NJ Dining: Lotus Cafe (UPDATED)

February 26, 2010

Lotus Cafe
450 Hackensack Avenue, Hackensack, NJ
(201) 488-7070

At first glance, you might dismiss Lotus Cafe offhand as your average suburban American Chinese joint in a strip mall, because that’s entirely what it looks like. For the first couple of years I lived in this area, that’s exactly what I did, and now I regret that mistake. While I wouldn’t say it has the depth that Petite Soochow or Chengdu 1 have with their Shanghainese/Sichuan cuisine, Lotus Cafe is putting out some seriously good select Taiwanese-style dishes on its menu, particularly all the noodle stuff they do.

Storefont, 2010

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New York Dining: Fire + Ice

May 31, 2009

Fire + Ice
Level 4, Palisades Center Mall, West Nyack NY

Web Site: http://www.fire-ice.com

I usually go out of my way to avoid mall food — this goes without saying in that I go out of my way to avoid malls in general, because I hate the entire experience of having to fight for parking spaces and then schlepping around and being exposed to screaming kids and families that look and behave more like throwbacks to their Cro-Magnon ancestors rather than modern humans.

More often than not, the food in most shopping malls is more expensive than what you can get at a regular local restaurant or diner and of considerably less quality. I also hate the gimmicky-ness of most mall restaurants.

But sometimes it’s unavoidable that you have to eat in a mall, particularly if it’s a timing issue, such as when you want to go see a movie, which are increasingly becoming attached to large shopping complexes.

Recently I had a chance to eat at Fire + Ice, one of the newest additions to the Palisades Center Mall in West Nyack, which sports an AMC theater multiplex as well as a SONY IMAX.  While I wouldn’t call Fire & Ice a destination dining location, if you’re going to be heading out to a movie, it’s not only one of the most reasonably priced venues at the mall but it can also be a relatively healthy place to eat, as well as an entertaining experience.

Fire & Ice, Palisades Center Mall, Nyack NY by you.

Get your pan-cultural Teppanyaki here. Click on the “Read the rest of this entry” link below for more.

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Fun with COSTCO Frozen Scallops, Hong Kong Style

February 14, 2009

Welcome to the recession folks. That means all of us should be mindful of how we spend our money, and that means for some of us a lot less dining out.

But eating at home doesn’t have to be boring. You don’t even have to sacrifice on quality, “Luxury” ingredients that would otherwise cost you an arm and a leg at a restaurant to eat. You just need to think about buying in bulk and doing a lot of meal planning.

One of my favorite things to eat is jumbo sea scallops. At a decent restaurant, particularly if they are using high-quality dry pack scallops, you can expect to pay between $18.00 and up for an entree with five or six of these guys in them. At a quality fishmonger fresh dry pack sea scallops command a hefty price.

But COSTCO has them frozen, and if you buy a large bag of them the price becomes much more economical per portion. You can eat them over a couple of weeks or even longer, if you have the ability to re-seal the bag with a home vacuum sealer. I also like COSTCO’s shrimp, they are of exceptionally high quality for frozen product, and when COSTCO has their “Seafood Roadshow” events every month, they are even cheaper than the regular discounted COSTCO price.

Oyster Sauce-Glazed Pan Seared Scallops with Stir-Fried Vegetables in Spicy XO Sauce, Nasi Goreng Brown Fried Rice by you.

Oyster Sauce Glazed Pan-Seared Sea Scallops with Spicy XO Vegetables and Nasi Kuning Brown Rice.

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