food for thought

by michelle

Posts Tagged ‘restaurants

milk bar

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Being an Australian, I grew up with the Milk Bar – our version of a corner store. They were the place to go for a milkshake and would sell lollies (candy) by the piece. Now there’s a new kind of Milk Bar – a chain of dessert and bakery restaurants in the U.S. Christina Tosi is the founder and chef behind the menu which includes cakes for any occasion and some cult classics. We visited the West Village store in New York for some of those favourites.

The cereal milk soft-serve was wonderful. Made with milk, cornflakes, brown sugar and a pinch of salt, it was not too sweet – in fact, just like cereal milk! The surrounding cereal crunch was slightly salty and very crunchy.

The compost cookie has been on the menu from the very first day. It’s had good balance of sweet and salty and includes potato chips, pretzels, coffee grounds, oats, graham crackers, chocolate and butterscotch chips.

Last, but not least, the crack pie. The crust is made from toasted oat and surrounds a rich and gooey butter filling – what’s not to like? It was amazing!

The Momofuku Milk Bar cookbook by Christina Tosi includes all the favourites. You can also find some of the recipes here or you can have your favourites shipped, even internationally!


Written by michelle picker

November 7, 2018 at 12:13 am

Posted in cakes & desserts, travel

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New York casual and fast food

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Here are a few more New York foods served in a less formal setting. Definitely worth trying, though.

Barney Greengrass has been around since 1908 and since their window says ‘The Sturgeon King’, that’s what we decided to try. Absolutely delicious both with scrambled eggs and onions and served with a bagel, cream cheese, tomato, onion and pickle.

Russ and Daughters is celebrating it’s 109th year. Also specialising in a huge variety of fish, we opted for a classic bagel with lox (brined salmon) and cream cheese with onion and tomato. When you eat one of these you know what all the fuss is about – incredibly soft melt-in-the-mouth lox with just the right amount of ingredients and a perfect bagel.

Xi’an Famous Foods which was established by Jason Wang in 2005, began as a basement stall in the Golden Shopping Mall in Flushing and now has numerous popular locations in New York. They specialise in the unique cuisine of Xi’an which combines Chinese and Middle Eastern flavours. We chose hand-ripped noodles with spicy cumin lamb – a dry version as well as a soup – and a spicy cucumber salad. All delicious and spicy!

La Flor de Broadway, which was established in Harlem in 1968, is famous for it’s Cuban sandwich. It’s a busy little cafe where people line up for Central American fare and Spanish is heard more often than English. The Cuban sandwich lived up to it’s reputation and our second choice of chicken mofongo was also delicious. Mofongo is a Puerto Rican dish of fried green plantains mashed with salt, garlic, and oil then mixed with meat and served with a meat and chicken broth.

Katz’s Delicatessen, at 120 years, is the oldest. An enormous place that was incredibly busy even at 4 in the afternoon, Katz’s is famous for it’s meat. They have seven cutters working non-stop to fill sandwich orders. We opted for a pastrami on rye served with fresh and sour pickles as well as a matzo ball soup. Both excellent – the pastrami was wonderfully soft and peppery.

In my eagerness to taste, I forgot to photograph my lox bagel. The image of the bagel above is by JLR Interactive and is licensed under CC by 2.0

Written by michelle picker

October 31, 2018 at 12:38 am

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New York

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I’m back in New York with the luxury of time – time to try some more wonderful food! Here are just a few of the stand-out establishments:

Balaboosta (a Yiddish term that means the perfect housewife and mother) is a modern Israeli restaurant by chef/owner Eidnat Admony. On the menu are Mediterranean dishes packed full of flavour.There’s a cookbook too! After a Pilpel cocktail (made with jalapeño infused tequila, poblano, orange zest and lime) we decided to share some smaller dishes and one main – the day’s special of red rice and lentils with spiced labne; hummus basar served with beef, pine nuts and pita; roasted sunchokes (Jerusalem artichokes) with za’atar aioli; and lamb neck with dates, preserved lemon, freekeh and chestnuts;

Peter Luger Steakhouse is an oldie but a goodie – it’s been around since 1887. Dry-aged steak, fabulous steak sauce and amazingly crisp onion rings;

Guantanamera is a Cuban restaurant with amazing live music every night and excellent food. We ordered tostones rellenos (stuffed green plantains with shrimp); a mixed seafood ceviche served with plaintain crisps; picadillo (minced beef with olives, raisins and peppers) topped with an egg; flan (a classic caramel custard); and tres leches cake (sponge cake soaked in a combination of three milks);

Kopitam is a cheap and cheerful place serving Nonya Malaysian food with a cool rotating sign projected onto the footpath (sidewalk). We had pork deep-fried in a thin tofu skin, minced chicken in banana leaves and pan mee, Hakka-style hand-torn flat flour noodles in a soup with fried ikan bilis (anchovies), pork mince, mushrooms and greens. They serve Malaysian breakfast dishes too.

Written by michelle picker

October 24, 2018 at 12:30 am

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Still travelling – this time in Pittsburgh. Here’s a little taste of some of the food.

Amazingly delicious ribs from Fine Smoke at the 2018 Heinz Field RibFest;

Tacos with grilled shrimp, rice and beans, guacamole, pineapple and black beans on the side from Bea Taco Town;

KFC (Korean fried chicken) with a wasabi and honey dipping sauce, salad and a side of kimchi from Bae Bae’s Kitchen;

and a fabulous fish sandwich made with steelhead trout from Gaucho Parrilla Argentina. Serve-yourself house sauces were Chimmichurri, Smoky chipolte, garlic aioli and mushroom.

Written by michelle picker

October 2, 2018 at 6:53 pm

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travelling and eating

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I love to travel the world and one of the pleasures or travelling is new food experiences. Amanda (who shares the same name as the head chef) recommended Dirt Candy, an innovative restaurant in New York serving tasting menus made entirely with vegetables. Beginning with a dirty corn martini we launched into the 10-course menu – an amazing experience. Many of the courses consisted of more than one dish and we could hardly fit in the savoury courses before the 3 desserts arrived. But there’s always room somewhere for dessert! The dishes included a tower of amuse-bouches (lettuce gazpacho; elderflower salad with black bean hummus; caramelised red onion over onion cream; popcorn on corn and avocado salsa and vegetable pops); spinach monkey bread with garlic butter; Korean fried broccoli; bagna càuda; tomato tart; portobello mushroom mousse served with truffle toast; long beans with almonds, Spanish smoked cheese and fermented yoghurt; a carrot slider in a cute little box; corn ravioli in a corn broth with corn harissa nuts; kohlrabi dumplings in broth with various brassicas; vegetarian Peking duck with pea tofu and tofu skin; cauliflower confetti cake; a coffee chocolate mushroom with mushroom cream; and finally, eggplant foster with basil anglais and eggplant chips.


Written by michelle picker

September 19, 2018 at 9:31 am

Posted in travel, vegetables

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fine dining in Aukland

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sky-tower-aukland The Sky Tower in Aukland, New Zealand is a distinctive landmark. Thanks to Nicolas who generously gave me a voucher, I ate there with 6 others at The Sugar Club on the 62nd floor. We tried many dishes from chef Peter Gordon’s degustation menu.





First there was an amuse-bouche of turmeric cured salmon over an anchovy paste with crispy lentils.

The menu is designed to go from lighter dishes to heavier so here, in the same order, are some of the outstanding dishes we ordered followed by equally good desserts.

Hiramasa kingfish with nori, cucumber, orange, chilli soy dressing, peanuts and wasabi cream


miso eggplant with medjool dates, feta, crispy buckwheat, tahini yoghurt and mango puree


asparagus and spiced quails eggs with shiitake, miso and almonds


spiny crayfish and Marlborough saffron linguine with pine nuts and aged parmigiano reggiano


creamed Pāua (the Māori name for abalone or ormer shells) with kiwi dip and frybread


octopus with corn puree, quinoa, celery and capsicum


tempura aubergine (eggplant) and blue pea inari with panch phoron spiced tomato pickles, rhubarb and guava


line-caught fish with tempura oyster, mussels, cucumber and dashi


Hawkes Bay lamb rump with pecorino gnocchi, pesto, lamb floss and preserved lemon dressing


Mahy Farms beef fillet with spiced beef cheek, smoked mash and spinach


Aukland harbour sunset from the Sky Tower


berries and meringue


Zealong Oolong panna cotta with matcha sponge, blueberries, fennel confiture and red shiso


peanut butter parfait with miso caramel, sesame, paprika and orange


chocolate cru virunga 70% semifreddo with spiced pineapple, mochi and tamarind caramel


Written by michelle picker

February 4, 2017 at 5:57 am