Jun 30, 2013

nyc: gray's papaya

i've seen it in the movies and tv shows so many times. it was a must that i try gray's papaya.

i had the recession special, 2 dogs and a drink.

i like the bread, the bun was soft but it was a bit toasted on the outside. the dogs? they were thin and salty, that's it. nothing amazing, it wasn't even that flavorful, it has a nice snap but that was it. i opted for sauerkraut and onions. the sauerkraut deemed to be the perfect choice as it balanced out the saltiness of the hotdog. as for the onions it was sliced onions cooked in a red sauce with not much flavor at all, i really couldn't make much out of it, it wasn't sweet, it wasn't tart as well since i thought it was cooked in tomato sauce. it didn't really add anything. maybe caramelized onions would have been perfect.

the drink was good though, it doesn't taste much like papaya but it was a milky fruity drink not too sweet, enough to quench my thirst. for 5 bucks in new york city, i wouldn't complain, still a perfect quick bite.

gray's papaya
cor of broadway and W 72nd
cor of 6th and W 8th

Jun 28, 2013

nyc: applebee's

this was a meal by chance. i was supposed to have lunch at nobu and i didn't remember that it was closed on sundays. i was so disappointed. i just started to walk aimlessly towards gershwin theatre where i will watch wicked later on that day.

i was stumped! i knew benihana was nearby but i really didn't want to shell out atleast 30 USD for a meal i wasn't too keen to have. now that i am writing this i forgot that there was a nearby momofoku, darn!

i digress, so applebee's was by chance. but it's not like i was forced to eat there. i also had a goal of trying out these american chains that are not available in asia (applebees has a branch in singapore though) like olive garden and red lobster to name a few. anyway, i just walked in and had my lunch at applebee's.

sorry about the bad lighting, this was margarita queso chicken and shrimp. when i saw my plate i got a  bit apprehensive, the chicken breast looked a bit overcooked and dry. but i was wrong! it was still tender and juicy inside. the salsa, creamy avocado and cheese just made it more flavorful. this was a happy meal. i saw from the website that it was 9.99 but i think, i paid more for it. if i'm not mistaken resto chains in nyc charge more than the ones in other locations.

7th and W 50th
new york, new york

Jun 27, 2013

nyc: ess-a-bagel

probably one of the iconic eats in new york would be a bagel. ess-a-bagel is a popular bagel shop in nyc, it's close to my hotel so it was perfect. i woke up pretty early so i didn't rush to ess-a-bagel the line becomes very long mid morning.

i wanted to get a mini bagel only because of you know the calories =). but they didn' have any mini bagels. i was a bit irritated that they had to tell me there isn't  much price difference. hello it wasn't about the price it was the carbohydrates and calories that comes with it. anyway, i opted for the regular size, whole wheat of course. their bagels come in different flavors so be prepared to get confused but hurry up in deciding from what i've read when the store gets busy the guys preparing the bagels get pretty nasty so you better know what you want to order as you reach the counter.

i had mine sliced and toasted with vegetable cream cheese on the side. there are so many options of cream cheese available, what also piqued my interest was the sundried tomato cream cheese but with the reviews i've read, the vegetable cream cheese was highly recommended. i got it on the side because:

1. i want to control the amount of cream cheese i'll ingest...again trying to be health conscious here.
2. it was mentioned that the on the side option costs less.

so here's my bagel after i've slathered sufficient cream cheese not even half of what's inside the container. the bagel was very dense, i only finished half or even less than that. the vegetable cream cheese has peppers, carrots and celery? i forgot if it did have celery but predominantly red bell peppers. it was good but i reckon it was freshly made so the flavors haven't really seeped into the cream cheese yet. it was like 7am on a sunday morning i was probably one of the few who was awake in nyc hehe.  i had coffee too it was bleh.

i love bagels but i think this one is really too dense for me and maybe i should have ordered a different flavor and didn't try hard to be super health conscious haha. it was ok, nothing mind blowing so to speak so i guess that's also the reason why i didn't finish it, let's just say it wasn't worth the calories.

831 3rd avenue near E 51st st.

Jun 22, 2013

nyc: chipotle

finally i get to try chipotle. i love mexican food though i am not a fan of burritos because of the rice. i was thinking of getting a salad bowl and then some nachos but realized it's better to get the tacos instead. i'm practically getting the same things with less calories =).

got the regular serving which is 3 pieces of tacos (didn't know there was an option of getting just 1 piece had i known, i probably just got 2 =). chose barbacoa as a filling had lettuce, green salsa, corn salsa and cheese and requested for guacamole which apparently is charged at an extra cost.

i needed an extra kick and good thing they have chipotle tabasco =) and izze a nice sparkling grapefruit juice that balanced out my meal. definitely satiated my mexican food cravings.

E 52nd st. and lexington ave.

Jun 21, 2013

nyc: the best new york cheesecake?

my first meal in nyc!  junior's is famous for its cheesecake but it also has a restaurant. i visited the grand central terminal branch since it was the closest to my hotel.

i was a bit shocked to see that everything were in disposables i.e. paper plates and plastic knives and forks. well atleast they were using paper plates and paper bowls and not the styrofoam kind!

i had a lunch delight which was a choice of soup and half a sandwich, it wasn't really a half sandwich but a smaller sandwich using a roll.

i tried the matzoh ball soup, i have always been keen to try matzoh ball and i finally took the plunge. it was nice, the matzoh ball was very soft and flavorful but i think that they used artificial flavoring the matzoh ball tastes like knorr chicken cubes or maybe they used canned chicken broth to make the matzoh ball.

i had a corned beef sandwich...it was ok. i didn't try the bread since i was trying to cut back on carbs. it looks small but it was really substantive. who wouldn't want fresh corned beef in a sandwich right? it was a bit salty for me but i've had acquired the malaysian palate which has low tolerance for salty foods so it should be alright for others.

and of course, i have to try their famous cheesecake. it was wet! only the top part was baked/cooked through, the middle part was a bit wet and it doesn't have the rich cream cheese goodness.

i just read a blog post on authenticity and deliciousness. authentic does not always mean it's delicious. if this is what a new york cheesecake should be like then i prefer the asian versions of the new york cheesecake. cooked through, dense and oozing with that cream cheese flavor.

grand central terminal
new york city, new york
check out their website for other branches

Jun 19, 2013

kitchen's best

it was one traffic jammed night at C5 and i was so famished that i convinced my dad to go to bgc to grab a bite. unfortunately all the parking areas in the high street area were full. i thought of going to eat well since my dad loves chinese food but i dunno where it was exactly and where to park. i just had the car parked somewhere near where i think eat well was but since it was raining i didn't want to walk far and then i saw kitchen's best across the street so that's where we ate.

40 50  cloves chicken. i forgot the exact name it was falling of the bones tender and my mom loved the garlic and olive oil.

beef belly with tomato and red wine? i was having a gastric attack so i didn't get this but my dad did. it was actually sweet which my dad didn't like. and since i got the beef belly too but with mushroom gravy, we swapped viands. both were tender but my tito's serving got lots of fat, i do hope they ensure each serving has the right amount of meat and fat.

the desserts were too tempting plus i know that they are famous for their cakes as well. got the ube and mango sans rival. my malaysian adjusted palate couldn't take too much sweetness but they were both good., equally good, i guess it depends on your mood. when you want to relive your childhood of ube macapuno ice cream because that's what the oldies want, then the ube flavor is more comforting. if you want something fruity with some amount of tartness to counteract the cloyingly sweet meringue then go for mango. bottom line is, it's meant to be shared :) .

kitchen's best
mckinley park residences
3rd ave 31st st. the fort
(right across the parking area beside the mind museum)

gourmandise patisserie

i love puff pastries!!! there's something about the soft pillow insides and crunchy outer skin of a choux pastry and rich vanilla custard that entices me. so when you talk about eclairs, artisan eclairs at that, i imagine the best cream puff i've tried but in an elongated shape with a mind blowing filling other than custard and a delectable topping/frosting as well.

the eclairs of gourmandise patisserie were none of that. they were small, dry and none of the flavors were distinct, i expected the raspberry would be oozing with flavors of raspberry - tart and fruity or the dulce de leche really tasting like the rich south american caramel, but none of them were like that. below are the ones i got and none really wowed me so to speak.

maybe it's just me, maybe i do not have an idea on what french eclairs should be. i grew up with dunkin donut's eclair which were long doughnuts filled with bavarian cream and topped with choco frosting. of course those aren't eclairs as they weren't choux pastry. all i can say is, i was really disappointed, they weren't what i expected them to be. and costing almost a 100 PHP each is quite a luxury, i'm glad i didn't buy all the flavors.

gourmandise patisserie
bgc, taguig

an afternoon at cake club

unfortunately i failed, apparently i still have some leftover posts from 2012. anyway here it is. when in manila i  try to maximize my day and do as much errands as i can or eat at as many restos as i can. i had a dinner get together with some of my ex colleagues in mckinley so i decided to schedule my spa treatment in the afternoon and had a super late lunch at the cake club before heading to mckinley hill.

foie gras macaron, i love foie gras and this really piqued my interest. it was bleh. the filling wasn't rich it was missing something i couldn't figure out what maybe it needed more foie gras or maybe it just needed more salt? and i am not fond of the macaron itself it was airy and "chunky" i dunno how to explain it of course it wouldn't fare well against laduree and pierre herme in terms of texture but for me i think some home bakers could have done better with the texture and at 150 PHP, just forget it.

mentaiko spaghetti, it's one of their famous dishes. this was a tough choice i wanted to try their burger and beef belly too but this one won me over.

it was ok, nothing mind blowing about it. i actually was able to replicate it. i'll write about it on a separate post.

i still wanna go back and try the other dishes, maybe i'll get lucky and get a wow moment :).

cake club
bonifacio high street central
the fort, taguig