Monday, December 31, 2012

Pok Pok Part 2 & Happy New Year !

It seems only right to end the year talking about one of my favorite places eaten during 2012 - Pok Pok.  I can't get enough of this place.  (Click here for my first post on Pok Pok !)

I can't get enough of their flavored drinking vinegars, which originally sounded so gross to me, but they are remarkably refreshing - tart, tangy and effervescent.  I'd recommend the pineapple.

A trip to Pok Pok would not be complete with the Muu Kham Waan, pork neck rubbed with garlic and spices and glazed with soy and sugar.  The result is a ridiculous combination of sensations, mouth puckering from citrus flavors and tongue tinged with spice.  It's spectacular.

The eggplant (Yam Makheua Yao) makes an appearance at most tables in the restaurant, and while the long hunks of eggplant are fine, it's mostly forgettable, even with bits of dried shrimp and boiled egg.  (Just forget it.)

An order of the Sai Ua Samun Phrai comes as a little platter of Chiang Mai sausage, pork rinds, and steamed green bean knots.

The sausage was undeniably flavorful, chock full of lemongrass and herbs, and the green bean knots were just too adorable.  I could only imagine the poor kitchen sucker that has to handtie each bean for my enjoyment.  (I think I enjoy them all the more with that image in mind, mehehehe.)

Kaeng Hung Leh was easily a new favorite for me, a deliciously sweet, but savory braised pork belly and shoulder curry.

Any braised pork belly dish just reminds me of the Vietnamese dish, thit kho tieu, essentially a caramelized pork belly stew. Each bite of tender, melty fat is a taste of home and a flavor I can always em-braise (cause it's stew-pendous!).

The Laap Pet Isaan is a kind of salad I can get behind because it is approximately 98% meat and 2% greens (including copious amounts of garnish).  Can all salads be made with this ratio?  Made with duck liver and skin, the meat was a bit gamey, but the texture was meaty and fine.

And definitely one of the top 5 things I ate this year in New York would be this dessert.  My life would be complete with a daily bowl of creamy condensed milk ice cream goodness and freshly fried crullers.  

A life without this would be a crull one indeed.

I can't believe another year has come and gone, and I want to thank everyone who continues to support us on this increasingly delectable journey through life.  I hope you all have had a great year also, and hope that this next year has even more amazing things in store !

Happy New Year !

Han's Nonsensical Rating:  If you haven't been, you need to Pok your ass outside their door at 5:45 pm and order the pork neck, the pork belly and dive face first into the condensed milk affogato, and affogatabout any New Year's diets!  If you have been, just go again, OK?  Life is great!

Pok Pok NY
127 Columbia St
Brooklyn, NY
Pok Pok NY on Urbanspoon

Saturday, December 29, 2012

tastes from all over boston @ parish cafe

a coupla days before i flew to texas to spend holiday time with family (aka, to eat my face off), ritu came into town and we lunched at parish cafe. the cafe's concept is totally fun: specialty sandwiches created by chefs from restaurants all over the great city of boston. 

i've still never been to l'espalier, so i thought i'd try out 'the l'espalier' created by frank mclelland. it's maine crab meat mixed with a homemade remoulade, served open faced on brioche and topped with avocado and mango. doesn't it sound pretty? it is!

this was super refreshing and delightful. the mixture was not overly liquidy - which is good, because i hate soggy bread. oh, the bread! toasted and buttery and delicious. the mango was a nice, sweet touch, and i could never complain about avocado on anything. well done, mr. mclelland! $18 bucks for a little peek into your brain is a pretty good deal!

ritu was feeling more brunchy, so she got the elephant walking on eggs ("sandwich from the mountain") created by the elephant walk's gerard lopez. it's eggs sautéed with veggies and goat cheese served on a baguette. this is the dish i would have gotten were it not for the words goat and cheese so close together.

trust me, it was hard fighting the temptation to take a bite. look at those fluffy and beautiful eggs! ritu assured me that the sandwich was wonderful. 

and can i please give a shout-out to whoever is in charge of music for parish cafe? multiple third eye blind and vertical horizon songs made my heart swoon and transported me back to senior high. (yes, i was in high school in the 90s.)

here's ritu sittin' pretty. 'twas a fantastic lunch date, and the only thing that could have made it better is if samiksha and sophia were there, too. *hug*

stay safe and eat lots... see you in 2013!

360 boylston st.
boston, ma 02116
(another location in the south end)
Parish Café on Urbanspoon

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

A Meating of the Minds at BrisketTown

I'm not sure if it's the sheer number of "y'alls" I manage to drop in a single day or my affinity for boot-scootin' across a dance floor, but it's well known that I, like Diana, am a Texan (yeehaw!).  And as good Texans, we appreciate ourselves some mighty slabs of meat.

So why don't you just hop into my fire-engine red F150 quad cab pickup truck, 'cause, my cuties, we are going to BrisketTown, population: Williamsburg hipsters who enjoy themselves some old fashioned Texan-inspired eats. 

The menu is super simple. You got your choice of lean or fatty brisket for $25/lb or pork ribs for $22/lb.  Two side options: German potato salad and red cabbage slaw.  Two dessert options: apple galette and pumpkin pie.  Everything served with one complimentary, heaping serving of love.

I know the menu is easy, but can I just order for you?

If the option is ever fatty - please get fatty.  Get a few slices.  Look at that glorious char !

And pleeeeeease (pretty, pretty please with salted caramel on top), get a couple of ribs.  Or like a whole pound (which is about 4 ribs).  Savor the tender succulence of the pork.  Pay no mind to all the meat that is probably launched in between your teeth (it can be a snack for later!).

And whatever you do...

DO NOT forget to order this freakishly delicious German potato salad.  I don't know why you were even trying to contemplate the red cabbage slaw (it should be against the slaw for you to have those thoughts!).

I don't even like mayonnaise!   But when the potatoes are cooked with copious amounts of pork belly fatty freakin' goodness, and shittons of onions and herbs, this thing is one decadently savory potato salad I will always mayo-nage to chow down.

Complimentary sides to the meat include slivers of raw white onions, round pickle slices, and housebaked white sliced bread.  There are no barbecue sauces to distract you here, allowing you to truly focus on, and enjoy the awesome smoky goodness of the meat unadorned.

After you do that, and lick your lips in sweet satisfaction, eat yourself some pie ! 
It's all made in-house.
While the apple galette, with thin slices of apple, was tender and tasty,

it was the pumpkin pie that was the surprise winner - absolutely light and creamy, with a lovely, buttery crust.

BrisketTown opens at 6:30p daily, until the meat sells out.  When the doors first opened, the lines were long and eager, however, the crowd died down considerably by 7:30p on a Sunday night, so it might be worth waiting a bit to grab your beefy bite!

Han's Nonsensical Rating: BrisketTown is a no-fuss must.  Pack your roomiest and classiest sweatpants and go to Town on the pork ribs, the potato salad and the pie !

359 Bedford Ave
Brooklyn, NY
BrisketTown on Urbanspoon

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Getting Pig-faced at Pig and Khao | Getting Worked Up at DessertWorks

Well aren't you a sight for sore eyes?  It feels like fuheva, doesn't it?  (Okay fuheva = two weeks, which is basically one and the same, right?)

Today I want to give you something to inspire you to live on, now that December 21st is behind us, and we can all look forward to eating more delicious foods in the new year.

How about Pig and Khao?

How about sizzling sisig?

How about Thanan stirring up his sizzling sisig with such dedication in order to most effectively distribute the raw egg all over the bits of pork head and chili?

How about going with a group of friends where everyone has to order their own sizzling sisig because no one could trust another person to share their plate of sisig, which ended up being the right decision ever because this sisig was so good - spicy, delectable, fatty and totally fun?  And how about everyone also ordering their own bowl of coconut rice which is just about the most delightful and delicious thing ever, and how I shared mine with Ryan but still kind of regret that decision today?

And how about Mr. FaP ordering this sad plate of pork jowl that he said was good, but not nearly as hearty as eating an addictive plate of sisig?  He did make some headway on my plate though.  (Okay, all my puns will not be winners.  But I gotta keep trying !)

And how about walking half a block up the road to DessertWorks (now Cathcart & Reddy) for a sweet nightcap of warm chocolate bread pudding with a vanilla cream sauce that was smooth, rich and lovely,

and how about reminding me how I do not like goat cheese even in cheesecake form and topped with glazed raspberries, though this cheesecake would be a musty goat cheese lover's dream,

and how about cheering for freshly made to order brioche doughnuts that are lighter than air, coated with crumbly soft sugars,

and served with a rosemary 'caramel' which was really just honey, because caramel does not look like what is in that picture below?  (I may not know much about politics, and physics, and Russian literature, but I do know caramel !)

It still tasted mighty fine by itself anyway, though the second time I might opt for the Nutella filling for the doughnuts instead.

Han's Nonsensical Rating: Sizzling sisig is totally worth the sizzle. Coconut rice makes it twice as nice. And get the chocolate bread pudding to round out your Clinton St. hat trick, you dirty dawg, you!

Pig and Khao
68 Clinton St
New York, NY
Pig & Khao on Urbanspoon

DessertWorks (Cathcart & Reddy)  
6 Clinton St
New York, NY

Saturday, December 8, 2012

The Fried Chicken at Peels | A Little Tea at Harney & Sons

I've frequented Peels many a time for brunch and adored their fried chicken biscuit - the batter delectably sweet and crisp, but have long since wondered whether the magic of their chicken patty would successfully translate to regular fried chicken.  (These are the kinds of things that keep me up at night.)

And so we found ourselves sitting at Peels on a Sunday night with the most expensive plate of fried chicken to date (two pieces for $21) in front of us.  

The batter is the same as what beautifully coats the fried chicken patty, but the chicken itself is completely and woefully...bland.  Sigh.  (crosses her arms like a small child) If they can't do it, who can?!  (Oh, right. Bobwhite.  The Dutch. The Cardinal. Go there instead.)  The mashed potatoes were butterlicious though.

The next day, my bratty self looked at some holiday markets in Soho and was suddenly awash with hunger.  With dinner in two hours, what was a girl to do ?! In Soho ?!  When it was so frightfully cold ?!  (Why do I feel so lamely dramatic as a character in Pretty Little Liars right now?  Why am I admitting to everyone that I watch Pretty Little Liars?)

And so I beelined to Harney & Sons, and ordered one Paris tea soda float, served with their housemade earl grey ice cream, because the quickest way to ingest 700 calories was to drink it, and I was just so famished.

Harney & Sons tea soda floats are simply a tea lover's dream, refreshing, effervescent and light.  

However, they are not an ice cream lover's dream.  The ice cream was marred with bits of ice shards, but the earl grey flavor was still nice, and I overlooked all the iciness since I am such a good person like that.  Haha.  I am in such a weird mood right now writing this.

Of course, the shake was not going to be enough.  A lady who does afternoon tea shakes must also have something to nosh, and H&S has a few housemade scones to offer: vanilla scones with devonshire cream and jam, chive and cheddar, and ham and gruyere.  You can try to guess which ones I ordered.

(Hurry!  Get your guess in now!  The answer is coming!)

If you guessed cheddar and chive, you are so wrong.  C'mon.  My name is Han.  It's one keystroke away from ham.  And that's the kind of rationale I employ in selecting out items from a menu.  

Just kidding, dudes.  I just felt like eating ham.

Two scones are warmed and served with spicy mustard and a cute spreader that looks like a golden tree branch.  

The scones were awesome.  Brilliantly crispy shell, cubes of slightly burnt-in-the-great-way ham, and chewy gruyere cheese strewn throughout.

Because I was eating by my sad sconesome (does this count as a pun?!), I began a philosophical discussion with myself on what differentiates a scone from a biscuit, or have we all been bamboozled by the French, because they are essentially the same thing ?!

And I concluded that I am sad for discussing that with myself, for not looking it up on my iPhone and solving it in a hot LTE-second, and quickly finished up my snack so I could head home and catch up on Homeland (by the way, I am caught up, so let me know if you want to chat!) before dinner.

Han's Nonsensical Rating:  Stick with brunch @ Peels with the fried chicken biscuit (and a side of jam because you will love yourself for it).  If shopping for stuff that you do not need makes you as hungry as I was (you poor thing!), Harney & Sons is a stellar source for tasty scones in Soho (and check in with Yelp to get a free sample of tea!).

325 Bowery, New York, NY

Peels on Urbanspoon
Harney & Sons
433 Broome St Ground Floor, New York, NY 10013

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Shopsins and Beurre & Sel

Geez, what is wrong with me?  (Okay - that's a loaded question!) I think it has been over six months since I last visited Shopsins.  Where have I been?  What have I been eating?  Why was it not this?

The Mo Betta is still as good as it always is, with two dinner plate size mac 'n cheese pancakes sandwiching their ever so perfect scrambled eggs and a gorgeous cluster of maple glazed bacon.

What's sad is that the Mo Betta 2 is no longer a menu option. Sure, the maple glazed bacon is pretty freakin' delicious, but the maple glazed pork sausage was just as tasty - a direct link to my heart.  (Oooh yeah - gonna get a pun in every post from now on!)

On this visit, I checked out one of the many growing slutty cake options.  The best way I can describe a slutty cake is a beautifully stuffed pancake.

The original slutty cake featured pumpkin puree, pistachios, cinnamon and peanut butter.  It was good.

But this one was great!

The Egypt slutty cake features banana, chocolate chips, marshmallow fluff and plenty of hot, gooshy peanut butter.  In other words, a ridiculous, velvety, rich mouthful of heaven.  I didn't even bother sharing this with anyone.  It all went down my hatch !

After, Heather and I checked out a new shop at the Essex Street Market, Beurre & Sel, a little cookie shop from baker extraordinaire, Dorie Greenspan and her son (pictured below).

The shop is more of a tiny alcove, with an assortment of cookies layed out on cold marble.  On the side (not pictured) are tiny canisters of smaller, savory cookies.  I couldn't even turn my camera to snap a shot of those.  I just kept staring at these.

The cookie varieties (from left to right) included sugared shortbread, lime and coconut, chocolate chunk, blueberry crumble, world peace (the dark chocolate), a blondie cookie and a chocolate cherry nut cookie concoction that I knew I had to have.

The cherry chocolate nut cookie thing was a dense puck of textural deliciousness.  There was a tart chewy thang goin' on, some crunchitycrunch from the nuts and crisp shell, and all that flavor enrobed with a slightly bitter chocolate.  (Uhm. So good.)

It's also hard to turn down a cookie called World Peace.  Who wouldn't support somethin' like that?  And you know what - World Peace tastes good - like bittersweet chocolate touched by sea salt.

Han's Nonsensical Rating: The combination of Shopsins and Beurre & Sel make a most devilish duo, worth selling at least half your soul for (what were you planning to use that half for anyway? Am I right or am I right?).

Beurre & Sel
120 Essex St
New York, NY
Shopsin's General Store on UrbanspoonBeurre & Sel on Urbanspoon