Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Spanish Night!

Each time I visit Maiden Lane, I realize that I need to return there more often.  When we first discussed how late I would be arriving at her home, Ms. O stated that she would have a few snacks ready for me.  Considering how long she's known me, I figured that our definition of snacks was the same, but I wasn't sure.  I was borderline famished when I arrived around 10pm and thank goodness our definitions are indeed the same.  I was excited when she announced it would be a Spanish teamed snackfest.

Heavy snacking material
You can still see the steam rising from the amazing sauteed shrimp.  I ate quite a few of these.

The amaaaazing chicken meatballs.  The sauce was incredible.  I sopped it up with the bread which was toasted yet soft.
The Patatas Bravas were definitely a highlight.  I couldn't help myself I just kept piling more on my plate.  I was pleasantly surprised by the delicious dessert.  Mr. M picked up a pie for Ms. O and I.

It was INCREDIBLE.  Well toasted crust and top - amazing filling.  YUM! By now you know Ms. O always delivers.  I was thrilled to spend the night in my own private tapas lounge.  Can't wait for next time!!

Hungry yet?

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Via dei Mille

At some point last week, I had dinner with Ms. J at Via de Mille.  I was super excited because I hadn't seen her since she got the good news re: the most grueling exam ever.  I was looking forward to Via de Mille (turn down your speakers before you click) because I love going to SoHo and peaking into the boutiques to find something new.  I didn't get a chance to do that this time, but nevertheless I was looking forward to Via de Mille.

Upon entering the restaurant you're immediately in the front dining area.  The model like hostess offered us a table in the front but I was not interested in the draft that would pass through the dining room each time someone opened the door, so I requested we sit in the back.   What a mistake.  As soon as we sat down the manager started complaining to the waiter that we shouldn't be sitting there.  Apparently they were expecting some VIPs.  I won't go into too much detail because one experience at a restaurant, unrelated to the food shouldn't make or break a review.  What I will say is that the server did not mention the specials to us, ignored us for a good portion of the meal, and when we finished our entrees asked if there was anything else, rather than asking if we wanted dessert.  The chef also repeatedly stepped out of the kitchen and peaked over at the VIP table, which mind you was filled with unrecognizable faces.  The manager harassed the servers repeatedly and asked them to pay close attention to the "VIP" table.  It was quite an unfortunate event.  As for the food, Ms. J ordered the Paccheri  Pasta with Seafood in a Light Tomato Sauce.

It looked pretty good to me, but she noted that the dish was salty and really not that fabulous.  As for me, I ordered the FIletto di Salmone.  

A Wild King Filet of Salmon served with Red Bliss Potatoes and Horseradish Mash, Baby Watercress Salad and Red Roasted Pepper Coulis.  It was beautiful and incredibly delicious.  The red pepper coulis was perfect and brought the dish together quite well.  I was definitely impressed with this dish.  After we finished, we forced our server to offer us dessert.  Ms. J ordered the Nutella Crepes. 

Delicious crepes filled with Nutella Hazelnut Spread and served with Vanilla Gelato.  It looked quite decadent, but I must say that $10 is a little steep for such a small portion.  Before I even arrived, I had my heart set on the White Chocolate Mousse.

It was creamy goodness, but the milk chocolate shavings were a bit of a distraction.  Overall, Via dei Mille is a restaurant with good food but not incredible.  Most of the dishes were not memorable and could have probably been served at any other Italian restaurant.  I was definitely dissatisfied with the service and hope that they learn how to treat their customers better, even if they're not explicitly labeled VIP.

Hungry yet?

Via dei Mille on Urbanspoon

Friday, November 26, 2010

Happy Thanksgiving!!

It should come as no surprise that Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday ev-er!  While I recognize that some of the history of Thanksgiving may be a little shady, I choose to focus on the part that lets me be thankful for the fabulous family and friends that I have in my life and the feast that we eat to celebrate.  As is usually the case, there were several dishes featured at this year's Thanksgiving.  Some of these you've seen before and others are brand new.  I will share recipes in due time (still have a lot of catching up to do for last week's meals)  I hope you enjoyed your Thanksgiving and are enjoying your black friday!

20 pound Honey Brined Turkey

BBQ Chicken Wings
Shrimp Dumplings

Meat Loaf stuffed with Spinach
Creamed Spinach
Stir Fry Broccoli with Garlic
Baked Drumsticks with onions and peppers
Turkey Lasagna
Stovetop stuffing
Lamb and Couscous
Mashed Sweet Potatoes with Streusel Topping
Candied Yams with Marshmallows
Baked Mac & Cheese
Sausage and Cornbread Stuffing
Pumpkin Cheesecake with Gingersnap crust
Best Brownies Ever
It was quite the feast and belief it or not we cut a few items out of the menu.  I hope you enjoyed your Thanksgiving!  Recipes forthcoming over the next couple of weeks...

Hungry yet?

Friday, November 19, 2010


I've been delaying writing about Aguaviva because it was such an amazing dining experience and because it was the last meal I had in Puerto Rico.  Aguaviva is an OOF! Restaurant and quite awesome.  Bestie and I were super excited to dine there.  We started with a tasting of ceviches.

The red snapper with avocado was simply divine! It tasted so good I wasn't sure what to do with myself, other than try the mahi mango limon ceviche.

Woweeee! It was by far the BEST ceviche I have EVER had.  No, seriously.  There was something over the top good about it.  In fact, as I write this all I can think about is how to get my hands on it again.  The tostones were obviously a perfect accompaniment.

After a short while our entrees arrived.  I wish I could adequately capture exactly how awesome everything looked.

Bestie ordered Jumbo Shrimp with yucca gnocchi.

shrimp with yucca gnocchi (aerial view)

Yucca gnocchi is brand new to my taste buds but I would definitely like to incorporate it again!  I ordered the chillo with lobster mofongo. Having had such incredible whole red snapper a few nights earlier, I decided to go with the fillet.

I'm pretty sure lobster mofongo should be outlawed because it is dangerously good.  It was incredibly rich and had big chunks of lobster.  It was likely mashed up with garlic butter because it had an additional richness that was not due to the lobster.  As I write this (weeks after the fact) my mouth is watering.  I may have to attempt to make mofongo one day...we'll see.  Bestie and I obviously stuffed ourselves silly, but made sure to leave enough room for dessert.

Definitely a shareable portion of creme brulee.  It was soooo good! Maybe it's the richness of the mofongo carrying over or the generally good time I had eating in PR or perhaps the fact that this was my last meal, but this creme brulee definitely put me over the top.  I was once again singing and dancing as I ate.

While I ate at a lot of incredible places while I was in PR, I think Aguaviva wins out as the best overall dining experience.  The waitress was subpar but the manager made up for it.  Every morsel of food was incredibly tasty and it is obvious that a lot of energy goes into every plate.  I know because we had a view of the open kitchen! If you're in Old San Juan either for a long trip to PR or just stopping in on your cruise, you must add Aguaviva to your list of places to eat.  You will not regret it!

Hungry yet?


The first time I went to Puerto Rico, I read about this restaurant and I must admit it was the name more than anything else that had me interested.  But then I went there and had AMAZING curry chicken.  I returned several times during that week and vowed to return whenever I made it back to Puerto Rico.

Unfortunately, I was not able to enjoy the curry chicken this time because there was no running water in Old San Juan.  Luckily, they still were able to make a couple of dishes for us.  I ordered the fried chicken breast and yellow rice with corn.

I know it doesn’t look spectacular and is really more like chicken fingers, but I assure you whatever she used to season and fry that chicken was very impressive.  Bestie ordered the pork chop with white rice and beans.

She enjoyed her meal as well.  I was disappointed that there was no curry chicken so I went back later in the week with my buddy Mr. A and his lovely wife.  Alas there was no curry chicken that day either but we decided to eat there anyway.  This time I ordered fried chicken pieces and yellow rice with corn.

The fried chicken was even better than the chicken breasts.  WOW it was fantastic.  Packed with flavor and juicy!  Mr. A also ordered the chicken, but his wife went with the pork chops, at least initially.  

There was some plate swapping that eventually happened.  Between the two of them though they cleaned up both plates.  Fattie’s is a hole in the wall if I’ve ever been to one, but I tell you it is the best hole in the wall I’ve ever been to! The owner is kind and definitely chats it up with you if you’re open to it.  When I was there with Mr. A and his wife, she brought us some cassava fritters which were awesome.  The lunch special is $6 and totally worth it. I will return to Fattie’s every time I go to Puerto Rico – even if it’s a hunt for curry chicken that doesn’t show up on the menu often enough.

Hungry yet?

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Little Thai Kitchen

In light of recent events, I've been spending a lot of time with my Borella.  Understandably, we've mostly had take out from the restaurants in his neck of the woods.  Oddly enough, some of them are kind of good. While not all of them are blog worthy, I will give a quick mention to my favorite one so far and perhaps name some others in subsequent posts this week.

I desperately wanted Thai food (shock) so I started perusing urbanspoon, seamless web and menupages.  Eventually I ended up selecting Little Thai Kitchen.  I remember walking by it one day and being intrigued.  The lunch specials arrived about 40 minutes after we placed the order.  I wasn't thrilled about the wait but figured it must be a sign that they're busy or something.

The lunch special is $11, a little more than I'm used to at other Thai places, but I thought maybe they were serving something special.  The Tom Yum Soup was certainly special.

A spicy tangy soup with lemongrass, tomatoes, mushroom and shrimp.  I was really impressed with this soup. I've had quite a few bowls of tom yum and this one certainly ranks among the top 3.  For my entree, I ordered chicken basil medium spicy.

I was pleased with the spiciness and various vegetables.  The carrots were a nice touch.  The rice was less than impressive. Inedible even.  Demerits for poorly cooked rice.  My Borella ordered curry puffs for his entree.

They were definitely not up to par.  As a frequent consumer of curry puffs, I was quite disappointed.  This one was greasy, too much dough and not enough filling.  The drunken noodle was better, but still not great.

A little greasy but ample portion and different vegetables than the usual.  Love me some baby corn!  The best part of drunken noodle is that it is a simple dish.  This one is not simple so if you're into traditional drunken noodle, beware.

It's hard to rate take out because part of reviewing restaurants is getting a feel fore the service and also the presentation of the dishes. But alas, sometimes that's what you're left with.  As the winter months come closer, I anticipate many more nights of cooking and perhaps a few involving take out.  Little Thai Kitchen was okay.  With all the Thai restaurants in the city, I wouldn't rush to this one.  It's more expensive than the ones I've been to and doesn't offer the same quality of food.  Perhaps it's an east side thing, I've never really been a fan though.

Hungry yet?

Little Thai Kitchen on Urbanspoon

Lima Peruvian Restaurant

The highlight of my trip (food wise of course) was the incredible dish I ate at Lima.  It pretty much set the bar, although I must say my final dinner was also extremely impressive, but you’ll have to wait to read about that.  Lima is tucked away in Miramar on a fairly major street but with little fanfare.

I walked in to the industrial looking space and loved the communal tables in the middle as well as the simple décor.  The menu was entirely in Spanish.  I was pretty impressed with my understanding – food is a universal language :-) I was craving red snapper so when I saw chillo entero on the menu, I knew exactly what I was planning to order.  It looked so good I must show you a couple of pictures to try to capture the awesomeness.

That is Chillo Entero (whole red snapper).  This two pound beauty was the best looking thing I ate the entire week.

I mean seriously, it’s a beaut.  It was served with montado en vegetales mixtos y yuquitas.  My rough translation is mixed vegetables and yucca.  The veggies were a nice crunch.  The yucca was also really delicious.  The server brought out a side of the house made spicy sauce.  As for the fish, every last morsel was incredible.  I quickly dropped the fork and knife and went for it with my hands.

Yup – that’s right went to town.  If only I could eat this again.  I can’t wait to go back to Lima and had to stop myself from going back during the week.  Bestie’s ceviche de pescado was also awesome.

The ceviche had a slightly tart flavor and the corn was crispy which added a great contrast.  It was served with a side of tostones and I was quite happy to get in there and help her out with them.

Even though we cleaned up our dinner, there was no way we weren’t having dessert.

That is suspiro de limeña.  Caramelized milk and meringue aromatized with port wine.  Simply divine! I was singing and dancing while enjoying that crazy good treat.  Dining at Lima was an INCREDIBLE experience.  The chillo entero is a must have, but you should also find a way to have some ceviche. 

Hungry yet?