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Monday, October 22, 2012

A BITE OF THE BIG APPLE: IHOP AND BAOHAUS


           I hadn't even been in New York for five hours yet, and I had already dined in a legendary Cantonese restaurant that Anthony Bourdain had featured in his TV Show, "No Reservations". Based on that alone, I was ecstatic that my trip to the Big Apple was off to a smashing start. 

         After filling up my belly with Chinese Style Fried Chicken and Pork Chops, I joined the younger batch of the Oreo contingent, as we set of to The Biergarten at The Standard Hotel to unwind. 

       I had heard of numerous horror stories about roaming charges, I had resolved to use my smart phone in "Flight Mode" throughout the trip, and only turning it on for emergency purposes. I managed to catch a Wifi signal at the Biergarten and found some Facebook messages from my cousin Brian that lives in New York. 

      Since I hadn't seen him in years, so I was ecstatic to find out that he was more than happy to pick me up and go see us. Within minutes, Brian and his wife, Dori came fulfilling our dining plans that had been years in the making. 

     And so continued my first night in New York, which I look back at with much fondness as, "The Night of Three Dinners".

     *Tear*





         It was a little bit of an odd hour (Around 9pm) when Brian picked us up, and since we both weren't expecting to see each other so soon, we weren't too sure where to go. However, the moment he suggested we drop by the IHOP on , I was game!

     It seems that whenever a Filipino makes plans to go to The States, the default places to eat in their mind is usually IHOP, In & Out, & Denny's.. Among many others.. And even though IHOP is going to be opening in the Philippines early next year at Bonifacio Global City, I was glad to check IHOP off that list. 

THE FOOD

       Because I had Dinner #1 just an hour or so earlier, I didn't want to order something too heavy, so I ordered the "Weekday Classic" promo, which consisted of a choice of two pieces of Bacon or sausage, Two pancakes, two eggs, any style and hashbrowns.

           The only odd thing about it was that the first waitress told us that it wasn't available anymore for the day.. despite the menu saying that it was available "All day". When another waitress got our order, she said it was still available. Weird. 



            Dori got the Chocolate Chip pancakes, that looked beautifully cooked. It was speckled with large chips, and cooked to a perfect golden hue. 
       

         The buttermilk pancakes of our Weekday combo were really so beautifully silky soft, and went perfectly with the butter pecan syrup that we had heated up. 



      I would have preferred the Bacon to be a little bit on the thin side, but it's bacon so by default, it was delicious. I enjoyed the crunchiness of the hashbrowns, but it could have used a little bit of salt. Brian asked for his eggs sunny side up, which they did just right.



            I actually ordered the sausage links, which was quite good as well. It had a delicious smoked, peppery flavor, that made this a great protein for the dish. The scrambled eggs, much like the hashbrowns could honestly have used a bit of salt.

         Had we had a few more days in New York, there's a very good chance that I would have dropped by again for one of their heavier meals. 

BAOHAUS




             As we exited the IHOP on 14th St., I was awestruck with the signage that beamed brightly across the street.. directly in front of me. Once again, Mr. Anthony Bourdain made his holy presence felt on my first day in New York.

         You see, during the plane right that I had just gotten off hours earlier, one of the shows that I watched in order to keep myself sane during the 18 Hour flight was Anthony Bourdain's "The Layover". I took note, specifically of his New York episode, which featured a little place called "Baohaus". 




          Baohaus is a small restaurant along 14th St., that takes the traditional Chinese Bao or Steamed Buns, and gives it a bad ass modern twist. The place looks like a small corridor or hallway, but the brick interiors and the hip artwork, adds to its charm. 


         I was pleasantly surprised to find rice meals as well, including a Adobo Dishes! But in the show, Mr. Bourdain spoke about one thing only.. The Baos. Besides, I had only so much stomach space left, so cut me a little slack. 

THE FOOD


           Naturally, I ordered the Chairman Bao (US$3.50), which was a Slow Braised All Natural Berkshire Pork Belly, Served with crushed peanut, cilantro, "Haus" Relish, and Taiwanese red sugar.

          For me, this was absolutely mind blowing. The beauty of it begins with the pork. It was so delicately soft tender, with the right amount of meat to fat ratio, the belly virtually  melted in your mouth.. The combination of the Cilantro, the "Haus" relish and even the peanuts, gave this a touch of fragrance that melded perfectly with the savoriness of the pork. The Red sugar gave it a hint of sweetness at the back end. 

         This was fantastic. 


         The Second Bao I ordered was the Birdhaus Bao (US$2.99), which is basically the "Fried Chicken Bao". However, this chicken was brined for for 24 hours, and was also served with crushed peanut, cilantro, and Taiwanese red sugar. Instead of the Haus Relish, they used their own "Haus seasoning salt".  

       This too, was excellent. The chicken was extremely crispy, but biting down into it revealed juicy chicken meat, that went together with the medley of ingredients in the bao. If I had to choose which one was better, for the life of me, I honestly couldn't.

       I'd go for both any day. 



             It wasn't on the menu when I was there, but had it been, there would have been a good chance I would have ordered the Jeremy Lin Bao (US$3.90), which featured a Fried Curry Pork Chop in Lemon Aioli, as well as the Bao Fries!  Honestly,with nothing on the menu for over $12 there's a chance if I lived in New York, I'd have gone through the entire menu in a week. 


          
         Imagine this: I visited Two restaurants featured by Anthony Bourdain, AND crossed off a default tourist restaurant off my list in one night. 

          As Brian and Dori dropped us off at our hotel, I couldn't help but tell Rina that... Bonding with yes, our trip to New York was off to a really great start.

          But as happy as I was to be able to spend time with Brian and Dori.. They apparently had even more in store for me! You ain't seen nothing yet!


   TO BE CONTINUED...


BAOHAUS MENU


For the full Menu of Baohaus, Check out:


16 comments:

  1. Awesome kick-off to your first night at NY! I really felt your excitement and I'm sure you felt it again as you were writing this post. :D

    Babe for Food - your BFF in Cebu dining! :)
    babeforfood.blgogspot.com

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. you're absolutely right, Justinne :)

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  2. Everything looks great especially the Bao's! Can't wait for the next post :)

    http://thedrunkenpig.blogspot.com/

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  3. Replies
    1. you'll get a chance next year cookies :)

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  4. oh my!!the pancakes seem really good, it's something which i think does not only look good but sure to taste really, really great..

    i wonder how much more mouthwatering food you'll be posting in your entire NY travel..can't help to be jealous..=)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. If I post twice a week, i'll the entire november will be filled with NY posts :) hehe

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  5. I have found your blog, sir Richie! Good eats! =D

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  6. Wow!!! I wanna try everything..uhm, except the pork belly. haha!
    Excited for IHOP to open here in the Philippines!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. haha no worries.. akin nalang pork belly hehehe

      I'm so excited as well!!

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  7. IHOP rocks! And that Chairman Bao looks awesome!

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