I'm Aimee Astillero. I like food, fashion, hip-hop, film, vampires and other bizarre things. Thanks for finding me! :P

Thursday, June 30, 2011

EATS: Oyster Soondubu from BCD Tofu House

If you've been following my tweets, I have been tweeting about Korean Soft Tofu Soup or Soondubu and how delicious it is. I am seriously obsessed! I told one of my Korean co-workers that I'm sick and tired of always ordering the same thing when I eat at K-town. It's always Jap Chae, Bulgogi or Bibimbap. Give me something different already. So my coworkers brought me to BCD Tofu House and introduced me to this gnarly looking soup.

But before the entree, they serve you a tasty fried Croaker fish for appetizer and complimentary Korean Banchan!

Colorful Korean Banchan! I love the Kimchi and the Potato Salad. I was really looking forward to the Bean Sprouts but they didn't have it that day...
Ok so as they brought it out to the table, I didn't know how to react because it looks pretty crazy, Mr. Fox jokingly compared it to, a Witch's Brew when I showed him the picture. The rust colored soup is served in a scolding hot stone pot with floating oysters and an egg (that you must crack as soon as you get your bowl so the hot pot cooks it). Does it sound appetizing? No? Well don't knock it til you try it! It is soooo freaking good! The spicy warm soup is so comforting and the silky texture of the soft tofu and the added taste of the oysters from the sea is a magical combination. The Koreans also like to eat this stew with White Rice which makes it even more amazing (I love me some carbs!). I love it's spiciness too. I didn't think I would like this soup, but after my first taste- I was instantly converted! My friends Insik and Minjung said that there's different variations of this soup, ranging from Kimchi, Seafood, Oysters, Pork and Beef. Oh man, I can't wait to try it all! This soup has such a rich and unique taste that is quite comforting. You must try it!

BCD Tofu House
17 W. 32nd Street
New York, NY 10001

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Saturday, June 25, 2011

EATS: The Famous Pink Tea Cup

First, I didn't know how I would feel about the "NEW" Pink Tea Cup Restaurant. It's old location held a really sentimental place in my heart. My homegirl @LadyHood and I used to frequent that spot with our mutual friends and even befriended one of the employees named Virgil (hope he's doing ok!). I expected my old favorite, Fried Chicken and Pancakes to be on the menu- but it wasn't. :-(
Anyway, the new Pink Tea Cup basically had a major face lift as I would say. It has a totally new ambiance and the place looks totally hip! It's also located in a more commercial strip with a new and improved menu. I brought my brother and our visiting cousin, @miguelangelinos with me for some anticipated Soul Food eats and this is what we indulged in:

For starters, instead of bringing out complimentary plain old Corn Bread- they transformed it into a Corn Bread Waffle sprinkled with powdered sugar! How clever! It was delicious! The Waffle came out fresh, hot and buttery! Yum. I actually put a little bit of syrup on mine ;)

We also ordered Lobster Mac and Cheese as an appetizer to share. My brother remembered how yummy the Mac and Cheese was from the original restaurant. Well it's still the same- cheesy! But the star of the show was the fresh lobster. They added plump and juicy lobster pieces. The combination of cheese and seafood was amazing! Every bite was sooo good. They weren't cheap on the lobster either!

So I mentioned earlier that I wanted Fried Chicken and Pancakes... Well they didn't have it anymore but they did have Fried Chicken and Waffle! We all ordered this as our entree. How pretty is this dish?! Oh man this plate was definitely a lot of food! The chicken was delicious... Crunchy, not too oily, tender and even juicy! It kind of reminded me of Filipino Fried Chicken which is seasoned. Usually Regular Fried Chicken is just dipped in buttermilk then flour and deep-fried. This one had a hint of garlic powder and some salt. It was very tasty. The waffle was also great. I ordered plain but they do also come in Sweet Potato. I thought Sweet Potato would be too much sweetness if I add syrup so I decided plain would be good. It was freshly made and somewhat crunchy and soft which I liked. The sweet (Waffle) and salty (Fried Chicken) combo is perfect! I couldn't finish the entire meal but our cousin @miguelangelinos finished his plate with ease and went from this:

to this... Haha!

Overall the meal was excellent. We were so stuffed we didn't even get to order dessert. I wonder if they still serve the banana bread pudding (ungh! so heavenly!!). I enjoyed our foodventure very much. Even though I miss the old location, its friendly staff, and the brick wall covered with autographed celebrity photos- this revamped restaurant is still worth visiting. It is pretty pricey compared to the old spot but I guess it's because of where it's located now. I like the new and improved menu because it still has the old menu but remixed (in a good way too)! The place is also more fun to look at and they serve mix drinks so bringing a crowd to eat here would be fun. Not bad though :) because we all had happy bellies at the end of the meal!

The Famous Pink Tea Cup
88 7th Avenue
(@ the corner of Bleecker)
New York, NY 10014

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

TRAVEL: Philippine Eats

I know it's been over a month since I got back from the Philippines but don't think I wasn't going to share my culinary adventures, did you? My schedule was pretty hectic but I managed to snap some pictures of my blog worthy foodventures. So here you go, enjoy the mouth watering visuals:
Corned Beef Pan De Sal
Filipinos LOVE Corned Beef besides Spam. Found this at a Starbucks. The Corned Beef was baked on the inside of the bread. So good and savory!
Dalandan (left) and Calamansi (Right) Juice from Cafe Juanita 
Dalandan and Calamsi are citrus fruits native to the Philippines. Dalandan is more like an Orange while Calamansi is more like a Lemon Lime. So refreshing during hot Summer days!
Pinakbet w/ Bagoong (fermented shrimp) Dipping Sauce
Melange of fresh vegetables and shrimp. Great with white rice!
Pork Sisig
 The idea of eating Pig cheek and snout (that's what "Sisig" is) sounds really revolting but in a Third World country, nothing goes to waste! The cheek and snout are chopped up into small pieces and cooked until it is extremely crunchy. This dish is traditionally served as "pulutan" or bar food with a nice glass of cold beer (preferable San Miguel or Red Horse.. HA!) but can be also be enjoyed as an entree served with rice!
Halo-Halo (translated as "mix-mix" in English)
 This is a very traditional Filipino dessert. It's served in a tall glass (or bowl) with layers beginning with shaved ice, evaporated milk, beans (sounds gnarly but you'll be surprised!), fruit (sugar palm fruit, coconut, and caramelized plantain, gelatin, Ube (taro) ice cream, and sometimes topped off with flan! It's really yummy!
 Cafe Juanita Goodies Shelf
Home Made Shrimp and Fish Kebabs with Fresh Cherry Tomatoes, Green & Red Peppers
 Kuya (Big Brother) Paul cooked this light and tasty appetizer! It was cooked perfectly.
 Traditional Filipino Rice noodles which usually has ground pork, red bell peppers and cabbage for texture. Most usually cook this dish with soy sauce and patis (fish sauce) and lemon for flavor. For special occasions, Chinese sausage can sometimes be added.
Home Made Lamb Kaldereta w/ Rice, Fish & Shrimp Kebabs & Pancit Plate
Chocolate Coffee Crunch Cake
 If you're one of my close friends or family, this cake might look familiar to you. My Mom is the only person I know that can bake her famous and amazing Coffee Crunch cake (w/ Vanilla Sponge Cake though)! Someone bought this cake during a family dinner in the Philippines. This one is the Chocolate version! It's Chocolate Sponge Cake with Coffee crunchies in the middle with a Whipped Cream Icing! So good!!
Crispy Pata (Deep-Fried Pork Leg) from Via Mare
 During our last day, we had our Family lunch at Tita Glenda Barretto's restaurant, Via Mare. I didn't eat this dish, but I wanted to share it with my readers. I needed to watch my cholesterol so I opted not to eat it.According to Tita G, the secret is to boil the Pork leg first so the meat is moist, then fry it in super hot oil. It sure looks crunchy!
Iced Dessert Trio
 (Left to Right): Ginumis (shaved ice w/ evaporated milk, pinipig, and tapioca), Mais Con Hielo (shaved ice, corn, milk and sugar), Halo-Halo (ingredients are above) from Via Mare
Bibinka from Via-Mare
It's basically a rice mochi with a salted egg baked in and topped off with Coconut shavings. It's best to eat after it's freshly baked. Some people like to smear some butter on top, kind of like eating a hot pancake! 

In  conclusion, Filipino food is for people with acquired taste buds. It might not be for everyone, but if you have an open palate it might be one of the most delicious and interesting food you will ever taste! We have a lot of weird ingredients but it makes sense to us. As mentioned above, because it's a Third World country, we make the best out of what we have so we learn to appreciate any and every part of an animal (sorry Vegans) as a means of survival. We also like to add the weirdest ingredients (like beans in a dessert) just because it makes sense to us! Just think of Remy the Rat from the movie Ratatouille. He learned to make additions to his recipes simply because the ingredients he put together made his food taste better! :)