  I worked on the vegan garlic mashed potatoes and Dan handled the meat/veggies.

Ground beef mixed with kale

First slice of pie

All the layers.  What you can't see is we ate half the tray haha

Home-made Cinnamon Sugar Cookies

Made these beauties right before we lost power for a week at my parents' house.  I wanted to make Snickerdoodles but didn't have any cream of tartar (wtf btw) lying around, so found a different recipe that I LOVE.  Will definitely be making these again come Christma stime.  Also I am in love with my new three-tier cookie rack.  Thanks Marshalls!