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

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Maido- Lima, Peru

Om Nomz Hero Note to Self: If they have a small supply of uni, take it all screw everyone else

I have not really explored Nikkei food, which Japanese cuisine with Peruvian influence. There is a big Japanese community here and access to fresh seafood, there are Japanese restaurants all around here. Though I love Peru’s homage to all things pork, I decided to try Nikkei food one night, to lighten it up a bit. I decided to try Maido which I heard about and also, it was within walking distance from my hotel and trekking for two weeks, I was starting to get lazy. Opened by Mitsuharu Tsumura, it one of the hot spots to eat at. I got there early and by early I mean in Peruvian standards so like 7:45. I sat at the bar where I was ambushed by a over-eager host that honed in on my Gringo vibe and was trying to up sell me hard, to a point where I was about to get up and leave and get myself a pork sandwich. However, thankfully the chef himself took over and smoothed it all out. Realizing that the head chef was personally attending to me, I decided to just go straight nigiri style, I told him to give me a couple pieces of sushi, whatever you got, give me your best omakase style. He smiled and proceeded to feed me some tasty food.  
I got a little I guess amuse that was chunks of salmon, slices of cucumber in a tahini lke dressing. It was good and no one told me what it was, but I just took it and went with it.  I started off with a Uni and to my surprise, it was really good. It is less briny and “ocean” tasting than I had from other places but there is this crispness that is different from any other Uni I have eaten before.  Onto the sushi flight!

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Bohemian NYC

Om Nomz Hero Note to Self: places located behind butcher shops, are always good places to visit!

Bohemian is one of these restaurants that if it eating was a video game, you would have unlocked an achievement that actually takes effort to do, like knifing 5 commies in a row. Bohemian is a speakeasy restaurant that has a level of exclusiveness. Not Gossip Girl Lavo exclusiveness, just a bit of mysterious aurora to it. They do not accept walk-ins, reservations only and the number is not publicized. Getting the number either requires a sincere email to them or getting the number from someone already in the know but either way, it takes some effort but not really hard to do. I went the email route and found myself dining there the previous weekend. It is located down a side corridor next to the Japanese Premium Beef Shop. It leads to an opaque door that you have to ring the door bell in order to get in. I kind of was hoping for a little more effort, maybe a password, some riddles or a double dare challenge but this works too. 

Once you get past all the secrecy, you are lead into a suburban house sized living room. Actually, it is a living room basically, it has couched and low chairs and tables. Lack in size no doubt; there is a calm and relaxing atmosphere complete with an amazing skylight above. Apparently it used to be a Warhol space but you will not see cans of tomato soup here. The food is not strict Japanese fare, but it is all done with Japanese influence and style.
Take the vegetable fondue that we started off with, served with perfectly trimmed vegetables in a absurdly huge ice bucket, the fondue was more similar to a dressing. It was thin and light on the cheese but worked well with the vegetables. If you were expecting a cheese fondue that would keep you hearty and full in the Swiss Alps, you are going to be disappointed. Given I spent the day eating 'cue, I even needed a break from all that meat and this helped. Food after the jump!

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Parm NYC

Om Nomz Hero Note to Self: Never too old to have ice cream cake

Baked Clams!

I am a big fan of what the Torrisi guys are doing-even though I have never eaten there. I really only eaten their food at the San Gennaro festival and now at Parm. I do have to stop being lazy and commit to eating at Torrisi sometime but if the food at Parm is any indication of what to expect, then I should get cracking at making a reservation soon.
Parm is the offshoot of their main restaurant and set up like a lunch counter. The menu looks like your average Red Sauce American style Italian food but of course, if it was just like any other, people would not be lining up to eat here. 
What Chicken Parm should be
If you are scared of eating solo, I suggest you come here to eat to ease your fears, the bar makes up for the majority of the seating and it is spacious and comfortable. Their sandwiches are the thing to get here, either on a hero or a roll or go for a platter that comes with a side salad I believe. I got the chicken parm sandwich on a hero and an order of bake clams. Parm hits on the nostalgic factor, I mean I do not even remember the last time I even had baked clams and after eating them, I felt I needed it more in my life. The clams were simply adorned with seasoned bread crumbs, hit it with a bit of Tabasco, I am a happy man.
The chicken parm sandwich is the epitome of all chicken parm sandwiches. Eating one of these will atone for all the crappy chicken parm sandwiches you ate during those late nights in college. Normally when getting a chicken parm sub, there is the expectation, well not expectation but just an acceptance that there will be parts of the chicken that will be dry and stringy. This one was juicy and tender and the blanket of red sauce and mozzarella, a Parisi bakery semolina roll, this is what Red Sauce American Italian food should taste like. 

I love ice cream cake.
Do not leave without a piece of ice cream cake. That’s right, ice cream cake, I am hoping they will come up with a fudgy the Whale version soon (cough, maybe a birthday present idea for me? Cough). This tri-layer ice cream cake is the perfect way to end a meal here. The only thing from making this an everyday spot is that it is a bit pricey. But, I guess you have to shell out a bit more for great tasting food.

248 Mulberry Street
New York

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Big Apple BBQ Block Party

Om Nomz Hero Note to Self: Complaining about eating barbeque at 11am or “early” is simply un-American

So Y'all from Texas?

Face it; living in the Northeast, we do not have a barbeque culture that is even comparable to states in the South. Sure in New York, we have come a long way in having respectable barbeque places but once you have tried the barbeque from some of the pit masters at the Big Apple Barbeque Block Party, you will realize what you have been missing all these years. 

Every year for the past 10 years, New York has been blessed with hosting the Big Apple Barbeque transforming Madison Square Park into a Carnivore’s wet dream. Pit Masters from around the country hike up here and make tasty barbeque. The main question is not what you are going to eat, the question is who’s barbeque are you going to eat first? For me, it was the Salt Lick all the way from Texas featuring Sausage and brisket. The Big Apple BBQ is a place where teamwork works to your advantage, one waits while another one goes and gets barbeque from another line. So while my friend waited for the Salt Lick, I hit up Rodney Scott’s whole hog from South Carolina. Tangent: I am slightly interested in seeing how much white bread they go through during the event; if anyone wants to fund this research let me know. NEED PICS OF 'CUE NOW!

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Lao Dong Beef Noodle-Taipei

Om Nomz Hero Note to Self: Why the hell do they only have tissues for napkins in Taiwan? You need like a whole pack t get you through the meal

Beef Noodle Soup has to be the national dish of Taiwan, I mean, there is a festival devoted to it. Sure we all know about Baos (via Momofuku and a Korean perspective at that) but Beef Noodle Soup is what you need to get before leaving here. I already tried Yong Kang but just like 'cue in the South, there are different styles and variations to Beef Noodle Soup in Taiwan.
Lao Dong Beef Noodle is another notable place to get Beef Noodle Soup, specifically the one in the Banciao District. Though they have a couple of locations, it is still a popular place and quality does not suffer at all. One thing that makes their beef noodle soup stand out is that they do it with tomatoes in the broth. Since my family is not crazy like me and cannot handle so much Beef Noodle Soup in repetition, they ordered a variation, that was the basic beef broth with rice noodles, tripe and fried tofu.

I like these little cases that these places have that have xiao chi that are all nicely lined up and you can just take what you want and bring it back to your table and chow down. I guess the little fat kid in my thinks of it as a mini buffet. I cannot say how long it has been sitting in the case, but it looked and tasted fresh enough and I generally stick to tofu or seaweed choices.

Beef Noodle Soup remix-rice noodles, tripe and tofu

The rice noodle soup was beefy but not as rich as the one at Yong Kang Beef Noodle. the tripe was cooked right and the fried tofu acts like a sponge, and soaks up the broth resulting in beef-sopped tofu with each bite. Great bowl of noodles-but not beef noodle soup.

I got their notable tomato based beef noodle soup. First taste, you notice that it is sweeter and the beefiness of the broth is cut by this sweetness factor. Yong Kang beef broth is intense this broth is a bit more soothing but the addition of the tomatoes is a great layer of flavor to the noodle soup. The noodles here I thought were more "q"/chewy and i preferred the noodles here rather than the ones at Yong Kang. the beef pieces, soup braised were still flavorful and soft at the same time. Though I still prefer the Beef Noodle at Yong Kang, I would not say no to this one either. I can appreciate the variation on this style of Beef Noodle soup and I could not stop thinking how they say in every great Italian chef, there is a Chinese guy inside, this bowl of noodles flipped that one around.

Lao Dong Beef Noodle
No 4, Lane 421 Wenhua Road Section 1
Banciao, Taipei

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Offal Good Eating in Arequipa

Om Nomz Hero Note to Self: If meat is being grilled on a stick, immediately get it, you can ask questions later

Doorway to awesome

Sometimes, despite all the research I may do on a city, there are just places that you are meant to stumble upon. Not a place that is mentioned in guidebooks or chowhound, just somewhere you find while wandering around.  Arequipa has many great restaurants on the high end scale, but I walked by them and I they were kind of empty and cold and I was just not feeling it. After a momentary walk, snack of some street churros I found myself walking towards the San Camillo Market area and that is when I found this place. I call it this place because there was no name to the place, just a banner pronouncing “salchichas” and a grill cart that was wafting a smoky perfume into the street.  It had all the signs of a good place to eat: lots of people, meat on a stick, cases of beer and I was clearly the minority. Actually, I do not think they had salchichas, or at least any that I could see people eating. 

Wok of awesome
On the grill was anticuchos, beef heart skewers which was more than enough reason to eat here. But there on the side is a bowl slowly sizzling away got me excited, a wok of offal bits ranging from chitterlings to tripe it had it all. I immediately ordered a mix plate of all and hade one of the best meals in Arequipa. The mix plate came with potatoes without saying and a rocoto sauce that despite my usual rules of avoiding salsas that may contain water, I ignored and willingly accepted any consequences that may have resulted. 

The chitterlings were soft, chewy and fatty and had a slight crisp on the outside. The barnyard essence was not horribly apparent but was still good. The Anticuchos on the other hand were great. The beef was tender, flavorful and I ordered an extra one because I just could not get enough. The rocoto sauce on the side was slightly peppery and sweet and great sauce to slather on everything. For the budget conscious the whole meal cost 15 soles and came without any after meal consequences that can result from eating such foods. Sure this place is not for everyone, I am one of these weird people that like to eat offal good, even the guy that sat down across from me asked if I knew what I was eating. When I answered affirmatively, and a quick interrogation on my background/ethnicity amusingly quipped not that many gringos would eat this. I take that as a compliment. 

Who says mystery meat is bad?