Top ten things to eat in Ithaca

1. Dynamite, from Kyushu. It’s a baked seafood gratin appetizer that has thinly sliced cremini mushrooms on the base, thinly sliced scallops layered above it, and surimi crab meat above that, topped with mayonnaise and some really spicy (otah-type) chilli sauce with dashi stock and bonito flakes, the whole thing baked in the oven. The chef takes 20 minutes to prepare it and it is packed with umami.

2. Lobster and prawn risotto at Zaza’s. It’s got a saffron cream sauce with large fresh prawns and generous hunks of lobster flesh with its flavour boiled into the arborio rice. Great with freshly ground pepper.

3. Lobster bisque at John Thomas. And their steak, of course. I’ve tried pretty much all the bisques in Ithaca and this one is really amazing. There’s a hint of sherry, but I think it’s not that consistent. Another good place for lobster bisque is at Kilpatrick’s Irish Pub.

4. Brie En Croute at Kilpatrick’s Irish Pub. The sweet fruit coulis with the very buttery croute and the creamy brie is a really memorable combination of textures.

5. Flounder in black bean sauce at Saigon Kitchen is really spicy but one of the better done fish dishes here. The flounder is flash fried and flakes just as if it were steamed.

6. Diver scallops at the Boatyard Grill. Seared perfectly, but kind of a small entree. Also good, their mushroom crepe.

7. Seafood claypot in Peking, up by the P&C on Triphammer road. The 咸鱼炒饭 is pricey but has good wok hei too.
8. Cajun shrimp alfredo in Chili’s. Their alfredo sauce is pretty legit, i.e. I cannot make it. And it comes with the best garlic bread I’ve ever had in my life.

9. Stella’s Mac & Cheese. Somehow I can’t forget it, even though it’s off the menu now. They actually used real cheese!

10. Louie’s Scarlet Harlot. And Cajun fries! And grilled ham and cheese. It’s cheap, greasy, but has American grill-hei and tastes better than any diner I’ve eaten at.

Thinking of making strawberry tarts (Just bought 2lbs of strawberries cause there was an “offer” at Tops on them) and a matcha-chocolate bundt tomorrow with Olivia. Hopefully liangze can dig out my alcohol from the depths of his house so I can flavour the custard with amaretto di Saronno. The bundt should be rather idiot proof, I’ve made it quite a few times, and all that needs to be baked for the strawberry tarts is the crust. Only drawback is I don’t really know where my vanilla bean is either (maybe in liangze’s fridge?), so will just have to use essence for the custard.

Exciting!

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