Thursday, October 24, 2013

Dinner at Park & Sixth Gastropub in Jersey City, NJ

Park & Sixth opened up a new location - a gastropub where York Street Tavern used to be.  Wowww what a great place!  It had only been open for two days when Dan and I went there but I cannot say anything bad about the experience.  It's much more high-end food-wise than original P&S. I  mean I love original P&S but that place was totally comfort food and only recently was it trying to be more fancy with some of the small plates, but you don't go there wanting to spend a lot of money.  This place is more expensive but still reasonable and def better priced than NYC.  But all the food is still comforting but more creative than just sandwiches.  Service was great and the beverage selection was vast.  The decor was fun too; kind of quirky but very warm.  Only negative?  A little dark inside but that's barely a consideration when you think of all the great things.  So many things on the menu I want to try too.  Exciting to come back to the old 'hood.

Dry Aged Wagyu Beef Burger with caramelized onions and American cheese, plus fries.  Amazing meat!

Tuna Tartare with cucumber, tomato, fried basil, garlic chips, srirachi yogurrt, avocado wasabi mousse.  Everything about this was awesome.  I realized after that 3/4 dishes had fried components but the tartare seemed to lighten up the whole meal so I didn't feel gross

Tater Torts - cheddar, garlic, and some spicy (sriracha?) ketchup.  Tater tots was a misnomer.  This was basically a round croquette and the inside was totally mushy and croquette-like.  Tasty but I missed the crunchy friedness of traditional tots.  That dip was amazing with the french fries though!

Spring rolls with rock shrimp, andouille sausage and a roasted red pepper sauce.  Pretty tasty too but I think i prefer their Philly Cheesesteak spring rolls from original P&S

View of half my  burger.  Such quality meat!

Dinner at Cask in NYC

Mei Lun was in town and staying in Midtown East so we met up for dinner at Cask.  We shared everything, which is always awesome.  The food was all very good and not too badly priced for NYC.  Also thanks to her job for paying for half haha

Red Neck Sushi - pork braised smoked pork belly, applewood smoked bacon, maple glazed pickled jalapenos, bosc pear green apple slaw.  OMG my fav!  So deliciously meaty and fatty and I loved the slaw, which was super refreshing.  The jalapenos were surprisingly spicy.  Prob because the seeds were still there

Tartare duo - tuna and salmon, citris soy, avocado wasabi mousse.  My second favorite.  The fish tasted very fresh and the sauce made it taste even richer

Pretzel crusted jumbo lump crab cake with pickled cucumber and chipotle aioli.  This was pretty good too.  Very meaty and the crust was a nice textural change

Flat Iron Steak Flatbread - baby portabella, gorgonzola, caramelized onions, horseradish sauce - Mei Lun's fav.  I enjoyed it for the meat; def more substantial but too much cumin

Home-made Appetizers

Football season makes me want to eat some little appetizers!  Also trying to utilize our deep fryer more.  We made wings  with the deep fryer and discovered they are much better with some breading versus naked.  Unfortunately we needed to add a lot more salt and spice but now we know and can only improve.  I also made pigs-in-a-blanket using mini Hillshire Farms smoked sausages and Pillsbury crescent wraps.  Delish and cheaper than buying a frozen bag of them.  Definitely a keeper.

Unsauced breaded wings

Wings with Frank's Buffalo Sauce

Pigs in a blanket!

another shot of the little piggies

Lunch from Panera in Clifton, NJ

Felt like a somewhat healthy lunch and Dan and I needed to go grocery shopping, so we decided to go to Clifton since the Stop & Shop there is sooo much better.  Better deals, huge, clean, and not ever crowded.  And apparently they have this awesome scan gun that we didn't use but will have to next time.  Anywayy back to lunch.  Even though Panera is a chain I always feel like I'm satisfied with what I get and don't feel gross at all.  This time was no different and I got to try some new Fall-y dishes.

Dan's Chilled Shrimp Soba Salad - I've had this before and pretty good though over-sauced again

You Pick Two - Autumn Squash Soup.  Great creaminess and I loved the toasted pumpkin seeds on top.  It was a little sweet bc there was definitely cinnamon and nutmeg, so almost felt dessert-y.  But it was great dipping the hot fresh bread into it

Other half of my lunch - Roasted turkey harvest wheatberry salad.  Nice and refreshing.  Also had some gorgonzola, pistachios and mixed greens.  I had never head wheatberry so didn't really know what it was like.  I would compare it to quinoa as it didn't have much of a taste but is probably healthy haha

Dinner at Brick Lane Curry House in NYC

I took Elena for a belated birthday dinner at Brick Lane Curry House because she wanted to eat Indian food.  This place was recommended from friends, and overall it was pretty great though a little pricy, but I guess for NYC that's not surprising.  The whole dinner made me miss living in Jersey City as there is so much great and inexpensive Indian food there.  I guess it's only one train stop away though.
Complimentary papadum with three sauces.  Love the bottom purpl-y one

Aloo Samosa with potatoes and peas.  Can't go wrong with something fried

Garlic Naan - yum obvi.   My lamb bhuna.  The waiter made me worried about the spice level of the Lamb Vindaloo so he suggested that and instead and I tried it but wan't spicy at all!  It was tasty but sauce was a little thicker than I would like.  It tasted more stew-y

Elena's chicken tikka masala - pretty good

Side of basmati rice

Dinner from Tendo Sushi in Harrison, NJ

Dan and I felt like sushi but didn't want to leave the apartment and also wanted something a little nicer than Sakura downstairs.  So we ordered from a nearby place in Harrison with similar prices.  They came pretty quickly and everything tasted pretty good but then both of us didn't feel too great after :/  Our Harrison take-out hasn't gone so well so far.  I guess we need to keep exploring.  I also ordered a salmon tempura roll which was my fav but forgot to take a picture

Octupus and tuna sashimi.  I tried to be adventurous with the octupus but sadly it was pretty tasteless

My eel avocado
Dan's rolls.  Can't remember what they were

Dinner from Roja y Blanca in Harrison, NJ

For the first time Dan and I ordered Peruvian take-out from a place near our apartment.  The portions were pretty large and overall the food pretty tasty, but the chicken was a tad on the salty side.  It may have been the first time Dan had Peruvian food ha.  A good option close-by though I was mildly worried that there would be comprehension issues when I ordered, but fortunately there were no problems.

Tallarin Verde con Bisteck (Fettuccini a la Pesto w/Steak) and side salad

Yuca a La Huancaina - Fried yuca with Peruvian cheese sauce

1/2 Roasted Chicken with side of fries (plus the side salad above)

Saturday, October 5, 2013

Home-made Empanadas and Lumpia

Ahhh the perils of owning a deep fryer fryer.  From healthy meatless tacos to deliciously meat fried foods.  I had plenty of frozen lumpia shanghai in the freezer, and then Dan and I made chorizo, black bean, potato, and pea empanadas.  Soooo good!  But we felt gross from all the oil afterwards ha.

Lumpia and empanadas

Soo many empanadas

Baby lumpia

The inside of the empanadas - chorizo, black bean, potatoes, and peas

Home-made Kim Chi Tofu Tacos

Dan wanted to be healthy and was feeling creative, so he decided to make kim chi tofu tacos.  It was pretty straightforward and turned out well, though perhaps the tofu should have been deep fried for more contrasting textures. 

Tacos with cotija cheese

Tacos with shredded cheese blend

Home-made hummus

It kind of seemed like this didn't deserve its own post but Dan and I were so pleased of how healthy and resourceful we were when we decided to make our own hummus.  Living where we do and being farther from walkable grocery stores, we wanted a snack and had lots of veggies but no dip.  Behold - can of chickpeas and the food processor.  Unfortunately at the time we didn't have tahini, which I have since ordered a ton of off Amazon, but it still turned out pretty good because the recipes I googled were sans tahini.  A cheaper alternative to store-bought and makes you more likely to eat it because it lacks the preservatives to last as long.

Dinner at Dinosaur BBQ in Newark, NJ

Dan and I went to the Devils game but left soon thereafter because we were soo hungry and we could smell the meaty goodness of Dino BBQ.  For once we didn't get a giant platter to share because I really felt like a sandwich.  Everything was super smoky and charred and exactly what you want BBQ to be.  So dangerous to be living five minutes away from here ha.

Dan's: The Pork-sket Sandwich: brisket layered with cheese and jalapenos. Topped with pulled pork and coleslaw.  Crazy good.  With a side of black-eyed pea salad, which was pretty refreshing.

Garlic Chipotle Jumbo BBQ Chicken Wings - the second hottest wing option

Brisket blue - brisket topped with caramelized onion, blue cheese, and pickled jalapeno.  With a side of BBQ fried rice, my go-to side.

Home-made Salmon, Brussel sprouts and Rice

This is another popular repetorie of HP dinners: white rice, brussel sprouts and bacon, and baked pecan-encrusted salmon.  Very filling with a little bit of badness but mostly healthy.  The bacon makes it less healthy but I've also made it a few times with fakin/veggie bacon and been just as satisfied.

Lunch at Panera in Clifton, NJ

I've always loved Panera since college, and now there's an even closer one to me in Clifton.  They have a fun new summer menu including shrimp dishes.  Pretty snazzy for "fast food" cause everything looks so fresh.  Dan got the shrimp salad roll and I got a shrimp and soba noodle salad.  While there was a little too much dressing on my salad, the dressing was tasty and the shrimp refreshing.  A nice alternative to your typical sandwich selection.
You Pick Two: Black bean soup and shrimp salad roll

Chilled shrimp and soba noodle salad with peanut sauce; chicken noodle soup

Dinner at Wine:30 in NYC

Nicole, Tracy and I attempted to go to Cask, but unfortunately there was a ridic long line and you can't make a reservation without at least 4 people.  Boo.  But we had a lovely dinner anyway at nearby Wine:30 and didn't have to wait at all.  Actually I made a res on OpenTable when we saw how crazy Cask was but turned out we didn't need it.  There were def people though and there was a cute and pseudo-romantic area outside in the back.  We shared everything and it was all delicious.  Definitely was full after but not grossly stuffed, which is a nice change ha. 
3 types of bruschetta.  From top to bottom: (1) roasted corn, black beans, chihuahua cheese, cilantro and lime juice (2) roasted beets, walnuts, oregano and feta (3) caramelized onion, goat cheese, and melted gruyeree.  All were awesome

Braised short ribs with mashed potatoes, red wine reduction, crispy leaks and roasted pearl onions.  The meat was super tender and the mashed potatoes were so creamy and flavorful

Seared hanger steak with potatoes au gratin, roasted asparagus and red wine shallot sauce.  The meat was deliciously tender and nicely charred.  The potatoes were even better than the mashed.  Did I mentioned we had a meaty dinner?

Grass-fed beef sliders with gruyere, pickles, onions, ketchup and mustard on brioche mini buns.  Served with house-cut Old Bay potato chips.  Another tasty entree.  The sliders were perfectly proportioned and everything that was on it added to the dish and I didn't even take anything off.