Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Morimoto

Mr. Trekker has been wanting to try out Morimoto since it opened over a year ago so I decided to take him out for his birthday dinner there. Since it was a special occasion we went all out and ordered the chef's omakase. I enjoy omakase because it takes the struggles of ordering off of oneself and you get to try a little of everything.


It was a nine course tasting of which only a few of the pictures came out well. I'll only talk about some of the dishes we really enjoyed. The place itself is all white with track lighting on the walls. It was a sleek beautiful space but not so conducive to picture taking.


The first course was Toro Tarter that came with creme fraiche, wasabi, rice balls, cilantro avocado and dashi-soy for dipping. It was topped with Osetra Cavier. This dish was only okay. It was a standard dish I would expect in any sushi joint. Nothing special.


Our second dish was steamed scallops and mussels with white asparagus, tomatoes and micro greens in a light vinaigrette.


This dish was fantastic! My second favorite of the night. The scallops melted away as I tried to pick them up and even the mussels (which I usually hate) were soft with a smokey flavor.



Our next dish was a kumamoto oyster that came filled with foie gras and uni. Then the whole thing was topped off with teriyaki sauce. Okay, I hate foie gras and uni and don't really care for oysters. That being said though...this dish rocked! I have no idea why it was so good but all of the flavors just worked together. I actually finished the whole thing.


Our next curse turned out to be sushi. Usually sushi comes at the very end of the meal instead of the middle so we thought that was a little odd. I was actually thinking they had messed up and we were going to be missing courses. I started to get really nervous but it turns out that's just the way they do things here.

I was a little disappointed in the sushi. The fatty tuna was a little tough and the mackerel I just didn't care for at all. The other two were decent but nothing spectacular. I have no idea what they were because our server had such a thick accent it was impossible to understand him.

After the sushi course they brought us a pot of tea and a green tea black sesame macaroon as a palate cleanser. The macaroon was hands down the best one I've ever had. It was really small-only about one bite. I could easily throw down about 20 of these- no joke. If they ever start selling these things by the pound I will have trouble fitting into my tiny apartment.

Next came our two hot dishes. First up the lobster.


The lobster was Mr. T's favorite dish of the night. It was half a lobster tail that had been roasted in a garham masala making it spicy. It came with a side of lemon creme fraiche that was great for dipping the lobster into and cooling it down a little.

The last hot dish was my favorite of the night- the Wagyu beef filet. Unfortunately the picture came out too dark but the meat was amazing. It was cooked a perfect medium rare and was so tender it was like cutting into butter.

For dessert we had some sort of graham flavored cake topped with peaches and a peach sorbet. It was refreshing after such a big meal but nothing fantastic.

So that was our meal at Morimoto. Did I think it was good? Yes.

Will I go back? Probably not.

I have had much better Japanese food at Nobu, Le Miu and En Japanese Brasserie for less money. The bill here was pretty huge. I would say how much but I'm scared my father will read this and have a heart attack. So rather than send him to an early grave I'll just leave it at that.

http://morimotonyc.com/

Sunday, July 29, 2007

The Mermaid Inn

So in case you can't tell we've been on a big lobster roll kick lately. I know we have to stop, but Mr. T's brother and sister-in-law where visiting from Florida so it was a great excuse.

We were meeting friends later in the East Village so The Mermaid Inn seemed like the most logical choice. We showed up at 6:00 and got a table right away in their back patio. The patio itself was small but nice. It did seem a little like we were sitting in the back of someone's house but in a good way.

We started out with a bottle of the SOAVE 2005, La Cappuccina. This was an Italian white wine that was extremely crisp with lots of citrus. It was perfect for the humid, hot weather we were having.

We were all starving so decided to skip out on appetizers and head straight for the entrees. Three of us ordered the lobster sandwich and one of us got the grilled Mahi Mahi.

The lobster sandwich is exactly what it says- a sandwich. Instead of a hot dog bun it comes on a roll that's been grilled and coated with butter. The bun was good although I do prefer your more traditional roll. The lobster salad itself was great. It had less mayo and bigger chunks than Penelope's version. The fries were crisp and coated with Old bay seasoning which tasted great with the rich creamy texture of the lobster salad.

Investigative reporting under the bun.

I never got a picture of the Mahi Mahi but it looked fantastic It came with chive mashed potatoes that were bright green. I will definitely be coming back here to try that dish.

Since they don't offer dessert here they give everyone chocolate pudding at the end for free.



The pudding was good- nothing special but a nice touch I thought. It came with a fortune telling plastic fish. You place it in the palm of your hand and depending on what it does- that's your fortune. One curled up in a ball, one persons tail wiggled, one rolled over. Fun right?

What did mine do? Nothing. Dead fish it said. I tried every one thinking mine might just be a dud, but as soon as it got in my hand it just laid there.

Stupid fish.

So the Mermaid Inn was nice. Again I still like Pearl & Mary's roll the best but this is again a nice, relaxed alternative.

After dinner we went and had some beers at D.B.A. This place is known for having hundreds of hard to find beers that change on a daily basis. I've been here a bunch of times before and always really enjoyed it. Tonight however they seemed to be out of everything! I asked about seven different beers they had listed on the board and all were out. Why not erase them off the board then?

I did finally have a new beer that I enjoyed- the Kelso Saison. It was quite sweet with lots of carbonation. I probably wouldn't buy any to have at home but like the wine, it was perfect for the hot weather. The Kelso brewery is in Brooklyn so I'll definitely keep my eye out for some more of their beers.

http://themermaidnyc.com/

http://drinkgoodstuff.com/

Saturday, July 28, 2007

Burger & Flatbread at Borough

We wanted to grab a bite to eat the other night near home so we decided to try out Borough Food & Drink. We had been here for the opening party to try out some of their stuff which was pretty good. Since then it's gotten a lot of press for having an excellent Burger so we thought we'd give it a shot.

It was about 6:00 on a Tuesday night and the entire place was filled. We were able to get the last table on the patio luckily and sat down right away.

They started off by bringing over a free jar of pickled vegetables for us. I thought they were alright. I'm not really a fan of pickled veggies on their own. I need some sort of fatty meat to eat with them otherwise the taste is just too overpowering.


We weren't super hungry so we decided to split an appetizer and a burger. We got the Guanciale & Ricotta flatbread. The base was charred nice and crispy and the ricotta cheese was melted into the meat and then topped with rosemary. The flatbread was a little too oily for me but other than that it was good.



Next up was the burger which we had ordered medium rare. Unfortunately the picture didn't turn out to well with the sunlight streaming in but you can still see that it came clearly medium to well done. That being said I was really surprised how moist the burger still was.

The juices were literally seeping out of the burger. It had cheddar cheese on top and a caper aioli on the bottom. The aioli gave the burger a nice flavor that I hadn't had before in a burger and the cheese was extremely fresh. I would like to try this again and see how it is medium rare. All in all good meal though.

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Brunch at Dos Caminos

So my oldest and dearest friends came to visit this weekend for some fun time in the city and a Yankees game. We woke up on Sunday after lots of day drinking at the game and needed a good brunch.

Mr. T and I have been to Dos Caminos only once for dinner so I was a little apprehensive about bringing my friends here for brunch. It started off a little rough too.

We were seated immediately and then waited for almost 20 minutes as people all around us, who had come in later, ordered their meals. We were extremely dehydrated and hadn't even been given water. I was starting to sweat out the little moisture I had inside when our waiter finally came over.

After that hiccup it was smooth sailing. Our waters were filled immediately, our drinks were brought within moments and our food came out quickly.



The special is any entree with a free brunch cocktail. A couple of us got your standard mimosas and a couple of us got their Prickley Pear Margarita.



The margarita was really good !! I don't know if it was just the fact that we all were hung over and needed a little something to feel better or if was really just that awesome. It was a little too frozen when it first came but melted nicely.

For my entree I strayed a little from your standard brunch fare and got the Mahi Mahi fish tacos. These came with a spicy coleslaw on the side and some chili, tomato and avocado crushed on top. It was really good. I don't like rice and beans so I didn't touch them.



Two of my friends got the Breakfast Quesadilla. This thing was HUGE! Mr. Trekker joked that there was a dozen eggs in it but he probably wasn't far off. It was really tasty but it honestly could have used less of everything. There was so much egg and the pieces of bacon were enormous. It was hard to even taste the tortilla! Both of them only finished about a quarter of it. I would get it if we went back but definitely to split with someone else.


My other friend got the Huevos En Cazuela. This was poached eggs in a tomato chipotle salsa. I didn't think I would like this when I tried it was it was also good. I wish I would have found out what kind of cheese was inside because it was really soft like a goat cheese but had a much lighter, less pungent taste.



The only complaint I have besides the start of the meal was honestly the portions. There was just too much food! But hey, I guess that's not a bad thing. I had fish tacos for brunch and dinner!

http://brguestrestaurants.com/

Delivery!!!

So we were so exhausted from cooking our tacos the night before we decided to order in from Rice.

The first time we had Rice was when we went to visit Mr. Trekker's brother and sister-in-law in DUMBO and we fell in love. So we were psyched when they opened one near us. Unfortunately this one always seems to mess up our order somehow so we don't get it as much as we thought we would, but tonight we only ordered one thing so it came alright.

We got an order of their Jerk Chicken Wings. As you'll notice these wings are much smaller than your regular Buffalo Wings and they're grilled not fried. They have a lot of Caribbean spices marinated on them and are topped with grated coconut.



The result is really moist and tender chicken that almost falls apart as you pick it up. The grilling gives it a great smokey almost BBQ flavor. They are fantastic wings! If you get them definitely order a party pack because they are addicting. These were gone in about 5 minutes.

http://riceny.com/

Eating In!!!

So we hardly ever eat in for two simple reasons:

1. We aren't very good cooks
2. We are extremely lazy

To be honest it's more of number 2. I think we could have the ability to be good cooks if we weren't so addicted to television.

Anyway one of the things that has made cooking at home for us a lot easier was the opening of Trader Joes in Manhattan. I had always heard about this grocery store first for it's cheap wine but their prepared food has some great stuff.

One new item we're loving is their Chipotle Lime Chicken Strips.


These chicken strips just need to be heated in the microwave for 2 minutes and are ready to go. They have a great chipotle flavor that's smooth- not spicy. We've been making tacos with them for weeks now. Actually everything in the picture below for this meal we got from Trader Joe's.


I honestly think the whole meal cost about $12 -$13. We used the left over tortillas to make wraps for lunch and used the left over lettuce and cheese as part of dinner another night. Pretty good deal right?

All you do is heat the chicken and then throw everything except the lettuce in a shell and throw it on a Griddle.

We use our Cuisinart Griddler that we just got and it's awesome.


Look at the finished product. It's a mess of gooey, cheesy goodness. That takes about 2 minutes to put together.


Ah...I love you Trader Joes!

Monday, July 23, 2007

Shhh....

Currently on a wizarding hiatus.




Sunday, July 15, 2007

Back to NYC- Back to the best Gramercy Tavern

So we met up with Mr. Trekkers folks this weekend since we had been visiting mine the week before. We started out by having a drink at The House. The House is a new place that recently opened in our neighborhood. It's actually a restored carriage house that is really beautiful. We had eaten here before and the food was nothing special but the bar is lovely so if you're in the area it's a great place to grab a glass of wine.

After drinks we decided to head over to Gramercy Tavern for an early dinner. We got a great spot right at the corner of the bar so we could all talk easily. Gramercy Tavern is one of my top 5 favorite places in the city. I have been here many times both in the regular dining room and the tavern room and while both are great I enjoy the Tavern room the most. The big glass windows are great for people watching and something about the long wooden bar just makes you feel right at home. Plus they have an amazing vintage beer list that is unprecedented in the city.

I wasn't feeling beer at the moment though so I opted for a nice glass of Sauvignon Blanc and Mr. T got an Aventinus. As we perused the menu we snacked on their nut mix which has a spicy glaze on top.

Since it was early we decided just to have a light meal. Mr. T's mom and I both liked the looks of the pulled pork sandwich so we decided to spilt it. I have split meals at the Gramercy Tavern bar a few times and its so nice. They always split it for you and bring it out on separate plates so there's no fussing around with cutting and passing food back and forth.


The pulled pork was nice and juicy. It had just the right amount of greasiness. The pickled carrots and onions it came with were excellent although I shyed away from the jalapenos.

Mr. T decided to get the soft shell crab appetizer which he said was excellent. It was actually a nice sized crab but all the greens it came with completely covered it in the picture.

Gramercy Tavern does some of the best desserts in the city but we decided to over to Bar Stuzzichini since the parents had never been there before. We got an order of cannolis and the parents called it a night.

We got a call from a friends that they were at the Borough Food & Drink bar so we stopped by on the way home. The place was hopping! Luckily we got a seat at the bar and intrigued by the name, I deicided to try the Southampton Secret Ale.


The beer poured a deep copper and had a spicy molasses flavor to it. It was a little to hoppy for me so I probably wouldn't order it again but it was decent.

I am always on the search for the best bathrooms in the city so I decided, why don't I start taking pictures of them! Borough's were nothing special but nice because there are about 5 single bathrooms. There's nothing better than a single bathroom!


Anyway that was my Saturday!

http://thehousenyc.com/

http://gramercytavern.com/

http://www.chinagrillmgt.com/

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Bar Bill Tavern - These are real Buffalo Wings

So no trip to Buffalo is complete without the two things this place is known for: wings & Beef on weck.

My favorite place for wings is the Bar Bill Tavern. I have been to this place over a hundred times in my life. The wings are always made extra crispy with a lot of meat and flavor. The service here is also great. The bartenders get to know your name and you'll see anyone from an elderly woman eating alone to families to guys just getting drunk. This food knows no boundaries.

Now when people think of Buffalo wings they usually think of hot wings. At the Bar Bill they have extended to a bunch of different flavors than your usual hot, medium & mild. The first order we got was the Sicilian wings. These are wings covered in Italian dressing with Parmesan cheese grated on top. Unfortunately it was really dark in the bar and I had also had a couple of beers so the pictures are not the best but here are the Sicilian wings

Sicilian wings close up- see all the cheese on top!

Next up we got the medium wings and an order of beer fries. Don't the wings just look crispy! Medium is the way to go here. I usually order hot at other places but the hot here is REALLY HOT. If you don't want to be crying as your eating your wings go for the medium.

The last order we got is my favorite kind the Honey Butter BBQ. This is the best sauce of all. The only thing that could make these wings better would be a little more sauce. Next time I think I'll ask for some extra sauce on the side.

And lastly, the Beef on Weck. This is basically roast beef that has been cooked very slowly and comes on top of a Kaiser roll with salt on the top. The meat in these sandwiches is so moist the top and bottom of the bun almost get mushy because of all the juice that flows out of the beef. Again the picture does not do it justice.



We ended up eating here three times during our trip but of course I only had my cell phone camera on me all three times. Next time I go back I will take some better pictures with a regular camera. Anyway if you're in Buffalo don't let anyone tell you any different- this is THE place to go for some wings.

The La Nova Pizza

So I've been hearing people in Buffalo talk about La Nova's pizza for years but had never tried it myself. Why?

First of all I live in NYC where great pizza joints are on every block. Second of all it is in one of the worst areas of Buffalo. Honestly, it's kind of scary. Not the kind of place you want to be walking around at night.

Anyway, while hanging out with friends this weekend La Nova's name came up on three different occasions followed by "It's soo good! You have to try it!" So we decided to take a drive and check it out. We got some pizza at the place itself and ordered some to go so my mom could also try it. Here's our take out box

They offer your regular slice and a square slice so we decided to get a couple of each. The square slice was enormous! The thing about both of these slices we liked the most was the crust. The square slice has almost a bread stick crust with sesame seeds on top. It was really crunchy.



The regular slice had a buttery crust with a little bit of crispy cheese baked in. We liked this version better.


The pizza has a great sauce which is why I could see some people love it. It's also extremely greasy and cheesy which would make it great food after a night of beer drinking. That being said it was good pizza. Worth traveling out of your way for- definitely not. I have to say I have had better pizza elsewhere in Buffalo and certainly in NYC. But if you find yourself drunk in this area of Buffalo late at night, grab yourself a slice, enjoy it's greasiness......and then get the Hell out of there
!

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Rick's On Main Street

So my parents & brother have been raving about this new place that opened in East Aurora called Rick's on Main. I had heard so much about it I asked that we all meet there as soon as we got back from the airport for dinner.

First of all the outdoor space is really nice. They have a huge wrap around porch that looks out onto Main street which in any other town might mean lots of noise. Luckily East Aurora is a quiet town so the view is nice and they had plenty of tables.

Also the service was impeccable the entire night. Our waiter made sure our drinks were always full and accommodated all of our special requests. Everyone told me I had to get the crab cakes as my appetizer and man- they were fabulous! Look at these cakes!



Just looking at the photo again makes my mouth water! The cakes sit atop a remoulade and sweet chili thai sauce. My Father & Brother are big fans of the sauce and I was as well. The 2 flavors went really well with the crab. But honestly I had a bite of just the crab cake alone and I have to say the cake itself is really just one of the best I have ever had. It's really hard to find a perfect crab cake where it's not too bready, rich or heavy. This cake was just light enough. Really delicious!

For my main I got the Tuna special which was described as sashimi grade tuna served rare to medium rare with basmati rice and a vegetable julienne. Now for some reason I pictured thin slices of rare tuna atop some vegetables. When it came out I was a little disappointed to see an actual huge tuna steak cooked more medium than anything. The dish was very good though. It was way to much food and Mr. Trekker & We both left half of our plates but the flavors again blended well. I chose to swap out the rice for some sauteed greens.

The tuna looks small in the picture but it took up half of the plate!



One of the other specials of the night was the cornmeal encrusted halibut which was also excellent.



My sister-in-law suggested the best dessert of the night which was their apple pie. This was covered in cinnamon crumbles and a light caramel sauce. Yum!!!!! I was so full at this point but I just couldn't seem to stop eating it!


Since it was such a nice summer night I decided to try out the seasonal beer they were offering the Black Dog Honey Raspberry Ale. This beer was really nice. The fruit flavor was light so it came through but wasn't overpowering. Really a great easy to drink summer ale.



So I would say Rick's was one of the best dining experiences I have had in East Aurora in a long time. Possibly the best crab cakes I have ever had. We liked it so much we went back the next day again for an early dinner! 
The only thing I didn't get a picture of was their special summer salad my sister-in-law ordered. I think I was so into my food at that point that I just assumed I had taken a picture of it.

It was greens with all sorts of raspberries, blueberries, honey roasted nuts and a couple of other things I just can't seem to remember. It was also excellent and one of the prettiest dishes of the night with all of the different colors (why didn't I get a picture!!!) Oh well- it's a great excuse to go back again!

Just an excellent dinner with my favorite people- Thanks Dad!

http://ricksonmain.com/

Back To Buffalo!

So we just came back from a trip to Buffalo to visit family and see some friends. We a fantastic yet exhausting visit so I'm not sure how much I will post tonight. All flights last night were cancelled due to bad thunder storms and we had to catch a very early plane this morning that was also delayed. So our usual 1 hour plane trip ended up taking us in total about 20 hours. I really need some sort of laser transporter.

Thursday, July 5, 2007

Another Lobster Roll!!!!

So two Lobster Rolls in two days is pretty extravagant but we're celebrating our nations independence right? So we headed to our neighborhood place Penelope tonight. This place is so close to us but we've only been there 3 times. For some reason we always forget about it, which is too bad because the food is always great.

Mr. Trekker got the lobster sandwich and I got the warm chicken meatballs arugula salad. Now in contrast to Ditch Plains this one was much more of a salad. The lobster was chopped fine with more mayonnaise and celery. Even thought there was less lobster I preferred this version. The lobster flavor actually came through and wasn't over powered by spices. Also it was only $17- a cool $8 cheaper than Ditch Plains. The french fries here are also great. Nice and crispy and seasoned with rosemary.


My meal was also fantastic. I've had this before and it was just as good. The salad dressing has a great zingy taste and the warm chicken meatballs are just a perfect match for the somewhat bitter arugula.
Penelope is just a nice place to relax and enjoy an evening. If your in the area stop by- you won't be disappointed.

http://www.penelopenyc.com/

Ditch Plains

So we decided to have dinner at Ditch Plains to celebrate the 4th of July and was it ever good! First of all the space is nice. It has an open airy feeling about it with nice big booths to chill out in. We started with a bottle of Sauvignon Blanc and some clam strips to start. The clams were fried nicely with just enough crunch to them.

For mains we got their signature dish which you won't find on the menu- the Ditch Dogs. Behold them in all their cheesy, greasy glory:






Two hot dogs topped with mac & cheese and crispy french fries! Oh yes- it was as good as it looks. I would like to re-create this at home but that could be a dangerous endeavor. Sooo good!

For our other dishes we got the special sandwich of the day the Shrimp Po' Boy:


Then we got the lobster roll. This was good but probably one of my least favorite in NYC. It had a lot of spices in it. We were trying to figure out what they were, maybe celery root and paprika? Not sure but the spices over took the great taste of the lobster. The sweet potato chips were pretty good though. Better then I thought they would be.


Then we also got a Caesar salad. Which was really tasty. Sorry the picture is so blurry. My camera kept heading towards the Ditch Dogs (was that my camera or my mouth... )



To end they gave us a bunch of Salt Water Taffy with the check. I thought that was a nice touch. All in all a great meal. We will be back to try some of the other menu items that looked fantastic- especially their clam chowder- yum!

http://www.ditch-plains.com/

Wednesday, July 4, 2007

If you have to go to Yankee Tavern- Get a Pastrami Sandwich


So we went to the Yankees game last night and needed a place to meet up for a few drinks and food before the game. If you've ever been to a Yankee game you know that for some reason every bar in the area has music blaring so loud you have to shout to be heard.


We were looking for some place where we could actually hear ourselves talk and decided to go to the back part of Yankee Tavern. We ordered some beers and some food. We got the Pastrami sandwich, zucchini sticks and something that I think was called the Home Run Platter. This was basically a platter with a hamburger, hot dog, mozzarella sticks and buffalo wings.


Now obviously we weren't expecting much. As you can see most of these foods are artery clogging fried delights conducive to beer drinking but alas even all of the oil couldn't save the meal.

The zucchini sticks were limp, the buffalo wings were super salty and the mozzarella sticks were cold. The only dish that fared well was the pastrami sandwich. It was funny because when I walked over the check out the bathrooms later on I realized that about 50% of the people inside seemed to be eating some sort of sandwich. I guess they all knew what we didn't know.




Zucchini Sticks & Pastrami Sandwich


Home Run Platter- Not a Home Run :(

Tuesday, July 3, 2007

Highline Lunch & Billy's Dessert




So I went to Highline for lunch today. We walked in around 12:30 and were the only people in the place. Maybe it was because of the holiday tomorrow or maybe all of the construction going on outside, but we were shocked it was empty.

We sat down and I ordered a Thai iced tea to drink. My drink was lovely when it came but it was way too sweet! I have enjoyed better ones at Spice. For my appetizer I got the Chicken & Shrimp Fritters. These were very good. Just the right crunchiness and had a great dipping sauce on the side.

For my main I got the garlic and vegetables with beef. This was very good also. Your standard Thai dish in the city. I am not a huge eater for lunch so I thought the portion size was perfect. Someone else might find the size a little on the smaller side though.
For $10 in the Meatpacking district I don't think it gets any cheaper.

On my way home I was craving some sweets. I stopped in Chelsea Market for a free brownie sample from Fatwich, but that didn't satisfy me enough. I decided to walk up to Billy's bakery because I haven't been there in a while. I got a cupcake to eat on the way home and some cookies to go.

The cupcake was good but the frosting was more sugary than I remember it being. I honestly ate about half and then couldn't get down any more.

Once I got home I dived into the cookies. I got a peanut butter one and a molasses butterscotch cookie. The peanut butter cookie was fantastic. chewy in the middle and crisp on the outside. The molasses butterscotch was good but again a little too sugary for my tastes. I honestly had a little stomach ache afterwards.
http://billysbakerynyc.com/

Sunday, July 1, 2007

It Started with a Wing


So to start off my first ever blog I decided to begin with a salute to my hometown Buffalo. Although I moved to NYC about 6 years ago I still have a big spot in my heart for the place that fed me for so many years. Also I will probably post some pictures from when I go back of better wings but for now here are the original- Anchor Bar. The place that invented the Buffalo Wing. Not the best in Buffalo but the place is fun and it's got history. If you're in the area it's worth checking out.