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August 10, 2011

Early Lunch at M Wells

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Last week, in my post-corporate afterglow, I took the opportunity to return to M Wells, the site of my amazing birthday dinner. I'd heard great things about the brunch menu and had to see what it was all about. The timing turned out to be perfect as, just the day before, the eccentric Long Island City diner announced that it would be closing up shop due to a rent hike.

I met up with my friend Emily, one of the many awesome people I met at the Foodspotting events this spring. She has also recently left the land of the day job and is pursuing her own projects.

We didn't gorge ourselves the way that Eric and I did back in June, but we ate pretty well. See the courses after the jump.

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April 28, 2011

Hong Kong: Tsui Wah

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In our first week in Hong Kong, we passed by branches of the Tsui Wah chain more than a few times without realizing that it was another of the cha chaan tang tea houses, like Lon Fong Yuen (basically diners), that we'd read about. Thankfully, we discovered it in time to stop in a couple times before we headed home.

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March 30, 2011

Bed-Stuy Tour: Bedford Hill

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I've been hearing about Bedford Hill since it opened last year, but hadn't made it out until Tammi and I took our Bed-Stuy tour last weekend. It's on Franklin Avenue, on the same block as Sweet Revenge (where we ended the day about 12 hours later) and just blocks away from the border with Clinton Hill.

The initial shock of being the only black folks in the room in the heart of what used to be seriously "'hood" Bed-Stuy faded relatively quickly. The politics of the "Pratt Area" and the wave of gentrification are an nearly a force of nature in New York and I'm not about to blame a place like Bedford Hill for serving the new residents in the area.

If anything, my only complaint about Bedford Hill is how tight the space is. I'm a big guy and walking in in the middle of a rush, I was bumped and jostled every which way, even after I found a seat.

Still, once we had our food and the crowd died down, it was extraordinarily pleasant and my initial urge to flee relaxed. See the food after the jump.

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March 23, 2011

Aspen: The food of BB's Kitchen

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The interesting part of my annual sojourns to Aspen has been tracking down the new restaurants and bars that pop up over the years. This year, I discovered BB's Kitchen, which had only been open for a couple weeks when I got there.

I had a few great meals there and just missed the opportunity to photograph their meat operation for my butchery project. I spoke to the chef, Mark Buley about the restaurant and their plans to bring whole animal cooking to Aspen. If I'd written this post two months ago, I'd probably have a lot more details, but it's all faded a bit, so I'll let the food talk for itself after the jump.

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December 20, 2010

Five Tips for Eating Banh Mi in Saigon

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Going to Vietnam, I was excited more than anything else for the street food. I mean, obviously. After all, I even made a lunch expedition to Chinatown ahead of the trip just to pre-game it at Banh Mi Saigon.

So, while in Ho Chi Minh City - which everyone we spoke to continues to call Saigon - I made a point of seeking out as many of these sandwiches as I could find. In the process, I came up with a few tips for the hungry traveler seeking out this particular deliciousness while in Vietnam.


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December 5, 2010

Hong Kong: Brunch Club

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Apparently brunch is a thing in Hong Kong too.

November 28, 2010

JFK: Croque Madame Opens

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Hanging out at the airport waiting for a flight isn't something people typically look forward to, but when I read that Andrew Carmellini of Locanda Verde was going to be a part of a new collection of restaurants and bars in JFK's Terminal 2, I immediately suggested that we get a jump on all that Thanksgiving traffic as we headed to Hong Kong.

It didn't hurt that it is located directly across from that bastion of high end mediocrity, Bonfire, my longtime nemesis in Delta Terminal eats.

Despite all the threats of passenger protests over TSA security measures, we more or less zipped through leaving a couple hours to spare before our flight. All the more time to explore the menu and have what turned out to be the first adventure of our trip. Sparks literally flew. Check it out after the jump.

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November 17, 2010

Montreal: Brunch at L'Express

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When I asked around about places to go with my group of friends in Montreal, Zach from Midtown Lunch emailed me right away to direct me to his findings that he posted on Serious Eats a while back.

Only being there for a weekend, I didn't get to check out a whole lot of it, but we did hit L'Express, on St. Denis in the French district for brunch our first morning there.

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November 5, 2010

NC: Breakfast at Sunrise Biscuit Kitchen

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I'm not usually a breakfast eater, but while I was in Chapel Hill, my aunt told me how much her students love it when she brings in biscuits from Sunrise Biscuit Kitchen. I was curious. After a bit of Googling, I found a post about it on Serious Eats and I was ready to go right away.

After it was all done, my only regret was not going every day I was there. Check it out after the jump.

Continue reading "NC: Breakfast at Sunrise Biscuit Kitchen" »

August 23, 2010

Quick Bite: Dim Sum at Jing Fong

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Some photos from Dim Sum in Chinatown the other day.

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August 3, 2010

Quick Bite: Mexican Brunch at Dos Segundos

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On our last trip to Philly, Tammi and I enjoyed our last meal in town at Dos Segundos, a Mexican spot in Northern Liberties. I had the chilaquiles, above, which I discovered in San Francisco a couple years back.

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Tammi had the chimichanga, which is basically a fried burrito and inexplicably, something I've never had myself.

Deliciousness ensued.

July 20, 2010

Quick Drink: Iced Coffee

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I'm not a coffee drinker. Tammi loves an iced coffee. This was a glass she had at Rouge for brunch over our recent trip to Philly.

I've been fascinated by the patterns that milk makes when it's poured into coffee since High School when a coffee-drinking friend pointed it out to me. They're like storm clouds, intense and billowing. The contrast between the brown and the white just exaggerates the effect that much more. This was my first time trying to capture it. It needs work, but I'll definitely keep trying.


July 18, 2010

Quick Bite: Irish Breakfast

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While we were in Philly, Tammi, my sister and I watching Germany trounce Argentina at Tir Na Nog, a gigantic Irish Pub in Center City.

This was breakfast:
Eggs, baked beans, mushrooms, Irish bacon, maple sausages, and black and white Pudding - black pudding being blood sausage, in case you missed the euphemism.

January 30, 2010

Philly: Rouge on Rittenhouse Square

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On the Sunday of our Philly weekend, we had brunch at Rouge on Rittenhouse Square. I haven't spent a lot of time in the area, but all I've heard about it is that it's a little posh and stuffy.

That said, there was some interesting chatter on the internets about Rouge, especially the burgers. And there was shopping Tammi wanted to check out in the area, so off we went.

As we walked in, my internal alarms started going off. It seemed a little too chi-chi. The crowd seemed a little too pretty and the place was a little too crowded. Plus, my cousin, who was meeting us was running late, so I didn't think they'd even seat us. I thought we'd be relegated to a cramped corner of the bar and eventually wedged somewhere in the back.

I was completely wrong. They seated us as soon as a table opened up, and when our third didn't show up for almost an hour, they happily came by offering more wine and not once pushing us to order without him or turn the table. We sat there for a couple hours talking drinking wine and relaxing away the afternoon on a rainy Sunday.


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On top of all that, the food was pretty great. I'm all about the Croque Madame these days, which you see here. I 'd had them before, but really got into them in Paris on our Honeymoon. It's brilliant: A grilled ham and cheese sandwich topped with more cheese or a bechamel sauce and then with a sunny side up egg on top of that. It's all cheese and yolk and ham and a wonderfully satisfying crunch.

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Tammi went with the burger. which is a thing of beauty. She got through about half of it before requiring some assistance to finish it off. I helped gladly.

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Rouge
205 South 18th Street, Philadelphia, PA 19103
Phone: 215.732.6622

January 29, 2010

Philly: Swift Half

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After checking out the new Northern Liberties Farmers Market, Tammi and I had brunch at Swift Half. When we were there over the summer, we sat out there with drinks over the afternoon and watched life go by on the Piazza.

This time, it was too cold for all that, so we sat inside and split a few items on the menu.


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We had some good stuff, but the most memorable was the b.e.l.t., a blt with a fried egg in it. The bacon was so amazingly smokey, it tasted like it just came off of the grill. We also had an order of short rib sliders topped with a dollop of horseradish.

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Interestingly, the menu also offered some custom cocktails. Tammi tried the Ghost of Mary, a bloody mary made with a lighter tomato water and rimmed with black pepper and salt. I'm not one for cocktails, but it was actually pretty good. Tammi can't stand tomato juice, so enjoyed it a lot more than a traditional one, but still couldn't get through the whole thing before the tomato flavor got to be a little much for her.

Swift Half is owned by the same folks as Good Dog, a long time favorite of mine in Center City. Just like there, the beer selection is great and the vibe is casual. The service was a bit slow, but it was friendly and we had a good time.

Swift Half,
1001 North 2nd Street, Northern Liberties, Philadelphia, PA 19123-1656
215.923.4600


January 28, 2010

Quick Bite: Standard Tap's Summer Soft Shell

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I know it's snowing in New York today and obviously, it's cold here in Aspen, so here's a glimpse back at summer time.

Since I'm posting about our recent weekend in Philadelphia anyway, I thought I'd post this quick shot of the Soft Shell Crab Sandwich I had at Standard Tap when we were in town over the summer. This time around we just had lingering drinks there after walking around Northern Liberties, but it's still one of my favorite places for food or drink in the area.

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Standard Tap
901 North 2nd Street, Northern Liberties, Philadelphia, PA 19123-2301
215.238.0630

December 21, 2009

Hawai'i: Me Barbecue

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Mé Barbecue is a divey little takeout Korean place off the main strip in Waikiki. We found it on our first night in Hawaii and kept going back as an alternative to the pricey but not so good breakfast buffets at the hotel.

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The menu offers around 40 different dishes that are mostly Korean, but also represent the Hawaiian mosaic. They even had a Loco Moco, which I didn't get a chance to try. My first dish there was the Portuguese Sausage Breakfast. These sausages are a local favorite, another other delicacy introduced with the huge influx of immigrants over the last century. The sausage was nicely spicy but not overpoweringly so and the over easy eggs left a lot of tasty yolk to slather it in.

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The other dish I had there was Bi Bim Bap, a Korean dish I've been eyeing in KoreaTown back at home for a while. It's a scoop of rice topped with veggies, kimchi, shredded kalbi and a sunny side up egg. It's an awesome thing.

November 23, 2009

Hawai'i: The Loco Moco

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This is the Loco Moco: a thick beef patty, topped with a fried egg and starch-thickened gravy served on a bed of rice. Think Salisbury Steak with rice and egg. For breakfast. Weird right? It's actually pretty good and a really interesting example of how Hawai'i integrated so much of the influences that have flooded the islands since Captain Cook 'discovered' them 200 years ago.

Contemporary Hawai'ian cuisine is notoriously low-budget and ingeniously cobbled together with whatever is on hand. Famously, Spam is more popular here than anywhere else in the country. Without getting too involved in a discussion/monologue on the politics of big business and imperialism at the turn of the last century, suffice it to say that there has been a lot of poverty and plenty of cultural intermingling over years.

The Loco Moco pulls together American burgers, Japanese rice and hangs onto the 50's era aesthetic of TV dinners and powder packet gravy.

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I prefer the egg over easy so the yolk mixes in with the rice. The gravy is thick and goopy and rich and binds it all together. It's a little much for me, but it's been interesting to try out a couple examples of it.

August 24, 2009

Philly: Breakfast at DiNic's

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I haven't had a chance to post about our philly trip yet, but here's a good start: for breakfast Saturday morning we split a Roast Pork Sandwich at DiNic's in Reading Terminal Market.

What better way to start the day?

May 16, 2009

Candied Bacon = Glorious

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Last weekend Tammi and I took my mom out for brunch at The General Greene. I have nothing new to say since our last visit except this: Candied Bacon is Glorious.

I don't know what they 'candy' it with, but it's not a hard glaze, as I imagined when I encouraged my sister to order it. Instead it is just like regular, thick, juicy, meaty, thick-sliced, wonderful bacon, but it's got a honey-like coating across it.

May 2, 2009

Brunch: The General Greene

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Tammi and I finally went to The General Greene last weekend, a few months after the opening hoopla died down. Sunday the temperature broke 90 degrees, which suited me just fine after a soggy and cold April. Our friend Abbey met up with us there and we lingered for a good couple hours over drinks and brunch in the shade.

I had the Chicken Confit Skillet, above, which was excellent. Served in the cute cast iron skillet that it's cooked in, it was brunchy due to the three eggs dropped on top and cooked into a sort of casserole along with some spinach. It's an awesome variation on the cocotte concept that I've been fascinated by for some time.

The chicken was moist and tender and may have inspired me to start up a couple confit projects at home. The eggs were cooked through and enveloped the other components of the dish. I'm partial to softer yolks, so if I were to try this, I might leave it in the oven/broiler for a minute or two less. And the sprinkling of a few crystals of sea salt brought it all together.

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In an interesting bit of turnabout, Tammi chose the less breakfasty dish of a grilled sandwich, which would usually have been my choice. It looked very good, but it was late in the day and I hadn't eaten a bite of anything all day. I needed something more substantial.

The food and service were wonderful and now that the crowd seems more reasonable than early reports suggested, I am all about going back. Interestingly, I find myself unsure of which meal I want to return for first, dinner or brunch. The brunch menu stocked a number of other tasty looking skillets and sandwiches that looks truly inspired.

The General Greene
229 Dekalb Ave
Brooklyn, NY 11205
(718) 222-1510‎

April 24, 2009

DC: Pide at Rosemary's Thyme

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This is a Pide (pronounced pee-day). I had it for brunch at Rosemary's Thyme not far from our hotel in Dupont Circle.

Pide is a type of Turkish pizza, a flatbread with a meaty topping. This one was topped with Sujuk, Turkish sausage on one half, Pastirma, cured beef strips on the other and cheese with veggies all around. Since it was brunch, they threw an egg on top. Based on the meal alone, I'd be raving about the place, but the experience was dampened by poor service.

No one was rude, but everything was very slow. I don't know that there was a single time that the waiter came by without apologizing for the tardiness of one thing or another. Looking around online, it seems that this is a common experience, which is unfortunate. The space itself is pretty nice, with a huge indoor space taking up what seems like 3 storefronts and an outdoor deck that stretches across all of them.

This dish was really great- almost good enough to make me want to return. But given the experience, I'm more likely look for a Turkish place with better service.

May 14, 2007

Chicago Notes


IMG_2357, originally uploaded by ultraclay!.

Kevin, a former co-worker, is heading out to Chicago soon and asked for some recommendations. Follow the Jump for the extended version of my picks.

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May 11, 2007

Brunch At Dressler

(Originally posted on The Brooklyn Record):

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Dressler is the high-end branch of the Dumont Empire. Situated on the same quiet stretch of Broadway as Peter Luger, it has already managed to make itself a destination. A recent attempt at same-day dinner reservations for a party of three yielded one opening at 9:30. Given its popularity for dinner, I was happily surprised when there was no wait for brunch.

The key to a good brunch is having a balance between breakfast and lunch fare. Some places throw a mediocre pasta dish on a menu full of eggs and pancakes—sorry, that's not brunch. Dressler does the meal right, offering a harmonious blend of omelets, french toast, burgers, and fried chicken. It was, in fact, the fried chicken that brought us there. A friend had recommended it, swearing it was the best he'd ever tasted.

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April 20, 2007

Solomon's Porch: An Eclectic Neighborhood Eatery

(Originally posted on The Brooklyn Record):

Solomon's Porch

If you find yourself in in Bed-Stuy this weekend, stop in at Solomon's Porch, a café, performance space and neighborhood gathering spot: It's a solid choice for good food in a relaxed, welcoming atmosphere.

The menu offers food as varied as Moroccan Chicken Skewers and a Lamb and Black Bean Chili, as well as pub-food staples like Buffalo Wings, Calamari and Hamburgers. The burger isn't worth the time it takes to cook, but the wings are terrific, fried crisp and doused with a spicy, vinegary hot sauce. My only complaint is that they serve too few of them in an order. Conversely, the Chicken Skewers were bigger than we had expected. The two skewers each carry three juicy chunks of rosemary scented chicken.
After the jump: what to drink with your poultry.

Photo by ultraclay!.

Continue reading "Solomon's Porch: An Eclectic Neighborhood Eatery" »

April 3, 2007

New Restaurant Alert: Common Grounds

(Originally Posted on The Brooklyn Record):

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Common Grounds, a new coffee house in Bed-Stuy, opened in early March as the latest addition to the burgeoning Tompkins Avenue strip. I first heard about it when the owner of Ibo Landing, a block away, insisted that we go over and check it out. It was a chilly Sunday afternoon, and patrons in their church clothes warmed up with coffee, relaxing on the couches in the back to a soundtrack of gospel music.

When we walked in, the first thing we noticed was the aroma of freshly made Belgian waffles wafting through the air. The waffles are served hot off the griddle with crisp edges and a soft, fluffy middle. Common Grounds also serves panini sandwiches, soups, salads and pastries, but clearly the main attraction is the waffles, which come topped with maple syrup and butter, honey and walnuts, or fresh fruit. Personally, I'm waiting for the homemade ice cream, which will be available in coming weeks.

Continue reading "New Restaurant Alert: Common Grounds" »


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