Throwback Thursday – Filipino, Italian and Eat Thai Visit Thai Restaurant Week

Happy 4th of July! As we celebrate freedom and the birth of America, we believe that over the span of 200 years, our country has become a melting pot with a diverse group of immigrants, first/second generation children building their legacy. What better way to honor and pass on traditions through food. So let’s begin with:

Filipino Restaurant Week, which took place from May 13th thru May 26th. They have a three course lunch and three course dinner special. We chose a place called Grill 21 in the Gramercy section of NYC. They had a three course deal for $35 for two people. So below was the following:

Shanghai Lumpia

Combo set of BBQ Chicken meal

Buko pandan (young coconut and pandan leave mixture)

Combo set: Kare kare (beef oxtail in peanut and vegetable sauce)

The food was good, service was very quick and reservations were strict. It was definitely great deal plus I had leftovers for the next day.

The next place(s) we went to was for Italian Restaurant Week took place from June 1-8 of this year. It was a eight-day celebration of authentic Italian cuisine. Three course lunch was $29.99 and three course dinner was $49.99. We were privileged to have dinner at two restaurants that were participating: Felidia and Barbalu.

Let’s start with a solo dinner at Felidia which was a pretty nice restaurant. It has 3 floors, the first floor is the bar and section for regular and high end clientale. The second floor is where all the new people/tourists sat. The third floor we believe was where private events would take place. When I entered the restaurant the hostess and staff were polite but I sensed there’s a type of prejudice. The hostess sat me in the corner with my back turned to the crowd. After a few minutes, the server saw me and repositioned me to let me enjoy the ambiance of the place. The server was really nice and accommodating. So below is what I ate from the restaurant:

Complementary bread with beans and hummus

Capasante – scallops with vegetables

Vitello

Tiramisu

Complementary cookies

Service and staff needs work but the food is one of the best Italian foods ever. Everything I ate was cooked to perfection. If I had to choose, the vitello was the dish I have ever had and the tiramisu was my second favorite. I would definitely return to this restaurant for the upcoming NYC restaurant week starting July 22 through August 16.

The second restaurant we went to was Barbalu located in the South Street Seaport. This husband and wife restaurant was rebuilt after Superstorm Sandy after their original restaurant was completely destroyed. We went for dinner and their three course dinner was only $42. The food was overall good especially for a local small business spot. Service was definitely better than Felidia. So below is what we ordered:

Appetizer special: Bresaola with arugula

Pear and Ricotta Fagottini with Cream and Truffle Oil

Tartufo Gelato

My favorite out of the three was the pasta entree because all the flavors balanced out and the fagottini was freshly made. This restaurant is perfect for freshly made pasta plus they also have gluten free pasta. Personally I would come back for a group dinner.

Finally OpenTable provided a promo from Thailand Insider called #Eatthaivisitthai restaurant week which is occurring now until July 15. Thailand Insider is holding a contest where you take a picture(s) of the food eaten at the participating restaurant(s) and hashtag #Eatthaivisitthai, tag “Thailand Insider” and a foodie friend to join in. The prize is a 10 day culinary trip to Thailand. So, I went on a solo dinner to Somtum Der in the East Village to take advantage of their happy hour. For happy hour it was 1/2 price drinks and $6 fried chicken thigh. In addition I ordered the thai tea panna cotta and larb moo spring roll.

Mangosteen martini

Fried Chicken Thighs

Thai Ice Tea Panna Cotta

Po Pia Larb Moo

The restaurant is closed from 4-6pm and it opens at 6pm sharp. Since I was dining alone I had the option to sit on the stool or on a table so I chose the table. Once I sat on the table I felt that service was rushed. Other than the rushed service the food was on point. I was impressed by the mangosteen martini especially with the price the quality of the drink (balance of juice with alcohol). I would definitely return to this place with friends to try their som tum and suggested combination sets.

Sunday Game Plan – Diet plan for one week

Hello everyone! So tomorrow is July 1st and this is the perfect time to make a change with the end goal being weight loss and eventually getting into my dresses comfortably.

After doing some research I read an article from Woman’s Day regarding a 6 day summer weight loss program and as much I want to replicate the plan, I have to do some modifications because I had to work with what I had. In addition, I will be traveling back and forth so planning healthy meals will be tough. The article set a plan where the most calories come from dinner. The calorie outline listed on the article was 300 calories for breakfast, 400 calories for lunch, 500 calories for dinner and 150 calories for snacks. Therefore the total calorie intake is 1350 calories.

For this week’s game plan, I have listed meals for 7 days instead of 6. In addition I didn’t count calories so I am unsure if I went over the total calorie intake. So below is the list of breakfast, lunch and dinner meal plan for the week.

Pictures of these proposed meals will be posted on my Instagram: tablespoonsandteaspoons.

Wish me luck and stay tuned!!

Social Saturday – 2019 Queens International Night Market

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Almost two months ago we were privileged to attend the preview of this year’s Queens International Night Market behind the New York Hall of Science inside Flushing Corona Park in Queens. With a small fee $5 which went to charity, we get the opportunity to taste dishes from returning and new food vendors. Founder John Wang, started the International Night Market back in 2015 in the effort to create a cultural event to celebrate the diversity of immigrants and small businesses. The Night Market was designed to sell dishes at a cap of $6 and in the beginning of this project, I’ve learned that half of the proceeds were going to be donated.

On April 27, there were 54 food vendors that participated in the event. The vendors came from various countries such as China, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Japan, Philippines, Colombia, Korea, Vietnam, Burma, Mexico, Moldova, Malaysia, Ukraine and Indonesia. In addition, to the diverse food options, there were unique food creations such as the Moffle Bar and Twister Cake.

This was my fourth time I visited the Night Market and this time my goal was to taste the food at Burmese Bites. This vendor always had a long line because you get your money’s worth. Portion sizes were shareable. So finally we were able to order a dish from Burmese Bites. Burmese Bites were selling three dishes and we ordered the Keema Palata for $6. The dish tasted authentic and really good plus it fed two people, the portion size appeared deceivingly small but it was extremely filling.

During our visit to the Night Market, we sampled food from 7 out of the 54 food vendors. We just want to disclose that healthy food choices during this visit did not cross our minds as we were embracing the diversity that was celebrated through cultural and even fusion dishes. Below are the dishes that we tried that stood out from the event. The total cost of the dishes below we spent was: $40 for two people, which was not bad for 7 different dishes.

There were five other dishes we tried including the Pho Ga (chicken pho soup) from Em Vietnamese for only $5. The soup was really good especially that it was cold that night. The soup was also hot, fresh and filling.

We were already full at this point so we walked to various vendors and we spotted another vendor that we wanted to try: Jibarito Shack which is a Latin food vendor that served sandwiches using fried plaintains instead of bread. As a result we decided to split a low carb sandwich. We ordered the El Dominicano made with roast pork, pickled onions, queso frito and Dominican salami for only $5. The sandwich was definitely low carb but the first two dishes we had previously were better.

We also checked another new vendor called KINIKorean Dakgangjeong & Ganjang Chicken. We ordered the Ganjang (not spicy) fried chicken $5. The chicken was messy but tasty however it wasn’t as crispy as Bon Chon.

The next place we tried again was Joon a Persian rice cup spot that can be filled up with various flavors. We got the Pomegranate Walnut Chicken and Tumeric Beef and Eggplant at $6 each. Personally I like overcooked rice which is a little dried but other people didn’t like it. In addition, the proportion or balance of meat with sauce to rice was uneven meaning that there was more rice leftover after eating the meat(s). The leftover rice had no flavor and once it got cold, the taste was not the same once served hot.

For dessert we went to Wembie for some awesome Farmer cheese donuts ($4). The donuts definitely hit the spot.

We ended the night with Ecuadorean dark chocolate from Element Truffles. These chocolates were raw, organic and dairy free. We ordered a small dark chocolate bar with sea salt and tumeric for $3.

The Queens International Night Market runs every Saturday night starting at 5pm until midnight starting now until August 17 and September 28 thru October 26. It’s free and prices for each food item is capped at $6.

Flashback Friday – NYC Restaurant Week Winter 2017

Top left: Appetizer – Vermont Sausage with Hash Brown Cake, Top Right: Frenchie Burger with fries, Bottom: Molten chocolate lava cake

Top left: Appetizer: Butternut Squash, Top Right: Entree: Frenchie Burger, Bottom: Mango & Passion fruit sorbet

Top: Happy hour blueberry mojito, hamachi crudo, skirt steak with fennel salad, molten chocolate lava cake. Bottom: Passion sangria, fried chicken Thigh sliders, Coconut curry, mango fruit bar

Throwback Thursday: Three Day Food and Networking Adventure: Healthy Food Expo/International Restaurant and Foodservice Expo and CoffeeFest

Hello everyone, it’s been a long time since I last posted, I don’t even remember when I wrote something here (that is really bad). I hope this post makes up for not posting since my review of this year’s NYC Winter Restaurant Week.

Over six weeks ago, I have had the privilege to attend my first Healthy Food Expo/International Restaurant and Foodservice Expo and CoffeeFest at the Jacob Javits Center in New York City. This was a three day event and it was the best three days I have had in a long long time. I was honored to meet and learn from empowering chefs and health care professionals. It was so much connecting and reconnecting with people who share the same passion in food and healthy eating. There were food tasting and presentations. I went to 6 presentations that day and they were all amazing and inspiring. For the Healthy Expo I attended the presentation(s) entitled:

FRESH Food Tips for a Sustainable and Healthy Lifestyle, One Meal at a Time by Dr. Robert Graham who is a native New Yorker born and raised in Jackson Heights and now founder of Fresh Medicine an integrative health organization that address the root cause of medicine. FRESH Rx is made up of five components: food, relaxation, exercise, sleep and happiness – a recipe to health. The components are necessary to make the patient healthier. Check out their website and follow their Instagram and Twitter page: freshmednyc.

The Power Of Spices and Their Health Benefits by Dr. Kanchan Koya, Health Coach and founder of Spice Spice Baby which addresses evidence based science behind the health benefits of spices such as curcumin an active ingredient from in tumeric. Her presentation of spices and its health benefits are informative and resourceful. Check out her blog and follow her Instagram page: Chefspicemama and Twitter page: Kkoya.

For the International Restaurant and Foodservice Expo I attended four cooking demos by Chef Marcus Samuelson who made a pasta dish and a very tasty scallop dish while sharing his empowering and inspiring journey to pursuing his passion in the culinary arts. Now I am interested in reading his memoir titled “Yes, Chef: A Memoir” and hopefully one day this summer I can make a pit stop Red Rooster and try his famous fried chicken. Check out his website on his impressive accomplishments and follow him on Instagram and Twitter: marcuscooks.


SCALLOP CRUDO HIBISCUS, MACADAMIA

GARGANELLI SWEET POTATO, AYIB (sorry about the blurry photo, my hands were full)

The next day, I was ecstatic to attend cooking demos by thriving women chefs Anita Lo and Amanda Cohen. In addition, I learned how to make pasta in a food processor by Fabio Viviani and watched a Meatless Monday cooking competition. I enjoyed hearing Anita Lo talk and cook her awesome cauliflower chaat with almonds. Her story was inspiring because she is also a first generation Asian American who is living her passion. Unfortunately I did not make it to one of her initial restaurants Annisa, I was lucky to even win her new cookbook “Solo: A Modern Cookbook for a Party of One” and replicate some of the recipes. Check out her website and follow her on Instagram and Twitter: AnitaLoNYC.


CAULIFLOWER CHAAT WITH ALMONDS – amazing dish and she made look so easy to make no wonder why she is a Michelin Star Chef, Iron Chef Winner against Bobby Flay and a Top Chef Master

Next I stayed to listened to Amanda Cohen’s story behind the ups and downs of starting a vegetarian restaurant and maintaining it. Her persistence, creativity and passion for cooking vegetables is remarkable and I have learned so many ways to utilize a simple vegetable such as a carrot. I have yet to eat at Dirt Candy but all my peers and friends that have eaten there raved about it and told me to eat there. Yes, Dirt Candy is on my bucket list as one of the restaurants to go to this year (God willing). I was impressed how Amanda created her famous and popular dish Carrot Risotto and Carrot Dumplings. She utilizes a lot of science and technique to make this dish high end while utilizing ingredients on a budget. I have tasted this dish and it was amazing. Unfortunately, I failed to get a good clear photo of this beautiful dish. Luckily I won her cookbook “Dirt Candy: A Cookbook” which contains this recipe and I sense a calling to replicate this dish. Check her restaurant’s website and follow the restaurant’s Instagram: dirtcandynyc and Twitter: dirtcandy.

Chef Cohen’s cooking demo was followed by Chef Fabio Viviani’s cooking demo on making fresh fettuccine with roasted pine nuts and basil pesto. He made fresh pasta using a food processor, his method was 4 tablespoons of flour per 1 large egg. His demo made it look so easy as it took about two minutes to create the dough on the food processor. After the dough is made, if the dough is too sticky and wet add more flour and if the dough is too grainy and starchy add a little water. I was so excited of how simple and quick to make fresh pasta that I tried it at home. Luckily I won his cookbook “Fabio’s 30 minute Italian” which contained the recipe of replicating the fresh pasta. I have attempted to make the fresh pasta, but more on that later. I felt that the demo was rushed and quick due to time constraints. In addition, he was also the judge for the next food demo – The Rapid Fire Challenge, among three chefs themed Meatless Monday. The winner wins $1000.

On to the Rapid Fire Challenge the three way battle of the best Meatless Monday dish. The challenge was judged by: Maria Loi, Cookbook Author, Greek Food Ambassador, and Healthy Lifestyle Expert; Peggy Neu, President of The Monday Campaigns ; Gennaro Pecchia, Co-Host of Rolands Food Court at Sirius XM and Chef Fabio Viviani who is also a restaurateur. The challenge started with Chef Patricia Washuta from Orlando, FL who presented the following dish: Impossible Meatless Kefta, which was creative, tasty, healthy, low carb and budget friendly. Check out her audition video of the dish on YouTube.

Impossible Meatless Kefta

The second dish was presented by Chef Heidi Liv Tompkins from Heidi’s Health Kitchen in New York, NY who presented her dish: Mock Tuna Recipe. The dish is gluten free, plant based, organic, paleo and therefore, healthy.

Mock Tuna Recipe (apologies for the blurred photo)

The final dish was presented by Chef Lisa Sereda from Wine Time based in Chico, CA who presented her Walnut “Meat” Stuffed Anaheim Pepper, which was my personal favorite because of its presentation and taste.

Walnut “Meat” Stuffed Anaheim Pepper 

After tough judging from Maria Loi and debates about the origin of food among the judges, the winning dish of the Rapid Fire Challenge was the Mock Tuna by Chef Heidi Liv Tompkins. Congratulations Chef Heidi!

In addition to the amazing talks and demos I have had the privilege to experience, I get to sample various food products from new businesses who are seeking to sell their products in US markets. There were so many amazing new products out there are creative and healthy. It was a honor to be a participant in tasting these products before they go out to the distributor(s).

My favorite savory tastings from the expo were the:

  • Aliments Mello Inc – Smoked Meat Brisket Sandwich – the meat melts like butter in your mouth
  • Synear Shrimp Supreme Dumpling promoted by Walong Marketing – Dumpling is really good; the filling was amazing; this brand does not skimp on the shrimp.
  • Mama’s in the Kitchen Breaded Shrimp was the perfect balance of shrimp with breading. The breading can be purchased online. They also have breading for chicken and fish.
  • Chef Fun Foods seasoned fries using the shake bags: these fries shakened with various flavors. My favorites were BBQ, garlic parmesan and sour cream and onion.
  • BeItalian Meatballs and pecorino in cooked wine – these meatballs were freshly cooked and very authentic. The dish was a collaborative effort organized by Lombardia Fiere.
  • VegeWorld Vegetarian meats from Malaysia and I was impressed by the taste of the products. My favorites were the Vegetarian Lamb, Vege Roasted Chicken and Vege Hawaiian Chicken.
  • Gianni’s Chicken Burgers were awesome chicken burgers made locally in Long Island. Unfortunately I don’t have a picture, but I can testify that I will be ordering these burgers online. In addition, their burgers are sold at local supermarkets in White Plains and Huntington. My personal favorites were Jalapeno Popper Chicken Burgers and Original Chicken Spinach Burger.

My top 5 sweet tastings from the expo were the:

  • Mochidoki Green Tea and Passion Fruit Mochi Ice Cream – great healthy dessert; a perfect end to my savory food tastings. Mochidoki has 12 flavors and some of their products are sold at Turnstyle Underground Market and you can place an order online that includes all 12 flavors.
  • Carubies Decadent Carob Truffles from Heidi’s Health Kitchen is a healthy and tasty truffle. Who knew that these truffle chocolates are plant-based and gluten free? This means that the products are soy free, dairy free, and caffeine free. These truffles can be purchased online on their website. Personally the best buy is their original flavor for $20 which has 20 pieces.
  • Everyday Gourmet Bakery Cookies were so good. Did you know that they are vegan, kosher, non-GMO, and made with whole grains? In addition, they are nutritious with a good amount of protein and minerals such as calcium, magnesium, selenium, zinc, iron and manganese. These cookies can be purchased online and the best buy is the 2 box pack only for $5.
  • Wateke Foods is new company based in Florida who produces various products especially guacamole, acai, frozen fruits and beverages. I only tried the acai which was fresh and good. I have yet to try the guacamole, but based on their high tech technology, the product still looks fresh and I can’t wait to eat with my chips.
  • Pure Crumb is another local product developed by a NYC Fitness Trainer containing less calories and a perfect snack to satisfy a sweet craving. Plus, it’s gluten free and only 150 calories. They come in two flavors: banana bread and chocolate brownie. My favorite was the chocolate brownie. The products are sold online and are currently on sale for $24 for 8 pack and $44 for 16 pack.
  • Earth Effect Frozen Greek Yogurt is a local sustainable product that is healthy. They are a new company in search for partners and manufacturers to support their mission. The frozen yogurt comes in five flavors: tart with dates and pistachios, chocolate with coconut brittle and sliced almonds, Taihitian vanillia with strawberry jam and chocolate, maple and maple pecans and coffee with hazelnut butter and chocolate. I have had tried all five flavors and my favorites were: Taihitian vanillia with strawberry jam and chocolate, coffee with hazelnut butter and chocolate and chocolate with coconut brittle and sliced almonds.

After eating and sampling all the foods at the event, I have had to stay hydrated with drink samples from various companies both non-alcoholic and alcoholic. Below were my favorites:

  1. Figspresso is a plant-based, gluten-free beverage based in Long Island made from dried and roasted figs. This beverage is deceivingly healthy and it would serve as a great alternative for coffee and tea.
  2. Dandy Lion Tea is an organic tea made from dandylions and fruit. They come in two flavors: cherry and peach. It is kosher and organic. Did you know that dandelion is good for digestion and detox? I’ve tasted both flavors and my personal favorite was cherry.
  3. Saratoga Spring Sparkling Water is spring water made locally in Saratoga Springs. The company has been around since 1872!
  4. Cliffton Dry Wine Cider is a vegan, low calorie, low sugar, gluten free and low alcoholic beverage. It is a sparkling wine equivalent to prosecco but made with locally grown apples from the New York’s Finger Lakes Region. This beverage was really good and they’re accessible in some NYC restaurants and Whole Foods.
  5. Senor Sangria is sangria mixed with natural ingredients with either merlot for the red sangria, sauvignon blanc for white sangria and syrah for their new flavor: apple raspberry. I tried all three flavors and they all tasted great, but apple raspberry was my favorite. What’s interesting about their new flavor is that there is no sugar in this sangria making it more healthy.
  6. Brooklyn Crafted Herbal Teas and reTreat Juices are beverages manufactured by Brooklyn Food and Beverage, which is based in Bushwick community in Brooklyn. The herbal teas were pretty good; I have only tried the chrysanthemum and hibiscus herbal flavors. However, the reTreat juices were the standouts for me as the fruits came from places such Thailand. I was excited and enjoyed the mangosteen flavors of these juices. These teas and juices can be found in some local supermarkets.
  7. Brooklyn Crafted Ginger Beer is manufactured by Brooklyn Food and Beverage, which is based in Bushwick community in Brooklyn. The ginger beers were legit meaning is that they are made with real natural ingredients and cane sugar and has the right amount of kick for each level of spice intensity. They can be found in some markets in Brooklyn and used in some restaurants in the city to make cocktails such as the mule.
  8. Kelvin Slush Company is a local organic cocktail mix that is non-GMOs and has no high fructose corn syrup. It is also vegan, kosher and gluten free. So I had tasted some of the flavors, but my favorite was the aperol spritz and frose. The cocktail mix come in various flavors and they are all available on Amazon.
  9. Asarasi is sparkling tree water that is plant-based. This naturally produced water comes in five flavors. My favorites were mango and cherry. All five flavors are available for purchase on their website.
  10. Graft Cider is a company that makes gluten free ciders. These ciders are produced in New York by two siblings. I have had three flavors and my favorite was the Lost Tropic which is a hop mimosa cider. These ciders can be purchased at various restaurants and local markets.

There’s a lot more I have sampled, but unfortunately I did not have good pictures. Overall, it was a honor to connect with people who share the same passion of food, health and medicine. I hope that I will be able to see their products in the US markets and stores so people can enjoy them.

Throwback Thursday – 2019 NYC Winter Restaurant Week

Hello once again! This month was very adventurous with various eating adventures and weight gain. However, I was successfully able to achieve one of my goals for this year, which was to write more reviews on Yelp and OpenTable. I am happy to announce (yes I know it’s cheesy) but I am now part of Yelp Elite. Therefore I am very excited to take part in more exclusive Yelp events and network with more elite Yelpers.

I am happy to say that I have attended at least one of my lunch and dinner restaurant recommendations for NYC Winter Restaurant week thanks to my new friends from Catholic NYC.

So let’s begin with the list of restaurants I was able to eat at for the first official NYC Restaurant week of 2019:

1) Delmonico’s

2) ilili

3) David Burke Tavern

4) Burke and Wills

5) The Dutch

6) Riverpark

Delmonico’s

The restaurant has two floors which calls for segregation from the restaurant week people and their high end regular clients. Overall service was good, my waiter was knowledgeable and recommended the great wine pairing with my entree. This would be a great special occasion restaurant or for a date night for two. Now to the meal:

– The appetizers offered for restaurant week were different variations of their regular menu appetizers. So I settled for the burrata with arugula, beets and poached pear, which was tasty with the Portuguese white wine. Unfortunately I didn’t take a photo or the photo did it make it to this phone.

– For the entree, I settled for the miso butternut squash glazed bass, which was part of their regular menu and beautifully presented. The skin was crispy, and the meat combined with the squash and the leeks plus the white wine was perfect.

– For the dessert, I paid an extra $8 for their classic baked alaska, which was the highlight of my meal and worth the extra cost. The dessert presentation was amazing, the walnut cake, banana gelato, and lemon meringue plus carmelization smokiness was to die for.

Ilili

I came here to have dinner with three people and we had the opportunity to take advantage of the happy hour. The happy hour deals were good. The cool thing about this place was for $42 you get to order four things (Two appetizers, entree and dessert).

Overall the restaurant was busy and after paying our bill, the hostess had to “kick us out” of the table for new guests. She was really nice and accommodating by providing us with a free drink at their lounge. I ordered the “From Beirut with Passion” cocktail which is a basil cilantro mint infused vodka with sparkling passion fruit. This drink after was much stronger than the happy hour version.

– For the two appetizers I went with the steak tartare with onions and jalapenos and the fattoush salad. The tartare was a small portion designed to be cut into quarters to accommodate the perfect balance bite. Therefore the bite tasted good with everything combined. Next the fattoush salad arrived. The salad was refreshing, very minty and crispy due to the toasted pita chips, which worked really well after eating the tartare.

– For the main entree I ordered the Lamb Makboubeh and it was meaty, gamey and hearty especially with the dirty rice and mixed nut mixture. The cucumber yogurt sauce really helped mask the gaminess of the lamb shank. I only ate half of the dish and took the rest home.

– For the dessert came I ordered the ilili candy bar and it was a small portion compared to a regular order. It tasted so good and was a perfect end to the meal.

David Burke Tavern

This restaurant is my go to spot to take a group of people because their menu is the same for restaurant week. Service was efficient and very quick. I sat in the standing table at 5 to 8 and was done with everything at 9.

First I ordered a mocktail: Moscow Mouse which was good and refreshing.

– Appetizer: I ordered the pastrami salmon with falafel. The pastrami salmon was not the same as I had it before. The falafel was a healthier version that caught me by surprise because it was chewy and it did have the breaded crispy crunch that would be found in most if not all authentic falafel.

– Entree – I ordered the roasted branzino. The dish was one of the best dishes I have had in this restaurant to date. The branzino had a great roasted crisp especially combined with the squash, crispy artichoke and artichoke puree. The puree was the best I have had to date.

– For the dessert I went with my server’s recommendation of the chocolate hazelnut crunch cake. Unfortunately, the picture of this beautifully presented dish did not save on my phone. The cake was rich but it has to be consumed with the whipped cream for a balanced taste.

Burke and Wills

For restaurant week I came here for dinner with three friends from Catholic NYC. This restaurant was another good go to spot to take a group of people because their menu is the also same for restaurant week. The restaurant from the outside looks like a hole in a wall, after bypassing the crowded bar there was a open deceivingly unknown space for dining. I would return to have brunch because the back area of the restaurant had a awesome sunroof plus I was informed that there was a speakeasy.

First I ordered a mocktail: Paul Hogan, which was good and refreshing.

Appetizer: I ordered the roasted beet salad. The salad was definitely colorful just as our server described and it was tasty and refreshing.

Entree: I ordered the barramundi which was both popular and highly recommended by our server. The dish was roasted perfectly crispy and mixed with vegetables it had a great balance of flavors. The dish compliment well with the Pinor Gris from Australia.

Dessert: I had to have the bread pudding which was so good and a perfect end to this dessert.

The Dutch

I finally had the privilege to enjoy lunch at the Dutch for NYC restaurant week. I barely made it to lunch before the kitchen closed for dinner. The staff was very accommodating and ensured I was well taken care of. Service overall was great. I took advantage of the deal $26 for two courses which was a great bargain for the amount of food I got. I highly recommend this restaurant for lunch for restaurant week, it’s worth it.

I had the hot tin roof cocktail which was good, refreshing and somewhat medicinal. For the appetizer I went with the shrimp cocktail, the shrimps were huge and the right amount of the crab louie made this deceptively small dish very filling.

The entree was the highlight for me, the roasted chicken kale caesar salad with lots and lots of cheese was huge that it could feed two people. This salad was so good, the chicken was tender and skin was so crispy while the kale and cheese combination hit the spot. I was only able to eat half of it.

Riverpark

For the final night of restaurant week dinner I came to Riverpark with 5 people fromCatholic NYC 15 minutes before they closed. This restaurant is absolutely gorgeous. Service was efficient and accommodating especially when they were going to close for the evening. I would return to have brunch because of the view and outdoor dining option.

Given the time of night I went light and pescatarian.

Appetizer: I ordered the cauliflower sformato. The appetizer was pretty and custard in combination with the cauliflower was to die for.

Entree: I went with the diver scallops and clams which was light and perfect for that of the evening.

Dessert I had to have the persimmon cake with the ginger ice which hit the spot and was a perfect end to this restaurant week adventure.

New York City Restaurant Week Winter 2019 Game Plan

Happy 2019! It’s been 21 days after the New Year but Chinese New Year is coming up. Anyways one of my goals for 2019 is to actively blog while fighting a health scare, working multiple projects and pursuing my next career move. Let’s begin 2019 with a game plan. This game plan is the Winter 2019 NYC Restaurant Week which runs today (January 21) thru Friday February 8.

This restaurant week was not heavily advertised and when I visited the website, I saw that American Express was no longer sponsoring the three week promotion. Well, after reviewing the 313 menus posted, I was more disappointed about the lower amount of discounts offered this season. In addition the timing was terrible on this end because Chinese New Year is on the week of February 4th so I really had to pick and choose my places this season. First, I am going to provide the total number of restaurants offering the best values for lunch, dinner and brunch based on our criteria.

For this season’s restaurant week, I have listed my recommendations for lunch, dinner and brunch.

Brunch: Catch for two and Rahi for two

Lunch: Frankie & Johnnies for one, The Dutch for one, Lure Fishbar for one and T Bar Steak and Lounge for one. For two people, La Pecora Blanca, Legasea, Mamo and Park Avenue Winter are my picks.

Dinner: For solo dinner nights my picks are Ilili, Delmonico’s, Rahi, Park Avenue Winter, Cesca and Gabriel’s. For two people, Maloney & Porcelli, Fine & Rare, Pig & Khao and Mamo. For three people, there’s Club A, Scarpetta and Burke and Wills. If you want to do a group dinner RiverPark, Woodpecker and David Burke Tavern are your best bets.

Stay tuned for upcoming posts and follow me on Instagram: tablespoonsandteaspoons and Twitter: spoonstt.

Cheers!!

GAME PLAN – High Protein Meal Plan on a Budget

Hello everybody, it has been a six weeks since my last post and I have been working and experimenting on mastering basic cooking techniques that I am proud to share on this blog.

Recently I was glancing through several articles and reviewing food labeling content when I realize do people really know portion control.  For example, on a typical diet, one serving of chicken is 4 oz or 1/2 cup or 8 tablespoons so for about a pound of chicken, total servings would be four people.

Over the weekend we went grocery shopping at Shop Rite and we brought several ingredients to see how many portion meals we can make and how long it would last for under $50.  We created dishes, which will be shown on Instagram throughout the week. These recipes are inspired from Thai and Chinese cuisines in combination with recipes from Ideal Protein.  Here is the game plan that should last at least 7 days:

low carb game plan

Stay tuned for more.  Let us know if you have any questions, concerns, comments or feedback on how to improve this blog.  We are open to suggestions.  Thank you for all your support.