Friday, June 24, 2016

Dinner at 2nd City in NYC

Dan and I went to 2nd City, a new Filipino taqueria in the West Village.  The place is tiny, only about 10 seats total at the bar and surrounding area.  The menu is also small, though there are apparently a few things on a secret menu, which we took advantage of for dessert.  Everything we ate was delicious, and shockingly filling.  Definitely want to come back for brunch and to try the rest of the menu.  Best to come with only one other person because of the space issues.  They also don't have their liquor license yet but their calamansi juice was on point.  Loved the cheeky names of the dishes.  I forgot to take a photo of the sign outside, but it said something like "put buns in your mouth" HA.
Calamansi juice

Hot Fili Chick - 2 mini crispy chicken sandwiches with katsu calamansi dredge, mayo on potato roll.  Delicious sauce and a great bite

Poke Me - sushi grade tuna, sweet miso, coconut steamed rice, scallions, wontons, avocado, carrots and red onion.  Perfect combo of ingredients.  Loved the tuna in miso and the coconut rice made it even better

Nice Buns - 2 crispy fried pork belly bao buns, sweet and tangy pickles, scallions and bbq sauce.  Amazing baos

Secret menu item - Tap that Ube! 

Pandan cake (puto-like) with coconut buttercream and ube ice cream!  Apparently the ube ice cream is made for them by some place in Jersey...hmm...

Lunch at El Pollo Campero in Corona, NY

Swung by Pollo Campero for lunch after my clinic.  Their grilled chicken is great - so flavorful and surprising for a fast food place.  They didn't have any ready so I waited ten minutes for fresh batch.  My only complaint is the pieces are pretty tiny.  I wasn't really full after but it was still delicious.  The side of plantains were a little over sugared, a tad soggy.  But a nice compliment to the saltiness of the chicken.
Grilled Chicken with plantains

Lunch from Project Eats in Jersey City, NJ

I picked up some quick eats from Cow and the Curd and Eemas Cuisine at Project Eats street food festival in JC.  The cheese curds are always the best!  Like a mozzarella stick on crack.  And the musubi was amazing.  Spam is better than the chicken katsu in my opinion, the latter which was a bit dry and too much chicken to rice ratio.  Both places need to open store fronts in my opinion because I don't like having to wait 6 months to eat their food.
I thought ahead and brought tupperware.  Cheese curds from Cow and the Curd

Spam Musubi on top, and Chicken Katsu musubi on bottom.  Both came with beautiful edible flowers

Dinner at Greene Hook in Jersey City, NJ

We went to Greene Hook for a weekend dinner and had another great meal.  Their food is always solid. I even tried their oysters, which Dan said was super fresh.  The fried chicken had great flavor, no idea who is in their kitchen.  And my burger, which at first looked small, was packed with flavor.  The bacon marmalade was killer.  Definitely a good choice for either brunch or dinner.
Fresh market oysters.  Some were huge

Bucket of Fried Chicken for one.  Came with mac and cheese and jalapeno biscuits.  Both the sides were amazing and we jazzed up the mac and cheese with bacon from my burger

Chef's Burger - maitake mushrooms, bacon shallot marmalade, toasted bun, parsley salad and fries.  The burger itself was super flavorful and rich.  Whatever blend is amazing.  The marmalade was the star though.  Made it supremely flavorful and as mentioned, added even more to the mac and cheese

Dinner from Deccan Spice in Jersey City, NJ

We ordered take-out from a new Indian restaurant in JC because the yelp reviews noted they had some great cauliflower/gobi manchurian, which I believe we all loved at Kavita's wedding.  Fortunately this was the right dish and all the food we got was delicious, with some definite heat.  I felt bad not ordering from Rasoi, almost like betrayal, but unfortunately they do not have this delicious cauliflower dish on their menu.  They may at the buffet but still haven't made it to that.
Samosa with 

Gobi Manchurian on top, and Butter Chicken.  Both were delicious.  The gobi tasted a bit like General Tso's and the butter chicken had great flavor and the chicken was super tender.  Didn't get a great shot of the actual chicken

Goat curry - big chunks of tender goat in a nice spicy sauce

Naan - nice and fluffy

Brunch at Roman Nose in Jersey City, NJ

We had brunch with the 'rents at Roman Nose.  The pizza sizes there are gi-normous fyi.  I had to get the lemon olive oil pancakes because they are the best pancakes I've ever eaten.  Everyone got to share though, which was good.  The pizzas were tasty but as noted, so large.
Funghi e Spinaci - mushrooms, spinach, ricotta, garlic and mozzarella pizza.  Tasty but not that memorable

Lemon Ricotta Olive Oil pancakes with citrus marscapone. Seriously my fav pancakes ever.  Just the right thickness, nice crust, and still fluffy.  Plus of course the lemon flavor and citrus marscapone butter

Zucchine Pizza - grilled zucchini, mozzarella, and parmigiano

Orecchiette alle Cime di Rapa con Salsiccia - with broccoli rabe, fennel-pork sausage, and a dash of red pepper.  My dad got it and I didn't try it but he finished it and said it was well cooked.  Not undercooked like a certain other place we went to

Dinner from Chicken Factory in Hoboken, NJ

I ordered some Korean Fried Chicken from Chicken Factory in Hoboken.  A Bonchon type Korean Fried Chicken place.  The chicken came quickly but was a little more expensive than Bonchon, though didn't have as high of a minimum order.  The sweet and spicy version was super spicy though and saucy.  I prefer Bonchon for my KFC needs even if it sometimes takes longer.
Half and half - 1/2 soy garlic and 1/2 sweet and spicy

Dinner at Left Bank Burger Bar in Jersey City, NJ

We had a burger craving so headed to Left Bank Burger Bar.  I am frequently intrigued by the burger battle so I got the winner of the prior week.  Delicious combo but the bagel made it a bit challenging to eat.  Everything we get there is always amazing but often end up leaving stuffed, as was the case this time.
Pork Rinds served with apple cider vinegar.  Delish and only $3

Chilltown Fries - butcher's chili, cheese, smoked bacon and jalapeno.  Delicious app.  The chili had great flavor and bacon chunks were large.  Just veryyy filling so made eating our burgers difficult

Chillmatic Burger - house blend burger, smoked bacon, lobster salad, house potato chip, mixed greens, tomato and red onion.  Dan got this and there was a ton going on.  The lobster was actually generous and had great flavor but I think maybe a little too much happening for it to be the star
Huge chips!

Lamb that Rocks da Bagel (Winner of the previous week) - Lamb patty, caramelized red onion, fresh avocado, smoked bacon, swiss cheese, garlic herb mayo and onion bagel.  Again, lots going on.  All the stuff on the bagel worked great together.  I think an onion roll would've made this killer but the bagel was too much to chew with all the toppings.  I ended up removing the bagel about half way through and just eating the insides

Dinner at Flex Mussels in NYC

Went to Flex Mussels for happy hour/dinner around 14th St.  Some nice deals food-wise, and also drink-wise.  Unfortunately my friend is not into mussels, but we still shared a wonderful assortment of seafood which was significantly cheaper than non HH times.  And of course got the amazing donuts!
Clam Strips - cornmeal crusted, crispy jalapenos with cilantro lima crema.  Great thick pieces of clam and the cornmeal breading was very unique.  Pretty filling.  Delicious dipping sauce as well

Crab Meat Guacamole with house-made chips.  Tasty because can't go wrong with crab or avocado, but not super memorable

Fish Taco with crispy red cabbage jicama slaw and chipotle aioli.  Great taco and also very filling

Scallops with swiss chard I think and a puree.  Best part of the meal though not HH

Flex Donut Collection!  We shared chocolate, salted caramel, cinnamon sugar, and PBJ.  Of course came with the best part- vanilla dipping sauce

Main reason I go to Flex

Home-made seafood dinner

Dan was inspired by a Basque cookbook I bought him and he attempted a delicious seafood centered meal.  He got some fresh scallops and cod from the nearby JC Fish Stand and attempted salted cod and scallops.  The scallops were amazing - great sear and flavor with a nice veggie accompaniment.  The salted cod needed some time to dry out.  Unfortunately a little too salty to enjoy, but days later other salted cod was delicious.  Apparently needed more than a day to salt and dry out.  But beautiful presentation and the scallops were as good as any restaurant.
Salted Cod with piri piri sauce and garlic

Seared scallops with asparagus

Thursday, June 9, 2016

Dinner from Gypsy Grill in Jersey City, NJ

Dan was craving some street meat so we decided to order from Gypsy Grill in JC.  We've never been there but pass it all the time on Newark Ave.  Not quite Halal Guys but solid food.  The lamb in particular was very good.  I found the chicken a little salty, and the falafel was not as memorable and a little bit dry.  But the spinach and feta roll was delicious - flaky dough and well seasoned inside.  White sauce was also good, though again not quite HG.  After all these years glad we finally tried it.
Chicken schwafel box - chicken schwarma, falafel, and salad over rice.  The falafel was a bit dry and just didn't do much for me, though the sesame seeds were something I've never seen.  The chicken had good flavor but was a little dry and also a tad too salty

Spinach and feta roll.  No complaints

Lamb and beef platter with salad over rice.  Hard to physically differentiate between the two meats, but I think the lamb was more juicy and flavorful

Many sauces and pita!  We ordered extra white sauce of course

Monday, June 6, 2016

Brunch at Mile End Deli in NYC

We had a double parental and sibling brunch at Mile End.  Delicious Canadian style food - all super rich and perfect for when you feel like garbage.  I don't know if anyone else loves poutine as much as me, but it is always a good bet there.  We tried a couple of diff things and there are still many more things there I want to try!  But I always have to have poutine and I know how filling that is.
Crispy Corned Beef Sandwich with jalapeno scrambled eggs, cream cheese and an onion roll.  Massive.  I think Dan enjoyed it but I couldn't manage it at the time

Classic Poutine.  Must order

Smoked Duck Grilled Cheese - maple glaze, cheddar, fried egg, and rye toast.  Lots of flavor.  A little too sweet to finish in one sitting but actually reheated well

Smoked Meat Poutine.  Perfection

My mom got the LEO - scrambled eggs, smoked salmon, and caramelized onions.  She enjoyed it a lot (despite the salmon not being super cooked) but it too was massive.  She had to take half of it home

My dad got the smoked meat sandwich.  Classic Montreal 

Dinner at Le Bernardin in NYC

I took Dan for a fancy pants birthday dinner at Le Bernardin.  He had to make the reservation 60 days in advance and we got a 5:45pm time :-O.  We didn't actually eat until a normal hour for us so the early seating was fine.  The meal and service were both superb.  Definitely the best meal I've had in this country.  Also the most expensive meal of my life, but a once in a lifetime kind of meal.  We did the Bernardin Tasting (7 courses) for $180 each.

Ridiculously beautiful plate
Pretzel roll and foccacia with olives.  Two of the incredible breads we tried.  I tried not to OD because there were many bread options.  My fav was actually a buckwheat roll that I forgot to take a pic of but it was perfectly crunch and soft at the same time

Trio of complimentary amuse bouches.  (L to R) fluke crudo with chimichurri suace, tuna tarte with crispy rice and avocado summer roll.  All were perfect little bites and so fresh and spring-y
We skipped the wine pairing as we are more cocktail people and probably wouldn't have appreciated the wine pairings.  (L) 51st Street Manhattan - Michter's Rye, La Quintinye Dry Vermouth, Amaro Lucano, Benedictine and Angostura Bitters (R) Pear & Riesling Spritz - Champagne, Riesling & Pear Reduction, Angostura Bitters and Star Anise.  My Spritz was super refreshing

Hamachi - Flash marinated hamachi, young radishes, amaranth crisp and yuzu vinaigrette.  So light and fresh.  Loved the crisp on top and the texture was so smooth
Seafood Truffle Pasta - scallop, shrimp, lobster, tagliatelle and black truffle emulsion.  Seriously heavenly

M.L.C. Mezcal - ilegal mezcal, lime, makrut lime leaf, agave and makrut scented salad.  Beautiful drink

Snapper - crusted red snapper, pickled persian cucumbers, green curry-goat yogurt emulsion. A work of art and so delicious!  The two sauces were great together and the fish had a crust I had never seen - almost like fried chicken skin.  The cucumber was also perfect with everything.  P.S. Check out the fancy individual butter pot in the background. Earlier I had taken maybe three tiny scrapes on my knife and they moved it and put a fresh one down.  Crazy service

Black Bass "Surf and Turf" - crispy black bass and braised veal cheek, parsnip emulsion and five-spice reduction.  This was a very close second for my fav dish.  Both the fish and veal were cooked perfectly and oddly evyerthing was perfectly harmonious.  The broth had so much flavor and everything was wonderfully complimentary.  This was also the only dish with meat and the veal made that dish, although there wasn't much in it

Calamari - crab-filled calamari a la plancha (spanish style) with bamboo shoot wood ear mushroom pot au feu - excellent dish but to small of a portion.  Seriously wanted to lick that broth!  No idea how it was so flavorful from just mushrooms

Clementine - coconut yuzu sorbet with clementine snow.  I thought this was going to be a throwaway dish but that was insane because this was incredible.  So refreshing and great combo of textures and just the right amount of sweetness.  I think it's supposed to be a palate cleanser but honestly this would be a great dessert if there was nothing else

Special for the birthday boy-  Some kind of vanilla pudding/marshmallow.  I also missed taking a shot of the amazing Peruvian chocolate cake with caramelized fig and spiced chocolate ice cream.  For anyone who likes chocolate, one of the best chocolate dishes you can have.  If you LOVE chocolate, you will die from happiness 

Finale (complimentary ) - chocolate bon bon, coffee macaron, cherry financier and strawberry margarita.  All creative and delicious