Flashback Friday – Chinese Noodle Soup Adventures

Since the temperature plummeted last week, I’ve been having cravings for noodle soup made from Chinese handmade noodles or homemade ramen specifically.  What I love about these noodles is that I don’t have the knowledge that the noodles are processed, what I mean is that it does not contain the durum wheat, which has been documented as a source for weight gain and obesity.  In addition to the healthy appearing noodles, the broth is made to perfection especially on a cold winter night.  

Below are places I’ve had ramen and or homemade Chinese Noodle soup that it’s worth the money spent and it’s filling. 

Mixed Lamb Noodle Soup $8 Uncle Zhou Elmhurst

Spicy Chicken Ramen Soup – $6.95 Cafe Water Water Street NYC

Beef Stew Hand Drawn Noodle Soup – Lao Bei Fang Dumpling House – Elmhurst

Wonton Hand Drawn Noodle Soup – Lao Bei Fang Dumpling House

Kuu Chili Ramen $14 with House Sake $6 during happy hour – Kuu Ramen – Financial District NYC

Mixed Lamb Noodle Soup $8 – Uncle Zhou – Elmhurst, NY

Spicy Beef Knife shaved noodle soup – Uncle Zhou – Elmhurst NY

Knife shaped noodles – Uncle Zhou – Elmhurst NY

Flashback Friday – Dessert Professionals Top 10 Pastry Chefs 2017

Happy Friday and since it’s the last day of June we would like to commemorate the official last day of National Candy Month. 

This year’s event featured chocolates sponsored by Guittard. 

Below are images from this year’s event:

Display on how chocolate is made.

Unfortunately I am not at this level yet of baking and preparing dessert. However, I did make an economical quick dessert made for a last minute pot luck gathering or a great cheat treat.  This quick dessert requires only 4 evidence based health friendly ingredients: chocolate brownie mix, Red wine, eggs (optional) and grapeseed or olive oil or butter.  

I prefer to use Ghiaradelli brownie mix, Chianti wine (5 tablespoons), grapeseed oil (8 tablespoons) and 1 egg

Combine all ingredients as instructed on the brownie mix and add mixture to a greased pan

Bake for 40-45 minutes at 375 degrees. 

Throwback Thursday/Flashback Friday – Pork Dishes Filipino & Thai style 

Today’s first Throwback Thursday and Flashback Friday post of 2017 is a double duo, filled with cultural and food experiences that I can identify with – Pork. 

Although pork is forbidden in some cultures, it is also one of the most popular types of meat in eastern Asia especially in the Philippines and Thailand. 

Pork, the product of the pig comes in a variety of forms and there are many ways of preparing them for consumption. 

In the New Year, one of the lucky foods to consume is pork because the pork is said to be rotund, which signifies prosperity. Since it is derived from the pig, the animal itself “roots forward” symbolizing progress.  Not only pork brings good luck it is also healthy. 

Health Benefits of consuming pork include: 

– Protein for growing and maintaining muscle

So, given this information for the occasion I decided to turn back time to several posts here as well as my own experiences to attempt a healthier yet authentic version of the Filipino adobo and Thai grilled pork (moo ping).  Better yet the cost to make both of these dishes was under $10 and it serves 4 people plus leftovers. 

Pork Belly Adobo

The pork belly was sliced and marinated in 4 tablespoons of soy sauce, 4 tablespoons of tamarind sauce, 4 tablespoons of datu puti, garlic, onions, ginger and bay leaves. The only addition added was star anise. The dish was marinated for 3-3.5 hours at room temperature.  The dish was prepared as described in one of my earliest post: Chicken Thigh Adobo

Moo Ping – Thai grilled pork

One of father’s favorite Thai dishes is moo ping, translated in Thai for grilled pork. Inspired by one of the best pork dishes at Ayada, I attempted to replicate the dish while keeping it healthy. 

Pork shoulder was sliced and marinated in garlic, cilantro, fish sauce, soy sauce and sugar for 3-4 hours prior to grilling. Normally this dish is prepared in skewers. 

So today we covered a throwback recipe and a flashback dish at a restaurant to make two lucky cultural pork dishes for the New Year. Hopefully this double duo will help Tablespoonsandteaspoons progress to bigger and better 2017. Cheers! 

Flashback Friday – Hair of the Dog 

Happy Friday! Happy Candy Day! Today I am revisiting an afterwork Friday happy hour experience at the Lower East side sports bar called Hair of the Dog. This bar is part of a chain called NYC Best Bars is known for their happy hours and brunch. Happy Hour is half price of every drink at the bar until 8pm. For brunch they of “BYOC” Bring Your Own Coffee. 

In addition to the happy hour offer, I had to experience the food. The menu had a great variety of bar food. I was there for a brief birthday party and I had dinner plans after so I only ordered one appetizer and their only dessert item on the menu.  

For appetizers, I went with the combo of onion rings and Tater Tots ($7), portions were pretty big so it is great for sharing. Both tater tots and onion rings were crisp to perfection; the grease complemented and absorbed the vanilla vodka and ginger ale cocktail I had. 

The bar menu only had one dessert, which was Deep fried oreos. Given that the other bars that is part of the chain offered Deep fried oreos, I had to order it. After consuming 2 cocktails the fried oreos definitely hit the spot and covered up somega evidence of my alcohol consumption. 

After looking at this food picture, I did a little research on any healthier options to make these dishes. Below, are three reasons recipes I found online that I would like try: 

Healthy version of Deep Fried Oreos: Baked “Deep Fried” Oreos

Tater Tots using sweet potatoes (healthy alternative): Baked Sweet Potato Tater Tots plus Baked Onion Rings

Stay tuned for updates. Also find me on Instagram (tablespoonsandteaspoons). 

Flashback Friday – Dosas

Happy Friday! Although it is National Dessert Day, I have been fascinated about the popular Indian street food – Dosa.  When I first saw this dish, I was overwhelmed by the how big it is.  It is mostly served as a meal for a good part of the day.  Personally I have consumed it as an early dinner.

Dosas also known as Dosai is an ancient Tamil dish.  This gluten free, vegetarian street food dish is made up of rice and lentils.  Therefore, there are health benefits in its consumption.   Dosas are a good source of carbohydrates and protein that will last the whole day.  It is a lengthy process to make dosas and I don’t think that I will be making one anytime soon.  Therefore, I will be leaving this up to the pros.

Recently, I have had the experience of consuming this vegetarian dish at two places in New York City.   One famous spot world is Saravana Bhavan.  There are two locations in New York City (Manhattan).  This restaurant does not need an introduction because it is well known throughout India; the establishment of this franchise was made a controversial person who is banned from leaving India because he was convicted of murder.  This is to show that as long the food is good it does not matter where it originated from. But if you don’t want to be traumatized,  I visited another spot, which is located in Queens called Hillside Dosa Hutt.  This neighborhood spot is in the heart of the Indian community. The cashier that served us was hospitable and knowledgeable about Dosas.  Hillside Dosa Hutt was recently listed on the Eater list of the top 60 cheap eats places in NYC. 

Hillside Dosa Hutt – Marsala Dosa $5.50 (Top Left) and Paneer Bhurji Masala Dosa $9.00 (Bottom left) Saravana Bhavan $9.99- Marsala Dosa (Top right)  and Onion Chili Rava Dosa $10.99 (Bottom right)

Portions of each dosa were huge. I have not been able to finish a whole dosa in one sitting.  If you want more variety then Saravan Bhavan is the place to go, but for a quick meal on a budget then Hillside Dosa Hutt will suffice. 

 

 

 

Flashback Friday – Pho Bang 

Happy Friday! One of my family’s favorite spots to eat on a lazy night of cooking is Pho Bang, a Vietnamese restaurant in Elmhurst, NY. This restaurant also has several locations, one in Flushing and the other in Chinatown. The restaurant accepts cash only but it is a great family spot especially for quick and cheap family dinners. The dishes are not only cheap, but it has been recognized as one of the top restaurants in Elmhurst by Zagat.

My father would end up with the bill and from my recollection of the costs the total including tax was less than $30 for three people.  Even better the portions are family style! 

The awesome thing about this restaurant is their prep and presentation of their beef and abundance of vegetables. There are variety of pho to choose from, but we usually go with the Tai Chin Nam Gan Sach without the rice noodles, which is a beef soup with fresh eye round, navel, tendon and omosa. The dish comes with noodles, but we love the flavor of the beef broth plus it is carb free. The beef just cooks in the hot broth as it is served to maintain its tenderness. The vegetables of bean sprouts and mint with lemon enhanced the flavor of this refreshing hot soup. 

Another dish that we love to order is a specialty called Nam Nuong which grilled pork hash balls that come with picked carrots, shallot and radishes along with steamed rice wrappers and green leaf lettuce. This dish is refreshing and versatile where you can use the rice wrapper and place the ingredients in it. You can even go paleo and do without the rice wrapper and use the lettuce to make a wrap. 

Pho and Nam Nuong

Other dishes to try include their spring rolls which are made out of rice wrapper. Can’t go wrong with the summer roll, bun (rice vermecelli) dishes and grilled pork chops. 

Last month a fire broke into the restaurant. The restaurant is currently closed but it is undergoing renovations. Can’t wait to return to this restaurant once it opens again. In the meantime, check out the other Pho Bang restaurants in Flushing and Chinatown. 

Flashback Friday – Esquared Hospitality making its mark in Queens & Manhattan

Summer is going by way too fast! I have had the privilege to recently dine at Champions Bar & Grill located inside the grounds of the US Open in Flushing Meadows, NY.  In order to eat at this restaurant, reservations were required.  In addition, only Loge and Promenade Season Subscription Ticket Holders with a restaurant pass were allowed.  As one can tell, this was a splurge lunch.  Normally, this post will be placed on the “Throwback Thursday” section of this blog, but an exception has to be made as the US Open will wrap up this Sunday 9/11.

After meeting with the chef and staff, I was overwhelmed by the high quality dishes offered.  After the chef’s suggestions, I decided to go with the lighter fare section and ordered the Grilled Asian kobe skirt steak salad ($34) with french fries ($12).  Taking full advantage of the experience, I burned the wallet(s) more by ordering a Moet Chandron Rose Champagne ($28).  20160830_144740

The meal was presented as I expected – classic David Burke (DB) style.  French fries on their little metal baskets.  The fries were not as crispy as I expected, I always eat their fries and so far the best french fries I have had from them were from David Burke Townhouse.  The kobe skirt steak did not melt in my mouth as I thought it did because I ordered it medium instead of medium rare.  Portions were filling and the champagne complemented the meal.  Staff and General Managers (GM) were accommodating.

Previous to my US Open experience, I have eating at BLT Prime in Gramercy back in January for the Signature Series  Event and that was a splurge dinner of $175 per person.

On a more wallet friendly side, I have eaten at BLT Steak in Midtown East where I have ordered a prosecco ($15).  I have had two specials: the rock tempura shrimp (don’t recall the price; it was a one day special) and the duck liver mousse pate (complimentary tasting from the Executive Chef).  Plus, I ordered the duck fat hash browns ($12) and for dessert I went with the Chef’s suggestion of the “banana cream” cream puffs ($12).  The duck fat hash brown dish was a side dish that is filling and comforting enough that it could be a main entree.  But the cream puffs were the perfect ending to my meal as its balanced sweetness of the bananas and cream covered up the pungent and rich flavors of the duck liver and fat.

Even though my food selections at the restaurants were not the healthiest, but the quality of food given for the amount paid was well worth it.

Chef David Burke has announced on social media that he will be opening the BLT Prime by David Burke in Washington D.C. and Tavern 62 at the former Fishtail by David Burke restaurant in New York City.  I am also excited to explore the other sister restaurants especially Casa Nonna and By Chloe.

Till then stay tuned!

Flashback Friday – China Grill

Happy Friday! It is time to take full advantage of the summer deals during my vacation.

One of these deals is the bento box lunch special from 12pm-4pm Monday-Saturday at China Grill in New York City.

Did you know that China Grill was around for almost thirty years? Well after one of the best fusion lunches I have had in a while, I can definitely testify to that.

Earlier this week, I caught up with a friend for lunch and both of us were definitely excited to explore the options.  So below are the two bento boxes we created.  Both of us ordered the Peking duck salad and wasabi mashed potatoes.  My friend ordered the dumplings and salmon teriyaki and I was on the noodle box and shrimp red curry.  Our bento boxes were “to die for”, presentation was beautiful but more importantly the taste was on point.  It was definitely worth the $19.87 spent on this meal.

In addition to the bento box, we decided order the popular salted caramel soufflé ($20), which has to be ordered ahead of time and it is served only on the lunch menu.

20160822_153346

Made to order dessert that serves two people available during lunch

After devouring the divine dessert, that was well balanced.  The sponge cake, plus the cream and caramel definitely hit the spot.

It was after 4pm and happy hour begins.  My other friend contacted me and informed me that I have to come here for happy hour.  It turns out she was right.  The menu offers a lot of options for drinks such as cocktails and bar bites from their appetizer menu.  So I settled for the lychee and cucumber cocktail ($8) with the lotus root dumplings ($7).  Both choices were delicious.

Overall service for lunch and happy hour were awesome.  My friend and I were satisfied and I can’t wait to share this experience with my friends and peers.  Cheers to China Grill and their continuing success.  See you soon China Grill!

 

Flashback Friday – Neirs Tavern

Happy Friday!! It’s been over a month since my last post, which was on an American holiday Memorial Day.  After a month of being MIA due to several food exploration dishes, I am back on the first of July – 4th of July weekend.  To begin:

Happy Birthday America!! To celebrate food and American history, let’s explore an historic venue in American history.  This venue is not in Washington D.C. or in downtown Manhattan, but in Woodhaven, Queens.

Almost 6 weeks ago I took my parents to the oldest tavern in US history now – Neir’s Tavern.  Actually I heard about this tavern from a segment that aired on $9.99 with Dave Evans where he had the tavern’s famous coldest beer in New York City.

Neir’s Tavern opened in 1829 and was restored in 2009.  The tavern has made several appearance in famous movies such as Goodfellas and Tower Heist.  I have had the privilege of meeting the tavern’s owner at the recent Queens Taste event & samples their cotton candy wings.

When I took my parents to the tavern, the location of it was not ideal but we were lucky to find parking.  Once we arrived, I felt the historical presence that this tavern has.  I definitely took advantage of the happy hour special of the $3 draft cold beer.  Also, I discovered that the tavern also has $5 lunch special that is a steal.

20160519_185620

Happy Hour Draft Beer $3

20160519_192137

BBQ Jack Wings $7.95

To start, we ordered the BBQ Jack Wings ($7.95), they were perfectly fried with the right amount of sauce.  Other popular wings also include Cotton Candy Wings, Teriyaki wings and Thai Chili Honey Wings both for the same price!

20160519_192640

“Tower Heist” Sandwich $9.95

My dad is a huge steak person so every non-Thai or non-Filipino restaurant he looks for the steak options.  The only option he had was the “Tower Heist” sandwich, obviously named after the movie “Tower Heist”, which is an open face steak sandwich with lettuce and tomato.  It comes with fries and cole slaw.   The steak tasted similar to a roast beef sandwich, so it was my least favorite.

After reading the food reviews of the tavern and there were rave reviews on the burgers.  Therefore, my mother and I ordered two burgers that were named after an actress Mae West, who got her start in this tavern and the classic movie “Goodfellas”.  My mother settled for the “Mae West” burger, which is made up of angus beef, lettuce, tomato, red onion, mushrooms along with cole slaw & fries.  Her burger was good, fries were not as crispy as I have had in the past and cole slaw had an acidic, sour and tangy twist that is unique from the cole slaws I have had in the past.

Finally, I went for the popular “Goodfellas” burger, another burger to add to the growing list of burgers I have had in recent years.  The “Goodfellas” burger consisted of an angus burger with grilled tomato, onions, pepper jack cheese and chipotle honey mayo.  The burger also came with fries and cole slaw.  The burger could have cleanly presently and huge that it had to be dissected with a fork & knife.  The burger overall was flavorful especially with the mayo and pepper jack cheese.

At the end of this high protein dinner, the overall service was good, but they were short staff where the bartender was also our server.  I would definitely return especially for lunch and explore the variety of wings they offer.

 

Flashback Friday – Hamburgers

Happy Memorial Day Weekend!! As we approach the end of the month, today’s post will celebrate National Hamburger Month.   Although I am excited about this post, I am dreading it as well.  After reviewing all my pictures and places I have been to, I discovered that I love hamburgers and I tend to order them at restaurants and bars.

After researching and reading the history of the hamburger, here is the lowdown on the emergence of the famous classic dish:

During the 12th-13th century, ground meat was developed and consumed raw by Genghis Khan and his “Golden Horde” army during battles.

19th century, German immigrants borrowed the recipe of the steak tartare from the Russians who learned about ground meat from the Mongolians.  The Germans brought the “Hamburg-style” chopped steak to America after the port of Hamburg, which was the big exporter of beef.

During the 20th century, there have been four claims of who made the first American Hamburger.  Over the course the century, the hamburger has been mass produced in fast chains such McDonalds and Wendys and by the 2001, burgers made up 71% of the beef served in commercial restaurants.

Below, are pictures of hamburgers I have ordered and consumed, which resulted in the 30 pound weight gain over the last 10 years.  My personal favorite burger is not listed in any of these pictures.  This burger is the Shack Burger with Cheese Fries and Arnold Palmer (total calories = 1,190; total cost w/ tax $12.88) from the original Shake Shack on Madison Square Park.  Shake Shack was established by Danny Meyer in 2004.

Here’s the scary thought, I used to devour this meal twice a week after 9pm before my evening commute home.  I took full advantage of the fact that I was in grad school for my first masters in public health (how ironic) and did not eat lunch or dinner.  After reading the calorie count for each Shake Shack item and graduated from the public health program, I have reduced my intake of the Shake Shack meal.  I am happy to say that I have not eaten at Shake Shack in over a year.

Although I have not eaten at Shake Shack, I have not stopped appreciating and enjoying a good burger with fries at various restaurants and bars in New York City. Here’s a reason: Health benefits of consuming a hamburger.

Ground beef consists of high levels of:

Iron: helps carry oxygen to cells, tissues and organs

Vitamin B-12: produces new red blood cells

Protein: lean ground beef helps build muscle and provide a reservoir of energy.

Given the cliff notes of the benefits of consuming hamburgers, below is a list of burgers I have consumed over the last year:

20160518_231102

Top left: Kitchen Burger – David Burke Kitchen; Top Right: Korean BBQ Burger – 5 Napkin Burger Union Square; Bottom left: Dorian’s Classic Burger – Dorrian’s Red Hand; Bottom Right: Wagyu American Kobe Burger – Frites N Meats

11951801_10101103524215684_205419619719810614_n

Locksmith Burger w Yucca Fries – Locksmith Bar – Washington Heights

20150605_133011

Hamburger – La Dama – Financial District

20160507_204159

Angus Burger w truffle fries – Uncorked Wine & Tapas

20160510_185820

Happy Hour Burger Special ($6) – McKenna’s Pub – Union Square

FB_IMG_1463657684142

Cravin’ Bacon Burger w Fries – Bowlmor Lanes – Chelsea Piers

There are other burgers I have enjoyed but I did not have the opportunity to take pictures:

PJ Clarkes Burger, Five Guys Burger, Grass Fed Angus Burger at the Grand Hyatt Hotel, Fishtail Burger, Donovan’s Burger at the Donovan’s Pub in Woodside and the Hamburger at the Fame Diner.

There are other burgers I definitely want to try, especially, the ones listed in Zagat, Time Out, Serious Eats, and PureWow.