What I Ate Wednesday: Astoria

green smoothie eyechow

Welcome to a weekend edition of What I Ate Wednesday, hosted by Peas & Crayons. This is what my Sunday looked like:

Breakfast: my usual, a green smoothie! This one packed a whole lot of organic ingredients in:

  • .5 cup pure & unsweetened (not from concentrate) blueberry juice
  • .5 cup water
  • 1 celery rib
  • .5 banana
  • .3 cup frozen spinach
  • .25 cup frozen blackberries
  • fresh squeezed lemon juice (about half a lemon)
  • 1 scoop wheat grass powder
  • 1 tsp. chia seeds (sprinkled on top)

Estimated calories: 200 (serves 2)

snack WIAW

Snack #1: Since our smoothie was so low-cal, we were hungry again soon. We shared a small plate of Flathau’s Fine Foods chipotle cheese straws and Nueske’s Applewood Smoked Landjaeger Sausages, both of which came in Mary’s Secret Ingredients Spring 2014 box.

detox tea WIAW

I also had a cup of detox tea.

Socrates Sculpture Park Queens

It was really nice out, so Kiyo and I walked a mile down to Socrates’ Sculpture Park to see the new installations. All the new pieces are huge; in fact, there are only three, since they’re so large.

Leng Thai Brunch Astoria

Lunch: By 1 PM, we were starving again so we walked the mile back and decided to try the Thai brunch at Leng Thai. For $20, you get a brunch entrée and your choice of three beverages. I had a coffee and two pomegranate mimosa (I actually asked if I could order a brunch entrée without the drinks and they said yes, but it’d still be $20, which is ridiculous, so I just ordered all three beverages). It was nice being able to sit outside in a t-shirt and shorts! You can even see the blue sky and trees reflected in my coffee.

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Dinner at Ngam, New York

Ngam pad see ew

Ngam is a fun, high-energy restaurant in the East Village that serves “modern Thai comfort food”. They serve only hormone-free beef, chicken and pork as well as use organic and cage free eggs and dairy products; they are vegan and gluten-free friendly as well, and I love the way the menu really embraces a wide range of ingredients and some modern flair, while also offering traditional Thai fare.

Kiyo and I split two dishes; the first, and my favorite, was the “Pad See Ewe” – Smokey Wok Charred Noodles w/ Black Soy Sauce. A more vegetable-heavy version of the classic Thai flat-noodle dish, this had chicken, farm eggs, broccoli, kale and cauliflower. I absolutely loved this dish and didn’t want to share with Kiyo (but sadly I had to, since I’d already promised). My one complaint is that some items are a bit overpriced, especially when good Thai restaurants are a dime a dozen in NYC; this dish was $14 and the below burger was $16. However, we checked in (on Yelp, I believe) and each got one free drink, which made the total tab seem much more fair.

Ngam burger NYC

Our second split item was the “Sai Oor Farang” Thai Burger, a 7oz hormone-free beef patty with homemade “saioor” curry paste, cilantro lime mayo, green papaya kraut and Chiang Mai fries (kabocha pumpkin, sweet potato, homemade red curry mayo, sweet and sour peanut relish). The fries were almost like tempura and were amazing (I could have eaten even more than I did). The burger wasn’t much like regular beef burgers; the meat was more finely ground and tasted like lemongrass, which made it almost more like a gyro than a burger. It was good, and interesting, but it wouldn’t satisfy if you were in the mood for a real cheeseburger. And, I’d prefer my pad see ewe, which was just to die for.

A few items I’d love to go back and try:

  • “Prik King” Brussels Sprouts
  • Beet Dumplings – Farm fresh beet dumplings, homemade hand-rolled egg noodles, homemade kao soy curry, pickled mustard, shallot, cilantro
  • Pomelo Salad – Pomelo, tamarind & chili dressing, crispy shallot, toasted coconut, kaffir lime leaf, lemongrass, peanut
  • Lamb “Massaman” Roti Potpie – Locally raised lamb shoulder, cashews, sweet potatoes, homemade “massaman” curry, roti bread, cucumber “a-jard”
  • Papaya Pad Thai – Green papaya noodles, Ngam’s Pad Thai sauce, farm eggs, peanuts, garlic, chive, tofu. Choice of chicken, pork, beef, tofu, or vegetable

Ngam

Location: 99 3rd Ave, New York, NY 10003 Phone: (212) 777-8424

NGam on Urbanspoon

Summer Special: Uproot’s 2011 Sauvignon Blanc, Astoria

Uproot summer wines

When Uproot announced its new summer wine offerings, I knew I had to try it. Summer wines are my favorite; light, chilled and often fruity, they’re always refreshing. Uproot is re-imagining wine-making to create a fresh, modern, energized experience for a new generation of wine drinkers. Even their unusual packaging is fun and unique; I love how the bottles are fun to unwrap.

uproot 2011 sauv blanc

The first wine we tried is their 2011 Sauvignon Blanc (above; I also have a bottle of the 2011 Grey Edition Sauvignon Blanc, which I will post about shortly). Let me tell you, I’d carted this wine around with me multiple times, to the Hampton’s and back, to friend’s apartments, etc. and yet we never opened it. It seemed like a special bottle of wine that I really wanted to enjoy, rather than guzzle along with beer and other beverages on a night of heavy drinking.

Sunset from Astoria Park

Finally, Kiyo and I brought it to Astoria Park one night after work, just in time for sunset.

Kiyo with uproot wine in the park

He’s very focused on not-so-secretly opening the wine, in this picture. We picked up some Thai food nearby (from Thai Pavilion. It was OK, nothing great).

2011-sauvignon-blanc-aroma

The wine however, was special and I loved it. This particular wine, made from a white grape, starts out crisp and lightly sweet, “but rounds out as you go,” according to Uproot, and I agree. Even though I’m not quite sure what it means for wine to have notes of “fresh cut grass,” I love the above illustrations they use on all their bottles as a sort of tasting-note guide. Luckily, they’re beginning to offer monthly “Virtual Tastings,” so maybe I’ll be able to learn more. Even if you’re not an expert (which I by no means am) their cute charts (“Flavor Palettes”) make it easy to select a wine that you’ll enjoy. The size of each block tells you how dominant that note is. Who doesn’t love the sound of passion fruit and melon notes in their summer Sauv Blanc?

Uproot picnic in the park

Since they just explain it so well, here’s what Uproot has to say about this wine: “Here’s proof that Sauvignon Blanc is just so underrated. A crisp, sweet pop followed by a smoothness and a completely dry finish makes our debut 2011 Sauvignon Blanc surprisingly complex and brightly optimistic. Whatever you thought about SB before, think again. We’re all about that. We fermented half in stainless steel for brightness; the other half in oak to smooth out the green notes. Then we blended them back together for a complexity that reflects the best of both worlds. Proving once again that good things come to those who wait an extra three weeks.”

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Bangkok Chef Pad Thai, Honolulu

Bangkok Chef Pad Thai

My friend Aaron texted me this picture on Monday of his lunch: pad Thai from Bangkok Chef in Manoa. The dish consists of fried rice-noodles with egg, chicken, tofu, bean sprouts and chives, all doused with “house pad Thai sauce.” He added some hot sauce. For all that food, it costs about $8! Bangkok Chef is one of the best places to pick up lunch due to the obvious value, and the quality is great as well. Everything I’ve had from their varied menu is delicious. They’re also fast, so it’s great for take-out but you can also sit down and eat in the small, no-frills dining room.

Bangkok Chef

Open: Monday – Saturday 10:30 a.m. – 9:00 p.m., Sunday noon – 8:00 p.m.

Location: 2955 East Manoa Road, Honolulu, HI 96822 Phone: (808) 988-0212

Bangkok Chef on Urbanspoon

Hillstone Salads, Santa Monica

Hilstone LA Kale Salad Takeout

When I visited my sister Lana in California this spring, we met up late on a Friday night at our Santa Monica hotel. We had both missed dinner, so I grabbed some beverages from the nearby pharmacy and Lana picked up some takeout for us to share back in our room. Upon her suggestion (and based on the fact that almost no place else was taking orders after 10 PM) we ordered from Hillstone, which is a Napa Valley-inspired restaurant with outposts across the US.

I ordered the kale salad, which is actually a side dish, with roasted peanut vinaigrette. It was simple and clean yet addicting, and left me wanting more.

Hillstone Takeout

Lana had a full-sized salad, the Thai steak and noodle salad with filet mignon, avocado, mango, herbs and Thai dressing. I loved my kale salad, but her salad was so good I wished I’d ordered my own! Lana had to keep swatting me away as I tried to steal bites. The sweet mango with the salty noodles, fresh herbs and creamy avocado was such a winning combination. The steak helped transform the salad into an entrée and like all perfect salads, the textures and flavors were all different yet came together perfectly.

Hillstone

Open: Sunday – Thursday 11:30 a.m. – 10 p.m., Saturday & Sunday 11:30 a.m. – 11 p.m.

Location: 325 Wilshire Blvd. #202, Santa Monica, CA 90401 Phone:(310) 576-7558

Hillstone on Urbanspoon