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Archive for June, 2006

an el paso dinner

Alvin’s craving: Arroz Con Pollo
Alvin’s location: YMCA @ Avalon
Beancurd’s solution: El Paso

el paso
look for this sign on W. Houston & go downstairs

Last night was the first time I’ve seen Alvin since I’ve been back from my extended time away from nyc.  I took him to the place the gang and I went to for my birthday last year [where, incidentally, I bumped into Diana who decided to dine there with her family].  I like this place because of it’s good prices and their big pots of paella and arroz con pollo.  Also, because of my Asian-ness, I appreciate their freebies.  Everyone at the table gets chips and salsa, warm bread and butter, and a salad- even if you’re sharing an entree!

   chips n dip
chips & salsa [we had two baskets of these babies]

El Paso is this little holey type restaurant down West Houston.  By the looks of it outside, there’s nothing spectacular, but inside, there is a ton of artwork and all the workers are Spanish [authenticity?].  They have this wonderful 1 1/4 pound lobster deal for less than $20 for all of you seafood lovers out there.  Me, I’m allergic to shellfish so I’ll have to pass. 

Apparently, Alvin’s craving rubbed off on the majority of our party and we ended up ordering 3 orders of arroz con pollo.  Aldous switched from Lobster to steak and then finally settled on the chicken.  Rachel was the unique one.  She got the Paella Valenciana [Rice, Seafood, Chicken and Spanish Sausage].  The guys didn’t like the rice much, but they liked the juicy and tender chicken.  They said the rice at my alma mater is better .. I’m thinking because the rice is not as dry here?  I like that the juices of the chicken seep into the rice, giving it extra flavor.  Rachel didn’t have any complaints about her paella.

      arroz con pollo      
chicken and rice =D

paella
[half of the paella]

We did manage to have dessert after this.  Well, Rachel and I did.  The rest of the group passed.  We went to Ciao Bella, my all time favorite gelato place to date.  We split the Peaches and Cream and Mocha Chip gelato.  No pictures.  Sorry.  Too busy gulping it down.

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In celebration of Corinne’s 3 wonderful months working at RFI and of my safe return to the NYC, we decided to catch up for dinner at “her” fusia.  The fusia previously mentioned and one we’ve often visited is further south.  Corinne’s been going on and on about this place ever since she’s started at RFI.  I figured it was finally time to trek over and see what all the fuss was about.  The bad thing was that both of us managed to eat ourselves crazy that day and neither of us was hungry come 6PM.  So what do you do when this happens?  Don’t just order a drink- order appetizers!

ginormous meatball sized tuna tartar
ginormous meatball sized tuna tartar

She introduced me to their spicy tuna tartar.  Not your typical looking tartar, now is it?  This baby lies on slices of mango and seems to have been toasted slightly all around so there’s a crispness to it [you can see some of the crisps on the plate], and the ball is topped off with sesame and fish roe.  I would definitely come by just for this thing alone.  She also had some corn and asparagus soup with this, which is not pictured.

spring rolls
spring rolls with lime sauce

I decided on spring rolls b/c I lurve the Viet spring rolls and this came with their own sauce [lime flavored].  I actually enjoyed this much more than I thought I would.  I was half expecting some re-fried frozen ones but it tasted like they made these at the restaurant.  I also ordered a papaya salad which I wasn’t impressed with.  It had carots, mint [ack!], peanuts, papaya shavings, and lettuce in a minty dressing.  I poured my lime sauce over it but it didn’t help too much.  It looks pretty but it didn’t taste very pretty.  Maybe I didn’t enjoy it because I’m not a fan of mint or I thought there’d be more to it but it seems like Papaya Salad from Fusia is a look but don’t touch plate.

papaya salad
papaya salad

And finally, where’s one of the two of us.

corinne & tina

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EVERYONE can comment now!

Hello to all my lovely readers out there.  After a little over two months, I’ve finally gotten off my lazy ass [ok.. technically there was no getting up needed] and created a new and hopefully improved site!  This is going to be all food, all the time- except for my occasional rantings that I feel are imperative to share with the world.  Anyway, I am uber excited b/c I’ve been added to the list that’s considered “food porn.”

So comment people!  Leave something sweet! =D

Check back later when I import all my foodie entries from the old blog.  [www.xanga.com/missbeancurd]

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I’ve been very bad lately.  My dating rut has caused me to be camera-less these past few days and I’ve been taking minimal [and visually crap] pictures with my Treo phone as of late.  I promise starting tomorrow, I’ll start carrying my camera with me at all times again.  Really.

So let me start at the beginning.  Thursday, Alan and I met up to go to St. Mark’s b/c he’s been having these ridiculous cravings for soba.  Apparently, no one wanted to go sastiate his craving with him except yours truly, the food whore.  Okay, so this is the bad foodie part.  Idon’trememberthenameoftherestaurant.  Seriously.  It’s the place with the good fried ice cream and the small grill in front.  There’s only one place I ever get fried ice cream from and it’s the only place any of my friends get fried ice cream from- so I’m assuming if you go to St. Marks, you ought to know what I’m taking about.  The one across from Kenka’s.  Help with the name or wait til I get around the area again. 

Here’s what we ordered [as in.. mostly I]:

  • miso cod 
  • spicy tuna roll 
  • eel roll
  • Omu-soba x 2
  • green tea fried ice cream

The grilled cod with miso paste was disappointing.  I still remember having the one from Nobu a year ago and still can’t get it out of my mind cuz it was so mindblowingly good.  Yes, St. Mark’s and Nobu are worlds apart, but you’d think the authenticity of a St. Mark’s restaurant would mean that it was good right?  Nope.  I mean, it wasn’t bad but it didn’t taste the way it was suppose to.  it was salty and the miso was nonexistent.  A unique thing about this place is that they make their own special spicy mayo- it’s yellow, not orange.  I don’t know what’s in it but it’s spicier than the regular one I’m used to and had more of a liquid consistency.  Me likes!  The omu-soba was good.. I’m officially obsessed with Japanese [asian?] mayo.  For those of you who don’t know what omu-soba is- it’s fried soba [Soba noodles are made of buckwheat flour (soba-ko) and wheat flour (komugi-ko)] with pork and veggies wrapped in an omelet with some unidentified brown sauce and the infamous mayo with fried union peels sprinkled on top. 

          
black miso cod  //  omusoba

Here’s to you, John, who swears I am anti-real-Japanese food.  [just gotta be in the mood, remember?]

Saturday night, Jon, Daniel, and I went to St. Mark’s again.  This time to Sushi Lounge.  3 Rolls and Ramen.  Again, I didn’t bring my camera out.  Bad bad Tina, I know.  Basically, Jon and I split 3 rolls:  Orange Dragon, Christmas, and Titanic [all specialty rolls from Lounge].  Descripts to come with pictures next time I go.  Promise.  [ummm yea.. I may have made this promise the last time I posted about Lounge]. 

What follows dinner?  Dessert!  Chikalicious had too long of a line [it’s yummers btw, all who haven’t been should definitely go] so we hit up Veniero’s.  I got a slice of tiramisu while the boys got a chocolate canoli and cheesecake.


pic courtesy of lovescool.com

What do you do on a Saturday night when the soju place you’re thinking of going to is closing in 15 mins?  Walk off the calories from the previous two stops and go for some more dessert!  Where’d we end up?  Room 4 Dessert.  We got to sample its tasting menu.  $12 for 4 courses served all at once.  They change the menu constantly, so be sure to check it out!  The chocolate ice cream was way too dark for me, especially since I’m not a big chocolate fan [I know, I know].  The mousse was good though!  Jon had some apricot sorbet and that was sooo yummers.  The beet sorbet was not very good, but the flakes were good [it was sugared].  The shrink wrap bread was very interesting and very good.  It tastes like real raspberry space food cotton candy stuff. 


chocolate everythings: nutella & bread/ chocolate shake/ chocolate mousse/ chocolate ice cream


red: raspberry vanilla parfait| beet sorbet w/corn flakes| raspberry bread| hibiscus vodka jello

And that concludes Saturday night.  Sunday, the guys and I hit up Bounce– this semi-new sports bar in the East Village and saw some of the Portugal world cup game.  This is definitely a hot place for guys, I’m sure cuz all the waitresses are tall and hot. 

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big apple bbq

I have started to eat meat a whole lot more than I used to.  I even ate ribeye without an once of disgust in my eyes but there are limits.  That limit is reached when I am faced with tons and tons of … bar-be-cue.  I reached that limit easily at the Big Apple Bar-be-cue Block Party at Madison Square Park two weekends ago.  See, I was originally under the impression that I would eat a lot of ribs [which I lurve, btw] but I realized that there is a LOT of meat involved in this event- ex. pulled pork. 

There are approximately 10 vendors and Eva and I had an original plan of hitting up all of them to sample some of the country’s best bbq.  Wellll… that didn’t go over very well.  By the third vendor, I was already sick of looking at meat, much less think about having to eat it.  Eva, Jack, and I managed to get through 6 vendors before calling it quits.

We decided on the divide and conquer concept.  First, we establish a rendevous  point; the corner of 24th & Madison

I hit up Blue Smoke [St. Louis ribs w/ dill pickles] while Eva goes to Big Bob Gibson’s [pulled pork shoulder w/ spicy crisp southern mustard coleslaw].  You may notice the extremely small portion of food from Blue Smoke- but that’s only b/c we forgot to take the cam out until we were halfway through the “meal.”  Both Eva and I have actually had ribs from Blue Smoke before.  She thinks it’s one of those “hit or miss” places because she says that sometimes they actually screw up the ribs [so sad].  Jack commented that he went to Virgil’s the night before, but the ribs were nothing like these [duh- I could’ve told him that!].  Not to knock Virgil’s or anything; they are good but Blue Smoke still takes the cake in my book.

     
Blue Smoke Ribs // marinating ribs


how much sauce is too much? [Big Bob’s]
Another thing I kept doing is eating the bread.  I am such a sucker for potato bread and that’s what all the vendors were using in both bun and slice form!  I had to be stopped… multiple times. 

Since the line for Big Bob’s was long… so I went onto Dinosaur BBQ’s line.  They had pulled pork shoulder with beans.  The most memorable part about this?  The beans.  They were slammin’.  Holy smokes.  I don’t know what I’ve never ordered beans from them before.  Have I?  Must recheck old photos.


*slurp

Jack finally decides to join us so we make him go on the longest line; the link for the Salt Lick [it was a 1.5 hr wait btw].  While he did that, I hit up Mitchell’s, Eva hit up Tabla and Smoki O’s.  Tabla wasn’t an official vendor at Big Apple BBQ but they had some interesting Indian bbq fusion stuffs.  Chutney pulled pork burger for one.  For the record, I did try the sausage cuz Jack was convinced it was sooo good and ACK!  I’ve always hated sausage and even sausage from one of the best bbq joints still doesn’t do it for me.  Sorry.  At least I tried? 


Mitchell’s: Whole Hog w/ Mustard Coleslaw [love that there was slaw in the hog.. there was also pork rind]  sorry for the awful pic- I couldn’t see the shadows- it was wayy sunny

   
line at Salt Lick // brisket, sausage and slaw [slaw was bleh]


Smoki O’s ribs; good but so stuffed at this point


Don’t know where the Tabla food pix went so here’s the vendor! 
The restaurant is actually directly in back of the vendor.

We couldn’t even finish the last couple of dishes.  It was too difficult.  Too much meat.  Soo full, we didn’t even leave room for …. dessert! 

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It was a big bar-be-que weekend for me last week.  On Saturday, the gang and I got together to celebrate Daniel [Nasdaq’s] birthday … with what else.. FOOD!  The day after, Eva, Jack, and I hit up the Big Apple BBQ event in Madison Square Park [photos to come].  Actually, the week before, I went to a bbq in Phoenix.  The meet of choice at both events?  RIB-EYE.  I didn’t touch it this time around [most of you know why] but there wasn’t exactly a choice the first time.

 
3 humungo slabs of ribeye       


 phil seasoning them [he looks like he’s having difficulty]


loin of roast cooked

    
marinating loin / kalbi up top right


while the boys worked; the twins battled it out: chopsticks vs. corkscrew


box cake by twin

   
claiming of the cake

 
will proves he’s claimed his piece

      
cupcakes with layers of frosting to be caked at Daniel 
 

 
cupcake splatter aftermath [see the dead candles?]


me and the birthday boy!

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It’s Friday afternoon and I feel like I’m in a total work related rut.  I really ought not to complain.  Who else gets paid to sit in her cube all day and surf the web?  You know what that means… more food blogging.


Cathay Pacific Meal [served from jfk to hkg]: shrimp salad appetizer, warm bread roll, terragon chicken with potatoes, carrots and stringbeans, milano cookies, tiramisu, and a glass of red wine [which was gross, btw]


China Southern Airlines [guang zhou to hang zhou]: noodles with beef and peppers, pineapple salad with mangos [canned stuffs]


China Southern Airlines Snack [nanjing to guangzhou]: bread roll, ham and pickled cabbage, muffin [don’t remember flavor], pineapple

On another note, I feel like I’m also in a travel rut- which honestly, is a bit scary.  I’ve never been in a travel rut- ever.  I don’t even really comprehend the words completely.  I feel like I’ve run out of places to visit, but at the same time, there are just so many places that I haven’t been to yet.  Like Chicago.  Why is it that I have no will power to leave when only a week ago I was scrambling to leave NYC again?  Maybe I’ve just settled back into my NYC life so much that I just don’t feel the need to get away.  Yes.  Maybe that’s it.  I seriously need to do something with my life. 

My supervisor’s asking me if I want any days off in the month and a half, two months to come.  My answer?  I’ll look into it.  I really can’t bring myself to plan another trip.  Maybe that’s it.  I just can’t get on another plane.

Let’s calculate Tina’s travel hrs since 4.30: [plane only]
4.30: 15 hrs from jfk to hkg
5.7:     2 hrs from can to hang zhou
5.12:   2 hrs from nan jing to can
5.29: 12 hrs from hkg to van
         4.5 hrs from van to jfk
5.31:   5 hrs from lga to dallas
            2 hrs from dallas to tus
6.4:     4 hrs from tus to ord
            3 hrs from ord to lga

what does that equal?  [add this to the amt of time spent in the actual airport with it = hell and back]

And all this for a person who hates flying.

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