Thursday, October 30, 2008

Momofuku Noodle Bar

It was a FREEEZING day Wednesday and I was not prepared to handle the weather.

My thin black work pants were no match for the sharp wind and I dashed home after work to get some warmth.

I walked inside my apartment and instead of feeling the rush of heat I felt nothing. I went back out into the hallway and saw a sign up that said "Sorry for the inconvenience the boiler is broken".

Inconvenience!! It's fricken freezing!!

So I called Mr. T and told him the situation.

We decided to do what any normal American would and use it as an excuse to go out for some beers and dinner!

We met up at McSorleys and over a couple of darks and lights we decided to go to Momofuku Noodle bar for some warm comfort food.

We got to Momofuku right before 8:00 and only had to wait about 2 minutes for a seat.

Both of us knew exactly what we wanted so we placed our order and got our appetizer within minutes.

Of course we had to start with the pork buns.



Okay...SO much has been written about these things it’s a little ridiculous but oh my goodness ..they are amazing.

Just big juicy slabs of pork belly sandwiched inside some steamed buns with Hosin sauce and pickled cucumbers.

It is fatty fatty goodness!!!

Sometimes I swing by late afternoon when they're not busy and pick some up to go.

They are a little pricey at $9 for 2 buns but they are addictively delicious.

For our mains Mr. T got a big bowl of ramen to warm his belly. The Momofuku Ramen.

Look at this beautiful bowl!



I took a couple bites and it was delicious!!!

I was really surprised how tasty the broth itself was until I found out that David Chang makes it with roasted pork bones, mushrooms and bacon.

I think that would make anything taste wonderful.

Besides the wonderful noodles inside there was also some more pieces of pork , some bamboo shoots and a poached egg.

This dish will warm you up and make you as happy as a clam on a cold day!!

For my dish I got the Smoked Chicken Wings.



When they first came out I was a little bit worried. They looked small and soggy.

Thank goodness looks can be deceiving!

I don't know how they got these wings so crispy without having a char all over the wing!

The chicken had a wonderful aroma and when I bit in, the crispy exterior gave away to the taste of chili, garlic and scallions.

These wings were wonderful!!!

I literally fell in love. I wanted to seduce these wings, take them down to the courthouse and marry them.

I just love wings.

So once again Momofuku really hit the spot.

Mr T and I are seriously thinking of moving downtown a little bit to be closer to all of these great places.

Could you imagine if I could have Momofuku as my neighborhood joint!! It’s only about 12 blocks away right now but what if it was only 2!!!

Our lease is up next month...we will see...

McSorleys

Momofuku

Thursday, October 23, 2008

My Drinking Wine These Days

I don't know about you but I kind of change my wine though the seasons.

The last couple months we were drinking a lot of Pinot Gris and Sauvignon Blanc.

Obviously it was summer so white was the choice.

But now summer has ended and it's time to get back into the reds and one of my favorite, cheap and wonderful wines to drink right now is the Las Hormigas Altos Malbec.



It pours a dark reddish purple color and has an excellent dry, black cheery taste with a smooth finish.

There have been a lot of great Malbec's coming out of Argentina lately and this is one of my favorites.

It's a full body wine but so well structured that it's quite easy to drink.

The best part is the price.

In NYC it usually averages around $10.00 a bottle. So you can enjoy a nice wine without breaking the bank.

It's a fantastic way to settle in and get cozy with some scary Halloween movies on a weekday night.

So go out, grab a bottle, Return of the Living Dead Part II, your favorite main squeeze and call it a successful October night at home. You will not be disappointed!!

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Sweets at Chocolate Bar in Buffalo

Friday night I went out to dinner with my family at Papaya, an Asian fusion place in Buffalo.
The food was pretty good and the atmosphere was fun. But the best part, in my opinion, is that it's next door to a dessert place called the Chocolate Bar!  I had always heard good reviews about this place so I was psyched. Walking inside I immediately liked the decor. It was dark, sleek and a little sexy I guess. A good place for a date...Or with your entire immediate family..whichever you prefer.

They have a surprisingly large selection of wine and spirits, for a dessert place, so I ordered up a bottle of Pinot Noir and we put in our dessert order. Now since I'm on vacation and have SO much trouble choosing between desserts, I did the only thing one can do in these situations. I ordered two. The first one was the special of the month the pumpkin gelato.



This dessert was certainly quite stunning to look at and really got me in the Halloween spirit. Unfortunately it wasn't that great. I think they made the pumpkin gelato desserts earlier in the day and then threw them in the freezer. As a result, I couldn't even cut into my gelato when it first arrived. It was covered in ice crystals. When it finally thawed there was some decent gelato but that took about 15 minutes and the freezer burn gave it a slightly strange taste. The winner of the night was the dessert my brother ordered.



The Bananas Foster Crepe. Wow!!! The crepe was moist and doughy with sweet brown sugar bananas rolled up and served with a side of cinnamon ice cream. This scored on all levels. The bananas had a nice char without becoming squishy and the sauce has a salty, sweet flavor that was simply excellent.

We had a ton of desserts and I tried them all. The cakes and crepes were what really shined for me. The ice cream sundaes weren't as cold as the gelato, but they were still colder than I would have liked and the hot fudge sauce was a little too thick. Maybe they had an issue with their freezer. Everything else was so good I am definitely going to give them another chance next time I go back.

The best part of the whole evening though?  Getting to spend some quality time with my family.

We are about to have another member enter soon...My brother and his wife are about to have a baby!! So it was an exciting dinner but I was also feeling a little sentimental and sappy the whole weekend. (All the wine didn't exactly help :)

All I know is this kid better have a pretty big sweet tooth.

And love football..because it case you didn't hear the Bills beat the Chargers and are now 5 and 1!!!!! It gets no better. A beautiful fall weekend in Buffalo with an amazing family and great games.

Chocolate Bar

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Yummm!! Jacques Torres Cookie

I've always been a person who NEEDS to have at least one piece of chocolate or sweet every day. I just don't feel right until I do.  But lately I've been needing more.  Not more chocolate but more dessert...Cupcakes, puddings, ice creams...my daily mini Toblerone and my scoop of Nutella just haven't been doing the job lately.

So the other day after lunch, I was heading to the nearby bodega for my sugar fix. You know, a Rocher or some other single serving piece of chocolate they usually keep on the counter. Something that makes me feel less guilty than buying a whole candy bar! But once I got inside, one look at the sad display of sweets I knew I needed something more  
So I decided to take a little walk and trekked all the way down to one of the best chocolatiers in the city..Jacques Torres.

Walking into his store is what I imagine it smelled like when Charlie first walked into Willy Wonka's chocolate factory. Except no Oompa Loompa's. I was overwhelmed by all of the goodies and treats everywhere. Carmel chocolate covered popcorn, rich fudgy brownies, wicked hot chocolate. The possibilities were endless.

But then I saw exactly what my body needed..a big, warm, fresh out of the oven Chocolate chip cookie!! Yes that would do just fine:)



This picture doesn't do justice for the cookies. First of all it's enormous. At least twice the size a cookie should be. Second, it was baked to perfection! The outside edges were brown and crisp while the center was warm and gooey goodness.



Somehow the cookie had an almost perfect balance of dough to chocolate ratio in every single bite! That Jacques Torres doesn't mess around :) So I feel a little bit guiltier than I would have if I had just stuck to my bodega candy. BUT my tummy is about ten times happier!!!!

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Back to Buffalo...Again!

I'm going back to Buffalo this weekend to watch the Bills take on the Chargers in what I imagine to be a very, very tough game. I'm beyond psyched to see the game up close and personal for the first time this season. Last time I was home I talked a little about the food I had enjoyed although I never got around to talking about Tempo in downtown Buffalo, where I had a delicious Arugula and Prosciutto salad that was surprisingly accompanied by Feta cheese.



It came with a light lemon mint vinaigrette. The acid from this dressing really helped balance the strong taste of the Feta and it was delicious. My main course that night was also phenomanal the whole Branzino.



Yum!!! This came glazed in a Pesto sauce with a salad of sweet peppers and potatoes on the side. It was fabulous! I have had a lot of whole fish here in NYC and I would put this one up against the best here in the city. It was delicate, moist and simply bursting with flavor. 

Tempo was a beautiful place as well. It was located in a beautiful old building with shiny wooden floors and huge ceilings. We got the best seat of the house as well, the large table in front of the windows which really made it special. Well anyway...I am not sure what food adventures await me this time. It's more about hanging with family, friends and watching the Bills. And that's the most exciting part :)

See You Soon!!

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Update!

So you know the cupcake I was telling you about yesterday?

Daily Candy sent out an email about that dessert place How Sweet It Is today.

AND if you print out the Daily Candy email and bring it into the store this week you get 25% off you order! Not a bad deal!

I posted the link below...Happy Eating!

Cupcake Coupon

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

How Sweet It Is

I was walking home from work today and had my mind on getting some sweets. My plan was to walk through Chinatown, up the LES a little bit and then stop at the Chikalicious Pudding store on my last leg and pick up some cupcakes since I’ve never tried them out.

Well as I was walking up Allen street I literally stumbled across this dessert shop. How Sweet It Is.



Since that was exactly what I had in mind, I went inside and loved what I saw.

A little counter housed a bunch of pastries, muffins, brownies and most of all different kinds of cupcakes!!

The woman behind the counter was extremely nice and she explained each off the different flavors of cupcakes, to me: Red Velvet, Peanut Butter & Jelly, Nutella, German Chocolate…I could go on but I think you get the picture.

The last one she said got me though. Their special of the week.

The Chocolate Guiness Stout cupcake with pumpkin icing and pumpkin cream cheese frosting in the middle.

Holy Halloween!!!

I somehow made it all the way without digging in just so I could get some pic.

How cute and festive is this?

Now from the outside it looks like just a normal old chocolate cupcake.

But as soon as I started to unwrap the paper I knew this was going to be different.




As I peeled away the edge I was hit full force with the smell of nutmeg and cinnamon.

It was like I had autumn wrapped up right in front of me.



An then I saw the inside.



Wow! This had a lot going on.

Now I had been a little worried because these ones had been in the refrigerator and sometimes that kills the cake.

Here the cake somehow stayed incredibly moist. It tasted wet almost.

Now if the smell was any indication of the flavor capacity of this baby, I was blown out of the park.

There was so much going on in this cake..the chocolaty thick Guiness cake, the rich creamy pumpkin cream cheese filling, the pungent and powerful pumpkin in the icing.

It was almost a little too much. I could only get through half of the cupcake and I felt little overloaded.

I think that the cake was so rich that having both a frosting inner and icing outer was a little much.

However, separately everything was fantastic!

Not all of their cupcakes had filling in the middle and next time I think I would try one of them. But the shop is super cute, the staff are super friendly and hey..they had some free brownie samples on the counter..what more do you want in your dessert shop.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

NYC Food And Wine Festival- Lots o' Vino!!

The weekend was the NYC Food and Wine Festival and I have to say it was pretty awesome.

We had tickets to the second session of the Grand Tasting Saturday from 3:00-6:00. We showed up at the welcome center first and were greeted with free chocolates, a generous gift bag filled with all sorts of goodies and a free Waterford Wine glass.

I was pretty jazzed already and we hadn't even gotten into the Tasting yet!

The tasting was held on Pier 54 and it couldn't have been a more perfect day for the event. The sun was shining and everyone just seemed to be in a great mood.

Mr T and I got a chance to try everything! I mean everything! There wasn't a station we missed.

The best dish of the night goes solidly to Alex Urena from Pamplona.



This was braised Washugya Brisket with Manchego rice and Black Olive sauce.

OMG this was so good! The meat was so tender it just fell apart as you cut inside.

The sauce was excellent as well as the rice but the meat really stole the show on it's own.

Towards the end we came back for another bite and he had run out of the sauce and rice. We tried the meat on it's own and it was still beyond delicious.

Pamplona is now on the top of my list to try out.

The second best dish of the night was the pizza from Bayard's events catering.



This is no ordinary pizza. It's made with Ribola cheese and topped with white truffle oil.

Wow! Both Mr T and I were kind of blown away. We weren't expecting much from this pizza but it was insanely delicious.

The crust was extra crispy and the truffle oil and cheese just made it decadent.

The next dish wasn't the best of the night but I have to include it because it was made by Dave "I'm not your bitch, bitch" Martin from Top Chef.



The duck on the top was very good but the bottom cracker was a little overwhelming, taking away from the flavor of the duck.

However, Dave was super friendly and just seemed to be having a good time so I have to love it..and him!

Other food highlights were the amazing toffee milk chocolates from XOXO chocolates out of Boulder and the mushroom dumplings from Waikaya.

But what was even more prevalent than the food was the drinks!!!

They had so much alcohol it was unbelievable. Tons of wine vendors everywhere doing tastings of everything,including my favorite La Crema. There was also beer like Blue Moon, Corona and Sam Adams.

And then there was the liquor!! OMG! There were shots of Jim Beam, Mini mojitos, tons of different flavored vodkas, Peanut Liquors, tequila...on and on.

People were just doing shots left and right!

Mr. T and I stuck to wine and beer only and after an hour after being there we were already feeling no pain.

It was an awesome event.

We did the Meatpacking Uncorked on Friday night which was pretty cool as well.

All of the Meatpacking boutiques opened their doors for a shopping and wine tasting event throughout the area.

They were very generous there as well! Diane Von Furstenberg was giving out mini bottles of champagne to everyone!

So all in all it was an awesome weekend.

It was so cool just to see so many chefs as well.

Over the course of the weekend I saw, of course Dave Martin, Cesar Casella, Anita Lo, Anne Burell, Paula Dean and the best one ever....Morimoto himself!!!

I cannot wait till next year and am even thinking of making the trip to the South Beach one in February. We'll see what happens!

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

The Rest of the Trip

Okay..where I left you last was our Room Service meal, which really improved our health and well being :) I spent the rest of the day at the pool while Mr. T did a little bit of work from the room.
We wanted to go out for a nice dinner that night but I was having trouble choosing. I mean every good place in Vegas has a place in NYC!!  Robuchon, Craft, Nobu...I had no idea what to do.

Which is why we ended up at Yellowtail inside our hotel. The omakase on their menu looked fantastic so we decided to try it out. Unfortunately, as I told you in my first trip post, the food was not very good.For an expensive place, I have to say I've had better sushi at Whole Foods! All of the plates had strange combinations which just didn't work and the quality of the food was just a little below average. It seemed like a place that was really trying to find itself but lacked the money to get the high quality produce it needed. Then some things were just downright weird. When the dessert came out it was a chocolate fig custard in a ramekin with a little wrapped up present box next to the dish. Excited I immediately reached for the box to see what was inside. Inside was...nothing!! Apparently it was just part of the plate decoration?? But it was so strange. Why not put something inside? A piece of chocolate? Anything? Who wants an empty wrapped up box with their custard?

Anyway as I said before, the only thing that saved this dinner was our lovely table with a view of the fountains. So here's a picture of us enjoying some champagne and watching as the fountains started to play some Frank Sinatra. Ahhh...



That night we went out and met Catfish again, this time in downtown Las Vegas. It was actually Biker week so the streets were filled with people just partying and enjoying life. It was very fun. We woke up the next morning, played a little AM Blackjack (well I did) and packed up our stuff to drive to San Diego. I took one last walk through the botanical garden in the hotel.



And I stopped off once more at John Phillipe to pick up a little treat.



Mr. T requested something white chocolate and spooky. So this ghost was perfect. Boo!! Scary and tasty!We grabbed our rental from the hotel and headed towards the open road, but we had one more important stop on our way. A place I have always heard about but never experienced before.



Can you see the sign? Know what it is? In-N-Out Burger!!!!!

I was so excited. All of my West coast friends rave about this fast food joint. We ordered some burgers and I grabbed a table out front while Mr. T waited for our food. This place was packed! When I walked outside they were calling number 18 and we were 37. That's always a good sign but I was starving! I practically tackled Mr. T for the food when he finally walked out the door. There are only 3 choices here for food, the double burger, single and cheeseburger. I went for the classic cheese while Mr. T got the Double. Here's a look at our goods.



The verdict? As far as fast food goes this is very very good. The burger was a lean patty but very juicy. It came on a grilled bun with the cheese melted on top and bottom and some kind of thousand island like spread on the bottom.



The bun really helped to make this burger. It had a nice squishy top and crispy middle. It kept the lettuce and tomatoes in check while still allowing the patty to shine through. The fries were the only disappointment. They were crispy but lacking in flavor. Even salt didn't really help them.

Oh well the burgers are good.

I would definitely get In-N-Out burger a LOT if I lived here. We tried out 2 other fast food joints on this trip. Carl's Jr and Jack in the Box. The Jack in the Box burger and decor Both freaked me out a little. The one we went to was kind of dirty so I think that was a big part of it but the clown/scarecrow pictures really bothered me. Carl's Jr was a pretty good burger. It was late at night so I'm sure it wasn't as fresh as our In-N-Out burgers. It was still very good though so I would love to come back and try a fresh one.

Okay.. then we were on to San Diego where we had a great time with Mr. T friends. The first night we went to Karl Strauss and enjoyed some really good Amber beer they brew right there at the restaurant.



It was so good we brought a growler home. And also some really good food like my Shrimp and Goat cheese corn salad.



The rest of our San Diego trip was spent chilling out, listening to his friends band play a great show and watching some football and eating some Wings at D Street Bar. Which by the way had some seriously big meaty wings. It was a great trip and I'm sure we'll make it back to the West Coast soon.

I'm sad it's over but we got the NYC Food & Wine Festival this weekend! That should be fantastic. So until then!

In-N-Out

Karl Strauss

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Vegas Day Two and some more

Okay I already gave a quick rundown of some Vegas stuff so I'm going to skip over Day One since we really didn't do much and basically just felt crazy from the whole trip getting there. We basically checked in, did some gambling in the hotel and just grabbed some food there.

The next morning we woke up ready for a day of relaxation and fun. We started out by heading to the hotel pool where we meet up with my friend from college, Catfish. (Not his real name and the story is way too long to tell but we'll be calling him Catfish)


The hotel pool was absolutely stunning. There were actually 5 pools situated in the large courtyard. One large and four smaller pools that had beautiful fountains in the middle.



We grabbed some chairs and hung out by the pool for a few hours. I was on vacation so I felt the need to have a strawberry daiquiri that probably filled my calorie quota for the day but hey...its vacation.



The daiquiri was awesome! One of the best I have ever had- super fruity. Although everything jut taste better on vacation :) It was a scorching hot day and after about 2 hours, we were done with the sun and needing some good food. We decided to walk across the street to Cesar's and get some seafood at Joe's Seafood Prime Steak and Stone Crab.

Okay..the thing about Vegas is that everything is HUGE! It seriously took us almost an hour of walking around Cesar's to finally find Joe's. We were starving when we showed up and decided to order a big lunch. Mr T and I split the Blackened Mahi Mahi sandwich, lyonnaise potatoes and 5 large stone Crab Claws. Look at these huge claws!



There was so much meat inside we were barely able to finish it all. The claws came with Joe's famous mustard sauce for dipping. I enjoyed the mustard sauce but honestly just a little butter is really all you need with the sweet meat of the crabs. The lyonnaise potatoes were perfectly crisped and the Mahi Mahi sandwich was full of flavor without being too spicy. It was an excellent lunch and we basically rolled out of the restaurant we were so full. We walked around a little bit more and then decided to head back to the Bellagio to do some gambling and relax.

We ended up meeting Catfish at our hotel and decided we had done enough of the Strip for one day and wanted some more action. It's kind of rare to know someone who lives in Vegas and can take you to some non-touristy stuff.So off the strip we went and down to a couple of bars.Now I'm not going to talk to much about the night because..well I'm not sure how much of it I can actually explain. It was a little crazy!

At the Bellagio we had been paying about $12 a drink for a beer or cocktail(when we weren't gambling)You're standard overpriced hotel stuff.

The first bar we went to we ordered 3 beers and 2 shots of whisky (no whisky for me but the men felt like going a little nuts). Total bill for that round? $9.00. You better believe we took full advantage of this!

After probably too many rounds we decided to head to another bar, which may be one of the shadiest bars I have ever been to in my life. I can't even get into describing the place but it was definitely the underbelly of Las Vegas. It was great! We definitely saw lots of things they don't tell you about in Trip Adviser! Well suffice it to say I woke up Friday morning and felt like a truck was slamming into my head repeatedly. $9.00 rounds hurt the next day.

We had such a big lunch at Joe's we never ate any dinner, which in retrospect, was a very bad idea when you're drinking like a fish.Neither Mr. T and I could make it out of bed. So we did the only thing we could do when staying in a five star hotel.Order room service!

Room service to me is the absolutely epitome of decadence. Growing up, my family traveled a lot and never once did we indulge in this treat. So even though my skull felt like it was about to split in half I was super excited for our meal. Here's the gorgeous layout.



Fresh Flowers on the table, butter engraved with the Bellagio logo, juice freshly squeezed. I was in heaven! I ordered the two egg breakfast with bacon and home fries.



The bacon and eggs were the much needed greasy food my body required to recover from a night of drinking cheap beer and liquor. Mr. T ordered the sirloin burger.



The burger was okay but had a little bit too much spice. It tasted like they put some Worcester sauce into the meat and maybe a little too much onion powder. However, it did the job. The best part about the whole meal? Mini condiments!



I have no idea why mini things make me laugh so much. I think it's a girl thing. Give me something and make it miniature and I'll love it no matter what. After the meal I felt a TON better and was able to actually have a productive day. More on that later.

Joes Prime Seafood

Monday, October 6, 2008

Bizack!!!!

So we're back and I feel a little crazy so this is going to be a short post.

We had SO much fun on our trip and have SO many great pics. I hope tomorrow I can get around to showing some.

We have the day off so it's a big possibility.

Quickly though...three things...two great, one scary,

One great..

The nutella crepe from the chocolatire in our hotel John Philippe.



Yumm!!!!SO good no wonder the line was 10 miles long but worth it.

Two the view from our dinner at Yellowtail in our hotel the Bellagio.



Unfortunately the food was hot garbage. (really it wasn't very good)

But the view was Spectacular!!

We got to see all of the Bellagio fountain shows and it was actually quite romantic.

Three...



The decor in Jack in the Box...

Scary!!! The whole place was!!

And the food was so bad we couldn't even eat it.

In-and-Out and Carl's were ten time better.

But that's for tomorrow's post. Till then...