Monday, May 21, 2012

Home-made BBQ pulled pork

We used the slow cooker next to slow cook pernil - aka pork shoulder, aka one of the best parts of the pig to cook. The butcher shop we went to would only sell the entire shoulder, so we got the butcher to slice it into thirds and we only cooked 1/3 this time.  We poured an entire 2L bottle of Dr. Pepper soda in the slow cooker with the meat.  After 7ish hours, I then shredded the pork and coated it all in Dinosaur BBQ's awesome Sensuous Slathering BBQ sauce, which the local supermarket happened to have in stock.  I was primarily responsible for the meat while Dan made a home-made slaw.  We got potato roll slider buns so we could eat in my favorite way - mini-style haha.  It was truly a delicious meal and actually didn't end up eating that much b/c the flavors in the slider were so rich.  Super happy I decided to get the slow cooker.

All the pork-y goodness after 7ish hours of slow cooking

Close-up of the meat yum yum

Home-made Chili

Dan broke in my slow cooker to make chili.  Thanks Westlaw btw for the slow cooker itself.  Nice heat from the jalapenos and good mix of beef and chorizo. Also the beer added a big punch and helped tame the acidity of the tomatoes.  Best chili I have ever had :)

Home-made Carrot Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting

  Best in the worlddddd.  Even better than Little Pie Company I might venture to say. 

Friday, May 18, 2012

Lunch at Cafetasia in NYC

With Nancy briefly in town we had to do our usual reunion meal at Cafetasia.  I don't think there's as good a deal for lunch as this place - $8 for an appetizer + entree.  True, the menu for lunch is somewhat abbreviated, but still an excellent deal and some quality food.
Lemongrass Tuna Tartare

Chicken and Shrimp Shumai - good but not the best I've had.  They dressed it too much in soy sauce

Crispy Filet of Flounder with button mushrooms, scallions, bell peppers, ginger-mushroom sauce and white rice

Chicken Basil Udon with eggs, chili, onion, bell peppers, and spicy basil sauce

Home-made Steak Frites

Dan and I attempted our own version of Steak Frites using the George Foreman grill and deep fryer.  Plus the regular stove for garlic asparagus.  The steak ended up being a little tough; I think I cooked it too long on the Foreman but good thing we both like our meat really dead ha.  The fries were good but should have definitely cleaned the deep  fryer before use.  Oops.  The asparagus was definitely the best cooked part of the meal.  Good job Dan haha

Sauteed asparagus with garlic
Plate #1: Grilled rib-eye steak, cajun fries, and home-made garlic cheese dipping sauce + home-made chipotle ketchup

Plate #2

Dinner at Eataly in NYC

Ohh Eataly.  The place to go if you want to give strangers dirty looks, box out, and lurk while other people dine.  Also the place to go for amazing meats, cheese, and other Italian goodness.  Laura and I managed to get seated within 15 minutes of lurking, I'd say.  Got a pretty prime location at the bar too.  All the meats and cheeses we tried were amazing; unfortunately I cannot recall all of the names :(  But picked up some quality meats and tallegio cheese afterwards yay

6 kinds of meat (3 kinds of prosciutto, speck, salami, and mortadella), 5 kinds of cheeses (gorgonzola, tallegio, parmesan, ricotta, and I forgot the 5th..something with a C)

Special of the day - grilled calamari.  Delicious though a little oily

Dinner at Dinosaur BBQ in Newark, NJ

Dino BBQ finally opened in Newark hooray!  It's right by the PATH & Prudential Center, and unlike its counterpart in Harlem, at least for now there is no wait to get seated and no reservations on Open Table to be made.  Nicole and I shared everything and it was all delicious!  The drinks included!  I definitely recommend people go to this one b/c it's much easier to get to and really no wait.

The Swag Sampler for Two - Salmon Fritters, Fried Green Tomatoes, and Hot Wings (Wango Tango Flavor).  There should have been only 2 wings but we substituted extra wings instead of the deviled eggs

The Donkey Punch and Dino-Palmer.  I think the Dino Palmer is the best cocktail I have EVER drank!  Barcardi Rum + Lemonade + Sweet Tea.  Puts BG Tea to shame.  Soooo refreshing and tasty and because of that, dangerous ;)

3 Meat Combo: 1/4 chicken, St. Louis Ribs, Brisket plus Honey Hush Cornbread, Mac-and-Cheese, and Gumbo.  The meats were all excellent.  The sides were ehh

LOVE all the sauces

Dinner at Earl's Beer & Cheese in NYC

Earl's Beer & Cheese is perfect for everyone's inner fat kid.  Everything is super decadent and unhealthy yet super tasty and tempting.  What is beer cheese exactly?  Not sure.  But toasty bread with fresh garlic cloves that you rub + cheesy spread = awesome.  A bit of a trek but definitely worth it if you're in the area.  If not, depends on how indulgent you feel that day.
SMALL order of Beer Cheese (crazy b/c felt so full afterwards) - NY State Cheddar, House Lager, fresh garlic & toast

Grilled Cheese - NY State cheddar, pork belly, kim chi, fried egg on sourdough

Close up of sandwich so you can see the pork belly yum

Special taco that day

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Lunch at Park & Sixth Comfort Food in Jersey City, NJ

Dan and I tried Park & Sixth for lunch.  P&S is on Grove Street, right next to JC Sakura which seems to have the best sushi in the downtown JC area.  The premise of the restaurant is comfort food.  The inside kind of looks like a bar that tries hard with the decor to look like they don't try hard (i.e. lots of those funny signs that you'd have up on your college dorm room wall like "Tequila, have you hugged your toilet today."  You know what signs I'm talking about haha.  It was a little divey inside and they were playing frat basement type music at 1pm.  Also strange that we were sitting next to a couple of dads and their 8-year-old sons.  Anywayyy, there were so many good things on the menu that we had a hard time choosing, but we were both very pleased with our selections.  The portions were HUGE and definitely had to wrap mine up.  The drinks were okay.  Next time I'll just focus on my food.  Also next time Dan has to actually accept the Beast t-shirt if he does, indeed, re-order the Beast.  He knows why.
"The Beast" - 1/2 pound ground short rib, american cheese, lettuce, bacon, caramelized onion, chipotle mayo, ketchup, and a runny fried egg with a side of Old Bay Fries

Brussel Sprout Hash - roasted brussel sprouts, garlic, hot cherry peppers, bacon

The Park & Sixth - red wine braised beef brisket, homemade mozzarella, and crazy gravy, all on a crusty toasted garlic bread (side note - I had to ask for the garlic bread, and after the fact lamented that it barely tasted garlick-y.)

Friday, May 11, 2012

Dinner at Beauty and Essex in NYC

After going to The Stanton Social I was even more excited to go to Beauty and Essex, also owned by Chris Santos, because the B&E menu looked even more innovative and whimsical.  Unfortunately the food was not as good as SS and frankly, not that memorable compared to every other restaurant I've gone to.  I'm not sure why because most of what we'd ordered has gotten rave reviews by other people, but to me (and Dan I think) they didn't stand out.  Bonus: free champagne in the ladies' room haha.
Free amuse bouche.  Some beet-y thing on top of an Indian-style chip

ODB - Old Dirty Bramble.  Very strong with quality tequila

Grilled Cheese, Smoked Bacon & Tomato Soup Dumplings - definitely my favorite part of this meal

Chipotle Shrimp - nice spice and the salsa was good

Oven Braised Chicken Meatballs with sheeps milk ricotta, wild mushroom, and truffle - I wanted to LOVE this (as many yelpers claim to) but the meatballs were not seasoned enough and the sauce was too creamy :(

Lobster Tacos with red cabbage slaw and jalapeno crema - good but probably wouldn't crave this in the future

Another shot of the lobster tacos

Beauty and Essex Burger (mix of lamb, veal and beef I think) with crispy BBQ fries - the burger just FELL APART :( So crumbly that you couldn't even hold the burger.  I had to eat it with a knife and fork but everything was all mushy from the feta and aioli that it was a sloppy, wet mess.  The BBQ fries were amazing though.  Just get that on its own.

Box of doughnuts - half raspberry filled, half chocolate filled.  Of course I loved the chocolate.  The raspberry was just like a nicer version of munchkins ha.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Home-made Empanadas

Close up of the filling - 85% lean ground beef, chipotle white corn, black beans, onions, garlic, and various spices
The finished product

Half an empanada so you can see everything
I found a recipe online for beef, corn, and black bean empanadas.  Made some adjustments with the spices and also used chipotle white corn instead of regular yellow corn, then used the deep fryer to cook them.  Super delicious - nice balance of meat to veggies and of course frying made the dough sooo yummy and flaky.  Also froze the left over empanadas so can just cook them quickly in the future if too lazy to make new food.

Dinner at Bobby's Burger Palace in Paramus, NJ

Finally ate at Bobby Flay's "Bobby's Burger Palace."  Dan and I borrowed Bobby's burger cookbook and have been using it to develop our own condiments and various fried dishes ha.  But we hadn't made any burgers yet since we have no grill so thought we'd try out his own food.  The environment was interesting - you order at the cashier then sit down anywhere, including potentially with complete strangers haha.  Fortunately we grabbed some counter-type seats so didn't have to dine with randos.

I ordered a typical HP order - Bobby Blue Burger with blue cheese, bacon, lettuce, and tomato.  I also got it crunchified, meaning it was loaded with potato chips for extra crunch.  The burger itself was really tasty - nicely cooked and a good ratio of bun to meat to other toppings.  The potato chips were a little unnecessary though and crumbled so much it was more of a pain than what it added.  Dan got the Santa Fe Burger, which had queso sauce, pickled jalapenos, and blue corn chips.  His was really tasty and well balanced.  The corn chips fit and weren't like the odd additional potato chips on mine.  We also got a side of sweet potato fries, which came with honey mustard horseradish sauce.  Not a fan of the sauce, but the fries were nice and crispy.  The ones we made in the deep fryer were better though :)

Bobby Blue Burger - bacon, lettuce, tomato + potato chips

Santa Fe Burger with queso sauce, pickled jalapenos and blue corn chips

Sweet potato fries with a side of honey mustard horseradish sauce

Various condiments including our new fav. chipotle ketchup (our home-made one was better!)