New York, Travel

As many of you know, I recently took a short trip to the Big Apple after my internship ended to kickback and enjoy the last month of my summer. I was suffering from extreme wanderlust and I wanted to breath in the glamorous lights and the busy streets of a sleepless city. What better option in North America than NYC? I packed my Herschel novel duffle and flew to NYC with a mid stop at Dallas Airport. I arrived at the concrete jungle at 10pm on a Thursday night and I was so hungry.

Before heading back to the place where I was staying, my host and high school friend, Tiffany, brought me to my first meal in NYC. Shall we dive into #SFinNY in the upcoming posts?

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Curry Set (USD8.95)
The curry was so tasty and flavourful. I have never had minced meat in curry and this curry was richer in flavour but less spicy than usual.

The rice was actually Japanese rice so the texture complimented the curry sauce. The curry overall wasn’t too overwhelming to the point that you couldn’t eat your udon.

You come here for the udon like a round peg into a round hole. The soup was not very salty with a soothing and simple taste to it. The udon’s texture was delectable and it tasted like handmade udon with the special chewiness to it.

Udon West on Urbanspoon

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Exile Bistro is located near the rainbow crosswalk in Vancouver and it has only been opened for about five months. When my friend, Stephanie, mentioned this cool little restaurant that serves both vegetarian and game meat options, I was sold. I walked in without any expectation because the menu was very interesting. You’ll find a lot of game meat in their selections and since I occasionally do not get to eat interesting meats, we ordered their best choices. Shall we dig in?

I apologize for the grainy photos. I was experimenting with Photoshop’s camera on my tablet and they didn’t turn out as well as I hoped.

PSX_20140729_225422Cherry Blossom Lemonade

To quench the summer thirst, we both ordered a cool glass of cherry blossom lemonade. The drink was quite girly and pretty with the little dosage of pink swirls on the side from the cherry.

The taste was just like a normal lemonade with a bit of floral sprinkle added in.

PSX_20140729_224101Kohralbi Scallops with Walnut Butter and Cherry

I was a bit excited when I saw the words ‘scallops’ so I instantly thought they were seafood scallops – so we ordered it. When we bit into it, we had a puzzled look because the texture was nothing like scallops. We took a look at the menu, and we said “Ohhhh….”

Kohralbi is a type of German turnip with a lighter feel to its taste than normal white turnip. The texture is crisp and it melts in your mouth.

The walnut butter was very rich and it had an earthy tone to it that complemented the sweetness in the cherry.

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House-Made Pasta

What’s in it: Lobster mushroom, cauliflower cream and elephant garlic chips

Yes, this is a vegetarian dish and a delicious one too. The house made pasta was very fluffy and cooked al dente. The down side was that you couldn’t really taste how fresh it was with everything on top of it.

The cauliflower cream had a purée texture to it and the taste was exquisite and very creamy. The enormous garlic chips gave the dish an extra flavour “oomph” to it.

PSX18732_1837 Game Fondue

What’s in it: Elk, wild boar, turnips, beets, radish, zucchini, assorted squash, assorted sauces, mushroom bone broth, buckwheat noodles.

This meal took Steph and I two and a half hours to finish. We started off by eating the vegetables one by one and eventually ended up throwing them all in at one go because it took too long to prepare and eat. The ladle that they provided us was also really small with only bite size portions per spoonful so we had to quicken the pace a bit.

The broth was tasty and rich. You could taste the meaty flavours in the soup and it wasn’t too salty – we ended up drinking the soup too.

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If the elk or wild boar isn’t thoroughly cooked, it would taste extremely gamey in an unpleasant way. If cooked well, the meat is delicious with a hint of gamey flavours similar to lamb but with a beef like texture.

Since they gave us a small ladle, we should have broken the soba noodles in half for eating convenience.

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The display for their vegetables was absolutely beautiful! Colours were everywhere and we tried to eat in a manner that would keep the display in order. Eventually we dumped everything in.

We loved the beets and the squash but the turnip wasn’t so good.

 
Exile Bistro on Urbanspoon

Italian, Vancouver

One must not miss fresh handmade pasta at Ask for Luigi whenever they are in Vancouver. The desired texture in pasta cooked al dente can be found in this petite and cushy Italian restaurant on Downtown Eastside. I decided to take my mom and my brother to Ask for Luigi before they flew to Toronto so we got there at 5:20pm and shortly there was line up behind us when we got there. Good thing we were first because the dinner queue was crazy after 6pm. We had a feast at Ask for Luigi to conclude a wonderful Vancouver vacation.

My first time at Ask for Luigi was for Dine Out Vancouver 2014. I didn’t enjoy it as much that time but this time it was a complete game changer.

PSX_20140725_214130Beef Carpaccio (CAD14) 

What’s in it: Salsa verde with mayonnaise (herbed aioli), garlic chips, rocket, Piave Vecchio and beef.

The way I ate  the carpaccio was forking one slice of beef, half a piece of Piave Vecchio and a bit of rocket and herbed aioli all in one bite. The taste was fresh, exotic and exploding in all sorts of flavours. If you want to taste the meatiness in the beef, I would recommend removing the Piave Vecchio and just eating it with the other two.

The beef carpaccio is a wonderful and crisp appetizer to excite your taste buds before the main courses.

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Here’s an over view of what our main courses were. The pasta at Ask for Luigi claims the spotlight.

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Pappardelle and Duck Ragu (CAD19)

Ask for Luigi’s fresh pappardelle’s flavour and texture sets the bar quite high. The bounciness and softness in the flat shaped pasta was simply incomparable to any pasta I’ve ever had.

At first, I thought the sauce tasted like a lighter version of the bologanise sauce until I read that it was duck ragu. After a few more bites, I started realizing the immensely rich taste that duck ragu has on pasta instead of beef.

PSX_20140725_213814Summer Special

What’s in it: Spaghetti with albacore tuna and cherry tomatoes.

This was my mom’s favourite pasta. To fully enjoy this pasta, we had to eat a cherry tomato with the spaghetti and albacore tuna to neutralize the fishiness and saltiness in the fish. Eating the tuna alone with the spaghetti was a bit overwhelming but together with the tomatoes makes it a delicious, sweet, and summery dish. 

PSX_20140725_213946Spaghetti Nero with Octopus and Jalapeno (CAD18)

Tossed in garlic, olive oil, hot chili flakes and jalapeno, squid ink pasta has never tasted so exquisite. The texture was slightly under cooked but the result was softer than most under cooked pasta. If you want a pasta on the hotter side, the spaghetti nero would be the perfect pick.

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Tagliatelle (CAD18)

What’s in it: Fennel sausage, cheese and rapini tossed with tagliatelle.

Moving onto pasta with a lighter side, the tagliatelle was more herbed and meat focused. Most of the time, I couldn’t appreciate the texture of the tagliatelle but instead the spices in the fennel sauce.

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Panna Cotta (CAD7)

The creamiest and milkiest panna cotta I have ever had. You simply cannot not order this at Ask for Luigi. When I ate it, I felt like I was eating a fresh homogenized milk pudding.

I wasn’t a fan of the biscotti but the red wine with poached prunes was a rich and royal addition to the milky dessert.

PSX_20140725_213854Chocolate Budino (CAD8)

I wasn’t sure whether I was eating cake or only chocolate. The chocolate instantly melted in my mouth once I put it into my mouth and the taste was so rich. I would say that this is a luscious and light mix of chocolate cake and chocolate pudding.

Ask for Luigi on Urbanspoon

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