Friday, February 24, 2012

Lovers: Sake Bar Hagi

We were three girls (like triplets wearing similar shades of blushing nude & black) with no plans with our male counterparts on Valentine's Day, so we decided to hit up the highly rated Izakaya, Sake Bar Hagi for dinner. Peach sake, Japanese tapas, and spending Vday with my two favorite girls in the big city... how could the dude top that? 

We had some trouble finding it at first because the sign wasn't very clear. We hopped into another Japanese sake bar next door, but immediately knew it was not it after seeing all the empty tables inside! But we politely asked, "Is this Sake Bar Hagi?" "No, that's next door. But we have sake too!" They must get that question a lot, but props to him for trying to get some business from us! The sake bar was downstairs in the basement and I must warn you, it's a tight squeeze to get in there. They don't take reservations, so you just have to try your luck with this one. The fact that it's always mad busy does not help, and for us, it was also Valentine's Day. We were lucky enough to only have to wait 15-20 minutes after signing in on their clipboard when we arrived. You have to add your name to the list yourself, otherwise you'll be standing there thinking you're waiting in line for a really long time, while others that arrive after you have long gone and past you.

I suppose the inside decor would be what you would imagine a traditional Japanese sake bar to look like: cozy and filledd with wooden tables that were placed rather close together. If eating close to strangers and listening to their conversations is not your thing, maybe you should skip this place. They do have a bar area in the back with flat screen tvs as well, although I only saw it when I first walked in. This is also another one of those places that attracts a lot of Asians, but I'm sure there's been an increase of non-Asians eating there after Anthony Bourdain featured it on his show. Maybe the non-Asians didn't think a sake bar was romantic enough for Valentine's Day, I don't know.

LC said we should try their Peach sake, apparently it's fantastic! We might as well get it, even if it's $40 for a baby bottle. How disappointed would you be if I told you I went to this great sake bar but didn't even try their sake? But no worries, we ordered it and it was like love at first drink after we toasted with our Peach sake (sorry, no picture of the pretty bottle)! It was so sweet and had no traces of alcohol, almost like sparkling apple cider! For those out there that have had bad experiences with sake and love fruity drinks, I highly recommend you try this one at Sake Bar Hagi! 

Fried Pork Belly, Chicken Gizzards, Sashimi

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Frenchie: Les Halles Park Ave.

I was in NYC for a conference last week and decided to meet up with some friends for dinner one night. JB suggested Anthony Bourdain's famous restaurant, Brasserie Les Halles for French cuisine. I'll admit that I've never seen his show (No Reservations) or know too much about him, but I immediately replied with "OKAY!!" because I have never had French before. Ever. So in one night, I tried: escargot, foie gras, magret de canard, crêpe suzette... it was like love in Paris!

Half price wine on Mondays, why go on any other night?

I usually don't order fancy, schmancy wine, or any type of alcohol during dinnertime (with the exception of Happy Hour), but it's 50% off on Mondays! And taking after my mother, I really can't resist a good deal. Call me cheap or a discount monster, but I'm proud to save $10 on this $20 bottle of wine! It was crisp and fruity, but I couldn't finish my glass because I'm a total lightweight. 

Gratinee de Halles ($9)

The famous onion soup was something JB had to order and while I did not get a taste of it, he seemed to have enjoyed it. Every last spoonful of it! 

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Recipe: MJ's Fab Tuna Cakes

MJ brought in this fabulous meal for lunch the other day and to my surprise, they were leftovers from dinner the night before! I wish my leftovers looked this good! She was kind enough to share the recipe as I was sadly heating up a $1 Banquet boxed meal (which was so small and unhealthy and unsatisfying).

1 small can of solid white tuna in water
2 tbsp. unsweetened yogurt
1 egg
1/4 cup breadcrumbs
1 tbsp. each of minced onion and celery
couple dashes of Worcestershire sauce
dash of Old Bay seasoning
(or garlic powder/pepper)

Add extra breadcrumbs if it seems to runny. Make 2 patties about the size of a hamburger and saute in olive oil or Pam til golden brown on both sides. Put a lid on for about a minute so it gets hot inside.

For salmon lovers (like me), you can make salmon cakes by substituting the can of tuna with salmon! Add a side of veggies, like steamed broccoli and you've got a delicious & healthy meal for lunch or dinner. So easy! Thank you MJ! 

Sunday, February 19, 2012

My Valentine: Corner Bistro

Instead of going out on the 14th of February to celebrate that funny thing called love, we thought it would be smart and go out the weekend before. Why on earth would anyone plan to go out and enjoy the company of that special someone knowing that every other couple around you is also doing the same? Not to mention how packed most restaurants will be and all the special Vday courses ($$$) they'll only be serving for that one night, it's sheer madness! I'm a simple gal and don't need all that fluff (we even agreed not to exchange gifts), so we dined at a local restaurant,

Love the glass water jug and baby salt & pepper shakers!

This is truly a hidden gem in the suburbs of Wilmington and has been sitting under my nose for nine years without me knowing! How is that possible? I literally pass it everyday on my way to work, but never once noticed its presence in the little rundown shopping center on Silverside Road. Okay, that's not true, I've seen the generic sign that reads "Restaurant" in big bold letters (with "Corner" and "Bistro" in tiny font on the top left and right corners above it), but just didn't think twice about it. I was recommended by some Crossfit members at my gym. Thanks to "T" and "A", I've found a new favorite foodie spot!   

The dude was surprised to see how lovely the restaurant's decor was when we stepped inside. I was told they had renovated the whole place to keep up with the fancy restaurants that were popping up on Rt. 202. If you've never been here before, you would think it was a brand new restaurant! It had a classy, romantic atmosphere, with a nice bar in the front and a spacious dining room in the back. We were lucky enough to get a corner table with an L-shaped couch alongside the walls, how cute! No complaints about their service or their food, this must be too good to be true. "A" told me their chefs are constantly changing the menus with innovative, seasonal dishes to surprise guests. This is great for those that always want to try new dishes, but are afraid... now you they FORCE you to broaden your palette by mixing it up every once in a while! Now that's my kind of restaurant!

Crawfish Risotto

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Happy Valentine's Day!

Happy Valentine's Day everyone! Much love to my readers and thank you so much for reading my litto foodie blog. My Valentine sent me a surprise at work last week... Cupcake Flowers (not edible)! Shout out to the best dude a girl could ever ask for! Stay tuned for my date night post at the Corner Bistro coming up soon! 

 What's the sweetest thing you've gotten from a Valentine?

Monday, February 13, 2012

Philly RW 2012: Tinto

I finally took the dude out for his first Restaurant Week experience in Philadelphia! Can you believe he's never been before? Me neither! I wanted to give Jose Garces another chance, and picked Tinto, which was superior to Amada (review here), in my opinion.

The restaurant is quite dark, like Amada, and the tables for two are all very close in proximity on the first level. In fact, it was more narrow than Amada, like a hallway with rows of tables placed on either side against the walls. When the waitress first took us to our seat, we walked past all the occupied tables (the place was packed) and towards the kitchen in the back. I held my breath as I was overcome with fear that we would have to eat next to the kitchen, especially when we dressed up fancy! What would the dude say? "This was my first time trying RW and we eat next to the kitchen!?" Luckily, we made a sharp turn and went downstairs where there were plenty of empty large tables and couches. It was more private and quieter downstairs, even when all the tables were filled with foodies. Still very romantic.

Before we get to the food, I would like to mention that Tinto had fast service. They did not keep you waiting at all after you order, so you don't have to sit awkwardly and participate in small talk when all you're thinking about is where your food is. Kidding, I don't always do that. The dude's only complaint on service was that the waiter never refilled his drink. There's always something. His other dissatisfaction was towards the food, apparently nothing REALLY stood out to him. Overall, he enjoyed his first restaurant week experience and was happy with my choice of restaurant. 

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Special Guest Review: The Silver Palm Chicago

Surprise! I have another Special Guest Review to share with you all... from Chicago! Thank you Tank for sharing this delicious review with my readers. I'm glad you can eat more than me, you're built like a tank! When I saw all the gorgeous pictures, I couldn't believe it was taken from you cell phone! 

So without further ado, I'm pleased to present, my second SPECIAL GUEST review for: 

The Silver Palm by Tank

Howdy foodies! I would like to say how honored to be part of this blog. I was a fellow Loveboater in the same summer class as Panina. I travel a lot for work and my company sends me to crazy places across the US. I was in the Chicago downtown area for work this time. One sandwich popped in my head and it was THE "Three Little Piggy" sandwich. It was claimed to be the best sandwich in America by Travel Channel's “No Reservations” host, Anthony Bourdain.

Silver Palm was a bar connected to a train car. I meet the owner and he was a real chill So Cal kind of guy.  I had to take it TO GO due to my work. My order was the "Three Little Piggy" sandwich and an order of onion rings.  

The onion rings were delish paired with some spicy chipotle dipping sauce. The outside breading looks like coconut shavings. Each bit was crispy from beginning to end. The fries that came with it was nothing special….Now, the main entrée…

Friday, February 3, 2012

Past Philly RW: Haru, Amada, Valanni (Pic Heavy)

Since Philly's Restaurant Week is still happening (until this Sunday!), let's take a look at a few more restaurants that I've tasted in the past years (after Estia).

Fall 2010- Haru 
(update: closed)

Where are the fun rolls?

That's a whole lotta whipped cream! 

Have to be honest here, I don't remember Haru all that much. It was just another modernized Japanese restaurant. There was nothing special or memorable about it. Actually, I do remember whispering about how cute (and nice) the young waiter was... but besides that, nothing on the Restaurant Week menu stuck out to me or my friends. In fact, only a few of us participated in RW's $35 for three courses at Haru, everyone else just ordered sushi from the regular menu. That never happens! They might have good food (since Yelpers give them such high ratings), but their RW menu was just very average and not worth $35. Also, I just found out they've closed the one in Old City, so now I'll never know. 

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