All posts tagged: restaurant

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 …

Mapping Bourdain

As travel shows go, the many incarnations of Anthony Bourdain’s philosophical and very real take on food, yes, but more than that, culture, is definitely a must. Though Brasserie Le Halles, the now New York staple he used to helm (where my boyfriend was very sweet to have taken me), did not live up to expectations as far as steakhouses, we religiously watch old episodes of No Reservations shot in places we’re going so we can choose a few spots for our own map of places to check off our bucket list du jour. Turkey: Uphill and Soggy Buns Turkey, for example, was especially interesting. We decided our first night in Istanbul that we were going to walk to Durumzade, a small spot where Tony swears the Adana kebab was the best. It was quite an adventure as we did not know that we had to walk uphill to the restaurant. We walked until we finally gave up and hailed a cab a block from the place and got to our goal: Anthony Bourdain’s recommended kebab. …

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) …

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 …

Taking the “Best Thing I Ever Ate” Route

Last year my boyfriend and I went to Philadelphia to do a food tour. Before we went, we (mainly he) searched for videos of places that were featured on Food Network and Travel Channel shows such as Diners, Drive Ins and Dives and Best Thing I Ever Ate and mapped out where we wanted to go. One of the places on our list was this restaurant called Lolita, a recommendation from Food Network chef Robert Irvine on The Best Thing I Ever Ate’s “In A Bowl” episode. The dish: tiramisu. It is sweet, with a perfect amount of heat, which makes it a very balanced dessert. The texture and creaminess add to it as well. The verdict: it was the best tiramisu we’ve eaten. Lolita Tiramisu Dessert rating: 9.5 out of 10 (We didn’t eat anything else in this restaurant other than the Tiramisu, so a restaurant rating will not be fair)

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 …