Author Archive for Gastronomer

Fuku – New York City

Fuku - New York City

I was hoping to have this published on Monday, in time for Tết, because Vietnamese folks believe that everything that happens on the first day of the New Year continues for the rest of the year. Well, it’s Friday, which means that my wish for a little New Year’s luck to keep me publishing more frequently didn’t quite pan out. There goes the Year of the Monkey…

And now to the subject at hand: Fuku, Chef David Chang’s fast-casual fried chicken sandwich shop in the original Momofuku Noodle Bar space.

Fuku - New York City

For $8, I received a big ‘ol slab of boneless fried chicken served between a squashed and wrinkly bun slathered with “Fuku butter” and dotted with pickles. The habanero-kissed batter was as crispy and spicy as hoped, while the meat of the matter was moist enough but not especially juicy.

Fuku - New York City

To further dress the sandwich there was “Ssam Sauce,” essentially thinned-out Korean chili paste (gochujang), as well as ketchup. I preferred the latter’s tangy goodness over the former’s sweet heat.

Continue reading ‘Fuku – New York City’

Sadelle’s – New York

Sadelle's - New York

My trip to New York City coincided with Rosh Hashanah, which meant that my brother’s apartment was chock full of bagels, smoked fish, and bear claws, all of which were sourced from Sadelle’s.

An ambitious new-school Jewish deli from the folks at Major Food Group, Sadelle’s opened a few days prior to my arrival, and my bro and sister-in-law were early adopters.

Sadelle's - New York

Since I liked what I tasted, and I’ve yet to meet a Jewish deli that I didn’t love, The Astronomer, June and I made our way to Sadelle’s for lunch during our stay. The wait for a table bordered on tortuously long, but that’s par for the course when it comes to dining at a hotly anticipated restaurant during its first few days of business.

Sadelle's - New York

According to the New York Times, Sadelle’s was first imaged as a bakery for Melissa Weller, a pastry chef who experimented with bagels while working at Per Se. The menu has since evolved to include all manner of traditional Jewish appetizing during the day and caviar service at night. Continue reading ‘Sadelle’s – New York’

Sweets and the City: Cake, Paletas and more!

OddFellows Ice Cream Co. - New York City

When The Astronomer and I visited New York City in the past, we’d arrive with long lists of places to eat, sights to see, and people to visit. Traveling to The Big Apple with June last fall, we took a more laid back approach. Instead of filling our itinerary with lots of “stuff” to do, we spent our days wandering and snacking around TriBeCa and the East Village. Here are some of the sweet detours we took along the way…

Dough - New York City

A trip to New York isn’t complete without a doughnut from Chef Fany Gerson. She opened a Manhattan outlet of Dough in 2014, which made it much easier for us to get our deep-fried high on this visit. Making the trek to Bed-Stuy would’ve been pretty tough with a baby.

Dough - New York City

The flavor that caught our eye was the Tropical Chile, a giant yeast doughnut glazed with a chili-spiked passion fruit icing. It was tangy, hot, and sweet. Delightful.

Continue reading ‘Sweets and the City: Cake, Paletas and more!’

Bò Lúc Lắc – Vietnamese Shaking Beef

Bo Luc Lac - Vietnamese Shaking Beef

When I was gifted four beautiful steaks this past Christmas, I briefly considered wrapping the fillets in bacon or chopping them coarsely for a tartare. But when it came down to it, The Astronomer and I both desired Vietnamese food, so “shaking beef” ultimately and unsurprisingly won out.

Since my family does not have a go-to recipe for bò lúc lắc, I turned to Chef Charles Phan of San Francisco’s The Slanted Door to guide me through the process. You could say that he’s got a way with shaking beef

Traditionally, this dish is prepared in a seasoned wok over a flame, which imparts an intense sear on the beef and cooks the entire dish with a flick (or two) of the wrist.

This pared down recipe caters to the home cook and yields immense reward for very little effort. While using a saute pan on an electric stove offers significantly fewer BTUs, the results were most satisfactory. We’ll be making this recipe again and again.

  • 1 1/2 to 2 pounds beef tenderloin (filet mignon), trimmed of excess fat and cut into 1-inch cubes
  • 2 tablespoons chopped garlic
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • Salt and pepper
  • 5 tablespoons neutral oil, like corn or canola
  • 1/4 cup rice-wine vinegar
  • 1/4 cup rice or white wine
  • 3 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon fish sauce
  • 1 red onion, peeled and sliced thin
  • 3 scallions, trimmed and cut in 1-inch lengths
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 2 bunches watercress, washed and dried, or 1 head red leaf lettuce, washed, dried and separated into leaves
  • 2 limes, cut into wedges

Bo Luc Lac - Vietnamese Shaking Beef

Marinate meat with garlic, half the sugar, 1 teaspoon salt, 1/4 teaspoon pepper and 1 tablespoon oil for about 2 hours at room temperature. (Refrigerate if your kitchen is very warm.)

Meanwhile, combine vinegar, remaining sugar, wine, soy sauce and fish sauce. Taste, and add salt and pepper if necessary. Mix about 1 tablespoon salt and 1 teaspoon pepper in a small bowl.

Bo Luc Lac - Vietnamese Shaking Beef

Divide the meat into 2 portions, and do the same with the onion and scallions. Put a wok or a large skillet over maximum heat, and add about 2 tablespoons oil. When the oil smokes, add the meat in one layer. Let it sit until a brown crust forms, and turn to brown the other side. Browning should take less than 5 minutes.

Add half the onion and half the scallions, and cook, stirring, about 30 seconds. Add about half the vinegar mixture, and shake pan to release the beef, stirring if necessary. Add half the butter, and shake pan until butter melts. Remove meat, and repeat. Continue reading ‘Bò Lúc Lắc – Vietnamese Shaking Beef’

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