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Archive for November 2015

Thanksgiving

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Left the United States three years ago and have lived in a country where Thanksgiving isn’t a holiday. Have compensated for it in the past by having a feast on that day – of course, nothing equal to the way its celebrated in the US – on one occasion, had potatoes and lechon, not quite turkey and mash, but it was delicious nonetheless.

There really is nothing like sitting down to a traditional Thanksgiving feast, especially after not enjoying one for a couple years. From a country that isn’t native to turkeys (and not really much of a culinary fan of turkey), there is a majesty that comes with seeing a cooked and dressed bird arrive to a beautifully set table. Accompanied by all the fixings, in a time when people are supposed to express gratitude, it really brings out the emotions of being thankful for all the work that goes into preparing one dinner – a dinner that goes all day, but, regardless, a dinner.

Adding to the familial feel of Thanksgiving dinner, besides mashed potatoes, cranberry sauce, and candied yams; the dinner is always accompanied by traditional Filipino dishes, pancit (fried noodles) and lumpia (spring rolls). Combining traditions from two different cultures brings forward both a gratitude for where one comes from and everything done to bring someone to where they are today.

Hope everybody had a Happy Thanksgiving! Happy leftovers!

Hope everybody had a Happy Thanksgiving! Happy leftovers!

Written by Paulo Loreto

November 27, 2015 at 10:33 PM

Foie Gras and Membrillo Pintxos

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Haven’t had many opportunities to savor and enjoy the beauty that is foie gras, along with that, also have a great love for tapas and pintxos – what a joy to find out that Huertas, in New York City, combined the two fabulous dishes with their foie gras and membrillo pintxos.

Huertas NYC offers a wide variety of Basque treats, everything from the jamon to the pulpo was amazing – an overall fantastic spot for tapas. Seeing the words foie gras always grabs the attention and once spotted, had to give it a try. The richness of the foie gras, the sweetness from the membrillo, on top of a fantastic crostini – it was an amazing experience.

…later on during the dinner, ordered two more.

Foie Gras Membrillo

Written by Paulo Loreto

November 25, 2015 at 9:18 AM

Monster Sushi

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When walking down 23rd street, on nearly every prior occasion, it has been for the sole purpose of stopping by La Maison du Macaron. On nearly every one of those instances, have also walked by Monster Sushi, given the name, it’s always been a head turner, but had yet to step inside.

After spending an afternoon in the area, found myself a block over and thought it would be an opportune time to stop in. Given the name, was expecting a lot, and even just looking at the menu, they have an extensive list of traditional sushi, innovative sushi, and an array of other Japanese cuisine options.

Ordered a few rolls and the quantity definitely did not disappoint. A huge plate that was full of sushi rolls arrives at the table and it is impossible to decide where to even start. Every roll was fresh and delicious and only wished there was more belly space to fit a few more. Would definitely stop by again – probably won’t have room for macarons afterwards, though.

Monster Sushi NYC

Written by Paulo Loreto

November 24, 2015 at 9:23 AM

Dessert at Café Boulud

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With intentions of stopping by the Metropolitan Museum of Art, in New York City’s Upper East Side, was hoping to find a nice place to enjoy lunch before indulging in artwork for a couple hours. A few blocks down sits the Michelin-star rated Café Boulud, a place that the restaurant’s website says is inspired by four muses, “la tradition, classic French cuisine; la saison, seasonal delicacies; le potager, the vegetable garden; and le voyage, flavors of world cuisines.”

Stepping in, even for lunch, it is an elegant dining room; gentle colors and subtle lightings. The daily prix fixe offers an impressive array of dishes – on this occasion, everything was delicious. But, the showstopper was dessert.

Initially, didn’t order a third course, but the service staff brought up the menu with the third prix fixe options, along with the ala carte menu. One cannot resist when seeing salted chocolate mousse, dacquoise, pomegranate, hazelnut ice cream. Have enjoyed a touch of salt on a variety of desserts, having it with a chocolate mousse was incredible, coupled with the pomegranate and the hazelnut ice cream, it was a fantastic mix of flavors and textures that made this one of the best desserts ever.

When the dessert came to the table, understandably, it drew the attention of parties at neighboring tables.

When the dessert came to the table, understandably, it drew the attention of parties at neighboring tables.

Written by Paulo Loreto

November 19, 2015 at 10:10 PM

Seamore’s

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From the guy that brought the ever popular Meatball Shop, Michael Chernow brings a seafood-based cuisine with Seamore’s. Right on the corner of Broome and Mulberry, you see right into the restaurant in passing, looks very clean and inviting.

Honestly, had first taken notice of the place after getting a “Like” from the restaurant’s instagram on a picture of a cookie enjoyed while in North Carolina. Was immediately drawn when looking into what Seamore’s was all about; the menu was intriguing and knowing it’s a Michael Chernow place, had all the confidence it was going to be a prime destination once back in New York.

Taking a seat at the bar, had a bit of an idea what was the intended order – having gone over the menu several times previously – but still was awestruck by the options. Went with the spicy tuna burger, various machinations of what would arrive ran through my head previously, can truly say, the actual sandwich was beyond expectation. The burger was as it says – spicy; but it wasn’t a jarring spice nor was it slight, the spice warms up throughout the chewing process and pairs so well with the Kölsch they have on tap.

Tuna burger spiced to perfection, generously stacked with fixings.

Tuna burger spiced to perfection, generously stacked with fixings.

Couldn’t be more satisfied after polishing off the burger and devouring every single delicious sweet potato fry, then came the inevitably difficult idea of dessert. The bartender approaches and mentions dessert, had previously eyed it on the menu – pumpkin spice ice cream topped with salted pumpkin seeds – it didn’t take much convincing to go ahead with dessert. A magnificent decision.

Pumpkin spice ice cream with salted pumpkin seeds. Who can say 'No?'

Pumpkin spice ice cream with salted pumpkin seeds. Who can say ‘No?’

Written by Paulo Loreto

November 11, 2015 at 8:04 PM

Big Gay Ice Cream

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Leaving New York City three years ago, I would always see instagram posts and, even, TV segments on food shows about a truck called the Big Gay Ice Cream truck. Adorned with a rainbow ice cream cone as its logo, they were constantly being praised for their array of soft serve flavors and toppings.

Returning to New York City on vacation, I finally had a chance to visit. No longer just an ice cream truck, now, they have two brick and mortar shops in both Greenwich Village and the East Village. On this particular occasion, stopped by the Greenwich Village location, on Grove street.

Stepping into the location, it’s not the typical ice cream shop one would expect. Usually, it’s stacks of ice cream, of all flavors, strewn across the place. At Big Gay Ice Cream, it’s a very simple, clean, and modern look. The board behind the cashier displays all of their specialties, which isn’t just limited to soft-serve; they also sell sundaes, shakes, and floats.

When ordering, went with my first instinct, the Bea Arthur. Described as vanilla ice cream, dulce de leche, and crushed nilla wafers; the Bea Arthur was a great selection. The ice cream is so soft and creamy, and mixed with the dulce de leche and the nilla wafers, it’s a seemingly perfect combination. The added bonus, apparently, before the entire thing is put together, some dulce de leche is squeezed into the bottom of the cone for a sweet surprise as you finish the amazing treat.

Nilla wafers have never been so awesome.

Nilla wafers have never been so awesome.

Written by Paulo Loreto

November 7, 2015 at 9:16 PM

Jane

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On many instances, one of the things that make the work experience what it is is the environment. Whether the place of work is surrounded by business, greenery, or part of an office park, it really impacts the way one operates at the job. In a previous job, before moving overseas, had the prime opportunity of working in between New York City’s Greenwich Village and SoHo. North, south, east, or west, there was always something to see or do.

One of the great lunch spots in the area is Jane, situated right on Houston Street. Also known for their weekend brunch, during the week, the place never disappointed with their offerings, which change seasonally.

A classic, one of the constants, is their Jane Burger. With ingredients stacked high, their signature rosemary fries, and a cold beer, that’s a lunch one doesn’t forget too easily. The burger is cooked to order, juicy with a generous helping of bacon, and those rosemary fries – those come in a large pile on the side of the platter – delicious and filling.

And with lunches like that, it makes the rest of the day a good one.

Sometimes a burger is a burger, other times, it’s a Jane Burger.

Sometimes a burger is a burger, other times, it’s a Jane Burger.

Written by Paulo Loreto

November 5, 2015 at 7:24 PM