Sunday, January 19, 2014

Dinner at Top's Diner in East Newark, NJ

Saturday night and we were too tired to cook, so we went to Top's Diner because the menu is so massive that there had to be some gluten-free options.  Dan ordered breakfast and I got a salad but before you judge me, just know it had some awesome very HP-type ingredients in it ha.

Bourbon Street Omelet - spicy Andouille sausage, peppers, mushrooms, tomatoes, cheddar cheese with home fries

The Ritz Salad - Romaine, grilled chicken, feta cheese (that giant block!), avocado, dried cranberries, fresh oranges, candied walnuts, tossed with Balsamic Vinaigrette

Dinner at Edward's Steakhouse in Jersey City, NJ

Nicole and I went to Edward's Steakhouse for Restaurant Week, as getting steak during RW is always the best value and I've never been to Edward's.  Overall the meal was pretty tasty and definitely a good value of $38 for four courses.  The steak itself was a 12 oz Delmonico - pretty huge though a little fatty, and I should've had it cooked medium well vs. medium, but sometimes I feel judgment when I order it so well cooked ha.  A good meal but not memorable or worth a return trip.
Baked clams with breadcrumb stuffing.  Nice and cheesy.

Filet Mignon Vegetable Spring Roll over a spicy remoulade w/miso dipping sauce

House salad - mesclun with a sherry shallot vinaigrette.  Specifically chose those over Caesar so I wouldn't be too full before the meat, which was a smart decision

12 oz Delmonico steak with roasted garlic mashed potatoes and creamed spinach

Icebox cake - not as cold as I would've hoped ha

Creme Brulee

Home-made Roasted Chicken w/vegetables

Dan made roasted chicken again a la Thomas Keller.  Underneath we had potatoes, carrots, and apples.  This was the first time making it in our new oven, so it took a little longer to get the chicken cooked through, but perhaps that was also because it wasn't defrosted enough.  It tasted great though, nice and juicy, and the veggies were super flavorful.  However the apples created a great aroma but the apples themselves got overcooked.

Brunch at Bistro La Source in Jersey City, NJ

Parental brunch in JC went surprisingly well, despite the treacherous icy conditions.  And as usual, the food was delicious.  Everyone particularly loved the mussels and octopus, which I didn't take pics of.
Spinach eggs benny with home fries

Salmon eggs benny with home fries

My apple crisp dessert with cinnamon gelato

Fried fish sandwich w/fries

Home-made Filipino Breakfast

I was craving a Filipino-style breakfast so made some garlic fried rice, garlic eggs, and pork tocino.  I seriously think home-made Filipino food is infinitely better than going to any restaurants, at least in the United States.
Tocino, garlic eggs, and garlic fried rice

Home-made BBQ Ribs with potatoes and spinach

Dan tried to show me that he could make ribs better than my father, which was definitely a tall order.  Like my father he boiled the ribs then finished them in the oven.  They turned out well but not quite as tender, we think because they needed longer time.  He used two different sauces though, a sweet and spicy Ray's sauce as well as Dinosaur BBQ's Wango Tango.  Both were pretty delish but I liked the Ray's better.  He also made some potato and spinach w/TJ's African Smoke.  A delicious, comforting meal.

Friday, January 3, 2014

Dinner at Bin 14 in Hoboken, NJ

So Dan and I don't exactly love Hoboken.  In fact we don't really like going there at all.  Except for Texas Arizona I try to avoid it as much as possible.  But in some of my yelping adventures I came across this restaurant that had a pretty extensive gluten-free menu, so we decided to venture out and make a trip to the Hobo.  Bin 14 is apparently the only wine bar in Hoboken.  Again, not my favorite thing, but nice that I got to try two types of Riesling and not break the bank at all.  I do like flights.  Anyway, they can make most of their dishes gluten-free, including pizza, pasta, and even bruschetta.  I wish I had known about the latter because I didn't even look at the bruschetta dishes.  But just gives us a reason to come back.  The food was really rich and considering the extra charges was not too expensive.  We definitely ordered too much food in my opinion, but Dan enjoyed the meal a lot and I was glad to find a place where they had the same dishes available both as is and gluten-free options.  Definitely worth another trip to try other dishes on the menu.

Grilled octopus, potatoes, capers, and giardiniera - yes, I had to google that last word, which refers to pickled veggies.  The octopus was well cooked and tasty.  I compared the dish to the one at Flex Mussels though, which was a mistake because Flex Mussels octopus is the best hahaha.  This was very well-balanced though and generally light-tasting because of the acid and veggies

Poutine, which is kind of the main reason we came here.  Fries w/mozzarella curds and foie gras gravy.  This was tech not poutine as there were no curds :(  Why do people lie and say there are curds when it's just melted mozz?  Don't get me wrong, this was still freaking delicious esp. with the foie gras gravy, but I want some curds damnit!

Foie gras gravy - full of gluten so I ate like 95% of this, which is prob why I was so full later

The poutine as it should be, with gravy smothered all over

Gluten-free pizza with caramelized onion, pork belly, tallegio, brussels, and egg yolk.  OMG this was SO rich and SO good but I was struggling to get through.  The gluten-free crust was almost cookie-like, which added to the richness of the cheese, which is one of my fav types that I discovered at Eataly.  Tallegio is def mozz-like in creaminess but also sort of brie like in its mildness.  The pork belly was sometimes hard to taste but obvi adds flavor.  The brussels I liked for lightening it up.  And the yolk made me want to cry because it was that good on top ha.  Unnecessary but def made this dish a knock-out

Gluten-free penne with pork ragu, parmesan and poached egg.  Delicious and honestly I didn't notice a difference in the texture of the pasta.  The ragu was great too but I was pretty full at this point so couldn't eat that much

A shot w/the egg broken up.  Never going out of style in my opinion

Dinner at The Argyle in Kearny, NJ

After getting a recommendation from a co-worker Dan and I went to the Argyle in Kearny for some scottish food.  I ordered fish and chips w/mushy peas and side of curry gravy, and Dan got shepherd's pie.  His pie was pretty tasty and he ate it all up.  I ordered cod because the other fish was less meaty.  The fish was very thick and perfectly flaky, but the batter was a little much and I couldnt finish it all.  The curry gravy was awesome though for dipping the chips.  The mushy peas were sad because it's clear they were canned peas, which when mushy look even less appetizing.  Overall glad we went but probably wouldn't go back again.  Could find better fish and chips elsewhere and it wasn't actually that cheap for being in Kearny as there was an upcharge for my cod. 
My fish and chips

Curry gravy on top (best $1 spent) and mushy peas below

Dan's Shepherd's Pie

Dinner at Skinner's Loft in Jersey City, NJ

Met up with some law school ladies to announce exciting news that each one already knew lol.  But nonetheless happy to catch up together and just enjoy each other's company.  I didn't take that many pics actually but I got my/Jess's order as well as Tracy's/Laura's.  Kavita got the sliders which I had featured previously. 

Whiskey smoked sugar & bourbon glazed cornish hen with cippolini onion gravy, cheddar mashed potatoes and caramelized brussel sprouts - everything was amazing and worked perfectly together.  I especially loved the glaze on the hen.  I was kind of full from appetizers at this point but this re-heated up pretty well for lunch the next day

Tracy and Laura both got this special bouillabaisse dish - looked really great with tons of huge pieces of seafood

Dinner at Flex Mussels in NYC

Our celebratory dinner!  Post most romantic engagement ever Dan and I went to eat at Flex Mussels.  The food was all amazing and obviously tasted extra great because we were so happy.  But no joke the mussels were delish as was the octopus - possibly best octopus I've had.  Also the beignets were delicious especially with the vanilla cream dipping sauce.

Octopus charred with garbanzo bean bacon stew - there was nothing about this that I didn't love.  The octopus was super meaty yet tender and the char gave it almost a bacon/pork belly type quality.  The beans and bacon were a great rich accompaniment.  Truly a perfect dish.

Mexican mussels - chipotle adobo, chorizo, calamari, posoles - a delicious combo of flavors that I love.  Love the richness that comes from the chorizo and the adobo flavor added a little spice

Maine Mussels - lobster, smoked bacon, chowder and parsley.  Dan's selection.  Loved the combo of lobster and bacon flavors

The Flex Donut Collection - I think we got cinnamon sugar, chocolate, smores, and salted caramel.  Left to right couldn't tell you what's what but tasted very similar to malasadas.  At this point I was pretty full but just have to say that the vanilla bean dipping sauce was the best frosting/icing/dip everrr

Home-made Tilapia and Roasted Root Veggies

We made tilapia with the usual TJ's African Smoke and roasted parsnips, carrots, and garlic in the oven after dousing them with olive oil and various spices.  The end result was a delicious comforting meal.  Only thing missing were some greens.

Semi-home-made Pesto Bow-ties with shrimp

Gotta love Supermarket finds.  This pesto sauce we got at Stop and Shop is pretty damn amazing and apparently gluten-free.  At least this batch.  I'm sure when we run out we can venture to make our own pesto because seems pretty easy, but why mess with something so good?

Dinner at The Smith in NYC

Post Nutcracker and in celebration of Debbie, we went to The Smith near Lincoln Center for dinner.  By the time we got our food we were all ravenous so that probably slightly colored my perception of dinner, but all the food was pretty solid minus my lukewarm/cold smashed potatoes.  Also we learned a lesson that fatter shishito peppers are more spicy, so if you're like me and prefer them more mild, go for the limp ones haha.  Would definitely come back to try some other dishes.

Mac + cheese - not sure how many cheeses there were but very tasty and satisfying

Blistered shishito peppers w/sea salt - very delicious esp. the sea salt.  Kind of like eating edamame.  However as noted above, the fatter ones pack a punch

Baked pretzel w/spicy honey mustard - loved the pretzel itself but the dip was too much.  They should mention wasabi if there's wasabi to make it spicy!

My Brick Pressed Chicken w/smashed potatoes and roasted garlic au jus - I wanted to love it but the dish was probably the most disappointing.  The potatoes were lukewarm and needed salt, and the chicken was ok but after having brick pressed chicken at Marc Forgione I was expecting a similar experience and it was just not as good

Pooja's Pot of Mussels with chardonnay broth, dijon, tarragon, and fries.  A huge portion!  I don't remember if I ate a mussel but the broth was great for dipping fries

Debbie's NY Strip Steak w/fries - pretty tasty and also massive

Sejal's Artichoke Flatbread with mozzarella, chili, rosemary and garlic.  Nice flavors and no skimping on artichokes.  Also their home-made ketchup was pretty damn amazing