Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Take-out from Nino's in Harrison, NJ

Dan wanted some real pizza after being gluten-free for so long, so we ordered from Nino's even though it's so close we could walk.  We were cold and lazy.  The pizza itself was pretty heavy and a little greasy, though I liked the flavors.  The buffalo wings were a let down.  Not very saucy and they were unevenly sauced, and lukewarm.  I still ate them lol.
Buffalo wings.  Some were already eaten by the time I snapped a pic.  But regardless, they don't look too appetizing do they?

Large pizza with chicken, garlic, and chopped tomatoes.  Definitely a HP combo.  I liked it but felt disgusting after two slices.  We learned our lesson and only ate one slice each for two dinners following.

Dinner at Topaz in Belleville, NJ

Went to Belleville for some delicious, authentic, and cheap Thai food.  Everything we had was delicious and while they had a lot of traditional dishes, they also had some unique spins that were worth trying.  It's so close I would definitely go back again.
Thai chicken tacos - not on the menus online but was recommended on yelp.  Super tasty and filling.  Also very refreshing because of the herbs.

Curry Fried Rice - yellow curry fried rice w/chicken, eggs, onions and scallions.  The curry flavor was somewhat slight, but definitely noticeable compared with typical fried rice.  A nice spin on a dish that would otherwise probably not be so memorable

Volcano Chicken - breaded chicken served with tamarind chili sauce and vegetables.  Definitely the best part of the meal, and paired so well with the curry fried rice.  Would order again.

Lunch at Steve's Prince of Steaks in Langhorne, PA

I had my first real cheesesteak, and it was everything I hoped it would be and more.  I was the only woman in the restaurant, and I ate my ENTIRE cheesesteak, plus plenty of cheese fries.  Sorry not sorry.

My cheesesteak - provolone without.

Dan's - american with.

One size for fries and giant tub of cheese sauce.  YUM.

Dinner at Spanish Pavillion in Harrison, NJ

Dan and I went to Spanish Pavillion in Harrison for a long overdue date night.  We wanted to eat at the bar for the half-price tapas, but it was smoky in front and there were some unsavory, unwelcome looking characters.  So we paid full price and sat in the nice dining room haha.  Fortunately each tapas dish was still pretty inexpensive.  We also ordered way too much, as I got a little overzealous.  For the most part everything was good, and it made me really excited to go back to Spain.  Nice to know there's something authentic so close to home.
(L) Patatas bravas - fried potatoes, garlic aioli and paprika.  (R) Queso Manchego Frito - fried manchego cheese with smoked paprika aioli.  Both so delicious though could've done without the queso because it was pretty filling.  Perfect balance of fried, spice, and garlic creaminess.

Tortilla - cold omelette with onions, potatoes, and peppers.  Not memorable and def not one of the best tortillas I've had.  Would pass on this in the future.

Albondigas de cordero - lamb meatballs in tomato sauce.  Great flavor and a little surprised they used lamb, but I love lamb so a good choice

Imported jamon serrano - it felt a little dry/not freshly cut.  I might also skip this as it cannot compare to the jamon you get in Spain

Pulpo a la Feira - octopus, hot paprika, potatoes, virgin olive oil, and garlic.  This was from the Appetizers menu, not tapas.  Super meaty and a large portion.  Could've used some more salt.

Panceta de Cerdo Estofada - braised pork belly.  This was a let-down.  Super salty and the texture didn't even seem like pork belly.  More like shredded pork.

Sofrito de Gambas - large shrimp sofrito and garlic saffron aioli.  I was pretty full by the time they brought this out.  The garlic flavor was not so pronounced - it was mostly tomato tasting.  There were also only three shrimp.

Dinner at Buka in Brooklyn, NY

Our second book club meeting was at Buka in Brooklyn.  We discussed a Nigerian-American book at the only Nigerian restaurant in all of NYC.  Unfortunately I have to admit that the food and service was NOT good.  The steak I ordered took like an hour and a half to come out, and when it did, it was the most overcooked piece of meat I've ever eaten.  My fingers literally hurt to cut it, and chewing took even longer.  The yuca pieces were grainy and not particularly flavorful.  Sad sad.
Giant tough piece of steak with yuca, and spice. 

Dinner at Yuca Bar in NYC

Nicole, Tracy, and I went to Yuca Bar for belated b-day dinner.  While the hostess and system for reservations (or lack thereof) was bananas and stressful, the service once we were seated plus the food made up for it.  We shared a bunch of tapas, all of which were incredible and some of the best I've had.  The drinks were also large, strong, yet delicious.  I definitely want to come back, particularly on a Tuesday when tapas are half-off.
Espresso BBQ Costillitas - baby back ribs with Latin espresso coffee inspired BBQ sauce.  These were incredible.  Such rich flavor, tender meat, and a great combo of sweet and savory.

Taquitos de carne - skirt steak in soft tortilla topped with pico de gallo and cilantro cream.  The meat was so tender and well cooked, and I loved the cilantro cream on top.

Arepa con Carne - corn cake topped with shredded beef fricassee, drizzled with sour cream.  AMAZING.  I've had many arepas, but this was such a delicious, well cooked corn cake with crisp edges.  And combined with the tender beef, it was really perfect.

Home-made taro chips for the ceviche.  100x better than the terra chips that I've been buying for years

Ceviche special.  Can't remember what the fish was, maybe mahi mahi?  Delicious as well.  By this point I was seriously full though

Churrasquinhos - grilled skirt steak skewers with peppers atop cilantro rice.  I think this would've been my fav dish of all had I not been stuffed with food that I could barely chew.  I know the little bit I had was flavorful and tender, and the rice was nice and fluffy.

Pulpo a la plancha - grilled octopus with palmito-avocado orange salad in caipirinha dressing.  This was probably the actual star of the show.  Everyone loved the octopus - Nicole and Tracy said it was the best they'd ever had.  I don't know if I can claim THE best since I feel like I've had some damn good octopus, but this is definitely a top contender.  The octopus was perfectly cooked, tender yet meaty.  And the dressing on top was so unique.  A must order.

Lunch at Bobby's Burger Palace in Paramus, NJ

Amid some early Christmas shopping in Paramus, we stopped for lunch at Bobby's Burger Palace, one of Bobby Flay's casual joints.  This was our second trip and everything was well cooked and flavored, and came out pretty quickly.  We also shockingly didn't feel disgustingly full afterwards - more like a healthy level of full.
Dan's Brunch Burger - burger with fried egg, smoked bacon, and American cheese

Half and half - sweet potato fries and beer battered onion rings.  The sweet potato fries are excellent.  Not too thin and not too thick.  Almost like McDonald's width and crispness, but sweet potato.  The onion rings were giant and I think there were only two or three.  Would have preferred something smaller with the onion melted into it more.

Bobby Blue - burger with blue cheese, bacon, lettuce, and tomato.  The blue cheese is actually a mix of chunks and blue cheese sauce.  Still kind of mild blue cheese, but delicious.

Dinner at Mile End in NYC

Mile End is one NYC restaurant that I actually repeatedly come back to, despite not varying much in my ordering.  It's because it's the only decent place in the city to get my beloved poutine.  Plus they have amazing Canadian-style smoked meat.  This trip was no different, as everything was delicious, authentic, super filling, and cheap!
Poutine and smoked meat sandwich

Regular poutine - fries, gravy, and cheese curds.  Didn't think we needed the smoked meat on top because I really wanted to savor the basic fries/cheese/gravy combo.  SO GOOD.

Dan's reuben and vinegar-based slaw.  Both really savory and complimentary.

Better shot of the poutine

Smoked meat goodness

Breakfast from Suissa Bakery in Newark, NJ

Dan and I went to Suissa Bakery in the Ironbound in Newark one Saturday morning because I read they had malasadas, which are Portuguese donuts that are very popular in Hawaii, which is a huge melting pot.  In Portugal these donuts are called sonhos, which is how they were referred to at this bakery.  Unfortunately when we arrived none were ready but they said it would be ready in 20 minutes or so.  20 mins pass.  30 mins pass.  Before we know it nearly one hour has gone by despite intermittent comments that they were almost ready.  We were on the verge of walking out when they brought them out.  When we got home, we discovered our patience was misplaced.  While the malasadas (akin to donuts) looked authentic, they were NOT EVEN FULLY COOKED.  The inside tasted pudding like, which would almost sound good until we realized we were eating raw dough.  Never again.  Not worth going there, waiting there, or anything that we did.  This made my malasada craving even worse.  I guess I'll have to go back to Hawaii one day.
These huge cinnamon sugar covered dough balls look good.  But inside is raw dough :(

Dinner at Dinosaur BBQ in Newark, NJ

Post another Devils game Dan and I went to Dino for dinner.  This time I got something new, which was a nice change.  I think at this point I've tried the majority of the menu there.
Brisket and pulled pork combo with collard greens and potato salad

Smoked fried half bird with mashed potatoes and BBQ fried rice.  The chicken had great smoky flavor.  And you can't go wrong with fried chicken

Dinner from Chickpea in Newark, NJ

Dan and I picked up some Chickpea on our way home from a Devils game.  The platters are a really hearty portion, enough for leftovers for lunch.  Also generally a healthy meal.  Not quite as good as Ibby's in Jersey City, but for being so close and on the way home, a solid option.
Schwafel combo with spicy lamb schwarma and various sides

Schwafel combo - chicken schwarma and falafel, plus beets and tomato and cucumber veggies.  Lots of hummus and rice.  So much delicious and healthy food

Short Rib Poutine from the Prudential Center in Newark, NJ

Apparently all of these new vendors are now at the Rock (Prudential Center) in Newark.  One stand had short rib poutine.  I was sooo happy that some place with poutine actually used cheese curds as opposed to just melted cheese.  While I love melted cheese there is a distinct difference between poutine and disco fries. The former is hands down my go-to.  There was a ton of well-cooked short rib meat as well.  The only negative I have is there should have been more gravy.  Otherwise I was very impressed to get this at a sporting event.

Take-out from Woorijip in NYC

Dan and I got take-out from Woorijip in K-Town.  We got some beef kimbap, spicy pork over rice with japchae, and an assortment from the buffet.  Everything was pretty tasty with a nice quick.  Also incredibly cheap for the amount of food we got.  I had never had beef kimbap before and it was an interesting take on sushi.  I have to say, while I enjoyed it I actually prefer seafood to meat on this one haha.
Beef Kimbap - huge pieces

Assortment of Korean food from the buffet.  We tried to be healthy and get some greens in there

Spicy pork over rice w/side of japchae

Brunch at P.S. 450 in NYC

For Nicole's birthday we went to P.S. 450 for brunch.  They had great drunch deals and the food was pretty good too.  Definitely worth a second trip.

Hangover Fries - Homemade Fries, Chopped Tomato, Bacon, Scallion, Melted Cheddar Jack, Poached Egg and Cheese Sauce plus steak.  Delish

Chilaquiles - Chicken, Tortillas, Eggs Over Easy with Queso Fresco and Pico de Gallo

Dinner from Mighty Quinn's BBQ in Clifton, NJ

Dan and I got take-out from Mighty Quinn's.  Most of what we got was stuff from before, but this time I finally got the short rib.  It was ginormous.  Bigger than the dog's head.  Super tasty, good mix of fat and meat.  Definitely on the pricy side but I'm glad I tried it.
Huge short rib

Up close

Compare the size of the short rib to the dog's head.  Wowza