Tertulia

Posted by on Aug 10, 2014 in New York Eats | 0 comments

  NYC’s restaurant week ends this Friday, August 15th. With three course prix fixe meals of lunch ($25) and dinner ($38), it’s a great way to dine at expensive restaurants at an affordable price.  Of course, being the family of gluttons that we are, we hopped headfirst onto the bandwagon and made reservations at Tertulia — a Spanish tapas restaurant. Now, I was personally pretty excited to try this place out. For those of you who love watching food-related shows, such as The Next Iron Chef or Chopped, then you may know that Tertulia’s chef and owner is Seamus Mullen — one of the three finalists of The Next Iron Chef and an occasional judge on Chopped. That means his food’s gotta be pretty amazing, right? Nothing less than spectacular, right? Needless to say, I was pretty stoked to try out his specialty of modern Spanish cuisine. Nothing was going to dampen my spirits. Nothing. Not even the NYC subway system being ridiculously annoying to navigate due to construction and closed lines. Upon arriving (miraculously only a few minutes late considering how inefficient the subway was that day), the interior was very nicely furnished. Small tables and dim lighting lend to a more intimate atmosphere. Considering how it was still noon, I found that the windowed roof above the kitchen really helped to brighten the place up. I don’t mind close and intimate, but sometimes I just want bright and cheery. The interior design allowed for a little bit of both, which is all I ask for, and an open kitchen is always a plus in my book! We ordered everything on the prix fixe menu, which worked out perfectly since there were three of us and three selections for each course. Except dessert. That flan had our names all over it. Pan con Tomate & Jamón Serrano Choclo Of the three appetizer choices, the Pan con Tomate & Jamón Serrano (toasted bread rubbed with tomato and 24-month cured Serrano ham) won our tastebuds over. Although it was a simple dish, basically toasted bread with prosciutto, the prosciutto was not overly salty at all. Our least favorite appetizer? The Tomato Watermelon Gazpacho. To be fair, it wasn’t that we didn’t like it, more that…we thought it was Thousand Island dressing served with the Ensalada del Dia. Served in a glass, we had expected the gazpacho to come in a bowl. It was only when the waitress came to clean up our dishes that I belatedly realized she asked if we were done with the gazpacho. Wait, what? Writing up this post, I’m still a little sad that we missed out. I’m sure it would’ve tasted delicious, but I continue to blame the way it was served. >.> We also ordered Choclo: crispy hominy with pork belly, lime alioli, and cilantro. This was not a part of the prix fixe menu but it was definitely interesting. The hominy was really quite interesting. It kept us guessing (Is it corn? No, it tastes like maize?) and eating more to try and figure out exactly what it was. The pork belly added a nice change in texture and taste; the pieces were just small enough that it didn’t taste fatty at all. For the entrees, everything was delicious…except for the paella. This came as a shocker to all of us. Usually, when you think of Spanish cuisine and tapas, you think paella. (Or are we just weird?) Deliciously cooked rice mixed in with various ingredients, generally seafood, and brought forth in a steaming platter of goodness. Well, this paella — I’m honestly not even sure what kind it was — was dry…like it’d been sitting in...

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Peter Luger

Posted by on Jul 26, 2012 in Food Review, New York Eats | 0 comments

Have you ever — and I’m asking this as a totally serious question — been jealous of your dog? Not because they live the good life of eat, sleep, and play, but more specifically because they’re happily gnawing away on a bone and…you want that bone.  Don’t look at me like that. Yes, I’m a glutton, but I wasn’t talking about the situation where I’m so hungry that I’d fight my dog over a measly bone or eat a can of his sirloin chow in front of him. No, I’m talking about wanting to fight your dog over a bone because you know it is just that damn good.  But it’s not just any bone. I’m talking about a bone that comes from a Peter Luger steak. And while Cooper, who is a well-behaved little angel, would give me his bone if I tried to take it from him (while staring me down reproachfully the entire time), I haven’t quite descended to the level of stealing his half eaten treats yet. Peter Luger’s has long been known as one of — if not the best — steakhouse in New York. For over a 100 years, they have meticulously chosen their meat from a selection of the finest USDA prime meat available by picking out the choicest slabs after examining the color and marbling of the beef. They are so careful about serving only the best to their customers, that the responsibility of picking out the meat is given only to members of the family. How’s that for exclusive? Afterwards, they dry age their selection for about 27 days. Some of you may remember that we had aged our own steak before as well. The aging process really breaks down the meat and tenderizes it, which means a beautifully succulent steak on your plate later. Other than that, when Peter Luger broils their steaks, they don’t season it with anything. Well, maybe a little bit of salt. But otherwise, all you’re eating is a delicious piece of meat that’s literally been broiled in its own juices. Yum-my. Of course, this is the case for many other steak houses as well (picking out the best beef and dry-aging the meat for some time), but I’ve found that steaks are served very differently in Taiwan. In Taiwan, instead of simply enjoying the taste of the steak on its own, they mask and overpower it with different kinds of sauces and seasonings. It’s similar to how the Taiwanese eat salad, not for the sake of enjoying the veggies, but so they can slather the plate in dressing. This is great and all, but in the end, I prefer being able to taste everything in my food and Peter Luger makes sure that you know your steak is not only cooked exactly as you ordered, but introduces you to a world of just how mouth-wateringly juicy a piece of beef can be. While other steak houses may mimic their procedure, there is just something exceptional about Peter Luger’s that make other steaks pale in comparison. Unfortunately, as you can see, the waiters are so quick and efficient that I didn’t have time to snap a picture before they’d already begun serving us. As yummy as the rib eye steak is, it’s the steak for two that’s really special. Since the steak for two is a t-bone steak, half of it is actually filet while the other half is sirloin — the two best slices on a cow, mm.  While the steaks are the stars of the meal, the accompanying appetizers and sides help to lead up...

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Fishing Frenzy & Dinosaur Bar-B-Que

Posted by on May 23, 2012 in Fishing Frenzy, New York Eats | 0 comments

A few weeks ago, near the end of my rather uneventful spring break, for some odd reason that I can’t fully understand myself, I decided to tag along on a long 7-hour drive upstate with my dad and his friend (along with his two sons). For what? Why, all so I could wake up at the ungodly hour of 4:30 am to go out on the docks of Lake Ontario and sit in a rocking boat to aimlessly fish for trout for the next six hours of course! Yes, I think I’d lost a few screws over break as well. Having rented a boat from Crazy Yankee SportFishing the entire ordeal was rather taxing. Considering how they laid out the lines for us and let us know when a fish was biting, we were left with the toughest job of reeling them in…and then the difficult task of picking up slippery fish and tossing them into the cooler. Phew. That’s a lot of work!  Bad sarcasm aside, despite waking up far too early, it was pretty fun. Reeling in the fish was actually a bit difficult at first, especially when it was a big catch (though after looking at the pictures featured on the Crazy Yankee website, the fish we caught seem tiny in comparison). Without the excitement of hooking another unlucky trout, the lull of the boat practically put us to sleep.  At least we all left feeling the victory of having caught a fish (even if we only did half the job). In fact, my dad managed to catch exactly one brown trout before getting seasick for the next five and a half hours. Bravo, daddy! I got bragging rights for bringing in the only lake trout of the bunch we nabbed, though catch of the day for fattest brown trout went to the younger son of my dad’s friend. Totally not jealous. Afterwards, the Captains were kind enough to filet our fish for us right on deck before heading back to the docks. I found myself cringing inwardly as they threw everything save for the filets overboard. Seeing all of those fish heads and innards floating away…sinking back into the lake to feed the other fishies as the circle of life continues…What a waste! Yes, I am greedy, but that was already a known fact. Wasn’t it? Looking at it from a logical perspective though, we wouldn’t have been able to haul all 16 fish back if the majority hadn’t been filleted.  Now that I’ve finished regaling you with our fishing adventure and you’re bored out of your mind (C’mon already, where’s the food?!) on to the bbq!  Before our utterly exciting fishing adventure, we stopped by what is supposed to be the place to go for bbq at Rochester — Dinosaur Bar-B-Que — the night before. The place was beyond crowded when we arrived, and the wait time was around 3 hours. Convinced that this was the best place in town to eat, thanks to the raving reviews found on the internet and Yelp!, we decided to wait it out. Seated in front of the take out corner, it never occurred to us that maybe…just maybe, we should order food to go instead of waiting. Well, not until we’d already waited nearly 2 hours anyway. Then we got smart, and around $10 later (their bottled cherry soda is delicious, sadly I forgot to take a photo of it and can’t recall the brand) we stopped staring longingly at the take out counter and actually lined up to order instead. Proud of us, aren’t you? Back at the hotel, we dug in...

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Fontana Famous Pizza & Gyro

Posted by on Dec 17, 2011 in New York Eats | 0 comments

Whenever I think of Greek food, the first thing to pop into my mind are gyros. Succulent strips of meat with some lettuce, tomato, and onion all wrapped up in a soft pita bread and smothered in yogurt dip. What could possibly be better than having one of those wraps in hand?  Well, only to have the small portion of a wrap doubled!  Fontana’s is the only place I’ve been to (so far) that serves up a satisfyingly large portion when you demand a gyro platter.   For $10.90, Fontana’s gyro platter is served with a salad, pita bread, Tzatziki sauce, and your choice of fries, rice, or lemon potatoes. Needless to say, this thing is big enough to be shared. This isn’t just another gyro platter from any restaurant where all of it manages to fit into one take out container. This place seriously wants to make sure that their customers leave sated and feeling as if the food was well worth their buck(s). So much so, that they cram a heaping amount of gyro meat and fries into one container, while filling another with salad. Of course, you can’t forget the pita bread and yogurt dip that’s included as well! The gyro meat is tender and carved right off the giant rack of…well, slow roasted gyro meat. Unfortunately, I lost that particular photo (the guy was even nice enough to pose for me -sigh-) so you’ll have to use your imaginations there. While the salad isn’t anything spectacular, their generous cubes of cheese have always sat well with me. In fact, my sister and I are always bickering over who gets the bigger half of the split cube. Aside from that, all I can say is that the next time you’re driving past Northern Boulevard in Bayside, keep your eye out for Fontana’s little ‘island’. Parking may be a pain, but the food is well worth the effort. Check out the menu on their website here. Fontana Famous Pizza & Gyro 200-02 Northern Blvd., Bayside, NY 11361 (718) 631-0147 ~ AJ ~ Photographs taken and provided by AnnMarie...

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Afternoon Tea: The Rose House in Flushing, NY

Posted by on Dec 4, 2011 in New York Eats | 5 comments

Hey guys! I’ve been inactive for a while, but I’m back! Finals are soon approaching but I thought I’d share this quick post just to let you all know I’m still here ;D The Rose House in Flushing, NY is a nice little girly place to visit with your friends if you want a cozy place to sit, drink deliciously expensive tea, munch on cakes and sweets, and chat. The place is pretty overpriced in my opinion, and I would recommend going if you’ve got money to splurge and aren’t very hungry. The inside of the shop has individual private tables, couches, and cushiony soft lounge chairs which gives a really nice atmosphere to the place. Your tea also comes in an expensive teapot, with expensive tableware to match. I wouldn’t suggest breaking anything here, as you’ll probably have to pay for it. I went with my friend a while ago, and we enjoyed their Belgian waffles with honey and freshly whipped cream. For tea, we had a peach milk tea. They have an insane amount of teas and snacks to choose from, along with various combos and specials, but we just stuck with the basics. The tea was pretty good and I could definitely taste the fruity flavor of the peach, but it wasn’t extraordinary. The waffles however were delicious! As we were determined not to waste our money, my friend and I made sure to use up all the whipped cream and honey that came with the waffles (which was quite a lot in fact) and we ended up smothering our waffles with as much whipped cream and honey as they could hold. Hubba Hubba! Very very satisfying I must say! What do you guys think? Are you always determined to eat your money’s worth? Let me know in the comments! Hope you all enjoyed this quickie post! – Jas                                                                                                                                                                        Photographs taken by Jasmine...

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Ciao Baby

Posted by on Nov 19, 2011 in New York Eats | 0 comments

Something I’ve noticed that most Americans seem to have in common is that we want things to be larger than life. Towering skyscrapers, luxurious living, speeding-around-town-in-a-hot-rod-with-some-super-model-girlfriend-in-the-passenger’s-seat…but who cares about any of that when it comes down to giant portions of food? Personally, being able to get more for a buck is always a win in my book, but I’m sure we all look for quality as well as quantity. Or at least I do, possibly because I’m a picky snob. (Or am I? That is the question. Mwahaha…ahem…) After being introduced to giant meatballs on Man vs. Food, we had to check it out for ourselves. Softball sized meatballs simmering in a savory red sauce for hours before being served up on an overflowing bed of pasta – how could we possibly resist! Upon arriving at Ciao Baby, a chic little family restaurant, we were raring to dig into their infamous dish — Nonna’s Old World Meat Platter ($35.95). It was huge…we definitely weren’t disappointed. Ecstatic more like. Each and every one of their dishes were served in portions so big that it’s impossible to leave without a ‘doggie bag’. Then again, if you’re actually able to finish everything…more power to ya. With two different links of sausage on the side, it was like a meat lover’s pasta dish on steroids. Three giant meatballs were the star of the dish, and one bite showed that it was everything we expected it to be. Soft, tender, and packed full of flavor. You would think that such a large ball of meat would be tough or undercooked, but the way the meatballs disappeared said otherwise. However, meatballs aside, the overall dish wasn’t nearly as impressive as it was hyped up to be. The ziti was cooked perfectly al dente, though you can request them to be cooked longer if that’s what you’d prefer. The sausages paled in comparison to the meatballs, to the point where they seemed no better than a store-bought brand. Yes, that is just how good the meatballs were. Overall, I can probably nom on those meatballs all day, but I could easily pass on the rest of the dish. Nonna’s Old World Meat Platter aside, the rest of our dinner was pretty phenomenal. All of the dishes were served on generous platters and heaping portions, there wasn’t much to complain about when it came to the food itself. The service was great, and they were very flexible with their menu as everything was literally cooked to order (pasta was al dente or not, the type of pasta used, the inclusion or exclusion of certain ingredients according to personal preferences). If it’s impossible to squeeze in the necessary time to whip up a Thanksgiving dinner, then keep Ciao Baby in mind as a potential restaurant to eat at for the holidays…or just any occasion really!  Check out their menu here! Commack 204 E. Jericho Turnpike Commack, NY 11725 (631) 543-1400  Massapequa 50-74 Sunrise Highway Massapequa Park, NY 11762 (516) 799-5200   ~ AJ ~ Photographs taken and provided by AnnMarie...

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Bad Dawgs

Posted by on Nov 5, 2011 in New York Eats | 5 comments

Have you ever had a hot dog craving? But not just any hot dog. I’m talking about a hot dog that’s got so many toppings heaped up on it that you can’t even see the sausage anymore.  Bad Dawgs advertises itself as a store serving up “The Baddest Dawgs On The Planet!” with “Gourtmet Hot dogs and More…”, and true to their word they had plenty of different topping choices available.  The Border Collie Dawg (Do you even need to ask why we chose that?) was topped with chili, nacho cheese, raw white onions, real bacon bits, and jalapenos. It looked amazingly tasty and full of potential to clog arteries. The Chow Chow Dawg, topped with chili, lettuce, tomato, real bacon bits, shredded cheddar cheese, sour cream, and hot sauce, looked slightly more healthy but still damn appetizing. Both of our bad dawgs came at a shocking $3.75, which is probably where the magic of advertising ‘gourmet’ hot dogs came into play. The hot dogs honestly weren’t all that bad. It was messy eating and finger-lickingly satisfying, but would I go back again? For nearly $4, probably not. Despite all the great toppings, the hot dog itself wasn’t anything special. You could easily purchase a pack at the grocery and then add your choice of toppings. If anything, I’d probably stick to 7-Eleven’s quarter pound hot dogs…and abuse the cheese and chili machines while I’m at it.   Then again, Bad Dawgs may very well find me returning for their loaded fries with a fork at the ready. Topped with chili, melted cheddar, bacon bits, and raw white onions for a grand total of $4.99. Still pretty pricey but mm-mmm good. Again, the fries weren’t anything spectacular and like the hot dogs, it was really the toppings that made it worthwhile. But if you’re in the Huntington area and too lazy to put together your own loaded fries and hot dogs…Bad Dawgs is the place to go. Best of all, you get a “Buy One Bad Dawg and Get One Bad Dawg Free!” card with your purchase. Well, that’s definitely one way to make sure you get people coming back. Find the nearest Bad Dawgs near you with their snazzy website. Bad Dawgs 44 Gerard Street Huntington, NY 11743 (631) 923-1201  ~ AJ ~ Photographs taken and provided by AnnMarie...

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Craving noodles at night? Seo 34 Ramen!!

Posted by on Oct 30, 2011 in New York Eats | 4 comments

Hey all! So once again, I’m back from fall break and am in the midst of tests, tests, and more tests. Yay! One thing I’ve learned is that snacks are unavoidable. Especially late night snacks. Freshman 15? Heck yea! Before leaving for college, some awesome church people (JP and Uncle Wesley, if you guys are reading this, yes I am referring to you guys) took my mom and I out for a midnight meal. And yes, the store Seo 34 Ramen doesn’t open till around 11 pm, so only eat a light dinner beforehand! Now, I am crazy about ramen. I adore it. So I had extremely high expectations for this small late night ramen store. Was I satisfied? Ooooh yea. The outside of the store is relatively simple and in a classic Japanese style. The inside also followed the same style, with little paper dividers and plain wooden tables and chairs. Since it was pretty late, we just got a simple meal: For our appetizer we had little wontons that were basically pork covered with noodles dipped in a light sweet soy sauce. Just for the sake of filling our bellies we also got some grilled chicken. Yum. Pretty good, but not the star of the meal: The restaurant offers two ramen choices: salt or soy sauce. Since I prefer eating light foods at night, I got salt. So good people! The noodles were chewy and had a springy texture, none of that mushy overcooked stuff. The pork was fatty and juicy,and the egg perfectly yolky with a slight miso flavor. The soup itself was slightly too salty for my taste, but complemented the noodles well. All in all, a very satisfying bowl! I would definitely recommend everyone to check this place out. Although a bit pricey for $9.50 a bowl, it made me happy. I can safely say that I returned home with a very full belly =] Hope you guys enjoyed this post! Leave comments, so I know what you guys think. Any suggestions or requests? Talk to me! Seo Ramen 249 E 49th St (between 2nd Ave & 3rd Ave) New York, NY 10017 Neighborhood: Midtown East   (212) 355-7722 – Jas Photographs taken by Jasmine...

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Village Creperie

Posted by on Oct 22, 2011 in New York Eats | 0 comments

The Village Creperie is the place to go if you’re hoping for “a unique European taste in Huntington”, or if you’re simply just craving some crepes and are in the Huntington area. This little cafe offers both sweet and savory crepes, as well as breakfast crepes – all with fancy French names such as the Parisien. On the side, they also have one or two soups of the day to choose from if you’re feeling the munchies for something warm. Of course, this means that we needed to get both a sweet and a savory crepe to taste the full selection.  The Picasso is a sweet crepe filled with honey, walnuts, and fresh bananas with a sprinkling of powdered sugar on top. Picasso himself was probably grinning from the grave when we emptied our wallets and shelled out $6.95. I was surprised at how thick the crepe was, having expected a thin and delicate crepe for a dessert. Though I was pretty happy with the choice of filling. Walnuts made for an interesting texture for the rest of the crepe while complimenting the other ingredients as well. It’s no wonder that baked goods like banana nut muffins are so popular. The stuff just tastes good together — ‘nanas an’ nuts that is.  Instead of getting an ‘official’ savory crepe, we made do with a breakfast crepe. A simple scrambled eggs and sausage which tallied up to $5.95. Like the sweet crepe, our breakfast crepe was also thicker than I’d thought it’d be but when compared to the Picasso, the Picasso’s crepe was definitely more on the delicate side…as a sweet crepe should be! I don’t think it’s possible to go wrong with good old egg and sausages, but it reminded me of hot pockets almost.  All in all, the crepes weren’t half bad though the price alone would make me hesitate to think of it as a regular joint to frequent. For an occasional snack to fulfill a craving? Sure. Check out the Village Creperie’s website here. Village Creperie 335 New York Avenue Huntington, NY 11743 (631) 423-3057 ~ AJ ~ Pictures taken and provided by AnnMarie...

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Yogurt Crazy

Posted by on Oct 8, 2011 in New York Eats | 3 comments

Like I said in last week’s post on Rita’s Italian Ice, frozen yogurt has become my thing lately and Yogurt Crazy’s crazy yogurts are a slightly healthier option than Rita’s Italian Ices…well, depending on your choice of toppings anyway. This cute little shop offers a plethora of different flavors that thoughtfully include choices that are nonfat, low-fat, or no sugar to suit their customer’s wide range of demands. With unique flavors such as Butter Brickle and Snickerdoodle, this is a place where you’ll be coming back again and again in order to try your hand at the endless combinations. Upon entering, the first thing you’ll notice are the yogurt bowls stacked right in front of the entrance. This is your cue to grab one and head for the yogurt machines to start filling them up. For those who are more health conscious, Yogurt Crazy makes sure to list all the nutritional information of each flavor for your convenience. You can literally be filling up your cup and feeling guilty at the same time, all while noting the amount of calories you’re about to ingest. Not to worry though, your tastebuds will soon be too happy to care.  After you’ve gotten your pick of flavors, turn around to be greeted by their toppings bar. The selection is almost intimidating at first sight. With fresh nuts and fruits, to an insane amount of different sweets and candy toppings, saying that it’s hard to choose what to arm your yogurt battalion with is an understatement. Finish it off with your choice of sauces, like the good old fashioned hot fudge or whipped cream. (Does whipped cream count as ‘sauce’?) So far, my favorite flavor is definitely the Peach Mango Tart. It’s light and pleasantly fruity, plus there’s mangoes in there and you just can’t go wrong with mango. You can’t really see it in the picture, but we also got Raspberry layered underneath the Peach Mango Tart. It was a bit on the tangier side with a bit more texture due to what I’m guessing to be teeny tiny ground up raspberry seeds, but I’d definitely get it again. Topped with some strawberries, mangoes, blueberries and mochi, our other yogurt wasn’t nearly as healthy with its sprinkling of Oreos and Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups. Though we still had some strawberries and mochi, that’s gotta count for something right? Yogurt Crazy’s selection of flavors are changed every few days, so it is quite possible to try out all of their flavors by visiting often. For me, they’ll most likely be staying on my ‘To-do’ list for quite a while due to the sheer amount of different flavors available. But someday, someday I will conquer Yogurt Crazy and their full course menu. I suppose the only downside to this place is that they charge by weight. Meaning the more you pile on, the more you’ll be shelling out of your wallet. Well worth the few extra bucks in my opinion. In fact, this place may very well have topped Red Mango in my book. What’s more, you get a little stamp card. “Purchase nine cups of frozen yogurt valued over $3.00 and receive $3.00 off the tenth yogurt purchase.” My advice? Bring friends and share the same stamp card. You’ll get to your tenth yogurt in no time. Check out your nearest Yogurt Crazy location here. ~ AJ ~ Photographs taken and provided by AnnMarie...

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