Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Summer Food Porn

So instead of reviewing a restaurant or food place I've decided to post up some food that I've ate this Summer so far. Enjoy and feel free to ask me about any of the food you see.

Grilled Chicken Casear Salad
Grilled Beef over Rice Vermicelli
Potato Waffle Benedict
Roasted Chicken & Brisket
Fries & Chili
Watermelon Ice with Grass Jelly

Cous Cous, Shitake Mushrooms & Carrots, and Roasted Cauliflower
Pan-Fried Seafood Instant Noodle

Mom's Signature Pan-Fried Salmon
Grass Jelly with Mixed Fruits

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Date Night at Pho Grand

Pho Grand
277 Grand Street New York, NY 10002
212.965.5366

Will and I have been to many Vietnamese restaurants that we know exactly where's a good and a bad spot, but a friend recently recommended me to try a Vietnamese restaurant just a block from the Grand Street train station. My friend also told me the Pho here is bomb, so I told Will and we gave this restaurant a shot.

Will and I came on a Friday night and it was busy, but not crazy. I was amazed by how big Pho Grand was because most Vietnamese restaurants we've been to are small or mid-sized. There's additional seating in the back too.
Pho Xe Lua
Will ordered his usual - Pho Xe Lua  and man, oh man... it smelled insanely delicious! I couldn't resist, had to take a sip of that broth and gosh, it was amazing and just delightful. I can't quite put it into words so you'll just have to try it for yourself.


The beef was slightly overcooked which I thought was a little awkward cause it's usually not cooked to this color. There's usually slight redness in it. Overall, Will was very happy with his Pho Xe Lua and said the broth was on point!

Vietnamese Spring Rolls
For appetizer, we ordered the Vietnamese spring rolls. These were crunchy, piping hot, and delightful. Fried to perfection and tasty!

Spring Rolls &  Grilled Beef over Rice Vermicelli
I absolutely love rice vermicelli at a Vietnamese restaurant because it's so simple yet so delicious! The spring rolls and grilled beef over rice vermicelli was accompanied with a bowl of sweet, tangy Fish sauce too. I enjoyed my rice vermicelli very much.

Overall, I really liked Pho Grand. Service was quick and on point. The food was great and prepared very well. I would definitely come back here again especially if I am close Grand Street and need a tasty Vietnamese meal.

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Enjoying and Indulging on Savory Peruvian Food

Pio Pio
282 Kings Highway Brooklyn, NY 11223
718.627.3744

Will and I went on a double date with our friends Samantha and Alex recently and decided to go to a new and local restaurant Pio Pio, located in Gravesend, Brooklyn. There's a couple of locations in the city and Queens.

I really liked the decor of the restaurant because it was very simple and chic. The atmosphere is relaxing, chill, and mellow.

Sangria - Roja
We ordered a pitcher of Sangria - Roja (Rose). This was my second time trying Sangria and it was definitely different from the first time I had it because the first time I had it was homemade - less alcohol. I really liked the Sangria we had. It complemented the food very well and was refreshing.

Matador Combo
We ordered the Matador Combo ($34.00) and is one of Pio Pio's most popular menu item. The Matador Combo included: Mama Juanita's rotisserie chicken, yellow rice and beans, tostones, salchipapa, and an avocado salad.

Mama Juanita's rotisserie chicken was enormous! It was nicely roasted to a nice shade of golden brown, piping hot, tender, and delicious. The yellow rice and beans were tasty, nothing too special. The salchipapa is sliced frankfurters and French fries. Who would have thought those two would be an interesting combo? The sliced frankfurters were cooked to perfection as the fries were too.

My favorite of this entire combo was the tostones because I have had a lot of tostones before and none of them could measure up to the excellent quality from Pio Pio. The tostones has a slight crunch on the outside and were really moist, smooth, and delightful! I ate a whole lot of it. Since Will is allergic to avocado we had it served on the side from the salad.

Pescadito Chifa
A Yelp reviewer said on their review that the crispy sea bass was delectable so I shared that with my friends and Will, so we decided to order it. The Pescadito Chifa (Crispy sea bass) ($26.00) was served with oriental mixed vegetables and sauteed with Peruvian spices and white rice.

I wasn't a fan of this dish even though the sea bass was cooked to perfection, moist and delicate. There was just the right amount of seasoning and flavor, but it looks like a regular Asian dish I would eat at home.

Jalea
Finally, we had the Jalea ($22.00) which is a traditional Peruvian fried mixed seafood platter topped with salsa criolla. The fried seafood that I tried was fried calamari, fish, and not sure what else, but there was also fried yuca. The salsa criolla was a white salsa and tasted like ranch sauce.

I wasn't too thrilled with this dish because the breading on the fried seafood and yuca definitely needed more salt, pepper, and maybe spices. The taste was very bland.

For the most part, our dinner was delightful and satisfying. The decor really captured me and most of the food was on point. I would definitely come back especially since it's so close to my home, just 15 minutes away and next time, I will be eating lots and lots of tostones.

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Revisting A Wah Restaurant II

A-Wah Restuarant II
48B Bowery Street New York, NY 10013
212.235.8658

Last Sunday night, Will, my best friend and I were pondering about what we should eat for dinner. It took us a while to figure it out, but Christina wanted clay pot rice so we knew just the place to take her to. We took her to A Wah Restaurant II in Chinatown.
House Special Clay Pot Rice
My best friend ordered the House Special Clay Pot Rice with a fried egg on top. It sure did look amazing and tasty. Will and I have had this before and really enjoyed it!

Chinese Sausage & Preserved Duck with Taro
Will and I ordered the Chinese Sausage & Preserved Duck with Taro which is similar to Christina's clay pot rice except there's no fried egg or minced pork. I really enjoyed our clay pot rice and liked that the taro was cut into little cubes and mixed in with the rice. The best part was the crusty and crunchy parts of the rice. Those were extremely crunchy and tasty!

Eggplant with Garlic Sauce
Christina was craving for stir-fried eggplant so we ordered and eggplant with garlic sauce (non-spicy) and it was delicious. Very oily and greasy, but delicious and I liked it. It was nice to know that we both love eggplant.

We enjoyed our dinner at A Wah Restaurant II very much and hopefully she enjoyed it. Looking forward to her next visit to NYC where I can take her to try a lot more foods and restaurants.

Friday, August 8, 2014

A Little Bit of Sweetness at Mo Gelato

Mo Gelato
178 Mulberry Street New York, NY 10012
212.226.6758

After reading an intriguing post on Serious Eats about the best ice cream, gelato, and soft serve in New York City, it got me seriously craving for ice cream and gelato. It also made me want to try out a few of the spots that were mentioned in the post.

So after having dinner with my cousin, we decided to go for dessert and I took her to Mo Gelato which was near Cocoron (where we had dinner).Mo Gelato had very simple decor, nothing too sophisticated. There's only two benches outside of the shop. There's an array of gelatos to choose from, but the flavors didn't quite appeal to me because most of it was coffee or chocolate based.

Caffe Gelato
Any way, my cousin had tiramisu on a sugar cone and I had the Caffe gelato with toasted Italian coffee. The Caffe gelato was smooth and tasted like coffee. It was a little too sweet in my opinion. There were bits of chocolate in the gelato as well.

I have mixed feelings about Mo Gelato. It's a cute and simple dessert shop, but the flavors aren't that special in my opinion. None of the flavors really appealed to me. Maybe, I'll give Mo Gelato another shot if I am in the Little Italy neighborhood again.

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Cocoron - Little Italy

Cocoron
37 Kenmare Street New York, NY 10012
212.966.0800

Will and our friends tried the original Cocoron on Delancey Street in June and quite frankly, it was packed and the space was small.

Cocoron opened it's second location not too far from it's original location and I was hoping it would be different and it was. I met up with my cousin Jennifer for girl's night out and dinner at Cocoron since she's never had soba outside of home.

We came on a Tuesday night around 6:45PM-7PM and were seated right away. The decor and ambiance was very different from the one on Delancey Street. It was very modern in terms of decor and in terms of ambiance - relaxing  and chill.

I wanted to try the pork and okra croquettes but it was labeled on the menu as "temporarily unavailable". After looking at the menu, my cousin and I placed our orders.

Cold Natto Soba
Jennifer doesn't eat meat so many of the soba items on the menu weren't suitable for her. She ordered the Cold Natto Soba and neither of us knew what she was getting herself into.

At first it seemed adorable because it was a total DIY situation she had on her hands and the set-up was cute. She mixed everything together, but after a couple of bites and tastes she wasn't too enthusiastic about her food.

Chicken Meatball Dip Soba
I ordered the Chicken Meatball Dip Soba which I thought was cute and I was really excited for this. The chicken meatball was moist and tasty.The broth was delicious with a little bit of burdock root, so there was almost an herb-like taste to it. I liked dipping the noodles in the little pot very much.

Although my cousin didn't enjoy her noodles very much, I actually enjoyed the experience and my noodles very much so. I also like the vibe in this Cocoron more so than the one on Delancey street. I am itching to visit Cocoron again for their soba. It's just that good!