All posts tagged: restaurant review

My Mental Health Day at Pangea

The trend in the food world these days seems to be pop ups — places that set up at selected spots at a limited time, with a theme and specific menu. In recent years, established restaurants have also done pop ups, bringing their food closer to people other than those living in their own cities. This weekend my boyfriend and I had the opportunity to go to one of these pop ups — the Culinary Institute’s Pangea. We had learned that the director of Pangea was given limited resources to come up with a concept, turn one of the students’ former dining rooms (if you are not familiar with the Culinary Institute, it is where arguably, the best chefs are trained) into a restaurant, a menu befitting the CIA’s reputation and a specific deadline. What they have come up with is very impressive, an “earth-conscious” menu that takes into consideration the way we “produce and harvest” the food we eat, drawing into it many cultural and culinary techniques while remaining true to the ingredients. Aside …

On Our Robatayaki Experience, and Spending Quality Time With Friends

During this day and age, time with some of our most treasured friends that we very seldom see come few and far between. There just aren’t enough hours in the day for work, family, significant others, errands and everything else that needs to get done — so when we get to spend time with these great people, it becomes even more special. One of those times that stand out in my mind was once upon a birthday. That November some years ago, not only did I get to meet up with two of my girlfriends that I don’t get to see very often, but it was unforgettable for its uniqueness. We went to Inakaya, a robatayaki in the New York Times building the city. It is a Japanese type of cooking that literally translates to “fireside cooking,” where food — mostly seafood and vegetables are slowly grilled over charcoal. I was excited to begin with as my favorite cuisine. But when my friends G and M told the staff that it was my birthday, they …

We’ll Always Have Paris (And That Escargot)

If you were to choose the first time to have a certain dish, I’d say it would be a dream to do so in the place of its origins. I have spoken of my Contiki trip on this blog before, and one of the things I had the privilege of experiencing during the Paris leg was the great food. On our last night, our tour manager took us to Monmarte to show us Sacre Coeur and to a nice Parisian dinner at La Bonne Franquette. For my appetizer, instead of French onion soup I chose escargot — my first time — and it was quite an experience. The dish was served with shells on, with a shell holder and a small fork for you to use in taking the snails out (as opposed to those I had everywhere else since, where the snails are already taken out of the shells for you). The sauce was a perfect blend of garlic and herbs, and definitely great for dipping the bread, for which we were reprimanded (playfully) …

Our Culinary Institute Experience: Bocuse

It was one of those work days when it was one stressful event after another, and my boyfriend said he had a surprise for me. To cheer me up, he had made a reservation to the Culinary Institute of America’s French restaurant, Bocuse, the weekend coming up, to remind me once again of the reason why we have our day jobs. We do our best with our work, hopefully in a profession that we love, so we could live the life we love, live each moment and savor it — and that weekend, savor it we did. The Culinary Institute, CIA, is located in Hyde Park, NY. Restaurants here are used to train their students to be ready for the real world, and it has been a training ground for chefs renowned in the culinary world such as Grant Achatz, Anthony Bourdain, Michael Simon, to name a few. I have written about it before here, but this time I would like focus on the time we had the best dish both he and I have …

Crepes: Philly, Warwick and While Sailing the Open Seas

If you have a sweet tooth like I do, you have eaten as many crepes as I have. So when my boyfriend and I went on our Philly food tour last year and saw online that Alton Brown was on Best Thing I Ever Ate talking about Beau Monde‘s crepes, we had to add it on our list of places to visit. In the episode “Under Wraps,” Alton named two crepes, one savory, one sweet, as the best things he ever ate that are wrapped. If you like pears, you would like the dessert crepe, which is pear, chocolate and chestnut creme. The pear wasn’t overcooked, the chocolate and chestnut creme were a good combination and complimented the sourness/sweetness of the pear very well, but I did not like it because of the texture and grittiness of pears. This, however, is personal preference. The savory crepe, mushroom, swiss and almond, was perfectly cooked. They chose the right cheese for the crepe and the almond provided a crunch — it’s just the textural element that it …

Do Giant Fortune Cookies Also Bring Big Fortunes?

I love getting my fortune cookie after a meal at a Chinese restaurant. The history of fortune cookies aside, it is a staple we have come to expect. At Tao in Manhattan, one of my favorite Asian fusion restaurants, the dessert menu includes a giant fortune cookie, which is filled with white and dark chocolate mousse. I had the chance to sample this interesting dessert when I went to the restaurant with my parents. It was served with assorted fruits on the side, and came with three giant fortunes. True to form, some of the fortunes made sense, some did not.It’s definitely a clever and creative dessert. The mousse had good consistency and had balance in sweetness between the white and the dark. I wished the cookie itself would have been crisper, but overall if you take a bite with the cookie as the textural element, the fruits giving the acidity and the mousse the sweetness, it will be a good bite. Tao Restaurant rating: 7.5 out of 10 Giant Fortune Cookie dessert rating: 7 out of 10  …

The Best Risotto Yet (And A Must Go In Jersey)

Tell me you’ve got risotto on the menu, and you’ve got me. It’s one of my favorite things in the world. Along with chocolate and eating with chopsticks and dulce de leche. And the best risotto I have had so far is from this place called The Pluckemin Inn in New Jersey. It was during one of those weekends we gave up on in the spring of this year, looking through listings on Open Table and chanced upon The Pluckemin. The criteria: proximity to where we were at the time, user reviews and Open Table points we were to earn. We had to cancel reservations at a different restaurant that night and were looking forward to having the place’s interpretation of cacio e pepe, a difficult-to-find-in-the-US pasta dish that we had in Rome months earlier, but that already did not pan out — so we had low expectations for our second option. Needless to say, we were more than pleasantly surprised at how good this restaurant experience turned out to be, giving us some of …