Monday, May 30, 2011

Berimbau | New York, New York

Julie and I love Brazilian food, but we don't get it often enough because there are no Brazilian restaurants in Honolulu. Being cognizant of this, my brother found Berimbau for us in New York City. It's a quaint little restaurant tucked away between Bedford & Bleecker.

43 Carmine Street
New York, NY 10014
(212) 242-2606

The restaurant is a tiny place that's easy to miss and only seats about two dozen people. Though it is slightly lacking in square footage, it is very big on flavor.

"Berimbau" is a reference to this stringed instrument, used for the Brazilian martial art of capoeira.

We started with an order of "Pao de Queijo" or cheese bread. It's warm and chewy with a texture almost like mochi.

I ordered Guarana soda to drink, another hard-to-find item back home.

Dad had "Picanha," which is grilled sirloin steak. As you can see, the meat is smothered in garlicky awesomeness.

This is a picture of my brother's dish, which is a type of beef stew that we couldn't remember the name of.

"Moqueca a Baiana" is a seafood stew served with rice.

One meal I just can't get enough of is called "Feijoada," a traditional Brazilian bean stew. In addition to black beans, there are generous portions of slow cooked pork and sausage. This particular restaurant only serves this dish on Saturday and Sunday, so we lucked out on timing.

Feijoada is often served with rice, salted collard greens, orange wedges and farofa (toasted flour).

Our son wanted fried banana fritters, which he thoroughly enjoyed.

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Skylark Diner & Lounge | Edison, New Jersey

I realize it's been several weeks since my last post, but there will be lots of new material coming in the next few days. Stay tuned!

Yesterday, we landed in Newark, NJ. After checking in at the hotel and a leisure afternoon, we headed to Skylark Diner for dinner. It was your typical, albeit slightly upscale, diner fare and the restaurant was featured on the Food Network's "Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives." By the time we got there, the place was pretty crowded, so it was good that we had made reservations ahead of time.

Skylark Diner
Route 1 & Wooding Avenue
Edison, NJ 08817
(732) 777-7878
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The decor had a retro-fifties feel, with a modern flare.

We started with their spinach artichoke dip. As you can see, this particular one was covered with cheesy awesomeness. Our son ate most of it by himself, which I suppose was ok because it at least had some veggies in it ;)

We also ordered the "potato boats," which were your standard potato wedges with bacon, sour cream and cheese. The cross-cut chips they used as garnish were actually very tasty and the most interesting part of the dish.

The bread was rustic with a crispy outside and a soft, chewy middle.

Grandma ordered the "Portuguese Shrimp and Fettucine" (chorizo sausage, shrimp and scallops in a garlic-saffron-tomato broth). I was surprised that they actually used sea scallops instead of smaller bay scallops. She said the sausage was a little on the spicy side, but overall the dish was very good.

Our son ordered the kids turkey meatball and pasta. He hardly ate any of it because he filled up on chips and dip.

Julie had the "Grilled Vegetable Napoleon Burger" with tossed greens. The sandwich was a brioche roll filled with sliced portabella, zucchini, eggplant, tomato, fresh mozzarella and herb sherry Dijon vinaigrette.

I went with their "Smoked, Slow Roasted Pork Loin Sandwich," which had layers of sliced, smoked pork with cornichon dijonaise, shaved red onion and manchego cheese on griddle toasted sesame semolina. I was hoping for a slightly more smokey flavor, but the flavors melded well together.

My sister-in-law ordered some kind of burger with mashed potatoes on it. I'm not sure what it was called and I didn't see it on the menu, but it looked really good.

Monday, May 2, 2011

The Pineapple Room | Honolulu, Hawaii

I have been going to the KCC Farmers' Market religiously for the past several months. In fact, I'm the mayor on Foursquare. Yesterday, however, Julie and I were feeling like we needed a change of pace. We decided to take it easy in the morning then leisurely head over to the Pineapple Room for breakfast. As luck would have it, our server was Twitter friend Meg (@megspeaks). As always, the food was amazing and the service, outstanding. 

The Pineapple Room by Alan Wong
1450 Ala Moana Boulevard (located inside Macy's)
Honolulu, HI 96813
(808) 945-6573

To start, Meg hooked us up with one of the specials of the day: Yogurt Panna Cotta with granola, honey, strawberries and banana. The flavors of this dish melded nicely. It was neither overly tart nor excessively sweet. Julie said that if she had the recipe, she's make this every day.

We were surprised to find so many vegetarian options on the menu. Julie, being in the mood for somewhat lighter fare, opted for the Berries and Cream.

Craving something a little heartier, I went with the House Made Corned Beef Hash and Eggs. The hash was nice and crispy on the outside, which contrasted nicely with the tender meat on the inside.

I chose the fried rice as my starch. I'm fairly certain it was made with Kalua Pork, which added a nice, subtle smokiness to the rice.