Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Rock Center Cafe, Manhattan, NYC

Smack in the area near the skating rink at Rockefeller Center is the Rock Center Cafe. Although this place does scream tourist trap in some aspects, it wasn't too bad.

We shared a very pleasant snack of deep-fried calamari. This was cooked just nice, the squid wasn't too chewy nor dry and the tangy dipping sauce accompanied it well.

What better wayt is there to sooth the evening heat of a stubborn summer with some cold Piper?


Sunday, August 26, 2007

A typical New York thin slice...

Like the bagel, the thin slice is another staple for New Yorkers (this slice was from a pizzeria just round the corner of my apartment). It's popular for a quick meal on the go which is great for New Yorkers because they're always pretty much on the go. Most pizza parlors here sell pizza by the slice but don't be deceived; a slice is pretty damn huge. I placed my watch by that slice above just for comparison... see how it's exceeding the borders of the paper plate? I had to nibble the protruding ends so that I could reheat it in my microwave without letting the grease go all over. There's a certain method to eating the slice as well. Fold it in half and four bites later you should be done. There you go, a quick lunch which can be consumed in less than 5 minutes. A typical meal ideal for the typical New Yorker.


Thursday, August 23, 2007

Wonjo, Manhattan, NYC

Although Wonjo calls herself a Korean and Japanese restaurant as with most of the Korean restaurants in K-town along 32nd Street, it's really a Korean restaurant. Not many people come here for the Japanese fare.

As with most Korean restaurants, there's a nice variety of side-dishes to start off the meal.

The main thing that sets Wonjo aside from the other Korean restaurants is the use of charcoal here. There's something about charcoal which imparts that smokey aroma that can't be replicated with just gas alone.

The ox-tongue is sliced mightily thin which makes for great quick cooking.

A few seconds on each side and you're done. Since it was unmarinated, it went really well with the salt and pepper in sesame oil.

Next came some spicy marinated pork.

The nice thing about the marinades is they aren't too sweet.

The special Kalbi which was marinated in a spicy sauce.

Tender and succulent, we made quick work of these tasty morsels.

We ended the meal with a little pot of spicy bibimbap. Overall, the meal was pretty decent which was a good start to sampling the fare along this street saturated with Korean restaurants. I'll be back to this street for sure, since some of these joints are opened 24hrs as well.


Sunday, August 19, 2007

Garrett Popcorn Shops, Manhattan, NYC

I remembered seeing a Garrett's in Chicago once but since the queue was rather long then, I decided to give it a miss. I chanced upon one at Penn Plaza yesterday when I was at K-mart picking up a muffin tray and since they weren't really busy, I decided to pop (no pun intended) in for some popcorn.

I ordered a mixed bag of cheese and crispy caramel. This was pretty good actually, but the caramel was a little too sweet and the cheese a little too salty, so I guess the mixed bag helps balance those flavors. Even then, when I was about 3/4 through the bag, I still got abit sick of the stuff, luckily I didn't go for the gallon container.


Friday, August 17, 2007

Mandarin Court, Manhattan, NYC

Mandarin Court (61 Mott St, (212) 608-3838) was another dim sum joint that I checked out but this time I came with some of my newly met colleagues which translated as being to order heaps more (yay!). The servings here are slightly less dear than Golden Bridge but also noticeably smaller. The shumais were quite tasty still with a nice balance of pork, mushroom and shrimp.

The baked barbecued pork buns were next. Typical soft and slightly sweet bread encasing a generous filling of chopped barbecued pork.

Chicken feet were done just right, tender enough to slide of the bone easily but still firm enough for a decent chew.

Steamed flour rolls with shrimp were pretty good too. The skin wasn't too thick or dry and the sauce wasn't too salty either. The shrimp in it was a little scanty though.

More dimsum staples such as steamed pork ribs,

char siew soh (yet again, the skin here was too thick for my liking),

and steamed shrimp dumplings. Not too bad, the skin wasn't too thick and still quite moist.

The savory rice was quite tasty but it was rather filling as well so no one really paid much attention to it in the end.

The egg tarts although not warm were quite decent, the custard having a nice eggy flavor and the pastry being rather flakey and light.

The other dessert we sampled were the deep fried flour balls filled with red bean. I was never a big fan of this but I guess it was not bad, the oil tasted fresh which is a big thing to me.

Last but not in the very least, my favorite dimsum item; fried squid tentacles. This was pretty good, in fact we ordered two serves of this.


Monday, August 13, 2007

Ess-a-Bagel, Manhattan, NYC

Besides the thin slice, New York is also known for her bagels. Bagels are so common here that if you take a stone and throw it in some random direction, chances are you'll hit a store or a stand that sells bagels. Bagels are aplenty no doubt, but good bagels don't come by too often. Fortunately, Ess-a-Bagel has been around for more than 30 years and serves a really wicked bagel.

They have heaps of bagel varieties to choose from here but I normally go for the sesame or poppy seed one as shown here. The bagels are still made the traditional way where they are boiled first before baking, which ensures a really nice doughy chew without being too dry or crusty.

I don't know about you but the sides for the bagels are pretty traditional, which is the way I like it. Thinly sliced lox (cured salmon which isn't smoked), smoked sturgeon, tomatoes, pickles, onions and some amusing lettuce leaves. The lox and sturgeon here is extremely tasty without being too salty.

The platter comes with a side of potato salad as well and your choice of cream cheese. That massive dallop there is some scallion cream cheese which I personally find goes very well with cured fish. Some fresh lemon wedges were also provided which added a nice citrus tang to the overall flavors.

And this is how I love to indulge in my bagel. A huge smear of cream cheese, smoked sturgeon, lox, onions, lettuce and the tomatoes all stacked onto each other before a little squeeze of lemon juice; delicious!

They don't have Dr Pepper's here but they do have Dr Brown's! This soda was pretty good actually, not too sweet nor overly carbonated.

Despite some of the reports I've heard on the attitude of the staff here and the extremely poor service, I had excellent service. I'm not really that fussed about service to begin with but the staff preparing my platter took time, care and effort to make sure it was made well. I'll be back for more bagels, that's for sure.


Saturday, August 11, 2007

El Paso Taqueria, Manhattan, NYC

One big advantage about USA when compared to Singapore, is the availability of authentic Mexican food at a reasonable price. Although NYC is lagging slightly behind the whole Mexican food scene when compared to the West-coast counterparts, there's still some decent Mexican fare to be found in this city.

I started off with the recommended appetizer of ceviche camaron which is basically a Mexican shrimp salad. Fresh chunky bits of shrimp were coarsely diced and mixed together with some advocado, raw onions and a sour vinegarette of lemon juice and vinegar. Whilst this was tart enough to whet my appetite and the shrimp chunks were quite decent, I felt that it wasn't really worth the price of 9.50.

The tacos are what this place is really about. The al pastor is roasted marinated pork served with onions and pineapple bits. The smokey aroma of the roasted pork blended nicely with the sweet onions and pineapple.

A simple and straight-forward bistec taco featuring a generous amount of chargrilled beef strips. The simplicity of flavor here is what makes it excel.

I was told the taco carnitas had a little kick in it due to the use of spices, so I had to order it. This was tasty, definitely way below my threshold of chili-spiciness but the amount of grease in this made it quite delectable indeed.

All the tacos come with a generous amount of onions, cilantro and guacamole but they serve quite a few condiments on the side which were pretty good. The radish in particular was very fresh.

Dessert of the day was this slice of homemade cake. Well, it was really nothing to shout about and definitely didn't justify the 5.50 price-tag.

The meal was accompanied by a sweet and tangy pina colada which tasted pretty refreshing since fresh pineapple was used.

With two locations and a third one coming up pretty soon, El Paso Taqueria is a pretty good place to go for your Mexican fix but I'll just stick to the tacos this time which start from as low as 2.25.


Thursday, August 09, 2007

One Year Anniversary

Wow, I can't believe I actually missed the date for this blog's first year anniversary! Luckily my blog's not a woman haha. I've been ridiculously busy of late, so sad to say there's no grand celebration for this one year, not even a cupcake and a candle, damn! But I'll be posting some stuff pretty soon; just visited this pretty kickass Mexican restaurant.

Have a good one!


Tuesday, August 07, 2007

Golden Bridge Restaurant, Manhattan, NYC

I ventured into Chinatown one day to buy a Chinese cleaver (somehow, I can't do without one of these blades) and asked the owner of the store where I could get some authentic food. Being Cantonese, she suggested to try the dim sum at Golden Bridge. This place was packed when I arrived and on a weekday too, not bad.

The first thing that struck me here was that the servings are huge! Even this platter of steamed porkribs was virtually spilling out of the edges.

The shu mais (as large as some breadbuns in other dim sum joints) gave a very nice hearty and meaty bite.

It wasn't just the genorosity of the pork mince in this that made it so delectable but also the sizeable chunks of crunchy shrimp. This shu mai was spot-on.

The char siew soh had a pastry which was just a tad bit too heavy and thick but the filling was her redeeming grace being fragrant and slightly fatty chunks of char siew. I was actually full after only three plates! I need to get a bigger horde to come check out this joint next time.


Sunday, August 05, 2007

Subway, NYC

Funny how I don't really frequent Subway in Singapore nor in Australia but when I walked passed this store and smelled the scent of freshly baked bread, I decided to walk in a grab me a sub.

Bombarded with a ton of choices, I decided to go for the meatball marinara (a la Happy Gilmore). Well, this tasted ok, not something I'll come rushing back in for again. In fact, the meatball tasted more floury than meaty. Oh well, at least I know I won't be losing any weight like Jared if I start a subway diet on the meatball marinaras haha.