Contemporary Western, Food, New York, Travel

I was very lucky to be in New York City during their Restaurant Week of Summer 2014. Tiffany and I had several options in mind but eventually, we narrowed it down to Nougatine at Jean Georges. It has been a year and more since I last tasted Michelin quality foods so it was time to get my treat in New York City. I’ve already dined at Michelin starred restaurants in Hong Kong and New York City was definitely one of the next places to go, would you have to agree?

After a lovely walk around Central Park, we finally got to Nougatine for our lunch. The restaurant was contemporary, clean and very comfortable. I also loved the large window with the view of Central Park, but we didn’t get to sit near there. No doubt, the restaurant was packed with people during lunch hour and the last week of Restaurant Week so we got a small table near the private room.

Before we dig in, it was a very good choice to come to Nougatine because I saw Gordon Ramsay here. That’s right, he was dining in the private room next to my table. I love watching Junior Masterchef, Hell’s Kitchen, Masterchef and Kitchen Nightmares so to see one of my culinary heroes in front of me made my legs turn to jello. Sadly, I did not get to speak to him or take a picture with him since he seemed quite busy taking calls walking in and out of the restaurant, but what an experience! He’s really tall!

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The amount of sunlight shining in that part area of the restaurant would probably make the dining experience even more comfortable than sitting inside.

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 Squash Salad

What’s in it: Arugula, squash salad with shaved sheep’s milk cheese.

The sheep’s milk cheese had a strong and sharp punch to the salad. As you can see, the cheese was a large portion of the salad scattered everywhere.

Eating a piece of thinly sliced squash, cheese and a bit arugula at one go accentuated the different flavours in each component. The slight bitterness in the argula, the sharpness in the cheese and the slightly lemon juice drizzled on top of sweet squash stood out at various times in a bite. The best thing is that they still all complimented each other regardless of their taste differences.

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Heirloom Tomato Salad

What’s in it: Heirloom tomatoes with basil and crispy sourdough.

Other than tomatoes in my pasta, I don’t eat tomatoes served in any other way, especially if they are added in raw into my salads.

Tiffany said that the tomatoes were extremely juicy and fresh with the cucumbers. The look and the taste of the dish was definitely summer on a plate.

The downside was that Tiffany thought it was too much in one salad. The sourdough didn’t go well with the tomatoes and to her, there was only so much tomato you can eat at one time.

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Lemon Crusted Flounder

What’s in it: Sweet corn pudding, swiss chard and chili sauce.

This was like a party in my mouth, everything from the flavours in the flounder to the sweetness of the chili sauce was perfectly done. I have to admit that the winning component of this dish was the fragrant flavours in the chili sauce that gave this dish an overal “oomph” to it.

The fish had a lemon crusted crispy smear on top with a warm and moist foundation where the all meat was.

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Crispy Chicken

What’s in it: Free range chicken, summer radish salad and cucumber emulsion.

The highlight of this dish was the crisp in the chicken and the cucumber emulsion. It was like a ying yang of textures and flavour from the simplicity in the cucumber emulsion to the heavily flavoured chicken. The radish gave an earthy tone to the dish but overall, I tip my hat to the cucumber emulsion.

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Warm Chocolate Cake with Vanilla Ice Cream

I gently broke into the chocolate cake and once it was punctured, a gush of warm chocolate oozed out. The chocolate was absolutely divine, thick and extremely rich.

The vanilla ice cream with small bits from the vanilla bean instantly started melting once the dessert was presented to us. I wish I could slowly enjoy the ice cream with the chocolate cake but it was practically a race to finish the ice cream before it became ice cream soup.

Surrounding the vanilla ice cream were crushed cookie bits that were amazingly good. I think there’s a different between cookies and cream and vanilla ice cream with cookie crisp on the side.

Nougatine on Urbanspoon

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Chinese, Food, New York, Travel

I was told to check out Baohaus by a Taiwanese friend in Vancouver before I got on my trip to the Big Apple. I was a bit confused when he told me the name of the restaurant because in Hong Kong, “Bauhaus” is a brand that sells of high-end denim clothing. On the other hand, Baohaus is a restaurant in Manhattan, New York City that serves “baos” opened by Eddie and Evan Huang from Taiwan a.k.a. the “Huang Brothers” in 2007. I have to admit that these are some high end price baos.

When I got there, the place looked like a legit street style “bao” house. There wasn’t a lot of seating, and every seat was pretty much taken up so we ended up grabbing a bao from the bar and eating it outside.

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Chairman Bao
Snuggled between a soft and hot bao was a braised all natural Berkshire pork belly served with “Haus” relish, crushed peanuts, Taiwanese red sugar, and cilantro.

The pork belly was so fat and juicy. When I bit into it, the juices from the pork belly were oozing and dripping out.

The bao was very soft and chewy like a small little cloud with just the right amount of moist to not make it too dry.

The Haus relish and crushed peanuts gave the pork belly extra flavours and textures.

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Birdhaus Bao

If you’re not into see through meats, you should try this. The birdhaus bao is an all natural juicy and fried chicken, served with “Haus” seasoning salt, lemon-garlic aioli, crushed peanuts, Taiwanese red sugar, and cilantro.

The taste in the cilantro stood out significantly in this bao as well as the hint of lemon flavours from the aioli.

The chicken was fried beautifully with a delicious crisp and juice from the skin and meat.

Baohaus on Urbanspoon

American, Food, New York, Travel

Before I got on the plane to the Big Apple, my dad texted me and told me that there was no reason why I would not have a giant piece of steak in New York City. To him, this was something I had to try. Since Tiffany was such a generous host throughout my visit, I decided to treat her to a wonderful steak dinner at Peter Luger Steakhouse. This place was highly recommended and was at the top of the “Fine Dining” section on Urbanspoon New York.

We rode the subway to Brooklyn and to me, the vibe was quite different than the usual atmosphere in Manhattan. We were lucky to get a small table at the corner of the restaurant when we arrived because the steak house was slammed with people. I’m not sure if this place has weekly regulars because the portion were just huge. I have never seen steak this big in my entire life. You basically just order steak and a side to go with it then you’r all set. To ensure quality and delicious beef, all steaks at Peter Luger’s are USDA Prime.

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Steak for Two and Creamed Spinach

A perfectly done, medium rare, and naked piece of steak was presented in front of us. There was no way two girls could possibly finish this.

Before the server divided the steak for us, he placed a small bowl upside down on the table to lift up one end of the steak plate so all the beef juices would trickle to the other end. He would then, fork a piece of steak, dip it into the juice, gently touch the piece of meat on the plate which sizzles it a bit more then serve it to us.

The steak was beautifully executed with a ruby and moist centre. The sear was all around well done.

There were several options for a vegetable side, but everyone was recommending the creamed spinach. According to Huffington Post, Peter Luger’s creamed spinach is the only creamed spinach you’ll ever need. After my first bite, I understood why.

The creamed spinach might not look very appetizing especially since it looked like green mush. Fret not, it still tasted like spinach and was bright green instead of an old brown or dark green colour.

The taste of the creamed spinach was buttery, creamy, salty and extremely addictive. It’s one of those dishes you would bring to a Thanksgiving dinner, and the entire bowl would be cleaned out by the first round. I just wanted to scoop as much as I could onto my plate.

Peter Luger Steak House on Urbanspoon

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