Wednesday, March 26, 2008

New York City Food

So I'm back from NYC, and it was awesome seeing all of my friends. It made me miss NYC because there's just so much to do and so much good, cheap food to be had. It's really awesome when you look on yelp and see multiple 4 star restaurants within a block or two of where you're standing.

The places we went to eat were awesome. So delicious you can't imagine. The halal food cart is just amazing...amazing. I did a slack ass job of taking photos, but here are some:

Chiedo and I took the free Staten Island ferry which offers great views of the NYC skyline, the statue of liberty, and ellis island. One weird thing is I got linked to by some other blog. I noticed this because I usually get like 2-3 visitors a day and then one day I got 50, and I was wondering why the hell this happened. The blog doesn't really have his facts straight (I've been to NYC before and my list of things to do in NYC was in no-way ranked), but I'm flattered I got linked to. And he's right about the staten island ferry -- I think it's a great tourist destination.

One of my friends, Jaun, took us to this place way back in the day. It's a great Latino fried chicken place located in Harlem (157th and Broadway).

We brought some back for our gracious hosts, and they fought over the chicken like little kids.

Ummm...delicious. I plan on trying fried chicken again soon. maybe marinating in lime and some spices first. I just wish I could find a resonably sized container of peanut oil to use (not too big and not too small and expensive).

Another great place we went to is Lombardis. The waits a little long, but totally worth it. it's awesome pizza.

This is one of Chiedo's many failed attempts at trying to create a cool new profile picture for Facebook.

And a close-up of the real-deal.

All right, so it was a great trip overall. I got to hang out with a shit ton of friends from back in the day, and we had a good time.

I have some good stories about the halal food cart. The first night, we order, and I want both white and red sauce, but I'd never put it on myself (they've always done it for me at "my" place). So I decide to put equal amounts of white and red (and a lot of both). I go up to the guy to ask for a lid, and he gives me a crazy look. He asks me if I've ever had this hotsauce before. Well I have, but it's been a while. I took a bite of this shit, and I was trying to suck in cold air the whole way home. When I got there I tried water, milk, and whatever I could get my hands on, but it didn't help much. It was so delicious though, and I had trouble stopping. In the end, I only ate about half of it, and gave the rest to my Korean friend who finished it off without a drop of water....

The second night we go to halal food cart, as soon as we pull up there's some gang fight going on. One guys getting beat up in the corner, people are holding others back, etc... It cools down for like a minute and all seems quiet and then all of a sudden this red SUV squeals up, and starts trying to run over the other people. They're like running around trying to get out of the way. All the while the 30+ of us waiting in line are just standing there watching, chuckling a little (but really scared), wondering wtf is going on. The driver didn't hit anyone and then sped off as the other people tried to chase him down. The security guards in the building are on the radio, wondering what's going on outside. I assumed police would be there in a little bit, and I finally see a car show up, but all that happens is he skips the line, pays the man, and grabs his food...where are the police when some maniac is trying to runover people on the sidewalk?? Oh well. All in all, a pretty exciting night by the halal cart.

Anyways, NYC was awesome. Weather wasn't fantastic, but I'm sure I'll be going back.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

New York City Cookies

I'm off to the big apple. Leaving tomorrow on a red-eye flight and arriving Thursday early in the morning. I'll be there through the weekend and then go to my grandmother's Monday and Tuesday before heading back to SFO. So if you live in NYC gimme a call so we can get together.

If you have suggestions of what to do in NYC, let me know. I'm mostly going to meet up with some friends and party a lot, but another friend from SF is coming with me, and he's never been to NYC. The list so far is:
  • Staten Island Ferry
  • See Empire State Building
  • See WTC
  • Eat at Katz Deli
  • Eat at Lombardis
  • Get some Halal food
  • See little italy/chinatown
  • Eat at Daisy May BBQ (maybe)
  • See a Broadway Play (maybe)
  • Go to MOMA (maybe)
In planning to go to NYC, I decided to make some cookies--a lot of cookies. Over 100 in fact.

Perhaps this makes me a little crazy, I dunno. I stayed up till 2 am making them though. I brought some into work, but the majority are coming to NYC (hopefully they won't get crushed on the trip).

What types did I make? Regular chocolate chip, chocolate chip with some white chocolate, peanut butter and chocolate chip, and oatmeal raisin cookies.

What went in:
  • 7.5 cups of flour
  • 8 sticks of butter
  • 8 cups of sugar
  • 10 eggs
  • 4.5 cups of chocolate chips
  • 1 jar of peanut butter
  • 1 jar of peanuts
  • 3 cups of old-fashioned oats
  • 1.5 cups of raisins

So if you're in NYC, come get some cookies from me.

The oatmeal raisin cookies. It's more fun to make big ones (and actually easier to cook).

Nice and big chocolate chip ones.

In total 8 plates of I said, I'm a little crazy at times. Putting them on 8 plates helped them cool, but it also just screamed of excess, which is what I was going for.

And ready to be shipped. The stuff on the far right went to work. The rest will be in NYC.

Some lessons learned while cooking:
  • Peanut butter cookies are hard to bake. You need to make sure to undercook them (golden brown on only the sides). The first batch of peanut butter ones are a tad burned on the bottom.
  • Burning the bottoms of cookies can be helped a lot if you have a dark, thick baking sheet, and if you use the lower-middle and upper baking racks (flipping them half-way through). I need to go buy some better baking pans (only have 1 really good one).
  • Despite not eating many cookies, I have very little desire to eat any at this point after spending so long baking them.
Hopefully see you all in New York!

Monday, March 17, 2008


So when I normally get Indian food, it means North Indian cuisine. Every once in a while, I'll venture over to the South, and it's usually good, but nothing too impressive. However, I went to a place in San Francisco called Dosa (around 21st and Valencia), and I can say it was one of the best meals I've had in SF.

We tried a few things, but the two things that stick out to me (and I'll be going back for more) are the bhel puri and the pani puri.

Pani puri's essentially a fried hollow crisp that you put some fillings inside of and then you put some tamarin sauce and then some green, watery hot sauce (yeah, I don't actually remember what it's all called). Here's a similar pic:

All I can say is that the sauces were amazing. I don't use this phrase often, but it was definitely a "party in my mouth"

The other oh-so delicious dish was bhel puri. It's essentially just fried crisp, diced green mango, potatoes, tomatoes, onions & coriander. Again, quite good.

So this place has definitely moved up to the tops in my list. Pani puri also has risen as a favorite food of mine.

Sunday, March 16, 2008

New Phone

One of the more exciting things to happen to me recently was that we shipped Flex 3, the product I work on. When we shipped Flex 2 last year, the shipping gift was a nice Timbuktu bag. Since that time, Flex has become a baller product and a cornerstone of the platform that Adobe is pushing, so our shipping gift this year was also improved.

I don't really consider myself that geeky or high up on the technology curve. Yes, I do read computer books in my leisure time, and I do think about programming and software engineering a lot, but I'm not really a big sci-fi person or a bit gadget person. However, the usefulness of an iPhone cannot be denied, and it was honestly one of the few things that I really wanted. However, too cheap to buy it (especially given my Verizon contract), I was really ecstatic when we were given iPhones as our shipping gift.

So far, I have to say the iPhone is extremely useful, and it was an awesome shipping gift. I still have my old number since it's only $10 a month to add myself to my parent's family plan, but I'll be slowly transitioning over to my new phone, so please start to use this one.

Cashew Nut Chicken

One of my favorite places to eat in Pittsburgh is Bankok Balcony in Squirrel Hill. Perhaps the main reason I love it so much is because their cashew nut chicken is so damned good. I haven't figured out what makes their sauce so damned good, but it's something I've always wanted to try to make. So here's my first attempt:

We almost always have some frozen chicken from Costco in our freezer. It's the simplest thing to work with since it's already in packet form. Just take it out the night before and put it in the fridge.

Cubed into about 1/2 inch pieces.

The veggies I decided to put in are onions and a red bell pepper.

Just chop off the top and then take out the insides.

Now we can start slicing it into smaller pieces.

Repeat with the onion.

For the sauce, we also need some diced garlic. I took one big clove out.

We're actually going to have two sauces. One to marinate and cook the chicken in, and another to cook everything in at the end.

For the chicken, here are the main ingredients.

We only need the egg white. If you haven't split an egg into the yolk and white part before, it's pretty easy. Just crack it open and transfer the yolk back and forth between the two halves.

With our sauce and that minced garlic from before.

After mixing.

We then let the chicken marinate in it while we prepare the other sauce.

For this sauce, we start with sesame oil, corn starch, chicken broth, rice vinegar (ok, I didn't have any...), and chili-garlic sauce.

I put a little less chili garlic paste, since I didn't want it to be too spicy, atleast initially.

Taking some vegetable oil, we cook the veggies for about 5 minutes, until the onions are translucent.

Now it's time for the chicken. Just pout it in with the sauce and cook for about 6 minutes.

Add the veggies back in.

Pour on the sauce. I thought it was a little too spicy, so I decided to mellow it out with some OJ.

Et voila.

I poured it over some rice and sprinkled some cashew nuts on top.

Overall it was a good stir-fry. It definitely wasn't the sauce from Bangkok Balcony but still tasty none-the-less. This will be a dish I will try to make again. Since I made the sauce myself (with a little bottled help), I know what went into it. I'll have to figure out the right combination of ingredients to match the Pittsburgh treat.

BBQ Throwdown

When I go home to South Carolina, there are a few places I'll probably eat at, but there's only one place I must eat at--Duke's Barbeque. It's Southern food at it's best.

In the spirit of Bobby Flay, I had a bbq (pulled pork) throwdown with another Adobe employee, Joann, who's from Texas. We went to split a Boston Butt (Pork Shoulder) from Costco, got our respective sauces flown in from our states, and went to cooking.

I just put mine in a Crockpot overnight for about 10 hours on low with a little bit of water. In the morning I took it out.

I then shredded it up and put it back in the crockpot.

And the piece da resistance.

I just poured some sauce in and let it all simmer for another 2 or 3 hours on low in the crockpot.

During the "throwdown" we took an informal vote, and it came out about 50/50. It's hard to beat the real-deal from South Carolina. This one was a tad too moist in my opinion, and that came from cooking it in the crockpot versus a smoker or even the oven. However, I have to say the bbq definitely hit the spot, and I had a great time at the party.

Monday, March 3, 2008

Bobo's Steak

I've had a lot of steaks in my life. I've eaten them at many different places. I've gotten it at a few fancy restaurants before, and I've nearly always concluded that these steaks are no better than the ones I cook at home. In some cases, I find it even worse (esp. for the money). Before this night, I had concluded the only slab of meal you can't cook at home that is worth getting in a restaurant is the prime rib, which is really hard to cook well at home (though I plan on trying it at some point).

However, last week, I had a steak at Bobo's, and I have to say it was the best meal I've had in San Francisco. The steak was absolutely amazing. When I dream about what a slab of beef tastes like -- this was it.

Boboquivari's is a fancy steak restaurant in the Marina district in San Francisco. My favorite cut of meat is a Ribeye, but they didn't have that, so I was stuck deciding between a bone-in New York Strip or a bone-in Filet Mignon. I chose the former, and I'm glad I did. The filet was a little more tender, but the flavor of the new york was out of this world.

So if you like steak and are in SF, summon the courage to splurge a little on a nice steak (this is the jew telling you that, so you know it's good). We definitely splurged when we went there and ended up spending $90 a person there. You don't have to spend that much to have a good meal, but there were some other good things we got. The crab, mussel, and shrimp platter we got as an appetizer was filled with butter and garlic and quite tasty. The sides were also pretty good, especially the onion rings. For dessert we had some cones with chocolate mousse in them -- another good choice. However, you're going for the steak, and you won't regret it.

At any rate, I definitely plan on trying some more steak places in the city, but I will no doubt be making a pilgrimage to Bobo's every once in a while. I just hope it'll be half as good as my first time.