December 2012 | I just want to eat!

Monday, December 31, 2012

Horrible Fish & Chips at The Round Table in London, England

Image of Entrance of The Round Table in London, England

Over the week end we were in London, we were walking around Covent Garden, when we decided that it was time to entertain our stomachs! We decided to go to a Pub to enjoy some traditional food. We ended up at The Round Table located on St Martins Court. Nice traditional pub with a particular smell that clearly indicates that there is a lot of beer around...

So we go there and they told us that we have to order at the bar (the table next to us did not know and we had to tell them as they were wondering why nobody was taking care of them).

So I decided to order Fish & Chips. They had the traditional one made with cod and proposed a larger version called...the Cod Father!
Image of The Cod Father at The Round Table in London, England
After a long, long time, our food arrived!

Sunday, December 30, 2012

Fish & Chips at Seashell on Lisson Grove in London, England

Image of Entrance of Seashell on Lisson Grove in London, England

If there was one dish I had to try in England, it was Fish & Chips. You can get some good ones in pubs in New York, but it is not the same! As I mentioned in the post to introduce the trip (My trip to Europe), although I went several times to London before coming to the US, I first tried this dish at...Epcot in Disney Florida! So we looked up on the internet for the best Fish & Chips places. We wanted first to go to the Golden Hind that was listed number 1 on one of the websites, but, believe or not, it was closed on Saturdays for lunch!!! We could not believe it! Why would you be closed for lunch on Saturdays??? So, as we were trying to find our way to the Imperial War Museum, we asked a very nice person in the street if she knew a good Fish & Chips place. She told us to go to Lisson Grove street and then ask people for a known place there. 
So, here we go, walking towards Lisson Grove street. When we arrived, we asked a guy at a bus stop if he knew a well known Fish & Chips place. He indicated Seashell on Lisson Grove. So that is how we ended up there.
Image of Dining room of Seashell on Lisson Grove in London, England

It was a clean place with a modern decor: for sure, you would not go there for the ambience! By the way, you remember the guy at the bus stop who told us that this was the known place for Fish & Chips? We saw him walking in the restaurant few minutes after  and I caught him on the camera! We probably asked the owner! That was pretty funny!

So we looked at the menu and there were proposing a dozen of different ways to have the Fish & Chips: the traditional with cod, with salmon, filet of sole or even langoustines! I decided to go for the traditional one.

Saturday, December 29, 2012

Treats at Fortnum & Mason in London, England

Image of the Entrance of Fortnum & Mason in London, England

Over the week end we were in London, we met with my cousins Catherine, Sarah and Flavien for a tea at Fortnum and Mason. In fact we heard about that place from friends who went there few years ago. The place is fantastic with all these never seen before items such as a music cookie box. But for sure, it was pricey! Pricey but crowded, I guess with people just looking around out of curiosity. Of course, as it was the Holidays, their windows were full of scenes such as the one below:
Image of Christmas decoration at Fortnum & Mason in London, England

Fortnum and Mason has different restaurants, from the fancier to the more casual one. We ended up on the latter one, called The Gallery. It was a nice place with a nice causal atmosphere, surrounded by windows overlooking the street. We were lucky that my cousins arrived in advance and already had a table as the place was packed and there was a bit of wait (it was around 3pm). Of course, when we arrived, we could not miss the table full of cakes that I am sure was full of delicacies earlier that day! For sure it made us hungrier!

Image of Cakes at  Fortnum & Mason in London, England
We could have done the full tea but it was too much food and we already had lunch. The "full" tea was composed of open sandwiches, scones, cupcakes and tea, for 22 GBP. 

Friday, December 28, 2012

Dinner at Bob Bob Ricard in London, England

Image of Bob Bob Ricard in London, England
Preparing the trip to London, we wanted to have a nice dinner and we found out this place called Bob Bob Ricard. I have to admit that at first we wanted to eat in one of Gordon Ramsey's restaurants, but there was no reservation available. Reviews of Bob Bob Ricard were good and after looking at the menu, we decided that it would be the place to go. For sure, this restaurant is fancy and pricey, but it was our treat on our London trip. So we dressed up and ended up in Soho, in this art deco restaurant. The place was big for sure with an interesting decor. Downstairs, they had an impressive wine cellar.

We sat at a booth and immediately noticed the button to call for champagne. But no, I did not press it...
Image of Bob Bob Ricard in London, England

We looked at the mouth watering menu and saw that they served a beef Wellington for 2. We always wanted to try it, as it is always on the menu on Hell's Kitchen with Gordon Ramsey and we never had the opportunity to try. Well, this is a British dish and we were in a nice restaurant in London, so we were thinking that they probably made it well...They told us that it would take 45 minutes to cook, but we were ok with that!

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

My trip to Europe - December 2012

Image of the The Seine river and Tour Eiffel in Paris, France
I was recently in Europe, in London and Paris! Needless to say that one of my interests was food, although England does have a bad reputation when it comes to cuisine. It has been years since I have been in London, the last time being December 2006! Going for the holidays is always exciting: there is a certain energy in the air, emphasized by the fantastic decorations that can only be found during this period of the year. I admit that I thought London did a fantastic job with all the lights and I was disappointed by the lights on the Champs Elysees in Paris! 

Image of The London eye in London, EnglandSo, first stop was London! When we left, we definitely wanted to try some pub food, specifically Fish & Chips. Imagine that the first time I tried this dish was not in London, despite my multiple trips there. No, it was at...Disney - Epcot in Florida....I know: that sounds weird but it is true. I went there few years ago with Jodi and we decided to dine at the International pavillion where you have all types of restaurants from many countries: Japan, China, Canada, France, Mexico...And they have England with the Rose & Crown Pub. We had fantastic fish & chips there. Interestingly, the entire staff in the restaurants are from the country they represent, to add some authenticity.

Back to our trip: after checking in our hotel, we started our quest to find a pub. You would think that it was easy, but it was not as we were located in a business area. We ended up at the New Moon on Gracechurch street. This pub had a warm atmosphere and a phenomenal ceiling, all red! Supposedly, it has been featured in movies like James Bond or Tomb Raiders...
Well, this is where our experience stopped: they did not even acknowledged us!!! We were the only ones in the establishment and they did not say hello or check if we wanted anything!!! So we decided to leave as, if it was the way they were treating their customers, their service was probably slow and inefficient and their food not worth it. That is how we ended up at Mother Mash, located on Leadenhall street!

Mother Mash is a small restaurant that serves Pies and a traditional British dish: bangers and mash!

Sunday, December 23, 2012

L'Ybane Wine Bar in NYC, New York

Image of Entrance of L'Ybane in NYC, New York
I passed many times in front of L'ybane, a wine bar few blocs away from Times Square. So, after seeing Lincoln in the movie theater, we decided to try that place. We then came back a second time. This post is about both times!

L'Ybane is a Lebanese restaurant that has also a location in Nice, South of France. They offer a wide range of Mediterranean dishes in full size or tapas style. I have to say that I love tapas, because it is a good way to try different dishes and sharing a dinner is a wonderful thing.
Image of Beaujolais nouveau at L'Ybane in NYC, New York

The decor reminds me restaurants you would find in France and the atmosphere, besides the fact that our waiter was French, was very European.  They have a pretty impressive wine list, that is not surprising when you see all the bottles on the wall, in the bar area. Luckily, we were there couple of days after the release of the Beaujolais Nouveau! They offered a bottle for $28 or by the Glass for $9. I chose the glass that was a very good deal considering the quantity served.

Jodi and I decided to order few appetizers and then dessert.

Friday, December 21, 2012

Cupcakes from Billy's Bakery in NYC, New York

If you live in New York, there is a big chance that you heard about Billy's Bakery. Located in Chelsea, this bakery is an institution for the sugar lovers. I discovered there an amazing banana cream pie and pineapple upside down cake (see Billy's bakery review here). What I love when I go to Billy's is the butter smell when you enter in the store: it makes me hungry (one would say that I am always hungry though).

So this time, we went for cupcakes. Jodi decided to go for a chocolate cake and vanilla frosting that is a pretty standard one.
Image of Chocolate cake and vanilla frosting cupcake at Billy's bakery in NYC, New York
You cannot not notice the nice ratio cake / frosting that is important: the best part in a cupcake is the frosting!!!
The cake was good and moist. However, the vanilla frosting was very sweet. Too sweet!

On my side, I ordered a banana-nutella cupcake.
Image of Banana nutella cupcake at Billy's bakery in NYC, New York

It was clearly missing some frosting. Anyway, I could barely taste the nutella! I was so disappointed as I love this scrumptious hazelnut spread! The cake was good, moist, with a nice banana taste coming through.

So I was a bit disappointed. I should probably stick with the banana cream pie....

Enjoy (I did not this time)!

And remember: I Just Want To Eat!

 Billy's Bakery on Urbanspoon

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Brunch at Bar Boulud in NYC, New York

Image of Bar Boulud in NYC, New York

I am a big fan of Chef Daniel Boulud. Few years ago, Jodi and I had a little celebratory dinner at Daniel, his eponym fancy restaurant in New York City and we still talk about it (what was great is that they offered a vegetarian tasting on top of the regular tasting, but also, for each course, proposed two choices of dishes).

So, one Sunday, we decided to go to Bar Boulud for brunch. I love brunch: it is so good and comforting. As I have a good appetite, I decided to go for the three course prix fixe ($32). Jodi did not.

I liked the restaurant: the decor is simple and very "organic" with its light wood, but still modern with its tunnel shape.
Image of Dining room of Bar Boulud in NYC, New York

If you go downstairs, you cannot miss the impressive wine cellar that I bet has some incredible bottles!

Monday, December 17, 2012

Bibimbap at Wonjo in Koreatown - NYC, New York

Image of Wonjo Korean Restaurant in Koreatown NYC, New York
After going to Cho Dang Gol (review posted 2 days ago), we wanted to go to another Korean restaurant, in our search for the best Bibimbap (rice bowl). So we ended up to Wonjo, in the heart of Korea Town. This place is definitely known considering the line in front of the restaurant when we left (we went early fearing the crowd). This restaurant has 2 floors and serves some Korean BBQ also.

So we started with the traditional Banchan (small plates).
Image of Banchan at Wonjo Korean Restaurant in Koreatown NYC, New York
I always enjoy them! This time, I especially liked the tofu:

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Korean Food at Cho Dang Gol in NYC, New York

Image of Cho Dang Gol Korean restaurant in NYC, New York
After I went to Korea Palace (check the review of Korea Palace here) with my colleagues few weeks ago, I promised Jodi that we would go to a Korean restaurant to try a Bibimbap, a rice bowl dish that can be declined in many ways. So I searched on the internet for the best Bibimbap in NYC and that is how we ended up at Cho Dang Gol.

We went twice in fact...So, first time for the Bibimbap and second time to try a Jjigae (stew).

Both times, we got the small appetizer plates (banchan) that any Korean restaurant would serve you. 
Image of Banchan at Cho Dang Gol Korean restaurant in NYC, New York
Each time I went, it was different, at the exception of two sides: the tofu and eggplant pancakes (bottom left) and the Kimchi (fermented cabbage).

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Pizza at Dusal's Italian Restaurant in Freehold, NJ

Recently we were in Freehold, NJ and needed a quick bite. We ended up at Dusal's, an Italian restaurant and Pizzeria.
Image of Dusal's Italian Restaurant in Freehold, NJ
The restaurant has two rooms: in the front is for the pizzeria and in the back, the restaurant. We decided to try three of their slices:

The plain slice:
Image of Plain pizza slice at Dusal's Italian Restaurant in Freehold, NJ

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Recipe: Pineapple Upside Down Cake

Here is a very easy recipe for a delicious Pineapple Upside Down Cake!
Image of Recipe of the pineapple upside down cake

- 7oz (200g) of butter
- 7oz (200g) of powdered sugar
- 7oz (200g) of white flour
- 5 eggs
- 1teaspoon of vanilla extract
- 1teaspoon of almond extract
- 1packet of yeast
- 1can of sliced pineapple

1 - Prepare the cake batter:

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Spot Dessert Bar in Koreatown - NYC, New York

Image of Spot Dessert Bar in Koreatown NYC, New York
I was very excited to try the new location of Spot Dessert Bar in Korea Town, on the third floor of Food Gallery 32! The experience we had in the East Village was memorable and I cannot stop thinking about the Green Tea Tiramisu that was the highlight of this discovery (see the review of Spot Dessert Bar here)!

I like Galley 32: lots of food choices and hidden secrets, Spot Dessert Bar being one of them, but I am sure not for too long! The place was the only one opened on the third floor and quasi empty. It is not like the one in the East Village that offers a large selection of incredible desserts. This one has a limited menu. There is of course their best seller: the chocolate green tea lava cake that we tried the last time we went there! 

We decided to try two of their desserts. The first one was the Golden Toast.

Friday, December 7, 2012

Patron, Mexican Grill in NYC, New York

Image of Patron Mexican Grill in NYC, New York
After watching the last James Bonds (Skyfall) in a movie theater in Times Square, we decided to find a restaurant on 9th avenue. Several times we noticed Patron and we thought it would be a good idea to go there as it has been a long time we ate Mexican food and we were kind of craving it. So we thought that joint would satisfy that crave...

The place is divided into two parts: the bar with its communal tables and the dining room. We got seated in the bar area.
Image of Patron Mexican Grill in NYC, New York
The menu offers classic Mexican cuisine, from tacos to burritos and fajitas. We decided to share some appetizers and sides.

We started off with the Queso Fundido.

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Nick & Stef's Steakhouse in NYC, New York

Image of Nick and Stef's steakhouse in NYC, New York
It is no secret that I love steak and that I consider that meat in this country is far better than what I ever had in Europe ! So I always enjoy a trip to a Steakhouse! This time, we ended up at Nick & Stef's that is supposed to have been voted in the top 10 Steakhouses in NYC!

So we were on our way and trust me, we had to find it! Because of construction, it was kind of hidden! This is not your typical steakhouse with leather and wood all over: it had a modern setting that sets it apart.
Image of Nick and Stef's steakhouse in NYC, New York
Jodi ordered the petite filet mignon (medium):

Monday, December 3, 2012

Press Dinner at Thalassa in Tribeca - NYC, New York

Image of Thalassa Greek Restaurant in Tribeca, NYC, New York
I have been invited to a press dinner at Thalassa, a modern Greek restaurant located in Tribeca that is celebrating its 10 years of existence. Remember when reading this post that it is a press dinner: food is complementary and the staff knows who we are. 

Interestingly, I went to this restaurant 10 years ago. I was asked why I never went back and the answer was simple: New York City has so many restaurants that I was just trying different ones. Do not ask me if I remember the food: it was too long ago. However, I remember that the lights were less dimmed (I always notice the light for my photos)...So, I was really excited to go back and try their food! 

The restaurant's specialty is seafood as the name Thalassa (Sea in Greek) suggests. This also comes through with the decor as you can see in the photo of the bar below (you can see sails on top).
Image of Thalassa Greek Restaurant in Tribeca, NYC, New York

I like the modern and sophisticated decor of this three levels restaurant. The 30 foot long bar made with ivory marble looks fantastic as well as the main dining room with its white leather chairs and huge columns. It is also nice to see that they left space between tables so you do not have the impression to eat with people you do not know...

They also have an impressive wine list and you can have a glimpse to their wine cellar if you go downstairs. Their cocktail list is also interesting and showcases Thalassa's creations. I went for a Greek pear martini (that I asked in a regular glass because I hate martini glasses: I always end up with some of the cocktail on my shoes!!!). It was fantastic! The taste of the pear really came through and it was not strong at all.

Saturday, December 1, 2012

Stage Deli in NYC, New York - CLOSED!

Image of Stage deli in NYC, New York
If there is one thing we do not have in France, it is Delicatessen or Deli. Each time I have family or friends visiting, I strongly suggest them to go to a deli and try a sandwich. But not a regular salami or turkey: rather pastrami or corned beef. In fact, the way I knew corned beef when I was a kid was totally different: my mom used to buy these cans that contained some fatty ground meat that in France we call corned beef. She was adding it to a tomato salad. It was delicious, but I am wondering if it was really made of corned beef! Well, sometimes it is better not knowing what you eat...

So, my friend Benny and I decided to go to Stage Deli, a deli that has been opened for more than 70 years. I guess we could say that they compete with the usual suspects: Katz, Junior's, 2nd Avenue Deli or Carnegie Deli, not far away.
Image of Stage deli in NYC, New York
The place looks like any deli that has been at the same location for years: old fashioned with old photos, most of the time tilted...