Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Brunch in Brooklyn: Milk Bar, Prospect Heights

Dropped into the Milk Bar in Prospect Heights one early Sunday morning. First off, I liked their coffee, which is from Counter Culture Coffee. We started off with a piece of strawberry toast, a piece of sourdough toast topped with a generous amount of strawberry jam.
My friend ordered the Tortilla de Patatas, a Spanish dish consisting of layered potatoes and eggs.
I ordered the Full Eggs, two pieces of toast topped with ham, gruyere, tomato and poached eggs. The ingredients, particularly the bread from Long Island bakery Pain D'Avignon, at Milk Bar were of excellent quality.

620 Vanderbilt Ave # 3
Prospect Heights, Brooklyn
(718)230-0844 ‎

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Brunch in Brooklyn: Rose Water Restaurant, Park Slope

As I mentioned, I've been up to Brooklyn a few times in the last month, so I've got a series of posts of brunches starting with this one.
I went for delicious Saturday morning brunch at Rose Water Restaurant in Park Slope, Brooklyn. The baked polenta with goat cheese came with poached eggs and brussel sprouts all topped with a chermoula sauce. The sauce added a good smokiness to the dish.
I also shared some of the pumpkin pancake topped with cinnamon butter and sprinkled with pepitos.

787 Union Street
Park Slope, Brooklyn

Monday, December 13, 2010

Bark Hot Dogs, Brooklyn

I've been around Park Slope and Brooklyn a bit recently, so I am definitely taking advantage of the food options. Had light supper at Bark Hot Dogs one evening.
I enjoyed my Bratwurst sandwich with saeurkraut. They also had some delicious salt & pepper french fries. Next time I need to actually get a hot dog though.
Hellokt had the grilled cheese, and I tried some of her cole slaw which was also pretty good.
I finished the meal with one of the more expensive milkshakes I've ever had- $8 for a market blueberry shake made with gelato from il laboratorio del gelato. While it was tasty- it was not $8 tasty.

474 Bergen Street
Park Slope, Brooklyn

Friday, December 10, 2010

Birthday Dinner at Woodberry Kitchen, Baltimore

The week following birthday dinner at Momofuku Ssäm Bar, my parents took me out to Woodberry Kitchen here in Baltimore.
Because Woodberry sources all their ingredients locally, it's worth trying to eat here every season to try the different flavors of the year.
We decided to start with vegetable appetizers. First was wood oven roasted pumpkin with whole mustard.
Second, we had the oven roasted whole turnips with their tops. These were amazing- sweet, simply seasoned, and just delicious.
Since I was still recovering from pork butt overdose, I opted to get the day's special of rockfish with cauliflower and sunchokes.
Mom's dish was the spectacular beef cheeks in a pool of sweet potato puree. They had the texture of slow roasted pork and were fantastic.

In anticipation of the holiday season, we finished our meal with a yule log dessert.

2010 Clipper Park Road, No. 126
Baltimore, MD

Thursday, December 09, 2010

Birthday Bo Ssäm Dinner at Momofuku Ssäm Bar

I was lucky to get together a good group of friends and relatives in New York for my birthday dinner, so we went to Momofuku Ssäm Bar and ordered their Bo Ssäm, their slow roasted whole pork butt.
We started with a few appetizers. First up was honeycrisp apple kimchee with Benton's bacon. Honeycrisp apples are my favorite apple, and the kimchee maintained the crispiness of the fruit. The sweetness paired well with the smoky-salty flavor of the Benton's bacon.
One of the specials was a variant on Momofuku's famous pork belly buns, so Fougoo ordered that. Instead of hoisin and onion, this version had pickled ginger, avocado, basil and mayo, and the pork belly was fried. It was actually lighter tasting than their usual bun.

I had a great time eating the Bo Ssäm. The pork butt was massive. It must have been 10 lbs. With 7 of us eating, we ended up with about a third of the butt leftover.
The bo ssäm is served with lettuce, a dozen raw oysters, rice and four "sauces": kimchee, pureed kimchee, ginger & onion in oil, and gochujang (the Korean red chili sauce). The way you eat it, is you take a piece of lettuce, grab some pork, and then you add a combination of the different elements, almost like a taco. I liked using the raw oyster because of the way it added a briny flavor to the pork as well as the texture of the oyster itself.
When were had our fill of pork butt, we celebrated with a whole crack pie from the Momofuku Milk Bar next door. It was really sweet and buttery. I was happy to celebrate my birthday with such a great meal in such wonderful company.

207 2nd Ave.
(corner of 13th + 2nd)
New York, NY

Wednesday, December 08, 2010

Lunch at the DC Danish Holiday Bazaar

I went with the annual Danish Holiday Bazaar held by the Danish Club of DC a few weeks ago with my buddy Claus. As usual, we stocked up on kringle and marzipan candies. We were disappointed to see that the new Danish ambassador was not as suave as his predecessor.
For lunch this year the frikadeller (meatball) sandwich was the highlight. I always get the fisk filet with remoulade (fish filet) which is always delicious.

Tuesday, December 07, 2010

Joe's Noodle House, Rockville, MD

I can't believe it's taken me years to get to Joe's Noodle House in Rockville, MD. It's truly a delicious bastion of Szechuan style cuisine in the MD/DC area. When I went to Joe's, my friends told me that my ability to speak some Mandarin Chinese would ensure our dishes would be "Chinese" hot. Because the menu items at Joe's are coded, I'm going to include the letter-number combinations for each dish.
The dishes in our meal had a wonderful progression from salty & sour, to mild tingling, to numbing, and then to nose running hot. We opened with some small plates- spicy & sour pickled cabbage (A05) and scallion pancake (A35)- good items to cool the burn of the items to follow.

We got the Szechuan beef jerky (A52), a cold dish with chunks of beef that was chock full of Szechuan numbing spice. It wasn't that hot, just tingly.
I'm a big fan of Szechuan Dan Dan noodles (N11). It's the spaghetti Bolognese of Chinese food except spicier and with sweet sesame paste. The version at Grace Garden is my favorite, but Joe's take was good.
Our next dish was a special of stir fried tofu, peppers and celery.

The wontons with red hot sauce (W01) were fresh and light.
We then had back to back dishes that looked the same, but the flavors were very different. First was the Tibetan style lamb with cumin (H14). The slight bitterness of the cumin pairs well with szechuan peppers, and the heavier flavor of the lamb.

The second item was triple pepper chicken dry sautee (T20) which had a lighter texture because of the chicken. This actually had more heat than the lamb dish.

The spice level continued to increase with the next dish of spicy & tasty fried bean curd with pork (F32). The tofu was light and had a little crunch on the outside, but it was completely rubbed with spicy chiles.
Our final item put the spice level over the top. We had the fish filets and soft bean curd in Szechuan sauce (H20), which almost was like a Ma Po tofu except loaded with fish and whole chile peppers. You had to eat this with rice just to cool it down.
By the end of the meal, my whole mouth was nicely burning, and we had plenty of leftovers to take home as well.

1488-C Rockville Pike
Rockville, Maryland

Monday, December 06, 2010

Creamed Chipped Beef at Lucky's, Wilmington, DE

I was lucky to visit the Barnes Foundation in the Philadelphia suburbs a few weeks ago. On my drive up, I stopped into Lucky's Coffee Shop on Concord Pike in Wilmington, DE, and had a nice plate of creamed chipped beef on toast.
I've only recently embraced this regional breakfast treat in the past few years which basically is an excuse to eat a lot of creamy gravy. Lucky's had a nice cup of coffee to offer as well.

4003 Concord Pike
Wilmington, DE
(302) 477-0240

Thursday, December 02, 2010

Wafels & Dinges

We went up to the city this past Saturday to meet up with 1000yregg for his birthday dinner of Bo Ssam at Momofuku Ssam Bar (I imagine there will be a post about this soon...), so in anticipation of our dinner feast, we skipped lunch. So imagine our delight when we found the Wafels & Dinges truck outside the Guggenheim! Perfect for a mid-afternoon snack to tide us over... We kept it classic, sharing a big Liege waffle with dark Belgian chocolate - YUM!

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Old favorites: Soba-ya and Spot Dessert Bar

One Saturday night, a couple of friends and I tried to get ramen at Ippudo, which was recently deemed the second best ramen in the city on Serious Eats. We arrived at 5:40 in the evening, to be told it would be a 2 hour wait! For ramen!!

So we went around the corner to an old favorite - Soba-ya. They are known for their soba, but I have to say, I get more excited by the small dishes. This time we got pork belly with a poached egg in dashi, pumpkin with shiitake mushrooms (the green things on the toothpick are fresh gingko nuts!), and shrimp shumai with the most interesting shredded rice flour wrappers.

For dessert we went one block over to Spot Dessert Bar on St. Mark's Place, Pinchet Ong's place. We got what was called Satay Peanut Crema with Concord Grape Sorbet and Condensed Milk Bacon Toast. Mostly we ordered because if there's bacon on a menu, probably I'll like it. It really was a deconstructed PB&J sandwich - not what I was expecting at all, and really delicious!

229 East 9th Street
New York, NY 10003
(212) 533-6966

Spot Dessert Bar
13 St Marks Pl
New York, NY 10003
(212) 677-5670

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Sunday Brunch at Simon, Palms Place, Las Vegas

I went to Las Vegas last month for Matador 21 concerts at the Palms with several friends from grad school. We stayed at the Palms Place hotel in a swanky suite that had a tub in the center of one of the rooms. On Sunday, we had sumptious brunch at the Simon Restaurant, owned by celebrity chef Kerry Simon.
It's all you can eat buffet style, and you can order special items off a menu as well. A big plus was that you can just come down from your room in your pyjamas. We opted in on the bloody mary bar- all you can drink bloody marys with a choice of various vodkas, hot sauces, and ingredients ranging from horseradish, gardinera, various pickles and celery.

From the buffet, they offer sandwiches, sushi, breads, and fruit smoothies. I started with a plate of sushi. One of Simon's specialties is a spicy tuna with sesame rice crisps. My friend Verder raved about the yellowtail.

Our table then proceeded to get a variety of items from the made to order menu. There were several items using poached eggs. See got the lobster eggs Benedict version which had the lobster cooked in the bread. Chupacabra got a version with beef, chile verde and potatoes.

I was compelled to order the fried chicken & waffles. I was a little disappointed that the chicken was a boneless chicken breast, but the batter on the chicken and the waffles were tasty.
A big hit was the deep fried brioche French toast See ordered. It was decadent.

We finished out the meal with the Simon Junk Food plate which included all items made by the kitchen including one of the best Snowballs I've ever had. Their version of the Hostess cupcake was also good. I thought the Fruit Loop crispy was too sweet though.
Another bonus for the meal was that we saw singer Neko Case at the table behind us.

4381 West Flamingo Road
Las Vegas, NV

Sunday, November 07, 2010

One Night in Phoenix with Skillet Doux

I had one night in Phoenix last month, and I made sure to hook up with my good friend and talented food blogger, Skillet Doux. I brought along a nice care package of zongzi from Grace Garden for him, and he took me on a little tour of the food scene in Phoenix.

We started the evening at FnB (Food & Beverage) in Old Scottsdale, a fantastic place that specializes in seasonal food, and in particular, vegetables.
First up was fried zucchini with mint and chilis, a simple dish executed so well, I could have eaten this all night.
The second dish was roasted eggplant topped with yogurt, pomegranate and za'atar spices.

When I saw there was a dish with lamb's tongue on the menu, I knew we had to get that. It was a salad that also had rye bread, green beans and cherry tomatoes.
We also ordered the shishito peppers, tuna confit and anchovy. Both were light and simple, yet so satisfying.
We rounded out the meal with roasted quail on a bed of couscous, butternut, basil & toasted seeds. It was perfectly prepared. With just this sampling of the FnB menu, I would say it was one of my most memorable meals this year.

Our next stop was Nogales Hot Dogs for Sonoran hot dogs. They are served on a fluffy steamed bun, and the hot dog is wrapped in bacon, served with pinto beans and topped with mayo, onions, and tomatoes. I added some mushrooms and queso cheese onto mine.
With a Jarritos and a pickled jalapeno, this is a perfect late night snack.

Our last stop was at Posh, a fine dining place, for their weekly Thursday night staff meal. On this night a lot of staff from various area restaurants show up for small bites and drink specials.
We had an Arizona version of scrapple & eggs. Chef told me that the scrapple is made by a local butcher. I think it was actually made of better parts of the pig, and it was not spiced the Pennsylvania Dutch way. At least the eggs were delicious with the green chili sauce.
The second item was creamy duck confit crepes. It was nice and rich.
My favorite was the preparation of foie torchon brulee. It went well with my drink, named The Interesting Cocktail which was made of Blanco Tequila, Aperol, Creme de Cacao, lemon juice, and grapefruit.
It would be good to assume I was totally stuffed and ready to roll to bed by the end of the night's dining through Skillet Doux's Phoenix scene.

7133 E Stetson Dr.
Scottsdale, AZ

Nogales Hot Dogs
1945 E Indian School Rd
Phoenix, AZ

7167 E. Rancho Vista Dr. Suite 111
Scotsdale AZ