Thursday, December 29, 2016

Sunday Lunch at Pho Hoai - Bay Ridge, Brooklyn

Pho Hoai is the ONLY Vietnamese restaurant in Bay Ridge, Brooklyn. It's super convenient for locals in the neighborhood that itch for Vietnamese cuisine and convenient for those that are boarding/coming off the Staten Island buses.

Will and I were in the neighborhood recently to return an item to Century 21. We didn't exactly know what or where to eat, but we have been to Pho Hoai before so we visited it again. The restaurant isn't very big and the decor/atmosphere is very much similar to most Vietnamese restaurants in Chinatown. It was crazy packed when we came so we had no choice, but to share a table with other customers.

We ordered the typical dishes we would order at most Vietnamese restaurants:

Vietnamese Spring Rolls
We almost always order the Vietnamese spring rolls. The rolls were crunchy, hot, and savory!

Pho Xe Lua
Will always orders Pho Xe Lua. I can't recall a time where he's ordered a different entree at any Vietnamese restaurant. He orders this when we do take-out or stay-in the restaurant. He sure loves it.

Beef Cubes with White Rice, Tomatoes and Lettuce

This is by far one of my favorite dishes in a Vietnamese restaurant. However, my biggest complaint is when there's not enough sauce or when it's too salty. For this particular restaurant and dish, there just wasn't enough sauce. I like digging under to mix the sauce with my rice to make it not so bland. I was quite disappointed.

Overall, I felt the service could be improved a little bit. I typically don't come to Bay Ridge, so I think Pho Hoai would only be a restaurant that I would visit if I was hungry and in the area. i wouldn't really go out of my way to this restaurant since I do live half a block from a Vietnamese restaurant that's been around for 10+ years and their food is decent and delicious. I would much prefer Thai Son in Chinatown any day.

Thursday, December 22, 2016

Birthday Dinner at Shanghai You Garden

Last month, we came to Shanghai You Garden in Flushing for birthday dinner for our friend Mandy. Shanghai You Garden is a  relatively new restaurant with beautiful, Asian artsy decor. The restaurant is fairly clean and the ceiling is hung with Chinese calligraphy and the walls have a Chinese floral design with Chinese paintings hung on the wall as well.

I made reservations for 8PM, but the restaurant would not sit us down until everyone arrived. While we were waiting for the arrival of our friends, the tallest waiter in the restaurant was willing to take down our orders so at least the food will be ready when we sat down.  It can get crowded here easily, so best to come early. Just an FYI: Most of the staff don't speak English except one or two staff members. This is also a CASH only restaurant.

Appetizers
These are three appetizers that my friends ordered: chicken in wine sauce, cold beef tendon, and spicy beef tripe. I've never been a fan of chicken bathed in wine sauce. The cold beef tendon was delicious and had a bit of a sesame taste to it. The spicy beef tripe was okay, but not something I would normally eat.

Crispy Noodle with Beef
We ordered a dish of crispy noodle with beef. It was absolutely delicious! My only complaint is that the noodles weren't crunchy enough. I was looking for that golden brown and crunchy bite, but it wasn't there.

Rice cake with Shredded Pork & Preserved Mustard
I must have this whenever I go to Shanghainese restaurants.This was amazing, but the only complaint here was the portion size was a little small. We finished this dish in minutes.

Giant Soup Dumpling
The birthday girl ordered the Giant Soup Dumpling that they had in the restaurant. They gave her a straw as well so she can drink the soup from the bun. I've never seen a soup dumpling of that size, it was quite interesting.

We weren't full from the dishes we ordered so we actually ordered additional items, but I didn't have a chance to take pictures.

  • Steamed Pork Buns & Steamed Pork and Crab Buns - these were amazing! I was never a fan of the steamed pork and crab buns at another restaurant I've been to with Will, but amazingly these were delicious.
  • Steamed Soy Milk - I haven't had steamed soy milk since I was a child. It brought back a lot of memories. I was super happy and excited about having this. I thought it was interesting that it was served in a plate.
  • Rice Cake with Beef - we ordered an additional entree as we weren't full from the dishes we had earlier. The beef version was okay, but I prefer my shredded pork and preserved mustard rice cake.
Overall, we had a great experience. Food was definitely a lot better than some of the Shanghainese restaurants I've been to. Service was good, but the only issue is that most of the staff speaks Mandarin and Will and I are illiterate when it comes to Mandarin. I would definitely return to this restaurant again.

Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Brunch at Beehive Oven Biscuit Cafe

I absolutely love eating in Williamsburg. It always feels cozy, comfortable, and refreshing to escape from South Brooklyn.

Will and I came to Beehive Oven Biscuit Cafe with our friends: Sam and Alex in late October for Alex's birthday brunch. I knew about this restaurant because over the summer I took a restaurant management class and my teammates and I created a project/fake restaurant based on Beehive's menu. I adored Beehive Oven Biscuit Cafe and not because I love brunch, but because the Texas inspired restaurant is a delightful gem. It's a cozy, comfortable, and casual spot with an upbeat staff! The restaurant is a little small and limited seating, so not ideal for a huge group.

The main draw at Beehive Oven are their biscuits, which come served up in a variety of different ways. I'm not a huge fan of biscuits, but I was open to trying it.

Homemade Vegetables with Buttermilk Ranch
As an added bonus, every meal at Beehive Oven Biscuit Cafe comes with a complimentary appetizer of homemade vegetables and buttermilk ranch dressing. Who doesn't like something that is 
complimentary?

Appetizers
We also ordered two appetizers and a side dish. The Fried Green Tomatoes with Spicy Remoulade was a menu item I wanted to try out. The fried green tomatoes were fried to perfection, golden and delicious. I was expecting to taste or feel the juices of the tomatoes, but didn't quite. 

Sam and Alex ordered the Jezebel Wings with buttermilk dressing. You can get these three for $8.00 or 6 for $15.00. I'm not a huge fan of wings, but these wings were extremely delicious and tasty. The wings had a slight sweet and tangy taste to it which I liked. 

The side order we had was the Fried Okra. The fried okra was fried to a golden perfection like the fried green tomatoes. It was mediocre. It wasn't anything too special in my opinion.

Coffee

Since it was chilly day when we went, I decided to grab a cup of coffee instead of starting the day off with a cocktail or anything cold.

Shrimp and Grits
Sam had the Shrimp and Grits. The shrimp was bathed in a creamy Cajun sauce with bacon on a bed of grits. I was going to order the shrimp and grits until I saw the word "Cajun". This dish screams dangerously hot to me, but Sam enjoyed it. It also looked very filling.

Chicken Fried Steak and Eggs & Texas Hot Brown
Alex and I had the same dish which was the Chicken-Fried Steak and Eggs- tenderized beef steak breaded and fried topped with mushroom gravy, two eggs, and a biscuit with jam. Beehive Oven was serving pumpkin biscuit the day we visited the restaurant so we swapped out the original biscuit with the biscuit of the day and also choose whichever jam is available. choose the vanilla pear jam.

The chicken fried steak and eggs is a very heavy entree and well worth the $17. The grits were cooked perfectly and had a delightful buttery taste to it. I've never had a chicken fried steak before so this was my first time. It was extremely delicious, cooked to nothing but perfection! It was golden, crispy, and tasty. The mushroom gravy was BOMB! I love anything with mushrooms. I got my eggs over-easy and over-easy they were! I've never been a fan of biscuits, but I am a fan of pumpkin so I gave it a shot. I thought the biscuit was a little dry, definitely not the best I've had.

Will had the Texas Hot Brown - open-faced biscuit sandwich with turkey, bacon, and sliced tomato topped with sausage gravy. He couldn't swap his biscuit with a pumpkin biscuit since it's part of the sandwich already. His dish also looked quite heavy, but it looked amazing! The sausage gravy looked and tasted amazing. 


Dessert
I can't believe we had room for dessert too. We ordered the Cinnabiscuit - a warm biscuit cinnamon bun topped with a choice of vanilla, chocolate, or caramel glaze. We chose the caramel glaze. We also ordered the Homemade Cinnamon Ice Cream. The cinnabiscuit was yumazing! It was warm, sweet, moist, and delicious. You can taste cinnamon and caramel deliciousness all over. We actually scooped a chunk of the biscuit with a bit of ice cream which created a great combination!

Overall, I liked Beehive Oven Biscuit Cafe a lot. It felt very cozy, homey, and like a nice place you can come to enjoy and relax on the weekend. I love the delicious Southern comfort food that they have to offer. I definitely want to come back again to try more of their savory and sweet foods.

Hooray to another spot that satisfies my taste buds in Williamsburg!

Tuesday, December 13, 2016

Birthday Dinner at Tang - Bayside, Queens

I've been to Tang in Bayside, Queens last year, but didn't have the time to take pictures. Last month, I was fortunate and happy that Will, my friends, and I had the chance to return to Tang because I heard a lot of good comments regarding the restaurant.

Tang has valet parking. The restaurant is different compared to other Korean restaurants in Queens because first of all, it is super spacious inside. The decor is very chic, dark, and stylish. The restaurant serves Korean food and Japanese food (mostly sushi) and the staff are very friendly and nice.

We did family style, so we all ordered appetizers and dishes to share. I didn't get to capture everything we ate, but here's what I was able to capture:

Green Salad
I think in most traditional Korean restaurants, as a customer you are given banchan, but at Tang you are given green salad (similar to what you find in Japanese restaurants). I like the idea of having a salad because it's a fresh start to the meal.

Seafood & Green Onion Pancake
For one of our appetizers, we had the seafood and green onion pancake. It was nicely made and tasted great, but I think next time I know not to order this because this appetizer will fill you up quick since it's very starchy. 

Gool Gook Bop
Will was in a mood for soup so he ordered the seaweed soup simmered in an oyster broth. Sounds very ocean and sea-like. I actually didn't try this since I am not a fan of oyster-like or oyster-flavor food.

Hawaiian Roll
Another appetizer we ordered was the Hawaiian Roll (shrimp tempura topped with spicy tuna, shaved mango, spicy mayo and macadamia nuts). I never seen or heard of a sushi roll with such ingredients. It was actually a very interesting and delicious combination. I liked it very much!

Jap Chae
We also ordered the Jap Chae which is like a must-have for any and every Korean restaurant. The Jap Chae was extremely delicious and delight. Love it!

Tang Plus Set
Tang has these sets where you can order an entree/meat dish and a soup or rice dish. Will and I got the Bibimbap with Bulgogi and only for $20! The Bibimbap was delicious and I especially enjoyed the crispy rice on the side of the bowl. The bulgogi had a good flavor and very tender.

Overall, I am glad I got another chance to try Tang. I really enjoy the food, ambiance, and service here. The food is very hearty and delicious. I highly recommend coming here if you have a birthday celebration or any type or celebration because it will feel extra special at Tang. It's a little pricey here, but well worth it especially for a special occasion.

Monday, December 12, 2016

Thanksgiving 2016

Hope you've all had a great weekend! I am a little late, but I'd like to share with you how and what we ate for Thanksgiving.

Baked Sweet Potato with Marshmallows
So for Thanksgiving lunch with my family and Thanksgiving dinner with Will's family, I actually made the same dish, but looked different. I made Baked sweet potato with marshmallows using this recipe, but I tweaked it a bit. This was my first time making this recipe and baking in a long time, so it was comforting and fun. I was very surprised at how successful it came out. Everyone loved it!

Dengsgiving
This was my Thanksgiving lunch with my family. My sisters and I made a few items, but most dishes were made by my mom and we also ordered ribs, lobster, and chicken. We also had dessert - strudel and pie! Yum! Overall, a super filling lunch.

Baked Sweet Potato with Marshamallows
This was the second one I made for Will's Thanksgiving. It came out very good, puffy, and delicious! I was super impressed. I may even consider making this next year as everyone loves it especially since it's not too sweet.

Chengsgiving
This was Will's family Thanksgiving. We did a catering order like last year from Boston Market where everything is pretty much cooked, just needs to be reheated. The food was top notch and we all added our own dishes and creative twist too. We also had dessert too which we had little room for, but still took a bite of it.

Side dishes
For the Friendsgiving that we went to I made prosciutto wrapped asparagus and I got the recipe from here. Another recipe I found on Pinterest. It looked and smelled amazing. The best part is that it only required three ingredients well in the recipe that I tweaked - oil, asparagus, and prosciutto. It came out pretty well, but I think next time I try it with bacon. I also made my sauteed corn with Italian seasoning which everyone ate and finished.

Friendsgiving
This is our Friendsgiving meal. Everyone pretty much just brought what they wanted. My friend did a fabulous job on the turkey. It was moist and delicious. Everything else was tasty too! 

So yes, this is what we've had for three days in a row over the course of Thanksgiving. Not bad right? Hope you had a great Thanksgiving and delicious food!



Tuesday, December 6, 2016

Taiyaki NYC - Ice Cream stuffed inside a Fish Cake

Ice cream stuffed inside a fish cake? Yes it does exist, but it's not what you think. It's the most Instagrammable dessert you can find.

At Taiyaki NYC, they have a fish-shaped cake into a makeshift waffle cone and lines it with custard (my favorite) or red bean paste before filling it with a swirl of soft-serve ice cream - you can pick from the following: vanilla, chocolate, black sesame, and the on-trend matcha) and drizzle (chocolate, caramel, condensed milk, or strawberry) and adorning it with an array of toppings such as: mini M&M's, mocha, Pocky sticks, and etc.


I shared a fish cake with Will and we got the custard filled fish cake with matcha ice cream, strawberry drizzle, rainbow sprinkles and strawberries on top. I'm serious these fish cakes were made for Instagram! Any way, the cake is super delicate and better to eat with caution because the cake is soft and so is everything else which means without serious caution, it can have an accident.

It was definitely one of the best desserts I've had so far. It was moist, soft, and not overly sweet. You get a combination of cold and warm, velvety and melt-in-your-mouth custard beneath. The cake was inexpensive - only $7-$8. 

Taiyaki NYC is definitely a great addition to Chinatown because although there's a few dessert spots in Chinatown, there are none like Taiyaki NYC. It's different, genuine, and delicious. If you haven't came here yet, I highly recommend you check it out. 



Monday, November 21, 2016

Family Dinner at Joy Luck Palace

My family and I had dinner in early October for my mom's birthday celebration. We wanted to go to Royal Seafood on Mott street because we like it there, but they were completely booked out for a wedding. We decided to eat at Joy Luck Palace instead. It was surprising that the restaurant wasn't filled up when it was a Saturday evening.

The restaurant that used to occupy this space was Grand Harmony, but because it's a new restaurant and under new management there were new renovations. Unfortunately, the renovations weren't very intriguing. I feel that the decor was downgraded. I thought with new renovations, the stinky and old restrooms would get an upgrade too, but nope. Service improved from the last time I was here with my family.

These were the dishes we had:

Fish Maw Soup
As always we ordered the Fish Maw Soup which was quite scrumptious.

Lobster, Crispy Chicken, and Oysters
We ordered the lobster which I thought was decent, but I feel it was a little small. The crispy chicken was delicious and tasty. I'm not a fan of oysters so I can't comment on how fresh or did it taste.

More food
The broccoli and shrimp was tasty and delicious! We also had blanched snow pea leaves which was very simple and light. We also got one of my family's favorite dishes: steamed pork with salted fish. I thought it was pretty tasty, but the homemade version taste a lot better. We also ordered a steamed fish dish.

Overall, the food was alright, but nothing that really wow'ed us. I think it's pretty bad that more than half of the restaurant was empty on a Saturday night. I wasn't too happy with the quality of the dim sum and food the first time I visited Joy Luck with my family. Hopefully the quality will improve soon.




Thursday, November 17, 2016

BCD Tofu House - Bayside, Queens

The weather last month was a little crazy. It was a lot windier and colder compared to the weather today. It's been windy at times, breezy, but mostly warm. Last month, Will and I visited BCD Tofu House in Bayside, Queens for dinner since I was craving for soondubu (tofu soup) and it was the perfect weather for it.

I've been to BCD Tofu House in Manhattan and it's definitely a lot smaller compared to the one in Bayside. The Bayside location has a parking lot and it's super spacious! 

After we ordered our entrees, we were given complimentary dishes to try. I love the fried fish that they always give here despite the little bones in the fish.

Hot-Stone Bibimbap
This was part of a set that Will ordered with his soondubu. We shared the hot-stone bibimbap. I always love this at any Korean restaurant we go to. I especially love the crunchy rice along the side of the pot. It's truly yummy!

Mushroom Soondubu & Seafood Soondubu
I got the mushroom soondubu since I am huge mushroom fan! This was definitely mushroom and tofu heaven. Our waitress gave us two bowls of rice to eat with our soups. I literally got full mostly from my soup as it was truly scrumptious! Will got the seafood soondubu from his set and there was an assortment of seafood (shrimp, clam, mussels, and scallop?).He wasn't a huge fan of his soup not sure if it's the taste or because he doesn't like tofu too much.

Japchae
We also ordered the Japchae which I absolutely love eating in Korean restaurants too! I like that BCD Tofu House adds in their fried tofu into the Japchae - different texture to the dish. Unfortunately, I thought their Japchae has a little too much oil and greasy compared to the other ones I have had.

The food at BCD Tofu House was scrumptious! However, the service was mediocre. I feel our waitress was no where to be found a lot of times. I've been here twice so far and I really liked the food. I think I like this location better than the one in Manhattan.

Wednesday, November 9, 2016

Banter - Irish Bar & Kitchen

Will and I visited my sister and the future brother-in law's new nest in Forest Hills, Queens after the NYC Dumpling Festival. I like the quiet and relaxing vibe of the neighborhood and not too far is where all the buzz, shopping, restaurants, and bars are along Queens Boulevard.

My sister and future brother in-law took us around the neighborhood before and after our dinner. For dinner, we went to Banter - Irish Bar & Kitchen. I found this place on Yelp and it turned out to be a pleasant experience for us. It's located conveniently close to a theater, so great place to check out after the movies. The restaurant was smaller than I imagined, but I was surprise a lot of families ate here because it felt more like a pub than a place for family dinner.

The service was on par and food is heavy, but delicious! Their menu is full of delicious Irish and comfort food. This is what we ordered:

Irish Five Onion Soup
Will and I have been ordering French Onion Soup quite often so when I saw that Banter had it on their menu - we had to have it. The Irish Five Onion Soup was filled with Irish croutons and Swiss and Irish porter cheese. The soup was extremely delicious and not oversalted which I was very happy about.

Mozzarella Pinwheel Salad
My sister said we didn't have enough greens for dinner so she ordered the Mozzarella Pinwheel Salad to share. The salad was full of deliciousness and filled with homemade mozzarella cheese rolled with basil pesto and prosciutto with garlic toast tossed over mixed greens, green olives, pine nuts, and roasted red peppers in white balsamic vinaigrette. I really enjoyed this salad because it's a plate of different textures and flavors that just really come together and it's rustic and just delightful!

Signature Banter Burger
Both the brother in-law and Will ordered the Signature Banter Burger which contained pepper jack cheese and creamy Chipotle mayo. The burgers looked delicious and perfect if you're looking for a simple dinner. 

Beef & Guinness Pie and Chicken Pot Pie
My sister and I decided on a very different dinner. I got the Beef Guinness Pie and my sister got the Chicken Pot Pie. The Beef and Guinness pie consisted of prime beef cuts with carrots, potatoes and peas in a Guinness infused gravy with a fresh pastry top. This was a heavy and quick-filling pie. Honestly I would recommend sharing it between another person because I only finished a quarter of it. The pie was full of delicious comfort ingredients and definitely perfect for a chilly day. 

The chicken pot pie which consisted of chicken, corn, pearl onions, baby potatoes, carrots and celery with a pastry top. The chicken pot pie is somewhat similar to my beef Guinness pie, but minus the infusion of alcohol and some ingredients. My sister enjoyed it very much, but also had an issue with finishing the pie as it was too filling.

Besides the food, we also had a little booze. Two Blue Moons, Magners, and Strongbow. 

Overall, I really enjoyed the food and selection of drinks at Banter - Irish Bar & Kitchen. I definitely would like to come back here as I've noticed there are certain menu items that pique my interest. Looking forward to my next visit here!

Tuesday, November 1, 2016

NYC Dumpling Festival - September 2016

It's been very busy after Will's birthday with family and friends. Although, I'm a month and a half late with writing about the NYC Dumpling Festival, I still want our thoughts with you and show you what was featured this year.

This year Will and I were a little proactive when it came to purchasing tickets because instead of getting online on the day of the festival. We bought the tickets online since they guaranteed a free bag if you purchase online. The event took place on September 24th, 2016 at the Sara D. Roosevelt Park from 12PM - 5PM, but Will and I didn't stay too long at the duration of the event.

Last year I didn't blog about the NYC Dumpling Festival, but I liked the selection, vendors, and etc. a lot better. This year was below par in every aspect except for the customer service. Last year there were 8-10 vendors to choose from, but this year it was only 5 which were split by boroughs (Brooklyn, The Bronx, Queens, Manhattan, and Staten Island) which I didn't quite understand what the logic behind it was.

Queens
Queens was serving chicken soup dumplings, pork and shrimp shumai, and chicken wonton with a side of kimchi. The pork and shrimp shumai was delicious and so was the chicken wonton - nice and crunchy, but the chicken soup dumplings had very little soup. I think it's perhaps the filling soaked up all the soup. I didn't bother trying the kimchi since I can't have spicy foods too much.


The Bronx
Will went to The Bronx and they were serving vegetable curry samosa, buffalo chicken dumpling, and Thai chicken dumpling. The vegetable curry samosa was crispy, crunchy, and delicious! The buffalo chicken dumpling wasn't very tasty and neither was the Thai chicken dumpling.

Brooklyn
I went to Brooklyn and that they were serving kale and vegetable dumpling, edamame dumpling, and spinach dumpling. The dumplings here were mediocre and completely vegetarian. The only dumpling that tasted fairly decent was the edamame dumpling, Although the dumplings appeared to have a charredness on it - it wasn't actually crispy or crunchy. 

Manhattan
Manhattan seemed to have a lot more variety. They were serving BBQ Pork bao, Kung Pao chicken dumpling, pork and kimchi dumpling, chicken and cilantro, and a mini dumpling,  I think out of all the dumplings that were served, I liked the chicken and cilantro the best. I wasn't a fan of the BBQ Pork bao at all and everything else had spiciness in it.

Staten Island 
Staten Island was serving drinks and dessert dumplings. They were serving a custard bun, red bean bun, and pumpkin pie dumpling. The pumpkin pie dumpling was quite delicious, I liked it. I wasn't a fan of the red bean bun and the custard bun was crisp, crunchy, and delicious.

Overall, Will and I didn't really enjoy this year's festival at all. Most of the dumplings were all cold. stale, not crispy or crunchy, and a waste of money. All of the dumplings were pre-made. Each ticket allows you for four tastings, so Will used two stamps and I used three. We had four stamps left so we decided to use our remaining stamps on Chef One's frozen dumplings to bring home and we also got an insulated bag. We tried the frozen dumplings at home and they were a serious downgrade compared to the brand we usually buy from.

It was a total disappointment this year that we're not sure if we'll even come back next year.

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Family Dinner at Benson Eating Station

My family and I celebrated our parent's anniversary at Benson Eating Station, just a few blocks from our house. Apparently this restaurant has been here quite some time and has an extension into next door for extra dining area. This wasn't my first experience at Benson Eating Station, but the restaurant is mid-sized, decent space, and bright. I would suggest that it's good for a small family dinner, but if you're looking to host a party here I wouldn't recommend it.

We arrived at 6PM and there was a lot of tables available, but a few that were reserved for a special dinner for later. They had napkin cloths for us, but the waiter took and stored our cloths away which is completely unsanitary. I didn't want to give my cloth away so I hid it on my lap. I didn't really enjoy the area we sat in because there were just flies or mosquitoes everywhere and Will and I are mosquito magnets. They were also flying throughout dinner too.

Fish Maw Soup
We started off with the Fish Maw Soup which happens to be one of our favorite soups now. It was very tasty!

Lobster with Ginger & Scallions, Crispy Chicken, and Broccoli & Shrimp with Walnuts
After the soup, we had the Lobster with Ginger & Scallions which was mediocre. My parents said the ones at Fu Kee (at Bay Parkway) are a lot better and bigger. The  crispy chicken was meaty and delicious. I really love the Broccoli & Shrimp with walnuts , but the broccoli was extremely bitter. It was definitely not fresh and had a lot of black dots around it. The sauce they used for the shrimp tasted slightly different than the ones I've tried before. It had a much sweeter taste to it.

Ong Choy, Toisan Cauliflower, and Oysters with Black Bean Sauce
We also got a plate of Ong Choy with bean curd sauce which I really enjoy eating, love this vegetable! I've recently started liking Toisan Cauliflower. It's quite delicious and has a nice crunch to it (if cooked right), but the chefs definitely used too much oil on this. I'm not a fan of Oysters with Black Bean Sauce, but dad got it any way for the others.

The service was decent, but I felt the quality of the food wasn't great. I didn't enjoy biting into the bitter broccoli or having flies flying around as I was trying to enjoy my dinner. Hopefully the restaurant will do something about the flies and find a better vendor for their broccoli. Apparently they have a two star rating on Yelp which is NOT a good sign at all, but I'll be submitting my review on them soon.

Once again, I would only recommend coming here for a small dinner and/or dim sum.  If you're looking for a better quality small dinner, I would suggest going to Fu Kee.

Monday, October 17, 2016

Jamie's Italian - Anthem of the Seas

On our third evening at Anthem of the Seas, Will and I decided to have dinner on our own at Jamie's Italian since it was a celebrity chef restaurant and we wanted to celebrate our monthly anniversary at the time.

We came in at 6PM for dinner and dinner was $30 per person. We definitely took advantage and ordered a lot for ourselves. The restaurant was spacious, hip, and had a casual environment. The staff were very friendly and nice. Our server was very friendly and helpful and made recommendations of what we should order and try.

Appetizers
We ordered the following appetizers: crispy squid, mushroom friti, proscuitto & melon, and rocket Parmesan salad. The crispy squid was delicious and fried to golden perfection with garlic & lemon mayo, chili, parsley and fried garlic. The proscuitto and melon was amazing and delicious! It complimented each other very well. The mushroom friti was king oyster, paris brown mushrooms coated in an herby breadcrumbs and served with garlic mayo. It was insanely delicious and crunchy. In my opinion, it felt like a mushroom pie! The rocket Parmesan salad was tasty, simple, and rustic. 

Ultimate Garlic Bread

We were also given their complimentary ultimate garlic bread which was warm artisan buttermilk buns, herby garlic butter, Bella Lodi & rosemary. The ultimate garlic bread was fluffy, moist, and delicious! This was possibly one of the best garlic breads I've had so far.

Entrees
For entree, I had Caprese Risotto and Will had the Taglitatelle Bolognese.  The Caprese Risotto was fairly delicious at the beginning, but later on it got pretty salty so that's why I didn't finish it.However, at least the dish was brigh and warm and the colors did complement very nicely and it's neat too. The Tagliatelle Bolognese is from Gennaro's original pork & beef Bolognese receipe, slowly cooked with red wine and served with herby breadcrumbs & Parmesan. The Tagliatelle Bolognese was mediocre and I've definitely had better. I thought it was a little too salty for our tastes.

Desserts
We also had desserts: Tiramisu and Cheesecake. The desserts were okay, but nothing too great. 

Overall, it was a wonderful experience at Jamie's Italian. I enjoyed our appetizers very much and I enjoyed the service too!

Sunday, October 9, 2016

Royal Caribbean - Anthem of the Seas: The Grande

On our second day of Anthem of the Seas, we tried very hard at dodging Hurricane Hermine, but still felt the tremendous effects (strong and gusty winds, rain, wobbly ship and etc.). It was quite serious since they had barf bags available at the stairways and by your room door. They also canceled all activities and shows.

Will and I came to The Grande for lunch. Passengers who have been on Royal Caribbean or love formal night adore The Grande, where formal dress and suit is required every night. However, if you come for breakfast or lunch, you are entitled to wear whatever it is that you please. The space is large, elegant, and feels luxurious.


For appetizer, I had the Chilled Strawberry & Mint Soup which was surprisingly delicious! I've never had a sweet soup to start off my experience at a restaurant. It tasted like a strawberry smoothie, but in a soup form. I really enjoyed it. Will ordered the Lobster & Shrimp risotto which I also really liked. It tasted buttery, creamy, and delicious. 

For entrees, Will had the Smoked Chorizo soup. However, he wasn't a huge fan of it. I had the Mushrooms with Ratatouille which I really enjoyed. The mushrooms were cooked to perfection and so was the ratatouille. A true comfort dish! 

Finally for desserts, Will had the Apple Fritters with Caramel sauce which looked really good, but he didn't enjoy it very much. I don't even remember why I didn't try the apple fritters since I love apples. I had a super fattening dessert - S'Mores dessert with lots of whip cream, caramel sauce, and just melting and over the top. Overall, it was a tasty dessert especially with the devil's chocolate cake. 

I really enjoyed the ambiance and atmosphere in The Grande. It's too bad everything was moving and wobbly the day we went. It was a mission impossible to have dinner here because they weren't accepting walk-in's and reservations were all booked. It was sad since Will and I really wanted to dress up for this specific restaurant. Hopefully we can another time or on another ship. The food was mediocre, so we've definitely had better.

Monday, October 3, 2016

Royal Caribbean - Anthem of the Seas: SILK

The next few posts will be about the food and restaurants that I tried while I was on the Anthem of the Seas cruise with Will and family.

On our first and last evening, we actually went to the same restaurant since it was difficult to get a reservation/table for a large group.

The restaurant we went to was called SILK and it is a Pan-Asian restaurant with influences from Chinese, Indian, Japanese, Thai, and Vietnamese cuisine. The restaurant and decor is very beautiful, elegant, and has gorgeous oriental design and architecture. Service was okay, but nothing over the top in my opinion. SILK is part of the complimentary dining, so we were able to order as much as we wanted.

This is what Will and I had at our first time at SILK:


For appetizers, I had the Korean Fried Squid and I thought it was mediocre. The squid felt very hard and dry. Will had the Salmon Sashimi which was nicely sliced, but didn't taste right as there was no wasabi given to us or soy sauce. For entrees, Will had some type of steak dish (Sorry I forgot the name). I had the Salmon with Green Tea Rice which was mediocre. The salmon was cooked perfectly, but tasted a little bland. The green tea rice was mediocre as well, didn't taste very much like green tea or tea at all. For desserts, I had the Mango Rice Pudding which I thought would be similar to mango sago, but nope. It was definitely rice with mango with a dash/taste of cinnamon in it. Will had a custard (I also forgot the name) , but it was rather small.

Will and I were not impressed with our first experience at Silk. The final and second experience was a little bit better:


Will and I ordered a lot to try this time since it was complimentary and our final family dinner on the cruise. Will ordered the Chinese Style Chicken Noodle Soup and the Vegetable Samosas. I didn't try the chicken noodle soup since it don't look very appealing, but I did try the vegetable samosas. They were prepared adorable and delicious, but not enough curry flavor. I also got what they call Asian Pork Tacos which puzzled a lot of people, but it was actually pork buns. They were quite delicious and other people in the table got them too. I also had the Asian Chicken Salad which was extremely light and delicious. We also got the Crabmeat & Cheese Wontons which I thought were very small and you can definitely see all that grease on the leaf.

For entree, I had the Korean Short Rib which was very moist and tender and had good flavor. Will on the other hand had a Beef Shank or Steak dish that he was not pleased with because it was overcooked and tough. For dessert, Will got his mochi which was good and can't be messed up on. I had the Lychee Custard with Kiwi coulis. I was hoping for more lychee flavor in the custard, but it just tasted a lot like cream and almost 0% lychee flavor. The kiwi coulis was tart.

Overall, I thought the food could be improved and I think it's funny how it's an Asian restaurant, but where are the chopsticks? I understand they are a fine dining restaurant, but where's the Asian utensils you're suppose to use to pick up rice or dumplings? The service was okay, but there seemed to be a little bit of mix-up with the dishes at times.