Sweet Balls!

So the other night, my girlfriend and I was watching an episode of Shark Tank. This episode showed a product called Sweet Balls. My girlfriend got a craving for them, and the good boyfriend I am, I surprised her the next day.

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They are sold in many Seven Eleven convenient stores. Luckily the one I went to sell them. It was cheap, $2.49 for a box of 4.

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They make Sweet Balls in different flavors, but red velvet was the only flavor left. I didn’t mind, I like red velvet cake.

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They are good! Just enough flavorful icing covering a very moist ball cake ball. My girlfriend is happy, I am happy, I give this product the “FDA” stamp of approval.

DEAN & DELUCA

I love New York and I love food markets. During my trip to NYC, I visited the original DEAN & DELUCA gourmet food retailer in SoHo. This place is really nice! Happy Holidays everyone :-)

Look at the cheese!

Look at the cheese!

Bread, pastries, and cookies!

Bread, pastries, and cookies!

 

Cakes, pies, and tarts!

Cakes, pies, and tarts!

Hand made chocolates!

Hand made chocolates!

 

Happy Veterans Day

Me visiting a restaurant in Baghdad, Iraq.

Today I reflected on some of my memories when I was in the military. For many of you that might not know, I am a Iraq combat veteran. When I was deployed to Iraq I experienced many horrible things of war, but there was one thing that humanity can all agree on, good food! I realized that no matter where I was in the world, no matter of culture barriers, no matter of language barriers, we could all come together and enjoy a good meal. During my time there I had the opportunity to experience the local cuisine; I ate homemade food, shopped at busy markets, and had memorable meals at restaurants.

Flat bread with hummus topped with roasted pieces of lamb, chickpeas, and a drizzle of olive oil.

Flat bread with hummus topped with roasted pieces of lamb, chickpeas, and a drizzle of olive oil.

The starch staple of Iraq is bread. The bread doesn’t look much but it was really good. They are mostly a flat bread, some are round and unleavened, and some are folded when baked produces a pocket (samoon). Iraqis like to drink tea (chai), it is a black tea and it is served in a small cup with sugar.

 

Roasted lamb leg with rice, served with curry sauce.

Roasted lamb leg with rice, served with curry sauce.

Roasted lamb is a very popular protein in Iraq. One of my favorite dishes in Iraq is “Quzi”, I am not sure if that is the correct spelling? The dish is roasted lamb with rice. The rice are usually flavored with nuts like almonds, raisins and a assortment of spices, and then topped with pieces of thin noodles. The lamb is roasted or braised and served with sauce.

Yes people, good food can even be found in a war zone!

I want to also take some time to thank you all veterans for their service. I am proud to have served.

Better Pictures!

Currently I am taking a digital photography course, and I am learning a lot! I think food is already amazing when passionate people talk about it and when avid foodies post their pictures on their social media. Food can look even more amazing with the right picture from the right camera. I have some amazing shots coming your way, but I still have some old shots from my old camera and shots from my cell phone that I just have to post. Stay tuned my friends.

Real Ramen in Boston?

Eating RamenYume Wo Katare in Cambridge, Massachusetts serves some of the best Ramen in the Boston area. This place takes their ramen very seriously. All you can order here is ramen and a small selection of beverages.

This place is hyped up, with ……..it’s authentic, it’s tasty, and it’s fun!

Ramen Line

The place is currently only opened at night from Tue. – Sat. and people start lining up outside of this small 16 seat restaurant. The line can get long, real long, I heard some of my friends had waited up to 2 hours. before they ate, fortunately I only waited for 43 minutes. The place tries to stay authentic by letting patrons know they will speak to you in Japanese, like by asking if you would like extra toppings, which in case all you have to do is say yes or no. Everyone that works there will greet you in Japanese when you enter the place, and they will all send you off when you leave (It’s a similar experience in Japan).

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The Ramen is the highlight at this place. It’s a big bowl, two choices, one with 2 pieces of meat $12, or with 5 pieces $14. I am told the noodles are hand-made on site, which gives it a unique texture and flavor. This ramen is not the same thing that you get in a package at the stores. This ramen, the noodles are wider, thick, straight and long. They have a beautiful soft chewy bite to them. The broth is light, with a very flavorful pork and deep soy flavor, sorry no miso for you traditionalists. The broth can have a full or heavy feel because it is very greasy (especially if you get extra pork fat), but the secret to the dish’s flavor is from that pork fat! The dish is topped with slices of delicious marinated pork belly and pork shoulder, and is finished with cabbage, bean sprouts and a scoop of minced garlic.

Ramen Bowl

Ramen BaconNot authentic but a cool place to go with a couple of friends, make it an event and enjoy a really good bowl of noodles, just not a dish you should have all the time because it is probably very high in calories. Staying long is not encouraged at this place because there is a line of people waiting behind you and there is no restrooms, the closest restroom is around the corner in Dunkin Donuts, just buy something. Plus you might want to buy something to get rid of that garlic breath! Overall Yume Wo Katare is a really nice addition to the Boston area restaurants.

Yume Wo Katare on Urbanspoon

Real Mexican Food?

The Steak Ranchero - Carne Asada Steak with Poco De Gallo, topped with Two Fried Eggs. Re-fried Beans and Mexican Style Rice for sides.

The Steak Ranchero – Carne Asada Steak with Poco De Gallo, topped with Two Fried Eggs. Re-fried Beans and Mexican Style Rice for sides.

What do you think when someone says Mexican Food? Do you think of Doritos? Burritos? Taco Bell? Well that is OK, because Mexican food is a big influence for American cuisine. America’s most consumed condiment is salsa, it beats out mayo and ketchup! Little do we know that Mexican cuisine made a large influence in American cuisine.

Having lived in Arizona for a year of my life, I was exposed to really good authentic Mexican food. Rodolfo’s Taco Shop in Sierra Vista, Arizona is one of my favorite Mexican restaurants. They make everything from tortilla chips to Carne Asada. A local favorite and one of the few places that close at midnight. This is not a fancy place, but it’s no commercialized fast food place either and the prices are really reasonable. The open kitchen presents a sense of nothing to hide during the cooking process and since most of the food is hand made on site, sometimes you can see them prepping and making of the food.

My favorite dish they offer is the Steak Ranchero, besides being one of my favorite dishes, it is the best $6.50 I have ever spent. The Steak Ranchero is the same as the Carne Asada plate, with grilled flank steak, re-fried beans and rice. The marinated steak is rich with flavor from different spices, it’s grilled on a flat-top, the chef chops the steak right before serving (not a normal presentation, but it works). The Steak Ranchero addition is the fresh poco de gallo (chopped onions, tomatoes and cilantro), two perfectly fried eggs and melted shredded cheese.

The fresh flavors and authentic experience at Rodolfo’s Taco shop has set a Mexican food standard for me. If you are in the Arizona desert, stop by and grab a bite at Rodolfo’s.

Dim Sum, I’ll Take Some

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Crispy Bacon Wrapped Minced Shrimp

You say tomato, I say tamato. Small bites has made many great gatherings from evening Spanish Tapas to morning Chinese Dim Sum. The Chinese made famous the ritual of gathering friends and family, and bringing them to big Chinese restaurants to feast on many small delights. Dim Sum translated to English means, “To the heart’s delight”. If you are really hungry, you don’t have to wait too long because most of the dishes are fully cooked, they are all on carts pushed by servers.

This Thanksgiving, my family and I decided to go for Dim Sum at the East Harbor Seafood Palace in Brooklyn, New York. The place was packed full of diners when I arrived, there was so many people waiting to be seated, the lobby was full and some determined people even waited outside.

Immediately the food carts rolled around with their attendants shouting the names of dishes on their carts. The popular favorites like Hai Gao (Shrimp Glutenous Dumpling) and Sui Mai (Shrimp and Pork Open Wonton Dumpling), which was all very good. The Hai Gao have perfectly steamed whole large shrimps wrapped in a thin glutenous rice wrapping. When you bite into the soft chewy wrapping and break into the dumpling, a beautiful steamed shrimp aroma reminds you what fresh seafood should be. The Sui Mai have diced pieces of large shrimp mixed (most places ground the shrimp) with ground pork and spices, the mixture is placed in a wonton wrapper in a way where the filling is exposed. This allows for a unique cooking process when it is steamed, and makes for a very delicious bite, especially with the pieces of shrimp!

What I like to see is their unique versions of the popular dishes, like Peking Duck. The dish is served in two courses. The first course is served with a big platter of sliced de-boned crispy roast duck with slivers of scallions and a side of hoisin sauce (Chinese BBQ plum sauce). The platter is accompanied by a steam basket full of freshly steamed buns. It is encouraged for diners to make their own little sandwich with pieces of crispy duck, fresh scallions and aromatic hoisin sauce all in a fresh-baked soft bun. The second course of this lovely dish is a stir fry of the bone-in duck pieces with spices and vegetables. It is a really good showcase of serving the whole duck, both courses was absolutely delicious.

The Stewed Beef Brisket is beautifully braised and slow cooked with potatoes and seasoned with ginger and spices. The dish is finished and served in a sizzling hot pot, the server lifts the lid to the dish at the table and you can see the love that was put into the dish, with the bubbling rich sauce and the sweet sizzling sounds from the hot pot, it all makes for an exciting presentation and a very delicious dish.

Super Crispy Fried Anchovies and Crispy Bacon Wrapped Minced Shrimp (Feature Picture).

Dim Sum is absolutely one of my favorite ways to dine, many small bites of many big meals.

So take that bite!

 

East Harbor Seafood Palace on Urbanspoon

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