Thursday, April 11, 2013


My two friends have lived in Spain and I have visited Spain before.  When this restaurant announced that they were opening one in New York outside of Spain, we decided we really had to try it. This restaurant is owned by Dani Garcia

Tonight, we decided to try dishes that were notable because we've read it in articles about the restaurant.

Above, we chose the croquettes with cuttle fish and squid ink.  This is fabulous!
It's like a seafood truffle.  Outside is crisp like a fallafel and inside is creamy squid ink with cuttlefish.  The flavor is not fishy at all and you wouldn't even know you are eating squid.

On the left is the Oxtail brioche.  The presentation is a work of art.  The Oxtail is like pulled pork - it seems that they've stewed the meat and served it sandwiched between this light "brioche" bread. Oxtail Brioche steamed brioche buns, pulled oxtail, mushroom, kale

Photo on the right is the dish called Black Rice. Black Rice bomba rice, squid ink, shrimp cuttlefish ribbons, citrus aioli. I highly recommend this dish too.

Bacalao dish with mussels. 

Suckling Pig slow cooked fossil farms suckling pig, crispy skin, butternut squash puree, sauteed escarole. (that is the description)
Except, the skin on top was not the skin I was expecting.  I know suckling pig and grew up eating it with skin. I've had better suckling pig or pork belly with crispier skin.  I was disappointed with this dish because I was hoping to have real crispy skin.

For dessert, we ordered Marbellas Full Moon. The moon is supposed to be the white circle sitting on top of chocolate with toasted hazelnuts and some thin pieces of chocolate.  The moon has orange in the center with white chocolate wrapped and held by a thin "skin" of white thin edible cover.  You must try this - not only is it a work of art, it is delicious.
Above is the rice pudding.  There are tiny chocolate-like pieces that resemble chocolate rice crispies (Rice Krispies - the cereal).  The white cloud on top with red sprinkles is like cotton candy
At the end of the day, we had a great experience at this restaurant saved by the dessert.  And when I got back home to recollect what we ate, the more I admired Dani Garcia's restaurant.  I plan to come back!
345 Park Ave S  New York, NY 10010
(212) 255-4086

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

WASAN - Authentic Japanese Restaurant

This little restaurant in the East Village has a very small sign on its door.  You might pass it.  Located on 4th Street between 1st and 2nd Avenues.  In the past few weeks, I've returned to this restaurant because their dishes are not the usual you see in other Japanese restaurants.  And best of all, I find it reasonable for what they have to offer.  Supposedly, in Japan, the good restaurants do not have big signs.
Look at the door knob on the left arched door. That's how small the sign is for this restaurant.

As a sushi aficionado, I had to order a hamachi sashimi with jalapeno sauce as shown in their menu
We ordered the dessert that had beans.  Here, the beans is the bed where the delicate light "mochiko" desserts are served.  It is a nice light dessert. And the beans are not the usual red.  This is more black and it's deliciously delicate.
One of my favorites is this fried oyster where they pour a very light delicious broth on top when it gets to your table to be served.  It's usually the special for Thursday nights.  But I've seen it too on Saturdays.
For those who love foie gras, this is the Japanese way they serve it.  I think it's glazed with some soy or teriyaki type sauce laid on a piece of endive with sushi rice.
They do have a wonderful large salad, but tonight, I opted for their Brussels sprouts with gooey cheese
On the right is the way they present the eel dish.  It is more substantial than the usual eel sushi.

On the right is their version of the sukiyaki.  I notice it did not have the thick cellophane-like noodles. 

And if you love cooked fish, you can order the Hamachi collar which can either be deep fried or grilled upon request.  This alone makes a good size meal.
This place reminds me of some places I've eaten in, in Tokyo.  They also offer Japanese cooking lessons in the premise but in Japanese or Nipponggo.

TO EAT HERE IS LIKE EATING IN A TAPAS BAR.  The portions are not very big and can be shared if you wish.  For this most recent dinner, I opted for eating what you ordered instead of sharing it.

108 E 4th St
(between 1st Ave & 2nd Ave)
New York, NY 10003
Neighborhood: East Village
(212) 777-1978


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Tuesday, April 2, 2013

POPCORN with Truffles and Cheese

It's always handy to have packaged popcorn ready to microwave.  But it's also handy to have popcorn ready to make on your own and add what you want to flavor it with. It makes more popcorn!

One of my favorite versions is truffled and cheese popcorn with melted butter.  (If observing your diet, you may skip the butter - but it's a good treat to have it)

The popcorn above is so easy to make.  The gadget to make the always perfect popcorn can be ordered through Amazon right here on the right hand side column.  You don't even have to go outside and get it.

The ingredients I use to make my favorite popcorn are:  cheese (I used the freshly grated Parmesan or Parmaggiano cheese), truffle oil, and any popcorn condiment for salt or very fine salt made for popcorn, and melted butter.  (Not shown, truffle salt and melted butter)
Above is my old popcorn popper that I pulled out of the cabinet..  You can order one mailed to you.
Follow the instructions of your popcorn maker and catch it in a large bowl as it tends to expand.  A little measuring cup makes a lot of popcorn.

Immediately sprinkle it with MELTED BUTTER (the amount is up to you), popcorn seasoning if you don't have ultra fine salt for popcorn, 1/3 cup or more if you wish of parmesan cheese and dribble your truffled oil till you get the strength of flavor in your popcorn. (Sometimes, I add about 3/4 cup of parmessan cheese and skip the truffle flavor for another version)

You can also use truffle salt instead of popcorn seasoning and popcorn fine salt to heighten the truffle flavor.

Mix these ingredients in very well.  If you like truffles, you can finish up this entire bowl yourself.  We were 3 when we ate this one serving of freshly popped corn!