Thursday, January 29, 2015

Cafe Luluc

Cafe Luluc
214 Smith Street Brooklyn, NY 11201
718.625.3815

Lately I've found myself deeply interested in trying different restaurants in Cobble Hill, specifically along Smith Street. If you've ever walked or drove along Cobble Hill, you'll notice a lot of restaurants and retail.

One of the restaurants that Will and I visited last month was Cafe Luluc right after I completed my last final. We visited Cafe Luluc on a Saturday morning and it was packed, but the wait was only 5-10 minutes. The decor/ambiance kind of reminds me of Clinton St. & Baking Co because it's not a very big restaurant and the decor is very rustic. It's utterly busy too.

So we ordered the following:
Mimosa & Coffee
I had the mimosa. I wanted a little bubbly to celebrate the fact that I've completed yet another semester and all my finals. Will stuck with just plain black coffee.

Mixed Berry Pancakes with Scrambled Eggs & Sausages
I heard the pancakes here is one of the popular menu items, so Will decided to order them. He got very full to the point he didn't want them anymore. Now, I am not much of a pancake or waffle person, but I've got to say these pancakes were amazing! These were possibly one of the best pancakes I've had so far. They are fluffy in the center with a slight crunch and crust around the sides.

Eggs Benedict
I had the Eggs Benedict with ham on an English muffin topped with Hollandaise sauce. It was accompanied with French fries and field green salad. This was a plate of absolute deliciousness! The eggs Benedict were pumped and poached perfectly. 

Runny Yolk
The runny yolk was very sexy, and everything was just perfect. I really liked the French fries because not only were they fried to perfection, but they were crunchy and crisp. I really enjoyed the field green salad - it balances out the colors and the food. It's a nice rustic and simple touch to the dish. I wish I knew what kind of vinaigrette or dressing that used in the salad because it tasted great!

I really enjoyed the service at Cafe Luluc. The simple and rustic dishes really stand out and are truly savory and fantastic! The prices here are inexpensive. I truly and highly recommend that you should give this gem a chance because the food is really good and you won't regret it.

Sunday, January 25, 2015

The Best Winter Eats - Perfect to Beat The Winter Blues

It's been freezing. It's been cold.

Winter's chilly months are the perfect time for warm, hearty, and comforting foods, wouldn't' you agree? We've compiled a list together of  our favorite winter eats and that you can warm up with. Hope you find this helpful and enjoy!


Soups
1. I don't think there is any substitute for how amazing it feels after drinking a nice, hot, and hearty bowl of soup. I've been drinking a lot of soups lately especially since Will's mother makes it for us 2-4 times a week and my mom makes a lot of soups too. I prefer Asian style soups more so than American/Western soups because there's a lot of cream and dairy in it.

Macaroni & Cheese
2. Now this American and classical comfort food is good for any dreary, cloudy, and cold day. I had a phase in my life where I really loved macaroni and cheese, I mean how can anyone say no to macaroni and cheese. I like macaroni and cheese because it's versatile and you can really add anything and it would still be delicious, hot, and gooey!

Bibimbap
3. Bibimbap is probably one of my favorite Korean dishes because it's similar to the clay pot rice that's served in Chinese cuisine. I like that Bibimbap has a variety of foods like spinach, beef, carrots, bean sprouts, seaweed, and a lot more. Add a little scoop of the hot sauce and it'll make it a little spicy, but extra yummy!

Chicken Pot Pie
4. Chicken Pot Pie is another American and classical comfort dish. I haven't had chicken pot pie much in my life so far, but it's quite scrumptious and absolute comfort food. It's especially good when you make it yourself like I have in class.

Soba noodles

5. Last year was the first time I had real soba noodles at Cocoron. Although, I tried both locations in the summer I still really enjoyed it. The soup/broth are full of flavor and the soba noodles were yum! Each time I've tried Cocoron, I would enjoy their noodle soups more and more. I need to make another trip.

Hot Pot
6.  Now I think you would definitely raise your hand and agree with me that Hot Pot is by far one of the best way to enjoy food, eat, and cope with the cold weather. You don't even have to wait for Winter to hit to hot pot.

Hot Pot season is perfect between September - May in my opinion. It's the most enjoyable during those months. I really enjoy hot pot because of the different items you can cook with and it's a nice bonding experience to have between family and friends. Everything is hot, warm, and just really simple and delicious!

Savory Yuan
7. Around December of every year in the lunar calendar, there's a holiday called Dongzhi where my family makes a big pot of savory and sweet Yuan. I love this holiday and I love eating Yuan because the way my mom makes it is BOMB! She makes the broth/soup from pork bones and there's cabbage, pork, mushrooms, yuan, shrimp, cilantro, and a lot more. Truly comfort food!

Xiao Long Bao
8. Will and I had this for dinner last night actually since I was craving for it and it's been a long time since we last had there. These are truly little, hot steamy and juicy buns! Full of pork goodness!

Ramen
9. If you don't know by now, I absolutely love ramen. I feel that ramen is good is almost any season of the year, but it's best eaten during the Fall, Winter, and Spring. It contains lots of sodium, but it's still excellent and delicious! So yummy and so irresistible.

So here's our list of some our favorite winter eats. Hopefully you've found it helpful and would want to give these a shot or maybe you already had these.

According to the news, there's suppose to be a blizzard hitting NYC, NJ, and so on, so forth. Hope everyone stays safe and be warm.

Saturday, January 17, 2015

Weekday Lunch at Don Nico's

Don Nico's
9-43 Dekalb Avenue Brooklyn, NY 11201
718.288.0107

I can't believe I haven't written a review on the blog about this cute, little Mexican spot I like to go to nearby my office. Don Nico's is a cute and random foodstand because it's surrounded by many retail shops and it just pops out.

A colleague that I work very close with has been to Don Nico's a few times and have recommended it to me. He recommended me to try the Chicken Torta but I was hesitant for a bit.

During the times I went I've always got their tacos which costs under $7.00. However, last year I decided to try out something new instead that's worthy of sharing on the blog.

Chicken Torta
So I finally listened to my colleague and got the Chicken Torta ($8.00). I really wasn't expecting it to be so massive. The sandwich was literally bigger and wider than my hand.

The sandwich was made with Mexican bread and filled with grilled chicken, lettuce, tomatoes, and with Mexican white cheese. There was also Chipotle mayo. I really enjoyed it. I mean everything about it was spot on delicious! 

The bread was fresh and crunchy. The chicken was grilled to perfection, not dry at all. The Chipotle mayo gave the sandwich a splash of spice, but it was bearable. I was so full that I couldn't finish the other half of the sandwich.

Chips with Pico De Gallo & Guacamole
I was craving for this so I ordered the chips which came with a side of guacamole and pico de gallo ($5.00) I wasn't a fan of pico de gallo as it was very strong. The guacamole was close to perfection, but was missing a key ingredient - lime. The guacamole tasted creamy and smooth, but a little bit of lime juice would have been a great addition.

Overall, I was really satisfied with my lunch. The sandwich was amazing and I am glad my colleague recommended it to me. It was a good meal to end the last work day of 2014. I will definitely be back again for their Chicken Torta, but should probably give the other half to someone else since I know I won't be able to finish it.

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Dessert Works: Ice Cream at OddFellows Ice Cream Co.

OddFellows Ice Cream Co.
175 Kent Avenue Brooklyn, NY 11249
347.599.0556

After brunch at Sweet Chick with our friends, we stopped by OddFellows Ice Cream Co. which is about ten minutes away from Sweet Chick.

We've been to the one in the East Village last Summer and that one wasn't as big and spacious as the one in Williamsburg. You can read my review of OddFellows Ice Cream Co. in the East Village by clicking here.

I like the one in Williamsburg a lot more because it's bigger and there's seating, but mostly because it feels like a real ice cream shop. The decor is very simple, but cute and it's very warm, bright, and welcoming.

There were many flavors to try and choose from, but the ones Will and I ended up with were:

Spiced Pumpkin & Apple Crisp
as it says in the caption - Spiced Pumpkin & Apple Crisp ice cream. These two flavors reminds me of food and desserts we would typically have or relate to in the Autumn.

The spiced pumpkin is like a pumpkin pie in an ice cream. It wasn't too sweet and there was a hint of cinnamon or nutmeg in it. It was really, really delightful! 

The apple crispy reminds me of almost an apple pie. It tasted like a real apple, but with a slight cinnamon taste to it and there were tiny bits of apple chunks in the ice cream too. It was absolutely yummy.

I am a huge ice cream/gelato fan and I hope to return to OddFellows Ice Cream Co. at some point in the near future to try more of their delicious ice creams.

Monday, January 12, 2015

Brunch with Sweet Chick

164 Bedford Avenue Brooklyn, NY 11211
347.725.4793

It was about a month ago when my friends, Will, and I met up at Sweet Chick (Williamsburg) for brunch. I was very excited to see our friends and to have brunch with them as well. I love brunch!

Our friends waited for 15-20 minutes for the restaurant to call us when our table was ready. The restaurant had a very simple and rustic decor. The ambiance was lively. The space was a little cramped. Server and staff are very friendly and helpful.

Drinks
For drinks, our friends got the Blood Mary while my boyfriend got the Mimosa and I had the Bellini.

The Bellini was delightful. I've never tried a Bloody Mary before, but would like to give it a shot at some point in the near future.

Chicken and Waffles
Our friend Samantha ordered the Chicken and Waffles which was accompanied with three different types of spreads (fresh berries, ricotta, and spiced honey). I didn't enjoy it much because the chicken wasn't crispy or moist. It felt slightly cold and dry. As for the waffle, I liked it.


Smoked Pork Hash
Samantha's boyfriend Alex ordered the Smoked Pork Hash which consisted of house cured pork with a Carolina style rub and a poached egg. It was hearty and delicious!

House Baked Pastries
Samantha and Alex ordered the House Baked pastries, but unfortunately Will and I were too full to try the pastries. The pastries did look amazing and yummy though.

Maple Bacon?
This was one Sweet Chick's special menu item on the day we went. Unfortunately, I don't quite remember if it was actually called Maple Bacon,  but there was a slight sweetness to it. It tasted like candied bacon but also maple flavor. The maple bacon had a chewy texture to it almost like beef jerky.

Eggs Benny
Will ordered the Eggs Benny which was served on biscuits with shredded smoked chicken, smoked ham, Hollandaise sauce and homefries. I tried Will's Egg Benny and quite frankly I wasn't very thrilled with Sweet Chick's version of Eggs Benedict. The shredded chicken felt very dry. I do admit that their take on Eggs Benedict is very different and unique, but I didn't quite like the taste and it didn't feel like the flavors came together.

Shrimp and Grits
I ordered the Shrimp and Grits. This Shrimp and Grits is different because the sauce used was smoked paprika and bell peppers sauce. There was also scallions and a poached egg. I love grits and shrimp, but Sweet Chick's version of the shrimp and grits wasn't what I had hope for. 

Although, it was huge in size and it will fill you up, I didn't feel that this was very unique. I wasn't very happy with the sauce and I was extremely thirsty afterwards.

All in all, I felt the experience and quality was not excellent, but not horrible either. I was a little uncomfortable with the space and seating and food was mediocre. However, I would still come back give this Sweet Chick another chance and I would also like to try their other location in Manhattan.

Sunday, January 11, 2015

Restaurant Review - Soho Thai

Soho Thai
141 Grand Street New York, NY 10013
212.966.8916

I haven't had Thai food in a long time. I saw that there was a new Thai restaurant in Soho/Chinatown that replaced a previous Thai restaurant and was interested in trying it.

Will and I came to Soho Thai for dinner and the interior/structure/decor was same as Thai Angel (previous restaurant). It was still warm and bright inside. The staff here weren't very attentive, professional, nor pleasant. Service is slightly slow too.

When we arrived we sat down for about 10-15 minutes before the server brought glasses of water to us and took our orders. The server didn't seem very professional as he wasn't making any eye contact with us either.

Thai Ice Tea
I ordered a Thai Ice Tea to share with the boyfriend. It was very refreshing and absolute perfection and looked adorable served in a mason jar.

Fried Calamari with Sweet Chili Sauce
For appetizer, we had the fried calamari with the sweet chili sauce. Honestly, I wasn't a fan of this because the fried calamari didn't have any taste to it. It was very plain, A little dash of salt and pepper added to the batter would have helped. Despite the tasteless calamari, it was fried and crispy.

Massaman Curry 
Will ordered the Massaman Curry which consisted of potatoes, onions, and peanuts in coconut milk. I tried some of Will's Massaman Curry and it was okay, not excellent or over the top and not horrible. I think it could have been improved with more variety of vegetables.

Beef Pad Thai
I haven't had Pad Thai in a very, very long time. I ordered the beef Pad Thai and at first it was very delicious, but as I continued eating more I noticed it was rather very sweet. I know Pad Thai is suppose to have a dash of sweet and tangy flavor to it, but this was too much sweetness. It was a little too overwhelming.

I think overall Soho Thai was mediocre. Their service wasn't satisfactory and the food quality wasn't up to par either. I don't think we will be back any time soon as the quality of Soho Thai is just below mediocre and that's never good for any restaurant.

Monday, January 5, 2015

Family Dinner at Cafe Hong Kong

Cafe Hong Kong
51 Bayard Street New York, NY 10013
212.608.5359

My family and I came here for a family dinner a month ago to celebrate my dad and big sister's lunar birthday. I've always been curious about Cafe Hong Kong since I've heard good things about the restaurant through my mom and sister.

Cafe Hong Kong is pretty clean, simple decor, and is more like a family-style restaurant than a cafe. There was eight of us so we had a large table. The waiters and waitresses here are friendly and quite attentive.

So this is what we ordered for our family dinner -

Deep-Fried Soft Shell Crabs
My parents ordered this since it sounded really good. The deep-fried soft shell crabs were fried just perfectly and looked extremely crispy. However, I didn't eat this because I am somewhat allergic to crab.

Chicken with Salted Fish and Eggplant Casserole
This is a traditional Hong Kong style food. It sounded and looked really well and had good color! I was a little disappointed because I didn't taste any salted fish and the casserole wasn't seasoned at all.

Shanghai Bok-choy
This is a simple and basic Chinese vegetable dish that I enjoyed. The Shanghai Bok-choy had a nice crunch to it.

Braised E-Fu Noodle with Mushrooms
This is a popular Chinese dish served at most banquet and family dinners. I really like this noodle dish because it's very simple yet very delicious! I grew up eating this especially at family dinners.

Snow Pea Vegetable (Dao Miew) 
The snow pea vegetable dish is possibly one of my favorite vegetables. It was cooked just right and was a beautiful shade of green.

Deep-Fried Crispy Chicken
Another dish we had that I liked was the Deep-Fried Crispy Chicken. The chicken skin was real crispy and crunchy. The dark meat was cooked just right.

Fresh Oyster on the shell
My dad ordered this since he loves eating fresh oyster as does my big sister and my brother in-law. It looked like it was prepared fresh, but I am not a fan of oysters.

Deep Fried T-Bone Steak
I wasn't a huge fan of this dish because the T- Bone steak was deep-fried. I prefer it normal and regular.

Overall, I liked the quality of most of the dishes we had at Cafe Hong Kong. The food, service, and quality was pretty good. I would like to come back to try out their other dishes and drinks.

Sunday, January 4, 2015

The Best Things We Ever Ate in 2014

Happy New Year to our fellow followers and foodies!

It's that time of the year again! We would like to share with you the top and best of 14 things we've eaten in 2014 and where you can find it.

2014 has been a great year and I had the opportunity to try and experience a lot of different foods and cuisines with my family, Will, and friends. So here's our countdown list and be ready to salivate -

Please note: These foods/dishes aren't in any specific order.

Lamb Hanteeth
14. On the last day of my Dining Room class, my professor and my class met at Yemen Cafe (Downtown Brooklyn) and I've actually never had Middle Eastern cuisine before, so this was completely new and different for me.

I read that Lamb Hanteeth was one of the popular menu items so I tried it out. I was really excited in trying this dish and everything was truly yum! Lamb was moist and off the bone and everything was up to par!

Baked Minced Beef over Spaghetti
13. This year I decided to give HK Tea & Sushi in my neighborhood a chance since I haven't been here in a long time. I ordered the Baked Minced Beef over Spaghetti and man, it was one of the best baked dishes I've had so far. It's really satisfying, cheesy, and scrumptious.

Banh Xeo
12. I've been wanting to try Banh Xeo for the longest time and I finally did last September at Pho Vietnam in Chinatown. So far I've only had one good Banh Xeo. It really does look like an omelet, but better because there was a combination of ground pork, shrimp, and bean sprouts. It had a nice crunch and bite to it. I was very satisfied with it.

Dilled Shrimp Salad
11. Every week in my culinary class we always had a different salad of the day. My favorite salad of all was the Dilled Shrimp Salad because this is a different salad compared to the ones we've had in class previously. I really like this salad because it's simple and not crowded with greens and etc.

The shrimps were plump and juicy! The dressing is just mayonaise and fresh dill. If you would like the recipe I can send it to you, just e-mail us at: ambitiouseats@gmail.com.

Spiced Pumpkin & Apple Crisp ice cream
10. I didn't have a chance to write about OddFellows yet and the ice cream I had, but a month ago Will and I had brunch with our friends in Williamsburg, Brooklyn and we also stopped in Odd Fellows for dessert where I had the most excellent spiced pumpkin and apple crisp ice cream.

The spiced pumpkin was literally pumpkin heaven because it was light and you can really taste the pumpkin flavor. The apple crisp was perfection and you can taste the apple chunks.

Crab Cakes with Sweet Potato Fries and Cole Slaw
9. As you may know last Summer, Will, our friends, and I went to Ocean City, Maryland for Labor Day Weekend. The trip would not have been complete if I didn't have Maryland Crab cakes. The first crab cakes I had were at Harborside Bar & Grill. The crab cakes were fried to golden brown and super moist inside. They were absolutely delicious!

Shrimp and Grits Benedict
8. I am a huge fan of grits. I am a huge fan of Eggs Benedict. When I saw that there was a Shrimp and Grits Benedict at Green Eggs Cafe in Philadelphia, PA I just knew I had to have it. I fell in love with this dish! It was literally the best brunch meal I've ever, ever had! Everything was seasoned just right and tasted just perfect. I still dream about it til this very day.

Beef Tongue Ramen
7. I tried the Beef Tongue Ramen at a special event at Mitsuwa last year. I really enjoyed the beef tongue ramen. This version of the beef tongue melts in your mouth. The noodles were different. It wasn't wavy or straight, but it was just flat. The broth was light and seasoned just right. This was probably one of the best ramen I've had.

Chocolate Green Tea Lava Cake
6. My boyfriend and I visited Spot Dessert Bar last year and we tried three desserts,but our most favorite one was the Chocolate Green Tea Lava Cake. It was warm and moist, dark chocolate filled with green tea ganache, and green tea ice cream on the side. I thought the presentation and everything about this dessert was just top notch! I would definitely come back to try this again.

Eggs Saporite
5. Last Summer, Will and I had brunch at a restaurant called Sotto Voce in Park Slope where I had the Egg Saporite which consisted of poached eggs with ham and portobello mushrooms with Hollandaise sauce. I like Sotto Voce's approach to the Eggs Saporite because instead of an English muffin you would receive in an Eggs Benedict, you get a portobello mushrooms instead. This dish was very yummy and everything came together well. 

Hakata Ramen
4. My friend brought me and Will to this ramen spot called Ise Menkui-tei and I ordered the Hakata Ramen which was possibly the second best ramen I've had so far. It was very savory and delicious. The broth was fantastic and rich with flavors from the pork bone. It had a slight garlic-like taste and aroma to it, but I enjoyed it. The noodles were slightly al dente which I also liked too. 

Mixed Berry Pancakes
3. I haven't reviewed this restuarant on the blog or Yelp yet, but last month, Will and I had brunch in Cafe Luluc and I've been told that the pancakes here are bomb! Will ordered the Mixed Berry pancakes and they were fluffy deliciousness! I'm not a huge fan of pancakes, but these were amazingly and surprisingly good. I really like the slight crunch and bite in the pancake and fluffiness. Although these babies will sure fill you up, I want to return soon and order these for myself.

Spam Fries
2. I've been wanting to try Maharlika for the longest time and finally did last year. My co-worker recommended for me to try the Spam Fries and we did. This was possibly one of the best appetizers I've tried so far. It had a nice crispiness and the juices and fat from the spam fries was delish!

Chicken Leg over Rice
1. The first time I had the Chicken Leg over Rice from May Wah, I fell in love and really enjoyed it. The chicken leg was crispy, moist, and tender. There's a special sauce the chefs use but I don't know what it is, but whatever it is it's the bomb!

So there it is folks, our very own detailed list of The Best Things We Ever Ate in 2014! What's one of the best foods you've tried last year?