July 31, 2009

summer lunch

I can't help it, my lunch today was just too good not to share.

I had a ribeye that I bought on sale this week and needed to cook soon, and a batch of that hungarian dill zucchini. So I grilled the ribeye, and made a salad with spinach, frisee and radish. And I threw a garden cuke, a leftover cubanelle pepper, some chives, garlic and tomato juice into the food processor with a little olive oil, sherry vinegar, salt, pepper and just a wee speck of cumin to make gazpacho.

Cold gazpacho, hot fatty ribeye, plus a tangy salad of bitter greens, spicy radish, and enough of that zucchini to basically serve as a dressing. Not bad for a workday. AND I didn't resort to starch, so aside from the pedantic argument that beef fat is perhaps not entirely dietetic, good for me too!

Posted by foodnerd at 12:27 PM | Comments (0)

July 30, 2009

Noodle Village

We were loose in NYC without much of a plan this time. One day we stumbled out of our pals' downtown apartment for lunch, took a taxi to Chinatown without an actual destination, and tried the first Chinese noodle place we saw.

Happily for us, Noodle Village was awesome. I was unfortunately hungover -- damn this encroaching middle age -- so I got a bowl of congee with black preserved egg and pork. This pork was richer and fattier than what we get at Vinh Sun, and it was really good, just what I wanted. Tallasiandude got his usual too, a bowl of thin egg noodles in soup with shrimp-filled dumplings. These were huge and particularly good dumplings, with fresh shrimp and good flavorings.

The xiao long bao were a bit of a disappointment, doubly a blow given the recent demise of Wing's Kitchen; we still have no quality source on the east coast. They were a bit thick and chewy, and the filling was too sweet. Not terrible, but not good either. The jiao zi, on the other hand, were top notch, filled with lots of garlic chive and pork, and fried supercrunchy just the way I like 'em.

Posted by foodnerd at 10:09 PM | Comments (0)

July 29, 2009

hungarian dill zucchini

While we were in NYC, tallasiandude got this old family recipe anecdotally from a friend. We tried it last night and it's really great. So all y'all out there with too many zucchini, try this:

Grate the zucchini on a box grater -- one smallish zucchini was barely enough for two to have small portions, so go wild.

Put the grated zucchini into a skillet with a little bit of olive oil and a sprinkle of salt, and cook it until just tender. Stir occasionally especially as the water evaporates, so it won't burn.

Put the cooked zucchini into a dish. Grind over some pepper, and sprinkle with equal parts rice wine vinegar and either wine vinegar or cider vinegar. You can add as much vinegar as you want, but I'd advise going light or else it'll be swimming in liquid. Chop up some fresh dill and stir in.

You could eat it right away or let it cool down in the fridge. Either way, it's like a salad or a pickle, with a fresh dilliness and a bit of richness from the oil. It makes a nice change from the usual steamed or fried or grilled squash.

Posted by foodnerd at 12:23 PM | Comments (0)

Momofuku Milk Bar

So in all the salty fatty ecstasy over Mr. Chang's pork offerings, I have neglected to mention anything about the sweets. These are not inconsiderable.

For a start, when we went the first time, there was a lemon verbena soft serve on the menu at Milk Bar. I regret not having room for it that night, as it was gone from the menu by the time we got back. We tried the Cereal MilkTM which was pretty good as a novelty, tasting just like cornflakes gone soggy in whole milk and then frozen. We also tried the Strawberry Shortcake, which was surprisingly nasty, with a very odd tang to it that seemed to be due to the shortcake aspect. But softserve in exciting flavors is just the pleasing frivolity that Mr. Chang wants it to be, and NYC is eating it up.

We tried the Crack PieTM which was indeed a buttery little minx, and the Candy Bar pie was a big fat Reese's Cup in a crust.

The real gem, though, and I am pretty sure it's not a hidden one by any measure, is the Compost CookieTM. It's a big pile of crumbs and scraps all baked up together with some butter and sugar and flour. It's got potato chips in it, and coffee grounds, along with more usual things like graham cracker crumbs and oats and chocolate. So every bite hits a caramel-salt-mocha note that just makes me happy all over.

Posted by foodnerd at 09:54 AM | Comments (0)

July 28, 2009

Momofuku Noodle Bar

Our Saturday night dance outing was up the street from Momofuku Noodle Bar. We initially forgot this fact, and went to Jaffa Cafe on the recommendation of the ticket girl. There we had an adequate berry cake and a bowl of tzatziki masquerading as cucumber-yogurt soup, which was fine but tallasiandude was still hungry -- at which point we realized what was but mere blocks away.

One dark-and-stormy-flavored soju slushie, served with fat bubble-tea straws. Two Beau Soleil oysters with cucumber-yuzu puree, then an order of pork buns. Then another order of pork buns.


But we went to the Momofuku Noodle Bar hoping for noodles, and for some reason the late-night menu doesn't have ANY noodles. Oh, cry for us, we had exquisite pork buns instead.

So we went back for lunch the next day. Heh.

Their pork ramen is probably the best I have had. Rich flavorful broth, with good thin noodles, two types of braised pork, bamboo shoot, scallion, fish cake, and nori. Almost too much pork, really, for the summer weather, but who's to complain?

We also got bibim gooksu, more noodles with a Korean sweet-spicy sauce, shredded nori, salted cucumber, and a soft-fried egg. Corn off the cob with butter, fingerlings, scallion and bacon from Benton the country ham guy. More rice cake cylinders fried to crispy and swaddled in sweet-spicy sauce, too sweet for some but somehow compelling for me, with just a dusting of scallion and sesame seed. And a couple more orders of pork buns. I mean, duh.

Posted by foodnerd at 07:50 AM | Comments (0)

July 27, 2009

David Chang's evil genius

OK, so apparently I am late getting on the David Chang bandwagon. I just found out about him a few months ago watching reruns of No Reservations, but he's been around long enough to have 3 restaurants in Manhattan, wackily restrictive reservations policies, and an internet backlash.

I don't care.

The man is a deranged genius and I love him for it. Read the reviews I linked to -- they're completely accurate in describing his combination of trendy East Village bar atmosphere, haute cuisine technique and ingredients, low-rent comfort-food concepts, Korean flavors and raw unapologetic gluttony.

Any person who puts a whole section for country hams on his menu is OK with me. And if said person also decides to offer a bo ssam spread of braised pork shoulder bigger than my head along with insanely-great homemade kimchi and beautiful raw oysters and rice and lettuce, I am on board. Just as I am with the platter of two whole fried chickens, one southern-style, one korean-style, that can be had at his noodle bar.

Some of the criticism is justified. $18 for the few slivers of cured hamachi we had was a bit much -- it was delicious and clever, but dishes like that are where Momofuku is gleefully extracting cash from the hipster masses.

On the other hand, 5 people ate that pork braise, and then 7 more ate the leftovers. And it was fucking fantastic both times. The meat was soft, moist, oozing with fat, as glorious as any slow-smoked cut I've ever seen, with a sweet sticky skin and perfect rich flavor. I about shoveled that kimchi into my face with a spoon it was so good. Apparently people go gaga for the ginger scallion sauce, which was admittedly good, but holy crap that kimchi!

We also ordered a fried rice cake dish that was cylindrical Korean rice cakes snipped into bits, crisp-fried in a wok, and served with a spicy sauce, ground pork, and chinese broccoli. This was probably the most delicious thing we ordered short of the pork. The snap peas in xo sauce with mint and crumbled hardboiled egg gave it a mighty challenge. Addictively good, both of them, and probably gone from the menus even by now. DAMN YOU, David Chang!

At least he throws us all a bone by keeping the pork belly steamed buns constantly on the menu at all 3 of his establishments. I don't care if he does buy the buns frozen from chinatown. They taste great, the pork belly is perfect, soft and dripping fat, and the balance with the hoisin and lightly pickled cucumber slices and finely sliced scallion is dreamy. The fact that you can have such a thing in the middle of the night, or drunk, or both, is just gravy.

(pictures will come when yahoo stops douching around and lets me back into flickr)

Posted by foodnerd at 09:14 PM | Comments (0)

July 26, 2009

OMG momofuku pork buns

Momofuku pork buns

We have eaten a lot of really great shit here in NYC this week. However, at 1:30am on Saturday night, all I have on my mind are the two simple but mindbendingly delicious pork buns we just ate at Momofuku Noodle Bar. Two slices of melty, fatty, crisp on the edges pork belly, plus a few slices of lightly pickled cucumber, a spray of scallion slices and a wipe of hoisin, all on a soft steamed folded chinese bun. FUCK YEAH.

more to follow, of course.

Posted by foodnerd at 01:32 AM | Comments (1)

July 14, 2009

happiness is a warm tortilla

...from Perez. Lunch today was machacado con huevo with a whole stack of warm fresh homemade tortillas. I am content.

Posted by foodnerd at 02:07 PM | Comments (0)

July 08, 2009

meze birthday party

There's no pictures, because I couldn't cope with the camera, but last night we had a fun little gathering for our pal's birthday and had a bunch of middle-eastern/turkish-style treats. Some came from Sofra, and were dreamy as usual: beet-yogurt-walnut, smoky eggplant, red pepper-pomegranate, kidney bean-walnut, and something we think was based on fava beans.

But Sofra for a big group can get expensive, so I got out the Claudia Roden book and went nuts for a couple of hours. I love this book so much -- easy, easy vegetable recipes full of addictive flavors.

I made:

- spiced carrot puree (lots of hot smoked paprika, cumin, coriander, etc)
- celeriac-almond hummus (idea stolen from sofra)
- greek yogurt with salted cucumber dice and dried mint
- chickpeas in garlic-lemon-olive oil dressing with parsley
- smashed zucchini with garlic, raisins and pinenuts (so insanely good)
- white turnip and orange salad with olive oil and black pepper
- radishes pickled in lemon juice and olive oil (they turn a lovely hot pink)
- baba ganoush

and there was also feta and labneh and fresh herbs and breads from Sevan Bakery in Watertown, and watermelon with feta and mint, and MG's curry turkey burger sliders with mango chutney. I just cannot get enough of this kind of food. It makes me so happy. YUM.

(post script: lemon/olive oil radish pickles are really really good mixed in with the chickpeas in lemon, garlic and parsley. just sayin'.)

Posted by foodnerd at 12:40 PM | Comments (0)