Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Ramen Quest: Kogane Ramen

I must admit there aren't a lot of ramen spots in Brooklyn, but they are slowly spreading out. Earlier this summer, I discovered that a new ramen spot opened up in Brooklyn Heights called: Kogane Ramen. I promised a ramen outing with a friend, so we came here with his girlfriend and Will. 

It's in a very nice and tourist-like location. The space is mid-sized,  but you don't feel cramped inside and the kitchen here is closed. I recommend reserving a table if you have four or more people because it can get crowded.

We ordered two types of appetizers to start off: 


Jimmy insisted on trying the Black Sesame Tuna and Pork Jowl Buns. I don't like tuna very much, but the black sesame tuna turned out to be decent. It's seared with mango salsa and wasabi dressing. It had a slight tangy, tropical taste and with a hint of spice in it. It was super smooth and fresh.

The Pork Jowl Buns were made up of braised pork jowl and cucumber with spicy mayonnaise. It was moist, delicious, and juicy. I really enjoyed it and the flavor.

Parco Ramen
Jimmy ordered the Parco Ramen (pork bone and curry based broth, pork katsu, spicy Japanese pickles, soft boiled egg, menma, scallion, and black garlic oil), It sounds pretty interesting and also a bowl of spiciness at the same time. 

Seafood Ramen
Will ordered the Seafood Ramen (chicken & seafood broth with snow crab, mussels, shrimp, fresh corn & scallion). This is the first time I've seen a ramen restaurant serve a seafood ramen. The seafood ramen was legit! They had decent size shrimps, real mussels, and snow crab that was moist and delicious. The broth was very light, but it still maintained the seafood flavor.

Tonkotsu Ramen
Jimmy's girlfriend and I ordered the same ramen: Tonkotsu Ramen (pork bone based broth, braised pork jowl, menma, Japanese wood ear, mushroom, soft boiled egg, scallion, and black garlic oil). Tonkotsu is one of my favorite ramen by far! The Tonkotsu Ramen at Kogane was really delicious, creamy, rich, and just completely satisfying. I enjoyed every piece and slurp from my bowl. 

Overall, I truly enjoyed the experience and food at Kogane Ramen. This is truly a gem and I highly recommend any ramen fan to give this spot a shot because it's authentic and true. I hope to return soon as I haven't had ramen in about two months.

Service: 90%Food: 80%Taste: 85%Likelihood to return: 100%

Monday, August 15, 2016

Snow & Cream

After dinner at Piccoli Trattoria, we went to Snow & Cream which is a step away from Prince Tea House on 7th Avenue for dessert. Sam & Alex had already been here, but I wanted to try it out.

The interior and decor wasn't extravagant nor captivating. The service is quick. They serve shaved ice, rolled ice cream, egg waffles, and etc (basically Asian desserts that are hot and trending now).
Apparently they have a backyard/outdoor seating, but we couldn't sit there the night we went because there was a private gathering.

Earl Grey & Thai Ice Tea Shaved Ice
Sam & Alex shared the Earl Grey shaved ice and Will & I shared the Thai Ice Tea shaved ice with grass jelly. 

Sam told us that their toppings aren't good quality, so I decided to just stick with plain grass jelly. The Thai Ice Tea shaved ice was alright. I didn't think it was wow and it could use more tea flavor.  The Earl Grey shaved ice was mediocre. I felt it could have used more flavor.

All in all, I feel Snow & Cream was mediocre. There was definitely nothing that is keeping me coming back for me sadly. I feel they are are trying to incorporate different products from dessert spots I've been to already. I also think it's weird that they call their rolled ice cream - "Stir Fry Rolled Ice Cream" - it makes me think the rolled ice cream is suppose to be savory. I definitely think a little more creativity needs to be involved in this place if they expect to succeed. 

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Piccoli Trattoria in Park Slope, Brooklyn

Last month, Will and I came to Piccoli Trattoria with our friends Sam & Alex since it's been a long time since we last seen each other. We made reservations ahead of time since Sam told us it's a small restaurant and seats fill up quick.

The restaurant is located on a cozy and quiet corner of 6th Avenue & 13th street. The restaurant itself is quite small, but they have seating inside and outside. Overall, it's a nice, rustic, Italian spot with rustic and rich dishes.

Complimentary Bread
We were given a bread basket with Marinara sauce, balsamic vinaigrette, and olive oil to dip with. The bread tasted fresh and fluffy.

Malbec Graffigna
Alex got a bottle of Malbec Graffigna to share between us. I really liked the smell - plum and exotic black fruit flavors. It was perfect because we went on a Wednesday, so it was really Wine Wednesday!

Appetizers
For appetizers, we had the Mozzarella Di Bufala (Buffalo mozzarella *Napoli* with roasted butternut squash, mushrooms in a brown butter vinaigrette). I really liked this appetizer especially because I am a huge fan of mushrooms and squash. This appetizer had a nice butter-like and semi-sweet taste to it. I would definitely order it again. I ordered the Bruschetta Di Parma (fig jam, Proscuitto di Parma and gorgonzola cheese on toasted bread). This was an appetizer that I absolutely fell in love with. There was something about Prosciutto + Fig Jam that really goes together. I was in heaven when I ate this. I crave for it more every time I think about it.

Caramelized Brussels Sprouts
Sam ordered the Caramelized Brussels Sprouts with Crispy Pancetta. I've had this at different restaurants before, but honestly the one from Piccoli was top notch! The Brussels sprouts was perfectly cooked with a slight crunch and the pancetta was amazing as well. 

Risotto
Sam told us that the Risotto here was really good, so Will and I along with Sam ordered three different Risotto dishes. Will had the Seafood Risotto which was absolutely scrumptious! It tasted really seafood-like and he literally finished every bit and sauce that was left on his plate. I had the Risotto Selvagio (risotto with butternut squash and mushrooms) since it seemed like a popular menu item on Yelp. It was savory and tasty, but the butter and cream really filled me up quick. I actually had to take what I couldn't finish home. Sam had the Risotto Nero (squid ink risotto with calamari, parsley, and white wine). I never had any food with squid ink before so it was quite interesting. Surprisingly, it tasted really good. Sam also brought the rest of what she had home too. 

Gnocchi of the Day
Alex ordered the Gnocchi of the Day and I completely forgot what the dish name was, but I know it had broccoli rabe and a tomato or marinara sauce in it and I love gnocchi! Another dish that was absolutely scrumptious and divine.

Overall, we really enjoyed this restaurant. I'm glad Sam and Alex has tried it before and opted here for our dinner. I really liked the atmosphere, service, but most of all the food was great. I would definitely like to come back here in the near future.

Monday, July 25, 2016

Doka Square

Last month, our friend Jack hosted his birthday dinner at Doka Square which is an Asian Fusion restaurant and located in the Lower East Side of Manhattan. I never heard or noticed of this restaurant, but I really enjoyed the chic atmosphere and ambiance. It's super spacious and perfect for a birthday dinner or gathering.

Their menu amazed me especially with the different cocktails, mocktails, and different entrees available. 

Appetizers
We started off with appetizers that we shared with the friends around us. We tried the Crab Rangoon, Gyoza, and Spring Rolls. Each appetizer had unique flavors and textures. The Crab Rangoon is deep-fried , cream cheese filled wonton dumplings with crab meat and minced vegetables served with spicy mayo. I've never really been a fan of this type of appetizer, but the one from Doka Square tasted extra yummy.

The Gyoza is a choice of beef or pork pan-fried dumplings with cabbage, shiitake mushrooms, scallion and bamboo. The other appetizer we had was the Spring Rolls which contained cabbage, carrot, mushroom, vermicelli, served with sweet chili sauce. 

The Surprisingly Green Mocktail
Most of my friends and I got the The Surprisingly Green mocktail (kiwi puree, apple juice, chrysanthemum, honey tea, mint and Calpico). It was surprisingly yummy and refreshing! I really enjoyed this. It was absolutely kiwi heaven!

Loco Moco
Will asked me what was a signature/recommended dish here based on Yelp Reviews and I said the Loco Moco, so he actually got it. It looked amazing! You don't just taste different textures, but you see different textures on this plate too.

So what is a Loco Moco? It's a beef hamburger steak on a bed of rice, topped with gravy and an egg tempura, shimeji mushrooms, and fried shallot. I tried a small piece of the hamburger steak, gravy, and egg tempura and it was divine! The egg was runny, so perfect for me. I was hooked on Will's dish, so I definitely have to get that for myself next time we return to Doka Square.

Garlic Short Rib Steak
I decided to get the Garlic Short Rib Steak (short rib steak with home-made garlic soy reduction sauce, with truffled marble potato, pearl onion and asparagus). I liked this dish because it was very simple and neatly plated. The short rib steak was a little overcooked, but overall I liked the dish.

Doka Chili Crab
Another one of Doka's signature dishes is the: Doka Chili Crab. This is their popular Singaporean style hard shell or soft shell crab with the chef's sweet chili sauce. I didn't take part in this dish because I don't like/slightly allergic to spicy dishes. However, Will thought it was impeccable and had good flavor.

Overall, I really and truly enjoyed Doka Square. Their flavors, service, and menu is different from many Asian Fusion restaurants I've been to. I am currently working on a project with them, but can't say much or my secret will blow up. However, I can tell you there will be a return to Doka Square in the near future.

Friday, July 15, 2016

Kane's Diner in Flushing, NY

Kane's Diner has been on my places to try and visit for the past year or so. I finally got to visit it and try it with Will about a month ago, since we weren't craving for Asian food and I wanted brunch-like food for lunch.

It's a local, family-owned diner that's open for 24 hours, but be aware the parking lot is small so if you happen to go at a time where it's packed, be sure to have some patience. Their tables can fit large an small groups, and there's also booths on the side. Service is adequate. The women's restroom is only one stall, so be prepared to wait ladies.

I must admit that their menu is crazy and filled with pictures and prices everywhere. I also must admit that I had to flip back and forth at least 2-3 times before I was able to decide what was it I exactly wanted.

Complimentary Muffins

We were given complimentary muffins to start off and to munch on. They were adorable, moist, and tasty.

Meat Lover's Skillet
Holy cow! Honestly, I don't quite remember what inspired me to order this because I'm not big on eating too much meat during brunch. I guess I was thinking with my stomach and not my head when I ordered the Meat Lover's Skillet. The Meat Lover's Skillet entailed: diced ham, bacon, and sausage over seasoned country potatoes topped with shredded cheddar and two eggs. It also came with pancakes and toasted bread which I absolutely forgot that it's part of the meal. 

It was tasty, but I didn't quite finish my meal as I was already full from the meat, cheese, and the seasoned country potatoes. I didn't even touch the pancakes, that's how bad and full I was. I deeply regretted ordering the meat lover's skillet as I was just too full and stuffed. Never again.

Steak and Eggs
Kane's Diner is best known for their Steak and Eggs ($8.99), so that's what Will ended up getting. He asked the steak to be medium well, but I guess it became well done. It was a little difficult to chew, but at least it was a decent size. Overall, he liked the dish very much minus the overcooked steak.

Fries
Will also ordered a plate of fries (as if our dishes weren't big enough). I guess he ordered it because his dish didn't seem to come with pancakes or toast, so needed a little starch.

Overall, this diner is pretty interesting and the portion size of the dishes is absolutely no joke. I'm sure their other dishes taste amazing, but I don't think I could order the Meat Lover's skillet again. However, next time I come back to Kane's Diner I think I will try their famous steak and eggs. 

Friday, July 8, 2016

Boston Trip: Island Creek Oyster Bar

The final food destination in Boston was at Island Creek Oyster Bar.

We came just before 5PM and was seated immediately. I really liked the ambiance because it was chic, modern, slightly dim, high ceilings, and just feels very cozy and spacious.

We started with drinks and light appetizers.

Cocktails, Wine, and Cider Beer
Appetizers & Side Orders
Will, Jack, and Katy ordered the Crispy Oyster Sliders on a brioche bun and lime chili aioli. I didn't eat any of it or the raw oysters since I am simply not a fan of oysters. We had the Fried Ipswich Clams as well which is way cheaper then what we had at Neptune Oyster (the night before). The fried clams were crisp perfection, but not as juicy as the ones from Neptune.

We also had the Fried Calamari which was pretty tasty and I wanted to try the Roasted Crimini Mushrooms which was mediocre. It didn't really taste like it was roasted, more like it was bathed in a bath of butter and oil.

Lobster Bisque 
We also ordered the Lobster Bisque. This was hands down, the BEST lobster bisque I have had so far. It's bright, warm, and inviting and has rich lobster flavors and juices. I was dreaming about it for days because it was truly delicious. 

Lobster Roll
We couldn't pass up the opportunity of ordering a Lobster Roll. This lobster roll was made differently compared to the one from Neptune Oyster. The lobster roll was served cold and with mayonnaise which I much prefer then butter. We asked our waiter to have the lobster roll cut in four sections so we can split it evenly among the four of us. 

It was extremely yummy and worth the $28.00. It was also accompanied with cole slaw and the kettle chips.

Lobster Roe Noodles
The last item we had was the Lobster Roe Noodles which is a highly recommended dish at Island Creek Oyster Bar. It's cooked with braised short rib, grilled lobster, oyster mushooms, and Pecorino.
It was absolutely beautiful, the way it's plated and an interesting dish. This is definitely something I haven't found in New York City restaurants yet. It's also a little expensive ($36.00 to be exact), but I guess if you're sharing it with other people then that's okay.

Overall, I think we all prefer Island Creek Oyster Bar much more. We didn't have to wait five hours for a seat and we didn't feel squished or rushed. The entire experience was great and relaxing. I would definitely come back here again when we return to Boston.

Sunday, July 3, 2016

Boston Trip: Quincy Market - Boston Chowda Co

On the second/last day of trip at Boston, we had to stop and visit Quincy Market. If you haven't been here, you should definitely check it out especially if you enjoy shopping, entertainment, and dining of course.

We came here to try out the seafood and as a tourists. I made a stop at Boston Chowda Co. and got a few items.

Shrimp Salad Roll & Lobster Bisque
Our friends ordered the Shrimp Salad Roll served with lettuce and lemon and we ordered the Lobster Bisque. The shrimp salad roll was mediocre. I prefer having a lobster roll because it's much meatier. The lobster bisque was very creamy and rich. However, I didn't really see any lobster chunks.

Maine Lobster Pie
I also got the Maine Lobster Pie which was filled with their Rockport lobster bisque and topped with their seasoned Ritz Cracker crumbs. This pie was absolutely wonderful and delicious! It was extremely creamy and the lobster meat was delicious. I highly recommend this pie if you like something savory and different and if you're a seafood lover!

All in all, I really liked the Maine Lobster Pie and it was extremely yummy. Boston Chowda Co. offers a lot more and I definitely would like to come back to try some of their other foods.