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Archive for June, 2012

One cannot think well, love well, sleep well, if one has not dined well. – Virginia Woolf

PORTEÑO – Chelsea, NYC

Foodie paradise.  Yes, that’s all I really need to say but I will indulge.  Dining well is exactly what one will do at Porteño.  This charming little restaurant will make you feel at ease and gives such a sense of comfort like you are about to sit down for dinner at home with family and friends.  The staff go out of their way to welcome you and make you feel like you are a part of their family from the moment you enter the door.  It is a pure joy to experience dining in this way – where everyone from the owners, bartender, waiters and chefs is thrilled to offer you an unforgettable meal.

I don’t have the experience to comment much in the way of Argentinian food – all I know is that it is delicious and I want more…but the real expert here is Chef Martín Badillo.  Badillo offers up good-for-the-soul dishes; some light and some hearty but all influenced by old world recipes found in the heart of Buenos Aires.

A few nights ago I was out with a dear friend and got the craving for Porteño’s avocado custard – I rave about this dish to anyone who will listen.  It has the freshness of a salad and the sweetness of a rich custard.  Put these two together and you will have something so unexpected and satisfying that you will go out of your way to have it again.  And again.  And again.  I can’t tell you just how good it truly is.  Anyhow, we made our way to the bar to have a few drinks and the custard.  Several hours later and two desserts down, we had a reservation for the following day to come back to enjoy a special meal prepared for us and two other friends.  We talked for quite some time and just could not wait to return for another feast with handpicked selections for us by Badillo himself.

~Flan De Palta~

On the following night, we walked into Porteño ready to indulge in all ways possible.  I can’t begin to tell you how much we enjoyed our dinner.  From drinks, to starters, dinner, dessert and conversations with the staff – I fell in love all over again.  Visiting this restaurant is like going to sit down at your grandmother’s dining room table (you know, the one grandmother that can REALLY cook) by the end of your meal you are pleasantly stuffed and happy as a clam.

Here’s a bit of what we had!

~Tuna Tartare~

~Ensalada~

~Vieras Selladas con Puré de Coliflor~

~Matambrito con Papas Doradas~

~Corvina con Vegetales~

~Ñoquis de Espinacas con Cordero~

Verdict ~ Go here…as often as you visit your grandmother…Because you will soon be extended family at Porteño! 

¡Muchas gracias to Josue, Martín, Jorge, George, and Brent – for a wonderful evening of dining!  Looking forward to my next visit home

– Miranda

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Nha Trang One – Chinatown, NYC

After a soulful bowl of steaming pho and an iced coffee to cool me off at Nha Trang in Chinatown, I am no longer reluctant to say that Vietnamese is one of my favorite cuisines.  Before this visit, I simply liked a good noodle soup and the fresh quality of ingredients found in Vietnamese foods.  I am afraid to say that from the onset of devouring the best pho I’ve ever had I knew another conquest was in the works – where can I find NYC’s very best pho.  By the time I reached the bottom of my bowl I believed that this new adventure may just mimic my quest for the best gnocchi around – the first dish that inspired me happened to be unbeatable or is at least so far – so why keep looking?  Well, why not, I have yet to have a bowl of pho that I didn’t want to at least finish.

~PHO TAI~

Pho Tai ~ rare beef and noodle soup

This aromatic pho is comfort food at it’s finest, warming you up instantly and making you want to tip up the bowl and slurp it down just to enjoy it all at once.  Since it happened to be one of the hottest days so far this year, I took it slow as to not overheat or cause a mini stroke.  This was of course made easier by the fact that I am not exactly dexterous and absolutely stubborn enough to only use the chopsticks and spoon.  I added the mung sprouts, lime, Thai basil and sriracha a little at a time all the while wishing I had a stomach large enough to also order what the table next to me ordered…some chicken and rice with lemongrass and chili (I will be returning for this too).  At the end of all this sublimity, I ordered an iced coffee – a little pick-me-up and cool-down at the same time.  Whoa!  Who knew the Vietnamese made unbelievably tasty iced coffee?

~CA PHE DA~ 

Ca Phe Da ~ Vietnamese dark roast coffee with sweetened condensed milk

Do yourself a favor – order one of these, sit and relax while cooling off, go run a mile, come back, order another and repeat!  I always skip heavy cream in my coffee and usually opt for almond or soy milk if I’m adding milk at all since it generally tastes better and is by far healthier.  I had no idea sweetened condensed milk was that delicious!  I will never let myself look at the ingredients on a can or even the nutrition facts because this iced coffee is gonna be a treat that I refuse to let slip by me again.  Thankfully this is not on the menu in the bodega below my apartment, I would be in serious trouble.

Verdict ~ Go here try the pho, order an iced coffee and try to tell me that is not the best damn pho you’ve ever had – outside of Vietnam of course!  Okay, okay…maybe that might be too early to state – but believe me, I’m gonna search for NYC’s best and you will be the first to know if any other tops this one.

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