Thursday, May 17, 2012

Next Stop: Colombia

In the few years since I've joined Twitter, I've definitely loved being able connect with readers, reach out to restaurants and chefs directly, and follow hundreds of other people, places, and things. One thing I hadn't expected from Twitter is to win contests, but it has definitely been a great added bonus!

Last week, I won a contest put on by Hell's Kitchen Flea Market for their "Gourmet Food Truck Bazaar." I had never been to the flea market or the food truck bazaar, but now I had won a tasting to Palenque Columbian Food Truck and I was excited to check it all out.

On an absolutely gorgeous Sunday last weekend, I walked over there and found about 8 food trucks at the back of the market. They all looked so good.

What I ordered:

- Original corn arepa topped with cheese, arugala, chipotle mayo, cilantro, butter, and guacamole

- Original corn arepa with marinated chicken, arugala, chipotle mayo, cilantro, butter, and guacamole

I chatted with a few of the employees and they were all so friendly. One of the Colombian owners, who sits in the passenger seat to take the orders, told me how difficult it's been to run their truck. So, I promised to spread the word as much as I could!

The food was fresh, delicious, and, from what I gather, very authentic. Definitely check them out - their location schedule is on their website. Thanks again to the Hell's Kitchen Flea Market!

Palenque Homemade Columbian Food
Truck at various locations

Friday, May 11, 2012

Next Stop: South Africa

What we ordered...
- Grilled eggplant stuffed with goat cheese

- Peri Peri prawns over basmati rice

- Truffle mac & cheese with stewed beef

- Chicken curry with nan bread
- Cheese plate of Stravecchio Parmesan cheese

Worth the trip for...
- A great winebar atmosphere full with the requisite exposed brick, candlelit space
- Extensive, reasonably-priced wine list available by glass, caraffe, or bottle

Skip the trip for...
- Really lousy service - waitress hounded us 2 minutes after sitting down, and then disappeared for 30 minutes
- Pretty lousy food - everything was just "eh" - not one of the small plates we ordered was really noteworthy

Xai Xai
369 West 51st Street
b/t 8th & 9th Avenues
Menu Pages listing

Friday, May 4, 2012

Next Stop: Lebanon

Finally made it to a new "country!"

What we ordered:
- Baba ghannouj - roasted eggplant puree, Lebanese tahini, and lemon
- Falafel - ground fava beans and chick peas served with vegetables and tahini
- Arayess jebne - toasted pita filled with grilled halloumi cheese, served with tomato and cucumber
- Fatayer sabenegh - mini pies filled with spinach

Worth the trip if you're looking for...
- Really darn good food - Middle Eastern food can be pretty generic, but each of the 4 things we ordered was uniquely flavorful
- Such a modern, sleek design...despite it being one of the narrowest restaurants in the entire city (only 3 meters wide!)
- Great wine list divided up by Lebanon and The World - hadn't had Lebanese wine before, so we had to give it a shot!

Skip the trip if you're looking for...
- Really warm, friendly service - it wasn't bad, but the extremely burly guy was a little aggressive

Naya Mezze & Grill
1057 2nd Avenue
b/t 55th & 56th Streets
Menu Pages listing