Archive | January, 2012

Winter holidays…

17 Jan

Sam and I have just had the most brilliant time during the last two and a half weeks while we holidayed with relatives in Canada and New York over the Christmas and New Year break.  Yes it was absolutely FA-REEZING!  So so so terribly cold that at one point whilst walking a New York street and complaining of my “ice-cream” headache (with not an ice-cream in sight people!), Sam realised he could no longer feel his chin.  And after much poking and prodding of said chin, we had both summed up that yes it had gone completely numb thanks to the arctic temperatures and it was probably best to find ourselves a nice warm diner to thaw out in.

But for Sam and I (and most Australians), sub zero temperatures like these and snow in the streets during winter, is such a whacky and wonderful phenomenon that frozen chins and all, there ain’t nothing that’s going to ruin the novelty of the experience.

And aside from mastering the art of ice-skating (picture below), what else was there left for us to do but our most favourite thing in the world… EAT!  We ate a lot of food, drank a lot of plonk and played a lot of word games like Bananagrams and Catch Phrase!

So many fantastic culinary experiences were had on this holiday that we lost count!  So I have highlighted two of our favourites…

First stop Toronto: SWISH by HAN (http://swishbyhan.wordpress.com/)

My fabulous cousin Mira and resident Toronto local recommended this modern Korean restaurant to us.  Swish by Han is the brainchild of two Korean-Canadian-American food loving brothers Leemo and Leto Han.  Their philosophy is to present traditional Korean flavours – and without bastardising any particular dish, they believe that food can “marry interracially” so to speak.  So what you have at SBH is an exciting and contemporary Korean inspired menu, demonstrating that there is so much more to Korean cuisine than the common Bibimbap.

First up, Spicy Pork Neck Tacos $10

Spicy Pork Neck Tacos $10

The following two dishes were absolutely to die for.  Super fresh, bursting with flavour and cooked perfectly.

Thinly sliced, slow cooked beef $18

8 hour slow cooked beef, charred on the board with spicy salad $18

Grilled Pork Belly “Ssam” set $15 – this means the pork is accompanied with Kimchi, lettuce and rice, and you  go about stuffing all the goodies into the lettuce leaf, in the quantities you desire.  Sooooo good.

 

Next stop New York: LA ESQUINA – Brasserie (http://esquinanyc.com/)

Sam and I had the pleasure of eating at La Esquina back in 2006 when it first opened, and were completely wowed by the food , location and decor.  So impressed were we with our first visit, that we felt compelled to return this time round.  And once again, not only were we not disappointed, we were simply blown away!  Again!

For all you Melbourne Mamasita fans, La Esquina is where it all began.  And if you ever find yourself in NYC, do yourself a favour and book a table at this super duper impressive restaurant!  La Esquina has everything going for it.  From the sneaky set of stairs and passages that lead you down through an Alice-like maze through the kitchen, round a few bends, past the ridiculously well stocked underground tequila bar (and when I say underground, I mean that literally…you are now underground) to an intimate table in a dining room basement setting that leaves you feeling very clever with yourself for even knowing that such an establishment exists, to the friendly staff and delicious Mexican food… La Esquina doesn’t put a singe foot wrong!

La Esquina - Brasserie

Now how is this for a feast!  This visit, Sam and I had the following:

PEPINO DIABLO cocktail – Tanteo Jalapeno tequila, cucumber, agave nectar, fresh lime $14.00

Pepino Cocktail $14

COSTILLAS DE PUERCO Charred Chipotle-Guava Pork Ribs, $11.00

Charred Chipotle-Guava Pork Ribs, $11.00

The following Taquitos $10 each

PESCADO char-grilled market fish, red  onions, salsa verde

COCHINITA PIBIL slow-cooked pulled pork, pickled onions, habanero

Taquitos $10


CHILE PIQUIN GRILLED CALAMARI Calamari, Smoked Chickpeas, Roasted Tomatoes, Lime Citronette $12.00

Calamari $!2

CAMARONES A LA PLANCHA grilled gulf shrimp, butternut squash, spanish chorizo, cherry tomatoes, chayote $22.00

Yummy prawn stuff $22

And lastly, as we just didn’t order enough food…

ELOTES CALLEJEROS grilled corn $4.00 (The waiter even offered to cut one piece in half for us, but us piggies wanted a piece each)

Corn goodness $4

Sigh.  Am nostalgic for the food already.

Till next time,

this little piggy…jxxx

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