For those unfamiliar with Ridgewood, it's a town that has a gajillion restaurants all splodged up against each other down East Ridgewood Ave (and the streets branching off of it), akin to restaurant-heavy streets in NYC except that Ridgewood is much cleaner, has more trees, and contains no hipsters.
When my family wants to go out to eat, we usually (perhaps 95% of the time) head to Ridgewood. I'm not really on a mission to try every restaurant in the main downtown area, but...hey, maybe I should. An eating mission coupled with a nonexistent exercise regiment probably isn't the best idea, but then neither was my birth.
Yesterday I went to Ridge Thai with my mum and brother. I don't know how old the restaurant is, but I suppose it's fairly new, maybe...around...ah, I have no clue. I think the former business was a bakery, the only bakery in that area. NOW THERE ARE NO BAKERIES! Who's idea was this? Tear down the GAP and put up a bakery, someone!
Uh, back to food. The restaurant was empty when we were there (around 6:30), so perhaps it gets more crowded later. There are 30 seats and the decor is nicer than what you'd think from looking at the outside. Or what I would think. I liked the simple, white, porcelain dishes of slightly unconventional shapes. "Look, this plate...it's square! My mind is blown." It does make a differerence to have a rectangular plate instead of a circular one, yes? Crazy! In a way you'd think that the simpler the plateware is, the less obtrusive it would be to the dish, but I tend to notice it more. Sleek, white dishes are a style in themselves, I guess. I think someone needs to make a new trend: Lisa Frank designs on everything. (I have no idea if that stuff is still popular. When I was a kid, girls loved that stuff. Except me.)
Wow, I'm digressing.
While my mum and brother steered away from anything spicy, I ordered the musaman curry (peanuts, onion, and potato) with pork (other choices being chicken or beef). The waitress wanted to make sure I'd get a spiciness level that wouldn't kill me and let me choose between mild, medium, and very spicy. When I went with medium, my mum gasped as though I were commiting suicide...and she probably thought I was a moron.
Mom: That's really spicy, Robyn.
Me: Uh...no, it's medium.
Mom: Well I'm the mom, blah blah blah, I know everything, blah blah blah, something.
My memory's kinda iffy.
Anyway, "medium" was a good hotness level; it had some kick, but didn't make me cry a river or give the sensation that my mucus membranes were being attacked by lasers. My mum ended up taking many spoonfuls of my creamy curry sauce to use on her pad thai. Silly mum. I ate every last drop even after my tiny bowl of rice ran out because...it was yummy. I like crunchy things and the peanuts were perfect in fulfilling my quest to have the crunchy sounds of destruction reverberate through my jaw. The potatoes and onion tasted just right to me texture-wise, but I thinik the thin pork slices could've been cooked a little less as they were a smidge tougher than I would've liked. Of course, I still ate it all, so maybe it doesn't matter.
My mum ordered the paid thai (stir fried rice noodles with shrimp, egg, chopped peanut, scallion, dried bean cake & bean sprout) and my brother went with ped pad khing (roasted duck stir-fried with ginger, carrot, onion & mushroom). When my brother realized there was ginger on his plate, he somewhat lamented, "Whoa, there's a lot of ginger in this. Could I have gotten it without the ginger?" My mum and I gave him a funny look. "It's a flavor!" Damn, it's not like he's allergic. It reminded me of the multiple times that my mum has ordered quesadillas without cheese. Yeah. That's what I said. She's not allergic to cheese—she's just not a fan of eating it melted. I obviously didn't inheret her preference.
My brother managed to get over the ginger and eat most of the dish, except for the garnishes. "Am I supposed to eat that?" I'd say if the garnishes in question more resemble a small salad than a sprig of clinatro, then..yeah, you're allowed to eat it. You could eat the cilantro too, of course. My mum's pad thai was yummy; I can't say I've ever had a bad one, although I probably don't know what "authentic" pad thai is.
Later that night we went out to Baskin Robbins (holy crap, there's one in my little town) to take advantage of their two-for-one sundae deal on Tuesdays (and there are only so many places you can go in the suburbs). Crazy, man. If you went alone on a Tuesday and got a sundae, you'd have to get another one just because you can. Let that gluttonous poiwer roam wild and free. I got a two scoop sundae with pistachio almond and a chocolate truffle something or other covered with hot fudge, whipped cream, and mini M&Ms. My mum wasn't very happy with my artificially colored topping and artificially green pistachio ice cream choice, but hey, she didn't chime in with any suggestions and it's not like you go to Baskin Robbins to indulge in all-natural wholesome ice cream. I can't say I'd go to BR if it weren't a special deal—the ice cream wasn't very flavorful (although the texture was pretty good, not too airy) and my favorite part ended up being the chopped almonds in the pistachio ice cream. However, a sundae is still a sundae and it's my main excuse for eating something with hot fudge and cream. It's good...only on Tuesdays.
A few weeks ago I went to Radicchio in Ridgewood with my mum since neither of us had been there before and the restaurant has existed for as long as I can remember (which probably isn't that long, but pretend it is). It is so far the only restaurant I've been to in Ridgewood (hell, in most places) where almost ever entree was more than $25. Holy crap. I know it seems like I spend a lot of money on food, but rarely that much. Balthazar is the only place where I've spent that kind of money on one dish and I wasn't convinced that it was worth it. Radicchio didn't convince me either. It's not that the food was sub-par at either restaurant, but I don't think it's unreasonable to expect food to taste in the upper stratosphere of "awesome" if I'm expected to pay that much. I desire stratospheric awesomeness, which can be hard to find.
My mum ordered the tuna tartare in sweet soy marinade for an appetizer after asking me what tartare was. I don't dislike raw fish, but I'm not about to wolf it down by the bucket either. My mum and I thought the presentation was cute and it must've been pretty good if she ate it all.
I ordered risotto with sausages since I've never actually ordered risotto in a restaurant before and I wanted to know what all the fuss was about. One day when I must've been really bored, I made risotto that was surprisingly edible and not a pain in the butt to make (stand there, stir, continue to stand and stir). Would $26.50 risotto beat my risotto to a pulp, torture it with pointy sticks and then beat it some more? Not exactly. There was nothing bad about the risotto, I just...expected more. Like the appearance of angels. I think I just have to face the facts that I'm not a huge fan of risotto nor possibly most Italian food (I don't eat it much), but that's too general a statement for someone who hasn't eaten much Italian food.
My mum enjoyed her tricolor linguine except for the slightly sandy scallops. I can't say I have much problem with sandy scallops since I'm used to them (that's probably not a good thing), but I don't have much taste for scallops or most shellfish in general. I hope you don't hate me for saying that. Of course, I've tried a variety of shellfish (mussels, raw oysters and clams, other blobby looking things) to come to the conclusion that I'd rather eat something else. Like cake.
Speaking of cake, of course we got dessert, aka my favorite part of the meal. Although my chocolate souffle look oddly frosty from afar, it was warm and oozed with chocolatey goodness in both viscous liquid and deep, chocolatey scent (yes, I used the world "chocolatey" twice in once sentence...I don't really care). The smell alone told me it was going to be good. What made it even better was the large scoop of uber-smooth vanilla ice cream that came with it, thus allowing me to indulge in the gluttonous joy of combining warm, gooey "cake" seemingly made of airy fudge with cool, melty creaminess. Mmhmmmmhhm mmhmhm. Why is something appealing if it oozes when you puncture it? I guess it'd be a different story if it had exploded.
My mum gets tiramisu almost every time we eat at an Italian restaurant. This was too alcohol-y for me to enjoy, but you might prefer it.
Overall, Radicchio is a nice restaurant with friendly service that makes good food in reasonable portions, but since I'm a cheap bastard it's unlikely I'd go back. From observing other customers, I felt like many people were actually regulars, or quasi-regular. Damn, I'm not a regular anywhere. Just always on the prowl for more...
Too lazy to use google, eh?
random food related stuff
New Threadless shirt: Where'd this baby come from?
Jesus Pan. ...Wow.
Smilingbread is an LJ community dedicated to cute things, mainly in the form of food.
This isn't food related (still gonna leave it in this section though, har har!), but Momu's latest LJ entry about couples and surfing on the Internet is interesting if you're a heavy Internet user. And if you're reading this, you probably are. I don't relate to the entry, but it's funny to read what other people's experiences are. Also, it makes me feel like less of a freak. You think I have Internet-addiction problems? Wellll...
Oh, I also think what he in one of his comments is funny, although may not be true:
More than anything, I think it's fantastic that I've met someone that doesn't try to stage an internet addiction intervention.
That's rather sweet! The problem is not so much getting over our addictions as finding good ones!
If your addiction is bad, you probably should get over it. But there are some good, non-extreme addictions, yes? Liking things a lot isn't always bad. What if you replaced "addiction" with "passion"? Saying you have a passion for baking sounds a lot better than saying you're addicted to it. Having a passion for alcohol sounds kinda weird though.
I don't have a passion for nor an addiction towards these new Thom Yorke tracks, but...I like them a lot. A lot lot lot lot. I DON'T CARE IF YOU DON'T LIKE IT, STOP LOOKIN' AT ME THAT WAY!
I really love Pimp My Snack.