Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Our Little Adventure in Philadelphia - Day 3 of 3

Our last day in Philadelphia. We woke up around 9 or 10AM, packed up our belongings, and checked out. Just minute away from our hotel was a diner that received high ratings on Yelp and fairly good reviews, so we decided to have brunch at Boulevard Diner.

When we arrived, the first thing I noticed was the smell of the diner. It had an old and musty smell to it. We were greeted by the hostess and our waitress. Our waitress was very nice. We started off with Iced Coffees.

Our waitress gave us our iced coffees and two additional cups of ice. She said they don't have iced coffee that is prepared prior, so they used hot coffee and ice cubes. That didn't really make me feel too good about my ice coffee, but I don't know if other restaurants do the same -- but at least she was honest.

Will had the Boulevard Bonanza ($9.75) which consisted of: two eggs, short stack of pancakes, country ham, two strips of bacon, one sausage, and homefries. It sure looked like a heavy meal. Will thought the Boulevard Bonanza was mediocre and could have been better.

I had the Mushroom Omelette with Homefries and White toast on the side ($6.50). The omelette had a lot of mushrooms which I was happy to see because I love mushrooms. I asked for cheese with it too, but I felt the amount of cheese they added was a bit of overkill. The homefries were lightly seasoned with salt.

Boulevard Diner definitely needs an update in decor and get rid of that musty smell. No one wants to walk into a restaurant or a diner smelling the same scent they would find in their basement or garage. I don't think we would be returning to this diner next time we're in Philadelphia, the food quality was mediocre.

I wanted to get a few gifts for my family before leaving Philadelphia so we made a final stop at Reading Terminal Market and had lunch there as well. We went to Tommy DiNic's  for their famous pork sandwich and Franks A Lot for some barbecue chicken.

We had the Pulled Pork Sandwich with Sauteed Spinach. It's too bad that Will forgot to get cheese on it (maybe next time). The pulled pork sandwich was absolutely scrumptious. It was one of the best pork sandwiches I've ever had. The pulled pork was moist and rich. The sauteed spinach was seasoned perfectly.

I really enjoyed this sandwich and hopefully next time, Will will order the sandwich with cheese. A sandwich without cheese feels a little bland.

I walked over to Franks A Lot in Reading Terminal Market and picked up some barbecue chicken. The barbecue chicken was moist and tender, but lacked seasoning. A little salt and pepper would have gone a long way. 

I couldn't figure out what to get my parents, but then I remembered they both love red wine. So I found a wine shop that was opened inside Reading Terminal Market. I don't know too much about wine, but there was a nice lady that was working there was guiding me through the different wines and each wine had a description of it.

I tried the Victoria's Passion with Will and I really liked it. It was light and had a slight raspberry taste to it. My parents haven't opened it yet, but I hope they will like it when they try it.

Well, that's it for our little adventure in Philadelphia. I learned an important lesson during our little adventure and that is to: NEVER take a trip during a heatwave. Will and I didn't get to do everything we wanted to do like try Philly Cheesesteak since it was so hot and lines are long everywhere. Hopefully we will get around to eating true Philly Cheesesteak in Philadelphia at some point.

Monday, July 29, 2013

Our Little Adventure in Philadelphia - Day 2 of 3

We woke up around 10AM and got ready for brunch. Sabrina's Cafe was on our list of restaurants to try  out. There are three locations, but we went to the Fairmount/Art Mueseum location. 

You can't make advanced reservation, but you can call ahead and that's exactly what we did.We made a phone to Sabrina's Cafe just minutes before we arrived and when we arrived, they said the wait would be around 15-20 minutes. 

I took this photo while we were waiting for our table to be ready. Interesting and cute photo. 10-15 minutes passed by and our table was ready. Since we went on a Saturday, it was super packed. We ordered our food, but it took a while for it to be ready.

Iced Tea & Iced Coffee

Will ordered the Two Eggs Any Style with White Toast/Sweet Potato Fries and Canadian Bacon  ($??.??). His dish didn't really appeal to me much except for the Sweet Potato Fries since I wanted to try them. The Sweet Potato Fries weren't bad at all, but they also weren't the best. I just wished they were a little more crispy. 

I had the Eggs Benedict Florentine ($10.95). I've never had an Eggs Benedict Florentine, but I was sure it wouldn't be too different from a regular Eggs Benedict. I really liked the homefries. They were a little crunchy and seasoned perfectly. I really liked the spinach, but as for the Eggs Benedict Florentine itself - I wasn't a huge fan of it.

Will and I weren't too happy with the food. We felt the food just didn't really 'wow' us. After brunch, we decided to check out this souvenir shop: The Bourse to bring a few gifts back for our family and friends. It's really not that big - mostly just a floor of food courts, additional seating, and souvenir shops. Since we were in the Downtown section of Philadelphia, we decided to go check out the famous Chinatown Friendship Gate and grab an ice cold drink/snack along the way. Super hot outside at this point.

After taking a few shots at the Chinatown Friendship Gate, we stopped by Cube Cafe. So what's so special about this cafe? I'll tell you what... they have the Hong Kong Style Egg Cakes (the same ones from Chinatown in NYC).  Cute cafe. Their menu ranges from bubble tea to rice dishes to dessert to sandwiches, and etc. The young lady that took our order was very nice. Since it was so hot, we just had to order ourselves an ice cold drink.

Will ordered the Iced Caramel Latte which I wasn't a huge fan of. I ordered the Jasmine Green Tea Latte. I absolutely fell in love with it because it was refreshing and light. It made my day.

So we got two Hong Kong Style Egg Cakes. I ordered the Green Tea one and he ordered the Chocolate one. They were both very tasty and I've never cakes like these before. I think I liked the Green Tea one better because it has a hint of matcha in it which makes it the cake taste a little stronger. The chocolate one was good too.

 After Cube Cafe, we made our way to a mall to stay cool and shop for two hours. For dinner, I decided to yield to Will and let him have Golden Corral (big mistake). I wasn't very happy with the quality of the restaurant of the food. After a disappointing room and long day, we finally got back to our hotel room and stayed up watching The Fast & The Furious. 

Saturday, July 27, 2013

Our Little Adventure in Philadelphia - Day 1 of 3

We're going to shift gears today folks. This post and the next two posts will be about our little adventure in Philadelphia from July 5th - July 7th.

So glad that Will and I had a three day weekend so we made plans for a little adventure in Philadelphia. On Friday morning, we drove and made our way to Philadelphia. We were stuck in traffic in Staten Island for a while (no secret there) and I got bored, so this was what I ended up doing this:

Yep - taking dorky photos of myself and Will while we were stuck in traffic. It was about an hour and a half drive to our first stop - our hotel. By the time we arrived at our hotel is around 12:30-1PM and we were starving, so first stop was the Reading Terminal Market.

I've heard a lot of great things about the Reading Terminal Market and that it's basically a Foodie Central. So many shops condensced into one block and there's different foods to choose from. From fresh produce to seafood to meats to sandwiches to sushi to sweets and a lot more. You have choices of Chinese, Japanese, Mexican, Cajun, and a lot more. Everything is fresh and the foods are cooked on the spot.

After walking around, we finally settled on a place to eat - Beck's Cajun Cafe. The women behind the counter were very nice and were inviting everyone to sample their foods. Will and I had a few samples to try and ended up ordering our lunch from Beck's Cajun Cafe too.

Blackened Chicken Alfredo
I had the Blackened Chicken Alfredo. It was creamy and tasted like your usual pasta with Alfredo sauce. Half way through the Alfredo, I realized it was getting spicier. I couldn't handle the spice.

Cajun Meatloaf Platter
Will tried the sample of Jambalaya and liked it so he ordered the Cajun Meatloaf Platter with Jambalaya and Corn bread. I was able to try a little bit of everything. The Jambalaya was quite spicy, I couldn't handle it. The meatloaf was moist and tasty. I really liked the corn bread because it was moist and not too sweet.

Unfortunately I didn't feel too well throughout the day after having the food. I'm sure the other foods here are very good, but maybe Cajun food isn't quite for me.

After Reading Terminal Market, we were going to play miniature golf, but only played 2 holes and left the golf course. I'll let you in on a little secret about our trip to Philly - it was HOT! We were suffering because of the heatwave. My face was almost as red as a tomato and we couldn't withstand the heat so we ended up walking around Walmart to pick up water and drinks to keep ourselves hydrated and enjoy the AC.

The evening was approaching and we were super hungry. Our initial plan was to go for Philly Cheesesteak, but since I wasn't feeling 100% great and it was so freakin' hot - we didn't want to sit and eat outside in the heat. We ended up going to Penrose Diner instead.

Penrose  looked almost identical to your typical diner with comfors was verytable booth seats. However, there was just something about this diner that sets itself apart from many of the diners I’ve been to. Our waitress nice.So glad we came here on an extremely scorching hot day cause the AC was nice and cool, maybe a little too cool. 


Bread Basket
Shrimp Bisque Soup & Chicken Bowtie Soup
Because it was so cold at the diner, we both got soups. I ordered the Shrimp Bisque soup. It was creamy and had baby shrimp in it (not the best kind of shrimp). The soup had a little too much salt in it. 

Will had the Chicken Bowtie Soup which I absolutely loved.Chicken Bowtie soup which looked really healthy and hearty.  I really enjoyed his soup because it was just the right amount of salt and flavor. The chunks of chicken was tender and it was just a really good and hearty soup.

Lobster Ravioli
Will ordered the lobster ravioli dinner special. It came with a soup, the entree, a drink, and dessert. His Lobster Ravioli looked amazing and it came with a slice of garlic bread so he can drench the bread in the warm, red, and creamy lobster sauce. Unfortunately I forgot how much it cost.

He gave me three pieces of the lobster ravioli and I absolutely loved it. The ravioli was cooked perfectly and just amazing. I've never had lobster ravioli before and I’m glad I got to sample a bit of it. My boyfriend made an excellent decision in ordering his dinner that night.

Chicken Francese
So I ordered the Chicken Francese ($14.99). The Chicken Francese was scrumptious! The chicken was moist, tender, and just absolutely delectable. There was only two pieces which was just enough. The rice was moist and I love how it was drenched with the lemon and butter sauce because it gave the rice extra flavor and gave it a buttery taste. 

After dinner - we just went back to our hotel room, showered, and watched movies. It was a long hot day. Glad we survived our first day of the heatwave. 

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Mid-Week Lunch at XO Taste

XO Taste
41 Elizabeth Street New York, NY 10013

Will and I met up on a Wednesday afternoon to grocery shop and have a mid-week lunch as well. I've been wanting to try XO Taste for some time now, so we finally decided to give it a shot. We have been to the XO Cafe on Hester street, but not this new location.

The layout of XO Taste is definitely different from XO Cafe. It's definitely spacious and feels like a much more laid back environment.Will and I came at a non-busy time, a little bit after the lunch rush. The waiters/waitresses didn't seem very attentive when we were trying to ask for something and service was slow. After placing our orders, our food came in minutes.

Japanese Pan-Fried Dumplings
We started off with the Japanese Pan Fried Dumplings ($3.95). The price was reasonable and I must admit the dumplings were scrumptious.

The dumplings were slightly crunchy and filled with a lot of meat and chives. The sauce went well with the dumplings. The dumplings were juicy and seasoned just right. I was really impressed with it.

Udon Noodle Soup with Grilled Chicken Cutlets
Will ordered the Udon Noodle Soup with Grilled Chicken Cutlets. It looked really hearty and amazing since it had a bowl full of different ingredients. The broth was good. I really liked it because it was just seasoned perfectly.
Grilled Chicken Cutets
The grilled chicken cutlets were served on a separate plate. It was dark meat and bad, but it was really OD Salty. I had to drink several cups of water because it was just too much salt.

Baked Minced Beef over Spaghetti
I ordered the Baked Minced Beef over Spaghetti ($6.95). It was definitely a big portion size. I wasn't too impressed with my lunch because it was salty. I didn't want to waste food so I just kept continuing, but also constantly drinking water.

The chances of us returning back to XO Taste is probably slim because the majority of our food was salty and the thought of the possibility of other dishes being salty just makes me turn my head away.

Saturday, July 20, 2013

Bonding with Our Friends at Tengu Sushi & Noodle House

Tengu Sushi & Noodle House
5920 Fort Hamilton Parkway Brooklyn, NY 11219

Earlier this month, Will and I had dinner with two of our good friends Suzanne and Mimi at Tengu Sushi & Noodle House. They've never tried this restaurant before and being that Suzanne and Mimi love Japanese food - it seemed like the perfect restaurant to meet up.

We came on a Wednesday night, just before July 4th and it actually wasn't crowded at all. We got seated at one of their booths which is very spacious. The restaurant didn't have much decor. Comfortable seats. Service and food was up-to-par.

I was actually impressed with the food we ordered. We decided to do family style for our dinner.

Crab Apple Salad
I ordered a crab apple salad ($5.00) to share with Will and our friends. Will didn't eat the salad, but our friends did and they loved it.

It's similar to a Kani Salad except there are julienne apple and mixed in with kani, cucumber, caviar, and mayo. The salad was refreshing and had a nice creaminess to it. The julienne apple adds a crunchiness to the salad and sweetness!

Curry Puff
Another appetizer we got was the curry puff pastry ($4.50) which was with vegetables and potatoes. These were adorable, tiny and packed with some spiciness to it. It tasted good, but I couldn't handle the intensity of the spiciness.

Grilled Ika
I wanted to try the Grilled Ika which is Grilled Squid with light butter eel sauce. It was tasty and had a pinch of sweet taste to it. I really liked this dish and the texture of the grilled squid was just right.

Boston and Sweet Potato Roll
Both rolls were tasty!

Volcano Roll
 Will ordered the Volcano Roll and it sure looked amazing. It contained fried white fish with  caviar and scallions. It's topped off with a seared spicy tuna on top. This roll was good, but couldn't really enjoy the entire roll because of it's spiciness.

White Ninja Roll
The White Ninja Roll was ordered by our friends. It contained: spicy white tuna, shrimp, mango and cucumber wrapped in Vietnamese rice paper with Mango miso sauce. I didn't try this roll since I am allergic to mango and it was spicy.

We also ordered the Sashimi. I don't really eat raw fish so I can't comment on how this dish was or the quality.

We also ordered the braised pork tonkotsu ramen, but I totally forgot to take a photo of it.

Overall, we were really impressed with the quality of the food and the service was good as well too. We will definitely be back.

Thursday, July 18, 2013

A Pleasant Dinner at Cutting Board

Cutting Board
53 Bayard Street New York, NY 10013

Will and I attended a conference with a few of our friends a few weeks ago. After the 4-6 hour conference, we all decided to grab early dinner at Cutting Board in Chinatown.

Cutting Board adds a uniqueness to Chinatown because it's a fusion restaurant and has a twist on a lot of Italian/Japanese/Chinese dishes. The restaurant looks small from the outside, but it's actually quite spacious and has two additional rooms in the back of the restaurant. The staff at CB are attentive and quite friendly.

Will and I had been to CB earlier this year and liked it. During our second visit, we were happy to see that their menu has expanded which gave us a great opportunity to try new menu items.

Lobster Bisque 
Will ordered the lobster bisque ($4.50). The lobster bisque was creamy and rich with lobster flavor. The bisque was seasoned perfectly. It came with one bread stick which really goes beautifully with the creamy lobster bisque. Dip a piece of that bread stick in that bowl of lobster richness and you'll find yourself experiencing a foodgasm. I wished they gave more bread sticks.

Shake Shake Fries
Our friends ordered the Shake Shake fries ($4.00). Nothing too special. It's just crispy fries seasoned with parmesan cheese, togarashi, and seaweed. It is accompanied with a cheese dipping sauce as well.

Sweet Potato Waffle Fries
I'm such a sucker for sweet potato fries. I've never seen or had sweet potato fries that looked like this before. They remind me of the Ruffles potato chips. The sweet potato waffle fries ($4.00) were delightful. Slightly crispy and not too sweet, just perfect!

Grilled Calamari Salad
One of our friends ordered the Grilled Calamari Salad ($8.00). I really loved the presentation of the salad because it's simple, it's clean, and looks great with vibrant colors. The grilled calamari was served on a bed of  arugala with pickle, roasted tomato, and a sesame balsamic dressing. The salad was refreshing and I really liked the calamari because it was tender, smooth, and seasoned perfectly.

Linguine with Clams
This was the entree that I ordered. The linguine and clams ($8.00) were seasoned and cooked with sake, garlic, parsley, and miso butter. I wasn't very impressed with this dish. It didn't "wow" me and felt very bland.

Seafood Creamy Rice
I was initially going to order this dish, but Will ordered it instead. This dish contained a small variety of seafood in this dish - shrimp, clams, mussels, and I believe scallops. The seafood creamy rice ($9.00) was full of creamy deliciousness and with chopped onions and peppers.

Green Tea Molten Lava Cake
My friends and I saw a picture of this beautiful dessert on the windows while we were outside of the restaurant and knew we just had to have it after our dinner. It looked so beautiful that I almost didn't want to eat it.

There was a foam-like cloud, a scoop of vanilla ice cream, and a piece of cookie that accompanied the Green Tea Molten Lava Cake. The cake was absolutely divine.This dessert really hit the spot. I don't remember how much it cost, but I do remember it was inexpensive.

This was a truly yummy and hearty dinner. I can see myself coming back to Cutting Board again. The food is simply delicious and reasonably price.

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Hong Kong Style Dinner at HK Tea & Sushi

HK Tea & Sushi
2033 86th Street Brooklyn, NY 11214

It was a late Saturday evening after a Brooklyn Cyclones game that Will, my friends, and I were trying to find something to fill our tummies up. Most restaurants were already closed and our friends didn't want diner food, so I did a Yelp search and found that HK Tea & Sushi doesn't close until 11:30PM. Perfect.

HK Tea & Sushi was affected by a fire in 2010 and was reopened about 10 months after the fire. The decor didn't look any different from before.

The food at HK Tea & Sushi is Hong Kong Style with a side of Japanese cuisine as well. It was the four of us eating, so we ordered four entrees.

Beef Yaki Soba

I wasn't too hungry and didn't want a big meal like Will and my friends, so I ordered the beef yakisoba. The beef was moist and tender. I wasn't too thrilled with this dish.

Minced Beef over Spaghetti
I really liked my friend's dish. She had the Minced Beef over Spaghetti. It looked amazing! I really liked the gooeyness it had and you can really taste the flavor of the beef. Truly NOM goodness!

Portuguese Seafood over Rice
Will had the Portuguese seafood over rice. His dish was truly massive! I love how there was a variety of seafood in his dish: shrimp, scallop, squid, mussels, and I believe clams. Lots of cheese smothered all over the seafood, cheese, vegetables, and rice! I loved the creaminess of this dish.

Our other friend had an eggplant with fish fillet over rice. Nothing too special.

I felt a little sick so I asked for a ginger ale. It took more than 5-10 minutes for the waiter to bring me my ginger ale. I'm not sure why it even took so long.

All in all, the food was good and reasonably priced, but I think the service could be a little bit better. I wouldn't come here a lot because of the not-so-great service and plus, there are better Hong Kong Style Restaurants in the neighborhood.

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Sunday Brunch at Clinton St. Baking & Co.

Clinton Street Baking Co.
4 Clinton Street New York, NY 10002

Approximately two weeks ago, my boyfriend and I celebrated our friend's birthday by having a late brunch at Clinton Street Baking & Co. We picked probably not the best day as it was Father's Day, but somehow everything turned out to be okay and we were able to experience Clinton Street Baking Co. and the food.

Our friend Jack (birthday man) walked to the restaurant ahead of time and made a reservation and it was about a three hour wait and the restaurant texted him to alert him that our table would be ready. When we arrived we had to wait an additional 10 minutes for our table.

From the outside, Clinton St. Baking & Company doesn't look very impressive, but inside it has a homey-like look to it. Staff is friendly and prices are reasonable.

Iced Coffee
I started with an iced coffee. Perfect beverage especially since it was so hot and muggy inside. This was the perfect refreshing drink.

Without any hesitation we ordered the blueberry pancakes ($14.00).

Maine Blueberry Pancakes with Warm Maple Butter
I've never been a fan of pancakes, but when I had my first bite from the most fluffiest, moist pancake I was truly in pancake heaven. The pancake was soft and full of fluffiness.

There's a general helping of blueberries which tasted fresh and heavenly and powdered sugar sprinkled. I love how the blueberries was round, plump, and flavorful. Hand down, this was the best pancakes I've had so far.

Country Breakfast
My boyfriend ordered the Country Breakfast ($13.00) which consisted of three eggs (any style), Heritage maple cured ham, hash browns, and a buttermilk biscuit. 

Southern Breakfast
Someone else ordered the Eggs Benedict so I was unable to. I decided on the Southern Breakfast ($14.00). It consisted of two eggs (any style), sugar-cured bacon, cheese grits, and fried green tomatoes. I wasn't a fan of the sugar-cured bacon because it wasn't really what I expected it to be. Somehow I thought it would be sweet, but it wasn't.

The cheese grits was good and very filling. I never had fried green tomatoes before. I couldn't really taste the tomato-ness of the green tomato. I could only taste most of the breading.

Huevos Racheros
Birthday Man - Jack had the Huevos Rancheros ($14.00) which consisted of Sunny side-up eggs with red bean, guacomole, japaleno, sour cream, salsa picante, and pepper jack cheese on a flour tortilla.

Eggs Benedict
Birthday Man's cousin came along to brunch too. He ordered the Eggs Benedict ($15.00) before I could. He made an excellent choice. The Eggs Benedict consisted of: poached eggs with maple cured ham, classic hollandaise sauce over a toasted buttermilk biscuit. The poached eggs were plump and the whole dish just looked amazing. I wonder how did it taste.

The birthday brunch was a success. I really and truly enjoyed the blueberry pancakes. I'm really glad I was able to try it out and that our friend Jack had a good time. Will I come back here again? Most likely yes because service was good and the food was amazing.

Certain things in life are just worth the wait.