Monday, January 30, 2006
We were seated in a room that seemed to be separated from the rest of the restaurant (perhaps the designated RW lunch room). The restaurant's design is simple and sophisticated (that's what those Scandanavians are good at, after all) as was the presentation of the dishes.
Three choices for bread, served individually by the waiter: a Swedish flatbread that reminded me of Triscuits, a pumpernickel bread and a small baguette all served with dill butter.
The RW menu consisted of four choices for appetizer and main course and two choices for dessert. Here is where the benefit of more dining companions comes in handy - you get to sample as much as possible from the menu, provided you bring other adventerous, willing-to-share diners. I started with the herring sampler, which I thought was the most interesting dish of the meal: four chunks of herring with different flavors each, accompanied by potatos and swiss cheese. I wish the menu had provided more detail on the preparations of herring, but unfortunately they took the bare minimum, obvious route of description: an assortment of herring. There was a classic herring with onion; a curried herring; a slightly sweet flavored herring served with a dollop of sour cream (?); and to be honest, I don't really know what the last preparation was, though it was topped with salmon roe. Each piece was different and packed a punch of flavor in its own unique way. I took my time with each bite to savor the bold tastes and textures.
The other two appetizers at our table: shrimp salad toast with golden white fish roe and frisee salad with mushrooms and goat cheese. Both good, but perhaps not particularly memorable.
Hot smoked salmon in an apple-horseradish broth with celeriac puree. The good-sized serving of fish, prepared medium rare, was beautifully pink and melt-in-your-mouth tender.
Warm roast beef accompanied by a potato gratin tart topped by an anchovy. The medallions, served slightly pink, were also tender, but the gratin was the standout portion of the dish. It was remniscent of potato latkes.
Swedish meatballs with lingonberries and a side of mashed potatos (that just called out to dpawaters). Flavorful and tasty, but fairly standard.
Arctic circle - a goat cheese parfait with blueberry sorbet and passionfruit curd. The parfait was an upright cylinder with the scoop of sorbet delicately balanced on top. A thin wafer for decorative effect. The passionfruit curd was the treasure in the middle. A very interesting dessert. The parfait had a light cheesecake-like consistency.
Chocolate peanut butter cake with coconut sorbet and grapefruit. A small rich chocolate cake with peanut butter in the center, not unlike a Reeses Peanut Butter cup. This was similar to your basic, ubiquitous chocolate lavacake dessert, but with peanut butter instead of ganache - delicious nonetheless. As dpawaters put it, the sorbet tasted like suntan lotion - but in a good way! Smooth, creamy and sweet.
The food was served quickly (though there did seem to be a slight lag before dessert), but with the comfortable rubbery chairs, we probably wouldn't have noticed had we had to wait a little longer!
Wednesday, January 25, 2006
Last Thursday, chickiecc, dpawaters, and I took that to heart as together we prepared a calorie-laden, but delectable meal. Comfort food to fill our stomachs and to fulfill a gluttonous inclination that winter seems to bring on - as though there were a need to prepare ourselves for a period of hibernation. On the menu: a hearty turkey meatloaf with fig gravy, mac & cheese and some steamed broccoli thrown in for good measure. For the meatloaf, we were guided by Barefoot Contessa; the gravy, by the Boston Globe (the paper strangely just happened to run a turkey meatloaf recipe the week we planned on making it); and the mac & cheese, by The New York Times recipe combined with another found online. Recent criticism led us to believe it would be prudent to improvise a bit on the recipe.
We also made minor modifications to the meatloaf recipe (which I think our arteries might thank us for). The recipe called for five pounds - yes, five pounds - of ground turkey (can we say leftovers?). We mixed it up with some ground chicken. We used fat-free chicken broth. We went easy on the ketchup. But nevertheless, the end product was a moist, mouthwateringly flavorful meatloaf.
We all agreed that it didn't even need anything more, but we made the fig gravy out of curiousity. Though we had substituted California figs for the Turkish figs the recipe called for, the reduction, combined with onions and apple juice, was also quite tasty.
While we had originally intended to make the crusty mac & cheese recipe from The Times, the base we used from the other recipe countered that. We had a creamy mixture to hold together the pasta inside our dish and lots of cheese to cover it. The recipe called for grated cheddar and grated American. We took the easy way out with shredded cheddar, but we could not find any American in the supermarket. And in the interest of grocery shopping time, we went with Land O'Lakes cheese product slices - that element was definitely detectable to the tastebuds, but not in a negative way to any of us. So that's just a note for those who might want a more gourmet mac & cheese: use real cheese!
We also spread some grated Parmesan cheese over the top, which added a nice slight crunch. Our impatient stomachs compelled us to pull it out of the oven as soon as it looked melty enough, so perhaps for that reason too we did not achieve ultimate crustiness. But once again, we managed to achieve scrumptious gratification.
I would just like to warn you about ordering shellfish in a restaurant. I'd read in Anthony Bourdain's book that he recommends you only eat mussels from a person you trust. I didn't really believe him at the time; but now I do. I've had two experiences where I've eaten clams or mussels in reputable restaurants and gotten sick. Not just slightly ill, but pukey and overcome with nausea.
I think the reason is that it's very easy to serve bad shellfish. Normally, when you cook at home the cardinal rule is that you discard any clams/mussels that do not open after you cook them because this signals that they were dead before you even placed them in the steamer/saucepan, etc (and for who knows how long.) But in a restaurant setting; obviously, it is to their financial benefit to pry them open and serve them.
Also, in Mr. Bourdain's book he mentions that you should never eat seafood on a Monday. He says that it's impossible for a restaurant to get seafood delivered from their suppliers on a Sunday; so what you're eating are the leftovers from the weekend. Again, this potentially compromises the freshness of seafood.
So just be careful when ordering in a restaurant! If the shellfish looks suspicious or tastes funny don't eat it!
Friday, January 20, 2006
so last nite i came home...i had had a hard week of grading and writing comments, including one or two all-nighters in there and of course still having to teach about the civil war and the renaissance..in a daze of sleeplessness...when i see a mysterious box, with no return address or actually there was a random address in california...and i open said box, and again it's mysteriously packed with no information...i'm like what is this black box....and then i see it's an ipod...i am thinking okay who sent this to me anonymously...and then i open the tiny white envelop with the little apple on it and see it was from you all. thank you so much for the ipod!!! i am so touched by your thoughtfulness and generosity...i sat there not knowing what to do with it...i feel like a whole new world has been opened to me..hahah...okay a little dramatic there...but yeah. thank you. who cares about food?
hahha..i have been eating out a lot recently...perhaps will update about it in the near future...
Thursday, January 19, 2006
If I know that lunch that day will have to be other than pimiento cheese, I'll have pimiento cheese for breakfast that morning. Sometimes, I declare a "sandwich night" so that I can serve the family sandwiches for dinner and serve myself a second pimiento-cheese sandwich for the day.
I even carry a jar of it with me on the airplane if it's going to be a short flight and spoilage will not be a problem. Oh, in case you're wondering, it's homemade, of course. But I will eat just about any PC rather than go without.
We also tried the fried onion strings. It's a huge quantity - big enough for at least 3 and probably 4 people. They come in this wide basket and the onions are sliced very thin and in long shreds, dipped in buttermilk, coated in a batter, fried and sprinkled with an *Essence of Emeril*
The next thing I'd like to try is their chilli cheese fries. Those look amazing too.
Wednesday, January 18, 2006
And I've discovered a great little gem of a cookie store here in New York on W. 50th and 10th. It's called Ruby et Violette and it's easy to miss since it's way over on the west side and the storefront is so small. But the cookies are amazing! They're medium sized and cost $1.25 each. But the best part is that they make all different, interesting flavors: rose, strawberry & champagne, french vanilla, tiramisu and my personal favorite: espresso bean. The selection varies from day to day. Most of them are chocolate chunk in addition to whatever flavor cookie it is. Go check it out or take me with you!
and as if the delicious pizza werent enough...if you order online then you can get a free blockbuster trial for a month (the one where they mail the movies to you). so you can get extra fat eating the pizza while slumped in front of the tv watching free movies for 10 hours. good deal good deal. just make sure you cancel the subscription after the free trial is over so you dont wind up paying...and then start another account w/ your subsequent pizza purchases. evil pizza scams! >:P
papa john also has a very inspirational story. he started off working in a pizza parlor in high school and then opened up his own pizza stand in the coat closet of a pre-existing establishment. it took off from there and now he has a pizza empire spanning the entire globe (i hear there are tons of them even in korea). i love rags to riches stories like that *sniff* .
FYI: Yesterday morning while waiting for my apt. elevator to take me down to the lobby I noticed some remnants of peppermint candy embedded in the carpet. Yes, ladies. It's still there. Which makes me wonder, how often do they actually vacuum the common areas?
Also, I saw on the Food Network the "proper" way to crush peppermint candies. You are supposed to double bag the candies, cover the whole thing with a dish towel and bang away at them. That prevents the candies from exploding everywhere and breaking through the plastic bags. Good to know for next time!
Today I had a humongous brunch of scrambled eggs, bacon, hash browns, a bagel with cream cheese, smoked salmon, capers, onions, sliced tomatoes, and fruit salad. These Board members don't eat a thing! It seriously comes to the "commoners" virtually untouched.
That just made my day. It's finding joy in all the little things in life!
It's incredible. It's undeniable. It's irresistible.
It's Peppermint Bark.
And we owe it all to Williams Sonoma for concocting this perfect minty chocolate. The sharp mint flavor not only surprises your tastebuds, its aroma flows up into your nose so it lasts even after you've swallowed your last bite! The decadent creaminess of the chocolate hits the spot! The bits of crushed peppermint candy add a delightful crunch. It all melds together and sends me into bliss.
I first discovered this treat one day when I happened to walk into Williams Sonoma just to browse and found myself offered a handful of chocolate. I knew it from the moment I first tasted it. This would become my new love. I soon found myself making more deliberate trips into the store whenever I happened to be nearby - the chocolate a magnet pulling me in with its sweet force. I would search desperately for the salesperson walking around with the plate of Peppermint Bark slabs. Sometimes I would get my fix and suddenly the day was looking up. But other days I left disappointed, a raincloud hanging over my head even if the sun shone bright in the sky.
Post-Christmas, I began to see signs for this box of pricey chocolate on sale. I soon decided it might make for good gifts. But by the time I finally sought it out, the first store I tried was sold out. But I persisted and managed to find a store where it was even more deeply discounted than I had hoped and still well stocked!
If you have not yet tried Peppermint Bark, get thee to a Williams Sonoma fast!
Tuesday, January 17, 2006
-Great smoked salmon (I don't remember the name of the brand my family usually buys) but it's affordable and not artifical tasting.
-Fresh and moist rotisserie chicken
-From the costco "cafeteria" area, surprisingly good "Chicken Bakes". This is rolled up pizza dough with chicken, cheese, cesar salad dressing, bacon, green onions inside. I know it doesn't sound like the most delicious thing, but trust me it is. Especially hot out of the oven when the outside is so crispy.
Costco also sells these premaid and frozen at Costco. The one bad thing is that I found the nutritional information online and it's possible the worst single food item I've ever seen in my life! So I'm a little torn. As much as I'd like to recommend this treat, I don't want to wish a coronary on any of you!
Umm, at least you can get some of your calcium?
Shari's Berries: www.berries.com
I was able to taste these because one of my roommates in college would get deliveries of these from her long-distance beau. They are so so so good. An excellent gift for somebody.
Also found online, salty caramels from Fran's Chocolates: www.franschocolates.com
Actually, I guess you can say I stole this from Hil since she first discovered them. But they're divine! I love the contrasting tastes of salty and sweet.
Tuesday, January 10, 2006
This puppy is so cute I just want to gobble her up!!! (hence, posting this on our food related blog)
But that got me thinking: where the heck did that phrase come from? I've heard people say similar things about babies. For example, "He's so cute I could eat him!" Why are we so cannibalistic when it comes squishy and cute babies?
Anyway, another random thought...or maybe it's a question.
A while back I had to buy some baby food for my final design project. I walked through the aisles at the local grocery store and where did I find it? In the same aisle as pet food; actually to be more specific, exactly opposite the bags of dried dog food and stacked cans of cat food.
Is that where baby food is normally located in grocery stores?
Also, another odd/funny thing was that at the very top, above the shelves of baby food, they had hanging boxes of cond*ms! Maybe to remind parents, "If you don't want this to happen to you again, use these"?!?!?! I just thought it was so funny.
Monday, January 09, 2006
CHOCOLATE PEPPERMINT COOKIES (Makes about 3 dozen)
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup Dutch-process cocoa powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp coarse salt
4 ounces milk chocolate, chopped
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
1/4 tsp pure peppermint extract
3 large eggs
45 round swirled peppermint candies, coarsely crushed
1) Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Whisk together flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, and salt in a medium bowl; set aside. Melt chocolate and butter in a heatproof mixer bowl set over a pan of simmering water. Attach bowl to mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Add sugar, extracts, and eggs; mix on medium-low speed until combined. Reduce speed to low; mix in flour mixture. Stir in one-third of the candies. Refrigerate dough until firm, about 30 minutes (or wrap in plastic and refrigerate overnight.)
2) Using a 1 1/2-inch ice cream scoop, form mounds of dough; dip tops into remaining candies to coat. Place cookies, candy sides up, on baking sheets lined with parchment paper, spacing 2 inches apart. Bake cookies until just set, about 15 minutes. Let cool on sheets on wire racks. Cookies can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature up to 3 days.
MOCHA SLICE COOKIES (Makes about 4 dozen)
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for
3/4 cup unsweetened Dutch-process
1/4 tsp salt
2 tbsp instant espresso powder
1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
1 1/2 sticks unsalted butter, softened
1 cup granulated sugar
1 large egg
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
1/2 cup cocoa nibs
Coarse sanding sugar
1) Sift together flour, cocoa, salt, espresso powder, and cinnamon into a large bowl; set aside. Put butter and sugar into the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle; mix on medium until pale and fluffy. Mix in egg and vanilla. Reduce speed to low. Add flour mixture; mix until just combined. Stir in cocoa nibs.
2) Turn out dough onto a lightly floured surface; roll into a 2-inch-diameter log. Wrap in parchment paper; transfer to a paper towel tube to hold shape. Refrigerate until firm, at least 1 hour or up to overnight.
3) Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Unwrap log, and let soften slightly at room temperature, about 5 minutes. Brush with water, then roll in sanding sugar. Cut log into 1/4-inch thick rounds. Space 1 inch apart on baking sheets lined with parchment paper.
4) Bake until centers are set, about 10 minutes. Transfer to wire racks; cool completely. Store in airtight containers at room temperature up to 2 days.
This led us to R.U.B. on 23rd between 7th and 8th. I had always passed this place on my way to Pratt and had heard good things about it. The menu had all the standard bbq fare like brisket, pulled pork, ribs, sausage, etc.
Luis got a "two meat" platter of pulled pork and sausage. His two sides were french fries and vinegar-based coleslaw. I got the "one meat" platter of brisket with potato salad and collard greens. The food was surprisingly very good! I'm not an expert on bbq by any means, but I thought the brisket was very nice and tender and the pulled pork was moist and sufficiently "porky". The thing I really loved about this place is that the meat was not drenched in bbq sauce. I don't usually crave bbq because I think it can be a little too sweet, overall. But this place cooks all their meat dry (sans heavy sauce) and you add the sauce to your own liking at your table. The sauce was mightly tasty too.
Compared to the other meats, the sausage was not my favorite. The texture was a little dry and the seasonings reminded me of chorizo but not as good. The best side we had was the potato salad althought the fries (covered in spices) were also good. Collard greens were a little salty and the coleslaw was too heavy on the celery salt.
I saw quite a few tables ordering chili cheese fries which looked delicious and also the fried onion rings (mounds of skinny fried strings). So next time, I will definitely try those.
It was interesting though because on the back of the RUB menu there's a list of frequently asked questions. One of the questions was: "why isn't my food hot?" The answer went on to explain that true bbq is smoked at a low temperature for a long time so the meat is never meant to be "hot." And I have to say, you can definitely tell that everything is lukewarm. I guess I just wasn't used to it. I like my meats piping hot.
So in terms of service, I think R.U.B. does a really good job. All the employees were energetic, pleasant and attentive. I think the place has a very lovely, casual feel to it. And is a great restaurant to drop in on for some good meat and beer. Actually, I'd love to go back soon so let me know if you'd like to join! :)
Friday, January 06, 2006
West Philly: Lemongrass (Thai), Thai Singha House, New Delhi (Indian buffet), Vietnamese Restaurant on Spruce St., Marathon Grill
Fort Washington: Zake's Cakes
Swarthmore/Suburbs: Nifty Fifty's, Panera's, Countryside Market and Cheng Hing's! Ruby's Diner, Margaret Kuo's Peking
Cheesesteaks: Pat's, South Street
Center City: Reading Terminal, Maggiano's, Buca di Peppo, Continental (where we went Chris), Buddakan, Fork
Korean Food: somewhere in N. Philly...soondobu-jip as i call it...
i think i definitely need to try some other places...
ps. did you know trader joe's sell packaged bool-kogi?
Thai - Dok Bua
Harvard Avenue, Brookline
Cheap and tasty, what could be better? Nothing. I pine for it still. The food is so good that even the humiliating experience of ordering take out and showing up with no means to pay for it (wallet left in a friend's car and spare credit card expired) couldn't keep me away.
Turkish - Family Restaurant
Washington Street (near the public library), Brookline
The baby eggplant appetizer may be my favorite eggplant dish ever. And for an eggplant-lover like me, that says a lot.
Indian - Tanjore
Eliot Street, Cambridge (Harvard Square)
Two words: lunch buffet. Well-priced and consistently yummy.
Sushi - Mr. Sushi
Harvard Avenue, Brookline
Given the number of restaurants in my list located in tiny Brookline one might be tempted to conclude that convenience was my culinary trump card. Not so. There are probably 10 sushi restaurants in the blocks around my old apartment. Mr. Sushi is not the best (that would probably go to Fugakyu, where Judy's sister once was a hostess) but it is inexpensive and good quality. The caterpillar roll will convert anyone who squirms at the thought of eel.
Pancakes - Deluxe Town Diner
Mt. Auburn Street, Watertown
Eggs are fine. The various lunch and dinner options are nothing special. But the pancakes - they're worth a wait in the cold. This decor at this diner is cute with a capital C and I dream about the blue corn pancakes. Next time I'm in Boston, it's you and me at Deluxe Christine. Ok?
DC recommendations HEARTILY welcome.
I have a confession: I’m still not over Boston.
I know I said I wanted to finally get out of New England but I miss it – the restaurants, the ocean, the snow and slush of a real winter and, of course, dear friends. But I am – slowly – getting used to life in the District; beginning, predictably, with the neighborhood that surrounds my office (or, as I like to call it, my home-away-from-home) – Dupont Circle.
Here’s another confession: I’ve become addicted to
As soon as the clock moves to the PM my mind drifts to chocolate – specifically this chocolate chip muffin (the images of dancing muffins are sometimes accompanied by more banal thoughts of chocolate caffeine – or “mocha” as Starbucks calls it.) And so begins the debate – to muffin or not to muffin.
Eight times out of ten the “pro-muffin” side triumphs and off I go, either around the Circle (Dupont, that is) or across, depending on the angle of my squint on that day (some days the circumference seems shorter; other days a walk past the fountain does).
As the cashier noted while ringing up my already half-eaten muffin this evening, “at least they’re not brownies.” True, but neither are they healthful, stick-to-the-ribs hearty bran-oat or blueberry wheat-germ muffins. My babies should rightfully be called cupcakes, because, friends, that is what they are. A light and moist chocolate batter studded with chocolate chips, poured baked to near-perfectness is cake, not a muffin no matter what the shape is.
Issues of nomenclature (and its enabling capacity: who can really justify eating a ‘cupcake’ two-three times per week) aside, I have come to fear that others in the neighborhood have discovered my secret. Several recent trips – all late in the afternoon – have found me standing forlornly before a baked-goods shelf already emptied of chocolate-y goodness. The other muffin options – while generally satisfying – simply do not compete (and how could blueberries and apple really be expected to?).
So what now?
Pragmatically, I should probably take the empty shelves as an unspoken endorsement of my renewed pledge of healthy eating.
Or I could branch out.
I bet their chocolate croissants are pretty marvelous too.
Thursday, January 05, 2006
Wednesday, January 04, 2006
Chickiecc will have to fill in with the actual names of the food we ate, but we started off with an appetizer of spicy, glutenous chewy rice "sticks" with strips of fishcake and onions over chewy vermicelli noodles in a thick brown gravy. (Sorry, if that actually doesn't sound appetizing, but it was delicious!)
I ordered the stone pot bimbimbop that I'd been hankering for. Chickie had a dried pollock (aka dried fish?) soup. There were the usual Korean accompaniments. But the restaurant also gives every table a complimentary steamed egg casserole that was piping hot in its stone pot. To finish, they also brought us each a cup of cinnamon, persimmon tea - a sweet, cleansing/digestive tea at room temperature. Everything was very tasty! (I could make this a standby place!) While not super cheap, you do get a lot of food for what you pay.
I was forewarned that the place rushes you through (which seems necessary when you see the line out the door). While they did seem to hurry us a bit, it came in full force at the end of the meal as they came to take away our dishes the second we paused and put our chopsticks down! From that point on: Pay the bill, get your coats on and get out of their way!
It's an interesting question and one to which I surprisingly am not sure I have many answers (yet). Having moved to this grand city filled with many, many places of culinary distinction from a city with far inferior options (and one where people are sensitive to such criticisms, vehemently defending the wasteland) has perhaps made it more difficult to come up with good ol' standbys. There's so much to try now and so much I'd been deprived of! It often pains me to make a repeat trip to places, even ones that I like!
A few of the places that I have actually gone to more than once and probably will eat more of in the future:
Pam Real Thai - thus far, they have the best Pad See Ew (I can't resist flat rice noodles) I've found. Too many of the other places smother theirs in garlic.
Alta - this is quickly falling into the slightly more expensive but good place to take visitors category. Its big list of tapas that allows me to make repeat trips and try different things certainly helps.
Amy's Bread - good sandwiches, reasonably priced
I'm still on the hunt for standbys to fill these categories (i'm particuarly picky about price + value for these) and frankly could use some help!:
bagels (thus far, the place I like best is Bagels 4 U in Livingston)
pizza (score one more for Livingston with Calabria's)
chocolate chip cookies
no duk-guk (traditional rice cake/dumpling soup) for new year's...instead i had a disappointing meatball sandwich with fries :(
yay vietnamese food! at a really local place in south philly...
2 summer rolls (shrimp/pork)-delicious
1 bowl of steak pho...just ok
three course meal at tgif's
chips with queso dip-pretty good...but i think i was starving.
bruschetta chicken pasta-the garlic was really strong and overpowering
vanilla bean cheesecake-yummy, but i was too stuffed to really enjoy it :(
spiderman balloon (i didn't eat this, but is there always a guy who walks around tgif's to make balloons for people?)
i feel like i'm on a dieter's blog revealing my eating habits...i don't really have interesting food stories...right now i eat to live, rather than live to eat....coincidentally is anybody watching the biggest loser tonite?
I ate here with my family last week and had a pretty good experience. We were first whisked into the elevator up to the third floor. The dining room is somewhat small, maybe 20 tables. We had a table fairly close to the back of the room, which made the meal more fun because the kitchen is open so you can see everything that's going on in there.
We started off with complimentary small cubes of raw salmon in a celery puree with chopped asian pear on top, which was nice, though didn't taste that special. Now, the warn cheddar chive biscuits on the other hand, are excellent. They come with butter that has a little maple syrup on top (as well as a little card with the recipe). We were also given a second set of them upon request!
The raw bar menu from the fish shack is the only thing from downstairs that they offer in the dining room. We had stone crab claws and lump crabmeat salad. We also ordered the grilled octopus salad. The raw bar food was standard but tasted fresh. The octopus was very nice - it came with roasted grape tomatos and i think it was fennel - and had a very nice grilled flavor.
The whole fish on the menu are mostly for sharing between two people. We had their signature crispy red snapper cantonese style and the sea salted new zealand pink snapper. We liked the red snapper best - it came with chinese sausage (when we ordered the waitress asked if it was okay if it had pork sausage in the dish - but I wasn't picturing chinese sausage, which I don't think I've ever had in a non-Chinese food setting) and mushrooms in soy sauce. The pink snapper had a very thick crust of sea salt when it was brought out (they bring the whole fish to the table so you can see it and then they take it to be deboned before serving) so much so that you couldn't even see the shape of the fish! The pink snapper didn't have as much flavor and the bits of salt left on the plate made bites occasionally too salty.
For sides, we had the silver dollar potatos (crispy and good), the crispy rice galettes (not bad) and two special sides - roasted brussel sprouts (they were kind of overcooked) and potato truffles, which were basically fried balls of pastry with potato inside (I personally didn't like the consistency of the potato inside but my family liked them).
As you can see above, for dessert I had an ice cream sundae upon waiter recommendation that I think was some combination of chestnut, vanilla and chocolate flavors? I didn't love it though. There was too much of some kind of cream on top that had a weird almost grainy consistency. My dad had a cappuccino that had very neat foam on top, which is also pictured above (I heard the waitress tell the table next to us that they have a great barista.)
And then there were the complimentary desserts (you can see them in the first photo): the green apple cotton candy that came in a jar of the sort you see in doctors' offices for cotton balls and a small plate with mini macaroons, a coconut ball and some other translucent sweet that I didn't try. The macaroon didn't have much taste.
All in all, a good meal in an interesting and fun space.
I like to eat
My cooking, however
I like to read
Your foodie posts
To see which restos
You like the most
Can't wait to check out
That resto week
So I can be
A chowhound geek
For now I'll say
I like my diner
Across my street
And food can't be finer!!
I had heard that they were known for phenomenal desserts (apparently their bleu cheese ice cream is a thing of wonder). So I was warned not to be too disappointed by the savory dishes as the desserts are truly the stars of the meal.
To start here's what was on the menu
Tender Maine Baby Skate with Gently Cooked Mushroom RagoûtMushroom Reduction
Seared Chatham Cod with Peeky-Toe Crabmeat, Fresh Horseradish Fingerling Potato and Chive Sauce
Pennsylvania All Natural Chicken Baked in Buttermilk with Seasonal Rapini,Roasted Maitake
Chilled Concord Grape Soup with Candied GingerFromage Blanc Sorbet
Warm Pineapple Meringue with Pistachio CakeTen Exotic Fruit Sorbet and Pistachio Ice Cream
Hot Valrhona Chocolate Soufflé
I won't go into too much detail but basically I was surprised at how good the main dishes were. I had the swordfish and the cod. I liked the swordfish better because the sauce was nice and light and had a good tartness to it. It didn't seem to be that complicated of a dish: it was just the freshness of everything that made it something different. The cod itself was pretty average but the peeky-toe crab tucked underneath was so freakin' good. It was really sweet and soft - I would have been happy with just a bowl of that crab meat in the refreshing green sauce.
The worst thing was the chef's canape. Some nasty combination of beet and raspberry soup with goat cheese mousse and a leek foam. Pretty to look at but looks don't mean a thing. Just not pleasant at all to the point that I almost gagged...and this has nothing to do with me not liking the individual ingredients themselves. I actually love beets and goat cheese and raspberries. But together? Not something I want to experience again.
Desserts were good. (although there were substitutions on the day I went). We had a tangerine sorbet in a blood orange soup with grapefruit segments.
The room itself was beautiful, the service not as perfect as I would have expected for such a pricey place. (For example, a small complimentary dessert of white chocolate mousse with green tea gelee came in the middle of our main dessert. The waiter just put it on our table to the side. I felt like that should have been handled better. They should have returned to the kitchen with it and brought it out as a separate course - as it was done for the table next to us. The timing was not right.) Also, they weren't as friendly as I was expecting. No farewell from the hostess while we were leaving and just a little snobby/frigid.
Anyway, it was overall a decent experience but maybe next time I will try Jean-Georges.
New York City
Winter Restaurant Week 2006
Jan. 23 - 27 & Jan. 30 - Feb. 3
$24.07 (We got robbed of a cheaper lunch this year!) Lunches, $35 Dinners
List of Restaurants
Center City Restaurant Week
February 19 - 24
3-course dinners for $30 per person
List of Restaurants
Winter Restaurant Week 2006
January 9 - 15
$20.06 lunches & $30.06 dinners
List of Restaurants
Winter Restaurant Week 2006
March 5 - 10
$20.06 lunches & $30.06 dinners
Restaurant List: TBA
Tuesday, January 03, 2006
So I saw this question posed on chowhound and was wondering what everyone's "standby" restaurants are. Places that you like to visit somewhat regularly and that you can rely on for good food.
Flor de Mayo
Scopa to Go
Yesterday, in the lovely stormy weather, I went to Cafe Mogador in the East Village. This was my second time going there and I remembered it being good so I was excited for some yummy Moroccan food.
The atmosphere was cozy inside. Not fancy at all, but clean and homey with candles on the tables and lights strung about the restaurant. It was pretty crowded especially for a Monday evening with terrible weather, but we had made reservations and were seated promptly.
I decided to order the merguez (a heavily spiced lamb sausage) combination plate which came with the sausage, hummus, salad, harissa and pita bread. Also, because the price was so nice at just $8.95 for my dinner; i decided to try a small pot of Moroccan tea, which was advertised as green tea with mint and sugar . Most everyone else I was dining with got some sort of tagine dish.
The one negative thing I have to say about this place is that service can be quite slow. The waiters are attentive, but the food just takes a while to come out. I would guess we were waiting 30-45 minutes for our dishes.
Anyways, back to the food. My merguez came out and it looked ... umm ... interesting. It was skinny and all coiled up. Several dining companions made crude jokes about it resembling certain body parts, etc. Hardy har har. I was just plain hungry so I dug in. The merguez was fabulous! Nicely complex with warm spices like cinnamon and cloves (maybe?). The hummus was creamy and soft with a pool of olive oil drizzled in the nucleus. The salad was fresh and simple. I think it was mainly cucumbers, tomatoes, onion, parsley, and a little shredded iceberg lettuce. The harissa was fair. Not spicy enough in my opinion but still added a nice zing to the little bundes of pita, sausage, hummus I constructed.
The tea was also just as it was advertised. It was light and not too sweet with fresh chopped mint floating in it. Sort of like a mojito but not alcoholic, not cold and no lime. hahahaha. so yeah, JUST like a mojito. Actually, I liked the tea so much that I tried to recreate it in my humble office cubicle. I used 1 teabag of green tea, 1 teabag of mint tea, and about half a teaspoon of sugar. Not too shabby but no snowglobe effect with the fresh mint.
Overall, a wonderful dining experience. Everyone seemed to love their various tagine dishes and the food was very affordably priced. I think it's a good standby restaurant with a lovely atmosphere and an addictive menu. Just don't be in a rush and enjoy the tea!