Boston Crawl – 04.09.2011

Corner Grille
806 Pleasant Street
Worcester MA 01602

Formaggio Kitchen
244 Huron Avenue
Cambridge, Massachusetts 02138
Saturday BBQ

Red Hook Brewery
1 Redhook Way
Portsmouth, NH 03801

The Clam Box
246 High Street
Ipswich, MA 01938

China Pearl
9 Tyler Street
Boston, MA 02111

The Bell in Hand Tavern
45 Union Street
Boston, MA 02108

Eagle’s Deli
1918 Beacon Street
Brighton, MA

Saturday Morning BBQ Breakfast

Saturday Morning BBQ Breakfast #2

The Clam Box

Bonus Vid:  Anna’s Taqueria

Bonus Vid:  Chinatown Roast Pork


Queens Crawl – 03.19.2011

Eatclub spent the afternoon exploring the Flushing neighborhood of Queens and ate ’til we could eat no more.  Read on below.

Hanyang Supermarket
150-51 Northern Boulevard
Flushing, NY

Pho Vietnamese Restaurant
3802 Prince Street
Flushing, NY

Flushing Mall
133-31 39th Avenue
Flushing, NY

Geo Si Gi
15228 Northern Boulevard
Flushing, NY

Eatclub hit the pavement for some food R&D in the asian melting pot that is Flushing, Queens.  It’s no wonder the aliens from MIB parked their spaceships here, the aliens from China park their Camrys here too.

Hanyang Supermarket has a small food court.

Hanyang is actually a Korean supermarket but they have a small cafe in the back that serves typical Korean snacks.  The corndog is fried up fresh and is extra crispy with a corn-panko coating.  Soondae is a rice and noodle blood sausage and is excellent here.  I actually don’t like soondae but Hanyang’s version changed my mind.  The dukbuki tastes just like the ones served in Korean night markets, extra peppery chili sauce with tender rice cakes.  Definitely order all of these.

Marvelously crusty corn dog.  Order 1 at a time but why would you?

Korean street food:  soon-dae (blood and rice sausage) and duk-bu-ki (spicy rice cake).

Vietnamese restuarant called Vietnamese Restaurant.  Go figure.

We stopped by this restaurant for a snack but ended up eating an entire meal.  The food was that good.

A steaming bowl of curry beef stew.

Vietnamese grilled pork and egg rolls.

Vietnamese grilled chicken over rice.

Sophia’s furiously fast chopstick skills.  Woo-pah!

While not my first review of Flushing Mall, this was the first time I sampled their shaved ice.  It’s not super authentic or very delicious but what it lacks in freshness it makes up for in sheer sweetness.  It is crazy sweet, especially the faux fruit toppings.

Shaved ice with grass jelly, red bean, taro, and condensed milk.

Shaved ice with mango, passion fruit, jellies, and condensed milk.  Sweeter than pure sugar!

This is your face reacting to sweetness overload.

Geo Si Gi means:  caveman chasing wild boar with hatchet. (not really).

Braised pork neck bone.  How tasty does that sound?  Not very, but I don’t care, you must eat this if you like pork that is spicy, tender, and asian.  You get generous chunks of pork neck bones slowed stewed in a spicy broth with plenty of veggies and kimchi.  I could not eat this stew fast enough.  Literally, the tantalizing neck bones tease you as you slowly wriggle out each morsel of soft meat from every crevice.  Oh, and don’t be shy about using the vinegar dipping sauce, it ramps up the flavor to new heights.  At the end of the meal, ask the server to make fried rice with the left over broth, he will cook it for you right at the table before your eyes.

Gamjatang, spicy korean soup with aged kimchi and pork neck bones.

This mustard/vinegar dipping sauce is a MUST!

Fried rice made from leftovers of pork soup?  It’s true (watch the video).

Zen Restaurant – 03.03.2011

Zen Restaurant
31 St. Marks Place
New York, NY

Zen is located in the heart of St. Marks amongst the multitude of asian eateries; and much like the people, all the storefronts look the same:  yellow and foreign.  Step into Zen and you will be transported to a no frills NYC-style Japanese joint.  A dime a dozen or a yen a dozen rather.

A pitcher of Kirin draft will set you back $12, not too shabby.

Zen’s signature Tonkotsu Ramen ($8.50).

Another noodle waterfall.

Ramen is the reason Eatclub meets and ramen is what we ordered.  The waitress recommended the Tonkotsu ramen:  original garlic salt flavored noodle soup with meat, mushroom, egg, and baby bamboo (shinachiku).  Eatclub has eaten enough ramen to be critical and to be brief, this ramen was slightly above average.  The noodles were wavy and chewy, the best thing going for this dish.  The meat (charsui) was average, the egg was overcooked with a greenish tinge, and sadly the broth let me down.  Perhaps it was the garlic salt base but a ramen called “tonkotsu” has to deliver in-your-face porkiness.  Instead the soup was thin and bland, especially when compared to more complex blends such as the broths at Ippudo and Kuboya.  However, if I ever had a hankering for ramen in the East Village, I would consider going back to Zen, especially with good company and a thirst for Japanese brew.

Noodles and beer. In that order.

Signature ramen’s soup was just meh.

The storefront, it looks like a bad 3-D Japanese/English ransom note.

– ramen boy

An extra seat is available single ladies.

Brooklyn Crawl – 02.25.2011

Our temporary Texan “brewmaster” showing us how to brew with Chemex.

Baked storefront kind of reminds you of a chocolate cupcake.

Baked’s signature salty caramel cupcake.  Very good, especially the sea salt on top.

A pizza shop in the heart of a Hasidic Brooklyn neighborhood.

[vimeo 20437397]
A slice of Brooklyn.

Dominick hard at work.

[vimeo 20437405]
The master at work.

Artichoke garlic pie just out of the oven.

[vimeo 20437427]
Drooling while shaking the camera.

So it looks better if you were there so trust me when I say you MUST try it.

Making new friends and catching up with old ones over a few brews.

East Harlem Crawl – 02.18.2011

Patsy’s Pizzeria
2287 1st Ave
(between 117th St & 118th St)

El Aguila
137 E 116th St.
(between Park Ave & Lexington Ave)

It was the warmest February day yet  and I decided to do a tour of the ol’ neighborhood with huge Spiderman fan Ethan.  The crawl actually started 12 hours earlier at midnight.  Recognize the food below?  Hint:  midtown.

Gyro, chicken, rice, pita, lettuce, white sauce, and atomic hot sauce.  A NYC classic.

Natural b-boy pose cannot be forced.

Fresh and delicious Patsy’s slice for just $1.50!

Nothing is hidden from view at the Aguila counter

What’s in the giant copper cauldron?

Comida made to order.  Me gusto.

Putting on the finishing touches.

Tacos carnitas and al pastor (L-R).

Patsy’s and El Aguila were the real deal.  Inexpensive and authentic.  Walk up and get 2 quick slices at Patsy’s.  Scarf them down while still hot and stroll over to Aguila for two pork tacos washed down with a cool horchata; all for about $6.  Huzzah!

Cafe Silvestre – 01.24.2011

Cafe Silvestre
282 West 7200 South
Midvale, UT

Like many places where the passion for outdoor recreation is only matched by sheer ruggedness of the terrain, Salt Lake City and its surrounding ‘burbs has a love affair with Mexican food.  Inexpensive, spicy, filling and loaded with carbs:  Mexican is the ideal fuel for the lazy couch potato as well as the extreme snow athlete.  Cafe Silvestre stands out to be the BEST mexican in SLC without the glitz and glam of its competitors.

The tried and true favorite among Salt Lake locals seems to be the humble smothered burrito.   This dish is rather unassuming with a burrito shell (usually flour) filled with either chicken or pork and smothered with a mexican style gravy topped with shredded cheese and diced onions.  Ordered by itself or in multiples, smothered burritos are on every menu and deliver a solid meal.  Cafe Silvestre’s smothered chicken burrito looks like everyone else’s:  a flattened flour log covered in a pool of gruel-like brownish red sauce.  Not very enticing I know.  After the first bite however, time slows down, your pupils widen and a fiesta erupts in your mouth when you swallow that morsel.  Silvestre somehow makes a knockout smothered burrito that is so far unmatched in all my travels.  I suspect the secret lies in their salivating smothering sauce.  Trust me when I write this:  if ever in SLC, you MUST find a Cafe Silvestre and order their smothered chicken burrito with cheese and onions.

Having experienced and loved the smothered burritos at CS before, I opted to try the Large Combo.  You get a choice of meat and immediately chose the shredded beef.

Large combo plate – hard shell taco, tostada, enchilada, smothered burrito, chile verde, and rice & beans.

If you are hungry and love mexican, order this combo.  Each of the above included items tastes distinct and different.  Mexican is often unfortunately the same 5 basic ingredients rearranged in different shapes but tastes exactly the same.  Not so here, the chicken smothered burrito taste is discernible from the chile verde (though in the picture it’s not).  The shredded beef taco is moist and pull apart tender and is really really good.  The rice and beans are out of this world good, no small feat considering these are  humble and basic dishes.  Silvestre also gets bonus points for omitting sour cream.  Though tasty (and I do enjoy it), it makes a mexican dish taste better than it really is, masking the flavor of chilies and spices.  Comprende?

Shredded beef taco filling

The best mexican in Salt Lake City, with 3 locations.
Of course the free chips and salsa are good.
Large combo plate satisfies your tastes, hunger, and your frugalness ($12)

Cafe  Silvestre is only in Salk Lake City.

A large satisfying meal rich in protein, rice, beans, and cheese forces you to quickly “break the silence” with your  friends in about 1 hour.

– BRU-ito

Zinburger – 12.22.10

Promenade Shops at Clifton
850 State Route 3, #105
Clifton, NJ 07012

We had the zinburger.

The burgers come with mayonnaise which makes the burger soggy. Wanted to get the experience of the meat. The zinfindel cooked onions were really flavorful. The medium rare was not rare enough, but the medium-well was perfect.

The buns should be toasted. We forgot that we had manchego cheese, the mayonnaise was so over whelming. It’s a lot of burger, come hungry.

Lauren had the Simple burger – she also would have preferred her buns toasted, thought the hamburger was a little soggy, but she liked the flavor of it and gave it one thumb up.

The zucchini fries – are awesome, but maybe a little less sea salt.

Truffle fries – weren’t too much of a hit.

Service was excellent. Very attentive. Although maybe too attentive?

The ambiance was awesome – a lot bigger than what we thought from the outside. It’s attached to a shopping center.

Wines – we came on wednesday which gave us half price bottles of wine.
Russian jack pinot noir, very good, tasty drinkable wine

This completes our round of boutique montclair burger joints.