Meat-lover's Dream: The Cannibal, NY

In retrospect, this is probably one of the best meals I've had all summer, second only to the unforgettable sushi lunch at Morimoto during #NYCRestaurantWeek.  We headed to this spot to celebrate the last day of my (stupendously awesome) summer internship @ Chicory , a young and fun food+tech startup that focuses on making online recipes shoppable. As I was on a strictly no-carb diet to gain back the slim body I never had, my marketing manager suggested going for a fancy lunch at this meat-loving restaurant on 29th St. (Thank you, Hillary. Thank you, thank you, thank you!!!)

 

The Cannibal, as its name suggests, focused mainly on transferring different protein into mouth-watering dishes that we cannot wait to dive headfirst into. There is an insane price gap between the least and most expensive dishes, with the dry-aged rib eye costing more than 100 bucks per serving. I don't know how good this rib-eye can be, but there's not a cat in hell's chance of me trading it for 20 delicious popsicles at Popbar. 

 

 

I opted for what seemed-like-it-had-the-least-amount-of-carbs on the menu: Pig head & Maitake Terrine with Pickled Celery ($11). & my co-intern flipped out when she thought I was ordering the General Tso' Pig Head that sets us back a good $85 :) As good as it may sound, my past experience with General Tso' Chicken at Chinese takeouts left a mental scar that was to be felt for life. I swear my Chinese friend would kill me if I ever call sauteed broccoli or General Tso' Chicken authentic Chinese food...

 

Pig Head Terrine with Maitake and Pickled Celery ($11)

 

The terrine itself was pretty decent, with chunks of pork fat and pig head creating a nice, soft, and bouncy texture. The sweet and sour pickled celery really helps cut through the fattiness of the pork, ensuring a mouthful of different flavor explosions. I wish there'd been some ground pepper though, since that would have made this dish perfect.

The Cannibal, without a doubt, knows how to make good pates and terrines. Hillary loved her Chicken Liver Paté, and Joey's Pate Grand Mere with Blueberry Mustarda was soooo good I wish I could eat carbs (yes, blueberries have sugar, hence carbs *sob sob*).

Chicken Liver Pate with Spring Onion and Black Pepper Jam ($11)
accompanied by three slices of toasted bread

Pate Grand Mere with Blueberry Mustarda ($11)

 

I know Pate is traditionally made from ground meat, fat, and cattle's organs, but what the hell is Pate Grand Mere? There was not a wikipedia entry for the origin of this dish, but some basic google translation gave me "Grandma's Pate" as a consolation prize. More reading will have to be done when I finally get my hands on a good Pate making book. As long as it's not in French...

Taste-wise, the Pate Grand Mere had not a single flaw to it. Unlike the pig head terrine where I felt I would have appreciated a touch of pepper, this dish is perfect to the T. Despite my initial reservation for the sweet + fat combination, the fattiness of the Pate works splendidly well with the slightly sweet and sticky blueberry paste. Google didn't give me any results for "mustarda", but "mostarda" could have been what the restaurant were really thinking of. It's basically a compote, where candied fruits are mixed with a mustard-flavored syrup (probably giving it the name "mostarda"?).

Steak Tartare with Bearnaise and Crumpet ($16)
Didn't get a chance to taste this but it sure looks amazing. Bearnaise is a fancier variation of Hollandaise sauce, where white wine vinegar is used in place of lemon juice.

 

Shaved Brussels Sprouts with Slow Cooked Egg  & Country Ham XO ($8)
This dish is simply to-die-for

Cannibal Dogs ($15) = "Tiger Style" Hot Dogs with Spicy Tripe Chili, Scallion, Crispy Fried Shallots and Chinese Mustard (whatever that means lol)
The restaurant was also offered us a free House Jerky and Pork Rind platter since Amanda and Gary's Grilled Cheese was taking *forever*

Grilled Cheese with Bacon, Cheddar and Gruyere ($12)

 

I couldn't snap a decent photo of this Grilled Cheese since Amanda was too busy attacking it and the Half-hearted Vegetarian Gary diligently picking out the bacon from his = _ = " ( no offense, Gary!) They both swore it was the best Grilled Cheese they've ever had, so I guess it was on par with our other amazing dishes.
All in all, I and the gang left Cannibal with the best meat-lover dream (ok, exp for Gary lol)


The Cannibal
113 E 29th St
Midtown East, Flatiron

 

Mini Cheesecake Recipe

Once upon a (luckily long gone) time, I actually hated cheesecake. My experience with this delectable treat in VIetnam was filled with little more than disappointment, from the dense and hard bakes cheesecake to the excessively gelatinous no-bake ones sitting in the local bakery’s front display. Not until I came to America did the world of cheesecake truly unfolded, and I’ve become a die-hard cheesecake fan ever since.

I came up with this cheesecake recipe through a fortunate accident, a.k.a my absent-mindedness in forgetting to buy sour cream. I simply substitute sour cream with heavy whipping cream, and found a smooth and creamy texture that was (of course) more palatable. I also added some lemon juice for extra sourness, and found it to be much more adjust-able than sour cream.

You can also make a batch of coffee cheesecake by adding 2 tbsp of instant coffee powder and cut back on the lime juice.

For the caramel sauce, I recommend using The Pioneer Woman's Easy Caramel Sauce Recipe.

print recipe
The Best Mini Cheesecake Recipe

Ingredients
    For the crust
  • 1 cup graham cracker crumbs
  • 4 tbsp butter
  • 1 tbsp sugar
  • 1 tbsp vanilla extract
  • For the filling
  • 16 oz cream cheese
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 2/3 heavy cream
  • 1 tbsp lime juice
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • a pinch of salt
Instructions
1. Let your (beloved Philadelphia) cream cheese sit til it’s room temperature. Meanwhile, whip heavy cream to just a little under stiff peak, cover with cling film and let chill in the fridge.

2. Melt the butter in the microwave for 30-45 seconds. Pour melted butter into graham cracker crumb. Add vanilla extract, sugar and mix well with a rubber spatula. Crust mixture should feel damp but not too wet.

3. Prepare cupcake liners. Divide the wet crumb mixture into individual molds and press well to create a flat and even crust.

4. Preheat oven to 350F, make sure rack is positioned so that cupcake pan is in the middle of the oven. I tend to use both upper and lower heat for baking.

5. With a hand / stand mixer (trust me, your arms will thank you), beat cream cheese with sugar on high speed until soft and fluffy, gradually add the eggs and mix until well combined. Add salt, lime juice (adjust to your liking) and vanilla extract. Mix well.

6. With a rubber spatula, fold in the whipped cream until just combine.

7. Divide the filling into lined cupcake molds. ( Tip: use an ice-cream scooper ). Bake in preheated oven (350F) for 18-20 minutes, cool for 15 minutes in the oven with door slightly ajar.

8. Once the cheesecake has cooled, make the caramel sauce and drizzle on top, garnish with a good sprinkle of salt.

Ippudo Ramen NYC Review

On my wild food chase in NYC this winter, we headed to Ippudo ramen. I and a few friends intially set out for Chuko ramen in Brooklyn, only to find it tragically closed for Christmas break. Instead of giving up and hitting a random bakery along the way for a quick breakfast (which is totally what we did), I looked to Yelp for another ramen place ’cause this girl is in her ramen fix. Thanks to the power of the internet (and a pain au chocolat), yours truly found her way to another famous noodle bar in New York: Ippudo.

I should have expected nothing less on holidays as the restaurant was holy PACKED ! We were super lucky to get a table in just 10 minutes, thanks to the big head count (I swore the couple waiting in line gave us very mean looks). I guess it’s better to travel in big groups then?

The wall was decorated with all kinds of ramen bowl. Isn’t that great?
I was tempted to count all of them during the wait lol

Finally got our seats ! The menu wasn’t as big as I expected.
Prices are reasonable for ramen I think, that is, before you include all those taxes and tips *rolls eyes* What can I say? I've never come across "cheap" ramen in the States...

My friend opted for the Tonkotsu ramen, which is basically ramen in a pork bone based soup.
You may have noticed that it’s missing the famous soft-centered egg. Yes, she was trying to keep the cost low.

I, on the other hand, went for the tempting Karaka men ( spicy tonkotsu noodles ) with soft-boiled shoyu EGG (brilliant choice, I say). The marginal utility derived from having an extra egg in my ramen outweighs the marginal cost, thus my decision to order that shoyu tamago is beautifully backed by science (yes, Econ is a science). Feel free to follow my lead, ramen fans!

For an addition 3$ you can get a rice bowl and side salads. The rice is average, but it’s a good option if you have kids around who wouldn't stop begging for add-on items. 

I tasted all the noodles we ordered, but my favorite has to be this Wasabi Ramen. The taste is pungent yet delicate, and I actually appreciate the tempura bits a lot more than I thought ! They also seem to have a different kind of noodle for this soup, one that's a bit more wavy and chewier in texture. 

This is my first time having ramen in the States and third time having ramen anywhere. Ippudo surely deserves its spot in front league of ramen in New York. The ramen was chewy and delicate, while the broth is packed with flavor. Perhaps the only thing I dislike about Ippudo is the line outside its door, which again confirms that this is one of best ramen place in town.

 

Ippudo Ramen

  • 65 4th Ave
    New York, NY 10003

Thai Basil Fried Rice for the lazy person I am

I am a lazy bum, which is why I rarely cook for myself despite my undeniable love for cooking. Occasionally, my ridiculously regular food cravings and limited budget drive me to the corner of having to cook my own food. Occasionally, I actually would whip up something good.

This is one of those times.

Ever since I’ve had the Thai Basil Fried Rice at Plant Love House a week ago, I’ve been craving it constantly day and night. It’s savory and sweet, with a wonderful basil fragrance that makes every bite a roller-coaster ride of flavors. But at $9.90 a plate, I can barely afford to have it every day for the rest of the month *insert desperate female sobbing*

So, I decided to make my own Basil Fried Rice, borrowing the concept here and there and fix it up a bit to accommodate my limited pantry. Most of the recipes I came across make use of a combination of fish sauce, light and dark soy sauce, oyster sauce, and green thai chili. That’s a whole lot of funky ingredients even for a full Asian like me, so I decided to substitute oyster sauce with sugar, and green chili with the regular neither-spicy-nor-green chili powder.  It would have tasted a lot better with them, but I just didn’t have the time.

 

THAI BASIL FRIED RICE

Yield: 3 servings
Time: 30-45 minutes

Ingredients

  • 1.5 cup of cooked white rice ( I bought mine at a local china takeaway for 1$)
  • 2 cups of green beans
  • 1/2 lb of minced pork
  • 1/2 cup of fresh thai (or regular) basil leaves
  • 3 cloves of garlic
  • Sauce mix: 1/2 tbsp light soy sauce, 1 tbsp chinese dark soy sauce, 1 tsp fish sauce and 1 tbsp sugar (or oyster sauce)
  • 1/2 tbsp of red chili powder (mine’s not spicy so I tend to add a ton!)
  • Cooking oil

Instructions

  1. Wash and cut the green beans into 1.5 – 2 inch pieces ( I like it a bit longer since smaller pieces tend to get too soft during cooking). Coarsely chop the basil to release their aromatics. Finely chop the garlic.
  2. Mix the sauce as described above. You can add or remove some ingredients if they’re not available in your pantry, though I’d recommend having at least both fish and soy sauce.
  3. Under high heat, grease the pan with 1 tbsp of cooking oil (I use sunflower oil, but any other non-aromatic oil is fine) and add the beautifully chopped garlic.
  4. Once the garlic’s turning slightly brown, add the minced pork and showed off your mad stir-fry skills
  5. Once the meat is cooked, pour the sauce mixture into the pan and give it a quick toss
  6. Add the green beans, mix well
  7. Add the rice, gently breaking it down 
  8. Once’s everything is well mixed, add the chili powder & chopped basil and stir well. Turn off the heat after 2 minutes.
  9. Taste & season with salt and pepper to your liking. Serve hot

Momofuku Noodle Bar Review

Spring break is upon us (college students), and that means it’s time for another blog post ! Since I’m in such a good mood, here’s a review of my all-time-favorite Ramen place: MOMOFUKU (if you’re not excited, get excited!)

Momofuku Noodle Bar is an Asian-inspired noodle bar opened by Chef David Chang and also one of the most popular place for Japanese ramen in New York City (insert epic BG music). The place is apparently named after Momofuku Ando, the man credited with the invention of instant noodles. It didn’t take me a long time to locate Momofuku in East Village, since the long, bustling line outside its door is already a giveaway. While standing in line noodle-watching, it’s comforting to keep telling yourself that hunger is the best spice.

No more distraction, here’s the glorious food pics that you (yes, you!) mainly came here for:

Ok, those weren’t exactly the photos thatI had in mind…

I ordered the classic Momofuku Ramen, a choice at first sight that sounds as safe as it gets. This bowl of noodle is worth every penny and has left me quite a few restless nights planning every cost-effective route to schedule a re-visit. The noodle itself is nice and chewy; the shredded pork, glistening with that awesome pork, literally melts in your mouth and urges you to take a second bite (or don’t bite, just simply swallow); and that beautifully poached egg is so good, even on its own, that there’s no need for any description. To whoever that brilliantly thought of putting egg in ramen: sir, that was a match made in heaven.

If anyone (yourself included) ever asks you to go with them to Momoduku Noodle Bar, my good friend, please by all means cease that opportunity. If not, I’ll be more than willing to shamelessly take your place. LOVE <3 !

 

  • Momofuku Noodle Bar
    171 1st Ave
    New York, NY10003