A lot of things happened this week. For one, I’m heading to Dallas in the summer and NYC in November! (Clap!) And with all good news, come better food. Here’s a round down on what I ate this week that looks pretty. These are found in Newark, DE.
All ingredients and information about the restaurants are located at the end of this blog post.
Del Pez Sea Mex
We needed cheap Mexican lunch that is not Chipotle, and I heard good things from this restaurant, which have a name with a bunch 3 letters acronym that sits right in the middle of Main Street. Go before 12pm, and almost half the menu is 50% off; If you go on Tuesday, 3 tacos for $10, which I thought is a pretty nice deal if you want to mix things up. It is rather weird how this place is so empty considering the awesome atmosphere, great service and good decor. The mushroom taco is okay (rather blend), Cancun Salmon taco is delicious but the kicker is the pork belly taco. If you have to choose one, go for the pork belly – the combination of smokiness from the pork belly complements perfectly with the rice and taco in general. The tacos had no punch to it since they weren’t spicy, so the pork belly taco totally break the rather boring taste pace.
There were some snow overnight on Tuesday, so the University shut down in the morning to clear the snow. I still went to school on time but decided not to pack lunch assuming somebody wanted to grab a bite, except that everybody else had lunch before coming to campus. The silver lining is, I get to go to a restaurant nobody ever wants to go – Caffe Gelato, right in the middle of main street, too. The restaurant gives a rather classy vibe and therefore felt expensive to many students. This is one of the best lessons about never to judge a book only by it’s cover. Sure, a bottle of wine to share cost upwards of hundreds of dollar, but $5 flatbred for lunch? Count me in! I ended up getting the pulled pork panino instead, but the way my server looked at me made me doubt my decision. I thought the portion size might be too small.
It turned out for the better. The serving size is huge! Lots of sweet potato fries, a side salad and two large panini sandwich with pulled pork and slaw. If you ignore the fries, this is a rather healthy meal, in my eyes. Panini is great and the meat is tender, even though I wouldn’t really call that pulled pork. Overall, a solid lunch at a reasonable price away from all the students in one of the best looking restaurant in the city.
Two Stones Pub
We were both wet by the time we finished our weekly 5 miles run at the Delaware Running Store (it was raining and there were puddles everywhere). The daily special at Two Stones Pub looked amazing to the two famished runners, so we sprinted over there right away. I hadn’t have steak for quite some time, so I got the grilled hanger steak. (Follow their Facebook page to get latest update. It might be a bad decision since their pictures may tempt you to go over everyday!)
I usually dig their truffle fries but this time it tasted a little pungent, reminding me of a quote I read online. It’s still alright. Asparagus are always crunchy and slightly smokey. With these side kicks, the entree still stole the show. Tender, juicy, succulent, with a slight zesty steak sauce. The only thing I could ask for, is more.
I’m still on my quest to find the best gourmet burger in Delaware, but this task might be near the end of the road. Recently, Thrillist published the best burger in every state list and RedFire were cited because they won, two years in the roll, the Delaware burger battle. I had recently heard about Redfire Grilled for their steak and not their burger, so I was kind of intrigued about that decision by Thrillist. After some coaxing, I got my friend to come with me. This is a very fancy high class Valentine’s anniversary date with jazz players and opera singer restaurant, and they are definitely not used to see two graduate student in t-shirt and jeans walking in for lunch on a Friday. (School is still close thanks to more snow!) All other patrons are well dressed ladies that we assumed are on a high tea lunch date.
Nothing on the menu screams affordable for poor graduate students. Well, all except the burgers for some reasons. We both ordered the famous ‘REDfire’ burger and enjoyed the time in that elaborate dining hall waiting for our food. Which took a while, and that’s good because I assume the burgers are cooked from scratch. Our burgers came on a very long rectangular plate with a lot of thin cut fries (they are decent) and pretty bare burger. Besides the thick slices of pickles on the side, there are no condiments. No tomatoes, lettuce, and most important of all, GRILLED ONIONS. It does come with very thick slices of maple pepper bacon (you can definitively taste that smoke and it is awesome!), aged cheddar and the thousand island sauce found in Animal Style (In-n-out) and Shake Shack.
Even though the patty isn’t thick, and even though mine is cooked well done (I asked for medium), and even though the burger looked kind of sad, the burger still tasted stunning. The bun is soft and the patty melts right in your mouth with the ever amazing thousand island sauce enhancing the experience. Once in a while, the bacon will break the pace with a crunch and release the aroma from the wood it bathed in. These days, I prefer a burger with lettuce and pickles and tomatoes and all other ‘common’ ingredients to give that authentic burger. This burger reminded me that you can ditched those condiments and still make an impressive burger. It brought me back to my roots – the burger that got me hooked in the first place had not a single vegetables in sight.
Del Pez Sea Mex @ 76 E. Main Street Newark DE.
Mushroom Tacos – Shiitake, oyster, crimini mushroom blend, spinach, quinoa, black beans, tomatoes, roasted corn, queso fresco, jalapeno aioli. $12
Cancun Tacos – Bacon, jicama slaw, pickled onions, tomatoes, black beans, chipotle sauce, flour tortilla. Shrimp or Salmon. $13
Pork Belly Tacos – Pork Rinds, Jicama Slaw, Spanish Rice, Cholula Mayo. $11
Went on Tuesday Lunch at 11am.
Caffe Gelato @ 90 E. Main Street Newark DE.
All panini are served on fresh baked homemade focaccia, accompanied by mixed baby greens.
Pulled Pork – Tender Pulled pork, apple and fennel slaw, melted fontina and sweet potatoe fries. $11.50
Went on Wednesday Lunch at 12pm.
Two Stones Pub (Newark FB) @ 2 Chesmar Plaza Newark DE.
Grilled Hanger Steak with truffle fries, roasted garlic mayo, grilled asparagus, housemade steak sauce. $24
Went on Wednesday Dinner at 7pm.
Redfire Grill @ 400 Lantan Dr, Hockessin, DE 19707
REDfire burger – aged cheddar, maple pepper bacon, housemade 1000 island with hand cut RF fries cooked in 100% peanut oil.
Went on Friday lunch at 12pm.