February 28, 2011

I need a study break...

A sporadic post of eats from the past few weeks. I really need to start being more diligent about taking more pictures. Last week, my friend insisted that we travel to some unknown restaurant to sample Ramen which his mother had read about in a Philadelphia newspaper. I was in no mood for an adventure but I thought fine and took my handy dandy camera with me. Then I realized: I forgot the memory card. Sigh. Moral of the story is no ramen pictures. BUT, there are these pictures of Birthday eats, Restaurant week eats and good old brunch eats.

Restaurant Week at Alma De Cuba 

Definitely enjoyed the more simple decor of this place compared to other Starr restaurants.
Arugala salad with goat cheese. Ate every bite even though I don't like goat cheese. Hm, might have to reconsider my cheese preferences.

LOVE the presentation of this bowl. I think it was a curry vegetarian dish but I can't find it on the menu.

Vaca Frita "Fried Cow"
Twice cooked crispy skirt steak with onions and Cuban oregano with black beans, white rice and tomato escabeche.

Grilled Berkshire Pork Chop: maple pumpkin seed mojo and pickled red onions. Definitely the best course of the meal and the pork chops were cooked to perfection
Rice pudding with roasted coconut shreds. The dessert was good but I don't think I'm a very big fan of rice pudding in general.

Traditional Caramel Flan: Creamy caramel custard served with honey-pecan ice cream, apple ceviche and tamarind puree. The flan was definitely too sweet for us. It made everything else after it taste either too bitter or sour.

All in all I think Alma is a great restaurant but the restaurant week menu is definitely lacking. The options were not very diverse and the courses didn't seem to complement each other very well.

Ethiopian Birthday Dinner
(No I don't remember the name of the place but it was located on 45th and Locust...I think). Ethiopian food is definitely one those cuisines that is an acquired taste. I love the numerous use of spices but sometimes, I even find the dishes to be overpowering. All of the dishes are served stew style and eaten and everything is eaten with injera, a sourdough flat bread (which is kind of like mushy nan..at least that's what I think). 

A galore of vegetarian dishes.

Beef tartar.

More side dishes? I think?
Still a very lovely dinner with friends and (a very belated) Happy Birthday wishes to Jeff!

Brunch at RX
Since this is literally my millionth post on RX. I'm just going to post some delicious looking pictures and move on :). Also, finally tried their fresh squeezed orange juice (yum!).

Hm I know these two pictures look the same but I promise their different (can't recall why...) but the both involved poached eggs, spinach, hollandaise sauce and toasted english muffins.

Still have yet to successfully recreate this. Now that I think about it, I'm pretty sure I cut the bread way to thick when I tried making it at home.
Mexican Birthday Dinner
Traveled to Northern Liberties to celebrate another wonderful friend's birthday. Of course, I forgot the name of this place as well but I'm pretty sure it started with a C....The pictures definitely turned out darker than I would have liked so I'll limit them to the few ok ones.

The entire Mexican feast was kind of a blur after we all devoured the nachos within 5 minutes but I do remember something about pork tacos, ceviche, soup and melted cheese. Speaking of Mexican food, there will hopefully be lots more to come in the following week when I journey south for break.

Happy eating!

February 8, 2011

An Ode to the Asian Bakeries

In light of the New Lunar New Year (which is finally the Year of the Rabbit, Yay Mom!), I thought I would share these pictures I took of a random Asian bakery from NY back in the fall.

I think my favorite part about Chinatown since I was six years old was always the Chinese Bakery. And it is still true. Yum.

February 7, 2011

And I'm back!

Wow I can't even remember the last time I posted, this semester has been absolutely ridiculously crazy. Fortunately, things are finally settling down which means I can get back to blogging! I think I must have 10 posts worth of pictures sitting in my camera right now. Here's a treat I actually made over break and did not even realize I had not posted yet!

Soo the story behind phyllo dough and apple strudels (not really a story but I'll tell it anyways) is that the first time I tried making apple strudels, it was with my grandmother. She used to make them for my dad from scratch and it was a crazy Austrian recipe she had perfected over the years. When we tried making the ridiculously thin layers of strudel goodness, the flour kept ripping apart on us  (apparently we didn't have the right brand of flour). Anyways, it still ended up being delicious but ever since then I've been terrified of making strudels.

Somewhere in the back of my mind, I always thought I should just use phyllo dough but for some reason I could never find it in the grocery store (of course I've probably only tried looking for it twice in my life). Since I finally bought a box over break and was on a crazy baking spree, I decided to make apple strudels on my last day at home.  I had also just seen Inglorious Bastard probably for the third time in three days and wanted to make a strudel so I could dollop a big spoonful of cream on top. (Turns out we didn't actually have any cream, but the greek yogurt worked nicely :).

I'm actually very particular about my apples. The only kind I like to eat and cook with are Figi apples. The reason for this is that they never get uncrispy. Mushy apples are gross. Seriously. (5 medium apples used here).
I also don't think you can ever go wrong when baking with apples. Every homey spice you can think of goes well with apples. I used: 1 tsp of vanilla, 1/2 tsp of lemon extract, 1 tsp of crushed cloves and all spice, 2 tbs of cinnamon, 1/2 tsp of nutmeg. (I think this was for two big strudels).

We're also very big on using mortar and pestles for some reason.

Mix apples, previous spices, 1/2 cup of brown sugar and 1/2 cup of white sugar.

I want to say I used 5 sheets of phyllo here but you really can't go wrong. Brush a thin layer of butter in between each layer and pour apples on the top layer. Fold the sides in and roll to form a log. Brush more layer over the whole thing.
Bake at 350 degrees for 20 minutes or until golden brown. Let cool for 15 minutes before cutting. (or not).

Garnish with powdered sugar and cream (or yogurt in my case).
Random aside: Wegman's has really really delicious thick Greek Yogurt.