Monday, August 20, 2012

Dinner at Sakura in Jersey City, NJ

Sakura seems to have become our go-to place for sushi in JC.  It's not too expensive and the quality is pretty good.  Not as good as Komegashi but cheaper and equally as close.  I decided to try the Yaki Udon with chicken.  It wasn't spicy at all and the sauce wasn't super identifiable, but not offensive ha.  I probably wouldn't actively order it again, but as usual my eel avocado roll was delish.

Yaki Udon with chicken

Grove Roll on top - Shrimp tempura, avocado inside topped w. spicy tuna & crunch    
 Crazy Tuna Roll on bottom - Spicy tuna & crunch in side pepper tuna on the top
Eel Avocado Roll

Monday, August 13, 2012

Home-made Filipino breakfast

Beef tapa + garlic fried rice.  Breakfast of (Filipino) champions.  I cheated a little and didn't season the tapa myself, which accounts for it not being as awesome as it could've been. Still tasty but a little reminiscent of pork tocino.

Home-made Nilagang Baka

Nilagang Baka is my favorite Filipino stew.  Such great comfort food and so filling, but not that heavy and not unhealthy.  Relatively simple to make and only a few ingredients - beef chuck, potatoes, bok choy, onion, pepper corns, salt and pepper. Takes about two hours or so for the meat to get tender.  Serve it atop rice and you've got yourself a meal.

Restaurant Week at Capital Grille in NYC

Managed to catch the end of Restaurant Week just in time for some steak.  Risheen and I went back to Capital Grille as it is one of the best RW deals.  I think it's lame when steakhouses have upcharges for steak.  Why do you think people are going to you during RW?  Anyway, Capital Grille still has its great bone-in sirloin.  I think it's 14 oz?  Whatever the amount, no doubt it is a great deal for $35.

Caesar's Salad

Chef's Salad with shallot vinaigrette

Side of creamed spinach

Side of mashed potatoes.  Love that they include the potato skin


Flourless chocolate cake

Home-made chocolate ice cream

Brunch at Crepe Suzette in Old Montreal, QC

Old Montreal is beautiful but very touristy.  So much cobblestone and European-looking (aka narrow streets).  Somehow we found Crepe Suzette, which supposedly has the best crepes in Montreal.  Our meal was delicious, especially the quiche.  The crepe was great too but I think it's hard to mess up when you have nutella :)

Quiche Lorraine.  So rich and flaky.  Best quiche I've ever had

Crepe with nutella, strawberries and home-made ice cream.  Yup, it was before noon :)

Dinner at Au Pied de Cochon in Montreal, QC

BEST MEAL IN MONTREAL.  We were so excited to go to Au Pied de Cochon (English translation: With a Pig's Foot) after watching Anthony Bourdain's No Reservations in Quebec.  Unfortunately we were unable to make a reservation since we had no cell phone ability so just decided to hope for the best and show up when the restaurant opened at 5pm.  Thank goodness we were able to get seated.  An expensive meal but definitely memorable and one of the best I have EVER had.  And apparently the owner/executive chef was there when we arrived, but I missed him :(

Fresh baked baguettes. So warm and tasty but I had to limit myself so I wouldn't get too full

Plogue a Champlain - one of the best things I've EVER eaten.  A buckwheat pancake, fried egg, cheese, bacon, and foie gras on top.  So rich and tasty.  Could've just eaten that and been very satisfied

Foie Gras Cromesquis - deep fried foie gras.  Ridic good but potentially dangerous. You have to wait a minute for it to cool then eat in one bite.  It still squeezed out juices though :/

My cider. So refreshing

Happy Pork Chop - this monster was covered in mushrooms, caramelized onions and gravy

Giant Beef Rib - possibly of a dinosaur?  The roasted veggies were soo delish, having absorbed all the meat juices.  Also there were beets, my fav!

Fries cooked in duck fat.  OMG.  Also with some amazing sauce I forgot to take a pic of.  I think hollandaise?

Brunch at Eggspectation in Montreal, QC

Fortunately the next day the food experience took a positive turn.  Eggspectation is a breakfast chain but surprisingly the service was eggcellent (sorry, had to) and food was decent to good, so much better than the prior day.  Our standards dropped after the prior day haha.

Yoke Around the Clock - Brilliant idea!  A bagel cut in half, toasted then put on the grill, two sunny eggs in the hole of the bagel, covered with bacon and melted cheese, served with grilled potatoes and chef’s fruit garnish.  And we didn't need to hike all the way around the city for a damn bagel

Croque-Monsieur, on baguette
Ham, tomatoes and swiss cheese.

Dinner at La Banquise in Montreal, QC

Poutine is possibly the #1 quintessential Montreal food. a Delicious mix of fries, cheese curds, and gravy.  I know it sounds disgusting but when I went to Montreal during college 8 years ago that is what I remembered and was so psyched to have coming back.   La Banquise is a 24-hour diner-like spot that is supposed to have the best poutine in all of Montreal.  Unfortunately the service was TERRIBLE, and we had some terrible service throughout our trip.  The servers just did not give a rat's ass about anyone and totally forgot to give us part of our order.  There were so many empty tables but the staff was so slow that there were constant lines outside.  The food took forever to come out and just was not worth it.  Too bad because I really was looking forward to this.

La Elvis - ground beef, peppers, and mushrooms

La Chick - poutine with breaded chicken.  They were a little stingy with the amount of meat

Crepes at Jean Talon Market in Montreal, QC

Jean Talon Market is a farmer's market in Montreal known for its amazing produce.  I didn't take any pics of the fruit stands because at this point I was exhausted from walking all day, but here are some shots of a very popular crepe stand inside the market.

Jean Talon Market

Some fruit

Creperie Marche

Buckwheat Crepe with ham, egg, cheese and spinach.  I prefer my crepes sweet rather than savory

Breakfast in Montreal, QC

Technically these were not all at the same time, but just thought it would be easier to group these pics together.  Tim Horton's is the Dunkin Donuts equivalent in Canada.  In general the coffee in Canada was lackluster compared to in the US.  Didn't go to Starbucks or Second Cup, the Starbucks equivalent.  But the coffee we did have we comparatively much less tasty and excessively strong.

Also, the bagels in Montreal are NOT better than NY/NJ bagels by a long shot.  The location was inconvenient and frankly, didn't get what all the fuss was about.

Tim Horton's.  Your chocolate and coffee are not that great

All-dressed (aka Everything) bagel.  Much thinner and lighter than NY bagels. 

Fairmount Bagel.  #1 or #2 bagel spot in Montreal depending on who you ask

Apparently there's always a line.  Don't really get why...

illy coffee

Dinner at Qing Hua in Montreal, QC

Soup dumplings!  An authentic Chinese dumpling house in downtown Montreal within walking distance of the hotel. They handroll the dumplings and give huge portions.  Entire meal was under $20.

Pork soup dumplings

Chicken soup dumplings

Lunch at Reuben's Deli in Montreal, QC

Montreal is known for smoked meat.  The place that is supposed to the best was pretty far though and not conveniently located near a metro, so instead went to a downtown deli that was supposedly a little touristy.  However, the food was AWESOME and touristy or not, was everything that meaty goodness should be.

Meat in the window

Meat close up

Reuben Sandwich

Traditional smoked meat sandwich.  AMAZING

Dinner at Burger Bar in Montreal, QC

Apparently Burger Bar has the best burger in Montreal.  Unfortunately this burger was very forgettable, and the menus we got were in French so didn't entirely know what we were ordering.  The service was awful and the food took forever to come out.  Additionally the food was lukewarm/cold.  If this is the best burger in Montreal, then I feel bad for all the people of Montreal.

Hangover burger with fried egg, lettuce, tomato, bacon and cheese.  Sadly not nearly as tasty as it looked

Michigan Hot Dog (chili and cheese) with poutine.  My first poutine in Montreal was a bust :(  Nothing was hot and the gravy and curds were ehhh

Dinner at Beechwood Cafe in Jersey City, NJ

Beechwood Cafe is one of my JC go-tos.  I've probably been there a dozen or so times and each time, I am never disappointed.  Everything is reasonably priced; the service is just spotty sometimes.

Home-made Hummus plate.  Interestingly they used cucumber instead of celery

Chicken Pot Pie

Penne a la Vodka with grilled chicken.  Very homey and would've been delish even without the meat, and that's saying something for me