Rib-eye steak with Mushrooms, Onions and White Wine Gravy + Brussels Sprouts with Garlic
This is a very simple steak dish that I enjoy making. To prepare the gravy, I caramelized the onions and mushrooms in butter and then add some white wine, red wine vinegar, cream and some salt/peppers. Pour the gravy over the cooked steak and serve with some Brussels Sprouts with Garlic. Gan: Sarah always prefer Asian style steak (Japanese to be specific) over NY style aged steak - without much seasoning (except the dry spices). That is until we saw how Gordon Ramsay cooked steak on TV. Just simply pan fry it with olive oil and finish it with butter. It just brings out the flavor quite a bit. I heard from someone that butter is a chef's best friend in most high end restaurants, deglaze with it, make sauce with it, fry with it, emulsify with it.
Address: 104 Washington Street, Hoboken, NJ
This is one of our favorite Cuban Restaurants in the NYC metro area. It was recommended by a friend Pei, who used to live in Hoboken. The restaurant is tiny so expect to wait in line to get a table. Some of our favorite dishes there are the Ensalada de Espinaca y Remolacha (spinach tossed with mango, avocado, blue cheese, oranges and red onion in a champagne vinaigrette with toasted macadamia nuts, served over roasted beets), Sopa de Pollo (homemade chicken noodle soup with potatoes, carrots, celery and corn), Camarones al Ajillo o Enchilados (sauteed shrimp in garlic sauce or red creole sauce) and of course, their Sandwich Cubano.
Gan: I still remember the first time Pei and Kelvyn brought us to this place. We were so skeptical about having any decent restaurant in New Jersey, let alone a Cuban restaurant. Wow, this was even better than most of the better Cuban restaurants in NYC! This remains one of the best restaurant you can find in NJ.. heck, it can be compared to any good NYC restaurants. We've been coming here regularly since Hoboken is very close to Jersey City, where we live.
We usually order this Daily Special for lunch, Pollo Asado or Roasted Chicken (thigh). The dish comes with two sides.
This is another awesome chocolate cake recipe I found on recipezaar. The cake was very moist and not too sweet. I also made some Red Bean Soup Dessert, just because I felt like having some! :)
Panini with Prosciutto, White American Cheese, Pear and Arugula + Riesling
I found this delicious prosciutto panini recipe on recipezaar.com. I replaced the Focaccia bread and Pecorino Romano cheese in the recipe with Croissant and White American cheese since Gan likes them better. To prepare, I sprinkled the Croissant with Balsamic Vinegar and then layered it with Prosciutto, White American Cheese, Caramelized sliced Pear, and Arugula. I grilled the Croissant on the pan until the cheese melt, cut into half and served it with a glass of Riesling.
Yesterday Gan and I had the most wonderful gastronomy experience at Chef Wylie Dufresne's wd~50 restaurant!! This is by far, the BEST RESTAURANT we have tried in NYC, very different from all the other fine dining places.
wd~50 is famous for its molecular gastronomy cooking techniques and Chef Dufresne is one of the leaders in this field. Molecular gastronomy is basically the use of science to create new techniques of preparing and cooking food. Boy I have to say, we were totally blown away by the food that was created using this technique!
Every dish was spot on when it came to presentation, portion, taste, flavor and texture. There was not one dish that we dislike and to make the dinner even more perfect, we got a kitchen tour and we met with Chef Dufresne! Two thumbs up for wd~50!
Gan: We have only scratched the surface of the NYC restaurant scene and it would be presumptious to assume we're any sort of authority in bestowing any kind of accord like the prestigious Michelin rating or NY Times and Zagat rating. However, I must say I'm most impressed with wd~50 and it really opened my eyes (or should I say awakened my tongue) to what great food could really be. To most, the food here is avant-garde, with all the molecular gastronomy/experimental food cooking technique and what not, but to me, the thing that will probably stay with me for a while is how great the taste was for almost all the food we had that night. Not to say the presentation was shabby (it was really clean and beautiful) but if I can sum everything up for that night, it has to be TASTE.
Da Man ---- Caught a glimpse of Chef Dufresne at the Kitchen entrance. Wasn't sure if I was able to go say hi so I tried to snap pictures of him from my seat. I think he saw me :P Gan: I've never seen Sarah that excited before and did I imagine drool dripping down the side of her mouth? :-P
Gan: It was quite messy affair.. lol.. crumbles all over the place after we're done
Gan: That hit the right spot! Clean plate.
Pre-dessert - raspberry sorbet with goat cheese. superb! Gan: This was my favorite of the 3 course dessert tasting menu. The licorice or the sorbet was salted.. and that was very pleasant for this desert. Previously, the dessert that was most memorable for me was the goat cheese sorbet or ice cream from Aquavit. I think I'll remember this for some time.
The restaurant's Maitre D' gave us a kitchen tour after the dinner. It was a dream came true for me! I was trying to contain my excitement the entire time so I don't end up scaring everyone in the kitchen! The station you see right in front is the hot food station and that was where Daniel Boulud and a couple of other chefs, food critics and celebrities ate during a dinner hosted by Chef Dufresne in an episode of After Hour with Daniel. Gan: It was a real treat. It's always a good sign of a great restaurant to see the chef-owner still very involved in the daily operation of the restaurant. For restaurants to be willing to show the gut of the operation to the customers, they must put themselves on a very high standard.
To add more flavors to the pork bellies, I marinated them with soy sauce and dark (sweet) soy sauce the night before. I seared the bellies with some sesame oil, and once the bellies turned golden brown, I braised them for about 2 hours with just enough water, more soy sauce, dark sweet soy sauce, balsamic vinegar, some Shaoxing wine (made from glutinous rice and wheat) , one whole garlic, and some ginger slices. I've also added two hard-boiled eggs specially for Gan.
I served the pork bellies over rice. A simple dinner, done.
East Boat Lobster Restaurant
Address: 72 Kenmare St, New York
Our friend Ray Chan first introduced us to this Hong Kong seafood place near Little Italy about four to five years ago and it's become one of our favorite "comfort food" places in NYC. The restaurant has absolutely no taste in interior decorating, but who cares, they serve good lobsters!
East Boat cooks their lobsters in many styles. They have Lobster with Butter, Lobster with Ginger and Scallion, Lobster Baked with Cheese, Malaysian style Lobster (hot and sour - our favorite!) and the list goes on. Aside from its lobsters, East Boat is also famous for serving generous portions of food! People usually go to East Boat for varieties and good seafood for a reasonable price. They are also very popular with their meal sets, for example, Meal "J" that we ordered comes with Shark Fin soup (I know it's cruel, I'm trying to quit), garlic bread, salad, steamed razor clams, a Malaysian Style (or Any Style) Lobster, Salt Baked Shrimp, Fried Rice, "Sir-Loin" Chicken and Japanese Style Scallops. The meal also include ice cream for dessert. Gan and I are yaokuis so we usually go there by ourselves, but I would definitely recommend going there with family or friends to avoid overeating!!
Steamed razor clams drizzled with light soy sauce and scallions. Favorite razor clams dish in NYC. It's so good that we ordered another serving. Yaokui!
Lin's Taiwanese Restaurant
Address: 8402 Broadway, Elmhurst NY
Shaun, Debbie, Kim, Gan and I went to have dinner at Lin's Taiwanese Restaurant in Elmhurst after Shirley's housewarming party. In our opinion, Lin's is the best Chinese/Taiwanese restaurant in NYC. We've heard that there's another Taiwanese restaurant in Flushing that is better, but since we've yet to try that place, so Lin's remains as our favorite for now.
We waited in line for quite a bit before we got a table. As soon as we sat down, Gan and I went crazy, as usual, and started ordering ALOT of food. We had some standard Taiwanese dishes such as the "San Pei Ji" (Chicken with sesame oil and basil), "Chang Wang" (intestines with preserved veggies), steamed sea bass, Bamboo shoot with shredded pork and stir-fry "Do Miao" (a type of Chinese vegetables). I wish there's a Lin's near where I work or live so that I can have my favorite dish, the bamboo shoots with shredded pork all the time!
Group picture after the dinner. It'll last me a while before my cravings for Lin's return and we'll have to drive to Elmhurst for this again.