Monthly Archives: July 2012

Strawberry Bread for Strawberry Season

It’s strawberry season and if you didn’t know it, all you need to do is take a walk through the Union Square farmer’s market to know.  You could be blind and still realize because the smell of all the crates of strawberries just lingers in the air around Union Square.  I picked up some for LAW’s midnight birthday surprise (just berries and whipped cream, a new favorite of his after having schlag) but of course had a bunch leftover.  Strawberries unfortunately do not last for very long so I needed a way to “get rid” of them quickly. Continue reading

Sushi Yasuda, the closest thing to Jiro in NYC?

Sushi Yasuda
204 E 43rd St
(between 3rd Ave & 2nd Ave)
New York, NY 10017

I recently watched Jiro Dreams of Sushi again because LAW had not seen it yet.  It was, again, inspiring and humbling.  For LAW’s birthday, I decided to take him out to what I have synthesized to be the closest thing to Jiro we could find in NYC.

We ordered the omakase, which translates to, “I’ll leave it to you” in Japanese.  Ordering the omakase means you are entrusting your entire meal to the sushi chef.  It is a form of respect at these nice sushi places and also the way to go because you end up getting the freshest fish and potentially trying some new fish you did not know about.  The omakase at Sushi Yasuda ranges in price (averages at $125 per person), depending on how much you can eat and what kind of fish you are served.  The sushi chef serves about 20-30 pieces of nigiri sushi, one by one, ensuring that every piece you get is served at the proper fish temperature and rice temperature.  After the last nigiri of the set, usually an egg custard one, he asks if you would like anything else.  Our meal, including tip, was $350.  You are supposed to eat using your hands.  There is a pinched piece of cloth drenched in lemon water for you to wipe your fingers after each bite.

Bluefin Tuna

Continue reading

The Best Steak I Have Ever Had

    
Peter Luger Steakhouse
178 Broadway
(between 6th St & Driggs Ave)
Brooklyn, NY 11211

Best. Steak. Ever.  I don’t even love meat and I love Peter Luger porterhouse steak.  It’s probably one of the oldest restaurants still running in New York, having been established in  1887!  If you haven’t been, check it out and you’ll understand how it has lasted this long.  It is a no frills restaurant that just serves up great food.  And when I say no frills, I really mean no frills.  There is one kind of steak that you get and you pay per person.  Everything is served family style.  You walk in and a strong charred scent of MEAT wafts towards you.  The waiters are all big men with thick New York accents.  They are sarcastic and tell you what to order.  It’s a little off putting at first but once you get the drift, it’s kind of fun.

“I would like the… ”

“Two tomato and onions, at least one bacon per person, two potatoes and two spinaches.”

“Oh, right.  Okay, sounds good.”

That’s pretty much how it works.  For once, I liked being told what to eat.  They weren’t douchebags about it either.  The waiters would tell me when I was ordering too much and stop me.  As in actually refuse to have me order more. Continue reading

Fresh Pappardelle with Scallops – I love eating at home.

Sorry I’ve disappeared off the face of this blog.  My family was in town so I was busy eating with them (yay more blogging content!*).  I like to keep somewhat of a schedule for blogging… it’s kind of like running.  The more you do it, the more you enjoy it and want to keep doing it.  Once you stop… it’s so hard to start again.  So here I am, starting again, after a one week hiatus.

I have more Vegas restaurants to post from my recent trip but I will publish them later… thinking about Vegas makes me tired.  That place is seriously draining… draining physically, mentally, and on my wallet.  After all hardcore restaurant binges, I seriously just want to eat at home all week.  Here is a home cooked meal I made for LAW and I after my parents left this weekend.

My mom bought me a pound of fresh scallops and fresh handcut pappardelle from Eataly (among other things… she really tried to stock my fridge with things I only buy on “special occasions” … ah she spoils me :D).  I tried to look up some recipes but was uninspired so decided to just wing it and create something of my own.  Tomatoes?  Always.  I was in the mood for corn… why not?   Continue reading

Hot ‘n Juicy Crawfish

Hot ‘n Juicy Crawfish
4810 Spring Mountain Rd
Ste C & D
Las Vegas, NV 89102

I realized I had never had crawfish before and was excited to hear about this place from multiple friends.  It fit under my criteria of “uniquely Vegas,” “delicious,” and “not too expensive.”  It’s right at the edge of Chinatown so you’ll need a car or cab to get to it.

The crowd seemed very local.  Everyone had their sleeves rolled up, plastic bib tied on, and was smackin’ their lips and lickin’ their fingers.  We ordered a pound of crawfish and a pound of shrimp, both in the Hot ‘n Juicy special sauce (you have other choices such as lemon pepper and juicy cajun).

The crawfish ($10) is steamed with a large amount of super tasty and spicy sauce.  Looking back, I wish I ordered some rice or rolls on the side so I could have soaked up the sauce.  We had ordered sweet potato fries for our carb instead.  Though the fries were good, soft on the inside and crisp on the outside, sweet potato didn’t go quite well with the seafood and sauce.  I needed something more bland.  The crawfish tasted very fresh and sweet but crawfish is just a bit too small… each one has meat about the size of a gum ball and takes quite a bit of breaking and peeling.  It was far too much work for too little reward.  We asked them to add two corns in the bag as well.  The corn was hot and sweet and tasted amazing with the sauce. Continue reading

Gumbo Hidden in the back of a Dirty Casino

Oyster Bar
Palace Station Hotel & Casino
2418 W Sahara Blvd
Las Vegas, NV 89102

Dinner #1 in Vegas!  So in my search for something delicious and uniquely Vegas (as in one where they don’t have a sister restaurant in NYC… almost all the good ones do!), I found Oyster Bar, a restaurant tucked in the back of the Palace Station Hotel & Casino.  I had never been to Palace Station nor heard of it so did not know what to expect…   Palace sounds grandiose enough and the restaurant is rated so ridiculously well everywhere that in my mind, I pictured somewhat of a decent looking place.  I was very wrong.  The Palace Station is a smokey, dingy casino filled with unattractive drunks.  I was very skeptical that we had been taken to the right place… until I stumbled upon a huge line starting at… some bar.

The Oyster Bar is literally, a bar.  It is TINY.  Fits about 15 people around the bar and is right next to the slot machines.  It was about 10:00pm when we got there and we did not order until 11:30.  Craziness!  What could all the fuss be about…

    
    

They specialize in southern seafood dishes like Gumbo, Pan Roasts, and Chowders.  They have a really neat cooking machine (see bottom left and right) where they cook each dish to order (very impressive and unexpected for dishes like gumbo) in these attached metal bowls that heat up very quickly and swing down to speed the serving process.  By the time we got to sit down and order, I was miserably hungry.  And I really do mean miserable. Continue reading

Bouchon in Vegas

I’m in Vegas!  And staying at the beautiful Wynn.  Too bad I’m not here to gamble or party because the Wynn has such a great casino and club.  I’m here because I’m piggybacking on LAW’s business trip.  We decided to come a little early and do a Grand Canyon/Zion/Bryce National Park adventure.  As much as I like fancy hotels, fake boobs, orange skin, and losing money, I left my concrete jungle for a breath of fresh air (which does not really exist in Vegas because you’re allowed to SMOKE in the casinos?!).

Here is a picture I took at the top of Angels Landing, a gigantic rock formation in Zion.  The Angels Landing hike was the most beautiful and exhilarating hike ever.  Imagine walking on a two foot wide path… with a cliff on either side of you.  Now imagine the path as a natural, unpaved, slanted rocky path.  That was the last 0.5 miles of our hike.  It. Was. Amazing.  We drove from Vegas to Zion.  Hiked all day.  Stayed at some nearby small motel.  Got up super early and did another hike in Zion.  Drove to Bryce.  Hiked the two major hikes in Bryce.  Drove to the Grand Canyon.  Did the major lookout and small hike.  And drove back to Vegas.  It was a crazy adventurous 2-day journey!  I’m so glad we did it.

Now I’m back in Vegas.  Before coming, I did all my research on places to eat and found it annoying that most of the great restaurants have their counterparts in NYC.  I want something uniquely Vegas!  There are only a few places with food I felt I could not find in NYC which I will try in the next few days, and will blog about soon.  But today, I went to Bouchon Bakery at the Venetian for breakfast because it is the closest yummy pastry place around me.  Even though NYC has … two Bouchons.  Oh well.  It is 113 degrees today and I definitely do not want to do any trekking.  I ordered a cappuccino and was sipping it on my walk back to the Wynn.  The coffee actually got hotter and hotter as I walked.  Ridiculous.   Continue reading

Fancy Hot Dog Party

I’m not that much of a party pooper.  I did in fact celebrate July 4th like any good ol’ American.  I also watched Katy Perry dance around on stage in an American flag dress… it was interesting to say the least…  Anyway, when deciding what we should do, the first thing that came to my mind was obviously what we should eat.  What’s American?  Hot dogs!  We also wanted something that would provide some sort of entertainment, and not purely sustenance.  What’s fun?  A challenge!  LAW, P.Y., D.T., and I had a Fancy Hotdog Party followed by some button smashing on an old N64.  We each designed and made our own type of hot dog and shared it with the group, culminating in a glorious sausage fest (not that kind).

    

While the rest of us were in the kitchen prepping all the ingredients, LAW stole the ingredients and made hors d’oeuvres.  Here I present to you his creations: 1) Rosemary Triscuit, pepperoni, mozzarella, olive oil, and red pepper flakes; and 2) Rosemary Triscuit, guacamole, and sour cream and onion potato chips.  Both were deeeelicious.  Guac + sour cream and onion was surprisingly amazing together.  Then again, what isn’t good with guac?

Hence, I decided I wanted to make a GREEN MACHINE for no particular reason other than the fact that I wanted to use avocados and wanted a cool name for my dog (clearly not very creative here).  I bought limes because they were on sale and are green.  I also bought jalapeños because they are green and would add a nice kick to my flamin’ hot dog.  I turned the avocado into guac with some raw onions, lime juice, and salt.  I topped the guac with fried jalapeño peppers.  When you fry jalapeños, they tend to get a little sweet.  Unfortunately I didn’t have sugar, otherwise I would have used it to add even more sweetness.  Sugar also helps to caramelize the peppers.  Since LAW stole my guac for his crackers, I stole some of his bacon… no longer a Green Machine but definitely tastier.

Continue reading

Happy 236th birthday, America!

Though I was born and partially raised in the US, I still don’t feel quite fully American.  The red, white, and blue does not resonate as mine… nor does the red and yellow of the Chinese flag.  I’m stuck somewhere between, like many third-culture kids.  But nonetheless, America, you have provided me and my family with so much love food and care food.  Thank you and happy birthday!!

I’m going to be ironic and post about my favorite Chinese breakfast dish (well… one of my favorites) on this glorious birthday.  This dish, 牛奶鸡蛋 or Milk and Eggs, is something my grandpa always made for me because it is, in his mind, the most extravagant thing you could make for breakfast.  It contains milk, sugar, and eggs, three things that were so rare in his lifetime and my mother’s childhood that it has, to this day, remained special in our family.  Essentially, you poach an egg in milk.  Milk tends to burn very quickly so you must boil it over low heat.  Once the milk is boiling, you add sugar and crack a fresh egg in it.  You let it cook for a few minutes and turn off the heat.  You serve it immediately in a bowl.

 

When you eat it, you break up the poached egg so that the yolk spreads… making the milk taste faintly of egg.  The process of boiling milk makes the milk taste extra creamy so that even skim milk tastes whole.  Gosh this is so good.  Sometimes we add a little bit of oatmeal to the milk so that we get a little more fiber and texture.  Mmm…

 

Alright, off to the festivities.  I’m going to have a fancy hot dog party so stay tuned for my post on that.

Ramen Sans Broth at Yuji

Yuji Ramen
N 11 St & Wythe Ave
Brooklyn, NY 11211

 

Dry ramen?  I was intrigued.  I was even more intrigued that Yuji is only open on Thursday, Friday, and Saturday nights.  It’s a pop-up restaurant that shares the space behind a bar with another restaurant that operates on Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday.  The vibe is very hip, even more hip than Williamsburg itself because it is tucked away from Bedford Ave in a garage that is also an art gallery.  So hip.

  

The space is very small.  We were lucky enough to secure the back long table against the cool Asian mural (K.C. – it is Asian!!).  The menu changes constantly.  The uni ramen that so many Yelpers yelped about was no longer on the menu when I got there.  I imagine they are doing their market research and rotating items to see which ones are the best so they know which ones to implement when they open their real deal.

I ordered the Chilled Tomato and Clam ($11) while everyone else ordered the Summer Crab ($12).  The benefit to dry ramen is that the noodles stay al dente throughout your gastronomic journey, unlike traditional soupy ramen.  There is no broth to weaken the chewiness.  My chilled ramen was perfect for the hot summer night (no air conditioning at this venue!).  The tomato and clam sauce made it taste almost like an Italian pasta sauce over Japanese noodles.  Clams were barely present but definitely added to the flavor of the fresh tomato paste.  My only qualm about the dish is that the portion was way too small.  It seemed more like an appetizer portion.  It would be a perfect bar snack though…  Maybe that’s what it is intended to be.  In that case, lower your prices, please!

Continue reading