Dark Side of the Spoon

Gourmet dorm room cuisine.
Spinach, bacon, and parmesan salad #dinnertonight

Spinach, bacon, and parmesan salad #dinnertonight

Bulgur with broccoli rabe (recipe c/o Mark Bittman) #dinnertonight

Bulgur with broccoli rabe (recipe c/o Mark Bittman) #dinnertonight

tacos mi nacho

Looking for a Mexican restaurant near Hartford, Connecticut? Well, look no further than Tacos Mi Nacho, a place that I can only describe (lovingly, of course) as a hole in the wall. Tacos Mi Nacho is a tiny Mexican restaurant in Meriden, which is just outside of Hartford, making it a convenient stop on road trips from New York to Boston. The menu is large and the food seemed authentic (e.g., homemade tortillas, which you don’t see often at Mexican restaurants).

I had the carnitas burrito. It was stuffed with rice, lettuce, beans, cheese, onion, and pork. The finely minced onion was a really nice touch, adding a hint of allium flavor to the burrito. The lettuce was refreshing but placed with a heavy hand in my burrito. Lastly, Tacos Mi Nacho makes a standout rendition of carnitas. The pork was crispy and flavorful, but also juicy and tender.

I’ll admit, I was concerned when I spotted Tacos Mi Nacho; glancing at its humble exterior (and interior, for that matter) with trepidation. But the meal that I had there was truly excellent Mexican food.

end of the term feast

Alice prepared a delicious feast yesterday. She is such an amazing cook; she never uses recipes or measuring cups, yet everything she makes is incredible. Here’s the proof:

Above is jjajangmun. This is a noodle dish with a spicy bean paste sauce. There are pieces of zucchini, onion, red pepper, and potato in the sauce. This dish was so good (and check out the garnish! Fancy!).

The chef and her creation!

We also made wontons. They were filled with pork, bok choy, and scallions.

With the leftover filling, Alice made lion’s heads meatballs. Basically, they’re meatballs braised in soy sauce with some aromatics (like scallions). A great conclusion to a wonderful meal. Thanks Alice!

carnivore bbq

This post has been sitting in my mental queue for quite some time now. It’s been a few weeks since I ate at the Carnivore BBQ food truck (can you tell I’m really into food trucks), but that doesn’t mean it wasn’t good—somehow I just forgot to write up Carnivore BBQ sooner. 

I chose this truck mostly for its line. The business of finding the best food truck is a very democratic process. If in doubt, simply look for the truck with the longest line. Chances are that the food is great (why else would the line be wrapping around the block). Generally, people don’t wait in lines for mediocre food (unless you’re a hobo on a bread line ca. the Great Depression… zing!). 

I got the pulled pork with the vinegar sauce. It was so much food (too much food, even). But describing the quantity isn’t very helpful, is it? The pork was tender and moist, the vinegar sauce added just the right amount of tangy bite, and the slaw (something I normally wouldn’t enjoy) was crunchy and refreshing. There’s a bun underneath all the meat but this is pretty clearly a knife-and-fork operation; I wasn’t going to try to pick the sandwich up by the bun. 

Carnivore BBQ certainly lives up to its name. If you have strong hankering for meat, check it out. While it’s not Blue Ribbon Barbecue, the meat Carnivore is serving is tasty, plentiful, and cheap*.

*Re-reading this, I’m not sure that cheap is the greatest selling point for Carnivore BBQ, but for someone with a budget in mind, this $8 plate of food could easily be two meals.

roberta’s pizza

Roberta’s, a Brooklyn-based pizzeria, had a stand at the Sweetlife Food and Music Festival held yesterday. I got the def aleppo pizza, which had mozzarella, spring onion ricotta, aleppo pepper, and breadcrumbs on it. The pizza (fired in a wood burning oven on site!) was great; the festival, not so much.

far east taco grille

In my quest to eat food from trucks whenever possible, I decided to check out the Far East Taco Grille earlier this week. Korean taco trucks are quite trendy nowadays, but I’m not sure how I feel about this combination.

The tacos I tried were (from left to right) pork, chicken, and tofu. The pork was my favorite. The chicken and tofu were kind of weird. The chicken was unappealingly sweet and the tofu just wasn’t very memorable. Grilled tofu would have been much better than the soft crumbles that they used. I got the chili romaine slaw on all of the tacos, it was fine, though I didn’t taste a lot of chili flavor. I don’t think I’ll go back to Far East Taco Grille; it’s hard to improve on regular Mexican tacos.

pasta with broccoli

One of the main challenges of dorm room cooking is that the largest grocery store on campus has quite a limited selection. For example, on Sunday I decided I wanted to make Smitten Kitchen’s recently posted pasta with garlicky broccoli rabe, when I got to the store, however, there was no broccoli rabe or pecorino romano cheese in sight. I think you can see where this is going—pasta with broccoli rabe quickly became pasta with broccoli. I hardly changed the recipe; I just cut the broccoli into florets and tossed them in with the pasta after cooking the pasta for a few minutes on its own. The exact timing will depend on the kind of pasta you use, but plan for about five or six minutes to cook the broccoli. Since I couldn’t find pecorino romano cheese, I just substituted parmesan. 

The dish came out great, even with the substitutions. The pasta was spicy, garlicky, and cheesy—perfect for all the broccoli lovers in your life. This is such a quick meal, and so easy. I can’t wait to try it with broccoli rabe and pecorino when I have access to a Whole Foods!

greek deli and catering, part two

As much as I want Greek Deli and Catering to be my regular lunch spot, I just don’t think it’s going to work out. I went back a couple weeks ago and tried the spanakopita, which had the same dill problem as the gyro.

The orzo was decent, but considering the cost and the wait, I think that the food trucks in Farragut Square are a better bet.

spotted this gem

At the dining hall…

This reminds me of the South Park episode making fun of the Food Network. I don’t watch South Park but I saw that episode and I’m reluctant to admit I found it hilarious.