Monday, April 22, 2013

Famous Foods, Fantastic Flavors

Midtown isn't especially known as a culinary destination for lunch, consisting mostly of generic delis, fast food joints, etc. Fortunately, there are some exceptions to that rule, including Xi'An Famous Foods that is opening today.

With four other locations and a lot of air time on shows like "No Reservations," "Bizarre Foods," and "Food(ography)," Xi'An has become very well-known. So when I saw on their Facebook page that they were doing a soft opening of their new Midtown location this past Thusrday, my co-worker and I ran over there. The line was long, and moving slowly (understandable as they work out the bells and whistles), but it was so worth the wait.
The menu is identical to the other locations, and that goes for the prices too.  Happy to see they didn't jack them up just because of its snazzy locale. 

They took over a space that used to be a Lebanese restaurant, evidenced by the giant oven in the middle of the restaurant.  The decor is minimal and sleek, and there is a little sitting (stools and counters) in the back.

I ordered the Mount Qi Vegetables Hand-Ripped Noodles (N5) and asked for it made medium spicy.  The flavor was incredible, and the variety of veggies was great (and a little surprising...chickpeas in Chinese food?!).  The cashier listed my spice request as "moderately spicy" on the ticket, probably fearing I couldn't handle the heat, and it definitely needed more spice.  So, next time I know to ask for even more!  The hand-pulled noodles were so fresh and had the perfect bite to them. 


I am so excited for this addition to my lunch options and can't wait to go back once the crowds subside.

Congrats to Jason on the opening, and best of luck! 
Xi'An Famous Foods
24 West 45th Street
b/t 5th & 6th Avenues
website
Facebook

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

AroundTheWorld: Puerto Rico

I was so excited to book a vacation to Puerto Rico - it was going to be a much-needed weekend to get away from the cold NY winter and to do nothing but relax.  It was my first time ever going to the Carribean.  Before that, my experience with the Caribbean was limited to meals at Cuban, Puerto Rican, and Domincan restaurants here in NYC!

We stayed at El Conquistador Resort in Fajardo.  It was absolutely gorgeous, perched up on a cliff overlooking the water, with 7 pools and a private island beach. 


Of course as soon as it was booked, I began checking out the dining options both at the resort and in the nearby town.   We didn't end up leaving the property for any meals, but managed to find some good local fare anyway! 

Medalla with a view - Puerto Rican beer


Local root chips (plantain, yucca, and taro)
with a mango sauce and pico de gallo 


Queso frito (Puerto Rican fried cheese)

Chicken with cassava mofongo 

Tostones (fried green plaintains)

It wouldn't be vacation without a colorful, fruity drink!


We thought it would be nice to do one nicer dinner, so we chose Stingray Cafe.  We got a table on their outdoor patio right along side the marina.  Such a nice breeze and nice setting for a delicious and relaxing meal!

Panko-crusted cod with truffle mashed potatoes and julienned
vegetables in a lobster buerre blanc sauce

Sesame-crusted seared tuna over lentils and asparagus

It was so hard to get on that plane to come back, especially when the pilot announced that it was 32 degrees and snowing in NYC!  But it was a fantastic weekend, filled with great memories, great weather, great beaches, and great food.