Nov 2006

Acenar – San Antonio

Photo by Daniel Paz

November 28, 2006
Cuisine: Tex Mex

146 E. Houston St.
San Antonio Tx 78205

Phone: 210-222-2362

Appetizer I: Ceviche / Lime Marinated Fish – Lime marinated fish served with housemade tostadas and slice avocado ($9.75)

Appetizer II: Ostiones / Oysters – Buttermilk fried oysters on yucca chips, jalapeno honey mayo & charred pineapple ($7.95)

Entree I: Oyster Tacos – Chicken fried oysters drizzled with a jalapeno honey mayo, charred pineapple and micro greens ($12.95)

Entree II:Crab Tinga Tacos – Gulf blue crab tomato, onion, chipotle, avocado ($14.95)

Entree III: Pescado Veracruzano / Fish Veracruzano – Fresh Gulf Red Snapper simmered in tomato, olive caper sauce served with green rice and watercress ($17.95)

For a girl from San Diego, I don’t like Mexican food as much as I should. While there are some exceptions, namely guacamole and fish tacos, the genre doesn’t evoke any cravings if you know what I mean.

While on travels to San Antonio for work, two colleagues and I dined at Acenar. Acenar’s Tex Mex/fusion is far from authentic Mexican fare, which is definitely a good thing.

I started off dinner with the cerviche, while my co-worker had the oysters. The cerviche was fresh and sour, but nothing amazing. I wished the pieces of fish were larger. The avocado was a little unripened and the shredded icebrerg, which is sadly a staple in Mexican fare, was a waste of space. The oysters on the other hand were really great. In fact, they were the same oysters as my entree — the oyster tacos.

According to the waiter, the oyster tacos were recently voted best tacos in San Antonio, so I had to try them. The oysters were dipped in a batter that tasted like the Colonel’s Original Recipe from Kentucky Fried Chicken. Mmm. The pineapples added a nice tang to balance out the savory batter. I couldn’t really taste the oysters due to the adornments, but that’s really unavoidable. The corn tortilla didn’t do much flavor-wise for the tacos, so I ate the oysters alone. The tacos came with rice and beans, which were pretty good. The cotija cheese atop the beans were a nice touch. Overall, a very creative dish.

I had one of my co-worker’s crab tacos and thought they were great. The corn tortilla was essential for this taco because the crab was a bit salty. There was plenty of crab, but sadly the avocado was not perfectly ripe.

I had one bite of the Fish Veracruzano and found it to be overly dressed. The buttery sauce overpowered the fish’s natural flavors. I prefer fish preparations to be on the light side so that the fish shines through.

Acenar on Urbanspoon

Nov 2006

Kanoyama – New York City

November 24, 2006
Cuisine: Japanese, Sushi

175 2nd Ave, New York 10003
At 11th St

Phone: 212-777-5266

Appetizer: Sea Urchin in a half shell ($22)

Spider Roll – Soft Shell crab, cucumber, tabiko, lettuce, avocado w/mayo ($11)

Spicy Tuna Roll ($7)

Sushi for 2 – 16 pieces Sushi, 3 Rolls, served with Miso soup or salad ($42)

Dessert: Green Tea Mochi, Red Bean ice cream, Ginger ice cream

To recover from our Thanksgiving feast, my family dined at Kanoyama. Sushi’s mildness and freshness was perfect for resetting worn out palates.

We arrived at 7:15 PM and the (small) restaurant was filled to the brim, so we opted to sit at the sushi bar. The sushi chefs provided fine entertainment while we waited for our dinner.

We started off with the sea urchin appetizer, which was unadorned and served in a shell of sorts. Sea urchin is my brother’s latest obsession and has replaced foie gras as his favorite culinary delight. Since I have never had sea urchin before, he described it to me as slightly sweet and delicious. I would have to disagree. Sea urchin has the texture of brains and the taste of old sea water. Ick! I ate the seaweed garnish and let brother and mother finish off the dish.

For our main course, mother and brother shared the sushi for two, which came with 16 pieces of sushi, 3 rolls (Tuna, Yellowtail, Salmon), and soup or salad. Both mother and brother chose the Miso soup. Brother polished his off, but mom only had half. I guess it was good, but wasn’t spectacular. I helped my mom and brother with their sushi for two. I thought the standout pieces were the toro and the eel. Mmm. The eel especially melted in my mouth.

I ordered the spider roll and spicy tuna roll and shared them with mother and brother. Brother thought the spicy tuna was great because it wasn’t intensely mayo-ie. I agreed. I also thought the ratio of rice to fish was perfect. The spider roll was great as well; although I wished there was more soft shell crab and less rice.

We finished off our meal with some ice cream and mochi. I didn’t have any of the mochi because both mother and brother described green tea as “bitter.” No thanks. I really loved the ginger ice cream, but for some reason it was peach in color. Very strange. I am not a big fan of artificial coloring. The ginger flavor was strong, but not spicy and had many pieces of crystallized ginger. I only had a couple bites of the red bean ice cream. I felt that it was too sweet and lacked red bean flavor.

Kanoyama on Urbanspoon

Nov 2006

Naked Chocolate Cafe – Philadelphia

The dessert offerings at Audrey Claire were a bit lacking, so the Marathoner and I went to the Naked Chocolate Cafe to satisfy our sweet tooth. I ordered the Peanut Butter Nudo ($2), while the Marathoner had a petite bittersweet hot chocolate ($3.50). Both treats were delightful!

The nudo, which is unique to Naked Chocolate according to the woman behind the counter, had a soft and chewy texture. Although the nudo is described as brownie-like, I would say that the two desserts are very different. The nudo’s texture is definitely special. The pyramid shape was cute and enhanced the dessert’s presentation.


My only complaint was that the nudo was made with Jif, which is not a real peanut butter (N.A.R.P.B) that contains hydrogenated oils. Sigh. I have a weakness for peanut butter desserts, so I let this tremedous flaw slide on my visit. But in the future, I’ll probably have to stick to the non PB treats due to my fear of trans fats.

The hot chocolate was pure wonderfulness – so thick it was like drinking chocolate sauce. The Marathoner wished the hot chocolate was more bitter, but still found it quite delicious. Since I am not a huge fan of super-dark chocolate (65% or greater), I found the hot chocolate to be just the right amount of bitter. I also really enjoyed dipping my nudo into the cocoa and swiping some of the whipped cream. Even though the Marathoner ordered a petit, he had a hard time finishing it because the chocolate was so rich.

I’ll definitely be returning to Naked Chocolate for their cupcake offerings. The Marathoner will be returning to scope out the extremely attractive staff and clientele.

Naked Chocolate Cafe
1317 Walnut Street
Philadelphia, PA 19107
Phone: 215-735-7310

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