27 Oct 2013

MAMITA QUE CHORIZO


London, UK

Mamita Que Chorizo is a gem of a sandwich restaurant newly opened at the quieter end of Rivington Street in Shoreditch. Currently running as a BYOB pop-up restaurant, it is only open Thursdays to Saturdays, and is temporarily housed inside a Turkish kebab shop operating during the daylight hours. We visited Mamita Que Chorizo on a Thursday evening after work, and upon arrival we were immediately greeted with friendly smiles and a very warm welcome indeed. In all honesty, we were quite surprised when we arrived, as we did not expect it to be housed within a Turkish kebab shop and were briefly turned off by the kebab pictures mounted on the glass front; a momentary lapse in judgment, because what was to follow was pure delight. We started off our meal by sampling the empanadas, which are deep fried stuffed pastries from South America. We tried two versions of these; one was stuffed with minced meat and the other with cheese. Both were perfectly deep fried and succulent and very fresh (a bit too hot in the first couple of bites; so take your time eating them!) Out of the two our favorite had to be the one stuffed with cheese as it just melted in our mouths and made us excited to try what was coming next. And what came next was nothing short of heavenly: the steak sandwich, apparently their specialty and most popular dish. The steak was perfectly cooked and came served with roasted peppers, mustard, and wild rocket; it was simple enough to be the perfectly delicious sandwich, and exceptionally rich in flavor and texture. Another delight was their vegetarian mushroom sandwich, which at first we were quite skeptical about; being a vegetarian sandwich and just having eaten amazing meat. After our first bite of the sandwich all of our reservations were put to sleep. This sandwich is unbelievably delicious and creamy, oozing with so many flavors. Stuffed with goat’s cheese, it comes served in a bun with rocket, parsley, lemon juice and a chimi-churri sauce. If only all vegetarian sandwiches tasted this good! Their eponymous Chorizo sandwich is quite unusual, as the sausage is a mixture or beef and pork, giving it an interesting texture and a pale colour. The skin at times difficult to chew over, but the special flavour of this meat more than made up for it. The end of our meal left us stuffed, with the cheesiest smiles cemented on our faces. We were so full that we had to cancel the pulled pork and ox tongue sandwiches, and instead come back to try these some other time. This is good quality food; unpretentious and full of love. Mamita Que Chorizo is a place with lots of passion, and this is evident in the quality of the food and the caring attention of its wonderful staff. If you haven’t tried it, do so and you will not regret it (a food grid promise).




























































22 Rivington Street, London EC2A 3DY


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 We were invited to review Mamita que Chorizo, and the opinions expressed are our own.

21 Oct 2013

BUDDAKAN

New York, USA

Buddakan is a staple Asian fusion restaurant in Manhattan’s Meatpacking District. The last time I went I was very last minute with my bookings and only got a late night table. I don’t mind though, as the restaurant almost has a nightclub vibe, and the place probably works best in the evenings. The huge restaurant covers two floors, with high ceilings and a grand communal table in the centre downstairs. Candelabras and gilded books decorate the spaces, with patterned screens in the upstairs dining areas. Buddakan draws a fashionable crowd, and was the site for Carrie and Mr. Big's rehearsal dinner in the Sex and the City film. I showed up in dirty converse and soaked clothes from the rain, so I was very casual compared to the girls in dresses and heels. I arrived straight from a dinner at Ippudo, so I was not very hungry. We only had dim sum, which I might have preferred either way. The main courses at Buddakan are very good, but not too dissimilar from dishes in your average China Town restaurant. Their brilliant small dishes are what really stand out. The steamed truffled edamame dumplings are an absolute must. They have such a creamy and filling texture. One day I want to go there and just order five portions of those. We also tried a range of shellfish and pork dim sum dishes. Another impressive dish was the hirata buns with glazed pork belly. I am quite picky with pork, as sometimes it has a flavour that I really don’t like. Buddakan executed it perfectly though, and I would urge people to try it if you visit. We asked the waiter to recommend one thing, and he suggested the Tuna Tartare Spring Roll. This was actually my least favourite dish, and we didn’t finish it. Buddakan is quite upscale and might seem a bit pretentious, but the prices are not bad considering the standard of the food. I would definitely go back, though I'd try to be more appropriately dressed for the occasion than I was this time.   





75 9th Avenue, New York, NY 10011


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15 Oct 2013

POLLEN STREET SOCIAL 

With one Michelin Star, Pollen Street Social is the brainchild of Jason Atherton, a Gordon Ramsay veteran and quite interestingly the first Brit to cook at the former El Buli. Since its inception in 2011, Pollen Street Social has steadily been one of the hottest and trendiest spots in London, if not Europe, attracting food connoisseurs through its glass doors located off the cosy and charming Pollen Street in the heart of Mayfair. I visited Pollen Street Social on a Thursday evening, and when I stepped into the restaurant I was instantly greeted by the very friendly maĆ®tre-d who quickly showed me to the bar as I waited for the rest of my party to arrive. The drinks menu is extensive, varied and mouthwatering; the Fizzy Pink Lemonade is what caught my attention. Presented on the menu as a non-alcoholic cocktail, the waiter jazzed it up with three types of rum. The drink was delicious although a bit too heavy on the rum that disguised the pink grapefruit, and grape flavours of the lemonade. Once my party arrived, we were promptly escorted to our table in the adjacent dining room. The layout and interior of the restaurant is in fact quite simple, where the restaurant is split into two separate rooms. The main dining room features the iconic dessert bar, which allows diners to watch the pastry chefs prepare the desserts; it’s quite the spectacle! Once seated, we rushed to look at the menu, as we were very hangry. To start with, I ordered the Orkney Sea Scallop Carpaccio served with frozen pink grapefruit, lemon skin puree and black olives. My friends ordered the Irish deer tartare which comes served smoked beetroot. Both options were delicious; the sea scallop carpaccio was sheer perfection with a unique flavour and texture, and the deer tartare was rich and decadent. 



























For my main I ordered the rack of lamb with a tomato chutney and artichokes. My friend ordered the sea bass with parsley mousseline (essentially a foamed texture of parsley) that is served with cockles and winkles; which sound disgusting but they are actually really delicious little clams and snails. The lamb was delectable. It was perfectly cooked to medium and it melted in my mouth. My only complaint would be that there was not enough of it, in fact for the price tag of £40 a plate, the portion was extremely small and left me quite disappointed; unnecessarily pretentious if you ask me. The sea bass on the other hand was generously portioned and was divine, the parsley mousseline in particular was nothing like what I’ve tasted before, the texture and the taste ignited fireworks in my mouth; this is gastronomy at its finest. 
























 

As a conclusion to our delicious meal we ordered the PBJ: A Peanut Parfait with a cherry yuzu sorbet and nitro peanut (liquid nitrogen frozen peanut butter ice cream). It was nothing short of heavenly. We also ordered the chocolate ganache with banana ice cream, which was not as good as the PBJ but was nevertheless yummy. Pollen Street Social is definitely a destination for any true foodie. My visit left me very happy and satisfied and it comes as no surprise that it’s one of the most sought after dining destinations in London.






























8 - 10 Pollen Street, London W1S 1NQ

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11 Oct 2013

BLEECKER STREET BURGER

London has recently been drowning in an overflow of new burger places. They are popping up on a weekly basis, and each one seems to be the ‘newest’ and ‘hottest’ burger in town. This week we introduce you to Bleecker Street Burger, which isn’t a newcomer as it established itself right around the 2012 Olympics, but it has now developed a new cult following amongst many Londoners in the know. Not a restaurant but a burger van, Bleecker Street Burger moves around London during the week spreading its deliciousness across the capital. Bleecker Street Burger is a black van serving simple American ‘New York’ style greasy burgers. You have the options of the cheeseburger, the double cheeseburger and the blue cheeseburger, which is naturally served with blue cheese. On my latest lunchtime visit to Bleecker Street Burger, where it was parked on the ‘Kerb’ by Kings Cross St Pancras, I opted for the double cheeseburger with French fries. The double cheese burger is cooked medium rare and comes served in a glazed sesame bun with American cheese and nothing else; no disguises. The burger was delicious, the meat was phenomenal and the overall experience was nothing short of explosive. The meat literally melted in my mouth, and the bun was flawlessly toasted and crispy; it was an amazing burger, and an incredibly generous portion. The hand cut fries were also good but did not live up to the quality of the main dish. My only complaint about the burger is that I would have preferred it to be slightly more cooked, although it did not bother me so much. Bleecker Street Burger is highly recommended and I urge you all to log onto their website and try to catch them at a London location near you; it’s definitely worth travelling to and will not leave you disappointed.








































All Over London




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7 Oct 2013

IN-N-OUT

The first stop I made after landing at LAX was at the nearest In-N-Out Burgers. This West Coast staple serves fast food burgers that seem to be appreciated by all sorts of different people. Even chefs like Gordon Ramsay and Julia Child have showed their love for it. The recognisable red parasols draw you in, but the interior itself is not great. The harsh lighting gave me a clinical feel. Nevertheless I was very excited to be there, and ran to the counter to place my order. I had a Cheeseburger and French Fries, and tried some of the free pickled chilies. The burger was a timeless classic; just what I have in mind when I picture a proper American burger.  The texture of the cheese is just right, the meat tastes fresh and the amount of vegetables is ideal. Their burger is a lot more aesthetically pleasing than that of Five Guys, although not as pristine as Shake Shack. The top of the bun kind of breaks apart though, so it doesn’t look as great after a few bites. The bread does its job well, in that it does not get soaked. The fries were not great, and could be crispier. The cheeseburger at In-N-Out is close to being the perfect fast food burger. As I am writing this I'm getting a serious craving for it, so I hope they will open a branch in London soon. 



Westchester, 9149 South Sepulveda Boulevard, Los Angeles 


In-N-Out Burger on Urbanspoon

2 Oct 2013

LUCKY SEVEN

London, UK

Lucky 7 is an American style diner in Notting Hill. I went there after having spent a few hours at the nearby Westbourne Pub. We were starting to get hungry and initially tried to get a table at The Oak. It was full, so we went to Lucky Seven, which only had a couple of customers. My first impression was a good one; I loved the nostalgic McDonald’s characters mounted on the walls, and the small leather booths. The service was really bad though. The waiter did nothing to help us choose between their various burgers and hot dogs, and he walked into my friend with so much force that his watch actually got knocked off, without apologising. As I didn’t get any recommendations from the waiter, I decided to go for the safe choice of a Cheeseburger. I liked the classic and simple garnish of onions, pickles, tomatoes and lettuce. The meat patty was not memorable, and there was a bit too much bread. The fries and coleslaw was of a good standard, and I liked the light and fluffy texture of the milkshake. Overall it was nothing more than an ok meal, so I am glad I didn’t make a trip especially to go there. It's the kind of place that is surviving only because of the lack of competition in its area. If it was located in Soho or East London, they would need to step up their game.  






127 Westbourne Park Road, London W2 5QL


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