Follow the culinary adventures and misadventures of the Cooking Agents (Ray and Katie). Watch as we eat/cook our way into adulthood.
Last weekend I enjoyed a 5 day weekend visiting NJ and NYC. In 6 of the last 8 years I’ve made the pilgrimage back to the Tri-state and got to enjoy suburban NJ Chinese food and the company of some New Yorkers to take me around town. On Thursday, I took the bus and got home in time for dinner at Shanghai Bun, which is a family favorite. The interior has gotten a huge face lift over the years, but the food is still great as always. I actually had dinner here both Thursday and Friday nights. That is how much I love this place.
Fish and Mushrooms with Wine Sauce
Fried Tofu with Fish
On Friday after working up an appetite at the gym, I finally got to try a burger place that opened up two or so years ago that a friend recommended. Frankly Burgers & More is now the burger to beat within a 30 minute drive from my house.
Frankly Burgers and More
Since it was probably the last warm weekend of the year, why not enjoy the last of the heat with some ice cream from Applegate Farms?
Pistachio and Cow Tracks
On Saturday, I woke up in Lower Manhattan and walked across the Brooklyn Bridge for the first time to eat at Grimaldi’s, which is among the most visited pizza spots in NYC by both tourists and locals. So much so that we barely made it on the first seating because a tour bus got priority seating.
Grimaldi’s Large Pizza with Sausage, Mushrooms and Ricotta
Mushrooms in Butter Sauce
Yakitori and Smoked Fish
The next day we trekked out to Queens to have Korean at Sik Gaek Chun Ha, which was featured on No Reservations. Anthony Bourdain visited with David Chang to down a huge platter of seafood and fresh octopus. Sadly, they were out of fresh octopus so we dined on a spicy seafood stir fry, seafood pancakes and pork skin. Poor us.
Pork Skin Crisping on the Grill
After this meal, we headed back to Lower Manhattan to have dinner in Chinatown to eat some Chinese fast food at Big Wong King. Think roast pork/duck over rice with some greens at those places with meat hanging from the windows. No pictures here as this type of food tends to be dumped on a plate.
Here are some pictures that capture the great weather, the great state of NJ, and the deliciousness of the weekend.
The Undirty Jerz
Thanks for the Delicous Trip NYC
In case you were wondering- 3 pounds gained over 5 days. Class.
I came across a Korean market in Central Square and bought rice cake for my chao nian gao recipe. I also picked a few items for another Snacks from Foreign Shores piece. After walking up and down the snack aisle, I went back to the piles of snacks near the front of the aisle to pick something that was obviously calling out to me. As I looked at a box of choco cake, I was thinking to myself, “should I get this?” Little did I know the answer was already written in front of me. Oh Yes! Choco Cake.
Oh Yes Chocao Cake!?!?
The box included 12 individually wrapped square cakes. On the wrapper it reads “You know that sweet things make smile. We love to see you smile with your people. So just taste this cake.” Sold and sold. Each choco cake consisted of two thin pieces of white/pale yellow cake with a thin layer of chocolate between each piece. The entire cake is then coated with another layer of chocolate. Sounds deadly doesn’t it? Don’t worry, Asian treats like this will not taste nearly as unhealthy as an American treat like say Entermann’s. Overall, a little to bland for a snack cake. I’m still sticking with biscuit and chocolate related snacks.
Individually Wrapped Treats
The anatomy of Oh Yes
Moving back home to NJ has left me immobile as I no longer have auto insurance. This means that I have to succumb to whatever food or dining options are thrown at me either at home or where ever my parents want to go. Over the last 6.5 years, I’ve been coming home less and less, which means less variety. My parents tend to have a steady rotation of the same Asian restaurants: Shanghai Bun (Taiwanese/noodles), West Lake (Cantonese/dim sum/seafood), Ruby Palace (cheap lunch specials), Crown Palace (Cantonese/dim sum), Szechuan Garden (Szechuan), and Coconut Forest (Malaysian). Sometimes we’ll take 20-30 minute trips to places like Penang (Malaysian), U-Yee (half price sushi), or a Japanese buffet of some sort.
The lack of new places to try in the suburbs leaves me missing city life, but at the same time familiarity is what makes going home so great. Yesterday, one of my friends wanted to try a new Korean and Japanese restaurant (let’s save the dual ethnic restaurant debate for another post). The restaurant is called Kimchi & Sushi and what makes it significant is that it’s one of the only Korean restaurants in the area. It is ironic how they replaced a Vietnamese restaurant that was one of the few Vietnamese restaurants in the area as well.
I’ve come a long way since I went to my first Korean restaurant in college by none other than Katie. I generally regarded Korean as my least favorite Asian cuisine behind Chinese, Japanese, Thai, Vietnamese and Taiwanese. However, over the years kimchi has grown on me, and you can’t go wrong with tender marinated meats. Yesterday evening I graduated from Bulgogi, Kalbi, Jap Chae, and Korean BBQ to Stone Bowls.
Kalbi, Can’t Go Wrong
I ordered the Spicy Pork and Vegetable Stone Bowl, which was delivered in a piping hot stone bowl filled with rice and topped with the stir fried pork and vegetables. The hot bowl gave the rice a crispy texture and kept the dish hot for the duration of the entire meal. The meal also included some forgettable miso soup, and good kimchi, though I’m not an expert on kimchi. The Kalbi was tender and flavorful, and I could just eat the sauce with rice any day. The prices were mixed with some Korean dishes as low as $6.95, while most of the popular dishes were in the $13.95-$22.95 range. A majority of the menu were Japanese dishes/sushi, but we didn’t bother to try that out since we have a couple of go to restaurants for that in the area already.
Pork and Vegetables Stir Fried Over Rice in a Hot Stone Bowl
Kimchi and Sushi was a nice addition to the Asian restaurant scene in Monmouth County, NJ, and I would gladly return. I even presented my mom with a card hoping that she will welcome it into her short list of acceptable restaurants. If it’s not Asian cuisine, my mom has a tendency to order either chicken tenders or seafood. She’s just that Asian. Kimchi and Sushi, make me proud.
OOO EEE OOO, Killer Tofu