Tuesday, April 19, 2011

NY Food Finds- JUST SPOTTED! Chinawhite Noodle Bar

At the moment, I'm still searching for more details on Chinawhite Noodle Bar (578 Anderson Hill Rd., Purchase, NY 10577) which is located where The Creek used to be. Currently, their Facebook page only reads:
Which doesn't leave me with any actual information. You can visit their website here, but again, no information at all. I'll update this post with news as I get it! I looove noodle bars and hope this is a great addition to the Purchase community!!

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

NY Food Finds- Q

After my last Port Chester dining experience, I was left wanting something more. Thankfully, at the advice of many people around campus, Q (112 N. Main St., Port Chester, NY 10573) came as a potential savior of my hunger. Located just down the street (literally 2 blocks) away from Bartaco, Q is adorned with an orange banner that can be seen from all the way down Main Street. Q is locally famous for their barbeque dishes, and all-you-can-eat ribs on Monday, which is why we were there. We were greeted by a fellow Purchase student working the front counter who assured us that our meal was about to be fantastic. She explained to us that we order up at the counter, and then take a seat at one of the numbered tables and wait for a server to bring over our ordered drinks and food (remember to tip!!).

The view of the front from Table 11!

They have an upstairs seating area for when it gets super busy.

Again, we went to Q because it was a Monday and they have the all-you-can-eat Ribs special ($19.95) and it includes two sides. You can choose from Hickory Pit Baked Beans, Cheesy Corn, Mac 'n Cheese, Cole Slaw, Potato Salad, or Collard Greens. I chose the Mac 'n Cheese and Cheesy Corn, which I must say, were great. Q also has a micro-brew tap special on Mondays-Fridays for $3 and, because I love good beer, couldn't resist a Hoeegarden.

Beer in the early afternoon is one of my favorite things.
They have their own sauce too!

My friend ordered the Kitchen Sink Burger ($12.00) which is topped with a HUGE portion of Pulled Pork, 3 large strips of Bacon, Cheese, and burger fixings (including Jalepenos).There's not much to say about that burger besides the fact that it's a shame that its too large to fit in your mouth all at once. It was delicious, in fact, I think my friend got mad because I was eating too much of it... Anyway... Anytime I hear all-you-can-eat, I jump at the chance to try to eat as much as my body can handle. The Ribs at Q were perfect. The bark was right, the size was right, and the amount of fat and cartilage was proportionate to the size of the ribs. I was only able to eat two refilled plates, but that was plenty.

The "Sink Burger". Yeah, its huge.

I accidentally ate a rib before I took the picture.

Did I love it? Yes. Will I go back? Next Monday. I think this'll be a weekly thing for me and my friends now.

Highly Recommended!

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Sunday, April 10, 2011

NY Food Finds- Blog Catalog!

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NY Food Finds- Bartaco

I woke up this morning craving tacos. Like, that severe craving that could only be cured by a fattening visit to your local Taco Bell. My roommates and I decided to switch it up this time and try out a new taco joint near our school. Bartaco (1 Willett Ave., Port Chester, NY 10573) is a relatively new establishment right on the waters edge in Port Chester. As we walked in, there was a certain Hollister-esque decor on the inside, which isn't a bad thing! Lots of woven furniture/lighting elements, pictures depicting the ocean, and some of the seating were benches very close to the ground (which is where we were seated, and that was NOT a good thing; very cramped as a party of five). Our waiter was busy when we got there, so another server came over and explained how Bartaco's ordering system works. You write down in tally marks on small cards on the table, and when you're ready to order you put it on a little stand, the server comes over, and puts in your order. It works well, but takes away from some of the experience of actually having a server. The food came out extremely fast, and that was good, because we were starving.

This is the Large Tray of tacos/guac/tamales/sides.

Bartaco serves a lot of dishes, each of which is a tiny portion, so you should expect to order at least 4 items. They have plenty of Taco options ($2.50 ea/ 3 for $7): Baja Fish, Red Snapper, Thai Shrimp, Tripe, Pork Chili Verde, Pork Cascabel, Tamarind Beef, Tongue, Chicken al Pastor, Spicy Chorizo, Veal, and Portobello with Queso Fresco. They also serve Salads, Tamales, Gorditas, Quesadillas, Soup, Ceviche, Rice Bowls, Rotisserie Chicken, and PLENTY of sides.
We decided to order the Large Tray ($33), which is a chefs assortment of Tacos, Guacamole, Tamales, and various sides. Our tray included 9 Chicken/Pork/Red Snapper Tacos, 2 Chicken Tamales, Guacamole, and for sides the Chipotle Slaw, Spicy Cucumber Salad, and Pickled Carrots, Onions, and Jalapenos. All of the Tacos were good, the Red Snapper was definitely not my favorite though. The Chicken Tamales and the Guac were my very favorite thing that were on the Tray. I haven't had many tamales in my life, so I'm not sure if these are the best ones around town, but the chicken was tender and the masa was perfectly seasoned; they basically melted in your mouth. 

The entrance of Bartaco.

So, Bartaco. The Hollister of restaurants. Would I go back? Probably not. The restaurant was filled with servers and other various employees that seemed to look busy but weren't actually doing anything. It took us 15 minutes to get acknowledged at our table. My drink was great, but it came out after some of the food made it to the table (a BIG no-no in my book). The food, while good, wasn't necessarily worth the money that they charge for the tiny portions.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

NY Food Finds- Cafeteria

You know that feeling you get at 4 a.m. as you drunkenly stumble out of a NYC club? Yeah, I'm taking about your tummy rumbling. Cafeteria (119 7th Ave. (between 17th and 18th) New York, NY) is the only place to be to satisfy your late nightlife hunger. Cafeteria, or "Caf" as it is commonly called, is a 24 hour modern diner-style restaurant in Chelsea serving their take on classic American comfort food. If you're there during a normal time (before 12 a.m.), you may run into one of the Housewives (NeNe Leakes was just spotted here last week) or maybe even Mariah Carey, who was known to frequent Cafeteria with hubby Nick Cannon. If you're there for "fourthmeal", you'll most likely run into a NYC gay nightlife personality, drag queen, or club promoter. Now, down to the food.

The inside dining room of Cafeteria. You'll never see it this empty. Ever.

The menu changes at different times during the day. They have an "all day" menu, "dinner", and "overnight". More times than not, I've been there for the overnight menu, although I was there last week for dinner. I tried the Braised Short Rib Tacos ($18) which are served with sweet potato puree, blistered corn relish, apple salsa, and crispy tortilla salad. They were stuffed full of great short ribs, which taste similar to brisket with a fuller flavor and heavier sauce. The sweet potato puree, which lined the bottom of the soft tortilla, added a nice contrasting flavor to the meat. These were good, but if its your first time at Cafeteria, you have to try the best thing on the menu: 

Mac and Cheese.

There are three ways to try the Mac and Cheese at Cafeteria. The first is the classic Cafeteria Macaroni and Cheese ($9), you can choose from Cheddar and Fontina (yum), Smoked Gouda and Bacon (+$1, yummy), or with Truffle Oil (+$3, yumtastic). They are all very good, but the Truffle Oil Mac & Cheese is by far my favorite. If you go in time for the overnight menu, you can try the "Mac Attack" ($15) which is a tasting of all three types, and it truly is one of the best foods for the drunken 4 a.m. munchies. But it's not my favorite item at Cafeteria. That title belongs to the Mac and Cheese Spring Rolls ($11), which is the Cheddar and Fontina Mac and Cheese, wrapped and fried inside of a spring roll, served with a Smoked Gouda dipping sauce. These alone are the reason I go to Caf so often. If it is your first time there, these are a MUST.

Basically, if it's late and you're in Manhattan, go to Cafeteria. It's one of my favorite places to eat.

Friday, April 1, 2011

NY Food Finds- Ember Room

Last night I truly ate one of the best meals I've ever had. Celebrity chef Todd English teamed up with Ian Chalermkittichai (formerly head chef of Kittichai, in SoHo) to open the Hells Kitchen masterpiece Ember Room (647 9th Ave. (between 45th and 46th St.), NY, NY 10036). As our server said to us upon seating, Ember Room blends classic American Barbeque with Asian techniques and ingredients. I must say before I start that I was not able to take any photos of the plates we enjoyed, but trust me, they were plated beautifully. You can check out photos of the dishes on the Ember Room website here. The ambiance is unique, wooden walls cover all sides of you (we were seated upstairs) and a ceiling filled with gilded leaves makes it seem like you're dining within a tree (to me). 

Initially, I waited at the bar and enjoyed one of their signature cocktails, a cucumber and lime concoction made with cucumber vodka and actual cucumbers! After my date arrived, the friendly host showed us to our table.

Ember Room places an emphasis on sharing their plates. I personally love this because it just allows you to try more of the menu. We started off with three "small plates" which were:

Big Slab BBQ Pork Belly ($10)- Maple soy glaze & served with fuji apple celeriac slaw
Thai Pastrami Meat Balls ($11)- Tamarind glaze & served with chinese mustard
Chocolate Baby Back Ribs ($11)Chocolate glaze. They say "spicy hot", I beg to differ.

I believe the consensus was that EVERYTHING was fantastic, but we must say the Pork Belly was phenomenal. I was unfamiliar with Pork Belly (aside from seeing it cooked on TV) so this dish as an introduction was probably the best it could have been. The Meat Balls were served first (Ember Room serves dishes as they become ready, even entrees) which was a nice start to the meal. The Baby Back Ribs fell right off the bone. They were soft and succulent, with a savory cocoa flavor and fantastic after effect.

For our Entree plates, we chose:

Red Chili Glazed Sea Bass ($24)- celeriac puree, gailan, and red chili paste.
BBQ Short Ribs ($24)- sweet potato puree, ginger, and a citrus crumb.

The sea bass was easily among the best I've ever had. I was unfamiliar with the vegetable "gailan" before my meal as well, the best way to describe it to me is asian asparagus (although it is commonly known as chinese broccoli). The short ribs were soft and delicious, initially very "brisket" but then you realize the dish has a life of its own.

And of course, dessert. Although left stuffed from our meals and appetizers, we heard the desserts from Ember Room were NOT to be missed. I don't have the exact names of the desserts, but one was a "crepe cake" which was basically layer upon layer (probably 12 total) of crepes, lined with whipped filling, cut and served like a pie with lemon sorbet on the side. The other was a bread pudding made with apple and toffee caramel sauce served with a scoop of toffee ice cream. Now, the crepe dessert was very good, BUT the toffee caramel apple bread pudding was, to put it frankly, orgasm inducing. Fantastic.

Another aspect of this restaurant that's great to mention is that it really is a great place to take a first date. A shout-out goes to Eric for choosing to go to Ember Room and turning me on to such great food!!