Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Ocean City Eats: Dinner at Hooked

8003 Coastal Highway Ocean City, MD 21842

I came here with Will and friends on our first night in Ocean City for Labor Day weekend. They really got us "hooked" because we came here twice - once for dinner and once for brunch. We also had the advantage of experiencing both outdoor and indoor dining. The food here is excellent and the staff are on point.

Dining outdoors was slightly uncomfortable because it's just tables and benches, but it felt nice in some instances because you can feel the ocean breeze.

Hooked doesn't take reservations. It was suppose to be a lot longer, but somehow we worked our magic and was able to get a table  after waiting for about 10-15 minutes for a table of 8.

Orange Crush & Margarita
Will and I ordered an Orange Crush & Margarita. I really liked our drinks from Hooked because they tasted fresh and refreshing. Perfect for a summer night!

We started off with the Buttermilk Battered Calamari with spicy mayo & mico celery.  The calamari was perfectly fried, crunchy, and delicious! Next, we had the Crab dip with Crostini which I really, really enjoyed! It was by far the best appetizer I've had so far. The crostini was really fresh and crunchy. The crab dip was fantastic! Full of cheese and crab goodness! We also had the bacon-wrapped scallops and it looked amazing, but I wasn't a huge fan of it even though I like scallops. The scallops were wrapped in bacon which to some is like heaven, but to me I wasn't a huge fan. I also wished the scallops were pan-fried and had a crunch to it.

Roasted corn & Jalapeno crab bisque
Will and I also shared the Roasted corn & Jalapeno crab bisque. We loved how rich, tasty, and smooth the crab bisque was. There was no hint of jalapeno, so for those that are allergic to spicy foods; you have nothing to fear! The bisque tasted really fresh and hearty. This was one of the highlights of our time at Hooked.

Bread Basket
This is a complimentary bread basket/plate that our server gave us. It was fresh and tasty!

Crab cake
This is a crab cake dish that our friend Samantha ordered. Looked pretty tasty and appetizing!

I ordered the Cioppino and it was composed of shrimp,scallops, clams, mussels,fin fish,chorizo, caramelized fennel, white wine tomato broth, pesto, and house crostini. It sounded amazing on the menu, but when it arrived in front, it didn't look nor taste amazing. There was just too much going on in this dish and plus my dish was very spicy to the point I couldn't enjoy it as much as I wished I could.

Surf n Turf
Will and I ordered the Surf n Turf and his dish sounded really yummy! It was composed of jumbo shrimp, 5 oz. filet, roasted swiss chard, fingerlings, baby carrots, baby onions, garlic confit, and meyer lemon yogurt with chili essence. Another dish that sounds like a lot is going on, but surprisingly the dish tasted heck lot better than mine. I enjoyed this dish.

Overall, we all really liked this place enough we came twice as I mentioned before. I really liked the bisque and appetizer for the most part. Although we've been here twice already, I will definitely want to return to Hooked some time in the near future.

Sunday, December 27, 2015

Ocean City Eats: Returning to On The Bay Seafood

On the Bay Seafood
4204 Coastal Highway Ocean City, MD 21842

Another semester completed and I am feeling happy! More time for rest, blogging, cooking, gym, and some fun.

For the next few weeks or month, you will be seeing lots of overdue posts and all dating back from Labor Day weekend, since I've been really busy with work and school.

On Labor Day weekend - Will, some friends, and I returned to Ocean City, MD and this year, our first stop had to be back to On the Bay Seafood. It's the same laid back and fun environment!

We all ordered our own entree, but share the large dozen crabs.

Homemade Crab Cake Sandwich & Soft Shell Crab Sandwich
I ordered the Homemade Crab Cake Sandwich with boardwalk fries and homemade Cole Slaw for sides. The homemade crab cake sandwich was delicious! The crab cakes were insanely good! The sandwich was really moist and tasty! The boardwalk fries  had a nice crunch and taste to it. I absolutely love the Cole slaw, possibly one of the best I've had so far.

Will ordered the Soft Shell Crab sandwich with boardwalk fries and steamed Silver Queen corn. His entree looked really good as well. I tried a bit of the steamed Silver Queen corn and it had a nice sweetness to it.

The best part of our meal and experience here were the crabs! Although it was bit a pain and mess to get to the crab meat. I enjoyed the meat. This was my first time having crabs like this and boy were they mouth-watering delicious! The crab meat was sweet, seasoned just perfectly, and moist!

We really enjoyed our experience and time at On the Bay Seafood again!  So glad we made the decision to come back here! 

Friday, December 4, 2015

Nan Xiang Dumpling House

Nan Xiang Dumpling House
38-12 Prince Street Flushing, NY 11354

I've heard good things about Nan Xiang Dumpling House along with the fact that there's always a bit of a wait here especially during the dinner rush.

Will and I came here early on a Saturday evening around 6-6:30PM and it was about a 10-15 minute wait, not so bad because it gave us an opportunity to think about what we wanted to order. There's not much decor at Nan Xiang Dumpling House, but atmosphere is like your typical Shanghainese and Chinese restaurant - busy and etc. The restaurant is actually quite big and split into two dining areas.

So we ordered the following items -

Pork Soup Dumplings
I really enjoyed the pork soup dumplings, freshly made and hot! The soup inside the bun was just right and savory. One complaint is that they only give six soup dumplings, when some restaurants give you eight.

We also ordered the crab meat and pork soup dumplings , but I wasn't a fan of it and didn't like the the taste. It was a little weird and not as enjoyable to eat.
Scallion Pancake with Sliced Beef
I saw a lot of pictures of this item on Yelp and it sounded really good, but the scallion pancake with sliced beef was mediocre. It was very bland and I'm not sure if it's suppose to have any sauce with it or not, it just wasn't what I thought it would be.

Rice Cake with Shredded Pork & Preserved Mustard
This is always a must-have for me when I am at a Shanghainese restaurant! I love this dish! Everything was up to par! I was full easily from this dish.

I am glad we got the chance to try Nan Xiang Dumpling House. It's been on my list like forever. Overall, I enjoyed the experience and food up to a certain point. It was a very starchy dinner, so I was full quick. I definitely want to return Nan Xiang Dumpling House since I didn't get to try everything I wanted to the first time.

Thursday, December 3, 2015

Seafood Galore at Seamore's

390 Broome Street New York, NY  10013

My sister, cousins, and I came here for dinner on a Thursday around 6PM and surprisingly, it was already getting crowded and busy. We came here mostly because it was a new spot at that opened up and plus my cousin is pescetarian so we wanted to take her somewhere she would be comfortable with.

The atmosphere is very lively, laid back, and fun. Seamore's is a good spot to check out if you or someone is a seafood lover or simply just love good food! The staff here are very friendly, enthusiastic, and helpful. You won't be disappointed.

We started off with drinks and we all got something different. I tried their cucumber mint drink(non-alcoholic) because it sounded really refreshing, but I wasn't too impressed with it because it tasted really bland. I felt that if it was more bubbly or sparkly it would taste and feel a lot better. Next time, I'll probably stick with the alcohol.

Oh-Boy Sandwich
I ordered the Oh-Boy sandwich was composed of lettuce, tomato,crispy skate, and a special sauce. The sandwich was suppose to come with pickled peppers, but I don't like spicy foods too much. For a side, I got the sweet potato friends. I wasn't too impressed with my sandwich because it tasted a little bland. However, I did like that the fish was fried to perfection and really crunchy and crispy. The sweet potato fries were delish!

Crispy Fish Tacos
My sister ordered the Crispy Fish Tacos which looked and smelled amazing! The tacos were composed of - cabbage, guacamole, and Chipotle mayo. My sister typically doesn't order tacos, but she really enjoyed it and the crispy fish was fried to perfection.

Blackened Catfish Sandwich with Seamore's Greens

Blackened Catfish sandwich with Sweet Potato Fries
For entrees - my cousins (brother & sister) both got the Blackened Catfish sandwiches which came with lettuce and tomatoes. My cousins both got different sides. One got sweet potato fries and the other got the Seamore's greens and another side dish (I forgot what it was). I didn't try their sandwiches, but it sure looked amazing!

Overall, I liked Seamore's and so did my cousins and sister. It's truly a nice and cute spot, but I think it would be more lunch appropriate than dinner appropriate. I think Seamore's is a great alternative if you don't want Asian food from Chinatown or Italian food in Little Italy. I'd definitely want to return here because their Seamore's clam chowder sure sounds yummy and tempting!

Sunday, November 22, 2015

Spice - Cobble Hill

First off, finally I am writing on the blog after about two months hiatus. It's been really busy these last two months with school and work. I have a lot to catch up on with the blog, so you will be seeing a lot of long overdue posts, but may intrigue you and make you salivate.

Spice (Cobble Hill)
193 Smith Street Brooklyn, NY 11201

I visited this restaurant back in July with Will and two friends for a birthday dinner. We came on a Friday evening. I really enjoyed the atmosphere and decor because it had a nice, calm, and almost outdoorsy feeling and dim lighting. The service was adequate, no complaints. The staff were pretty friendly.

Strawberry Mojito
I thought it was interesting that Spices had Mojitos in different flavors (strawberry, lychee, mango). I got the strawberry one. It was light and refreshing, but didn't taste much alcohol in it. It felt slightly diluted.

Thai Ice Tea
Will ordered the Thai Ice Tea (at least his drink wasn't diluted) and it tasted very refreshing and smooth.

We ordered three appetizer to share among the four of us. Crispy Spring Rolls (carrots, basil, cabbage, vermicelli, and a lime-mustard sauce) were crunchy and had a nice crisp to it. The taste was mediocre. I wished we got more of a basil taste to the spring rolls. Curry Puffs (chicken, potatoes, onions with cucumber salad) - I've had this appetizer at many Thai restaurants before. Spice's version of it wasn't really what I thought it would be. I felt it was very hard to bite and not as soft as the ones I've had before. Chicken skewers with peanut sauce was the better appetizer. The chicken was grilled to perfection, moist, and tender. The peanut sauce was very rich, buttery, and creamy and complemented well with the chicken skewers.

Drunk Man Noodles with Beef
Will ordered the Drunk Man Noodles with Beef and although the rim of the plate was clean, the entree itself looked a bit messy and broken. It didn't look too appealing and as for the taste, it was mediocre.

Shrimp Pad Thai
I had the Shrimp Pad Thai and thankfully my dish looked a lot better and neat than Will's dish. In my opinion, this wasn't the best Pad Thai I've had. It felt very sweet and not enough tangy flavors in it. It also felt a little watery. 

I really wanted to love this restaurant because I love Thai food and I love the decor and atmosphere at this Spice location. The food just didn't feel up to par or nearly as good as some of the Thai food I've had before.

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

S.O.G - Your Just Not What I Thought

S.O.G. Desserts
7303 18th Avenue Brooklyn, NY 11204

About a month ago, a new dessert spot opened up in Bensonhurst and usually when new restaurants, cafes, desserts, or bakery spots opens I would wait at least a month or so before trying it out. I like to read reviews, hear feedback, and see pictures before I make my decision of trying a new place.

The first time Will and I passed by S.O.G, it was overcrowded with no seats and plus that pungent smell of durian was scaring me out the door. We ended up returning a week later on a Friday night and this time it wasn't too crowded and it didn't smell like durian.

S.O.G is quite small compared to other dessert shops we've been to. There's only a few wooden stools and tables and it's pretty uncomfortable.

Since S.O.G. was new at the time, we didn't really know what to order so we just ordered based on a description that looked good to us -

Mango Pomelo with Grass Jelly
Mixed Fruits with Grass Jelly & Coconut Juice
Will had the Mango Pomelo with Grass Jelly (no surprise there) and his dessert looked 5x better than mine. It was full of mango deliciousness, looked complete, and definitely worth what he paid for and most of all - it looked fresh! 

I had the Mixed Fruits with Grass Jelly & Coconut Juice and I usually do order this at other Asian dessert spots and they usually do a good job at it too. The one from S.O.G. was bland and unappealing and definitely wasn't the price I paid for. The worst part is they didn't use fresh fruits either. Most of the fruits were canned and I know this dessert is suppose to be like a sweet soup, but I was hoping it would be more thicker, but it wasn't. This was a real disappointment!

The chances of me returning to S.O.G is slim as I felt I didn't get what I paid for. Many of the Asian dessert spots I go to always try to incorporate fresh fruit and if you come to a place for dessert, of course you want your seating areas to be comfortable to the point you want your customers to stay and relax, not be uncomfortable.

I guess the newest dessert spot doesn't mean it's the best or greatest.

Monday, September 21, 2015

Brunch at Sunway Cafe Restaurant with Will

Sunway Cafe Restaurant
3907 Prince Street Flushing, NY 11354

It's not often that Will and I go out for breakfast/brunch. There was a Saturday where we needed to run errands in Queens, but before we did we decided to have brunch at Sunway, since we knew they had dim sum 24 hours/7 days a week freshly made and we've only been there for dinner mostly.

The servers will give you a small paper with the name of the dim sum/snacks they have and a pencil for you to check the quantity and what you want as well as the regular menu that has drinks, entrees, appetizers, side dishes, and etc.

We've never had an actual Chinese brunch/dim sm together, so this was kind of nice, fun, and different. We both enjoyed it very much.

Hong Kong Style Tea & Coffee
We both ordered the Hong Kong style tea & coffee because we both love this drink and it's a pleasant drink to have with dim sum and brunch. 

Scallion Pancakes
This is the second time I've seen scallion pancake as a dim sum item. The scallion pancakes had a nice crunch to it and was on point. 

Steamed Beef Rice Noodle Roll
This is one of my favorite dim sum dishes since forever, but the ones from here didn't taste as good as the one I always have at my go to bakery for dim sum in Brooklyn. It didn't taste as appealing.

Chicken Feet & Beef Tripe
I absolutely love eating chicken feet during dim sum. The chicken feet from here aren't as tasty as the ones I have at the same bakery I mentioned before. The beef tripe was really tender and cooked just right!

Rice noodle with fried dough
I don't see this quite often at the places I usually get dim sum or have dim sum with my family. I really like the rice noodle with fried dough. It was soft and than crunchy and goes perfectly with the hoisin sauce that was given, but I wished they gave peanut sauce too.

Pan-fried Soy Sauce noodles
The final dish we had was the pan-fried soy sauce noodles.  The noodles were extremely delicious and possibly the best pan-fried soy sauce noodles I've had so far. The noodles had a slight crunch to it and made us super full!

Will and I have literally been coming here a lot because the food is just so damn good! We've been here around 5-7 times this year, but maybe we should also consider exploring different restaurants in Flushing and other parts of Queens too.

I highly recommend you coming to Sunway Cafe if you like Hong Kong style food or just craving for delicious Hong Kong style cuisine. This restaurant makes a great spot to come for late night munchies since it is opened until 4AM on most nights.

Monday, September 14, 2015

Double Date at Las Margaritas

Las Margaritas
7206 3rd Avenue New York, NY 11209

I've heard a lot of great things and have seen a lot of amazing food pictures from Las Margaritas. After our return form Canada, Will and I decided to have dinner with our friends at Las Margaritas and try out a different cuisine for dinner for once.

We came on a Monday evening and the restaurant just happened to be empty with only one or two tables filled. The restaurant was quite spacious, but with minimal decor. The staff was friendly and helpful. As for the food, this is what we had -

Chips and Salsa
First, we were given a complimentary basket of tortilla chips and salsa which was quite tasty.

Fried Pork & Lamb Tacos
These are the tacos I ordered, but I only tried the fried pork taco because the lamb taco was rather spicy. I don't remember if Tacos El Bronco had a fried a pork taco, but the one I've had from Las Margaritas was delish! The fried pork was really crispy and had a nice crunch to it and that was the best part.

Unfortunately the rest of taco wasn't mindblowingly delicious, I felt it was rather mediocre in terms of taste.The tacos from Las Margaritas are similar to the ones from Tacos El Bronco, but the taste and size is different. 

Beef Tostadas
I never had a tostada before, but was curious and interested in trying it so I ordered it. I didn't know how big they would be so I ordered two. The presentation was beautiful and vibrant. The beef tostada was delightful with so many layers of flavors, textures, and colors.

When Will and I ate at Tacos El Bronco with our friends, they ordered a horchata and I didn't know what it was, but when I heard what it was I was eager to try it and so I did at Las Margaritas. I accidentally got a large and it took me a while to finish it, but I really enjoyed the drink because it was refreshing, light, and not too sweet. I liked that they added a dash of cinnamon to it.

Lamb, Beef Tongue, and Chicken
These are the tacos that our friend Samantha ordered. 

Chicken Chimichanga
Beef Chimichanga
Will and Alex got the chimichanga, but the only differences are that Will got the one with chicken and Alex got the one with beef. Will's chimichanga was different also because he didn't get guacamole as he is allergic to avocado. 

This is the first time I've seen a restaurant served cactus. Sam and Alex ordered this and tried it, but Will and I weren't as daring as they were.

As a side dish, we also ordered the sweet plantains. They were cooked perfectly, but I wished there was a crunch to it. 

Overall, I am glad we tried Las Margaritas, but I felt the quality of the food isn't as excellent as Tacos El Bronco. It felt as though there was a missing touch to the food at Las Margaritas. The chances of us returning here would probably be 50/50. Tacos El Bronco still has a high standing in my book.

Thursday, September 10, 2015

Dining at The Famous

The Famous 
The Fallsview Casino
6380 Fallsview Boulevard Niagara Falls, ON L2G 7X5

Happy Belated Labor Day everyone! Will and I just returned from Ocean City, Maryland on Monday and now it's time to catch up on the blog and the rest of life.

Moving along, I'd like to write about a restaurant we tried out with Will's family for dinner at Niagara Falls. We ended up at The Famous because we didn't know exactly what or where to eat, but ended up stumbling upon The Famous.

The atmosphere and decor is similar to the diners in New York and such, but not as big since it is located in the same area as the casino. The staff and our waitress were extremely attentive and pleasant. Our waitress was very on point when it came to refilling drinks, bringing us extra napkins when we needed it and etc.

Moving along, here's what I had and tried -

Chicken Noodle Soup
Everyone at the table ordered the chicken noodle soup, but me (I'm not a huge fan of drinking soups at restaurants). The chicken noodle soup didn't look too appealing and was rather salty. However, I did like that it was accompanied with a piece of toast.

Crispy Calamari with Marinara Sauce
If you don't know already know, I am a huge fan of fried/crispy calamari so I just had to order this. Unfortunately, the calamari was mediocre and not as crispy as I had hoped. It tasted really plain and under seasoned.

Buffalo Chicken Burger
Will ordered the buffalo chicken burger and he thought it was actually decent. It was really crispy, crunchy, and super filling!

Turkey Burger
I decided to order something different from your typical burger so I ordered the turkey burger with mushrooms and plus it sounded really good. I really and truly enjoyed the turkey burger because it was seasoned just perfectly and super filling. The fries were also perfection!

Everyone seemed to have enjoyed their food very much, I know I did for the most part. I am glad The Famous didn't quite disappoint us. The only disappointments were the crispy calamari and chicken noodle soup. Next time, we are in Niagara Falls - I wouldn't mind returning back to The Famous to give their other menu items a shot.

Monday, August 31, 2015

Dim Sum at Casa Victoria Fine Dining

Casa Victoria Fine Dining
4-6-8601 Warden Avenue Markham, ON L3R 0B5

On our last day in Markham - Will, his family, and I went to Casa Victoria Fine Dining for dim sum/brunch before heading to our next destination.

We arrived around 11-11:30AM and it was about a 10-15 minute wait for a table of 13. We had one person in our party that was handicap so it took a while to find a table to fit all of us, but unfortunately there was no table to fit all 13 of us so we had to split into two separate tables.

Casa Victoria is very spacious and has an elegant, classy, and Victorian decor! The waitresses and waiters were all dressed in a Victorian-like uniform, but too bad their attitude and personality wasn't as nice or classy as their uniform. They were very snotty and rude.

This was my first experience with a Hong Kong style dim sum where you can place the quantity of each item that you want and the staff will bring it to you. So we had the following -

Dim Sum
The shu mai was very meaty, tasty, and fresh. The quality was a lot better than the ones here in New York.

The beef rice noodle roll (gnow cherng) is one of my favorite dim sum dishes, but too bad I didn't quite enjoy these. They were a little small compared to the ones I have had in New York and didn't taste too fresh either.

The spare ribs were top notch ,seasoned perfectly and really tender. I didn't try the lotus leaf sticky rice, but it did look very small.

Dim Sum
This is probably one of the few restaurants I've been to that serves scallion pancake. The scallion pancake wasn't as crunchy as I hoped it would be.

We had a roast duck noodle soup. The roast duck was mediocre, not as good as the ones in New York. However, the noodle soup we had was really good!

The snow pea leaves dumpling were my absolute favorite! They were folded so beautifully and was yummy. It was filled with snow pea leaves, minced carrots, and mushrooms. Good item for vegetarians.

Chicken feet is one of my favorite dim sum dishes, but unfortunately the ones from Casa Victoria didn't taste very fresh nor appetizing either.

One point I'd like to bring up is that this restaurant doesn't serve coffee or iced coffee which is a total bummer.

The experience at Casa Victoria was so so. The staff needs improvement in their people skills and the way they speak and treat their customers and the food quality needs a slight improvement too. I think next time we return to Canada, we won't be coming back here as we would like to explore other restaurants, but also wouldn't want to come back to a place with poor customer service.

Sunday, August 23, 2015

Family Dinner at Congee Queen

5308 Highway 7 Suite 5 & 6 Markham, ON L3P1B9

I came here with my boyfriend and his family for dinner on our second night at Markham. Congee Queen was one of the restaurants that the concierge at the hotel recommended so we took her suggestion.

The restaurant is very spacious and has a very modern decor compared to other Chinese restaurants I've been to in Canada. The staff was super busy with getting out orders and serving customers.

We had a family style meal and these were the dishes we had -

Fried Bean Curd & Vegetables and Soy Sauce Chicken
The fried bean curd with vegetables was pretty good with lots of fried tofu and a nice assortment of vegetables - mushrooms, carrots, and yu choy! 

We ordered soy sauce chicken and it was very fresh and moist! I didn't quite understand the concept behind the scoop of peanuts though.

Minced Pork with Dry Fish & Green Beans
I really liked this dish. The green beans weren't soggy nor overcooked and had a nice crunch to it. It was one of my favorite dishes of the night.

Stir-Fried Clams with Black Bean Sauce
Clams with black bean sauce is one of my all-time favorite dishes, but the ones at Congee Queen didn't seem to have enough flavor or seasoning in it.

Pan-fried stuffed eggplant, tofu, and green pepper
We also had this dish and it looked really good, but too bad it was spicy so I couldn't eat it.

Szechuan Style Tiger Shrimp
This was another dish I didn't eat because it was spicy as well, so I don't have an opinion about this dish.

All in all, I felt the food was just decent and about average. In my opinion I felt the food wasn't too exciting and the menu was really your typical Chinese family style dinner. I think next time I return to Canada, I wouldn't want to come here because I would want to try other restaurants and food.

Friday, August 7, 2015

Canada Trip: Tracy Dessert

Tracy Desserts
First Markham Place
3255 E Highway 7, Unit 29 Markham, ON L3R 3P9

As you may know, Will and I went to Canada with his family during July 4th weekend and we sure did eat a lot and I do mean a lot.

One place we visited that I really liked was Tracy Dessert which was located in a restaurant/retail plaza.

The first time we visited Tracy Dessert, we did take-out so we can bring the desserts back to the hotel so we can enjoy. It took a while for our orders to be ready, but the wait was worth it!

During our second visit, we actually sat down and enjoyed the air conditioning and ambiance. It's a nice setting and great for afternoon or late night snacks, desserts, and tea!

Homemade Grass Jelly with Mixed Fruits and Ice Cream
I ordered the Homemade Grass Jelly with Mixed Fruits with Ice Cream. This was a big bowl of deliciousness and very fresh! The grass jelly tasted really fresh and yummy, very different from the ones in New York that I've had. This was absolutely fruit heaven!

Mango Tapioca with Ice Cream
Will ordered the Mango Tapioca with Ice Cream and it was rich with mango-ness and sweet!

We really enjoyed the food at Tracy Dessert and the quality of the desserts taste 3x better than the ones here in New York! I look forward to coming back here again and trying other desserts!