Monday, November 24, 2008

Bacon Red Velvet Cake @ my apartment

My roommate and new hero, Sother Teague, made a bacon red velvet cake for his birthday. Yes, you read that correctly - a bacon red velvet cake, and it was delicious. I was on hand to document the process.

The basic philosophy behind the cake is the classic southern mayonnaise chocolate cake, which replaces the oil and eggs called for in the cake batter recipe with the oil and eggs contained in mayonnaise. The way in which the oil and egg yolks are combined to create mayonnaise yield a richer and creamier cake, or, in this instance, velvetier red velvet cake.

We fried up 1 lb. of Boar's Head Bacon in a half cup of vegetable oil and set the bacon aside. The oil and bacon grease was run through a cheesecloth and was also set aside to cool. We took two egg yolks, added a half cap of vinegar, and frothed them together. When the bacon grease/vegetable oil concoction cooled we whisked it into the eggs to make baconnaise.

We baked five cakes and then turned our attention to the cooked bacon. While the cake batter definitely had a wonderful bacon flavor, we knew we had to commit further. Sother decided on making bacon brittle. We chopped up the bacon into small bits and licked our fingers clean, then we got some water and sugar boiling, added the bacon and some butter, and poured the mixture onto a lined sheet pan.

The bacon brittle is amazing and we'll be selling it online soon. Drop me a line if you can think of a creative name for it and if we choose your suggestion you'll get a bag for free!

The cake frosting is a standard cream cheese frosting. We pulverized the bacon brittle and added it and the frosting between every layer of the cake. Voila, bacon red velvet cake.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Goat Taco @ Taco Bite

"Wow, there's a lot of goat meat on this taco," I heard myself exclaim - maybe for the first time in my life. I had just taken my first bite of a goat taco from Taco Bite located at South 4th St. and Rodney in Williamsburg Brooklyn on a rainy Saturday. My friend and I had stopped in to break our fast from the previous evening and discuss the plight of the bumblebees. While we didn't solve the bee problem, we did have some very fresh and authentic Mexican food.

The goat meat taco was served on a fresh corn tortilla and piled high with wonderfully seasoned goat meat which was tender, yet had a little crunchy char on some of the edges. I've never had goat before, but I'd describe it as a gamier lamb, but with a different set of spices. The meat was topped with chopped raw onions and cilantro and red and green salsas. Both sauces are good, but the green one is extra delicious. Overall this is quite a good deal for $3. I put them on my speed dial so I can call them from my bike on the way home after work and pick it up right when it gets done.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Roast Beef, Turkey, Swiss & Slaw @ Eisenberg's Sandwich Shop

I don't get it often, but sometimes I have a carnal craving for roast beef. Roast beef is everywhere here in New York, but since my desire for it comes so infrequently I decide to do it up right. Not only am I looking for quality, but I'm also looking for quantity. Maybe it's because my stomach is stretched from last week, but what more New York than over sized Deli sandwiches?

After diagnosing my symptoms, my attention immediately turned to Eisenberg's Sandwich Shop, an institution in the Flat Iron district since it opened in 1929. I've had the famous reuben and the weekly Thursday meatloaf sandwich special with great success and figured that the roast beef should be the same caliber. I decided on the roast beef, turkey, swiss & slaw with russian dressing on rye bread and washed it all down with a Schweppes seltzer water. This was the perfect remedy. I knew when I got roast beef stuck between my teeth on the first bite that this sandwich was going to leave an impression on me for the rest of the day. Perfectly messy and made with plenty of TLC, I bet the only way for it to taste any better would be to go there and eat it at the original lunch counter with benevolent owner Josh Konecky manning the cash register in one of his many signature Hawaiian shirts.

Friday, October 31, 2008

Dutch Croquettes @ Van Dobben Croquettes (in Amsterdam)

Well, Free Lunch Week is winding down. I hope everyone is fatter and happier for it. Just to show my commitment I'm skipping my office Halloween Pot-Luck Party and heading out to get something special and tasty (after the costume judging). More posts will follow next week, but today I'm bringing you something special. My friend Kemal in Amsterdam has been participating all week long and wrote an article for the blog. So, today he'll be posting vicariously through me and you'll be eating vicariously through him. Bon appetit:

Amsterdam – No people like gruel as much as the Dutch. The Dutch kitchen has all kinds of raw filets, uncooked fish species and warm meat gruels. My favorite meat snack is the croquette (in Dutch: ‘kroket’). I didn’t want to disappoint my American friend Todd, so I went to the best croquette lunchroom in Amsterdam.

Just in the middle of the capitals tourist area, in a desolate alley, lies lunchroom Van Dobben Croquettes. It specializes in typical Dutch meat lunches: plain bread with cold sausages, Dutch meatballs, and even sandwiches with liver. You name it and they’ll have it over here. Van Dobben is such a famous and good place, that even the royal family buys their foods from here. Therefore, the company can use the Royal logo on their name.

Their all time best seller is the Van Dobbenkroket. This is a fried meat gruel stick, with a golden crust. This thing is a delicious snack and is very popular. People eat them at lunches and dinners. They even fry smaller ones on parties: the so called 'Bitterballen'. These are gruel meatballs with a brown crust. Mmmmmm, meat.

Yesterday I ordered a croquette on a plain sandwich. Though the waitresses’ service is always very direct and sometimes even rude, they serve you well over here. My croquette ended up in front of me within a minute. The croquette was broken into two halves, each one on a side of the sandwich, with some butter under it. Together with some free, real Dutch mustard. Yes, we love our sauces over here.

My first bite went okay. Sometimes a croquette can be way to hot. In that case, you’ll burn your mouth. This one had a good temperature. And the gruel didn’t have too many pieces of meat. This means that the cook has a good mixer and good ragout.

You recognize a good croquette when you can’t guess what kind of meat’s in there. By the way, the thing can have all kinds of meat. Mostly it’s the stuff that butchers don’t use, like hoofs, ears, testicles and other leftovers. But no horse meat. Lucky for me that I couldn’t guess which meats where in my croquette. The only thing I do know, is that it all tasted damn great.

Next I ordered a Dutch meatball. They cut it into two and serve it on a plain sandwich too. Normally the waitresses put some extra gravy on the balls, but today I didn’t get any. It still all tasted good though. My glass of milk made my day. Fresh and cold. It was a good combination for lunch.

Author: Kemal Rijken (

Date: October 31, 2008

Eetsalon Van Dobben: Korte Reguliersdwarsstraat 5, Amsterdam, The Netherlands.

Croquette sandwich: € 2,25

Meatball sandwich: € 3,35

Milk: € 1,50

Total: € 7,10

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Gourmet Sausage @ Dogmatic Gourmet Sausage System

I heard about the opening of Dogmatic Gourmet Sausage System's first store in Union Square last month, but was reminded about it in yesterday's New York Times Dining Out Section. DGSS started out as a hotdog stand in the Bleeker Street Park in the west Village in 2006. They committed themselves to serving handcrafted sausages, grilled to order, that have no hormones, no antibiotics, no nitrates, no artificial flavors or colors and are naturally low in fat. The original cart added the sausages to fresh baked artisinal breads filled with gourmet sauces and roasted them on a metal spike. The new restaurant on Broadway and 17th provides the same but in a restaurant environment.

There are a variety of meats and sauces, of which I chose the pork sausage and the truffle gruyere sauce. The susage was amazingly seasoned and grilled nicely. The baguette had a nice crunchy exterior and a chewy interior, enhanced by the intermingling sauce. Although not that big, it was pretty filling, but if you're really hungry, I'd suggest going for two. Plus, it's a better way to try out more flavor combinations.

How have you been celebrating Free Lunch Week?

Monday, October 27, 2008

Bulgogi Bob @ Kofoo

Free Lunch Week continues!

Kofoo, whose name is derived from the combination of "Korean" and "food", occupies a tiny store front near FIT in on 8th Ave and 26th Street in Chelsea. This place is blindingly fast and highly addictive. It divides the locals into two groups: one that has to try everything on the menu, and one that tried one item and could never deviate because it was so good. I plan on being part of the first group.

I tried the Bulgogi Bob. "Bulgogi” (also spelled “bulgoki” and “pulgogi") is Korean barbecue; the term literally means “fire meat” or “flesh on fire.” The meat is barbecued over charcoal and usually marinated in soy sauce, sugar, and other ingredients. In this case it was marinated beef tossed in sesame seeds and served over sticky rice. Because it's been marinated in soy sauce, the meat is sweet, tender, and juicy. This was an extrememly filling meal and on any other week I would have saved half of it for another day.

On any other week....

Scotch Eggs @ The Wombat

Wow, what a crazy week already, and it's only going to get better. To kick off the first ever Free Lunch Week I'll post about brunch to get things rolling. Remember, the rules of Free Lunch Week are that you're free to eat whatever you want this week. Let me know what you get and if you'd recommend it to me. Don't worry about the impending economic doom or the slowing of your metabolism and you get older.

The Wombat is an Down-Under themed restaurant/bar serving Australian riffs on American cuisine in East Williamsburg. Looking at their menu I saw Scotch Eggs, which I have never had, so it seemed the obvious choice. For the uninitiated, scotch eggs are hard-boiled eggs encased in sausage and bread crumbs. They are deep fried and served with a sweet and savory mustard sauce. Also, they're awesome. Eggs, pork, and fried all equal a happy brunch customer.

What did you eat?

Friday, October 24, 2008

The Anne Taylor Knopke Memorial October 2008 Free Lunch Week Fun Run/Lollygag Walkabout

Next week will be the first ever Official Free Lunch Week. It's not that the lunches are free, but that you're free to and encouraged to eat whatever you want for lunch for one week. No price limits; no regard to your personal health. For one week you're not allowed to bring your leftovers from the day before, even if it's 5 oz. of sevruga caviar.

Can you....

...add a ground all-beef patty to your milkshake? I don't see why not. an early lunch at 11 am and then go for second lunch at 3pm? It's encouraged.
...put sun-dried tomatoes on a sandwich. No! Sun-dried tomatoes are the enemy of sandwiches.

In honor of this momentous occasion EVTT will be making daily posts for you to comment on with the details about what you had that day. Be sure to mention where you got it from and if it was good or not. If you have a picture, even better. Hopefully everything we eat on Free Lunch Week will be good though.

Have a good weekend and start planning your Free Lunch Week today! Hey, it's for a good cause.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Melissa Munchie @ Johny's Luncheonette

Are those onion rings on there? Yup.

Johny's Luncheonette has been serving up their version of greasy spoon sandwich art for 15 years in Chelsea on 25th street between 6th and 7th Ave. Known as "The mother of all father and son hole in the walls" I decided to give it a try.

While a lot of their specialty sandwiches look promising (the Famous Sloppy Johny with Grilled Chicken, Bacon, Onions, Cheese and Coleslaw on a Hero is the signature dish), I defaulted to an out-of-towner for my decision. Hey, that's what I do. I eat so you don't have to. She picked out the Melissa Munchie: Hot Roast Beef, Sautéed Mushrooms, Onion Rings, and Melted Mozzarella on Garlic Bread. As you can see I muffed up the sammy and got it on whole wheat, a mistake I will not duplicate next time. Overall, I love any sandwich that throws on side items; coleslaw, potato chips, french fries, and in this case, onion rings. It's a good sandwich, but a little dry, I was craving a little spicy brown mustard to go with the onion ring theme. Next time I'll stick to the menu. What's another sandwich that looks good to you?

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Cheeseburger @ MacDonald's

It's been ten years. Ten long years. My last trip to Ray Kroc's establishment was an ironic teenage birthday party in the Mcdonald's Caboose which ended with a trip to the ball pit.

I was in Union Square last night after seeing a great show featuring bands that had their prime in the 90's and it seemed like a good idea. The golden arches seemed welcoming. It kinda went down like this. Almost like that.

Actually what happened was I ordered a cheeseburger and handed the gentleman cashier $2. My friend walked up and ordered one as well. Not knowing that I had paid for mine, he handed over $4 to the McPloyee, who put that money in the register as well. I looked the guy in the eyes and asked for the change back and he grudgingly handed over $1. I inquired about the rest and he rolled his eyes and said he'd have to asked the manager to come over and unlock the register. He then stared at me. "Well, go on" I encouraged. He waited another moment, rolled his eyes, and then finally called over the manager to get me the rest of my change.

Wall Street watch out, this young upstart's on his way...

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Sausage-Stuffed Sage Leaves @ craftbar

I know, I know. They look like cat turds with dippin' sauce, but these little guys are links of joy.

Although not in the immediate area, a friend and I stopped into craftbar at 20th and Broadway to dine under the guidance of the Top Chef of Top Chefs and have a cocktail before heading off to see a show at the Upright Citizen Brigade Theater. We bellied up to the bar to order drinks, but we were only playing coy, because we knew why we were there - to sample their Sausage-Stuffed Fried Sage Leaves.

The dish is simple and perfect. Semi-hot sausage nestled between two sage leaves, then breaded and fried to give it a subtle crushy layer. I could have ordered two more orders easily, and probably should have.

Monday, September 22, 2008

BLFGT @ Righteous Urban BBQ

Oh, pigs. Why are you so delicious? You do the meanest stuff to us, but we always forgive you.

I recently had a craving to be surrounded by the smell of pit barbecue. Luckily, Righteous Urban Barbecue was only 2 blocks away at 23rd and 7th Ave.

Since opening in 2005, RUB (as us in the know call it) has become the NYC go-to for delicious Kansas City style burnt ends, smoked duck, and the award winning Down Home Pig Pick'n which includes a whole pig butt. The man behind the smoke is pitmaster Paul Kirk, seven-time World Barbecue Champion, Barbecue Hall of Fame inductee, and winner of enough barbecue awards to make any livestock within a five-mile radius cower. Meat is cooked in the barbecue pit at low temperature over smoke for 14 hours or more, so the smoky spicy flavor thoroughly permeates the meat.

Now with all that introduction I feel kinda sheepish saying that I went for the bacon. I've been craving house cured bacon for the entire time I've been writing this blog and knew to go directly to the source. My favorite way to sample bacon is on a BLT, but RUB offers something that trumps that: a bacon, lettuce, and fried green tomato!

The bacon is amazing. It feels like it's melting in your mouth, and has the perfect amount of crunch. The fried green tomatoes add a zesty tartness and are perfectly fried. Add in the homemade remoulade, lettuce, and toasted white bread, and you've got yourself one fine samich. I was so full I didn't even eat more than a few of the hand cut fries that they douse in rub.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Shrimp & Cheese Grits @ Black Mountain

I recently went back to the south to visit my parents in North Carolina. They took me to one of their favorite restaurants in the charming souvenir trap town nestled in the largest of the Appalachian Mountains known as Black Mountain. When I saw that their special of the day was shrimp and grits, I knew I didn't have to look at the rest of the menu.

Grits (or hominy) were one of the first truly American foods, as the Native Americans ate a mush made of softened corn or maize. To a Southerner, eating grits is practically a religion, and breakfast without grits is unthinkable. A true grit lover would not consider instant or quick-cooking grits; only long-cooking stone-ground grits are worth eating. Hell, in 1976 South Carolina declared grits the official state food. Outside of the southern states, the reaction to grits is mixed.

The grits were great. Cooked with butter and bacon grease and then topped off with with crumbled bacon, I was in hog heaven. The shrimp were plump and tender. My only hesitation was the use of gouda. Whenever I've had cheese grits before, a sharper cheese like cheddar is used. Here the gouda just added creaminess, but no real character.

Jimmy crack corn, an' I don't care

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Oysters @ Marlowe & Sons

For me Marlowe & Sons represents a Southside Williamsburg haven for oysters and artisanal American cheese, but it's good to see that I'm not alone. It's where all the hipsters with $30K to drop on a SUV go as well. Nice parking spot, guys!

Last rainy Saturday night I went with a friend for a couple dozen oysters. Seriously. That's all I thought we were going to get. I crave their oysters like no other. I've begun reading about New York's rich oyster history and it's only upped my craving. Always the freshest and tastiest and served with a perfect, often imitated, never duplicated mignonette.

Afterward, we were convinced to try the deep-fried corn with rock shrimp gravy. I truly wish that we hadn't eaten it so quickly so I'd have a picture to show you, but I guess that means there's always a reason to go back. That led to something else, which led to something else...

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

The Hunter and the Hunted @ Papa Lima

Ahhh truffles. Add a little, and it costs a lot, yet people pay for it willingly. At least I was. This little guy set me back $13.00.

I went to Papa Lima in Williamsburg, Brooklyn to try one of their gourmet sandwiches. The name of this one my eye. The Hunter and the Hunted is a panino with salted french ham similar to prosciutto (jambon de bayonne), melted swiss, and black truffle butter on a pressed 6" roll. The hunter references the pigs that are used to sniff out truffles (the hunted). Pigs have an innately keen sense of smell and have been used traditionally to find truffles, but are prone to eating them. What did you expect - they're pigs. Specifically female hogs are used due to a compound within the truffle similar to androstenol, the sex pheromone of boar saliva, to which the sow is keenly attracted. Today dogs are trained to find truffles these days since they don't eat the truffles.

I have to admit that I got this sandwich before, but the newish deli clerk cut the salted ham against the grain making it impossible to bite through. The second time I ordered it everything came out perfect. The nuttiness of the truffle butter perfectly accents the buttery saltiness of the ham. Add the gooey deliciousness of melted swiss and crunch of the toasted fresh local made bread and you've got a satisfied customer. And for an added bonus the place gives away free loaves of their day old bread.

Burger and Fries @ Mesa Grill

Oh Bobby Flay... you New York Patron Saint of all that is Southwestern and Tex Mex cooking... you God amongst men of grilling perfection. I turn to you and your Mesa Grill for a good burger, and it better be for $15.

Bobby Flay knows a good burger when he sees one, so he says. I'd have to agree. The burger was cooked to perfection, with just the right amount of char. From bottom to top the lightly toasted bun was sealed off from the burger juices with a nice slathering of spicy horseradish mayo, then came the burger almost completely enveloped in a casing of hot melted double cheddar cheese, topped with sauteed onion, mixed greens, and fresh tomatoes. The mixed greens are the more aesthetically pleasing rabbit food topping, but lacked the refreshing crunch of the tradition iceberg to help cut through the horseradish and thick layering of cheese. The spicy hand cut fries are amazing. If you look in the background you can see my friend's pressed roasted pork sandwich - looks like something to go back for.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Kenyan Coffee from a Clover @ Cafe Grumpy

On my plane flight home from Chicago I read an article in Wired about the future of coffee and how it will be commandeered by Starbucks (again). A company called Clover built a machine called the Clover which brews individual cups of coffee. These machines cost $11,00 and are supposed to make the best coffees in the world. Each cup of beans is ground by itself, then the grounds are put into a hole in the top while hot water is poured in through a spigot. The temperature of the water can be controlled to produce the exact taste that the customer wants. Then the mixture is hand whisked by the barista for an amount of time only beknowst amongst them, the grounds are then drained, and the coffee is poured into a cup at the end of the production line. Overall, a very time consuming process for a single cup of coffee, even if it is now $4.

I went over to Cafe Grumpy in on 20th near 7th to see what all the hubub was about. The coffee menu offered a variety of choices of beans all all the employees had an impressive wealth of knowledge and passion about everything there. I chose the Kenyan coffee. After the performance I sipped the piping hot beverage. Unfortunately, besides the subtle accent of wine I really stretched to notice, I didn't taste or smell anything too above-the-ordinary, but I'll try again with a different bean selection. Maybe I should start experiementing with water temperature...

Monday, August 18, 2008

Fired Cheese Curds @ The Twisted Spoke

While visiting my friend in Chicago I made a mandatory stop over at The Twisted Spoke, the biker brunch bar/restaurant famous for it's Smut and Eggs, a Saturday night event from midnight to 6am which involves porn being shown on TVs in the bar area and a full brunch menu. I didn't make it out for all the free porn, but I did get to go for one of my favorite Bloody Marys the following Sunday morning. This Bloody involves an impressive flag consisting of cocktail onions, pepperonicinis, olives, and 2 folded slices of salami, all topped with fresh grated romano. And for a kicker they give you a 6 oz. beer back.

Obviously there's a whole meal in the drink itself, but we decided to eat a midwest favorite, fried cheese curds. Being downstream from Wisconsin, one of the cheese producing meccas in America, Chicago is priveledged to have a wealth of cheese and they use it liberally. One local favorite is the cheese curd, which is known for it's spongy texture and should be eaten within hours of their manufacture. These were perfect - a nice firm cruchy breaded crust with the squeaky interior, although the honey mustard sauce was somewhat boring. I would have opted for something tomato based instead.

Now that I've visited the world of cheese curds, I'm interested in trying their Québécois cousin - poutine, which involves french fries and gravy. Anyone have a suggestion for here in NYC?

Friday, August 15, 2008

Fish Tacos @ a mall in LA

I'm in LA for work , but am staying on New York time since I'm here for only a few days. Needless to say, when I got done with the LA work day I had only a few hours to grab a bite to eat before I was ready to pass out. Seeing as I don't have a car, I was left to more basic modes of transportation and went to the Howard Hugh's Center/Promenade across the highway from my hotel.

Now I know this is not a fair sampling of Cali cuisine and culture, but the only decent crowd of people to eat with was at On the Border b/c it was empty. As I bellied up to the bar I overheard a gregarious waiter say the special tonight was fried fish tacos for $2.50. Then the bartender said I could double the size of my beer for a mere $2. Done and done. The fish taco was crisply fried and and tender and topped with an innocuously spicy mayo. A little shredded radicchio and some pico de gallo filled out the rest of the bland flour tortilla. This is exactly the right kind and the right amount of food to help you finish a 24 oz goblet of beer. Nothing spectacular, but very utilitarian.

I'm glad I get to stop off on my way home and visit my friend in Chicago. Anyone have any requests? What's your favorite food in Chicago?

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

A Rainbow Grows in Brooklyn

I know this might not seem food related at first, but give me a second. I got stuck in this crazy summer isolated thunderstorm riding my bike home from work today. I was soaked and cold and yelling at the top of my lungs to keep my spirits high and not to give up and take the subway. At the apex of the Williamsburg Bridge the rain stopped and so did I. This is a photo from the bridge facing north into Greenpoint, a Brooklyn neighborhood historically Polish, but now seeing the influx of those escaping rising housing costs in Manhattan.

Where there's a rainbow, there's a pot of gold. Where should I go? What should I eat?

Duck Breast BLT @ Tre Dici

The first photo I took for this blog was from Tre Dici on 27th between 6th and 7th Ave. I had told my friend about their Duck Breast BLT and she was game to try it. She ordered it but I took the photo, hence the distance of the sandwich from the lens. If this is a half bad picture then I guess I owe you a 500 word explanation... Roast duck breast and cured bacon with lettuce, tomato, and a delicious walnut mayo served between two toasted slices of raisin nut bread. Now the question on everyone's lips - Can you have both duck and bacon on one sandwich? My logic would dictate that yes, bacon goes with everything. I felt the thin cured bacon didn't stand up the the portion of duck breast in this sandwich, which would have benefited from a thicker cut of smoked bacon to give it more of a substantial crunch against the soft and fatty duck breast. Yet, when do I not say that there needs to be a thicker piece of bacon on my sandwich?

The parmesan truffle oil fries served on the side were fabulous dipped into their homemade cajun mayo. As you can see from the photo, they are served in a parmesan crisp. Basically the kitchen shaved a bunch of parmesan into a cooking tray, bakes it into a malleable hot disc, and then let it cool after shaping it into a cup. This was also good dipped in mayonnaise.

I'm surprised I haven't had a heart attack yet

Friday, August 8, 2008

Skate at BLT Fish (Sk8 is Gr8!)

As suggested by my good friend Laser McNeal, I ventured over to BLT Fish Shack on 17th and 5th Ave to try their skate, a dish I've never tried before. Let me begin with the accouterments. You are already A-OK in my book if you make your own tartar sauce in house and you cut your own fries. It's the simple things like this that make an establishment stand out. Even if your tartar sauce tastes like baby shit and your fries are better paper weights than food you're doing better than Sysco canned tartar cause and frozen fries. Luckily for me both were amazing. Fries dipped in tartar sauce... even better.

The skate is actually skate wings. It has a noticeable striation that was fun to peel apart. I was able to reserve the entire contents of my ramekin for the fries because this skate was perfectly cooked in oil and a little vinegar to give it a kick. The taste was similar to monk fish, which would make sense since they both are bottom dwellers that feed off of crustaceans. All washed down by a refreshing Blue Point Toasted Lager.

I will definitely come back for the impressive raw bar.

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Best Restaurant Website Theme Music

I spent a morning chatting with my friend one hang-over Sunday a while back and we went through every nYc restaurant's webpage we could think of until we found the best theme muzak we could find. Hands down, this site has the undeniable groove that keeps you coming back for more. Hmmm, I've never eaten there though. What does this groove make you hungry for? Take a gander at the menu and see what looks good to you. I have some ideas but will wait for everyone to weigh in first. What looks good to you? More importantly, have you heard better restaurant theme music to make you chow happy? Let us know!

Fried Calamari at Cafe Cuba

I went to Cafe Cuba at 20th and 8th Ave to try their cuban sandwich (another post), but when I saw they had a Frita Mixta, I had to give it a shot. There is one thing you must know about me - I always order fried calamari if it looks good. It's like a litmus test for all restaurants. If they can't do a passable calamari, there's no need to move on to the main course. I've tasted plenty of bad (mainly of the frozen variety), nibbled on the mediocre, but I've also been spoiled by some of the best.

Overall, they did a good job. This restaurant added fried shrimp to the package (the mixta part of the frita). The calamari was very tender, as were the shrimp. There was a nice touch of salt, but yet nothing else. The so-called Caribbean sauce tasted just like normal marinara, which would be fine at a restaurant that didn't have so much decorative flair. Yet with all the colorful murals and the up tempo Cuban music I was expecting something with a little more zing.

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Mujaddara at Kalustyan’s

I've been planning this blog and documenting my 'better' lunches for a few weeks now and began to get backlogged with photos. This first post is by no means the first subject of the blog. I'll be posting them out of order just to get them uploaded until I've caught up.

I read about this mujaddara sandwich in NYMag while on a return plane flight from Charlotte, NC to LaGuardia. I'd walked through the area lovingly know as Curry Hill, but had never stopped by to eat, although I had been into Kalustyan’s to buy Ras al-Hanut after seeing a contestant on Top Chef liberally sprinkle the spice mix on every dish in the one episode I saw (while waiting to be interviewed for the show itself).

The mujaddara sandwich here is a large pita stuffed with a mixture of lentils, bulgur, tahini, fried onions, lettuce, tomato and a crunchy sour pickle. Of course I asked for extra hot sauce. This sandwich is big enough for two small people or enough for me to snack on until I have 2nd lunch. It literally weighed 5lbs! Not bad for $5. Overall it's a very earthy flavor with not much texture outside of the pickles, but very satisfying. The olive oil gives the sandwich its moisture and helps the loose mixture clump together. This is a messy sandwich to eat. Overall a great find and I'm sure I'll go back soon to try their other offerings.