Posts Tagged ‘Steak’

Ooka Lunch with Ryan

September 24, 2009

Ryan and I got to go to Ooka in Doylestown for Sushi today because Donna went bowling with Jojo and left us to make our own lunch. I have gotten several recommendations from Facebook friends and Chowhounds on how good the sushi is at Ooka so eating there has been on my Foodie to-do list for quite a while.  The recommendations were spot-on; the sushi was top notch, the venue was very comfortable and the service impeccable.

Miso Soup and Garden Fresh Salad with Ginger Dressing at Ooka in DoylestownBoth my meal and Ryan’s meal came with Miso Soup and Garden Fresh Salad with Ginger Dressing. The Miso Soup was one of the best miso soups I have ever had. A hearty broth with delicious pieces of Mushrooms, Tofu and Scallion floating in it.  The Garden Fresh Salad was pretty typical of other Japanese restaurants’ salads with the exception of the Ginger Dressing which was Creamy and with a Delicate Ginger Flavour as opposed to the usual version that comes with overwhelming ginger flavours.  We also tried some Japanese beer and went for the Sapporo brand. I actually like the match up of beer and sushi so it was working for me. Edamame and Shumai Appetizers at Ooka in Doylestown, PA

It was a little strange for me to have appetizers after soup and salad but that’s the way they do it at Ooka so we rolled with it and enjoyed them when the came.   The Fresh Edamame were served piping hot with Sea Salt. The little pods of Soy are fun to eat, slightly salty and moist to the bite. This maybe the perfect appetizer to go with beer, a sort of the Japanese version of peanuts.  The other appetizer was Shumai, little steamed shrimp dumpling with a Ginger Sauces. The dumplings were the perfect size and had a delicate flavour of shrimp and that dumpling flavour that seems to come with all dumplings. My Friend Doug over at American Greetings introduced me to Shumai a few months back and I am glad he did. They were excellent at Ooka.

Angus N.Y Steak Teriyaki Bento Box at Ooka in Doylestown, PARyan went for the N.Y Steak Teriyaki Bento Box.The Angus beef steak came with and order of rice, two California Rolls, Shrimp & Broccoli Tempura and a Japanese Treat.  The steak came medium rare and coated in sweet teriyaki sauce.  The rice was perfectly cooked. Both Shrimp and Broccoli Tempura were perfectly cooked and crispy but leaving the shrimp and broccoli fresh and delicious. The California Rolls were classic and even a little larger in diameter than I am used to getting. The dish also came with two Gyoza Pan-fried Pork Dumplings served with a Ginger Sauce. Ryan had not tried Gyoza before and despite being stuff from all the previous food he liked the delicate pork flavour, the slight char from the pan frying and the gentle ginger sauce.  He shared one with me so I knew he was pretty full when he starts to share his food.

Sushi and Sashimi Lunch at Ooka in Doylestown, PA

 I went for the Sushi and Sashimi Lunch Special.  It came with 3 pieces Sushi, 5 pieces Sashimi, and a Spicy Tuna roll.  The Special usually comes with a Salmon Roll but I upgraded to a Spicy Tuna roll. Both the Sushi and Sashimi were very fresh and the cuts of fish were perfect.  The Tuna almost melted in my mouth, the Salmon the same and Shrimp was fresh and sweet.  The Special also included Octopus.  I think Octopus is a great test for a sushi restaurant, cut it wrong and it tough, keep it too long and it’s tough, cook it too long or too short it’s tough. The Octopus on this plate was tender and flavourful. The Spicy Tuna Roll was creamy with a good tuna taste and spicy enough to make it interesting but no over powering like so many second class sushi places. The Whitefish and Yellowtail were delicate in flavour and perfect in texture almost little works of art.  The overall presentation, and I love good presentation, was excellent for this dish as well as the ones that preceded it.

Great flavours, great textures, great presentations, great service and great company – my son.  Net-net a great meal for us.  You should try Ooka if you haven’t already.

Read other reviews about Ooka here, here and here.

 Ooka (Doylestown) on Urbanspoon

Ooka  - 110 Veterans Lane, Doylestown, PA 18901-3412                             (215) 348-8185

Steak Skewers Special

August 8, 2009

Filet Mignon at Cafe EuropaIt was poker night at Cafe Europe and my birthday so it was a perfect storm for me. Chef Joey created two appetizer specials for the night, a seaseme seed crusted chicken tenders with a honey soy sauce and a Filet Mignon skewer with a merlot demi-glace. I went for the Filet Mignon medium rare.  Donna tried the chicken special and Ryan went for the Penne alla Vodka based on last week’s post.

Joey nailed the medium rare for my skewer and still managed to have the Onions and Green Peppers crisp but cooked.  The Mushrooms came with the Demi Glace and they were perfectly cooked as well.  The savory demi glace matched well with meat and provided a nice contast to the sweet onions and green peppers. The different textures in the mushrooms, crispy veggies and perfectly cooked meat made for, Jenn’s favourite descriptor, “great mouth feel”. At $8.99 and $12.99 for two skewers, they were a bargin and a great appetizer.

Since is was my birthday bartender and Facebook friend Jenn made a Birthday Banner and Facebook Friend Erika traveled in from Jersey City to play poker and deliver a half dozen Crumb’s Cupcakes as my Birthday Cake. I ended up with a great Carrot Cake Cupcake that was through the roof.  Thanks Erika and Jenn for making my birthday extra special.  Thanks to all those free cocktails eveyone, it seemed and if I can remember, offered me. It was a great birthday.

Joey made the skewers out of Filet Mignon but what is your Favourite Cut of Steak? Take the food survey and let us know.

Happy Anniversary at the Black Bass Hotel

August 4, 2009

Donna and I went to newly opened Black Bass Hotel for our 24th Anniversary celebration dinner. The restaurant had a great reputation and the news of it’s recent opening had a good buzz going on in the foodie community. It even came up at the bar at Marsha Brown’s when Tricia and I visited there a week back. So we were pretty excited when we arrived. It was worth the buzz and the short trip up the Delaware River to Lumberville.

Cocktails at the Black Bass Hotel

We started the evening off with two classic cocktails, the Singapore Sling for Donna and a Vodka Martini for me. Donna’s drink was nicely made althoughthe bartender had to look up the recipe. The sling was slightly fruity with the gin being covered by the Cherry Brandy and Benedictine. Nice job.  My Vodka Martini was a classic, straight up ice cold and three olives.

Spinach Salad at Black Bass Hotel

Donna’s starter was the Baby Spinach Salad. It came with Bacon, Egg, Orange Segments, Sliced Red Onion, Mushrooms, and Candied Walnuts with a Honey Mustard Dressing. Donna found the salad to be well presented and the veggies fresh and crisp.  The mix in textures was great as well with the hard boiled eggs, candied nuts and veggies.  The salad was not over dressed so it was perfect.

Crayfish Appetizer at Black Bass HotelFor my appetizer, I went for Crayfish off the daily special menu.  I was also looking at the Acadian Barbequed Shrimp but they came shell-on and I could only imagined getting my shirt covered in BBQ Shimp juices, so I went for pre-shelled Crayfish.  It was a good choice. The sweet meat was well balanced against the slight heat from the broth. I was impressed by the amount of crayfish I got and how tender each one was. It felt like I was back in New Orlean’s again. Very nice appetizer.

New York Strip Steak at Black Bass Hotel

Donna went for the Grilled Dry Aged New York Strip. It was served with compound Garlic Herb Butter, Stag’s Leap Merlot Demi-Glace, Mashed Potatoes and vegetables. Donna likes her steak Medium Well and the chef nailed the cooking. The Demi-Glace was delicious and matched well with the Prime Grade Steak. The unfortunate part was that the veggies and the mashed potatoes were cold. The hot Demi-Glace saved the day a bit by heating the veggies and potatoes. The steak was excellent but the rest of the dish could use some attention.

Charleston Meeting Street Crab

For my entree, I went for the signature dish of the Black Bass, the Charleston Meeting Street Crab. Lino, our excellent waiter, shared that this dish has been served at the Black Bass for at least 55 years.  I can see why. It’s a simple delicious dish. Bascially a Crab au Gratin it was perfectly executed with Jumbo Lump Crab covered with a thick cheese sauce. The gratinwas broiled giving the dish some nice texture and flavour in the sauce. My dish suffered from the same cold veggies that Donna had but the gratin was hot enough to heat them to a good temperature so just mixing them together worked for me. The rice was perfectly cooked and matched well with the gratin and crab. It was a well executed dish with nice flavours and textures.

Cherry Cheesecake Ice Cream at Black BassFor dessert, I convinced Donna to try Cherry Cheesecake Ice Cream and I went for the Rice Pudding. The restaurant-made ice cream was smooth and tasting very much like cherry cheesecake. It was very nice. Lino snagged us some Guinness Ice Cream as a sample.  At first that tasted like coffee ice cream but as the ice cream warmed the flavour changed and you could taste the Guiness flavour. It was very interesting and very good.

Rice Pudding at the Black Bass Hotel

Lino presented my Arborio Rice Pudding complete with a Candle to celebrate our annivarsary. The classic rice pudding was served with with Rum Soaked Golden Raisins, Whipped Cream and a Rasberry Coulis. The rice was perfectly cooked but had been around a while that it start to glomb together a little too much. The addition of the raisins and strawberry gave the dish some interesting textures and different flavours. The candle was a nice touch on this great dessert.  Thanks Lino.

Net-net it was a great meal and appropriate for celebrating our 24th anniversary. The Black Bass is Back! Go and enjoy yourself.

Read other reviews about the Black Bass Hotel here, here and here.

Black Bass Hotel Restaurant on Urbanspoon

Black Bass Hotel 3774 River Road | Lumberville, PA 18933      215-297-9260

BYOB to the Villaggio

July 19, 2009

Viiagio AppetizerDonna and I had supper last night with Poker buddy Steve and his wife Joan at Villaggio just down the 202 in Lashaska.  Steve and I go back a couple of years playing poker, in fact he was at the final table when I won my first tournament.  Donna usually sits at Steve’s table on Tuesday nights so we knew each other well. It was our first time meeting Joan but she was fun and gave me some good tips about taking photos of food. Thanks Joan.

I started out with the appetizer special of Prochuttio, Melon and Figs. I think this classic appetizer is so popular because in addition to being so simple and colourful, it has nice contrasts in flavours and textures. I never ate Figs as a kid because they were always dried figs which although very sweet reminded me of old people food and an attempt at getting “fiber” into their diet. LOL. Last night the Figs were fresh, sweet and had an almost jam like consistency when I bit into them. The Melon was also sweet but a fresh taste. The saltiness of the Prochuttio stood out against the sweetness of the two fruit making both tastes more intense. The thin slices of Italian ham needed to be cut with my knife making another texture contrast in the dish. I amused myself by varying the combinations of ham, fig and melon on different bites making multiple taste experiences. A great dish, simple in design, complex in tastes and textures.

 INSALATA DI CESARE at VillaggioDonna went for their Insalata di Cesare. It was a classic interpretation of this famous salad. Romaine lettuce, toasted croutons, creamy garlic dressing and no anchovies. The Romaine Lettuce was a little wilted but generally crisp. The Dressing was flavourful with strong garlic note and nice and creamy.  Donna would have like a little more Parmesan Cheese but the Croutons were excellent with a nice toasting on the outside, soft on the inside and a mild garlic taste. Good try guys but still not as good as mine. Check my version out here. Donna and I both love Cesare Salad but let us know your Favourite Salad here

 PARMIGIANA - VITELLO O POLLO at Villaggio

Steve’s main course was the Parmigiana – Vitello o Pollo or as I knew it, Chicken Parmigiana. Steve took the photo of this generous portion of pan fried breaded chicken with pasta.  The Thick Rich Red Sauce was coverd with what looked to be fresh Mozzarella.  The thin breaded Chicken Cutlet revealed itself after Steve cut through the sauce and pasta. By the end of the meal it was all gone and Steve look really satisfied.

Steak at Villaggio

Donna went for the Bistecca del Cuoco or as I knew it, New York Strip Steak.  She had it cooked Medium Well, which I think is always too much but I wasn’t eating it. LOL. Served With Green Beans And Mashed Potatoes it was a complete dish.  Donna thought the steak was very good with simple seasoning and cooked exactly how she liked it. She enjoyed what we thought was an Au Jus that added flavourful moisture to the steak. The Potatoes, Donna’s favourite vegetable BTW, were simply prepared with just butter, salt and pepper. The Green Beans were a nice contrast to the steak and potatoes with some of them having a nice bite but others had been around the kitchen for a little longer.  Net-net good steak but a little more attention to the veggies was needed.

Grilled Scallops and Shrimp at VillaggioJoan and I went for the Grilled Scallops and Shrimp. We both loved the presentation with the colourful pink shrimp contrasting with the bright green of the sauteed Spinach and grill marks on the scallops and shrimp. The perfectly grilled Shrimp were sweet but the char of the grill marks contrasted with a bitter almost acidic taste making the different bites interesting.  This sweet-char contrast was also there on the Scallops. The different density of the scallops contrasted with more dense shrimp and the wilted spinach. I found the Spinach to be well cooked with a nice bitter flavour with a slight garlic note. The bitter flavour contrasted nicely with the sweet shellfish. Good Presentation, Good Flavours and Good Textures – a very successful dish.

Along with the Apps and Mains, Villaggio served up some very nice marinated veggies and great bread to start our meals. So by the time we  finished our mains we were pretty full.  Steve and Joan had invited us for dessert back at their house so we skipped dessert at Villaggio and went to Steve and Joan’s.  More on dessert in the next post. Net-net, a very good meal, generally well cooked and definitely well presented. Thanks to Steve and Joan for joining us and putting up with the photos and the food reviews. I hope we can do it again soon.

Read other review about Villaggio here, here and here.

Villaggio - 5861 York Road, Lahaska, PA    215-794-2777

Omaha Steaks

July 8, 2009

We usually screen our phone calls to avoid the telemarketers seeking donations for all kinds of charities but for whatever reason I picked up the phone last week. On the other end was Cathy from Omaha Steaks. Seems they were having a special on Bone-In Strip Loin steaks and since we bought from Omaha Steaks in the past we were eligible for the special. So in a moment of weakness, I went for it. Long weekend coming up, you can never have enough steaks in the freezer and I like bone-in steaks.

Omaha Steak BoxesFour days after talking to Cathy, a big styrofoam box arrived on my front door complete with dozen Bone-In Strip Loin Steaks, a dozen steak burgers and apple turnovers (more about the burgers and turnovers in a future post).  The box also contained some dry ice that keep the goodies frozen during their trip.  It always a good sign when there is some dry ice left over from the journey.  It’s also good fun. Using tongs, cause the dry ice will burn you if it touches your skin, I threw the remaining chunks into our fountain.  The warm fountain water causes the dry ice to go from solid to gas very quickly making the water “boil” and leaving thick vapour that always reminds me of Halloween every time. So I’m a big kid, LOL but try it if you ever get dry ice it’s fun.

Omaha Strip Loin SteaksThe individually wrapped steaks were pretty good sized, each weighting in at about 14 ounces. The steaks appeared to be well marbled which usually mean a moist steak. The amount of bone was smaller than I thought there was going to be. Ryan doesn’t like bones in his steak so these small bones were not going to be a big problem for him. The general appearance of the steak made me start thinking about when we could fire up the BBQ and grill me some steak.

Grilled Omaha Strip Loin Steak

I didn’t wait too many days before we fired up the grill. To go along with the steak Donna halved some Red Bliss Potatoes and placed them in some foil with some onions, olive oil, salt and pepper. We had already defrosted four of the steaks in the frig from the night before and had them coated them with some olive oil, salt and pepper. As we allowed the steaks to come to room temperature we grilled the potato and onions. I grilled the steaks about 3 minutes, turned 90 degrees-3 minutes and then turned over 3 minutes and then turn 90 degrees. I than brushed on some Cattleman’s Sauce on both sides for about a minute and then placed on a platter to rest. As the steak rested Donna cooked some Green Beans and I dressed a couple of Tomato slices in some oil,balsamic vinegar, salt and pepper to make a tasty garnish.

The Strip Loin steaks were very good. The grilling resulted in a nice pink medium rare flesh that was flavourful and moist.  The bone was very manageable with most of it located near the edge of the steak so I cut it out with my first knife cut. The meat had a nice density to it that you needed a steak knife to cut but was tender enough in you mouth to give a great mouth feel.  Donna did find a tough section in her steak, some silver-skin perhaps but mine, Ryan and Robbie’s were perfect. Ryan said his was one of the best steaks he ever had and given our recent visit to BLT Prime, that it a high complement for a frozen steak. Great home grilling steak dinner.

Still looking for recommendations for the Best of Bucks Co – Steak Top 5 list, so help out by leaving a comment here on the blog as to where I should go.

If you haven’t already take the surveys on what is your Favourite Cut of Steak and your Favourite BBQ Sauce.

CIA Dinner

June 30, 2009

About every two months or so, the Jericho National Golf Course Clubhouse hosts Peter Luger Steak night and it was this past Saturday night.  Donna and I got invited by my poker pal, Sid along with couples Mark and Barbara and Chuck and Roy.  I play poker with Mark and had been to Temple football and basketball games with Chuck and Roy so most of us knew each other. It was a great meal with the Peter Luger Steaks and interesting conversation.  The stories were great because Sid is ex-CIA (as in Central Intelligence Agency) and Marc is ex-DEA (as in Drug Enforcement Agency).  That’s not to say the rest of us didn’t have anything to add, it’s just I love stories about Southeast Asia, the Bay of Pigs invasion, Lockerbie and drug trafficking in general.  It was like a lesson in living history. I could tell you what the stories were but I would have to….. LOL. Very cool but now on to the food.

028Donna and I decided to split a Caesar Salad, as we new were going to have a massive steak. Having attended Peter Luger Night before, we have tried the Caesar before and it was usually good.  I like the Giant Parmesan Crouton they place on the salad. Nice and crispy with a cheesy flavour. The crispy Romaine Lettuce was coated with a creamy dressing. I like a stronger garlic taste but this was good.

 Peter Luger Poterhouse SteakFor our main course, Donna and I ordered the 40 ounce Porterhouse Steak, medium rare. LOL before you think that Donna and I have entered some kind of competitive eating contest, there is about 8 ounces of bone leaving two steaks, a 16 ounce strip and a 10 ounce filet with enough left over for Ryan when we get home. LOL.  The chef cut the steak before it arrived at our table making it easy to split.  The steak appeared very rare when it arrived but the taste was medium rare.  Peter Luger steaks are famous for being tender and flavourful, this one was no exception.  The steaks do come with the famous Peter Luger Steak Sauce but it was not needed here as the steak was perfectly seasoned and cooked. The almost melt-in-your-mouth meat had a big meaty flavour on the inside with a great char on the outside.  A great steak that worked for both Donna and I. 035

The highlight of the sides were the Asparagus with Hollandaise Sauce. This classic steak house side was well executed with fresh asparagus lightly sauteed leaving them slightly el dente. The creamy Hollandaise sauce appeared to be freshly made and having a thick buttery consistency with a light lemon touch.  The Hollandaise matches well with the steak.  The combination of veggie and sauce was a great side to the steak.

 Donna and I were both very full from the steak dinner plus the great Open House food from earlier in the day so we didn’t order any dessert.  We usually do, actually I do, but it sounds like half the calories when I say “we”. I like the Creme Bruele at the Clubhouse but order what you like they are all good.

Filet

My friend Mark helped out with photos.  He ordered the Filet from Peter Luger and took the the photo.

Halibut SteakBarbara ordered the Halibut which is my favourite species of fish.  Her report was the favourable on the dish and recommending the dish for others who didn’t want the steak.  Thanks Mark and Barbara.

It was a great meal with great stories. Anytime you can get a Peter Luger steak you should go.  Let me know if you want to know when the next Peter Luger Steak Night is.

BTW Sid remonded me to tell you that someone in your party needs a membership to eat at the Clubhouse.  The annual membership is $50 but it’s worth it to get those Luger steaks and not having to drive to New York.

I am also interested in your Favourite Cut of Steak and where you would go for a Best of Bucks Co -Steak.

Peter Luger Steak House is an award winning steak house with two locations with the most famous location being  178 Broadway, Brooklyn, N.Y. 11211          718-387-7400

Jericho National Golf Club, 250 Brownsburg Road East, New Hope, PA 18938          215-862-8800

BLT Prime Time

June 28, 2009

Ryan and I spent most of Friday being tourists in New York City visiting the Howard Stern studio, wandering around Times Square, visiting the Hard Rock Cafe, going to a comedy club and having dinner at BLT Prime, one of the best steakhouses in the city.

We were met by Facebook friend Steve and his boss Erin who work a major digital agency.  They have recently re-branding their agency and wanted to share with me what the changes could mean for my company. Over a great dinner we talked about social media and how that was changing the way we communicate with our customers. I also found out that Steve and Erin are both into the food scene and participate on several blogs of their own. Erin also blogs about the wine she drinks and that has made her learn a great deal about which wines to drink.  Good for us LOL. So interesting people, in an interesting place all set to have a great meal so let me tell you about what we drank and ate.

The Last Ride at BLT Prime

I like to try the signature cocktail at the restaurants I eat in just to change things up from the usual glass of wine or standard cocktail. At BLT Prime, they have a few signature cocktails that would match most people’s taste. I went for The Last Ride since the ingredients sounded like the drink would be an upscale Manhattan, and since I was in Manhattan, why not? LOL.  The barmaid created my cocktail by muddling a half dozen cherries and then combining them in a shaker with some Makers Mark Bourbon, Cointreau, Carpano Antica (an upscale sweet vermouth) and some Ice. After some vigorous shaking, she poured out the wonderful libation in the photo.  not overtaking the drink as many house Manhattan tend to do. The Last Ride brought notes of orange and cherry but not making the drink overly sweet and sappy but well balanced with the Bourbon.  A very nice cocktail and highly recommended by me.

 Popovers at BLT Prime

Every order at BLT Prime gets their signature Popover as their take on an amuse-bouche. In most restaurants that serve amuse-bouche, it a bite size appetizer that gets you started for meal. Here, they give you a six-inch Yorkshire Pudding-looking piece of bread. Erin had been here a few times before so she knew that the best way to attack this was tearing off a piece, dabbing on some BLT Butter and then shaking on some of the Sea Salt. I was expecting a bland Yorkshire Pudding without-the-gravy-taste but it actually tasted like butter popcorn. The top of the popover was covered in melted Gruyere cheese, giving that section of the popover a cheesy popcorn flavour. That was a bit of a surprise for me but quite nice and enjoyable while we waited for the appetizers.

 Tuna Tartare at BLT PrimeWe all decided to share the different appetizers so we could all get a taste of them and then compare.  I had the Tuna Tartare.  The generous portion of tuna was served over avocado and lime soy sauce with potato crisps.  I liked this dish.  The sweet tuna and avocado matched well with the salty line-soy sauce.  The creamy tuna and avocado contrasted nicely with potato crisps giving each portion a nice mouth feel. A tasty and filling appetizer.

 Crab Cakes at BLT Prime

Steve ordered the Crab Cake. It came with Meyer Lemon sauce and a tiny Radish Salad.  The small bite I had was pleasant with the lemon contrasting nicely with the sweet crab meat and the radish salad offering some nice crunch to the chunks of crab meat. It was a good crab cake with some interesting textures you don’t usually see.

Cesear Salad at BLT PrimeRyan went for the classic Caesar Salad.  BLT Prime serves a generous portion with two large croutons. For some reason the prepared the salad by placing the dressing in the middle of the salad leaving the top leaves of lettuce undressed. After mixing the salad and getting all the greens dressed it turned into a very good Caesar Salad but Ryan was kind enough to say it wasn’t as good as mine.  LOL He’s a smart kid. The small portion I tried was nice.  Crisp lettuce, creamy dressing, nice level of garlic (I like more) and great cheese. Very acceptable.

Grilled Bacon at BLT PrimeErin called it the most “Bad Ass” appetizer ever, Grilled Double Cut Bacon. The dish came with four slices of double thick, slightly smoked grilled bacon. The great grill marks, sauteed garlic and parsley bites and bacon aroma made this appetizer a new classic for me. We each tried a slice and it was the best bacon I have ever had. Meaty, sweet, slightly smokey and a nice char from the grill. Definitely Bad Ass. Try it.

 NY Strip steak at BLT PrimeRyan went for the NY Strip steak. Sixteen ounces of 28 day aged meaty delight. Perfectly cooked to a medium rare and accompanied by a selection of sauces; Bearnaise, Peppercorn, Red Wine and Horseradish.  Ryan was loving this steak.

BLT Cut at BLT PrimeErin and I decide to split the BLT Cut, Bone in Double Cut Sirloin. Again 28 days of dry ageing and cooked to perfection medium rare.  At 32 ounces it was perfect to share giving us a reasonable amount of meat each.  The staff carved the steak before presenting it to us making it easy to select portions from the serving dish to enjoy on our plates. The first bite was amazing, tender, a lite char on the outside and earthy sweet meat on the inside. Meat perfection in a bite.  I tried the meat with the different sauces and each one brought a different note to each bite but even on it’s own the steak was perfect.

Italian Steak at BLT Prime

Steve ordered the Steak Special of the day, steak imported from Italy. I didn’t write down the name and now can’t find it on the Internet. I did manage to get a bite from Steve and it was very interesting. The first taste sensation was dry, not dry in a bad way but rather a concentration of meaty flavours. This steak seem to take to the dry aging more than the steak from the US. I had never tasted anything like that.  It was quite good and different from any other steak I have ever tasted.

We tried several sides and shared them; Gnocchi Pomadoro, Creamy Spinach, Grilled Asparagus, Stuffed Mushroom Caps and Hen of the Woods Mushrooms. Most were average at best with mushroom caps standing out. The gnocchi had too cheese and didn’t match weell with steaks. The creamy spinach was too runny for me but still flavourful. The asparagus was well grilled but needed some sauce to make it truly tasty. The Hen of the Woods muchroom arrived as surprise in place of the Blue Cheese Tater Tots we actually ordered.  The Hen of the Woods mushrooms were ok but the mushroom caps were much better.

Carrot Cake with Ginger Ice Cream

For dessert, I chose the Carrot Cake with Ginger Ice Cream. The classic dessert was well excuted with a great carrot flavour coming out of the cake and ginger coming out of the ice cream. It was a perfect size for one person and I managed to keep most of it for myself LOL but Steve did try it and commented strong ginger and carrot flavours.  Very nice.

Blueberry Crumble Dessert Special at BLT Prime

Erin went for the daily dessert special the Blueberry Cobbler.  The large portion came with Vanila Ice Cream. The biscuits covering the blueberry sauce were light and sweet and they made a nice contrast in texture with the blueberry sauce and ice cream.  The Blueberry sauce was warm making the cold ice cream melt into a delicious sauce soaked up by the biscuits. A classic dessert well executed in a very generous portion. Make sure you try it if it’s on the menu that night.

It was a great meal and I got to enjoy it with Steve and Erin, two leaders in the digital/social media space and of course my son.  BTW BTL Prime offers a $60 Prix Fixe menu, where you get to order of the specials menu, one app, one main, one side and one dessert. I am sure our meal was more expensive than that but if you want to try BLT Prime, the Prix Fixe maybe a more affordable way. 

Tell us your favourite cut of steak at the poll here and recommend the Best of Bucks Co-Steaks here.

Read other review on BLT Prime here, here and here.

BLT Prime on Urbanspoon

BLT Prime, 111 E 22ND St, New York, NY 10010-5400              (212) 995-8500

Wawa Hoagiefest

June 20, 2009

Hoagiefest is convenience store Wawa’s celebration of the hoagie sandwich.  A hoagie, for my friends back in Canada, is a submarine sandwich. This year’s celebration runs from June 1 until July 26.  Donna and I went there today for lunch.

Wawa Store in New Hope PAWawa is the beloved convenience store here in Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Delaware, Maryland and Virginia with 570 different locations.  The chain was started in 1964 and to celebrate their 45th Anniversary, they brought back their very successful 2008 Hoagiefest marketing campaign.  The campaign features Mr. Kotter Doppelganger, the John Lennon-like Hoagie Man based in a Yellow Submarine-like environment promoting Four Different Shorti-sized hoagie sandwiches. The Yellow Submarine images make sense a chain started in the 60′s selling hoagies (subs) but the marketing team have gone all out with a themed microsite that features 6 Beatles-inspired hoagie related songs, Hoagiefest merchandise and a contest for submitting your own Hoagiefest song or video to go along with any of the 6 previously created songs. 

Hoagiefest Point of Sale Themed Touchscreen ordering deviceAs a marketer, I really appreciated the integration of Wawa’s campaign which included a major TV advertising buy, online advertising, a viral contest and great in-store themed point of purchase advertising materials like the themed touch screen ordering devices that I used to purchase today’s hoagies. Four stores, one in each state, will have live Hoagiefest events including a 1/4 Mile Long Hoagie, Kara-hoagie sing-a-long contests and of course a hoagie eating relay race. Lots of give aways and free food. Unfortunately the live events won’t happen at our store in New Hope but still good event marketing integrated into a great integrated campaign.

Turkey Shorti Hoagie at WawaHoagiefest features a different Shorti (6 inch) hoagie every 15 days.  The sandwiches, in sequence, are Italian, Cheesesteak, Turkey & Meatball and each are just $2.99 during their 15 days of Hoagiefest. Donna decided to go for the Turkey Hoagie. Her hoagie came with turkey, provolone,  tomatoes, lettuce, mayo, mustard, salt, pepper and oregano.  The 6 inch hoagie was the perfect size  for lunch and along with some potato chips and diet lemonade iced tea was a perfect lunch time filler.  The hoagie was very good, the crunch of the fresh lettuce contrasted with dense soft bun, cheese and meats.  The mayo and mustard combined into a nice sauce in the sandwich, coating the meats with a tangy sweet flavour.

 Cheesesteak Shorti at WawaI went for the featured Cheesesteak Shorti. I had the option of several cheeses but went for the Provolone (no  Cheese Whiz). I also added grilled onions some salt, pepper and oregano.  Wawa gives you plenty of options on your hoagie but I went with a classic cheesesteak combo. Again the 6 inch sandwich, along with chips and lemonade ice tea, was perfect for lunch.  The first bite had the taste of Grilled Onions coming strongly thru.  The were sweet tasting and had a slightly smokey flavour. The second taste brought the Meat and Provolone to the forefront. The meat was mild in terms of spice but combined with the cheese a classic cheesesteak taste that I have come to love here in PA. A very good sandwich and a great value for $2.99.

Net-net good sandwichs and a great marketing promotion.

 Read other reviews about Hoagiefest here, here and here.  Let us know your Favourite Sandwich at the blog’s sandwich poll.

Wawa #185, 341 West Bridge Street, New Hope, PA, 18938                        215-862-9330

Do Something with Random Photos

June 5, 2009

Last night I was in NYC attending the Do Something.org Awards at the famous Apollo Theatre. Our VP and Chief Media Officer Kim was being honoured with a Lifetime Achievement Award for her contributions to Do Something.  If you don’t know, Do Something, check it out, it’s a great Not-for-profit org that help teens do something important with their lives and “rock social change”. Last night five outstanding young people were profiled on how their projects made a real difference and each was awarded $10,000.  It was pretty impressive with accomplishments like getting 18 year-oldsto register to vote, speaking out about getting tested for HIV when you, at 19, have HIV yourself , documenting your trip across America, when you have DMD, to raise money to fund finding a cure for it, teaching future leaders in Uganda and housing, adopting and placing 700+ orphans in Nepal all when you haven;t reached your 22nd birthday.  I didn’t really know Do Something.org going into the session but came away with a great deal of respect for what they do and the “Kids” that are doing so much.

Between performances by big teen favourites Boys Love Girls and AkonFilet Steak, I got two SMS messages on my Blackberry.  I took a look and saw photos of steak and pasta plus a PA telephone number but not a name or message.  LOL this food blog thing is getting out of hand when people are randomly sending me food pictures.  Not sure if this happens to other bloggers but the thought of people drunk dialing me food pictures was very funny to me.

I later found out that the photos were not that random, come to find out that Donna and Ryan were out at our local favourite Italian restaurant and had ordered these dishes.  When the dishes came the owner and staff wanted to take pictures of the dishes for me. Donna doesn’t have a camera in her phone and Ryan’s camera is broken so they had to use the bartender’s camera to make it happen.  It’s funny to me that just a few weeks back they thought it was really weird that I was taking shots of my food and here they are tweaking the dish, taking shots from different angles and being very fussy with the way the food looked. LOL.  Penne ala Vodka

Donna had the steak and Ryan had the pasta. Donna’s steak dish had four Mini-Fillets that were cooked medium well. The meat was tender,  juicy and full of flavour.  Asparagus was cooked el dente and the Risotto was well cooked and creamy with a beefy flavour. The entire dish was circled with a beef reduction.  Donna enjoyed the meal with some wine.

Ryan thought his Penne ala Vodka was really, really good. The sauce was creamy and rich with pieces of Tomato and Prosciutto mixed in.  Phil’s 22 year old nephew cooked both dishes like an old school pro.  Nice job.

So a fun night in NYC, impressive kids, a musical experience and I still managed to get a food post out the evening. Too much. LOL

Cafe Europa Trattoria,  Logan Square, New Hope,  PA 215-862-9600

Giant Steaks

May 14, 2009

As the weather improves and the nights get warmer, I tend to grill more and more.  We grill all year but the warmer weather just makes it a more enjoyable activity.  A couple of nights back, when it wasn’t raining, we decide to fire up the grill. But what to grill? Since it was late, we went to our local grocery store Giant, and picked up some steaks.  I like a nice one inch thick New York Strip with a nice marble of fat flowing thru the meat. (Tell us what cut of steak you like here.)  Sure enough they had some nice choice cuts in the display case and off I went home.  Sometimes you can actually get the prime cut at Giant but that wasn’t happening that day.

BBQ SteakOnce I got home, I prepared a marinade of garlic, teriyaki sauce and ground black pepper.  I let the steaks soak for about an hour in the frig and then brought them out to raise to room temp just before grilling time.  While the steaks were soaking, we took a package of those almost bit-sized potatoes and coated them in olive oil, salt, pepper, and crusted garlic.  In a double layer of foil we place the potatoes and half of a sliced onion.  The foil poach was placed in the hot grill (500 F) on the top rack.  About 20 minutes after the potatoes went in, we started grilling the steaks.  We like our steaks medium rare, which to me means pink in the middle with little or no blood, so I did my usual 12 minute grilling plan that I have been doing for years. It’s pretty simple;  grill 4 minutes, rotate the steak 90 degrees for 2 minutes, turn over grill 4 minutes, rotate 90 degrees for 2 minutes and rest the steak for 5 minutes.  The rotation give you those nice grill marks on the steak and a 1-inch steak at 500 F for 12 minutes should give you medium rare.  And sure enough it did.

We plated the steaks with the grilled potatoes with some tomato slices to garnish and we were very satisfied.  The marinade did the trick  flavouring the meat with the asian flavours of teriyaki and garlic, the sweetness of the onions and the little potatoes picking up the garlic and the olive oil from the coating.  Very simple but very nice.

I am sure we will revisit grilling again soon but in the meantime tell us favourite cut of steak (shameless plug for new poll) and let us know where you like to eat steak in Bucks County (second shameless plug this time for Best of Bucks- Steak comment opportunity).


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