March 2012 | I just want to eat!

Saturday, March 31, 2012

Carnegie Deli Restaurant in NYC, New York

I Just Want To Eat!
You cannot come to New York and not try a deli (short for delicatessen). Carnegie Deli is with Junior's and Second Avenue Deli, one of my favorites. Yes, I did not mention Katz's Deli because I do not like it, think it is overpriced and overrated.

The restaurant opened in 1937 and got its name from being close to the Carnegie Hall. It is still operated by the family of the founder: the Parkers. It is today one of the most visited restaurants in New York City, although the expansion of business has not been that successful, seeing most of the branches in California or Connecticut close. Today, there is a Carnegie Deli in the Mirage Hotel in Las Vegas.

The restaurant is pretty big and tables are cramped, making it uncomfortable when the restaurant is packed, especially during the week end. At the entrance, you cannot miss the desserts that are showcased, as well as all the autographed photos of celebrities who ate there. By the way, the Carnegie Deli was even mentioned by Adam Sandler in his song about Hanukkah (Saturday Night Live).

Concerning the menu, you may think that is is expensive (it is a bit). In fact, they serve family style portions. So be careful when you order!

I Just Want To Eat!
We started with the Matzoh Ball soup. It comes with the soup in a cup that they will verse in the plate: nice way of serving. The balls are dense but not too much and perfectly seasoned. The broth is good and served with delicious pasta.
I Just Want To Eat!
We then tried the potato pancake (there was one of a reasonable size). It was served with apple sauce (I am not sure it was homemade) and sour cream. I really liked it. It was tasty and not greasy at all.
I Just Want To Eat!
But, the plat de resistance was the open face pastrami reuben. This was huge and we had to split it! We asked the waiter to split it for us, but he did not seem to be willing to (only disappointment in the service that was overall great).
The meat was delicious, lean and with just the necessary amount of fat. There was tons of Swiss cheese and some sauerkraut to give a bit of crunch. With the amount of meat and cheese, the bread was invisible. All of this was served with a very good Russian dressing. Definitely a great dish!

So, of course, we had to finish with desserts...
I Just Want To Eat!
We tried the strawberry shortcake: not the best shortcake we had....
I Just Want To Eat!
They also had coconut cream pie and banana cream pie.
I Just Want To Eat!
I have to say that I was disappointed. It was light but a bit bland. Both cream pies are made with the same base and they just sprinkle the pie with almonds or toasted coconut. Definitely not as good as the banana or coconut cream pie from Billy's bakery in New York or at the Red Eye Grill.

The Carnegie Deli is one of my favorites, but not for dessert! If you go there, enjoy the reuben: it is so good!

Enjoy (I did)!

And remember: I just want to eat!
Carnegie Deli on Urbanspoon

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Burger at The Corner Bistro in NYC, New York

I went to The Corner Bistro a long time ago and did not like it! I remember that my burger was overcooked and dry. But, after hearing that it might be one of the best burgers in New York, I decided to go back!

I like the place: it is a simple place with an authentic feel accentuated by the old wooden furnitures. There are two rooms: at the entrance, one with the bar and some big TVs and a back room. During the week, it is not that crowded, but can be during the week end. This place has definitely a history! Officially, The Corner Bistro opened in 1961, after being purchased by a business woman named Tania de Gomez who tried to make a French bistro. Unfortunately, it did not work and she sold the restaurant, once bar tended by Yoko Ono, within a year. It ended up in the hands of Bill O'Donnell in 1967. Since then, The Corner Bistro has been serving burgers to locals, artists, actors, writers...and it became a burger institution.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

The 12 Year Old Food Critic

I read an interesting article about David Pines, 12 yo, who published a book called Pines Picks: A Kid's Guide to the Best Things to Eat and Drink in New York City. The book is full of restaurant critiques, focussing mainly on the food, as, as he told the NY Daily News: "Adults make too many judgments based on the appearance of the restaurants. They get mad because the glasses weren't all there when they walked in. I'm like, who cares? How did the food taste?".

I think it is great to see that coming from a kid and also see that he can eat everything, except raisins, at a time where children tend to be too picky in what they eat. I remember that when I was a kid, I had to eat what was on the table and there were very little exceptions (broccoli and brussels sprouts!). But it might be a question of education as Pamela Druckerman pointed out in her book Bringing Up Bébé.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Stacks Pancake House and cafe in Hoboken, NJ

I love pancakes and French toasts and when Stacks Pancake House & Cafe opened in Hoboken, New Jersey, I was very excited. Usually, you get pancakes and French toast in diners and restaurants, but the choices are limited. Not at Stacks! And it has been crowded from day one with people craving for it!

I went few times. I have to confess that at the beginning, I was not a big fan: although the pancakes were good, they did not give that much of toppings. I went back anyway and loved it!

Sunday, March 25, 2012

I tested the Homemade Pizza Company - CLOSED!

Update March 25th, 2012: this place has closed! I guess people prefer not going through the hassle of cooking the pizza and considering the number of good pizza joints in Hoboken, this is not surprising!

Original post:
Imagine the concept: you like pizza, but do not know how to make one or do not have time. You still want to feel as if you made it yourself. You pick the ingredients, they prepare it for you and you bake it. That's what Homemade Pizza Company is all about! This is a great concept! 

When you go to their store, of course, there are no tables! You either pick from their own recipes (4 cheeses, mushroom...) or create your own. If you create your own, there are different steps:
I Just Want To Eat!

  1. Pick a size: cutie (serves 1), Medium (serves 2-3) or large (serves 3-4).
  2. Choose a crust (regular or whole grain). 
  3. Choose a base (ruby red tomato sauce, olive oil or fresh pesto). They usually come with tomato sauce and cheese.
  4. Add ingredients: they propose 41 different ingredients (fresh herbs, cheeses, meat or fresh produces).
  5. The last step is to bring it home and bake it! For this, they package the pizza for you, similar to the fresh pizza you can find in supermarkets and give you instructions on how to cook it. The pizza is on a parchment paper and on a cardboard, very convenient to slide and remove from the oven. You are supposed to cook for 10 to 15 minutes at 425 degrees. Ours took longer.
So we tried 2 different pizzas: 
  • one with blue cheese, aged parmesan, asiago and fontinella: it was delicious! 
  • the second one with goat cheese, caramelized onions and crimini mushrooms. The goat cheese and caramelized onions work so well together: it was full of nice flavors!
I Just Want To Eat!

The pizza were really good: the crust was thin and they were not cheap on the ingredients! They also serve salads in case you want one to accompany your pizza.

Definitely good and fun to pick the ingredients! You should try it! They have restaurants in different areas of the states of New Jersey and New York.

Enjoy (I did)!

Emporium Brazil in NYC, New York: Surprising dish!

Recently, we went with some of my colleagues to Emporium Brazil, situated in Little Brazil in New York City. It was the first time for me in this restaurant. The decor has nothing extraordinary and I was surprised not to see a more pronounced Brazilian related decor. 
They had a lunch menu, but the only items they proposed were...Italian! So I went for the Moqueca de camarao that is a shrimp stew with coconut milk sauce, served with white rice. This is a traditional dish from Bahia, apparently influenced by African cuisine. The fact that there is coconut milk, I would have more thought about cuisine from India or China, but it is true that cuisine travels and so many cuisines have similarities!

When the Moqueca came, I was blown away by the beauty of the dish! 

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Fine Dining brought to you by Delta Airlines

Last Thursday, Delta Airlines announced that they would bring fine dining to its renovated and expanded terminal at JFK Airport (Terminal C). This follows their initiative at La Guardia Airport in 2010, that was a success. The goal, as per Delta Airlines, is to reinvent and improve the travel experience of their customers.

This time, the following restaurants will open:

Friday, March 23, 2012

Recipe: Pearl Couscous Salad

Pearl couscous, also known as Israeli couscous or ptitim, is a toasted pasta shaped like pearls. I never heard of it before coming to the US, seeing it at the salad bars or on TV, cooked in Iron Chef. I was more used to the couscous semolina that has a totally different taste and is used for taboule.

So, here is an easy recipe to make a Pearl Couscous Salad that I hope you will, like me, find delicious!

Thursday, March 22, 2012

The controversy surrounding restaurants grades in NYC!

Nine months ago, New York Started to grade its restaurants with the now famous A, B and C letters. There have been a lot of buzz recently about it. From the supporters, but also the detractors of this measure. One of the supporters is Mayor Bloomberg who did not hesitate beginning of March to associate the implementation of the grades to more than 24,000 restaurants to the slight decrease in salmonella cases between 2010 and 2011 and to an increase in earnings by 9% for the city. 

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Restaurant Curry in a Hurry: please slow down!

I was very excited to go for Indian food in Curry Hill in NYC, New York. I was supposed first to go to a place called Tiffin Walla that proposes small plates. But, when we arrived at the door, we saw the famous or infamous letter B! As I have never been there, did not know anybody who already went and found this restaurant surfing on the internet, we decided not to go. As we were craving Indian food, we looked around and saw a place called Curry in a hurry. We looked at the grade and it was an A. This place is a fast food joint, as indicated by the name. They told us that they have a dining room upstairs where we could also be served. I thought that maybe they had a different menu and wanted to sit comfortably to enjoy what I thought would be an awesome lunch!

Monday, March 19, 2012

What are the best restaurants in the US?

Recently, I came across two different lists of the Best Restaurants in the US. Both of them were done by restaurant critics, food and lifestyle writers, and assorted bloggers, from across the country. One was organized with the help of a famous food blogger, Steve Plotnicki who co-founded the site e-gullet (Opinionated About Dining); the other one from the site The Daily Meal.

What is interesting is the difference in listing. For instance, Le Bernardin takes the first place in The Daily Meal rank but is number 17 in the Opinionated About Dining list. What is also noticeable is that Katz's deli seems better than Del Posto in The Daily Meal list! Did we eat at the same places? Del Posto is way better! I wish they published the survey so we can all understand how this is done!

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Restaurant Review: The Clam Broth House (Hoboken, NJ) - CLOSED

Updated on 3/18/12 - The Clam Broth House CLOSED!
I am not sure I am that surprised considering how the food was when I went there! See the original post below!

Original post 10/1/11:
So we went to The Clam House in Hoboken. Or shall I call it The Cr*p Broth House based on the experience I got??? It was bad, bad bad: service, food and noise level! 

I was thrilled to go: first because I LOVE seafood. Second, because when it reopened in Hoboken earlier this year, there have been a lot of buzz. The restaurant originally opened in 1899 and catered to dock workers. Apparently, the restaurant's floor was full of shells. Interesting enough, it was forbidden to women until the 70's. The restaurant closed in 2003. New owners decided to reopen it this year, taking advantage of the status of landmark of the old restaurant.

Edison Quick shop: that was some experience!

One of my colleagues, Benny, used to talk about a “sandwich place” near Edison called Edison Quick Shop. He kept saying, “We should go there, you have to try it”! So one time, we decided to go.

From the outside, it looks like any small deli you would find, with “Try our cheese steak” written at the window (let me rephrase: that you could easily find at a gas station). We entered and I have to say that it looked pretty interesting. First of all, you cannot miss the different ways they display their menu: posters, but also paper plates. 

Friday, March 16, 2012

Recipe: Tomato bisque made with coconut milk

Last time, I was wondering what to cook for dinner and decided to try to make a tomato bisque. Now, I should not be using the term bisque as normally, a bisque contains a broth made with crustaceans (crab, lobster...), but it seems that everybody is using this term, probably to give a fancy name to a dish. Think about it: 
"I am going to serve you a tomato soup" - ok
"I am going to serve you a tomato bisque" - oh!

I love tomato bisque with grilled cheese. I even got that served in a wedding cocktail last year in Milwaukee and it was amazing! It is an awesome pairing, especially if you dip the grilled cheese in the soup.

The recipe below is very easy!

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Brunch at Balthazar in New York: boudin noir and tarte tatin!

Balthazar restaurant is an institution in New York. Located in Soho, it has been opened in 1997 by Keith McNally and co-chefs Riad Nasr and Lee Hanson. The place is famous for its food and for the bakery, with a store located outside of the restaurant. You can even find Balthazar breads and viennoiseries (croissants, chocolate croissants...) in supermarket or other restaurants. I have to say that each time I had some, it was delicious. 

Coming back to the restaurant: the decor is impressive. It is located in an old leather wholesale building; it has high ceilings with fans, and the walls have impressive mirrors. But, it is a madhouse! You'd better get a reservation! Between the tourists who are coming because Balthazar is in all the guides, the people eager to see celebrities and those who really like the food, they have no problem to get customers (waiting inside and outside)! Unfortunately, it comes to a price: they have maximized the space with tables everywhere, sacrificing comfort either for the clients or for the wait staff. For instance, it was difficult for the staff to access our table located in a corner because it was stuck between a large round table and another long table, with no space to go in between. Despite this, the service was very efficient and I have to say, extremely nice.

The brunch menu proposes a nice upscale version of traditional French dishes, such as the salad nicoise that is in France served with canned tuna, but there, with seared tuna.
They of course have a basket of fresh baked breads and pastries from their bakery. Always delicious. You will anyway have the opportunity to try their bread as they bring a bread basket with butter to the table.
The Pain au Levain (sourdough bread) was excellent.

Monday, March 12, 2012

Incredible steak frites at Le Relais De Venise "l'Entrecote" in New York!

Ok, I admit it: I lived in Paris for years, but I have never been to Le Relais de Venise "L'entrecote" over there! The story of this restaurant and its concept are pretty interesting: in 1959, a winemaker named Paul Gineste de Saurs decided to buy an Italian restaurant in Paris with the intention to use it to showcase the wine produced by his family, Château de Saurs. As he had no experience in the restaurant business, he decided to keep the Venetian decor, add L'entrecote (strip steak) to the name and propose a single item menu: steak frites. Instead of serving the steak with the traditional butter with parsley, he served it with what is still today a secret sauce (I would guess some butter,mustard, taragon and pepper, but would not bet on it!). Few years ago, Le Monde, a French newspaper revealed in an article the secret of the sauce: it contains blanched chicken liver. The owner of the restaurant denied this. 
Since then, the restaurant has been opened in different locations such as London or Barhein. And then New York in 2009, where I had the chance to experience the concept. Now, understand that when the restaurant opened in Manhattan, critics thought it would not last long because New Yorkers like to have choices! In this restaurant, the only choices are the wine, the cheeses and desserts (you can see a sample when entering - very smart)! Otherwise, it is a salad (lettuce with walnuts and a traditional french dressing) for appetizer and steak frites (steak and fries) for the entree.

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Awesome BBQ at Southern Hospitality Restaurant in New York City!

If you read my previous posts, you know that I love BBQ. So I really wanted to try Southern Hospitality in New York. I went to the location in Hell's kitchen. I like the place: it had a certain warmth, probably because of all the wood around, from the floor to the high ceiling, with wood letter going all around the restaurant. There was a great photo of Elvis as a boxer, that I guess is from the movie Kid Galahad from 1962. The service was good, but the food took a long time to come to our table!

So, this place is all about BBQ! All the traditional BBQ items are there: ribs, brisket, chicken...They also have the High on the Hog platter that costs $3000! It is an assorted appetizers platter that includes buffalo fried shrimp, fried pickles, hush puppies, nachos, hot wings, cheesesteak rolls. Then, wet and dry Memphis style spare-ribs, baby back ribs, 1/2 BBQ chicken, four sides and corn bread. To justify the price, you get a magnum of Armand de Brignac brut (note that the brut gold magnum costs $700, so not sure what makes the difference between $700 and $3000). Needless to say that I did not go for this....

In term of food, you have many choices:

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Great Japanese food at Yeung II in Hoboken, NJ

It as been a while that we noticed this small restaurant located uptown Hoboken. Each time we passed by, I have noticed that it was packed. I love Japanese food and my favorites are the sushi and sashimi. For those who do not know, sashimi is raw fish (you will always have on a sashimi plate a piece of tuna or salmon that are very tender) and sushi is made of raw fish on top of sushi rice. The difficulty in making a sushi is to   put the rice well together so it does not crumbled as soon as you pick it up with your chopsticks. Often, there will be wasabi between the fish and the rice. My least favorite sushi is shrimp: usually cooked, it is too bland. 

So we go there for lunch (all Japanese restaurants have lunch specials that are usually good deals). At first they seem a little stressed out. We ask for green tea and they tell us that the water was not yet hot. Interesting! I guess it does not take that long to boil water, no? Then it took several minutes before they realize that we do not have any menu. After that, everything was fine.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Delicious Tapas at Boqueria in New York City!

So we were craving for tapas and ended up in Boqueria in Chelsea. The place is very nice with a decor that has a modern and rustic feel at the same time. There are two main areas: the bar area where you can just sit on high tables by yourself and look at the preparation of the tapas; and the main room with its large tables and, on one side a wall full of mineral water bottles and a big mirror on the other side. I love the lights that are, on each side of the restaurant, simply bulbs (stylish, do not look for energy efficient ones!).

Boqueria serves either tapas, cheeses and meats or Spanish specialties. We decided to go for tapas. If you do not know, tapas are appetizers or snacks in Spanish cuisine. It is a great way to share plates and a lot of restaurants have borrowed this idea.

Monday, March 5, 2012

Chinatown Restaurant Week March 9 to March 18 2012

Similar to Restaurant Week, Chinatown Restaurant Week will see restaurants in Chinatown propose prix-fixe dinner for 18.88 (without tax and tip) from MArch 8th to March 18th 2012. 

Participants are listed on the event website You will find the Peking Duck House (great Peking Duck!!!), Lobster House or Pho Grand.


Sunday, March 4, 2012

Stick & Pop in NYC: what? Cake on a stick?

Yesterday, we were walking in the street, going to Boqueria, when we notice this small store called Stick & Pop. We saw that it was selling some sweets and decided to go back after lunch to grab a treat for later. And we came back!

To give you a bit of history, Stick & Pop has been opened early February in that location, after being an online store ( It has been created by French Culinary Institute graduate, Jacki Caponigro, and design professional, Christy Nyberg. We saw them other there and they were really nice!

To understand what they sell, imagine a candy apple, but instead of an apple, you get cake! It kind of reminds me of the cake bites we ate in Milwaukee (check here), but bigger and with a stick. The size is a close to a golf ball, although Stick & Pop sells small bags with four small sized lollipops. 

What is awesome, is that they do Baby Showers and Weddings, as well as Holiday pops! They also have a Stick & Pop dough kit that allows you to create your own! These pops are so pretty that I am sure a lot of brides are going to get crazy to get some for their wedding!

Now, let me tell you what Pops we got:

Saturday, March 3, 2012

Fabulous Donburi at Ubu Sushi in Hoboken, NJ!

Ubu Sushi is a Korean-Japanese restaurant located in Hoboken, NJ. This is the place for Donburi, a japanese rice dish (means bowl in Japanese) that I tried few years ago. When I go to this place, it is not for the sushi (i tried them once and they are good), but for this affordable dish that is Donburi. They have different type: veggie, veggie and crab, tofu...
For a drink we got a nice green tea. I love the smoky taste of it.

With the Donburi, came a miso soup. It was pretty good and a perfect way to start.

Friday, March 2, 2012

Recipe: Ghetto Garlic Bread from Coolio!

So everybody probably knows Coolio from the song Gangsta's Paradise he wrote in 1995 for the movie Dangerous Minds with Michelle Pfeiffer. What I did not know until I watch Rachel (Ray) vs. Guy (Fieri) on the Food Network, is that Coolio is also a cook. He even published a cook book called Cookin' with Coolio: 5 Star Meals at a 1 Star Price and calls himself the Ghetto Gourmet. In this book, he will teach you how to be a Kitchen Pimp, explaining what you need in you Pimp-try...

Let me tell you: this guy knows how to cook (taught by his now deceased mother) and he ended up in the finale!

So, I decided to try to cook his Ghetto Garlic Bread, his take on Garlic Bread, made with mayonnaise. I do not have a cook book, so I tried to recreate the quantities.

In a bowl, I mixed:

  • 6 tbsp of mayonnaise, 
  • 2 tbsp of minced garlic and 
  • cheese (depends how much you like).

I spread the mixture on a baguette cut in half and toasted it.
It was good, but if you do not like mayonnaise, I do not think it is for you!

Enjoy (I did)!


Thursday, March 1, 2012

Asian flavors at China Grill Restaurant in New York

image of Ceiling at China Grill, midtown, NYC, New York
China Grill is a pan-asian restaurant opened in the 80's by Jeffrey Chodorow and is now part of the China Grill Management Company that has several restaurants in many cities like New York, Miami, Los Angeles or London. Besides China Grill, they own Asia de Cuba and Bar Basque that are popular restaurants in New York. 

The decor is quite nice: very high ceiling with some big Japanese lanterns (red lightning) and granite walls. This restaurant is serving Family style, but now, they offer smaller sizes, but still pricey. Anyway, if you do not know it is family style when coming, you will know when ordering as I think I heard it five times....

I went with four people, so we ordered several dishes to share.

For the appetizers, we started with the Lemongrass crusted tofu tots served with delicious pickled cucumbers and a kimchee sauce topped with black sesame seeds. That was an original dish! Good and light; I did not taste the kimchee in the sauce and it was not spicy.
image of tofu tots at China Grill, midtown, NYC, New York