Thursday, March 18, 2010

It's finals week again, and the best snack that keeps me going?
White organic popcorn with Old Bay and a can of grass jelly to soothe the spice!

YUM! Popcorn with TONS of Old Bay Seasoning.
The can says that Old Bay is good for seafood, poultry, salads, and meats...hmm...I'm thinking they should add popcorn to the list.

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Impressive Coffee

So I THOUGHT I had given up coffee...
I guess that was true until recently when I went to my local Japanese Market and I stumbled over this crazy-cool-could-not-pass-up instant drip coffee in a packet. Say what??

Yes, it's true...the Japanese never fail to impress me! I am seriously in love with this invention! It's so convenient.

Just add boiling water.

I like to stir in condensed milk into my coffee (but then again, condensed milk is like the God of all milk products...yes...even better than ice cream)

Good Ole Fashioned Eggs In a Basket

Feeling a little nostalgic?

I don't know about you, but growing up, my mom always made eggs in a basket for me as a weekend morning breakfast--it's one of those unforgettable childhood memories.
Recently, I've shared a piece of that childhood with Matt, and we together have come up with what may be the most genius food invention yet! (Ok...overstatement...but you get the picture)

Introducing eggs in a basket with BREAD FILLED WITH CHEESE! delicious!
We stacked two slices of bread on top of one another and used a wine glass to cut a hole out of the middle for our eggs in a basket.
But when we did that...the "hole" became one piece of bread sealed at the edges (think Smuckers Uncrustables)
So we decided to put ricotta and freshly grated Parmesan between the two slices of bread before we cut it out--and it came out as a savory, cheesey, delicious Uncrustable! And then along with the eggs in a basket, we cooked them in a pan of butter until the bread got crisp.

Seriously, you can fill these things with ANYTHING! We're planning on experimenting with prosciutto, and with trying to put a quail egg (or just the yolk) inside...can't wait!

Serve with your favorite tomato sauce for a fun and delicious breakfast...or in this after work out dinner.

Better Than The Kogi Truck?

Yes, dare I say it...Hashigo in Costa Mesa may have K-Barb (Korean BBQ) tacos that are better than the Kogi Truck.

I don't know about you, but I'm sick of looking up where that darned truck is off to today. I want a taco and I want it now! I don't have time to be chasing some ghost truck and then waiting in the hype line for a hour only to find that they're out of're kidding right?

Go try Hashigo! It's a good old fashioned, stationary restaurant. Sometimes old-school is just better than hype...

You be the judge.

Obsession? I think not!

Wild Boar
FRIES!!! Yes, Please!

Let's not be nasty here folks, but I'm a girl that loves meat in tube form. And I'm a sucker for new and inventive sausages!
Valhalla Table is a new sausage bar that opened at The Camp in Costa Mesa. It has a variety of interesting and maybe even jarring types of sausages. From something so recognizable as the polish dog to something to strange as duck, you name it, they've got it!
Sausage bar...genius!

Friday, March 12, 2010

New York, I Love You

What a great birthday trip to New York!

We'll be back!

I've said before that I could never see myself living in New York because it was too fast paced and I didn't want to be another "Sex in the City" the way, I've only watched like 4 episodes of.

But you know what, this trip changed my perspective on New York. I can totally see myself living here. The food is great, there's variety of culture, and I LOVE the way everyone dresses!

We WILL definitely be back!...DEFINITELY


Yes, $12...and well worth it!

You didn't really think I left Dean and Deluca empty handed, did you?
A box of French Macaroons or Macrons was a must have!

One of each please!
Vanilla (Favorite)
Pistachio (I am a sucker for Pistachio deserts)
Lemon (not as bad as I thought it would be)

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Smoked Fish

We had never had smoked fish before, and we saw Russ and Daughters on the way Katz and thought that it would be a great chance to cross off another food adventure off our list.

We tried the baked salmon and smoke sturgeon. Both very good!

What we regret: WHY DIDN'T WE GET A BAGEL AND LOX?...o yeah...we just had Katz
More reason to go back to New York.

The Best Pastrami EVER

The line outside of Katz literally spanned the entire block--it was insane. Luckily, it moved very quickly. I was kind of shocked by how much security and line regulation there was at Katz, but I guess with a deli that is so popular it needs it. Matt loved the yelling the security guards did to make sure everyone who was in line got in, and everyone else...can get to the back. They definitely kept it fair. To give you and idea of how strict they are--they wouldn't let this guy back in to the deli after he had briefly went outside...his family was still in Katz. But the "bouncer" told him to get to the back of the line, because he would be cutting everyone who had been waiting patiently to get in. I felt so bad for him.

After we got our tickets we got in line for the cutters...I could hardly wait! The smell of pastrami perfumed the entire deli.

Now to the important part...
THE PASTRAMI ON RYE...despite all the hype and despite making appearances on multiple food shows, Katz has managed to maintain it's amazing quality. The bread was light and sweet, and the pastrami...O THE was so tender and juicy, it literally melted in my mouth. And the flavor was just spot on, it was meaty, and it definitely was not too rich or fatty--and the best part was that they were very generous with the amount of meat on each sandwich.

I will never look at pastrami the same way ever again!

Problem: What happens when I crave this succulent sandwich again?...Hmm...still trying to figure that one out...

P.S. Make sure you keep your ticket even if you don't get anything...because they won't let you out otherwise...verdict: STRICT but Delicious!

Dean and Deluca

Dean and Deluca! Ecstatic!

speaks for themselves!

So pretty! I wanted to jump over the glass barrier.

THE MOMENT I'VE been waiting I had been waiting for New York in general...but seriously, Dean and Deluca in SoHo has been something I'd been looking forward to for a very long time. I could seriously spend HOURS upon HOURS in there. Matt loved it too, but I think by the 5th lap around the store he was a little restless...

Dirty Water Dog, Finally!

Next one to get crossed off my list was the dirty water dog! I was so determined to get one, and we finally did--it was our breakfast on the way to Katz.
I love the relish(?) on top! They need to bring that to California...but first they need to bring cart foods!


Matt had the suckling pig. This is what we came for!
He dissuaded me from getting it too, (rightfully so) so that we could have variety! It worked out.
Suckling pig cooked four ways...seriously? Heavenly! The pork belly was so crisp and savory, it was to die for.
The fish was a bit over-cooked, but everything else--the shell fish, and the squid ink gnocci was fabulous. I don't think I've had better gnocci anywhere else.

Matt had the sweetbreads with mango and granola! Yes, GRANOLA! I've never never could have imagined that granola and sweetbreads would go well together. But it was strangely satisfying.
Scallops!!! Cooked to perfection!

I was VERY pleasantly surprised by Gilt, and quite unexpectedly, I have to admit. I seriously thought that after having Le Bernardin the night before, that this was going to be over shadowed. But you know what, it wasn't. Matt and I were actually heartbroken because there were moments where we thought that this meal was better than Le Bernardin...but I'm still in excuse is that Gilt is more new age and Le Bernardin is more traditional, and therefore cannot be compared.
They were both great meals, and extremely memorable!

Cupcake Truck? I Love You SoHo

Red Velvet--HAD TO!
and the cream puff...was an accident...we wrongfully assumed that "cream puff" meant cream puff flavored cupcake--wishful thinking.

Yes, Matt is quite the photographer...

PERFECT! It was my birthday and guess what we stumble upon during our walk through SoHo to Ground Zero? A CUPCAKE TRUCK! What a find!


So the rivalry carries on! Grimaldi's or Lombardi's? Who knows? All I'm sure of, is that Lombardi's was DAMN GOOD and well worth the wait!
We got mushroom, sausage, and spinach...PILED HIGH. The crust was thin, crisp, and sweet. O Lombardi's, why are you so far away?

Les Halles

O my gosh! I can't believe I forgot to mention that Matt and I went to Les Halles the first night we got there!...(of course we did!)

Here's what I wrote about it that night:

MMmmmMM the tartine maison, best pate I’ve had so far! It tasted heavily of liver, it was very “irony” I guess that Zimmerman guy would call it. It definitely had that meaty, organ-y flavor, that when eaten with a teeny-tiney sweet pickle is nothing short of amazing. Not to mention, it was a GENEROUS portion of pate.

Matt ordered the French onion soup per recommendation of Brad and Jeannie. That soup was something to write home about. It was dark in color and rich with the bold flavor of caramelized onion, had a healthy serving of ooey-gooey stringy cheese, and was just everything a French onion soup should be.

Matt also had the coq au vin, which was…well…the sauce was amazing because it had the right balance of red wine and THICK CUT BACON, but that did not veil the fact that the coq was DRY! Sauce: two thumbs up, coq: two thumbs down.

I ordered the hanger steak with a shallot sauce and fries. The hanger steak was GREAT. It was rich and tender and practically…creamy?! That perfectly medium rare cut of delicious hanger dipped in the shallot sauce was heaven on a fork. The shallot sauce was not only a deep chocolate color, but it tasted of chocolate with a sweet fruity kick. It made me smile!

And well the fries…

See I was really looking forward to the fries which were highly regarded by the love of my life, Anthony Bourdain…but needless to say…it was a let down.

Sorry Tony, the fries that you always rant and rave about…did not meet my expectations…but then again, Matt keeps reminding me that you haven’t worked there in almost a decade, maybe you should consider going back and reminding them of how to make fries that DON’T have a stale crunch!

O and did I mention the seating was…snug? Hmmm…understatement of the year. We were seated at one of the bench seating areas, and literally, we were sitting shoulder to shoulder. I could hear EVERY WORD that the people sitting on either side of me were saying, which made me self-conscious, because they could probably hear everything Matt and I were conversing about.

Le Bernardin GAWK!

Finally! Seriously, Anthony Bourdain and Eric Ripert are at the top of my "To Meet" list. Le Bernardin was something that I had been looking forward to for SO long. These are just some of the pictures Matt and I took of our 7 course meal, which was phenomenal! I think it was better than I had expected, which was a pleasant surprise!
The highlight was the raw tuna as the first course with fois gras and a crispy thin baguette, oil, lemon, and chives...I DIE! It was so fresh and such a great balance of rich and fresh flavors.
Desert is always the best part of the meal...and this time there was TWO! They were unforgettable.
First was a cheese course--marscarpone in a coffee shell. Amazing! I was so impressed by the coffee shell--it was a sugar shell and coffee flavored sweets tend to overpower other flavors but this was very subtle but present.
That was seriously good enough for me, that cheese course was going to be hard to top.
But being Eric Ripert, how could I even doubt him for a second?
He topped it.
The last desert had liquid pear. LIQUID PEAR! I didn't think Eric Ripert would stray away from the traditional and explore molecular gastronomy...but he did with this desert, and IT WORKED!

On top of an amazing meal...WE SAW ERIC RIPERT!!!! ....still melting....

Hallal Cart

Halal Cart on 56th and 3rd
Our first experience with New York food carts.
Thank goodness it was so close to our hotel!
It smelled amazing!! And the line was LONG, which is a great sign of delicious food. Lines don't lie!

We had no idea where to go with our cart food, so we decided to walk to Central Park which was only a few blocks away. That walk was torture! I was SO hungry.

Lamb and chicken plate with everything and extra hot sauce. That hot sauce is no joke! Matt and I needed extra napkins to wipe our runny noses. At least it kept our shivering bodies warm. And folks, this cart isn't just hype--o no, it's the real deal! It's the one thing about New York that I miss the most.

O, and is that sauce really Mayo? Who cares?! It was good!

Gyro! I call it a "yee-ro" but everyone calls it a "jy-ro". We may not agree on the pronunciation, but we can all agree that this cart really knows how to make one.

After all that food, it was time to enjoy the rest of Central Park!