Archive for April, 2013
I wanted to like you, even love you, L’ Ecole, but I could not.
First, train your staff so they can respond to ignorant questions posed by those such as myself: “Does consomme contain cream?”
Secondly, less is more — don’t go overboard on the portions or saucing: no overload of mesclun for the seasonal salad, no saccharine pools of demi-glace for the skirt steak:
Please toast (or candy) the walnuts. Please choose complementary root vegetables to accompany the steak — no tomatoes, yellow squash, or radicchio — but keep the sweet tender carrots. Caramelize the onions.
Thirdly, give us light! (Not just the obnoxious light from the flash of my camera.) Let us see the beauty of the plating but accent certain ingredients rather than occlude them with incongruous ones (see vegetable suggestion above).
Lastly, dessert — pumpkin souffle with egg nog cream.
Be cake-ier please (see the mushiness above the sauce?), fluffier, lighter. You can do better.
You know a Chinese restaurant is good when a busload of Asians download in front of the strip mall entrance at 9 p.m. on a Friday night.
Or do you? Was it because this is the only Chinese restaurant open in Princeton that can hold such a human capacity?
First, let me say that the xiao long bao (soup dumplings, people) never disappoint — don’t you want to pop that juicy porky morsel into your mouth? I sure as hell do. And I did, all six of them.
But the new dishes I tried tonight, like the “chicken with fresh black mushrooms in brown sauce” — where the heck are the Chinese black mushrooms? I mean the real ones — the shitakes — these are the supermarket ones. Perhaps I need to reiterate this request when making the takeout order (and I will do that, it makes a huge difference!).
Finally, the mei cai kou rou (steamed pork belly with preserved vegetables) — the photos from these hyperlinks explain how to prepare the dish more fully, never mind the Chinglish — look at the images. The savory saucy tender pork and soft preserved vegetables mesh very well — you may find yourself eating through two small takeout containers of rice in a succulent orgy.
I’ve been passing by Somerville quite frequently in my drives these days. It has some interesting ethnic eats — a Filipino bodega on Division Street, a Mexican one on Main, and an Asian mart next to Da Filippo.
This time I sample the bistec con salsa verde from the Mexican bodega along with a tamarind Jarritos – for $9.50, it’s a tastier meal than what I had ordered at the nearby seafood restaurant (Manhattan clam chowder + crab cake appetizer) for $25 bucks. I plan to eat it for breakfast tomorrow.
I’ve made mojo verde at home using a WSJ recipe for papas arrugadas con mojo verde – it called for cumin, cilantro, tomatillos, sherry vinegar, et. al., and the end result was clean and fresh-tasting.
At the time, I was trying to mimic another Mexican bodega’s version of soft-shelled pulled pork tacos: I mounded shredded braised pork on top of a flour tortilla and accented with the mojo verde, raw onions, and cilantro. Let’s just say that this version met my needs.
Where is your favorite bodega?
Evidence. (Image may appear larger than actual size).
From a 4-piece-chicken-nugget Happy Meal, mind you.
It’s in my blood, McDonald’s has been transfused into my blood…
What’s your favorite fast food joint?
Hoagie Haven, baby.
When I crave a turkey hoagie with tomatoes-lettuce-onions-hot pepper-spices-oil-and-vinegar at midnight, I come here — not WaWa, not Wegmans — Hoagie Haven.
The bread is key as are the thinly-sliced raw onions topping this behemoth (or dwarf-sized version… I always order a half samidge).
Read about this in the WSJ whilst chugging away on the recumbent bike. (Gotta burn those calories from trying new joints, man.)
To prepare for tasting novel eats in the upcoming spring/summer months, I really have to be selective about caloric intake now. DQ or Marea? Mickey-D’s or 15 East? Chocolate cake or ChikaLicous? %#@!
Back to Modern Farmer: Any thoughts? I looked at their tumblr today.
Crunchy romaine lettuce topped with calico bean salad — kidney beans, fava beans, chickpeas — slightly chilled.
Shrimp tossed with mayo and Old Bay seasoning.
Light coat of freshly ground black pepper.
Mee Siam (literally, Thai rice noodle)
Thin rice noodles tossed with curry powder and turmeric.
Stir-fried with bean sprouts, bell peppers, scallions, onion, egg, shrimp, and pork.
Tonkatsu, fried panko-crusted pork cutlet.
Atop plump chewy Japanese white rice.
Studded with edamame, green soybeans.