Thursday, June 28, 2007


In the strip mall adjacent to Trader Joe's and hidden behind a major construction site is Banana Island, a rather large, but very casual Singapore-Malaysian place. A and I enjoyed lunch there, he said that he thinks it used to be an Applebee's because of the large island bar in the middle which is now used as storage space for the kitchen. The place had a fair number of diners, all of whom were Asian. Roti was very good, I could just eat two of these and call it a day. Lamb Rendang and Kang Kung Belechan were decent but not spicy enough. The hostess told us we should tell them to make it spicy next time. Hot Squid was not hot, but rather sweet. Next Time: Roti and maybe one of their interesting looking soups. That flat fried dessert thing looked good too, I wonder what it was.



On an ice cream streak this week. Today, Mitchell's. New rankings for Mitchell's: Lacuma is tied with Ube, then, Buko, Macapuno, Langka, Caramel Praline. This weather called for Buko and Lacuma.

Rocky Road and Oreo Cookie

Wednesday, June 27, 2007


Update: 24th Street location is closed.


Dinner at Mi Lindo Yucatan. I cannot get enough of the super spicy green salsa -- why in such tiny little bowls? Cochinita Pibil has a spicy and deeply flavored red sauce, fork tender pork wrapped in a banana leaf. This is spicier and different than the Poc Chuc which is a grilled pork with plenty of smoky flavor. The Poc Chuc has a brighter flavor than the super savory cochinita pibil because of the lime and pickled onions. Tortilla soup, too interesting and tasty not to order. No panucho this time, but definitely next time. Also for next time, the quesadilla looked great with shrimp and a salad in the dish. 24th St.

Tried more flavors at Bi-Rite. Honey Lavender was good, but lighter and too subtle to pair with a strong flavor, perhaps good alone. Malted Vanilla with peanut brittle was very good, strong malted flavor - get this again. Tried the lemon for the second time and thought it was too lemony to have with any other flavor. Tried Ritual Coffee Toffee, seriously coffee flavored and keeping me awake. Good for breakfast?


Tuesday, June 26, 2007


Beefy broth, well done brisket, tripe is the best combo. The broth is less salty than the branch in SSF and much better than PPQ's. The raw beef plate was just o.k. grade of beef not good enough and served too cold. 19th/Irving.

Wonderful Foods: Cherry coke bottles and the sour cherry (red). The blue coke bottles are sweeter and raspberry flavored.

Monday, June 25, 2007

MI LINDO PERU *' & Ice Cream Rankings

A and I had a decent lunch today at Mi Lindo Peru, the new Peruvian place right next to Blue Plate. They had a well priced lunch menu, everything was about $8. I ordered the Aguadito de Mariscos, a broth based seafood soup with a cilantro base chock full of calamari, fish and shrimps with a little bit of rice-- tasy and filling. A had the Paella Marinera, a Spanish style saffron paella which tasted great, very yellow and full of flavor. Huge portion. Good thing we did not eat the bread on the table. Sadly, they do not have the ceviche with aji amarillo thing that I loved in Peru.

It was actually hot (in June!) so we headed to Dolores Park to enjoy the weather. A stop at Bi-Rite Creamery was in order and even at 3 pm on a weekday there was a line of 6 people. geez. I got Salted Caramel and Strawberry Balsamic. This time the Salted Caramel was more salty, I wonder if it's because I paired it with the strawberry. Next time go chocolaty or nutty with the caramel OR go lemony or creamy with the strawberry balsamic. The flavors I have now tried in order of preference are: Salted Caramel (which was too salty for A), Strawberry Balsamic, Lemon, Butter Pecan, Ginger and Roasted Banana. Next time: try to have just one scoop. Try the lavender honey and the chai chocolate; and definitely get the Lemon.

For now, overall ice cream rankings are:
Lacuma and Ube (tie) - Mitchell's
Salted Caramel - Bi-Rite
Macapuno - Mitchell's
Coppa Mista - Gelato Classico
Butter Pecan - Baskin Robbins
Pistachio - Baskin Robbins
Strawberry Balsamic - Bi-Rite
Cheesecake w/mixed berries - Cold Stone

Sunday, June 24, 2007


After a great run down the Bear Valley Trail, I headed to the Pine Cone Diner in Point Reyes Station for my reward. The diner is an old school place complete with booths on one side and counter service on the other. The menu is the familiar diner fare, but this is Marin, so of course there were some uppity elements like organic ingredients and high prices. For example, an organic mixed green salad with balsamic blue cheese vinegrette which was an ordinary salad with a very good dressing. The coffee was good and the refills came quickly because I was sitting right there at the counter. The service was a little cold as described on their t-shirts: 'good food, prickly service.' Hmm, seems like an excuse to give bad service which is what I saw other people getting. Good thing I didn't sit outside because those people weren't really getting any service at all. The Housemade Corned Beef Hash hit the spot. Good corned beef in one inch chunks with some potatoes mixed in here and there -- very meaty. I asked for the menu to see if they had a corned beef sanwich too, but they don't which is a shame. The menu also stated that they had daily cobbler and pies etc. When I asked them what the dessert was, the server said all we have is one piece of banana blueberry cobbler left. What about pie? We don't have pie, the only dessert we ever carry is cobbler -- this, despite the sign immediately behind her that says "fresh pie order on Wednesday pick up on Friday". I guess the pie is pre-order only? Anyhow I got the cobbler which was slapped into a bowl straight from the refrigerator, not heated or anything. It wasn't really cobbler, it was more like a bread pudding with blueberries, all soft and mushy. So, I was disappointed by dessert which should be one of the best things at any diner. At least the coffee was good and all of the food being brought out of the kitchen looked good too. Next time: stick with breakfast items, skip dessert or maybe skip the place entirely and get some cheese from Cowgirl Creamery across the street.


Peru 2007

Friday, June 22, 2007


Enjoyed some very spicy combination Soon Tofu at My Tofu House. The panchan was different than I remembered. There was a small fish which was good, but I stopped eating it as soon as I found that they hadn't gutted it. Sure, it's a small fish, but c'mon, you still gotta gut it. The rest of the panchan was good, though the kimchee is more salty than spicy. Geary @ 11th.

After the salty kimchee, I could not resist stopping at BiRite Creamery on the way home. They had a dazzling array of flavors: honey lavender, strawberry balsamic, roasted banana, ginger, chocolate chai, browned butter pecan, soy chocolate, salted caramel, blood orangebutter pecan and the soy chocolate after all the buzz I already knew I was getting the salted caramel. Of course, I overdid it and went for two scoops. I didn't think the bp was buttery enough, it was too sweet -- I prefer Baskin Robbin's butter pecan. The soy chocolate was a bit more icey, it had about the same flavor as the store bought soy ice creams. I figured I'd overdo it by having a double, but felt guilty so I got the soy as my second flavor. The salted caramel was by far my favorite of the three. I'll have to be back to try the others. Good thing I was there at 3 pm on a weekday because I passed by coming home from dinner at 9 p.m. and there was a line all the way to the corner. Next time: blood orange and ginger.

I had a great Lacuma (Peruvian fruit) flavored scoop at Mitchell's last week, it might supplant the Ube as my fave.


Out to Perbacco tonight for my birthday dinner. Enjoyed a little cocktail at the bar which is a nice place to sit, chat with a regular who told me that he was friends with Umberto the big guy in the blue suit that owns the restaurant, and have a limonata spazze, which was a refreshing gin based lemon drink.

Antipasto: My cuttlefish salad was great, tender and flavorful with the arugula on top. It was on the salty side, but I loved it and would definitely order this again. J had the tasting of cured meats which looked very good and it
must've been cause he polished it off. S got the watermelon antipasto which looked beautiful on the plate and she said was very refreshing.

Pasta: I had the papardelle with braised short rib ragu, the
papardelle was very fresh and home made, the pieces of short rib were fork tender. This was better than the wild boar stew at La Ciccia (which is also good). S had the Tajarin, the handcut tagliatelle with a 5 hour pork sugo. The tagliatelle were very thin and twisty like the shape of ramen noodles, they were also clearly fresh and al dente. The pork sugo had a rich flavor. J's dish was the Trufie which was ligurian (?) pasta with a pesto sauce. The pasta is about an inch long and looks somwhat like thick spaghetti. It was fantastic. Must order this next time.

Dessert: Despite my best efforts not to look at the dessert menu, I ended up helping them with Pistachio Cake, Coffee Custard, and Caramel Ice Cream with Sea Salt. The coffee custard was o.k., it had a very soft consistency and the presentation wasn't as nice as the other two. The caramel ice cream was good, the sea salt sprinkled on top was a nice compliment, but because it was not mixed in, I got periodic strong punches of salt. I preferred the salted caramel ice cream at
BiRite earlier. I can't believe I ate salted caramel ice cream twice in one day! I'm going to have to become a professional dog runner if I'm going to finish the race in Septemeber. The pistachio cake was the best of the three. The cake was moist and had a creamy custard center that balanced the whole thing very nicely.

Next Time:
Trufie, Short Ribs main course, risotto, salumi misti
California near Front (next to

Thursday, June 21, 2007


Got the usual 2-way with St. Louis Style Pork Ribs and Beef Brisket with beans and more beans. The ribs were same as always, but the brisket was kind of watery? Perhaps sitting in the steamer all night? It was early maybe 11:45, so I'll have to remember to go there for a late lunch when I'll get a fresh piece. Mustard sauce and BeezeBob's hot sauce mixed in, I could drink this stuff. Remember to buy bottles of each next time for use as salad dressing at home. And I need to try the rib tips.

Wednesday, June 20, 2007


No matter how many times I eat at Pakwan I never tire of the heavily spiced very inexpensive food. We had a couple of my standards: saag daal, saag paneer and tikka masala. Everything was as I remembered, strong flavors, tender meat, and the spinach bright and not overcooked. I'll have their kebabs, samosas and achar next time.

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

NYC Dining Itinerary

Breakfast - Clinton Street Baking Co.
Katz Deli – pastrami
Russ & Daughters - lox
The Pickle Guys, Gus' Pickles
JS - crab xlb or NY Noodletown -ssc
7:45 pm Lupa* (w/ K and J)
Magnolia or Billy's Bakery

A.M.Balthazar* (w/L)
12:00 pm Perry St.* -m (w/L)
Momofuku Ssam - pork or NY Noodletown -ssc
Amy’s Bread - cake
P.M. TriBeCa Grill* (RW) or
P.M. Snack Taverna* (w/A, S, V & L)

Il Laboratorio Gelato
After Wedding Brunch? or
Ramen Setagaya
Di Fara’s (open?), Patsy’s or Grimaldi’s (B) - pizza
Korean or NY Noodletown
Dinner: w/ G&T

A.M. Ess-a-Bagel or Popover (w/S& C)
A.M. db Bistro Modern or Gramercy Tavern (RW) (w/R?)
Di Fara’s (open?), Patsy’s or Grimaldi’s (B) - pizza

Things to Try

Prune - brunch
Jacques Torres - chocolates
Una Pizza Napoletana
Room 4 Dessert
Per Se
Peter Luger’s
Nougatine (RW) or Jean George1 Central Park West
Room 4 Dessert
Café Boulud (RW)


Bubby's - bf
Skyway - ctown
Nyonya - ctown
Choong Moo Ro - bbq
You-Chun -naeng myun
9 p.m. Gramercy Tavern*


Tonight I dined at Gialina. I was really looking forward to it after all the hype in the Guardian as the best pizza. While I acknowledge that there are many different styles and interpretations of pizza, I have to say that I was rather unimpressed by the pies at Gialina.

We started with the with Soft Polenta with swiss chard (I believe) which was indeed very soft polenta and more creamy than corn tasting. The polenta had a ricotta cheese consistency and was good, but lacked any depth other than a creamy garlic flavor. I ended up enjoying the chard more than the polenta because it was fresh and still had a bit of crunch.

Crunchiness was something that was all to prevalent in the pizzas. While crispiness is acceptable as one of the textures of a crust, crunchiness through and through is not something I find appealing in a pizza. We had the Atomica and a Roast Pork. Both had crusts that were very thin and extremely crunchy. There was no softness or chewiness -- even in the end crusts (which had too much olive oil)! Basically, it was a cracker crust. To make matters worse the cheese on top was cooked to a very crisp golden brown, exhibiting no toothiness or creaminess. There was very little moisture on either pizza. I ended up consuming two glasses of water while eating it because I had to keep drinking every couple of bites. Not that the pizza tasted badly, just that it was like eating a savory biscotti. J did not eat the crust ends because they were so hard and dry. On a positive note, it was clear that the topping ingredients were good, particularly the roast pork.

The saving grace was dessert, which was a Dessert Pizza made with nutella, marscapone and amaretti. This crust was much thicker and softer than in the main course. The three toppings worked well together and we could taste each note clearly. Despite being full, we finished the whole thing.

Overall, I'm not sure if it's worth it to return to Gialina. The pizzas were too dry and overcooked. I love thin pizza, but the kind you get at Sally's, Modern or Pizzeria Regina, not this cracker pizza. The dessert pizza was very tasty, but nothing too difficult to make -- fresh bread with nutella spread over it (though I admit that the amaretti was a very nice touch).

Friday, June 15, 2007


A very enjoyable evening at La Ciccia located at the end of Church on 30th.

Primi Piatti: Pizza a sa Sarda - the pizza was good but a little more doughy and less crispy than expected. It is definitely not thin cracker crust, but is still
Neopolitan style; probably would skip this next time. Spaghetti with Artichokes and Bottarga - was great the bottarga added the nice salty taste of the sea with the smooth garlicky artichoke pieces adding body to the pasta, the pasta itself was clearly homemade and cooked al dente. One of my favorites of the night. Fregula with Porcini Mushrooms and Pecorino was a lentil bean shaped pasta that was a little bland when compared with the spaghetti, it clearly needed some special ingredient to brighten it up or bring some highlights to it. Parpardelle with Wild Boar Stew - was a special, the pasta was cooked well though not a standout, the wild boar was tender yet the stew lacked any special punch, but I could see a stew lover ordering this. Spaghetti with tuna hearts, bottarga and chili was a special and was my favorite dish of the night with a lot of salty fishy flavor from the tuna hearts and bottarga, the chili giving it a nice kick and highlighting the sea flavors, several of us sopped up the extra sauce with the table bread.

Secondi: I'll have to ask the others about their main courses which were the Baked Prawns and the Baked Blue Nose Bass. They all looked good. I had the Seared Lamb Chops with Fine Herbs Oil which was a huge portion of nicely cooked medium rare lamb -- good but nothing particularly outstanding and a mound of
herbed mashed potatoes.

Desserts: Ricotta and Saffron Cake was just good, which is a shame because there was quite a bit of saffron used in the dessert. Chocolate Truffle was a special touted by the server as 'chocolate with love squeezed in the middle.' Indeed it seemed special because S thought it was excellent: vanilla
gelato encased in a chocolate fudge giant truffle shaped mound covered in chocolate dust.

Dessert Round 2: We activated our
auxillary stomachs (I love eating with these people) and headed over to Mitchell's where I sampled a Lacuma ice cream that was an awesome pumpkin colored Peruvian fruit flavor, not too sweet. I also had a little Peanut Butter Indulgence which is truly an overindulgence of chocolate peanut flavored ice cream with peanuts and chocolate chip nuggets mixed in. Even though I sampled before I selected it. I don't think I'll get that flavor again because a full scoop of it was like eating ice cream and a handful of chocolate candy at the same time -- too rich and sweet.

Things to Try Next Time: stew octopus; whole fish;
taglioni with tuna, capers and olives; anything with bottarga.

Tuesday, June 12, 2007


Lunch at Burma Super Star with EC on a Tuesday. EC has been to Burma so it was interesting to get her take on this place.

Starters: Samusa Soup, this soup is
ok. It is so thick and concentrated that it is really more like a curry. The flavors are good, but I felt like I should be dipping a roti or having it over rice rather than drinking it as a soup. I think that the many pieces of falafel and beans and other chunks are meant to cut the concentration, but it didn't quite do it. E said that the soups in Burma are quite thick, so this is the right style, but not for me. Neither of us would get this again. Rainbow Salad, a noodle salad with many ingredients including dried shrimp flakes and a tamarind dressing that added the right brightness to the salad, this might be my favorite of the meal.

Entrees: Chicken Dahl was very good. The chicken was tender and fell off the bone into a well balanced curry liquid dotted with yellow lentils very flavorful, not hot spicy. Beef KabatPea Shoots was a tender spinach-like green
recommended by the server was a stir fried beef that was red and spicy. The meat was perfectly seasoned and soft. I ate this for lunch the next day and it was just as delicious. This is a must-order. sauteed with garlic. The produce was very fresh and cooked well, retaining its bright green color and crunch with just the right amount of garlic. We also had Coconut Rice to accompany our dishes which had a coconut scent though very lightly flavored, was the right thing to accompany the curry and spicy kebat.

Drinks: E ordered the coconut drink which is a coconut with a hole punched in it, once she finished the drink she had them open up the coconut so she could dig out the young meat. I had the ginger
lemonade which was very refreshing and not overly gingery.

Things to Try Next Time: Burmese
Samusas, Coconut Curry Flat Flour Noodles, Tan Poi, Tea Leaf Salad; Larkin Express Deli which is reputed to have more home style Burmese cooking.

Monday, June 11, 2007


Please share you comments and suggestions. THANKS!

Sunday, June 10, 2007