Friday, December 13, 2013

Snapshots from Taiwan

Rampant succulent growth (so many plants growing from people's windows, balconies, carports...)

foamy latte on tatami at Single Rain cafe in Da'An park neighborhood.

Mario street performer in Da'An neighborhood

Madeleines of many flavors

A color-coded parade of shoppers in the side-streets near Sogo

Snowy in New York

Photo courtesy of Guido Maus

Sometimes we spend snowy weekdays looking at art in Chelsea and when we do we sometimes forget to eat lunch so we end up at 3pm at New York Burger Co. feeling a little crazy.

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Taiwan Thanksgiving Part 1

Lilly and I are in Taipei for Thanksgiving this year to celebrate with her Taiwan family. There has been very little conversation about pilgrims or even giving thanks but there has been copious amounts of eating. There are a lot family to see and therefore lots of excuses to eat and eat big. Taiwan is an excellent place to eat. There are fine examples of multiple chinese cuisines here. So far we have feasted at a Shanghai style, Hunan style, Peking Style, Tainan Style, Catnonese Style, and some sushi thrown in for good measure. We'll try and do justice to these meals in the coming posts, but they were epic. So many dishes to try and almost all of them were new to us. Below is a photo run-down of our Shanghai Style meal at the Din Tai Fung dumpling house. This was an amazing meal marked by its clean fresh tastes. Even the fried dishes had a quality of lightness to them. The soup dumplings, however, were the star of the show. We've had soup dumplings in America but these are working at a whole different level. Most soup dumplings are tasty these are trip-worthy.

Start off with some pickles and bean sprouts.

Then move onto the stars of the show. Soup dumplings with pork filling.

These were well complimented by vegetable wontons in spicy oil.

Next was pork noodles with pickled mustard greens.

A perfect row of potskickers. Inside was pork and shrimp.

Here are small bowls of the two soups that accompanied the meal. On the left beef tendon and noodle and on the right sweet and sour. Notice the perfectly cut strands of tofu and blood cake in the hot and sour. It is unlike anything I've had in America. Deep earthy flavors of the blood contrast well with a tangy vinegar broth.

 Just in case there wasn't enough food we ordered shrimp fried rice.

Finish off the meal with lightly sweetened sesame buns.

This was the end of this meal but just the beginning of our Taiwanese Thanksgiving extravaganza!

Monday, November 11, 2013

Donuts, donuts, more donuts

A very kind person gifted us this New York Doughnut Map which has become the guiding force in our movements around the New York area.

We've been to a third of the thirty-five listed sites though not all visits have been successful (one or two sold out before we got there, another doesn't have donuts anymore!)

Here's a sampling of what we've eaten (I'll spare you the full list--just buy the map!)

Sour-cherry jam-filled donut (filled to order!) from Orwashers on the Upper East Side

Chocolate glazed at Orwashers (would have been better at the beginning of the day. Alas, we arrived at 6pm! If late, stick to the jelly-filled.)

We visited the French-styled Balthazar bakery for their amazing cake donuts.

Pictured: chocolate, pumpkin spice with pepitas, and apple cider. The donuts at Balthazar are made distinctive by their celebration of fine, natural flavors. These were very worthy donuts. If we were to find a fault, it would be in their obvious refinement.

close-up of Balthazar's pumpkin spice donut.

On the less-haute, dare-I-say hipper end of the spectrum, we have Doughnut Plant in the LES and Dough in Bedford. Both are excellent, play with interesting but not-too-tawdry flavor combinations like chocolate and Earl Grey (Dough) and coffee cake and coconut cream (Doughnut Plant). We visited both yesterday, trying a combined 9 donuts for the day. Unfortunately, all were consumed before we remembered to take pictures.

Our friend Bethany at the last minute snagged a pic of the almost-empty Dough box. 
Astoundingly good! Quick to disappear!

Monday, October 28, 2013

Eating Southern Food in NY

What are we doing these days in Brooklyn? Eating to survive, and ending up at a good number of Southern-styled restaurants.

Biscuit-sized donuts at Pies 'N Thighs

Fried chicken, sausage, and biscuit at Pies 'N Thighs.

Donuts don't get any bigger than the ones at Pies 'N Thighs (they cut them with a biscuit ring). This leads to gargantuan size but not exactly an even fry (they get a little tough on the outside). The chef does have a deft hand with the sugar, however, and whatever other toppings and fillings he or she deigns to include. 

We made stop at John Brown's BBQ in Long Island City for various meats and thick-sliced bread. Also on the dry side (New York you're killing me!) but a tasty treat nonetheless.

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Federal Donuts

honey doughnut (comes with any order of fried chicken) in front of the chicken cart
 Before arriving in Brooklyn, we spent a few days in Wilmington, Delaware and in Philly. We returned to one of our favorite doughnut spots--Federal Donuts. Similar to Rise--though it predates it--Federal sells coffee, fried chicken, and doughnuts exclusively. Federal, however, has streamlined the menu to several tempting subcategories: specialty donuts (the cake, in 6 varieties each day), yeast (fried fresh, topped with 3 different spiced-sugar blends), and the dry-rubbed and wet-rubbed chicken in a few flavor choices. The yeast are incredible, but the lure of the new is always the determining force, so we ended up trying all the cake donuts, one yeast (we'd had 2/3 the last visit), and split an order of the Thai-chili chicken (one must be abstemious somewhere, after all).
can't remember all the flavors but I believe this box includes chocolate sea salt, watermelon and basil, cookies and cream, and lots of other deliciousness.
 Each new cake donut is a surprise at Federal. The accuracy and brightness of flavor and moistness of texture are just absurd. I will never stop loving these donuts.
Thai-chili glazed fried chicken
The fried chicken at Federal tends toward the dry-side, due to frying them before fried-chicken service starts (at 11am) and then reheating with spice/sauce. The flavors, however, remain interesting and it's always a treat.

Rise Biscuits and Donuts, Durham NC

creme brulee donut
We were in Raleigh, NC for most of August and, lucky for us, the RTP area is host to a couple new doughnut spots. We tried Monuts Donuts from Durham which were tasty, but in our bleary-eyed and hungry morning state we scarfed them before we remembered to take pictures. 

Another new gem in the area is Rise Biscuits & Donuts (be still, my heart), also located in Durham.

pea-patty biscuit
 We ordered the fried chicken biscuit and a pea-patty vegetarian. Surprisingly, the pea came together better than the chicken, which was on the tough and dry side. The biscuits, however, were quite good, boasting the satisfyingly crisp top and tender crumb of a Bojangles biscuit, minus the excess salt.
Fried chicken biscuit

Doughnuts, L-R: kids donut, chocolate chocolate, and creme brulee
 I lose all sense when presented with a be-sprinkled donut, so we ended up with the confetti-colored "kid's donut" as well as chocolate chocolate (of the cake variety) and the creme brulee, which was the day's winner.

The kid's donut was nothing to shout about, too small to be moist, but the cake was very nice. The creme brulee, however, was a cream-filled yeast with a bruleed sugar crust that was both an interesting variation on the old cream-filled and a satisfying array of textures.

Next up: another donut post.

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Road Trip posts on BurnAway///DC

We've had a busy year so far, full of road trips and a move. We're based in Brooklyn now so give us a shout out when you're in town!

BurnAway asked us to write about our travels for them. Our visits to Minnesota, Chicago, Detroit, and Toronto can all be found on the site. Look out for one more post featuring Frank Lloyd Wright houses in three different states!

Minneapolis/Twin Cities

Chicago Part 1

Chicago Part 2



Post-the aforementioned cities and before arriving in Brooklyn, we spent some time in DC.

We happened to be there for the 55th anniversary of Ben's Chili Bowl, a D.C. establishment where only Bill Cosby and Barack Obama eat for free. There was a celebration, but we unfortunately missed a Bill Cosby-sighting by a few minutes. We did, however, catch a speech by the Reverend Jesse Jackson.

Reverend Jesse Jackson at the mike
 We went to several fantastic museums while in D.C., including the National Gallery of Art (which had a great exhibition of works by Kerry James Marshall, the Freer and Sackler galleries of art, and the Corcoran. We didn't take any pictures, however, either because we weren't allowed to or we didn't feel like it. But no matter, because you came here for the doughnut pictures!

After wearing ourselves out at museums, we stopped at Astro Doughnuts for a pick-me-up.
Above, we have the Brooklyn Blackout, which is essentially devil food's cake in a portable ring format. It was extremely moist and tasty, but not really a doughnut.
Below is the crème brûlée doughnut, which was filled with a vanilla custard.

Not too shabby D.C., not too shabby.

Saturday, August 31, 2013

While we were away...

Yes it's been 9 months without a blog post. And the only ones we have to blame are ourselves and Kyle Potter...always Kyle. So much blogworthy stuff happened, but with out lack of blogging we are forced to remember them only as whispers and tears. Here however are some noteworthy items and a sincere promise to start again.

I. We moved from Atlanta to Brooklyn

II. We ate a lot of donuts and found a new favorite shop: Glory Hole in Toronto
III. Finally visited Falling Water

IV. And took this picture of reading Lytard in Detroit...nuf said.

Sunday, January 6, 2013

Charleston Chew

Lilly and I have started a sorta tradition of taking the weekend after New Years and heading off in search of excellent southern food. You can see me above with the soul food sign. This gives me complete credibility to talk about southern food. This tradition is only sort of a tradition because we've only done it once before when we took a trip to Savannah in 2012 and I'm a bit disingenuous because we look for good food all year.  This year, however, we went to Charleston SC. It was by far one of our best food stops to date and will be hard to top if the tradition continues. Here is a sampling of some of best bites we had. 

Here is a fantastic buttermilk fried quail and cornbread from Glass Onion just outside of downtown Charleston on the Savannah Highway. 

Local clams and house made sausage at Two Boroughs Larder near the upper king neighborhood in Charleston proper. And of course it's washed down with SC's own Blenheim ginger beer. 

The real highlight however was our dinner at Husk in downtown Charleston. We had been hearing a lot of hype about this place, but found that it even exceeded the hype. It really was the best southern-style meal we've had. Above is our sampling as it arrived at our table. Below I'll mention each plate.

Peanut glazed spare ribs.
 Fried gulf oysters with bib lettuce and heirloom tomatoes.
 Local SC blades edge oysters with creme fraiche and NC sturgeon caviar.
 Shrimp and grits with spicy pigs ear.
 Hands down the best fried green tomatoes we've ever had. Served with pimento cheese and cured ham.

We also did some touristy stuff. 

Checked out the river!
 We heard from a lot of locals that the best bathroom in town was in City Hall. This was strange because we never asked for bathroom advice. The Charlestonians were very proud of this lavatory. So we had to go and take a picture. We'll let you be the judge.

Lilly outside the house where general Washington stayed on a visit at the end of the 18th century. 

On shore near the battle site that began the civil war. I kept reminding Lilly that Gov. Ramsay of MN after hearing that Ft. Sumter had been attacked volunteered our state to be the first union troops in the war. It felt like coming home. 

A visit to the dental history museum. It's that small box building behind me. Mostly 19th century foot powered drills and other upsetting implements. NO PICTURES ALLOWED!!!!!

 A pillar taken from the giants causeway in Ireland. Why? We don't want to know.

A fine tradition done right.