The Red (not so) Delicious and other Fruits

12 Sep

One of my favorite bloggers, A Girl Named PJ, did a link round up this week that included one that caught my eye: The Awful Reign of the Red Delicious

I have always wondered who actually eats these lackluster tasting apples and was actually just contemplating my husband’s choice to bring these home over all the other selections in Stew Leonard’s this past week.  The article is fascinating, and now I think I have to question if Mike was eating with his eyes in this case.  (side note: I don’t think he has eaten any of the apples he bought!)

I find it fascinating that so much of the food we eat shows almost no resemblance to the food our grandparents ate.  I distinctly remember my grandfather lamenting the demise of the bananas he grew up on, and it turns out, it wasn’t just the ramblings of a funny (and totally awesome) old man. The Gros Michel banana was nearly wiped out by a fungus in the 50s, so very few of them exist now.  So now we eat the Cavendish variety, which is just as susceptible to a wide-spread wipe out since they are all genetic clones.  Fascinating.

Rumor has it that the fake banana flavoring we know today is based upon the Gros Michel banana. And one of my favorite guilty pleasures is banana flavored runts.  So it makes me very curious about it.  And is it really known as “Big Mike” or is this a funny add-on in Wikipedia?

How do I get my hands on a Gros Michel banana?

And please… no more Red Delicious… it’s Honeycrisp season afterall!

 

Decoy: Peking Duck Dinner

10 Sep

One of my all time favorite things to eat is a Peking Duck meal.  Especially when I get to share it with friends. When that duck is cooked especially well, and the skin is crispy and the meat is succulent, and the hoisin sauce and pancakes and scallions and cucumbers all do the dance of love in my mouth… that’s heaven. I really enjoyed our meal at Peking Duck House in Chinatown a few years ago.

We have a friend who enjoyed Peking Duck as much as I do (maybe even more?) so when I saw that The Infatuation wrote very favorably about Decoy, a place I had been wanting to try, I quickly emailed my Peking Duck-loving friend and we made ourselves a double-date for the following weekend.

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The Peking Duck Dinner is a wee bit on the pricey side at first blush at $65 (woah… just went to the website and looks like they upped it to $78!). But let me tell you… if I could get that much flavor and food and awesomeness out of every $65 (or $78) I spent, I’d be a happy (and stuffed) person.

The Duck Dinner came with 4 small plates, 2 main dishes, and 1 fried rice or side dish.  Plus the duck, which came with duck consomme shots, 10 pancakes, and 3 sauces. And it all came with homemade pickles, decoy chips, and a few extra holes on your belt.

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The chips came out first. I am pretty sure they were fried fish skin of some kind but I don’t remember exactly. I just remember eating them and enjoying them. (And the restaurant was great about avoiding my allergy, peppers, throughout the whole meal)

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Then the pickles, which had a number of different items to choose from, including pickled pineapple.

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Our first selected small plate was Katz’s pastrami triangles.  Very enjoyable, but when you have something like Katz’s pastrami sandwich already being at the pinnacle of the dish, I say don’t mess with it.

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We then had dumplings, though for the life of me I cannot remember which kind they were!  They were good.

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And then the meal began to really ramp up. This was Sweet Potato Noodle Salad topped with Uni (it came with a $12 supplement charge).

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I loved this dish. And this was a few weeks before I had the epic uni experience of Nakazawa.  Usually restaurants are stingy with the uni, but Decoy piled it on and it was deeeelicious. The sweet potato noodles had a nice chew to them that gave the uni something a bit more dense to play off of.

 

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Our final small plate was the grilled wagyu beef pieces, marinated with fresh washabi. Now I don’t really love wasabit… but this steak was one of the best pieces of meat I have ever put in my mouth (yup… I said it).  It was tender and flavorful and just all over spectacular.  This was one of those dishes that as each of the 4 of us split it, I silently wished I were selfish enough to just pick up the entire dish and run down the street with it in hand just to make sure I got to eat every last morsel. (I didn’t… I could not deprive my friends and husband of such awesomeness)

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And then… out came the duck

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With 3 dipping sauces.

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And you think I remember what they were? HA!  Though I kept going back to the more classic hoisin.

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And an incredible picture of the pancakes.

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And lest we forget about the duck consomme shot!  We started with this as a palette cleanser, of sorts, to get us ready for the big duck adventure that awaited us.

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And then we dug in.  Each component of the dish was perfect, with the addition of crispy leaks and some lovely pearl onions to add to the classic other components.

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For our side, we went with soft and crunch vegetable fried rice.  It had goji berries on top!  A really, really great side that went quite well with the duck.

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And as if that was not enough, we still had 2 main entrees to go!

 

First, lobster with wide rice noodles ($10 supplement).   This was very delicious, however, it was covered in sauce which made for the most impossible shelling of the lobster.  We were at a communal table and I was really expecting to launch my lobster claw across the table in an effort to get out every morsel.

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And our last dish of the evening, the marinated and grilled Creekstone rib steak ($10 supplement).  Another amazing fete in beefery.  This melted in my mouth.  Not QUITE as good as the appetizer steak, but still an excellent execution of an excellent dish.

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I was really impressed with our meal at Decoy.  I felt like we absolutely got our money’s worth (even with those supplements and even with the increased cost on the new menu) and it was a great, fun meal to share with 3 other food lovers.  I think I may just need to take a trip back to get my hands on that steak appetizer again though.

Total Nom Points: 8.5 out of 10

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Spoiling myself for my birthday

8 Sep

As I’m sure you can tell from this blog, I don’t exactly deprive myself of delicious things. But when I’m not out at incredible restaurants, I do try to eat healthy as much as possible.  I realized a long time ago that skinny just doesn’t taste very good.  So I’ll take a few extra pounds and be very happy… I just try to watch it when I can.

For my birthday, however, all bets are off.

And my birthday is a multiple day extravaganza, of course, so the eating just keeps on rolling.

The Friday before my birthday, I treated myself to one of my favorite breakfast sandwiches: The Works from Piccolo Cafe.  There are 3 Piccolos in the city (UWS, Midtown East, Midtown West, and near Union Square).  “The Works” has nicely toasted bread, eggs, tomato, lettuce, parmesan, and truffle spread. It’s awesome (they also have really nice pastas).

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I took a half day so on my way to a lovely birthday mani/pedi with my mom, I stopped at Bon Chon Chicken and had my guilty pleasure, fried chicken drumsticks, and a Sea Dog Wild Blueberry Beer (from Maine).  I didn’t totally get the Bon Chon craze, even after trying it, but I find myself craving this chicken on regular occasions and I really have no idea why.

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And for dessert, I was ECSTATIC to find out that Fresh Direct now stocks the very Maine gelato we brought in special for our wedding, Gelato Fiasco.  If you have not tried their Caramel Sea Salt gelato yet, you have not lived. It’s sensational.

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And, of course, the one time each year that I allow myself to have a full fat, full whip, Frappuccino is on my birthday.  This was a caramel frap with chocolate cookie pieces on top. I really wanted the Caramel Crunch one, but that is a seasonal, apparently. This was a close second.

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All these treats were in addition to an amazing meal at Sushi Nakazawa and an impromptu dinner at Lafayette.

A very successful food-filled birthday, if I do say so myself!

#happybirthdaytome