Sunday, September 30, 2012

Pie Face

Friday night, J and I was going to grab something small because he has to get home and have dinner with his mum for her birthday, how sweet! I had no idea where he was going to take me since I thought we were going to KoreanTown and if we did, there's mad food around there. Little did I know he was taking me somewhere else...

He told me Hooters and yet again, I fell for his trick! Why is he so sneaky?!

We ended up at Pie Face, a place that I mentioned to him a few weeks back.

The outside of the small shop was extremely flashy. It would fit perfectly in Time Square. Good thing there wasn't much people but I did wish they had chairs instead of stand up counters.

The menu was actually on the right side against the wall. The menu that is smacked in the middle is all about coffee, I assume this is a big breakfast spot in the morning also.

They have about 4 different monitors to ring you up on your purchase and each had their own "card swiper thing," yea I have now idea what's it called but you know what I mean. So you look up at that monitor, see how much it is and just swipe away on the bottom screen whenever you're ready. Almost as if it's self paid.

The cute selection of pies. Each different flavor has their own face which is adorable. They also ahve the mini versions if you don't feel like getting the regular size pies.

The cute box and sticker. The packaging is so awesome here.

Yum Yum Yum. I had the Mince Beef Stack ($7.90) and J got the Thai Chicken Curry Stack ($7.90). Stack basically means "the works" which includes mash potatoes, mushy peas and gravy. It's pretty good and quite filling.

Look at that sexy food porn shot.
I love the colors and the layers that are incorporated here.

The way to chow down here is start in the middle. You don't want to start on the side and messing up everything. Dig a hole in the middle and get some of the filling with mash and mushy and gravy, it'll taste awesome.

Texture is quite mushy but the flavor wasn't so bad. I love how the crust of the pie tasted, flaky and buttery.

J also got the Chicken and Bacon Mini Roll ($2.95). Again, the flaky pastry was amazing but the filling wasn't that great. They need to put more flavor into making it savory rather than bland.

Oh and if you get the stack, you get a free bottle of water. Not a lot of places does that and I really appreciate it. I mean, an $8 meal and FREE water...woohoo!

Although as a pie place, they really got the crust part down - it's pretty great but the filling for the roll and the pie seem to lack just a tad bit. If they master that also, then this would be some pretty awesome pie.

Pie Face
1691 Broadway
New York, NY 10019
(212) 247-9065

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Sushi Yasuda

This is my second time at Sushi Yasuda, the first time with J and we sat by the sushi bar. This time around, we came in a group of 5 and sat at the table. Both experience were extremely different and it made me decide which I liked better.

WARNING: There will be a ton of photos...some possibly repetitive, because I can.

Got seated right away because we made reservations a week in advance. There was 3 girls and 2 guys in total and we all ordered differently, which was just a tad bit confusing. Two ordered the omakase, two ordered from the a la carte, and one chose a prixe fix meal.

We all started with a small amuse bouche with pickled daikon, carrots, cucumbers, and seaweed.

Ordered a plate of Flash Fried Tuna. I thought it was just ok, nothing too special about it. Wish they had fugu instead though.

Lovely display of ginger and wasabi. You're suppose to have a piece of ginger after each sushi piece to cleanse your palate but I never do that since I'm not a big fan of ginger. As for the ginger, the sushi doesn't even need it because the chefs already tucked a bit of it in the sushi, sneaky indeed!

My beautiful table set up. Just thought it was cute and so neat. Lame but neat.

Starting off with my friend's dishes. She ordered a prixe fix (I assume) which she chose sashimi and was given a piece of paper to decide which type of fish she would like. She also ordered 4 piece a la carte because it was so tempting after seeing J and my dish (which you will see later on).

Our other two friends that ordered the Omakase had about 3 rounds of food coming and this was their first dish.

Of course, they couldn't resist and ordered more also.

This is J and mines. Went a little overboard but was totally worth it.
In no particular order, we ordered -- Big Eye Fatty Tuna, Little Tunny, Warasa (Yellowtail), Kanpachi (Yellowtail), Fluke, Sea Trout, Coba (White Fish), King Salmon, Sockeye Salmon, King Salmon New Zealand, White King Salmon, Coho Salmon, Sanma (Mackerel), Cherrystone Clam, Oyster, and Sea Urchin.
If you're able to match up the names with the pieces, congratulations because we can't for the life of us.

We ordered two more of our favorite pieces. Mine was the New Zealand King Salmon and J's was the Cherrystone Clam, the only place he eats clam raw.

Decided to get the Freshwater and Saltwater Eel sushi because our friend had it with their Omakase. I wasn't going to order it but it looked so appetizing and I just had to have it. Looks sure are deceiving because it was more on the bitter side since they used sake soy sauce instead of the sugared sweetened soy sauce glaze.

Finally, to end the meal we all ordered a piece of uni for ourselves. The uni was especially fresh and delicious that day. They only had the Santa Barbara Uni, a bit disappointed they didn't have the east coast but overall still extremely satisfied.

Our Omakase duo ordered the Green Tea Mochi Ice Cream. Nothing special since I remember having this the first time with J. It's good but the green tea powder can really dry up your mouth.

Our bill for 5 wasn't as bad as we thought. I remember the first time here with J, we easily spent over $300 for two people so either we held back this time (which I doubt because we're not cheap when it comes to food) or our stomach shrank, I like to think it's the latter.

And because we're Asians and we can, we divided up the bill into 3 hence the 3 credit cards. We even did the math for them and wrote it on the to of the bill. I was so proud at how organized we were. *thumbs up*

A good meal but not the greatest that I had here. Definitely interesting eating with a group and I look forward to it in the future.

Personally, I like sitting by the bar better because you get the full experience. You get to communicate with the sushi chefs and they can make you pieces of sushi according to your appetite and liking. They even give you some off the menu items which J and I had last time but not this time around since we weren't by the bar.

This is one of the places where I will find myself coming back, regarding if I go broke. Sushi Yasuda proves that great quality does come with high prices.

Sushi Yasuda
204 East 43rd St
New York, NY 10017
(212) 972-1001

Hill Country Chicken

J has been bugging me about this place for a while. He's wondering when he can take me here cause they make some kick-ass fried chicken. Knowing that I love fried chicken, he always ask me when would we go there together.

So finally on a night after a couple hours of shopping, we stopped by here. It's basically cafeteria style where you order at the counter and find a seat to munch on your food. Almost like, gourmet fast food. I had J do most of the ordering since he knows it better and I'll probably look like a fool if I was the once ordering it.

We had some special meal of the day which included 4 pieces of Hill Country Classic Fried Chicken, 2 sides, 2 pies, and a drink ($25). You might think it's a small meal for two but it just hits the spot.

Onto the Hill Country Classic Fried Chicken, the chicken that J has been waiting all along for me to try. Verdict? I didn't really like it. I was eating it and saying, why does it taste weird, like kind of sweet. He told me it's the spice rub. Yea, I don't like the spice rub. I like my chicken savory but the fact that the spice rub was on the sweeter side, kind of threw me off. This was a no go for me but they do have the Mama Els' Recipe which is just a regular fried chicken without the rub, definitely looking forward to that.

But overall, the chicken was cooked perfectly. Very moist on the inside and a nice crispy skin. Even the breast aren't dry which is always a good sign because you can easily overcook the breast.

For sides, I chose the Mac and Cheese while J chose something else. It was ok, nothing special but I did like how they use cellentani pasta instead of the generic macaroni.

J ordered the Cheesy Fried Mash Potatoes, indeed a killer side. It wasn't as heavy as I thought it would be and actually tasted quite light. Quite an excellent side.

The pie we both chose were the Banana Cream Pie and the Bourbon Pecan Pie which I didn't try neither because I was so full after the meal and I had J take them both home. So, next time I need to get Mama Els' Recipe and pies!

Hill Country Chicken
1123 Broadway
New York, NY 10010
(212) 257-6446

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Seoul Garden

After an evening of shopping, it was actually just a couple of hours but it was getting closer to 8pm so J and I need food. We were suppose to either go to Food Gallery or Woorijip but ended up at Seoul Garden. It took us a while to find it because we were on the wrong side of the street, no wonder we couldn't find it! Then we have to walk up 2 flights of stairs which felt like 4, and when we got up there we saw the elevator working...

We got seated right away. The restaurant is extremely spacious. Their menu was like any typical Korean restaurant, but J wanted the Samchi Gui, Korean grilled fish. And I wanted something barbeque, mostly I wanted the banchan.

After our order was taken, our banchan came out in no time.

Six plates of yummy banchan. I'm starting to like kimchi a lot more than I use to. Love the spicy crunchy cabbage. One interesting banchan of the night which neither of us had before was the gelatinous plate of, well, jello. Literally smacked right int he middle of the photo was that dish, kind of gives you that skeptical feeling but it was delicious. The sauce brought it together because the jelly looking thing was just bland.

In this photo you see the lettuce also. Comes with the barbeque dish so you can do your wrap-thang. It's exactly what I wanted plus I get my favorite miso paste sauce along with it. That stuff can get really addicting.

The Samchi Gui came with the Seafood Soon Tofu ($19.95). Grilled king fish was bland which was why they give you a lemon that burned the crap out of my fingers. It is true, all you needed was the lemon because the fish already had a taste to it and you don't really need anything else to mask that.

Our favorite part of getting the tofu stew now is breaking the egg into it. I'm sure J feels the same as I, though I do wish they gave us 2 eggs. J accidentally ordered it "medium" when we were actually thinking of "spicy". So the dish came out as not spicy at all to us, bummer indeed but it was still good. Lots of tofu pieces in there which is a plus.

And finally, my Duk Galbi ($25.95) which is said to be prime beef. Come to think of it, it's quite a hefty price for that portion but then I factor in the banchan that supposedly free and my oh so awesome miso paste!

Seoul Garden was good, but not great. It's a solid place for Korean food and I wouldn't mind coming again. But next time, I'm taking the elevator.

Seoul Garden
34 W 32nd St, 2nd Fl
New York, NY 10001
(212) 736-9002

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Dinner For One @ Joy Curry & Tandorri

It's one of those nights again where I have to stay late at work. The only good thing that comes out of that is the free dinner that I get. Tonight is Indian night and I haven't had Indian food in a long time, makes me realize how much I missed it.

I got a platter because it was the cheapest (not like it matter since the company is paying) and I can get 2 sides with it. It'll also be easier to spot in the kitchen since I know it'll probably be like World War II in there when food arrives.

It was indeed easy to spot. I was also grateful for the fact that they wrong on the cover what was what. I had gotten the Joy Platter ($7.95), I chose the chicken korma and sauteed okra, I love me some okra. It also came with naan and some sort of chutney. The naan were all packed together so I just took 2 sufficient pieces.

There was the plain ones and the garlic ones. The garlic naans were extremely pungent. Omg if there was ever a vampire, I would sooo turn it off. The naan were ok, until it started to get hard...but it was good when it was still warm, tasted great with the chicken korma.

Looked so beautiful. I was looking forward to the basmati rice. Having the usual jasmine rice at home all the time can be boring, so when given the chance to eat other types of rices, I'm so thrilled.

Chicken korma, it was a safe bet for me because I had this before and the description was something along the lines of cream sauce which means it wouldn't be too spicy because the cream usually balances that out. There were a lot of chunky tender chicken pieces.

I love okra. I got introduced to this when I first had my Sour Soup that my mum makes and I loved it. Then I had it had a Malaysian restaurant where they sauteed it with shrimp paste, delicious! So, here's the chance where I can try the Indian version. They sauteed it with tomatoes and spices. It was great, so glad that it wasn't mushy. Definitely had a little spicy kick to it.

I couldn't finish this that night so it was my lunch the next day. Because I couldn't put the tin container in the microwave, I placed everything on a plate. I was curious and started mixing all three things together and it was the best thing I've ever had. All the flavors combined and formed a really fragrant aroma and was so appetizing. I will totally get this combo again just so I can do that.

Joy Curry & Tandorri
148 E 46th St
New York, NY 10017
(212) 490-1277

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Pio Pio

After much deliberation and an hour of decision, we initially wanted to stop by a Thai place for dinner. But because Pio Pio was literally next door to our favorite Thai place, J made the final decision and Pio Pio it was.

Surprisingly "empty" on a Friday night, it wasn't as packed as I thought it would be. Pio Pio serve Peruvian food, specifically their Peruvian chicken. That's basically what the restaurant is known for and if you're a vegetarian, don't even bother to read on.

There were options on the menu where they already had a set meal which included the chicken and sides. J and I on the other hand chose to mix and match our own meals and ended up paying a bit less than the set priced meal.

I was shocked at how quick the food came out. The Peruvian Chicken ($16) was so delicious and tender. It was seasoned perfectly and roasted to perfection. I would come back just for the chicken, this is what I call a good roast chicken.

We also had Salchipapa ($5) which was just basically fried hotdog and yuca fries. I mean, I think it was hotdogs because it definitely tasted like it. Whatever kind of sausage it was, it was pretty good, oily good.

A side of Saffron Rice ($4) to go along with the entire meal. The rice was ok, there were parts that were a bit hard. I wished it was a bit more softer and fluffier but the saffron made it really fragrantful.

Last but not least, we had their Mixto Ceviche ($16) for appetizer but it came out with everything else. The seafood was like swimming in vinegar which can get really sour and tart. There were calamari, octopus, shrimp, fish, and some vegetables in there. I really liked the calamari the best because it didn't soak up too much of the vinegar sauce, all the seafood tasted fresh and had a nice "bite" to it like seafood should have when cooked just right.

Pio Pio is one of the places I would recommend to go at least once because their chicken is something worth trying. They also have lunch deals which is great for a solo meal if you don't want to come here for dinner and fork out the $16 for a whole chicken. Whatever the case might be, it's still a must try.

Pio Pio
210 E 34th St
New York, NY 10016
(212) 481-0034

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Lunchin' @ Sophie's Cuban Cuisine - Cod Fish Stew

As you can see, I've been to Sophie's quite often lately (which can also explain the weight gain I'm seeing - not good!) because it's literally across from my building. The convenience of its location made it a lot easier and also more tempting to go there. They also have different dishes each day from Monday through Friday to spice up your taste buds.

I saw they had Cod Fish Stew on Friday and knew I had to try it. I love cod, it's one of the fishes that I can eat every day. When it's cooked just right, the meat of the fish would just flake off and it's of a milky white color.

At Sophie's, you get 2 sides with their meals. I refuse to ever order beans with it because I despise beans. Rather, I've gotten my Cod Fish Stew with Yellow Rice and Salad ($9.00).

Yes, it's pretty pricey for lunch but the portions are huge and can easily be two meal. I was so greedy and fat that I wanted it all in one sitting.

I was afraid the salad would be too soft because they might've left it in the fridge for a couple of days and that the dressing was too watered down. Boy was I wrong. The lettuce was still fresh and crunchy, same goes for the cucumber and tomato. The dressing was a strong vinaigrette which was very appetizing.

Onto my beloved stew. I have to say that Sophie's make really good stew, any kind of stew for that matter. I always get rice with it because I love the way the sauce seeps around the rice and covers it in every way. So dam good.

There was a lot of cod fish pieces which I appreciate. Stewed with onions and bell peppers, the taste was so aromatic. The fish was a bit tough but it's because it had been stewed for so long. Fish doesn't get softer when you stew it for a long time, meat does. The meal was still delicious and I would definitely get it again.

Sophie's Cuban Cuisine
Lower Atrium
805 3rd Ave

New York, NY 10022
(212) 308-1024

Monday, September 10, 2012

Breakfast @ Ess-A-Bagel

This bagel shop is right near my workplace which is insanely convenient. They have the array of different spreads from tofu lox cream cheese to chicken salad. They also have your cold cut meats if you prefer.

Breakfast in the morning is chaotic here. Upon entering, you would be completely confused because of the long lines and crazy zig zag to get to the end of the line. Lucky for me, there was only 2-3 people in front of me that morning. I was so relieved.

You have to know what you want here because once you're being called up, you tell them what you want and how you want it. They don't have the patience to be waiting for you while they have a long line to cater to.

I was craving for a bagel with cream cheese, but the usual cream cheese sounded boring...

Decided on an Everything Bagel with Lox Cream Cheese ($3.95). Don't know what I was thinking but I find myself not being a fan of an everything bagel. I totally forgot about the garlic bagel, and this one was so pungent. I'll stick to a plain or sesame, anything but garlic.

The lox was really good. Creamy and had bites of cured salmon in it. I think I enjoyed it more because it was pink...

Had a Small Coffee ($1.40) along with my bagel since I'm sure I needed something to wash it down with. I had no sugar in my coffee this time and surprisingly, it was bearable and tasted great with the lox bagel.

A simple spot for sandwiches, there are endless combinations you can get here. Next time, I'll be getting the tofu lox... yum.

831 3rd Ave
New York, NY 10022
(212) 980-1010