Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Desserts That Really Hit The Spot

I've recently had a second opportunity to try Spot Dessert Bar with my girlfriend Diane. She's never been to Spot Dessert Bar so I decided to take her after our dinner at Soba-Ya.

We took a risk and came on a Friday night around 6PM and luckily there was no wait for us and we were seated immediately. I talked Diane into trying the 3 Tapas for $23.95, so we had the following:

Chocolate Forest
Diane wanted to try the Chocolate Forest which contained pistachio and apricot covered choco mousse cake with chocolate filling and pistachio ice cream. The chocolate forest looked beautiful and amazing! My friend Diane was completely intrigued by how beautiful the dessert was and really, really enjoyed it. To her, it was dessert heaven. Unfortunately, she couldn't finish the entire dessert so she took it home.

Chocolate Green Tea Lava Cake
I got their famous Chocolate Green Tea Lava Cake as I did my first time too. I've been craving for this chocolate and green tea deliciousness for a very long time. It was the perfect dessert to have after a stressful week at the time I had this. I was super full after eating the chocolate green tea lava cake all by myself.

Kabocha Brulee Cake
The last dessert we had was the Kabocha Brulee Cake which was a warm caramelized pumpkin cake, cookie crumbs, condensed milk, and ice cream. I absolutely loved this! The Kabocha Brulee Cake was like Autumn in a cake form. It tasted like pumpkin, cinnamon and just absolutely wonderful. 

All in all, Diane & I had a great experience here. Unfortunately, we were a little too full that we couldn't finish all of the desserts. I am glad she enjoy Spot Dessert Bar and hopefully we will return soon.

Monday, March 21, 2016

Soba-Ya - Something Out of the Oridinary

229 East 9th Street New York, NY 10003

My girlfriend Diane & I met up here about two months ago for dinner and to catch up. We came on a Friday night at 6PM and already tables were getting filled quick. It's a small place, but with decent food. The restaurant was very clean and staff was very friendly and helpful.

Cold Soba Tea
I wanted to try the Cold Soba Tea which is really just roasted buckwheat tea. I liked the tea very much, it had just the right amount of roast-like flavor. The tea wasn't very strong which I liked.

Oyako Don
Diane didn't want soba noodles because she found out the broth is made with fish and apparently she doesn't eat fish/seafood (I never knew that before).so she got the Oyako Don instead which is egg and poached chicken over rice. 

Kitsune Noodle
(Not sure why my photo was set like this by default when I uploaded it)

Since the day we went was freezing, I decided to order and try their hot noodles. I ordered the Kitsune Noodle which was soba noodle soup with fried bean curd. I must admit the noodles are quite expensive compared to Cocoron and I wasn't too impressed with this particular noodle soup. The broth could have used more flavor.

All in all,it was nice to experience a different type of food with my friend Diane since we both usually eat ramen or Filipino. I think I would much prefer Cocoron though. The broth and quality tastes a lot better.

Thursday, March 17, 2016

Sammy's Fish Box - Seafood Galore!

41 City Island Avenue Bronx, NY 10464

I visited Sammy's Fish Box with Will and our good friend Jason just two days before the New Year came. I must admit it wasn't ideal for us to visit Sammy's Fish Box in the gloomy, cloudy, chilly Winter, but we did so any way since it was the first time Jason mentioned City Island to us.

There's a parking lot right next to the restaurant, so no worries about the parking situation. The restaurant is humongous and they have an interesting seating area on the side of the restaurant we sat in and they also have booths for you to sit in. The restaurant had a nice ocean-like, relaxing atmosphere. Our waiter was an Asian man and probably around his 60's-70's and wasn't too friendly to us. He answered our questions, but if and when we were missing an item he didn't seem very attentive or helpful.

So we didn't know exactly how big were the portion sizes, but we ordered two entrees from the luncheon menu and two appetizers. The appetizers were a mistake because there was a lot of food that came with the entrees that we couldn't finish everything.

Bread & Vegetables
Baked Clams 
We ordered the Baked Clams to share. You can order them as a plate of six or a plate of 12. The baked clams are a popular menu item according to Yelp. The baked clams were quite delicious and seasoned just right!

Fried Calamari
For the second appetizer, we ordered the Fried Calamari (I actually don't know why we did), but they were very tender and had good seasoning on it.

New England Clam Chowder
The luncheon special Will & Jason ordered came with a soup so they both had the New England Clam Chowder which was rich, creamy, and delicious. It was perfect for a chilly, gloomy day.

Broiled Lobster
Will ordered the Broiled Lobster. The broiled lobster had good flavors in it and was cooked perfectly. The meat was fresh, tender, and tasty!

Broiled Seafood Combo
Jason ordered the Broiled Seafood Combo which contained clams, mussels, scallops, lobster tail, and shrimp. It was truly a combo. The flavors tasted just like the lobster, rich and smelled amazing.

French Fries
Our lunch came with French fries too. The French fries were fried to perfection and had a nice crisp and crunch to it.

Ice Cream
Finally, after a full meal of seafood it came with ice cream. The luncheon specified that our order comes with coffee or tea, but neither was offered to us by our waiter. How rude! We didn't make a fuss about it so we just kept quiet with our ice cream.

All in all, it was a nice experience and with good food, but too bad we were very full after the all the seafood and breading too. It would have been a better experience if our waiter was more warm and friendlier, but he wasn't. I definitely want to come back to City Island to try the other restaurants and as for Sammy's Fish Box I may consider returning, but hoping we don't get the same waiter.

Wednesday, March 16, 2016

LandMarc - What A Surprise!

Time Warner Center
10 Columbus Circle, 3rd Floor New York, NY 10019

It's not every day that my family & I eat at a fine dining, upscale restaurant. The day after Christmas (yes I'm very late with my posts), we had a family day out in Midtown Manhattan - lunch at LandMarc & watched the Christmas Spectacular at Radio City for the very first time.

The inside of LandMarc was quite dark, but definitely an upscale atmosphere and the window seats gives you a great view of Columbus Circle & Central Park. The staff were friendly and helpful. We all ordered individual entrees and a few appetizers/side dishes to share.

Appetizers & Side Dishes
We ordered the Roasted Marrow Bones, Grilled Octopus, French Onion Soup, and Brussels Sprouts with Bacon. The roasted marrow bones was accompanied with onion marmalade, grilled country bread, and fig jam. I'm not a huge fan of bone marrow, but these were excellent and full of flavor! Will ordered the French onion soup and it was delicious and full of beef-like broth. The grilled octopus was delicious, full of grilled and charred flavor, and not overcooked at all. The Brussels sprouts with bacon was yummy! The Brussels sprouts were sauteed just perfectly and the bacon was had a nice crispy-ness to it.

Steak & Eggs
Will ordered a Steak & Eggs which looked really vibrant and tasty! His dish also came with home-fries and a watercress salad. The steak was cooked just the way he likes it - medium well. The home-fries had a little spice to it.

Seared Scallops with Polenta & Mushrooms
The Seared Scallops with Polenta & Mushrooms sounded fantastic, so I decided to give it a shot. The scallops had a nice golden shade of brown on top, but eating it wasn't pleasant because there were instances where I felt I was biting into sand and it get's worse. The mushrooms and polenta was very buttery and filling.

So you're wondering how did it get worse? Well when I was eating the scallop, the texture felt undercooked and later on that evening,I felt very sick and woke up the next morning feeling not myself. It was a family holiday  party, where I felt like I had no appetite and ended up vomiting and realized I had food poisoning from the scallops. Luckily my mom only had 1/2 a scallop so she didn't end up with the damage, I did. It took a few days to finally feel better and back to my old self.

I really wanted to like LandMarc mostly because it's a celebrity chef restaurant, but the very fact that I had food poisoning from the scallops and not to mention the fact that they had sand in it just wasn't a pleasant experience for me. I may return for a second chance, but I will most definitely not order the scallops and make sure my food is properly cooked again. 

Friday, March 4, 2016

Valentine's Day Dinner at BKNY Thai Restaurant

BKNY Thai Restaurant
47-11 Francis Lewis Boulevard Bayside, NY 11361718.281.1900

Will and I decided to have Valentine's Day dinner at BKNY Thai Restaurant in Bayside, Queens since we were already in the area watching a movie that day. 

We arrived around 6PM and already it was crowded. It took a while for the hostess to find us and when she did she said it will take about 10 minutes, even though I already saw there were tables available. 

There were no Valentine's Day specials at BKNY, so we had no choice but to order from their regular menu and here's what we ended up with -

Thai Ice Teas
We got Thai Ice Tea as a beverage. A Thai meal doesn't feel quite complete without a glass of Thai Ice Tea, don't you agree?

Crispy Calamari
We ordered the Crispy Calamari for our appetizer. The crispy calamari were crunchy and crisp, but lacked flavor.

Seafood Pad See Euw & Seafood Pad Thai
Will and I both got seafood with noodles. He had the Seafood Pad See Euw and I had the Seafood Pad Thai. They were both decent, but not the best Thai noodles dishes we had. I found that my seafood wasn't cooked thoroughly and the inside of one or two shrimp still seemed a little clear.

Lady M Mille Crepe Cake 
Will and I decided to order a dessert to share since it was Valentine's Day and we were in the mood for a sweet treat. I asked for the dessert menu and what did our waitress bring us? She just brought us a take-out/paper menu with a list of the desserts available. How special! 

I ordered the Lady M Mille Crepe Cake and I specifically asked for the green tea one, but at first the waiter brought out a plain Lady M Mille Crepe Cake and I said to my boyfriend that's not green and that's not what we ordered. I guess the waitress heard me or realized they made a mistake and took the wrong one away and brought the right one back.

I've had this dessert before and I really like it! I love the thin layers of the green tea flavor. It's rich, just the right amount of creaminess, and delicious.

Overall, I feel the service was decent but could be improved just by a little bit. Food didn't taste as good as when I first started coming here. I also wished since it was Valentine's Day they could have had a special menu or a special in general.

Thursday, March 3, 2016

What's Been Cooking In My Kitch

Happy March everyone!

So we're going to jump forward and shift gears for a bit because this post won't be your typical restaurant review,  but instead I will be posting up food porn - mainly dishes I've been making and cooking the past 2.5 months.

As you may or may not know, I've been unemployed for close to two months hence why I've had a lot of free time to blog and cook. I haven't been taking pictures for a step by step guide how to make what I've been making the past 2.5 months, but I really should.

Any way, here's what I've been making and prepare to salivate -

Grilled Chicken Caesar Salad
One afternoon and after my gym session, I was inspired to make a salad for lunch so I ended up making a Grilled Chicken Caesar Salad, minus the grilled chicken because it was store bought and it was at this point, I realized I don't really like Caesar dressing - way too fishy!

Pork, Bok Choy, & Shrimp dumplings
Will and I also spent one Saturday folding dumplings. I love folding dumplings with him once in a blue moon, it's quite relaxing and fun, especially when you can make your own filling with whatever ingredients you like.

Poached Egg Roasted Chicken Salad
So I didn't think poaching an egg and topping it off a salad could be possible or even taste good, until I got inspiration from a dear friend who's also a foodie. The poached egg added a smooth texture to the salad and the yolk was extra runny. Cool points for me for making a perfectly poached, runny egg!

Chunky Guacamole with fried eggs on toasted multi-grain
I’ve also seen a lot of people post on Pinterest about avocado/guacamole toasts  and it looked really yummy especially topped off with a fried egg. Speaking of fried eggs, I have a confession to make because I’ve never knew how to fry an egg properly until this weekend. The first time I tried to fry it (as you can see in the above photo) was an absolute failure.  The first time I made this guacamole toast, it was mediocre because I squeezed way too much lime juice that ultimately made my mixture sour. 

Chunky Guacamole on Multi-Grain bread with Toasted Almonds
The week after that I decided to give up on the fried egg and take a different route in making my avocado toast, so I added diced tomatoes and toasted almonds and less lime juice. The result: a lot more yummier and crunchy.

So Will’s parents have flew back to China for about a month and a half and you know what that means, I have to cook brunch/dinner for both of us. So on the first night, I made mixed vegetable corn soup, sauteed Japanese mountain yam with mixed mushrooms, and sweet & sour chicken. 

Crispy Pan-Fried Beef Noodles
The second night I made pan-fried crispy noodles with beef, Chinese broccoli, carrots, and Shiitake mushroom. It was fairly delicious, but not enough sauce and I definitely need to work on my beef cooking game because the beef was too chewy.

Last weekend, I got up early and made buttermilk pancakes, sweet mini sausages, and eggs for me & Will. I also finally scored with frying an egg successfully and there was absolutely no mess-up on the yolk in the cooking process and in fact, I cooked it just right because it was still slightly runny in the center. Woohoo!

Hot Pot
On that same night, Will & I invited a few friends over for a hot pot dinner and I prepared everything from washing, rinsing, setting up, peeling shrimp shells, and chopping and the soup base. Everyone was excited and I was so happy that they all had a huge appetite!

Roasted Chicken & Craisins Salad
Earlier in the week, I made a roasted chicken salad with craisins and a fried egg. Everything was yummy and really vibrant and exciting. The fried egg added an interesting texture to the salad. It was a true success!

Watercress Soup
Finally, I’m not very good at making Chinese soups or herbal soups nor do I know the proper way. Anyway, Will loves watercress and I tried to make him a watercress soup we both often drink at our homes , but it wasn’t nearly as good as the ones our moms make for us. It was missing a key ingredient that usually gives off a natural sweetness to the soup and I also didn’t use real pork meat. I used pork bones.  

So that’s what I’ve been working on the last few weeks, not bad right? Well next few weeks won’t really involve me cooking very much as the big 28 is coming and going to be out stuffing my face with yummy foods with the ones I love. I’ll be sure to take pictures of all of those occasions.

Upcoming post – backtracking to the review of my Valentine’s Day dinner at BKNY.