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.
Having a good 2 months to try and plan a weeks worth of eats was no easy task, especially with all the available burger options in southern California. I started narrowing down my search by categorizing burgers into classic and gourmet. I wound up with Father’s Office and Umami Burger for gourmet, Hodad’s and In N Out Burger for classic. Sadly, we decided to be responsible and only ended up eating at Father’s Office and In N Out.
Oasis and Cool Down
During our beach day in Santa Monica, we decided to take a 2 mile hike from the pier to Father’s Office to “earn” our burger. After worrying about getting seats, we were able to easily grab a table as it was already 2pm. The lunch crowd trickled down, while still holding enough patrons to keep it from being completely barren. Another perk of Father’s Office is that you have to be 21 to enter so no kids or teens.
We ordered 3 office burgers, a basket of sweet potato fries and beer. The burger was served on an elongated sub like bread and topped with a arugula, Gruyere, Maytag blue cheese and a caramelized onion and bacon compote that was something out of a dream I had a few years ago when I decided that I did in fact love onions. We weren’t able to choose how we wanted the burger cooked, but it came out about between a medium and medium well. It was so juicy that I didn’t even care. The burger was delicious and was more filling than I thought. Sadly, the meat patty took a backseat to the compote though I’m sure that it would have been great by itself. Be sure not to skip the sweet potato fries that were crispy and hot without being overcooked, which is what I run into too frequently with sweet potato fries. The fries also came with a garlic aoli that could kill any vampire within breathing distance so have mints or gum handy. Although I won’t say that Father’s Office had the best burger I’ve ever eaten, I will say that the Office Burger was among the top 3 gourmet burgers I’ve tried and would highly recommend it to others visiting LA or Santa Monica.
Artists at Work
Pour Some In N Out On Me!
On the final leg of our trip back in LA, we hit up a few different bars for cocktails before heading back home when Katie decided to be a complete genius and use the late night dining chip on In N Out before we headed back to my friend’s place for the night. This marked my second visit to In N Out ever and the first time armed with knowledge of the secret menu. I ordered a double double animal style and another t-shirt, which I’m still deciding whether or not to wear to work tomorrow. I passed on the fries since I remembered not liking them that much on the first go around. However, after stealing a few from my friend’s, In N Out fries are back in my good graces and will be an option on my next visit. They were crisp, hot and had plenty of fluffy potato goodness in them. The burger itself was a lot greasier than I remembered. The wrapping it came in was turning translucent as Katie was busy snapping pictures, but oh man did that grease translate well into flavor. I’ve never met a juicier thin patty burger and writing these words are making me visibly angry that there are 45 states in this great country that do not have access to a fresh In N Out burger. If a presidential candidate wants the fatty vote, here’s an idea: RUN ON THE IN N OUT FOR ALL STATES party.