Sunday, October 31, 2010


It’s been months since I’ve seen Z.  Our schedules finally lined up and we were able to meet for dinner last week.  We met at Toloache. I’ve passed the restaurant a few times and obvs got excited after reading Sam Sifton’s review, I figured it would be a good bet.  Z and I have similar palettes and often fall victim of wanting more than we can eat.  So of course we started off with the trio of guacamole.  The Tradicional was mild which usually doesn’t do it for me, but this had incredible fresh ingredients.

A blend of avocado, tomato, onion, cilantro, serrano apple salad and Mexican cheeses.  We loved it!  The Frutas, medium guacamole was nay the best.

It looged great.  And the ingredient list also looked good I mean what’s not to love about avocado, pomegranate, vidalia onion, mango, apple, peach, habanero and thai basil?  Unfortunately, it didn’t quite live up the expectations.  We’re a fan of spice so maybe that’s why this one didn’t do it for us, but maybe it would work for someone else.  Our favorite was def the Rojo.

A spicy guacamole filled with avocado, tomato, red onion, chipotle and queso fresco.  YUM.  They also had this fantastic salsa.  

We definitely asked for another bowl.  We almost filled up on the guacamoles and chips, but of course we also ordered a couple of other dishes.  In unison we ordered the Langosta.

Two spicy lobster tacos, morita salsa and avocado.  Heavenly!! I really loved the tacos.  They were well seasoned the lobster was amazing and it was an ample amount too which isn’t usually the case.  They do come in corn tortillas though and I’m very much a fan of flour so I was a tad disappointed.  Of course our last item was the Camarones Toloache.

Quite the presentation, no?  A plate of roasted garlic shrimp, crispy tortilla, black beans, chayote squash "spaghetti salad" and cascabel salsa.  I was a tad overwhelmed.  The combination of flavors was good but the crispy tortilla was definitely necessary amidst what sometimes felt like a pile of mush.  They could have also kicked it up a notch with a variety of spices but otherwise it was good.  While I was stuffed to the brim, I was of course in favor of ordering dessert.  We went with the Pastel de Chocolate.  

Warm Mexican chocolate cake with dulce de leche ice cream.  Awesome! There's a lot to be happy about when there's chocolate oozing out of chocolate.  The ice cream made it even better!  Toloache was great.  The food was good and the company was better.  It also has a very lively atmosphere and the staff is extremely attentive.  Rare to find a decent restaurant in midtown amidst all the pre-theater spots.

Hungry yet?

Toloache on Urbanspoon

Pure Thai Shophouse

I probably frequent Thai restaurants more than any other type.  While I’m always looking to try a new one, I was especially excited to try Pure.  It is the brainchild of the same people who created Land.  It is a short walk from my office and I can already tell it’s going to be a problem.  I went there on Thursday and was looking forward to writing about it, but I enjoyed it so much I decided I would go there on Friday as well.  I know, I know. But I ordered different things both days so you get the benefit of seeing lots of items J

Pure is a fairly small restaurant that seats about 40 including the counter seats.  On my first trip, I sat on the counter seat towards the back.  I ordered the Chicken Curry Puffs.

They are just like the ones at Land…perfect!  Caramelized chicken, onion and sweet potatoes stuffed in a flaky crust accompanied by a cucumber relish.  My server was super sweet and recommended that I order the Ratchaburi Crab & Pork Dry Noodle.  I ordered it sans pork.

The handmade egg noodle with lump crab meat, yu choy (a lot like Chinese broccoli) and scallions.  It also had a little bit of broth at the bottom.  The noodles were perfect and it was a decent serving of crab meat.  The meal was delicious and I was so happy – which is why I returned the next day.  We started with the Vegetable Spring Rolls.

Filled with shitake mushroom, jicama, and glass noodles and served with Thai chili plum sauce.  I’m usually not a fan of vegetable spring rolls, but this one was actually pretty good.  We also shared Jungle Curry Fried Rice with Chicken.

Woweee long hot chili, string beans, snow pea, Thai basil and jungle curry sauce.  Umm, this may have been the best fried rice I’ve ever had.  You know how much I love jungle curry.  I end up eating it with rice anyway, so this was the perfect blend.  Lots of fire too so don’t play with it if you don’t enjoy spice.  For my entrée, I ordered the Wok Roasted Chili with Shrimp.

Chinese broccoli, asparagus, yu choy in roasted chili paste sauce.  This actually tasted pretty sweet not spicy.  It was good, but the first piece of shrimp was not fully cooked.  Tsk tsk.   Mr. A ordered the Ratchaburi avec pork.

A little more colorful than what I ordered the day before but apparently was also delicious.

Pure is definitely my new favorite and I will return often.  Keep in mind that they have a $15 minimum for credit cards.  You’re not likely to spend $15 unless you go there for dinner or order multiple entrées and appetizers. 

Hungry yet?

Pure Thai Shophouse on Urbanspoon

Friday, October 29, 2010

Red Velvet Cake with Raspberries and Cream Cheese Frosting

When I first moved to my apartment, I knew I would be happy because of the well equipped kitchen.  I quickly downloaded the Epicurious app and got to work searching for things I wanted to make.  I was thrilled when I found this one, which is one of my all time favorites.  I will retype below although I really didn't alter it much.

2 1/4 cups sifted flour (the recipe calls for cake flour but I did just fine with all purpose)
2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
½ tsp salt
1 cup buttermilk
1 tsp red food coloring
1 tsp distilled white vinegar
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 ½ cups sugar
½ cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
2 large eggs

2 8-ounce packages cream cheese, room temperature
½ cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
1 tbs vanilla extract
2 ½ cups powdered sugar

The recipe calls for 3 1/2 pint baskets of raspberries and blueberries.  I vary the amount based on what I can pick up at the farmer's market.

Preheat oven to 350°F. Butter and flour two 9 inch-diameter cake pans with 1 1/2-inch-high sides. Sift sifted flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda, and salt into medium bowl.

Whisk buttermilk, food coloring, vinegar, and vanilla in measuring cup to blend.  Less likely to lose any buttermilk if you use the measuring cup than try to transfer into a bowl.

Using electric mixer, beat sugar and butter in large bowl until well blended. Add eggs 1 at a time, beating until well blended after each addition. Beat in dry ingredients in 4 additions alternately with buttermilk mixture in 3 additions.

Divide batter between prepared pans.

Bake cakes until tester inserted into center comes out clean, about 27 minutes. Cool in pans on racks 10 minutes. Turn cakes out onto racks; cool completely.
While the cake is baking, make the frosting. Beat cream cheese and butter in large bowl until smooth. Beat in vanilla. Add powdered sugar and beat until smooth.
After the cake is cooled, place 1 cake layer, flat side up, on platter. Spread 1 cup frosting over top of cake. Arrange berries over the layer, pressing lightly to adhere. 

Top with second cake layer, flat side down. Spread remaining frosting over top and sides of cake. Arrange remaining berries decoratively over top of cake. 

Again that T keeps showing up! 
Eat and be merry, this cake has yet to disappoint.
Hungry yet?

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Whole Roasted Lemon Chicken with Roasted Red Potatoes

This was originally going to be the only main dish during the dinner party, so I really wanted it to be delicious.

1 whole chicken (3-4 lbs.)
1 lemon
3 garlic cloves, 2 minced and 1 whole
2 tbs olive oil
6 red potatoes, cut
salt and pepper to taste

Clean the chicken and remove the giblets.  I usually don't rinse chicken before I use it just squeeze some lemon all over it.  Unless if it's really fatty then I remove the fat and give it a quick rinse.  This little chicken was clean.

hehe sorry but I had to share that picture.  Anyway, salt and pepper the chicken and add the garlic.  Squeeze juice from one half of the lemon over the chicken then drizzle 1 tbs of oil over the chicken and rub it over the chicken so the salt, pepper and garlic are worked in.  Then lay the chicken in a pan, breast up.  I stuffed the chicken with the other half of the lemon and 1 garlic clove then I tied the chicken legs together so that way they wouldn't separate while cooking.
Next I put the potatoes in a bowl and added salt, pepper and the remaining olive oil.  Mix it all together and empty into the roasting pan all around the chicken.

I put the pan in the oven for about an hour and a half basting every 20 minutes or so and making sure the chicken remained moist as did the potatoes.  

Overall it was pretty simple prep for an awesome meal.
Hungry yet?

Monday, October 25, 2010

Dinner Party Pictures

It’s no surprise that I love to cook. I know I go out to eat all the time, but every now and then I have to throw down just to make sure I still have the skills.  I mean, you do remember brunch, don’t you?

Well rather than posting all the recipes in one place, I’ll share the pictures now and post recipes as soon as work stops being so incompatible with my lifestyle.


BBQ chicken wings

Mesclun Salad with dried cranberries

Roasted Lemon Chicken with Red Potatoes

Baked Catfish

Broccoli with garlic

Red Velvet Cake with Raspberries and Cream Cheese Frosting
Recipes will come soon.

Hungry yet?

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Pam Real Thai Encore

My Bestie Ms. R is in town!! Of course that means a feast was so necessary.  I had a hard time escaping from the office but finally made it out and we headed to Pam Real Thai Encore.  I had wanted to go to the original one, but was so caught up in running out of work that we kept walking.  No worries though I’ll make my way to the other location soon.

Encore has really lively walls and the music was decent.  But by now you know, I don’t choose restaurants for music or décor, it’s all about the food.  We decided to start with the Steamed Chicken Dumplings.

The dumplings were stuffed with ground chicken and shitake mushroom and served with dumpling sauce.  Simply divine! The dumplings were stuffed FULL. I couldn’t believe how much was in those little guys.  I also ordered Tom Yum Soup with shrimp.

It was pretty standard.  Still think the best one I’ve had was at Land Thai Kitchen.  Pretty soon our entrées arrived. 

The Jungle Curry with Fish was AWESOME.  It was not as thick as the one I usually have at Topaz, but it was equally spicy and the fish was a great alternative to the chicken. Spectacular!  We also ordered Crispy Duck with Chili Sauce.

Looks good right?  Tasted great!  The boneless crispy duck was topped with chili sauce, lime leaves and basil.  YUM!

I definitely enjoyed dining at Encore.  The food was incredibly tasty and unlike any other Thai food I’ve had before.  Of course having Ms. R there only made the experience that much more enjoyable.  I’ve missed my Bestie but I’ll be seeing her again soon J

Hungry yet?

Pam Real Thai Encore on Urbanspoon

Thursday, October 21, 2010


Although I had a long night of work ahead of me I decided the best way to kick it off was to have dinner with two of my favorites, yes, them. Dining with Mr. M and Ms. O is always such a pleasure. The night usually starts and ends the same way but it's the middle that keeps things interesting.

We (they but of course I was more than happy with the selection) decided to head to SUteiSHI for dinner. It's near their home, which is where most of our nights start so it was easy to slip out of work and head there. At first glance, SUteiSHI looks small but actually has a sushi bar and outdoor dining which must be awesome on a warm NY night.  Although they had a hostess ready to greet us when we walk in, we didn't really need her cuz our table was clearly marked. 

I had only glanced at the menu once before so it took me some time to decide. Finally we ordered and that’s when the fun really began.

We started with the mixed green salad. Yea sure it looks pretty average, but I assure you it was anything but. The spicy ginger dressing made the greens that much more exciting. I could have eaten the whole thing but it was definitely a shareable portion.  Pretty soon after our fried oysters arrived. 

Woweee! I'll admit I was a little reluctant when Mr. M suggested we order it but good thing I didn't try to talk him out of it because it was pretty awesome. It’s fried in tempura batter, which has a distinctly different taste than regular batter. Yum yum yum. I only had one because I was saving room for the incredible blue crab gyoza with yuzu kimchee.

So happy I saved room for these. I mean seriously they were nothing short of amazing. And the sauce, oh the sauce, I would have loved to bottle it up and sprinkle it on everything I eat.  We took a short break then our entrees arrived.  Ms. O ordered the Red Snapper and the Toro fusion treats as well as the Peck’s Peak. 

Peck’s Peak is a roll with white tuna, yellowtail, avocado, masago, and chipotle soy in red shiso soybean wrap. I tasted it and I was extremely happy she was willing to share.  Mr. M ordered the Kanpachi fusion treat with citrus yuzu and the Wavecrest. 

Unfortunately his Kanpachi arrived without the citrus, but not to worry they were more than happy to add the yuzu. The yellowtail was quite tasty - and you know I love a good jalapeno so that only made it better!

I ordered the Red Snapper and Mackerel fusion treats and the Orange Dragon.

I have to tell you that was some really great sushi.  Best I’ve had in quite some time.  The fusion forced me to order combinations that I have never ordered before and I was quite happy.  Even the Orange Dragon that had spicy salmon, tempura flakes and was topped with salmon and spicy mayo tasted a little different than normal.  Yup, all in all totally worth it.  Under normal circumstances I would have saved room for dessert but I was truly too full to even think about what else to eat.  The dessert menu does have a nice little note in it though.

Cute right?  SUteiSHI is definitely out of the way for most people in Manhattan, but it’s definitely worth the trip. 

Hungry yet?

SUteiShi on Urbanspoon