Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Dinner at Red Farm in NYC

Had a lovely ladies dinner at Red Farm in NYC.  I've been wanting to go there for years but the no-reservations policy has deterred me.  Fortunately we got seated immediately (I was late ...woops) and the food was delicious.  It is a little bit pricey but I think worth it for the innovative and well-executed food.  I loved everything but the Katz's pastrami egg roll was by far my fav.  There are so many options so would love to come back and try some other things.
Katz's Pastrami Egg Roll with perfectly balanced mustard dipping sauce

Kumamoto Oysters Meyer with Lemon Yuzu Ice - didn't have this but both Debbie and Pooja really enjoyed it

Pac Man Shrimp dumplings with sweet potato pac man and guacamole.  Each dumpling had something diff inside.  They were tasty though very small so prob not really worth the $15 price tag.  Loved the sweet potato and guac combo though

Crunchy Vegetable and Peanut Dumplings - I really enjoyed the crunch of the peanuts.  So different

Scallion pancakes with side of bacon bits.  Well done and loved the dipping sauce as well

Thin Rice Noodles, Vegetables, Singapore-style - I had a little and it was good though reminded me of a lesser Pancit

Pork and Crab Soup dumplings - great flavor and very large.  Not sure if they were the best I've had but high quality

Crispy Skin Smoked Chicken with garlic - delicious smokey flavor.  Perfectly crisp skin and delish peanut dipping sauce.  We were pretty full by the time we got this though so took it to go

Home-made bruscetta and fettucine vongole

Dan made a delicious home-made Italian meal for Valentine's day, inspired both by food we've eaten at Italian restaurants and Jacques Pepin's tv show.  He made a bruscetta with ricotta, honey, and walnuts, inspired by bruscetta we had at Roman Nose on New Year's Eve. He also made fresh pasta - fettucine - with garlic, white wine, and clams.  I've had linguine with clams at many Italian restaurants and it's become one of my fav pasta dishes as it's generally light and very garlicky.  Making home-made pasta was a several hour long process, but soo much better than boxed pasta.  Excited to make more home-made pasta in the future.
Bruscetta with ricotta, walnuts, honey, and some with pear

Close up of bruscetta.  SO GOOD.  Could eat this and die happy

Lots of home-made fettucine bundles

Lots of pasta!

Beautiful plate of fettucine with clams

Dessert from Ferrara Bakery in NYC

After our delicious dinner at Seamore's, we swung by Ferrara Bakery nearby in Little Italy and picked up various pastries for future dessert/breakfast.  We got some large and mini cannolis as well as biscotti.  I've been to Ferrara before but hadn't had any of the baked goods; I think I had gotten gelato.  The cannolis were great, even days later.  The almond biscotti was delicious but neither of us loved the hazelnut biscotti.  There was a strange aftertaste.  Still, a successful dessert venture.

Dinner at Seamore's in NYC

Dan and I finally made it to Seamore's in NYC, a seafood restaurant owned by Michael Chernow of the Meatball Shop and FoodPorn tv show fame.  They don't take reservations, which was a mild turn-off.  We arrived and were told there was a 45-minute wait.  Normally we hate to wait but we toughed it out at the bar and I got a delicious watermelon juice drink.  We were seated in only about 25 minutes though, which was a pleasant surprise.  Everything we had was incredible.  Best fish tacos I've had.  Top 2 ramen dishes I've had, probably best ramen outside of Hawaii.  There are also many other things I'm dying to try on their dinner and brunch menus, so I'm sure we will be back.
Fresh watermelon juice with vodka.  So deliciously refreshing

Poke with ponzu, peanuts, and avocado - some of the best poke I've had.  At first I thought it was a massive portion ut there was cabbage underneath the poke.  Fresh tasting tuna, well-dressed, and loved having avocado and peanut textures.  The chips were also delicious on their own.
Oh Boy - crispy skate, pickled peppers, and special cause with side of sweet potato fries. Great fried fish sandwich.  I didn't have much because was so full of everything else we ate though.  Dan loved this sammie
Crispy fish tacos - with cabbage, guacamole, and chipotle mayo.  The fish used that day was dogfish, which I don't think I'd ever had.  The fish was perfectly fried.  At first I thought only two tacos would be small but they were huge pieces of fish, prob the size of a hotdog.  I got full off of one.  The crunch of the greens and radish made it light-ish.  The chipotle mayo was also perfection

Special ramen with monk fish.  Such amazing flavor in the broth, which was both chicken and fish based.  Perfect egg, loved all the other items inside (corn, spinach I think, bean sprouts, mushroom).  The monkfish was also soo well cooked.  Great char and silky texture.  I hope they put this on the menu permanently

Dinner from Taqueria Viva Mexico Kitchen Cafe in Jersey City, NJ

Dan and I ordered take-out from Taqueria Viva.  Portions are huge, food comes quickly and tastes pretty authentic.  We still have not gone to the actual restaurant but all the food we've ever had was great quality.  The menu is massive though so sometimes it's hard to make a decision.
Al Pastor Burrito with cheese, black beans, pico de gallo, guacamole, rice and lettuce.  A little light on the guac but otherwise can't complaint.  Giant portion that lasted two meals

Shredded Chicken Enchiladas - three corn tortillas filled with shredded chicken, smothered with green sauce and topped with Mexican cream, cheese, red onions, and avocado.  Served with rice and refried beans.  Dan really enjoyed it.  This too was incredibly large

Close-up of al pastor burrito

Friday, February 12, 2016

Brunch at Orale in Jersey City, NJ

Had a nice bottomless brunch at Orale in JC.  The food was delicious, as usual.  The drinks were strong and plentiful.  Definitely a quality spot for brunch or dinner.
Breakfast burger with fried egg, blue & chihuahua cheese, crisp pork belly, lettuce, tomato, pickled onion and chipotle aioli.  Plus home fries.  Burger was delicious and loved the pork belly

Nicole got Carnitas tacos.  Their pork is always so well cooked

Dinner at South House in Jersey City, NJ

Dan and I finally made it to South House in JC.  At least three times we've tried to eat there and the line was crazy.  We went on the early side though so got seated right away.  Sadly the food did not live up to the hype.  Generally it was mediocre.  Definitely nothing worth coming back for, and not so representative of delicious Texas food.
BBQ wings - dry rub and candied BBQ sauce.  Well cooked wings but a little sweet

Bacon wrapped onion wings with creamy sriracha sauce.  Incredibly rich.  

Country Fried Steak - with country gravy, brussel sprouts and mashed potatoes.  Dan liked it but thought it was also excessively rich

Chopped brisket mac and cheese sandwich and fries

Close up of brisket mac sandwich.  Tasty but could only eat half.  The brisket was more like pulled pork than what I think of as brisket

Banana pudding.  It's no baonanas.  Didn't taste too banana-y, which I enjoyed

Caramel bread pudding.  A little bitter actually more than sweet

Home-made buttermilk pancakes

I made some delicious home-made buttermilk chocolate chip pancakes.  I modified a recipe I found online.  Super fluffy and easy to make.  I've always preferred baking to cooking and it felt much more like baking, which was fun.  Best pancakes I've ever made.  Here's the recipe:

Dry ingredients:
1 cup all-purpose flour
2 T white sugar
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/4 tsp salt

1 cup buttermilk
2 T and 2 tsp milk (1/6 cup)
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 eggs
1 T and 2 1/4 tsp butter, melted (1/6 cup)

(1) Combine wet and dry ingredients in separate bowls.
(2) Heat lightly oiled griddle or frying pan over medium heat.
(3) Pour the wet mixture into the dry mixture.  Stir until it's just blend together.  Pour approx 1/2 cup batter onto the griddle. Brown on both sides and serve hot.

Dinner from The Tuck Shop in NYC

We picked up some meat pies from The Tuck Shop and ate them at home.  The Tuck Shop is Australian and the pies were really flavorful and inexpensive, about $6 each.  The lamb pie was awesome.  The Guinness beef pie was okay.  The beer made it a little bitter tasting I think.  There are lots of other pies/flavors that I'd like to try fresh.  I also would love to try the sausage roll as I heard it's the best thing there.
Guinness beef pie

Lamb pie with veggies

Lunch at Black Seed Bagels in NYC

I swung by Brookfield Place for a quick lunch and finally tried Black Seed Bagels, which serves Montreal-style bagels. Normally I rag on that but it was actually great with the lox, cream cheese, and capers I got.  The bagel had a great chew and stood up well to the rest of the ingredients.  There were a little too many capers so it seemed salty.  Also kind of pricey, but glad I tried it.  Days later we got some bagels for breakfast and they were delish.

Home-made chicken soup

I was feeling pretty lousy so Dan made me a HUGE crock pot of chicken soup.  He used boneless thighs and bowties with the staples - celery and carrots.  Delicious and lasted for a long time.  Also great with crusty sourdough bread.

Lunch at Num Pang in NYC

Dan and I went to Brookfield Place at lunch and got some Cambodian sammies at Num Pang.  The meat portions seemed huge for some reason.  The line there was much shorter than other places and for about $8 a pop, a great deal.  Sandwiches were excellent as usual.  Sometime I'd like to try their soup or salad but it's hard to resist getting a sandwich because their toppings and the bread are so good.
Five spiced pork belly sandwich.  That piece of pork belly was HUGE.  Like 10 inches.

Ginger bbq brisket.  Also excellent.  Pulled style

Dinner at Noreetuh in NYC

Dan and I finally went to Noreetuh for Restaurant Week and it was amazing.  We've missed Hawaii and this food totally reminded us of the delicious food we had there, and inspired us to want to go back this year.  Most everything on their regular menu was available for their RW menu.  I would love to come back to try a few other things on the menu.
Corned Beef Tongue Musubi with cilantro and peanuts.  Not on the RW menu but we had to get it.  Best musubi we've ever had

Big-eye Tuna Poke - macadamia nuts, pickled jalapeno and seaweed.  So fresh and loved the nuts
Kahlua pork croquettes with cabbage and katsu sauce.  Great flavor and loved the freshness of the cabbage with the sweet sauce

Pineapple braised pork belly - yams, mustard greens, and peanuts.  Looked like it would be fatty because it was so soft but not fatty at all, just braised well and full of meat.  A little bit sweet but again loved the nuts
Char-grilled octopus - gochujang braised romano beans, bell peppers.  Part of the octopus was a little bit tough but overall it was well cooked.  Not that memorable of a dish but well cooked

King's Hawaiian Bread Pudding with rum raisins and pineapple ice cream.  Dan enjoyed this heartily

Chocolate Haupia Sundae with almonds, graham cracker, and coconut ice cream.  Perfect balance of flavor.  The cracker also had a salty taste which was great with the sweetness of everything else.  The chocolate haupia tasted kind of like jello pudding.

After everything they gave us this shortbread.  Tasty but was pretty full by then

Dinner at Raval in Jersey City, NJ

We had a double date at Raval for Restaurant Week and it was probably one of the worst dinners I've ever had - both food and ambiance wise.  First of all, they don't take reservations.  Not the worst thing, but kind of strange since it doesn't seem that busy.  Second, you have to seat yourself.  Except when I would try to do that, I'd be told the spaces were too small for our party.  So maybe then you should have someone eating people!  The food was also just not good. I've never had bad Spanish food/tapas, but most of these were legit bad.  The tortilla just had a weird taste and the patatas bravas were prob the best thing we had, which isn't saying much because it's hard to mess up fried potatoes.  Definitely will never come back.
Crisp chickpeas and kale - tasty but not very Spanish 

Jamon croquetas - one tapa was only two pieces.  Couldn't really taste the ham

Tortilla Espanola - had no taste

Patatas Bravas - best part of the meal but nothing memorable

Pork Belly - duroc confit, winter squash, pickled chiles with sherry honey glaze and pumpkin seeds.  Also not too memorable

Morcilla, sobressada, and mahon bikini - grilled cheese with different meats.  Not bad but nothing spectacular