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From the city of the melting pot and beyond, this is my bird's eye view on food. As a foodie, my choice for discussion will always be food related; either through my own preparation; or restaurants that strike me for its: 1) taste, 2) presentation, 3) value or creativity. Food is beautiful. And sharing its beauty delights me. I hope that you enjoy and learn something new each time you view! Join me!
I spent a few weeks in Las Vegas and was able to try a variety of restaurants this time. A friend of ours suggested we eat at Lindo Michoacan. Since we come all the way from the West Side of the strip near Red Rock Mountain, this was quite far from us. But as a foodie, I'm all for the adventure in food.
It looks like a chain in Las Vegas but it sure is better that their other counterparts.
Coming way West near Red Rock, the best way to do is get on Dessert Inn and it will take you straight through the strip without the traffic.
There were 4 of us and each of us ordered something different.
Above is the restaurant's interior. The setting is quite charming.
My dish on the left had a wonderful pepper sauce. It may look very typical Mexican food from typical Mexican restaurant, but I tell you the sauce was good!
Although they seem to look alike, their sauces are varied.
Above was the Pork dish and on the right is the Steak Tampiquena
After a busy day of viewing Open Houses, I happened to be in the neighborhood to try The House. It's a restaurant situated in a tiny red brick townhouse on 17th street just east of Union Square. Since it was a bit late, I decided just to have a soup and a salad - something light and healthy.
The soup was outstanding! Very light and fresh. They make good soups.
My salad was extra ordinary with jicama and a very light dressing that complimented the delicate taste and texture of the vegetables that they combined which included micro-greens.
The House is a charming place to eat. If you were just passing by, you would not notice that it is a restaurant. It does not have a big sign indicating that it's a typical restaurant. It appears to be small, but it does have a second floor. And in the summer, there is outdoor sitting by the sidewalk.
This is an all year and all occasion type of restaurant to go to. You get special food in a special place that you will remember. Try it for the Holidays!
Yes! I recently had dinner at Le Midi after they've opened about 2 weeks. The scaffolding that surrounds it did not make it easy for me to find. But fortunately I went up the ramp to read the menu posted on the glass window when a lady opened the door to greet me.
Yes! I found the restaurant. It has a giant screen on the left as you enter with black and white silent movie playing. The Chef was from Larry Forgione's An American Place.
The menu is striking! It combines Chef Smith's country-French style dishes with Italian and American twists.
Here's what I ordered:
This is a very generous rendition of a Caesar's salad but in small portion (which I like). He combined it with some frisee (usually Romain lettuce), lots of grated cheese, homemade croutons of lighter bread yet crisp, and chunks of pork lardon or chunky pork bacon - homemade and not cured.
My second course was homemade scrumptious mushroom ravioli with a "to die for" light sauce served with cubes of sweet breads and shaved cheese.
My stuffed quail came with legs crossed on a light cabbage salad with squash puree. Inside was....
was a delicious wild rice stuffing with foie gras. The sauce was perfect. It had such a French flavor to it.
This is a place I highly recommend. They present value, flavor, creativity and the price is fair for what it has to offer. I am a cook and I know what it takes to prepare and assemble the dishes I just had. I appreciate going out to spend a little to treat myself. The calibre of his food is not as exorbitant as some places that simply add a chandelier, a name, a stuffy maitre'd and uniformed mascots to serve.
This is definitely an all-year round healthy soup. I've always liked peas even as a child. You can imagine how I like this recipe without having to use any cream in it. And without cream it will last a few days longer in your fridge. I use Vita Mix, a blender that purees so fine you would think it was liquid in the first place.
1 to 1-1/2 lbs of frozen peas
1 medium onion, peeled and chopped
2-3 TB of unsalted butter
3-4 cups of chicken stock
1-1/4 cups of fresh mint
Fleur de Sel (1-2 Tsp)
In a pot, melt butter and saute the chopped onion. When translucent but not golden brown, add the frozen peas and chicken stock till it boils. Soon as it boils, add the mint and cook only for 30 seconds more and remove from heat.
In batches, process in a food processor such as a Vita Mix. Season with Fleur de sel, stir and serve.
Can be served hot or at room temperature.
May also dribble some heavy cream for decoration on top. Or you could whip cream mixed with some sour cream to place a TB on top when serving.
Continuing with Le Taste of France, the event last weekend that I attended; I watched the Chef from D'Artagnan demonstrate how to cook foie gras.
There are 3 categories in grading the liver. They are graded A, B or C. A, being the best and most perfect of all. B has imperfection and C is plain liver.
Before foie gras became commercialized, she said that the ducks get to a certain age after a few weeks where their appetite is high. They could eat non-stop. Slowly, they would take the ducks at that stage to another pen to eat all day as much as they want. Therefore, these ducks do not need to be forced fed as they would eat as much if they found food in the wild on their own.
At the event, she demonstrated the many things you could make from a duck.
Please click below to watch the video:
Determining how fat the liver is:
The thighs and legs of the duck are cut up to make duck confit.
The foie gras is removed from the duck and sliced.
She seasons it with fleur de sel generously on both sides. Then puts in in a very hot pan to cook for 1 minute or 2 on each side.
This is the liver that came from the duck that she cut up ready to be cooked.
The foie gras (Grade A liver) was cooked in a very hot pan for about 1 minute or so on each side.
Do not over cook it. These ones used for demonstration were thicker than usual; so it was cooked a little over a minute on each side.
Last weekend, we attended the taste of France which was held at Pier 54 in New York City.
Although it started past 30 minutes later, it was an enjoyable moment to feel transplanted to France for the afternoon.
The official currency was Marianes. One had to buy Marianes (tickets) which had a dollar value for each Marianes which was equivalent to 2. A little bit challenging to calculate to buy food and beverage with. It would have been simpler to just equate each Marianes to $1.
We went for the food experience and was delighted to have done so. Chefs from restaurants, some of whom traveled from afar participated in this weekend event.
Besides the food, there were cooking demonstrations. Here's one of the cooking demonstration we watched:
Above is Chef Pierre Landet, a native of Toulouse, France who has served at several Michelin Star restaurants such as Taillevent in Paris; where I've dined. He is knowledgeable in both French traditional and modern cooking. He currently has a restaurant in the north part of New York City called Le Marina near the Hudson River. He has earned the title Maitre Cusinier de France.
He used duck breast which he scored and seasoned with salt, sugar and pepper. Then he placed it in a hot frying pan with skin down to cook for about 10 minutes. Then he turned the duck over to cook another 7-10 minutes.
Please click below to follow his recipe for the duck with fig sauce:
The sponsor for the cooking demonstration was D'Artagnan, purveyor of French food.
While the duck is cooking, he cuts the figs, which is currently in season, into halves. Please click below to follow the recipe.
He removed the duck breast and put it aside while he made the sauce.
Ingredients for the sauce:
Figs, sugar, armagnac, butter, stock, demi-glaze (or demi-glace)
First he puts sugar in the frying pan on medium high heat. When it starts to caramelize, he added the figs. Then he added the armagnac. Let it evaporate a little bit then added the demi-glaze and stock.
He covered the pan to cook the figs for about 5-10 minutes.
When done, he added lots of butter till it became slightly thick in consistency.
Then he cut up the duck breast before adding the sauce:
Please click below to watch him plate the duck breast.
This is typical French cooking. As for myself, I have made duck breast using a similar recipe with dried cherries instead which I soak in wine or brandy for about 20 minutes before adding it in the sauce.
Located in the Lower East side of New York City is this Chinese restaurant where the style has been tweaked to a different level but still bearing the flaovrs of China. Although it's been described as American Chinese, it should not to be confused with "suburban" Chinese food. It is a breed of its own using Chinese seasonings in a different level. You have to try it in order to judge it.
I believe, this restaurant was named after Mission Street where its main restaurant is located in San Francisco bearing another name.
When you enter the restaurant, there is a long corridor where you can watch the chefs cook. At the end is a red curtain that opens to another corridor with steps up to the restaurant. (Sort of a mysterious destination)
Steps down from the street is the restaurant. It's a relief that it's graded A by the Health Department
As you enter, you will see the menu board.
If you are ordering to take out, this is where you would do it.
Watch the Chef cook through the glass window in the corridor before going in to the restaurant area.
In this area, as you walk towards the restaurant area, you feel that you just stepped outside the street where you can see the dining room area up ahead. The dining area seats up to 40 people and has 2 big paper dragons hanging from the ceiling and some chairs.
What we ordered:
I particularly liked the fried rice with salted cod, Chinese sausage and lots of chopped parsley. It was well seasoned and had a clean taste. But do not confuse with typical Chinese fried rice.
It somewhat reminds me of Malaysian style fried rice except in this case, they used salted cod instead.
The Kung Pao dish has loads of skinned peanuts and chunks of their homemade pastrami with Sichuan seasoning.
It's a little spicy in a good authentic way.
The spiciest of all we tasted was the fried chicken - mostly wings and some small drumsticks. I personally did not like the strong powdery seasoning that was on this chicken dish. I think it was a bit powerful. It left my lips tingly and throbbing. Others like it.
The restaurant donates 75 cents from every large plate to the Food Bank for New York City.
Ordering 3 items is not enough for me to make a judgment. I need to go back one more time and try more things in their menu.
You may wait a while in cooler season, so make sure you have a scarf.
Winner of Top Chef Masters 2011 Floyd Cardoz opened North End Grill in downtown Manhattan this year and has been a popular restaurant since. Originally from Mumbai, India, he loved food and his determination to perfect it shows at his restaurant. http://floydcardoz.com/news/ny-times-12-20-2011/
Floyd Cardoz came to our table to chat with us after our lunch before our dessert. He is a charismatic person who chatted with us at our table. He used to be a Chef at Tabla and was using his Chef smock from there that day.
Below are some of the dishes that we ate at his restaurant for lunch. Although his menu changes, I simply want to share and give you an idea of what we had.
My first course was Floyd Cardoz'es interpretation of Scotch Eggs. He is very proud of the fact that the yolk is still runny which is hard to achieve when you deep fry it. It is served on a vegetable puree. It is balanced and has a delicate flavor.
This could be an interesting selection for brunch if it would be in that menu - I'd pick it.
My friend ordered the baby squid dish which she enjoyed very much. We've never seen squid as tiny as this. He said it comes from Europe and is seasonally imported.
I had to take a photo of this mini squid to demonstrate how small they were. They were tender!
My other friend had the King Salmon with quinoa and carrot puree and cashews who thought was divine!
Not pictured, is my order of Lobster egg custard with sea urchin. (Japanese name for sea urchin is Uni). It was his interpretation of a Japanese warm custard dish. I loved it!
For dessert, I ordered a popular choice. It was a creamy smooth salty caramel pudding with homemade marshmallows and dark chocolate crispy crumbs. See close up of pudding below.
Our other friend ordered this artistic delicious dessert which she said was delectable as well!
With such clean visible kitchen, a changing menu, and creative new dishes not usually found elsewhere, I definitely recommend it. It was worth the trek.
You will pass by this big kitchen between the entrance and your table.
The Kitchen is open for public view.
North End Grill
104 N End Ave (at Vesey St) Manhattan, NY10282 Neighborhood: Battery Park
LIt's been 2 years since they opened and yet I've never tried this place because I thought it was a garage of some sort whenever I passed by it. At times, I thought it was a repair car shop because I saw a glimpse of an old car in it. But this time, I had a day of leisure where I could smell the roses. Today was a day to absorb my surroundings. After all, I'm in SoHo - or some refer to it as NoHo.
SoHo means South of Houston Street. NoHo is North of Houston Street. Today, I am clearly south of the street. To me, it's SoHo.
I was here on Elizabeth Street where more new and boutique designers are, as I went hunting for sandals, summer bargains and look at the Fall fashion trends. Usually, I make a quick glance at the corner of my eye on this place; but today, I actually stopped to read the signs and figure this place out.
See what I mean? The place was wide open like a garage door was open.
An old van is parked which apparently is where the waiter picks up the order from. It feels like you're outside a little "Puebla" in Mexico. What a cool idea!
As you enter, on the right is where you order your food. You can also choose your beverage from this corner. They do have beer, juice, horchata and bottled Mexican sodas.
Besides the fish taco I had which was wonderful, I ordered the grilled corn in a cup with cotija cheese, paprika and some type of creamy sauce with a consistency of a flavored mayonnaise. The corn was not only grilled but seems to have undergone some other step of cooking. Perhaps sauteed.
This was the fish taco I ordered. There are 4 kinds of sauces to choose from to put on top of your taco. My favorite are the first 3 bottles of sauces from the right. The hottest is the one on the right.