I had to make one last beer and burger special mine at Clinton Street Baking Company before I left the hood, man. It's 10 bucks and it's JUST. SO. GOOD.
Sorry about the photo. All you really see is the homemade chips. But in all honesty, they're pretty darn good too. Nearly everything is good here!
So you already know that I had the delicious burger special with cole slaw and chips. Miss Meena came way out of left field and had:
- southern fried chicken with cole slaw, jalapeno corn bread and a Tabasco honey
Meena's fried chicken was yummy and juicy. No doubt. But the breading was a touch dry. That could have been better. For sure no KFC (I'm looking at you, Brian).
I thought the real standout in her dish was the cornbread. With the Tobasco honey? Doesn't get much better than that, folks.
What's even better than a delicious dinner at one of our favorite neighborhood spots? Free scones on the way out, that's what. That's right, they gave us a free bag of scones to take with and I brought them into the office to share today. They were awesome. TOE tally.
So this is a first. I've never had a guest post on Memoirs, but this is it. The very first one. Prepare yourselves for brilliance.
My lovely fiancé has a gaggle of some of the most adorable nieces and nephews I've ever seen. And my future brother-in-law, Brian (and his wonderful wife Nikki), has two of them named Emma and Alaina who apparently love fried chicken.
And this is their story:
Our night of gourmet delight began humbly in the Kentucky Fried Chicken (KFC) drive through at 7:02 PM on the evening of June 15, 2007. Although the menu was quite extensive, we made the final decision to order the 10 piece meal, half regular, half extra crispy (Is there any other way!), with our two side dishes being mashed potatoes and cole slaw. We also needed to feed our two children, so we ordered an extra side of macaroni and cheese.
Our total bill came to an exact $21.00 which we promptly paid via debit card. The service at the KFC was extremely friendly albeit slow. Nikki and I, based on past experience with this particular restaurant, felt that the wait would prove to be worth it. Upon receiving our order we were also given two granola bars for the twins. Such a delight! And for free no less!
Before leaving and in anticipation of the four biscuits included in our order, we made sure we left with adequate condiments. A very large offering of honey and butter packets answered our request and we departed the drive through posthaste to our home to begin this copious culinary concoction.
Upon arriving home, we unloaded the contents to find something truly awful…there were no biscuits! An oversight of unimaginable proportions. Short of returning to said KFC and killing all workings involved in this blatant act of biscuit deprivation, we jointly made the decision to move forward … without the biscuits. KFC had a very deep hole to climb out of with us.
With the biscuit fiasco of ’07 behind us, we began the dispersion and subsequent ingestion of chicken, cole slaw, and mashed potatoes (w/gravy if there was any doubt). As for beverages, I chose a Heileman’s Old Style whereas Nikki chose a Diet Coke Zero.
My impression of the chicken was classic KFC - moist, bursting with flavor and delightfully breaded. 10 out of 10. The mashed potatoes were equally delicious - very consistent. Lastly, the cole slaw unfortunately failed to live up to its billing. Too dry upon initial tasting. Although to its credit, it improved as we moved to the bottom of the Styrofoam container.
The drink that I choose for this meal, Old Style, I would not recommend. Obviously a terrific stand-alone beer, but not one I would mix with this type of meal. I found it to be more of companion for beer or possibly a bratwurst. Next time I would most likely move to a Leine’s summer wheat, or potentially as far as a Diet Dr. Pepper. Very tricky meal to find an appropriate accompanying beverage.
Overall a good dining experience. Would do again. AAAA.
I haven't contacted Brian to discuss the subtleties of his rating system, but I'm going to assume four A's is a solid score. I think we have KFC in the city, right? With a review like this, I'm pretty sure I'll need to find out sooner than later.
NOTE: Meena reminded me ... our KFC was rat infested. Saw it on the news. Can't do it.
Meena was out getting drinks with Ali and Emi last night so I ate alone, but she was nice enough to order some sushi and leave it for me! So I had what is looking to be our final evening with Hiro before we flee the Village.
Before she left, Meena had:
- shrimp shumai
- chicken tempura roll
- spicy tuna roll
Alec had the:
- miso soup
- maki combo B (yellowtail and scallion, california roll and tekka)
Delicious. With a nice glass of wine and a Yankees game? Excellence.
I know what you're thinking ... Lil' Ceasar's right? No? Fine. Don't humor me.
Again with the delivery. I had an especially long day yesterday and didn't really have the patience for anything but Lil' Frankies and a glass (or two) of wine. Fortunately for me, Meena was happy to go along.
I stayed true to my regular:
- pizza marinara (NO CHEESE)
Meena deviated from the baby meatballs and did the pizza thing with:
- pizza napoletana
Now I haven't checked, but I was pretty sure Meena's was supposed to have some degree of dairy incorporated into her pizza pie. I ordered the napoletana once and I was pretty sure it was there. I think they forgot. Which is fine ... it was still delicious.
So more Meena, Yankees and delicious delivery. Expect more of the same tomorrow!
NOTE: I just checked. No cheese. Like I said though … still wonderful.
So it begins. We're going to be doing lots of delivery this week and we got things started with some Baluchis (they have one in BK that delivers to the new place ... this stuff is here to stay). Yesterday was rainy and miserable in NYC. And unlike most rainy and miserable days in NYC, I had to be out, trudging through it. I had a shoot on 10th Ave. and I was soaked and miserable when everything came to a close. So warm (HOT) Indian just felt right.
- fish pakora
- chicken tikka masala
Alec picked up:
- chicken tikka
- lamb vindaloo
Excellence. I love this stuff. And it made me feel so great last night. Yankees game on ... check. Hot Indian food with all the proper condiments ... check. Meena by my side ... check.
Again, we're packing, dudes. We're up to our eyeballs in boxes and we decided it would be best to close this kitchen tonight with one last meal before the skillets and knives made their way to Brooklyn.
I noticed a forgotten box of Jiffy corn muffin mix in the back of the pantry when we were sorting through stuff and I got inspired. I know it's low brow, but it's one of my favorite things to cook with. When I was in college, this stuff kept me going many a time. It's 99 cents, man.
Anyway, tonight I thought we'd add a little wild salmon and make it a meal:
- sockeye salmon (with sugar, salt, black pepper, smoked paprika, mustard powder, cayenne pepper and garlic powder)
- jiffy corn muffin mix
- charred jalapeño
- red pepper flakes
- grilled onions
- sambal oelek
Meena really enjoyed this one. I did, too. We decided it could probably even be made again. For friends! So for our final cooking engagement in 73 East 3rd, we had a success. We've had tons of them here. And a few failures. Can't wait to see what we get into in Cobble Hill!
Today was a packing day and I honestly just didn't feel like making breakfast. And because we really needed to hit Bagelzone once more before we left the East Village, it was a pretty easy choice when the topic of breakfast came about.
Meena kept it strictly old fashioned with:
- everything bagel with baked salmon salad, cream cheese, tomato and red onion
Alec got crazy and did something different:
- sesame bagel with lox, cream cheese, red onion and tomato
This one is a mishmash of stolen flickr photos and camera phone shots, so I just want to apologize up front. But last night was such a wonderful night of eating that I just had to show everyone all the delicious stuff we had the pleasure of consuming!
James and Diana had us out to Williamsburg for a wonderful trip to the BYOB gem, Silenth. It's a cute little Vietnamese joint with a wonderful little back porch and a penchant for liberal use of pork belly. FANtastic.
We followed James and D's lead and split the green papaya salad:
- green papaya, greens, sautéed pork belly and sliced shrimp
All three of them had a wonderful Vietnamese take on classic steak frittes:
- shaken beef with frittes tossed in a chili basil oil (with grilled pineapple, herbs and chili ketchup)
And I went out on my own with a crepe:
- crepe stuffed with shrimp, ground pork and pork belly (with greens, mung bean, bean sprouts and sweet chili-coconut glaze)
We rolled out after that delicious meal and made our way back to James and D's to see a) all their beautiful new apartment gear and b) D's amazing raspberry dessert.
Well, the apartment looked amazing. All the new furniture made the place look completely different and we were completely impressed. They managed to keep the place entirely cozy. That's not always easy to do with new furniture.
The dessert was incredible, too. I'll have D send me an ingredient list if she's willing to share ... but rest assured, this was far better than anything I've had at a restaurant in a long time.
Ugly, yes. But completely and utterly delicious. It wasn't a garbage operation at all. I went to the store and everything. I used a few leftovers, but mostly, this was a planned affair. Why didn't I make any effort to make this thing look pretty? I don't know. I guess I just didn't care this morning. I wanted taste, son!
This little number went a little somethin' like THIS:
- flour tortilla
- chipotle salsa
- sour cream
- roasted chicken
- black pepper
This was big and delicious and completely wonderful. I loved it. Meena loved it. Now let's do this Saturday thing.
We went out to the new place last night to take measurements and get some keys. We're happy to report it looks fantastic. Everything is being repaired and repainted for our arrival and we couldn't be happier.
Following the little tour, we ran over to Park Slope to have some dinner with Dan and Steve at the fabled Franny's. My dad had even called me from Indy to tell me all about the delicious rumors he'd heard about Brooklyn's famed pizza joint. They say it's the best in the borough, so we decided it was time to taste it ourselves.
I'll say this ... Franny's did not disappoint.
Dan and Steve split some dishes. One of which I also ordered:
- pizza with tomato, olives, garlic and oregano
Meena had the:
- pizza with tomato, provolone piccante, anchovies and chilies
Dan and Steve's other order was the wonderful:
- ricotta gnocchi
We all finished the whole thing off with one order of:
- vanilla panna cotta with saba
Everything was truly delicious. I'd say that for a super simple pizza, I'll still give my pizza marinara at Lil' Frankies the edge, but this olive number I had was awfully delicious. Amazing crust.
Meena's pizza was wonderful. Outpaced anything we've ever had at our neighborhood joint. The anchovies and that subtle cheese? Amazing.
Now that we know this place is just steps from Dan and Steve's place ... we'll be back often.
Like chicken tonight! Yes, like the old song goes, I felt like some chicken tonight. Meena was out with the girls from work so I decided to roast a nice chicken with some herbs and lemon. Simple and delicious.
My little bird was super easy and went a little like this:
- organic chicken (butterflied and backbone removed)
- olive oil
- smoked paprika
- black pepper
- lemon juice
Basically I just stuffed up this little chicken' skin with all those wonderful ingredients and roasted it for a few. It came out pretty delicious. The recipe I saw for this used a grill (I will be using one soon ...) but I think the oven was fine. And I have a bunch left for something else! Whoo hoo!
Last night we had our good friend Matty Chaymez over for a bit of the Top Chef and some light eats. I'm working on this miserable project at work and didn't get out quite as fast as I would have liked, so I quickly hit Whole Foods on the way home and got cooking as soon as I rolled up on 73 E. 3rd.
Matt's a great eater with a curious palate, but he doesn't eat meat or dairy. So I had to make sure I didn't get any of that stuff in there. The meat was tricky. I cook with that a lot. But then again, I cook with fish just as much. So whatever. Not tricky. I don't ever really use butter. That wasn't a problem. Really, this wasn't much of a challenge!
Our first course was a salmon cake:
- sesame oil
- black sesame seeds
- black pepper
- red wine vinegar
- cabbage slaw (from Whole Foods ... I cheated!)
And our main course was a nice salmon with couscous:
- salmon fillets
- black pepper
- olive oil
- balsamic vinegar
- dried cherries
- white wine
Everyone seemed to enjoy the meal. I liked the salmon cake with the avocado. Some o' that good fat as they say. The main course was nice. Little heavy on the balsamic. I need to figure out a way to cut it a little. Our dessert was courtesy of Mr. Matty Chaymez. On his way down he hit Birdbath, a storied little bakery we only recently learned about (at dinner with everyone the previous night!). The cookies were fantastic. Matt had the vegan one ... we had the high octane. Tons of butter. Totally excellent. Thanks, Matt!
After a couple days of sickness, Alec has returned to the land of the living and is eating like a champ again. The previous night, we celebrated with Dan and Steve, but I was a little under the weather, so you know. But I wanted to show Dan's beautiful watermelon and goat cheese appetizers. Wonderful!
Last night, we did some after work drinks for James since he was required to leave the building ASAP the other day. It was great fun and we got to tell everyone at work about the whole relationship progression thing. Tons of fun.
Following our drinking affair at Moda Outdoor, we worked our way downtown for some Thai at a little spot called Thai on Two. My phone was dead so you don't even get cell shots. Just the Google street view of the front. But everything was nice (with the exception of Diana's).
Matty Chaymez had some crazy curry that looked like it was drawn from Architectural Digest. I had some spicy noodles that lived up to their name. Meena kept it real with some chicken pad Thai. Diana's was bad so I'll spare you. I can't recall what James ate. Other than that it contained chicken, his dinner escapes me.
Saturday was a rather big day for us given the fact that we've decided collectively to move this relationship along a little, so we thought with the whole Bastille Day thing going on, we'd try an out-of-the-way French spot called Le Pavillon for our celebration dinner.
Please excuse the photos (I was trying to avoid being "that guy" with the irritating flash going off), I know they're lacking focus. Literally.
We began with a nice pinot gris from Oregon that was again, very affordable. I'm not sure what was going on in Hyde Park (actually, Le Pavillon is in Poughkeepsie), but wine was very affordable. Once we'd determined the wine was satisfactory, Meena began with:
- herb shrimp with spinach gnocchi-like dumplings
And Alec ordered a special:
- trio of pâté with condiments (duck liver, country duck, country pork)
Meena chose a French staple for her main course:
- coq au vin (with mushrooms, bacon and mashed potatoes)
Alec was feeling lucky and went with another special scrawled on the blackboard:
- venison medallions and quail with mashed potatoes and a red wine pan sauce
When I walked into the place, I had the distinct feeling I was going to get a very stuffy meal that didn't have a ton of imagination. The place is literally an old house and it doesn't seem like the decor has been updated in a decade.
That said, I was wrong. The food was wonderful. I don't think Meena loved her starter, but I thought mine was fantastic. The presentation was consistently nice despite our slightly decrepit conditions. And we were celebrating, so everything seemed a little better.
I'm not sure how often we'll be back (it's awfully far away for a dinner through the week, obviously), but I think we left feeling pretty good about Le Pavillon.
For Meena's birthday, I gave her a trip to Hyde Park, NY where we'd stay at the Journey Inn, a beautiful little bed and breakfast across the street from the Vanderbilt Mansion. When considering bed and breakfast options in New York, there are literally a million options. They're everywhere ... from Long Island to Albany, they pepper the entire state.
One of the primary reasons I went with Hyde Park was its proximity to the Culinary Institute of America. After some brief research, it seriously seemed as if half the restaurants in town had former graduates (and current students) manning the pots and pans.
After a day of driving our newly rented car through New Jersey and some of the most beautiful parts of New York I'd ever seen, we checked in to Journey and wandered into town for a bite at Twist.
We got lucky because when we arrived, they still had two seats available at the chef's table. It was a long bar overlooking the open kitchen and it allowed you to see all the excitement. It was like getting entertainment along with the meal. I'm sure Meena could have done without, but for me, it was wonderful to see all that was happening in there. I think you could probably learn a ton just by eating there once a week.
At any rate, we got started with a bottle from their unbelievable wine list. And to accompany the wine, Meena had:
- spicy tuna tartare (with bell peppers, sesame oil, avocado puree, house-made spiced crackers)
And Alec had:
- 1/4 lb. peel and eat shrimp
For the main course, Meena had:
- seared sea scallops (mashed potatoes, peas & shoestring potatoes, lobster cream sauce)
- sautéed hudson valley duck breast (bacon-wrapped fingerling potatoes, swiss chard
red onion marmalade)
The food was fantastic. And plentiful. We wanted dessert, but we just couldn't do it. We couldn't even (ODDLY) finish our wine. I had to drive back to the Inn, so I didn't want to go nuts. Fortunately for us, they had the most fantastic thing in the world ... the wine doggy bag! In NY you can apparently seal your wine in a bag and take the thing home with you! Fantastic.
But seriously, the food was amazing. We both enjoyed Twist tremendously and we'll be back the next time we hit Hyde Park.
Dan and Steve came by last night to pick up our buddy Reardon (he's the fish up there) and because we hadn't seen them in what felt like a month, we had a little wine, some tapas and Lil' Frankies delivery!
The little starter included:
- whole wheat baguette
- homemade hummus
- roma tomato
And for dinner, Meena had:
- rigatoni with baby meatballs
- pizza angelina
Alec had the delicious:
- pizza marinara
I think everyone enjoyed the food and Reardon was returned to his home after an extended holiday at our house.
We're heading out to Hyde Park tonight to stay at a little bed and breakfast to officially celebrate Meena's birthday. It's in the shadows of the Culinary Institute of America so we're looking to show everyone some great food when we're back!
Open faced burgers are nothing terribly new for us. Sorry if you've seen it all before, but when I was as the store last night and couldn't reach Meena on her cell, I just had to get to it and make some choices. So ... open faced burgers it is.
I'm still hooked on the whole Anytime concept, so this is yet another variation. It's just so good! This attempt included:
- lamb burger (ground lamb, jalapeño, green onion, worchestershire, olive oil, salt, black pepper, red pepper flakes)
- red cabbage
- field greens
- homemade hummus
- pepper cream (sour cream, sambal oelek, barbecue sauce)
- toasted bialy
Meena isn't normally a huge fan of lamb so I knew I was taking a chance on this one. But she loved it, thank goodness. She actually raved throughout the entire meal.
I don't have any negatives of consequence. I don't like my photo, I guess. And the burger wasn't a perfect shape or anything. But man, when that lamb gets all caramelized and done ... it's just. so. good.
I had to steal another photo. I'm not sure why I ALWAYS forget to take photos at Cube 63 but I do. Sorry!
We weren't in the mood to cook last night (it was 300 degrees ... I didn't want to heat up the apartment), so we wandered down Lower East Side way for some BYOB and great sushi.
- shrimp shumai
- boston roll
- volcano roll (actually pictured above)
- spicy tuna roll
- seaweed salad
- boston roll
- salmon and avocado roll
Everything was delicious. We sat at the bar because it was oddly packed for 7:00, but the food never suffers. I actually think it was better than the last few times I've been. They were on last night.
It was hot in there. That was the only downfall. But it was hot EVERYWHERE last night. Can't fault them for that!
I've obviously been on a bit of an summer roll kick. I can't deny it. They are pretty delicious. Although I think I might have reached my saturation point last night. I may take a break for a week or two.
But for last night's version, I threw in:
- rice paper rounds
- red cabbage
- smoked salmon
- dipping sauce (hoison, soy sauce, oyster sauce, sambal oelek)
And for our second little dish, we made a noodle salad:
- green onion
- red cabbage
- black sesame seeds
- chicken breast
- sesame oil
- rice wine vinegar
- soy sauce
- black pepper
- red pepper flakes
I went easy on the oil in that last dish and I think that it didn't really suffer. Sesame oil is a beautiful thing, but it's not that great for you. So I try to use it in small doses. And a little goes a long way. So no big deal. But the noodles were great.
The summer rolls were good, but I think I liked the shrimp ones the best. If I used smoked salmon again, I'd do something a lot different. I feel like I'd try for something sorta creamy to go with them. I also need to learn how to roll these suckers tighter. I'm just nervous to break the skins. Oh well. Work in progress.