Wednesday, March 31, 2010

The Best Banana Cake ever!

After the gut busting dinner that was the Momofuku Bo Ssam you would think I wouldn’t even look at another food item for at least a couple hours. However I have an uncanny ability to shove more food down my throat than most young women, and when it comes to dessert I go all out.

So after the pigout, I hauled my full bloated stomach over next door to the Milk bar. I was planning on ordering my usual Chocolate Malt Cake but then I spotted something even better. The banana cake!

Oh my goodness! Layers upon layers of wonderfully moist banana cake, rich gianduja fudge, sweet banana cream and a wonderfully crunchy hazelnut center make this cake one of the best desserts I’ve had in a long time. The cake itself probably has about 10 sticks of butter inside but its creamy banana goodness is worth all of the fatty calories. There was something so satisfying about the hazelnut crunch that I literally could not put my fork down.

I’m so glad I got this cake. Am I happy I picked this over the Chocolate Malt? Well I’m not gonna lie…I got a piece of that as well. However I only had a bite or two and then saved the rest for another day. Come on… I do have some will power.

UPDATE- I just read via Eater that the slices of cake are no more!! You must buy an entire cake now! Something about freshness?? I'm beyond upset. I can't believe Momofuku is doing this. And seriously what are the chances that they make this decision on the day I write this post. Am I being punished for something? Why oh why didn't I try this cake sooner. It is a sad day for dessert lovers everywhere.

Momofuku Milk Bar

Monday, March 29, 2010

The Bo Ssam!

Ever have a hankering to just sit down and pig out on a big, fatty, salty hunk of pork butt? Come on…who hasn’t? Friday I was able to fulfill my dreams of utter pork deliciousness by getting the Bo Ssam at Momofuku Ssam bar.

The Bo Ssam is not for the faint of heart. This truly is one enormous hunk of meat that needs to be ordered well in advance and serves anywhere from 6 to 10 people. We had the minimum six and I think we did pretty well (we ate the shit out of that butt!), but let’s start at the beginning.  We got to Momofuku right around 5:45 and started out with a couple of beers. I went for the Korean classic OB.

I’m not gonna lie- this is not a very good beer. It doesn’t have much taste and the carbonation is kind of flat. Hover I didn’t want anything to detract from the glorious porky goodness I was about to inhale so it was just fine with me. Before the butt arrived we had started out with the one dish you must always have at Momofuku the pork buns.

These little guys are what made David Chang and his empire famous. Fluffy white buns encasing a thick slab of fatty pork belly, pickled cucumbers and a sweet hosin sauce make these little buns one of the most delicious things you will ever eat. I swear I could probably eat about ten of these if I had the chance. Unfortunately at about $9 a pop I would have a very expensive food tab. So I just ate one and saved myself for the main event.  The Bo Ssam encompasses a couple of dishes. First they brought out a bunch of briny west coast oysters.

Then they brought out the additional components of Bibb Lettuce, two kinds of kimchi, a red bean paste, rice and a ginger scallion sauce for dipping.

Then the massive glorious hunk of meaty goodness was placed before us. I was prepared for a big piece of meat but seeing it in the flesh really astounded me nonetheless.

I only had about one second to snap this shot before the tongs came out and this meaty butt was ripped to shreds. The assembly is simple. Take one piece of lettuce and place inside a nice chunk of pork, rice, some dipping sauce and throw an oyster on top before rolling it up into a nice little vessel for eating. I’m not a big fan of kimchi so I skipped that condiment but the red bean paste was absolutely amazing. I could put that stuff on everything.

Here’s a close up of the pork. Each bite was different than the last. The top of the butt was somewhat lean with the crispy crackling skin contributing to the most flavor. The bottom of the butt was much more succulent and moist. Apparently all of the fat is on the bottom because those pieces were literally dripping with glorious meat juices.

So we ate, and ate and ate! I think I probably had about 5 or 6 of those roll ups before I felt like my stomach was going to explode. I think we did a pretty good job with that meat though. Here the leftover shot.

For $200 I think this is a pretty good deal for a group meal. If we had maybe two more people I think it would have been just the right amount of food without feeling like going overboard. As it was I ate way too much and didn’t think I was going to eat again for days. However their sister dessert bar Milk Bar is right next door and somehow I heard those treats calling my name...


Friday, March 26, 2010

Factory Cookie Face Off- Duane Reade vs. Chips Ahoy

Is it just me or are the Duane Reade’s taking over this city even more than Starbuck’s did in the late 90’s? I mean there have always been a lot of Duane Reade’s out there but it seems every time I look around there is a newer one that’s even bigger and better than the last. Back in early fall I started noticing a lot of changes at my local DR. One of the biggest changes was the decrease in brand name items and the increase in DR goods with the name deLish. Brownies, chips, trail mix, even sushi started rolling out at some pharmacies with this new label. Each time I’m in a store I think about trying one of these deLish items but up until last week I never had.

Now I’m not bold enough (or maybe my stomach is just too scared) to try the DR sushi. However store made cookies I figured would be a good starting point. So I picked up a box of deLish Chocolate Chip cookies for a test run. I also got a box of the factory cookie favorite Chips Ahoy for a flavor comparison.

Here’s a look at the deLish box. Pretty good looking cookie on the front wouldn’t you say?

Here’s a look at the actual cookies inside.

Not exactly as good looking as the one on the box but a pretty close match. The golden brown color and big chunks of chocolate all point to signs for a promising little treat. I decided to try one deLish and one Chips Ahoy and compare. Here they are matched up. The deLish is on the top and the Chips Ahoy is on the bottom.

Size- the deLish cookie is much bigger than the Chips Ahoy cookie and has larger chunks of chocolate spread throughout.

Texture- I wish I had gotten Chips Ahoy chewy but alas they didn’t have them at this Duane Reade. The original Chips Ahoy has a very crisp crumbly texture while the deLish is exactly as advertised- soft with a little bit of chew on the edges.

Taste- Okay up until this point I would give it to the deLish cookie but taste is most important wouldn’t you say? Unfortunately the deLish cookie was overpowered by a strong taste of brown sugar and had that slightly chemical aftertaste I find in some packaged baked goods. While the deLish had more chocolate chips than the Chips Ahoy- this actually ended up hurting the flavor. The chocolate wasn’t very good quality and I ended up enjoying the ratio of cookie to chip much better in the Chips Ahoy. Overall the Chips Ahoy just tasted better to me than the Duane Reade brand.

I have since come to find out that all of the Duane Reade’s in the city recently got bought out by Walgreens! What does that say about their new line of food products- who knows? But it’s sad thing to me about losing more of the city’s identity. The first Duane Reade pharmacy took its name from its downtown location between Duane and Reade Street. I lost my favorite bodega about 4 years ago when the 7-11 opened on my block…I still dream about their Bacon, Egg and Cheese sandwiches every morning.

So will all of the Duane Reade’s change their name? Who knows…Who even knew a stupid post about commercial cookies could turn me into a nostalgic mess on the changing environment of the city. All I know is next time I want a cookie, I’m going to do what I usually do and head to my local bakery. I’m going to enjoy something ten times as delicious and support my fellow New Yorkers as well. No more commercial cookies for me- I’m done.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Exchange Bar and Grill

I was absolutely shocked last week when walking home from work I saw a new bar had opened up in the old Pete’s Saloon space on 3rd avenue. I never even saw them doing work on the building. It was called Exchange bar and looked to have a pretty sleek space and large open windows in the front. So on Sunday Mr. T and I swung by to check out the food and drink.

Exchange has a narrow interior with a long bar up front and smaller candlelit tables in the back. Three big flat screen TV’s sit behind the bar giving us prime viewing of the basketball games. I thought the space was nice in every way except for the running red beer prices above the bar. I guess that is supposed to look like the stock exchange maybe? I don’t know- I found it very distracting.

They had a decent selection of beers on tap- Blue Moon, Stella, Guinness and Magners were some of the options. I was in a wine mood so I got a glass of Chardonnay instead.

Now since they had only been open about 2 weeks I was a little scared to try out their food. We both decided a burger was probably a safe bet and we split just in case it was terrible. Seeing it come out of the kitchen I was really glad we decided to split. It looked HUGE!

And it was pretty huge. The massive bun really threw me off a bit. I was already worried that such a large bun would detract from the meat in the burger but I was dead wrong. The roll was so light and fluffy it squished right down and soaked up the beefy juices from the meat. Ahhh yes the meat. Also quite a surprise. As soon as I took my first bite I was transported back to summer grilling days growing up. This burger had that wonderful crusty chargrilled flavor on the outside and a thin but juicy inside. It could have been cooked slightly more on the rare side but was incredibly tasty nonetheless.

The fries were nothing special- a little too soft and fluffy for my tastes but the cheese and pickles were great. They used a white American cheese instead of orange and the pickles were reminiscent of McDonalds. I don’t know about you but there’s just something I love about McDonalds pickles and these had the same size, shape and taste.

Mr. T and I were both surprised how much we liked this burger. I don’t think it will knock off any of my favorite burger places just yet but it’s a wonderful new option to have in the neighborhood.

UPDATE: Just got an email from Thrillist about the place. Apparently the running red ticker will soon show fluctuating beer/drink prices according to market demand. For example, if you have a group of ten people all ordering Stoli and Soda, the price could actually drop after each round. Interesting concept. We'll see how it works.

Exchange Bar and Grill

Monday, March 22, 2010

March Madness Chicken Wings

It’s that time of year again. The time of year where I leave the stresses of work behind so I can stress out on college basketball instead. This year we started off the tournament Thursday at Landsdowne Road in Hell’s Kitchen. Landsdowne is known for a couple of things- lots of televisions, a decent beer selection and Scruffy Duffy wings.

Ah yes…Scruffy Duffy wings. Although the bar has long since closed the wings are still around. I believe the owners of Landsdowne used to own Scruffy Duffy’s as well and just brought the recipe over here. They had quite a cult following back in the day so I was excited to see how they compared to my beloved Buffalo wings. I had just eaten lunch so I tried to hold off until dinnertime but it seemed like everyone around me was eating them! The smell of wing sauce was everywhere and like some sick drug I couldn’t get them out of my head. I finally broke down and placed an order.

Within minutes my order of 12 medium wings arrived. I was excited to see they were decent size and extra saucy. I love a saucy wing. Biting in I noticed the crispy snap of a great Buffalo wing and a nice combination of spice and butter in the sauce. For medium this definitely is a little bit more on the spicy side but perfect for me. Would I say this is as good as wings in Buffalo- definitely not. Is this a really good wing for the city? Hell yes. Meaty, saucy and with an excellent blue cheese for dipping this is one wing I would order again in a second.

The wings might have been my good luck charm for the day since all of my teams ended up winning. I was feeling pretty good about the tournament until the weekend came and every team I bet on seemed to find a way to lose. Talk about upsets! What a crazy tournament so far. It’s been a nonstop action and although my wallet is much lighter now I’m loving every second of it.

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Sushi Delivery

I wasn’t exactly hungry the other day- just having a serious craving for a spicy tuna roll. I didn’t feel like going out to get any so I looked up on Seamlessweb for sushi places with a minimum delivery below $20. To be honest there aren’t a whole lot but Amber Sushi on 3rd avenue showed up for $10 so I decided to give it a shot. I ordered one spicy tuna roll and a piece of eel.

I had never tried Amber before but it got some decent reviews and I was excited they had a brown rice sushi option. My meal was surprisingly quite awesome. The rice to tuna ratio was spot on, the tuna itself was very tasty and the eel was a nice big piece with a little caramelized top. I had low expectations going in and this meal pleasantly surprised me.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Harvest on Hudson

It’s restaurant week until March 28th in both Brooklyn and the Hudson Valley. Now being that I work in Brooklyn Heights, live about a 5 minute train ride from Williamsburg and have multiple friends in Park Slope- you would think I’d hit up some restaurants there. But no- I decided to head upstate and try out something new Harvest on Hudson.

Harvest on Hudson is a huge restaurant located right on the water in Hastings on Hudson. The interior of the place immediately reminded me of Blue Hill Stone Barns with its large wooden ceilings and black shiny beams. We had a cocktail at the bar and were seated at a table overlooking the beautiful Hudson River.  For my appetizer I ordered the Crisp Calamari Caesar Salad.

For some reason I was expecting the calamari to be a fried mess on my greens but they actually executed this dish perfect. The calamari was very lightly breaded with no grease at all and went wonderfully with the creamy anchovy dressing.

Along with our appetizers they brought out a big basket of bread with some oil for dipping. I didn’t really love the bread because it was toasted. When I want to enjoy some great olive oil I want my dipping bread to be soft and squishy, not hard and crusty. Oh well- it actually turned out to be good I didn’t eat the bread because I might have been too filled up for my entrée the Porcini Crusted Monkfish.

When I read the description of this dish on the menu I knew immediately I had to try it out. Porcini crusted, Chianti Reduction and Monkfish seemed like an unlikely and strange combination. However it worked beautifully! The fish was pretty thick and firm so with the porcini and chianti together I almost felt like I was eating a delicious steak. The addition of guanciale to the parsnip risotto worked like perfection as well. I seriously could not get enough of this dish and cleaned the plate.

I was so stuffed at this point I thought about calling it quits but then I saw the desserts. I thought we would have to choose but no we got a sampling of all three!

I love, love, love when restaurants do this during restaurant week. Dessert is always such a tough decision but it doesn’t have to be. There was Vanilla Bean Panna Cotta, Tiramisu with Coffee Anglaise and Flourless Chocolate Cake with caramel and chocolate sauce. All of them were excellent but the Tiramisu was by far my favorite which is funny because that’s the one dessert I never order. This is why dessert samplings are awesome. It gives you a chance to see if your taste buds have changed.

For $28.00 this was a pretty great dinner. We had a nice view of the water, the service was decent and the food was excellent. I have one more RW reservation at X2O in Yonkers next Thursday. We’ll see how that compares. Oh and maybe I’ll try to fit a Brooklyn one in as well.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Sunday Sweet Treats

When I woke up Sunday and saw that the rain had finally stopped outside I was so excited. I am one of those people that constantly needs to be doing something. I can’t just lay around all day. I had been battling a really bad cold all week and with the treacherous rain I was forced to stay inside doing nothing even longer. Now with the rain gone I was excited for a great day walking around the city, so I jumped into the shower.

About 20 minutes later I came out dressed and ready to go. I grabbed my coat, took one more look out my window and…SHIT!!! It started raining AGAIN!!! You have got to be kidding me!

I had a moment of deep contemplation. My body was still filled with sickness, my runny nose, throbbing coughs and wheezy congestion were not going to get any better outside in the rain. However a moment more stuck inside my small apartment with nothing to do but watch Mr. T play Final Fantasy was about as close to hell as I could imagine. I needed to get outside.

So I forced myself out to the rainy city streets and walked a few blocks to my first stop of the day Fika. I had been dying for a macchiato all weekend and finally I got to enjoy one of my favorites.

Fika makes a mean macchiato. It’s always smooth and rich with a slightly nutty flavor. I’m so glad they opened this new location only 5 blocks away. I was also feigning for something a little sweet. They seemed to be out of my favorite vanilla dream cookies so I ordered a chocolate chip instead.

This cookie was interesting. It was super thin and extremely airy with little holes everywhere. Although it tasted pretty good it was too thin and soft to be fully satisfying. I ended up leaving most of it in the hopes of a better sweet treat elsewhere.

After I left Fika the rain had come to a steady drizzle and I had no umbrella. Still though I didn’t feel like going home. I decided a little rain never hurt anyone and I walked down to the West Village to one of my favorite bakeries Rocco’s for their cookies.

The first time I ever ate one of these cookies was about 11 years ago on my first trip to NYC with Mr. T. He took me to Rocco’s and showed me his favorite cookies the Pignoli’s.

The first one I had I actually hated. I remember distinctly taking a bite and declaring anyone who put pine nuts on a cookie to be just insane. Why ruin a perfectly good sweet?

However my taste buds have changed quite a bit since then and now I love these little buggers. Something about the texture of the cookie- chewy but light- almost like a macaroon and with that wonderful almond taste. I absolutely love them now and can’t get enough. Luckily Rocco’s isn’t closer because at $19.00 a pound these cookies aren’t exactly cheap. I can’t be blowing that kind of money on treats every day.

After Rocco’s I headed back home, stopping at Whole Foods on the way to pick up lunch for the week. By the time I reached my apartment I was pretty soaked and completely exhausted. I don’t think my body was quite ready for that little trek after being so sick all weekend. Oh well- sun is just around the corner and March Madness is about to begin!

Rocco's Pastry Shop

Fika Espresso Bar

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Lunch at the Spotted Pig

I love working at my West Village office for one solid reason- lunch! There are so many great food options in this area and I got to visit one of my favorites on Friday the Spotted Pig.

The Spotted Pig is well known for its great gastro pub feel, amazing food and two to three hour waits for dinner. Luckily lunchtime is much calmer and quite frankly the best time to visit in my opinion. I got there right around 12:30 and got seated at a table upstairs overlooking the beautiful trees outside. I was going to try out one of their new menu items but old habits die hard. I had to get the burger.

Have you ever seen a prettier looking burger in your life? It's like a work of art!

Spotted Pig makes its enormous burger from three cuts of meat- brisket, rump and chuck. These cuts combined make this burger so moist meat juice literally runs out only to get sopped up by the fluffy brioche bun. Mmmmmmm...meat juice. Then they top it off with a generous helping of creamy Roquefort cheese. Now Roquefort cheese is very strong and stinky. If your not a big blue cheese fan ask for it sans the cheese. I always take a little bit off but I enjoy a taste here and there and think it really adds a wonderful element to the burger.

The shoestring fries are amazing as well. Incredibly tasty on their own, they amp up the flavor a notch by adding fresh rosemary and fried garlic to the mix. Oh how I love me some shoestring fries!  The Spotted Pig is one of my favorite burgers in the city and it truly should not be missed. Celebrities apparently are always seen here but I've never noticed anyone. Why look around when you can stare at this gorgeous burger instead?

Friday, March 12, 2010

One More Time at Terminal 5

I just did my mini Terminal 5 guide last week forgetting that I was going to be there again just 3 days later! I was trying to be so good at keeping my Mom’s 70th Birthday surprise party in Florida a secret I kind of hid it from myself. All of a sudden the big weekend had arrived and I was off to the airport again, this time jetting out to West Palm Beach where my Mom’s cousins reside.

Once again Mr. T and I got to the airport with just barely enough time to get some lunch. We really want to see if our bad showing a 5ivesteak over Christmas was just a fluke. The first time it had been so good! So we ordered the same exact dishes as the first time.

I got the Caesar Salad. I had forgotten to ask for no anchovies but I just took the little buggers off. This is a huge and tasty salad for $10 and I barley got halfway through it before I was too full to continue. I was probably so full because I kept grabbing some of Mr. T’s dish the Crispy Chicken.

Two big pieces of fried chicken in a marmalade sauce with sauteed spinach, bacon onions and sweet corn bread. Moist inside, crispy outside and with that awesome sauce! We were both so happy. It appears the Christmas experience was just a bad showing. These dishes were both great and quite a step up from your average airport food.

Now the only thing they have to work on is the service. We waited about 15 minutes to get a menu and then our drinks stayed on the bar for 15 more before our waitress even noticed. It took so long that we actually were the last ones to board our flight! Luckily we made it safely to Florida and had a fabulous time with family. My Mom was so surprised I thought she might pass out! She thought she was just meeting her cousins for brunch when my brothers and I, her brother and sister-in-law from Tennessee and Mr. T walked out! It was so fun to see her face and to be able to be there with everyone to celebrate.

I even brought some treats down for everyone- Magnolia Cupcakes!

I stopped at the new Grand Central location right before I left and cleared them out. It’s nice to have another location with no line. All in all a great trip!

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Wings at 1849

I am always on the lookout for some decent wings in this city. I’ve come to terms with the fact that no place will ever have wings as good as Buffalo and that’s fine. Just give me some decent sized wings with a tasty sauce and that’ll tide me over till my next trip home. 1849 is one of those “tide me over” places.

Located among the slew of crappy bars on Bleeker street, 1849 is definitely not a place I recommend coming to late at night. I was only here once past 8:00 and it was filled to the brim with groups of loud, obnoxious drunk people.  However during the day, 1849 just may be one of my favorite places to stop for a quick bite to eat and to catch some sports. They have a decent amount of televisions and have 20 cent wings every day from 3:00-6:00.  Mr. T and I swung by just last week and got a couple of Hefeweizens and shared an order of their hot wings.

Now being a purist I am not a big fan of breaded wings. I actually hate them but for 1849 I make an exception because their sauce is so damn tasty. Seriously! I’m not sure what they do but it’s a little tangy, sweet and spicy at once. These wings also pack on a good amount of meat. Even if I take some of the breading off I’m left with a lot to munch on which can’t be said about some other wings in this city.

With 20 cent wings and half price beers till 8:00, 1849 is a pretty solid spot. Just get out of their before dark and you’ll thank me.

Monday, March 8, 2010

Back to Wildwood

So even though I was extremely full from my enormous Croque at lunch, I found myself chowing down on some ribs late night at Union Square’s Wildwood. The night started at Shoolbreds, where we met up with some friends who were also enjoying the snow day. After many happy hour beers, we decided some food was in order. My friend was craving BBQ but of course all the best places- Rub, Blue Smoke, etc. were packed. Obviously on a Friday night you need a reservation for most any good restaurant in the city.

Luckily we were able to snag a last minute Open Table reservation at Wildwood. We got seated at a large table in the back and started out with an order of the Double Cut Bacon trio and the Jalapeño Bottle Caps. (The lighting in here is really strange so the pictures came out a little weird)

I thought the Jalapeño Bottle Caps were absolutely disgusting. Beer battered and fried jalapeño slices? I guess if you love jalapeños you might enjoy this dish but I found it to be pretty revolting. Not a dish for me- that's for sure.

The Double Cut Bacon trio was pretty good. I enjoyed the house cured the best with it’s slightly Smokey flavor. It’s hard to really love a Bacon appetizer however after having one at Peter Lugers. I don’t think anything will ever compare to that huge slab of swine I enjoyed there.

For the main course I split the Beef Short Rib with one of my friends. When Wildwood first opened I ordered this Rib and it was almost life changing. The moist succulent meat was truly falling off the bone and the sauce blew me away.

This time it just wasn’t as good. The meat was still falling off the bone but it was more fatty than succulent. I understand Short Ribs aren’t supposed to be lean but this had more fat than usual. I still enjoy the sauce at Wildwood but next time I would probably order something different.

Overall Wildwood kind of disappointed. The food was only so so and it ended up being quite pricey. We were ordering pitchers of beer for our group of six and at $22 for some Cold Ass beer they really added up quickly. However I do love their TV set up and the vinegar sauce on the pulled pork sandwich is the bomb. Next time I’ll stick to that for ordering and try to come when it’s not such a busy Friday night.

Friday, March 5, 2010

Blizzard at BXL

I flew back to NYC on Thursday and barely made it in. I had the last flight out of Buffalo before Jetblue cancelled everything due to the snow storm. I got home and was absolutely exhausted. I considered calling in sick to work the next day so I could sleep in but my darn work ethic got the better of me. I went to bed early and hoped for a quick and easy day.

I woke up at about 5:00 am and looked out the window…There was snow! Not just a little snow- a LOT of snow!!! I grabbed my phone and brought it back to bed in hopes of some good news. Literally within minutes I got the news I was hoping for. Snow Day!! No work for me! I can’t even explain how happy and relieved I was! I jumped back into bed under my big fluffy comforter and went right back to sleep.

A few hours later I woke up well rested and completely refreshed. I did a nice long stretch in my bed, kind of like a cat would do, and hopped out ready to play in the winter wonderland. I threw on my heaviest winter coat, a warm hat and gloves, strapped on some boots and I was off!

I ended up doing quite a lot. I built a snowman in Madison Square Park:

I walked around Times Square and through Rockefeller Center. I stopped at Maison du Chocolat for some treats and finally over to Midtown East to meet Mr. T on his lunch break.

We decided to go over to BXL for lunch since it was fairly nearby. Mr. T doesn’t believe in snow gear and was wearing basically the same thing he wears in summer, except topped with a warmer coat. Needless to say his shoes and attire were not conducive to the winter storm raging around us.

We grabbed a seat at the end of the long wooden bar and each ordered a tasty Belgian beer. I was in the mood for a hearty sandwich and ended up ordering the same as Mr. T the Croque Monsieur. For around $11.95 this is a pretty big lunch deal for Midtown. A huge sandwich, side salad and a ton of fries. We easily could have shared this and been okay.

Huge pieces of white fluffy bread were slathered with butter and layered with an insane amount of Gruyere Cheese and thin strips of ham. This sandwich is not for the weak of heart. The buttery bread and rich cheese probably clogged up an artery but it was damn tasty. The only funny thing was that in Mr. T’s sandwich his ham was in the middle, on my sandwich it was placed up top? Kind of weird.

The lunch was so big both of us only got through about half of it and took the rest home as leftovers. I swore I wouldn’t be able to eat again the rest of the day I was so full. Then somehow I found myself in a BBQ joint late that night….

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Back to Buffalo- Wings

Going back to Buffalo this past week was kind of like a whirlwind. I guess these things always are like that. Thankfully the service for my Grandmother was beautiful and it was wonderful to see all of the extended family again. I even got a chance to see my friends on Wednesday night a little. I ended up at the Bar Bill for the best wings in Buffalo and I swear it may have been the best wing showing I’ve ever had! I woke up Thursday wanting to get one more wing fix before flying home. Unfortunately we had an early appointment and needed somewhere closer to the airport. I put wings in my Google Maps and came up with Duff’s.

Duff’s always get lauded as one of the top wing places in Buffalo. I remember having it once years and years ago but it didn’t seem to make much of an impression on me. I figured I would try it again and see what all the hype was about.

We went to the location on Sheridan Drive and we walked into what looked more like a fast food/take out kind of place. I was expecting a little bit more of an upscale bar atmosphere. It was okay through- when you’re getting ready to eat wings the ambiance doesn’t matter that much.

The lunch special looked perfect for me- 10 wings and two sides for $9.95. That’s actually a pretty big lunch! Now my problem with ordering was the hot wing levels. In big letters is says across the menu “Medium is Hot! Medium Hot is Very Hot! Hot is Very, Very Hot!”

This stuff always annoys me a little. At Bar Bill I know they run on the hot side so I go for the medium since they flavor tastes better. Anywhere else I usually order hot since their sauce is usually weaker. I asked our waitress and she suggested the medium mild since the medium were “very hot”. (really not just hot?)

So I placed my order and my first side, a tossed salad and my beer came out. I had to try out the Duff’s original microbrew. I mean it’s the name of Homer Simpson’s beer right?

It was surprisingly tasty. If I still lived in Buffalo I could easily drink a couple of these. My salad was nothing special- just some iceberg in a bowl and I left most of it.

Then came the main event- wings.

When these wings came out I was pretty disappointed. They looked so dry. I enjoy a piping hot saucy wing. These were so overcooked that there were holes throughout the skin of most of them. The overcooking left the meat really dry and tasteless as well. And tasteless because the sauce had no flavor either. I’m not sure what they were going for but these were the blandest wings I’ve ever had in Buffalo.

The side of fries were a nice big portion and decent. But nothing exciting. A few minutes later the guys next to us got their wings and they looked so much better! Steaming and Saucy….maybe I ordered wrong? Who knows. I told my friend and he was appalled. “Why would anyone get wings from some place other than Bar Bill?” he said. Well I certainly don’t know.

Monday, March 1, 2010

Eats at Terminal 5

I spend so much time eating at Jetblue’s new Terminal 5 at JFK I figured I'd write a mini guide for you to help during travels. First of all the new terminal is awesome! I think I’ve written about the cool touch screen where you can order food and beer right to your gate? Pretty awesome. But they also have a ton of places to eat- everything from your standard fast food burger and sandwiches to more upscale sushi and steak joints.

My first visit to the Terminal I had a sushi roll from Deep Blue Sushi. It was a pretty decent roll but way to expensive to ever justify going back. My second time I ate next door to Deep Blue at a little French café place La Vie. I had a fantastic Goat Cheese Arugula salad and washed it down with a bottle of Duvel. The space is a little cramped but if the terminal’s not busy this is a good food and drink option.

Across from La Vie is the center of the terminal restaurant conglomerate. On our way to Florida over Thanksgiving we stopped into 5ive Steak and were blown away by how good the fried chicken was. It was a huge portion of insanely crispy meat that was covered in a sweet and sour marmalade glaze. It was so good that we set aside a little extra time to ensure we could eat there again on our way back for Christmas.

Unfortunately the second time around was disappointing. The chicken was super dry, the marmalade sauce wasn’t present and the dish itself was much smaller in portion than it was before. I also ordered a burger that time around and it came out way overcooked and with soggy fries. We wrote it off as being a bad showing because of staff holiday leave. We’ll still try it again just not as enthusiastically as before.

This trip I decided to walk around a little more, away from the main food area and see what I could find. I checked out all four wings of the terminal and finally settled on New York Sports Grill. Probably the only real “bar” per say in the airport, I thought it would be a good place to catch some Olympic action.

They have a pretty draught list but nothing really excited me too much. I decided to play it safe and settled on a Shock Top Belgian White beer.

First of all this beer was huge! Usually they ask you at airports if you want a large size or not. I guess they took one look at me and assumed I needed one?? And don't get me started on the orange slice. It was HUGE! Do I really need that much vitamin C with my beverage?

The beer was okay at first but about halfway through the strong lemony sour taste really started to get to me and I couldn’t finish it. Not a beer I would order again.

For lunch I went for my go to bar food- chicken fingers.

For one thing, this place sure doesn’t skimp on the quantity. First the huge beer then this platter filled with six huge chicken fingers. The fingers were okay- pretty standard fare. Definitely not the best ones I’ve ever had but certainly not the worst. If there weren’t so many good televisions at NY Sports Grill I probably wouldn’t return but it was perfect for watching some skiing while I waited for my flight.

So that’s pretty much my short guide to dining at JFK’s Terminal 5. I’m still waiting for them to open up that damn Pomme Frites joint. The sign has been up forever but no action as of yet. What could possibly be taking so long???