Friday, February 12, 2016

Yaso Tangbao - Soup Dumplings Making Their Mark in Downtown Brooklyn

Yaso Tangbao
148 Lawrence Street Brooklyn, NY 11201
929.337.7599

This is a long overdue post, but just an FYI: a Shanghainese restaurant has landed in Downtown Brooklyn! I first heard of Yaso Tangbao from the New York City Dumpling Festival back in September 2015 and when I heard they were opening up just 1/2 block from where I used to work, I was excited!

Yaso Tangbao isn't like your typical Shanghainese restaurants, but rather it is a counter-serve, fast-casual restaurant. I came on a Friday afternoon with Will and boy was it crowded! There's a few communal tables and benches for you to sit on and eat as well as smaller tables that are ideal for one person or two people and counters with seats. The service is pretty quick and the staff here are very friendly!


Pork Xiao Long Bao
We started off with the pork xiao long bao ($8.50). That's quite expensive for the six golf ball sized dumplings we had, but at least the taste and quality was on par. They were freshly made, each one squirting out a rich and savory broth with a chunky pork filling. It was absolutely delicious and went well with the soy vinegar sauce.

Chicken Curry Pan-Fried Noodles
We also had the chicken curry pan-fried noodles, but it wasn't what we really expected it to be. The noodles were very crunchy! The sauce and chicken wasn't on par. There wasn't much taste to it and the sauce was so watered down. I don't think I would order this again.

The xiao long bao was phenomenal, but still too expensive for me. The owner reached out to me on Yelp and informed me that there have been price and menu adjustments, so I may be inclined to return to Yaso Tangbao to give it another shot.

Tuesday, February 2, 2016

Birthday Dinner at Mr. Soon Tofu

Mr. Soon Tofu
152-22 Northern Boulevard Flushing, NY 11354
347.506.0797

I came here with Will and our friends to celebrate a friend's birthday. We made reservations ahead of time so we had a table ready for us. The restaurant had two different rooms for dining. Unfortunately, the food was mediocre and service is in serious need of an improvement.

Banchan
At Korean restaurants, servers typically give you Banchan and at Mr. Soon Tofu, they sure gave a lot of Banchan. There were at most 10-15 different items and when we asked for extras they would give it to us - free of charge!

Japchae
I was actually not too impressed with their version of Japchae because it was very, very oily and unseasoned. It just felt like we were eating a blob of oily noodles.

Beef Soondubu
Will and I shared the beef soondubu (non-spicy) and it was actually our first time trying a soondubu and I loved it! It was hearty, rich, warm, and yummy! Perfect for a chilly or winter-like day like today.

Bibimbap
The bibimbap was okay, not as savory or as delicious as the ones I've had before.

Seafood Pancake
We also had the seafood pancake which wasn't too pleasing either. It wasn't crunchy nor tasty as the ones I've had before and there was not much taste to it.

Bulgogi
I really liked the bulgogi! It was a little expensive, but at least it taste good and had a light sweetness to it.

We brought a cake for our friend's birthday, but the staff didn't help with presenting the cake or cutting of it and instead we had to do it ourselves, but at least our friend appreciated the nice gesture from us. 

Service and food quality definitely needs much improvement. I don't think I would be back here simply because the lack of good service and good food.

Friday, January 29, 2016

Prince Tea House in Brooklyn - Elegant Experience

Prince Tea House
6122 7th Avenue Brooklyn, NY 11220
929.337.7150

This is probably the most luxurious and beautiful tea house and dessert places I've ever been to! I felt like Will and I were a prince and princess the first time we came. So far we've been here twice - once with each other and once with our friends for late night tea and desserts.

The moment you step foot into Prince Tea House, you feel as though you're not in NYC and you forget your in a semi rundown, industrial, and busy area of Brooklyn. Prince Tea House is super cute, clean, and relaxing in here. Service is on point and if there's a dessert or food not available, the servers will inform you.

During the first experience at Prince Tea House, Will and I came on a  Sunday afternoon and we were sat in a section that was adorable, elegant, and had a nice floral feel to ti. We did a small lunch, tea, and desserts here.

Smoked Salmon sandwich 
Will ordered the Smoked Salmon sandwich with green salad & ranch dressing. He enjoyed the sandwich very much. The bread was toasted so it gave the sandwich a nice crunch. Salad was very simple and rustic.

Crabmeat Salad
I ordered the Crabmeat Salad and it came with it's own light dressing. It also came with the ranch dressing as well, but I didn't need it. The crabmeat salad was sure yummy! It tasted like a kani salad, but with more greens to mix. Loved this very much!

Potted Foam Mango Green Tea & Lavender Milk Tea
Will got the Potted Foam Mango Green Tea and I got the Lavender Milk Tea. I love how they both look like a pot of plant, it's a very nice and unique look. I also like the crushed chocolate bits in the tea too. I never had a Lavender tea before, but it was very light, floral, smelled so soothing and relaxing.

Trio Combo Mix 
I did the Trio Combo Mix for dessert which consisted of (Green Tea Financier, Cranberry Creme Brulee, Pata a Choux with strawberry ice cream). You can pick three desserts from a list of 6-8 desserts for $6.75! Do you have any idea how much this would cost in Manhattan or in a luxurious French or Italian bakery?

Any way, I wasn't too pleased with the Green Tea financiers and Cranberry Creme Brulee. The Green Tea financiers felt very hard and didn't have much green tea taste to it. The Cranberry Creme Brulee was very tart. The Pate a Choux with strawberry ice cream was the best and prepared beautifully!

Green Tea Mille Crepe Cake
Will ordered the Green Tea Mille Crepe Cake because they ran out of the Caramel Crepe Cake that he initially wanted. The green tea Mille crepe cake was surprisingly good! I'm not a huge fan of crepes or crepe-like cakes, but this was pretty damn good! Layers and layers of green tea deliciousness!

Overall, we really enjoyed our experience here at Prince Tea House! The food and decor is different from the typical foods and desserts we have in Brooklyn. I definitely want to come back soon. I still have yet to try their hot tea and still need to try their original location in Flushing as well..

Sunday, January 24, 2016

Ocean City Eats: Because we were Hooked

Hooked 
8003 Coastal Highway Ocean City, MD 21842
410.723.4665

I normally don't write about a restaurant/food spot twice unless it's been a long time and I made a recent visit that is worthy of another review or there's been a change at the restaurant/food spot that's worth sharing.

Before Will, my friends, and I left from Ocean City, we made one final last stop to Hooked. During our second visit we were able to experience dining indoors. The dining experience was comfortable and pleasant.

Appetizers
We ended up ordering the same exact appetizers as we did the first night since not all of our friends made it in time for dinner on the first night. Everything tasted just as good and fresh as it did on the first night we came to Hooked.

Iced Tea
I also got a sweet iced tea during our lunch. It was very refreshing and cool, great for a hot Summer day.

Crab Cake Sandwich
A trip to Ocean City, Maryland would be incomplete if we didn't have a crab cake so we did. Will and I ordered the crab cake sandwich which consisted of grilled tomato, arugula, classic remoulade on brioche bun. I got sweet potato fries as a side order as did Will too. The crab cake sandwich was okay, but I have had better.

Overall, our second experience at Hooked was fun and full of delicious bites! I am glad we discovered  Hooked and we are looking forward to our next trip here.




Friday, January 22, 2016

Ocean City Eats: Barn 34 for Dinner

Barn 34
3400 Coastal Highway Ocean City, MD 21842
410,289.5376

Barn 34 is and felt more like a breakfast and brunch spot, but my friends, Will, and I came here for dinner during our vacation in Ocean City.

The restaurant didn't have the laid back vibe like Hooked or On The Bay did. The decor and ambiance felt more like a morning, brunch type of spot.

We were all very excited to order our appetizers and entrees, but unfortunately there was some issues . A lot of the entrees we ordered, Barn 34 only had a limited amount left or even worse none left at all so we all either got what we wanted that was left or had to substitute with another ingredient.

For appetizers we had:

Blackened Scallops & Fried Green Tomatoes
Our friend ordered the Blackened Scallops and honestly the bacon wrapped scallops from Hooked were 5x better. I guess I am not a fan of eating blackened food. The Fried Green tomatoes with crab salad was mediocre. The breading didn't have enough seasoning or taste to it, nor did it feel crispy or crunchy. The crab salad was on point though.

Maryland Crab Soup
I saw the Maryland Crab Soup on the menu as many of my friends did too and we were excited to try it out. I asked for it in a bowl, but when it arrived to our table I was a little surprised. It wasn't cream based, instead it was tomato based. I wished there was an indication on the menu that the Maryland Crab Soup was tomato based. Unfortunately, the soup wasn't very appealing nor did it contain any bits or pieces of crab meat.

The New Yorker
Will was one of the lucky people at the table that got the 12 oz. stripped steak because Barn 34 was running low on the steak. The steak came with au jus and rosemary Parmesan fries & vod. Unfortunately, they ran out on some of the ingredients that were suppose to come with the steak, so he had to improvise with wild rice. Steak was okay, but not the best he's had. The presentation of the dish didn't seem to have much organization or flow to it.

Seared Scallops with Wild Mushrooms and Peas Risotto
I was really excited this dish when it was suppose to be Seared Scallops with Wild Mushrooms and Peas Risotto finished with brown butter. Unfortunately the restaurant ran out of risotto so I had to stick with the wild rice. I thought it wouldn't be so bad, but it was quite awful. Scallops were tender and just right and the wild rice was a boring addition. There was no sauce or anything. It was a very dry dish!

Not too many of our friends enjoyed Barn 34, simply because a lot of foods/ingredients were out of stock and we couldn't fully or completely enjoy the dishes we wanted to enjoy. I think the chances of me returning here would be quite slim, reason being that the restaurant doesn't seem to put much effort into improvising ingredients smoothly when a restaurant runs out on a lot of ingredients. 

Monday, January 18, 2016

Ocean City Eats: Shenanigan's Irish Pub & Grille

Shenanigan's Irish Pub & Grille
309 N Atlantic Avenue Ocean City, MD 21842
410.289.7181

Will and I stopped by Shenanigan's Irish Pub & Grille for a snack/lunch along the boardwalk.

There's a decent amount of tables and booths.  The pub is decorated with different flags and etc. The decor is a little outdated, definitely needs an upgrade. Our waitress was very nice and friendly.

Orange Crush

Sweet Tea
For beverages, I ordered just a sweet tea and Will had the Traditional Orange Crush (seems to be a popular drink in Ocean City, MD).

 Guinness® Gravy Waffle Fries
For appetizer/side we ordered thGuinness® Gravy Waffle Fries which were one of the best fries I've ever had! It's not so much the taste of the fries, but the sauce was brilliant and the way the fries were fried. The fries were beer battered, so more alcohol for the win, but really though the fries were crunchy and fried to perfection. There were three other waffle fries to choose from, but these sounded the most tempting!


Chessie's Crab Mac-n-Cheese
Chessie's Crab Mac-n-Cheese looked and sounded divine, so of course I ordered it. It looked, smelled, and tasted amazing in every way! It was probably one of the best $13.99 I've ever, ever spent. The Cheesie's Crab Mac-n-Cheese consisted of twisted Cavatappi pasta with their Harp® lager and white Irish Cheddar sauce loaded with lumps of yummy crab meat and topped with Old Bay bread crumbs. The lumps of crab meat was really fresh and had a slight sweetness and was no joke!

Soft Shell Crab BLT
Will ordered the Soft Shell Crab BLT  which was composed of lightly dusted soft shell crab served with Applewood bacon, lettuce, tomato, and a lemon-garlic aioli on a toasted ciabatta roll. He really enjoyed the sandwich! The Applewood bacon had a nice crunch to it, soft shell crab was very fresh and delicious.

Overall, Shenanigan's Irish Pub was probably one of the better Boardwalk eateries I've been to. Food is fantastic and service is good! I will definitely be back again next time I am in Ocean City, MD.

Sunday, January 3, 2016

The Best Things We've Ate in 2015

Happy New Year to our fellow followers and foodies! Hope 2016 is starting off well for you!

It's that time of the year again! We've compiled a list of the best things we've ate in 2015 and where you can find it. 

2015 has been really an amazing year and I had the opportunity to try a lot of different foods and cuisines with my family, Will, and friends. Now, here's our list and hope it'll inspire you to try these dishes and drinks -

*Note: these dishes and drinks aren't arrange in any specific order*

Caesar Salad slice  from Luigi Pizza - Bayside, Queens
15.  Who knew that a salad pizza could taste so good? During our first time at Luigi Pizza, I ordered a Caesar Salad slice and man, was it one of the best slices I've ever had! The Caesar salad slice had a nice crunch to it. The Caesar salad had crispy chicken (it was actually crispy), romaine lettuce, cheese, and Caesar dressing around the slice. It was mouth-watering delicious. I highly recommend getting this slice if you ever stop by Luigi Pizza.

Wild Mushroom Ravioli from NYC Dumpling Festival
14. Last September, Will and I attended the NYC Dumpling Festival (future blog post coming up) and one of the dumplings we tried was the Wild Mushroom Ravioli and mushroom heaven it was! I really love mushrooms, so discovering a mushroom-filled ravioli was exciting for me! Each bite was filled with mushroom and creamy deliciousness!

Homemade Grass Jelly with Mixed Fruits & Ice Cream from Tracy's Dessert
13. I discovered this dessert at during our trip in Toronto, Canada. The Homemade Grass Jelly with Mixed Fruits & Ice Cream was a perfect solution to a hot, summery day and boy was it hot the day I had it. This dessert was very fresh and huge! The grass jelly tasted really fresh and yummy, better than the ones I've tried in New York. Fruits were prepared and cut fresh!

Red Sangria from Parigot
12. I typically don't drink Sangria during brunch, but decided to try it out during a birthday brunch for Will at Parigot (future blog post coming up). I really liked Parigot's Sangria because it was served chilled and it was very refreshing and fruity. I also liked that there was sliced orange, chunks of apples, and pears. That's a nice combination!

Linguine with White Clam Sauce from Mussels & More
11. I've had a lot of versions of Linguine with White Clam Sauce, but the best one I've had so far was from Mussels & More. The Linguine with White Clam Sauce from Mussels & More was on point! There wasn't too much sauce and the sauce was thick enough just so the linguine can soak all of the sauce. I also liked that it wasn't too garlicky and you get a combination of clams in a shell and chopped clams.

Breaded Baked Clams from Mussels & More
10. Another dish I tried from Mussels & More that was very different and that I enjoyed was the Breaded Baked Clams. The staff here highly recommends ordering the clams breaded because it tastes a lot better and boy, were they right! The breaded baked clams has a crisp and crunchiness to it, but also tender. 

Bisque Mussels from Mussels & More
9. So I think it's pretty apparent that 2015 was the year I went crazy for mussels and seafood. I tried a few different versions of mussels at Mussels & More so far, but so far my favorite one is the Bisque Mussels. They are soaked and tossed with lobster, brandy, tomato, garlic, and cream. It's truly a bowl of lobster and mussel goodness! The mussels are cooked to perfection at Mussels & More. I highly recommend you try the mussels here.

Affugazi Affogato from Brooklyn Farmacy
8. The first time I ever stepped foot into Brooklyn Farmacy, I was excited and hooked. Besides the fact that Brooklyn Farmacy has an awesome vintage, 1960s-like atmosphere, their sundaes are phenomenal! The first sundae I ordered was the Affugazi Affogato. It's really a great marriage of chocolate and espresso! It was literally like chocolate and espresso heaven. I enjoyed hte large scopp of vanilla ice cream encased in a hardened chocolate shell which was almost impossible to break through.

Crabmeat Salad from Prince Tea House
7. I typically don't order salads at Asian restaurants/food places and Prince Tea House isn't known for their sandwiches or savory menu items, but I really enjoyed their Crabmeat Salad. I really liked the salad because it was simple and tasty at the same time. It tasted similar to kani salad, but with greens and tomato to mix in. They also provided a serving of ranch dressing with me, but it wasn't necessary.

Roast Pork Taco from Tacos El Bronco
6. I typically don't eat tacos, but when our friends brought us to Tacos El Bronco I was excited to try something different for once. I tried their Roast Pork Taco and it was absolutely delightful! It was warm, vibrant, and delicious. The guacamole had a nice and rich creaminess to it. The taco wasn't spicy at all which I liked. The roast pork was really tender and moist. This taco was screaming and bursting with deliciousness.

Spam Fries from Manila Social Club
5. I recently tried out Manila Social Club with Will and friends (future blog post coming up) and one of the menu items we tried was their Spam Fries. I have had Spam fries at a different Filipino restaurant before, but the ones from Manila Social Club were unique in terms of taste, presentation, and creativity. I think it's adorable how they set the Spam fries in the Spam can itself. They were crispy on the outside and moist like Spam should be on the inside. I also found it interesting that the Spam wasn't salty.

Crab Dip with Crostini from Hooked
4. As mentioned in the last post -  my friends, Will, and I tried Hooked in Ocean City, MD. An appetizer I really and personally enjoyed was the Crab Dip with Crostini. This was one of the best appetizers I've had so far. The crostini was toasted, fresh, and crunchy and the crab dip was amazingly delicious with just the right amount of cheese to make it gooey and delicious.

Chessie's Crab Mac-n-Cheese
3. While we were on vacation at Ocean City,MD - Will and I tried out Shenanigan's Irish Pub & Grille (future blog post coming up) and I ordered their famous Chessie's Crab Mac-n-Cheese which sounded and looked divine! The Cheesie's Crab Mac-n-Cheese consisted of twisted Cavatappi pasta with their Harp® lager and white Irish Cheddar sauce loaded with lumps of yummy crab meat and topped with Old Bay bread crumbs. The lumps of crab meat was really fresh and was no joke!

Lobster with Assorted Seafood on Yee Mein from Golden Bay Restaurant
2. My family and I were having dim sum with Will and his parents at Golden Bay Restaurant one weekend and my dad ordered the Lobster with Assorted Seafood on Yee Mein. This was probably one of the most interesting Lobster dishes and with an assortment of seafood! I really liked the noodles, the creativity, and presentation of this dish. It's quite expensive, but well worth it.

Lobster Salad from Royal Queen.
1. A mutual friend of mine & Will's got married in October and invited us to her wedding & banquet dinner at Royal Queen in Flushing, Queens. The dishes we had that night were extremely unique and luxurious. One of the dishes we had that I really liked was the Lobster Salad because it was served individually and the lobster meat was covered in mayonnaise and served with melons in the center.

Well I hope you enjoyed our list and that it may have motivate you to try some of these restaurants or dishes.