Sunday, July 2, 2017

Week 22 - Thai

I generally try to do new things for the cooking challenges, but for the Thai challenge, I decided to just make larb again. It felt like ages since the last time we had made larb at home, and I was really craving it for dinner. It may not have been new, but it was definitely satisfying.

The ground meat challenge two years ago was the first time I had ever tried making larb, and it went pretty well. At that time, I made lots of notes about modifications that I wanted to make in the future, most of which I followed this time around. In addition to those, we used ground turkey instead of ground chicken because that is generally easier for us to find (and cheaper). We now also have Thai chili flakes that we bought after making that recipe, and one heaping tablespoon definitely made it hot.

But overall the method of making it was mostly the same, and by working together (A cooking the turkey while I continued doing more prep), it got done pretty quickly. It's such a simple recipe in concept - just cook the ground meat and when it's done and off the heat, mix in the roasted rice powder, chili flakes, sugar, fish sauce, lime juice, onions, scallions, cilantro, and mint, and adjust the seasonings until it tastes just right. We should definitely make this more.

Saturday, July 1, 2017

Whole Foods Bryant Park

We were looking for a light dinner on Memorial Day (yes, this post is a bit overdue), and as we walked through the Herald Square area, started thinking about Chick-fil-A. It wasn't Sunday, unlike most days that we find ourselves thinking about Chick-fil-A, so we figured they would be open. Unfortunately for us, we got there about two minutes after they closed for the holiday, so no Chick-fil-A for us. Since we were close to the Whole Foods in Bryant Park, we decided to go there and finally try out the prepared foods in their "food hall." It wasn't really much of a food hall as there weren't any stalls, but instead you order from a menu with different themed options on some central kiosks.

We split two things. The first was a Korean hot dog which was topped with kimchi, a sweet and spicy sauce that looked gochujang-based, and scallions. We were pleased to see that the kimchi toppings on this hot dog were plentiful, and the toppings and sauce tasted good. The hot dog itself seemed fine but nothing extraordinary, but went well with the kimchi and sauce. However, the bread was not great at all. It was dry, crumbly, and cold, and really detracted from the rest of the hot dog. A griddled bun would have been much better.

The other thing we split was from the hot chicken menu - the Nashville-style hot chicken sandwich, a fried chicken thigh which came with slaw and some pickles on the side. We ordered it with medium spiciness, since we figured hot chicken would be hot and we probably shouldn't order it spicy because we might end up with something extra spicy (like saying spicy at a Thai restaurant). For hot chicken, it wasn't really very spicy at all. I think I got one bite with any kick to it at all, and A got none. Considering this was what medium was, we figured that if we had ordered it at the spiciest level (one above), it probably wouldn't have been that spicy either. The pickles and slaw were fine but nothing special.

We weren't that impressed with our first visit to WF Bryant Park's "food hall." The two things we ordered were just okay, and we probably wouldn't get them again. Also, considering how few other people were ordering at the same time we did, it took a very long time for the food to be ready. We might try some of the other options at some point -- they had Italian sandwiches, reubens, and Indian-inspired bowls as well, the last of which was probably the most interesting of those three -- but there are lots of other places we'd like to go in the area first. I also think we like the WF buffet bar better than what we got here.