I hate people who are not serious about their meals. -- Oscar Wilde

Thursday, May 31, 2012

Guelaguetza Deli

Om Nomz Hero note to Self: I have become quite proficient in random bits of meat Identification

Hell’s Kitchen in Manhattan is considered to be a dead zone for food, but not many would expect there to be great Mexican in that area. Though I will easily travel to Roosevelt Avenue for tacos, the tacos in Hell’s Kitchen are just as good. These Mexican places is what I call Bodega Mexican, in which from the street, looks like a regular ethnic bodega, but enter and venture to the back, there is a small window and kitchen making great tacos and Mexican eats. Also a TV that has Univision marks a sign of great Mexican eating to come. Across the street from Sullivan Street Bakery is one such place called Guelaguetza Deli. The awning says La Rosita but I think they just did not care and why replace a perfectly good awning? It is tiny and in the back there are about maybe 3 tables, not really a place for a group outing. However, they have a kitchen that is pumping out tasty treats. I came here because I heard they had sangrita, a mixture of goat meat and onions, thickened with goat blood, however, I was kindly informed that the goat did not come in today and no sangrita. Such bad luck! However, I ordered the lengua, carnitas and he suggested I try the panchita which he said was similar to tripe, but it was a different cow stomach. Sold. They also had Sidral Mundet which is like apple soda, similar tasting to my Asian Apple Sidra but mellower. 

Tacos came out with just some radishes on top, and the double tortilla base. The filling is generous and meaty spillage will occur, but is that a bad thing? The panchita was great, nice and tender and spicy, the lengua tender, the carnitas was a bit dry but easily resolved with a liberal usage of the red and green salsas. Both were nice and spicy. I looked on Yelp that people complained that they were serving their tacos and such from paper plates and Styrofoam containers. Are you kidding? What were you expecting? Plates from the Orient and silverware stolen from Hitler? This is a bodega and you are eating tacos and just solidify my hate for Yelp.

Guelaguetza Deli
526 West 47th Street
New York, NY 10036

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Chicharronera Cecilia

Om Nomz Hero Note to Self: I love cities that have streets devoted to pork

On a strip, about a 10 minute drive from the Cathedral Center of Arequipa is a magical place. Pulling onto Avienda Arancota you are hit with a momentary panic. There seems to be nothing on this road as it extends out into the barren hills. You are pretty sure the taxi driver is wrong and you are about to get jacked but finally a gaggle of buildings appear and your panic subsides as you pull into Chicharronera Cecilia where the sheer amount of cars and people, have you wonder if the majority of the Arequipa population is here in this spot. 

Chicharronera Cecilia fall into the category of a picanteria technically in the sense that families come here mainly on the weekends and eat the afternoon away but it is more than that. It is a party pavilion and I mean pavillon literally. The main show of Chicharronera Cecilia is double dickered pavilions filled with people and live music and a dance floor. 
the band
I most definitely stood out here, not too many Asians in this part, especially here. But after I sat down, I was soon “adopted” Bragelina style by a family in which they tried to make conversation with me and feed me Inka Cola and beer, not mixed of course. Due to noise and having a long last name, I only really got the head of the family’s name Luis who insisted on me drinking multiple beers with him. For those following, I am not a big drinker but it was rude to not accept it. However later I wish I did, because it paid for it the next morning on my way to the Colca Canyon. 
The thing to get here is pork. If you do not get pork here, you have wasted your time. Fried pork goodness is what you get here and the only question is how much of it you want. It is or course, served with fried sweet potatoes, a fried potato (never can have enough papas) and salsa criolla. The pork is a cut of the belly with the lion attach giving you a range of cuts and the sucker is deep fried. The mixture of booze and fatty pork was almost overwhelming.
the ktichen
Cecilia is more than just a restaurant, it is a retreat, I mean in the back of the party pavilion was a big playground for kids. It is a place for families and all to come and relax on Sunday, drink, dance and have the odd chance of getting a gringo tipsy on booze and pork.

my regret- selling pork rinds, they were too big, like bigger than my head

Chicharronera Cecilia
Avenida Arancota
(If your taxi driver doesn’t know where this is, be wary)

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Bark Hot Dogs

Om Nomz Hero Note to Self: Apparently Bark is a family friendly environment; need to turn my headphones down when listening to Wu Tang

I finally made it out to Bark Hot Dogs. Bringing tube meat (insert pun) to an elevated level, Bark Hot Dogs is sourcing their dogs and their ingredients of the highest quality. They have a list of where they are getting their ingredients mounted on the wall and or course being in the Slope, this piece of information is just more important if not more than the Health Board certificate. Bark Hot Dogs reminds me and most likely modeled after Shake Shack in set up and in service. It is the pseudo-fast food kind of genre. The place is orderly, the people working there actually look somewhat happy and food is cooked to order and distributed in an orderly manner. I stopped in for a snack, because as I stated previously, hotdogs never seem like a complete meal to me. I got the namesake Bark Dog and the chili cheese dog. The Bark dog consists of ketchup, mustard onions and a Sweet Pickle Relish. This is not dirty water hotdog, which by the way I never saw the appeal. They do not ever taste good, even when drunk. Anyways first bite into the hot dog, you know it is different and this is what a good dog should taste like. 

There is that “snap” that you get from every bite of this dog. I remember reading previously that they use what they call “Bark Butter” that is a mix of butter and pork-like fat that is smoked. I approve of this. The chili cheese dog looks almost unnatural without the Cheez Whiz layer, but that cheese sauce is all natural (Grafton Farms in VT). The sauce has a bit of a sharp bite to it and is mouth roof burning hot which I guess is a consequence of fresh made food. Though it is pricier than most places you will eat a hot dog from, it is a good hot dog and they have other options such as burgers and sandwiches I need to try in the future. 

Bark Hot Dogs
474 Bergen St
Brooklyn, NY 11217

Tuesday, May 22, 2012


Om Nomz Hero Note to Self: Best Supermarket eating eva

For Mother’s Day, I decided to hit up Manzo which is located in the heart of hell Eataly. I avoid Eataly because I am anti-social and the place is generally very crowded and full of people. Also I find most of the things that I need I can get from Buon Italia, Dipalos or other places. However, after eating here at Manzo, I think I can make an exception on eating here. 
Unlike the other restaurants in Eataly, Manzo is actually like an enclosed space and despite the amount of people in Eataly, it is actually quite quiet here and you are able to have an actual conversation. Also the enclosed space does not have people leering over you and staring at your plate or when you back your chair up, you may accidentally knock over the shelves of anchovies. On to the Food!

Thursday, May 17, 2012

The Breslin

Om Nomz Hero note to Self: be suspicious of people that do not like chicken liver

I remember The Breslin is one of the first places that I started geeking out about. I remember following the opening of it and finally, I decided to hit it up before hopping on the train to Penn Station. April Bloomfield has basically capitalized on the food space in the Ace Hotel with both the John Dory and The Breslin both being located there and are complete opposites of each other one is seafood focused and the Breslin is a temple of meat. The Breslin accomplishes creating that pub atmosphere without the smell of stale booze. Unless sitting near the window it is quite dark in there and the space makes me feel like I should be trying to recruit a team of some sort to commit illegal activity.

Chicken Parfait
The menu is meat-centric has a concentration on offal and charcuterie more so than the Spotted Pig in my opinion. The snacks here are not to be missed, from scotch eggs, which they were doing before it was on every menu to boiled peanuts. However, the must get snack, if not dish is the chicken liver parfait with Madeira jelly. This has easily made the list (because creating lists is cool) of my favorite dishes in New York. The chicken liver parfait is smooth, creamy and light and makes me think of those Philadelphia cream cheese commercials where they talk about the lightness of their cream cheese. It is like that but instead of cheese, it is awesome chicken liver. The Madeira jelly that is on top of it is a perfect contrast to the richness of the chicken livers. I am not ashamed that I scrapped that ramekin clean. 

I was aiming to eat light, but that obviously failed with the previous order. I also had the steak tartare with ramps, I mean; steak tartare is kind of light right? It is not cooked! I do not go crazy over ramps like some people, but I do like them and in a steak tartare, the garlic-y bite was great and house fried potato crisp were a nice addition.  
The lamb burger is probably one of the best burgers in New York and when I say best, not just best lamb burgers, burgers in general. The lamb burger here is better than half the burgers in New York and sorry to say, it is better than the burger at the Spotted Pig. The lamb burger is cooked medium rare and topped with some red onions, feta and served on a ciabatta roll. I love it when you slightly press down on the burger and the juices leak out, like a heart pumping blood. As far as I am concerned, that is the sign of a well cooked and delicious burger. The fries or chips, because it is going for the English pub feel were just as good as the burger. The chips are cooked three times, and the result is an ethereal light and crispy chip. If you come here and do not have an order of chips or eat them, you just wasted a meal. The cumin mayo was a perfect dipping sauce and had a light smoky earthiness to it.
Back when I went to The Spotted Pig, I had issues with the service, yet here at the Breslin, I had the complete opposite experience. 

The service was prompt and professional and made me almost wonder if the Breslin and the Pig were owned by the same people. My experience at the Beslin was great and heading back there is only a question of when. I like it that though April Bloomfield has three places currently, each of them have their own personalities but still able to execute great food.

The Breslin
16 West 29th Street
New York, NY

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Amor Amar Restaurante, Lima

Om Nomz Hero Note to Self: Stop taking the crappiest looking taxis. Splurge and pay the extra 4 soles for a nicer one

I am pretty sure that my taxi driver was trying to kill me when he made the most abrupt stop ever on Garcia y Garcia Street in Barranco. I was on my way to go eat at Amor Amar and when I told him, “para aqui” that apparently meant hit the brakes as hard as possible and attempt to fling me to the front seat. I guess for finagling the smooth price of 6 soles, I may have deserved it. Barranco is a working class area of Lima, at least this is how it was described to me but it is just a bit less residential than Miraflores. I was going to try out this new place called Amor Amar and walking down the street, there was absolutely no sign of a restaurant here. When I arrived at Amor Amar, it was just a sign and I almost had to force my way in through the heavy door. I guess they were trying to go for the Secret Garden or speakeasy theme because it worked I guess. Once you step in, you are completely transported to a swank, airy and sexy space. Sexy is the only way I can describe it, I expected there to be just hot women lounging around and given the way the hostess was dressed, my mind was not far off. Sorry, back to the restaurant. 
Amor Amar is fairly new and opened about the previous year. It is owned by the same folks that run Pescado Capitales and I was eager to try it. The start off, I got a complimentary shot of leche de tigre. Surprisingly, I think this the first time I actually had it given the amount of cevicherias I have eaten at. It is basically the run off juices of ceviche and it is suppose to get your appetite going. 
Tiger Milk
 This is obviously a more refined version but it was good nonetheless, acidic, slightly fishy (good thing in this case) and spicy I was ready and hungry. Rarely have I had a bread basket at any place I have eaten at here in Peru, I mean I guess if the majority of your travel diet is from street/market food you should not be really expecting one. The bread, a rosemary brioche, a wheat roll and grissini was hot, soft and tasty. The kicker was the “butter” that came with it. It was not just “butter” it was whipped butter with cheese, honey crumble, dehydrated olives and honey. I could have just eaten this butter concoction on its own, sweet, savory, salt and dare I say, unami? It hit ever taste bud.
I had a few tasty bites in the market that morning, and wanted something simple so I started out with a no shit ceviche of sole and octopus. The ceviche came out with of course, sweet potato and the huge mutant corn. The ceviche was the textbook example of what a ceviche should be. The octopus was sliced thin and the acidity tenderized it and did not have any gumminess to it. It paired nicely with the fish and slices of hot peppers added a nice spicy bite. Food after jump!

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Donut Factory: Donut Quest

Om Nomz Hero Note to Self: Do not eat a lot of sugar or donuts before boarding a plane, it just does not sit right

My quest for fried dough is always on going and I spied such a place called the Donut Factory in the Bogota Airport. I saw it on my way in and people on my flight were carrying boxes of these donuts. I given I did not see any donut outlets in Santa Marta the stock up is warranted. 

The Donut Factory as far as internet searching could tell me, is just a Colombia Chain. But the lines here were bigger than the ones at the Dunkin Donuts so I knew I had to try. The donuts that they are known for or the most popular are the filled donuts. I selected three donuts, apple, dulce de leche or arequipe and a nutella one. They are all yeasted donuts and are particularly small; I guess I am used to American sized food. But everything was glazed so eating these you end up a sticky mess. The scariest one by far was the apple filled donut. The filling was an electric green. It reminds me of something from the Creepy Crawlers kit (90s child reference). The nuclear mucus green fill however, did taste delightfully of apple. The nutella was nothing special, it is what you would expect from a donut filled with nutella and the arequipe was creamed and light. 


Apple filled, neon green


Thursday, May 10, 2012

Pies and Thighs

Om Nomz Hero note to Self: Addicted to the combination of hot sauce and syrup
Pecan crunch donut

I have been meaning to go to Pies and Thighs for a while, but could never really drag myself or anyone else over there. But, I was in Williamsburg Saturday morning and it finally clicked and a quick walk over, I finally made it to Pies and Thighs. I have also been craving Chicken and Waffles like a drunken stoner and knew they had it on their menu so this was a no brainer to me. The place unfortunately reeks of hipster. The place and the majority of the customers are the epitome of hipster culture. I fortunately, can ignore the hipness in the name of food and hunger, but be duly noted. After being seated at a vintage-like table, went with the chicken and waffles and started off with some doughnuts. They have two kinds of doughnut, cake and yeasted and I went with the old fashioned cake doughnut and the yeasted pecan crunch doughnut. The doughnuts here were big, the size of children floaties. I am pretty sure that if I have a sock and shoved one of these doughnuts in, I could have used it as a weapon or part of a fraternity initiation.  Back to the doughnuts, they were actually quite good, the old fashioned had a nice cinnamon sugar coat and was like eating a dense cake in a good way. The yeasted pecan crunch doughnut was good, but I was expecting it to be lighter and there was very little discernible difference in texture and density between their yeasted and cake doughnuts. In a hungover state, I most likely would not be able to tell the difference.  
Old fashion donut
The chicken and waffles came out promptly and I was surprised at what I got. The chicken was there, dark meat which is a huge plus but the waffles threw me off and are apparently buckwheat waffles, which gives it the color of gargoyle. The chicken was great and I cannot stress enough of it being dark meat, I mean if you have a choice, why do you do white? Here they save you the trouble of you making an idiotic decision and give you a leg and a thigh (Pies and Thighs get it?). The chicken is truly good and the skin just shatters on first bite. I think it was Huffington Post that rated this as one of the best fried chickens and I cannot really argue with that, it one of the best chickens I had in a while. Though the chicken was great, the waffle was not as good unfortunately. The waffle was limp and the tasted bread-y, a bit of a shame given how good the chicken was. The taste fruit compote and the butter did not help it all that much. 
Chicken and Waffles
I unfortunately did not get the pie here because I did not want to too like a big gavone but the food here is good, despite the hipster repertoire and the not so great waffles. I can see myself returning for the chicken and to check out the pies, come here early, because after 11 on a weekend, there is a good chance you may have to wait.

Pies and Thighs 
166 S.4th Street 
Brooklyn NY

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Picanteria La Capitana

Om Nomz Hero Note to Self: Does not matter where I am or if I am trying, I end up eating food off of someone else’s plate

Arequipa is known for Picanterias which are these eateries that serve up traditional eats. It is a typical place that families hit up on the weekends, specifically on Sundays and eat and lounge out. There are not really located in the Historic District where I was staying and require a short taxi ride or a walk to get to some of these places. I read about Picanteria La Capitana as one of the best ones to eat at before arriving in Arequipa. I later confirmed that this was the place to eat when I asked my new found friends at the market. 
From the Cathedral, it was a 4 Sole taxi ride. I walked back to the Cathedral center after my meal and it was about a 20 minute walk, at least for me. La Capitana is located in the suburbs part of Arequipa but the street it is located on is quite empty and nothing around it screams out food. It is the literal definition of a hole in the wall in which there is just a doorway and the words, “La Capitana” engraved above it. Even when you walk through the doorway, the only indication that there is a restaurant here is the posted menu and after going through a 10 foot alley way, you are transported to a busy restaurant. 

You seat yourself here however, Chinatown seating rules are in effect here in which if there are open chairs where you are sitting, when it gets busy a family or people will sit with you. The menu is not that big, but the portions are hefty and the food is heavy so I was unable to eat that many things from the menu. Most can get the set meal which is the dobIe but given I had fried pork in my future, I decided against it. I started off with the Rocoto Relleno and pastel de papa. The Rocoto Relleno is a stuffed pepper that is popular here and the pastel de papa is a version of potato gratin. The Rocoto Relleno is stuffed with meat (beef), cheese, potato and onion and topped off with more cheese. I read that it is spicy but I only got a hint of heat. The Rocoto Relleno was good and had some earthy spices in it. The pastel de papa was good as well, but it will fill you up and sits in you like a Ford F-150…driven by Paula Deen pre-diabetes announcement. The pastel de papa is covered with not just cheese but egg yolks as well, if the potatoes soaked in cream was not enough for you. It was really good and I had to control myself from finishing it off. Food After the Jump!

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Eataly Pizza Fritta

Om Nomz Note to Self: How can you not like fried dough?

Madison Square Eats is back till June 1st. In the space that is basically a medium for traffic is filled with food vendors which is a godsend to those living in Murray Hill. Eataly has there own booth going, just in case you were feeling lazy and did not want to go into Eataly itself. What caught my attention was the Pizza Fritta that they would be having. I got the heads up from Serious Eats that there would be fried dough, specifically mini Pizza Frittas being sold at the Eataly booth and I am always game for fried dough so off I went to check it out. For 8 bucks, you get 2 Pizza Frittas that are about the size of an adolescent teen's fist. topped with some tomato sauce, pecornio and a single basil leaf it does not seem much. I was more expecting this, just miniaturized and reminded me of a zeppole. However it was quite good and the Fritta was chewy and nice doughy acidity. It was a nice snack for a big eater and given how somethings are priced here at Madison Square Eats, not a bad deal. They are also frying other things that i did not really check out but maybe something I will check out later.

wtf, i got ripped, i only got half a basil leaf on one!

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Pescado Capitales

Om Nomz Hero Note to Self: So ordering a entrée for an appetizer is not common practice?

Lima is one of my favorite cities to eat in mainly because of their wide array of food and the fresh seafood. One cannot go to Lima and not eat at a cevicheria, and in my crazy mind that should be a priority. After finding a place to crash, find a cevicheria to eat at. Most of the well known cevicherias are located on Avienda La Mar in Miraflores which is an interesting street because it is just cevicherias and auto shops along this stretch. I do not know if there is a correlation, maybe while your car gets worked on, you can relax and eat some ceviche while you wait. Just an idea and something I would do. 

Last year I went to El Mercado which was great but I decided to try Pescado Capitales which is one of the places that locals and tourists all recommend. The name of the restaurant is a play on “capital sins”; pecado is the Spanish word for “sin”, hence capital sins. Thankfully, they do not do anything cheesy or gimmicky with the décor for it is modern, airy and relaxing. However, the menu plays a bit on the whole Capital sins theme, from have sections that a diner can eat from “indulgence”, “greed” and “virtue”, stuff like that. The themes plays sidekick to the food and does not interfere with good food. 

roasted corn
They start off with roasted corn that you find at a lot of places in Peru. It is roasted corn that gets a fryer treatment and sprinkled with salt, a great bar snack. When you first eat it, crisp and salty but the more you chew it, it gets dry. I personally like to use it as an organic crouton and sprinkle it in soups and such. At a cevicheria you have to get a ceviche or some kind of raw fish preparation. I started off with their namesake ceviche, the Capitale Ceviche. It had three kinds of fish, sole, tuna and salmon, and three kinds of peppers, aji, rocoto and lime. The ceviche comes with the standard accompaniment of a boiled sweet potato and boiled sweet corn. The ceviche was big and was topped with seaweed that was refreshing and crunchy. Though it was a mix of fishes, each one still had a distinct taste. The addition of peppers was present, but was not overbearing. The sweet potato and the corn are necessary I realized in order to balance and cut the heavy acidity of the dish. Also, I think it is also filler but nonetheless, they tasted great. Food After the Jump!

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

New World Mall Food Court in Flushing

Om Nomz Hero Note to Self: The more Engrish the better the food

I finally made it out to Flushing to check out the New World Food Court and I was not disappointed by it all and also, they have shaved milk ice so that is always a plus. The New World Food Court and the older Flushing Food Court is nothing like the local Mall. There are no McDonalds or a Carl’s Steak but oddly enough, on the top floor there is a Hagen Daz. The food court is reminiscent of the Food Courts found in Asia. It is even similar to the badly Engrish translation and the Fobby style makes me feel like I am in Taiwan. 

Unless it is a Din Tai Fung, I am a bit wary of eating soup dumplings in a food court. I guess it is the association that food court=shit. However, I was surprised by the soup dumplings at Noodle Village So Good, which is a great name for a place. I am unsure if it is a name or a statement, but it keeps you guessing. They are making fresh soup dumplings and we tried both of them. 
Soup Dumplings via food court

The soup dumplings are big and have a muffin top appearance, the bottom is bloated with the copious amount of soup. Suggestion, eating this, screw the cheap tiny spoon, precious soup will be lost, eat this with the bowl. The only criticism I have on these dumplings is the top of the dumpling is a bit doughy and thick, but despite that, it is a good soup dumpling and for the 4.95 price tag, I would order a few. Heck, it is probably cheaper with subway fare and better than going to Joe Shanghai in Chinatown and given the lines there, just about the same amount of time. The rice noodles are good here, thick rice noodles covered in a thick soy and peanut sauce. The rice noodles are thick and rope-like but chewy and filling.  More food after the Jump!