Saturday, March 31, 2012


S'mores is the only March custard that we chose to order twice. Shake Shack has offered this a bunch of times but we just haven't gotten around to trying it until now.

M's thoughts:
I think I liked this more the first time we tried it. It was a good combination of chocolate, marshmallow sauce, and little pieces of graham cracker with texture like a wafer. I really liked the textural difference of having the crispy cookie inside the custard and the flavor was good.

A's thoughts:
This is a really well put together custard. S'mores are a classic American treat, and they're also such a simple concept. Chocolate custard paired with marshmallow sauce and graham cracker bits. The graham crackers were a really nice surprise as they add a nice bit of texture to the custard while also just being a really nice flavor. The marshmallow is a little subtle flavor-wise, but it added a nice creaminess because of its sauce nature. This is a well thought out custard which was executed well.

A's rating: 8.5/10
M's rating: 9/10

Wednesday, March 28, 2012


I started a new block by block challenge today, choosing the block right next to my office. The block is going to be a little out of order since it was too cold for me to wait for the street carts and then at the Cuban place I tried to determine which day was best for the daily specials while dodging people in line and my brain shut off. So I went for Indian food at Minar and will just have to go back to the others another time.

I got the vegetable combo which came with 3 choices and either rice or naan. I got potatoes and peas, chickpeas, and yellow lentils over rice.

I thought the dishes were pretty good. My favorite was probably the yellow lentils, then the chickpeas, and then the potatoes and peas. The best thing about the way Minar does the combo is that they pile all the rice into the bottom of the tin, and then top it with the three different dishes so that the sauces soak into the rice. The dishes might look a little watery in the steam table but once you start eating it at your desk, it's nice and thick, and the rice has been soaking in the flavors of each dish. That made the yellow lentil part even better!

Somehow my go-to Indian place has been Indus, despite the fact that Minar is much closer to my office. (I think it's because I like to get a little bit of a walk in.) I do like that Indus gives you both rice and naan, while Minar makes you choose (but Minar's is slightly cheaper so maybe it ends up being the same). But Indus has a three-part dish so only one of the dishes really soaks into the rice, unlike the way Minar puts everything on top of rice. I like them both though, so it's hard to choose! I guess I'll just keep going to both!

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

45th Street North Side (5-6 Ave)

Another block finally done! Take a walk with me down West 45th Street between 5th and 6th Avenues (and if you want to see the other side of the street, go here)...

The first place to eat on the block is a street meat cart, which I skipped even though it smells so good because I couldn't tell if they cooked any broccoli at the cart. (If you know anything about Mr. Khan's Best Food, please let me know if they use broccoli.)

The first place I tried was the hot soup cart, where I enjoyed some wedding soup.

Technically there was a Starbucks next, but I'm saving my Starbucks visit for the flagship in Times Square if I should ever get to that block. So, next up, I got an eggplant parmigiana sandwich at Little Italy Pizza and took notes on everyone else's pizza orders.

At Cafe Manhattan, I got a pretty good gyro with waffle fries.

Chipotle is next on the block and I got my usual order, but before that, I stopped in at goodburger (which is now closed) for a lunch that ended up being disappointing.

At Sophie's Cuban, I finally tried something other than a baked chicken sandwich and got a tasty ground beef stew and way too many carbs.

Taz (formerly 19 Metro Market, similar to Cafe Manhattan) closed before I could try it and it's not really clear if they ever had Vietnamese food for more than one day.

Antalia is too expensive for me for an eat-at-my-desk lunch unless I just order a salad or a couple of appetizer spreads, but I highly recommend it and have ordered from them plenty of times both at home and at work. (You can read about their mercimek kofte, one of my favorite things, here and their cigars here.)

Sun Yip was the last stop on the challenge, where I had a carby chow fun and a delicious variety from the buffet.

Resette is the last spot on the block but also out of my price range, so I skipped it.

Pondering what block should come next... any ideas?

Sun Yip

The last stop on the current block by block challenge was Sun Yip, a Chinese restaurant that I have passed by numerous times without going in. Sun Yip is like two restaurants in one - a by the pound buffet in the front and a made to order takeout place in the back. I told myself that for the block by block challenge I would need to go twice to try both halves of Sun Yip. (The "rules" of the challenge are more like guidelines.)

On my first trip, about 10 days ago, I tried the takeout place in the back. I debated for awhile on what to get and ended up going with the chicken chow fun. It was good and I liked the flavor of the dish, but I wish there had been some more vegetables. There were some bean sprouts but that was it, so I felt like the dish was very heavy.

Today I went back to try the buffet. I think it's usually $7/lb but if you go after 2:15 pm, it's only $5/lb, which is a very worthwhile discount. Although many places get quieter for lunch after 2, Sun Yip is still pretty busy as a lot of people venture over there for the late afternoon buffet discount. There is a lot to choose from - noodles, chicken dishes, vegetable and tofu dishes - and they continue to refill the buffet throughout the day. (When I was there at 2:30 pm last time, they were bringing out new bok choy, just cooked from the kitchen.)

Since it was my first time at the buffet, I got a little more than I had planned, especially as I got toward the end of the line and saw a lot of the vegetable dishes. Most of the selections were really good. I got dry sauteed string beans, fried fish, bok choy, chicken with peppers, lemongrass chicken with string beans, two different homemade tofu dishes, mushrooms and zucchini, chicken lo mein, shrimp mei fun, pork fried rice, pork chow fun, and other things that I can't remember and that aren't visible in the photo. I completely understood why the buffet was so popular - cheap and tasty!

I'm not sure if I would do buffet or a regular takeout order on my next visit. I wouldn't get the chow fun though since I can just get that at the buffet - with vegetables!

Salty Chocolate Peanut Butter

Tonight was our last chance to pick up salty chocolate peanut butter custard from Shake Shack, so we picked up a cup on the way home even though the wind chills were back to the 30s.

M's thoughts:
The custard was very rich and smooth, and tasted like a creamy Reese's peanut butter cup to me. I thought it was well done but I just wasn't really in the mood for those flavors and thought A would appreciate it more, so I only had a few spoonfuls. Also, I don't mind peanut butter, but I don't love it, so a few spoonfuls of this were enough for me.

A's thoughts:
I am a huge fan of chocolate and peanut butter mixed together. I was really excited to try this custard, and it lived up to my expectations. The peanut butter made this custard so smooth and creamy, almost mousse-like. The chocolate was not extremely sweet, and you could certainly taste the peanut butter. All in all it was a great pairing and certainly one that I would like to get again.

Salty Chocolate Peanut Butter
A's rating: 9/10
M's rating: 7/10

Monday, March 26, 2012

Chocolate Peppermint Stick

Last fall, I picked up a variety of Luna bars and reviewed them with mixed results. After discovering my favorite one to date, chocolate dipped coconut, I was wary of trying any others in case they weren't that good. This weekend I decided to get a new one (in addition to the 6 chocolate dipped coconut bars I got) - chocolate peppermint stick.

Photo source

The Luna site describes this bar as a blend of dark chocolate and candy-cane peppermint. When I opened the package, I definitely got a whiff of peppermint. The bar also didn't have the usual swirl on top so I hoped that maybe it wouldn't have that indistinguishable citrus flavor (and it didn't).

Another crappy webcam pic... sorry...

The bar had 2 layers. The bottom layer was the peppermint and it tasted like the inside of a peppermint patty. The top layer was like a crumbled chocolate cookie. The bar trial was a success... but I still like chocolate dipped coconut better. However, I think that's just a personal preference for coconut over peppermint. If you're a peppermint fan, I would encourage you to check this one out.

My rankings, through bar 7:
1. Chocolate dipped coconut
2. Chocolate peppermint stick
3. Toasted nuts 'n cranberry
4. Blueberry bliss
5. S'mores
6. White chocolate macadamia
7. Vanilla almond

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Taste of India II

Tonight for dinner I went with my parents and A to Taste of India II, a restaurant which was new to us but has apparently been here since 1990. It looks like they recently renovated the space next to the original restaurant and are in the process of expanding. We haven't gone out for Indian food with my parents before, so we ordered a lot of our reliable go-to dishes as a nice introduction.

The meal started off with complimentary papadums and the usual trio of chutneys and onions. We also ordered meat samosas (ground meat and peas) and vegetarian samosas (potatoes and peas) for appetizers.

The samosas were good, but not the best we've had. The potatoes in the vegetarian samosa didn't have that much flavor on their own, unlike some others we have had with curried potatoes and peas. Adding the green sauce and red onions to it made it much better. The meat samosa had more flavor, but was also improved with the green sauce and onions (like pretty much everything would be...).

We got 4 dishes for our main course - chana masala (chickpeas), bhindi masala (okra with onions and tomatoes), chicken madras (cooked in coconut milk, curry leaves and mustard seed), and chicken tikka (boneless chicken marinated in yogurt and spices and roasted in the clay oven).

The chana masala was a little more watery than some others that we like and less flavorful (maybe related). Although it's one of my favorite Indian dishes, it was not my favorite tonight, and I was a little disappointed because I know it could be better. The chicken tikka was a little dry and didn't seem to have as many spices as others we've had. I think the general conclusion on those 2 dishes was that, although they were good, we have had better versions of them before at other places with more vibrant flavors. The bhindi masala, on the other hand, was better. The okra had a good texture (but they were long pieces instead of the smaller pieces), the sauce had more flavor, and the onions were tasty. The chicken madras was also good - lots of sauce to use on the rice, nice spices and flavoring, tender chicken. Those two dishes were definitely the better two in our opinion.

The dishes came with the usual basmati rice and we also got some garlic naan.

The rice was good, but I had really good naan the other day at lunch so I didn't love this naan that much. The garlic was good though!

The decor in the restaurant (we were on the renovated side) looks nice, other than the blinding bright blue lights. The meal was good but the blue lighting was terrible. I felt bad for A and my dad that had it even worse than me since they had to look into the lights the whole time. It was so blue that all of our pictures look blue and I can still see a bit of blue sheen in my eyes.

I think our meal at Taste of India II was good, especially since there aren't a ton of Indian restaurants in Staten Island. We've had better Indian dishes at some other places in Curry Hill (and we still have to do more adventuring in Queens), so we have a pretty high bar for some of these dishes (like the chana masala we eat everywhere). But we would definitely return and try some more dishes or the lunch buffet. Maybe they'll ditch the blue lights by that time...

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Maple Bacon Banan-za

One of the more interesting custard flavors this month at Shake Shack is maple bacon banan-za. We had tried pancakes and bacon previously (but didn't write about it) and we wondered if this would be similar. We didn't love that one when we tried it so we hoped this one would be better.

M's thoughts:
Although the name is maple bacon banan-za, I didn't get any maple, got quite a bit of bacon flavor, and only a little banana. My first spoonful tasted like banana custard with a hint of bacon bits-type flavor. (Really, it was like Bac-Os to me.) As I kept eating it, it became more like plain custard with a heavy taste of bacon bits. It was interesting eating that type of flavor in a dessert custard form.

A's thoughts:
I didn't get any maple in this custard and the bacon was nearly non-existent aside from a few hints here and there. The only discernible flavor I could taste was the banana, and even that started to fade as I ate. In the end, what started out tasting like a bit of a muted banana custard with hints of bacon sprinkled in here and there turned into fairly plain vanilla.

Maple Bacon Banan-za
A's rating: 5/10
M's rating: 5.5/10

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Yu Bowl

Earlier this year, Yushi introduced a new concept - the Yu Bowl. It's like an Asian version of a Chipotle burrito bowl, except that you can only choose a specified number of items in each category (e.g., vegetable toppings) unlike Chipotle where you could get everything but guacamole for free in the bowl. When Yushi first started offering the bowl, they did a buy one get one free day that I couldn't go to, so I finally made my way over there to try it today on a beautiful spring afternoon.

In putting together the Yu Bowl, you move down the line through various stations (base, protein, vegetable, sauce, garnish) and your ending price depends on what meat you choose and how much (single portion, double, etc). I got brown rice and bok choy salad for my base (you can do half and half), chicken for my protein, tom tom cucumber slaw (cucumbers, carrots, cilantro), miso sticky eggplant and Szechuan green beans for my vegetable toppings (you pick 3), sweet chili sauce, and cilantro, spicy nuts, and chili peppers for garnishes (those are unlimited and I only skipped the coconut). The bowl ended up costing $8.45 pre-tax (they raised the prices since the opening of the Yu bowl bar), which is not that much more than a Chipotle bowl.

What I liked: lots of vegetables, good flavoring. I liked most of what I chose, thought the ingredients (all of which were seasoned differently and separately) for the most part worked well together, and definitely fulfilled my desire for vegetables.

What I didn't like: the miso eggplant. It was a little too sweet for my liking and didn't really fit with everything else in the bowl. I should have gone with the mushrooms or corn like I was originally thinking. But other than the eggplant, which I mostly ate separately, the rest was pretty good. It's not a huge portion but it was reasonably sized and good enough for me for lunch.

I would return and get the Yu Bowl again. It's more cost-efficient than any of their other items. Also, it's usually hard to find places with abundant vegetables at lunch that aren't salad places and this is a good answer for that craving.

Yushi has one downtown location and one midtown location. The midtown location that I visited for the Yu bowl is at 47th and Lexington.

IGK Kalbi Tacos

In the past I've written plenty of posts about IGK and their Asian food station. There's actually another post I keep forgetting to write concerning their spicy chicken over rice, but that's a different story. I've been there so often that all of the cashiers recognize me. In fact, when I came up with my kalbi tacos, the cashier I talk with the most joked that I was actually trying something from their new menu as opposed to one of the items listed in the above posts that I always seem to get. Yes, I love this place.

Box with 3 kalbi tacos

Cross section of a taco

M and I have had plenty of kalbi tacos in our days so I had plenty with which to compare. The tacos offered by IGK were bigger than ones you might get from one of the various food trucks here in NYC or in LA. They came loaded with pre-cooked and then pan warmed kalbi chunks, spicy sauce, and a cabbage slaw.

The slaw was quite tasty. I saw the person mixing it up fresh, and it looked like soy sauce, rice vinegar, sesame oil, and sesame seeds. The pre-cooked and warmed kalbi chunks were a bit tougher than I prefer for tacos, but they were flavored well. The spicy sauce wasn't gochujang like I thought it might be, but it added a nice heat and some flavor to the taco. The tortillas were heated on one of those hot plate things, and I think they heated them for too long because they were a little dry and a little too crispy.

Overall the tacos were tasty, and they certainly satisfy a craving that I've had ever since NYC utterly crapped on food trucks in Manhattan. I'll probably get these tacos again at some point, but I'm sure I'll stick with my noodles and rice dishes for the most part still.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Spring Ahead

One of the seasonal specials currently offered at Pizza by Certe is the "spring ahead" pizza, a slice topped with spicy lamb meatballs, fava beans, goat cheese, and sauteed minted cherry tomatoes.

I liked this slice and thought it was much better than the corned beef and cabbage slice that A is going to post about. You could definitely taste the lamb but I didn't find that it overpowered the slice as much as A did, which is funny since I usually don't like the strong flavor of lamb. The goat cheese and tomatoes were also good. We both thought the slice was tasty and would get it again.

Pizza by Certe is located on 56th Street between Park and Lexington.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Beirut Sandwich

One of the food trucks in the city that we really love is Comme Ci Comme Ca run by Chef Samir. It's a Moroccan truck that we go to frequently (possibly more frequently than any other food truck in the city), yet somehow we haven't written a post about it. Most of the time these days when we go there we get the Moroccan kofta over basmati rice, which is delicious. Today Chef Samir was advertising on twitter their special of the day, the Beirut sandwich. It sounded really good so I went over to try it.

The Beirut sandwich was a pita filled with ground chicken from the grille, homemade hummus, tomatoes, mixed greens, and red onions. At only $6, it was a good value.

Beirut sandwich in front of Lake Nyasa (Lake Malawi)

Opening of the pita (left) and bottom of the sandwich (right)

The sandwich was really tasty. The ground chicken, which came in multiple small pieces in the pita, was nicely seasoned and similar in texture to the kofta that we love so much. The onions weren't raw red onions like I was expecting but the sweet caramelized onions that come with the kofta and other platters (which I also love). The only minus to the pita was that the top consisted of the hummus, hot sauce and chicken, and the bottom consisted of the salad, onions, tomatoes and chicken (but not much of the creamy hummus). It was like having 2 sandwiches in one, both of which were good but just different. That said, I would get this again. What I would really love though is if I could get this grilled ground chicken over the basmati rice with the usual onion mix and salad. That would be so delicious.

Monday, March 19, 2012

Louisiana Leaux

When I go to Popeyes, I usually go straight for the chicken tenders and either the mashed potatoes or red beans and rice. Not healthy at all, but so tasty. Recently (I guess it was last summer but I never noticed it until sometime this year) Popeyes introduced a "healthier" option - the Louisiana Leaux menu.

The Louisiana Leaux menu features naked chicken tenders - grilled seasoned white meat chicken strips. I opted for the "naked tenders meal" which came with 3 seasoned naked tenders, a side of green beans and a toasted baguette roll. I have a weakness for Popeyes biscuits (one time in college one of our friends brought a box of biscuits to a bar and we all indulged) so I substituted that for the baguette. I left the green beans so I could have some healthy veggies. I also rationalized with myself (although this does not help my diet) that since I wasn't getting fried chicken, the biscuit would "hurt" less.

The naked tenders themselves were pretty good. They weren't very large, which probably accounts for some of the healthy low calorie benefits, but they were nicely seasoned and clearly made from real white meat chicken. My tongue was aggravated from some medication I was taking, which made the seasoning a little zestier than I could take without a biscuit bite inbetween, but I think on a normal day I would really like it.

The meal was pretty good (although I then ate another biscuit after that; I told you I had a weakness for them). I might get these again instead of my usual fried chicken tenders (although I do love those) since they're healthier. I would probably still get the biscuit, but get a different side. I didn't love the green beans since they reminded me of the green beans I used to make from a can. The naked tenders were really tasty so I'm glad I tried this!

Sunday, March 18, 2012


The Sunday Shake Shack flavor for March is Fluffernutter. We were very intrigued by this as A loves peanut butter, and he's heard that marshmallow fluff is delicious. People are always espousing on the amazingness of the combination, but we've never had the opportunity to try it. Yes, amazingness isn't a word. So what? Such as it is, we were excited to try this flavor, but we were also a little apprehensive since the peanut butter flavors in the past for Shake Shack have been underwhelming at best.


This custard was interesting in that it seemed like vanilla custard blended with crunchy peanut butter and supposedly marshmallow flavoring. It definitely had peanut butter, but it really didn't taste of any sort of marshmallow. The peanuts added a nice crunchiness. At one point A thought he saw a piece of marshmallow actually mixed in, but he couldn't taste it. M mostly thought it tasted like a sweet peanut butter. She didn't get any peanuts or marshmallow pieces, just swirls of peanut butter. The best part to M was that it soothed her sore throat. Overall it was an okay flavor, but it wasn't anything outstanding.

A's Rating: 6/10
M's Rating: 6/10

Gimme That Filet-o-Fish

Back when I was in law school, I used to go to McDonalds on a regular basis, usually for a Filet-o-Fish sandwich. Is it the best fish sandwich ever? No. It's nothing like the fresh fish sandwich you could get at the Paia Fish Market. But there's just something about the Filet-o-Fish that's a guilty pleasure. Maybe it's because I grew up with it and it's stayed constant over the years. A and I don't go to McDonalds very much at all these days but this weekend we found ourselves there and got the buy one get one Filet-o-Fish (Lent) special.

If you're (somehow) unfamiliar with a Filet-o-Fish sandwich, it's a fried fish square with one piece of yellow American cheese, a dollop of tartar sauce, and a soft squishy white bun.

Sadly this Filet-o-Fish sandwich wasn't as good as the ones in my memory. It was dry and a little bland, and the fish also seemed smaller than in the past. A didn't think it was as good as he remembered it either, but thought maybe it was because they kept rushing them out (things are popular when they're BOGO and it was a Friday night). We had hoped for so much more.

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Green Ketchup and Fries

While wandering around downtown this afternoon, we passed by a Burger King and saw a promotion for free fries all weekend in honor of St. Patrick's Day. Free fries? Yes please.

The fries were the small value size and came with packages of green ketchup, or, as Heinz called it, St. Paddy's Sauce.

The green ketchup didn't taste any different from regular ketchup so it was probably just food coloring. But it felt festive for the holiday.

If you happen to pass by a Burger King this weekend, stop in for the free fries! We don't go to Burger King that often... but free is free!

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Caribbean Kitchen

One day around lunch I was coming back from one of my clients and decided I was in the mood for something new. I had walked past Caribbean Kitchen plenty of times on my way to and from this client, and I figured it was time to give it a try. The restaurant space has changed at least 3 times since I started working in NYC back in late 2005. This iteration shared a space with an Indian restaurant that I may try at some point as well. This day, though, belonged Caribbean Kitchen.

One of my favorite Caribbean dishes is stewed oxtail. I use it as a gauge of how good a place could be. Caribbean Kitchen offers their oxtail over rice and peas, stewed cabbages, and plantains.

Stewed Oxtail over Rice and Peas, Cabbage, and Plantains

The oxtails were rich and tender, and the stew tasted of cinnamon and spices. Overall they were quite flavorful, but they weren't the best I've had. The rice and peas were buttery and fluffy and a perfect complement to the rich oxtail. The cabbage was rather bland, but with the heavy flavors of the rice and oxtail it didn't need to be a highlight. What it did add was a bit of extra texture and some vegetables to the dish. The plantains were sweet and soft. I love plantains, and these were tasty. To my understanding it's hard to mess up plantains, though.

Overall this was a very satisfying meal, but it comes at a rather hefty price. Being over $10, it's on the expensive side for Midtown lunches, but it certainly satisfied my craving for stewed oxtail.


The next stop on my current block by block challenge was Sophie's Cuban. (Wow, I'm almost a month late on this post.) It wasn't my first time there, but every other time I've gone there, I've gotten the baked chicken sandwich with varying degrees of success. This time, I told myself that I had to try something different for the challenge so I went with picadillo - the ground beef stew - which is one of the Wednesday specials of the day.

Each of the hot meals includes 2 sides. I wasn't sure what sides to get but the guy suggested yellow rice for one so I went with that. I decided to go with the black beans next to it for the "traditional" rice and beans. The only issue was that I didn't realize the "beans"were actually a side of rice and beans mixed together, so I ended up with two sides of rice. Very heavy. Maybe I should have gotten plantains but I wasn't really in the mood for them. There isn't really a vegetable side, which would be nice. The rice/beans and the yellow rice were both fine. I don't remember them being anything extraordinary but just remember that they were heavy.

The stew was pretty good. It had ground beef with onions, peppers, celery, big green olives, and raisins. The raisins were a surprise to me as I wasn't expecting them to be there. They did add a sweetness to the stew to give the flavor some depth which was nice. I'm not a big olive fan but I did try bites of stew with the olives. I just felt like the olives and their sourness overpowered the taste of the stew so I didn't eat all of them. I did, however, use all of my green hot sauce (not pictured) since, as I have mentioned with the sandwich, I love that stuff. I would get the stew again, especially on a cold or rainy day when you just want something hearty and comforting.

Buttery Caramel Cocoa Nib

The first custard we tried for March was buttery caramel cocoa nib, the Thursday custard.

M's thoughts:
I wasn't expecting to like this custard, but I was pleasantly surprised. When I went to pick this up after work, the person I ordered from told me that there were real cocoa beans in it, and to make sure those weren't the last thing I had as they were very bitter. My first spoonful of custard (without any cocoa nibs) was very rich and full of buttery caramel. I didn't particularly like it. Then I started eating it with the cocoa nibs and that made a huge difference. They were crunchy and did have a strong bitter cocoa flavor. But mixed in with the rich custard to temper the bitterness, it was really good.

A's thoughts:
This was a very interesting custard flavor. The custard itself was a nice, rich butterscotch flavor. I do like butterscotch so this was a great first start. The beauty came when I added the cocoa nibs to the mix. The bitter dark chocolate paired extremely well with the buttery sweetness of the custard, and it also added a nice texture to each bite. All in all a very tasty flavor.

Buttery Caramel Cocoa Nib
A's rating: 8/10
M's rating: 8/10

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

King of Falafel and Shawarma

One of our favorite vendors at the Vendy Awards in past years was the King of Falafel and Shawarma, which won the Vendy Cup and People's Choice Awards at the Vendys in 2010. (We never had a chance to write about it but we voted for them!) The cart has been located in Astoria and run by Freddy, who is one of the nicest, friendliest vendors we have met and very passionate about serving excellent food. (To see more about the original Astoria cart and Freddy's food, here's the video the Vendy people did before the 2010 awards.)

Since we don't live in Astoria, we don't get to see Freddy very often. But recently he announced that he was putting together a second cart and heading to Manhattan, which we were really excited about. Today was their first day in midtown - at 53rd and Park - and there was a long line for most of the lunch rush. Everyone loves the King of Falafel! I knew what I wanted to do for lunch today...

I decided to take a late lunch and ventured over after 2, when the line was much shorter but the shawarma was almost gone. I got a shawarma platter which came with salad (lettuce, tomato, red onion, pickles, pickled turnips) and a piece of falafel. They were running out of chicken so I got the last of that plus some of the lamb. (I usually just get chicken.) The cart was so busy the whole time. Freddy kept making falafel and tossing them into the fryer inbetween serving customers. As exhausting as it must have been, it must also have been nice knowing that so many midtowners love their food! What a welcome!

The falafel was as good as I remembered. It's an oblong shape instead of a round ball which keeps the outside crispy and the inside soft and not dry. It's a unique falafel and so good. The white and hot sauces on top of the shawarma and salad were also delicious. The last time we had the chicken shawarma at the Vendys, we went early in the day, so I think the shawarma that time was better than what I had today, which was the end of the batch. That said, it was still really tasty and has such a good blend of spices. I think next time (whenever I can find the time to trek over again and wait in line) I might go for a falafel platter (especially if they're running low on shawarma). The falafel is really that good. Welcome to midtown, King of Falafel!

Sunday, March 11, 2012

My Taco is a Doritos

Taco Bell recently introduced a new taco - a crunchy taco with a Doritos chip shell instead of the usual yellow crunchy shell. I've been intrigued by it every time I see the ad and this weekend, we finally got to try it. We don't live that close to any Taco Bells (sad) but we went to the one in Union Square during our city food crawl.

The Doritos locos tacos are, according to the Taco Bell website, "a taco supreme made with premium seasoned beef, crispy lettuce, diced juicy red ripe tomatoes, real cheddar cheese and topped with cool reduced-fat sour cream, in a shell made from nacho cheese Doritos chips." Although it didn't look quite like the taco in the posters, it did come with everything as advertised.

I really liked this taco. The Doritos shell added a nice cheesy flavor to the beef and sour cream, and a different type of cheesy flavor than the shredded "real" cheddar cheese. I love crunchy tacos because of the contrasting texture with the fillings inside. A also liked it and thought the Doritos shell was a little thinner than the regular shell and more like a Doritos chip. We would definitely get this again. Yum!

Food Crawl

Do you ever go for a food crawl in your city?

We didn't have amazing spring weather today but we decided to take a walk around the city, eating our way downtown to redeem our google offer for ice cream. We ended up stopping for a whole bunch of snacks - pizza from 2 Bros, doughnuts and coffee from Doughnut Plant, the new Doritos taco at Taco Bell, ice cream cups at Emack & Bolios, and finally Japanese style hot dogs and fries from Japadog. We ended up walking over 26,000 steps today and we weren't even out for half a day. Most of these snacks warrant their own post (and hopefully we'll get there). I love the idea of food crawls and eating our way around the city with little snacks. Do you do that in your city? Do you prefer to plan it out or just wander around, dropping in for snacks as you go?

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Paia Fish Market

Three years ago today we were in Maui, enjoying one of the few warm and sunny days we had on that trip. For lunch, we ventured over to Paia Fish Market for the first time, a place we had heard a lot about but didn't get to try on our last trip.

The restaurant isn't that large, but the menu has a lot of variety. We knew we would be ordering something with fish. After all, it's called the Paia Fish Market!

A got the mahi fish and chips, which came with slaw, tartar sauce, and fries. A thought that the fish and chips plate was good and one of the best he had had. The mahi pieces were very fresh and tasty, but since it was fried, it lost a little bit of its greatness. This place is known for its slaw, which was really good. It's been awhile so we can't remember if the fries were seasoned or not.

I got the ono burger. The burger consists of a piece of charbroiled fish on a sesame seed bun with coleslaw, tartar sauce, tomato, and shredded cheese. I also got a side of cajun rice. We both liked this plate better than the fish and chips.

The ono burger was delicious. A big juicy piece of fresh grilled fish topped with tasty slaw, fresh tomato and light fluffy cheese. The slaw was the same that came with the fish and chips. I don't remember exactly what's in it, but I remember that it was really good. This was the best fish sandwich I had ever eaten, and I think it might still be the best ever.

The cajun rice is also really good and I prefer that to the fries. It's seasoned rice with carrots and onions mixed in and a nice hearty accompaniment to the fresh burger.

We highly recommend a visit to the Paia Fish Market. We loved it so much that we returned on the way to the airport on our last day in Maui on that trip for another lunch where we got ono and opakapaka burgers (with cajun rice). On our wedding trip, we went there two more times. That should tell you how much we love this place. If you're in Maui, go get the fish burgers! Reasonably priced and so tasty.