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Pietro’s NYC ~ an old school Italian steak and pasta experience

New York City By March 12, 2019 Tags: , , , , , No Comments

The Vitals:
the spot: Pietro’s 232 E. 43rd St. New York NY 10017
the eats: Shells a la Nat, New York Strip Steak for two, Caesar salad with bacon
the bucks: $26, $106, and $16 respectively, plan on $100 a head with a stiff drink in the mix
the full nelson: historic NYC steakhouse that twists the traditional line up with pastas, parms and a bacon laced Caesar salad.

Pietro’s has been on my radar since 2007, when I came across a tasty blog called Beef Aficionado that sang the praises of an old school Italian Steakhouse in Midtown Manhattan. I love steak. I love to make it at home and I love to order it at restaurants. And I love the idea of a steakhouse. But, being the thrifty foodie that I am, time and time again I find myself disappointed in the Steakhouse experience. I mean, in the end of the day it just ain’t that big of a deal for me to buy a pricey steak at a top shelf butcher and still spend a fraction of what I would at a steakhouse. Yet I keep going back and dropping more than I probably should for a beefy over the top dinner. Well, that you will certainly find at Pietro’s my friends.

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Bang for your Pastrami Buck: Otherside Deli ~ Austin TX

Austin, Sandwiches By February 28, 2019 Tags: , , , , No Comments

The Vitals:
the spot: Otherside Deli 1104 W. 34th St Austin TX  78705
the eats: The Roddy
the bucks: $11
the full nelson: The first pastrami sandwich that has made me miss LA a little less

In the weeks leading up to my imminent departure from Los Angeles in the summer of 2015, I made sure to eat at as many of my favorite haunts as I could. Knowing that I couldn’t get to them all, I made a special emphasis on foods that I knew would be in short supply in the Lone Star State. Falafels, Baja style fish tacos and delicatessen fare topped the list. Sure, one can find a respectable falafel in a city like Austin, but just not in the same frequency as one can find them in the city of Angels, or with the same variety; Israeli, Lebanese and Armenian options abound when it comes to scoring a Middle Eastern hush puppy.

As far as deli fare as concerned, I knew I would be in dire straits. So I made sure to hit up Langer’s delicatessen: home to the best pastrami sandwich in the universe. Yes, it’s better than Katz in NYC. Langer’s magnificently crafted pastrami sandwich, whose rye bread is just as perfect as the hand carved slices of pepper smoked beef, was worth a flight back to LA in my opinion. And I held to that opinion for years now, right up till about last week.

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Taco Spotting: Santa Barbara Taco Scene

Tacos/ Mexican, West Coast By February 18, 2019 Tags: , , , , , , , No Comments

There is a movement happening in Texas to declare tacos the official state food. I see a good case for that, although brisket is a strong contender as well. In California, I think making the taco the official state food would be nothing short of a slam dunk. Sure, Southern California is the birthplace of the fast food burger and up in San Francisco, a whole style of burrito awaits you. Still, North or South, big city or quiet surf side town, tacos rule in California and the Santa Barbara Taco scene is no exception.

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Recipe: Al Pastor tacos

Recipe, Tacos/ Mexican By February 6, 2019 Tags: , , , , , , , , , No Comments

The Vitals:
recipe: Al Pastor tacos
difficulty: medium
health rating:healthy
time: 1 hour + marinade time

<scroll down for ingredients and instructions>

As much as I love scouring the country for Cheap Eats, I love grilling at home just as much. My preference is to cook over a “live fire”, which for me is hardwood charcoal. These days I have a backyard, so lighting up a grill is pretty easy but back when I lived in a loft, I had to deal with a shared gas grill. And that is where I learned the importance and power of marinades.

If you have ever had Al Pastor, the Mexican cousin to Shawarma and Gyros, you know it is one of the tastiest taco fillings there is. Now traditionally, like Shawarma and Gyros, the meat is cooked on a vertical rotisserie. Like most of you, I don’t have one of those, so the notion of cooking Al Pastor at home seemed like a smokey daydream. Then Cheap Eats went to Las Vegas and I was taught the method marinating and grilling al pastor. And believe me, this Al Pastor taco recipe is worth trying at home.

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Little Big Burger ~ Austin TX

Austin, Burgers By January 28, 2019 Tags: , , , No Comments

The Vitals:
the spot: Little Big Burger 1630 East 6th St. Austin TX 78702
the eats: Little Big Burger with double patty, cheddar and bacon
the bucks: $7.50, $4.50 respectively
the full nelson: a burger chain that’s pretty keen on Bang for your Burger Buck

One of my first jobs out of college would occasionally take the staff out for lunch. I naturally liked to steer the ship on where would we go, and fought relentlessly from dining at a chain. That was almost 20 years ago and in the two decades that have since passed, the words “restaurant chain” conjure up a more complex dining scene. Yes, there are some respectable chains out there, especially in the world of burgers. In the case of Little Big Burger, you just might have the best Bang for your Burger Buck chain there is . . .

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Tsubaki Szechuan ~ Oklahoma City

Asian, Midwest By January 18, 2019 Tags: , , , , , , 1 Comment

The Vitals:
the spot: Tsubaki Szechuan 1117 NW 25th St. Oklahoma City, OK 73106
the eats: Xiao Long Bao(soup dumplings), fried beef with cumin, pork wonton in chili oil 
the bucks: $8.95, $13.95, $5.95 respectively
the full nelson: dumplings as good as I’ve had in NYC, San Francisco or LA

Growing up in the Midwest and being a 1st generation Bengali American, I know that even the “fly over states” have more diversity than what some might give them credit for. And it being 2019, one should not be too surprised to hear the words “Xiao Long Bao” in a place like Oklahoma City. But even I have to admit I was surprised to find these iconic dumplings and a dim sum staple in the land of the OKC Thunder . . .

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