Monthly Archives: July 2013

Via Della Pace - Fettuccine Served with Meat Sauce and Pork Ribs

USA, New York – Via Della Pace

Given my first destination on this long holiday began in Rome, the bar was set really high for Via Della Pace. I chose the fettuccine with meat sauce and pork ribs. The fettuccine was cooked al dente and was smooth. The Bolognese sauce contained a lovely flavour of herbs, the Italian sausage was delicious, and so too the pork ribs which were a little overdone. A simple, filling meal, with good flavours. I rather enjoyed the New York Cheesecake which was my indulgent treat for the day. A lovely atmosphere just like in Rome, excellent friendly service, solid food. This place takes me back to Rome.

Katz's Delicatessen - Pastrami Sandwich

USA, New York – Katz’s Delicatessen

This place is an icon of the former Jewish neighbourhood and of New York. A visit here is a must as the pastrami sandwich is one of a kind. There’s 6 lines to queue at so place your order, give a tip of $1, get some pastrami to taste while watching the pastrami being hand sliced ultra thin, and then walk away with a massive, ridiculously, overfilled sandwich. The pastrami is so delicious. I strongly advise you go the half, or at least share the sandwich between a few friends. I also returned the next day for more pastrami, matzo ball soup, and a knish. The matzo ball is a flavoured dumpling in a delicious soup which was lovely and the knish is a pastry filled with a potato and herbed mixture that was equally yum. Loved it.

Serendipity 3 - Frozen Hot Chocolate

USA, New York – Serendipity 3

The only reason anyone comes here is for the desserts (no disrespect to the savoury menu). It is a dessert bar, a late night snack, somewhere to satisfy your sweet tooth. But before we could get in, the quickest way is to order mains so we did and I enjoyed a crepe filled with chilli con carne and covered with melted gooey cheese. A pretty enjoyable meal but then it was on to the frozen hot chocolate. Maybe I built up the hype in my head a bit too much as the extravagant dessert didn’t meet my heady expectations. Ok, it is a pretty cool dessert and it tastes really yum. It does put a big smile on your face so you can’t complain.

Per Se - Nova Scotia Lobster

USA, New York – Per Se

An interesting experience in a setting with wonderful views, ambience, and professional service. I much preferred the style of menu in tonight’s dinner compared to 11 Madison Park if comparisons can be drawn. Many of the dishes were lovely, some fantastic, but what was a recurring issue, maybe issue is too harsh a word, was that some elements just didn’t marry up effectively. The halibut, lobster, quail, and cheese were examples. Fantastic proteins cooked to perfection but let down slightly, or worse with the halibut, by elements which didn’t truly complement the dish. The additional elements should have their place to counteract other flavours (eg sweet v sour), or provide a textual contrast, and most importantly complement and better yet, elevate, the overall dish. But on several occasions, this didn’t occur. The salmon cornetto, caviar, summer melon, and desserts were excellent meals and overall I had a positive experience and was comfortably full. It did come with a hefty price tag though, so on that basis I’d still lean towards The Ledbury as my first choice and Petrus second. Just my opinion and what suits my tastes. Others will no doubt disagree. I’m very happy to have experienced dining at such a well regarded restaurant.

11 Madison Park - Course 7: Option #2 Seared Foie Gras

USA, New York – 11 Madison Park

I’ve never had a degustation with so many courses and while I was full, I wasn’t uncomfortable fortunately, but not far from it. It was also my first time to a world ranked restaurant and a 3 Michelin star restaurant. We entered at 7pm and left at 12:20am – yes, over 5 hrs of eating and drinking! However, it was all delivered at a comfortable pace. I loved the duck and sea bass and was amazed at what they did with tomato in creating a confit, jelly and soda. However, I can’t say I was blown away with what I ate. Maybe I’m unfairly drawing comparisons to other restaurants with courses, but the London restaurants, The Ledbury and Petreus, were far superior in flavour and far cheaper. The setting of the restaurant at 11 Madison Park is modern and smart, while the service was highly professional. Some meals had a bit of theatre and drama and while the food was prepared to a high standard and quality, in some dishes I didn’t think the ingredients always paired well in terms of flavour. There were some really clever techniques employed such as the numerous ways they utilised tomato, but in the end, it’s all about the taste and it didn’t reach the high levels I was expecting.

Sofrito - Oxtail Stew

USA, New York – Sofrito

If you’re looking for a quiet romantic night, then don’t go to Sofrito as the pumping music and nightclub type bar area is not the ambience you will be expecting. I’m always keen to try new cuisines and Sofrito offers Puerto Rican dishes. I had the sweet plantain stuffed with picadillo, which is minced beef, tomato, and other ingredients, to form a filling encased by mash potato and banana. It’s a rather unusual combination, with the sweetness of the banana overpowering what is quite a tasty and filling dish. I ordered ox tail stew for mains which was perfectly cooked and absolutely delicious. It came with a flavoursome spiced pea soup, more bananas which are overly sweet compared to Australia, and rice. Absolutely stuffed and I really enjoyed sampling another country’s cuisine.

Cheeseburgers - BBQ Bacon Cheeseburger

USA, Las Vegas – Cheeseburgers

While my friend decided to accept the Cheeseburgers Challenge of eating a stack of food in 20 minutes and you get it free, I prefer to enjoy my food even if it comes at a price. I went for the BBQ bacon cheeseburger. It’s a tasty burger, the crunch from the crispy bacon and salty kick, lovely melted cheese, crispy battered onion ring, onions and a nice bun. There’s also a slice of fresh pineapple on the side which rounds out a pretty good meal but it didn’t wow. My friend on the other hand did wow completing the food challenge in just over 16 minutes to be the 16th successful person to complete the challenge.

Nathan's Famous Hot Dogs - Bacon Hot Dog & Crinkle Cut Fries

USA, Las Vegas – Nathan’s Famous Hot Dogs

After salivating at the hot dogs shown on Food Wars, I was ready for a hot dog and a search on Urbanspoon suggested I head to Nathan’s Famous Hot Dogs at New York New York hotel on the Strip. There’s a variety of hot dogs to choose from and so I asked the attendant what was recommended and I went with the bacon hot dog with crinkle cut fries and onions. Looks good and it tastes even better. The crispy bacon, tasty beef sausage, gooey cheese, slight sourness from the mustard, crunch of the finely diced onions, and tartness from the tomato sauce, and you have a delicious hot dog with every bite. The chips are good too, but I prefer more crunch and it needs more salt. I did add some but it’s not the same as when it’s added immediately out of the fryer. I’m satisfied. Comfort food and a meal with a decent serve rather than the usual monstrosity on a plate. A meal for under $10 – what a find!

Avenue Cafe - Smokehouse Burger

USA, Las Vegas – Avenue Cafe

For the Australian equivalent in pricing, there’s no way you would receive a burger like this nor the service. The experience started with a huge complimentary serving of delicious spiced popcorn. When the burger arrived, it was decent sized, but so packed full of ingredients they surely couldn’t fit anything more in! It also was impossible to wrap your mouth around. They certainly exceed on quantity but they also deliver on quality. This burger is delicious with the smoked flavour oozing from the tender beef patty. The short ribs just pull apart and I like the melted American cheddar cheese. The onions rings are delicious, so too the perfectly seasoned fries with thyme adding even more flavour. Absolutely stuffed, they deliver on value for money, quantity (a bit too generous), quality and service. Delicious!