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Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Corn so good

Grilled corn with cheese, chilli powder and lime
'Sloppy' flossed pork sandwich
Close-up of sloppy sandwich
Frozen margarita with strawberry
LOCATION: Cafe Habana, 17 Prince Street, New York, NY, U.S.A.
CATEGORY: Cuban, Mexican
DRINK: Strawberry frozen margarita
WE THINK: We'll never tire of Cafe Habana's amazing grilled corn. It's simply delicious. In fact, we'll happily make the trip to this Nolita establishment just for a couple of cobs (and to be frank, that is probably what we'll do in the future in light of our experiment with other items from the menu on this occasion. Although very tasty, the 'sloppy' pork sandwich left us with extreme heartburn and a narcoleptic sensation for a good few hours after).

Best buffalo wings EVER

14 wings $9.45
21 wings $13.25
50 wings $41.75
75 wings $41.75
100 wings $54.95
14 buffalo wings, celery and blue cheese dressing
LOCATION: Chuck's Spring Street Cafe, Princeton, New Jersey, U.S.A.
CATEGORY: Snack food, Buffalo wings
DRINK: Fanta
WE THINK: Best buffalo wings. Ever. So perfectly crispy and juicy, even the cartilage and parts of the bones are delicious. Top marks for the no-nonsense atmosphere and the oldschool TV-on-a-table showing college football.
OUR TIP: Once you've devoured the wings, you may be tempted to gnaw away on your fingers, deliciously smothered with hot'n sour buffalo sauce. Resist the temptation by ordering an extra plate of wings (prices currently as above).

Friday, September 17, 2010

Hail to the nose to the tail!

Ceps on toast
Venison saddle
Braised squid with tomato and fennel
Lamb sweetbreads with daikon
Roasted Middlewhite (pork) with bonemarrow and parsley sauce

Side of runner beans and new potatoes
Treacle tart (minus one bite)
Strawberry sorbet and vodka

LOCATION: St John Restaurant and Bar, 26 St. John Street, Clerkenwell, London
CATEGORY: British, Nose to Tail
DRINK: Glass of Touraine Sauvignon (2009) Domaine Ricard 'Le Petiot', glass of Alsace Edelzwicker (2008) Domaine Gerard Metz and a bottle of Red Anjou (Loire 2008) La Grange Aux Belles 'Prince'
WE THINK: Ceps on toast to die for and sweetbreads to kill for. The roast pork was so comforting and reminiscent of the classic Danish dish 'Stegt flæsk med persillesovs' it nearly made us shed a tear. The rest of the food? Incredibly delicious, too. Good wine choices.

Friday, September 3, 2010

Vietnamesie in Hoxton

Summer rolls with king prawns
Pomelo salad with grilled shrimps and knotweed
Cha ca la vong grilled fish, cooking at the table
Cha ca la vong grilled fish, prepared with vermicelli
Green mango seabass
Duck curry
Coconut Vietnamese chicken curry
LOCATION: Cay Tre, 301 Old Street, London
CATEGORY: Vietnamese
DRINK: "Goats do Roam", South African white (what an awful name)
WE THINK: Cay Tre is usually a decent pick for Vietnamese food in the area around Kingsland Road and it's probably safe to say that the total number of visits we have paid to this place runs into the high double-digits. Beware, though, that depending on how busy it is / how late you get there, some of the premade food (such as the summer rolls and pre-cut veggies) can be fairly sad looking / tasting. This evening, the first pair of summer rolls we were served tasted like a used, damp mop (Cay Tre itself actually smells a bit like a used, damp mop) and disintegrated as we tried to separate them. The waiter acknowledged that they weren't fresh and brought out another plate of summer rolls, noting that he wasn't sure whether they were any fresher. Highlights this evening were the pomelo salad and green mango seabass - both really yummy.
OUR TIP: If left with a choice, opt for Cay Tre instead of the fancier (they have a large salt-water aquarium, the interior looks like a Habitat showroom and there are lots of after-work City colleague group dinners) sister restaurant, Viet Grill, on Kingsland Road. The menus are nearly identical, but the portions at Viet Grill are smaller and the service not as efficient. Oh, and the Bun Sa at Cay Tre is always good.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Chinese chilli challenge in Marais

Cold cucumbers in vinegar, sesame oil and garlic (Liangban huanggua)
Sichuan boiled beef in oily chilli soup (shuizhu niurou - see the last post where we had this dish)

Prawns in spicy sauce (lazi xia)
Hard tofu (doufu gan) with spicy green peppers
Pork slices in fish sauce (yuxiang rousi)
LOCATION: Le Lac de L'ouest, 7 rue volta 75003 Paris
CATEGORY: Chinese, Sichuanese
DRINK: Jasmine tea
WE THINK: This is our favourite Chinese restaurant in Paris for one reason only: the Sichuan beef (shuizhu niurou) which also happens to be the dish favoured by the vast majority of the 80% Chinese clientele (10% Japanese, 10% miscellaneous, according to an unofficial census by I EAT EVERYWHERE). The dish itself is worth a detour to Rue Volta and the unavoidable wait outside (the place is tiny - we accidentally knocked over a bottle of red onto an unimpressed male guest as we were leaving the restaurant). As for the remainder of the menu, it's a bit hit-or-miss. 'Hit' on this occassion was the hard tofu with green peppers, 'miss' was everything else (improved slightly by very liberal sprinkles of the excellent house chilli sauce (pictured)).
OUR TIP: Ask for the Sichuan beef to be very spicy (it comes in three strengths) as it otherwise tends not to be spicy enough.

Like grand-mère would cook it...

LOCATION: Le Trumilou, 84 quai de L'hôtel de ville, 75004 Paris
1. Frisée salad with lardons and a poached egg
2. Duck with prunes
3. Slow-cooked lamb in garlic
4. Apple sorbet in calvados
5. Chocolate mousse
6. Crème brulée
DRINK: Saint Pourçain red (under the heading "the Boss' wine"), tap water that tasted like chlorine and provided a free disinfection of our internal organs
WE THINK: A great, unassuming joint for basic French grub, its identity perched between a tourist stumble-upon (owing to its location on quai de L'hotel de ville) and a local hang-out for elderly soft-spoken couples from the 'island' (Ile de la Cite). The non-fancy-pantsy food, served in metal dishes which makes it quite unphotogenic (hence the lack of photos), is the kind of French fare you struggle to find outside of France. The canard aux pruneaux made us particularly happy as it reminded us of Christmas at granny's.

Oooh la la, tapas so tasty

In this photo: plate with sausage and cured ham (ham already eaten),
rillettes of fish, sardines in butter
Rillettes of chorizo with side of fresh corn and pomegranate
Pan-fried sardines with butter
Pork tenderloin with sea grass and red cabbage
LOCATION: Aux Deux Amis, 45, rue Oberkampf 75011 Paris
CATEGORY: Tapas, French
DRINK: Cider from the tap, a very tasty white Anjou and some other delicious, natural white wines (so many we forgot to take notes).
WE THINK: As soon as we entered this cool and happy neighbourhood tapas bar, opened by former Chateaubriand waiters, we forgot all about our blog and therefore present you with the above pictures of half-eaten food. We think we might have fallen in love with this place...but don't tell anyone...or at least not everyone. Favourites? Hard to say, but the sardines and pork tenderloin almost made us cry.