We’re rolling into March soon, and that means birthdays on top of birthdays! Karl and I share the same birth month, a fact that I learned on our first date. I can’t articulate why, but it made me like him even more. This year, to celebrate, we’re doing a combined birthday extravaganza in New York. After this was decided, I immediately focused all my energy to creating a list of restaurants to try. I have only visited NYC once and was there for just a couple of hours. Our plan is to stay for just two days, but my “to eat” list is already twenty items long. This would pose a problem for us if I didn’t have such a big appetite and an ambitious stomach.
My favorite landmark in New York is the Plaza, a hotel that holds so much history and elegance. I’m looking forward to having afternoon tea in The Palm Court, followed by French pastries at La Maison du Chocolat. Since we’ll be in the neighborhood, it only makes sense to go on a short jaunt to Laduree for their heavenly French macarons. Is it apparent that I’m a little excited about the food in NYC? Also, we (but mostly I) are determined to try the highly coveted cronut from Dominique Ansel. When it comes to a vacation, the food scene is just as important as the visual scene.
So it’s no secret I’m crazy about food, and I have my cousin, Tuyet, to thank for that. She exposed me to cuisines from all over the world at a young age, and all of those dining experiences gave me the breadth of knowledge I have for food. She lives in San Francisco, a mecca for food aficionados, and she spoiled me by taking me to the best restaurants in the city. Some were fancy, hip, and trendy, others were holes in the wall that only San Franciscans knew of. The class of the restaurants never mattered – we always ate delicious food.
To this day, one restaurant still sticks out in my mind. It was a little Peruvian place in the Mission District called ‘Mi Lindo Peru’. Borderline hole in the wall – however, I’d call it quaint. I always ordered their spaghetti, or tallarin saltado in Spanish. This dish stole my heart. It was love at first bite.
Spaghetti is a bit of a misnomer in this case. The pasta is not covered in a thick tomato sauce, but tossed in a light sauce made of soy sauce and red wine vinegar. The steak is stir fried with red onions, tomatoes, garlic, and jalapenos. The sauce is added to the stir-fry, then the spaghetti is mixed in. Adding fresh cilantro to this dish gives it a little more flavor and makes it even more delicious. This dish easily falls in the weeknight meal category.
- ¾ lb spaghetti
- 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
- 1 lb flank steak, sliced into ½-inch wide strips
- salt and ground black pepper
- 1 large red onion, sliced into wedges
- 1 large tomato, sliced into wedges
- 2 cloves garlic, finely minced
- 1 jalapeno, seeded and diced
- 3 tablespoons soy sauce
- 11/2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
- 1 teaspoon sugar
- ½ cup fresh cilantro, coarsely chopped
- sriracha (optional)
- Bring a large pot of water to boil, and season it with salt. Cook the spaghetti according to the label, then rinse with cool water and set aside.
- Season the meat with salt and pepper. In a large saute pan, heat up the oil over medium heat, then add the meat and cook until just brown. Plate the meat, then set aside.
- Add the onion, tomato, garlic, and jalapeno into the same saute pan. Cook over medium-high heat until the onions are soft, about 5 minutes, then reduce the heat to medium. Return the meat to the pan, without the juices, and add the soy sauce, red wine vinegar, and sugar. Stir for 2 to 3 minutes. Add the cooked spaghetti, and toss to combine. Salt and pepper to taste. Remove from heat, then plate. Top with fresh cilantro and drizzle with sriracha for some extra heat (optional), and serve.