Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Memphis King BBQ

We don't venture out to Schenectady much but when we do, man is it good eats. Our recent adventure satisfied a long time craving for good, comforting BBQ. It's a charming hole-in-the-wall type of place but Memphis King BBQ delivers on promises of tender and properly smoked meat. 

The brisket is delightfully succulent and kissed with a ring of smoke. Ribs are smoked to perfection with this awesome bark yet falling off the bone. The pulled chicken was a tad dry but still flavorful. The sides are equally as amazing. The mac 'n cheese is one of the best around but it's the baked beans that we can't stop raving about. They're sweet and creamy but it's the chunks of smoky meat that really adds to the flavor of the beans. It's drool-worthy. 

Memphis King BBQ is really on point with letting the meat shine with just the right amount of smokiness, allowing you to customize even more to your liking with an an array of sauces. The house and hot ones were our favorites but it's worth trying them all. 

One menu item not to overlook is the fried chicken. Despite being a BBQ joint, this place rocks a mean piece of crispy buttermilk fried chicken. The flavor is all in the dark meat of the chicken thighs they use and to boot, it's deboned and only $3.99 a piece. Consider it another wonderful side dish to all the wonderful BBQ.

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Summer Bites 2015

Adios Summer! I'm sad to see the weather cool down a bit. Our summer was so busy between work and our wedding but it was nice to indulge in some seasonal treats in between. Here's a look back at some favorite bites from the summer:

Scoup's Ice Cream: This little stand by The Crossings makes delicious homemade hard ice cream but it was the homemade Italian ice that had us coming back all summer-long. The texture is delightfully smooth and the lemon ice is so tart and refreshing.

Tastee Freez: It was definitely the summer of soft serve. We found ourselves making several trips to the Delmar stand for his and hers cones.

Jumpin Jacks Drive-In: We finally made it to this iconic landmark for the first time ever. The food isn't gourmet (and doesn't have to be) but there's a certain nostalgic factor to the place that adds to the atmosphere . The signature Jack Burger with the coleslaw was a bit perplexing but the onion rings and fish fry were surprisingly delicious. 

The Clam Shack: Our mini-honeymoon turned into a quasi Tour de Maine Lobster Roll in Kennebunkport. The lobster roll at The Clam Shack far outshined the rest of the bunch with generous chunks of lobster meat. Look at that whole tail! The half-butter, half-mayo mixture also added extra flavor. The fried clams were just as stellar but you have to get the ones with the bellies. 
Cantine Le Relais: A trip home to Montreal and back wouldn't have been complete without a stop by our favorite little summer poutine shack by the Canadian border. Every squeaky bite reminded us how delicious and unique cheese curds are in Quebec. 

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Lunch at Namu Korean BBQ

Need an excuse to play hookie? How about lunch at Namu Korean BBQ. The special menu is only available Monday-Friday from 11am to 3pm and many dishes you won't find on the dinner menu. 

Kimchi Taco: It's Korea by way of Mexico in one tasty bite. Your choice of marinated meat, kimchi, sprouts, and a tangy and spicy sauce is mixed with a fresh tomato salsa wrapped up in a tortilla. The bulgogi beef and spicy pork are highly recommended. Sweet and salty meat meets the fresh bite and crunch of fresh veggies. It's a fusion of flavors and textures that works really well. 

Kimbop: Looks like sushi but with delicious meat! A generously filled rice roll is stuffed with your choice of meat (we chose bulgogi beef) along with carrots, cucumber, and pickled radish and rolled up in seaweed. It's the perfect lunch in a bite-sized slice. Plus that potent sweet and spicy mustard sauce really kicks things up a notch.

Spicy pork and squid: Marinated slices of juicy pork and tender squid come sizzling on a hot plate and served with a bowl of rice. You'll find a non-spicy version of just the squid on the dinner menu but this lunch plate packs a lot more flavor plus you get pork with this one. 

The best part of lunch? You still get free banchan side dishes including J's favorite soy eggs and my favorite chap chae noodles. If you're going to play hookie, just plan for a post-lunch nap after this meal.

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

A Chopsticks Optional Wedding

It wouldn't be a Chopsticks Optional wedding if food wasn't the focus of it all! Not too long ago, we got married on the family farm in the Hudson Valley. Not only did we have a beautiful venue but we had free reign on all aspects of the wedding. In the early stages, the challenge was finding a local caterer that could meet our wildest dreams. We've long been fans of brunch at Sweet Sue'swho else would be up to the challenge! 

First we had this crazy idea of gauchos walking around with churrasco swords but playing off my own cultural traditions, we decided to have a pig roast instead. The idea evolved into four different marinated suckling pigs to reflect our blend of cultures and favorite global flavors: an Asian 5-spice pig; American brown sugar bbq pig; Hawaiian pineapple pig; and a Cuban mojo pig because Chef is our favorite movie. 

The rest of the menu was a combination of traditional and non-traditional sides that would complement the Asian/American pigs: lettuce wraps with noodle salad :: papaya salad :: cornbread and tortillas :: quinoa tofu salad :: black bean, corn, and cilantro salad :: chilled watermelon and fruit salad with mint :: jicama cole slaw :: mac 'n cheese :: grilled chicken and shrimp skewers :: pickled fiddleheads and grilled vegetables.

Monday, August 10, 2015

The Grocery Soft Serve

It's been the summer of soft-serve and we've probably eaten more than our weight in ice cream. Now that The Grocery started making their own soft-serve, plan to gain at least 10 more pounds. With tantalizing flavors like green tea, barley & rye, and bourbon vanilla, it was too good to resist a trip to Troy. Unique flavors rotate daily; we sampled chocolate cardamom and burnt honey orange on our visit. The quality of the ice cream is leaps and bounds better than most places around here but it's the adventurous flavors and equally unique toppings that really spoke to us. Chocolate ice cream is delightful on its own but the addition of cardamom adds so much warmth and complexity to a classic flavor. As for the honey ice cream, vanilla beans are speckled throughout a mashmallow-like concoction with subtle citrus notes. It was delightful, enough to turn a chocoholic into a believer. 

Ingredients are elevated to a new level, with playful toppings like caramelized rice crispy and sbrisolona citrus cornmeal crumble, each complementing the flavors of our soft-serve without taking away from the flavor profiles. The Grocery has taken soft-serve to a sophisticated level without being too pretentious; it's ice cream after all. Summer needs to last just a bit longer so we can squeeze in a few more trips. 

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Sushi Birthday Cake

While most people celebrate with a traditional birthday cake, I celebrated a milestone with a sushi cake from Sushi Tei. The big 3-0 was ushered in with a lovely layered surprise of my favorites--salmon, yellowtail, and tuna. The monstrosity is made up of layers of sushi rice, avocado, nori, and your choice of fish. Who needs frosting when you can have spicy tuna and sashimi roses? The hubby knows exactly what to get this birthday girl. 

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Savory Delicatessen

This past weekend, we hit up the food truck scene in Hudson as the craving for donuts from Gracie's grew stronger by the day. But this time, we also checked out their neighboring food truck, Savory Delicatessen. The truck is committed to scratch cooking, from curing and roasting its own meat to handcrafted sodas, translating to well-made and cared for classics.

Hot Pastrami: If you're looking for a fatty, melt-in-your-mouth pastrami look no further. More often than not, deli pastrami is flavorless but Savory Delicatessen packs a punch. The meat is not just brined but expertly smoked, like it should be, adding that beloved flavor. The pastrami is beautifully sandwiched between perfectly toasted marbled rye with caramelized shallots, a smear of spicy mustard, and melty emmental cheese. All the flavors complement each other very well, making each bite as delightful as the next, especially when you pull away with a melty, cheezy bite. 

Fried Risotto Bites: These were so comforting; crispy on the outside and deliciously creamy and cheesy on the inside. The pomodoro dipping sauce is a delightfully bright tomato sauce, simple and well-made. 

The Cuban: This was a daily special made with the house-made porchetta. If you're going to make a Cuban, the pork has to be the star and this interpretation did not disappoint. Juicy roasted pork brought back fond memories of the pig roast at our wedding and each bite reminded us how much we love Cubans too! You can taste how much love and care is put into the meats at Savory and it's heaven for us carnivores.

Don't forget about the house-made sodas. You'll find unique flavors like spiced cherry with hints of clove and ginger lemon but the cream and cardamom is unforgettable. This little part of Hudson just gets tastier with every visit. With food trucks like Savory Delicatessen and Gracie's, Hudson is quickly becoming one of our favorite places to visit and eat.