Friday, May 24, 2013

Dinner at Razza Pizza Artigianale in Jersey City, NJ

Dan and I both had a pizza craving so decided to go back to Razza to try some new stuff.  I really believe this is the best pizza I've ever had, and it's definitely the best pizza in Jersey City.  All the ingredients are local (they even had a chalkboard showing where stuff came from) and taste so fresh.  We had ceci (chickpeas marinated in extra virgin olive oil and parmaigiano reggiano) and bread and butter.  Dan asked, "How do you eat chickpeas alone?"  So then we ordered the bread and butter.  But hot damn you could definitely eat them by themselves!  They were so delicious I cannot even put it into words.  The marinade was so buttery and garlicky and the chickpeas themselves were so hearty.  Plus cheese!  I died and went to heaven.  The fresh churned butter and bread were also amazing and very filling.  I was worried by the time the pizza arrived that we'd eat even less than last time (ate half of two pizzas) but we did even better, I think because these pizzas were meatless and thus easier to eat.  We shraed the Margherita and Mai Pie.  Both were so delicious.  The crust was perfectly cooked - not too charred but still fluffy yet thin.  The toppings again were local and the cheese tasted so fresh.  I didn't even miss the meat, which is shocking!  I asked about a special pie that we saw ThirtyAcres had instagrammed with boar sausage and kale.  Unfortunately that was not their special that night but we'll just have to keep coming back until they have it :)

Oh we also got drinks that I forgot to take pics of but which were awesome.  Mine was a wheat beer mixed with framboise lambic.  Dan got some kind of drink that tasted like a Manhattan.  Had rye whiskey, perhaps bourbon, and orange bitters.  It actually was palatable to me, and he really enjoyed it.

Ceci - Chickpeas marinated in EVOO and parmaigiano reggiano

Bread and butter

Margherita pizza - tomato sauce, handmade fresh mozzarella, basil, Maine coast sea salt, California EVOO

Mai Pie - fresh mozzarella, maitake & cremini mushrooms, parmiagiano reggiano

Dinner at Orale in Jersey City, NJ

After a ridic day trying to get to JC on the PATH, Tracy, Nicole, and I had some delicious and meaty Mexican dinner.  We shared the queso fundido with chorizo and potatoes (tasty but the cheese was less melty than I thought), and three kinds of tacos: sweetbreads, bone marrow with crispy pork belly, and carnitas.  The bone marrow was still my favorite, and this time the bones actually had some marrow that we could scoop out.  So awesome and fatty haha.  The carnitas tasted basically like bone marrow minus bone marrow since both had crispy pork belly. The sweetbreads were my least fav, mostly because of the texture.  Very liver-y and gummy.  I'm glad I finally tried it though.  Next time got to get the dinosaurio - short rib.

Queso Fundido with chorizo and potatoes
Tacos de Carnicero - grilled sweetbreads marinated in lime and topped with a cilantro-lime emulsion

Taco Machin - roasted bone marrow topped with crispy pork belly and shredded cabbage

Tacos de Carnitas - braised crisp pork belly, marinated red onions, salsa verde and cilantr

Morenitas - pecan brownies with whipped cream.  Okay but nothing memorable.  The chococlate was a little dark for my liking

Dinner from Grand Sichuan in Jersey City, NJ

I've been having a craving for "real" Chinese food for awhile.  I realize I don't think I've ever had authentic Schezuan-style Chinese food because I usually don't spend a lot of money on Chinese food (minus dim sum, which isn't really a lot of money but just a lot of cheap, delicious food).  We went to Grand Sichuan after I spent a few days figuring out what to order ha.  The result - wayyy too much delicious and spicy food.  But I'm not complaining because it all heat up really well and even got spicier.  So glad there's a Grand Sichuan in JC.  Don't have to trek to Manhattan for my spicy fix.

Braised Wild Mushrooms with Pea Shoots - so delicious and the mushrooms almost tasted meaty.  A little more pricy but such a huge portion that lasted for two meals

Beef Stew Spicy Noodle Soup - legit spicy and GIANT.  Also only $6.75.  We could have just ordered this and been full

Gui Zhou Spicy Chicken - also seriously had a kick.  Basically spicy thin-cut fried chicken.  Lots of chili peppers and (bad suprise!) peppercorns.  I may have inadvertenly eaten a peppercorn, which I thought was ginger, and almost vommed on the table haha.  It just left this awful taste in my mouth that I couldn't get rid of for awhile, and everything was also so spicy.  Bad combo.  But the chicken was delicious!  Just have to be more careful

Pork Soup Dumpling - very well done but brought out so late that we were pretty full by this point.  But as this is not the sort of dish that really reheats well, we struggled through. 

Sichuan Wonton with Red Oil - pretty spicy as well.  Dan really liked it but it was a little too spicy for me after all those other spicy dishes.

Dinner at Park & Sixth in Jersey City, NJ

We hadn't been to Park & Sixth in awhile, and Dan had a burger craving, so decided to head back to good old P&S.  They have been changing their menu up to have more real dishes/small plates and less sandwich options for dinner.  The latter is kind of disappointing because they have such awesome creative sandwiches, but fortunately they still have burger options.  They had this duck special that I had to order, and we also got a special appetizer of Thai Honey Basil Calamari.  OMG it was SO good.  Perfectly fried and a nice balance of sweet and salty.  Def something I would order again and something I'd recommend keeping on the menu all the time.  One of the best calamari dishes I've had.  The duck was very good, well cooked.  My only complaint was it was a little small for the money.

Thai Honey Basil Calamari

Duck with fingerling potatoes

The Beast with Old Bay-seasoned fries

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Lunch from Renee's Luncheonnette in Woodside, NY

The reason we had such a "light" lunch was because we had planned to eat again in Woodside haha.  I wanted to show Dan the real deal Filipino food because while the food in JC is okay, there's no great Filipino BBQ and so we had to go to the motherland a.k.a. Woodside.  Everything is so much cheaper than Manhattan (obvi) but also JC, which is pretty inexpensive.  The food is just so much better.  I don't know why but it seems more authentic and well-done, as close to family cooking as I can find.  Even the sisig, which I generally don't gravitate towards, was much better and didn't gross me out at all ha.  Best Filipino food on the East Coast in my opinion.

Buko Juice (young Coconut drink) + San Miguel Light.  Heaven

Delicious and addictive Lumpia Shanghai

Pork Sisig

Garlic Fried Rice

BBQ Combo - chicken and pork skewer

Banana dessert - nilla wafers, fresh sliced banana, and whipped cream plus nilla crumbs.  Dan's heaven

Lunch from Citifield in Queens, NY

Dan and I went to our first Mets game this year and somehow managed to NOT find Blue Smoke, etc. Womp womp.  But I guess the good news is that we found new food that was pretty damn good, though we waited in line wayyyy too long for it.  Pat LaFrieda had a stand with cheesesteaks and Korean buns.  How could we not go for that?  I got two short rib buns and one chicken.  Both were pretty tasty but the short rib ones were def better.  The whole plate was $15 though, which is wayyy overpriced.  I know it's a stadium, but we waited no less than 20 mins. for the food plus it started raining so it kind of added insult to injury.  Dan's cheesesteak was really tasty.  You could tell the steak was high quality and the caramelized onions and cheese legit tasted like french onion soup on a steak sandwich.  It was SO good.  I would recommend that to others but only if you don't mind waiting for awhile.
Korean Buns - short rib, chicken, short rib

Mouth-watering cheesesteak

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Dinner from Me Casa in Jersey City, NJ

It has been really difficult the past few times that Dan and I have tried to get seated at ME Casa without a reservation.  Fortunately we thought to do so in advance, which is great b/c Friday nights are a little crazy there.  It also seems like they use the phone/traditional book way of reserving more than OpenTable, even though I used OpenTable.  Anyway, everything we had was delicious and amazing as expected.  Had some repeats (ie. mini mofongo) but also tried some great new stuff.  We left feeling incredibly stuffed but happy.

Shrimp Ceviche on plaintains.  This time they changed from using tostones to little cups.  I prefer the tostones because they are flatter and are more balanced than these cups, which were hollow in the middle.  Still tasty ceviche though.

Chicken Chicharron.  I am convinced every Latin/Spanish/Filipino place does it differently.  In Filipino cuisine you are literally just getting the crispy fried chicken skin/fat.  Not the meat.  This was quite meaty.  Tasty but I think I was expecting more skin/friedness than fried chicken, if that makes sense.  Comes with money sauce, which is, $$$.

Trio of mini mofongo with chicken, shrimp, and beef.  Beef was the best again.  More absorbent of the sauce and super tender.

Yuca with tons of garlic.  Very garlicky and a lot more filling than you'd think.

Asopao de Camarones - Shrimp gumbo.  Had rice and squid inside.  Plus jumbo shrimp and tostones.  Very hearty and filling.  We were so full by this point though that it was kind of painful.  Again, nice amount of garlic.

Thursday, May 9, 2013

Home-made Cajun Shrimp Salad

I decided to use frozen shrimp as the base for my salad since had tomato and avocado slices leftover, and came up with a delicious, healthy, and super-easy-to-prepare dinner.  I peeled the shrimp and sprinkled with cajun seasoning, salt and pepper, then just sauteed on the stove with olive oil.  I don't think I cooked them for more than three minutes total.  Super easy and flavorful.  I threw the shrimp on top of mixed greens, sliced tomato, and avocado, and squeezed lime juice over the entire plate.  It was surprisingly filling yet I felt great after eating.  Definitely a dish I will repeat in the future, and now I have a really tasty and quick way to use shrimp (i.e. for tacos) besides just scampi-style.

I remember a long time ago hearing that the more color is on your plate, the better.  Tonsss of color here :)

Home-made Turkey Sliders w/Roasted Veggies

We bought some really awesome sourdough rolls from Trader Joe's to be the base for our turkey sliders.  Dan re-formed the slider patties from the TJ's turkey burgers.  Unfortunately a little less meat than we had thought but it still tasted great with cheese and buttered and grilled sourdough.  Also added sliced tomato, avocado, and chipotle ketchup.   I roasted some asparagus, grape tomatoes, green bell pepper and garlic cloves.  Delish and healthy.

Turkey sliders w/roasted veggies

Sliders w/avocado, tomato and chipotle ketchup artwork haha

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Lunch at Taco Bell in Jersey City, NJ

I had to post about this because Dan and I finally tried the Cool Ranch Dorito Taco.  It has a much more subtle flavor than the Nacho Cheese Taco, but we both agreed it was much tastier and worked much better.  I definitely enjoyed it more than the Nacho taco but even enjoyed it more than a regular beef taco.  Well done, TB.  I also spontaneously decided to order a Loaded Potato Griller, because it was "happy hour" meaning the three different grillers (besides potato, they have buffalo chicken and beef nachos) are $1, and the medium drinks are also $1.  OMG this was one of the most obscenely delicious dishes I've ever had at a fast food restaurant haha.  The tortilla is grilled (hence the name) and stuffed with crispy tater tots, nacho cheese, sour cream (too much for me but didn't hate it) and of course, bacon!  Soooo delicious.  The whole thing though was slightly under 500 calories haha

Nacho Cheese on left, Cool Ranch on right

Loaded Potato Griller drooool

Lunch from Box in Jersey City, NJ

As I rarely ever get to enjoy lunch specials, I decided to try something new and order from Box.  I misremembered where exactly Box was located, as it was further down Newark Ave than I had though.  Despite showing up well after the time expected, I still had to wait about 5-10 minutes for my order.  However, it was well worth it as I got a TON of delicious food for very little money.  I got a lunch bento with Korean short ribs as the star for $11!  I accidentally put tip on it not even realizing they had automatically added it, which kind of pissed me off but that's Seamless's (and my own) fault, not Box.  The meat came with white rice, salad, miso soup, two shumai, and four pieces of California roll (could've gotten fried spring roll but decided against it).  Everything was delicious and more food than I could eat, so I didn't finish my soup or salad.  Of course I ate all the meat though, and it was DELICIOUS.  For the same amount of food at dinner, I saved like $6-7.  I haven't had anything else from Box, which apparently is owned by the same owners of More (ehh), Sawadee (slightly better than ehh) and Sky Thai (haven't been).  However, I am definitely planning to come back to Box and try some other food.

Salad with carrot dressing on top, Miso soup

(L to R clockwise) 4 pieces of California Roll, Korean short ribs over lettuce, white rice, wasabi and ginger, shu mai and dipping sauce

Close up of Korean short ribs.  Sweet meat yum

Friday, May 3, 2013

Home-made tilapia, roasted veggies, quinoa and brown rice

After such a rich dinner at Orale, we figured we needed to lighten up and have a healthy dinner.  We roasted asparagus, cherry tomatoes, broccoli, and head of garlic in the oven with some olive oil, salt, pepper, and chili flakes.  Then Dan cooked the fish on the stove with some olive oil and garlic, and I prepared the quinoa and brown rice.  A very filling and healthy meal.

Roasted veggies, tilapia, brown rice and quinoa

Dinner at Orale in Jersey City, NJ

OMG Orale in Jersey City is an amazinggg restaurant.  I honestly don't think I've ever had Mexican food this good.  Most Mexican restaurants I've been to were small, hole-in-wall type places, minus Rosa Mexicano.  I guess I don't really know how "authentic" any of these places were, but this was definitely the best meal I've had at a Mexican restaurant EVER.  The concept is tapas-style, which is Spanish not Mexican, but I think the concept makes sense and works well with their menu.  Everything we had was delicious, though I probably wouldn't order the guacamole trio or ceviche again.  Though I would try other types of ceviche on the menu as there are many kinds.  My absolute favorite dishes were the corn side (which was GIANT and only $4) and the bone marrow and pork belly taco.  It's so wrong, it's right.  The restaurant is now on OpenTable, which is great because seems to get pretty packed, especially on the weekends.  The decor was also fun, some graffiti and cool colors, lights.  A little hipster but I guess that's alright.

(L to R) Sandia - tequila and watermelon, Sangria.  Both were very strong, refreshing and delicious.  Also a little pricy for JC but worth it

Side of grilled corn esquites.  Basically Mexican corn on the cob minus the cob.  Corn, cotija cheese, mayo, chili powder and herbs.  Amazeballs.

Corn all mixed up

Trio of guac (L to R) El Bombero (chipotle and chile de arbol), El Naco (crispy braised pork belly) and Casa (avocado, tomato, cilantro, onion, jalapeno and lime).  All were pretty similar minus the obvious spice and pork belly.  The basic guac was a little too onion-y for my taste.  I couldn't really taste the tomato, jalapeno or cilantro.

Side of tortilla chips for guac trio.  This became super useful later on when we decided to use it to eat the corn

Empanaditas de Pato (duck mini-empanadas) - red masa empanadas filled wtih foie gras, duck confit, and a hint of Mexican chocolate.  Super rich and delicious even though small.  Wish I had gotten an inside shot

Taco Borracho - crispy beer battered halibut topped with a pickled jalapeno cabbage slaw.  Dan said this was the best fish taco he's ever had, and I'd have to agree.  The fish was perfectly fried and so meaty.  Everything just worked so well together.  Even better than our home-made fish taco, which is hard to beat ha

Taco Machin - roasted bone marrow topped with crispy pork belly and shredded cabbage.  OMG was this good.  The bone marrow was like butter and the pork belly was so crispy and meaty.  All served on top of the bone.  It was unbelievable.  Def a little pricy for a single taco ($6) but a once in a lifetime experience

Ceviche Mixto - lobster, shrimp, scallops, octopus, in a mango chile de arbol salsa with grapefruit.  Tasty but a little too onion-y, and hard to find some of those pieces of seafood.  Also it just wasn't the best citrus mix.  Go to Me Casa for the best ceviche of your life.

Vanilla Flan with caramel and whipped cream.  GET THIS.  Even as full as we were, totally worth it.

Lunch at Elbow Room in Newark, NJ

Andrew and I went to Elbow Room for lunch and we were both pretty impressed but our mac-n-cheese.  Everyone should realize how filling mac-n-cheese and get the "big" a.k.a. small size.  I could only get through half and I ate the second half for lunch the next day.  The sizing is big, bigger, and biggest.  The food came pretty quickly and even with a 15 minute walk each way, we were in and out in under an hour.  I think we both agreed that my mushroom selection was a little better haha, but that's also because I don't like pickles and the cheeseburger mac was wholly picklefied.

Cheeseburger Mac - beef, dill pickles, and american cheese

Mushroom Mac- crimini mushrooms, spinach, Vermont gruyere, and crispy shallots

A shot after I dug in.  Those crispy shallots MADE this dish

Yum yum.  Half way done and had to call it quits