Sunday, March 31, 2013

Semi-home-made Turkey Burger with Garlic Fries

This is another Trader Joe's lovin post.  We used the deep fryer to fry up their frozen fries and tossed in a supreme sauce of olive oil, herbs, and raw garlic.  Cooked up the turkey burgers on the Foreman Grill and added swiss and American cheese.  Dan made chipotle ketchup and we made home-made pickles, which are more sweet than pickly, hence why I can eat it.  Very Asian tasting.  Then served everything on onion rolls from Wal-Mart that were surprisingly delicious.  The turkey didn't have a very pronounced flavor, but maybe because all of the other flavors (ie. chipotle ketchup and pickles) were so strong.  An excellent meal and the burgers were only 180 calories.  If we hadn't had those fries it could've been fairly healthy ha.

Turkey Burger with Swiss cheese, home-made pickles, and chipotle ketchup on an onion roll

Turkey Burger with garlic fries

Dinner at Bon Chon in NYC

I've always though the Bon Chon on 38th and 7th Ave was the best BC of the bunch, but after taking Pooja and Dan there I feel even more validated.  The food was super quick and everything so flavorful.  I had never tried "real" Korean food there before but Pooja ordered chicken bibimbap and it tasted just as good as any I had had at other more authentic Korean restaurants.  The fries at the 38th location are very similar to curly fries of Cajun fries.  Soooo good.  And the chicken, which was half soy garlic and half spicy, was perfectly fried.  And the spicy half was legit spicy.  If only all the Bon Chons were uniform.

"Small" order of half soy garlic and half spicy chicken

Chicken bibimbap.  Check out that egg yolk yummm

Yummy fried goodness

Semi-home-made Quiche and Turkey Bacon

More deliciousness from Trader Joe's.  Heat up broccoli and cheddar quiche and spinach, mushroom, and swiss cheese quiche in the oven.  Also cooked some TJ's peppered turkey bacon.  Both quiche were pretty tasty, albeit incredibly unhealthy.  Dan handled the turkey bacon and it had a nice kick to it.  Kind of more like spam than turkey or bacon ha.  But still tasty.  I was worried about reading some horrid reviews of it.  It's definitely not as good as regular bacon, but better than some really thin and somewhat tasteless other versions of turkey bacon.  The spinach quiche won over both Dan and myself.  Just was much tastier and with a more pronounced veggie taste than the broccoli one.  Dan thought both could've used meat.  I agree with that statement for the broccoli quiche, but the spinach one stood on its own.

Turkey bacon on left.  Broccoli cheddar quiche top right, spinach mushroom and swiss quiche on bottom right.

Dinner at Komegashi in Jersey City, NJ

Dan and I had a sushi craving so decided to go to Komegashi because we also thought we might get ramen.  Turns out we didn't get ramen haha, but still had a delicious and not too heavy meal.  As usual the sushi was fresh and on point.  We got a hot pot of gyoza and also a special yellowtail sashimi.  Everything was really tasty and light.  The gyoza hot pot was tasty but I thought it could have used more seasoning.

Complimentary salad.  Love that carrot dressing.

Yellowtail sashimi special with jalapeno.  So good I forgot it was raw haha.

Dragon Roll - eel and cucumber inside.  Avocado inside.  Heaven.

Crazy for Tuna special roll - spicy tuna and tempura crackle inside with pepper tuna and tobiko outside.

Gyoza Hot Pot - dashi broth with cabbage, spinach, radish, carrot and glass noodles

Lunch & Dinner at Num Pang in NYC

In two days I tried four different type of Banh Mi sandwiches at Num Pang.  Explored both the Union Square and Midtown East stores.  Both were pretty small but the Union Square shop has a whole room upstairs where you can sit and eat.  The Midtown East shop has some standing space right by where you order.  Everything I ate was amazinggg.  Definitely the best banh mi I've had so far.  The sandwich shop is actually Cambodian, not Vietnamese, which is the only type of banh mi I've had.  Everything tasted so fresh and the meat was perfectly seasoned.  Amazinggg.  Only negative is cash only, but everyone came prepared.

Non Coca Cola Diet Cane Cola.  Was interestingly sweet.  Still love Diet Coke itself ha

Inside of the Pulled Duroc Pork.  All sandwiches are served with cucumber, pickled carrots, cilantro and chili mayo.  The bread was so nice and crunchy but still soft.  The meat soooo juicy and tender.  Everything was perfectly married.

Pulled Pork altogether

Roasted Cauliflower - Pooja got this and it was very tasty.  Instead of chili mayo it had a Chinese and Thai eggplant spread

Ginger Barbecue Brisket with pickled red cabbage.  Dan got this and was generally very pleased, though said it was a little tough to get the meat out

Five-Spice Glazed Pork Belly - the STAR.  I tried to get this at Union Square but it was sold out.  This was definitely the BEST of the bunch.  So tender and had just enough fat but not too much to be gross.  The spice was excellent and the rest of the pork was so wonderfully meaty.  Like the pulled pork but with the crunch and fattiness of the skin.

Fuller shot of the Five Spice Glazed Pork Belly.  Look at that pickled Asian pear.  AMAZING.

Semi-home-made Lobster Ravioli in Vodka Sauce & Garlic Bread

We bought some lobster ravioli from Trader Joe's, so technically cooking it doesn't qualify as home-made.  However, HP for the first time made vodka sauce from scratch.  While it probably could have cooked down a little longer, I think the vodka sauce was still pretty good.  Nice balance of cream and tomato and had a nice slight tang.  Also made garlic bread, using both minced garlic in the jar and fresh garlic that I roasted in the oven (hence that brown mark on the bread).  NBD.

Home-made Chicken Adobo with Broccoli

We had bought some ginormous chicken drumsticks from 555 so thought adobo would be great way to use them.  The only tricky part is that it's hard to make sure the chicken cooks through because that damn meat is so thick.  So even though I had already seared then simmered the chicken for an hour, had to put it back on the stove to ensure all cooked through.  I also made some jasmine rice and garlic broccoli and cauliflower.   Also had some frozen veggie lumpia that my dad had made, so we deep fried that of course haha.  Generally a tasty and healthy meal.

Home-made Shrimp Scampi

Had a lot of extra frozen shrimp, so what better way to use it than to make shrimp scampi.  One of the quickest sauces to make with pasta.  Jazz it up with some frozen veggies.

Saturday, March 30, 2013

Dinner at Danji in NYC

Dan, Nicole and I went to Danji for a seriously delicious Korean meal.  We showed up around 6:10pm.  The restaurant opened at 5:30pm.  They don't take reservations but we figured we had gotten there early enough that we wouldn't have to wait long.  WRONGGG.   We waited for 45 minutes in the semi-cold, but it honestly was worth it, and I don't often say that for places that make me wait that long.  Everything we ate and drank was superior.  This is the first Korean restaurant in NYC to ever get a Michelin star, which was definitely deserved.  The service was great too, besides the long wait.  Apparently the owner also just opened up a place in Chelsea, which I definitely want to try.

Spicy Ginger Margarita (tequila, ginger, lime, jalapeno and orange), Soju Sangria (fruit-infused soju, sparkling shiraz, and aranciata) and some rice beer in a solo cup.  All were delicious and unique.

Spicy Yellowtail Sashimi - tsukjii market hamachi, cho jang, jalapeno.  Very fresh and meaty tasting.  Nice kick too.

Bossam - braised pork, scallion, dehydrated daikon kimchi, and cabbage wrap.  Hands down the best part of the meal.  The pork was so tender and fatty but meaty.  The daikon was also delicious on its own.  The best part was having to put it all together and eat it properly.

The proper way to eat the Bossam
Trio of Kimchi - cucumber, napa cabbage, and radish.  Favs go from left to right
Spicy KFC (Korean Fire Chicken wings) - honey, garlic, and four chiles.  Had a kick and was nicely fried, but still prefer Bon Chon.  Not very spicy either.  I was fine eating it.

Bulgogi Beef Sliders - spicy pickled cucumber & scallion salsa.  Amazing.  This should become more popular.

Japchae - vermicelli noodles with beef and Korean peppers.  Tasty and light and not too greasy.

Garlic Honey Wings w/sesame seeds - again, nicely fried and good flavor.  But nothing to brag about.  Similar to Kraverie's wings but more expensive ha

Dinner at Hill Country in NYC

Ladies night at Hill Country!  Nicole, Laura, Jess and I went to Hill Country for a serious meat fix.  As usual, everything was amazing.  Had to wait awhile to get seated and for meat though. 

Various sides - green beans, German potato salad, deviled eggs (that I ordered accidentally b/c I couldn't hear the guy.  woops) and corn bread with honey butter

Pitmaster for one - Pork ribs, white bread, brisket, 1/4 chicken, and giant beef rib.  LOVE THAT BEEF RIB.

Dinner at Smashburger in Clifton, NJ

This post actually encompasses two trips in one.  Dan and I finally tried Smashburger, one of the many new-ish burger chains in this area.  And I have to say, wowww was I impressed!  I have been a die-hard Five Guys fan forever, but I'd have to say this place comes pretty close to stealing my heart.  They smash the burgers pretty thin here, but supposedly it's half a pound of beef.  There are so many more toppings than Five Guys, including different cheeses, sauces, and my personal fav - different buns.  They have egg, multi-grain, onion, spicy chipotle, and lettuce.  They have a variety of burgers with different topics or you could also make your own.  They also have smashed chicken burgers, veggie burgers, salads, and lots of different fried sides.  Plus milk shakes, which I have yet to try.  Both times I had burgers, and each time LOVED it.  Dan had a chicken burger the second time, which was okay but really thin.  The best part about the food though is that everything is so well balanced.  Not too much meat or bun.  Plus it feels like a slightly nicer experience than a typical fast-food place if you eat in, because you order at the counter and they bring it to you.  Worth a trip for sure!

BBQ, Bacon & Cheddar Burger - burger with BBQ sauce, applewood smoked bacon, cheddar and haystack fried onions on an egg bun.  Plus I added avocado.  An amazing melt-in-your mouth combo.  I asked for the BBQ sauce on the side because I wasn't sure if I would like it.  But it definitely was a great compliment.  The meat was super juicy and everything well-balanced.

Dan made his own burger.  Lettuce, tomato, jalapeno, grilled onions, and fried egg.  Plus we got Smashfries, which were fries tossed with rosemary, olive oil, and garlic.  I liked the toppings but the fries were too thin for me.
Full-size shot of BBQ, Bacon & Cheddar burger.  I also loved their slogans/ads on the walls and cups, etc.  So Jersey haha

Second trip - The New Jersey Burger, which had applewood smoked bacon, blue cheese, haystack onions, lettuce, tomato  on an onion bun. I nixed the ranch, mayo, and grilled onions.  Def a smart choice because those sauces would have added nothing since the blue cheese was so prominent.  Def a great place to get my blue cheese fix.

Buffalo chicken burger - smashed burger doused in Frank's Red Hot plus lettuce, tomato on a bun.  Dan didn't get the blue cheese.  The sweet potato smash fries were delish.  Perfectly crisp.

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Home-made Miso Udon soup with shrimp and broccoli

Found a fun, healthy recipe online for miso soup with udon noodles.  Added some shrimp, broccoli, tofu, and scallions and had a nice hearty meal.  I suppose you could really throw whatever you want in there as long as you add the miso ginger mixture to the chicken stock.  Lasted for two meals and each time we were pretty full.

Cooking everything together

Another cooking shot
Complete bowl of soup
Another soup shot

Home-made Adobo Squid, Rice and Broccoli

Went to 555 Supermarket and stocked up on some fresh squid.  I have to say that cleaning it was a pretty big pain in the butt, but I probably should have let it thaw more because it was still kinda frozen.  It had been awhile since I cooked fresh squid, but decided to do it Filipino style a.k.a. adobo style.  I added fresh jasmine rice and garlic broccoli and overall it was a very tasty, pretty healthy meal.  The onions and garlic got a little over-saturated with the adobo mixture but made the onions much more palatable to me.  I still need to get better at this though.  Will have to practice the dish more with my mother.

Adobo Squid, white rice and garlic broccoli

Another shot

Brunch at North End Grill in NYC

Dan and I went to Danny Meyer's new place in Battery Park - North End Grill.  First of all, it is super close to WTC, making it one of the closest restaurants to my apartment.  Second, it had a ridic wall of scotch, bar, and wine cellar.  Amazing.  Anyway, all of the food we had was wonderful.  The maple bacon croissant is easily in the top five of things I've ever eaten.  The croissant was perfectly buttery and flaky, and the bacon so thick and nicely sweet and salty.  Half of one wasn't enough.  The rest of our food was top notch as well.  I would definitely come back, though it's a toss up for brunch or dinner because those croissants are only available at brunch.  Decisions decisions.

Chocolate and Hazelnut Croissant - delicious mix of chocolate and hazelnut, but not too messy

Maple bacon croissant

Inside of maple bacon croissant.  BEST DECISION EVER.

Chicken Burger with pickled cucumber and Asian slaw.  The burger was very moist and light.  The cucumber was a nice touch and the slaw very refreshing.  Also had sriracha mayo.

Side of crispy potato hash.  Okay but nothing memorable.

Thrice-fried spiced fries.  Veryyyy flavorful.  The cumin was a little overpowering so I couldn't eat too many.

Johnnycake Benedict - Dan got this.  Johnnycake base with lamb bacon, poached eggs, and chipotle hollandaise.  The johnnycake was a deliciously different vehicle for the rest.  Lamb bacon nice and crisp and everything else nicely done.