The Fat Radish Review

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The ambiance is wonderful. I absolutely adore the rustic decor, the white bricks &  the harvest tables. I love everything about the place. The server was friendly &  helpful. The food was presented beautifully. Unfortunately, the food was nothing spectacular.
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They give you a complimentary plate of radishes, which were surprisingly bitter & spicy. No one at the table liked it.

The most talked about item in the menu is the Scotch egg, which is an egg wrapped with sausage & deep fried. It comes with a delicious spicy mustard & cornichons (baby gherkin pickles). At $10  for one egg cut in half,  it is a pricey appetizer, but one that was highly recommended. It was not oily whatsoever. The taste of the sausage & egg was mild. I was expecting it to be more flavorful, but I would still recommend you try it at least one.
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The pea pot pie had a flakey outer crust which was good. The filling of snap peas &  green peas were flavored very lightly & it was on the sparse side.

The kale Caesar salad was fresh. It came with crunchy croutons & 2 pieces of salty anchovies. This was a good started.

The special appetizer of chicken thighs was pan seared giving it a slightly crunchy skin. The  chicken was tender. This was a good choice, but it was a special & they change according to what is in season.
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The pork chop with couscous was on the dry side. I wouldn’t recommend this at all.

The carrot appetizer was just a bunch of mixed carrots cooked blandly. The larger carrots weren’t completely cooked, which made for really crunchy carrots.

The curried monkfish was cooked well, with a spicy kick to the flavors. We liked this dish.

Overall, the experience was just okay. We felt the food fell short of the rave reviews. The ambiance &  service were excellent though.

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Butcher Bar Review

BUTCHER BAR
37-08 30th Avenue
Astoria, NY 11105
(718) 606-8140
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Butcher Bar is an organic butcher shop that sells high quality, pasture raised, no hormone or antibiotic treated meats. They also serve BBQ to eat in as well.
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The place shop itself is very casual & clean. We were seated right away by a friendly waitress.
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We ended up ordering the Butcher’s Platter (¼ pound each of any 3 meats & 2 sides). The 3 meats we chose were the Smoked Pulled Pork, Double Smoked Burnt Ends & Smoked Pork Belly. The 2 sides: Applewood Bacon Baked Beans & Creamy Mac & Cheese.

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Pork Belly, Pulled Pork & Burnt Ends

We also order ½ rack of the Fall off the Bone Sauced Smoked Ribs which came with house slaw, pickle, corncakes & one side, so we added the Sautéed String Beans (with bacon & onions).
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The food was very good. The ribs were definitely falling off the bone & had a nice bbq sauce slathered on it. The pulled pork & burnt ends were tender & flavorful, although ¼ pound of each seemed very little for the price. The pork belly was a disappointment because it turned out very salty & it was too fatty. The baked beans, house slaw & pickle were all very good. The string beans & mac & cheese were nothing spectacular but still good.I would definitely come back here to try more of their menu items. And possibly shop for some organic meats as well.

Tender Pork Spare Ribs Recipe

I’ve never made spare ribs before, so this is totally an experiment for me (just like everything else I attempt to cook)! I bought the spare ribs & then decided to search for a recipe that included ingredients I already had on hand. This is how I cook. I don’t like to go out to buy more ingredients. I adjust the recipe to what I already have. If I don’t have it, I either omit it or substitute it with something else. Maybe this is the reason why my food never turns out looking like the pictures. :-/

Well, let’s see how these spare ribs turn out.

Ingredients:
Tender Pork Spare Ribs – adapted from All Recipes
1 rack pork spare ribs, fat trimmed
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 tablespoons paprika
5 cloves garlic, minced
1 tablespoon honey
2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper

The original recipe called for fajita seasoning. I had taco seasoning on hand, but then took a look at the ingredients. It was filled with tons of crap that I would not want to serve my family, so I omitted it. All those strange chemicals really scare me especially when you are putting it into your body. I’m trying to be proactive about what I eat & how to cook healthier for my family. It takes more vigilance but it’s definitely not impossible. As the saying goes, you are what you eat. I really don’t want to be a preservative or monosodium glutamate (aka MSG).
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Wash your spare ribs & pat dry with paper towels. Trim off excess fat.
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Mix all all your seasoning ingredients in a bowl. Then, rub the mixture on both sides of the ribs evenly. Place into a foil pan & Cover with foil. Leave in the fridge 24 hours to marinate the meat.
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Pre-heat oven to 250 degrees F. Cover the ribs with foil. Bake for 3 ½ to 4 hours until the meat is tender.
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Carefully take the pan out & pour the drippings into a saucepan. Set the ribs to the side. Cook the drippings over high heat until the sauce thickens 5-10 minutes. Brush the thicken sauce over one side of the ribs.
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Preheat oven to the broiler setting & set the oven rack to approximately 6 inches from the heat source. Place the ribs back into the over & broil for 4 minutes until the sauce is lightly caramelized.
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Take the ribs out of the oven & flip it over. Brush the sauce over the other side & broil for another 4 minutes. If you have remaining sauce, brush it on top of the ribs & you are ready to serve.

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Let the ribs rest a few minutes before cutting them.

Zucchini
Roasted Zucchini

2 large zucchini
Olive Oil
Salt
Pepper
Paprika

Wash & chop the zucchini in half. Then slice them on the long side. Place them in a large bowl & add olive oil & season with salt, pepper & paprika. Place on a baking sheet in a single layer & bake at 400 degrees for 45 minutes.
Serve Rib
Roasted Garlic Sweet Potatoes

2 large sweet potatoes
5 cloves of garlic, minces
Olive Oil
Salt
Pepper

Wash & peel the sweet potatoes. Cut them into little cubes. Place them in a large bowl & add minced garlic, olive oil & season with salt & pepper. Place on a baking sheet in a single layer & bake at 400 degrees for 45 minutes.

Very Quick BBQ Sauceadapted from Food.com

2 tablespoon brown sugar
2 tablespoon ketchup
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
1 tablespoon water
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
1/2 teaspoon paprika
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper

ENJOY!

Bun-ker Vietnamese Review

Happy Memorial Day! Thank you for all those men & women who have died serving our country. Make sure to spend time with you family & loved ones.

BUN-KER Vietnamese
46-63 Metropolitan Ave.
Ridgewood, NY 11385
Hours: Tue-Wed 5 pm – 10 pm, Thu-Fri 5 pm – 11 pm, Sat 12 pm – 11 pm, Sun 12 pm – 10 pm

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Bun-ker Sign Outside

I saw a friend’s FB posting for this restaurant, so I decided to save it to my list of Restaurants to Try.

After an unsuccessful time house-hunting, we worked up an appetite. We decided to head over to Bun-ker. The location was less than ideal. It was right across from a scrap metal yard. It was probably the only restaurant we saw in the vicinity. I guess it’s good for those that work in the area, but it’s definitely not a destination I would normally venture out into.

The menu is small but they offer 4 appetizers, 5 Banh Mi (Vietnamese) sandwiches, 8 main entrée dishes, 4 sides, one dessert & some beverage. They might have specials up, but that varies from day to day, week to week.

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Bun-ker Menu

Hubby opted for the Suon Nuong Xa – grilled lemongrass pork tenderloin, fried egg & rice for $10. Hubby liked the tender pork with the char-grilled, smoky flavor & the fried egg was a nice touch. Was it spectacular? Definitely not, but it was good. Would we come back for this dish? No, especially considering I’ve learned to make the same pork tenderloin at home now with this recipe.

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Suon Nuong Xa – grilled lemongrass pork tenderloin

I opted for the Tom Thit Ram – caramelized shrimp, bacon, ginger, garlic, basil & rice for $14.50. A few past patrons have recommended this online, so I had high hopes for this dish. When you’re presented with it, it doesn’t look like much food, but when mixed with the rice, it was pretty filling. Everything on this dish was caramelized. The shrimp was juicy & succulent, the bacon had a sweet nuttiness to it, there were caramelized bits of ginger & garlic, which I don’t think I would normally eat, but I ate it all up. This dish is on the heavier side with the bacon & grease, but it was so tasty that it was worth. I would definitely eat this again.

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Tom Thit Ram – caramelized shrimp

Overall verdict, the bill including tax & tip came out to about $35. This was more expensive than our normal Vietnamese restaurants that we frequent. Bun-ker is worth a taste if you are in the neighborhood or if you are passing through, but this is definitely not a place I would go out of my way to get to (unless I start to crave the shrimp again).

Grilled Pork Tenderloin Summer Rolls

I made this recipe twice already. It’s so tasty & really easy to make. This is a keeper!

Pork Tenderloin Summer Rolls adapted from Corinne Trang

Ingredients
1/4 cup fish sauce
1 tablespoon soy sauce
3 tablespoons sugar
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 stalks lemongrass, outer leaves and tops removed, root ends trimmed, & stalks finely grated
2 large cloves of garlic, finely chopped
3 pound pork tenderloin, thinly sliced (I used 3lbs because the marinade is salty)
2 bundles of Rice/Mung Bean Vermicelli
1 small carrot
1 small cucumber
1 small bunch of Thai Basil Leaves (optional)
1 bag (7oz) of Enoki Mushroom (optional)

Fish Dipping Sauce: Nuoc Cham – Recipe courtesy Corinne Trang, Authentic Vietnamese Cooking, Simon & Schuster, 1999
5 tablespoons sugar
3 tablespoons water
1/3 cup fish sauce
1/2 cup lime or lemon juice (~1 lemon)
1 large clove garlic, minced
1 or more bird’s eye or Thai chiles, seeded and minced
1 shallot, peeled, thinly sliced, and rinsed (optional)

If you’ve never seen lemongrass before, this is what it looks like. It’s sold in Asian groceries. My mom told me they sell powdered lemongrass at the Vietnamese stores as well. Those are easier to use & stores better, but not as strong in flavor. Lemongrass, when cut, looks like green onions/scallions, but its texture is much rougher, even when you cook it down. It’s a little woody in texture. My MIL mentioned that if I crush the lemongrass, it’ll be even more frangrant. I’ll have to try that next time I make this recipe. The entire family enjoyed this meal, so I’ll be sure to make it again.

Cut off the tops & bottoms of the lemongrass & remove the outer layer (it’s probably a little dirty). Chop or grate it into little pieces. Add into a bowl with the fish sauce, soy sauce, sugar, olive oil & garlic. Mix to ensure the sugar is completely dissolved.

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Wash your pork tenderloin & dry with a paper towel. Cut them into 1/2 inch slices. Put the pork into a bag & add your marinade. You can marinate it for an hour or even overnight in the fridge for more flavor.

When ready, heat up a grill pan & brush oil so the pork doesn’t stick. When it’s hot, put your pork on top & grill for about 2-3 minutes on one side, then flip it over & cook for another 2-3 minutes until it’s done. This depends on your stove top, as well as what pan you use. You can also use a frying pan with hot oil & pan fry the pork. It’s just as tasty.

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Look at those grill marks & how juicy that pork tenderloin looks! YUMMY!

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I prepared the summer roll ingredients while the pork was marinating in the fridge. The ingredients can be found at any Asian grocery store.

Place 2 bundles of vermicelli into boiling water. Stir & make sure it cooks for a few minutes until tender (~2-3 minutes). Strain the water & cool the vermicelli with cold water to stop it from cooking.

Cut the dirty ends of the Enoki mushrooms. Wash them under cold water, while separating the strands because they tend to stick together. I seasoned it with a little salt, pepper & olive oil & cooked it in a frying pan. It will release a lot of water. When the mushrooms are cooked down (no longer stiff), they are ready. Discard as much water content from them as much as possible.

In a clean pot, boil 4 cups of water. This will be used for the summer roll skins (although they call it spring roll wrapper on the cover of the package). Turn off the heat once it starts boiling.

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Cut your carrots & cucumber into matchstick sized pieces. Take 10 basil leaves & chiffonade them into smaller pieces. Take 10 pieces of your grilled pork & slice them up (you will have a bunch remaining). Now all your ingredients are ready to assemble your summer rolls.

Ingredients
Remember that pot of hot water you had boiled? Pour that into a round shallow pan. A round pyrex dish would do, preferably slightly larger than your spring roll wrappers. Be careful, the water will be hot. Gently immerse the spring roll wrapper in the hot water, making sure water touches the entire wrapper. You’ll see it miraculously soften into a pliable sheet. Carefully pull the sheet out & put onto a dry plate.

Here, you will start building your summer roll. Add the vermicelli first, then carrots, cucumber, mushroom, basil & then your pork. Roll them up like a burrito, making sure you roll them tight. It took me a few tries to get better at this. I rolled the bottom over the filling first, then folded the right & left sides in, then tightly rolled the bottom up to the top. Put the finished product on another dry plate.

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For the Fish Dipping Sauce, just add all the ingredients listed above together & leave in the fridge for 30 minutes to set.
Now you can enjoy your Pork Tenderloin Summer Rolls. Looking good!

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I made approximately 12 summer rolls until I ran out of vermicelli. You can definitely make more, but the remaining pork tenderloins are awesome by themselves, over rice, or over vermicelli. Don’t forget to add some of the sauce.

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I used the remaining pork tenderloins to make noodle soup, which was just as delicious. The possibilities are endless.

Pork Tenderloin Noodle Soup

ENJOY!

Mian Review

MIAN
18402 Horace Harding Expy
Fresh Meadows, NY 11365
347-732-9365

Hubby & I worked up an appetite after attending Michael’s Grand Opening (it was a madhouse, but we scored some freebies)! Mian was nearby & we’ve been meaning to try it out, so this was the perfect opportunity on a rainy Sunday. We read some good & some bad reviews online, but it’s cheap Chinese food, what do you really expect, right?!?

The inside was reminiscent of Saint’s Alp Teahouse in Manhattan. With the tables & the uncomfortable little chairs, but I can see this as a cute little hangout if you want to get some tea or dessert with friends. Btw, they offer Eileen’s Cheesecake here, which is great if you don’t want to trek out into Manhattan for it.

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Inside of Mian

They have a small menu, which in my opinion, is good. It makes deciding easier, plus we’re hoping they excel in those few items they serve.

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A quick background, Mian means Noodles in Chinese. So we’re expecting them to at least make good noodles. Hubby ordered #9 –  Mian Soup Noodle.

You pick a Noodle (Broad Rice Flat Noodles, Egg Noodles, Udon, Rice Noodles).
Then, you pick a Topping (Roast Pork, Roast Duck, Shredded Chicken, Beef Brisket Stew, Homemade Wontons).

Hubby went with Egg Noodles & Homemade Wontons.

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#9 – Mian Soup Noodle – egg noodle & wonton

I decided to order one of my all-time favorites, #26 – Pork Chop – Deep Fried Pork Chop Served with Pork Sauce Over Rice.

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#26 – Pork Chop

The verdict: The hubby thought the noodles were cooked well, the broth wasn’t too salty & the wontons tasted fresh. And the price point of $6 was on par with other cheap eats Chinese restaurants, so he had no complaints. If you like spicy, don’t forget to ask for the Chili sauce. That was the star of the whole meal. It looks to have been made fresh & with the right amount of spiciness.

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You see the chili sauce on the right side. That was the star!

As for my pork chop over rice, I was pleasantly surprised when I moved the pork chops. I didn’t realize they had minced pork sauce covering the rice. Yeah, yeah, I know the description said “pork sauce” but I honestly didn’t even know what that meant! Oh, I slathered that pork sauce all over my white rice & enjoyed every bite. Hubby liked it too, but the pork chop over rice at 66 Lu’s Seafood still reigns supreme. At $6, it was decent & it will do on a rainy day & if you don’t want to trek into the heart of traffic-filled, human-filled Flushing, NY.

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Look at the brown pork sauce! Mumm…

We thought the place wasn’t bad. I wouldn’t make a special trip out here just to try this place, but if you’re in the neighborhood, it’s a decent place for decent food.