April 2012 | I just want to eat!

Saturday, April 28, 2012

The Hester Street Fair in New York City begins!

The Hester Street Fair jus started and will take place every Saturdays from April 28th to October 27th. The fair features handcrafted accessories, art, clothing and most importantly Food! 

Among the vendors, you will find:
Pies ‘n’ Thighs (confort food)
- The macaroon parlour
Luke’s Lobster
Brooklyn Taco
La Sonrisa (for empanadas)
and many more!

When: Saturdays from April 28th to October 27th - 10 am to 6pm
Where: corner of Essex and Hester street in New York City
Info: www.hesterstreetfair.com

Friday, April 27, 2012

Gobuki Korean BBQ Food Cart in NYC, New York

In the past few years, New York has seen Food Trucks and carts popping up all around. The beauty of it is that it is not just the hot dogs cooked in dirty water, but different types of cuisine, from all around the world. Some used it as a way to start a business and opened later a brick and mortar restaurant, like the Taco Truck in Hoboken. Others just opened food carts / trucks in different locations like The Hallal Guys or Yogo (Frozen yoghurt).

Of course, some people might still be worried of the sanitary conditions and when the restaurants grades were introduced in New York, some people advocated to have a similar concept for food carts and trucks. I am not really scared of trying food cart and so decided to try Gobuki.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Qi Bangkok Eatery - Great Thai in Times Square, NYC, New York

I Just Want To Eat!
If you are in or near Times Square, this could be a good place to go! It is always driving me crazy to see that people are missing great restaurants in this area! There are great places on 9th Avenue and on 8th, I discovered Qi Bangkok Eatery (pronounce Chee).  The restaurant has been opened since mid 2011 by Chef Pitchet Ong (P*ONG).
At first, I did not know it was a restaurant! From the outside, it looks like a club and when you hear the loud electronic music, you would surely think you are in a club. 

The decor is beautiful: mainly white (white marble, white leather...), modern furnitures and amazing chandeliers, with a Buddha in the back of the room.
They also display holograms from the menu to the check to...the bathroom!

Monday, April 23, 2012

Mexicana Mama in NYC, New York

We were walking in the West Village in New York when we saw this small colorful Mexican restaurant called Mexicana Mama. My wife already went there, but for me it was a first.

I liked the nice blue color of the walls and the tables with their tablecloth impressions full of colors. This is a small restaurant and you have a view on the also small kitchen.

The menu for lunch was made of a short list of dishes. I do not mind because sometimes, the more is on the menu the less the food is good: I prefer when the Chef or cook focusses on few items.

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Brasserie 8 1/2 French Restaurant in NYC, New York


Brasserie 8 1/2 is one of my favorite upscale French restaurant in New York. The location is weird: the restaurant is located underground! If you do not know it is there, you cannot guess! To go to the main room, you will walk down an impressive staircase that will bring you to the mezzanine area where the bar is located. The decor is amazing and is featuring some artwork from Matisse and a glass sculpture from Fernand Leger. 

So we went back one Saturday night with our friends Jen and Gary. The restaurant was not that crowded that night. The service was efficient and courteous, and the atmosphere was not too stuffy.

The food served at Brasserie 8 1/2 is pretty diverse and they have great seafood. These days, they are still offering a three courses menu for $35.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Baked by Melissa Cupcakes in NYC, New York

Baked by Melissa has been a cupcake sensation for the past few years. The particularity of these cupcakes is that they are bite size and paperless.  Each of them costs $1 (time of this post). They also offer the possibility of creating your own, but for this, you will need to order 300 of them!

The place was opened by Melissa Bushell and her partners, after she lost her job in advertising. Since it opened in 2009, several stores were added and Baked by Melissa has become a reference for cupcakes.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

The Drive-In Dinner at Brooklyn Brewery on April 18th!

Do not miss the Drive-In Dinner at the Brooklyn Brewery on April 18th!

This 5 courses Food Truck dinner paired with beer is organized by the Brooklyn Brewery and Edible Brooklyn (ediblemanhattan.com). For $40, you have one course at a Food Truck (Bongo Brothers Cuban Food Truck, Coolhaus, Red Hook Lobster Pound, Feed Your Hole, The Morris Truck), paired with a beer. 

Do not miss it!

The Brooklyn Brewery
79 N11 Street,Brooklyn, NY11249,United States
April 18, 2012 from 6:00 pm to 9:00 pm

More information here.

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Wu Liang Ye - Authentic Chinese cuisine in NYC, New York

Wu Liang Ye in Midtown Manhattan is a family style Chinese restaurant; each plate can serve 2 people, hence, don't be surprised by the price. This place is always crowded and if you are a large party, you'd better reserve! I went there for lunch time and it was like a beehive: customers going in and out, waiters running around to satisfy the crowd.
The restaurant itself is located on the second floor of a brownstone. The weather was nice outside and it was freezing inside!

Food wise, I really liked it! But be careful: they serve authentic Szechuan cuisine that is spicy!
www.ijustwanttoeat.com Chinese restaurant NYC, New York
We had couple of dishes. The first one was Shredded chicken with spicy garlic sauce. The chicken was moist and the sauce not too spicy. Fortunately, it was not too garlic-y either!

Friday, April 13, 2012

Pastis restaurant in NYC, New York - Overrated!

www.ijustwanttoeat.com Pastis
Pastis is an anise flavored spirit that is served mixed with water. It originates in South of France. Instead of Pastis, you may also hear the names Pernod or Ricard that are derived from the name of the company Pernod Ricard who use to produce pastis.

The Pastis I am talking about is different though: it is a popular restaurant in the Meat Packing district of NYC, New York. Pastis is a French bistro opened by Keith McNally with Executive Chefs Riad Nasr and Lee Hanson. These names do not ring a bell? They are the same cast as Balthazar in NYC. In fact, the bread served at Pastis comes from Balthazar. 

Having heard about it so many times, I decided to go few years back, but did not become a fan of Pastis. As the restaurant is still there and always crowded, I decided to give it another try. 

I went on a Friday, for lunch. Let me tell you: it was packed! At the entrance, they tell us that they cannot sit us right away and that we have to wait at the bar for approximately 30 minutes, until lunch is served (there were several empty tables). Interestingly enough, five minutes after we order a drink at the bar, they sit us and we wait for 20 minutes before ordering. I am kind of suspicious that they sat us at the bar so we would consume a drink. I hate this type of practices!

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Magnolia Bakery in NYC, New York - Average cupcakes...

I heard about Magnolia Bakery in New York City for many years but never went there. In fact, a long time ago, I went to a restaurant on top of the Bakery Midtown, restaurant that is now closed.

Cupcakes are really big here and I do not know if one day they will be as big in France. Why? Because there are so many different pastries with some many different flavors that I am not sure people would be attracted to it. However, what makes the difference is that cupcakes offer, for the same concept, a wide range of possibilities: you can make different types of cake, have some cream or fruits in it and then have an infinite choice of frosting and decoration. A Millefeuille (close to a Napoleon) is a millefeuille!

Monday, April 9, 2012

Morimoto Restaurant in NYC, New York

www.ijustwanttoeat.com Morimoto
I am a big fan of Chef Masaharu Morimoto and try to never miss his appearances on Iron Chef America! Chef Morimoto is incredibly talented. On the show, he always comes with incredible presentations and association of food you would never think of. 

So we decided to go back to his restaurant. I have great memories of the first time I went there few years ago: I remember that I had the surf and turf that was made with fish and Kobe beef. I did not like the taste of the kobe beef but I still can talk about the dish!!! On top of that Chef Morimoto was there, making sushi!

So we went back and had another memorable dinner! I love the place: modern with an elegant decor. Not a stuffy atmosphere at all. The service was, like the previous time, perfect: courteous and efficient. 

The menu makes you drool from the first page. It offers a modern Japanese menu with some Western cuisine hints.

Saturday, April 7, 2012

The New French Restaurant in NYC, New York

We were walking around in the West Village when we noticed this small place called The New French.
But do not be fooled: this restaurant, opened in 2008, is not serving French cuisine, but more an American cuisine, although some dishes can be associated to France, such as the crepes!

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Mie Thai Restaurant in Woodbridge, NJ

We went with my colleagues to Mie Thai, a Thai restaurant in Woodbridge, New Jersey. I like the place as it has a nice decoration with art representing Thailand. The service was efficient and very courteous.
For lunch, they offer different traditional dishes at a very reasonable price.

As it was the first time in that restaurant, I decided to go for the Penang curry. Usually, to test a Thai restaurant, I will either go for the Penang or Massaman curry.

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Varli Food Festival in NYC, New York - Thursday, April 5th

This Thursday, will take place the Varli Food Festival. This festival has been created to bring knowledge of the Indian cuisine. Hosted by Top Chef Host Padma Lakshmi, it will include some celebrity Chefs who will participate in diverse activities.

Thursday, April 5th, 2012
5 P.M - 10 P.M

Metropolitan Pavilion
125 West 18th Street
(between 6th and 7th Avenue)
New York, NY 10011

Tickets on sale on line - $100 per person.

More information at: http://www.varlifoodfestival.com/index.php

Ben & Jerry's free cone day!

Today is Free Cone Day at Ben & Jerry's!

Enjoy (I will)!

Monday, April 2, 2012

Bar Americain in NYC, New York - Come on Bobby Flay!

I do not think it is necessary to introduce Bobby Flay! Ok, for those who do not know him: he is mostly known for being a celebrity Chef with multiple shows on the Food Network, such as The Next Iron Chef, Throw-down with Bobby Flay or The Next Food Network Star. He is the type of Chef that seems to be genuine and does not seem to think he is the best! Good, because you need a certain humility to participate to a throw-down and acknowledge that your competitor is better. I think a lot of Chefs should learn from him!
Of course, Chef Bobby Flay is first...a Chef, specialized in Southwestern cuisine (do not be surprised to see him add habanero peppers in everything! I exaggerate a bit).  Reading his biography will make you understand his dedication and passion for food. He opened his first restaurant in New York City, Mesa Grill (that I did not try yet!) in 1991.  Since then, he opened many restaurants, Bar Americain, opened in 2005 is one of them.

I went few times to Bar Americain, before I started this blog. I had mixed experiences there. Mainly related to food, because the restaurant is simply gorgeous and the service has always been impeccable.  Presentation wise, it is amazing. Just look at this salad (Boston lettuce, egg, bacon and blue cheese sauce):
This is simply gorgeous. But it is not the presentation, but more the taste that was a problem. For instance, I did not like the filet mignon at all: dry, tasteless and overcooked. I did not like the deep dish chocolate cream pie either. But I loved the homemade potato chips with blue cheese dip or the trio of seafood cocktail. But the best is the Kentucky Hot Brown: an open face turkey sandwich made with cheese sauce (recipe here). If you go to Bar Americain, you have to try this!

So, I went back after few years. Nothing has changed: same great decor and very good service. I was tempted to take the Kentucky Hot Brown but decided to try something new.

I started with the spicy tuna tartare. 

Yes, it says spicy and it can be, especially if you pick some of the garnish on the plate (egg white, onion - spicy - capers and parsley). This was really good, fresh and light. Perfectly seasoned.

I then went for the Gulf shrimp and grits served and cooked with bacon, onions and garlic. 

First, I was surprised by the consistency: it was like a thick soup. It tasted really good at first with a lot of flavors from the shrimp, the bacon and the grits. But the more I was eating it, the more my taste buds got saturated. Probably because of the bacon. It was a bit disappointing.

So I could not end the lunch on that note and therefore decided to go for the Sweet Potato Pie, served with a cinnamon ice cream. This is an amazing dessert! It got a nice sweetness to it from the potato, but also from the pie crusted with sugar. That pie was so buttery: it was delicious!

So I had mixed experience at Bar Americain. I would probably go back but it would not be my first choice.

Enjoy (I kind of did)!

And remember: I just want to eat!

Bar Americain on Urbanspoon

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Rino Trattoria in NYC, New York - The Groupon non-experience

Using sites like Groupon or Savored is a great idea, especially if you like to go out a lot, experiment different food or if like me, you have food blog!

So, I purchased a coupon for Rino Trattoria in New York City. I acknowledge that we took our time before using it, thinking that with the nice days coming back, it could be a nice dinner after a walk in Central Park. Then came the perfect time and we were in the mood for an Italian dinner. We called the restaurant few times and they always wanted to know if we were coming with a Groupon before giving us some very early reservation time. What type of practice is that? At the end, we did not go and will use the Groupon voucher for something else.