Archive for November 8th, 2006

After my dinners at Morimoto and Spring Street Natural, I still wasn’t done with my birthday celebration with food.  There were still many-a more meals to go.  I figure that my birthday is the perfect excuse to be a fatty.  Even to this day, a whole week and a half since my birthday, I haven’t received all my promised birthday meals yet.  Alvin, being the sweet man that he is wants to cook me dinner and bake me cookies!  He’s devising a special menu and we’re gonna go to Chelsea market and make a day of it.  Too bad I have to wait two more weeks before he’s free for this! 

Also, Bak came back from Harrisburg aka the middle of nowhere Pennsylvania to take me to brunch.  I chose Ivo & Lulu since it’s a tiny place and I know I could never go with the regulars.  Sadly, I was stupid enough to think that they would serve lunch and dinner, but realized when we got there that they have dinner service!  Now I really have to find a way to come for dinner.  There are tons of restaurants in the Tribeca area that I haven’t gotten to try yet, mainly because for the two years or so that I worked in the area, I mainly confined myself to the Hudson Street/Nobu area.  BTW, if you guys are in that area- definitely check out Bubby’s.  It’s one of my favorite sandwich places ever.

We ended up going to Lucky Strike, because the fact that they wrote their menu on the mirrors that line the walls really drew me in.  It reminds me of how Balthazarhas their menu on the mirrors.  Yes, I’m a sucker for marketing gimmicks.  …Hmm… I just looked on the website and realized that this is actually a sister restaurant to Balthazar [seriously, I didn’t know].  This is definitely a low key version of their more popular chains.  I’ve never seen a Balthazar/Pastis like overcrowding here all the times I’ve walked by.  In fact, I think Lucky Strike has a more cozy and basic neighborhoody type vibe.  There’s a full bar in the front and in the back is the main dining room that has about roughly 15 tables for 2.  I like the skylight in the back letting in natural sunlight- especially on a Saturday afternoon.  Their brunch menu was small medley of French and American fare.  There were a few lunch and a few breakfast items, which was as much as I could ask for. 

lucky strike lucky strike

For once, I was all egg-ed out to order my typical eggs benedict.  Arthur and I actually did a lot of burger talk the night before- we were on the subject of BLT Burger for the longest time, that I now had a craving for a burger.  We were discussing BLT Burger’s soft opening a week before it was set to open and both started craving their kobe beef burger.  Do you see where this is going?  I ordered a burger, which is as atypical as a beancurd can get.  Granted, it was a veggie burger, but it was a burger nonetheless.  Hands down, the firm’s caf makes the best veggie burgers.  They’re fat and you can see actual veggies when you cut the patty in half; it’s absolutely amazing and so tasty. 

veggie burger

My veggie burger came with a slice of provolone cheese on an english muffin ( I seriously don’t know what’s up with sandwiches on english muffins lately) and a side of fries.  This patty was such a disappointment because it reminded me of one those that you get in the frozen section at the local supermarket.  I can’t even reiterate what it tasted like or what I thought was in the patty… on a second thought, it’s weird I didn’t question its contents earlier.  It was light colored and looked like a soy patty, which I’m almost certain it wasn’t.  The actual patty also didn’t have much distinct individual flavor.  It was just filling for my ketchup, mustard, lettuce, and tomatoes.  So aside from the unmemorable veggie patty experience, there were the fries.  They were normal enough; not crispy enough for a crunchy fry whore like myself but at the same time, not soggy enough for me to refuse.

brioche toast

I had Bak order the brioche french toast (a) because it’s not challah, (b) brioche is my favorite bread (challah being second), (c) because it sounded yummy.  The order of french toast came with fresh fruit, ie. banana, grapes, and honeydew.  The honeydew was surprisingly sweet and tasty for the end of October.  French toast in brioche isn’t really different than in challah from what I could tell; maybe it’s the batter that makes them taste the same?  Anyhow, this french toast wasn’t as fluffy or as fat as I originally anticipated it to be.  I’ve seen people smush french toast to the grill so it’d cook faster, and it seems that that practice was exercised here.  I remember the cooks at my college used to do that to speed things up.  The restaurant wasn’t exactly packed so I’m surprised this tactic was used.

Whether or not Lucky Strike lived up to my standards is irrelevant since we devoured everything without complaint.  In fact, I think I ate more than Bak.  I think the Pennsylvania suburbs shrank his appetite.  Sadness.

 ….  That night, I went out to Petite Abeille, which is the same place I had brunchwith Irene and Eva a few months back.  I chose this place mainly because it is spacious.  I knew it would accommodate our group of 15 with no trouble.  Most of the restaurants I like to eat at are tiny, so it took me a while to think of this place.  Anyways, Petite Abeille serves Belgian fare, which I’m not entirely familiar with- even after I’ve eaten here.  I mean I drink Stella and Lambec’s, but that’s as Belgian as I usually go.  My french teacher in the 7th grade was Belgian though, but that means absolutely nothing here.

petite abeille bread basket
inside the restaurant  //  reserved- just for us (the table, not the bread)

I ordered the vol au vent friteswith the description of: chicken stew with bacon, onion, mushrooms served in a puff pastry.  I took this to be a chicken pot pie of sorts- something I absolutely adore cuz I mean, come on, it’s like having a bit of dessert in your main course!  Well, this wasn’t exactly chicken pot pie, it was more a square shaped ashtray with the chicken and other stuff stuffed inside and a cream sauce trying to drown everything.  The puff pastry was fluffy due to its hundreds of layers, and it was the highlight of my dish.  The rest of it was bland, even the cream sauce, which I expected to give my chicken flavor.  It was hard to believe I had two bland items in one day.  I kept thinking that some hot sauce would really kick my dish up a notch, but refrained from asking.  I’m all for natural flavors, but this dish had no flavors.  I don’t know where they escaped to!   

chicken stew puff pastry
 Jen ordered the macaroni jambon fromage au gratin(gratinated ham and cheese macaroni) which gave us all serious flashbacks to Jupiter, Florida and the Food Shack.  I think we could all swear on our own lives that we’ve never had better mac and cheese than at the Food Shack.  We could subsist on that and burritos from Anna’s Tacqueria in Cambridge for the rest of our lives and be happy people.  It wasn’t so much the taste of this dish that reminded us of Florida, but the presentation.  The big humungo bowl of what seems to be never ending cheesy goodness is just too foodgasmic.  I liked how this dish wasn’t overwhelmingly cheesy, but the inside were a mixture of cheese and cream, that I found to be too creamy.  By not too cheesy, I meant a forkful of the cheese on top and the noodles, which were soft and more rigatoni than macaroni.

mac n cheese cheese noodles

Petite Abeille’s best offering is probably their mussels.  I guess I should’ve known that since they advertise a beer and mussels special on Monday nights.  The exact details escape me, but you can check it on their website.  Ian got the grand-mere [grandma!] mussels.  I have no idea why they would be grand mother mussels, because it comes in a creamy bacon and beer concoction- wouldn’t that be more grandpa-ish?  Anyways, this sauce was so good, I wanted to slurp it up out of the pot.  There was a good balance of bacon and beer flavors with a smoothness at the end, but it didn’t taste like you were drinking beer straight up- it was more the aroma than anything.  Each serving comes with 2lbs of mussels [which isn’t much after you eliminate the shells, but still a good portion], so it was a nice hefty pot and thankfully I sat right across from Ian- so it was easy for me to steal the mussels.  The mussels were probably the most redeeming dish to the restaurant’s dinner menu.  This only means one thing- I’ll have to hit up that beer and mussel special someday.


 One last note before all you people scurry off with your lives… Jen also ordered a beef tartare dish.  I tried to find the dish on the online menu and either I overlooked it or it’s not there b/c I couldn’t find it.  I was trying to find the exact description for you guys.  What I wanted to say was that when the server brought the dish over to our table, I’m quite sure I had a pretty appalled look on my face.  The tartare has been pated to look like raw ground beef someone forgot to throw onto the grill, with some fake grill marks.  I didn’t know what to make of this dish.  Beef tartare is an actual beef dish I would willingly eat, but I wasn’t so sure what to think when I saw this.  I mean, yes, it’s a clever way to present a dish, but the idea of it being so closely related to an actual burger just got to me.  I am probably just making too much of it – but that’s what you get from a girl who’s nicknamed Miss Beancurd.  So my foodiness got to me and I dug my fork in and it’s not so bad if you like mushy beef with a ton of scallions.  There was an astounding amount of scallions crammed into this patty.  I can stand a few here or there, but I thought this was overkill since it was all I could taste.

beef tartar

Okay, one more note.  It’s a small one and it’s about their fries.  So… I didn’t like them.  I guess that’s not a big surprise, right?  They’re not skinny and crunchy.  In fact, just by looks alone, they remind me of the fries from Wendy’s.  These fries are perfect for those of you who like big fat soggy potato-y tasting fries. 




I guess you can just call me a picky eater.

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