Thursday, March 31, 2011

Tom Colicchio's Game of Thrones food truck

This week only, as a promotion for their upcoming show Game of Thrones, HBO and Tom Colicchio teamed up to serve food inspired by the medieval fantasy show. Petiteseour waited in line for an hour, but got the scoop for us!

Petitesoeur reports:

I hit Tom Colicchio/HBO Game of Thrones food truck @ Lincoln Center on Wed, Mar 30. The "dragon fire " seafood stew was tasty. It had an array of seafood swimming in the blackest black cuttlefish sauce & a slight kick of heat from the "dragon" pepper.

Go if you've got time to kill [I waited almost an hour on line] & have a dinner destination in mind for afterward cause the food is free so the portions are just tasting-size.

The fire was easily put out by a lovely tart & creamy lemon cake. I didn't get to taste the pickled egg (you had to pick one of the two dishes being served) but it looked fab: deep red with a bright yellow yolk.

Tomorrow's the last day you'll be able to catch the truck in NYC - first 300 lucky people get served. Next week they'll be doing it in LA.

For more info, menus, etc. visit:

They will be tweeting (@GameofThrones) food truck locations and posting on Facebook.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Kin Shop, NYC

For our last girls day, petiteseour had made reservations to eat at Kin Shop, Top Chef winner Harold Dieterle's new Thai restaurant. Then she unfortunately didn't feel well when dinnertime rolled around...

So it was up to me to try as much as I could without overdoing it. I started with the fried oyster and crispy pork salad. The oysters were huge, fat, and juicy, the pork indeed crispy, and the sauce was bright, acidic, just perfect with the fatty meats. Instead of greens for the salad, it was celery, which I usually don't like raw, but it worked in this dish.

The most that petiteseour could stomach was sauteed aquatic greens and jasmine rice. Excellent rice - which is not an easy feat.

Then my main course was off the list of specials -- Chiang Mai sausage and duck egg over congee with shallots and basil. The sausage was fragrant - a very different flavor than I was expecting - not quite Asian, not quite European... My main problem with this dish was that the egg was almost raw. I like my yolks runny, but my whites - not so much... I'm not sure if it was meant to be this way, but more than just being put off a little by the sliminess, I also think it made the congee cool down faster.

Still, I think it's worth a return trip with more people to try some of the housemade curries, noodles, etc. Oh, and we did see Harold there...

Kin Shop
469 6th Avenue
New York, NY 10011
(212) 675-4295

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Eataly, NYC

Some photos from a recent trip to Eataly. Word to the wise - go on a weekday... It gets super-packed on weekends.

We loved the olive oil bread we brought home - a nice sourdough flavor, great toasted with butter.
Seafood looked amazing... they've got shad roe! And sea urchin!

We got a simple sandwich of spicy coppa from Salumeria Rossi - the bread was satisfyingly chewy and delicious. Next time, though, we're going to save room for a roasted meat sandwich from the Rosticceria. That day's special was roasted lamb...

Petiteseour got a strong macchiato from the espresso bar, but we weren't feeling quite up to having dessert just yet. Again, next time...

23th Street and 5th Avenue
New York

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Silk Road Bistro, Choyhona, Pikesville, MD

I had a great dinner at an Uzbek restaurant located in Pikesville, MD called Silk Road Bistro, Choyhona. I tried Uzbek food several years ago in New York City, and I was pretty excited to learn of this place much closer to home. Being in central Asia, it's a unique blend of cuisines from the region, taking influence from areas both east and west and making it their own.
We started with a pitcher their "homemade fruit drink" which was a lot like fruit punch. The pitcher had several half pears floating in it. Personally, I found it light and refreshing, but some fellow diners thought it too sweet.

An important part of Uzbek cuisine is the wide variety of "salads". I tried four kinds.
My favorite was suzma with radish, a sour yogurt with lots of dill, cucumbers and sliced radishes.
Second was the Smak, which was chunks of tomato, a firm cheese, crunchy croutons, and garlic tossed in mayonnaise.

In my previous experience with Uzbek cuisine, I had tried the Markovcha, a carrot salad that was influenced by ethnic Koreans who came to central Asia. The salad is made of shredded cabbage, garlic, & onion, and then is slightly pickled with vinegar. It reminds me of the bon chon dishes you get at Korean BBQ.
The last veggie we tried was the eggplant, which was sliced, deep fried, then served cold with garlic and tomato folded inside. This had a lot of garlic in it and was really good.

We ordered a few Tandoori nan, hot out of the oven. Unlike Indian naan, this bread was not flat. The crust was crisp and the inside was dense and filling.

Manti, also well known in Uzbek cuisine, are basically dumplings. We tried a couple kinds on the menu. Silk Road offers the dumplings filled with meat, potato, or pumpkin.
We got a sampling, first, of the crispy manti. We chose to get it with pumpkin. The filling was a little sweet, and these fried manti were served with shredded pickled onions.

I liked the steamed dumplings better. We were recommended to try them with the potato filling. I expected it to be filled with mashed potato like a pierogi, but instead the potato inside was chunked and from the steaming process became very soft. It was served with a side of sour cream.

Following the dumplings, we ordered another well know Uzbek dish, the Pilav, made with rice, carrots and lamb. It also had a bulb of roasted garlic on the side.
We then ordered a wide variety of shish kebabs, primarily the classic lamb, and the beef lulya, which is ground beef with spices. My favorite kabob was the lamb rib, which was on the skewer, but the meat was still attached to the rib bone. These seemed to be more rich in flavor and were very juicy. I also could not resist ordered at least one kebob with veal liver. The kebabs were served with a spicy sauce, pomegranate juice, and pickled onions which all enhanced the meat flavors.
On the menu, they had a "delicatessen kebab" (pic at top). At first I thought it might be a sausage, but they told us it was lamb testicles. We had to try it. It's texture reminded me of a Chinese fish ball or a lighter chicken gizzard. Not bad.

Afterwards, we shared cups of tea, both green and black, and ordered some dessert.
I tried of bite of their baklava, which is not the same as the Mediterranean counterpart. It's not syrupy. Instead it was more of a dry flaky pastry.
We were also told to get their "chocolate ball" which was not on the menu. It reminded me of a large very dense cake doughnut hole drizzled with chocolate sauce.

607 Reisterstown Road
Baltimore, MD

Friday, March 25, 2011

Freemans, NYC

Finding ourselves in the Lower East Side around 5:30-ish one Saturday, we decided to go for an early dinner at Freeman's. Redneckhunter wholeheartedly approves of any restaurant with dead animals mounted on the walls.

We started out with their super-decadent Five Cheese Macaroni. I got the day's special - Bouillabaise, while Redneckhunter went for a characteristic large hunk of meat: Roasted House Cured Pork Loin, served with toasted farro, roasted hen of the woods mushrooms, winter squash, and pork jus.

I don't normally order pork loin or pork chops in restaurants because so often it's dry, but this pork was absolutely amazing - juicy, just fatty enough, and big... really big. Unfortunately for me, I think the mac and cheese expanded with my seafood broth, because I was absolutely too stuffed for dessert. Next time...

Freeman's Restaurant
Freeman Alley, off Rivington, between Bowery and Chrystie

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Da Kine Hawaiian Cafe, Tampa, FL

It finally got sunny on the day we were leaving, so before getting on the plane we stopped to grab what we thought would be a quick outdoor lunch at this Hawaiian food truck we spotted on Dale Mabry Highway.

I got a 2-meat plate lunch with Shoyu chicken and Sweet Ribs. Redneckhunter got his beloved Loco Moco. Of course both came with rice and mac salad. It was delicious, but it was definitely not a quick lunch - operating on true "local" time, not East Coast pace. Which was a shame, because I didn't have time to get a shave ice for the road... though luckily we made our plane in time.

Da-Kine Hawaiian Cafe
3316 S Dale Mabry Hwy
Tampa, FL
(813) 531-3035

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Bubble Room, Captiva Island, Florida

Last month we escaped the wintry Northeast weather to visit Redneckhunter's brother in Florida. Unfortunately it was cold and rainy on Sanibel and Captiva islands while we were there, but it was still fun to get away. There's something distinctly Floridian about Sanibel/Captiva -- dolphin mailboxes, etc. that island kitsch -- and that was captured in The Bubble Room. The place is crammed full of vintage toys, movie posters, trains, planes - floor to ceiling, embedded into the tables, every inch. They even had an entire old Macy's Christmas display!

The place is, of course, a sight to see beyond the food, but they are well known for their mammoth desserts. I wish the pictures gave a sense of scale... We got slices of chocolate cake, cheesecake, and, of course, key lime pie.

The Bubble Room
15001 Captiva Drive
Captiva, FL 33924-6003
(239) 472-5558

Monday, March 21, 2011

Sometimes Dining - Pearl Nose Dive

Last night, I went to Waverly's Sometimes Dining for yet another great meal. I realized, I've now been going to this for about a year now, and it's been a pleasure each time.
We started with an amuse bouche of eggplant confit and clove yogurt on a cracker. It paired well with their recommended 2009 Montagny Cru, a sweet white Burgundy/Chardonnay wine.

The first course, presented family style, started with a wonderful salad of fennel, leeks, pear mint peas and arugula. It reminded me of a Thai papaya salad- with the leeks and fennel shredded up and mixed all together. I particularly savored the sweetness of the little peas.
This came with a spéculoos pork tenderloin with roasted radishes and parsley fennel fronds. The pork was sliced thinly and was very good with the veggies.

The second course was a soup with a parsnip base, sea scallops, red peppers, and celery. The broth had a really good sweetness to it which seemed like corn at first, and the scallops were delicious.

We also shared a deep fried pickled artichoke served with an oregano & saffron aioli. The aioli sauce looked like nacho cheese, but tasted much better.

Next up was a platter of housemade mortadella with pickled asparagus and cucumber. The mortadella had asparagus in it as well.
We had a toast with ouzo mixed a with housemade lemon soda.

The main dish was a seafood mushroom crepe with mustard, eggyolk, and grapes. The crepe was chock full of mushroom, crab (I think) and fish. We started in on a bottle of 2009 Sylvaner Reserve, Alsace, Weinbach, a dry white.

Dessert was a light and delicious semolina souffle with a burnt caramel pistachio crème anglaise. I pretty much licked my plate clean of the crème anglaise.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Tröegs Beer Tasting Menu at Bluegrass Tavern, Baltimore

After attending a Dogfish Head beer dinner at Bluegrass Tavern last year, I was excited when they announced a Tröegs beer dinner held a few weeks ago.
Even better, Chef Patrick Morrow planned a nose to tail meal using a heritage pig he recently acquired. The breed he used was a Large Black, sourced nearby, which was over 300 pounds.

We started with an assortment of piggy snacks at the bar while enjoying a pint of Tröegs Pale Ale.
Already on the bar were bowls of housemade pork rinds.
Chef then brought a plate of sous vide pork with mustard. I've always been a fan of Chef's skill with sous vide technique, and this pork was exactly why. It was juicy and flavorful, really celebrating the pure taste of the pig. Will a small dollop of mustard, it was just wonderful.

I then tried a few dishes made with the more "nasty bits". On small toothpicks sticking from a small pig, there were chunks of kidney with a pearl onion. I'm still a little neutral to kidney, but these were good.
He also brought out yummy pig heart tacos, using sliced beets in place of the tortilla. This lightened the dish, and good thing, as dinner was really yet to start.

The last bar snack was pork skirt steak marinated in Dr. Pepper. It had a similar consistency to beef, and with the marinade, it was delicious.
We then made it to our tables, and started with a massive charcuterie plate accompanied by some housemade pickles and whole grain mustard.
It included chicken liver mousse, pork rillette, bockwurst, andouille, sopressata, speck ham, tasso ham, bacon jam, and trotter terrine.

My favorite was the chicken liver.
The second course was hog's head ragu with spinach parpadelle, shaved gran queso, and preserved lemon gremolata and accompanied by a glass of Dreamweaver Wheat beer. The lemon contributed a sourness that really elevated the dish.

Course three was a massive slab of crispy pork belly on a bed of Anson Mills blue grits, pickled pear and sauce foyot. Foyot sauce is hollandaise sauce with a meat glaze, which was in this case, bacon. We drank the Hopback Amber with this dish. Chef noted that this breed of pig was particularly fatty, and it showed in the pork belly's marbling.

The fourth course was a sous vide pork loin wrapped in bacon with sunchoke puree, sunchoke chips and a rosemary bruised pineapple. It reminded me of ham with pineapple. We drank Tröeg's Nugget Nectar, which was my favorite beer of the night.

For dessert, we had a Tommenator cheese souffle with brown butter ice cream. This was accomanied by a glass of Tröegenator which was made for this course as the cheese is made using Tröegenator beer's yeast and sediment.