Monday, September 30, 2013

Food Event: Hokkaido Fair at Mitsuwa

Mitsuwa
595 River Road Edgewater, NJ 07020
201.941.9113

Yesterday Will and I went to the Hokkaido Fair at Mitsuwa. We usually go on a Saturday for the food events to avoid the crowds on Sunday and by the time it's Sunday, a lot of food from the food event is gone. I planned it for Sunday instead so it was convenient for a friend, but that friend didn't end up coming with us to New Jersey.

Nevertheless, Will and I still went and I learned an important lesson: Never go to Mitsuwa on a Sunday for a food event. We arrived around 11-11:30am and lined up for approximately an hour and a half.


Trust me, the line was extremely long. By the time Will and I reached close to the cashier, around 1PM, they stuck a sign on the wall --


After waiting in line for about an hour and a half and looking for a table, we finally got what we've been waiting for -
Sapparo Black Ramen
This was one of the special ramen that was sold. According to Will, this was very spicy and the heat level was just hot. He couldn't finish it since it was too overwhelming for him. The Sapparo Black Ramen had the typical ingredients a bowl of ramen should have - cha-siu, half-boiled egg, scallions, carrots, bean sprout, seaweed, and bamboo shoots.

Ezofukuro Miso Ramen
This is the other special ramen that was featured: Ezofukuro Miso Ramen. My first thought was that there was a lot of oil. The ingredients are the same as any typical ramen except there was no half-boiled egg in mine. I felt mine was a tad salty and I could feel there's a lot of sodium. I wasn't too impressed with this ramen.
Ika Meshi 
I have seen this at previous food events before, but didn't have the opportunity to get it. The line wasn't that long, but it was long. By the time I reached the cashier, they were out of squid and I had to wait 5-10 minutes for the new batch. 

I was so happy that I was the first one to receive the first two from the new batch.  The stuffed squid was excellent! The squid was cooked just the right texture and the sticky rice adds a little bit of sweetness to it. I really enjoyed this.

There wasn't a lot of food left since yesterday was the last day of the fair. I really wanted to try the pork bowl, but they ran out. It was crazy crowded at Mitsuwa yesterday, definitely not the best experience. In my opinion, the food wasn't the best I've had here.

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Swedish Meatballs for Lunch at IKEA

IKEA  Restaurant (Red Hook)
1 Beard Street Brooklyn, NY 11231
888.888.4532

IKEA is well known for their furniture and household items, but they're also known for their Swedish Meatballs.

Will and I stopped by at IKEA one afternoon after going to the gym to pick up something and for their meatballs. I've only tried it twice. I was surprised at how inexpensive the food was.


We both go the Swedish Meatball lunch set which comes with a plate of meatballs, mashed potatoes, and lingonberries, a side salad, and a soda. This complete set only costs $3.99.


The meatballs are amazing especially when it's drenched in the gravy sauce. It really made me salivate. The meatballs are super moist and tender. They gravy went perfectly with the meatballs and very flavorful. The lingonberries were delectable. It kind of reminded me cranberry sauce.


The fries were deep fried to perfection. They were crispy and hot and probably some of the best fries I've ever had.

The food here is pretty good. I love the cafeteria-like scene and if you sit by the window you get a great view of Red Hook, the ocean and the NYC skyline. It's inexpensive, it's tasty, and it's fun here.

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Cutting Board - A Special Gem in Chinatown

Cutting Board 
53 Bayard St New YorkNY 10013
212.528.0188

I have been to Cutting Board exactly three times this year and it never fails to disappoint. 

During my last visit, I came here with Will for dinner since I had a deep craving for spaghetti/pasta, but with a fusion. 

It's very spacious inside and they have a nice array of menu items ( lobster bisque *I highly recommend* , fried crispy calamari, udon, pasta, creamy rice, bubble tea, and a lot more). There's a lot to choose from and the best part is that it's really cheap. 


Soup of the day - New England Clam Chowder
There isn't a variety of soups at Cutting Board. I've tried the lobster bisque before and trust me when I say: it was insanely good! You just have to get it when you try Cutting Board. 

Any way, I decided to venture in trying the Soup of the day ($3.00). The Soup of the day was - New England Clam Chowder. It looked stunning! It was super creamy and there was a good amount of clam meat in the soup. Garlic stick was crunchy and tasty. I wished they gave me an extra garlic stick.


Fried Calamari
Will and I are fried calamari fanatics! The fried calamari ($6.05) at Cutting Board is packed with delicious seasoning and served with three dipping sauces (curry capers aioli, creamy spicy mayo, and marinara). I like the curry capers aioli the most because it's different and great.


Sweet Potato Waffle Fries
I've had these sweet potato waffle fries ($4.00) once before and I absolutely loved them. They look a lot like chips and the way they're cut is different. The sweet potato waffle fries were great. A small plate of ketchup is accompanied with the sweet potato fries. There's just one touch missing from the sweet potato fries. A hint of cinnamon would make a huge difference.

Seafood Udon
Will absolutely loves udon noodle soup and he decided to give Cutting Board's udon a shot. He ordered the seafood udon ($8.00). The seafood udon included: lobster, clam, shrimp, calamari with vegetable in a dashi broth. I love the bowl that had the seafood udon in it. Super cute.

The seafood udon was tasty and just the right amount of salt and I was amazed at the variety of seafood there was at such a cheap price.

Pancetta & Cream
This is Cutting Board's version of pancetta and cream ($6.00). I've had this dish once before and liked it. I love how the poached egg was a little runny inside.  It wasn't too creamy. I really like this dish because there's just a nice rich and creaminess to it.

Each time I have been to Cutting Board, I have never had a bad experience and the food is just phenomenal.

Saturday, September 21, 2013

New Wonton Garden

New Wonton Garden
56 Mott Street New York, NY 10013
212.966.4033

Will and I came to New Wonton Garden for dinner a few weekends ago. Since the weather was getting chillier and I was craving for noodle soup, we decided to return to New Wonton Garden. Although this restaurant has changed their names, the quality of the food and customer service hasn't changed much. This is one of the oldest restaurants in Chinatown and also it's opened pretty late.

It's quite small in here and with only one restroom. New Wonton Garden has a large menu of classical Chinese dishes and variety of noodle soups to choose from.The wait for food here isn't that long.

Steamed Vegetarian Dumplings
We started off with the steamed vegetarian dumplings. There was an assortment of chopped vegetables in the dumpling. There was different textures and tastes, but the dumpling tasted fine, not oily at all.

Beef Tripe, Wonton and Flat Noodle Soup
Will ordered this noodle soup. It's his favorite. It has a nice beefy flavor to it because of the beef tripe.

Wonton Noodle Soup with Roast Pork & Chinese Vegetable
I haven't had this classical noodle soup in so, so, so long. It was rich, amazing, delicious, and satisfying! The roast pork was moist and tender. The wontons were excellent and had huge pieces of real shrimp. The broth was rich with flavor. I loved everything about the noodle soup and I finished every single item in my bowl. Oh it was so good!!

The food at New Wonton Garden was great! Price was reasonable and the quality of the food was good. I highly recommend checking out this place especially if you're craving for food in the late night.

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Recipe: Hearty Chicken Noodle Soup

A few days after Will and I returned from Wildwood, NJ , Will and I were battling a cold together. It was horrible - at least for me it was.

Before I actually caught a cold, I decided to make chicken noodle soup for Will just like my sister had once made me whenever I was sick. So here's the recipe:


Ingredients:

  • Celery (chopped)
  • Carrots (chopped)
  • 1/2 of white onion (chopped)
  • Chicken breasts
  • Water
  • Salt
  • Spaghetti, pasta, or noodles (anything you prefer)
  • Parsley
  • Bay leaves
  • Thyme

1. Heat a pot of water until it is boiling vigorously. Add the spaghetti to the boiling water and when it starts to boil vigorously again, reduce the heat. Cook the spaghetti until the texture is al dente.


2. Chop and slice the carrot. Repeat this step with the white onion and celery. Save these until it's time to make the actual noodle soup.


3. Wash the chicken breast(s). Add them to a pot of water and wait for it to boil. As the broth boils, there will be white bits from the chicken breast floating on top. Remove it because it's no good and who would want that in their broth and noodle soup?

4. Next, scoop up the chicken breast and place it on a plate or a bowl and let it cool. Once the chicken breast is cool, you can peel the chicken breast into little strips.


5. Place two bay leaves in the broth and add the chopped vegetable into the pot of chicken broth. Let the vegetables come to a boil in the broth.


6. After the vegetables and broth come to a boil, add the spaghetti and chicken breast. In addition, add your thyme and parsley. Give it a stir and don't forget to add a dash of salt. 

Hint: Before you serve, please remove the bay leaves from the pot.

Chicken Noodle Soup
Voila! A hearty bowl of chicken noodle soup. I really enjoyed the chicken noodle soup I made because it had a nice chicken and herb flavor. Very rich. I would have preferred adding parsnip as well to the chicken noodle soup, but couldn't get a hold of it at the supermarket I went to. The chicken wasn't as moist or tender as I hoped. 

Overall, Will rated my chicken noodle soup with a five stars, despite the fact that I seemed to not have added enough salt, but he thought it was delicious and just right without the salt.

Saturday, September 14, 2013

Sophie's Cuban Cuisine - Fried Pork Sandwich

Sophie's Cuban Cuisine
27 Smith Street Brooklyn, NY 11201
718.243.0911

Remember my post titled A Hearty and Cuban Comfort Meal? I mentioned that I tried one of Sophie's sandwiches and promised that I would review it. 

Once in a while I crave for a good and juicy sandwich for lunch. There are a lot of options in Downtown Brooklyn when it comes to grabbing a sandwich. I get so tired of the typical sandwiches that are served in the area. One day I decided to stop by Sophie's Cuban Cuisine and try one of their sandwiches. 



So I picked up a Passion Fruit Shake and a Fried Pork Sandwich. 


The passion fruit shake was very filling and a little too sweet for me. I enjoyed it in the beginning, but it was a little too sweet. I'm not sure if I would order this again.



The fried pork sandwich was scrumptious! The fried pork was a little overcooked, felt kind of tough. I would never have thought that plantains would go well in a sandwich. It was actually nice to have the plantains in the sandwich because they added a moistness and sweetness to the sandwich.

 There were also onions and mayo in the sandwich. I'm not a huge fan of onions, but for some reason I didn't mind it in the sandwich. Oh... and the mayo added a nice creaminess to the sandwich. Everything worked well together!

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Chinatown Ice Cream Factory: A True Gem In Chinatown, NYC

Chinatown Ice Cream Factory
65 Bayard Street New York, NY 10013
212.608.4170

Although I have been living in NYC for all my life so far and have walked along the streets of Chinatown, I have never been to Chinatown Ice Cream Factory (CICF) until this summer. Yep, to some this was a shocker.

After having lunch with my boyfriend and friend in Chinatown one afternoon, we were itching for dessert. We all decided to go to CICF. It's small inside and there's no seating area. There's so many flavors to choose from. When I walked inside CICF, it made me feel as happy as a kid cause I absolutely lust for ice cream and gelato.


I knew I wanted almond cookie and that's exactly what I got. OH MY GOD... it was literally the best ice cream I've ever had! It was pure almond heaven. I've never had anything almond flavor as good as this almond cookie ice cream. It was creamy, velvety, and absolutely delicious.There was truly a happy dance inside my heart while I was eating away my ice cream.

CICF has won my heart over! I have tried a few gelato/ice cream shops this past few weeks and none of them compares to the deliciousness that CICF's almond cookie ice cream packed. I will definitely be back to try other flavors. I'm interested in trying: Egg Custard, Zen Butter (not sure what it is, but sounds interesting), Chocolate Oreo, Pumpkin Pie, Strawberry Cheesecake, and Peaches and Cream.

I am looking forward to my next trip to Chinatown Ice Cream Factory.

Monday, September 9, 2013

Double Date Dinner at Cafe Katja

Cafe Katja
79 Orchard Street New York, NY 10002
212.219.9545

I found Cafe Katja on Yelp and was very intrigued after reading the menu and saw photos on their Yelp page. I've never had German food before, so I was quite excited to try it out and lucky enough, Will and I were able to have a double date at Cafe Katja with our friend and her boyfriend.

We arrived on a Friday night at 7:15 and was able to grab a table without any issues. I absolutely love the dim light and cozy ambiance. Staff was very friendly to us. The music was very down-to-earth and classical music you would recognize.

We started off with drinks and then moved onto the appetizer.


We had the Weihenstephan (on the left) and the one I on the right, don't remember. Our friend ordered it.


The appetizer was a special and it is a Chicken Liver Salad with Poached Egg. Unfortunately, I don't remember the exact name of this appetizer. It was a little refreshing. I've never had chicken liver before and feared I wouldn't like it, but I did. The texture was moist, not tough or overcooked. The salad was good, it tasted a lot like it was Balsamic Vinaigrette based.


Will ordered the Austrian Meatballs with Roasted Vegetables with Potato Puree. The meatballs weren't that big. They were tasty, moist, and was amazing with potato puree. There was a nice, rich buttery taste in the potato puree and roasted vegetables were good too.


Our friend Samantha ordered the Katja's Rueben Pork Belly Sandwich. I love the way the sandwich was served on a wooden board. The sandwich was compiled with cabbage and cheese and of course the crispy, crunchy pork belly, and pickles. There was mustard sauce and purple cabbage on the side. 

The sandwich was cut in four pieces, but I shared one piece of sandwich with my boyfriend. I love that everywhere you bite along the sandwich, there's a great crunchiness to it.


Our friends' boyfriend had the Wiener Schnitzel with new potatoes and preiselbeeren. The Wiener Schnitzel (deep fried veal) was breaded nicely, but the veal was a bit chewy and tough. I guess that's how veal is. There was also some potatoes, a small side salad, and preiselbeeren which is actually lingonberry.


As for myself, I had the Spatezele with Beef Goulash which are two foods that's often eaten in the German culture. Spatezele is a type of egg noodle with a soft texture found in cuisines of southern Germany and of Austria, Switzerland,  Hungary, Alsace, and South Tyrol. Beef Goulash is a soup or stew meat, vegetables, noodles. 

The spatezele was soft and tasted similar to pasta. I was so happy to see that there was a lot of sauce and big chunks of beef. The beef was really moist and tasty. A little dash of spiciness, but it was tolerable. The sauce was excellent and went really well with the spatezele. The sauce gave the spatezele some beefy flavoring. I was really happy with my dish.

We all really enjoyed the food here and how cozy and comfortable it was to dine here. Cafe Katja really exceeded my expectations in terms of quality of food and environment. The food was fantastic and for anyone who has/hasn't tried German or Austrian food, you may want to stop by Cafe Katja. The food will blow your socks off!


Thursday, September 5, 2013

Dinner at NY Tofu House

NY Tofu House
6 St. Marks Place New York, NY 10003
212.533.5363

A few weeks ago, Will and I tried NY Tofu House and I was excited to try it after looking at their menu online, but unfortunately looks were deceiving.

We arrived around 8:30-8:45 and had to wait 5-10 minutes just after a table of two. I've passed by NY Tofu House many times, but never had the opportunity to go in. I was surprised at how spacious the restaurant was. After a 5-10 minute wait, we finally got seated. I looked at the menu and realized it was very different from the one online.

After our orders were taken, our pitcher of water came through. It was really, really hot inside the restaurant.
Banchan
The banchan seemed a lot smaller than usual. There was kimchi, the cold boiled bean sprouts with sesame oil, pickles with red pepper flakes, a salad, and bean sprout soup.

Salad
I really liked the salad. It was refreshing and the dressing tasted like a peanut flavored dressing.

Dolpan Bibimbap with Chicken
For my entree, I ordered the Chicken Dolpan Bibimbap which is steamed rice with assorted sauteed and seasonal vegetables served on a traditional Korean hot stone plate. It's very similar to the hot stone pot, but just on a plate. Great and yummy dish. Chicken was moist and tender.


Your suppose to mix all the contents together with the hot sauce that is provided just like you would in a hot stone pot.

Dolpan Bibimbap with  Beef
Will got the Dolpan Bibimbap with beef. Our dishes were the same except for the meat. 

Will I be back to NY Tofu House? I don't know because there really wasn't anything that "wowed" me and the food was mediocre. I think I'm better off in K-town.

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Sweet and Savory Treats from Wildwood

Happy Belated Labor Day all!

Wow I can't believe it's September already. Time flies. As you may or may not know, this past weekend I was away at Jersey Shore with Will and our friends. Besides living in a vacation house, barbecuing,and walking the boardwalk/beach... we also tried food from the boardwalk and etc.

We arrived on Saturday afternoon and my friends and I decided to check out this restaurant on the boardwalk called Joe's Fish Company. I love that this restaurant is outdoors and has wind blowing in different directions. It felt relaxing.

At Joe's Fish Company, I had the following:


I had the Unsweetened Ice Tea and it was nice, light, and cool. For lunch, I had their Crab & Shrimp Cake Sandwich with lettuce, tomato, onion, and tartar sauce. Unfortunately they forgot to give me a cup of tartar sauce, so I had to ask for that.

The sandwich was good. I really liked the moistness of the crab and shrimp cake. In addition, my lunch came with some kettle cooked potato chips which were delicious. For $11.00, this wasn't a bad sandwich at all.


After a night of barbecuing, we decided to go out to the boardwalk for dessert with our friends. There's a dessert spot we went to last year at Wildwood called Kohr Bros that had really good Frozen Custard. I decided to try the Mint Custard and Will had the Strawberry Custard. I wasn't too happy with the mint custard. Not a big fan of mint dessert actually and I don't know why I even got it.


Funnel Cake is a popular food item at boardwalks. I've never had a funnel cake before, so I was really excited to try it. The funnel cake was soft, moist, and delicious. I really liked the funnel cake, but I wish the chocolate was slightly melted. 


After dinner, Will, Sam, and I went to this dessert place/restaurant called Duffer's where we picked up ice cream. I had the Butter Almond ice cream and Will had the Cherry Vanilla ice cream. The ice cream was creamy and delicious. No complaints at all.

Well that's some of the food we've had at Wildwood. Well we're back from Wildwood and Now it's back to reality.