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.

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

What's Cooking in My Kitch

I been finding myself cooking a lot more since the year has begun. I been trying out different recipes, but also trying to master the dishes my mom makes. I would like to show you some of the dishes I've been whipping up. There's no recipe written down for these yet, but maybe some time I will write them down and turn it into a recipe post for you.

If you have any questions about the dishes that's been made, please don't hesitate to reach out to me. Enjoy!

Savory Oatmeal
I've seen recipes where you can make savory oatmeal, so I took a stab at it one weekend. The result? It needs work. I used chicken broth and Italian herbs and spices, along with a poached egg.

Chicken Rice Noodle Soup
This is a noodle soup I made earlier in the year where I was craving for noodle soup just about every week. I used chicken broth to make the soup and added in my own fried egg.

Valentine's Day meal
This year Will and I agreed not to get each other Valentine's Day gift to save a little money and also because I think we already give and get a lot for each other. However, he did come home and surprise me with a beautiful bouquet of roses. 

I decided to cook him a Valentine's Day dinner which was creamy tomato soup with homemade croutons (yep I made them for the very first time) and a lemon shrimp linguine with a rose (yep I made that too) for him.

Stuffed Fuzzy Melon and Stuffed Pepper with Fish Paste
Here's two Chinese dishes I learned how to cook for the very first time and courtesy of Pinterest. The stuffed fuzzy melon is a dish my mom made at home from time to time. The stuffed pepper with fish paste didn't exactly come out as I wanted it to be. The fish paste would fall out during the cooking process, so need to figure out a way to make that sucker stick and not fall out next time.

Meat Patty
This is another dish that I made for the very first time and can use work. I had leftover meat from the stuffed melon and I am not the type to waste food if it's still usable, I'll use it. 

Mom's Vermicelli
This is my version of my mom's vermicelli. She usually makes this dish for holidays or big family dinners. I added cabbage and dried scallops to mine. It is delicious. I can literally eat a whole plate of this and be happy doing it. 

I've been trying to cook breakfast a lot more and I am actually getting better at it with making French Toast, Hong Kong style French Toast, oatmeal, and making my own waffles at home too. It feels pretty good to learn and cook so much.

Wednesday, April 5, 2017

FIKA: Cold Brew

Happy April everyone!

I apologize for not writing on the blog. March has been crazy and I just got back from my trip to Orlando, FL with Will on Monday. Yesterday was clean-up and laundry day, so I been tired and busy. I'm also not at my best since I've developed allergies coincidentally enough on the last day in Florida (blog post very soon). Total bummer!

Moving along -

I've been slowly trying to try cold brew and iced coffees outside of Starbucks. Last month, I finally gave FIKA a chance.

They have beautiful interior and decor! It's bright, uplifting, and mellow inside. There's a limited amount of seating. I wouldn't recommend coming here with a large group, maybe with 1-2 people at most. The service is decent. I've been here twice and it seems that it's mostly filled with people that are catching up on work on their laptops, writing, or just for a casual meeting. I was thinking of doing work from here, but I haven't noticed any power outlets.

I ordered a cold brew from FIKA and my thoughts are that it was smooth and delightful. I've had cold brew before where it tastes slightly sour, but it's quite possible that it tastes sour because of the beans or during the roasting process.

Overall, I liked the atmosphere here. It's not crazy or noisy like Starbucks or some of the coffee shops I've been to. Their prices are reasonable, I would definitely return here.

Monday, March 13, 2017

86 Fu Kee

Happy March everyone!

I can't believe I've never written a review about 86 Fu Kee since my family and I go here a lot to buy take-out. I live so close to 86 Fu Kee and it's super convenient, off the D train on Bay Parkway & 86th street.

The restaurant has been here for quite a few years. My parents know the partners and a few of the s employees quite well since they were from the same village back in China and mutual friends. The quality of the food here sometimes vary. I like their lobster and most of their stir-fried items. The restaurant is mid-sized and I think appropriate for a small group or family dinner.

We came on a Saturday evening when it spontaneously poured, so it ended up there weren't that many customers dining in that night,

Complimentary Chicken
This is a free dine-in complimentary chicken dish. The chicken was mediocre, nothing special and it was cold.

Sweet & Sour Pork Chop & Siu Chow
My Dad ordered all the dishes. He got us the Sweet & Sour Pork Chop with Pineapple which was delicious! I enjoyed the sweet and tangy taste to it. He also got the Siu Chow which had various vegetables, squid, and conch. It was quite tasty!

Lobster & Noodles and Snow Pea Leaves with Broth
Sometimes my parents go out on dates (yeah they still do that) and they told me about the lobster and noodles dish they usually order when they're out. I really enjoyed the lobster and noodles dish, but I wished there were more noodles. The lobster was juicy and delicious! We also had the Snow Pea Leaves with Broth. I love snow pea leaves and it's one of my favorite vegetables. We usually get it in a broth with dried scallops, dried shrimp, and scallops which is delectable!

Overall, dinner was great! I hardly go out and eat with just my parents so it was nice. I hated the rain that day, but we had a good time and good food.

Thursday, February 16, 2017

Why I Love Hometown Hot Pot

If you haven't noticed already there's been a huge boom of hot pot (shabu shabu) restaurants and more and more people are going out for hot pot instead because it's a fun bonding experience and some hot pot restaurants have offers that is too good to refuse.

Hometown Hot Pot opened in 2015, best known for their all-you-can-eat hot pot and Korean Barbecue. I've been here 3-4 times already in the last year and it's always been a delight to eat here.

Hometown Hot Pot is super spacious with 2.5 floors of seating and beautiful and interesting decor.
The staff here are friendly, just a little strict about reservations as you must have at least 6-8 people to minimum to make a reservation.

I've never tried their Korean Barbecue so I can't say anything about it. However, I can talk about their hot pot. So first off the prices are:
  • Hot Pot: $23.99 (per person)
  • BBQ: $27.99 (per person)
  • Hot Pot & BBQ: $31.99 (per person)
  • Children under 4 1/2 feet - half price

Their hot pot menu has eight soup bases you choose from, but they also have duo hot pot - choose any two flavors or trio hot pot - choose any three flavors. They have over 20+ items to choose from. They've also added some new menu items like: stuffed tofu, stuffed tofu skin, stuffed lotus, stuffed peppers, stuffed okra, and stuffed dough stick. It's really just seasoned,flavored fish paste. They also have beverage menu (soda, beer, wine, smoothies, teas, and etc).

The restaurant also has tong sui (sweet dessert soup) that you can have after dinner. In addition, if you check-in on Yelp you get a free scoop of ice cream. 

In addition, there's also a rule that if you're coming here to celebrate yours or someone's birthday, you MUST bring an 8 inch cake and you do have the option of eating it there or not in order for the person to eat for free. This rule applies 3 days before or 3 days after, as long as you or someone brings an ID to verify their birthday.

Tip: I highly recommend NOT wearing your best clothes here because of the ventilation and combination of all the smells will make you leave here smellier (herbal/food) than you can imagine, take my word for it.

I enjoy Hometown Hot Pot more than 99 Favors simply because their portions are a lot large and there's more variety to enjoy and savor. 

Sunday, February 12, 2017

Lunar New Year 2017

This year's Lunar New Year celebration with my family was different. First off it was my niece's first Lunar New Year so that was exciting, but my sister and her husband didn't have an opportunity to celebrate with us as they had to fly off to California for a family emergency.

Any way, my parents, baby niece, and I still found a way to celebrate and enjoy our traditional Lunar New Year meal.

Flowers & Snacks
We always lay out a vase filled with flowers, a plate of oranges and citrus fruits, We also have a platter of dried, candied fruits and another one with lucky candies and pistachios. 

Lunar New Year Breakfast
This was our breakfast, but we usually start off with praying and a ritual for our ancestors prior to eating. We start the morning off with vegetarian dishes and shrimp chips. I always love the shrimp chips my mom makes. She fried them earlier on and sealed it in an air tight bag for freshness. 

This year we didn't have as much festivities nor did we make our sweet coconut dumplings, but I am grateful I got to spend it with my family and baby niece.