Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Sala Restaurant - Something different, Something new

Sala Restaurant
189-11 Northern Boulevard Flushing, NY 11358

Earlier this month, Will and I celebrated our friend Mandy's birthday with our friends. We are always used to eating at Japanese or Asian-like restaurants, so this time we decided to venture into something different - Greek & Mediterranean food.

From the outside, the restaurant actually looks like a house. There's a bar once you enter and the dining area is in another section of the restaurant. I love the rustic decor and ambiance at Sala.

So, we started off with appetizers -

Pita chips and dip
Pita plays an important role in Greek and Mediterranean cuisine. We were given a complimentary plate of pita chips and dip. The dip tasted a lot like ranch dressing. I love the pita chips - crunchy and lightly seasoned with salt!
Meat Sampler
We ordered a meat sampler which consisted of three wings, three barbecue ribs, three chicken kebobs, three shish kebobs, and four Greek meatballs. All of this for $24.95. A little too expensive in my opinion. However, I do love the variety of food on this platter. There's a different variety in texture and taste.

Chicken Milan
One of our friends ordered the Chicken Milan which was chicken breast rolled with ham and mozzarella cheese, topped with gravy. We all had the same rice and broccoli, so that wasn't too special. The Chicken Milan was delicious! It was moist, juicy, and seasoned just right!

Broccoli Penne 
Another friend ordered the Broccoli Penne which was penne cooked with garlic and oil with broccoli spears. I wasn't a huge fan of this dish, because it was a little too spicy for me.

Kiwi Mango Salmon
This was a popular dish according to Yelp reviews. Will ordered this. It looked amazing, but the quality of it wasn't superb. The salmon was so dry, no moisture at all.

Mediterranean Sea Bass
This was another menu item that Yelp reviews gave thumbs up to, so I decided to try it out. It was a pistachio encrusted, pan seared and drizzled with butter sauce and served with risotto style rice with a side of brocolli. I really liked the Mediterranean Sea Bass. It was moist, buttery, seasoned just perfectly, and really delightful. This was probably one of the BEST fish dishes I've had this year!

For the most part, I was very happy with the food and the service at Sala. It was nice to get away from eating the usual Asian and Japanese dinner. It was a nice change of scenery and cuisine.

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Munchies Cafe - Enjoying dessert on these chilly days

Munchies Cafe
12 Bay 25th Street Brooklyn, NY 11214

Munchies Cafe is a nice and sweet addition to Brooklyn. I came here a lot with Will during the Spring, but didn't so much in the Summer. We've recently stopped by Munchies this past month for desserts again.

This little cafe is really bright and what sets it apart from other Chinese dessert places is that they have touch screen computer monitors. Each table of 4 has a computer monitor that is connected to the internet and you can use it like a regular laptop/computer, watch anything you want do whatever you want.

Their menu is pretty big, but they have made changes over the past month or so. Their menu ranges from desserts, to drinks, and savory foods.

On our most recent visit, this is what we've tried:

Papaya Sago with Grass Jelly 
During a visit at Munchies Cafe with my sisters and Will, I ordered the Papaya Sago with Grass Jelly ($5.50).  I like how they pureed the papaya and made it into a papaya broth. I like that there's chunks of watermelon, papaya, and grass jelly. In addition, there's sago floating in the broth too.

Mix Fruit with Coconut Sago
Will ordered the Mix Fruit with Coconut Sago ($4.75). This is slightly different from the Papaya Sago with Grass Jelly because it's coconut based. I tried this and it's good, but I like the papaya better.

Later that week, we had All-You-Can-Eat sushi with Will's friends and after dinner we all still had room in our stomach for dessert. Will and I brought our friends to Munchies.

Mario Brothers 
A lot of our friends saw this on Yelp and it looked really good to them so a majority of them ordered this dessert - Mario Brothers Snowy Mix Fruit.

For this item, you are allowed to choose two ice cream flavors and a fruit. Will chose vanilla ice cream and green tea ice cream and as his fruit was strawberry. The sweet soup was coconut flavored. This dessert was creamy and definitely filling for Will. I think next time I'll try the Mario Brothers.

Mix Fruit with Grass Jelly
I ordered the Mix Fruit with Grass Jelly ($4.75). I should warn you that I am a huge fan of grass jelly and plus it's healthier (according to my mom). I love this dessert, fresh fruits and grass jelly with a little coconut milk. Extra yummy! And the colors are so vibrant and inviting.

I haven't tried any of the savory items on their menu yet. I usually come here for desserts. There's a lot of Asian/Chinese dessert shops popping up in my neighborhood, Chinatown, and even Queens, but I must admit, so far Munchies Cafe has been my favorite and go-to-place for dessert.

Monday, November 18, 2013

International Hotel, Motel & Restaurant Show - November 2013

For the past two or three years, my boyfriend and I have attended the International Hotel, Motel & Restaurant Show at the Jacob Javits Center. It takes place once a year, every November.

The show is geared towards students and professionals in the Hospitality industry. Although, I know I won't be working in the hospitality industry in the future, I still like to attend this event because they have some pretty great exhibits. 

There are a lot of high-end companies that shows off their hottest and latest products as well. One of the main reasons why I love attending is to see the culinary salon, where different colleges compete against each other. 

Can you believe these were made by students and professors? I can't. These look like they should be on the Food Network, don't you think? This is not all...

And there's more. Some of these pieces are just really takes your breath away. Absolutely stunning!

Oh My God! It's UP and Wall-E! Aren't they just beautiful and adorable? 

Us & The Cake Boss
Yep! We got a photo with The Cake Boss! I received an e-mail update from IHMRS just two days before the event and noticed that Buddy will be making a guest appearance at the show at 11AM. Will and I spent 10-15 minutes walking around in circles trying to find Buddy or at least the crowd that was screaming for him. We finally found him and had to line up to take a photo with him. I will forever remember this moment!

All in all, this was a fun event. It wasn't as fun the first two times I attended, but at least Will and I got to take a photo and meet a celebrity chef.

If you would like more information on this event, please click here

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Brunch with Jane

100 West Houston Street, New York, NY 10012

Late last month, one of our good friends Sam invited my boyfriend and I to a surprise birthday brunch for her boyfriend. It was an early Sunday afternoon and luckily Sam made advanced reservations otherwise we would be sitting and waiting for an hour and a half, or more.

The interesting thing is that Jane has been one of the restaurants I've really been dying to visit especially to try their Eggs Benedict.

The decor at Jane is unlike any other brunch spot I've been to. The decor is trendy, but also modern. There's two floors of seating and both floors are spacious and cozy.

We all got our own entrees and if you order your entree from a certain section, you get a complimentary cocktail.

White Peach Bellini
I decided to order the White Peach Bellini which was light, refreshing, a little bubbly from the sparkling wine. I enjoyed it very much.

Benedict Jane
Will ordered the Benedict Jane ($17). The Benedict Jane was really just poached eggs, crab and crawfish cakes, spinach, and tarragon Hollandaise sauce. It was such a beautiful dish!

Will gave me one of his eggs Benedict. I really enjoyed the meatiness of the crab and crawfish cake, very different, but tasty! The eggs Benedict was cooked just perfectly.

Benedict Johnny
I ordered the Benedict Johnny ($16) which consisted of poached eggs, maple chicken sausage, corn pancakes, and roasted tomato hollandaise sauce. It's similar to Benedict Jane.I really liked the home fries because they were crispy and crunchy and was possibly the best home fries I've had.

One of the things I love the most about eggs Benedict is the yolk oozing out and runny yolk. It's like magic. The eggs Benedict was cooked just right. The maple chicken sausage was yummy, but wasn't a fan of the corn pancakes.

Pumpkin Chair Profiteroles & Seven Layer Chocolate Cake
I can't believe we had room for dessert. Sam ordered the Pumpkin Chai Profiteroles ($8) which was seriously pumpkin heaven! There was pumpkin ice cream, candied pumpkin seeds, pumpkin paper, and chai sauce. I really liked this dessert because you can taste pumpkin in different textures, shapes, and sizes. My favorite was the pumpkin ice cream - seriously delicious!

The next dessert was the Seven Layer Chocolate Cake ($8). Absolutely Chocolate heaven! The seven layer chocolate cake consists of chantilly cream, whipped gananche, and a chocolate sauce. This was amazing. It was moist, chocolatey, creamy, and just... it'll take your breath away!

Our friend Alex (the birthday boy) was completely taken by surprise with this brunch. We successfully surprised him and he enjoyed the brunch very much.

I really enjoyed our brunch at Jane. The staff were very friendly and nice. The food was beyond perfection. I would love to come back here in the near future.

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Ramen Quest: Bassanova Ramen

Bassanova Ramen
76 Mott Street New York, NY 10013

For months I've been wanting to try out Bassanova Ramen and see what the hype was about. On a chilly Friday evening, Will finally took me here for dinner. I was very surprised that there was no line out the door like Ippudo and because it wasn't crowded when we arrived, we were seated in seconds.

Their menu is the smallest menu I have ever seen. For some people this is a negative and for some people this is a positive. I think it's great because in most restaurants I have been to, you just flip through pages and pictures and it can get confusing and hectic because you're struggling with what to order.

At Bassnova ramen, you won't have that problem. I love their idea of simplicity because the decor is simple and white, their menu is very simple and straightforward. Oh yes... I love their giant size spoons and chopsticks.

Moving along to the real reason why we came here:

Green curry ramen
Will is brave when it comes to trying spicy foods. He has a high tolerance for it, more than me. I have a low tolerance and plus I have found myself getting allergic reactions whenever I eat anything that is spicy.

Will tried the green curry ramen. It was a little too spicy for him so he asked for a bowl of coconut milk on the side to reduce the spicyness. It helped somewhat. I tried a bit of the green curry ramen without the coconut milk and I wasn't very enthusiastic about it.

Tonkadu Ramen
I had the Tonkadu Ramen which is basically Berkshire pork tonkatsu, topped with pork loin cha shu, kikurage, ginger, crushed sesame, nori, and scallions. I must admit that when the Tonkadu ramen arrived to our table, I thought it was one of the most beautiful bowl of ramen I've seen. Everything looked well balance and so inviting!

I really liked the broth. I felt the broth was flavored just right and thick which I really liked. The ramen itself, the noodles were thin like angel hair pasta. As for the pork loin, it was slightly grilled and there's a slight char-ness to it. It was very moist and tender.

I enjoyed the Tonkadu ramen so much that I finished every bite and left nothing, but a small portion of broth. This was no joke.

Will and I inquired about the ramen burger since we didn't try it, but the waitress said she doesn't know if it will ever be on their menu. Boo...

I really enjoyed the ramen here, well at least I enjoyed mine and I like the simplicity here. Would I return? Possibly, but not any time soon as per the pricing is just a little steeper than some of the ramen shops I have been to. I'll definitely be back if they expand their menu. If you haven't tried Bassanova yet, give it a shot at least once and see if you like it.

Service: 4/5
Atmosphere: 5/5
Taste: 4/5
Likelihood to return: 75%

Saturday, November 2, 2013

Korean BBQ at Kum Gang San

Kum Gang San
138-28 Northern Boulevard Flushing, NY 11354

Will and I went to Kum Gang San with his family to celebrate his sister's and brother in-law's birthday in Mid-October. Will and I have been to the Manhattan location before, but not the Flushing location.

We arrived on a Saturday night and it was quite packed, but we managed to be able to get a table within minutes.

We decided to do one of their Korean BBQ specials which included assorted meats. We started off with lots of banchan. I love me some free foods.

I didn't try all of the banchans since a couple of the food and dishes were spicy. I thought it was interesting that there was a plate with chunks of apples smothered with mayonnaise. It added a nice creaminess to the apples.

Oh yes, we also ordered two appetizers: Japchae (one of my absolute Korean dishes) and Seafood Pajeon. I absolutely love the Japchae. It was very tasty and delicious! The seafood pajeon was crispy, crunchy, and delicious as well!

We had a small set of assorted meats to barbecue. It didn't take too long to for the food to cook. The service here was really up to par because the waitresses would frequently come to our table and assist us in cooking the meat for us and cutting it into a bite-size for us. There were some meats that were spicy and some that was absolutely tasty because of the marinade.

Vanilla Frozen Yogurt
After our meal, we were given complimentary dessert - vanilla frozen yogurt. The taste was different. A little tart, but that's how frozen yogurt is or yogurt in general. I wasn't a huge fan of this.

All in all, it was a fun experience at Kum Gang San. Would I come back? Maybe. I much prefer the one in Manhattan more since it's more convenient and the ambiance is better.