Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Tacos El Bronco in Sunset Park

Tacos El Bronco
4324 4th Avenue Brooklyn, NY 11220

A few weeks ago Will and I grabbed a late lunch with our friends at Tacos El Bronco. Although we arrived around 4-4:30PM on a Sunday, it was very crowded and we had to wait for about 10-15 minutes for a table.

The restaurant is quite spacious and has a very lively atmosphere. The staff here are extremely busy with taking orders and bringing food to the customers. The waitresses were very helpful and friendly. Service was on point! Prices are very cheap, but the food is really the main star and top notch!

Tortilla Chips and Salsa
Before we could order our food and beverages, the waitress brought us a basket of tortilla chips with salsa dip. The salsa dip had a bit of spice in it, but it was tolerable and there were other sauces to dip into too.

Papaya Shake
I tried their papaya shake without milk and it tasted amazing and refreshing! It tasted more and felt more like a syrup instead because the consistency of the sake was very thick.

Roast Pork & Tender Beef Tacos
I ordered the two tacos - a roast pork and a tender beef one (regular size for $2.75 each). My boyfriend is allergic to avocado so he ended up not eating the tender beef taco and we gave it to our friend instead.

The tacos were wrapped in warm corn tortillas with paper-thin slices of radish, lime, and grilled spring onion on the side.

The roast pork taco was absolutely delightful! It was warm, vibrant, and delicious! The guacomole had a nice and rich creaminess to it and I am glad that the taco wasn't spicy at all. The roast pork was really tender and moist. This was really a bundle of deliciousness!

I am glad my friends introduced me to Tacos El Bronco and it is truly a gem! I wished I knew about this place earlier because their food was truly delightful! I am definitely coming back here again to try more of their foods and because I've been on a serious Mexican food kick.

Sunday, July 26, 2015

Sweetness and Deliciousness in Every Bite at Brooklyn Farmacy

Brooklyn Farmacy
513 Henry Street Brooklyn, NY 11231

Brooklyn Farmacy has been on my list of places to visit for the longest time and I finally got to try it this summer!

Brooklyn Farmacy is a nice spot for brunch, late afternoon snack, or some insanely delicious sundaes.

The staff here are quite friendly and down to earth! I really enjoyed the vintage, 1960s-like atmosphere here.

During my first visit, I came here with Will and our friends for dessert. Since our friends come here often, they knew exactly what they wanted to try.

Affugazi Affogato
I ordered the Affugazi Affogato which was absolutely delightful! It is an espresso-based dessert and was featured on The Food Network's  "Bobby Flay's Top 10 Restaurants". This dessert consists of a vanilla sponge cake soaked in piping hot Brooklyn Roasting Co. espresso and topped with vanilla ice cream encased in the hardened chocolate shell, fresh whipped cream, and shaved chocolate.

The chocolate shell was difficult to break through. This dessert was like chocolate and espresso heaven. I must admit it may not have been a good idea to have this in the evening cause I couldn't sleep until 1-2AM that night.

Warm Brownie Sundae
Our friends ordered the Warm Brownie Sundae with coconut ice cream which looked amazing andm massive (they got the large)! Full of chocolate and brownie deliciousness!

Snowbird Ice Cream Float
They also ordered the Snowbird Ice Cream Float which was a pineapple soda and coconut ice cream - almost like a pina colada!

I really and truly enjoyed our time and experience at Brooklyn Farmacy & Soda Fountain, that Will and I took another friend with us recently to stuff our faces in delicious sundaes recently. I am glad my friend introduced and brought us here. I will definitely making another visit during the Fall and Winter for possible seasonal treats.

Friday, July 24, 2015

The Good and The Bad at Cutting Board - Flushing

Cutting Board
37-20 Prince Street Flushing, NY 11354

If you've read my review about Cutting Board in Chinatown, than you would understand why Will and I didn't enjoy our experience there.

We know that there's a Cutting Board in Flushing and I was a little curious to try this location and hoped the food would be a lot better than in Chinatown, but nothing good came of our experience.

The location is a lot bigger and roomier compared to the one in Chinatown. The decor is simple yet uniquely designed and cute. The menu is pretty much the same as the one in Chinatown and the pricing is just about the same too.

CB Mussels
I've recently bee n on a mussels kick so we decided to order the CB Mussels (sake, cream, saffron, and bread stick) to give it a shot. The CB mussels felt cold and didn't have much flavor to it and I was really hoping to taste the saffron, but no. Unfortunately there were two mussels I bit into that had sand on it.

Brisket with Spaghetti and vegetables
I was really excited about this dish because it sounded really hearty, amazing, and well I love brisket! The dish looked fantastic and when it arrived, it smelled just like brisket heaven. It wasn't brisket heaven, because the brisket felt very tough and chewy. It felt as though it would take me forever to just chew, eat, and digest one piece. The sauce had no flavor or seasoning in it. It was very disappointing.

Pasta primavera with market veggies
Will ordered the pasta primavera with market veggies, mushrooms, and cheese. His dish looked absolutely divine! However it didn't taste like it. This was completely full-on cream, like literally you couldn't even taste the pasta or veggies. I had one scoop of the pasta and knew that this was an absolute no-go cause it was overly creamy.

We were quite disappointed after dinner. I wished and suggest that the chefs or staff taste and cook as they go, because if they don't - how are they suppose to know what their food taste like? I think this would make them better chefs and better restaurant if they could taste what they were putting out on the tables. 

I doubt we will be back here especially since the food wasn't appealing at all and many disappointments.

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

A Little More Than Just Mussels

Mussels & More
8001 5th Avenue Brooklyn, NY 11209

I've never really visited any seafood restaurants in New York City because I feel that the seafood isn't as fresh, possibly overpriced, and not tasty - but I was wrong and it all changed when I visited Mussels & More.

Mussels & More is definitely a hidden gem in Bay Ridge. Will and I had dinner here a few weeks ago with our friends and we really enjoyed our time here.

The front of the restaurant is where the large bar is and in the back is where the dining room is. I like that Mussels & More is spacious, comfortable, and dim-lit. The staff here is on point. The food was
delectable and the portion sizes are huge!

Baked Clams (Breaded)
The pictures of this appetizer on Yelp looked amazing and I am quite a fan of clams so I knew instantly we had to order this. The waiter recommended that I get it with breading so I took his recommendation. The baked clams were sensational and on point! 

Grilled Octopus
The grilled octopus looked amazing! I was afraid the texture would be like hard rubber, but thankfully it wasn't. It was tasty especially with a little lemon juice and butter.

Our friends ordered the saganaki. We've never had this before so it was a new experience for us. Saganaki is a Greek dish and traditional kefalograviera cheese is pan-fried and served over a slice of tomatoes. This was definitely a different and new dish to try. I never had cheese pan-fried before. It was really moist, savory, and tasty.

Shrimp Scampi served over Linguine 
Our friend ordered and shared this with us. There was definitely A LOT of garlic and I do mean A LOT. The shrimps were really tender and plump. Overall, it was a tasty dish!

Lobster ravioli
Will ordered the lobster ravioli because he is crazy about ravioli. I tried it and really liked it. It was really moist, delicious, and possibly one of the best lobster raviolis I've had so far. I liked the sauce very much, had a touch of sweetness from the juices of the lobster meat.

Angel hair seafood pasta with white wine sauce
This was truly a seafood medley and a serious hefty dish! There was a variety of seafood - shrimp, scallop, clams, mussels, and calamari. The white wine sauce exquisite and all of the seafood were really tender and delicious!

Fungi Mussels
Our friends ordered the fungi mussels ( wild mushrooms, double-smoked bacon, garlic, and cream). These mussels were spot on delicious! I just wished I could have tasted more of the mushroom-ness and less of bacon flavor.

Maine Mussels
Will and I ordered the Maine mussels (lobster, smoked bacon, chowder, and parsley). I was really happy to see how much mussels they gave us. The Maine mussels were on point, moist, and just really yummy!

I really enjoyed our experience and the food here. Everything was top notch! I am planning to return here again since in my opinion summer time is the BEST time to enjoy seafood. 

*Note: We learned that even in a group as small as four people, you don't need to order three entrees because they are enormous.*

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Beating The Heat With These Treats

Holy Cow! It's been really sizzling hot in The Big Apple. Hope you are doing your best staying hydrated and cool.

Honestly, Will and I don't do too well in this hot weather because of our sensitive skin, we tend to get red easily from the heat, and it makes us angry. So, how do we relax or remain stable in this scorching weather? We try not to eat soups, stews, noodle soups, or anything raging hot because it would just make it all worse.

Below is a list of treats and foods that we like to eat or try to eat to beat this heat:

I think it's pretty clear to you that I absolutely love ramen, but how can anyone eat a hot bowl of ramen in this heat unless you are in an air conditioned restaurant? Any way, I do enjoy eating cold ramen and cold noodles and I am so happy it's become an option in most Japanese restaurants

I must admit it's a lot different from hot ramen, but it's really pleasant to eat and the only exceptions are that it's not hot and there aren't toppings in your plate of noodles already because the toppings become a small side dish and you dip the toppings in the cold broth and noodles.

Another food I can never get too tired of: salads! I've been eating salads for the past 3-4 years and I eat salad for lunch about 2-3 times a week especially during work. I like salads because you can eat it all year round, but also because it's meant to eat as a cold or chilled food and it won't make you sweat bullets. I also like that you can pretty much add anything to it and still be happy and full.

Another food I like to eat all year round, but mostly during the warm weather is: sushi! I didn't always enjoy sushi until the last few years. I've been on a bit of a sushi binge lately and would have it for lunch at home or at work at least once or twice a week. Another food that's meant to be eaten room temperature or chilled!

Grass Jelly with Soy Milk
During the summer I enjoy drinking a lot of tea, iced coffee, and almost anything that will keep me cool except for soda. One drink that I always enjoy drinking in the summer is grass jelly with soy milk. Some people say that's a weird combination, but I think it goes well together. Sometimes I taste a hint of coconut in the soy milk (depends on where you get the drink from).

Ice Cream & Gelato
I must admit that ice cream and gelato are one my weaknesses especially in the summer. I absolutely love ice cream and gelato and amazed with the kinds of flavors there are available. The best ice cream and gelato flavors I have had are: pumpkin, earl grey, cucumber mint, corn, apple crisp, and peanut butter! Ice cream and gelato sure makes me a lot happier during the summer. 

Another weakness of mine is dessert! I enjoy eating dessert all year round, but I especially like eating it in the summer because it keeps me cool. I'm not a huge fan of pastries or cake for dessert. I like having dessert with fresh fruits, grass jelly, and maybe coconut or tofu as a base. It's so refreshing!

I hope you found this post inspiring and while summer is here, how about giving some of these foods or treats a shot if you haven't already?

Sunday, July 12, 2015

New Xe Lua in Chinatown

86 Mulberry Street New York, NY 10013

Will and I haven't been to Xe Lua  since the first few months of dating which was about 4+ years ago. We recently came here for diner after work since we were both craving for Vietnamese food.

We noticed it is now "New Xe Lua" and the staff and ownership have definitely changed. Everyone looked new and different, but at least they are friendly and accommodating. The menus, layout, and decor is the same. Unfortunately, the quality of the food has changed and we weren't quite pleased with the quality of it.

We ordered the following:

I found it kind of interesting that they served us ice water in Coca-Cola glasses.

Ice water

Vietnamese Spring Rolls
I don't know about you, but whenever we have Vietnamese food  - Vietnamese spring rolls are a must have! The springs rolls at New Xe Lua are skinnier then your typical Vietnamese spring rolls  This is the only restaurant I know that has skinny Vietnamese spring rolls that taste differently and feel differently. Will likes the spring rolls, but I've never been a huge fan of these.

Crispy Calamari with Avocado Puree

Crispy Calamari with Peanut Sauce 
I was really craving for crispy/fried calamari so that's why we ordered it. The crispy calamari initially came with a green sauce (this wasn't mentioned on the menu).

I asked the server what the green sauce was, but they didn't know and asked one of the hostess/managers and she said it was a mango puree (why was it green?). After she received confirmation from a chef, she told us it was actually avocado and I told her Will is highly allergic to avocado so she replaced it with a peanut sauce (this is served with summer rolls) instead.

Sadly, the calamari wasn't crispy as I had hoped and lacked seasoning.

Pho Xe Lua
Will ordered his usual Pho Xe Lua and said the soup/broth wasn't as good as it used to be and not as savory.

Barbecue Beef with lettuce and bun
This was my entree/dinner. The beef was cooked to just the right texture with a bit of sweetness to it. I have had this dish before at other Vietnamese restaurants, but they all taste pretty similar. 

Although the service was on point, but the food wasn't. The quality has sunk and it surely feels like there's a few missing touches. The chances of us returning to New Xe Lua are probably slim.

Thursday, July 2, 2015

Revisiting An Old Favorite of Mine - Thai Son

Thai Son
89 Baxter Street New York, NY 10013

I've been coming to this Vietnamese restaurant since I was seventeen years old and there hasn't been a time where I went and was disappointed, because I was't. My second sister introduced me to Thai Son and I always enjoyed their food and service.

Will and I haven't been coming here as often because for the past three or four years we've been exploring different restaurants and foods instead. Will and I just recently started returning to Thai Son for lunch and/or dinner and it felt good to know that the service and food is still top notch.

The staff has changed quite a bit, but the service they provide is still good and efficient. Their menus haven't change, but there is an additional menu for fruit and veggie smoothies that they make in-house.

On our most recent visit at Thai Son, we had the following:

Vietnamese Spring Rolls
Vietnamese spring rolls are like a must-have whenever we eat Vietnamese food. I love Thai Son's spring rolls because they are always consistent and have a really beautiful, crisp crunch to it. They are always fried to perfection and always delicious!

Pho Xe Lua
If you haven't figured it out already, Will almost always orders Pho Xe Lua whenever we have Vietnamese food even if we are doing take-out. Whether it's hot or cold, most of the time he orders it. He really enjoyed the Pho Xe Lua. The broth smelled amazing and everything looked so good!

Beef Cubes over Rice with lettuce, cucumbers, tomatoes
This is one of my favorite Vietnamese dishes. The beef cubes were very tender and moist. This dish was mediocre because it felt a little dry and there was definitely not enough sauce. If there was more sauce, I would have enjoyed this dish more.

Will and I have been to many Vietnamese restaurants, but Thai Son will always remain as one of my favorite ones. The food is still as good as ever minus the dryness of my dish, but  I am happy and satisfied with it.

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Revisiting Cutting Board

Cutting Board
53 Bayard Street New York, NY 10013

It's been almost two years since Will and I ate at Cutting Board and I really missed the food from here, so we decided to revisit Cutting Board a few weeks ago for dinner.Unfortunately, we ended up regretting we came.

The service isn't so bad, but the quality of the food has really sunk which is a total bummer because I really liked the food here.

Lobster Bisque
We always seem to order the lobster bisque whenever we are here and it's still rich, creamy, and full of lobster goodness. It was seasoned just right!

Fried Calamari
We've also had their fried calamari before too. However, this time it was mediocre. This time when we tried the fried calamari, it wasn't as crispy and lacked seasoning. It felt so boring and bland.

Grilled Salmon Omelette Rice
Will ordered the Grilled Salmon Omelette Rice and it looked really appealing. This was another disappointment because even though the salmon was cooked just right, there was absolutely no taste, seasoning, or flavors. All you can taste is the charred-ness from the salmon and miso ketchup.

Seafood with Linguine
I don't quite remember if this is the correct name for this dish, but either way it wasn't satisfying at all.There wasn't much flavor or seasoning to this dish. Another bland dish.

I think the chefs don't taste as they go when making the dishes. Most of the dishes we ordered felt so tasteless and we definitely didn't enjoy our experience here. After this experience, we probably won't be back for a long time or at all.

To access my past reviews of Cutting Board please click for July 2013 or September 2013.