Tag Archives: delicious

29 Before 29: Eat Ox Tail

21 May

In my 29th year of life, I’m attempting to do 29 new things. Full List Here. All Bucket List Adventures Here.

The tech manager at work, Jose, is notorious for being something of an epicurean. He’s a valuable friend to have as he’s always scouting the best Bahn Mi or the best Caipirinha in the city. Give him any neighborhood in the five boroughs and he can give back to you the must-eat at restaurants. He’ll often take hour-plus train rides to search out his next meal. Like I said, valuable person to have around.

One of his favorite foods is Ox Tail. When he talks about it, he looks into the distance, his eyes glimmering like he’s dreaming about his first love, which ox tail might very well be. The fact that I’d never had it was unacceptable to him. Over the last couple of months he gave me restaurant suggestion after restaurant suggestion where I could find great ox tail. However, I never sampled the delicacy until I was in Spain.

Ox Tail hamburger at El Pimpi in Malaga.

Ox Tail hamburger at El Pimpi in Malaga.

Ox Tail bachelor number one was found at an outdoor Bodega Bar called El Pimpi in Malaga. After playing tourist for the day, my family and I sat at a table sipping on cocktails and beers while ordering small plates. I hesitate to call it a Tapas bar, but it was something like that. After noshing on olives and fried fish and goat cheese salad, I saw ox tail on the menu and decided to dive in. When it arrived, I was already full and regretting my spontaneity. I felt as thought I was letting my bucket list and my manager, Jose, down. Sure, the meat was ox tail, but it was just a greasy meat burger with mayonnaise. I only ate about half of it, despite it being delicious. Ox tail is rich and fatty, and I think combining it with something as heavy as mayonnaise was a bit overwhelming.

Ox Tail in Ronda

Ox Tail in Ronda

Ox Tail bachelor number two is so handsome and just what I was looking for. Ox Tail on the bone, cooked in light gravy of its own juices with potatoes. Again, it was rich and heavy with so much fat encrusting the meat. I’ve always had an issue with fat on beef. It was one of the things that pushed me to be a vegetarian, actually. I can’t handle the chewiness of it. I actually got a fatty piece of beef at a pho restaurant near my apartment not too long ago and spit it out onto the table, almost as a reflex. I tried to salvage my ladyness by scooping it in a napkin as quick as possible and shoving it in my purse, hoping no one noticed. Back to my ox tail, though, I did my best to eat around the fat and enjoy the rich meat. It was good to have it balanced with something as starchy as the potatoes. The hamburger may have suited me better, but this was the ox tail experience that I knew I could bring back to Jose with pride.

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29 Before 29: Eat Ethiopian

2 Apr

In my 29th year of life, I’m attempting to do 29 new things. Full List Here. All Bucket List Adventures Here.

Important Ethiopian men of means?

Important Ethiopian men of means?

For our third date, he took me to an upscale Mexican restaurant in the Theater District. As we sipped on our margaritas and perused the menu, I noticed a strange menu item under the taco category.

“Wow, Grasshopper tacos, huh?” I said, thinking aloud.
“Would you actually want to eat that?” he said.
“I mean, I’ve never had grasshopper before. I’m game if you are.”
“It comes with two, so we’ll each have one?”
“Deal.”

So out they came. Grasshoppers, legs and all, piled high on guacamole and a corn tortilla. We spritzed some lime on top and each took a bite of our respective tacos. The first thing I noticed was the legs of the critters getting stuck in my teeth. They were bitter and with every crunch I could only think “exoskeleton.”

So on a later date, when he offered to take me out for Ethiopian, it didn’t seem to be as adventurous of a dining experience as it seemed when I made my list, but I was happy to knock it off, nonetheless.

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The Wine!

I’m not a wine drinker, but I wanted to try the Ethiopian honey wine. My date got the traditional honey wine while I ordered the blackberry honey wine. Both of our wines came from California, but honey wine is a traditional Ethiopian/Islamic drink, because the religion forbids alcohol that derives from grain or grapes. My blackberry honey wine was incredible. I like my wines on the sweeter side, and I’m blackberry’s number one fan, but I was also enamored with the honey aftertaste.

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The combination plate. Beef in middle. Lamb on sides. Lentils, chickpeas all around. And weird bread stuff in the background.

The odd thing about Ethiopian food is that they don’t use utensils. Not even offered at the table. Instead, we were given rolls of this sponge-bread with which to pick up the food. The food came out on a platter that also had a layer of sponge-bread. The bread wasn’t the star of the show that I was expecting it to be. I thought it would hold similar glorious revelations like Naan does for me in Indian cuisine. It wasn’t bad, just odd. But I suppose it’s not supposed to be the centerpiece, the actual entrees are.

The beef was incredible. Spicy, tender, full of flavor. And I liked the spiced lentils as well. We wanted to order the green beans, but they wouldn’t let us. It was kind of odd. We offered to pay more. But at that point, the waitress just decided for us what three vegetables we were going to have on our combination plate then took our menus. I didn’t want to offer up much of a protest. After all, I don’t know Ethiopian cuisine, and I didn’t have my heart set on anything in particular.

All in all, it was good! I would definitely go back. If for nothing else, for more of that blackberry honey wine.

27 Before 27: Eat Pork Belly

17 Jul

In my 27th year of life, I’m attempting to do 27 new things. Full list here.

Spicy Pork Belly Sliders

Spicy Pork Belly Sliders

I thought this would be a little more adventurous than it turned out to be. Don’t get me wrong, it was delicious. It just wasn’t as exotic or exciting as some of my other culinary adventures (fermented shark head.) Turns out pork belly is just a type of pork. Bacon is typically cut from pork belly. It’s fatty, and it’s delicious.

Pork Belly is used in a lot of Chinese and Korean cooking. So I went to a tapas style Korean restaurant in Hell’s Kitchen called Danji. My pork belly came in slider form with scallions, cucumber julienne, and gochujang, which is a Korean red chile paste. I also got an unfiltered rice beer, which turned out to taste like carbonated sake.

The sliders were delicious! I love my food spicy, and this did not disappoint. Perhaps that was my failing, it was so spicy, I didn’t get to pay too much attention to what the pork belly tasted like.

Even if it wasn’t the craziest food item I’ve ever eaten, I liked it a lot and will definitely order it again.

27 Before 27: Eat Chicken and Waffles

12 Dec
The Reverend Al Sharpton

The Reverend Al Sharpton

In my 27th year of life, I’m attempting to do 27 new things. Full list here.

The food to-do’s on my list always give me warm fuzzies. Because, delicious food is the best, and I love trying anything new.

I’ve had fried chicken (albeit not in years), and lord knows I’ve had waffles. But this combo? It seems so odd, but it’s so right.

Breakfast is my favorite meal of the day. I think this has to do with the fact that I almost never eat it. I am absolutely not a morning person. Getting up to go to work in the morning is usually a struggle. Most mornings I just have cereal and milk, almost always Special K. But when I have a day-off, boy oh boy do I love to get pancakes or omelets or breakfast burritos or big puffy blueberry muffins. I should stop. I’m drooling.

So for my first Chicken and Waffles experience, I enlisted my friend Gian who is the one who introduced me to the concept. We found a place in Harlem called Amy Ruth’s. The place was charming, and when you are seated, you are greeted with a basket of corn bread. Corn bread, ain’t nothin’ wrong with that. Does anyone get that Chris Rock reference? Are you amazed that I have the ability to reference Chris Rock? I’m kind of amazed with myself.

So back to the chicken and waffles. The waffles part is misleading, because really it’s only one. But it’s massive, and it was fluffy, so no complaints. The chicken part lived up to its half by being about as large as a small chicken. I didn’t even really know how to hack into it, but I figured it out.

Delicious! The salty crunch of juicy fried chicken, combined with the fluffy savory of a waffle, and drizzle some maple syrup on that while you’re at it. I was a happy lady. I’m embarrassed to report I couldn’t finish it. And I was only about a fifth of the way through it while Gian was all but licking his plate. But it was a satisfying day-off breakfast meal. So satisfying that I didn’t even really feel the need to eat the rest of the day. That’s an amazing breakfast.