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.
Finally, FINALLY!!!!! This past Friday, I made it to No. 9 Park, the first baby of celebrated Boston chef Barbara Lynch. I’d selected this restaurant as my birthday dinner venue for my 19th birthday, but alas my tardiness in making the dinner reservations prevented me from celebrating my 19th year of existence there. Since then, my borderline unhealthy obsession with Barbara Lynch began. I’m not making any excuses. I basically want to be Barbara Lynch because she is a bad ass.
I should refine my wording above to say I am obsessed with Barbara Lynch and have projected my obsession on one dish in particular… the prune stuffed gnocchi with foie gras, marcona almonds, and a vin santo glaze. To me, this dish is like a movie that all of your friends have hyped up to epic proportions. You, the typical procrastinator, wait and wait to see it and when you finally get around to it, the movie is no longer in theaters. All of your friends continue to throw out one liners from the movie and they all laugh together. Of course, you’d like to laugh too, but realize that if you do, they’d all think you’re some kind of farce because you haven’t seen the movie. After what seems like years, the movie is released on dvd and you run to the nearest store to buy a copy. On the drive back home, you worry that the movie won’t live up to your expectations and are ready to curse your friends until the fat lady sings. But alas, the movie is actually everything you hoped for and the tears running down your cheeks are tears of joy and laughter, not of disappointment! SUCCESS!
… and those were the crazy thoughts running through my head as I placed my order.
Finally made it after nearly 5 years of wanting to!
Prune Stuffed Gnocchi // Assiette of Beef
Glace du jour (pecan, honey, and coffee)
The 5 years of waiting were torture, but the gnocchi dish was tremendous. It was more than I could have ever imagined it to be. In a word, it was ambrosial. It was as if I’d never tasted food before, cliche I know. The gnocchi was soft and the filling was delicate but packed a very flavorful punch. The foie gras and the foie gras vin santo glaze was rich without being heavy. The whole dish was so silky smooth with just the right amount of crunch, thanks to the almonds. As Gael Greene so delicately put it, “Great food is like great sex. The more you have the more you want.” Girl, you are preaching to the choir. I now want to book myself to all of Lynch’s restaurants before the year is over.
I am also now taking my obsession to the next level. Thanks to the Waltham Public Library and Allen’s handy dandy library card, Stir is in my possession. I’ve committed the recipe to memory and have all the necessary ingredients with the exception of my foie, marcona almonds, and vin santo. The foie gras from D’ARTAGNAN is scheduled for delivery this Friday and I’m planning on making a visit to Central Bottle to pick up a bottle of vin santo and Whole Foods to grab a bag of almonds. Saturday will be a day of many firsts including fresh pasta, cooking with prunes and vin santo, and deveining foie gras lobes. I’ve never been happier.