People who live in glass houses shouldn’t throw stones, people who can’t sing shouldn’t claim they have a god-given talent, and poor people who can’t gamble should stay quietly at home instead of hanging out at casinos. Unfortunately, I fall into the latter category and although I never win, except once at slots in the Bahamas, I love to gamble. It’s so scarily fun in a sick addicting way. That’s why a week ago, I found myself at the roulette table in Atlantic City getting a serious case of vertigo.
I was, however, able to pull myself away for an hour to fill my diet-coke filled belly with some food. David’s friend, James, suggested we get some Chinese noodles at The Rim in the Taj Mahal, and I happily agreed. It’s very rare I ever turn down Chinese food. Unfortunately, the noodles didn’t quite live up to my expectations. MORE »
When I was little, I used to love McDonald’s McChicken. Fried and slathered in mayonnaise, the McChicken seemed perfect, especially stuffed with a few french fries dipped in ketchup. Now that I’m older, the McChicken doesn’t hold the same wonderment it previously did. The white meat is pulverized beyond recognition and the chicken exterior is no longer crispy. Even still, once in a while, I crave something fried and unhealthy. This is how I found myself at Cafe Zaiya last week. Normally when I’m within the vicinity of the “Japanese Trinity” (Chiyoda Sushi, Yagura, and Cafe Zaiya), I’ll go to Chiyoda Sushi for some rolls and to Cafe Zaiya for a Mentaiko Onigiri (pollack roe onigiri). The Mentaiko Onigiri is better than the ones at Chiyoda Sushi since the seaweed, nori in Japanese and gim (김) in Korean, is not wrapped directly onto the rice. I don’t like soggy nori. However, that day, I had fried chicken on the brain, and when I saw them bring out a tray of freshly made Spicy Chicken Sandwiches I grabbed one immediately. MORE »
Last Wednesday was the long awaited premiere of Top Chef. I love Top Chef! In my opinion, it’s the best food competition show on TV. The Next Food Network Star and Hell’s Kitchen seem like a joke in comparison. So did the premiere deliver? Hrrm, I would say it was OK. It’s too early to tell, but so far, this season’s chefs don’t seem as accomplished or as talented. I hope I’m wrong here, because last season wasn’t that great either. Did they run out of good candidates already, because I can tell you right now, a chef from Montclair, New Jersey is not going to cut it. Where are the new Harolds, Hungs, Sams, and Marcels? I also read somewhere on the Internet that they don’t do any tastings during the try-outs. WTF?!! C’mon, is this a popularity contest or cooking competition?! Anyway, here is a breakdown of some of the confusing moments from the first episode. SPOILER after the jump. MORE »
Had the Masitas de Puerco (Fried Pork) sandwich last week at Sophie’s Cuban on 40th Street (between 7th and 8th Avenue), and although it was dry and I didn’t experience “sandwich bliss,” I decided to give them another shot and try a rice dish today. Unfortunately, when I got there, the store was empty, and there was a sign on the door stating they were closed. No other explanation was given. I guess even the NY Times review couldn’t save them. Oh well, I tried. I guess I’ll have to keep going to Margon or El Sabroso when a Latin craving hits.
UPDATE: Sophie’s Cuban emailed Midtown Lunch to explain the reason for their closing. They blamed depressing scaffolding and the lack of customers from the new NY Times building.
My friend Catalin just emailed me about this. The OpenTable Appetite Stimulus Plan seems to be a variation on Restaurant Week with fewer restaurants participating. Here is the info from OpenTable:
“$35 Dinners, $24 Lunches (prices are per person and do not include beverage, tax or gratuity)
November 17-21, 2008
200 OpenTable Dining Rewards Points”
Restaurant Week is usually a gamble. I’ve had some really great experiences [David Burke & Donatella (now called David Burke Townhouse), Cafe Boulud], and some very mediocre ones (Brasserie 8 1/2, Steak Frites, Butter). Usually if a restaurant is good during Restaurant Week, I know they care about the quality of their food and their reputation to serve more than just decent fare regardless of price. If a restaurant serves crap during restaurant week, I won’t go back. I find it demeaning when restaurants make you feel like you should be privileged just to be in their restaurant all the whilst serving you substandard food. That’s my opinion at least. So take a look at the list. No matter what you do though, don’t pick Hawaiian Tropic Zone. I doubt they care about their food or their reputation.