Eater's Digest: Chicago 3

Previously on Adam Riff™:

April 2018
honey butter fried chicken / fort willow / the delta / mott street / antique taco / cellar door provisions / s.k.y. / piece / proxi / saint lou's assembly / roister / bonci / minghin cuisine / smoque bbq / tribecca's cubano / the budlong / kimski / elske / chicken planet / seoul taco / s.k.y. / carnitas uruapan / pizzeria bebu / herb n' kitchen / sultan's market / shake shack / panes bread cafe / hotchocolate bakery / old habits at ludlow liquors / wyler road / sultan's market / split rail / tempesta market / saint lou's assembly / piece / the publican

Whole Chicken and Chamomile (Roister)
braised, poached, fried; with sunchokes

^ 1. A whole chicken, which was fed scraps from Manhattan's most prestigious restaurants, is butchered and brined for 24 hours in sweetened chamomile tea.

2. The thighs are deboned, brined in buttermilk, and fried. A double dredging in seasoned corn starch, buttermilk, and flour ends with a deep tissue massage for each thigh. The final touch is a sprinkling of spice blend made with chamomile tea, salt, MSG, sugar, and pepper.

3. Breasts are seared in a cast iron skillet in the 900-degree hearth until juicy on the inside and charred almost black on the outside.

4. Legs are cooked sous-vide in chicken fat before they are tossed with sunchokes, onions, celery, and sunflower seeds to make chicken salad.

Served with chicken gravy and a white, hot sauce made from sunchokes that have been steeped with habanero chiles.

Hot Chicken (The Budlong)
served with texas toast and budlong pickles

^ Awesomely crisp.

Organic Fried Chicken (S.K.Y.)
fermented habanero hot sauce, creamed corn

^ More swell fried chicken. Not sure about its accompaniments.

Spicy Chicken Parm Sandwich (Honey Butter Fried Chicken)
fried chicken strips, calabrian chile pimento cheese, spicy tomato sauce, basil, buttery bun
—Mine was delivered with mozzarella cheese instead of Calabrian chile pimento cheese [grumbling], but it was still yummy.

Chicken Salad Sandwich (Wyler Road)
chicken breast, fried chicken skin, chimichurri, sour grape jam, sprouts, whole grain
—I tasted peanut butter? – and kinda dug it.

(Fort Willow)'s interior "tree"

Braaibroodjie (Fort Willow)
sharp cheddar cheese, peach chutney, and red onion; south african spice-rubbed lamb ribs on the side

^ A South African grilled cheese.

The #99 – D.D. Brindisi Grand Avenue Pastrami (Tempesta Market)
our incomparable house wagyu beef pastrami [time, brine, molasses, love, smoke, and calabrian pepper] with bread and butter pickles, swiss, and remoulade, griddled on rye

^ Fry hard.

The Dante (Tempesta Market)
hot soppressata, mortadella, finocchiona, hot coppa, porchetta, provolone, giardiniera, 'nduja aioli, lettuce, and tomato on a baguette

^ Six Italian meats in one.

Jim Shoe Tamale (The Delta)
lamb and beef tamale, house-made pastrami, giardiniera, provolone, daf sauce, l.t.o.

^ A Jim/Gym Shoe is a Chicago sandwich featuring gyro meat, roast beef, and corned beef. (The Delta)'s play on it is a large tamale filled with lamb and beef, garnished with pastrami in corned beef's stead. Easy on the sauce, chef.

Tacos Dorados de Sesos (Carnitas Uruapan)
crispy tacos filled with spicy pork brain, onion, cilantro, and jalapeño

^ I couldn't stop eating these deep-fried pig brain tacos. Watch for toothpicks.

Kimchi and Oaxaca Empanadas (Mott Street)
masa shell; served with chimichurri crème fraîche

Bread (Mott Street)
potato and onion bread, leek-curry butter, soft baked egg

Mott Burger (Mott Street)
double chuck patties, sweet potato shoestrings, hoisin aioli, pickled jalapeños, dill pickles, miso butter, american cheese

^ One of the best burgers, if not the best burger, in Chicago? I guess…

Everything Wings (Mott Street)
crispy wings glazed with soy, jaggery, and dried chilis; tossed with sesame, poppy seed, fried shallots; served with tzatziki

Crab Dragoon (Old Habits at Ludlow Liquors)
crab meat, everything crm chz, scallions

^ Crab rangoon repulses me, but sometimes opposites attract?

Veggrolls (Old Habits at Ludlow Liquors)
curried potato, english peas, coriander chutney

^ Aloo samosas, basically.

Filipino Egg Rolls (Old Habits at Ludlow Liquors)
beef, pork, spam, patis

Jon: Rum ham? Like on It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia?
Server: Yes.

Pinoy D'lite (Old Habits at Ludlow Liquors)
adobo pork shoulder, white rice, rum ham, mung beans
—Fried rice served in a Chinese take-out container. The rum ham was disappointingly just a sprinkling of rum ham bits.

Chicago Rib Tips (Old Habits at Ludlow Liquors)
classic smoked rib tips en su jugo, crispy belly tips, cheesed flour tortilla, seeded mirepoix slaw

Frensch Cut Fries (Old Habits at Ludlow Liquors)
beef gravy [served warm], malted vanilla ice cream [served cold]

^ Gravy and ice cream as dipping sauces.

Yukon Fries (Roister)
soy-dusted, bonito flakes, tofu mayo

^ Thick-cut fries stink.

(Kimski) is dubious Korean-Polish fusion.

Kimski Poutine (Kimski)
fries dressed with kimchi beer gravy, pan-fried wisconsin cheese curds; topped with pickled onions, scallions, and sesame leaves

^ I approve of this kimchi beer gravy.

Maria's Standard (Kimski)
house polish sausage, soju mustard, buns from spoken bird in pilsen, kraut chi made with co-op, scallions, sesame seeds; comes with a side of fries

^ Soju mustard, however, ain't it.

Scallion Potato Pancakes (Kimski)
house-made batter, scallions, grated potato with dill; served with kimchi slaw and drizzled with tamari sour cream sauce, scallions

^ At least you tried.

Cacio Pepe Pizza (Bonci)
onion, provolone cheese, pecorino cheese, pepper

Sausage and Broccoli Rabe Pizza (Pizzeria Bebu)
house-made italian sausage, mozzarella, broccoli rabe, ricotta

Pepperoni Pizza (Pizzeria Bebu)
parmesan, mozzarella, garlic, calabrian chile, basil

Taleggio Pizza (Pizzeria Bebu)
panna, pistachio, calabrian honey, chive

Aged Cheddar Rillettes (Roister)
truffle, cauliflower, fry bread

^ Adding cauliflower to a cheese spread for texture? Hey, it works!

Habanero Popcorn (Antique Taco)
olive oil, habanero cheddar powder

Adobo Corn Nuts (Saint Lou's Assembly)
crispy maiz
—Come with chicharrones, for some reason.

Tempura Elotes (Proxi)

^ Curious corn fritters – cob-less elote.

Cobia (Proxi)
coconut, turmeric, curry leaf
—A fish fillet in a delectable thick curry sauce.

Meat Cone (Tempesta Market)

^ Portable charcuterie.

Chef's Menu (The Publican)
—R.I.P. (The Publican)'s omakase? A stellar value for $65. None of the 10 or so courses I was served was particularly interesting, but most everything was delicious.

(Cellar Door Provisions)' $42 prix fixe dinner for 4.13-4.14:

Snacks (Cellar Door Provisions)
pepita dip, zhoug, brined beets and carrots green strawberry, briny butter, cabbage slaw

^ My first experience with zhoug. Spicy!

Trout Crudo (Cellar Door Provisions)
salted turnip, grapefruit, sunflower

Buttermilk Beet Soup (Cellar Door Provisions)
all herbed out

Agnolotti (Cellar Door Provisions)

+$22 Supplement: Half Chicken (Cellar Door Provisions)
sprouted hummus

Roasted Carrot Ice Cream (Cellar Door Provisions)
farro shortbread, citrus curd

Banana Budino (S.K.Y.)
vanilla, cocoa nib granola, bourbon

^ So scrumptious, I ate it four separate times while in Chicago. Its base is vanilla pudding and banana purée, unmixed.

Chocolate Pizza (Piece)
a 12" crust topped with our house chocolate hazelnut sauce and mascarpone cheese

Jon: The mousse tastes like hay? Like, dried grass hay?
Server: Yes.

Frozen Hay Mousse (Elske)
with rhubarb

^ The mousse indeed tasted like hay.

Sunflower Seed Parfait (Elske)
with sour honey, licorice, and bee pollen

^ A revelation. That round mound of bee pollen is an ingenious "crust."

Foie Gras Candy Bar (Roister)
black walnuts, pretzel, caramel

^ Too much unseared foie gras for me. I never learn.

Griddle Rum Cake Donut (Tribecca's Cubano)

Chocolate Coca-Cola Cake (Panes Bread Cafe)
goat's milk caramel, cream cheese frosting


The Bomb (Kaiser Tiger)
5 lbs. of spicy beef and pork sausage stuffed with pepper bacon and wrapped in a brown sugar bacon weave; cooked for hours on the smoker and served with fresh cut fries, buns, pepper jack cheese, onion, lettuce, tomato, and bbq sauce

Bone Marrow Cornbread (Cellar Door Provisions)
pork, pickled onion, herbs

Chicken Fried Rutabaga (Daisies)
country gravy, ramps two ways

Pork Ribs (The Delta)
paprika caramel, crème fraîche, crispy allium

PBT! (Monteverde)
prosciutto butter, radish, seeded rye toast, lemon marmellata

Foie Gras Bibimbap (S.K.Y.)
charred vegetables, mushroom bulgogi

Muffaletta (Tempesta Market)

Southside Johnny (Tempesta Market)
porchetta, brun-uusto, broccolini, chimichurri, cheese, pickled fennel, with rosemary broth, on sourdough

Nancy's Kahlua Cake with Rhubarb Preserves (Daisies)

Warm Beignets (Gideon Sweet)
parsnip cream, fleur de cao

Choco-Banana (Mott Street)
thai baby banana dipped in chocolate, roasted szechuan peppercorn peanuts

Bolo Brigadeiro (Tack Room)
chocolate sponge cake, brazilian fudge, candied coconut, cashew snap, tonka bean ice cream

Wattleseed Pavlova (Tack Room)
wattleseed ice cream, lemon myrtle meringue, honey-white chocolate mousse, tropical fruit, macadamia nuts

Tiramisu Cruller (Tack Room)
hamilton rum-soaked vanilla orange cruller, whipped mascarpone cheese, espresso chicory gelato, caramel, passion fruit, hints of cocoa

Barter Brownie (HotChocolate Bakery)

^ Half doughy brownie, half cocoa rice brittle.


Eater's Digest: Billings, MT 2

Previously on Adam Riff™ (Aug 2015):


Flying Saucer (King's Hat Drive-In)
King's Hat is a fast food drive-through known for its sealed burgers.

April 2018
king's hat drive-in / wilcoxson's ice cream / camelot ranch / the burger dive / topz sandwich company / caramel cookie waffles / pie guys pizzeria / lilac / walkers

Aaaaaat laaaaaaaaaast…

Flying Burger (King's Hat Drive-In)

^ Reminded me of an elementary school hot lunch McDonald's hamburger.

Fries (King's Hat Drive-In)
—How are these fresh-cut fries so much better than In-N-Out's?

Huckleberry Ice Cream Sandwich (Wilcoxson's Ice Cream)

Adam Robot's Wedding Cake (Oceanias Confections)
chocolate, lemon, raspberry
—Damn good cake.

The "Best of the Bash" Burger (The Burger Dive)
blackened seasoning, smooth goat cheese, bacon, onion ring, arugula, sriracha sauce, garlic basil mayonnaise

It took "the best of the bash" at the prestigious Food Network South Beach Wine and Food Festival Burger Bash.

^ Best at failing its murderer's row of components.

"San Fran Fries" Garlic Fries (The Burger Dive)
shredded parmesan cheese, garlic, fresh parsley, olive oil
—You, sir, are no San Fran garlic fries.

Is this, like, a Mexican cheesesteak?

Beef Queso Sandwich (TopZ Sandwich Company)
hot roast beef topped with jalapeños and our white cheddar queso, toasted

^ The queso was bland, and its blandness overwhelmed everything else.

(TopZ)'s "unique" house chips are store-bought tortilla rounds dusted in garlic powder?

They, too, were bland.

Oh, a play on a Reuben.

Pastrami-Smoked Pork Belly (Lilac)
beer-glazed brussels sprouts, rye gruyère crumble, gochujang russian dressing

^ Disappointingly more of a Brussels sprouts dish with bits of pork belly.

Tuna Tartare (Lilac)
chili vinaigrette, shaved foie gras, pickled cucumber

^ Perplexing. Seemingly unseasoned raw tuna covered in shaved liver with pickled cucumber on the side?

Pretzels and Popcorn (Lilac)
salted soft pretzels, caramel sauce, aged white cheddar, popcorn ice cream

^ Popcorn-flavoured ice cream covered in shaved cheese with soft pretzels on the side, on the other hand, is [Italian chef kiss].

Bourbon Street Pasta (Walkers)
linguine pasta, sweet peppers, tomatoes, andouille sausage, roasted chicken, shrimp
—I did not expect this to be light. A Cajun pasta with no cream sauce?

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Black Forest Cheesecake (Walkers)
chocolate cheesecake, flathead cherry gel, white chocolate crémeux, chocolate soil
–I did not expect this to be deconstructed. Wyd, (Walkers) chefs?

Pear Mule (Walkers)
pear absolut, crushed basil, lime, ginger beer


The "I'm Your Huckleberry" Burger (The Burger Dive)
world food championships "burger champion" burger, huckleberry hatch chili barbecue sauce, bacon, goat cheese, arugula, roasted red pepper mayo

The "Date with Jim Beam and Coke" Burger (The Burger Dive)
world food championships "burger champion" burger, bourbon date and coke barbecue sauce, roasted garlic, arugula, smoked gouda, garlic basil mayo


Eater's Digest: Las Vegas 6

Previously on Adam Riff™ (Oct 2017):


Palace Pan Roast (Oyster Bar)
—David Chang: "It's the best dish in Las Vegas."

March 2018
paid in full / the black sheep / the buffet at wynn / starboard tack / bacchanal buffet / chica / the buffet at wynn / mian / sweets raku / oyster bar / the buffet at wynn / chengdu taste

Udon Fries (Paid in Full)
animal style

^ Hope you like In-N-Out's Thousand Island-esque spread.

Crispy Tapioca (Paid in Full)
aged parmesan, nori powder

^ A more successful fried appetizer with a chewy interior.

Sweetbread Katsu (Paid in Full)
snow pea, bacon, frisée, bulldog sauce
—The only fried sweetbreads I acknowledge are (The Black Hoof)'s in Toronto.

Foie Gras Okonomiyaki (Paid in Full)
kabocha, hazelnut, smoked maple
—"Oh, this will be like the 'foie gras, biscuit, maple sausage gravy' dish at (Animal) in Los Angeles, but with a pancake instead of a biscuit," I thought.

I thought wrong.

Nothing compares 2 U, "foie gras, biscuit, maple sausage gravy" dish at (Animal) in Los Angeles.

Mapo Tofu Frito Pie (Paid in Full)
minced pork, aged cheddar, scallion

Phat Rice Noodles (Paid in Full)
lamb chorizo, broccoli rabe, garlic la-yu oil
—This has wisely since been replaced by Cumin Lamb Noodles.

Sweet Anko and Camembert Toast (Paid in Full)
cap'n crunch breading, kuromitsu syrup

^ Red bean paste and cheese?

An oddly unsweet dessert. It wasn't savoury, but it wasn't sweet either, no matter how much black honey I squeezed on.

Thug Passion (Paid in Full)
sparkling hawaiian punch, black pepper passion syrup
—A drink that exists.

Salmon Skin Tacos (The Black Sheep)
salmon belly tartare, tabiko, smoked shishito peppers, micro cilantro

^ Fried salmon skin as hard shells.

Fried Beef Crisps (The Black Sheep)
thai chili tajin dust, chili lime sauce

^ Fried beef tendon puffs, to be exact.

Fried Chicken Fried Rice (Starboard Tack)
with sunny side up egg

West Indies Fried Chicken Sandwich (Starboard Tack)
walkerwood jerk aioli, pineapple pickles

Mongolian Cheesesteak (Starboard Tack)
mongolian marinated tri-tip, grilled onions, american cheese, baguette
—This tasted off to me. Hugo liked it, though.

Szechuan Chimichurri Beef Skewer (Starboard Tack)
Tom Kha Mushroom Skewer (Starboard Tack)

Sakura (Sweets Raku)
cheese soufflé with strawberries, injected with cherry blossom cream; served with moscato sorbet
—I begrudgingly ordered this because the dessert I came for had been retired:

Pearl (Sweets Raku)
rich chocolate mousse paired with caramel, banana, and pineapple; topped with a white chocolate shell with a passion-fruit-sauce-filled candy pearl

Mung Bean Soup (MIAN)
natural mung beans, water, lightly sweetened with sugar

Complimentary mung bean soup?

Oh! It's Lu Dou Tang – a childhood favourite of mine!

Mung beans are green beans. The more you know.

Palace Pan Roast (Oyster Bar)
shrimp, crab, chicken, and andouille sausage

^ I didn't want to queue for an hour or two to try this, so I tried it for breakfast at 06:30 on a Friday.

It's fine.


Choco Kebab (Choco Kebab)

Gnocchi Mexicano (Salud)
house-made gnocchi, guajillo mushroom cream sauce, queso fresco

Rollos Empanizados (Culichi Town)
Deep-fried sushi rolls.

Hot Cheetos Ceviche (Culichi Town)

Cubana Mexicana Torta (Playa Papagayos)
pork leg, egg, ham, wiener, breaded steak, mexican sausage, cheese

Uni Melt (Sparrow + Wolf)
burrata, blood orange kosho

Longganisa Empanadas (Starboard Tack)
filipino-style longganisa, green olive, egg, roasted red pepper, chili vinegar crema

Seat-Thai Dog (Starboard Tack)
¼lb hot dog, thai chili cream cheese, fried shallot, grilled onion, cilantro

Triple Garlic Yakisoba (Paid in Full)
pork belly, mushrooms, cabbage, negi
—Served in a Chinese take-out container.

Jardin Signature "Fleur" (Jardin)
layered dark chocolate mousse, raspberry jam, moist chocolate cake in edible chocolate flower pot


Eater's Digest: New Orleans

January 2018
dtb / bayona / palace café / la petite grocery / toups south / parkway / willie mae's / mr. chill's first class hot dogs and sweet's pastries / boucherie / maypop / parasol's bar and restaurant / cafe du monde / turkey and the wolf / dong phuong / killer poboys / compère lapin / magazine pizza / marjie's grill / clesi's / fritai / fete au fete / cochon / cochon butcher / mr. bubbles / carmo / emeril's restaurant / domilise's po-boy and bar / raising cane's

Crawfish Boil (Clesi's)
Chicken and Sausage Jambalaya (Clesi's)

My favourite meal in New Orleans was a catered lunch, unexpectedly.

Next visit, I want to try

Jambalaya Cheese Fries (Clesi's)
cajun fries layered with cheddar, jambalaya, and pepper jack

at (Clesi's) brick-and-mortar.

Crabmeat Cheesecake (Palace Café)
pecan crust, mushroom sauté, creole meunière

^ A savoury seafood-topped cheesecake.

related: the Shrimp and Alligator Sausage Cheesecake at (Jacques Imo's), which I was unable to try this visit, nor its

Deep Fried Roast Beef Po-Boy (Jacques Imo's)
with gravy.

Home-Cooked Hot Roast Beef with Gravy Poor Boy (Parkway)
slow roasted beef soaked in savoury brown gravy
—The best po' boy I tried this trip, and the one with the best bread.

Shrimp Po-Boy (Domilise's Po-Boy and Bar)

Firecracker Shrimp Po Boy (Parasol's Bar and Restaurant)

I was slow to discover (Parasol's) chill restaurant half.

A sign in its dive bar half reads "food" but points to a door that appears to be for employees only.

Bon Appétit named (Turkey and the Wolf) America's best new restaurant of 2017. I failed to see what all the fuss is about.

Fried Bologna Sandwich (Turkey and the Wolf)
leighann's bologna, hot english mustard, potato chips, shrettuce, mayo, american cheese, on white

Collard Green Melt (Turkey and the Wolf)
slow-cooked collards, swiss cheese, pickled cherry, pepper dressing, cole slaw, on rye bread

Fried Alligator with Chili Garlic Mayonnaise (Cochon)
Fried Livers with Pepper Jelly and Toast (Cochon)

Cochon Muffaletta (Cochon Butcher)
with house meats and olive salad on sicilian roll

I didn't feel either (Cochon) restaurant either and consequently didn't bother trying sister restaurant (Pêche).

Los Angeles Gumbo?

Oh. Right. "LA" is "Louisiana."

LA-1 Gumbo (DTB)
louisiana blue crab, collard greens, crab fat potato salad
Me: This gumbo has potato salad in it?
Server: Just a dollop on top.

Fried Cornbread (DTB)
ham hock marmalade, goat cheese, jalapeño

^ Sublime. Everything in its right place.

Cornmeal Gnocchi (DTB)
hot sausage, broccoli rabe, pecorino romano, lime
—Not sure if this dish was over-salted or if the hot sausage scrambled my palate.

Andouille Pate (DTB)
chef's daily accompaniments

^ Spreadable sausage.

Mushroom Boudin Balls (DTB)
smoked mayo, pickled collards
—Faux sausage.

Fall Spiced Cake (DTB)
pumpkin cake, peanut bark, rum caramel, bouille, buttered popcorn ice cream

Ice Cream Sandwich (DTB)
gâteau de sirop, creole cream cheese ice cream, candied pecans

Pecan King Cake (Dong Phuong)

^ I got in on (Dong Phuong)'s king cakes before people began scalping and fist-fighting over them.

7UP Pound Cake (Mr. Chill's First Class Hotdogs and Sweet Pastries)

Krispy Kreme Bread Pudding (Boucherie)
Thai Chili Chocolate Chess Pie (Boucherie)

Beignets (Cafe Du Monde)

^ Easy on the powdered sugar, Monde.

Blue Crab Beignets (La Petite Grocery)
malt vinegar aioli

^ Pleasantly surprisingly tender.

Turtle Bolognese (La Petite Grocery)
bucatini, sherry, parsley, and fried soft boiled egg
—Turtle meat pasta.

Cracklins (Toups South)

Sourdough Biscuits with Crab Fat Butter (Toups South)

^ The crab fat butter was unpalatably crabby.

Smoked Foie Gras Terrine (Toups South)
banana bread, saba, cured egg yolk

^ I know better than to order unseared foie gras, but "banana bread" intrigued me. Three bites in, I boxed it up for a homeless person.

Smoked Duck "PB&J" (Bayona)
cashew butter, pepper jelly, apple-celery salad, wild flour multigrain
—Came for the sandwich, stayed for its accompanying apple-celery salad.

Fritai (Fritai)
between two fried plantains with pork shoulder, avocado, mango sauce, and pickliz; served with plantain chips

^ A Haitian sandwich. Tostones are lousy bread.

Crawfish Poutine (Fete Au Fete)
crawfish-boiled new potatoes fried, then smothered with pepper jack cheese and buttery crawfish étouffée

^ Never mind that it's not poutine, why smother potato chunks instead of fries?

Cajun Cubano (Fete Au Fete)
spiced roasted pork loin, tasso, smoked gouda, with a jalapeño-garlic aioli, pressed
—The smoked gouda overwhelmed everything else.

Ya-ka-mein, a meaty noodle soup known as Old Sober, is New Orleans' tried and true hangover cure. It's a crossbreed of Asian and African-American culinary traditions. Traditionally made from a combination of beef, cooked eggs, green onions and noodles stewed in a spicy, salty broth, the addition of soy sauce gives this soulful brew an Asian twist.

A distinctly New Orleans dish, ya-ka-mein hails from murky origins. The most popular explanation is that black soldiers who fought in the Korean War got a taste of Asian food and brought it home to New Orleans, where sweethearts, mothers and grandmothers made the recipe their own.

Another theory is that Chinese immigrants who came to Louisiana to work on the sugar plantations and railroads brought their Asian noodle soup with them and gave their African-American co-workers a taste. [source]

Yaka Main (Mr. Chill's First Class Hotdogs and Sweet Pastries)

^ It's…an Asian beef noodle soup. Is its appeal that it's made by black people? Did I just try an unremarkable version?

(Maypop) offers unique dim sum. Shame that it was all mediocre.

Pork and Cane Syrup Sausage-Stuffed Sesame Balls (Maypop)
chili oil

Bacon Scallion Pancakes with Oysters in Cucumber Kimchi (Maypop)

Octopus Shumai (Maypop)
spicy mustard

Head Cheese and Blue Crab Soup Dumplings (Maypop)

Okay, this complimentary amuse-bouche was good:

Spicy Thai Curry Beignet with Wasabi Cream (Maypop)

Roasted Apple and Citrus Ravioli with Crispy Smoked Boudin (Maypop)
shaved apple, parmesan, brown butter, colatura fish sauce

Maypop Java Freeze (Maypop)
frozen mt. gay silver and eclipse rums, passion fruit, coffee, whipped cream
—Coffee with passion fruit.

Almond Cola (Fest)
Pecan Root Beer (Fest)
Southern Peach Ginger Ale (Fest)
—(Fest) makes sodas with "flavours tailored for the New Orleans area." If nothing else, you can taste the tailoring.

First Frost Cocktail (Ace Hotel Lobby Bar)
mint chocolate chip whisky, cream, creme de cacao

The "set-up"—a half-pint of liquor, one mixer, share cups and ice—is more than a staple order at many locals-only NOLA bars: It's a community ritual. [source]

Beefeater Gin Set-Up (Marjie's Grill)
pellegrino orange or lemon, dr. browns cel-ray, topo chico, canada dry tonic
—"A 200mL bottle of liquor and a bucket of ice. Make your own cocktails tableside. Please choose from our favourite suggested mixers. One set-up makes 3.5 2oz drinks."

Slow-Grilled Beef Tri-Tip (Marjie's Grill)
pasture-raised ms beef with toasted chili relish
—I think tri-tip is my favourite cut of beef.

Marinated Winter Melon (Marjie's Grill)
tossed with radishes, mint, sesame, and jalapeño
—I did not expect to like this.

Winter Som Tam Salad (Marjie's Grill)
—Or this.

LA Popcorn Rice (Marjie's Grill)
—Not Los Angeles rice.

Crispy Pig Knuckles (Marjie's Grill)
coated with black pepper, herbs, and chilis

^ I think hock is my favourite cut of pork

(Marjie's Grill)'s men's washroom

Fried Chicken (Willie Mae's)
—Bang-up breading.

Chicken Fingers (Raising Cane's)
—So this chain just sells chicken fingers? And Cane is a dog?

Of all the food I tried this trip, (Compère Lapin) best combined interesting and delicious.

Conch Croquettes (Compère Lapin)
pickled pineapple tartar sauce

Spiced Pig Ears (Compère Lapin)
smoked aioli
—I think ear is my favourite swine body part to eat.

Crispy Dirty Rice Arancini (Compère Lapin)
sour orange mojo

Cold-Smoked Tuna Tartare (Compère Lapin)
avocado, crispy bananas

^ Glorious. I returned for seconds on the last night of my trip. I would never guess that its accompanying crisps are made from bananas.

Hamachi (Compère Lapin)
guava curry, papaya

Curried Goat (Compère Lapin)
sweet potato gnocchi, cashews

^ So fresh and so clean.


Duck Hearts
smothered duck hearts, seared goat cheese grits, pickled oyster mushrooms
—"Duck hearts showered in a dust of dehydrated pig's blood."

Smoked Frog (Sac-A-Lait)
citrus creamed rillettes, aged cayenne gelèe, mustard green tortilla, spiced pecan

Tartare (Sac-A-Lait)
bluefin tuna, venison sweetbreads, fermented pepper, lemon-olive oil
—"Tuna tartare served atop fried venison sweetbreads."

Jambalaya-Stuffed Whole Chicken (Cochon Butcher)

A sno-ball is a New Orleans confection made with finely shaved ice and flavored cane sugar syrup. Commonly confused with the snow cone, the ice of a sno-ball is fine and fluffy; while a snow cone's ice is coarse, crunchy, and granular. [source]

Cheesecake-Stuffed Sno-Ball (Sno-La)

Maypop Milk Punch (Maypop)
soco 80, drambuie, coconut milk, korean chili flakes

Coffee and Cigarettes (Toups' Meatery)
nikka coffey grain japanese whiskey, tobacco bitters

Pork Chops and Applesauce (Toups South)
pork-washed whiskey, apple, aromatic bitters

The Copper Bunny Cocktail (Compère Lapin)
absolut elyx, pineapple jalapeño tequila, ginger, lime, mumm champagne

^ Served in a copper bunny.

Smoked Hamachi/Everything Doughnut (Compère Lapin)

(N7) serves fancy canned seafood straight from the can with baguette.


Eater's Digest: December 14-15, 2017

Los Angeles, CA
broken mouth / / the mighty / salt and straw

(PBJ.LA) makes unique Uncrustables:

Focaccia Sandwich (The Mighty)
fennel sausage and porchetta sandwich, apple fennel jam, harissa aioli, arugula

Rice Crispy Cookie (The Mighty)

Caramelized Grapefruit Eggnog Ice Cream (Salt and Straw)
custardy eggnog ice cream made with black rum, vanilla, nutmeg and cinnamon; homemade grapefruit jam made by caramelizing fresh pink grapefruit juice

Sushi Rice Tots (Sumo Dog)
—Mini yaki onigiri?

Chedd-cha (Little Fluffy Head Café)
iced matcha latte topped with cheddar cheese cream

San Francisco, CA
wise sons jewish delicatessen / rooster and rice / villon

I like (Wise Sons)' Bittersweet Chocolate Babka, but the size of a slice keeps decreasing.

Everything Hawaiian Bread (Villon)
cultured butter, market preserves, strawberry chicken liver mousse

^ The "everything" doesn't add anything.

Tuna Tartare (Villon)
crispy chicken, deviled egg, micro onion

^ Raw fish and deviled egg on chicken skin.

Warm Beignets (Villon)
lime posset, butternut, coffee

^ Ethereal doughnuts confusingly served with a bowl of mousse-like lime cream with butternut squash and coffee.

Baby Back Ribs (Villon)
feuilles de brique, nuoc mam cham


Eater's Digest: Seattle 4

Previously on Adam Riff™:

October 2017
il corvo / nue / revel / xi'an noodles / mean sandwich / eltana / hello robin / chinapie / navy strength / teku tavern / pie bar / hot cakes / eden hill / bateau / trove / salumi artisan cured meats / rachel's ginger beer / no anchor / meat and bread / junebaby / hot cakes / tacos chukis / metropolitan market / macrina bakery / le petit cochon / pablo y pablo / joule / mean sandwich / ma'ono / trophy cupcakes / shorty's / teku tavern / georgetown liquor company / lowercase brewing / chuck's hop shop / twilight exit / cycene / macrina bakery / metropolitan market / eltana

Grilled Pickled Pig Tongue (Le Petit Cochon)
beer mustard, dilly tots, seed relish, apple jam, salt and pepper cabbage, tobacco

^ I was disgusted at myself after cleaning the plate.

Ghost Pepper Pork Tartare (Le Petit Cochon)
bonito aioli, nori, kumquat, mac nuts
—There's a reason you don't see many pork tartares.

Lamb Heart Tartare (Navy Strength)
yolk jam, ikura, taro chips

Anderson Ranch Lamb Tartare (Eden Hill)
hot mustard, goat milk caramel, petite carrot
—Tasted askew.

Steak Tartare Club (Mean Sandwich)
yuzu kosho mayo, bacon, lettuce, tomato, on sea wolf rye

Grilled Lamb Sandwich with Cheese (Salumi Artisan Cured Meats)
—Saddest lamb sandwich ever. Do better, Mario Batali's family.

Spicy Boudin Sandwich (Cycene)
cajun sausage, hot aioli, pepper jack, scrambled egg, served with home fries

Pepper Roulette (Junebaby)
black eye pea hummus, sour cream
—Just a ramekin of various roasted peppers of varying heat. Based on not being able to find a single photo of this dish, I think I may be the only person to ever order it.

Orange Habanero Chocolate Chip Cookie (Hello Robin)

Rick's Chocolate Apricot Espresso Cookie (Macrina Bakery)
—Bittersweet chocolate chunks are accented with apricot bits and ground espresso.

The Cookie (Metropolitan Market)
two types of belgian chocolate, local flour, toasted walnuts, butter
—I brought four of them home with me.

Lamb Belly 'Carnitas' Taco (Pablo y Pablo)
four-chile guacamole, mint, pineapple salsa

Wild Boar Meatballs Taco (Pablo y Pablo)
salsa roja, oaxaca and jack cheese, onion, cilantro

Adobada Taco (Tacos Chukis)
marinated pork cooked al pastor, topped off with a slice of sweet grilled pineapple

^ Maybe re-think the size of the pineapple.

No. 4 Ice Cream and Peanut Wrap [Taiwanese Brrrr-rito] (Nue)
pineapple ice cream, peanut ice cream, crunchy peanut toffee crumb, and cilantro leaves wrapped in a thin spring roll wrapper
—Maybe use a softer spring roll wrapper.

Mint Ice Cream (Navy Strength)
chocolate, potato chip crumble, root beer glaze

^ The texture of the ice cream was off-putting. It was like eating spearmint gum.

Fish Sauce Caesar [Salad] (Navy Strength)
paneer, nasturtium, pretzel croutons
—Its dressing is not made with anchovies, but with fish sauce made with anchovies.

Uncle Sau Pizza (Chinapie)
caramel fish sauce, pork, cilantro pesto, jalapeño, fresh mozzarella, grana

The Chowder Pizza (Chinapie)
potato, house-made rolled smoked bacon, taylor shellfish clams, bechamel, rosemary, mozzarella

^ Things that make you go "hmm…"

Shrimp Cocktail 2.0 (Joule)
chinese celery, pork belly, ginger beer

Reuben Mille Feuille (Bateau)
smoked brisket and belly, purple cabbage, russian dressing, rye

^ Style over substance.

Carpaccio (Bateau)
coffee aioli, marinated spring onions, spicy greens, onion ash

[Off-Menu] Bateau Burger (Bateau)
dry-aged grass-fed beef, onion jam, aioli, on a house-made semolina bun
Bon Appétit: "The burger to end all burgers."

The Mean Sandwich (Mean Sandwich)
thick-cut corned beef, pickled red cabbage, yellow mustard, mint, maple syrup

Skins and Ins (Mean Sandwich)
fried baked potato chunks and their skins

^ Fries 2.0.

Crispy Pig Ear
pickled onions, pecan butter, honey

^ I did not want to stop eating this.

Everything Bagel Pancake (Revel)
smoked whitefish, preserved lemon aioli

Wasabi Cream Cheese (Eltana)
—Good morning!

Za'atar and Scallion Cream Cheese (Eltana)

Honeydew Pineapple Spinach Hotter Pop (Hot Cakes)
–A house-made Otter Pop.

P.O.G. Life (Trove)
guava sorbet with passion fruit jello and orange ribbon

Strawberry Lemonade Cupcake (Trophy Cupcakes)

Black Forest Cake (Joule)
thai chili pomegranate glaze, condensed milk

(Revel) Server: Are you a pastry chef?
Jon: Heh. No.
(Revel) Server: Because no one has ever ordered all of the desserts before.

Revel Motherload (Revel)
miso caramel brownie tart, pretzel crust, toasted marshmallow, gochujang ganache, fried chocolate

Bingsoo Revival (Revel)
tropical punch tapioca, passion fruit mousse, black currant granita, guava jello, white chocolate crunch

Mochi Churro (Revel)
buttermilk mochi churro, kaffir lime, crème fraîche caramel, strawberry hibiscus jam

^ Mochi is not a good texture for churros.

Sheep's Cheese Churros (Eden Hill)
cherry tomato, black garlic, sesame, lovage

^ Better churros.

Cauliflower Chilaquiles (Eden Hill)
manchego, lime crema, serrano hot sauce, shishito, curtido

^ …and a worse play on Mexican food.

Taiwanese Chicken Heart Poppers (Nue)
crispy fried marinated chicken hearts, garlic, and scallion, served with rice wine and chili oil dipping sauce

Chicken Pho Soup Dumplings (Chinapie)
charred onion, ginger, scallion, mint
—Lack soup.

Eat the Entire Menu (No Anchor)

^ Split three ways, it was still filling.

Some changes:

Our Raw Puget Sound Oyster featured dill oil instead of spruce oil. Our Glazed Lamb Sweetbreads featured elderberry, pickled elderflower, and celery root instead of cherry tomatoes, smoked yolk, and romano beans. Our Grilled Wagyu Steak featured ceps and pommes purée instead of cherries and seasonal mushrooms. And instead of Vanilla Cream Cheese Custard:

Concord Grape Sorbet (No Anchor)
vanilla pumpkin pudding, pepita praline, sake lees ice


Thai Mang Da Na (Nue)
three large thai water beetles with intense flavours of fruit, flowers, candy, and salt

^ I couldn't do it.

Cornflake-Crusted Chicken Livers (Radiator Whiskey)
frank's redhot, aioli

Fried Beef Lip Terrine (Radiator Whiskey)

Lamb Neck Sloppy Joe (Radiator Whiskey)
coleslaw, fried onions, bun

The LPC Pig Mac (Le Petit Cochon)
olsen farm pig burger, sliced smoked pork belly, salt cured foie, plum jam, onion rings, truffle aioli, arugula pistou, red onion, salt and vinegar chips

^ $32 burger.

Sherried Duck Hearts (Le Petit Cochon)
grit cake, burnt eggplant purée, fennel cream spinach, pine nut vin, apricot

Flank Steak "Jerky" (Gather)
marinated in lemongrass, ginger, and fish sauce

Neli Pizza (Chinapie)
chicken tikka masala sausage, tomato cream curry, jalapeño, pickled onions, aged mozzarella, goat cheese

Japanese Clam Chowder (Iconiq)
white miso soy, daikon, bacon, seaweed butter bread

Beer-Battered Nori Dumplings (Cook Weaver)
kimchi, tahini sauce

Braised Brisket with Hominy (Cook Weaver)
pickles, fried egg, nori, in the style of bibimbap

Chocolate Chip Cookie with Gray Salt (Delancey)

Sweet and Sour Olive Oil Gummy Bear with Chocolate Truffle (Tarsan i Jane)

Sourdough Pancake [Liquid Nitrogen] Ice Cream (Nue)

Tallow Cake (Bateau)
poached plums, vanilla buttercream, pickled rose

Pine Ice Cream (Bateau)
juniper meringue, warm huckleberries

Blueberry Thrill (Trove)
calamansi frozen custard with blueberry swirl and cornbread cake

Razzmatazz (Trove)
calamansi frozen custard with champagne jello and raspberry pop rocks


Eater's Digest: November 22, 2017

// San Francisco, CA

Salted Caramel Thanksgiving Turkey Ice Cream (Salt and Straw)
we cook turkey stock mixed with sugar, spices, and onions down until it bubbles into a caramel, which creates the base of the salted caramel ice cream; we roast turkey skin until it's crispy and then candy-coat it and mix bits of that in

Buttered Mashed Potatoes and Gravy Ice Cream (Salt and Straw)
we make a potato-flavoured ice cream, thanks to the real potatoes we boil down until the starch turns to sugar, and then stir in our own homemade gravy fudge

Neither tasted like anything. Having not read the description of the Salted Caramel Thanksgiving Turkey Ice Cream beforehand, I detected a bit of candy-coated turkey skin in my mouth and thought it was a bone.

Okay, it's not a bone. [bites down] Toffee? Brittle? Is this the turkey ice cream? Did she scoop a different salted caramel flavour?

Trick or Treat Ice Cream (Little Giant Ice Cream)
swedish fish, candy corn, twizzlers
—Saw this on Instagram earlier this week. Not broken up that it wasn't available when I visited.

I stopped by Ayesha Curry's restaurant (International Smoke) for happy hour.

Chili and Garlic Hominy (International Smoke)
—I didn't taste any chili or garlic, only lime. Easy on the squeeze.

Buttered Curry Cornbread (International Smoke)
—I thought this cornbread contained curry and am just now realizing that it's Curry cornbread, as in Ayesha's recipe. It should be called Ayesha's Buttered Cornbread. I see "international" and "curry" and think Indian cornbread.

"How Much For One Rib?" (International Smoke)
—Pleasantly unexpectedly spicy.


Eater's Digest: October 7, 2017

// Vancouver, BC

My third[?] time in Vancouver during Canadian Thanksgiving weekend.

Showstopper Salad (The Mackenzie Room)
farmer's cheese, pistachio vinaigrette

Chicken of the Sea (The Mackenzie Room)
sea urchin paté, ink brioche, hazelnut, pear

^ Faux liver.

Have Your Cake (The Mackenzie Room)
zucchini cake, nectarine ice cream, black pepper cream

Saffron Honey Panna Cotta (The Mackenzie Room)
plum, mezcal sorbet

(The Black Lodge) is a Twin Peaks-themed vegetarian restaurant and bar in Vancouver. A second Black Lodge location opened in October. Two Black Lodges? Why not a White Lodge?

(La Casa Gelato) serves 238 flavours:

Chocolate-covered fried chicken skin for dessert at (AnnaLena)


Eater's Digest: Toronto 4

Previously on Adam Riff™:

September 2017
doma / p.g. cluck's / le gourmand / flock / p.g. cluck's / death in venice / canis / the fix / jackpot chicken rice / eative film cafe / otto's berlin döner / levetto / the fix / the black hoof / death in venice / flock / uncle mikey's / a game cafe / baro / momofuku daishō / carver / eative film cafe / rasa / wong's ice cream / foxley / the dock ellis sports bar / bake shoppe / square fish / moo frites / schmaltz appetizing / wong's ice cream / lake inez / the carbon bar / grey gardens / brothers / yogen früz / richtree natural market / tasty's caribbean

Pho Horse Carpaccio (The Black Hoof)
burnt ginger mayo, salsa verde, bean sprouts, lime

^ Raw horse meat flavoured to taste just like pho.

Surf and Turf (The Black Hoof)
tomatillo salad

^ Raw shrimp and a pig's feet croquette.

"Clam Chowder" (The Black Hoof)
pickerel cheeks, pickled clams, celery, goldfish crackers

^ A cold remix of the "Pickerel Cheek Potato Salad Thing" listed on the restaurant's website.

(YamChops) is a "plant-based butcher shop." All of the meat in its deli cases is fake.

Tuna Doshi [Donut Sushi] (Square Fish)
bottom: crispy rice with cheese; top: sushi rice, avocado, black sesame; basics: lettuce, crab meat salad, seaweed salad, edamame, sweet corn, mango, cucumber, tempura bits, tobiko, scallion, with house special spicy aioli

^ Disappointingly, not a donut topped with raw fish, but rather a difficult-to-eat stack of poke bowl ingredients. Its base is rice wrapped in cheese and deep-fried until crispy, because sure.

(Wong's Ice Cream) is my new favourite ice creamery in North America. Its cups are Chinese take-out containers.

Dark Chocolate Five-Spice Sorbet (Wong's Ice Cream)
—The richest chocolate sorbet I have ever consumed. It tastes like how a Chinese herb shop smells.

Sriracha Buttered Popcorn Ice Cream (Wong's Ice Cream)
—The sriracha manifests as an aftertaste.

Coconut Mango Sticky Rice Ice Cream (Wong's Ice Cream)
—Contains actual sticky rice.

Black Sesame Ice Cream with Salted Duck Egg (Wong's Ice Cream)
—Like a Chinese version of Baskin-Robbins' Peanut Butter 'N Chocolate Ice Cream.

Hong Kong Milk Tea Ice Cream (Wong's Ice Cream)
Blond Kinako Brown Butter Ice Cream (Wong's Ice Cream)
Pine Needle Pink Lychee Ice Cream (Wong's Ice Cream)

Pad Thai Gelato (Death in Venice)
fish sauce, soy sauce, peanuts, coriander, lime juice, milk, cinnamon, hint of chilli, ginger, and sugar
—Well balanced.

Chocolate Basil Pesto Gelato with Balsamic Reduction (Death in Venice)
Peanut Butter and Croissant Gelato (Death in Venice)

Ruffles Marshmallow Bar (Bake Shoppe)

^ I thought this was a Rice Krispies Treat coated in Ruffles, but it's actually a Rice Krispies Treat made with Ruffles instead of Rice Krispies – and it's works!

Brown Butter Nutella Cookie (Bake Shoppe)
—A chocolate chip cookie with Nutella instead of chocolate chips.

To me, (Doma) was the best of Toronto's best new restaurants of 2017 that I tried [I tried five out of seven]. Its menu changes monthly with some dishes held over.

Gochujang Ratatouille (Doma)
roasted red pepper, tomato, eggplant, zucchini, tofu steak, gochujang


Grilled Octopus (Doma)
cabbage, konyak, bell pepper, pear, seaweed, pickled mustard seeds, korean mustard dressing, cucumber granita

^ The octopus I could take or leave. Its accompaniments, however, were scrumptious.

To me, (Canis) was the worst of Toronto's best new restaurants of 2017 that I tried.

I didn't feel like I was getting my money's worth out of its tasting menu, and then this hoss arrived, as if to say, "Here's your money's worth, bitch.":

Duck, Cabbage, Pearl Onion (Canis)

^ Only the sliced half was edible, though.

OG Duck Chaufa (Baro)
duck confit, rice, edamame, egg, papi kung fu, chile, tobiko, corn
—$35 duck fried rice! Albeit with bits of socorrat. Still, $35!

Also at (Baro): $15 chips and guac!

I sought (Lake Inez) out for its Sichuan-Style Lamb Pappardelle, but alas, the dish had been dropped from its menu.

Fazoletti Verde (Lake Inez)
'handkerchief' pasta with tiger shrimp, fermented chillies, grilled veg, cashews, lime juice, fish sauce

^ A swell consolation dish.

I was amused to discover six or seven single-use washrooms downstairs.

Gigli (Grey Gardens)
cheddar, hot sauce, paprika

^ $21 mac and cheese.

I don't understand this dish. Why is it served with hot sauce on the side? If I'm supposed to eat it with hot sauce, then it should be served with hot sauce already added. This isn't Taco Bell.

Sweetbreads, Creamed Corn (Brothers)

^ Another confusing dish.

Jalapeño and Honey Fried Chicken Sandwich (P.G. Clucks)
honey-dipped chicken, sweet pickled jalapeños, fermented jalapeño sauce, ranch sauce

^ I saw someone receive this sandwich with a honey cruller as the bun and assumed that its bun was a honey cruller. Nope. You have to request a honey cruller as its bun or you will receive it with a standard bun.



Big Cluck (P.G. Clucks)
two pieces of chicken, lettuce, pickles, onions, american cheese, mac sauce

Sir John A McDonald (Big House Pizza)
ground all-beef patties, cheddar cheese, pickles, onion, on a sesame seed crust; topped with lettuce, special sauce




Sea Bream Ceviche with Yuzu and Shiso (Foxley)

Bagel Bread Pudding (Schmaltz Appetizing)
—Unpalatable in both taste and texture.

Cereal Killa Prawns (Jackpot Chicken Rice)
butterflied jumbo shrimp, wheat cereal, red chilli, curry leaf, golden egg floss

Complimentary Chili Brown Butter Popcorn (Rasa)

Grasshopper (The Fix)
french mint ice cream, chocolate coating, crushed candy cane, chocolate pearls, fresh mint

Kare Trippa (Uncle Mikey's)
tripe, s&b curry, parmigiano reggiano, grilled sourdough
—A delectable tripe curry.

The Kentucky Pecan Pie (The Carbon Bar)
pecans, 72% bitter chocolate, lot 40 rye cream, pecan brittle

Milk Sorbet, Walnut, White Chocolate (Canis)

Peking Duck Pizza (Levetto)
duck, cucumber, and scallion salad; hoisin sauce, duck crackling

Sweet Ontario Corn (Uncle Mikey's)
grilled, served off the cob; kimchi duck fat, canadian feta


Ziggy Stardust Disco Egg (La Banane)

^ A hand-painted chocolate egg filled with chocolate truffles. I trekked to (La Banane) to try one, but then learned that one costs $50.

$45 Caviar Bagel (Schmaltz Appetizing)
50 grams of american sturgeon caviar with sliced eggs and cream cheese

French Tacos (Mister Frenchy)

Burritos that contain Chow Mein Noodles instead of Rice (Chino Locos)

Mac and Cheeto Burrito (Junked Food Co.)
creamy cheddar mac and cheese, flamin' hot cheetos, lettuce, pico de gallo, cheddar, black olives, sour cream, chili sauce, and jalapeño in a tortilla wrap

Cheese Ribs (James Cheese Back Ribs)
pork back ribs slow-cooked and roasted in house korean bbq sauce; served over molten mozzarella cheese

^ Wyd, Korea?

Shrimp Toast with Laksa Sauce (Jackpot Chicken Rice)
chinese dough fritter, crab paste, coconut curry

^ Youtiao as the bread.

Charred Scallop Ceviche (Jackpot Chicken Rice)
pei scallop, watermelon, chrysanthemum, jalapeño, fried garlic, nam chim

Grilled Beef Heart with Chili Lime Salsa (Foxley)

Roasted Pig's Head Nachos (Bar Hop)

Lobster Nachos (Good Catch Boil House)

Jerk Lasagna (Rasta Pasta)
jerk chicken nestled between layers of lasagna in your choice of alfredo or rose sauce

Jerk Shawarma (Chris Jerk)

Habanero Cruller (Richmond Station)
oolong, coconut, juniper, lime, pineapple, banana mint

Cucumber and Gin (Richmond Station)
jasmine pudding, cucumber jellies, gin lime cloud, jasmine rice sherbet

Toronto Island (The Fix)
vanilla soft serve, lake blue jelly, boat and human cookies

My Little Pony: The Movie Frozen Yogurt (Yogurty's)
blue: white chocolate; pink: cotton candy

Summer Halo Halo (Lake Inez)
strawberry sorbet, coconut granita, cherries, peach gelée, stewed plums, thai basil, rice krispies

Chocolate Bourbon Skull (The Carbon Bar)
bitter chocolate, woodford reserve butter ganache, pecan

Named after Weezer's second album.

Sooo… Queens Pizzeria?


Eater's Digest: September 29, 2017

Trying out single-day digests for local eating.

San Francisco, CA
salt and straw / the saratoga / media noche / wesburger 'n' more

Creepy Crawly Critters Ice Cream (Salt and Straw)
matcha ice cream spiked with zesty orange, hiding real dark chocolate-covered crickets and coconut toffee-brittle mealworms
—The crickets and mealworms are negligible. It's basically matcha ice cream with some textural bits.

Roasted Strawberry Tres Leches Ice Cream (Salt and Straw)
rich strawberry ice cream made with roasted oxnard strawberries, a touch of salt, sweet cream, creamy tres leches cake, a swirl of bright strawberry vanilla jam

Peach Vinegar Cobbler with Toasted Nutmeg Ice Cream (Salt and Straw)
salted vanilla ice cream with a hint of toasted nutmeg, jammy california peaches roasted in peach vinegar, toasted nutmeg crumble
—The vinegar works!

Green Chartreuse-Glazed Doughnut (The Saratoga)
chocolate old-fashioned, rainbow sprinkles

^ Chartreuse is a French herbal liqueur distilled by monks through a secret process known only to them.

I couldn't discern the Chartreuse glaze, but I think I felt it in my throat after eating the doughnut, though that may have been the peppermint Orbit gum I was chewing beforehand.

El Cubano Sandwich (Media Noche)
roasted mojo pork shoulder, smoked ham, swiss, house pickles, mustard
—A case of "second time not as dynamite as the first."

Previously at Media Noche:

Mi Abuelita Favorita Moon Bar (Media Noche)
guava cheesecake ice cream dipped in chocolate, crushed maria cookies

^ The ice cream is made with water buffalo milk.

PB&J Burger (WesBurger 'N' More)
6oz patty with peanut butter, onion rings, jalapeño strawberry jam, and sharp cheddar
—Didn't really taste like anything.

Queso (WesBurger 'N' More)
—Like Franklin ruined brisket for me, Torchy's ruined queso. Few other quesos compare.

Previously at WesBurger:

Nashville Hot Chicken Sandwich (WesBurger 'N' More)
buttermilk-battered, extra crispy fried chicken dipped in house nashville spice mix, served with garlic mayo, lettuce, and pickles

Fried Chicken Burrito (WesBurger 'N' More)
fried chicken, pintos, corn salad, avocado, crema, cheese, and salsa


Scotchy, Scotch, Scotch Pudding (The Saratoga)
black label scotch caramel

Jerk Salad (WesBurger 'N' More)
jerked chicken, pickled veg, peach, avo, tomato, fried shallot, romaine


Eater's Digest: Las Vegas 5

This was supposed to be longer, but I didn't end up returning this past weekend.

August 2017
sparrow + wolf / jaburritos / secret pizza / tipsy robot / tacos el gordo / taco bell cantina / chada thai / ameriCAN beer bar

Bento Box (Sparrow + Wolf)
a three-tier selection of premium oysters, shellfish, cured meats, terrines, and seasonal condiments

^ $75 appetizer.

Chinatown Clams Casino (Sparrow + Wolf)
lap cheong, shiitake mushroom, uni hollandaise

Beef Cheek and Bone Marrow Dumpling (Sparrow + Wolf)
green onion emulsion

Coal Roasted Beets and Endive (Sparrow + Wolf)
pea shoots, oro blanco, shaved fennel, sheep's milk blue, and bird seed

^ I cleaned the plate of bird seed.

(Sparrow + Wolf) shares a building with

Drew texts me this image:

Jon: Is this Vegas?
Drew: No, Philly.
Jon: Huh. Because I have a Pokéman in my notes for Vegas.

Jon: Gotta try them all?

Sushi Cupcakes (Jaburritos)

^ Like miniature sushi bowls in crispy wonton shells.

Smoked Salmon Cupcake (Jaburritos)
smoked salmon, red onion, dill, cream cheese, garnished with dill and masago

Spicy Surimi Crab Cupcake (Jaburritos)
spicy surimi crab, guacamole, cream cheese, garnished with togarashi

Spicy Tuna Cupcake (Jaburritos)
spicy tuna, spicy mayo, eel sauce, garnished with cucumber and crispy garlic

White Pie (Secret Pizza)

^ Still.

At (Tipsy Robot), you order a cocktail on a tablet, choosing a specialty cocktail or creating one of your own, and then watch a robotic arm make your order.


Sausage and Stout Pizza (Pizza Rock)
honey-malted guinness beer dough, house-made mozzarella, house-made beer sausage, caramelized onions, fontina cheese, green onion, crushed red peppers, beer salt, drizzled with a sweet guinness reduction

Palace Pan Roast (The Oyster Bar)
shrimp, crab, chicken, and andouille sausage

^ David Chang: "It's the best dish in Las Vegas."


Eater's Digest: Chicago 2

Previously on Adam Riff™:

Bon Appétit: "Chicago is the 2017 Restaurant City of the Year."

August 2017
girl and the goat / little goat diner / harold's chicken / irazu / weber's bakery / pequod's pizza / split rail / sultan's market / fat rice / cafecito / arbor / the doughnut vault / the ruin daily / half acre tap room / taco bell / the riot feast / jeni's / city mouse / longman and eagle / wyler road / split rail / orange / frontera grill / giant / bang bang pie and biscuits / fat rice bakery / mi tocaya antojería / emporium arcade bar / emporium popups: the upside down / panes bread cafe / piece brewery and pizzeria / sultan's market / dimo's pizza / wyler road

(Fat Rice) is Macanese cuisine, generally described as Chinese-Portuguese fusion.

Arroz Gordo (Fat Rice)
jasmine rice laced with sofrito, chorizo, and salted duck; topped with curried chicken thighs, char siu pork, linguiça sausage, chilli prawns, steamed clams, chicken fat-fried croutons, and olives; served with mushroom soy and diablo hot sauce

^ The celebratory dish of Macau, reminiscent of paella.

Curry Cabbage (Fat Rice)
turmeric, mustard seed, curry leaf
—Golden kimchi.

Pastel de Nata (Fat Rice)
egg custard, puff pastry, love and secrets
—I don't care for egg tarts, but if you like them, you should seek out (Fat Rice)'s.

Macau Rice Crisp (Fat Rice)
pork floss, nori, fish sauce caramel

^ On its own, it was an unexceptional, savoury-skewing Rice Krispies treat. Dipped in the fish sauce caramel, it was oddly enjoyable.

"The Donettes" (Girl and the Goat)
blue​ cheese caramel, cashew praline ice cream, fresh fig compote

Smoked Pork and Toffee Crunch Shake (Little Goat Diner)
—Sickeningly porky.

Wood Oven Roasted Pig Face (Girl and the Goat)
sunny-side egg, tamarind, cilantro, red wine maple, potato stix

Duck Tongues (Girl and the Goat)
tuna and black bean poke, piri piri

^ Fried tongues and raw fish.

Blueberry Pickled Pepper Corn Bread (Girl and the Goat)
honey butter, cherry relish
—Its accompanying cherry relish [cherries in olive oil and balsamic vinegar?] was bomb.

Blue Corn Bread (Arbor)
coffee butter
—Its accompanying coffee butter was sublime.

Tucked away on the second floor of an office building, the Midwestern Omakase at (Arbor) is a garden-to-table experience at the whim of the kitchen.

Tomato Cobbler (Arbor)

^ Like a Greek salad, but hot.

Feel Good Salad of the Summer
zucchini, squash, tomato, olive oil, feta ch-ch-ch-ch-ch-ch-cheese

^ Ecstasy.

(The Riot Feast) is pop-up restaurant with a Riot Fest-inspired tasting menu:

Jon: Oh! MxPx!
Chad: No, it's Less Than Jake.
Jon: Blimey, you're right.

Have Mercy! Cornbread (The Riot Feast)
john stamos butter

Never Mind the Chicken, Here's the Funnel Cakes (The Riot Feast)
chicago-style hot chicken, sport pepper hot sauce, pickles, celery salt, poppy seed funnel cake, destroy

^ A chicken and waffles-inspired play on a Chicago-style hot dog.

♫ "History of a Boring Town"
Jon: Okay, this is Less Than Jake.
Chad: Is it?
Jon: Dude, this was a radio single!
Jon: My problem with this song is that they don't reprise the chorus after the bridge. The chorus is the best part!

Party Hard Potion (The Riot Feast)
shaved ice, orange red bull syrup, sweet comb honey, vanilla
—I ordered this as a drink, not expecting it to be a snowcone – a foul one, spoiled by vanilla.

Mac and Beer Cheese (Wyler Road)
fried sage, buttercrumb

Plain Housemade Chips (Wyler Road)
Spicy Housemade Chips (Wyler Road)
—Addictive, thick potato crisps.

Born on the Bayou Pizza (Dimo's Pizza)
andouille and blackened chicken on top of a seafood gumbo base topped with a creole aioli

Breakfast of Champions Pizza (Dimo's Pizza)
scrambled eggs, chorizo, and home fries on a white sauce base topped with green onions and spicy mayo

^ Interesting, but bland pizzas.

Hot Doug's, and the very idea of it, was a cosmic event. We will never again in our lifetime see a restaurant where devotees stand in line for 12 hours to sample a hot dog. [source]

Hot Doug's Atomic Sausage Pizza (Piece Brewery and Pizzeria)
red pizza with pepper jack cheese, caramelized onions, and hot doug's famous atomic sausage [pork with habaneros, serranos, and jalapeños]

^ Tasty, but for its price, should feature more sausage.

Slagel Burger (Longman and Eagle)
widmer's cheddar, bacon, beef fat fries
—A no-frills burger served with a heap of fries.

Slagel Meatballs (Longman and Eagle)
polenta, smoked potato
—A weird appetizer. Meatballs in a bowl of polenta?

Hibiscus Churro (Longman and Eagle)
lime curd, micro cilantro, brûléed goat's milk rice pudding, cajeta, hibiscus and goat's milk ice cream, pepitas

^ A weird, savoury-skewing dessert. The churros are red-violet inside.

Peanut Butter y Lengua (Mi Tocaya Antojería)

^ Peanut-chile sauce and braised beef tongue. I couldn't really discern peanut butter.

Fideos Secos (Mi Tocaya Antojería)
cauliflower, chintextle

^ Bewilderingly unpalatable.

Campechano Taco (Mi Tocaya Antojería)
cochinita, chorizo, carne asada
—Three of my favourite meats in one.

Chucho's Pollo Taco (Mi Tocaya Antojería)
smoked beer can chicken, xoconostle

BBQ Brisket Burrito (Half Acre Tap Room)
smoked beef brisket, buttermilk biscuit, arugula, cheddar and jack cheeses, fried onions
—The crumbled biscuit inside didn't add anything.

(Irazu) is Costa Rican cuisine.

Casado (Irazu)
tender skirt steak; succulent chicken breast, seasonal mixed veggies, grandma's gallo pinto [traditional rice and beans combo], caramelized plantains
—This steak was fucking delicious.

Fajitas, Reimagined (Split Rail)
charred prime sirloin, creamy masa, fajita flavours

^ Masa approaching a Cream of Wheat texture forms a [tortilla] canvas for dollops of pureed onion, avocado, and red pepper and a fan of seared sirloin slices draped with pickled jalapeño.

An admirable, if unsuccessful, play on fajitas. Dug the char on the sirloin, though.

Loaded Baked Potato Gnocchi (Split Rail)
house bacon, sour cream, hook's five year cheddar, crispy potato skins

^ This re-imagining of a loaded baked potato, however, is a winner.

Aunt T's Pretzel Surprise (Split Rail)
whipped topping, strawberry-orange jell-o, salted pretzel

^ I dreaded trying this, but it is scrumptious.

Its strata:
more pretzel + some more whipped cream
most whipped cream [not pictured]
pretzel [not pictured]

Banana Split Torte (Weber's Bakery)
a layer of banana cake, banana custard, fresh bananas, whipped cream, a layer of chocolate cake, fresh strawberries, another layer of banana cake, more whipped cream

^ Also known as "Atomic Cake."

The Atomic Cake has been the centerpiece of choice at birthday celebrations and other rites of passage, from first to last, for generations of Chicagoans on the South Side. [source]

Frushi (Orange)

^ Fresh fruit and sweet rice.

(Orange) also offers a themed Pancake Flight of four stacks of silver dollar pancakes. Themes change weekly. I wonder if I just drew a mediocre theme: Smoothies.

1. Pineapple-Mango (Orange)
pancakes with diced pineapple, mango yogurt, whipped cream, and fresh mint

2. Wildberry (Orange)
pancakes with raspberry sauce, blueberry yogurt, and fresh blackberries

3. Chocolate-Banana (Orange)
chocolate chip pancakes topped with banana-yogurt whipped cream, lightly drizzled with chocolate sauce

4. Almond-Plums (Orange)
pancakes with cooked plums topped with almond cream sauce, whipped cream, and toasted almonds

The Upside Down is a Stranger Things pop-up bar.

(Emporium Popups)

(Giant) is "the sixth best new restaurant in America."

A Little Biscuit (Giant)
jalapeño butter
—Damn good biscuit.

Thai Chili Sweet Corn (Giant)
tiny shrimp and peanuts

^ A crackin' corn dish.

Jonah Crab Salad (Giant)
waffle fries, cocktail sauce

^ Pleasantly light and fresh.

Pici, with Chew (Giant)
jalapeño and bacon

^ Unusual, fat, chewy spaghetti.

Black and White Babka (Giant)
banana ice cream, peaches and blackberries


Chocolate Pecan Pie (Frontera Grill)
with kahlúa whipped cream

Guava and Cheese Pastry (Cafecito)

Cubano (Cafecito)
roasted pork, ham, swiss, pickles, mustard
"The best Cuban sandwich in Chicago."

Gym Shoe Sandwich (The Ruin Daily)
sliced lamb, corned beef, roast beef, tzatziki mayo, giardiniera, shredded lettuce, italian baguette

Gas Station Sandwich (City Mouse)
hash brown, egg, cheese, grape jelly, sausage, michigan-grown fruit
—The Michigan-grown fruit is its side, not part of the sandwich.

Mocha Coconut Crunch Old Fashioned Doughnut (The Doughnut Vault)
Apple Fritter (The Doughnut Vault)

Sweet Cream Biscuits and Peach Jam Ice Cream (Jeni's)
Mocha Black Cherry Ice Cream (Jeni's)


Hot Dog Bun Chicago-Style (Fat Rice Bakery)
vienna beef, classic fixin's

^ Alas, the hot dog buns available when I visited were not Chicago-style.

(Kimski) is dubious Korean-Polish fusion.

Maria's Standard (Kimski)
house recipe, soju mustard, buns from spoken bird in pilsen, kraut chi made with co-op, scallions, sesame seeds, and side of fries

Mizeria Chap Chae (Kimski)
sweet potato starch noodles dressed in a salted cucumber sour cream salad with dill, lemon zest, scallions, sesame seeds, micros

Phozole (Spotted Monkey)
beef-based pho broth cooked with star anise, cinnamon, and cloves and infused with a mix of mexican mild chilies; served with rice noodles and garnished with bean sprouts, cilantro, and basil; pork or chicken

(Saucy Porka) and its sister restaurant (Spotted Monkey) are Latin-Asian fusion.

Asian Style Paella (Saucy Porka)
served with chinese lap chang pork sausage, spicy sausage, pork carnitas, edamame, bean sprouts, scallions

Ropa Vieja Banh Mi (Spotted Monkey)
shredded beef marinated in orange juice with ancho and pasilla chilies served in french baguette and topped with kimchi and mayo

Guatemalan Donuts "Rellenitos" (Spotted Monkey)
filled with asian red beans

Pineapple Pork Fried Rice Burrito (Half Acre Tap Room)
roasted pork loin, fried rice, peppers, scallions, broccolini, grilled pineapple salsa, ginger, cilantro

Kimchi and Oaxaca Empanadas (Mott Street)
masa shell served with chimichurri crème fraîche

(Taco in a Bag)

Everything Wings (Mott Street)
crispy wings glazed with soy, jaggery, and dried chilis; tossed with sesame, poppy seed, fried shallots, and served with tzatziki

Pastrami-Spiced Carrots (The Kennison)
kraut, beets, horseradish, caraway

Bread (Mott Street)
potato and onion bread, leek-curry butter, soft baked egg

Guava-Q Sandwich (Cafecito)
roasted pork or chicken, caramelized onions, guava bbq sauce, jicama slaw

All-Day Breakfast Sandwich (Wyler Road)
pork belly, egg, hook's cheddar, persimmon salsa, chicharrón, brioche

Peach Chutney Broccoli (Giant)
with pine nut and crescenza cheese

Bowl of Awesome (Mott Street)
chlorophyll, yogurt, raw honey, bee pollen, hemp seeds, sprouted buckwheat, amaranth

(Protein Bar)

Oatmeal Shake (Irazu)

Japanese Whiskey-Glazed Doughnut (Kitsune)

Bacon Tempura (Twisted Spoke)
deep-fried bacon in tempura batter with ponzu sauce for dipping

Fried Pig's Tail (Cellar Door Provisions)
cucumber, yogurt, barbecue sauce
—For breakfast!

Fried Chicken and Churros (Mi Tocaya Antojería)
—Only available on Sundays.

Deep Fried Oreos (Lowcountry)

^ Battered in Rice Krispies.

French Fries and Ice Cream (EL Ideas)
potato, leek, vanilla

Vanilla Cajeta Ice Cream (Giant)
strawberry and pecan

^ A play on Good Humor Strawberry Shortcake dessert bars.

Cupcake Pancakes (Southport Grocery and Cafe)
cupcake batter poured on the griddle, served with vanilla butter and local pure maple syrup

Bread Pudding Pancakes (Southport Grocery and Cafe)
pancakes made of gooey bread pudding topped with cinnamon-sugar butter and vanilla anglaise

Duck Egg and Crème Fraîche Semifreddo (Longman and Eagle)
sorrel/basil sponge cake, wild rice brittle, sorbet

Twin Peaks Dinner (Elizabeth)
—[sigh] I'm flagellating myself for not knowing about these, and that I could have attended one whilst in town.

Twigs (Elizabeth)

A twist on bread service, malted "twigs" incorporated their signature foraged ingredients—this actually included a paste made from ants. [source]

Build a Salad (Elizabeth)

"Laura's Diary" had a beautiful presentation, served inside a hollowed out book with beet juice inside a syringe, an edible orchid, and a tiny bag of lemongrass powder meant to simulate cocaine. [source]

Coconut, Clam, Jicama Salad (Elizabeth)

Coffee Ice Cream? (Elizabeth)


Eater's Digest: Los Angeles 5

Previously on Adam Riff™:

This is the last of my formidable backlog of food notes that I desperately needed to clear. Some dishes I tried are no longer available. So it goes.

August 2016 – March 2017
b sweet dessert bar / belcampo / birch / the carving board / cassell's hamburgers / the chairman / chichen itza / destroyer / erven / here's looking at you / hoke poke / kato / the korean mkt. / lemonade / little tart / mad pambazos / the mar vista / octopus / park's bbq / popdup / the pie hole / plan check / pot cafe / public school 213 / revolutionario / salt and straw / seasalt / terracotta / tomgeorge / ugly drum / villa moreliana / westbound / zankou chicken

Rockin' Roe Bowl (The Korean Mkt.)
assorted fish roe, uni, and pickled veggies over seasoned rice

^ For your eyes only.

Chicken Confit (Destroyer)
yukon gold potato, aged cheese, yuzu, hazelnut

^ Jordan Kahn is a pretentious chef, but this was yummy. The chicken is not visible.

Khinkali (Tumanyan Khinkali Factory)
large, filled georgian dumpling
—Its pinched top was nigh inedible.

Spaghetti and Meatballwich (The Carving Board)
sliced all-beef meatballs topped with a homemade marinara and melted mozzarella, served between parmesan spaghetti bread with extra marinara on the side

^ Also nigh inedible: This spaghetti bread.

(Mad Pambazos) is a Mad Max-themed food truck.

Toecutter (Mad Pambazos)
guajillo-braised goat shoulder, oaxaca cheese, cabbage salad, pickled jalapeño, cotija, and crema

^ The bun is dipped in a salsa roja before crisping up on the grill. This creates a crust of slightly dried salsa that surrounds the bread, giving it a distinct red sheen.


"Samoa" Cookie Bread Pudding (B Sweet Dessert Bar)

BLT Panzanella (Lemonade)
turkey, bacon, avocado, tomatoes, arugula vinaigrette
—One of the few items worth ordering at (Lemonade).

Butter Chicken Crispy Rice Balls (Birch)
cucumber yogurt, mint, cilantro

Overheard at Smorgasburg LA:

"Is there actually llama in there?"
"It's Peruvian!"

(Revolutionario) is "the first and only North African Taco restaurant in the world."

Duck Hash Taco (Revolutionario)

(Tomgeorge) is "Budapest's #1 Italian restaurant."

Nutella Pizza (Tomgeorge)
strawberries, banana, almonds, whipped cream

(Kato) serves an ever-changing contemporary Taiwanese tasting menu.

Smoked Hamachi (Kato)
charred scallion sauce, lightly pickled cucumbers

Crispy Rice (Kato)
kale, mushrooms, soft scrambled egg

Buttermilk Pudding (Kato)
rose ice

The Makgeolli (Terracotta)
passion fruit cream, banana ice cream, makgeolli foam

^ Used in the foam, Makgeolli is Korea's oldest alcoholic beverage.

Sweet Potato Crack Fries (Little Tart)
sweet potato fries served with housemade bacon honey, topped with green onions and peanuts

^ I am not a fan of sweet potato, but these were addictive.

[Complimentary] Popcorn (Westbound)
distilled vinegar powder, onion powder, garlic powder, salt
—As was this, which is supposed to taste like Cool Ranch Doritos.


Compartes' Spring Awakening Ice Cream (Salt and Straw)
freeze-dried strawberries, raspberries, and blueberries coated in milk chocolate and stirred into milk chocolate ice cream with a kick of strawberry vanilla jam

^ I am not a fan of milk chocolate, but this was scrumptious.

Twenty-Four Blackbirds' Matcha Mint Chocolate Ganache Ice Cream (Salt and Straw)
mint ganache truffles stirred into matcha ice cream with a touch of citrus
—The texture of the truffles was not one that I had encountered before in ice cream.

K-Pop (Terracotta)
chocolate cream, banana-caramel, chocolate crunch
—Heh. Koreatown, popsicle, get it?

112 "Peaches and Cream" (Westbound)
grilled peaches, ginger beer gelée, peach cream, apple celery sorbet

Duck Nuggets (Birch)
pickled veggies

^ Well, one nugget…

(Erven) was the best vegan restaurant that I have ever dined at.

This past June, (Erven) overhauled its menu, adding meat and dairy. Most everything vegan that Hugo and I feasted on [Sauerkraut Fry Bread with smoky apple sauce, Seaweed "Doritos," Pretzel Bread Pudding, Green Onion Spaghetti, et cetera] is memorialized here.

Beer-Battered Tofu Sandwich (Erven)
with slaw, thick pickle, and manchamantel

Fennel Cake (Erven)
with rhubarb-balsalmic jam, iced pecan milk, and dried strawberries

Black Sesame Cake (Erven)
with passion fruit custard, cilantro sorbet, and coconut meringue


Smoked Trout Dip (Erven)
with "everything bagel-spiced" beet churros

"Thai Style" Burrito (Erven)
with fried rice, tempura sweet potato, lime cream, peanuts, and tom yum gravy

Dragon's Breath (Chocolate Chair)

^ A cup of fruity cereal is blasted with flavourless liquid nitrogen. The result? You get to look like a dragon, while dipping the icy cold cereal in sauces like chocolate, mint, and rose.


Eater's Digest: New York City 4

Previously on Adam Riff™:

I have a formidable backlog of food notes on New York City dating back to fall 2013 that I desperately need to clear. Some restaurants I tried have closed. Some dishes I tried are no longer available.

Emptying the clip:

Fall 2013 – December 2016
alder / amy's bread / arepa lady / atoboy / baked / biang! / blue ribbon fried chicken / big smoke burger / bolivian llama party / breads bakery / the cecil / contra / cosme / court street grocers / cranky's cafe / delaney barbecue / delaware and hudson / desi shack / dinnertable / dominique ansel kitchen / dorado tacos / dough loco / the doughnut plant / the doughnut project / ducks eatery / dutch kills centraal / earl's beer and cheese / empellón cocina / empire biscuit / fuku / fuku+ / the gander / glady's / han dynasty / hey hey canteen / hometown bar-b-que / hill country chicken / hometown hotpot and bbq / jeepney / la boulangerie / levain bakery / los mariscos / los tacos no. 1 / martha's country bakery / meat hook sandwich shop / mighty quinn's / mile end / milk bar / mofon go / momofuku nishi / momofuku ssäm bar / morgan's barbecue / mp taverna / mr. bing / the nugget spot / num pang / nutella bar at eataly / oiji / otto's tacos / pacifico's fine foods / pearl's / piora / presstea / queens comfort / red hook lobster pound / rider / root and bone / schmackary's / snowdonia / somtum der / sticky's finger joint / sunday in brooklyn / sweets first bakeshoppe and cafe / takumi taco / the thirsty koala / tompkins square bagels / toro / tortillería nixtamal / tres carnes / union fare / wallflower / west 3rd common / white bear / wilma jean / xi'an famous foods

The "gone but not forgotten" stuff at the end aside, everything featured below is currently open and available.

Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Cream Cheese (Tompkins Square Bagels)
Birthday Cake Cream Cheese (Tompkins Square Bagels)
—Cloying bagel spreads.

The Everything Doughnut (The Doughnut Project)
sweet cream cheese glaze topped with sesame seeds, poppy seeds, pepitas, garlic, and sea salt

^ Bagel donut.

'Those Beetz Are Dope' Doughnut (The Doughnut Project)
beet glaze filled with ricotta whip

'The Bronx' Doughnut (The Doughnut Project)
a simple glaze, with italian olive oil and black pepper

[Mochaccino] Ripple Donut (The Doughnut Plant)
mocha, coffee, milk with cinnamon

^ Three concentric donuts for $24. Flavour combinations vary. The "mochaccino" one I tried was bland and unpleasantly chewy. Not sure why I thought it might be good, because Doughnut Plant sucks.

Fried Sourdough (Sunday in Brooklyn)
beeswax, peach jam

^ A dessert!

Black Cod Pastrami (Sunday in Brooklyn)
rye sour cream, garden pickles

^ Combined with the sour cream, it tastes like a pastrami sandwich.

Cobia al Pastor (Cosme)
pineapple puree, cilantro

^ Fish á la pork.

Duck Carnitas (Cosme)
onions, radishes, cilantro

^ Dry.

Kangaroo Burger (The Thirsty Koala)
akudjura remoullade, caramelized onions, tasmanian pepper berry demi glaze, fresh lettuce, sliced fresh tomato, sliced fresh red onion, ketchup, and sweet chilli sauce
—And drier.

Dry Pepper Fish (Han Dynasty)
triple flash fried with long hot and dry chili peppers

Flying Guillotine (Flattops)
sirloin beef patty, roast duck and shrimp egg roll, a l'orange sauce

^ A burger topped with an egg roll.

Gucci Mane (Flattops)
sirloin beef patty, cap'n crunch crusted bacon, gruyere, french toast brioche, raspberry jam

Pastrami Bombs (Flattops)
yukon gold potato croquettes, homemade pastrami, cornichons, gruyere, chinese mustard

Crispy Uni Paella Ball (Dinnertable)
uni, risotto, smoked tomato creme

^ Crispy? Check. Uni? Check. Paella? Ehh…

(Dinnertable) is a restaurant hidden inside a bar, a bar that [not sure if Con Edison or just Lower East Side] lit its men's washroom with a single anemic candle.

Dinnertable Dog with House Pickles (Dinnertable)
house miso sausage, potato bun, wasabi pea salt, sauces, and market pickles

Matcha Sundae (Dinnertable)
matcha ice cream, miso caramel sauce, fudge, homemade kit kat, more delicious stuff

Husk Meringue (Cosme)
corn mousse

^ I wasn't keen on ordering this dessert, but I'm glad I did. To make the meringue, corn husk leaves are burned and blended into a fine powder that is whipped into egg whites and sugar.

Chicken / Egg (Atoboy)
spicy peanut butter, garlic / sea urchin, watercress, quinoa

^ Chicken on the bottom left, egg on the top right.

Seasonal Rice (Atoboy)

Kamayan (Jeepney)
banana ketchup ribs, kare kare fried chicken, adobong hipon, dinuguan at puto, bicol express, tahong probinsyana, longganisa sausage, bokchoy, garlic rice

^ A large format Filipino feast consumed with your hands – no plates or silverware.

Smoked Whole Goat Neck (Ducks Eatery)
royal curry, bing cherries, rice

Bake and Shark (Pearl's)
fried shark with tamarind, chadon beni, and garlic sauce; pickled slaw, and mango chutney

^ White people gotta gentrify bake and sharks so I can eat them every day.

Calypso Guac and Chips (Pearl's)
caribbean-style guacamole with vegetable chips
—Caribbean-style guac and chips is basically guac and chips.

Fried Chicken Burrito (Wilma Jean)
with hoppin' john fried rice, cheddar cheese, collards

Hong Kong Fried Chicken Sandwich (Hey Hey Canteen)
tamari-palm sugar glazed chicken breast, crispy ramen crust, green mango and radish pickles, umami aioli, bao bun

Spicy Fried Chicken Sandwich (Fuku / Fuku+)
—I appreciate that David Chang uses thigh meat.

Ceci e Pepe (Momofuku Nishi)
butter, chickpea hozon, black pepper
—A play on cacio e pepe that substitutes a chickpea paste fermented in-house for nine months for the traditional pecorino Romano.

Greek Paella (MP Taverna)
shellfish, spicy lamb sausage, and orzo
—Three of my favourites in one. Be prepared to work for the shellfish.

Smashed Fries (MP Taverna)
—Every time I visit New York City now, I trek to Astoria for these fries.

Masa Fries (Otto's Tacos)

S'more Fries (Sticky's Finger Joint)
valrhona cocoa powder, roasted marshmallows, crumbled graham crackers

^ Works!

Garlic Bread Croissant (Dominique Ansel Kitchen)
with garlic confit, fontina cheese, and drizzled with rosemary olive oil

Schmaltz Focaccia (Rider)

Chocolo (Arepa Lady)
ground fresh corn

Spicy Rizzak Sandwich (Tiny's Giant Sandwich Shop)
sliced turkey, crispy bacon, melted cheddar, tomato, onion, spicy chipotle mayo on a toasted sesame semolina hero


Birthday Cake Croissant (Union Fare)

Italian Rainbow Donut (Glaze Donuts)

Bone Marrow Doughnut (The Doughnut Project)
stuffed with bone marrow chocolate pastry cream, topped with clementine glaze

Guacamole-Stuffed Onion Rings (Queens Comfort)
sriracha aioli

Kale Crab Rangoon (Olmsted)
sweet and sour sauce

Snap Pea Sushi (Olmsted)

^ Substitutes snap peas for rice.

Carrot Crepe (Olmsted)
little neck clams, sunflower

"Black Bean" Dip and Chips (Lalito)
cannellini beans, squid ink, black garlic, pickled red onion, banana peppers, cotija cheese

Lamb Barbacoa (Lalito)
tamale gnocchi, cumin, oregano

Pork Carnitas (Lalito)
house made flour tortillas, corn nuts, white sauce

Vegan Chicharrones (Lalito)
hot sauce, vinegar, spirulina

^ A play on duros.

Korean Redneck Tacos (Kimchi Smoke)
smoked pork shoulder, fatboy sauce, korean slaw or kimchi, flour tortilla

Kimchi Paella (Thursday Kitchen)
white tiger shrimp, mussels, saffron, caramelized kimchi, parmigiano

(Oca) serves tapioca crepes.

(Ancolie) serves its meals in jars.


Pub Cheese (Alder)
pistachio/white-fig, martin's "potato chips"

^ Instead of beer to loosen and spike the mix of cheddar and cream cheese, Wylie Dufresne used a red wine reduction seasoned with miso and mustard. To this, he added chips made from Martin's potato bread slices that were rolled flat, buttered, and dried in a low oven.

"Pigs in a Blanket" (Alder)
chinese sausage, japanese mustard, sweet chili sauce

French Onion Soup Rings (Alder)
beef gravy, gruyere

Rye Pasta (Alder)
shaved pastrami jerky, chopped pickled green tomatoes, mustard sauce

^ Pasta-rami sandwich.

Root Beer Pudding (Alder)
whipped cream, smoked cashew nougatine, crushed root beer candies

^ A solidified root beer float.

Quail Eggs on Spicy Pork Sausage and Toasted Mantou Slices (Biang!)

Afro / Asian / American Gumbo (The Cecil)
smoked chicken, chinese chicken sausage, gulf shrimp, crabmeat

Lasagna Bolo (Dinnertable)

Smoked Shortrib Tartare (Dinnertable)
horseradish, marble rye

Ramenrrito (Presstea)
—A burrito that substituted ramen for rice.

Monkey Bread (Piora)

Egg (Piora)
chicken wing, potato, artichoke barigoule
—Italian chef kiss.

Soft Egg (Rider)
foie croutons, sweet sherry yogurt, caviar

Chocolate Tart (Rider)
hazelnut "crunch," cinnamon, and fresno chile ice cream

Texas Billionaire Pie (Hill Country Chicken)
bittersweet chocolate, caramel, marshmallows, pecans

'Seinfeld' Broccoli and Cheese Cupcake (Sweets First Bakeshoppe and Cafe)


Eater's Digest: Charlotte, NC

May 2017
bojangles' famous chicken 'n biscuits / soul gastrolounge / dish / price's chicken coop / sabor latin street grill / sunflour baking company / amélie's french bakery / the king's kitchen / ru ru's tacos and tequila / zaxby's / bojangles' / imani's fusion cafe / zablong / laurel market / midwood smokehouse / the asbury / tin kitchen / the cowfish / the improper pig / cantina 1511 / suárez bakery / seoul food meat co. / king of pops / bojangles'

The "Extra Napkins Please" Sandwich (The Improper Pig)
smoked cajun andouille topped with french fries, smothered with house-made pimento cheese, and sprinkled with scallions; served in a hoagie roll

^ I have a feeling we're not in California anymore.

The sausage was tough.

Shrimp Po Boy Taco (Cantina 1511)
crispy hush-puppy-dusted shrimp with shaved romaine, escabeche tartar sauce, cholula, and fresh roma tomatoes
—A fried shrimp taco, but sweet.

Asian Glazed Pork Belly Tacos (Soul Gastrolounge)
on flour tortillas with watermelon salsa

^ Do it for the 'gram, not for ease of eating.

Dirty South Nachos (Soul Gastrolounge)
fried chicken skin "chips" with a pimento cheese fondue and jalapeño pickled okra

^ Too much cheese fondue for my liking.

Ramen Bowl (Soul Gastrolounge)
noodles tossed in a garlic cream, with braised veal cheeks, goat cheese fried mushrooms, veal glace, and caramelized onion powder

^ Divine veal cheeks, delectable goat cheese fried mushrooms, undercooked noodles.

Duck Banh Fit (Soul Gastrolounge)
foie gras pate, ham-cured duck breast, chili-glazed duck confit, daikon and carrot salad, fresh jalapeño aioli, on a toasted french baguette
—I would never guess that this is a play on a banh mi.

Anchovy Fries (Soul Gastrolounge)
fresh fried whole anchovies with tomato-lemon tartar sauce

Dominican Nachos (Sabor Latin Street Grill)
yuca fries with shredded chicken sauteed with tomato and onion, topped with pico, cabbage cotija cheese, and rosada
—The yuca fries in Sabor's Instagram photo look like fries. What I received was five or six yuca logs.

Arepa (Sabor Latin Street Grill)
venezuelan-style white maize cake filled with shredded chicken, diced tomato, onion, cheese, and rosada sauce
—A surprisingly satisfying arepa sandwich.

Mercado Sandwich (Laurel Market)
roasted turkey, bacon, chipotle pepper spread, pepper jack cheese, lettuce, and tomato

^ One of the best sandwiches I have ever eaten.

The Tripping Goat Pizza (Zablong)
mushroom truffle, roasted local mushroom blend, crumbled goat cheese, fig marsala, crushed red pepper oil, cracked black pepper

^ One of the best pizzas I have ever eaten.

Banana Pudding (Midwood Smokehouse)
—One of the best banana puddings I have ever eaten.

Creamed Potatoes and Gravy (The King's Kitchen)
—One of the best mashed potatoes and gravy I have ever eaten.

// walking toward (The King's Kitchen)
Jon: Wait, is this a Christian restaurant?

Sausage Soufflé (The Asbury)
custard-soaked biscuits, herbs, fontina, sausage

^ "Soufflé" is misleading. It's more of a bread pudding.

Sticky Biscuits (The Asbury)
country ham, goat cheese icing

Maw Maw's Cast Iron Biscuits (The Asbury)
bacon jam
–Lotta biscuit for brunch this day.

BBQ Scallops and Octopus (The Asbury)
poached egg, spring veggies, confit san marzano tomato vinaigrette
—Like, two scallops and three baby octopuses.

Deviled Crawfish Salad Sammy (The Asbury)
'nduja aioli, ember-roasted spring vegetables

(The Cowfish) is a "sushi burger bar."

In its washrooms plays a Pimsleur tape parody translating Japanese and redneck. I chuckled.

The Deliverance Roll – Southern Style Bar-B-Q-shi (The Cowfish)
pulled pork, caramelized onion, and bbq sauce wrapped in soy paper and potato strings, then flash-fried; topped with house-made bacon coleslaw and chives

^ Fried pulled pork sushi.

The 4-S [Sear-iously Sensational Sushi Sandwich] (The Cowfish)
seared koji-marinated tuna and yellowtail, asian slaw, red peppers, daikon sprouts, cucumber, served on grilled spring roll wrapper "buns" filled with kani and sushi rice; served with a side of sambal sesame soy

^ Its buns are grilled spring roll wrappers filled with rice and imitation crab:

(Seoul Food Meat Co.) is "southern BBQ with heavy Korean inspiration."

// selecting a protein
Jon: What is Fire Chicken?
Server: It's spicy grilled chicken with melted cheese on top.
Jon: The chicken is covered with cheese?
Server: Yes.
Jon: Okay, I'll have the crispy pork belly.

Crispy Pork Belly (Seoul Food Meat Co.)

Fire Chicken (Seoul Food Meat Co.) looks like Taco Bell.

Sides were a mixed bag.

Sriracha Cracklins (Seoul Food Meat Co.)
—The pork rind kind of cracklins [no meat attached] dusted with a chili powder.

Ram n' Cheese (Seoul Food Meat Co.)

^ Mac and cheese with ramen as the mac.

Should be a ham and cheese sandwich with ramen as the bread, no? Croque ramensieur.

Pimento Corn Cheese (Seoul Food Meat Co.)

^ I mean… Cream cheese and corn with shrimp chips?!


Bo-tato Rounds (Bojangles')
savory potatoes, fried to a golden brown with just the tiniest hint of onion
—Why haven't other fast food chains ripped these off?

Grilled Chicken (Zaxby's)
—"Why can't I stop eating this chicken?" I wondered. Then I realized: "Because it's salty as fuck."

Chana Masala Taco (Tin Kitchen)
stewed chickpeas and mirepoix in coconut curry sauce over kachumber cous cous, topped with crumbled goat cheese

Coleslaw (Midwood Smokehouse)
—A good, clean, slightly spicy slaw.


The Doughnut (Stoke)
brioche dough, diplomat cream, heath bar crumble

^ It weighs one pound.

Banana Pudding Layered Pancakes (Tupelo Honey)
sweet potato pancakes, foster rum sauce

The No. 6 Bowl (Earl's Grocery)
duck confit and beet hash, farm egg, barrel slaw, tko sauce

Korean Dipped Chicken Biscuit (Earl's Grocery)
fried chicken breast, sweet and spicy sesame dip, seoul pickle aioli, house white lilly flour biscuit

Shortcake Salad (Earl's Grocery)
grilled chicken, mixed greens, strawberries, nc goat cheese, walnuts, biscuit croutons, champagne vinaigrette

(The Mayobird) is a restaurant that specializes in…chicken salad. Choose from 16 different chicken salads.

Flavors of Chicken Pot Pie (The Asbury)
whipped potatoes, spring vegetables, biscuit, roasted lemon jus

Shrimp and Grits (The Asbury)
coconut and green curry rice grits, roasted mushrooms, tomato broth

The Nature Boy's WOOOOO-shi BuffalOOOOO-shi Roll (The Cowfish)
sautéed chipotle bison, fried green tomato, grilled onions, feta cheese inside; coated with tempura flakes; topped with fresh green tomato, chipotle aioli, diced tomato, red onion, jalapeño pepper

Cody Zeller's "Hoop, There It is!" Burger (The Cowfish)
half-pound beef burger with hoop cheese and fried pork tenderloin, lettuce, pickles, and sweet indiana mustard sauce; brioche bun

Baked Alaska (Essex Bar and Bistro)
layers of strawberry, mango, and caramel gelato with vanilla cake, covered in toasted italian meringue, served with caramel sauce and candied almonds
—Intriguing trio of ice creams.

Sweet Tea and Lemonade Ice Pop (King of Pops)
Blackberry Banana Ice Pop (King of Pops)
Herbs de Provence Ice Pop (King of Pops)


Eater's Digest: Las Vegas 4

Previously on Adam Riff™:

O.M.G. Burger (LVB Burgers)
duck burger stuffed with muenster cheese, smoked ketchup, heirloom tomato, watercress, roasted duck mayo
—Where I began to wonder if I actually love duck, or if I just love Peking duck.

March 2017
morimoto / sugarcane / the buffet at wynn / beauty and essex / the buffet at bellagio / chengdu taste / royce' / sugarcane / the buffet at wynn / yonaka modern japanese / shang artisan noodle / sweets raku / wicked spoon buffet / naked city tavern / bacchanal buffet / sugarcane / bacchanal buffet / tacos el gordo / sushisamba / the buffet at wynn

Ichigo (Sweets Raku)
balloon-shaped thin white chocolate cup filled with pie crust and strawberry mousse, served with strawberry candy filled with strawberry sorbet and condensed milk mousse

^ Standing fuckin' ovation. I was delighted to discover sorbet inside the candy strawberry.

Angel Cream (Sweets Raku)
fromage blanc mousse and pear mousse with earl grey cookies and dark chocolate

Hamachi Tacos (Morimoto)
yuzu kosho, avocado, lime

Petite crunchy raw fish tacos are ubiquitous in Vegas – and I will always order them.

Another trend: Beef cocktails.

Wagyu Manhattan (Morimoto)
iwai whisky, melted wagyu lard, walnut liquor, walnut bitters, burnt orange peel

Wagyu Manhattan (Sugarcane)
wagyu-infused iwai japanese whisky, walnut bitters

Wagyu Old Fashioned (Sushisamba)
japanese whisky treated to a wash of the highest-grade wagyu before being stirred with maple and salted caramel

A barman at (Morimoto) explaining its drink menu: "We have blah blah blah blah blah…and Moromito beers."

Toro Tartare (Morimoto)
wasabi, nori paste, sour cream, sturgeon caviar

^ A clunky deconstruction. My server explaining it: "Toro with blah blah blah blah blah…and Morimoto guacamole."

Tuna Pizza (Morimoto)
anchovy aioli, olives, jalapeno

^ Barman: "As seen on the cover of Morimoto's cookbook." "Are staff paid by how many times they say 'Morimoto'?" I wondered.

Duck Duck Goose (Morimoto)
duck meatball soup, duck confit fried rice, gooseberry compote

^ Rekindled my love of duck. The soup is potent.


(Naked City Tavern) is a smoky, skeezy off-Strip pub that serves some of the most interesting food in Vegas.

Crawfish "Popcorn" (Naked City Tavern)
crispy crawfish tails, butter dust, naked city seven pepper hot sauce

Duck Confit Lasagna (Naked City Tavern)
in-house noodles, duck-laced ragu, fresh mozzarella, pecorino, sweet basil

Bacon Candle (Naked City Tavern)
a square of solidified pork fat with a wick surrounded by a ring of sweet balsamic reduction, two high-end salts, and both bacon and basil powder

I saw a sign outside (Harrah's) promoting a "Bizzurger."

I thought it was white people being lame, but upon closer inspection, it's a burger with pizzas as its buns.

Design Firm: Oh shit! Sbarro's rebrand is due today!

(Miracle Mile Shops)

(Beauty and Essex) is, of course, Chopped judge Chris Santos' chain of restaurants hidden inside pawn shops.

Grilled Cheese, Smoked Bacon, and Tomato Soup Dumplings (Beauty and Essex)

Hand Cut Steak Tartare (Beauty and Essex)
crispy mustard and chive sticky rice cake
—Damn, I love raw proteins served in/on crispy carbs.

"Fish and Chips" Tacos (Beauty and Essex)
beer-battered chilean sea bass, chile-lime slaw, crispy matchstick potatoes

^ The crispy matchstick potatoes are wholly unnecessary, but welcome.

Peanut Butter Pie Sundae (Beauty and Essex)
peanut butter ice cream, chocolate sauce, chocolate chunks, crushed pretzels

^ Vegas Seven named it the best dessert in Vegas. Ehh…

Nutella Sundae (Sugarcane)
nutella ice cream, nutella hazelnut brownie, cracker jacks

^ Nutella ice cream doesn't taste like anything. Nutella isn't good diluted.

Torrejas (Sugarcane)
caramelized apples, maple butter, cinnamon ice cream

^ Oversold to me [it's French toast], but I lapped up every drop of the melted maple butter.

Goat Cheese Croquettes (Sugarcane)
membrillo marmalade

Foie Gras Bastilla (Sugarcane)
pistachio duck leg confit, golden raisin puree

Fat Duck Makimono (Yonaka Modern Japanese)
crispy foie gras, eel, gruyere, bacon, avocado, foie gras caramel, spicy aioli

^ Perplexing sushi. Liver, eel, gruyere, avocado… The crispy foie gras is a garnish?! And the bacon, or what I assume was bacon, was jerky tough.

Chicken Sesame Cold Noodle (Shang Artisan Noodle)
shredded chicken breast, sesame sauce, veggies
—The one time I find this dish on a menu, it's bland.

Boiled Fish with Green Pepper Sauce (Chengdu Taste)

^ If water-boiled fish made with red peppers is a show-er, then this green chili counterpart is a grower. You don't realize how spicy the fish is until your tongue is numb.

Toothpick Lamb with Cumin (Chengdu Taste)

^ You can't go wrong with lamb and cumin. Individually skewering chunks of lamb seems like a waste of toothpicks, though.


Mt. Fuji (Andrea's)

"Pan con Chocolate" (Jaleo)
chocolate custard with caramelized bread, olive oil, and brioche ice cream

"Gin and Tonic" (Jaleo)
gin and tonic sorbet, fizzy tonic "espuma," lemon, and aromatics

Guava Chiffon Pancakes (Cinnamon's Restaurant)

Cookie Dough Baked Alaska (Cut)
baileys, milk chocolate ganache, espresso salt

Graham Central Station Ice Cream (Handel's Homemade Ice Cream and Yogurt)
graham cracker-flavoured ice cream with graham ripple and chocolate-covered honeycomb crunch

Yellowtail "Pastrami" (Morimoto)
togarashi, gin creme fraiche, candied olive, morimoto grapeseed oil


Fiery Salty Caramel Chocolate Tarte (Morimoto)
dark chocolate sorbet, marshmallow, salty caramel ganache, spiced rum


Eater's Digest: 31 Flavours

Man, I consume a lot of ice cream.


Tico Time Ice Cream (Ice and Vice)
pink guava, chili lime plantain chips
—Guava and plantain chips – who knew?

Splinters Ice Cream (Ice and Vice)
smoked whiskey barrel wood ice cream, cracker jack brittle
—A 21+ flavour. I had to show identification to order it, despite not tasting any alcohol. The house-made Cracker Jack brittle is [Italian chef kiss].

(Ice and Vice)'s winter 2016-17 series is…something. From best to worst:

Thai-Phoon Sorbet (Ice and Vice)
thai tea, mango, sumac jaggery
—Tea is an underappreciated ice cream flavour.

On the Rocks Ice Cream (Ice and Vice)
persian black lime, cola, cherry pop rocks
—Pop rocks and Coke with lime.

Photo Bomb Ice Cream (Ice and Vice)
chlorophyll, citron marmalade
Chlorophyll ice cream? Chlorophyll ice cream.

Colt .45 Ice Cream (Ice and Vice)
toasted barley, chicory root, spiced molé
—Yecchh! One of the least palatable ice creams I have ever tried.

Mexican Neapolitan Paleta (La Newyorkina)
—Oaxacan chocolate, Mexican vanilla, and local strawberry.

(La Newyorkina) specialises in artisanal paletas.

Chamoy-Filled Mango Paleta (La Newyorkina)
—Like a chamoyada on a stick.

The Red Hook Paleta (La Newyorkina)
—Stumptown coffee ice cream with chunks of chocolate chip cookie dough. Scrumptious.

(Superiority Burger) pairs an ever-changing gelato with an ever-changing sorbet as a dessert item.

Milk Toast Gelato / Yellow Peach Sorbet (Superiority Burger)
—The pairing when I visited. Peaches and cream and bread.

Chocolate Chip Passion Fruit Soft Serve (Milk Bar)

Cranberry Limeade Soft Serve (Milk Bar)

I don't love Milk Bar, but its soft serve is on point.


They Scoop Gilmores, Don't They? Ice Cream (Ample Hills Creamery)
coffee chocolate pudding ice cream, snickerdoodles topped with pink sprinkles
—A Gilmore Girls-inspired flavour. I could not detect any snickerdoodles in my scoop.

Cranberry Gin Fizz Sorbet (Ample Hills Creamery)
cranberry purée, lime, gin

Ants on a Log Sorbet (OddFellows Ice Cream Co.)
Celery sorbet with peanut butter and raisins. Nope!

Miso Cherry Ice Cream (OddFellows Ice Cream Co.)
Saffron Passion Fruit Ice Cream (OddFellows Ice Cream Co.)
—Selections from an Asia-inspired series.


Bone Marrow Ice Cream with Bourbon Smoked Cherries (Salt and Straw)
—Didn't taste like anything.

Peanut Butter Ritz Apple Pie Ice Cream (Salt and Straw)
—All I tasted was peanut butter.

Raspberry Nutella Ice Cream (Gresescent)
—Disappointingly anemic on both fronts.

Lemon Bar Ice Cream (Gresescent)
lemon-infused ice cream, freshly-baked lemon bar cookie bits
—The best lemon ice cream I have ever tried.

Blackberry Mint Mojito Ice Cream (Gresescent)


Ham Solo Ice Cream (Little Giant Ice Cream)
Honey-baked ham ice cream. It tasted just like honey-baked ham.

Green Bean Casserole Ice Cream (Little Giant Ice Cream)
fresh green beans, sautéed button mushroom base, french fried onion inclusion

Asparagus Ice Cream (Little Giant Ice Cream)

Mango Mezcal Sorbet (Little Giant Ice Cream)

Hard Apple Cider Sorbet (Little Giant Ice Cream)
—Delectably refreshing, if barely hard.

Buttermilk Cranberry Swirl Ice Cream (Little Giant Ice Cream)
—Too much buttermilk ice cream, not enough cranberry jam.

Ugly Sweater Ice Cream (Little Giant Ice Cream)
jameson whiskey ice cream, pineapple compote, cranberry sauce, holiday m&ms
—Waaaay too much Jameson in its Jameson base. The taste of whiskey overwhelmed everything else.


PB&J Ice Cream Pie (Tartine Manufactory)
fior di latte, concord grape sorbet, grape pâte de fruit, candied peanuts, peanut cookie crust
—Deceptively hefty. It needed more grape pâte de fruit or some peanut butter to break up its shit ton of grape cream soft serve filling.

Thank You for Being a Friend Ice Cream (Humphry Slocombe)
dark chocolate cheesecake ice cream, amarena cherries, house-made graham crackers
—A Golden Girls-inspired flavour.


Eater's Digest: Philadelphia 4

Previously on Adam Riff™: Eater's Digest: Philadelphia 3

October 2016
beiler's bakery / itv / the sidecar bar and grille / skygarten / royal sushi and izakaya / south philly barbacoa / stock / little baby's ice cream / destination dogs

A low-key birthday jaunt.

Apple Fritter (Beiler's Bakery)
—A warm Beiler's apple fritter should replace the dying Great Barrier Reef as one of the seven natural wonders of the world.

Beef Fat Biscuit (ITV)
scallion honey butter
—Comparable to the stellar biscuits at Momofuku Daishō.

Chicken Liver Stroopwafel (ITV)
plum agrodolce

^ Chicken liver and jam is a tried-and-true combination. I had never had it in stroopwafel form, though.

Adobo Sidecar Wings (The Sidecar Bar and Grille)
ginger-cilantro kalamansi sauce, scallions
—Seemingly every time I visit Philadelphia, Drew's chef friends happen to be cooking stuff that he conceived. This visit: Filipino wings.

Jon: Are there any foods that you dislike?
Drew: Hmm…
[one minute passes]
Drew: Pears.

Hidden inside a Queen Village red brick row house, (Royal Sushi and Izakaya) is the darkest [visually] restaurant I have ever been to. Imagine eating Japanese food in the climactic fight of Ang Lee's Hulk.

I wanted to try (Little Baby's Ice Cream)'s Earl Grey Sriracha, Everything Bagel, and Ranch flavours, but the only intriguing flavour available when I stopped by was

Cheese Board Ice Cream (Little Baby's Ice Cream)
melted aged cheddar and chevre cheese ice cream, crushed crackers, toasted pine nuts, local triple berry jam

Anyway, Weckerly's is better.

(Stock) is one of Eater's "essential Philadelphia restaurants," and to my surprise, its proprietor didn't bother to build out a kitchen. Food is cooked on freakin' hot plates.

Vietnamese Iced Coffee (Stock)

Philly has a little lamb, little lamb, little lamb
Philly has a little lamb joint serving barbaco…a

(South Philly Barbacoa), Bon Appétit's sixth best new restaurant in America for 2016, is like Philadelphia's Pizzeria Beddia – wonky hours, limited menu, cash only.

Lamb Barbacoa Taco (South Philly Barbacoa)
Lamb Pancita Taco (South Philly Barbacoa)

^ Consomé (South Philly Barbacoa)
—Made with lamb drippings.

Previously on Adam Riff™:

O.M.G. Burger (LVB Burgers)
duck burger stuffed with muenster cheese, smoked ketchup, heirloom tomato, watercress, roasted duck mayo
—Where I began to wonder if I actually love duck, or if I just love Peking duck. [to be continued in Philadelphia]

Mighty Duck [Anaheim / SNA] (Destination Dogs)
duck sausage, duck confit in hoisin sauce, chicharrones, grilled scallions, sesame seeds
—More duck on duck, and more…nothingness. I fed most of this dog to dogs.


One Bite in Bangkok [Thailand, BKK] (Destination Dogs)
python sausage, cucumber salad, tomato pepper jelly, crushed peanuts, cilantro
—Python sausage.

The Underdog [Australia, SYD] (Destination Dogs)
kangaroo sausage, frizzled onions, vegemite aioli
—Kangaroo sausage with Vegemite mayo.

Racist food truck?

Tempura Cheese Curds (Double Knot)
yum yum sauce, cilantro

Duck Scrapple Bao Bun (Double Knot)
maple teriyaki, cucumber, chili

Rice Krispy Sushi (Sampan)
vanilla ice cream, chocolate sauce, peanut

Chocolate Stout Vinegar Custard (Martha)
almond crumble, malted milk powder

Baba's Pumpkin Pie Kombucha (Martha)


Eater's Digest: Las Vegas 3

Previously on Adam Riff™: Eater's Digest: Las Vegas 2

October 2016
sake rok / lvb burgers / the buffet at wynn / eatt / gelatology / libertine social / the buffet at wynn / standard and pour / donut bar / the buffet at wynn / the goodwich / the buffet at wynn / eatt / dw bistro / bacchanal buffet / port of subs

This trip, I spent about $150 Uber-ing off-Strip to try stuff.

Big Poppa Tart (Donut Bar)

^ A one-pound donut with a Pop Tart inside.

I ordered one with a strawberry Pop Tart inside. It was sickeningly tasty, inexplicably reminiscent of birthday cake.

Crispy Rice (Sake Rok)
spicy tuna, serrano pepper, coriander, ponzu
—Amuse-bouche yaki onigiri.

Ratatouille Rolls (Eatt)
zucchini, eggplant, red pepper

^ I could do without the…shallots?

Exotic Fruits (Eatt)
coconut foam, passion fruit heart, macha tea meringue

Broccoli (Eatt)
gluten-free tortilla chips

^ Like guacamole, but made with broccoli.

O.M.G. Burger (LVB Burgers)
duck burger stuffed with muenster cheese, smoked ketchup, heirloom tomato, watercress, roasted duck mayo
—Where I began to wonder if I actually love duck, or if I just love Peking duck. [to be continued in Philadelphia]

Date and Bleu Cheese Jam (Standard and Pour)
buttered almond, bacon bread

^ I couldn't discern the bacon in the accompanying "bacon bread."

Crispy Oysters (Standard and Pour)
sriracha egg salad, flying fish roe
—Sriracha egg salad.

Venison Tartare (Standard and Pour)
cherry mostarda, white chocolate, quail egg
—Raw venison with white chocolate.

Wine and Cheese Sundae (Standard and Pour)
cheesecake blondie, merlot ice cream, brandied cherry
—Merlot ice cream.

Fruit Loop Panna Cotta (Standard and Pour)
orange sorbet, raspberry gummy, hazelnut

^ To my relief, the raspberry gummies were tender.

There is nothing that (Gelatology) won't infuse milk with. Among the gelato flavours available the night I visited: Boo Berry, Croissant Bread Pudding, Count Chocula, Halo-Halo Rice Pudding, and Green Tea Kit Kat.

(DW Bistro) fuses Jamaican and New Mexican cuisine.

Jerk Fried Calamari (DW Bistro)
sweet chile glaze, basil, sweet hot peppers
—Anemic jerk.

DW Fried Chicken (DW Bistro)
dusted with jerk-seasoned flour
—I ordered a side of fried chicken and requested dark meat. My waiter informed me that (DW Bistro) only fries white meat. "Fine," I replied. Then this arrived:

Chive Turkey (The Goodwich)
chive ricotta, cranberry, greens, walnut, chicken skin, swiss
—I came for this sandwich…

Pig o' the Week: El Escobar (The Goodwich)
butt n' belly, sofrito, avocado, plantain, pepperjack, apple
—and stayed for this one.

Jalapeño-Sour Cream Chips (The Goodwich)

[right] Negroni (Libertine Social)
juniper panna cotta cake, campari gel, pistachio crumble

^ A dessert adaptation of a Negroni. As I've never had a Negroni, I can't tell you how well it translates. It was a bitter dessert, though.

^ [left] Manhattan (Libertine Social)
rye whiskey bread pudding, vanilla and house maraschinos ice cream

Strawberry Gazpacho Shots (Libertine Social)
king crab, avocado puree, hearts of palm

^ Tart!

^ Parmesan Churros (Libertine Social)


Foieco (Naked City Tavern)
tortilla stuffed with fatty duck liver, duck confit, charred cherry tomatoes, pickled vegetables, and santa barbara uni cream
—Foie gras and duck confit and uni – oh my!

Bacon Candle (Naked City Tavern)
a square of solidified pork fat with a wick surrounded by a ring of sweet balsamic reduction, two high-end salts, and both bacon and basil powder

^ Diners light it up and wait for the grease to melt into the other ingredients, at which point they sop it all up with charred crostini.

Frito Pizza Pie (Flour and Barley)
topped with chili, cheddar cheese, onions, fritos chips, sour cream, and chives

^ Two pies in one.

KYGO Cloud Nine "S'mores" (Beauty and Essex)
dark chocolate torte, pecan graham crumble, marshmallow clouds, white and milk chocolate sauces

^ A Norwegian DJ-inspired dessert.

Decadence D'or Cupcake (The Venetian / The Palazzo)
palmira single estate chocolate, derived from the rare and fragile porcelana criollo bean; tahitian gold vanilla caviar, the world's most labor-intensive agricultural crop; louis xiii de rémy martin cognac, 100 years in the making; edible gold flakes; hand-blown sugar fleur-de-lis
—A $750 cupcake.


Eater's Digest: Austin, TX

September 2016
barley swine / lick honest ice creams / franklin barbecue / brew and brew / hotel san josé lounge / cheer up charlie's / the side bar / odd duck / noble sandwich co. / cow tipping creamery / torchy's tacos / sway / shake shack / veracruz all natural / gourdough's public house / baton creole / the hightower / prohibition creamery / via 313 / easy tiger / royal blue grocery / noble sandwich co. / odd duck / la barbecue / tiny pies / lenoir / snooze / alamo drafthouse / whataburger

Beef Rib (La Barbecue)

^ "What am I eating?" I wondered as I chipped away at it. $22.00/pound. Each rib weighs about 1.5 pounds.

Brisket (La Barbecue)
Brisket (Frankin Barbecue)
—The gold stars are only for brisket with some fat. Lean brisket is trash, even Franklin's.

Steven and his friend Marissa drove up from San Antonio to help me eat the four pounds of Franklin brisket that I pre-ordered. We managed to eat about half of it. In retrospect, The Amazing Race's "eat four pounds of meat by yourself" Roadblock in season seven was mental.

I ordered the 10-course chef's tasting at (Barley Swine) and a root beer that was unpalatably rooty.


Pig Skin Noodles (Barley Swine)
shrimp dumpling, hot sauce

Mid-Tasting Palate Cleanser (Barley Swine)
watermelon shrub, basil and mint pearls

Dry-aged Akaushi Ribeye (Barley Swine)
bone marrow hash
—A heavenly slice of red meat.

Koji Rice Porridge (Barley Swine)
—Like a honeydew sago. Flashback to my childhood.

Potato Chip-Crusted Catfish Sandwich (Noble Sandwich Co.)
remoulade slaw, bread and butter pickles, tnp vinegar hot sauce, garlic bread

Smoked Duck Pastrami Sandwich (Noble Sandwich Co.)
russian dressing, rye pickles
—Odd-tasting duck.

(Odd Duck) is (Barley Swine)'s seemingly more popular sibling.


Pretzel (Odd Duck)
pig face carnitas, cheddar, fried egg puree

Beef Cracklin' Tater Tots (Odd Duck)
mustard bechamel, pickled mushroom
—I couldn't discern the "cracklin'."

Spiced Eggplant (Odd Duck)
sunflower butter, marinated feta, olive, sweet peppers

Chicken-Fried Fish Head (Odd Duck)
seeded dredge, salsa verde, mint, cilantro
—Much larger than I expected.

Coffee Croissant (Odd Duck)
pecan, whiskey, milk jam

Chocolate Layer Cake (Odd Duck)
mexican vanilla ice cream, chocolate potato chips
—The chocolate potato chips are just garnish, disappointingly.

Jon: I'm confused. This place (TOMS) sells coffee and shoes?

Activated Popsicle Shandy (Hotel San José Lounge)
charcoal lemonade popsicle, shiner blonde light

^ Charcoal, lemonade, beer.

'Son of a Peach' Dessert Donut (Gourdough's Public House)
peach filling, cinnamon sugar, cake mix topping

^ Cloying, even for my diabetic ass. My donut had, like, a ladle of icing slathered on it.

Peach Cobbler Pancake (Snooze)
peaches, almond streusel, vanilla cream, whipped raspberry mascarpone

Baked Potato Pancake (Snooze)
—A poor man's latke.

Jambalaya Baton (Baton Creole)
traditional rice-based dish smothered with the "trinity" of cajun vegetables along with garlic, tomatoes, and cajun spices; deep-fried on a stick and drizzled with remoulade sauce

^ I dislike how its chunks of sausage are skewered on the stick.

Cajun Poutine (Baton Creole)
seasoned waffle fries, melted brie cheese, badass brown gravy
—I ordered this to go and received the saddest box of waffle fries topped with a few slivers of congealed brie [gravy in a separate container].

Migas (Veracruz All Natural)
eggs, tortilla chips, avocado, pico de gallo, cheese
—Served as a taco.

(Torchy's Tacos) are…fine.

Green Chile Queso and Chips (Torchy's Tacos)
homemade chips with green chile queso topped off with guacamole, queso fresco, cilantro, and diablo hot sauce
—Torchy's queso, on the other hand, I still think about.

Fruit Cup (The Hightower)
mexican marigold ice cream, clementine sorbet, watermelon granita, chili and lime powder
—"What a curious play on a fruit cup," I thought, not realizing that it is a play on a MEXICAN fruit cup.

Banana Split (Sway)
milk chocolate five spice, condensed milk, and cashew caramel swirl ice creams; black sesame brownie, candied cashew, coconut milk jam, drunken cherries, bananas, whipped cream
—A Thai play on a banana split.

Its description as punctuated on (Sway)'s website –

– reads like it only features one flavour of ice cream [condensed milk and cashew caramel swirl], when it actually features three [milk chocolate five spice, condensed milk, and cashew caramel swirl].

"Bubble Cone" Stacker (Cow Tipping Creamery)
housemade vanilla egg waffle cone, green tea soft serve, toasted coconut dust, cornflake crumb, toasted sesame seeds, drizzle of white chocolate sauce, pocky stick on top

^ My bubble waffle was tough.

Signature Bourbon Ice Cream (Prohibition Creamery)
Sangria Sorbet Ice Cream (Prohibition Creamery)
Tiramisu Ice Cream (Prohibition Creamery)
Whiskey Chocolate Ice Cream (Prohibition Creamery)
—High-quality boozy ice cream.

Steven: This place (Star Seeds Cafe) has good food, but the wait staff treats you shitty if you don't have tattoos.
Jon: Soooo they hate Jews?

(Alamo Drafthouse / HBO)

Green Chili Lamb Sausage with Pretzel Bun (Easy Tiger)
lamb, queso blanco, escabeche
—The escabeche I can take or leave, but the sausage and pretzel bun are superb.

(Lenoir) is a wonderland of ingredient combinations.


Habañero Noodles (Lenoir)
cucumber lime broth, pepita-sesame crumble, mint oil

Braised Goat (Lenoir)
everything sourdough crepe, full-sour gherkin, thai chili mustard, barrel-aged beet hot sauce

Smoked Apple Crème Caramel (Lenoir)
chili coconut chicharrón, grape consommé

Brûléed Spice Cake (Lenoir)
cheddar ice cream, watermelon-fig salad, garam masala

Thai Lime Leaf and White Chocolate Profiteroles (Lenoir)
herb anglaise, cocoa nib

No dish I tried, however, was as wonderful as its optional

Miso Apple Sesame Bread (Lenoir)
eggplant pecan spread

'The Detroiter' Pizza (Via 313)
smoked pepperoni under the cheese, natural casing pepperoni on top
—I knew that Detroit-style pizza was square, but was unaware that traditionally, a layer of pepperoni lines Detroit-style pizza crust – pepperoni under the cheese.

Texas Two Step Pie (Tiny Pies)
—Combination brownie and pecan pie.

Texas Sheet Cake Ice Cream (Lick Honest Ice Creams)
chocolate pecan icing, chocolate ice cream

(Whataburger) is the lean brisket of burger chains.


(Lala's Little Nugget) – Christmas-themed bar.

Corndog Fish Collars (Barley Swine)
hot sauce

French Toast Fritter (Odd Duck)
butternut squash, coffee mayo, goat feta


Housemade Twinkies (Drink Well)

Donut Cone (Cow Tipping Creamery)

Tiramisu Pops (Sophia's)
mascarpone, coffee, housemade lady fingers

Asian Movie Night (The Peached Tortilla)
popcorn ice cream, asian caramel, rice puffs

Kimchi Arancini Balls (The Peached Tortilla)
wasabi and sriracha aioli, roasted nori

Honey Walnut Shrimp Po'boy (General Tso'boy)
battered wild caught gulf shrimp, sweet mayonnaise, candied walnuts

Honey Walnut Sundae (General Tso'boy)

Mexican Coke Sweet Potatoes (Lucy's Fried Chicken)

The Real Deal Holyfield (Valentina's Tex Mex BBQ)
tomato serrano salsa, fried egg, potatoes, refried beans, bacon, mesquite smoked brisket

Whip-Indianized Nachos (Whip In)
el milagro tortilla chips, braised black beans, kashmiri pepper queso, pico de gallo, cilantro chutney

Kashmir Frito Pie (Whip In)
spicy goat chili atop fritos with black beans, melted cheeses, sour cream, and cilantro

Mumbai Migas (Whip In)
vital farms eggs soft scrambled with grilled onions, feta, totopos, and cilantro chutney; topped with pico de gallo and served with black beans and basmati rice

Bangalore Biscuit Sandwich (Whip In)
vital farms fried egg, house made goat chorizo sausage, grilled tomatoes, mixed greens, and melted cheese on a fluffy indian spiced biscuit; served with grilled crushed potatoes

Naan Burrito (Whip In)

Jon: You had sex with your Uber driver?
Steven: ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
Steven: She gave me five stars.