Week in Photos # 19 & 20

Another double week post…

Nothing too exciting going on over here…hence the lack of pictures and posts!

We tried to go biking on what was supposed to be a nice Saturday….loaded the bikes up and drove all the way to the bay…and it started to monsoon.  FAIL!

The following week we headed back to said bay and it turned out to be a gorgeous day!   Did three runs for a total of 19 miles.  Hopefully we’ll sign up for a good bike tour this year…Hoping to be able to do at least 50 miles…we’ll see how my legs and butt fare…

Seriously how did May come and go so quickly?!  Quickie snapshot of our Cinco de Mayo dinner at Casa Pepe.  Dinner was much better this time around than the first time we had dinner there a few years ago.  Maybe it was the pomegranate margarita that influenced me!  Actually…the boy’s paella was much better than my pork chop…we ended up switching less than half way through :)

I finally found a Coke Freestyle machine!  :)  If you don’t know, I have a somewhat unhealthy addiction to cherry coke.  Yes, I’m one of those weird people that love cherry flavor…and no, I don’t think it tastes like cough medicine…  The only problem I have with the coke that comes out of it is that my cherry coke seems to be bright red!  I’ve also tried the raspberry coke (yuck), vanilla coke yuck) and cherry vanilla coke (YUCK!!).  I still haven’t figured out what the difference between diet coke and coke zero is….so i just stick to diet cherry coke :)   TIP: let the soda run for a little while before you put your cup under it!  Otherwise it will taste like what the person before you got! Especially if you are getting one of the Dasani water selections!

Got my nails done with Gelish….I’m not really a fan…but its boat loads cheaper than Calgel so I give it a whirl every now and then.   My nail girl talked me into getting a little glitter on my ring finger…it made me feel extra girly :)

This little asshole was trying to make me even LATER than I already was for work!  It kept squaking and honking at my car and making motions that it was going to peck at it!  I tried to go around him/her and it just ran in front of my car again!  Seriously?!  As I think back though…it was probably a mamma goose trying to clear the road for the babies to cross.

The boy and I went out to HideChan ramen one night after work.  It was okayyy….my selection was actually better than his for once!

We threw a fund raiser for my manager at work because her husband is going to be going through some hefty medical expenses in the next few months.  10 baskets were raffled off and lucky me won the bath and body works one!  :)  I won’t be needing soaps or lotions for a long time!

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Dinner & Drinks! (Max and Bar 89)

Ivy (aka Princess FiFi’s mamma) had made plans to go to Lucky Strike for some drinks last week.  Next thing you know after reading some reviews and comments from Pear, our plans were quickly changed to dinner and drinks starting at Max then onto our favorite watering hole Bar 89.

Luckily I was working in the field that day so I was able to head out to the city at a normal time instead of making the trek in from Long Island!

The plans were to head out to the city earlier with the boy and Pear for some pre dinner drinks and then Ivy would meet us in the city around 8:30.  Pear arrived promptly at 7pm in his shiny new car and we headed out!

I had been given a gift card by NinjaCyn for one of our favorite restaurants – so off we went!

*Note all pictures are from my phone…and my new spiffy Instagram app!  (bout time it came to Android!…now I just have to get a new phone with a better camera…October cannot come fast enough!)

 We took a seat at the bar and decided on our drinks…Can you guess what we got?

I’ve had both the Bellini and Max Mix in the past….and they are both TOO SWEET!  The Max Palmer immediately (obviously) caught my eye.  The drink was good…but not great.  I found it a little bitter either from the tea or the muddled lemons…it could have used more lemon juice in my opinion.  Pear got one too.

The boys deserted me…Pear in the bathroom and the boy went outside to get Ivy…I need to change my foursquare profile pic ASAP…thanks to creeper guy at Max…I told the boy not to leave me alone at the bar but did he listen?….nooOoOOoOoOOo…
When Ivy arrived we were quickly seated at the last available 4 top!  Perfect timing!
A bottle of wine was ordered while we made our dinner decisions…
I am new to drinking red wine.  But after my personal one on one lesson back in December, its been discovered that like white wine and other boozy drinks…I DON’T like it sweet!  The waitress assured me that the bottle Pear had chosen wasn’t too sweet and it was a good wine.  Obviously my attempt at a picture of the name is a complete fail!  You can see a glimpse of the boy’s iced tea in the picture too…I had it for the first time last year…and it was good!

CHEESE! :) <3

 

Max always has daily specials posted on the boards in the restaurant.  Can I say how ecstatic I was when we saw burrata on the menu?! :)  One order of burrata and one order of calamari to start.  The calamari comes with a spicy marinara sauce that is delish!   No pictures of the food because…well I dunno…just because, ok?!  Bad blogger I know…
For entrees Pear and Ivy got the same dish – squid ink pasta with shrimp in spicy marinara…good as always!  And yes, squid ink makes your poop black.  Like JET BLACK!  And for that single superficial reason is why I no longer order squid ink pasta anywhere.  Ivy texted me the next day to confirm her findings!  She’s a nurse.  And a mom.  She is used to gross stuff like that.  Your ears would probably bleed if you heard some of our conversations!  Wow look at that tangent!  See I guess thats what happens when I don’t have any pictures to show you!  The boy and I both got specials from the board.  For him – lobster ravioli with spicy marinara and for me fettuccine with mushrooms and TRUFFLE OIL.   Thumbs up all the way around!

Waiting for our noms….Ivy and Fifi have matching bangs…LOVE IT!  I should tell her dad that I want to join in on the party the next time I go see him for a haircut too!  lol

After dinner we headed over to Bar 89 for some more drinks.  Ivy and I were chatting in the car and wound up driving uptown!  The boys beat us there by a long shot!
Whenever I say that we’re going to Bar 89 most people give me a look and say “again?!”….Pear and I have been going there for over 10 years now.  It’s our spot!  (Don’t get jealous boy! 😉 )  Until I find another bar that has table service, good drinks and a well stocked bar, this will be my go to spot!

CHEERS!  <The boy was here too…just hiding from our antics…I can embarrass him sometimes when I have a few in me 😉 >

We ended up somewhere else after this….but for the life of me I can’t remember where or what the name was…I am thinking it was somewhere on the LES.

It was a LONG night…O.o

The next morning:

Yeah I totally drank tap water from the bathroom.  Yes it is gross.  But you know what is even more gross?  Throwing up because you are hungover.

Till next time…
The end.

Max
181 Duane Street
NY, NY 10013
212.966.5939
www.max-ny.com

Bar 89
89 Mercer Street
NY, NY 10012
212.274-0989
www.bar89.com

 

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Morimoto {Restaurant Review}

If you were to ask the boy what his favorite restaurant in the city is chances are he would say Morimoto’s.  Over the years we’ve been to the NYC location at least half a dozen times and have no plans on stopping our (almost) annual visits.   When Pear’s birthday rolled around, we decided to take him there to celebrate.

We arrived about 30 minutes early for our reservation and were given the option of hanging out at the bar or being seated right away since they had tables open. We chose the latter and were whisked away to a table right in front of the open kitchen!

Once seated, we ordered some drinks to start off with.  I can’t find the drink menu online so here’s what I can vaguely remember of it…
Pear chose a martini with sake and calpico as the base.  Slightly citrus-y…light and refreshing!


I chose another sake based drink.  It appeared to be a twist on a mojito.  Completely opposite of what I usually order…this drink was sweet and fruity, but not overwhelmingly so.  I was again reminded why I don’t like muddled drinks…I like my drinks to be clean and crisp.  Here I found myself quietly spitting out pieces of mint leaves into my napkin.  I don’t think I’d order this again, but I would recommend it. 
I almost forgot about the boy’s “drink”.  He decided to order a pot of tea.  When he asked the waiter about the selections the waiter rattled off a pretty long list and the oolong sparked his interest.  One pot of peach oolong tea on the way!  I tried a sip and thought it had more fruit flavor than tea.  But the boy seemed to like it enough.  Later on during the meal the waiter came over to ask if he’d like the pot to be refreshed with hot water.  The boy happily obliged.

Now onto the food!
The boy’s goal is to eventually try everything on the menu here.  I have faith that we eventually will if we keep up our somewhat frequent visits!  Its hard to try different things though when we clearly have our favorites.

One of the appetizers we have to order every time we come is the spicy king crab – tobanjan aioli, micro cilantro.
The price of this dish has gone up over the years.  It now comes in at a hefty $34 – I think the first time we had this years ago it was about $29.  But in our opinion, worth its price!  This dish seems simple enough to replicate at home – crab legs with a spicy mayo sauce mixed with some tobiko and lightly heated through.  Morimoto executes this dish so well and we love it so much that we prefer to just have it here instead of attempting it at home.


Pear thought the lamb carpaccio looked interesting and decided to give it a try.

I don’t eat raw but the boys seemed to enjoy the dish.  Lamb carpaccio – shiso buds, scallion-ginger dressing


The final appetizer we decided on was the tempura calamari salad – white miso dressing, crispy shallots. We’ve ordered this salad quite a few times in the past as well.  Another dish on our favorites list!  Crispy calamari, field greens, light and tangy dressing…delish!


In between the appetizer and entree course, we decided to have some sushi.  We knew that we’d be bordering dangerously on full by the time our entrees arrived, but how can you go to Morimoto’s and not get some sushi?!  Especially since we were seated right in front of the bar!


Soft shell crab roll –
deep fried soft shell crab, asparagus, tobiko, avocado, scallion, spicy sauce.  This was the first time we ordered this and most likely won’t be the last!  I could have done without the avocado and found that the end pieces were extremely hard to eat because of the size, but in the end we all gave it a thumbs up!


Spicy tuna roll – chopped tuna, scallion, spicy sauce.  Unlike our local Japanese restaurants, the spicy tuna roll here does not consist of pulverized fish drowning in a heavy sauce.  The tuna here is chunked in fairly large pieces and lightly dressed in the spicy sauce.  The boys enjoyed the roll from what I could tell!  The boy commented that you can actually taste the fish instead of it being overwhelmed by sauce.


Onto the entrees!

The last time we were here the boy ordered the surf & turf – wagy filet & hamachi ribbons, herbed potatoes, crushed citrus & avocado (prepared tableside)  He was so floored by the potatoes he decided that he had to have it again!  The dish arrives with the surf portion prepared tableside.  The waiter quickly dresses the avocado and hamachi with a citrus dressing and tosses it together.  I tried a piece of the boy’s steak and it was good.  But I’m not a huge red meat eater so I don’t have the same appreciation as he does for it.  As a sidenote…the last time the boy ordered this dish we both fell in love with the potatoes.  We couldn’t pinpoint the spice that was in them so we asked the waiter what it was.  He said he’ll be right back…we had assumed that he went to ask the kitchen.  Instead, he returned with a slip of paper printed with all of the ingredients in the dish!  <the spice was star anise by the way!>
One thing that was different this time around was that they used baby potatoes instead of fingerlings like last time.  However the potatoes were just as tender and good!

Pear ordered the braised black cod – ginger-soy reduction.  Nothing bad to say about this dish!  Moist, flaky, YUM!


The last few times we’ve been here I’ve ordered the same dish.  Because it is THAT good!  I guess I’d consider it my favorite!  Seafood ‘toban yaki’ – half shell lobster, king crab, mussel, clam, diver scallop, red miso-sake broth.   Gosh…where do I start?  Hmm…well how about not using the word gosh again?  The term toban yaki loosely translates to ‘roast on a ceramic plate’.  Morimoto executes this perfectly!  The miso broth is gently flavored with all of the juices from the seafood.  That broth…oh how I love that broth!  I usually order a side of rice so that I could spoon the broth over and eat it!  In my experience though, almost every time the scallop has been overcooked. :-(  But that’s ok because I can never finish the dish anyway!  Now this is something I need to learn how to replicate myself at home!

The carnage.

To pretend to be healthy we ordered a side of the Chinese broccoli.  I would definitely pass on these next time.  They were weak.  Limp, greasy and bland!  I dredged them through my miso broth and it helped bring them back to life a little bit…but overall not worth it.

We were all too full to even think about ordering dessert!  Again, Morimoto did not disappoint!  Almost everything was done perfectly and presented beautifully.  We WILL be back!

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Osteria Il Paiolo {Restaurant Review}

Have you ever strolled around looking for a restaurant and after checking out the menu decide it looks good and go in blindly?  Sometimes you can really find a hidden gem this way!  Well…this is not going to be one of those reviews.

After a long day…taxes in the AM…shopping at Woodbury in the afternoon…we decided to have dinner in Williamsburg with Rach since we had to drop her off at home anyway.  It was a Saturday night and it had just finished raining.  We wanted to go out somewhere for dinner and after seeing that the local Thai places all had at least a 30 minute wait, we decided to walk around checking out the posted menus at some other places before making our decision.

I wanted to love this place.  I really did.  We all did.  It looked so promising.  Quaint.  Nice ambiance.  Fancy…but still low key. The first sign that caught our eyes was the specials board that was posted outside.  THEY HAD BURRATA!!  Not just any burrata…but they served it with truffles too!  We were sold!!  For those of you that don’t know…burrata is a type of cheese that’s basically fresh mozzarella on the outside and inside is a cream.  So light…so creamy…delish!  I’ve never really been able to find it on the menus at restaurants in the city so we were ecstatic when we saw this!  With only my camera phone in hand…off we went.

First sign something was wrong…we walked into a half empty restaurant and I asked if they had room for a table of 4.  The hostess says “do you have a reservation?”  Umm…no dipshit…if I had a reservation I would have given my name and stated that I had a reservation.  I asked you if you could accommodate our party of 4.  We were brought over to a table and handed menus.

After our orders were placed a runner brought over bread and plates for our appetizers.  But he only brought three.  And then he forgot to bring the fourth.  How do we know he forgot? Because we saw him doing things at other tables!  Crisis averted…someone finally brought us the elusive plate…

Don’t let the bread fool you.  It was pretty bad.  Probably the worst focaccia I’ve ever had.  So dry…so bland…so yuck.  But bread baskets are really iffy sometimes.   Underneath the focaccia was some of the crustiest bread I’ve ever had.  Terrible.  But we ate it anyway because we were starving and needed something to spread the burrata on!

The burrata ($28) came to the table and the waiter presented the whole truffle to us and began shaving…and shaving…and shaving…it was snowing truffles!  

The burrata was perfect.  Creamy…soft…mild…they also drizzled it lightly with olive oil which made it even more decadent!  If you ever see burrata on the menu I highly suggest you give it a try especially if you are a fan of fresh mozz!

Next to arrive at the table was the cheese platter…odd…because we ordered the meat and cheese platter ($24.50).


This was a little…uhh..sad looking.  There were 4 cheese selections.  How are three of them versions of pecorino?!  One was plain…one was flavored with white wine and the third was flavored with mushrooms…The fourth cheese on the platter was a gorgonzola.  Pear said that the accompaniments for the cheeses were really good but I had to pass on all of them.  After about 10 minutes we asked the waitress where the meat half of the platter was.  She looked at us and said that she thought we only ordered the cheese platter.  Not sure how this happened because she REPEATED our order for us after taking it and all four of us heard her repeat the correct order.  *sigh…
After being acquainted with the cheese platter we weren’t expecting much from its meaty half ($14.50).
It was so unmemorable.  They didn’t even tell us what the three meats were.  Whatever.  I was soooo over this place by now.

When we were done ordering the boy decided that he also wanted to add another appetizer to the list and told the waitress before she collected the menus.  We added the polenta and sausage.  It never came.  We asked about it and she thought that he wanted that as his entree.  We cancelled it and told her that he actually ordered the same entree as Rach.  Maybe she was having an off night??   Save your off nights for the weekdays!  Saturday should be your biggest/busiest night of the week!  The restaurant wasn’t packed so its not like she’s overwhelmed by having to wait on a lot of tables…and she wasn’t even the one bringing out the food – she only took the orders!  Anyway….

Pear got the fettuccine alla amatriciana ($16.50) – pasta with cured pork cheeks, onions and San Marzano tomatoes.  He liked the dish.  I tried it and thought it was ok.  I was glad to see that the pasta was homemade.  I was not so glad to see that it was slightly undercooked.  I like my pasta al dente…I usually take my pasta out before I drain the rest because everyone hates how undercooked I like my pasta.  This pasta was bordering on raw.

When I see gnocchi on the menu I have to get it.  HAVE TO.  Unless its made with butternut squash.  Or has nuts/raisins in the sauce.
This dish sounded PERFECT for me!  I was so excited.  Gnocchi all’aragosta ($21.50) – Potato gnocchi with lobster in a light tomato sauce.

Oh. My. Goodness. I have never had gnocchi this terrible before!  (And the boy tried to make me gnocchi for my birthday last year!)   The texture was so strange….gummy and slimy on the outside.  Dry and dense on the inside.   And I didn’t appreciate how they were not rolled on a gnocchi board or the tines of a fork.  They were just sloppily cut and unevenly sized too!!  The lobster was…can you guess???  Overcooked!  And the sauce was so bland.  I shouldn’t have turned down the fresh pepper when they came by with it.  :(   Major fail.

The boy and Rach ordered the same dish.  I don’t have a detailed description or price because it was a special of the day.  Pappardelle  with lamb ragout, arugula and goat cheese.  Promising?  Yes!  I tried some and this pasta was cooked much better than Pear’s was.  The sauce was a light cream based one.  It was good enough.  Passable but by no means delish.

 

Normally I wouldn’t have even posted about this.  But this place was so terrible.  I couldn’t let it slip.  We all really wanted to like this place.  But in the end we just couldn’t.  And to make matters worse….we ordered the meat and cheese platter which should have been $24.50.  Instead we were charged separately at $14.50 each.  Even if the portions were different for the combo, they should have charged us for the dish we ordered.  Not the one we were given.

I don’t like to give bad reviews or to talk badly about poor service at restaurants.  Everyone has their off nights.  Waitstaff…cooks…dumbass hostesses.  But to have it all in one place.  And  for it to be demonstrated dish after dish and to have so many errors in service and with our orders is just unacceptable.

This further confirms my distaste for Williamsburg.  I don’t blame Rach for wanting to get out of the neighborhood ASAP!

THUMBS DOWN

Osteria il Paiolo
106 North 6th Street
Williamsburg, Brooklyn
718-218-7080

 

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BonChon {reataurant review}

A few months back E was looking for a restaurant to go to celebrate her 30th birthday. She had two requirements – it had to be suitable for a large crowd and it had to be reasonably priced.
She thought that BonChon would be a good place because who doesn’t love some fried chicken?! So we were off to do a trial run. We were able to recruit another friend to go with us so we’d be able to try some more things. Luckily the restaurant isn’t in a really busy part of the city so i was able to snag a parking spot right outside!
The restaurant is two floors. Downstairs is a bar with a few tables in the back and upstairs is where most of the seating is.

We decided on an order of fries, potstickes and tteokbokki to start with and a combo of wings, drums and chicken strips for our entree.

The fries were great! I think they are double fried and reminded me of Burger King fries.

When we ordered the potstickers they asked us if we wanted it tossed in a soy garlic sauce or hot and spicy. We decided to go the safe route and opted for soy garlic. We were presented with an order of nine pieces arranged on a long platter. First off, these were obviously not potstickers. At first glance we noticed that they were clearly deep fried and not pan fried as potstickers should be. Identity crisis aside, we dug in. Two words. Not impressed. Since they wee deep fried, the skin was really hard and crispy, the filling was bland and the overall taste was overpowered by the sauce that they were doused in.  Despite the saucy coating, these were actually pretty DRY!

When the tteokbokki came out our jaws dropped. In the past at restaurants when we ordered this it was a small appetizer sized portion with about a dozen rice cakes and some fish cake slices. This time however was very different. The plate was about 14 inches across with a combination of rice cakes, fish cakes, noodles and cheese! A little overwhelming at first but we dug in. A little on the spicy side but we enjoyed it. A note about rice cakes though…they can be very dense and filling so if you have a small appetite, I’d suggest notbwasting any stomach real estate on this dish.  I enjoyed this dish…the presence of the noodles weirded me out at first…but  I got over it quickly!  My tolerance for spicy things isn’t all that high and the density of the rice cakes was quickly filling up my tummy…so after a few bites this was pushed over to the side.  (It made great leftovers the next day!)

Now onto the chicken…this is what you were waiting for, no?  I got a combination of the wings and drums and half spicy half soy garlic.  At this point I was pretty full already.  But I tried one of each sauce type for the sake of the review!   The spicy ones would have definitely been too much for me if I had ordered it for the entire order.  It was too overpowering.  The soy garlic was much better!  The chicken remained crispy even though it was quite some time before we actually ate it!   My brother had no problem polishing them off when I brought him the doggie bag so I’m assuming it got a thumbs up from him as well!  Each order of chicken also comes with a small bowl of pickled daikon.  I didn’t try any since I was already stuffed to the gills!

 

I don’t recall much about the chicken strips…which makes me think they were middle of the road.  I’d probably order if if I wasn’t in the mood to deal with chicken bones though.

 

I’d recommend this restaurant.  The menu isn’t too large that its overwhelming nor is it too small where you feel like the ONLY thing you can get is chicken.

E did end up having her birthday dinner here a few weeks later.  They reserved the back section of the top floor for her and it was nothing less than chaotic.  While I would recommend the restaurant for a normal sized party, it was a major fail for a large group (35 people!).  The chicken was still good though!

Thumbs up! (as long as you don’t have an obscenely large party!)

BonChon
207 W. 38th St. New York
NY 10018
212.221.3339

 

 

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