Sunday, October 2, 2016

Lunch at Miso Ramen in Jersey City, NJ

We went to Miso Ramen on a cold, dreary day for ramen.  Since it was mid-day, the place had plenty of seats.  Unfortunately service wasn't great.  Our appetizer came after our ramen, which took awhile to come.  Our waiter disappeared and we had to have a different waitress pack up our leftovers and bring our check.  We were waiting for the check it felt like longer than we actually ate.  The food was solid and inexpensive but just a disappointing service experience.
My Pork Ramen in miso broth: soft marbeled pork, sesame, menma, mushroom, scallions, black garlic oil, soft-boiled egg.  Delicious.  The black garlic oil was incredible, and the pork so soft and a large portion

My ramen all mixed up

Dan's sliced chicken ramen in shoyu broth - sliced chicken, sesame, menma, mushroom, scallions, black garlic oil, soft-boiled egg. Tasted healthy and they also added some seaweed and lots of sesame seeds.  Good flavor as well and very home-y like chicken soup would be

Grilled squid that took forever to come out.  I thought the texture was nice but Dan thought it was a bit dry since it didn't have a sauce.  Good flavor in my opinion but would've preferred having a dipping sauce.  I started dipping it in my broth, which def enhanced it

Dinner from Taqueria Viva in Jersey City, NJ

Dan and I ordered dinner from Taqueria Viva.  I tried something new this time, and it was delicious but so filling.  We got way too much food, not shockingly.
Dan got two Gorditas (stuffed, fried corn sandwiches).  One was a Tinga Gordita - shredded chicken in chipotle sauce, lettuce, Mexican cream, white cheese and onion.  He also got a Chicarron Gordita - fried pork skin, lettuce, Mexican cream, white cheese and onion

Nachos Rancheros with steak, cheese, guacamole, sour cream (on the side), pico de gallo, jalapenos, and black beans

My Sopes with carnitas - special thick homemade corn tortillas with fried pork, refried beans, white cheese, lettuce, and Mexican cream

Dinner at City Diner in Jersey City, NJ

For a quick dinner, City Diner is always a great option.  Super close and food comes pretty quickly if you eat in.  Dan felt like breakfast but I wanted something savory and comforting.  The meatloaf dinner was huge.  Took home leftovers and the next day, we had meatloaf sandwiches.
Dan got B.F.F. Toast - Bananas Foster French Toast with home-made rum sauce

Firecracker Meatloaf dinner - spicy ketchup gravy, onion frizzles, spinach mashed potatoes (instead of garlic red skinned mashed potatoes) and seasonal veggies of carrots, squash, and zucchini.  Great plate but giant.  Three huge slices of meatloaf

Lunch from Pret-a-Manger in Washington, DC

On our way home, I stopped by Pret-a-Manger for a quick lunch.  Pret has a great new fall menu, and I was especially impresesd by their mac and cheese.  So hearty and delicious and no meat required.
Butternut Squash and Ricotta Mac & Cheese - Ditalini pasta carefully mixed with roasted butternut squash, cheddar, cauliflower florets, parmesan, fresh spinach and topped with ricotta cheese.

Delicious and big chunks of squash.  Loved the spinach mixed through and ricotta was nice and fluffy

Thanksgiving Lunch sammie - Roasted turkey breast topped with pork & apricot stuffing, cranberry sauce, crispy onions, spinach, and a touch of mayo on granary bread.

Lots going on.  A little bit soggy.  Would be better on a hard roll I think though flavors were there.  I enjoyed the stuffing a lot

Brunch at Zaytinya in Washington, DC

Dan and I had our second Jose Andres meal in DC in one weekend, this time joined by a DC friend Natty.  I've always wanted to go to Zaytinya in my time living in DC but just never made it.  Great Mediterranean food.  Not sure how a Spanish chef can be so great at his style and then also Mediterranean, but everything was delicious and well prepared.  We got too much food though, so again felt stuffed at the end.  We did one four-course for $25 and also ordered dishes a la carte.  A lot of the traditional dishes from the 4-course-deal that I've had a million times in my life were really solid, just nothing that blew my mind.
Fresh bread that they kept refilling

1st course - Great hummus

Crispy Brussels Afelia - brussel sprouts, coriander seeds, barberries and garlic yogurt.  Loved the charredness of the sprourts and the garlic yogurt was amazing on it

2nd course - falafel.  Delicious but not memorable in mind considering all the falafel I've eaten

Seared Halloumi Cheese with dates, pomengranate, orange, and mint.  I think this was my fav dish.  Everything was just perfect together.  I wouldn't necessarily think of this combo but was amazing and a must-order

Fried Squid with garlic yogurt sauce - nicely fried and big, meaty pieces.  Again though not that memorable considering all the calamari I've had in my life

3rd course - Adana Kebab - skewered ground lamb, housemade harissa, grilled tomatoes, and sumac onions.  Great flavor of lamb.  Was getting pretty full by the time it came out so I didn't eat as much as I would've liked

Duck Shakshuka - duck egg poached in peppery tomato sauce with smoked duck confit and pickled chiles.  Great flavor.  I think this was both Dan and Natty's fav.  I enjoyed it a lot and appreciated the complexity - a tad spicy for me :-O

4th course: Turkish Delight - walnut ice cream, yogurt mousse, honey gelee, orange caramel sauce and caramelized pine nuts.  Delicious and so many flavors but was so so full

Breakfast from Astro Doughnuts & Fried Chicken in Washington, DC

We grabbed some donuts from Astro near our hotel.  Even though the place had opened only 30 mins ago there was a line!  I guess since it's small.  Donuts were good but nothing crazy good like we have here.  We didn't want to eat too much since we had brunch plans, so didn't try any of the fried chicken dishes.  Next time.
Donuts of the day

Roasted Banana Malt and Creme Brulee.  The creme brulee was really good.  Nice hard glazed texture.  Banana donut was too sweet

Also got a vanilla glazed (bottom right).  Good but not better than the donuts at Glazed Donut or Doughnut Plant in NYC area

Dinner at Jaleo in Washington, DC

Dan and I had an incredible meal at Jaleo in Washington, DC.  In town for a wedding, we were conveniently staying within a short walk from Jaleo.  Seriously the best Spanish food outside of Spain.  We ordered way too much.  Tried to order the same number of dishes as last time, but I forgot that two of those dishes were just meat and cheese.  Fortunately Dan carried us home because I bowed out somewhat early.  Love everything we ever eat there!
Cava Sangria fish bowl.  Didn't realize we were getting this size but we made it through

Delicious bread and olive oil.  It was hard not to fill up so much

Flamenquines - rock spring farm pork roll filled with iberico ham and cheese, breaded and deep-fried.  Ridiculously good but very filling and a pretty large portion
Rossejat - traditional paella of toasted pasta with shrimp and calamari.  Never had paella with pasta before but this was excellent.  Also large for only $14!

Ensalada Campera - salad of conserved tuna, fingerling potatoes, green beans,tomatoes, and hard boiled eggs.  I forgot how much I loved this salad when I was in Spain.  Everything works perfectly together and is so hearty.  The whole salad is dressed in oil and vinegar, so even eating the iceberg lettuce is delicious.  I also normally don't like tuna that's not in steak form, but in this salad I LOVE IT

A special with soft shell crab.  Delish, but the least exciting of everything we ate which is CRAZY.  When do you go to a nice restaurant and say the soft shell crab dish is the least exciting.  Still divine and perfectly fried.  Loved the tomato salad with it

Pollo al ajillo con salsa verde - grilled marinated chicken served with parsley puree and garlic sauce.  The garlic sauce was a little sweet, almost like mole.  So delicious

Pulpo a La Gallega - boiled octopus with peewee potatoes, pimenton (pepper) and olive oil.  Last time we were at Jaleo, they ran out of this so we were so happy that they had this.  SO incredible.  Octopus was perfectly good and tasted as good if not better than any octopus we had in Spain

Chorizo Casero con pure de patatas al aceite de oliva - housemade traditional chorizo with olive oil mashed potatoes and cider sauce.  This was delicious and so flavorful, but it was the last dish brought out so I was stuffed and could barely eat it.  Fortunately Dan made room

Traditional Flan with Catalan cream foam and orange.  One of the best flans we've eaten.  So silky and the sauce and cream added perfect balance

Dinner from Krispy Pizza in Jersey City, NJ

Dan and I ordered pizza by the slice from a nearby pizza joint.  I think when you order by the slice, while it seems good in your head because it's cheap and you can try different things, inevitably it's less fresh and more dry.  Such was the case here.  Some good flavors but the slices were lukewarm and definitely seemed like they had been sitting out awhile.  Contrast to the arancini, which were fresh, HUGE, but needed to be cooked/fried more.  Maybe better if you actually eat in house.
Dan got two margherita slices

I got a Grandma slice and chicken parm.  The chicken parm was good, but would've been better reheated more.  The grandma slice was sadly very dry
Giant arancini ball

Inside with ground meat and peas

Lunch from Redwood Deli in Kew Gardens, Queens, NY

My fav lunch meal has been the Wednesday special salad at Redwood Deli.  Comes with a small soup too, and usually I eat the salad over two lunches, so a good deli money-wise. Pretty healthy and tasty and much cheaper than if I attempted to have all the ingredients at home.
Kale Krush Salad - Large baby kale salad with grilled chicken, grapes, walnuts, dried cranberries, and orange vinaigrette

Lunch at Salt Lick BBQ in Dallas/Fort-Worth Airport, TX

We had a layover in Dallas/Fort-Worth, and to our pleasant surprise, there was a Salt Lick!  However, it was like 5am, so we were very concerned it wouldn't be open.  Fortunately it was, though only had the limited breakfast menu.  Clearly not even 25% as good as the actual restaurant.  But still, it was Salt Lick.  Apparently in Texas it super easy to get a breakfast burrito, because I was really excited that Salt Lick had it, but afterwards while we were walking around, every food spot had them haha.
Oh well, sounds like another purposeful trip to Texas needs to happen in the future.
Breakfast burrito with egg, cheese, potatos, brisket, and bacon.  Yes please

Lunch at Zippy's in Kahului, Maui, HI

Our last meal in Maui was at Zippy's, a fast food diner-y chain similar to I-Hop.  The food was fine, nothing incredible, but nice that they had made-to-order malasadas, especially filled ones.  The service was a little strange, namely the weird waitress who made comments that Joe was good looking like her son and Nancy was so thin.  But any way, glad we got to try it before we left the island.
Fresh chocolate filled malasadas.  Good but the inside texture was thicker than I thought.  More like haupia than straight up cream

My Saimin bowl as it was kind of cold out.  Glad to try it but I'm sure there are better saimin places elsewhere

Dan's Portuguese bean stew.  Kind of a mix of minestrone and chili.  Hard to explain, but apparently very popular

Breakfast at Tasty Crust Restaurant in Wailuku, Maui, HI

Dan and I had breakfast at Tasty Crust, a very home-y diner in central Maui near the airport.  We didn't eat a ton since we had lunch plans, but glad to try it.  Their pancakes were very different from 808 Grindz, according to Dan, but still solid.  More like traditional pancakes, with huge banana chunks.  I got a small order of fried rice and Portuguese sausage, because I basically fell in love with the Portuguese sausage there.  I was glad they had small and large options for sizes
Fav meat

"Small" fried rice with ham and bacon, and topped with a fried egg

Dan's ginormous short stack of banana pancakes.  I had advised him to get a single pancake but he didn't listen.  Valiant effort though

Dessert from McDonald's in Kahului, Maui, HI

We went to McDonald's to try a Hawaiian breakfast, McD style.  Unfortunately it was past 11am.  They had all-day breakfast of traditional McD foods (biscuits, mcmuffins, etc). but not their rice plates.  So we just settled for a taro fried pie, similar to their apple pie. Definitely different, very sweet and chunks of taro.  Glad we tried it but wouldn't come back just for that.

Dinner at Pa'ia Fish Market in Lahaina, Maui, HI

Our last dinner in Maui was at Pa'ia Fish Market, where our first meal was.  We went to the new branch by our hotel in Lahaina though.  Much more spacious, clean, and no wait.  We been eating such heavy food that I thought seafood would be a nice, light change, and it was exactly what we wanted/craved.  I got a salad but my fish was GIANT.  Delicious though.  Nice and firm and flaky.
Dan got a blackened/cajun mahi burger.  Lots of cheese as you can see

I got the Garden Seafood Salad with ono and papaya dressing.  I LOVED the dressing so much.  The ono was gigantic.  Like maybe 9 inches long haha