Lunch: The Opposite of Meat

photo(3)In anticipation of the barbecue dinner at Dinosaur BBQ in Harlem this evening that has the potential of being epic, I’m eating not meat for lunch:

Vegetable stir-fry from Amici 36, done Mongolian barbecue style where they pack noodles, vegetables and other savory flavors into a bowl, and they keep packing and packing, and by the time its ready to go into the wok, it’s a small mound of goodness.

The cooking bit is actually a two-wok process: The vegetables go into a wok bubbling away with boiling water for about two minutes, a quick blanching effect. They’re removed with a large, circular slotted tool and tossed into the hot oil in wok no. 2 with the protein and noodles.

photo(2)I order mine spicy, which means the finished product is laced with a Sriracha-style hot sauce.

For a mere $6.25, it’s a damn good lunch.


Breakfast: This One’s For You, Mom

p_1600_1200_8E94EBF7-61B6-4F5C-ACEF-872AF009194E.jpegOne of my mother’s comments about this blog is that I need more fruit and more milk. (My mother is a dietician.)

My response was, “Well, I don’t blog about everythin that I eat.” Which is true. I often start the day out with a serving of fruit juice — such as this Apple & Eve 100% juice Very Berry juice box — which may or may not make it into the breakfast post. So, this one’s for you, Mom.

Missed: Hit and Miss Dinner at Ditch Plains (aka “Grownup” Pigs in a Blanket Sighting no. 2)

Entirely blaming the incident with the door and my finger for my missed dinner post, but dinner was too interesting to let slip by, so let’s get a move on:

chorizo red onion mussels & fries

Oh, Ditch Plains. You just can’t decide between West Village chic and Western-style country. And I’m afraid it’s to your detriment.

Decent bottles of wine are served in short tumbler glasses, which probably has something to do with the fact that you can’t order wine by the glass. The menu, too, is seriously incohesive: Classic bistro-y options like tartare, fried calamari, some beautiful-sounding salads, skirt steak, several options of moules frites (left), share the menu with three hot dog “combos” (including this fairly unsavory-looking version topped with mac n’ cheese), chicken wings and oyster shooters. Huh.

On the other hand, the “Pigs in a Ditch” ($12) — Ditch Plains’ grownup riff on that classic combination of biscuit-wrapped mini sausages — was entirely classy, delicious, and disappeared before I could say “iPhone”: You’ll have to just imagine mini sausages wrapped in a puff-pastry blanket, served with homemade ketchup.

Of note, it’s the second time I’ve run into “growup” pigs in a blanket that really work in about as many weeks; the pigs in a blanket ($8) at Walter Foods were totally different, but equally delicious, in that the “pig” bits were thick slices of chorizo sausage inside a flakey, croissant-like pastry, served with a zippy, housemade ketchup. I am totally on board with this trend.

The roasted oysters ($15) — I believe there were six, topped with garlic and parsley butter — were also outstanding,  the fries soaked in the chorizo-red onion broth of the mussels the best part of that dish (we ended up just dumping the fries in), which brings me to the $21 taco entree, which is three average, fish, steak or smoked tofu soft tacos.

I’m just … befuddled. For $7 a taco I’d expect something pretty fancy. Think of the possibilities! Instead, in trying to do too much, I think Ditch Plains stretched too far on this one. Which leads me back to my original point: Why put tacos on the menu, to begin with?