June 30, 2013: Food Reviews

Note: Still a noob at this. I just lost the post I had originally because I was learning how to add pictures… Retype… 

In addition to cooking, I will show my appreciation for others by reviewing different food I had. They may also include a little story of how I ended up there and such. Review ‘n Story!

1. Japadog (30 St. Marks Place, New York, NY 10003)

I believe I heard about this from friends who received coupons after volunteering at Japan Day. Sounded interesting enough, hot dogs topped with Japanese ingredients. I don’t really eat hot dogs, even though I remember my little sister instinctively grabbing it and microwaving it for a quick snack. I also remember eating it in Costco, not exactly a gourmet approach. When I did grab for the hot dog in the fridge, I would just chop it up and toss it into the fried rice I was making. Quick meat.

I ended up in St. Marks after a particularly bad incident that I would rather not delve into. Let’s just say even the nicest people have dark sides. I thought that since I was in Manhattan, I might as well try out this location after hearing so many raves from a certain friend.

The website of Japadog was so cute. Attractive designs usually win me over. I used to cut out designs that I liked in ads and tape them in my room. I really liked Macbar‘s logo on its plastic bag — so I cut it out. I really liked the Sweet Dreams spelled out in stars on the Victoria’s Secret mailing ad — so I cut it out. I really liked the Christmas tree made from an assortment of branches on an American Eagle Outfitters ad — so I cut it out.

These would then be taped in my room. They traveled with me to college and I taped them on my dorm metal casing for the telephone/ethernet. Hopefully this was totally legal within the college housing regulations… I used tape shhh. Even that is frowned upon. They rather you use blue tape. They then returned with me back home and are now stashed in my Hello Kitty pink plastic folder/case.

At Japadog, I had the Terimayo. I reluctantly say this due to the visual resemblance the hot dog has to a certain organ, but the hot dog was very firm. I remember many traveling foodies saying that sausages should have a “snap.” I guess this was the snap they were referring to — I like it.

The toppings were very rich. I don’t think I can say the topping enhanced the hot dog as a whole because I remember being totally entranced with how good the hot dog itself, as in the meat, tasted. I thought they were rich because I was surprised by how full I was after eating it.

I didn’t order a combo since I didn’t want the extra calories from fries and soda. After all, I came here for the hot dog, not the sides. Also, I was watching my weight after I returned to my normal eating habits at home and had miraculously lost 5 pounds from the dreadful Freshman 15.

All in all, I would definitely return, and I do within a week. Wish I could try all the hot dogs. I would love to try their dessert hot dog, Ice Age, which consists of a fried bun with 3 scoops of ice cream. Sounds like an orgasmic dessert experience. I will wait for the perfect hot summer day to indulge in this luxury. Also, @japadognyc Instagram account liked my picture and then followed me. I wonder if it’s the legit account since it just started and has only 4 pictures…

"JAPADOG's Signature Hot Dog: Teriyaki sauce, mayo and seaweed make for a winning combination."

Terimayo: “JAPADOG’s Signature Hot Dog: Teriyaki sauce, mayo and seaweed make for a winning combination.”

2. Shake Shack (860 Old Country Road, Garden City, NY, 11530)

I ended up in Long Island later that day since a friend finally decided to pay me back for a cheesecake he owed me. Honestly, I, and I’m sure he also, don’t remember where this debt came about. It’s very similar to how another friend took a bite out of my ice cream cake slice at his girlfriend’s birthday party in 7th grade. Yes, kids were in relationship even back then in middle school. I would joke that the accumulating interest from then to now should total to at least five Carvel ice cream cakes. I really wish I could collect that debt now.

We decided that before having cheesecake, we should have cheeseburgers. Genius. Gluttony at its best.

I have been to Shake Shack three times. Once in Manhattan. Honestly, I thought the burger was so-so and was small. The next two times were in Brooklyn. I had a cheeseburger along with a custard. Third time, I had a ‘Shroom Burger after seeing someone else’s burger ooze with melted cheese from the fried mushroom. Melted cheese has a soft spot in my palate. I often try to replicate it with runny yolk. Same color. Similar viscosity.

This time, I ordered the Shack Stack, best of both worlds. It was the most expensive burger and I tend to shy away from stuff that is priced high. But today was a cheat day. At least it became that way when I realized I would be eating a hot dog and cheeseburger in one day. It was the best decision of my life.

The Shack Stack was honestly the best burger I ever had. The melted cheese oozed out of the fried mushroom. This time, I was careful to eat it while hunched over the tray. Last time I had the ‘Shroom Burger, melted cheese fell onto my jeans. It burned. My friend probably was horrified to see me wolf it down with such glee. I finished before he did. Did I mention? I’m a fast eater. P.S. I eat even faster with chopsticks. I also can eat fried chicken with chopsticks. It’s a skill.

The melted cheese reminded me of a Jucy Lucy.  I discovered it probably when watching Man v. Food as he traveled around the country. Chefs try to recreate that same meltiness by placing the cheese onto of the patty. However, the cheese never comes in contact with the griddle. If you flip the burger over, you’d get a hot mess. But by encasing the cheese within the patty, as the patty heats up, so does the cheese. When you take a bite, I can just imagine all that cheese spilling out like a perfect runny yolk in a sunny side egg. O geez I’m getting hungry…

Back to the Shack Stack. The meat was also really good. The vegetables, lettuce, tomato, pickles, and onions, lightened it so it wasn’t all meat and cheese. I really like to have vegetables added to my burgers.

At first, I was hesitant to have such soft buns for the burger. I tend to want my burger with toasted buns. Toasting adds a crispiness which present a whole different dimension for the burger. But during this instance, the soft buns were required. Such crunchy buns would detract from the burger. It would become an obstacle and hurt the roof of my mouth. I’d probably wince from the burn of the melted cheese as its heat radiates through my mouth. Also, it would make the already big burger even bigger. It would be difficult to stretch my mouth over it and get a bite out of all the components, which is a must when enjoying a burger. So yes, even untoasted buns can make a great burger.

I also ordered the cheese fries. Honestly, they were so-so. I guess I don’t really like cheese fries, despite my affection for melted cheese. Or maybe I left it out for too long as I savored my burger from heaven. I usually use fries as  vesicle to deliver ketchup. I really like the sweet tangly flavor of this condiment. Occasionally, I mix it with mustard despite the chagrin of my friends. It’s lovely to see their grimace as I swirl them together.

I sampled my friend’s Old Country Rocky Road Concrete (Chocolate custard, marshmallow sauce, chocolate truffle cookie dough and almonds). I remember learning from a food video that concretes are called concretes because if you flip the cup over, it wouldn’t fall out. I guarantee you that if I were to flip this concrete over, I would have a sloppy wet chocolate mess. Ugh. It was all melted. WAY too sweet. I don’t quite like chocolate ice cream in general so maybe I’m biased. I wonder what their other concretes are like. Hopefully not as disappointing as this one.

All in all, I would definitely come back for another Shack Stack, or maybe two if I feel particularly gluttonous. Next time, I’d like to also try their Flat-Top Dogs after learning that I do enjoy hot dogs at Japadog. Since I’m writing this a couple of days afterwards, I have to admit that I looked through Instagram for pictures of Shake Shack burgers. It’s still on my  mind. One day I will return for you o’ Shack Stack!

"Cheeseburger and a 'Shroom Burgger topped with lettuce, tomato and ShackSauce." 'Shroom Burger: "Crisp-fried portobello mushroom filled with melted muenster and cheddar cheese, topped with lettuce, tomato, and Shacksauce."

Shack Stack: “Cheeseburger and a ‘Shroom Burgger topped with lettuce, tomato and ShackSauce.”
‘Shroom Burger: “Crisp-fried portobello mushroom filled with melted muenster and cheddar cheese, topped with lettuce, tomato, and Shacksauce.”

 3. Cheesecake Factory (1504 Old Country Road, Westbury, NY 11590)

FINALLY I get the cheesecake that was owed to me after so long. The only time I’ve been to the Cheesecake Factory was to get dinner with the family. I just remember being disappointed with the food. Maybe they should just stick to cheesecakes.

I love cheesecake. When I got my last two wisdom teeth pulled out, I lived on slices of variety cheesecake form Costco. It was mushy and didn’t require much chewing. After eating here, I realized the part I liked about cheesecake. It was the cheesecake. Not so much for the extra fancy additions.

It was so hard to select a cheesecake when looking through the gallery of cheesecakes. What also made it difficult were the high calorie markings. I hoped they were for the entire cake but obviously it was for individual slices. How unfortunate. I was tempted to get the Key Lime Pie Cheesecake since it was low in calories among all the other giant calorie cakes and I do like Key Lime Pie. I also would have selected the Pumpkin Cheesecake or Pumpkin Pecan Cheesecake but it wasn’t Mid-October. I lamented that I will be in China by the time the pumpkin cheesecake would be sold. In the end, I selected the Oreo Dream Extreme Cheesecake since I love cookies n’ cream ice cream. I especially love vanilla ice cream with crushed Oreo pieces.

This cake had actual Oreo cookies baked inside it. We could see a cross-section of the cheesecake and you could see the cookies in there. Oh, this cheesecake was full of extra fancy additions. Today was the day I find out that I don’t quite like them.

Took a couple of bites since I was sharing with my friend. Let’s just say I would have had an instant food coma if I continued eating. It was SO rich. I couldn’t finish it. It didn’t even taste like cheesecake. Where was the familiar cheese flavor and texture? It just tasted like layers and layers of cake. I tend to not like cake, especially the icing. Gave the rest to my friend to finish. I was done. Rapidly decreasing marginal utility.

All in all, I would return to order a simpler cheesecake. My taste buds and sanity cannot survive another sugar overload. October 2014, expect me to return for my Pumpkin or Pumpkin Pecan Cheesecake slice. Maybe in the near future, I might just order a Key Lime Cheesecake. I just won’t return for dinner.

"OREO® Cookies baked in our creamy Cheesecake with layers of fudge cake and OREO® Cookie mousse. Topped with a milk chocolate icing."

OREO Dream Extreme Cheesecake: “OREO® Cookies baked in our creamy Cheesecake with layers of fudge cake and OREO® Cookie mousse. Topped with a milk chocolate icing.”

(Attempt at catchy end-phrase)

Until next time, toodles!


One thought on “June 30, 2013: Food Reviews

  1. Pingback: Burger Obsession | Hunger Is the Best Chef

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