Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Orlando Trip - Cinderella's Royal Table

I've always wanted to see the Cinderella's Castle in real life, but never did I think I could eat inside of it. I heard that to eat inside you have to make a reservation three months prior to your visit.

Will had told me he made reservations for the third day (Sunday, April 2nd) at Cinderella's Royal Table where we could have lunch there. I was excited at the same time because I absolutely love Disney princesses (well most of them), please read on my blog for the complete review of my day.

There was a lot of people lining up for lunch at the castle. I read reviews on Yelp about the experience and how four princesses would come out to greet all the guests, take a picture, and sign an autograph. The restaurant/castle was humongous and big. Our waitress gave me a magic wand and referred the women as "princess" and gave a sword to Will and refer the men as "lord".

Chef's Tasting Table
We had a Prix-Fixe menu which included the Chef's Tasting Table (a platter of cured meats, cheese, and other special selections of the castle). I love the cured meats, but not a fan of the cheese and never have been especially if it has a pungent smell.

For entree, I had the Chef's Fish of the Day which was salmon, assorted vegetables, and fingerling potatoes. My entree was alright, nothing too extravagant. I didn't really like the artichokes and olives in my dish. I've never been a fan of olives.

Will had the Beef & Shrimp (grilled beef tenderloin with crushed fingerling potato confit, shrimp, and seasonal vegetables). His dish looked more filling and savory, but unfortunately the beef was a little too rare for him. He can't have overly pink/red meat.

The waitress didn't take our order for desserts which I was a bit concerned about, but later realized why as Will ended up getting down on one knee and proposing and dessert did come as well as two glasses of sparking cider.

The experience at Cinderella's Royal Table was extravagant! It was the most romantic, fun, and exciting experience I've had on the entire trip. The staff and everyone at the castle were very humble, lovely, friendly, and hospitable! This was truly a magical lunch!

Tuesday, June 6, 2017

Orlando Trip - Krusty Burger

During our first trip in Orlando and first visit to Universal Studios, we didn't have the opportunity to eat at Krusty Burger. Prior to the trip, I told Will we have to try Krusty Burger and so we did.

Krusty Burger, Moe's Tavern, Cletus' Chicken Shack, and a few other dining options were located under the same roof, but there's one line to line up for the dining options and once you've reached the front of that line, you can proceed to whichever place you want to and line up in their own separate line. The dining area is humongous and there are staff members that will ask how many people are in your party and will find the next available seat for you, how hospitable! I like that they play different clips from The Simpsons, it brings back childhood memories.

Krusty Burger
Will and I both got the Krusty Burger with Kurly fries ($10.99). The Krusty Burger is made up of 1/3 lb. burger with a secret sauce (tasted like a thousand island dressing), cheddar cheese sauce, tomato slice, iceberg lettuce and served on a specialty bun.

The burger was juicy, delicious and tasty. However, the burger didn't really "wow" me. I think it's the type of food I wanted to try it at least one time and that's it for now. I did think the fries were dynamite! It had a bit of a crunch to it which I enjoyed.

Overall, a must-visit if you're in Universal Studios and/or if you're a fan of The Simpsons. The price of the burger is reasonable, because that's how much a burger and fries can cost in NYC. 

Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Orlando Trip - Les Chefs de Frances

I mentioned in my blog that Will and I went to Orlando from March 31st - April 3rd. We had visited Epcot on our first day and passed by a restaurant in the France area by the name of Les Chefs de Frances. They did not accept walk-ins so we made a reservation. We came back a little earlier after walking through the different countries, so the hostess was able to sit us down earlier.

The restaurant was classy and had nice relaxing vibe to it. It was an enormous restaurant with a lot of windows to allow natural lighting to lit up most of the dining area. The staff here was exceptional and respectful. Will and I went with the prix-fixe menu for $39.99 per person.

Iced Tea
We started off with glasses of iced tea to cool us down since it was hot. Iced tea was unsweetened, but they had sugar and sweetener on the side for us.

Our waitress also presented their butter and fresh baked bread to us which was placed in a white paper bag. The bread was delicious, warm, and had a nice crunch and fluffiness to it.

I ordered the French Onion soup which was absolutely delightful and can fill you up. It had the most wonderful layer of cheese encrusted over top of the crock that the soup was served in.

Lobster Bisque
Will ordered the Lobster Bisque. It was cooked to perfection, but a little bland in my opinion, a little salt could have helped. In addition, I wished there were bits of lobster chunks in the soup.

For entree, I noticed that their Gratin de Macaroni was a popular menu item, so I decided to try it out. Someone on Yelp also said it was one of the best macaroni and cheese in Disney. It was amazing, but missing a little salt again. The gruyere cheese was delightful! I was a little stuffed from finishing it so I brought it back to our suite and had it for a midnight snack, which was awesome!

Will had the Filet de saumon mariné auvin blanc et citron (white wine and lemon marinated salmon, broiled, served with steamed asparagus, and champagne sauce. The salmon was served with rice pilaf. The portion size I thought was a little small. The plate could have fitted more vegetables and rice pilaf. Fortunately, the salmon was delicious and had a bit of a citrus-like taste. It was cooked to perfection. 

For desserts, I had the Assiette de Sorbets du Jour (daily assortment of fresh sorbets du Jour) and Will had the Crème Brûlée (Vanilla crème brûlée). The assortment of fresh sorbets included passion fruit, raspberry, and coconut. The raspberry one was a little tart, but the other two sorbets was amazing. I enjoyed the colors, the vibrancy, and marriage of different flavors in this dessert. Will's crème brûlée was delicious too. The crème brûlée was light and creamy. The top was perfectly torched and caramelized.

Overall, I really enjoyed our experience at Les Chefs de Frances. The food was scrumptious and a delight. Service was phenomenal! I would most definitely want to come back here when I return to Disney or Orlando again. 

Monday, May 8, 2017

New World Mall Food Court

A friend recommend New World Mall Food Court for Will and I to try because it's inexpensive and food is on par. The food court is located at the lower level of New World Mall where you'll find over 15+ vendors, a lot of seating, and restrooms too.

There's a wide variety of Asian and Southeast Asian cuisines where food stalls offer Malaysian, Thai, Chinese, Korean, Vietnamese, Japanese and Taiwanese specialties. From dumplings, soups, hot pots, bowls, prepared meals, desserts, literally a potpourri of Asian dishes. Walking through the food court I was feeling a little overwhelmed by the the choice, the aromas, and the crowds of people.

Will and I tried based on what we were recommended by our friend and Yelp. So this is what we ended up with:

Will ordered the fried giant squid combo ($8.50) from Cheers Cut which came with two different sauces, a side salad, rice, vegetables, and seaweed salad. The fried giant squid was absolutely delicious! It was fried and cooked just right, not tough to chew.

I ordered the pork pan-fried dumplings ($5.99) which came with ten pieces by the way. Holy cow, the wait took forever but I can understand why because the women behind the counter pan fry it upon ordering so it takes 10-15 minutes. There's at least 5-6 women working behind that counter making dumplings, frying and cooking dumplings and other dishes, and so much more. It also came with some vegetables and dumpling sauce too. The pan-fried dumplings were delicious, golden, and crispy.

Cheong Fun
I noticed that E Noodles was at New World Mall Food Court and I noticed that they had their delicious Cheong Fun, so without any hesitation I ordered it as well. It was $3.90, but I noticed this place charges tax. The women behind the counter aren't the nicest I may admit, but their cheong fun from here is bomb! It's steamed just perfectly and the peanut and hoisin sauce is just perfect too! I love that this is so inexpensive and so delicious!

Overall, it was a good and inexpensive dining experience here. I've been here twice so far and I love it, but of course more visits will be required in the near future so I can try the other foods here. I think next on my list is the hand pulled noodle (haven't had that in ages). You can definitely come here for breakfast, lunch, and/or dinner. Looking forward to my next visit!

Below are links to the places I visited in the Food Court:

Monday, May 1, 2017

Italian Eats at San Marzano

I've been craving for Italian food and pasta for some time now. Late March, I decided to check out San Marzano in the East Village with three friends. Will was out of town, so it gave me a chance to catch up with close and old friends.

The menu at San Marzano excited me because of the food and how you can pair any type/shape of pasta with any sauce you want and only for $9.00.  The pasta is also made fresh in-house, another bonus point. They only take reservations for six and up, so we couldn't make one and walked in instead. We came on a Friday night around 6:30-7PM and pretty soon the restaurant was filling up quick. 

The restaurant isn't as big as I thought it would be, but I did love the chic ambiance - think low lighting and sleek decor. 

We started off with the Cavicchioli Prosecco, 1928. My friend made a fantastic choice because the Prosecco had notes of flowers, apples and citrus. It paired well with our appetizers and the prosciutto in our appetizer.

The calamari looked amazing on Yelp, but our waiter told us the restaurant wasn't serving it anymore, total bummer. We proceeded and ordered the burrata and Brussels sprouts.

The burrata was creamy pulled cow's milk cheese, prosciutto di parma with balsamic reduction. I really enjoyed the texture of the creamy cheese and it went very well with the bread along with the prosciutto. The combination of the three was smooth and crunchy at the same time with some saltiness to balance it out from the prosciutto. The Brussels sprouts was accompanied with pancetta, fuji apples, and pecorino. I thought they were tasty, but a little too charred or roasted. I enjoyed the ones from Aunt Jake's more. 

Pear & Gorgonzola Ravioli
A friend ordered this since it looked so good on Yelp. The pear and Gorgonzola ravioli was also $9.00, not bad right?  The pear Gorgonzola was accompanied with toasted walnuts, thyme, and shallots in a cream sauce. I didn't get to try a piece of my friend's dish, but she liked it and thought it was just right with the creaminess. The sauce complemented the ravioli very well. If you're a cheese or truffle lover, the sauce in this dish is the one you want because it has that type of flavor in it.

Farfalle with Bolognese Sauce
I got the Farfalle with Bolognese sauce. I've had Bologonese sauce before and I love it (when it's done and seasoned right). The Farfalle wasn't al dente which wasn't a huge issue, but I just prefer my pasta to be al dente. The Bolognese sauce was a little bland, could have used a little more salt. It felt like something was missing from the dish.

My two other friends also had pasta dishes, but didn't have a chance to capture what they ate - maybe next time I'll be quicker before they devour their dishes.

Overall, San Marzano was a winner minus the fact that pasta was a little bland. I also forgot to mention that they are pretty high tech when it comes payment. The waitress or waiter will come to your table with a tablet and a swipes your card right then and there for what you ordered. It's convenient and easy!

I am interested in returning here for dinner maybe with Will or just a small gathering. I am interested in trying their sangria, other pasta combinations, and hopefully the fried calamari when it's back in the restaurant.

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Mango Mango - Brooklyn,NY

I've been falling in love with mango and mango desserts, so when I heard Mango Mango had opened up in Brooklyn, boy was I happy. I've already been to the Flushing and Chinatown location to order take-out, but never had the opportunity to sit and indulge.

Although I heard mixed reviews about the Brooklyn location, I still decided to try it out for myself with Will. We came on one of the windiest and frigid Saturdays last month and luckily Mango Mango wasn't crowded at all. The Brooklyn location is definitely a lot bigger and much more chic. There's a decent amount of seating and they're pretty comfortable too.

Before I move on to discuss about what we ordered and our thoughts, I just have to say the service here is preposterous! The waitresses took our orders quick, but the wait time for these two desserts was absolutely ridiculous. The desserts we ordered weren't very complicated to make nor would it take very long to make. I've been to many Asian dessert spots before and it doesn't take 30 minutes for two desserts to be made.

I noticed the waitresses were mostly just standing around, chit chatting, and playing with their smartphones. I know this isn't a corporate business, but it's still a business and I think it's unprofessional while customers are waiting for their food.

I wanted to order the Mango juice with watermelon and rice ball, but it is a seasonal item. I ordered the Snow white mango juice with sago and pomelo (A4) and Will had the Strawberry mango juice sago and lychee jelly with mango ice cream and grass jelly (A5).

My dessert was alright. It tastes just like similar mango desserts I've had before. The mango didn't taste like it was fresh, total bummer. Will's dessert actually looked really good, colorful, and tasty. The mangoes in his dessert also didn't look fresh cut either. Everything else was alright.

It felt like it took forever to get a check from the waitresses too.

Overall, I was not very pleased nor satisfied with the lack of customer service at Mango Mango. I don't know where they hire these waitresses. I was really excited to try this Mango Mango especially since it's in the borough of where I live, but the excitement got killed when I saw how there was little to no effort in customer service. Desserts were okay, but not great. I probably won't be back here unless the service improves.

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

My Birthday Dinner at Aunt Jake's

Last month I celebrated my birthday dinner with Will and our friends at Aunt Jake's in Little Italy in Manhattan. Aunt Jake's is a relatively new Italian spot that's been on my list of restaurants to try and it was different compared to the older Italian spots in Little Italy.

Aunt Jake's event space was what caught my eye and attention because of their skylight and that the restaurant is lined with wooden panels. The selling point was also that you can customize your pasta with any type or shape and any sauce.

We had a party of 20-25 people, so naturally we decided on a prix-fixe menu to avoid confusion on our end and the restaurant's end. Our prix-fixe menu contained a choice between three appetizers and a choice between three entrees. The event manager was respectful and accommodating to Will's requests for my birthday dinner.

We shared a space with outside customers, so it didn't feel very private or cozy. Our tables were lined up as a communal style and I must admit it was a little squished, not a very pleasant experience. Their drink menu contains mostly wine and a few cocktails. A friend ordered a pitcher of white sangria to share between me and a few friends. I thought the white sangria was watered down especially since there was a lot of ice in the pitcher. My friend also ordered a bottle of Prosecco which I thought was delicate and light.

I tried one of their cocktail: Mulberry. I thought it was mediocre, definitely not the best tasting cocktail I've had. It tasted a little tart in my opinion.

The three appetizers that were listed on our prix-fixe menu were: calamari with sweet roasted red pepper sauce, kale Caesar salad, and Brussels and pancetta. I absolutely loved the calamari even though it was the appetizer I chose for myself, but Will did. The portion size for an appetizer was big which I thought was nice. The calamari was golden and delicious. 

The kale Caesar salad was fresh, crisp, and delicious! One of our friends ordered this for an appetizer and I actually loved it. I got the Brussels and pancetta since it's been a long time since I've had Brussels sprouts. It was buttery delicious and beautifully roasted. Many of my friends enjoyed the appetizers and thought the portion size was generous.

These were two of the three entrees from the Prix- Fixe menu. Will got the Lemon Chicken (thyme, rosemary, garlic, white wine, butter and chili) which was rested on top of a velvety and delicious polenta. Some friends thought the lemon chicken didn't really taste too lemon-like and was a little dry, but the cut of chicken that Will had was moist and delicious.

I ordered the Penne alla vodka sauce. Their version of Penne felt extra thick and dough-like, same texture as gnocchi almost. The pasta here is made fresh, so that's probably why. I felt the portion size of the pasta dishes were a little small and I would have appreciated more sauce to go with the bread. The final dish on the menu was rigatoni with Sunday sauce (house made tomato sauce with short rib, sausage, and veal).

Overall, it was a great birthday dinner mostly because I got to see most of my friends and it was a pleasure to catch up with everyone. The food was on point and delicious. I would come back again during the day time just to see how the space is lit up and etc and also try their other pasta and sauces.