Sunday, October 7, 2012

Masjid Al-Hikmah

Last Indonesian food fair of the season! Prado, Ellovich, Toby, Sirin, Priya and I went out for a kind of belated celebration of my birthday. A rainy day kept some vendors and people away (sadly, the gado-gado ladies did not show), but we got there nice and early (before 11) so we were able to camp out at a table under the tent.

fried tempeh (left) and a fried vegetable thing with a shrimp fried right into it:

noodle soup (lots of noodles underneath) and pieces of various animals, meatballs, etc.

chicken satay. the beef satay was actually better (nice blackened grilled outside)! I really think this satay is way superior to Thai-style satay, with lots of spicy pepper pieces mixed into the peanut sauce.

I pointed at this and said, "how much?" and the woman said, "spicy chicken". Okay, I got it. Very good and not really as spicy as it looks. the other thing is a fried hard-boiled egg (the outside was all wrinkly and browned like the thin part of a fried egg). $5 for the plate.

some mochi-like glutinous rice desserts. the first has dark palm sugar syrup all over it and was amazing. the second was filled with something like mung bean paste but not mung bean paste? a sweet powder of sorts.

a very gingery pudding that you poured coconut milk and palm sugar syrup over before eating. we asked what it was and the woman said, "pudding".

savory peanut brittle type thing we got to take home. not sweet at all, very good!

The Big E

Priya, Jenna, Rob, and I made the drive north to Massachusetts for the 2012 Big E (an event I used to attend annually for all the New England-themed food, but have fallen away from in recent years). Meeting up with Lisa, Dan, and Maya, we pretty much just ate for 4 hours.

Fried dough, both sauce & cheese and apples & cinnamon, in the CT building:

Dark birch beer, CT:

All kinds of chocolate-covered stuff, CT:

Vermont maple walnut buttercrunch, VT building:

Maple cotton candy, VT:

Cider doughnuts, VT:

Apple pie with a huge chunk of sharp cheddar cheese, VT:

Clam fritters (my favorite thing as a kid), Rhode Island building:

Rhode Island-style clam chowder, RI:

White raspberries, MA:


Boston creme cupcakes, MA:

Sunday, September 16, 2012

The Crimson Sparrow

in Hudson, NY for David and Joseph's wedding; for brunch the next morning, we checked out The Crimson Sparrow, which opened a few months ago and features two chefs who used to work at WD-50. Brunch is a simple but brilliant concept there: for $16, you choose four items from the menu, which allows you to mix sweet & savory, or have no bread items at all, or lean heavily on the meat, or whatever.

Priya had the breakfast sausage, two eggs over easy, fried green (well, kinda red) tomatoes with Frank's Red Hot aioli, and waffles with apple-cider syrup:

I selected the pork belly, a "frittata" with sweet corn & caramelized onion, dandelion-green salad with chevre, pinenuts, and green goddess dressing, and monkey bread scallions. I put "frittata" in quotation marks because it was very different from what I expected--but in a good way! the texture was incredibly silky/airy, like a custard.

it was all excellent; in fact, when we come back to Hudson next month, we're seriously considering moving up our departure-from-NYC time to 8am so we can revisit the brunch here....or maybe we should try the dinner?

also--beautiful space, with an outdoor ivy-covered garden that gives a clear view into the kitchen so you can watch the scurrying cooks assemble dishes.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Portland, Oregon

in Portland for Karl & Rachel's wedding on the Olympic Peninsula. lovely city, delicious food!

we walked around downtown a little on our first day. for lunch, we went to a large block of food carts ("pods") and ate Hainanese chicken at Nong's Khao Man Gai. we had been warned that the lines were incredible, but I think for Portland that means a little over 5 minutes. for $1 extra, a generous pile of chicken livers was added to the delicious poached chicken breast.

we also ate pork adobo at a Filipino food cart nearby...I think it was called Noah's? the woman running it also insisted I try chicken adobo and pancit! (and they had potato guns for sale).

An avocado shake from another cart and a Tillamook cheddar sandwich from Grilled Cheese Downtown rounded out lunch.

We weighed Voodoo Doughnuts, but were swayed by local friends who swore that Coco Donuts was superior. A maple stick and a buttermilk bar later and I could not imagine that Voodoo could be better. These rivaled NYC's Doughnut Plant, Dough, and Peter Pan doughnuts.

Dinner at Por Que No was delicious, but I didn't get any pictures. Too eager to dig into my coconut-cucumber margarita and avocado-cucumber-shrimp-scallop ceviche.

The next few days involved travelling and the wedding, up on the Peninsula; we ate local salmon, gigantic Hood Canal oysters, ribs and chicken, and some Tillamook beef jerky. 

When we returned, we went to dinner at Pok Pok with Priya's friend Tres; the Brooklyn one still has 2.5-hour waits, so we haven't been; this one took about 90 minutes to get seated. Tres brought some of his vineyard's Pinot Gris, specially picked out because it went well with spicy food.

Good thing he did. The som tam was suitably spicy and quite delicious. I did encounter a large nugget of the palm sugar/dried shrimp paste that should probably have been mixed in a little better, but I certainly enjoyed eating it anyway.

Corn grilled and cooked with coconut cream was very tasty.

The wings are justifiably famous; they may have been the highlight of the meal for me. Tres broke a 14-year chicken vedge to eat them.

Pork satay was good, but not great; it tasted like grilled pork. The peanut sauce was superior, though, which made the dish worthwhile.

Kaeng Hung Leh, a pork belly/pork shoulder curry with palm sugar and pickled garlic. Maybe my second favorite thing.

Da Chom's Laap Meuang, a pork larb that was very meaty and suffused with interesting spices. I couldn't eat much of this; it was my first clue we had ordered too much.

Cha Ca "La Vong"; fried catfish, dill, turmeric, pineapple. So good, and a really unique flavor.

Ice cream at Salt & Straw, nearby; they were out of the flavors we really wanted, so we settled for chocolate brownie. Never fear; we would return the next night...!

For our last night in town, we had dinner at Aviary (in the northeast). They started us off with delicious bread and bagna cauda butter for dipping.

Squash fritters with sumac and apple on top were essentially pakoras, including Indian spices:
Fried chicken-skin salad with babaghanoush and pickled and fresh watermelon was refreshing yet pleasantly greasy.

French toast with heirloom tomatoes and (eek) aioli was excellent.

Peppered leg of lamb with saffron creme fraiche, lamb sausage, and crisp zucchini was a great choice.

"Chicken two ways" was pretty good, but its extraordinarily tender texture (sous vide?) and slightly smoky/nitratey flavor made it taste a bit like a hot dog.

For dessert, we went to the Salt & Straw brick-and-mortar store. They had a dozen great-sounding flavors; we tried a few and settled on the sea-salt ice cream with caramel ribbons and kaffir-lime-leaf and lemongrass ice cream with fish-sauce caramel. Both were amazing; I wish mine had a little more kaffir-lime flavor (it was barely noticeable), but the fish-sauce caramel worked amazingly well--not fishy, just really sweet-salty umami.