Friday, April 30, 2010

Kiss Me Maki

My Rating: ***
Components: Inside: Crab meat, cucumber, avocado, cream cheese.
Outside: Covered with shrimp, black flying fish roe, scallions, yogurt sauce, sweet chili sauce.
Location: Privus | 165 Brighton Av., Allston, MA 02134

I decided to write about one of Privus' makis not only because it is closing this week but also because this particular Maki was indeed interesting. 
The name of the maki suggests something sweet, fruity and perhaps creamy (other than a salty maki with some crunch) but the taste one expects and the taste itself is completely different. At least that is what I thought.
The sweet chili sauce brings a certain sweetness, but because of the shrimp, the sweetness is neutralized as opposed to if mango was used instead. 
It is a pretty creamy maki though and I would recommend to those who are a fan of cream cheese, however, I would not recommend to those looking for a more traditional maki taste. It could be closely compared to a shrimp nigiri sushi only with some sweetness and cream added to it - the avocado, cucumber and crabsticks don't really make THAT much of a difference in terms of flavor. 
What makes this maki even more "interesting" is the yogurt sauce. It brings a new and sort of refreshing taste to the maki. You taste it with the sweet chili sauce right when you start bitting the maki, and as you start chewing, the flavor slowly disappears as the overwhelming cream cheese takes over.
Well, not the best bust definitely something unique. 

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Tomato Fried Egg

Components: Egg and Tomato
Location: Home

For those who don't know, this is a very traditional and basic Chinese dish made from Tomato, Eggs and a few simple ingredients. Why did I choose to write about it? Well, not only did I make it for lunch today but also because this dish has a personal meaning.
To begin, I do not eat tomatoes. I can sometimes tolerate them in Guacamole, Pico de Gaio and some sandwiches (if in small amount) but I cannot simply eat plain, raw, icky tomatoes. I absolutely hate their taste and texture! Back at home, when my mom used to make this dish for dinner, I would pic out the tomatoes and only eat the eggs. Yuck! 
The weirdest thing is, however, the moment I started cooking my own food in college, I started craving this dish. The taste was somehow associated with the feeling of home, family and motherly love and I guess cooking this dish was a way to bring those old memories of home closer to me.
This happens to be though, the only 'type' of tomatoes I eat, i.e. cooked tomatoes, and that is why its so special to me :D

Ingredients: (for one person)
  • 1 tomato
  • 1 garlic
  • 1egg
  • hondashi
  1. Mince the garlic into tiny pieces and throw it into the pan after heating the oil.
  2. When the garlic is slightly golden, throw in the tomatoes.
  3. Stir fry tomatoes till they get mushy and the juice has come out (optional)
  4. Slightly beat the egg and add some Hondashi to it, then pour into pan with tomatoes. 
  5. Add just a tiny bit of salt and sugar.
  6. Stir until egg is cooked and serve on a bed of rice.
It's easy, fast and healthy! :)

Monday, April 12, 2010

Beef Strogonoff

My Rating: ****
Location: 421 Cambridge Street Allston | MA 02134 
(617) 789-5980

Weird name? Surprisingly enough it is not a weird word amongst the Brazilians, yet here in the US I have not met one single person who knows what it is. Well, too bad you are missing out. 

Strogonoff, originated from Russia and most probably invented by the Stroganov family, is a very popular dish amongst Brazilians. Of course, the Brazilian version includes a few changes to the original Russian version. While the Russian version uses mustard and bouillon with a final touch of sour cream for the sauce, the Brazilian version includes stir fried onions and mushrooms while the sauce is made with heavy whipping cream instead of sour cream, with an addition of Ketchup or Tomato sauce and mustard. It is served with rice and crisp potato straws. 

Where to find this? At Cafe Brasil - a cozy Brazilian restaurant situated on 421 Cambridge Street, Allston, MA. The Strogonoff there however, was different to any other Strogonoff I've had before. It contains the usual beef, onions and mushrooms (like all Brazilian Strogonoffs) but has some heart of palm bits added to it, making the dish all the more unique. 

For those who have never had it before, it is quite hard to describe the taste as it is pretty unique. However, if you are a fan of creamy risottos and paejas then this is definitely something for you to try! :)

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Chicken Quesadilla

My Rating: ****
Components: chicken breast, chipotle barbecue sauce, chihuahua cheese, pico, pico de gaio, mexican rice, black beans
Location: Dos Caminos Soho | 475 West Broadway, New York, NY 10012-5309
(212) 277-4300‎ 

I didn't expect it to be a mexican restaurant at all. The restaurant itself has a contemporary yet "rustic" feeling to it, making it look slightly edgy. What gives the atmosphere a little cheer up is the illumination. Natural sunlight floods in through the ceiling at the back park of the restaurant, creating a outdoor feel - fits perfect for the little busy setting of Soho. 

Well, chicken quesadillas are just chicken quesadillas but one can always make a few tweaks to make it even more tasty. At Dos Caminos, the chipotle sauce made the difference. It gives the usual cheese + chicken + tortilla a little more spice, and also goes well with the black bean paste on the side - something I have not yet seen in typical Mexican food places. Furthermore, with the cheese  rather softer in texture and taste (unlike those sticky and oily cheese you find around),the quesadilla has this "creamy" feel. 

For more flavor, order a serving of their Guacamole - apparently what they are best known for. I was never a fan of Guacamole but this time I could not stop eating it. Mixed with salsa and your choice of chili sauce, the guaca goes well with either their nachos or the quesadilla.

If you are looking for Mexican food, yet also want to enjoy a nice environment,  then Dos Caminos is definitely a place to check out. With a wide selection of Tequila and Mohitos from the bar, it is a nice place to hang out with friends before a shopping spree in the nice warm spring weather :) Keep in mind though, the price is certainly not what you pay at Chipotle or Anna's...but it is totally worth it.