Friday, July 29, 2011

Coolhaus ice cream truck

I ordered earl grey ice cream on a brioche but I think I got sugar cookies actually...regardless, after waiting in line for 45 minutes for an ice cream sandwich (and I went around 4:30pm!), I got this behemoth:

Their architectural concept is pretty cool. You can mix-and-match any of their cookies and ice cream flavors into an ice-cream sandwich, or you can get one of their "recommended" combinations, playfully named after famous architects like Mies Vanilla Rohe (Mies van der Rohe), Frank Behry (Frank Gehry), and Richard Meyer Lemon. 

The locally-baked cookies are good and the ice cream is unique and tasty. I would go a little more adventurous next time and most definitely share. Since all the food trucks were kicked out from Midtown recently, I'll have to visit the Lot on Tap under the Highline to sample Coolhaus again. But then there's also Van Leeuwen there...and sometimes Kelvin Slush. Dilemmas, dilemmas...

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Big Apple BBQ

Big Apple BBQ is an annual barbeque event featuring the best pitmasters from all over the country who descend upon Madison Square Park for one weekend in June as the behest of Danny Meyer (I saw him! He wears mom jeans!). It's pretty much a circus all weekend, with tons of people in the park, around the park and on the grass. This may be the only time Shake Shack doesn't have a line. 

This year I opted for a fast pass - $100 worth of food for $125. BUT, it lets you (+ 1 guest) go in the express lane. Sometimes, those faster lanes were still 20 minutes (ahem, Big Bob Gibson's) and sometimes there was no one and you could just walk up while tons of people are waiting in the regular line.

JP and I went on both Saturday and Sunday, and let me tell you - those $100 are HARD to use up. Plates of food were $8, desserts and sides $4, and drinks $2. But one pulled pork sandwich is more than enough - meat overdose. Luckily we had some help the second day but it was still tough.

Our first stop (twice over the weekend) is always Big Bob Gibson's for Chris Lilly's delicious pulled pork shoulder sandwich and mustard slaw. The meat disappointed this year but I slathered it in sauce anyway. I couldn't help but notice that everyone was using Pepperidge Farm hamburger buns this year, rather than Martin's potato rolls. I think that affected quality. 

But that wasn't the first thing we are there. While in the 20-minute "fast" lane, we passing another stand and shared some brisket. It was super fatty - I'm not the biggest fan of brisket so we'll leave it at that.

We also got ribs from different places to try, including 17th Street, which were really good. We typically avoid the New York-based BBQ joints because we can go any day, but while in line for dessert from Blue Smoke (ok, fine, it's in NYC but they were the only dessert-option there as Fried Pies were already sold out), I couldn't help but notice the Dinosaur BBQ pitmaster and the pork shoulders fresh out of the smoker...

I was a vegetarian the whole next week, promise.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

New Le Creuset braiser

My first meal using my new Le Creuset braiser. I threw a bunch of stuff together and it was pretty tasty. A thinly-pounded chicken breast stuffed with mushrooms, spinach and cheese, with some tomatoes and green beans and leftover marinara sauce. At some point I think I deglazed the pan with some water and vinegar or something...anyhow, it was delicious! 

Except for the fact that I forgot to take out the toothpicks holding the chicken together and JP almost swallowed one. Whoops...

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Go!Go!Curry! - chicken katsu bliss

I agree, the name "Go!Go!Curry!" isn't the most appetizing (something to do with the number 5 and Japanese baseball stars...), but this small Japanese curry shop, which is located in the awkward area between Penn Station and Port Authority, has a lot going for it. JLau and I ducked in here to grab a quick bite for lunch and escape the rain after an unsuccessful stop at a Theory sample sale during lunch hour. I've read about this place numerous times on various blogs but it was just too out of the way from work to ever go, so this was the perfect opportunity. I ordered a small chicken katsu. It's not small in the least as you can see in the picture. We could've ordered a medium or the Grand Slam option which gives you a little bit of everything and shared...but we each got our own small (JLau got the pork though).

It's a thinly pounded, panko-breaded and deliciously deep-fried chicken (or pork) cutlet (katsu), over a mound of sticky rice, with thick Japanese curry. I found the curry to be a little too salty for my liking but the rice balanced it out. The sauce on top of the cutlet was really good too - I forget what it's called but it reminds me a little bit of chamoy. Oh, and it comes with shredded cabbage to make you feel better about being a lard and eating all that fried, salty goodness.

Friday, July 15, 2011

Mad. Sq. Eats

Somehow I've missed this mini-food market the past couple years. Mad. Sq. Eats, appropriately taking place next to Madison Square Park (non-NYers - that's different from Madison Square Garden, very very different), brought together some great restaurants/food purveyors who set up stalls with food and drinks that you can either eat at one of the tables, at the park, or take home.

There were some purveyors I was really excited to see like Sigmund Pretzel Shop (I had a pretzel during the winter), Roberta's (it's all the way out in Brooklyn), People's Pops, Nunu's Chocolates and Stuffed Artisan Cannolis. Most of these places I'm either too lazy to go to (LES or Brooklyn) or are available only at food-oriented street fairs which I may miss.

I tried Calexico, which I think was one of the first "trendy" food trucks/carts, about three years ago. I didn't think much of it then. This time was much better. I got a pollo verde taco, which came with two tasty corn tortillas and moist chicken. Unfortunately, the overall flavor was nothing mind-blowing. Their chipotle pork quesadilla on the other hand was ridiculously good (although they could tone down on the cheese). The "wrapped" quesadilla was gooey and salty from the cheese, sweet and moist from the chipotle pulled pork and warm and crunchy from the griddle.

Other tasty bites were the hot dogs from AsiaDog, which have asian-inspired toppings like kimchi and seaweed flakes, thai-style relish with cucumber, red onion, cilantro, peanurs and dish sauce, and a banh-mi style topping, among others. I'm a huge fan of theses. Not a fan of tons of toppings on burgers, but on hot dogs yes.

And also a pretty delicious fresh-made pie from the aforementioned Roberta's featuring speck, mushrooms and red onions.

The event is over, but it seems Calexico has stuck around for a while.