Restaurant Review: Patricia’s Restaurant

May 26, 2013 § Leave a comment

How have I never come across Patricia’s before? This homey, greasy spoon diner has a familiar feel – like something you would see in a movie or TV sitcom. The menu is simple; breakfast staples such as pancakes, eggs, and toast. I went there for breakfast one morning with a friend during commencement weekend, and we saw a bunch of families enjoying food there. It must be somewhat of a tradition for folks, and the restaurant was bustling at about 10 in the morning.

The food is cheap and fast – I ordered two eggs over easy and toast, alongside a cup of coffee. The whole meal came to about $5. Apparently Patricia’s only serves eggs fried in different ways (scrambled, sunnyside up, etc), so they couldn’t fulfill my cravings for poached eggs. That’s okay – over easy it is!

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Our meals arrived promptly. It’s actually difficult to eat over easy eggs, because the yolk (the best part) is so runny that it just spills all over the plate once you begin to eat the egg. The toast was your requisite white bread, lightly toasted and smeared with butter. Though the food was plain and simple, the whole experience felt old-fashioned, warm and comforting.

Sometimes You Just Need to Try it Once

May 9, 2013 § 1 Comment

I usually don’t eat fast food, but while we were in New York yesterday, we were in Harlem waiting for a show to begin and there weren’t too many dinner options in the neighborhood. We finally came across a White Castle, a somewhat culturally iconic American fast food establishment.

The prices here are really cheap. Granted, the sliders are tiny (there are 4 included in one meal package), but you can get one for 79 cents! I don’t know when was the last time I saw something that costs under $1. I decided to try one original slider, which is a beef patty with pickles and ketchup, and a chicken breast slider, which is a little fried chicken patty with melted cheese. I also ordered a small soda, which came in a really large cup! I’m sure it was at least 24 oz, which is at least a medium at other fast food establishments.

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The sliders come in cute little cartons. One is slightly smaller than the palm of my hand, and I have really small hands!

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This experience reminded why I don’t like eating fast food. The sliders weren’t bad-tasting, but they just didn’t taste like…food. The buns were soft and squishy, and the thin patty had a generic meat-like flavor. I ate it in about three bites and it was quite unsatisfying. The chicken slider was a bit better ($1.49), as the chicken breast at least seemed to be made of real meat, albeit covered in a crunchy fried coating.

I tried a few of my friend’s crinkle-cut fries and onion rings. The onion rings were tasty, though we noticed the suspicious lack of actual onions in each ring, so much so that we began to call them “ring rings” rather than onion rings.

After the meal, I didn’t really feel like I had eaten anything – maybe the food was so processed that my stomach did not need to digest anything and was confused? But there was definitely a caloric impact, as I didn’t feel the need to eat anything until almost 6 hours later, almost unheard of for me since I’m usually a snacker.

Restaurant Review: Rudy’s

December 1, 2012 § Leave a comment

Last night two friends and I decided to check out Rudy’s on Howe and Chapel. Rudy’s is a typical friendly neighborhood bar – a bit far from my end of campus, but lively on a Friday night with the locals.

We ordered a big basket of their famous fries to share – the grande size, with truffle oil and parmesan. It was a bit pricey at $16, but the portion size was enormous. The three of us had no trouble devouring it though. The fries were blisteringly hot, but we couldn’t help but ignore the burn on our fingers and tongues as we gobbled up the delicious salty and crunchy pieces. There was a good ratio of fresh, golden, soft fries to slightly burnt and crispy ones, and the fries were satisfyingly thick.

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The parmesan and truffle oil added a nice depth to the saltiness, and created an addictive flavor. One friend described the taste as almost meaty. The other friend requested ketchup, but no condiments were necessary. It was a terrific experience overall, though now I go and read the Yelp reviews, and people are talking about their special sauces? We were definitely not offered any sauces besides ketchup.

The photo does not do justice to the actual enormous quantity of fries. It must have literally been two pounds of fries. Come with an appetite!

Restaurant Review: Mamoun’s

November 27, 2012 § Leave a comment

Mamoun’s is a New Haven staple. It is a cozy little Middle Eastern place with cheap prices, making it a popular spot for many students. On one blisteringly cold night last week, I ventured out from my corner of campus on a mile-long trek to Mamoun’s with a few friends.

It was the end of Thanksgiving break so the restaurant was pretty empty at 7pm, yet there was still a warm and comforting atmosphere. The menu is pretty simple – there are vegetarian and meat choices, and you can get it in a sandwich (in a piece of pita) or on a platter. I choose the hummus sandwich, which was an unheard of $3.50. I also ordered a small hot tea.

The sandwich was great. Inside a rather large piece of pita bread were tomatoes, lettuce, onions, and plenty of creamy, rich hummus. In fact, there was so much hummus that I needed utensils to eat the sandwich in order to avoid making a mess. It’s hard to find good hummus, but this was it – savory, not too sour, thick, and smooth. 

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The tea came in a cup that was laughably small. It looked like a shot-glass, only in a dixie cup. Granted, it was only $1, but I still expected more than two sips. 

Overall, a great place to grab some delicious food, but come for the cheap food, and don’t expect too much else – paper plates, plastic utensils, and small dixie cups are what you are going to get.

A Family Dinner

August 29, 2012 § 1 Comment

Here are some photos of a dinner I cooked for my family before I left for school. It was a traditional Chinese meal.

Some highlights:

Stir-fried Chinese greens with olive oil and garlic. I forgot the exact name of the vegetable, but you can find it in any Asian grocery. This was very simple to make – just heat up a tablespoon or so of olive oil in a wide pan or wok until it starts sizzling, and toss in diced garlic. After about a minute, add to the pan the chopped and washed greens. You can add the whole bunch of greens – as they cook they really wilt down into a tiny pile. Stir-fry the greens until they cook down, maybe three or four minutes. Add salt to taste right before you remove the greens from the pan. It is delicious and healthy.

This next dish, butterflied shrimp, is a little bit more tricky. You need to use fresh jumbo shrimp with the heads still on in order to achieve the freshest and most flavorful dish. Again, you can find this in most large Asian groceries in the meat and seafood section in the back. Do not peel the shrimp, but use a sharp knife to slice a slit down the back. This lets the flavor in and allows you to remove any of the intestines (little black strips). Marinate the shrimp in a mixture of salt, green onion, and sliced ginger for about half an hour. Then stir-fry in a wok in olive oil, just until both sides turn an opaque pink. This simple preparation really highlights the delicious savoriness of the shrimp.

Lastly, tofu with vegetables. Slice up a large block of extra firm tofu, and fry up the slices in a wok covered with olive oil. Flip the pieces over once, making sure both sides are a crispy golden brown. Add seasonings of your liking – I believe I added salt and soy sauce. Then toss some bok choy and sliced fresh mushrooms into the pan with the tofu. You may need to add a bit of water to the pan in order to maintain moisture in the dish. Cover the wok for about five minutes, until the vegetables are cooked through.

Along with these dishes we had some leftovers from dinner the night before, as well as a pot of white rice. It was a pretty typical dinner for us – lots of green vegetables, some tofu, and seafood.

Restaurant Review: Full Kee Restaurant

June 5, 2012 § Leave a comment

I haven’t eaten out since brunch on Sunday, so I figured that it would be okay to do a night out in Chinatown. I have heard that the Chinatown in D.C. is pretty underwhelming, and this is accurate. There are two blocks of various Chinese restaurants and one street of American businesses that have additional signs with Chinese characters. Most of the restaurants in the area also have mixed reviews. We decided to try to Full Kee Restaurant on H Street. It seemed pretty authentic based on appearance – there were ducks hanging in a display case near the window, the waitstaff were all Chinese, some of the patrons also were Chinese, and it had a slightly dingy hole-in-the-wall look to it. It was a little past seven on a Tuesday night and the place was a little less than half full.

We saw on Yelp that the shrimp dumpling soup is highly rated. This is a bit confusing because the main menu book does not include the noodle soups or congee – these are listed in a separate laminated menu page that is propped up by the condiments. The soup comes with your choice of noodles and you can add vegetables or meat for an additional price.

I chose the shrimp dumpling soup, Hong Kong style, with vegetables. We actually all ended up getting variations of this dish. It came about to be about $8 per person. The piping hot bowls came out from the kitchen in about 10 minutes. My bowl had eight large wonton-style dumplings, and vegetables were bright green and lightly cooked.

I really enjoyed the dumplings. They were of ample size, full of large pieces of juicy, firm shrimp, and wrapped in a thin and tender skin. The broth could have been better – it wasn’t too salty, which was a plus, but I felt that it was too thin and needed a bit more body. It probably also had MSG, but then again it’s rare to find a Chinese restaurant that does not use this omnipresent condiment. The vegetables were fresh and crunchy.

The waitstaff were pretty good. They spoke English really well and were polite and helpful with our orders. They even helped us calculate our individual portions of the check. I might go back – the prices are reasonable and the rest of the menu is huge – there is seafood, chicken, beef, pork (all the average menu items), as well as some “gourmet” delicacies like pig’s blood and black mushroom.

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