Saturday, January 10, 2015

Dinner at Dinosaur BBQ in Newark, NJ

I think going to Devils games had increased the number of visits to Dinosaur BBQ by 500%.   Not it seems like every game is an excuse for us to go get BBQ haha.  Oh well.  This time everything was really well cooked and they even gave us extra food for free.  Thus, we tip well.
3-meat Combo - pulled pork, pork ribs, and brisket.  Plus sides of broccoli carrot salad and bbq beans.  The ribs were amazing as usual.  The brisket was moist this time.  The waitress deemed the pulled pork dry when she came to us, so they gave us a separate plate of pulled pork for free.  Thank you for that one.  The beans were great; I had never had them before. 

Wango Tango wings - as usual they were excellent. 

Fried green tomatoes - perfectly fried and well seasoned.

Dim Sum Brunch at Jing Fong Restaurant in New York, NY

My parents and I went to Jing Fong in Chinatown for dim sum, after our failed attempt several months when we ended up going to Oriental Garden instead.  This place was massive, and from what I've read very similar to places in China.  Fortunately my parents got there ahead so when I arrived we were seated immediately.  We had to share a table with some random couple, but that was fine.  There was a little bit of a chase-the-carts-around going on to get what we wanted (shu mai), but well worth it and not too much of a hassle.  Everything was delicious and this was definitely among my fav dim sum places.  Not the most stress-free experience, but definitely worth a return trip.
Steamped dumplings with veggies and shrimp.  Delish

They claimed this was pork but doesn't it look like short ribs?  Regardless, this was perfection.  My fav thing and such a big plate.  Perfect mix of sweet and savory, with a little more sweetness.  The veggies were a nice fresh addition too.

Nori wrapped shrimp.    Nice use of the deep fryer

Some kind of beef dumpling.  Not so appetizing looking.  It was okay; probably my least fav thing.

Shrimp in rice wrapper.  One of my fav things to eat.  Well done but hard to eat with their chopsticks.

Deep fried dumplings.  Excellent.

Giant plate of bok choy.  Also excellent.

Some tofu soup thing that I guess is similar to something they eat in the Philippines.  My mom ate almost all of it.  It was mildly sweet but mostly textural.

Congee.  I actually didn't taste this but my dad enjoyed it.

Steamed shrimp dumplings.  No complaints.

The elusive shrimp shu mai.  The best but we only found it at the end when we were all really full.  It was great later though.

Lunch at Bareburger in New York, NY

I had a childhood reunion lunch at Bareburger in midtown.  There are BBs all over the state and in other states as well.  I love all the different protein concepts and that you could conceivably eat healthy if you want, especially as they focus on organic ingredients.  Elena, Malcolm and I shared some sweet potato croquettes, which were a nice mix of deep friedness and healthy sweet potato.  I shockingly did not order a burger, but got a salad instead.  Don't worry though, any healthiness was outweighed by the buttermilk fried chicken tenders I got on top haha.  They were not skimpy - the salad was probably half chicken.  I had enough for a hearty lunch the next day.
Sweet potato croqs with habanero chipotle mayo and stone ground honey mustard.  Nice way to pretend you are being healthy but you are not.

Walnut Ginger Apple Salad - baby spinach, goat cheese crumbles, toasted crushed walnuts, apple wedges, applewood smoked thick cut bacon, honey lemon ginger vinaigrette.  Plus the aforementioned buttermilk fried chicken.  Honestly, the bacon was so hearty that I don't think I needed the additional chicken, but I did enjoy it.

Dim Sum Brunch at China Gourmet in West Orange, NJ

Dan and I met my parents for dim sum in West Orange.  This place was about a 10-15 minute drive away, which is pretty awesome.  Not the best dim sum I've had, but pretty solid.  Comparable prices to Chinatown,  if not a little cheaper, and things move pretty quickly.  They did have real carts, which I always prefer.  Definitely good to know there's a place so close when I'm craving dim sum.
Assortment of dim sum - pork buns, shrimp in rice wrapper, and some dumpling

Bok choy

Shrimp dumpling and shrimp shu mai

Shrimp in bean curd

Lots of pork shu mai

Noodle soup - sadly pretty bland.  But the only thing I would seriously complain about

Peking style pork chops - a childhood fav!  As good as where we used to go in Flushing

Lunch at Matthew's Italian Restaurant in Clifton, NJ

My parents wanted to go to Matthew's in Clifton as it supposedly has the best Italian food in Clifton.  Don't know if that's true, but it was solid.  Everything could've use more seasoning, which was kind of strange, but the ingredients tasted fresh.  Also some great bread.  I wouldn't say it was a particularly memorable meal, but not a bad one.  I don't really see why it would be so raved about though.
Calamari - nicely breaded and fried.  Could've used more salt. 

Tortellini Alla Panna - cheese tortellini, pancetta, peas, mushrooms, cream sauce.  All things HP loves so Dan and I split this along with the filet mignon sandwich.  This was delicious and super rich.

Chicken parm panini - same comment about the seasoning

Bistecca verde sandwich- filet mignon, fresh mozzarella, and broccoli rabe.  Delicious combo of ingredients, and they were all fresh and tasty.  But again, could've used more salt.

Pollo pronto sandwich - chicken, provolone, arugula, onion, sun dried tomato with pesto.  Good but not outstanding.  Again, more seasoning needed.

Dinner at Ho Ho Restaurant in East Rutherford, NJ

I was really craving Korean food so Dan and I went to East Rutherford.  The menu is kind of small, definitely not the fusino types that are really popular and that I enjoy frequenting.  But everything was delicious, authentic, and not expensive.  Plus they gave us ban chan, which is a favorite.  I would definitely go back as it was a really easy trip from our apt.
Traditional ban chan.  Loved it all

Steamed egg.  At first we didn't know what this was haha but it was part of the ban chan.  We added this to our dumpling soup (below)

Seafood pancake!  It was a little greasy but still delicious

Dumpling soup.  It was a little bland but definitely warming

Jap-chae noodles with short rib.  By the time this came out I was already kind of full.  The meat was well seasoned and the plate was HUGE.  I think we had leftovers for 2-3 meals

Spicy pork bibimbap.  Again, I was pretty full by this point, but this was pretty tasty.  I think the regular bulgogi bowl had more veggies.  But the rice was nice and crispy on the bottom and the pork delicious with a kick

Some yogurt/smoothie-type dessert.  Not my fav but it was free

Dinner from Cuban Pete's in Montclair, NJ

Dan and I got take-out from Cuban Pete's in Montclair.  The portions were ginormous and everything really tasty and authentic-tasting.  It definitely rivaled the places in Jersey City, and they were pretty quick in preparing it to go.  I would love to come back to actually eat there, especially when it's warm out as it looks like they have a beautiful outdoor area.
Arroz con Pollo up front, pernil in the back

Pernil with plaintains and white rice.  Meat was juicy with not too much fat. Plaintains also well cooked.  The rice was great mixed with beans

Arroz con pollo - again very moist rice, plaintains cooked well, and chicken also cooked well.  My only critique was that the chicken pieces weren't the most choice pieces.  A lot of bones.

Two sizeable containers of black beans.  Great meaty flavor.

Dinner at Guero's Taco Bar in Austin, TX

It was pretty ambitious of us to actually go out for dinner following lunch at Salt Lick.  We made a valiant attempt at eating but it was a bit of a sorry show.  We told the wait stuff about lunch though, so they wouldn't think we didn't like the food.  It was delicious and authentic but tough to get through when we all felt like we had bbq food babies.
Delicious queso dip

Taco platter (brisket and al pastor) with rice and beans.  Delicious and very inexpensive for the size

Taco plate - al pastor pictured.  Good but the brisket was freaking amazing

Brisket taco.  Better than the brisket at Salt Lick.  Sooo good that I ate it all despite being so stuffed.  The beans were pretty amazing too

Lunch at The Salt Lick in Driftwood, TX

In Austin, TX, so we of course we had to have BBQ!  Salt Lick is featured on the Food Network and Travel Channel all the time for its amazing bbq, so we had to take a brief car ride to try it.  It definitely did not disappoint.  The place itself was pretty huge, though the amount of cars in the parking lot made us worry a little.  But I guess everything is bigger in Texas, but they can accommodate that.  We each got a Rancher (brisket, pork ribs, sausage, and turkey) plus Debbie, Susie and I shared a beef rib.  We had considered doing all you can eat meat, which thankfully we did not do because this was so filling that we all had leftovers, and this was cheaper.  Although even the AYCE wasn't expensive by NY standards.  Of the meats, I think the pork ribs were my fav, closely followed by the sausage.  A lot of people liked the sausage first.  Honestly it was all delicious though, including the sides - cole slaw, which thankfully was not so mayo-y but vinegar based; potato salad, which also seemed less mayo-y, and delicious meaty beans.  I want to go back already thinking about it.

The Rancher (from top, clockwise) cole slaw, potato salad, beans, brisket, pork ribs, turkey, and sausage

Giant beef rib - good but the pork rib was better

Peach and blueberry cobbler.  Shockingly I liked the blueberry better.  Not pictured - vanilla ice cream, which makes any dessert infinitely better