November 2011 | I just want to eat!

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Lisa's Italian deli in Hoboken, NJ

Lisa's Italian deli is a great Italian deli in Hoboken. I have tried both their sandwiches and their pasta and was never disappointed! 

For sandwiches, the selection of cold or hot sandwiches is quite big! After you pick what you want, you can choose the bread: ciabatta, French baguette, soft Italian bread, wrap, roll...All the ingredients taste very fresh. Their baguette or soft Italian bread are delicious!
If you are vegetarian, there is a large choice for you: swiss cheese hero, ricotta hero, fresh mozzarella cold sandwich...
My favorite sandwich is the "Lisa's American Hero Boy" combo that is made with with turkey, roasted beef, pepperoni, Swiss cheese, lettuce, tomatoes, onions, roasted peppers, mustard or mayo. The sandwich is huge, but tasting so good that I could eat it at once! All the layers work so well together!

When ordering pasta, you can choose between ziti, penne or spaghetti. There too, they have a large choice: alfredo, a la vodka, with meatballs, with eggplant parmigiana, etc...My favorite is the Pasta gorgonzola that contains capers. This dish is incredibly good! I have never tried to mix gorgonzola with capers: very tasty! 

I am definitely a fan!

Enjoy (I did)!

And remember: I just want to eat!
Lisa's Italian Deli on Urbanspoon

Sunday, November 27, 2011


After the Mc Rib, the junior whopper. I did not have Burger King in a while. The last time was in Paris, probably 10 years ago, before they closed their restaurants in France because they were not profitable. I have to say that in the world of fast food, I prefer Mc Donald's
over BK! But, do not worry, I will not change the name of this blog to "I just want to eat fast food": only when necessary!!!

Sushi at Go Sushi in New York

I went for a quick lunch to Go Sushi, a Japanese restaurant suggested by Alfred, a great app on my phone. When we arrived, the place was empty, but then people started to come. You can either order and they will prepare the food fresh or you can pick some already prepared dishes. The menu is standard: sushi, sashimi, rolls, teriyaki, etc....
For lunch, they offer menus at a good price. I picked the sushi platter and my friend chose the salmon teriyaki (he asked them to change one item and they did it). The sushi and rolls were good: the fish did not look suspicious and had a nice color that make me think that it was fresh; I just regret that they made one of the sushi with a shrimp... It was served with a salad and a miso soup that was delicious (it had some mushrooms in it). It was good but I have to say that I was still hungry after....

Last thing to mention: you have to order at the counter and apparently, if there is a lot of people, you need to make sure that you know what you want if you stand in front of it. They will give you a number written on a piece of cardboard. 

I would probably go back there, but will order some additional rolls next time to match my appetite....

Enjoy (I did)!

And remember: I just want to eat!
Go Sushi on Urbanspoon

Friday, November 25, 2011

Another Thanksgiving dinner!

This is going to be a feast: turkey, pork shoulder, corn bread, Italian Mac and Cheese, mash potatoes, meatballs, spinach deep, cranberry chutney...and stretch pants! I probably forgot something!

Natale's, Italian Bakery in Summit, NJ

Natale's is an Italian bakery located in Summit, New Jersey that opened in 1938. We ended up there after our so so experience at the Huntley Taverne. We needed something good and sweet to forget...My wife's cousin, Jessica, proposed us to go there. That was a brilliant idea! Anyway, how could we refuse to go to a bakery??? 

They do have a large selection of typical Italian cookies, but also some cakes inspired from French pastries. What I likes is that they were proposing, for some cookies, a small and regular size: I think it is great, because it allows people to try different things. I mean, with so many cookies, I did not know what to choose! So I picked a mini cannoli and a mini cream puff! They were good but missing a little bit of sugar: funny because usually, I complain about too much sugar! The sprinkle cookie was good and everybody loved their cookies. So Jessica: mission accomplished!

If you are in Summit, try Natale's and have a cannoli for me!

Enjoy (I did)!

Natale's Summit Bakery on Urbanspoon

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Thanksgiving dinner at The Whip bar and grill in Stowe, VT

That was a delicious dinner! Read this: amazing butternut and cider soup, delicious Gorgonzola crusted filet mignon with truffle mash potatoes and incredible honey roasted smoked duck breast with a duck confit leg and an apple and beet marmalade. Loved it!!!

Snow as a dessert?

So imagine that! I just tasted a dessert that two little friends, Ari and Ronin, made for us: snow, maple syrup and fruits. Well, it was pretty good! Just beware of the yellow snow...

Happy thanksgiving!

Happy Thanksgiving to all of you who enjoy food and thus are reading this blog! I love Holidays like this one, especially when a feast is involved!

So enjoy: I will!

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

What? A Mc Rib???

Yes, I am sure some of you are surprised to see me in the golden arches restaurant. But hey, when you are hungry, you are hungry! Regardless the quality of the food and how nutritious it is, Mc Donald's, aka Mc Do in France, does a good job marketing its products and masking the poor taste of the meat with different types of food enhancer and sauces. For instance, the Mc Rib was very tasty thanks to the BBQ sauce and onions!

This time I will not say "enjoy"!

Recipe: Mantecaos

Mantecaos are cookies that come from North Africa (some say that it originated in Spain). Some cook it with almonds or with cinnamon. On my side, I make them simply, as follows:
- 1 lb / 500 grams of white flour
- 0.5 lb / 250 grams of sugar
- 1.25 cup / 0.3 liter of vegetable oil

Mix all the ingredients together. Make small balls with the dough and place them on a baking sheet or aluminum foil (I put some flour on the aluminum foil so the cookies do not stick to it). Cook for 25 to 30 minutes in the oven at 350 F. Right before the end of the baking process, you can drizzle the top with chocolate powder.

Enjoy (I did)! Especially as I had to eat one of the cookies for the photo...

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Ready for a hot chocolate at Max Brenner (New York City)!

We went to Max Brenner aka the Bald Guy today for a nice breakfast with some dear friends. It was the first time we went there during the week and at 9am; what a shock! Usually, in the week end, it is crazy packed! The restaurant was empty! I could imagine myself being locked at night there with only chocolate to survive the night (I know, I exaggerate...).
Their menu can satisfy any palate: from eggs to burgers to various dishes that include a chocolate pizza. I started of course with a dark chocolate hot cocoa! It was de-li-cious! Not too sweet and very chocolaty! What was funny was the cup it was served in: it looked like a toilet! There was no handle, so fortunately it was not too hot. I flushed it in seconds...
As the main dishes, we picked the Lazy breakfast (we chose scrambled eggs and mushrooms), a buttery homemade croissant and the Black & Tan Beer Battered Vidalia Rings with Dark Chocolate Ranch Dressing (quite original). 
The eggs were not good: overcooked with a smoky taste probably coming from the mushrooms that was off. The croissant however was deliciously buttery and served with a caramel and chocolate sauce that was awesome (I drank it instead of putting it on the croissant)! I loved the presentation! 
Last were the onion rings: they were very good and crispy, but I did not like the chocolate ranch dressing: it tasted kind of weird! 

If I were to go back (that I would certainly for the hot cocoa), I would probably bet on the sweet side of the menu as the salty side is so so (one of our friends did not like his dish either - the huevos rancheros).

Enjoy (I did)!

Max Brenner on Urbanspoon

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Dinner at The Meatball Factory, New York City

Yesterday we went to The Meatball Factory, the new restaurant from Chef Dave Martin. You may recognize him from Top Chef season 1. I had the chance of talking a class at the French Culinary Institute with him (Sunday Brunch with Dave Martin - Recommended!!!) that was great and could talk to him a bit. It is nice to see chefs passionate about what they are doing and not just looking for celebrity.

So he opened The Meatball Factory in New York recently. I think it is a great idea! Who does not like meatballs? They can be made in many ways and can also be eaten in many forms.

The restaurant is nice, with a warm feeling. There is enough space between the bar and the tables so you do not feel crammed in. Although we went on a Sunday, I could have thought it was a Saturday: it was packed! The service was nice and efficient. I like the fact that they did not rush us to eat, despite how crowded it was.

Now, let's talk about food!

They have 8 types of them, one of them being vegan. One order corresponds to 5 meatballs. You can either eat the meatballs like that, or in a sandwich (Challah roll). We decided to eat them only with sauces and we chose two meatballs:

  • Meatzza, Meatzza- Braised Certified Angus Beef Brand Short Ribs, Hanger Steak and Filet, Buffalo, Potato & Parmesan.
  • Vegan’s Dream- Roasted Sweet Onion, Carrot, Mushroom, Asparagus, Broccoli, Squash, Red Bell Pepper ,Chickpeas, Green Lentils, Tofu & Roasted Garlic (Dairy and Gluten Free).
    The Meatzza, Meatzza was delicious: very tasty and not dry. The vegan meatballs were awesome! As you know, I am more of a meat guy, but believe me: it was excellent and it did not even need any sauce on it! It was a little tough to eat because it does not stay together like meat meatballs, but definitely to try!

    We also picked a sauce sampler composed of 3 sauces:

    • Shroom Central- Roasted Medley of Wild Mushrooms blended with Veggie Stock, Thyme and a touch of cream. I loved the fact that it contained mushrooms in it and that it was not just a cream of mushrooms! 
    • Fire Roasted Marinara- Fire Roasted Tomatoes, Garlic & Sweet Onion, Fresh Basil & Sherry. A classic, but always delicious!
    • Truffle Time- The Black Truffle Sauce from Dave’s World Famous Black, Truffle Mac ‘n’ Cheese- Slow Cooked Cream, Shallots, Brandy, Sherry, Truffles, Fontina, Thyme & Oregano.

    That is a lot of mushrooms there! The sauces were delicious and paired well with the meatballs.

    We also got a pizza: the ‘Thai This’- Green Curry Peanut Sauce, Turducken Meatballs, Thai Chiles and Grana Padano. It was very spicy but so good! Even if you mouth is on fire, you cannot stop eating it! The crust was crispy and the presentation on a wood board was very nice and rustic.

    We also tried the Truffle Mac'n Cheese, specialty of the Chef that was a nice side for the meatballs.

    Of course, we finished the meal with dessert:
    • Hot Tin Roof Sundae: Homemade malted Hot Fudge & Sea Salt Caramel along with Candied Nutmeg Walnuts over Marshmallow Gelato. The candied walnut were unfortunately nowhere to be found, the only mishap of the kitchen. However, the ice cream was so good and not too sweet. I could have eaten another gallon of it.
    • Patsy’s Magic Cookie Bar: Callebaut Dark Chocolate Chips, Dried Cherries & Sweetened Coconut baked on a Graham Cracker Crust: this was the best! Like the sundae, it was not too sweet, that is always appreciated when you eat several desserts...

    It is a great restaurant with a wonderful concept, but one thing I would suggest is that the layout of the menu be changed as it is kind of confusing about the way you can eat meatballs. I would do like in burger restaurants:
    1 - pick your meatball
    2 - pick your sauce
    3 - decide how you would like to eat it: alone, with bread,...
    4 - etc...

    Also, I would suggest a meatball sampler so people can taste the different flavors they are proposing. I always thought a sampler gives a playful dimension to a meal!

    The Meatball Factory is definitely a restaurant to try and to go back to!

    Enjoy (I did)!

    The Meatball Factory on Urbanspoon

    Brunch at La bouche cafe in Hoboken, New Jersey

    We went for brunch at La Bouche Cafe in Hoboken, a small cafe that opened this year, replacing a rice pudding joint called Miami Rice (!). I am not surprised that Miami Rice closed: first of all, you really need to know it is there as it is off the main street in Hoboken. Second, it was overpriced! Although it is always sad to see a business close, I was happy to see a cafe opening. 

    I thought that it would be like a French cafe, based on the name that means literally "The Cafe of the mouth". I would say that the decor with its little outdoor terrace and the nostalgia it inspires could remind me an old French cafe, as well as the viennoiseries (croissants and chocolate croissants), but it will stop there. The music they play is some old American 60's music and the menu, besides the croissants that are from Balthazar, is a typical American menu (bagel, eggs, sandwiches...). On their website, they mention quiches, but they were nowhere to be found when we went there.

    From their menu, we tried:
    • The almond croissant: pretty good, but not as good as the one I got at the Old German Bakery in Hoboken. The later had a lot of almond paste in it that makes the almond croissant so good. Besides that, it was flaky, fresh and moist.
    • The smoked salmon omelette that was: smoked salmon, dill, cream cheese and scrambled eggs. It was good but like any smoked salmon omelette, a bit salty. The scrambled eggs were cooked perfectly (I hate when eggs are overcooked).
    • The Caprese salad served with avocados, basil and black olives. I though that the presentation was very nice! The avocado were ripe, the tomato and mozzarella delicious, although overdressed.
    They also serve coffee and tea. I would not go for the hot cocoa ($3) because it is simply Swiss Miss! They could at least propose a better quality cocoa!!!

    Overall, it was a nice little brunch at a reasonable price. And listen: if you like chocolate croissants, they have two bars of chocolate in it!

    Enjoy (I did)!

    La bouche cafe on Urbanspoon

    My new BFF: Alfred

    Sad to say: my new Best Friend Forever is Alfred, an application for Iphone from CleverSense, that should be available on Android and Windows 7 devices soon. Its original name was supposed to be Seymour, but I think Alfred is better! 

    What makes the difference between this app and still useful sites like Yelp, is that it is personalized: you will teach Alfred your favorite places and he will propose restaurants (applies also for drinks) to you, taking into account what you liked, the location, the genre and the price. Alfred will then display the results. If you select a restaurant, it will show you basic information, the ratings/comments from people, the menu, some photos and what other restaurants fans of this one like. You can then mark if you liked the restaurant or not, map it, share it with friends or send the link by email. The interface is easy to use and the character amusing with his bow tie that spins when he is thinking (searching).

    I love it! I wish Alfred could also pay the bill....

    Enjoy (I always do)!

    Great Chocolate Croissants from Freshdirect!

    A friend told us about some pre-baked croissants from Freshdirect. We tried the chocolate croissants (4 for $6) and I have to say that it is pretty good! 
    I was doubtful at first as supermarket croissants are usually dry. These are very buttery, maybe a little heavier than the ones I am used to, but delicious! They are pre-baked, so you have to finish them in the oven. I think it is a great idea: you get the great smell of croissants all over your kitchen and it tastes very fresh. I am definitely going to try the croissants next time!

    Enjoy (I did)!

    Saturday, November 19, 2011

    Japanese Food at Robongi in Hoboken, NJ

    I love Japanese food. But you really need to find a good place: clean with fresh fish, especially if, like me, you like sushi and sashimi that in most cases are made of raw seafood (sushi is the one with rice!). My least favorite in sushi are raw calamari and shrimp, the later coming more often cooked but bland.
    I also have a rule: I will not have sushi / sashimi on a Sunday or Monday night as most likely the fish is leftover from the week end!

    In Hoboken, Robongi is one of my favorite Japanese restaurants. Their menu is nice and they offer a wide range of specialties. The quality of the food is also very good and the service very attentive. No wonder why it is always crowded on the week end!

    Food wise, here are my favorites:
    • Appetizers/salads:
      • Nasu (photo 1): baked eggplant with miso sauce. Ok, few times, the eggplant was undercooked, but otherwise, one of the best appetizers. By teh way, avoid the crab cakes...
      • Yasai Gyoza (photo 2): pan fried vegetables dumplings. Tasty, crispy, delicious!
      • Shrimp shumai: delicate and sweet.
      • Spicy squid salad: a very nice dish. It is spicy but not too much for my taste. I prefer the squid salad over the spicy tuna salad.
    • Sushi / Sashimi / rolls:
      • Avocado roll: standard. It only happened once that the avocado was not ripe.
      • Spicy scallop (photo 3): it was the first time I tried raw scallop. I love everything in this roll: the tenderness of the scallop, the tempura batter crunch and the spicy mayo! Yummy!
      • Salmon or tuna avocado roll: very fresh!
      • Philadelphia roll: smoked salmon, cream cheese and cucumber. Not sure that they serve that in Tokyo!
      • Spider roll: deep fried soft shell crab, lettuce, cucumber.
      • Sushi or sashimi entrees: they pick the fishes they will serve. Salmon and tuna are usually making the cut. 
    The specialty rolls can be, as in any japanese restaurants, difficult to eat because big!
    They also have a nice lunch menu served with soup and salad at a reasonable price!

    Definitely a good Japanese place if you are in Hoboken!

    Enjoy (I did)!

    Robongi on Urbanspoon

    Thursday, November 17, 2011

    Wild Gray Sole

    It has been a while since I ate sole: the last time was in Europe, many years ago. It is a very good fish with a sweet and mild flavor. Once, I tried the lemon sole but did not retrieve the same taste as the most popular sole: the dover sole. It was too sweet and did not resemble what I knew. 
    Then I tried the Wild Gray Sole (thanks Freshdirect!). This was exactly the same taste I remembered! Cooking it can be difficult as it is a very delicate fish with a very moist and soft flesh. Like any flaky fish, I dip it in flour before cooking so it does not attach to the bottom of the pan and does not fall apart. I cook it in olive oil, but it can also be cooked in butter with a little bit of parsley. 
    As a side, you can try the shekshouka recipe I posted last time!

    In term of nutrition, it is low in calories, fat and an excellent source of Omega 3! 

    I am more of a meat guy, but a fish like that is worth any filet mignon! Yeah right!

    Enjoy (I did)!

    Tuesday, November 15, 2011

    Filippo's on First in Hoboken, NJ: another pizza place!

    There are three things I do not like when ordering pizza:

    1. When you ask for a topping and they are really cheap. The best example is fresh basil.
    2. How the pizza will end up delivered: either crushed or not carried straight so the cheese and sauce finish on the cardboard and not the pizza.
    3. The pizza have a tendency to steam and the crust loses its crunchiness (for that, you just need to pass it in the oven).
    I found out that Filippo's on First was doing a great job! Their pizza is delicious and tasty and they are generous on the toppings. The crust is thin and crunchy.

    Definitely another great pizza in Hoboken!

    Enjoy (I did)!

    Filippo's Pizzeria on Urbanspoon

    Sunday, November 13, 2011

    Disappointment at Huntley Taverne

    Let's set the scene: my wife's cousin and husband proposed to go for a lunch date to a restaurant in Summit, NJ where they went for their wedding anniversary and had a great dinner. They know how much I love food and you do not need to ask twice...We even went to the website of the restaurant few days before and already knew when we walked in what we would eat! 
    Huntley Taverne is a nice restaurant, very warm with an interior that reminds me of the chalets you would find in Switzerland or in the French Alps. The service was very nice and attentive, but we must have ended up on a bad day...

    Their menu made me want to order every item! They had some soups in the special menu and I found it very smart to propose a soup sampler. I think that restaurants should propose samplers so people can try different dishes. While we were waiting for our food, they brought us some delicious focaccia bread with a small portion of ricotta cheese. That was a good way to start!

    We then ordered:

    • Trio of sliders (Vermont cheddar burger, BBQ pulled pork on a cheddar scone, mini crab cakes with creole remoulade). Of the three, the only one I liked was the BBQ pulled pork: it was perfectly cooked and moist. The burger was overcooked and the bread they used for the burger and crab cake slider was very dry too. According to the manager, it is because the chef is tasting a new recipe for his potato bread. Thanks for trying a new recipe on us!!! It is sad because the crab cake was pretty good but they should have put some more sauce because it was also a little dry. Apparently the crab cake sandwich entree, served with a brioche bread was delicious and not dry at all. Maybe because of their size, sliders are more difficult to make. 
    • Truffled Mac&cheese: I could taste the truffle, but the cheeses were bland and it was barely warm.
    • Mushroom pizza with Vermont cheddar, truffle oil and onions. Ok, this one was good! The mushrooms were delicious and paired well with the vidalia onions and the cheddar. 

    It seems they had an off day: they came few times apologizing for the lateness of the food (they had an issue with their fryer and I guess the food sat a bit) and felt really sorry to hear that the sliders were not good. It is sad, because their menu was so mouth watering! I would give them a second chance and would probably go for the crab cakes entree or appetizer, but not the sliders.

    Enjoy (I wish I did)!
    Huntley Taverne on Urbanspoon

    Lunch at Huntley Taverne in Summit, NJ

    Ready for what might be a great lunch. Imagine that: trio of sliders (Vermont cheddar burger, BBQ pulled pork on a cheddar scone, mini crab cakes with creole remoulade), truffled Mac&cheese, mushroom pizza with Vermont cheddar, truffle oil and onions. Sounds good. Hopefully tastes good! Stay tuned!

    Fresh Pasta and tomato with porcini mushrooms sauce

    In our last trip to Eataly in New York City, we bought some delicious fresh pasta and a nice tomato and porcini mushrooms sauce. Simple and delicious!

    I remember back then in France, going to an Italian restaurant was primarily to eat pizza as we considered that we could make pasta at home and it was considered cheap. I truly discovered great Italian food in the US and there is nothing better than fresh pasta! If you go to Eataly, try them and visit their amazing pasta section with so many different sauces!

    Enjoy (I did)!

    And remember: I just want to eat!

    Saturday, November 12, 2011

    Chestnut and red beans cookie!

    Interesting combination...I prefer the one with condensed milk!

    Japanese treat at Minamoto kitchoan

    Great Japanese dessert. This one has condensed milk and kidney beans. Delish!!!

    Fish taco!!!

    At The Taco Truck in Hoboken! Delish!

    Cheese night!

    Yesterday we went back to Eataly in New York City and picked some bread (great baguette!) and cheeses for a nice little dinner. The place was packed! Seriously, they did a great job with this market place! It was crazy in there!
    So, we decided to pick different cheeses than last time. I was surprised to see that they were selling non Italian cheeses there! We ended up with:

    • Avonlea cheddar from Canada: was ok. I prefer a sharper cheddar. It might be better for grilled cheese or mac & cheese.
    • Double cream from Vermont: very creamy. Delicious on a piece of bread.
    • Creamy gorgonzola from Italy: extremely creamy and not strong at all.
    • Brescianella semi aged from Italy: it is a semi soft cheese that has a very stinky smell! I like stinky cheeses, but did not like that one. I am wondering if it is not because they packaged it 9 days before and it got this pungent smell and taste. I will be more careful  next time when picking cheeses over there!

    With the cheeses, we bought 3 different jams (very small jars awesome for tasting - 1.5 oz): blueberry, peach and cherry. Jam, honey or butter is a good way to eat cheese, especially strong ones. Of course, if you put too much of it, you will miss the taste of the cheese you are eating!

    Enjoy (I did)!

    Friday, November 11, 2011

    Friedman's Lunch: The Return of the Pastrami Reuben

    My wife would say that I am sometimes obsessed by food. When I try something good, I am going to talk or dream about it. Better than dreaming about zombies, no? I then need to have it again. This is what happened with the pastrami reuben from Friedman's Lunch in Chelsea Market (see prior post here)!!!

    We went there today; early enough to avoid the crowd and we were right!

    So we tried the Pastrami reuben and their take on the grilled cheese: they make it with swiss and cheddar cheeses, caramelized onions and bacon. I think it is great that they do not just propose a standard grilled cheese. It was good, but I have two complaints: it should have been hotter and I would have used a sharper cheddar. 
    The Pastrami Reuben was good too, but the meat was a little tough this time. Last time, it was so buttery! I guess restaurants can have a bad day too! Don't get me wrong: the sandwich was still delicious, but not outstanding! I am still a big fan!

    Enjoy (I did)!

    And remember: I just want to eat!
    Friedman's Lunch on Urbanspoon

    Waffle Tasting!

    I know: you heard about food tasting or wine tasting, but most likely never of waffle tasting. I am sure, like me, you did some tastings at some point but never called it this way. How fun is that: waffle tasting? 

    We just bought free flavors of waffles at Whole Foods (no, I am not sponsored), and tried them at the same time. I should do that more often: garlic tasting, salt tasting, flour tasting...

    So, there are many providers of waffles in the city, like Waffles and Dinges, but there are also supermarkets like Whole Foods who can sell some good ones. We tried the brand Julian's with three flavors: vanilla, maple and cinnamon. It is in fact the order I liked them! They are pretty dense with some crystals of sugar on it. I usually eat them cold but you can also heat them. It is a perfect breakfast or snack with a coffee or tea.

    If you know any other delicious brand, let me know!

    Enjoy (I did)!

    And remember: I just want to eat!

    Wednesday, November 9, 2011

    If you recall a prior post from last August, I mentioned that the Thai restaurant Topaz had a Grade Pending. They had an inspection on 9/28 and it seems that they went from a C to a B (violation points between 17 and 27). This is what you can find on the website of the NY Department of Health and Mental Hygiene:

    Violations recorded in the following area (s) and a Notice of Violation issued at the reinspection conducted on 09/28/2011.
    "Critical" violations are displayed in red.

    Violation points: 24

    Sanitary Violations
    1) Raw, cooked or prepared food is adulterated, contaminated, cross-contaminated, or not discarded in accordance with HACCP plan.
    2) Filth flies or food/refuse/sewage-associated (FRSA) flies present in facility’s food and/or non-food areas. Filth flies include house flies, little house flies, blow flies, bottle flies and flesh flies. Food/refuse/sewage-associated flies include fruit flies, drain flies and Phorid flies.
    3) Personal cleanliness inadequate. Outer garment soiled with possible contaminant. Effective hair restraint not worn in an area where food is prepared.
    4) Facility not vermin proof. Harborage or conditions conducive to attracting vermin to the premises and/or allowing vermin to exist.
    5) Proper sanitization not provided for utensil ware washing operation.

    Now, understand that restaurants can contest their grade in court. The NY Department of Health and Mental Hygiene released some statistics that can be scary!!!
    For the period of July 2010 to September 2013:
    • of the 12,503 hearings in court for restaurants with a grade B or C, 41% were able to contest enough violations that their grade was up by at least one letter.
    • 261 restaurants with a C grade were able to improve to an A in court!
    • At the time of inspection, the repartition of grade was:
      • A: 60%
      • B: 28%
      • C: 12%
    • Final grades:
      • A: 78%
      • B: 18%
      • C: 6%
    I am not sure if finally we were not better off without the grades!

    For more information about grades, click here.

    Tuesday, November 8, 2011

    Shekshouka recipe!

    Shekshouka (aka Chakchouka) is a dish of North African origin. Some cook it with an egg; my family cooked a different version of it, made of tomatoes and roasted peppers. As you will see, it is a nice and healthy dish. We eat it different ways: with bread, in crepes with some goat cheese (incredibly good) or as a side dish.  

    Recipe - side dish:
    • olive oil.
    • a spoon of garlic.
    • 24 oz roasted red pepper
    • 30 oz diced tomatoes or 4 tomatoes.
    • salt
    Cut the tomatoes and red peppers in small cubes. Put all the ingredients in a pan and cook at medium heat for 2 hours. Add water from time to time so the tomatoes and pepper do not attach to the bottom of the pan.

    Et Voila! You can also eat it hot or cold.

    Enjoy (I did)!

    And remember: I just want to eat!

    Sunday, November 6, 2011

    Build your own burger at The Counter in Times Square, NYC

    Image of Burger at The Counter in Times Square, NYC, New York
    Burgers are a big deal in the US and there are more and more burger joints opening with tasty burgers that have nothing to do with Mc Donald's or Burger King! Even famous chefs like Bobby Flay or Laurent Tourondelle launched their own burger restaurants. 

    The Counter proposes to build your own burger from A to Z. It is a chain with many locations across the country. When you biuld your burger, you choose:

    • The meat: beef, turkey or veggie. They also propose the market selection. Today was lamb: I decided to go for it. Then you pick how much meat you want: 1,2 or 3 patties. 
    • You can either eat your burger on a bun or in a bowl (with lettuce and tomatoes).
    • A cheese: swiss, cheddar, brie, american...There is a pretty nice selection. I picked Tillamook cheddar.
    • Up to 4 toppings: a selection of 21 toppings. I picked grilled onions and jalapenos. You can also pick a premium topping like sauteed mushrooms. None for me!
    • A sauce besides ketchup. I have to say that they have a nice selection of non standard sauces: chipotle aioli, roasted garlic aioli, hot wing sauce...I picked russian dressing.
    • The last part is the bun. Strangely, they did not have any burger bun! We were early for lunch! So I went for the pretzel bun. They also propose English muffin or onion buns. The pretzel bun was perfect because it did not have any salt (that could have been disastrous!).
    For sides, we got the 50/50: fries and onion rings. This was very good. I like the fact that they serve them with sauces: ranch dressing and bbq sauce. The onions were awesome and very tasty. 

    The lamb burger was good but I probably should have gone for a one patty as it was very juicy and it quickly became a big mess to eat. The pretzel bun started to fall apart and I ended up eating with my fork. There was a lot of cheese (2 slices) and a lot of delicious grilled onions. The russian dressing was perfect with it and the jalapenos gave a subtle kick that I love! I think that, after I went to Sobelman's in Milwaukee and tried it, I became a fan of jalapenos in burgers!

    To help the burger come down my stomach, I had a vanilla milk shake: thick but not too much, but could have had a little bit more vanilla syrup in it.

    The restaurant was nice, bright and modern looking and the service was good. I would just have preferred that they brought the sides with the burgers and not way before! Otherwise, I found it pricey compared to higher quality burger joints like BLT burger.

    A good spot though if you are in Time Square and want a burger!

    Enjoy (I did)!
    The Counter: Custom Built Burgers on Urbanspoon

    Saturday, November 5, 2011

    Eating at work - updated!

    Image of breakfast
    There is nothing better than a good breakfast at work! Yeah, right!

    According to a poll in the US, people said that they were eating lunch:
    - at home for 48%
    - at work for 32%
    - in a restaurant for 6%
    - in their car for 5%
    - other for 9% (that's an interesting one!)

    In France, it is forbidden to eat at your desk for sanitary reason!

    I tried for you: The Tallegio Grilled Cheese!

    Image of Taleggio Grilled Cheese
    In my post for Eataly in New York, I mentioned that Tallegio cheese is apparently good for grilled cheese. Well, we tried and it is! The bread was a thick homemade bread (French loaf with some vegetable oil to give some moisture and thicker consistency). We ate it with a basil tomato soup and dipped the grilled cheese in it. It was excellent! You should definitely try it!

    Enjoy (I did)!

    And remember: I just want to eat!

    Thursday, November 3, 2011

    Basile's Pizza - Another Pizza Joint in Hoboken, NJ

    In Hoboken, there will soon be as many pizza joints as bars! Basile's pizza opened recently, in a very good location: corner of the block of Carlo's Bakery (The Cake Boss). It used to be a realtor office: I guess it is easier to sell pizza to people who wait on line for The Cake Boss than selling them houses! It is also close to the path, so people going to bars can't miss it...
    Since they opened, they have been busy, especially on the week ends! So far, they have only offered outside seating, but I guess they will soon setup tables inside.

    People there are courteous and I have to say that their pizzas are delicious! We tried three of them:
    • The fresh mozzarella and basil.
    • The white pie.
    • The sicilian.
    Image of Pizza at Basile's pizza in Hoboken, NJ

    So, here are couple of common things to these slices: the pizza sauce is amazing! Especially on the sicilian. This one does not have that much cheese on it, but it does not matter at all! I guess it is their "grandma" pizza. The crust is crispy and the pizzas are not greasy at all.
    What I liked with the white pie is that there was no garlic: I hate when they put too much garlic on it! What do they think? That we will be attacked by a bunch of Vampires???

    Definitely good pizzas there. Try it out!

    And remember: I just want to eat!
    Basile's pizza on Urbanspoon

    Tuesday, November 1, 2011

    Food Gallery 32: a Korean food court in the heart of New York

    Image of Frozen Yogurt from Red Mango in Food Gallery 32 NYC, New York

    The first time we noticed Food Gallery 32 (on 32nd street in Koreatown), we were in fact looking for Red Mango to have a frozen yoghurt! So we decided to go back and check it out. The place is really bright and modern and the majority of the crowd is young. There are three floors where you can comfortably sit. In term of food, you have a large choice: from sushi to bulgogi (Korean bbq), to ramen. All of this at a very reasonable price. The food is cooked on the spot and they give you a small buzzer so you can pick up your order as it takes few minutes to cook.

    Image of Tofu Ramen at Noodle 32 in Food Gallery 32 NYC, New York
    So we went for Noodle 32, specialized in ramen. There are more than 20 sorts: chicken, pork, seafood, vegetarian. All dishes are coming with Kimchi that is a fermented vegetable, usually cabbage. It can be spicy, but not there! They put a film on the soup so you can find a spot to eat without dropping some of it on your tray (or yourself)! The soups are extremely hot! I already spoke in a prior post about the Korean seafood miso ramen. The Tofu ramen was good but very spicy! We would have known, I am sure they would have done a mild version.

    Walking around the gallery, any foodie will find something to eat! All the food they serve looked so good! I will definitely go back there and try other stands!!!

    Enjoy (I did)!
    Food Gallery 32 on Urbanspoon