Thursday, November 29, 2012

Bobwhite Lunch and Supper Counter Still Captures My Fried Chicken Loving Heart

I've already blogged this before, but I will blog it again, because my recent visit to Bobwhite Lunch & Supper Counter was even better than my last visit (the chicken was warm ! it was actually crispy !), and it seems as if they've made other improvements in the meantime! 

The plate is still $11.50, featuring three fat pieces of poultry and a beautiful biscuit.

Please don't be like the schmuck sitting at the next table over who ordered a sandwich but couldn't take his drooling eyes off our golden plates of fried glory.  Yes, they've expanded their menu, but seriously.

Don't be a schmuck! Order this plate right here !

For $2 extra, upgrade your lame side salad for a side of mac 'n cheese.  It is so hot, gooey and tasty.  If you look at how they used to do mac 'n cheese here, you can see some real enhancements with the recent version, and boy is it worth the upgrade !

And then don't be a schmuck like us, and not order the pecan pie bread budding.  Totes messed up on that, so gotta go back and try them dessert treats real soon !  (Okay, I really just wanted another lame excuse to return so quickly.)

Han's Nonsensical Rating: Fried chicken is one of the finest foods on the planet, and Bobwhite does it justice. Please eat it already !

94 Avenue C
New York, NY
Bobwhite Lunch & Supper Counter on Urbanspoon

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Positive Reinforcement, Burgers and Shakes at Blue Collar

There's this newish burger place on the South side of Williamsburg.

Inside, it looks like an old fashioned diner.

It serves deliciously thick milkshakes in chocolate, vanilla, cookies and cream and peanut butter flavors.

The peanut butter version makes me feel like I am having a heart attack while I am drinking it.
(It is so good.)

Stickers remind you of what kind of job you are doing.
It'll make you feel good about yourself.

The burgers mildly resemble Shake Shack (minus the wrinkly, crumpled bun),

with its potato bun and thin, seared patty.

It's not as tasty though (the Shake Shack salt-crust is a differentiator), but this burger can amply hit the spot if you refuse to cross the borough and wait in a queue.

Han's Nonsensical Rating: The burger is passable (as in, I'd pass on it), but I will gladly clog my arteries with their milkshakes.

Blue Collar
160 Havemeyer
Brooklyn, NY
Blue Collar on Urbanspoon

Monday, November 26, 2012

Graffiti: A Place of Great Date Night Potential

Do you have someone in your life that you really like and want to sit super close to while eating delicious, small plates of Indian-Asian fusion made by an Iron Chef contender?

Enter Graffiti, a tiny little gem in the East Village, so warm and inviting, but barely seating 20 people at a time.  Couples are seated side by side on square high-top tables, with intimacy enhanced by candlelight and soft conversations.

Tanuja and I started our night with lychee martinis served in lowball glasses with slushed ice and subtle but sweet lychee juice.  This little sucker had me buzzing after a few sips.

Graffiti offers an assortment of vegetarian options, including their green mango paneer appetizer, which features tender cubes of paneer coated with an addictive, spicy tang.

The zucchini hummus pizza was surprisingly amazing - crushed pistachios adding a lovely, nutty crunch on a layer of smooth hummus that was spread generously on fried, crispy flatbread.  So. Good.

Vegetable dumplings were covered in an Indian type of snack mix and accented with grapefruit confit.

The wrapper was thin and soft, and the grapefruit added a wonderful citrusy note that lightened the dish nicely.  I am really loving grapefruit cameos in savory dishes !

Our last dishof cumin eggplant buns came three to a plate.  Chunks of soft eggplant topped with thyme relish were richly flavored, and perfectly bundled within soft, slightly sweet bao bread.  

The four shared plates had us perfectly satisfied, full, but not uncomfortably so, with just enough room for dessert.

We grabbed a sweet treat about a dozen steps away at Dessert Club Chikalicious.  Their small cupcakes are great, with moist, tender crumb, and not too sweet, but everyone in the place kept eyeing this one Asian stud standing to the mirror who was eating some crazy softserve ice cream number that was served within a sugared eclair.  I still think about it now.  Okay - that's it! I am going to go eat it tomorrow.

Han's Nonsensical Rating: Only come here with someone you really like, since you'll have to check your concept of personal space at the door, but get ready for some seriously tasty food! 

224 East 10th St
New York, NY
Reservations highly recommended
Graffiti on Urbanspoon

Dessert Club Chikalicious
204 East 10th St
New York, NY
Dessert Club, ChikaLicious on Urbanspoon

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Porkin' Out at a Sandy Benefit Dinner by Um Segredo

It feels good to do good things for other people.  It really does.  So when Anne and I saw a pork-themed dinner hosted by Um Segredo who was going to donate all proceeds to the Red Cross for hurricane relief, well...the least we could do was open our wallets and our stomachs to this event.

Anne and I sat at the bar overlooking the kitchen, which offered a neat perspective on the food preparation for the eve, which included the use of our favorite tool, the blowtorch!

My most favorite part of the meal was definitely the beginning - this amazing bread that chef David Santos bakes in his own apartment which is equal parts amazing soft-gushy-fluff with crispy shell augmented by

"Portuguese butter," which is somethin' like loads of pork fat rendered from roasted pig, garlic and black pepper.  (David, please make this into a face mask, so I could put it on my face and eat my way through it. Thanks.)

The meal began with a pork terrine, featuring exceptionally fattalicious parts of the pig (pig hooves and other things, due to apparent pig ear shortage post-Sandy), topped with piri piri cabbage, and a vibrant chimichurri / parsley puree.

Second course involved Manila clams with bits of braised pork shoulder and a tall slice of crostini.

Dish was solid with tender chunks of pork and chewy clams, but the broth was pretty salty, and while Anne drank her bowl down, I ate five more pieces of bread to balance it out (or mainly because Ilovethebreadsofreakinmuch).

Crispy chunks of pork belly came next, dusted with red spices, and nestled in a shallow bath of smoked tomato sauce and rice.  David instructed us to swirl the rice and tomato sauce together, so that it resembled a tomatoesque risotto, but really, it just resembled regular rice in tomato sauce, which was still quite good.  And honestly, pork belly in any shape and form is stellar in my book.

The main course was pork tenderloin, which David seared in the pan and finished off in the oven.

The pork tenderloin was served alongside braised black kale, heirloom potatoes and topped with onion vin.

The pork was a bit uncomfortably undercooked and chewy, but the potatoes were soft and tender, and Anne could not stop raving about the kale, "I just cannot get enough of this kale!!"  I just nodded agreeably, but honestly, I had no clue if the kale was that good, since I am not a kale-noisseur.  (Okay, the kale was good.  I just wanted to make that joke.)

For dessert, David fixed up french-pressed coffee from Porto Rico Importing Company,

served milk in these awesome Zebra pitchers

(like, so awesome),

(like, so adorable)

to be served alongside bowls of poached figs / cherries / mixed berries topped with bay leaf ice cream and brown sugar crumble. is in this brown sugar crumble, and why is it making me so profane because I think it's so ridiculously delicious and I want to sprinkle it on anything and everything?  The rest of the dessert was good too - a balanced flavor composition of textures and temperatures, and I ate the whole thing like a good girl.

Afterwards, Anne and I assessed the meal and both agreed the pork belly was the best.  I think maybe that should be a meal in itself - a five course treatment on pork belly.  Am I a genius?  I am beginning to think so !
(Just kidding.)  

Thanks, David, for cookin' up this Red Cross benefit event !  Can't wait to check out your restaurant soon !

visit the site and join the email list for future dinners!

Saturday, November 24, 2012

A Ba Xuyen Banh Mi Lunch

I love the American concept of a soup and sandwich lunch.
But why have American soups and sandwiches, when you can have Vietnamese ones?!

Ba Xuyen is a local favorite in the heart of Borough Park specializing in banh mi sandwiches.  It's a bit of a hike, but gosh is it worth the trek.  Let me tell you why !  

First, they speak Vietnamese here, which just feels so right. (Also, dirty looks from old Vietnamese men are free and given out quite generously).

Second, the Vietnamese ice coffee is an immediate sip of condensed milk balanced perfection. 

Third, although they don't have pho, they do have hu tieu, which features a lighter, more delicate soup broth, but it is still served with thin, rice noodles. Laced with Vietnamese sausage, large shrimp and thick slices of pork,  the hot broth was absolutely lovely, and the noodles nicely tender.

Fourth, the banh mi sandwiches are thickly slathered with pate, which has to be one of the most delectable flavors on earth, right?  (Right!)

I tried the #1 (banh mi thit nguoi), which has the Vietnamese cold cuts / headcheese and some barbecued pork. There were plenty of thickly cut, lightly pickled vegetables, quite fresh and crunchy.  

I also tried the #8 - grilled pork.

And while the meat ratio was dwarfed by the amount of veggies, the grilled pork comes in large, thick pieces, tender with its sweet/savory marinade that's tinged with notes of lemongrass.

These sandwiches are definitely some of the most flavorful ones I have had since being in New York.  I seriously wish I could brush my teeth with their pate (and then makeout with boys...omgsogrossbutawesome!).  The bread is ridiculously crunchy though, so one must pace themselves while enjoying these to avoid ripping one's beautiful mouth with jagged shards of French bread, though I'd say it'd be worth it all the same.

Han's Nonsensical Rating: Sometimes all I want is a taste of home up here in New York, and Ba Xuyen truly provides such a comfort.  Make friends with people with cars and get down here right away !  (And then make them stop by IKEA!)

Ba Xuyen
4222 8th Ave
Brooklyn, NY
Ba Xuyên on Urbanspoon

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Boston ! One Hungry Mother...

With my recent visit to Boston to see Diana, I had just one request - can we please eat at Hungry Mother again?  That catfish is all I could clearly remember since my last visit months ago.  And so despite weather delays, and random traffic jams, and other impossible life hurdles, we finally found ourselves in the warm arms of Hungry Mother once again, and her bosomy self felt so good.  (Is that weird?  Or is that just right?)

We started with a half dozen wellfleet clams, such adorable little buggers, wearing a hat of Tabasco mayonnaise, pickled delicata squash and a little chip of fried chicken skin.  Altogether, the small bites were light, chewy and just fun to eat.

For the main event, we shared plates of cast iron roast chicken, served with mustard greens, lots of dixie sausage, red beans, and sweet potato aioli.

While the chicken was just fine (crispy skin was nicely seasoned and appreciated, meat moist but fairly bland),

The real star of the dish were the sides, the creamy sweet potato puree and the savory slices of sausage.  Using each piece of chicken as a sponge to extract even more sweet potato off the plate was the clear way to go with this entree.

But I suppose any entree would be diminished comparatively in the presence of the pecan-crusted catfish, which never ceases to tug at my fat-laced heartstrings.  The plating is seasonal, and this time the catfish was served with pecans, cauliflower, and carolina gold rice.

Diana and I will never cease to be amazed at just how light and delicate the pecan crust is, and how succulent, flaky, and fresh the catfish is within it.  Each bite is a swoon of love and Southern seafood perfection.  Sigh!

Here, there's never a question of whether to have dessert (should that ever be a question?), and the night's offering included a pear pie with an addictively thick, buttery crust,

and a pot de creme with burnt caramel marshmallow and cinnamon toast.  (Yeah.  Sounds hella good, doesn't it?)

It was hella good!  I prolly bogarted most of the burnt caramel marshmallows because I loved them so much.  The char combined with the chocolate was melty sweet heaven in my mouth.

The cinnamon toast was a nice nostalgic touch also.

With the bill come more sweet nuggets.  They tell us what this is everytime, but by this point, I am usually feeling my new food baby kick forcibly at the bursting seams of my dress.  All I know is it's chocolatey, soft, and melts in your mouth so you don't even have to chew (if you're already overwhelmed with all the amount of eating you've completed already - serious first world problems) !

Han's Nonsensical Rating: If I lived in Boston, I'd eat here all the time.  And no one would read this blog anymore, because all I would talk about is pecan-crusted catfish, and everyone would think I was crazy, but maybe you're crazy if you're not eating here!

233 Cardinal Medeiros Ave
Cambridge, MA 02141
Hungry Mother on Urbanspoon