Tuesday, September 30, 2008

The Quickest One Day Report EVER!

Okay so I recently had a FABULOUS trip back to my hometown where I saw wonderful family and friends and just had a fantastic time in general. During this trip I ate some awesome pizza topped with bacon, goat cheese and spinach. The crust was ultra thin, crispy and there was a lot of garlicky goodness....Need I say more?



I also experienced the largest burger I have ever seen in my life!!! No Really!! This thing was gigantic!! Easily big enough for two people, possibly three. My friend at the whole damn thing. Fries Included. Awesome.



I also pet a llama: (This is the actual Llama)



And did this all drinking tons of wonderful red wine!!!



Whew!!! And that was all just one day of my trip! (BTW the restaurant was Tantalus) The first night in I actually went to a fantastic dinner at a place in Buffalo called Tempo. But that's for another day's review when llamas aren't involved!

I'm off tomorrow but I'll have the laptop on our trip so maybe I'll be able to do some posts from sunny Las Vegas or San Diego!!! I'll keep you updated!!

Until we meet again!

Monday, September 29, 2008

A Little "Me" Time at Aquagrill

Going out to lunch by myself is something I really enjoy doing. I find it sort of...therapeutic I guess.

Unfortunately I usually work right through my lunch break so it's a rare occasion when I can actually go out and enjoy a leisurely lunch.

Well today I did.

I was feeling a little bit overwhelmed I guess and felt like I needed a little time alone. So I took a half day of work and walked into SOHO to find a place in the sun to enjoy lunch.

I was craving a fish sandwich of some sort and went right to Spring Street Natural where I had enjoyed one before.

Unfortunately they only had 2 tables set up outside and they were already filled.

I decided to head west and see if I could find any other outdoor spots.

Well I ended up walking all the way across to 6th avenue to an old standby Aquagrill.

I've been to Aquagrill a bunch of times for dinner or just some oysters and drinks, but this was my first time at lunch.

I was surprised to see the inside dining room virtually empty! Quite a change from the packed, bustling atmosphere that usually greets me at night.

The outside porch had a few more people than inside but I was able to get a table right away. They had a special Cod sandwich on the menu today that sounded right up my alley so I placed my order and they brought over the bread.



They gave me three different types of bread today, all of which were excellent.

The first, and my favorite of the bunch, was the onion focaccia.

The onions had been slightly caramelized giving the top of the bread a sweet moist tang complementing a crisp salty bottom.

Yum!! Sweet n salty all the way baby!



The middle was a long cigar shaped piece of cornbread. As I took a bite I noticed a little kick to it. Upon closer inspection I saw some hues of green which makes me think it was baked with a little jalapeno as well.

The last was your classic ciabatta that was perfect for dipping in the wonderful olive oil they brought.

As usually happens with lunch, my entree arrived about 3 minutes after I ordered it. I never understand how they are able to make everything so quick at lunchtime!

I ordered the Crispy Casco Bay Cod Sandwich.



This was big piece of fish that had been fried and then topped with sun dried tomatoes, red and yellow peppers and baby arugula.

Here's a side view.



Both pieces of bread were grilled and the bottom piece had been slathered in a delicious basil mayonnaise. This really made the sandwich for me.

The peppers and mayonnaise gave it so much flavor. I would have preferred to have my fish grilled rather than fried but that was all they were offering today.

They did substitute the french fries for micro greens though which was nice.

It's good to try and be somewhat healthy right?

Overall it was an excellent meal.

The waitress I had was very nice although I feel as a solo diner I was treated a little bit differently.

For example, I was never told the specials like all of the other guests. My menu was simply placed in front of me and I was told the specials were on the side.

Other patrons around me were given vivid descriptions of each one upon sitting and lots of attention.

And when the check came back for me to sign, my server barely turned towards me to drop it off. The table next to me was ready to order so she slipped the check back to me almost behind her back, so she could take their order.

I thought it would be nice for some eye contact and a thanks but oh well..whatever.

The food was good, I had a lovely spot to people watch. Just what the doctor ordered! And for $13, not too pricey either. Quite a nice way to spend an afternoon indeed.

I have tons of pictures from my Buffalo trip I have to share s well. I hope I can get around to it before I leave for some fun and sun in Vegas!!

Aquagrill

Thursday, September 25, 2008

I'm Off!!

I'm off to Buffalo for a quick weekend trip..Then it's back to NYC for 3 days and then off to VEGAS!!!!!

It will be a busy (fun) week- I'll try to post in between, but in the meantime wish me and Jetblue good luck!

Here's a picture of some Crispy Taro Root Shrimp from Chinatown Brasserie we had not so long ago.



Just to keep you drooling and hooked on food for a while:)

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Jackson Hole

We were aching for a good burger the other night but one look at the Shake Shack cam told us the line would be at least an hour. Neither of us felt like cooking either so...we headed to the computer and checked out seamlessweb.

Mr. T and I order in a LOT! Too much honestly. We have started to become sick of our options because we always choose the same stuff.

Well as I was scrolling through the choices I ran across Jackson Hole.

The picture on the website looked like a pretty good burger and I was starving!

So we placed our order.

About a half hour later this mammoth mound of meat arrived at my door.



Whoa!! This burger really was huge! I was impressed by the juicy looking exterior and wonderful smell as I opened the bag.

Unfortunately the burger didn't end up tasting as good as it looked and smelled.

The first problem was the temperture.

Had ordered medium rare and this baby was cooked all the way though.

Because of this, the inside was a little dry and not nearly as moist and flavorful as I would have liked.

It was actually a little weird. The outside was almost dripping with juice and grease but the inside seemed to be void of any moisture at all.

Th meat was also a little bit gritty. I think I have been so used to burgers like the Shake's and PJ Clark's where they use good meat and get a nice salty char on the outside.

This lacked both the quality meat and char so I was left a little disappointed. I'm not sure if they cooked it kind of weird or what.

I was kind of surprised of all the great reviews it got when I looked it up.

I guess if I was having a couple of beers at Jackson Hole I may have enjoyed it a little more. The size certainly is impressive at least.

But I've never been a fan of the "bigger is better" mantra. Give me a good quality slider for goodness sake and I'll be a happy camper!

Next time I'll probably just go wait in line for the Shake when I am craving a good burger.

Jackson Hole

Thursday, September 18, 2008

One For Me, One For You

Mr. T was in Pennsylvania for a meeting last week and got a ride back to the city with a co-worker.

He called me to say he was getting dropped off in Chinatown. Since I usually walk home from work that way, I decided to meet him for dinner.

It turned out that Mrs. Wu (Mr. T's co-worker) was meeting her husband as well! So we all decided to have dinner together.

Now the Wu's actually grew up in Chinatown, so they know a little something about the area!

We decided to leave the dinner pick in their hands and they chose Penang.

Penang is a Malaysian/Thai restaurant located on Elizabeth street.

Upon entering I was greeted by the usual feeling I get at most restaurants in Chinatown- a kind of homey bustle.

We sat down and got some beers and tea and looked at the menu which was HUGE!!

There was many different kinds of food it was really quite overwhelming.

Luckily the Wu's said they would order for the table...And order they did!

We had tons of tasty food; crispy orange beef, chicken satay, tripe (okay Mr. T and I didn't eat the tripe but the Wu's seemed to enjoy it). So much food there was really to much to write about.

So I'll just tell you about our two favorite things of the night.

First up- Mr. T's favorite the Home Made Roti Canai.



The Roti Canai is a kind of Malaysian flatbread that is made by kneading the dough, flattening it, allowing it to rise and then the whole process is repeated.

What comes from all of that process it this big piece of dough.

As I broke into the hot crusty exterior it flaked away to reveal a fluffy warm inside perfect for dipping into the tasty chicken curry sauce.

I couldn't believe how light and airy this dough was. Almost like a pastry.

The Wu's had gotten four orders of the Roti, which I thought was a little excessive, but by the end of the night they were all gone!

Now while I really enjoyed the Roti, it wasn't my favorite dish of the night.

Oh no...that spot is usually reserved for some sort of sweet, calorie laden dessert that it will take days to burn off my hips.

And tonight was no different. I give you the Peanut Pancake.



Oh...My...Goodness...this thing was so freakin good!

They took the same kind of dough as the Roti and stuffed it full of ground up peanuts, butter and sugar. The they slathered some kind of sticky sauce, possibly honey, all over the top to seal the deal.

Sweet...Stckey....Salty....Sensatioanl!!!

This was just everything I love about dessert without the chocolate!

I couldn't stop eating this thing! The rest of the night I felt like I had a huge rock in my stomach because it was so dense, but man oh man it was worth it.

It turns out that Penang is a chain restaurant with 2 locations in New York and also some in New Jersey, Maryland and North Carolina.

I guess they must be doing something right huh?

All I know is that the Wu's can pick our meal for us anyday and we will be an extremely happy couple.

Penang

Monday, September 15, 2008

German Chocolate Cake!!

I think I've said before how much I Love, love, love Gramercy Tavern. It is just a wonderful spot. The place is beautiful, the staff are friendly and the food is spectacular.

Mr. T and I swung by the other night for dessert and I had one of the richest, most decadent pieces of chocolate cake ever.

This is the Gramercy Tavern German Chocolate cake with Milk Chocolate Coconut ice cream.



Oh my goodness. Just looking at this picture is enough to make me want to run over there right now and get some more.

The cake itself was super moist and it came covered with a Carmel coconut glaze on top that was absolutely wonderful!

I was a little worried at first that the milk chocolate ice cream would be too much with the rich chocolate cake, but it paired well. The ice cream wasn't too sweet and instead the coconut flavor really brought out the coconut in the cake.

Once again Gramercy tavern hits all the right spots. I don't think I have yet find something there that I don't like. It's all fantastic.

Friday, September 12, 2008

Happy Birthday To me

So today is my birthday and I am now officially OLD.

To make matters worse I have been sick since Tuesday, my friends that were supposed to come in from out of town are going to be about 4 hours late, since they are hours late we can't do the dinner I wanted because it will be packed by then and we have tickets to a beer crawl tomorrow and it's supposed to pour all day.

Needless to say I am depressed. I really need to go out and get one of these.




And after lots of these things will look better.

After all, I have a wonderful boyfriend and family and that's all that matters in life right! Now I'm going to get a beer.

A Happy beer :)

Monday, September 8, 2008

Mini Cookies in Brooklyn

I was walking around Brooklyn Heights the other day looking for a new work lunch spot. I always stick to the area right around Montague Street but there’s really nothing that good there.

It was such a gorgeous day out so I decided to wander a little further than usual and wandered right out of Brooklyn Heights. Into what I believe is the Cobble Hill neighborhood (I am so bad about knowing where I am in Brooklyn. That is going to be my New Year’s resolution- pay attention to street signs in boroughs other than Manhattan!)

Well I didn’t actually find a new lunch spot, I stumbled across a cookie and gelato shop called One Girl Cookies.

What caught my eye first was the cute little sign hanging down out front that simply said “Cookies”.

It was so simple. No need for fancy pictures or neon signs.

If you want some cookies- come here.

The whole shop was actually cute. The inside was long and narrow with some boxes of cookies up front and a glass display case in the back that showcased the cookies.

There was also a small wooden bar attached to the side of the counter for tasting as you pleased.

I was greeted warmly by the woman behind the counter and after perusing the items I decided to go for two kinds of cookies.

The classic chocolate chip and the Penelope cookies.



The first one I tried was the chocolate chip.

I was impressed by the texture of the chips first of all. They had retained their silky melty texture even though they had obviously been baked hours ago.

The cookie had a faint hint of anise on the end which I don’t really care for.

I did enjoy the rich buttery flavor of the dough, but I thought the cookie was a little too thick for my tastes.

The only thick chocolate cookie I have ever really enjoyed was at Levain Bakery. Somehow Levain’s stay moist and gooey in the middle and crunchy on top. I have no idea how it happens there. It’s like magic.

I found this cookie was a little too dry in the middle which is why I would have preferred it to be thinner.

Surprising I liked the Penelope cookie much more.



The Penelope is a butter cookie that has apricot preserve middle and a layer of chopped nuts around the outside.

The apricot preserve was so fresh I could have sworn it had been made minutes before.

The nuts were a mixture of almond and walnuts which were ground down so they blended in with the buttery texture of the cookie.

I really liked this cookie. My only complaint was that there wasn’t more apricot and nuts! They were so good I wanted twice as much!

But that’s just me. I always want extra frosting when normal people think it’s too much!

I have a problem overloading with the sugar!!

I would definitely like to go back and check out their other cookies. On the top of the display case they had some homemade whoopee pies!

They were two pieces of the moistest looking pumpkin cake squashed around a thick middle of cream cheese frosting.

Um can you say awesome!!!

I had to use all of my will power to get out of the store without shoving one in my mouth right there.

I mean I just found this place. I can’t eat everything all at once!

I will see you again Pumpkin Whoopie Pie just you wait.

One Girl Cookies

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Ribs and the US Open

I have always thought Mr. T and I are extremely lucky to live in the neighborhood we do. We are super close to multiple trains and buses, we are surrounded by Danny Meyer restaurants, which are all fantastic and we have the beautiful Madison Square Park right nearby to relax and enjoy the sun.

One of the coolest things about Madison Square Park, besides the Shake Shack of course, is that once a year they turn the north end into a US Open party.

They put up a HUGE screen and bring in some bleachers where anyone can go and watch the matches.

Pretty cool huh!

The best part though? They serve beer, wine and food!

Mr. T and I stumbled across this the first year they set up shop and come back to chill now annually.

This year we were pretty psyched to hear that Hill Country was one of the vendors there. So on Saturday afternoon we ambled over to check it out.

We got there around 3:00 and were pleasantly surprised to see they added tables and chairs on the lawn!



We bought a couple of Coronas and decided to split an order of the Beef Ribs.

For $9.00 I was pretty impressed with the amount of meat they gave us. A lot of times they skimp during these park events but not here.



We grabbed one of the tables and watched some tennis.

Unfortunately the ribs didn’t taste as good as they usually do at Hill Country itself.

They were a little over seasoned and tougher than normal.

I think the travel must have hurt them a bit.

I have to tell you though neither Mike and I really cared that much.

I had actually attended a funeral that morning and was feeling drained and emotional to say the least.

But sitting out in that sunlight, relaxing with a cold beer and watching sports with Mr T was exactly what the doctor ordered. I felt about ten times better just relaxing and enjoying the day.

As we were sitting a squirrel came right near by looking for a place to bury a nut he had found.



If that’s not a sign that summer is over I don’t know what is!

The matches are being shown through the end of this week so head on over if you get a chance. It’s really something quite special.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

The First and Last Lobster Roll of Summer

If you look back to my posts last summer you'll see that Mr. T and I pretty much were having a lobster roll a week!

This Summer we decided we had to reign ourselves in a little but we did a little too much. We hadn't had one at all!

You can actually get lobster rolls year round but there's something about having them in the summertime that just makes them extra good. So realizing that this was technically the last weekend of summer we knew we needed to get our Lobster Roll fill Stat.

So we met up with some friends on Friday and headed to Pearl Oyster Bar.

The place was packed as always so we put our name in and came back about a half hour later. We were told we would only have to wait a few more minutes so we took a seat in the window and had a drink.

The few minutes turned into at least 20 minutes and I have to say I was getting anxious. It's hard watching everyone's food going by when you're starving and I thought about going somewhere else a few times but I am so glad i didn't!

We finally did get our table and we put in our order immediately.

They had a steamer special that day so we decided to split a large bucket.



Wow! These clams were enormous!! They were so plump and juicy I could have sat there all day dunking them in melted butter.

They made me as happy as a clam!

Then the main event arrived. The Lobster Roll.



Pearl's lobster roll comes garnished with a little bit of lettuce and a huge pile of shoestring fries. Some people dislike the shoestring fries but I think they're fantastic!

Each one is perfectly salted with an excellent crispy exterior. Yum!

And how about the roll! Check out these huge chunks of lobster!



The lobster meat is slathered in Mayonnaise and stuffed into a top loading bun that's been grilled and buttered so its crispy on the inside and soft and squishy on the outside.

The lobster roll was awesome. I noticed it had a little more mayonnaise than it used too. I could have gone for little bit less but it was still fantastic.

Lobster rolls here are going for $27 bucks right now which is pricey but worth every penny.

I think we all pretty much licked our plates clean.

Pearl is hands down the best lobster roll in the city. Mary's come close but it's really just not the same.

I have to say I love the hustle and bustle of Pearl as well. You feel kind of energized in the harried chatty atmosphere.

The only thing I would change about Pearl is the beer selection. They only have three beers on tap and I honestly don't care for any of them.

Oh well, that's a small price to pay for such an excellent meal. And we got it in just before the end of summer!! Success!!