Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Home-made Ramen

Since our Hawaii trip Dan and I have constantly been craving ramen.  He decided to make some from scratch - including the broth.  So we went to 555 and he got half a pound of chicken feet (and other delightful goodies) and set to work.  I didn't take a picture of the process of making the broth, because frankly those little feet were pretty gross.  But Dan simmered the broth for a few hours one night, and then the next night added cooked beef, frozen veggies, green onion, and of course ramen noodles.  The noodles we got were great because they absorbed the broth so easily.  Also Dan used Hawaiian sea salt, which makes everything just a little bit better.  This was definitely the best ramen I have had outside of Hawaii - great job D!

Dinner at Taqueria in Jersey City, NJ

So I've been to Taqueria a million times but never once have I taken pictures of the food, so decided to this time, especially since Dan and I both attempted to try something new.  We each got a taco that we were used to just in case the food was bad, but of course everything was great. 

Carnitas Taco - my absolute fav and go-to meat there

Enchiladas verdes with chicken and rice and beans.  Dan got this for the first time.  It was tasty but not especially memorable

Chorizo quesadilla - sadly you can't see the chorizo. Should've waited to take the pic until after I broke into it.  It was tasty but very greasy.

Steak taco - Dan's go-to.  Surprisingly spicy

Brunch at Maharlika in NYC

We tried to go to Krystal's Cafe 81 in NYC and it was CLOSED.  So tragic!  Fortunately Maharlika was right nearby and they were still serving brunch food.  I still don't understand why some places are cash-only, but this is one of them.  The food overall was tasty but not as authentic as I've had compared with my parents' cooking or relatives back in the Philippines.  Also the food was pretty expensive considering what we were eating.  Pros - the fun t-shirts worn by the staff (i.e. Our white bartender's t-shirt said "My ex is filipino, some waitress's shirt said, "My best friend is filipino, etc.) and that they had San Miguel Light beer.  The menu is a little more whimsical than traditional but they could still work on some of the basics.

Sam Miguel Light - breakfast of champions

Chicken n Ube Waffle - Creativity-wise this was a brilliant idea.  Filipino fried chicken over a waffle made of ube with macapuno jam and anchovy bagoong garlic chive compound butter.  Dan said the waffle was the best thing he ate there.  Never having had an ube waffle prior to this date, I would say it was pretty good.  The chicken was okay. Max's/Jollibee's are both better, and of course pales in comparison to my Dad's

Tapsilog - Beef tapa, garlic fried rice, and fried egg.  I was pretty disappointed by the tapa.  It was very tasty, don't get my wrong, but NOT filipino tasting. It tasted like the steak that I get at Beechwood in Jersey City.  Sweet but nothing special.  Did not have the appropriate tapa texture (ie. almost like jerky).

Home-made Pecan-Encrusted Salmon, new potatoes with dill, and garlic green beans

Decided to try to be both healthy and take a break from Bar hell to cook some dinner.  I made my pecan-encrusted salmon and it came out perfectly juicy and tasty.  I also tried to mimic Boston market's potatoes.  I think the potatoes ended up a tad undercooked, but they still had the buttery dill taste of BoMa.  However, usually I liked the potatoes lukewarm (vs. super hot) and we just couldn't wait and ate them right away.  And to balance it off, had some green beans that I first blanched and then sauteed with lots and lots of garlic.
Close-up of one piece of salmon

Garlic green beans
Dill potatoes
Entire plate ....yum

Monday, June 18, 2012

Dinner from Taj Mahal in Jersey City, NJ

After my epic weekend in Hanover I was still a little bummed that I didn't make it to Jewel of India for brunch, so for dinner we ordered Indian food from Taj Mahal.  Everything was wonderful and we had a ton of leftovers.  I want to expand my Indian food base but for now am sticking to ordering dishes that I know I will like (and thus hope Dan likes too, which he did).  I also didn't realize they gave rice with each entree (in retrospect that seems obvious but for some reason I wasn't thinking), so we had a ton of rice (not pictured - two big tins of plain basmati rice).

(clockwise from the top) Garlic naan, Chicken Tikka Masala (Tandoori chicken cooked in chef's special creamy sauce), Peas Jeera Rice (Basmati rice cooked with green peas and sauteed with cumin seeds), and Aloo Gobi Masala (Cauliflower florets and potatoes sauteed in spices, onion, tomatoes and ginger)

Home-made Spam Musubi

I finally got to use my Musubi press that I ordered off of  I was too cheap/lazy to buy sushi rice so I used Jasmine rice.  Definitely a poor decision because the rice kept falling out as I tried to eat.  Taste-wise it was great though.  I had pre-cut the Spam before and frozen it.  They were kind of thin so I used two slices instead of one - I double spammed ha.  Then I cooked the Spam in a home-made teriyaki sauce and just fried for a few minutes on each side.  Then made a rice sammie in the musubi maker, wrapped it all up in the nori and let it rest for a few minutes before I ate it.  Just as good as the one I had in Hawaii.  Next time I will definitely use sushi rice to avoid the spillage.  But a quick and easy lunch.  All Spam haters should try this and then see what you have to say ha.

Dinner at Komegashi in Jersey City, NJ

I didn't realize that Komegashi was so close to my apartment. Literally on one of my cross-streets ha.  The exterior is a little off-putting, as there is no clear signage and it looks a little shabby.  However, the interior was quite chic and there were more people eating here than the outside would suggest.  They gave us a few different free appetizers which was nice, including edamame (not pictured b/c edamame looks pretty much the same everywhere), a house salad, and Inarizushi (which I had to look up - sushi rice wrapped in fried tofu.  Originally I thought the rice was in egg).  Then Dan and I shared a sushi roll and got two different kinds of ramen.  Overall the food was definitely better than any other Japanese place in JC, including Honshu.  It was a little pricy though.  Glad we tried it.  Now post-Bar, will have to find the best ramen in NYC.

Inarizushi - sushi rice in fried tofu wrapper
House salad with ginger dressing
Spicy Rivalry Roll - Inside shrimp tempura & spicy tuna. Outside- eel & avocado.  Delicious
Hot & Spicy Ramen -
Roasted pork, memma, hard boiled egg, scallions, seaweed, in a spicy chicken broth.  Dan enjoyed it and it definitely had a kick.  Unsure what the thing at 3:00 was though...
Kimchi Ramen - Spicy Kimchi with special broth, hard boiled egg, and roasted pork.  It was sooo yummy. Just the right amount of spice and salt.  Only complaint was they only had one slice of pork.  LAME.  The portion was really big though so I had a nice, large lunch the next day

Home-made Chicken Tacos

Dan made home-made chicken tacos.  He cooked the chicken in (I believe) a tomato and garlic sauce with various spices.  Then made a simple slaw with red cabbage and no mayo (yay) and topped it all off with avocado slices. And of course used corn tortillas, not flour.  Delish!

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Dinner at Marc Forgione in NYC

Dan and I went to Marc Forgione in NYC since I have claimed that many meals I have had at restaurants are not that memorable.  Marc Forgione, of course, is an Iron Chef, and he has earned one Michelin star for this restaurant.  I've never gone to a Michelin-star-rated restaurant so this was super exciting for me.  Everything we had was truly excellent - the only thing that would have made it better was if the man himself came out to greet us ha.

Buttery rolls to start things off
Spring Sangria - Demi-Sec Riesling, Apricot Brandy, Tropical Fruit, Lemongrass.  Sooo tasty and refreshing and of course secretly strong.  One of the best glasses of Sangria I have ever had.

Amuse Bouche - Carrot soup with a little Everything roll filled with vegetable cream cheese.  A lovely pre-meal bite

Grilled calamari appetizer with carrots, cucumber, and olives with Harissa sauce and some pita chips.  The calamari was grilled to perfection and the Harissa added a slight kick.  The veggies were a great compliment to the squid.  The pita chips were the only thing unnecessary and also they were quite hard

Littleneck Clams, Escargot, Sea Beans, Mangalitsa Pork Fat - Now, I still don't know what "Mangalitsa" is, but that box on the right is of that delicious fat, which Dan not only dipped the clams, snail and bread in, but later proceeded to pour over the leftover bread LOL.  Perfect time to use my most-hated phrase - YOLO.

Bell & Evans Chicken under a Brick with Yukon potatoes, broccoli rabe, and pan drippings.  No exaggeration that this was THE BEST CHICKEN DAN or I have ever had.  In our collective lives, we have NEVER HAD BETTER CHICKEN.  That's INSANE if you think about it  The chicken was so juicy and tender and well seasoned.  I'm very intrigued to see how this actually is cooked under a brick.

Portion for one person - SO MUCH FOOD.  It was also super rich so afterwards I felt like dying haha. Everything just worked so perfectly together. And I especially love when there are crispy onion straws strewn about.

Strawberry Shortcake & Rhubarb sundae.  Dan ordered this and I could only try a little b/c of the chicken aftermath.  He enjoyed it because it wasn't excessively sweet.  There was also basil whipped cream.  WTF.  I tried that and it was crazyyy.  Again, how did MF do this?

Home-made Pulled Pork Sliders pt. II

This time Dan and I marinated the pernil with Dr. Pepper for slightly over ten hours.  This made it the pork even more tender.  I love how using a slow-cooker you really can't overcook meat.  The recipe is also so simple that I would barely call this cooking, minus having to prepare the coleslaw.  And the pork lasts for so many meals - a really low-effort but high quality meal.

Freshly pulled pork, "naked"

Another shot of naked pulled pork

Pork all sauced up

Another saucy shot.  Thanks Dinosaur BBQ btw

Finished product.  Aren't they sooo cute?

Dinner at Social Eatz in NYC pt. II

Triple Date at Social Eatz as a break from the awfulness that is Bar Exam Prep.  Seriously - the worst thing I have EVER experienced.  Apparently within the past few months Angelo updated the menu at Social Eatz; to my surprise, my favorite thing to order on the menu (Kung Pow Wow sandwich had disappeared).  This actually was fortuitous because it forced me to try something else on the menu - a different kind of chicken that was good but still left me missing the peanut-y goodness of the former sammie.  However, I think everyone really enjoyed their food, and I will still count Social Eatz as one of my favorite places to eat

Korean Fried Chicken - with kecap-manis peppecorn sauce and kimchi pickles.  I LOVED the pickles because they were more sweet and not actually like pickles.  The chicken was tasty but the portion was so huge that I actually left some even after sharing with Dan.  I don't think this was double-fried a la Bon Chon, and the sauce was a little too much after awhile.  I'm glad I tried it but considering I also got the ribs, I had an awful lot of sweet meat with not much to balance.

Cured Tuna "Pastrami" with toasted rye bread and home-made mustard.  Dan LOVED this.  The tuna was sliced thin and with the typical rubbings on pastrami.  The whole thing was both creative and confusing (in a good way).

Lobster roll with kimchi pickles and togarashi/kimchi fries - Dan's entree.  The roll was very tasty, a little acidic and not so mayo-y.  The fries were EXCELLENT. Super thin and crisp with a slight kick.  Not sure if these were the togarashi or kimchi fries.  If the latter, flavor-wise not as good as Kraverie's kimchi fries (mostly b/c lacking cheese and also b/c not as obvious kimchi-ness) but cooked much better

Social Burger and fries - Karthik ordered this and upgraded with bacon, avocado and cheese.  He seemed to enjoy it though I don't think there was any Asian-inspiredness to the dish

Bibimbap Burger with kimchi pickles and fries - Michael's order.  This is the famous, award-winning burger with kimchi pickles and a slow cooked egg. Michael seemed to enjoy this as well, and how could you not with a fried egg on it and various pickled veggies

Smoked Duroc Ribs appetizer- SO GOOD.  Meat falls right off the bone and the sauce is perfectly sweet and tangy.  Also funny how they've moved on to using "Asian"-style plates ha

Steak special - Jess ordered this.  Seemed to really like it a swell, despite having to settle for medium rare vs. just rare :)

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Dinner at Sawadee in Jersey City, NJ

Dan said that Sawadee had excellent Thai food based on a dinner he attended with his co-workers. MORE nearby has pretty weak Thai food.  I tried to take pics there once but it was so dark I could barely see.  Anyway, we were very hungry but I think objectively I would agree that Sawadee has solid Thai food.  Definitely better than MORE.  Also, I think I'm probably biased, but I really love Mai Thai in Hanover, NH. I still don't think I've had better Pad Thai than from there ha, which would be funny because Hanover isn't exactly where I would think of as having the best Pad Thai.  Perhaps my memory is just clouded because of the great times I've had there.

Curry Puffs - ground chicken, potato and curry flavor.  Served with a sweet and vinergary cucumber sauce.  A great appetizer to start and the dipping sauce worked perfectly.

Chicken Pad Thai - not too sweet and had some nice flavors.  Also large enough to take half home.

Chicken Mussamun Curry - excellent flavors.  Some of the best I've tried

Dinner at Honshu Lounge in Jersey City, NJ

Dan and I tried Honshu Lounge since we were missing ramen that we had in Hawaii and wanted something close by.  We were only one of two couples eating at the Restaurant, so naturally the service was very attentive.  We each ordered sushi then different types of ramen.  Both the sushi and ramen were good but not as good as in Hawaii.  Siiiigh.  I miss Hawaii already.

Complimentary salad.  I never know what the dressing is that Japanese restaurants use, but it was good.  Some tang and I was also hungry ha

Crazy Tuna Roll - Dan's usual go-to.  Spicy tuna, crunch, pepper tuna, and avocado

Dragon Roll - my usual order.  Eel, avocado, cucumber and tobiko.  It was good certain bites were lacking in eel

Goma-Shoyu Ramen - thin ramen, soy sauce and sesame broth, pork, sweet corn, egg, and scallion

Chanpon ramen - thick ramen, pork broth, stir-fried vegetables, squid, shrimp, and pork.  The broth was very different from Hawaii, where the restaurant used chicken oil. This broth was almost a water-y version of curry sauce.  Good but different and not entirely what I was expecting.