Tuesday, December 27, 2005

The Vermillion

I'll start off with my most exquisite dining experience in Chicago this past weekend. It was Christmas day and Josh and I were desperate to find something to fill our tummies. After approaching the oh-so-helpful concierge he recommended The Vermillion. It's a restaurant with Indian-Latin fusion cuisine. Sounded interesting and 8 blocks and a couple of wrong turns later, we arrived at the entrance of a very hip looking door with twisted brushed steel door handles. We gasped at the atrocious prices, but decided to dine there(it was Christmas after all). I'll let the pictures speak for themselves for the atmosphere portion. It was very modern and I didn't feel that there was a sense of invitation rather a sense of elitism within the place or perhaps were just under-dressed in our t-shirts.



Once we were seated, our waiter approached asking us if we wanted ::mumble mumble:: water or ::mumble mumble:: water. And of course the both of us were rather confused and like uhh....water? How about the still water then. So, the waiter brought us...not tap water, but bottled water from Norway! I had the Cornish hen and Josh ordered the NY strip, both were delicious and very flavorful. I honestly wish I had a camera so that I could capture the presentation of our meal. For dessert, I ordered something similar to a chocolate molten cake with a scoop of strawberry sorbet. I was slightly disappointed with the flavor and the cake was a tad dry, but once again, the presentation was gorgeous.

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Friday, September 30, 2005

Immaturity at its best

Q: What are we reacting to?












A: The cookie that Amanda and I created for our birthday gathering!

Monday, September 05, 2005

Sushi in Northern Virginia

During my brief stay in Northern Virginia I dined at two sushi establishments:
Yoko the first weekend and Todai two weeks later.

Yoko
Typical sushi restaurant interior: there is a sushi bar to your right, light-colored wooden seating to the left and IKEA-style lighting. One of the more innovative items on the a la carte menu was the Japanese Lasagna, a baked California roll with special sauce. I must say I wasn't very impressed with the sushi overall. Taste-wise it was acceptable, but the construction of the sushi was rather shoddy. The pieces would fall apart midway between the plate and my mouth.

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Todai
Sushi as far as the eye could see!

There were plenty of choices at Todai. This restaurant is actually located in Fair Oaks Mall. The fluorescent lighting does not make this place conducive for a romantic first date. The atmosphere was really open, not too many nooks and crannies. Ambiance aside, the sushi was pretty good, quality wasn't too shabby and the desserts! Oh my! The desserts. Very delicate, tiny portions of cake and cookies waiting for you to sample them all. My favorites were the mango ice cream and the green tea cake with red bean frosting.


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Saturday, September 03, 2005

Cheesecake Factory

I frequent the Cheesecake Factory more than I should. I figure I might as well write up a review of some dishes and cheesecakes I've tried (this includes ones that have undergone Karen taxation). The atmosphere is a little cheesy, but good attempt.

Entrees:
Chicken Marsala: The only dish I've ever been disappointed in, would not recommend it
Honey-Maple Pork Tenderloin: The meat was tender and the flavor was subtle. Nice touch of sweetness! The broccoli was crunchy and not mushy which is often the case when vegetables that are served as side dishes.
Louisiana Chicken Pasta - This is one of my favorite dishes and usually my fallback dish! It's a bit spicy (fair warning for those that are extremely sensitive). The chicken is breaded and fried and tossed in cream sauce, what's not to like?
Tamales - Delicious! They're wrapped up in cute little corn husks.

Dessert:
Khalua Oreo Cheesecake - Could stand to have more oreo chunks, but still tasty
German Chocolate Cheesecake - Much lighter than normal cheesecakes. Most of the coconut is on the top of the cake and can easily be scraped off ;)
Carrot Cake Cheesecake - A checkerboard pattern intertwining cheesecake and carrot cake
Kahlua - Khalua flavor is apparent and the cake itself is pretty light
Godiva Chocolate Cheesecake - Every bite is a bite of heaven.



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Wednesday, August 17, 2005

Single Serv Pizzas

I made some single serving pizzas today:



Yummy.

Monday, August 15, 2005

Yats

Chia Chi and Jeremy picked me up from the airport yesterday. Jeremy suggested that we dine at Yats in Indianapolis (Broad Ripple location) which serves Cajun food. We arrived at 10.50AM only to find that they didn't open until noon. It's a very hippish (is that an adjective?) restaurant. You order of a blackboard at the counter from a guy in a bandana. The tables have vintage looking posters plastered on them and the floor has confetti superglued all over it. Strings of beads are spilling out of lighting fixtures and Mardi Gras coloured ornaments hang from the ceiling. At $5 a plate or $6.50 for a 1/2 and 1/2 plate the price was excellent. There were three of us, so we all ordered three different 1/2 and 1/2 dishes.

Out of the 6 dishes I enjoyed the black beans and corn as well as the chicken-something etoufee. The black beans and corn had a distinctly sweet flavor and the etoufee was inexplicably delicious! It had just the right amount of spice (for someone who is a Tabsco wuss) and had a perfect consistency, not too thick, not too watery. The white chili (not quite white, more of a brown, I'm guessing the name is more of a homage to the color of the dry bean) was pretty good, but resembled fried beans more than chili. Each plate came with two slices of crusty French bread that was perfect for sauce dipping.

I highly recommend Yats. It was a great dining experience complete with Jeremy's final bread wipe-down of the Styrofoam plates (now that's what I call classy!). The only thing I was upset about was my failure to have a camera to visually capture the place. An excuse for there to be a second time! Yah!

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Wednesday, August 10, 2005

Key Lime Pie



I've been wanting to bake Key Lime Pie for a while now, but just didn't have the chance to get around to it. The recipe is super simple! It takes less than 30 min (including baking time) to complete. The crust fell into my pie, but it still tastes delicious.

1/2 C lime juice
5 egg yolks
14 oz sweetened condensed milk
1 prepared graham crust

1. preheat oven to 350F
2. beat egg yolks
3. add milk
4. add lime juice
5. bake for 15 min

Add some cool whip for a tasty treat.

Saturday, August 06, 2005

Blue Potatoes

We're lucky enougth that Lafayette has a farmer's market that runs from May to October. During these months we can purchase fresh produce from local farmers. I LOVE it! Last week I bought some curious-looking blue fingerling size potatoes. The color is amazing! When I asked the man how they should be prepared, he just said to cook them like any other potatoes. I ended up making them into sundried tomato basil mashed potatoes. They turned out beautifully and did not taste exceptionally different from supermarket potatoes.

Saturday, July 23, 2005

New Benchmarks!

I had two very unpleasant dining experiences in the past week. The first was at IHOP and the second was today at Pappy's Sweet Shop (located in Purdue Memorial Union).

IHOP
The IHOP in Lafayette, IN has been in business for about half a year. I have my list of favorites that I usually order from: pigs in blankets, potato pancakes and Philly cheesesteak. Last time I was adventurous and tried the stuffed French toast, which wasn't half bad. This time, I tried their cheese blintz.

This was one of the most offensive things I have put into my mouth. I can't believe I ate two of them. The exterior was a smooshy crepe that housed a cottage cheese-like consistency interior. For those of you that know me, you know I'll eat close to anything. I couldn't finish it with each bite the taste and texture became increasingly vile. It tasted so awful, I actually left a comment card.

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Pappy's Sweet Shop
Nothing sweet about that place. Amanda and I both ordered hot dogs. Really, how can you mess up a hot dog? It's up there with eggs. Upon receiving our grayish hot dogs, we sighed and chomped into them. I look over at Amanda who was closely examining her hot dog when she exclaimed, "God, I didn't think the inside could be any grosser than the outside." At which point (and I instantly regretted, just as Pandora regretted opening that box) I looked at the hot pink insides of my hot dog. I made myself finish the hot dog. After several hours of feeling ill, I realized trying to get my 2 bucks worth just wasn't...well... worth it.


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Monday, July 04, 2005

Taste of Chicago 2005

I went to the Taste of Chicago yesterday. I brought Mac to the affair and we had quite a bit of fun, until a cop barked, "Dogs aren't allowed, you have to leave now!" Before that point, we wandered the festival grounds. There was food as far as the eye could see. My stomach was only so big, so I was able to try alligator pizza, vegetarian tamale (which was disappointing because it was still in it's plastic wrapper) and finally sweet potato french fries. The sweet potatoe french fries are the only thing that I will try emulating in the future. If I have the chance, I think I will go again next year.

Tuesday, June 07, 2005

The Bridge Bar and Bistro

Our first night in Ireland we stayed in a small town called Kilarney. The bed and breakfast owner suggested that we dine at one of her two favorite restuarnts; Davit's or The Bridge. During our brief stroll around town, we went into shock after viewing the menu prices. We finally decided upon The Bridge.

Upon entering, it is a very simple restaurant with very little visible seating. We chose to sit in one of the booth/ottoman setups. Although it was slightly dark inside, the restarant did not seem creepy, but rather homey. They gave us the early bird menu to choose from even though it was close to 9PM when we entered (I suppose anything before midnight is early?? I don't know). For 17.50 euros we could choose from three categories on the menu: starter, entree and dessert.
Starters
Seafood Chowder
Warm salad of Fried Potato Smoked Bacon and Cashel blue cheese
Breaded Brie with Tomato Relish

Main Courses
Supplement of 3.50 for Sirloin Steak
10 oz Sirloin with Onion Rings fried Mushrooms Potatoes and vegetables
Choice of Garlic Butter, Pepper Sauce

Whole "Pot Roast" Poussin
Miniature Chicken Roast with Shallots, Smoked Bacon, Baby Potatoes, Carrots and Peas
Irish Lamb Stew
Beer Battered Cod
Baked Lasagne with Chips and Salad
Braised Shank of Lamb
on a bed of Mash Potato with a red wine jus

Desserts
Bread and Butter pudding
Apple Crumble (They were out :o( )
Baked Cheesecake
Selection of Ice Creams

Most everyone went for the braised lamb. It was so delicious! The flavor infused meat just fell right off of the bone. I also want to say that the potato salad might have been in the top five of salads that I've eaten in my lifetime. Wayne ordered the fried brie which was a calorie-fest, but worth it! I'm thinking of trying it at home sometime. The tomato relish nicely offset the saltiness of the brie. By the time we got around to dessert, we were unable to put much of a dent into it because we were stuffed. Here are the dishes that I actually ordered for myself.

Warm salad of fried potato, smoked bacon and Cashel blue cheese

Braised shank of lamb on a bed of mashed potato with a red wine jus

Bread and butter pudding


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Monday, May 30, 2005

Das Wirtshaus

My first night in Frankfurt was a chance for me to sample all the foods that I read about in my Lonely Planet: Germany guide. Rebecca lead Wayne and me to Das Wirtshaus for our dinner. It is one of many restaurants and shops that line a wide cobblestone street in the heart of Frankfurt. Inside it is really dark, but has a nice cozy ambience. There were three foods that I wanted to try: Apfelwein (apple wine), Handkase mit Musik (hand-cheese with music), and finally Frankfurter Grune Sosse (Frankfurt green sauce). I ordered a glass of Apfelwein despite the warning that it would taste more like vinegar than anything else. Since the Apfelwein I ordered was watered-down with sparkling water and it tasted like watered down vinegar.

Next came the green sauce with eggs. The green sauce is a mixture of herbs with a creamy base. Although delicious, paled in comparison to the pork leg that Wayne was munching on. The meat had a crispy exterior and tender and juicy interior.

Rebecca ordered white asparagus drenched in hollandaise sauce. Apparently the Germans are "just crazy over the white asparagus."

While we were dining, the waiters were very hands-off which I found to be a nice change from the chatty wait staff that is found in the states.

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Friday, May 27, 2005

Sweet Mandy B's



The day before I headed out to Germany, I went up to Chicago on a quest for cupcakes. I read about Sweet Mandy B's online and someone claimed that the buttercream icing there tasted better than Magnolia Bakery in NYC. I found that hard to believe so I had to go see for myself. The bakery is a very charming, quaint and yellow place with a 1920's feel. When we (Amanda, Louis, and me) went it there was an awesome display case that instantly made me drool (which could be attributed to the fact that I had not eaten in a few hours). Being the pig that I am, I bought a dozen cupcakes even though I would be leaving the next day.


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Wednesday, May 25, 2005

First Post!

Welcome to the other white meat! This blog is all about food that I encounter and usually ingest. Check back often as I mess around some more with the format.