Tag Archives: steak

Philly Cheesesteaks @ Tony Luke’s: Whiz or Real Cheese?

Tony Luke's
Tony Luke’s
39 E Oregon Ave
Philadelphia, PA 19148

Saturday morning. I wake up.  Okay, late late morning, I wake up. LAW asks if I want to go on a roadtrip. I say sure. So we rent a car and decide to drive to Philly for a Philly cheesesteak. (LAW also spent a few years of his childhood there, so we thought it would be cool to find his old home. I don’t just travel to eat…) Finding the best cheesesteak in Philly is like finding the best pizza in New York. At a certain level, it becomes completely subjective. I did some research and ended up picking a locally well-regarded place (Pat’s and Geno’s are the tourist faves) that had both the cheez whiz and real cheese options on their menu. In my research, I found that the Whiz vs. Cheese debate is very much alive and intense.

Tony Luke's
Tony Luke’s is a skinny (the space, not the food) little fast food esque joint in south Philly that apparently always has a line of hungry people.

Tony Luke's
We got the classic cheese steak: steak, caramelized onions, and cheez whiz. We also added mushrooms. The steak at Tony Luke’s is thin cut rib-eye (never chopped, they say) and the whiz is Kraft Cheez Whiz. Branded stuff here.  Continue reading Philly Cheesesteaks @ Tony Luke’s: Whiz or Real Cheese?

An Epic Birthday Dinner at Peter Luger’s

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

I’ve been around the block now, nearly three years in NYC, and to this day, I only crave the steak of Peter Luger’s. 50% of the reason is that the steak is just so damn tasty. The steak has a crust that is so savory and charred that is also drizzled with extra steak oil before it is served. 30% of the reason is for the bacon. So damn delicious. The last 20% of my love for Peter Luger’s comes from the no BS attitude and air of the restaurant. Replace the usual white tablecloth stuffiness of a usual steakhouse with simple, rustic wooden tables.

Read more about my take on the service in my last Luger’s post before I had my awesome food camera. Pictures below are from my EPIC quarter century birthday. Continue reading An Epic Birthday Dinner at Peter Luger’s

The Chester: a classy spot for weekday drinks and real bar food

The Chester
The Chester
18 9th Ave
(between 13th St & Little W 12th St)
New York, NY 10014

Sorry I’ve disappeared! I tend to do this every year around this time because I’ve learned to stretch my vacation days like I stretch my belly around the holidays. But ladies and gents, we still have a couple weeks before Christmas, Hanukkah, and New Years land on our faces, and these are the weeks to spend with your New York family before you join your real family.

L.N. recently introduced me to The Chester, a new a new American restaurant/bar he is overseeing that opened on the first floor of the Gansevoort. The chef is now Stephen Yen, previously of Catch. Next time you are deciding on a place for drinks, make it The Chester, because if you’re anything like me, you expect quality after-school snacks with that glass of wine.

The ChesterWe started with Tuna Tartare with olive salad and crostini ($16). The Chester is definitely on the pricier side, but the portions are ginormous for an upscale place. You can comfortably share this appetizer between four people ($4 each, not bad), and you each would get at least two to three large spoonfuls of tuna. The tuna was light, fresh, and dressed in a flavorful olive salad. Definitely trumps beer nuts any day.

The Chester
I insisted on the flatbread, because I love all things bread. We had the Prosciutto Flatbread with prosciutto de parma, arugula, fontina, and truffle oil ($16). The flatbread was also huge, enough to feed four hungry adults. It was just the two of us there, so I took lots of yummy leftovers home. This classic prosciutto flatbread was on the greasier side, which of course was delicious (prosciutto and arugula are like peanut butter and jelly), but made it very filling. If you’re planning to have dinner after drinks, I would suggest getting just one food item. The Chester is like an Italian grandmother, she loves to fill you up. Continue reading The Chester: a classy spot for weekday drinks and real bar food

Lotus of Siam, best Thai food I’ve had in the US.


Lotus of Siam
953 E Sahara Ave
Las Vegas, NV 89104

After a long hot day in Vegas, the last thing I wanted to do was gamble or party.  I just wanted some amazing food in my hotel room, a good book in hand (in this case, Kitchen Confidential), and some mindless TV program buzzing in the background (I don’t have cable in NYC so I tried to have the TV on constantly while soaking up all the other amenities of the Wynn).  Multiple people had suggested Lotus of Siam to me and though I was skeptical of finding good Thai food in the desert, I reminded myself that I had found amazing fresh sushi in the desert so anything is possible.


I was excited to find a much more extensive menu than typical Thai places in NYC.  They had Northern Thai dishes, which I had never had before, meaning I would definitely try.  Both photos above are of the Khao Soi ($9.95), a coconut based red curry egg noodle dish with Burmese influences.  The noodles are garnished with deep-fried noodles, sliced red onion, lime, and pickled vegetables.  The curry was buuuuuuursting with flavor and very rich, unlike all the watered down curries I’ve had everywhere else in the US.  Every ingredient added another layer of complexity… Continue reading Lotus of Siam, best Thai food I’ve had in the US.

Nai Tapas – someone please explain.


Nai Tapas Bar
174 First Ave
New York, NY 10009

Meh.  I was looking for a good tapas place in East Village to take my family and some family friends because some of them had never had tapas before.  I am really not well-versed in the tapas scene in NYC so relied heavily on Yelp and friends.  Nai Tapas Bar is probably the highest rated in East Village with 4.5 stars on Yelp and Urban Spoon, and was also recommended to me multiple times by friends.  They also took reservations which was a big plus for a big group.  I ordered a variety of things and nothing stood out, especially not the watered-down sangria.

Chorizo A La Plancha ($5.50/$11.00)* – grilled Spanish sausage wrapped in a fried potato chip.  It tastes like how it looks.  Not bad, not great.  Sausage was decent but didn’t have any particular flavors and wasn’t dry nor juicy… what else to say? Continue reading Nai Tapas – someone please explain.

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 The Best Steak I Have Ever Had

BLT Prime: Valentine’s Cooking Class

BLT Prime
111 E 22nd St
New York, NY 10022

  

I went to a “Valentine’s” Cooking Class at BLT Prime where Chef Andrew Matthews sort-of taught us how to make a proper 3-course meal consisting of:

Appetizer: Fluke Carpaccio
Entree: Chateaubriand
Side Dishes: Creamy Spinach, Marble Heirloom Potatoes
Dessert: Red Velvet Cake

  

The class ended up being a demonstration with no hands-on interaction.  This was probably a good move on the restaurant’s part because I’m not sure any of us would be back if we had to eat what we cooked… every dish was more complicated than I thought it would be!  It was amazing to see the kitchen and to learn about how a real restaurant kitchen functions.  You have to be super organized and work as a team or else the kitchen will most likely turn into a nasty food fight!  Actually, apparently kitchens end up looking like the aftermath of a food fight even after a successful night in the kitchen.

 

FLUKE CARPACCIO – slightly chaotic but tasty nonetheless (2/5)

  

The fluke was filled and sprinkled with all kinds of yummy ingredients, such as pomelo, dill pickles, celery heart stalks, apple gelee, paprika, chives, olive oil, lime juice and zest, AND secret basil oil sauce… they also added some house-made rice paper to give the dish a little crunch.  There was all kinds of flavors and textures in this dish, some I think a little unnecessary… it was sweet and sour and salty and oily and crispy and stringy (fish :().

 

CHATEAUBRIAND – Liberal Salt (Ch 4/5)

The preparation for the Chateaubriand (a thick cut of tenderloin) seemed very simple though probably takes a lot of skill to do right.  Chef Matthews demonstrated the tying of the piece of tenderloin to allow the whole piece of steak to cook evenly.  The steak is then seasoned very liberally with salt and pepper and seared for 4-5 minutes.  Then the seared steak is placed in a FULL dish of salt and roasted for 8 minutes on each side.  The steak turned out very moist, tender, and flavorful.  For some reason, the steak wasn’t as “meaty” tasting as Peter Luger’s Porterhouse steak.  That may be due to the cut of meat…?

  

The steak is then served with a classic Bearnaise sauce, which is made with 20 egg yolks, 1 cup of bearnaise reduction (of shallots, white wine vinegar, white wine, black pepper, and tarragon leaves), 1 qt. warm clarified butter, 1 cup warm water, and salt.

 

SIDES – BEST part of meal (S 5/5, P 5/5)

  
These sides were crazily delicious.   Continue reading BLT Prime: Valentine’s Cooking Class

Peter Luger Steakhouse: Porterhouse Cut

Peter Luger Steakhouse
178 Broadway
Brooklyn, N.Y. 11211

A savory and meaty scent wafted through the door the second I stepped into this restaurant. The smell was overwhelmingly tantalizing… And I don’t even like meat that much. We were lucky enough to secure the last reservation at 10:45pm. The minute we sat down, an old, experienced waiter swooped by and asked, “We all here for steak, yes? Steak for 4? Would you like creamed spinach, German fried potatoes, and onions with that? Yes you will get spinach and potatoes. Wine? Would you like wine?” We had not even had the time to consider what we would want to eat and the waiter had already decided our whole course. This was a little off-putting but at the same time… oddly charming. The restaurant is the least pretentious upscale restaurant I have ever been to. The setting is very rustic; the wooden floors were adorned with simple wooden furniture. The waiter threw a small plate onto the table, and brought over our fragrant plate of T-bone for 4. My boyfriend moved the little plate to make room for the meat, only to be yelled at by the waiter, “That is MY plate! Do not touch MY PLATE!” the waiter proceeded to lay down our plate of meat with one end propped up by the small plate. He served us slices of juicy medium rare steak and scooped a spoonful of meat juice onto each of our plates (made easier by the propped up plate, of course). This was the most efficient and no-fuss meal I have had in a long time.

 

Onto the actual food… Steak was so tasty! The outside is charred just perfectly to give a nice salty crust, juxtaposed with the tender and juicy insides. I usually get bored after a couple bites of steak, even really good steak. But Peter Luger’s manages to have my mouth watering for more throughout the entire meal. The creamy spinach is like an Indian Palak Paneer minus the cheese. The German potatoes went perfectly with the meat, a creamy carb to balance out the meal. I am definitely going to come back to try their burger. And then come back again to have their steak. And again. And again.