Sunday, May 24, 2009

Ihop, The Great American Pancake House

While I try to refrain from eating too unhealthily, I must say that I indulge myself at least once per day. So when I arrived in San Antonio, Texas, I immediately requested Ihop. For those who are not familiar with the most formidable pancake houses scattered around America, keep one thing in mind: they have a meal called the "big" chicken fried steak with eggs and pancakes. Just keep that in mind, as well as comparing your big to Texas big. My mother had warned me that around 60 percent of the customers were going to be obese, so I was not expecting to see a bodybuilding champion there. My overall goal was to order something that was not potentially life-threatening, so I requested sausage, two sunny side up eggs and two chocolate chip pancakes. My cousin began to slowly munch on a napkin. the service was nothing more than you would expect from a mid-western truck stop. The waitress was nice, just seemed more content focusing on her nails. After a much longer wait than I expected, the food arrived, dripping with oil. I quickly gobbled down my hash browns, eggs and sausages, leaving only the pancakes left. As I gently dripped the artificial blueberry and strawberry syrup onto it, I salivated slowly. It was good but not too good. The crust was overcooked, and it was unsatisfactory. On the other hand, my mother's egg white omelet with peppers and mushrooms was quite good while staying healthy at the same time. I hope that Ihop will be satisfied with a 2.4 out of 10. Hey, they do have very good-tasting syrup.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

2nd Avenue Deli

While my cholesterol is not dangerously high, I do have to pay attention to it. So when my mother's friend from college, David Weinstein, invited me to the 2nd Avenue deli, I was pumped, yet I was worried. I knew from previous experiences that only about 3 things there did not have a life-threatening level of artery-blocking fat molecules within them. So I tried to grin and bear it, and ordered fried chicken skins for my appetizer, and a pastrami, corn beef and salami sandwich for my main course. I was hoping that I would survive another twenty years after that meal. The gribenes (fried fat) arrived, and I dug in, munching on it rather discreetly, as if that would make me look any less gluttonous. I only finished around half of it, then my high-rise of a sandwich arrived. The fat blended well with the sourness of the rye bread, and I felt as if I had been transported back to the day when people did not pay attention to the amount of calories they ate in a meal. Putting that aside, it was delicious but I only ate half because I did not want to end up resembling a hippopotamus. After our hearty meal was finished, we decide to go into the Empire State Building which was great fun. Even though we had to wait in line for about an hour, it was interesting to be behind the tourists and to hear what they were talking about. I had a wonderful time at the 2nd Avenue Deli, and I hope to go back some other time. The 2nd Avenue Deli earns a 7.2/10.

Monday, May 4, 2009

The Qdoba Experience (never going back there)

Today, May 4th, 2009 something truly terrible happened. Well, it wasn't that bad but my friends and I were pretty pissed. After school, as always, we went to get a snack. However, we were not in the mood for pizza, so we decided that we would split a burrito from Qdoba despite the risks of catching swine flu (yeah, right). Qdoba is the franchised burrito chain a block from my school where the food is delicious, and the prices are fairly reasonable. So my friend Noel and I walked in and went straight to make our order. The place was empty so we guessed that they were probably in dire need of business. The guy at the register took our order and placed the tortilla in the cooker. We were excited for the scrumptious meal to come. We ordered our burrito with ground beef, cheese, beans and rice. All this time the guy at the counter was chatting us up, and being really nice. When the food was about to be paid for, I shelled $4.75 out of my wallet, as that had always been what I had paid for the burrito. As we asked the price, an absurd thing tripped and stumbled from his mouth, "$8.19," he said. Noel and I both began to nervously laugh. "You're kidding, right" we said " It's only $4.75." "No" he replied, his tone becoming more and more cold by the second. "I'm not playing around with you guys." "Give me the money." Now, naturally we had no idea what to do because, between the two of us, we only had $6.75. When we told him that, he became outraged, and committed the unspeakable crime that I must write before you now. He took that juicy, beautiful, amazing, slice of heaven, rolled it into a ball, and threw it into the trash. Our mouths dropped. Why would he even think of doing that? For a brief moment we both thought of jumping the counter, slapping him, and running with the burrito. However, our inner adults took over, and we walked sullenly out of the chain. Our lives scarred forever. All I know is that if we ever see the same guy at the counter, we won't give them our service or our money. Oh, and by the way, I ended up spending the money on a slice of pizza at Pizza Box which was surprisingly satisfying.


My friend Max's dad works in the restaurant business, he publishes a magazine called Great Places, so naturally he would have connections in the resauranteur world. Therefore when we heard that Marco Moreira, the owner and proprietor of Tocqueville and 15 East, two Japanese/French restaurants located on 15th street and 5th avenue wanted us to eat at his restaurant, Tocqueville, Max and I were very thrilled for two reasons. The first being that we got to go to a world-class restaurant for FREE nonetheless, and secondly we got to go alone. Now going alone brought many dangers with it other than crossing the street safely, and things like that. Not once, but twice, I had to convince Max to not get the 96 dollar tasting menu, in fear of appearing too snobby. We did get many comments from a very funny couple sitting next to us. They thought that it was very strange for us to be eating at the fine establishment all by ourselves. Well we thought it was very strange for them to be at the restaurants by themselves. Hey, we had to take the pressure off of us. However, they were very nice people who were very interesting. However, their conversations were a little bit too intense, so we stopped listening in. Max and I both the same thing, the pasta with Sea Urchin. It came in a bowl, and it looked delicious from the second we first saw it. The only problem with it was that there was a cream overload, and it was a little too filling for an appetizer, falling into the category of risottos and heavy purees. However, I was rather sure that this restaurant's dessert would continue the paragon of virtue that had made it so famous and reputable. The entree that I ordered was the sea bass, which I found very interesting. However, while the quality of the fish was excellent, the meal itself continued to be a paradox; starting off good, yet gradually losing points as something just did not quite fit in with the dish. Max order the steak which he said was excellent and hearty. For our desserts, Max and I both ordered the churros which we found to be delicious. It came with two dipping sauces, chocolate and caramel, the former being the more preferred of the two. However, one of the funniest things that took place during the meal was when Max blew out all of the candles near us, frustrating our beloved server Mary, to no end. Overall, Max and I greatly enjoyed the meal, and had a ton of fun, especially when Mary and I made up a secret handshake together. I think that Tocqueville fully deserves a 7.8/10.