10 Tricks To Help You Around The Kitchen

11 Apr

top-10-crazy-kitchen-tricks-that-speed-up-your-cooking
Lifehacker outlines the top ten tricks around the kitchen that is sure to save you a bunch of time and may even impress an eye or two. Tedious tasks like deseeding a pomegranate or peeling a potato can be done very easily and they have a round up of video instructions that show you how. I have already tried many of these hacks in my daily cooking adventures and they really are awesome. Let me know if they have been of any use to you around the kitchen.

 

Top 10 Crazy Kitchen Tricks That Speed Up Your Cooking | Lifehacker

Photo by Robbert van der Steeg via photopin cc

International Food Etiquette Rules You Need To Know Before You Travel

21 Mar

10552477-15-international-food-etiquette-rules-that-might-surprise-you
Food etiquette customs are good to know when traveling abroad and will help you not stand out as a tourist or looking like a jackass. MSNBC’s Travel Kit rounds out 15 of the most interesting food etiquette rules.

For example, in China, you should never flip over a fish. It’s a sign of bad luck, akin to a fishermen’s boat capsizing. Instead locals will rip through the bones to get to the botton.

In Russia, it’s simple, you never turn down vodka. And in Chili, it’s proper to always eat with silverware – even finger foods like french fries.

Of course, these rules will vary depending on your where and who you are eating with, but when in doubt stick these guidelines.

 

15 international food etiquette rules that might surprise you | MSNSBC – Travel Kit

Photo by Alison Faith via photopin cc

Pat’s King of Steaks

2 Feb

Pat’s King of Steaks

Rating: ★★★☆☆
1237 E Passyunk Ave, Philadelphia, PA 19147
marketingwit@patskingofsteaks.com
Website
(215) 468-1546
Price: $
Hours:
24/7
Twitter // Facebook // Foursquare

Overrated, overpriced, worth a try, would not return

Pat’s is better than Geno’s, but that’s not saying much. Their steaks are more flavorful and the temperature is just right, but their bread is a little on the hard side. The lines here are just as long as Geno’s, but they have a way more courteous staff. Case and point, one of my steaks was a little too dry to my liking and they replaced it no questions asked. You won’t get that kind of service at Geno’s.

Overall, the cheesesteaks are decent, but not worth the price or the trouble of waiting on a long line. This is more a less a tourist attraction, after all Pat’s is credited for creating the original Philly cheesesteak.

Covered seating is available outdoors and they only accept cash.

Pat’s King of Steaks

Wiz Cheesesteak with (onions) ($9), Provolone Cheesesteak with ($9), & Provolone Cheesesteak without ($9)

Pat’s King of Steaks Fries
French Fries ($4)

Pat’s King of Steaks

Pat’s King of Steaks

Front of Pat’s King of Steaks

Long Lines

Pat’s King of Steaks Menu

Geno’s Steaks

2 Feb

Geno’s Steaks

Rating: ★★☆☆☆
1219 S 9th St, Philadelphia, PA 19147
Website
(215) 389-0659
Price: $
Hours:
24/7
Foursquare

Over-hyped and bad service! You’re better off going across the street to Pat’s, the lesser of two evils

What was once a past favorite is now an over-hyped tourist trap. Lines get really long, mostly due to its attractive lights and its mural of celebrity encounters. The cheesesteaks are warm at best, the beef was sliced and had no flavor what so ever, the provolone cheese wasn’t melted, and the onions were raw. That’s pretty much everything you can do to ruin a cheesesteak. Not to mention the service is horrible, they’re rude and they look down on customers that can’t speak English well. The fries are decent but if you want a more satisfying cheesesteak, just go across the street to Pat’s.

If this review hasn’t deterred you enough to not want to try Geno’s, then bring cash because they don’t accept credit. Similar to Pat’s, covered seating is available outdoors.

Geno’s Steaks
Wiz Cheesesteak with (onions) ($9) & Provolone Cheesesteak Sandwich with ($9)

Geno’s Steaks
Freedom Fries ($4)

Geno’s Steaks

Geno’s Steaks

Geno’s Steaks

Papaya Dog

1 Feb

Papaya Dog

Rating: ★★☆☆☆
239 1st Ave, New York, NY 10003
(215) 468-1546
Price: $
Hours:
24/7
Nearest Transit:
1 Av (L)
3 Av (L)
14 St – Union Sq (4, 5, 6, 6X)
Facebook // Foursquare

Quick food that usually stomach-able for most New Yorkers

There’s no shortages of hotdogs in New York City; there’s carts, stands, trucks, and even restaurants all dedicated to selling this stuff. Most aren’t great, but they are a staple of NYC. I grew up in NYC and I grew up eating hotdogs. Over the years, it has been a love-hate relationship. Like McDonald’s, I know this stuff isn’t good for me but for nostalgia’s sake I keep coming back.

Papaya Dog is a hotdog joint that I’ve been to a couple of times now. They have locations scattered around the city, but the only one I’ve ever been to is the PD off of 1st Ave in the LES. The dogs here are nice and crisp, having been cooked on griddle instead of being drowned in steaming water. The buns are toasted on a grill along side the dogs. Choose from: regular, turkey, or even vegetarian. My usual is two regulars ($1.50 each), they offer a combo that gets you two dogs and a 16 ounce drink for $4 (I think it use to be only $3.50). They boast that their drinks have no artificial chemicals and are 100% natural, but they taste like the complete opposite. They also serve Fries, Philly cheese steaks, and other sandwichs. Skip all that junk, the hotdogs are the only thing worth trying here.

Papaya Dog
French fries (looks and tastes as though they have been deep fried many times over)

Bobby Van’s Burger

31 Jan

Bobby Van’s Burger

Rating: ★★★☆☆
120 W 45th St, New York, NY 10036
info45@bobbyvans.com
Website
(212) 575-2599
Price: $$
Hours:
Mon-Fri 11:30 am – 11 pm
Sat 5 pm – 12 am
Nearest Transit:
Times Sq – 42 St (S)
47 – 50 Sts – Rockefeller Ctr (B, D, F, M)
42 St – Bryant Pk (B, D, F, M)
Facebook // Foursquare

Off to the side and back of Bobby Van’s Steakhouse sits a small open kitchen grill that wips up burgers at a frantic pace to meet the demands of the midtown lunch crowd. The wait during peek hours can get pretty long, average 25 minutes in my experience. The burgers and fries are decent, not the the best I’ve ever had. The cooks are not very consistant. I always order my burgers medium, but results tend to very. It’s a lottery, sometimes the burgers come out awesome and other times they are over cooked. Fortunate for me, I’ve had better luck than my friends and colleagues who I’ve dine here with. A patter gets you a burger with fires and onion rings. I usually opt for the 1/2 pound sirloin burger ($7) with creamed spinach on the side, which is amazing. They also serve sandwichs, pizza, and salads. I dont know why, as no one seems to order them. Seating is available in the atrium directly in front of the restaurant.

Bobby Van’s Burger

Bobby Van’s Burger

Bobby Van’s Burger

Bobby Van’s Burger

Bobby Van’s Burger

Il Villaggio Ristorante

11 Mar

Il Villaggio Ristorante

Rating: ★★★☆☆
651 Route 17 N, Carlstadt, NJ 0707
info@ilvillaggio.com
Website
(201) 935-7733
Price: $$$
Hours:
Mon-Fri 11:30 am – 11 pm
Sat 5 pm – 12 am
Foursquare

Very grand decor and great service, but the food is just mediocre

Il Villaggio Ristorante is located off a highway, but don’t let that fool you. This restaurant’s decor is just as nice if not more magnificent than any of the high-end restaurants you’ll find in New York City. The first thing you’ll notice when pulling up to this restaurant is its grand entrance, you fell like you are walking into a palace of some sort. The host and waiters are very knowledgeable and attentive. If you are an inexperience diner, feel free to ask for recommendations and pairing suggestion. In my experience, the waiters are very honest and they don’t try to up-sell. Do expect a little wait, even with reservations. This place gets very busy, especially during the holidays. The bar is a good place to chill while you wait for a seat.

Now on to the food. As nice as this restaurant looks and as great as the service is, the food fails to excite. They specialize in authentic northern Italian dishes but everything was way too salty and I couldn’t taste any of those Italian flavors that I love. The scallops on both my pasta and risotto dish were also overcooked. Go for the grand decor not the food, they don’t have the total package!

Il Villaggio Ristorante

French Onion Soup Gratinee
French Onion Soup Gratinee – $5.50

Il Villaggio Ristorante
Broccoli di Rabe – $6.95

Il Villaggio Ristorante

Il Villaggio Ristorante

Fruits Gelateria

10 Mar

This venue is closed.

Fruits Gelateria

Rating: ★★★☆☆
322 Broad Ave, Palisades Park, NJ 07650
(201) 944-5150
Price: $
Hours:
Mon-Sun 11 am – 12 am
Facebook // Foursquare

Pricy self-serve “Pinkberry style” fro-yo

Fruits Gelateria was one of the first fro-yo joints on Broad Avenue and for some time, was my favorite, that is until they instituted the self-serve model and made their fro-yo so much more pricy than their competitors. Average medium plain frozen yogurt with no toppings will set you back $6-8 bucks, so not only do you have to make it yourself, but you also pay more. Their frozen yogurt is very similar to Pinkberry, not very creamy and a bit tangy. Their gelatos are a hit or miss. On some occasions they are nice and fresh and on others they taste as if it has been sitting there for years. They also offer shaved ice, cakes, bubble tea, coffee, soup, and sandwiches – none of which are at the very least appealing.

What is appealing about Fruits Gelateria is their decor. They have comfy couches, a mezzanine section with large table to do work, and an outdoor patio – all with free WiFi. And remember to bring cash, they only accept credit cards for purchases over $10.

Fruits Gelateria Froyo
Frozen Yogurt – Plain

Fruits Gelateria Froyo Machine

Fruits Gelateria Counter

Fruits Gelateria Seating

53rd and 6th Halal Cart

9 Mar

53rd and 6th Halal Cart

Rating: ★★★★☆
53rd St & 6th Ave, New York, NY 10079
support@53rdand6th.com
Website
Price: $
Hours:
Mon-Sun 7:30 pm – 4 am
Nearest Transit:
7th Ave-53rd St (B, D, E)
5th Ave-53rd St (E, V)
57th St-6th Ave (F)
Facebook // Foursquare

Not much to look at but extremely delicious

The 53rd and 6th Halal Cart is easily the most popular street vendor in New York City, if not the world. Lines can be seen over a block long, which amounts to as long as an hour wait. Their enterprise has grown from a single cart to five affiliate carts, the busiest still being the original on southwest corner of 53rd and 6th.

Their menu is pretty simple, choose a choice of meat (chicken or lamb or both) on a peta or patter. A platter includes rice and sliced pita. Top it all off with their special white sauce and if you dare, their red sauce. The white sauce is what I think makes their food so addictive. Their chicken and lamb with lettuce on rice or a peta is decent, but when you add the goodness of that creamy sauce it makes their offering utterly orgasmic. The red sauce is really hot, try a little before opting to have your food sprayed with fire.

The guys are fast, be ready to order when it’s your turn and have your money in hand. They only accept cash.

53rd and 6th Halal Cart Wrap

Chicken Wrap – $4

53rd and 6th Halal Cart Preparing
Chicken and Lamb Rice Platter with White Sauce – $6

53rd and 6th Halal Cart Ordering

Batten Ramen

8 Mar

Batten Ramen

Rating: ★★★★☆
12024 Center Ave, Fort Lee, NJ 07024
(201) 461-5465
Price: $$
Hours:
Mon-Sun 11:30 am – 10 pm
Foursquare

Nothing spectacular, decent ramen and good katsu curry

Batten Ramen is an authentic Japanese ramen house that has been around for while. It is located in the Oaktree Center and has the small and cozy feeling you would come to expect from a ramen house in Japan. There’s a shelf of mangas (Japanese graphic novels) and Japanese magazines for you to read while you wait or eat. Both the chef and waiting staff are very attentive and you are always greeted when you enter and leave the restaurant.

The food was not the best I’ve ever had, but it’s decent. The gyoza was crispy on the bottom with a good balance between filling and skin. The tonkatsu (pork) ramen, which they call the Batten Ramen has a decent soup-base – not as flavorful as Santoka, but acceptable. Batten’s ramens are generously portioned and they have that chewy/springy bounce that you expect in a fresh bowl of ramen. Their Hiyashi Chuka (cold ramen) was also not on par with Santoka. I’m not a fan of seasoned pork cutlet in my cold ramen, I would have much preferred crab meat. What shines at Batten Ramen is their curry, the katsu curry is my go to dish and is one of the best you’ll find in New Jersey.

Batten Ramen offers combination sets that allow you to add a half portion of curry rice or fried rice to you ramen order for an additional $3. They have daily deals that offer a combination of items on their menu for one low price. Remember to bring cash, they don’t accept the plastic. There’s metered street parking in the front and a large muni-meter lot in the back.

Batten Ramen
Batten Ramen Combination (add half curry or half riced rice for an additional $3)- $11.50

Batten Ramen
Batten Ramen (ramen in tonkatsu broth)

Batten Ramen
Gyoza – $3.50

Batten Ramen
Batten Ramen – $8.50

Batten Ramen
Katsu Curry with Rice – $9.00

Batten Ramen
Hiyashi Chuka (cold ramen) – $9.99 (seasonal – only available during the summer)

Batten Ramen
Champon Ramen – $8.50

Batten Ramen

Batten Ramen

Batten Ramen

Batten Ramen

Batten Ramen