Sunday, October 28, 2012

Dinner at Skinner's Loft in Jersey City, NJ

Dan and I went to Skinner's Loft one time for happy hour like over a year ago.  This time we decided to go to dinner after I was stalking the menu and saw some excellent reviews on their filet mignon sliders and Lobster BLT.  Spoiler alert: both lived up to their wonderful reviews ha.  Though I do have some critique.  Overall the meal was delicious and the place was really beautiful upstairs (not the bar area, which is nice but looks a little stuffy).  Kind of felt underdressed in my yoga pants, b/c the upstairs had chandeliers and lots of glass and nice artwork.  They weren't snooty or judgy though, and we saw a guy that looked like Andrew Zimmerman's doppelganger!  Definitely recommend this place if people want a nice, classy dinner.

Bread in a fun tin - So many diff kinds inside.  All delicious and came with both butter and olive oil.

Shrimp and Crab tostadita with corn and avocado salsa.  Very nice and light with great crab taste.  The shrimp was pretty hidden though.

Fried calamari with marinara sauce and jalapeno-citrus aioli.  This was a HUGE plate; I already got full after eating it ha.  The aioli was awesome as was the marinara.  Probably better shared among 3-4 people.

Filet mignon sliders with shoestring fries.  It's hard to see but there were 3 sliders under that mass of potato. The sliders had mushrooms on it and were smeared with garlic butter, which was a big selling point for me.  It was delicious and the meat amazingly tender, but there was SO much garlic butter that the brioche became soggy and almost impossible to eat. In fact half-way through my second slider I just removed the bread and just ate the meat and shrooms.  Now I LOVE garlic and like butter, but it was just too much.  Next time I come I'm gonna say garlic butter light or even on the side if I can get away with that.

Lobster BLT. w/shoestring fries.  Delicious and not too mayo-y (I hate mayo).  Also I didn't mention this above, but I had been really excited about these shoestring fries but as other reviews mentioned, they are SO thin it's like you're not eating anything.  We tried eating with a fork but it wasn't much better.  You need to grab like 4-5 at once before you feel like you're actually eating something.

Close-up of the slider

Flan with toasted coconut.  YUM YUM YUM.  Delicious flan and I loved the grittiness of the coconut.  Smart addition.

Dinner at Park & Sixth in Jersey City, NJ

Went to Park & Sixth to celebrate Tracy's b-day.  So glad to expose more people to the awesomeness of P&S.  Def comfort food elevated to a whole new level.  Nicole and Tracy both seemed to enjoy their food at least.  This time no one ventured to get The Beast, but there's always next time.

Joe the Plumber - house roast beef, homemade mozzarella, gravy on garlic bread.  Tracy got this.  Never tried it til today but it was delicious.  Pretty similar to the P&S
Lamb burger with side of buffalo fries - Nicole's cheese.  As usual the lamb was excellent.  The fries were amazing too.  Kind of like lava fries but with blue cheese instead of mozz.

Turkey burger with side of brussel sprout hash.  I got this so everyone could try.  Much better this time with the wasabi ketchup on it vs. on the side.

Dinner from Buon Appetito in Jersey City, NJ

So Buen Appetito is definitely our go-to place for Italian food, which is funny because in my lifetime I've never had such a go-to place before, minus pizza, which doesn't really count b/c it was usually The Hut hahaha.  Anyway, the food from BA is definitely always awesome and in huge portions, so it lasts for days.  Also as any Italian restaurant should do, they are not sting-ay with the garlic.

Chicken Bruschetta - def my new fav chicken dish.  So perfect for HP.  Breaded chicken filets, fresh mozz, and bruscetta topping YUM

Tortellini a la Vodka

Penne a la Vodka, which came with the chicken bruschetta

Garlic bread with cheese - HUGE PORTIONS and super garlicy and cheesy.  Super cheap.  Def the best part of the meal

Friday, October 26, 2012

Dim Sum at Nom Wah Tea Parlor in NYC

The 'rents, Dan and I went to Chinatown for Dan's first ever dim sum experience.  I hadn't been to Chinatown in yearss but the trip inspired me to go back more often.  The place was not the traditional Hong Kong style with carts, but there was a menu and a little order form by number, which was probably better because there were descriptions of what everything was for those not so familiar with the process ha.  We got sooo much food though and had tons of leftovers.  I def think, in my limited experience, that this was the best dim sum I've ever had, but I def wanna try more places on my Dad's list.

Pork Sui Mai - minced pork, mushrooms, and shrimp steamed in a wonton wrapper.  My absolute FAVORITE.  All Asian restaurants I've gone to that have it on the menu pale in comparison.  HUGE dumplings and only $3.50.

Shrimp Sui Mai - minced shrimp steamed in a wonton wrapper topped with a single pea.  $3.50.

A special of salt and pepper short ribs.  Veryyy peppery.  More price comparatively.  I think either $12 or $12.50.  It was tasty but not as good as Korean short ribs.  Prob wouldn't order it again.

The short ribs plus two orders of the House Special Roast Pork Bun - steamed wheat flour bun filled with pork and caramelized onions.  They were giant and each only $1.50.  I ate one another day for lunch.

Shrimp and Bacon Rolll - minced shrimp wrapped with bacon.  Deep fried and insanely filling.  $3.50.

Shrimp Dumpling - minced shrimp in handmade wheat wrapper

House Special Dumpling in soup - pork and shrimp dumplings in chicken broth and vegetables.  This was super delicious and a meal in itself.  $5.25.

Chinese greens with oyster sauce - LOVE and made me feel mildly healthy ha.  $7.95

Shanghainese Style Soup Bun - pork filled dumpling filled with broth.  $3.50.  These were SO delicious, perhaps the best soup dumplings I've ever had.  They came at the very end though when I was super stuffed so I could only eat one.

Late Night at Veselka in NYC

Despite having eaten that super large dinner at Euzkadi, we still somehow ended up at Veselka.  Never a bad time, though I firmly believe everything here tastes better after midnight ha.

Omelet with kielbasa and potato pancake w/side of applesauce


Fried egg, kielbasa and cheese on a roll

Dinner at Euzkadi in NYC

Quach and her bf Nick came to visit and we had a double date at Euzkadi - a Basque tapas bar on the Lower East Side.  Generally the good was very tasty and authentic.  The sangria wasn't very good and the prices were a little high, but overall it was a good meal.  Obvi Dan and I shared everything we got - minus dessert.  We each got our own :)

(Top) Roasted vegetables with grilled endive (Bottom) Grilled tuna with orange scented lentil salad.  Quach and Nick got this and I didn't try either, but they seemed to enjoy it.

Pulpo a la Brasa - Grilled octopus with potatoes, olives, red onions, celery and basil.   The octopus was PERFECT.  So thick and meaty with great flavor.

A special of spicy grilled shrimp.  Tasty but wish it were bigger, and not all that spicy.

Pollo a la brasa - grilled chicken with rosemary herbal pesto over sauteed potatoes.  Another excellent meat dish.

(Top) Vieras a la Navarrica - seared scallops in sofrito and serrano ham.  Didn't try it but they seemed to enjoy.  (Bottom) Chorizo al oporto - sauteed sliced chorizo with red onions and port wine.  The BEST thing I ate that night.  Chorizo cooked on its own is usually super tender because of the high fat content, but the sauce just made it 100x more awesome.

Cordero a la Plancha - roasted lamb in a mushroom raisin demi-glace.  Very well cooked and excellent sauce.  They forgot to put this order in though so we got it after all the other food, at which point I was already pretty stuffed

Some vanilla custard dessert that Dan got.  Very hard and not that easy to eat

Bunuelos - fried donut-y balls with chocolate filling and vanilla ice cream and strawberry slices.  Tasty but nothing special.  Also the dough was overcooked and too hard

Brunch at Beechwood Cafe in Jersey City, NJ

Beechwood Cafe is definitely my favorite brunch place in JC, but service is always hit or miss.  I always forget to take pics at brunch because I'm usually so hungry.  Everything always looks great and fresh and it's all very inexpensive.  I try to get something new each time but usually just revert to my usual - steak and eggs yum.

Breakfast Burrito - scrambled eggs and corn salsa with tomatoes, cilantro, onions, jalapenos, wrapped in a flour tortilla, served with chips, sour cream and guacamole

Steak and eggs

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Dinner at Gyu Kaku in NYC

A bunch of us went to Gyu-Kaku in Midtown East for Nicole's birthday.  I think for most of us it was the first time going to a do-it-yourself Japanese BBQ joint, as most of us have usually gone Korean.  Though one grill was a little cramped for six people, everything was seriously amazing.  The meat was well marinated and all the sides were wonderfully complimentary.  They have a food happy hour during Mon-Thurs where a lot of the food is half off.  SO SOMEONE SHOULD COME WITH HP!  Also Gyu Kaku is now on Savored so if you reserve through it you can get like up to 40% off the whole meal. 

Assorted meats on the grill

I believe on the left is a piece of cooked kalbi.  On right is a bun with braised pork belly.  AMAZING.

Uncooked ahi tuna

Other unidentified raw meats

Chili oil!  Best $1 spent

Kobe bacon bit garlic fried rice.  A perfect meal in itself.  Also huge portions.

Lone piece of spicy pork

Asparagus.  Had to have something green

Before cooking s'mores

Cooking the marshmellows.  Nice job Nicole (first one to get the mm toasty)

Final product :)

Dinner at Thirty Acres in Jersey City, NJ

Went back to Thirty Acres because they recently changed a large portion of their menu to be more Fall-oriented.  As usual everything we got was delicious, and overall the cost wasn't too bad considering it's BYOB and that the food is so fresh and has local, high quality ingredients.  Everyone should come here!  The NYTimes, Grub Street, and all other foodie blogs are raving about this place.

Corned Beef Special - OMG SO GOOD words cannot describe.  I've never had grilled corned beef.  It was so thick and juicy and had that awesome grill taste.  Topped with hazelnuts and side of mustard and pickled cabbage.

Pork Chop with apples, seckel pear, escarole, onions and almond salse.  Perfectly cooked and nice mix of side veggies.

Duck Breast with carrots, cauliflower, cumin, maple, raisins and jerk sauce.  Again the duck was perfect.  So tender and the fat perfectly rendered.  I liked the sauce but I'm not the hugest fan of cumin.  Also raisins in food creeps me out ha

Spiced apple crisp with fresh whipped cream.  LOVE LOVE LOVE.  Also huge in size.  The pic is deceiving.  Their fresh whipped cream is the BOMB.  Overall the apple crisp wasn't that sweet, which for me was a negative.  But the cream made up for it.