Sunday, November 28, 2010


What did you make with your Thanksgiving leftovers?

I've been eating colcannon, stuffing, lentils and carrots for breakfast the past few days. Noticeable absence of turkey in that list.

Today for lunch my mom made turkey congee. She made stock from the turkey carcass, added brown rice, savoy cabbage (left over from the colcannon), dark and white meat turkey, onions, cilantro, chicken bouillon, and pepper, and put it on the stove for a couple of hours. Some green onions on top and it was a nice hearty use of turkey leftovers!

Thursday, November 25, 2010


Hope everyone has a happy Thanksgiving filled with lots of yummy food! Check out our dinner table. Yum!

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Kim's Aunt Kitchen

Stop #2 on the block by block challenge for 46th Street between 5th and 6th Ave.

Monday was a gorgeous day. Temps in the 60s and sunny. Possibly the last nice day of the year. And I was running around like crazy for work and couldn't take a long walk to enjoy it. So I went to the second stop on the block for the challenge: Kim's Aunt Kitchen.

Like Moshe's, this is another cart I have always intended to try but just never have, and have probably passed a hundred times. They're known for their cheap (but good) fish sandwiches, but they also have platters and other dishes like bulgogi.

I figured that I should get a fish sandwich for my first visit to see if it lived up to the reviews. The choices for the fish sandwich were whiting or flounder. I am a flounder fan, so the choice was easy, even though it was $1 more. I got it on wheat bread with lettuce, tomato and tartar sauce.

What a filling and tasty fish sandwich! For only $5, they give you two big flaky pieces of fried fish on the sandwich. Pretty good, both for taste and the deal you get. Another solid choice right by the office!

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Boring and Mediocre

Remember those boring and sometimes mediocre catered lunches I've mentioned before? Today was one of them. I think the food came from Global Kitchen (which I have been to for a regular lunch and it was OK) and it was quite mediocre today. The photo makes it look so much better than it tasted.

Green salad was fine but boring. The panini sounds from the description like it should be good but it just wasn't. It didn't have much flavor at all and in some places was very dry. The tomato and mozzarella salad was probably the best part of this plate but how do you mess that up?

Not pictured but the cookies were mediocre too. So disappointing to eat such a "meh" lunch. And I wasn't the only one to think that about today's lunch! Flavorless food sucks. I should have gotten an entire plate of tomato and mozzarella (but that wouldn't be fair to anyone else!).

Hummus Surprise

Since it's quite late and I just got home from work, I will not be blogging tonight about today's lunch or dinner. But here's a sneak peek at what's to come about dinner. Can you guess what's in the bag? Besides hummus. Stay tuned to find out!

Monday, November 22, 2010

Pure Thai Shophouse

Today we went for lunch at Pure Thai Shophouse after watching the early showing of the fantastic Harry Potter movie. We had thought about trying this place when it first opened about a month ago, but then we saw a table at the empanada place across the street. We hadn't been there in so long because it's so hard to get seats there, so we put off Pure Thai until another day.

It's a really small restaurant but they make the most of the space. There's several small tables and also a counter against the wall with stools. Since the chairs have no backs, there's also coat hooks all around the restaurant.

They also have cute bottles for their "pure" tap water, which can you see on the table here:

The first thing we noticed about the menu at Pure Thai is that for lunch it's really well-priced. The appetizers were $2 or $2.50 and the entrees were under $10. The portion size isn't huge either so you can get a mix of things for a pretty good price. (Everything is more expensive for dinner by about $3-4.)

We started out with two appetizers - curry puffs and spring rolls:

The curry puffs were filled with caramelized chicken, onion and sweet potato, and accompanied by the usual cucumber relish. This was definitely the better of the 2 appetizers. We almost always try curry puffs when we try a new Thai place and this was one of the better ones. The curry flavor was great and the puffs were light and flaky.

The vegetable spring rolls had shiitake mushrooms, jicama and glass noodles inside the fried shell, and a Thai chili plum sauce accompaniment. The filling was better than some of the other spring rolls we've had, but the curry puffs were much more delicious.

For entrees, we focused on the "Pure Thai Noodles" section since this contained some of the dishes unlikely to be found on other menus. A got the Sukhothai Pork Noodle Soup (thin rice noodle, roasted pork, long bean, bean sprouts, peanut, dried shrimp and pork broth):

This was SO good. It is similar to something A used to get at another Thai place down the street but has Chinese-style roast pork instead and the broth is different. It's perfect for the cold weather - warms you up from the inside. The broth and seasonings were excellent. And M loved the color of this dish.

While both noodles were good, this was probably the better of the 2. M got the Krabi seafood noodles (as dry noodles instead of as a soup). They were flat rice noodles with shrimp, calamari, tofu, water spinach, bean curd, cooked in a tomato pork broth:

Under all that, the noodles were a very uncommon pink color:

The flavor was great and M hadn't had anything like it before. Having had this as a dry noodle instead, she wondered if it would have been even better in soup (as it's listed on the menu).

We also got dessert:

There was only one option on the menu - yam custard with sticky rice. We love sticky rice (especially with mango) and finally figured out that the "Thai custard" that other places put on it is yam custard. This was better than the other ones we've had:

If you notice, we have said most things here were better than other Thai food we've had in the area (although each place has its strengths). It probably goes without saying that we will be returning for more!

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Moshe's Falafel

First stop on the block by block challenge for 46th Street between 5th and 6th Aves.

I think I have passed Moshe's Falafel (at least) a hundred times. I had always heard they had good falafel, yet somehow I've never gotten it. I've walked all the way to the Port Authority area to get Pick-a-Pita falafel but haven't gone across the street to Moshe's. Crazy, right?

The stand is there every day at lunch and there's always a line. They move really quickly and spit out falafel sandwiches at a rapid pace. In addition to their namesake falafel, they also have soups and salads. But it would appear that people really go there for the falafel.

The falafel sandwich (which is a cheap $5.25 right now) consists of a big fluffy pita stuffed with multiple falafel balls, lettuce, tomato, tahini and (if you want it) hot sauce. It's garnished on the end with a pickle.

Here's what I liked about it:

(1) The falafel had a good texture, was fluffy and not dry. I had read some complaints online that the quality of Moshe's had gone downhill and that the falafel balls were dry. I was happy to see that wasn't the case with my sandwich. I really liked the fluffiness of the falafel, and the first bite was great.

(2) When the falafel is mixed with the lettuce and tomato and drenched in tahini and hot sauce, the flavor's great. (See next section, #2)

(3) A big filling sandwich but it doesn't hurt your wallet. I think it used to be less than $5 but at $5.25 it's still a bargain.

(4) The pickle was good.

And here's the less good stuff:

(1) The pita was kind of thick and bready. This isn't necessarily a bad thing but it helps the sandwich to feel heavier.

(2) The tahini and hot sauce didn't sink to the bottom of the pita, so by the time I got to the bottom, all I had was falafel and pita with no veggies or sauce so it was kind of boring.

(3) The salad is just iceberg lettuce and tomato. I love adding salads to my falafel, whether it's beet salad, cucumber salad, etc. There's nothing wrong with only having lettuce and tomato, but I missed the diversity of flavor that you get with some of the other salads.

(4) It's a bit messy. When I opened the aluminum foil, I got tahini all over my hands. Not a big deal, since I was going to be eating the sandwich with my hands anyway, but probably not the best lunch if you need to be somewhere right after and can't wash all the sauce off your hands. Or if you're walking and eating at the same time.

Was it good falafel? Yes. Was it great falafel? I'm up in the air on this one. I haven't had falafel in awhile so it's hard to compare. There's also so many types of falafel and the ones I've had more recently are more dense and less fluffy. I guess the more important question is, would I go back to Moshe's for another falafel sandwich sometime. The answer is yes!

Roll and Go

So a new quick-style restaurant opened up right by my office. Roll and Go offers wraps, soups, and fresh-made sushi.

Roll and Go

Inside looks a little chaotic, but there's a method to the madness. There are multiple lines in the store, one for wrap sandwiches and one for sushi. I'm not sure how the soup comes into play or really how the sushi section works, but this was my first time there. I opted to get the chicken shawarma wrap.

A view of the line of workers putting together wraps

Some of the toppings available to put on a wrap

I got hummus, pico de gallo, cucumber and tomato salad, red cabbage, tahini, and hot sauce to go with my chicken. Their chicken is also interesting. It isn't the standard chicken on a spit like most shawarma places I've had in the past. All of their meats, whether it's lamb, chicken, or pork, are all cooked beforehand and stored. Whenever one of the meats starts getting low, they pull out some of the containers and heat it up on the flat top. It reminds me of Chipotle in a way. Another cool touch is that they make all of their wraps onsite. They have little bundles of dough that get pressed into the wrap throughout the day.

Not the best shot, but the guy in the back is making the wraps

I got the wrap to go and brought it back to my desk to eat. I was a little worried because they wrap it with both ends open within the foil, and I thought it might get a little messy.

First view into the opened foil

Better picture of the interior of the wrap

Overall the wrap had excellent flavor. I'm not a shawarma expert by any stretch of the imagination, but I've certainly had my fair share of them. The chicken was spiced nicely and was full of flavor, and the toppings tasted very fresh. The only odd thing about the wrap was that the hot sauce was regular Tabasco sauce and not like a normal red sauce like you might find at a street cart or other wraps.

I definitely enjoyed the lunch, and even with a a can of soda, it still only came out to about $7.50. I'd been interested in seeing what this new Midtown eatery had to offer, and so far it has not disappointed.

Block by Block

Lately, I've been finding myself having a late lunch and being short on time (i.e., I can't walk all the way to the east side or up to the 50s or down to the 30s). Instead of just going to Europa and Pret (and similar places) every day, I thought it might be good, for those days where I'm short on time and not craving anything in particular (often), to finally put in place the block by block idea that I have been considering for a long time. After all, the West 40s have so many options to eat lunch.

When I was a kid, I used to wonder why we often returned to the same restaurants when there were so many other places we had never tried in the same area. Why not just go in order down the street and go to each restaurant? That way, we can say we tried them all, and we would know for sure if they were good or not. Being the kid (and not the payor), it wasn't really my choice to implement this. And besides, I liked going to places like Chevy's. (Mmm, tacos.) (Side note: I had the same idea at the mall - why not just go in every store in order? I'm really not much of a shopper now so that idea no longer appeals to me. I do, however, go up and down every single food aisle at the grocery store. Love grocery stores.)

I've often wondered why I haven't done the same for lunch. I have worked at the same place for over 5 years now yet there are some places on these neighboring blocks that I still have never been to (despite having them on my list of places to go "at some point"). Some of it is due to what I'm craving at the moment, some of it is due to trying to get in midday exercise and take a long walk, and some of it... well, I don't know, can walking by without going in become a habit?

So, I'm starting my block by block challenge now. Start at one end of a nearby block and then go to the next establishment, and then the next, trying each place until that block is done. And then start with a new block. I'm not going to do this every single day because if I have time and ability to walk, I certainly will go further than across the street, but if I'm short on time and am not like "I must have Korean food!" why not try this out?

A few ground rules:

1. I can skip places that I have been to before. Maybe I've been before and really didn't like it (can't think of anything off the top of my head) or didn't think it was worth it (like the Rickshaw Dumpling Truck). I can skip those because I've done them. Maybe I'll talk about past experiences. But I haven't really hated most things enough to skip them entirely so I'd probably go again.

2. I can skip places that don't really do takeout. I'm not really going for a sitdown lunch all the time. If it doesn't look like a place where it's comfortable to go in and order something to go, I really don't want to do it. Social norms and all. But considering how many places are on Seamless Web, this may not be a large number of places.

3. I can skip places that are too damn expensive. I don't like spending more than $10 on lunch, definitely not more than $15 (I feel guilty going over $10). My ideal lunch amount is $8 and under. When I first started working, it was $6. I ate a lot of hot dogs, street meat and sandwiches. But I'm not going in to an Italian trattoria and ordering takeout pasta for $15 for lunch. No thanks.

4. I can skip places that look hazardous to my health. For some people, this would eliminate large segments of the city, but not for me. I've eaten at restaurants before that ended up in the paper now for getting a C. (Chinatown bakeries, c'mon, what do you expect?) But if the place looks like it will make me sick, sorry, I'm not interested in food poisoning. Been there, done that. I'll also include here places with broccoli in everything, like some of those street meat carts, since unfortunately I'm allergic to it.

5. I can skip and go back to a place if the line is too long. I HATE waiting on line for lunch. I used to wait on the Dishes 1 pm double circle back into the market table lines. Not fun. I see the lines down the block for the famous chicken and rice cart. Is it really worth it? I won't wait on line for an hour for Shake Shack, why would I wait for a melted sandwich? In those cases, I'll go back if the line is unreasonable. But considering that lately I've been eating lunch at 2, I wouldn't be too concerned about this one.

6. I can skip a place that isn't really "lunch" to me. By that, I mean a place that just specializes in dessert or something similar. Sure, to some people, dessert is lunch, but for me, having solely dessert for lunch isn't that satisfying. So places like Pinkberry, Red Mango, etc. I can skip for this.

I think that's it. By the way, I started the block by block challenge today. Look for a falafel filled post later.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Curry Dream

Our work meetings over lunch generally consist of catered food which is: (a) boring but OK sandwiches, (b) boring and mediocre sandwiches or (c) non-sandwich food which is good.  I think it's been rare to have a non-sandwich catered meal that sucked.  The sandwiches, on the other hand, can range from fine to crappy.
I definitely didn't mind today's lunch.  It came from Curry Dream (great name, btw) and in addition to the basmati rice and naan, there was chicken tikka masala, chana masala and lamb curry (I didn't get the lamb).  There were also vegetarian samosas.  Yum.
I liked it.  It was a little on the oily side for Indian food but the rice took care of that.  The flavor of the chana masala was much better than the chicken tikka masala, so when I got my snack for later, I just grabbed more chana masala (and another samosa).  I've had better chana masala (and it's one of my favorites so I try it everywhere to compare and even used to eat it in the dining hall in undergrad), but I was glad that was the vegetarian option.
I've gotten relatively boring lunches all week due to time and meetings, so it was nice to have a catered "adventure"!

Holiday Time

The holidays are coming. Speeding along like a bullet train. (Sorry, trains on the brain, addicted to Train Conductor on iPhone.)

But, seriously, it's holiday time. The tree is up, the skating rinks are open, all the stores have Christmas displays up, and somehow Thanksgiving is next week. Where did all the time go?!

It occurred to me today that Pret might have one of my favorite sandwiches back on the shelf since it was so close to the holidays. A quick check of the online menu confirmed it. I was short on time today at work and was taking lunch too late to take too much of a walk. And I realized after I left the office that it was kind of cold, and I wasn't going to make it very far without shivering. So I went to Pret.

And got a very expensive lunch. I don't like spending more than $10! But if you want soup and a holiday sandwich (no slims)... no choice.

I got the small split pea soup, which was perfect for this weather, and of course, the holiday sandwich:

The sandwich comes with Murray's roasted turkey, stuffing with pork sausage, cranberry orange & walnut relish, crispy onions, mayo, spinach and "Pret's seasoning" (whatever that is). I love Thanksgiving. I love Thanksgiving ("holiday") related sandwiches. So it's no surprise that I like this.

They have this sandwich at the UK Prets also except they call it the "Christmas lunch" sandwich instead of the "holiday" one. (I always associate this with Thanksgiving, not Christmas, but I suppose Christmas works too.) I think it's slightly different since it seems to have sage & onion stuffing instead and also cranberry & port sauce.

I used to go to Pret a lot before I started trying to take longer walks for a break and some midday exercise. (It was the next step away from the Europa syndrome that maybe I'll write about sometime.) I liked their philosophy of fresh food, and that they gave the food left at the end of the day away to people who needed it. But at some point I got bored (and it was an expensive habit) and I started walking all over midtown. I do come back every so often (especially when it's cold) to find that the entire menu has changed. Refreshing though, to see new options, like the hummus pot topped with cilantro.

Now that I've had this sandwich, it's like the holidays are almost here (although, really, I'm not rushing it). But I can't wait for Thanksgiving stuffing!

Tuesday, November 16, 2010


M and I have ordered from Meze Grill before with no problems. They were always fast, and they were always loaded and fulfilling. With this knowledge in hand I ordered from them for dinner since I wanted to stay off my foot as much as possible.

The delivery time said 30-45 minutes, but it was still fairly early in the evening so I wasn't too concerned. 30 minutes turned into 45 minutes. 45 minutes ended up being 55 minutes. Hmmm... maybe the guy got held up at an office as I have seen while waiting for M. Can you imagine that some of these people let the delivery people wait in the lobby for 10-15 minutes sometimes after constant phone calls asking if they're coming down? That's messed up. Anyway, I gave the delivery guy the benefit of the doubt since I know these things happen.

What I was not thrilled with was the food when I actually got it out of the bag.

For reference, here is what I got previously:

Nice and full, packed with flavor!

Instead, I was met with this...

Ummmm... where's the rest of my food?

Seriously, it's like an inch of space or more that's just empty...

So, I ate my dinner in about 5 minutes since it was so empty. Definitely not worth the money paid this time around, and they also have not responded to my angry tweet (though they have only tweeted 23 times or so in total). Regardless, late delivery + minimal food = angry A >:-(

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Pork and Peppers

This weekend, the Shake Shack on the Upper West Side had a special on the menu. While we had passed by the UWS Shake Shack many times, we had never actually gone in because it was always crowded. But since the special was only at the UWS Shack, we walked the 30+ blocks (better to walk when you're going to have Shake Shack!) and ventured in.

We heard the seating was better here since they had seating upstairs and another room downstairs. But it felt like less seating than the one in the Theater District and the room downstairs was occupied by many people done eating and just watching football. Thanks for squatting, guys.

If you're a frequent Shake Shack visitor, notice anything different?

That's not their regular hot dog topped with sauerkraut. It's their special - "pork and peppers."

Pork and peppers consists of a Usinger's griddled garlic pork sausage topped with a Shack-made spicy bacon-cherry pepper relish and shaved cheddar from NYCheese. (This is the description from facebook, the one on the wall had less description.)

It was so good. It's difficult to decide which was better - this garlic sausage special or the garlic sausage special from Shacktoberfest. The relish on this one made it seem slightly more nutritious than the cheese sauce to M and the cheddar was a nice addition. The bacon was a nice touch but not overpowering. Neither of us thought it was overly spicy but it did have good flavor.

Wish we could get this again!

Burger King Centraal

Before going to Amsterdam, I had looked at the websites for some of the American fast food chains, curious to see what they had at their Dutch and Belgian outlets. I remembered a family trip years ago to Hong Kong where we found a "Shogun burger" at McDonalds that was actually pretty good, and a more recent trip to Shanghai where A and I indulged after a trip to the zoo in taro pies and spicy chicken sandwiches that they don't have here. We also took a trip to Hong Kong about 5 years ago where I had a kids meal with a side of corn instead of fries, which I thought was an awesome and much more healthy idea. (Maybe someday we'll do flashback posts... assuming we ever finish talking about this trip.) Although the chains might not be "authentic" to the area, they sometimes have different menu items and since I'm fascinated by fast food restaurants, it's no surprise I would be fascinated by that too.

I didn't really pay much attention to chains other than McDonalds this time (although I did look at more "local" chains like FEBO and Quick Burger, which we'll write about later), and found some interesting things like the McKroket. I figured we probably wouldn't try them but I was still curious.

Upon arrival at Schiphol, we saw a Burger King in the food court. We didn't try it (since we were, after all, devouring awesome fries) but I was fascinated by the different menu:

First, there was an entire lineup of "California" options. I'm not sure what made them "California" other than guacamole. There were also chili cheese nuggets (which sounded good) and curly fries (sorry, "Twister fries"). Why are our curly fries only at Arby's and the almost-extinct Roy Rogers? (Side note: I just checked the current BK menu and it looks like instead of the California specials the new thing is the "nacho" burger with crispy (krokante) nacho chips, jalapenos and "Mexican sauce.")

I noted that they also had pancake bites, probably a nod to the Dutch pancake tradition (I can't wait to write about the awesome Pancakes! Amsterdam).

Unlike McDonalds, for which we saw multiple outlets but very little advertising in Amsterdam, Burger King advertised everywhere. The tram stations especially carried a lot of advertising, like this one at the Koningsplein station.

We found ourselves at Amsterdam Centraal Station on day 4 of our trip, getting ready to go to Den Haag (The Hague). We were later than planned and it was almost lunchtime, so we were kind of hungry. The roll of strawberry Fruitella candies (mmm) that I got wasn't going to cut it. The only "real" food place we saw was Burger King so we checked it out.

It was only intended to be a snack but due to a misunderstanding (we don't speak Dutch), we ended up with an extra hamburger so it became lunch instead of a snack. We ended up getting the California whopper meal, curly fries (with the meal), chili cheese nuggets and the extra hamburger mistake. With all this food, we sadly didn't end up eating anything in Den Haag. Oh well.

(As an aside, can I just say how happy I am when I see curly fries? They're the bestest.)

Here is a closer look at the California whopper sign, which explains that it's basically a whopper with guacamole and chipotle ranch sauce. It actually looks pretty good in the picture.

And this is what it really looked like:

A hamburger with sauce. It was OK, but it was really just a whopper with sauce. Nothing special. And as far as the burger... well it's Burger King. We're not talking Shake Shack quality here.

Now, for the thing I really wanted to try - chili cheese nuggets.

I don't know what I expected. Maybe somehow chili (like the chili at Wendy's) plus cheese made into a fried nugget snack. I don't know how they would do that but that's what my mind was tasting and what I wanted. But that wasn't what I got:

I forgot that chili also refers to chili, like a pepper, and is not always chili, like a bean-filled stew. Oops. It was like a jalapeno popper. It was fine, but I would have rather gotten onion rings or something.

They had some other desserts which were interesting but which we didn't get:

And also kids meal toys (I dunno, I found Kitty Galore funny in Dutch):

I wasn't really sure what things they had at Burger King at home (other than onion rings and chicken tenders and chicken fries and whoppers) since we really don't go anymore (despite my occasional craving for the onion rings). I thought maybe they had curly fries here and I had just missed any advertising for it (wouldn't be surprising). But I looked up the menu when we got back and they didn't have them. Why would Americans not go for curly fries from Burger King? Don't people love curly fries? I do.

Anyway, the unplanned Burger King excursion was the only American fast food chain trip we made in the Netherlands. We did check out the menu at McDonalds (not with any intention of going in) and saw the royal-o-fish and what looked like fried shrimp (neither of which I see on the web menu). But with so much other good food to have, we didn't want to spend our time at Burger King or McDonalds if there were other options. We didn't really have many options at the train station (other than getting stuff to go from the HEMA grocery store but nothing really stood out) unlike at the airport. But we hope this helps you decide if you ever want to go to the Dutch Burger King!

Shiraz Poached Pear

When the November Shake Shack custard calendar came out, we were super excited about Saturday - Shack Shiraz Poached Pear. It sounded so good. It was the one M was most excited for and A picked it as one of his 3 must-tries.

We ventured over to Shake Shack tonight for the custard. We both agree that there wasn't really much Shiraz flavor and it was more pear. But M thought the flavor was really, really mild and she didn't taste much pear. This was disappointing but maybe her expectations were too high (since she loves pear and was really looking forward to this custard). A thought that it wasn't mixed that well because the pear flavor was stronger in some parts than others. He liked the pear part but the rest tasted like mildly pear vanilla.

Shack Shiraz Poached Pear
A's rating: 6/10
M's rating: 4/10

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Pork Schnitzel

Today brought more free schnitzel! Over the course of the week, they were alternating between veal, pork and chicken schnitzel and today's schnitzel was pork. (Of course the day it was chicken was the day I couldn't walk there.) I love free samples at lunch!

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Dessert Truck

Over Halloween weekend, my sister-in-law came for a visit while my brother headed to Sarasota for the Ultimate Club Championship tournament. We took her on a short tour of some of our favorite eateries, and one night we chanced upon the Dessert Truck. For those of you who don't know what the Dessert Truck is and are too lazy to look at their website, it's a truck in New York City that (gasp!) sells desserts. They tend to hang out in the St. Marks area, and they also have an actual brick-and-mortar store down in the Lower East Side.

My SIL opted not to buy anything, but M and I decided to get two items. Their signature dessert is their chocolate bread pudding so we had to get one, and we also got an order of their Nutella filled donuts.

Chocolate Bread Pudding

I'm a huge fan of bread pudding, and this bread pudding was as good as advertised. It was a lot more like a molten chocolate cake than a pure bread pudding, but I wasn't really complaining. As the picture shows, it came with a vanilla sauce on top as well as a dollop of whipped cream. It was a very gooey, chocolate-y, and tasty spoonful in every bite.

Nutella Filled Donuts

I'm also a huge fan of donuts so this trip really worked out well for me. They don't look like much, but each of these donuts is jam-packed with Nutella. If you're not careful, biting into one could unleash a torrent of Nutella into the bottom of your cup. Chocolate, hazelnut explosions + donuts = happy A

M bit from the wrong end and dumped Nutella into the cup

Cocktails and Ceviche

Yesterday we had a cocktail party for our department at work at Metrazur ( in Grand Central Terminal.  Since it was a work event, I don't have any pictures so hopefully your imagination will do it justice.
Metrazur is located in the main concourse of GCT so the view is stunning (if you like grand station settings, which I do).  It's on the balcony on the east end of the concourse and it gives you a great view of the entire concourse.  Being there for a party/dinner and not running to catch a train just made the entire setting feel very much like the set of a movie or show built to look like a train station.  A little hard to explain, but it seemed almost constructed.  From that height, you don't see all the little flaws in the terminal.  And it's like dining al fresco without being outside in the cold weather (admittedly, yesterday wasn't as bad as it has been lately).  I think it would also be a nice place for something like a wedding dinner.  Very NYC.
There were some passed hors d'oeuvres but I only got one pig in a blanket (yay) so I'm not sure what else they had.  There was a small dinner buffet set up in the corner which most people didn't notice and by the time the night was over, I was wishing there were takeout boxes so I could take it with me instead of having it go to waste.  (At least I hope someone there took it home or ate it or something.)
The buffet line started out with a bay scallop ceviche that was light, well-flavored and not the least bit chewy.  I love ceviche and this was no exception.  The bowl of ceviche was gigantic and I think our party only made a small dent.
Next to the ceviche was a bowl of chips with an accompanying corn salsa, pico de gallo, guacamole and something else that I ignored.  The corn salsa and pico de gallo were excellent and the guacamole was good.  Covered in bacon which I didn't take much of, but good. Maybe I haven't previously discussed my addiction to salsa and pico de gallo (it goes hand in hand with the tacos) but if not, I will.
There was also a truffle and (something) risotto, and a penne bolognese with peas and (I think) a parmesan cream sauce.  Also very good.
If the goal of the cocktail party was to make me seriously consider going to Metrazur for a real meal (which it wasn't, and which I hadn't considered before since I mostly just pass through GCT), it succeeded.  It was also good as a cocktail party itself, but I was very impressed by the spread of food.
I wish I had pictures!  Especially of the ceviche and salsa bar!

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Schnitzel and Sushi

Free schnitzel?

This week Austrian Airlines has rented out the Schnitzel & Things truck and they're giving out free schnitzel!

I saw it on Twitter this morning but since I didn't leave for lunch until close to 2 pm, I figured they'd be out. My plan was to go early tomorrow for a snack instead. After all my near misses with the Malaysian free samples, what were the chances that there would still be schnitzel at 2 pm? I didn't see anything on Twitter about them being out of samples and took my chances. And... the truck was still there giving out food when I got there. Today's special was veal schnitzel. I'm not usually a veal eater, but when it's free, why not try it?

Unlike the Malaysian samples which were more eco-friendly (small uncovered plates), these samples all came in heavy duty plastic take-out containers, accompanied by the square airline napkins:

Inside the box was a good amount of food for free - a piece of veal schnitzel, a scoop of Austrian potato salad and a little cup of sriracha mayo.

View from the other side with the tasty open mayo:

It was yummy. I've been to the truck before but I usually get chicken schnitzel or side salads. First time trying the veal. It was really good!

Since it was only a sample, I also stopped by Mai Sushi to pick up a sushi roll:

I ended up getting a brown rice roll with salmon and avocado after deliberating for a long time. It was OK. Mai is usually my go-to place to get sushi but after having the sushi at Dainobu on Friday, I just liked that roll so much better! I don't know if it's because today's had more rice (Dainobu had rolls like that too but I chose a different one), because it was a different fish, because it was brown rice or what. But it was just OK.

About 2/3 of the way through the roll, I had the bright idea to make my own spicy salmon-avocado roll by adding the sriracha mayo (sadly no pictures). It helped. But considering I was adding quite a bit of the mayo plus heaping amounts of wasabi (which is not typical for me), either I can't taste anything anymore (less likely) or the wasabi in the sushi package was really dull (more likely).

So there's my Austrian-Japanese lunch. You wouldn't think schnitzel and sushi would go together but that sriracha mayo really came in handy!