Tag Archives: dining out

Jeepney Filipino Bistro: NYC in Review!

Gentle Readers, it really pays to pay attention. Lean in close, it’s time for a confession. Much like in magic tricks, it’s easy to be distracted when ordering in a new restaurant. For me, with my shellfish allergy, I often order “not shellfish” when trying a new place. Everything else falls to the side. And at Jeepney in New York, the service and atmosphere are so convivial, it’s easy to be swept along with the tide.

Thanks to @lynxbat for this before picture. Duck eggs, looking innocent. Balut @ Jeepney.

Thanks to @lynxbat for this before picture. Duck eggs, looking innocent. Balut @ Jeepney.

So I have to own this. I ordered a duck egg. I like duck, I like eggs. Great. It’s not shellfish. I ignored the key word, “fertilized.” Meet balut, a Filpino specialty, and a one of a kind experience. Not to say that Jeepney was fully defined by one thing, but eating a fertilized duck egg changes a person.

Special thanks to my friend and food challenger, @Lynxbat. Photo credit to him as well.

The whole patio stopped to watch. I have not yet realized what I've signed on for.

The whole patio stopped to watch. I have not yet realized what I’ve signed on for.

For the review of the overall meal, it was a great experience. We sat at communal tables on the patio in the back, and that alone was a great reminder of how food should be eaten–with other people and outside when possible. We ordered almost the entire menu, from lumpia (a personal addiction, if you are a fan of spring or egg rolls, imagine them smaller and crunchier) to beef marrow (luscious and umami on speed) to brilliant entrees.

Beef Marrow with Broth: The Flinstones would applaud.

Beef Marrow with Broth: The Flinstones would applaud.

I’ve eaten Filipino food before, but this was an experience. Much credit to the wait staff, who gave us the Big Night of the Philippines experience. By the time we were eating the balut, the entire restaurant was playing along. Every dish was well executed, and there’s not anything I wouldn’t recommend.

My dish was simply amazing--the broth was simple and complex, and each bite was unique.

My dish was simply amazing–the broth was simple and complex, and each bite was unique.

The bigger picture remains, if you go to try a new cuisine, dive in. Jeepney makes it accessible. There are fusion dishes that feel familiar (garlic rice or curried pork chop), along with the adventure items. Everything, right down to the HaloHalo inspired ice cream (beware of the gummi items if you’re not a fan), is both familiar and challenging if you’ve not eaten the cuisine.

The atmosphere of Jeepney reminds you why it's great to eat out and experience new things!

The atmosphere of Jeepney reminds you why it’s great to eat out and experience new things!

That may have been my first and last balut (true confession, I lost my nerve after 3 bites and the dawning realization of what I had ordered), but it’s not my last trip to Jeepney. Highly recommended, plenty of well executed options (shellfish free even!). Go, and take a spirit of adventure with you.

If Anthony Bordain recommends it, it has to be good, right?

If Anthony Bordain recommends it, it has to be good, right?

What’s the strangest thing you’ve ever eaten? Post a comment below,  or Tweet my way!

Send duck eggs, better listening skills, and general challenges to practical cook at gmail dot com. Connect on Facebook: The Practical Cook Blog. (Thanks in advance for spreading The Practical Cook Blog word. Press “like” on Facebook today! Also, follow the food pictures on Instagram @amylewi.)

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Up on Sunday, Weekly Menus, Travel Edition!

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Weekly Menus: Week of 3/24/2013

Gentle Readers, technology is wonderful until it is not. Apologies for the errors/reposting/general high tech hijinks of the last post. Something happened in the editorial and publishing process. On with the show. Today’s weekly menus is going to break form as I continue to attempt to improve inventory control.

The Practical Cook's Cereal Warehouse

The Practical Cook’s Cereal Warehouse

In assessing a week honestly, sometimes I’m just not going to have the opportunity to cook a lot. I have aspirations, and I’m going to blog about the discipline of cooking soon, but buying more food than we need is just not helping.

The Freezer Before the Intervention

The Freezer Before the Intervention

Lean in, I will confess: I haven’t used a coupon in weeks and weeks. And weeks. Perhaps we’ve grown out of using a number of the items on sale, or we just don’t need that much of any one thing. Our travel schedules (and it is plural, TPCs Jr are in very high demand) dictate more meals out, or with friends, or to meet business obligations. So we eat simply at home, or make use of the leftovers, or draw from our vast war chest of pantry options.

My Road Food Survival Kit

My Road Food Survival Kit

The net of it is, our time is the priority right now, and it takes time to plan/shop/buy/put away. If we reduce that load, we get time and money back. I’m not advocating giving up cooking, far from it. Just acceptance that one must take the long view. Weekly snapshots may look like nothing but restaurant time, but there’s a lot of oatmeal and salad in between.

Quinoa and tofu add substance to this Whole Foods salad. I thinned the Thai dressing with lemon juice.

Quinoa and tofu add substance to this Whole Foods salad. I thinned the Thai dressing with lemon juice.

So this week’s grocery list: milk, bread, eggs, bananas, cereal, walnuts. Basically the food of the Southern Snowstorm, with some variety tossed in.

And the weekly menus are:

Sunday: Indian
I’m field testing another new place. Be on the lookout for some reviews.

Monday: Fried Chicken
Again, another review. And yes, I’m running again, and faster than ever, thank you for asking. Also, yes, I got my cholesterol checked and I’m fine. Moral of this: I eat a whole lot of oatmeal and salad you don’t see. I may put together a post around all the oatmeals I’ve loved. Long view, take the long view.

Tuesday: Soup and Sammies
TPCs Jr and TPCs Mom will be at the helm again, so we are looking for simple and healthy. Add some fruit, and call it a meal.

Wednesday: Leftover surprise!
It is better to eat the food you have than buy new and have to throw more out. I have no idea what this will be, but it will be exciting. There are so many options when you are looking to clean out the fridge.

Thursday: Malaysian
More field testing with one of our favorite teams. If you haven’t tried Malaysian food, google and seek. With some luck, I’ll have a guest post before long.

Friday: Dine Out
Again, honest prevails here, we are traveling and looking forward to some exciting food adventures!

Saturday: Dine Out
See above.

How do you manage your inventory? Post a comment below, or Tweet my way!

Questions, quibbles, compliments? Email practical cook at gmail dot com. Connect on Facebook: The Practical Cook Blog. (Thanks in advance for spreading The Practical Cook Blog word. Press “like” on Facebook today! Also, follow the food pictures on Instagram @amylewi.)

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Coming up Wednesday: Corned Beef Hash Recipe!

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Weekly Menus: Week of 8/5/2012

Gentle Readers, this has been a whirlwind summer for The Practical Cook and the Juniors. We have often found ourselves lacking the sheer stomach space to consume all we want to try. Not a bad problem to have, I know. However, it has also meant a real lack of kitchen time. I think I’ve cooked in other people’s kitchens more than my own!

The magic quadrant of pancakes from #projectpancakes

The magic quadrant of pancakes from #projectpancakes

Not a bad skill to acquire. Last night’s #projectpancakes was a huge success, as you can see. We field tested a couple of mixes with add-ins for a tough crowd. And there was bacon. That was less of a hard sell. Wright’s Hickory Smoked, the victor from Bacon Madness, again reigned supreme.

Underline your panckaes with bacon. For emphasis.

Underline your panckaes with bacon. For emphasis.

However, I find myself lacking inspiration. I resubscribed to Everyday Food, on my iPad. Let’s see how that format goes, if I use and enjoy it as much. So here’s what I’ve got for the week. Would love to hear from you all, what you’re cooking and eating these days. I also wonder if I’m going to be able to get up at 6 AM again before too long–schooltime draws near!

Totally counts as a vegetable. Cucumber gimlet for the win!

Totally counts as a vegetable. Cucumber gimlet for the win!

But alas, back to the late days of summer. Here’s what’s on the menu this week:

Weekly Menus: 8/5/2012

Weekly Menus: 8/5/2012

And the four-square grocery shopping list:

The still lean Four-Square Grocery Shopping List: 8/5/2012

The still lean Four-Square Grocery Shopping List: 8/5/2012

Which all translates into:

Sunday: Italian
We’re being treated to a 3-course meal featuring pork. Part of my ongoing quest to learn to cook Italian courtesy of the cantankerous Waldorf.

Monday: Eggplant something
This will be Turkish (broiled and pureed, a smoky base) or Italian (oregano/thyme plus a hit of red sauce and mozzarella)  in nature. TBD.

Tuesday: Leftover surprise
This may change because now we need to do some field research this week. So it may be Mexican and leftovers may be lunch.

Wednesday: Field Research (Dine out!)
I am fortunate enough to know a couple of local chefs, and the Juniors have demanded a seat at the table. Since summer is the perfect time to stay up late, we’re going out more than usual! I will reveal our mission in a future guest blog by the Juniors themselves.

Thursday: Beef and Veg
Because both of these things need to be eaten, work in volume, and can be frozen for the future.

Friday: Dine Out!
More field research! There are not enough meals in the day. Truly.

Saturday: Dine Out!
Though this may very well turn into leftover surprise. Or a salad! I adore the Whole Foods salad bar on a Saturday. The challenge of not building a $20 salad and the infinite variety!

Share your summertime cooking strategy (or eating strategy works too)! Post a comment! The crickets and I await your feedback.

Send confessions, challenges, and inspiration to practical cook at gmail dot com. Connect on Facebook: The Practical Cook Blog. (Thanks in advance for spreading The Practical Cook Blog word. Press “like” on Facebook today!)

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Coming up Wednesday: Kitchen Tool Talk, More of My Favorite Things.

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Weekly Menus: Week of 4/29/2012

Gentle Readers, lean in close, it is confessional time for The Practical Cook. Sometimes, I am not my chirpy upbeat self. Sometimes, just like you, life kicks me in the teeth. This was one of those weeks. I caught both hooves square in the mouth. (Life is in fact a horse in this analogy, work with me.) So sitting down to plan a menu can be tough. I even, wait for it, lost my appetite last week.

Trust me, this is a rare occasion.

The kitchen brings me solace, but this week I don’t have a lot of time to chop and mince, relaxing activities for me, and even less time to truly create and execute. This will be one of those off weeks, where I slug it out because I must. Because tossing a simple salad is still easier than hauling the Jrs out to dinner multiple times. So do forgive my lack of chirp and chop, I think it will return soon.

Good news, I still found room for this awesome cake.

Good news, I still found room for this awesome cake.

And these faboo cupcakes.

And these faboo cupcakes.

I soldier on after two kids’ birthday parties and a smidge of dessert, and this week’s menus will be:

Weekly Menus: 4/29/2012

Weekly Menus: 4/29/2012

The Four-Square Grocery List is:

The Four-Square Grocery List: 4/29/2012

The Four-Square Grocery List: 4/29/2012

And the CSA from Brinkley Farms:

1 bundle cress

1 bundle spring onions

1 dz eggs

2 bundles small white hakurei turnips

Which translates into:

Sunday: Lasagna or Rotisserie Chicken
I have work to do, so how much time is leftover will drive the meal decision. Either way, I have plans for these meals . . .

Monday: Leftovers with salad and starch
If you’re unsure which way you’re going, plan the leftover meal to be flexible. Salad goes with everything, and the starch could be mac and cheese or garlic bread. I shall flex to the moment.

Tuesday: Dine Out!
I will be rolling with some bloggy moms. Love the restaurant we’re going to, let’s hear it for inspiration.

Wednesday: Breakfast for Dinner!
Bet the farm this will be pancakes, or grits, or both. And there will be bacon, lots and lots of bacon.  Comfort food I can crank out in my sleep.

Thursday: Chorizo Burrito
Because my chorizo is not long for the freezer, I’m thawing and eating it this week. Straight from last week’s Brinkley Farms CSA, it is so good with pinto beans in a burrito I could weep openly, and may. Okay, I do still love food, even in my teeth-kicked-in state.

Friday: Leftovers
I look forward to finding out what this becomes. Will it be nachos? Will it be tea and toast because everything was actually eaten?

Saturday: Dine Out!
Let the field research begin anew.

What do you turn to when you’re not feeling inspired in the kitchen (or anywhere else)? Where do you draw food inspiration? Post a comment below, or Tweet my way.

Ideas, suggestions, challenges? Email practical cook at gmail dot com. Connect on Facebook: The Practical Cook Blog. (Thanks in advance for spreading The Practical Cook Blog word. Press “like” on Facebook today!)

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Up next, How to Cook Grits, And Why You Should.

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Adventures in Eating: Dining Out at Salsas in Asheville, NC

When in Asheville, NC, eat downtown and outside! This past weekend, the Practical Cook went on location to the mountains. Not only was she able to enjoy a picnic by a waterfall (score!), she ate a lot of great food around a town that is known for fantastic breweries every few feet. Today’s review is of Salsas.

Waterfall in Asheville, NC: Perfect spot for a picnic!

Waterfall in Asheville, NC: Perfect spot for a picnic!

The food was fantastic, the server was very helpful in helping us navigate our choices, and the beer was the size of the average bottle of wine. Yes, please. For the complete video account, roll the tape.

Why can’t I resist ordering something dramatic? And involving the word “shank?” One never knows. I would not recommend ordering this if you have a rambunctious toddler nearby. This dish was hot and a bit precarious. The kid at the next table was totally jealous of my goblet of fire.

Chips and Salsa, Floral Presentation

Chips and Salsa, Floral Presentation

Salmon Paqueta (aka, Grilled Burrito)

Salmon Paqueta (aka, Grilled Burrito)

Chicken Paqueta (aka Grilled Chicken Burrito)

Chicken Paqueta (aka Grilled Chicken Burrito)

And for the grand conclusion, my dinner:

Molcajete with Pork Shank
Molcajete with Pork Shank

What did my field research teach me? Don’t fear the heat, pair pork with fruit and peppers, and eat outside whenever possible.  Most importantly, share food with friends, and it will always taste better. And I’m pretty sure a molcajete just made the Kitchen Tool Talk Wish List.

Overall, a great experience, highly recommended.

Ever been to Asheville, NC? What are your favorite spots? Post a comment, or Tweet away!

Send your restaurant review requests in to practical cook at gmail dot com. Connect on Facebook: The Practical Cook Blog. (Like, like, like! Press “like” on Facebook today!)

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Coming up tomorrow, Summertime Snacks continue with another Popsicle Recipe! Flavor to be determined, tune in to find out.

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A Hush Puppy by Any Name: Southern Food in Translation

An Italian guy, a French guy, and a California gal walk into a bar. No, this isn’t a joke, this is last week’s culinary challenge. Ever try to translate “hush puppy”? It initially came out as “hashhish puppy,” which is a blog of a different stripe.

Hush Puppy (not a Hashhish Puppy)

Hush Puppy (not a Hashhish Puppy)

Some friends from out of town, whom I shall call collectively European Union, wanted to experience the local cuisine. I’m Southern, I live in the South,  and as the Practical Cook, people know I’m obsessed with food. That means we’re going to Crook’s Corner. Sure, when they looked on Google maps and saw the image, they thought I was taking them to the middle of a field to a building with a pig on top, but they are adventurous, right down to visiting the church in whose parking lot they parked.

Most famous for shrimp and grits and amazing hospitality, Crook’s didn’t disappoint. We started with Bill Smith’s Jalepeno-Cheddar Hush Puppies and marched through Green Tabasco Chicken, Shrimp and Grits, Hoppin’ John (which also defies translation), and 2/3 of the dessert menu.

I would argue that there is a hush puppy in most food traditions, a little bit of fried something. The hush puppy is echoed in pakora and falafel. So I called it arancini without rice and amuse-bouche. Good food and an interesting atmosphere translate to any language. Much Southern cuisine depends on pig and corn, and we had lots of both, in the decor and in the dessert course. The outstanding chocolate pie had a lard and vodka crust.

Basic Hush Puppies

The very composition of hush puppies could start a war, much like my anti-sweet tea declaration. The style represented in this link runs to my preference, a bit sweet and oniony. From The Cornbread Gospels, this recipe is a winner.

For more great recipes, including the base recipe for black-eyed peas for Hoppin’ John and the Green Tabasco Chicken, check out Bill Smith’s cookbook, Seasoned in the South. (Full disclosure, I also once worked for his publisher, and benefited from his yearly trip on bike across town laden with freshly-made tomato sandwiches in the height of the season. Slathered with mayo on white bread, with a hit of salt and pepper, individually wrapped in brown wax paper, we would eat until we foundered.)

Thank you to my friends, European Union, for embracing this food adventure and trying my native cuisine. And to answer the question from the video, the most popular dessert was the mango sorbet—not exactly Southern, but closer to a granita/gelato experience, and a specialty of the house.

Are you a hush puppy fan? If so, which style? Send thoughts, pictures, or suggested locations for puppy consumption to practical cook at gmail dot com. Or post a comment here, or connect on Facebook (The Practical Cook Blog).

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Coming up tomorrow, How to Make Strawberry Jam, to be filmed on location in the Practical Cook’s kitchen, assuming the camera doesn’t fall in the pot.

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Food Trucks: Super or Supertrendy?

Since the Practical Cook is not in her kitchen currently, the only cooking she has been doing involves repurposing the free “hot breakfast” offerings at the hotel. Other meals are dedicated to field research, which may lead to a food coma. Travel should be an adventure, food included. Lunch this week included a race to a local Korean Taco Truck, MoGoBBQ.

Have you succumbed to the food truck craze? The Practical Cook says eat food where you find it. When I lived in NYC, one of my favorite lunches came from the “chicken cart lady.” It was grilled chicken, on a pita, choice of barbecue, tzatziki, or hot sauce, or a combo therein, lettuce, and onions, for $3. How could I resist?

Korean Pork Tacos

Korean Pork Tacos

Ice cream trucks are completely accepted, so why not pizza, grilled cheese, pie, and duck fat tater tots? Perhaps this is a trend and will fade, but I appreciate the challenge of the small kitchen space, the thrill of the chase, and eating outside. These entrepreneurs can get started for a lot less than a new restaurant, so there’s room for innovation.

Here’s the Rib Slider I got, basically a play on a torta. Fluffy bread, crunch lettuce, nicely grilled meat, and sauce that was made of magic. It was a 3 napkin event, and a challenge not to wear it. (This food truck had a tofu version as well, so all is not lost for the veggie bunch.)

Rib Slider from MoGoBBQ Truck

Rib Slider from MoGoBBQ Truck

If you enjoy grilling out, picnics, etc., give food trucks a chance. To find them in your area, check out Yelp (they’ve got a category for them) or find your local foodies and follow them on Twitter. The food is cheap, it’s an adventure, and it’s about 1 million times better than a drive-thru. (**Numbers not based on any actual data.) Special thanks to <foodie> for the keeping me out of the cafeteria.

Up next, the Practical Cook’s first video blog, shot on location in sunny California. Adventures in Eating: De Afghanan  Cuisine.

What do you think of food trucks? Drop a line to practical cook at gmail dot com.

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