November 27, 2011

Resto: Belgian Food Adventure

I stopped by Resto this weekend to enjoy some Belgian food.  So I must admit I didn't include Belgian beer or chocolates as part of this food adventure, however I look forward to going back to Resto and tasting these and some of their other unique dishes.  This food adventure was a rather short and sweet one, I snuck it in between some holiday shopping.
Chicken 'n Waffles
I started my dinner with Chicken n'Waffles.  The chicken was covered in a sweet chilly sauce (a little sweet, a little spicy).  The chicken was so tender it fell right off the bone, but the skin was nice and crispy.   The waffles had pieces of bacon in it, these were delicious!!!! It was like finding a little surprise every time I took a bite of the waffles and found the crispy bacon.  I was so into the food, I totally forgot about the peppercorn gravy.  This will definitely be one of those dishes I'll randomly think about.
Salted Caramel Pot d'Creme
For dessert, I had the Salted Caramel Pot d'Creme.  This is a light baked custard, topped with Apricot jam and creme fraiche.  This couldn't have been a more perfect dessert.  The creamy custard, with the very sweet apricot jam and the velvety creme fraiche was a perfect combination!  I ate every bite in the ramekin.

What a great food adventure.  It was an unplanned food adventure, but one I look forward to repeating this one real soon.  Hope you get to enjoy some good food this holiday season!  Until next time, Buen Provecho!

111 East 29th Street
New York, NY 10016
Phone: 212.685.5585
Closest Subway Stop: 28th Street (6)

November 22, 2011

Indonesian Food Adventure

I'm happy I was able to fit another food adventure early on this week, just before the Thanksgiving Holiday.  I stopped by Upi Jaya in Woodside (Queens) to taste some Indonesian food.  I had Indonesian/South East Asian fusion food about a year ago at Kuta Satay House in the Lower East Side, but I heard that Upi Jaya serves strictly authentic Indonesian so I wanted to check it out.
Mixture of Satays at Kuta Satay House
Sate Ayam at Upi Jaya
I started off with the Sate Ayam, barbecue chicken skewers marinated in a peanut sauce.  Sate originated in Indonesia although now they are a common food in many South East Asian countries.  Sate is the preparation of meat on a stick cooked by grilling, also called Satay in other countries.  These sates had thick pieces of chicken breast on the skewers and were covered in peanut sauce; the meat itself didn't have much flavor, all the flavor was in the sauce covering the skewers.
Gado Gado at Upi Jaya
For the entree I had the Gado Gado, an Indonesian dish of steamed vegetables covered with Indonesia style crackers (Krupuk).  This was an interesting dish, the veggies were very soggy in the peanut sauce.  I really couldn't distinguish them, once I ate the green beans and the bean sprouts everything else just seemed to be a mystery.  Okay so this wasn't as yummy as I would've like but at least I tried it. 

I hope you have a Happy Thanksgiving and I hope you get to celebrate with loved ones.  Let's all take time to be thankful for everything we have.  Until next time, Buen Provecho!

Upi Jaya
76-04 Woodside Avenue
Elmhurst, NY 11373
Phone: 718.458.1807
Closest Subway Stop: Jackson Heights (E, F, M, R), 74th Street/Broadway (7)

Kuta Satay House (This place has closed since I last visited)
65 Rivington Street
New York, NY 10002
Phone: 212.777.5882
Closest Subway Stop: Delancey Street/Essex Street (F, J, M, Z)

November 20, 2011

Bamiyan: Afghan Food Adventure

I recently finished reading "The Places in Between" by Rory Stewart.  In 2002 he walked across Afghanistan, many times depending on the kindness of villagers for room and board.  His journey made me curious about food in Afghanistan, so this week I decided I would find an Afghan restaurant to have an adventure of my own.  I found Bamiyan in Murray Hill. This place stands out on the corner of 3rd Avenue & 26th Street, it has an elaborate design with mosaic tiles decorating the entrance.

In Rory Stewart's travels he seemed to eat a lot of Afghan bread, so I was looking forward to tasting the bread.  It was warm flat bread, crispy on the outside and soft/fluffy on the inside. 

For my appetizer, I tried the Boulanee.  These are very thin savory pastries stuffed with just a few pieces of scallions inside.  They were light, obviously with strong flavors, incredibly addicting.  These are served with a tangy yogurt sauce.  I didn't love the combination of the scallion turnovers with the tangy dipping sauce, so I finished the fritters off just on their own.  Although the yogurt sauce was great with the bread.

Kabuli Palow with Lamb
On to my entree, the Kabuli Palow with Lamb.  This seems to be a classic Afghan dish, so I definitely wanted to try it.  This is baked dish made with basmati rice, lamb, carrots, and raisins.  The rice had a strong saffron aroma.  It's an interesting dish, each of the items have strong individual tastes that don't necessarily meld together but somehow it works.

I wish I would've had room for dessert, I'm curious to taste an Afghan dessert to finish off the meal.  I'll just have to go back to Bamiyan and continue exploring Afghan cuisine.  It was great to do this food adventure after reading the "The Places in Between" and following this young man's journey across Afghanistan.

I hope you are taking the time to enjoy some new foods and exploring other cultures through their cuisine.  Until next time, Buen Provecho!

Bamiyan (This place has changed its menu to Persian inspired food since I last visited)
358 3rd Avenue (at 26th Street)
New York, NY 10016
Phone: 212.481.3232
Closest Subway Stop: 28th Street (6)

November 13, 2011

Mile End: Oh Canada.... home and native land. OK so Canada is not my native land, I lived there for a little bit and for whatever reason their national anthem has remained stuck in my head all these years. 

I don't remember having "authentic" Canadian food when I lived there.  I do remember lots of ethnic restaurants (which I enjoyed) and tons of fast food chains like Subways, Harvey's and Tim Hortons (also known as Timmy Ho's).  Recently I asked my mom if there was a country I hadn't done for the blog that she would like me to do, to my surprise she said Canada.  So I started my search for Canadian food in the five boroughs and sure enough I found it in Brooklyn. 

I headed to Boerum Hill to check out Mile End; a Montreal Jewish Deli.  When you walk into this little spot, there are so many amazing smells that overwhelm your senses.  It kind of smells like a BBQ joint mixed with a pancake house.  That might seemed strange to some, but that smell is pretty amazing to me!
Poutine with Montreal Smoked Meat

Another view
I was tempted to try some of their other dishes, but I came here for Canadian poutine so that's what I ordered.   So how yummy is this....french fries covered with gravy, cheese curds and smoked meat.  I still eat my french fries with gravy, I may have traded "Washroom" for "Bathroom" but I can't trade french fries with gravy for fries with ketchup.  But back to the poutine; the fries were crisp with a little bit of saltiness, the gravy was thin enough that if covered the dish but didn't overwhelm it, the meat was so tender (super silky) and the cheese curds melted into the dish.  There was no squeak in the cheese curds, but that's okay, because overall the dish kicked *ss. 

I'm actually surprised that I found a Canadian spot in NYC, but excited that I did.  Now when I'm craving my french fries with gravy I know exactly where to go.  Mom I hope you enjoy, now you need to find a new country for me to do.  Until next time, Buen Provecho!

Mile End
97 Hoyt Street
Brooklyn, NY 11217
Phone: 718.852.7510
Closest Subway Stop: Hoyt-Schemerhorn (A, C, G)

November 6, 2011

Freda's: Jamaican Food Adventure

I have been craving Jamaican food for a very long time.  I have eaten Jamaican food at a few restaurants in NYC but have been sadly disappointed by what seems to pass for Jamaican in some of these restaurants.  I was so happy when I came across Freda's Caribbean & Soul Cuisine this week.  Finally I get to have jerk chicken the way it's supposed to be: HOT (as in spicy), flavorful and moist.

Jerk Chicken, Rice & Peas, and Fried Plantains
Freda's is a small, you could say hole-in-the-wall type of restaurant (there's about six tables), but this place offers some BIG flavors.  The rice and peas had a coconut aroma, with a slight hint of heat (I imagine the scotch bonnet pepper).  The fried plantains were medium ripe; that in between stage where they're kind of sweet, kind of starchy and bland.  At Freda's they added some candied yams, so it made the plantains a whole lot sweeter.  The main item I was looking forward to tasting was the jerk chicken.  It had a great look, it smelled even better but I was hoping it would be as delicious as I expected....AND IT WAS.  Freda's does not skimp on heat and it was so moist.  The chicken was so tender it just fell right off the bone.  It took a while to eat, cause there jerk chicken packs some serious heat but it was just like I like it.

So after several misses, I'm soooo happy to have found a place I can go to when I'm craving jerk chicken or other Jamaican dishes.  I definitely will have to go back for the coconut cake!  Until next time, Buen Provecho!

Freda's Caribbean & Soul Cuisine
993 Columbus Avenue (near 109th Street)
New York, NY 10025
Phone: 646.438.9832
Closest Subway Stop: 110th Street (A,B,C)