Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Orlando Trip - Les Chefs de Frances

I mentioned in my blog that Will and I went to Orlando from March 31st - April 3rd. We had visited Epcot on our first day and passed by a restaurant in the France area by the name of Les Chefs de Frances. They did not accept walk-ins so we made a reservation. We came back a little earlier after walking through the different countries, so the hostess was able to sit us down earlier.

The restaurant was classy and had nice relaxing vibe to it. It was an enormous restaurant with a lot of windows to allow natural lighting to lit up most of the dining area. The staff here was exceptional and respectful. Will and I went with the prix-fixe menu for $39.99 per person.

Iced Tea
We started off with glasses of iced tea to cool us down since it was hot. Iced tea was unsweetened, but they had sugar and sweetener on the side for us.

Our waitress also presented their butter and fresh baked bread to us which was placed in a white paper bag. The bread was delicious, warm, and had a nice crunch and fluffiness to it.

I ordered the French Onion soup which was absolutely delightful and can fill you up. It had the most wonderful layer of cheese encrusted over top of the crock that the soup was served in.

Lobster Bisque
Will ordered the Lobster Bisque. It was cooked to perfection, but a little bland in my opinion, a little salt could have helped. In addition, I wished there were bits of lobster chunks in the soup.

For entree, I noticed that their Gratin de Macaroni was a popular menu item, so I decided to try it out. Someone on Yelp also said it was one of the best macaroni and cheese in Disney. It was amazing, but missing a little salt again. The gruyere cheese was delightful! I was a little stuffed from finishing it so I brought it back to our suite and had it for a midnight snack, which was awesome!

Will had the Filet de saumon mariné auvin blanc et citron (white wine and lemon marinated salmon, broiled, served with steamed asparagus, and champagne sauce. The salmon was served with rice pilaf. The portion size I thought was a little small. The plate could have fitted more vegetables and rice pilaf. Fortunately, the salmon was delicious and had a bit of a citrus-like taste. It was cooked to perfection. 

For desserts, I had the Assiette de Sorbets du Jour (daily assortment of fresh sorbets du Jour) and Will had the Crème Brûlée (Vanilla crème brûlée). The assortment of fresh sorbets included passion fruit, raspberry, and coconut. The raspberry one was a little tart, but the other two sorbets was amazing. I enjoyed the colors, the vibrancy, and marriage of different flavors in this dessert. Will's crème brûlée was delicious too. The crème brûlée was light and creamy. The top was perfectly torched and caramelized.

Overall, I really enjoyed our experience at Les Chefs de Frances. The food was scrumptious and a delight. Service was phenomenal! I would most definitely want to come back here when I return to Disney or Orlando again. 

Monday, May 8, 2017

New World Mall Food Court

A friend recommend New World Mall Food Court for Will and I to try because it's inexpensive and food is on par. The food court is located at the lower level of New World Mall where you'll find over 15+ vendors, a lot of seating, and restrooms too.

There's a wide variety of Asian and Southeast Asian cuisines where food stalls offer Malaysian, Thai, Chinese, Korean, Vietnamese, Japanese and Taiwanese specialties. From dumplings, soups, hot pots, bowls, prepared meals, desserts, literally a potpourri of Asian dishes. Walking through the food court I was feeling a little overwhelmed by the the choice, the aromas, and the crowds of people.

Will and I tried based on what we were recommended by our friend and Yelp. So this is what we ended up with:

Will ordered the fried giant squid combo ($8.50) from Cheers Cut which came with two different sauces, a side salad, rice, vegetables, and seaweed salad. The fried giant squid was absolutely delicious! It was fried and cooked just right, not tough to chew.

I ordered the pork pan-fried dumplings ($5.99) which came with ten pieces by the way. Holy cow, the wait took forever but I can understand why because the women behind the counter pan fry it upon ordering so it takes 10-15 minutes. There's at least 5-6 women working behind that counter making dumplings, frying and cooking dumplings and other dishes, and so much more. It also came with some vegetables and dumpling sauce too. The pan-fried dumplings were delicious, golden, and crispy.

Cheong Fun
I noticed that E Noodles was at New World Mall Food Court and I noticed that they had their delicious Cheong Fun, so without any hesitation I ordered it as well. It was $3.90, but I noticed this place charges tax. The women behind the counter aren't the nicest I may admit, but their cheong fun from here is bomb! It's steamed just perfectly and the peanut and hoisin sauce is just perfect too! I love that this is so inexpensive and so delicious!

Overall, it was a good and inexpensive dining experience here. I've been here twice so far and I love it, but of course more visits will be required in the near future so I can try the other foods here. I think next on my list is the hand pulled noodle (haven't had that in ages). You can definitely come here for breakfast, lunch, and/or dinner. Looking forward to my next visit!

Below are links to the places I visited in the Food Court:

Monday, May 1, 2017

Italian Eats at San Marzano

I've been craving for Italian food and pasta for some time now. Late March, I decided to check out San Marzano in the East Village with three friends. Will was out of town, so it gave me a chance to catch up with close and old friends.

The menu at San Marzano excited me because of the food and how you can pair any type/shape of pasta with any sauce you want and only for $9.00.  The pasta is also made fresh in-house, another bonus point. They only take reservations for six and up, so we couldn't make one and walked in instead. We came on a Friday night around 6:30-7PM and pretty soon the restaurant was filling up quick. 

The restaurant isn't as big as I thought it would be, but I did love the chic ambiance - think low lighting and sleek decor. 

We started off with the Cavicchioli Prosecco, 1928. My friend made a fantastic choice because the Prosecco had notes of flowers, apples and citrus. It paired well with our appetizers and the prosciutto in our appetizer.

The calamari looked amazing on Yelp, but our waiter told us the restaurant wasn't serving it anymore, total bummer. We proceeded and ordered the burrata and Brussels sprouts.

The burrata was creamy pulled cow's milk cheese, prosciutto di parma with balsamic reduction. I really enjoyed the texture of the creamy cheese and it went very well with the bread along with the prosciutto. The combination of the three was smooth and crunchy at the same time with some saltiness to balance it out from the prosciutto. The Brussels sprouts was accompanied with pancetta, fuji apples, and pecorino. I thought they were tasty, but a little too charred or roasted. I enjoyed the ones from Aunt Jake's more. 

Pear & Gorgonzola Ravioli
A friend ordered this since it looked so good on Yelp. The pear and Gorgonzola ravioli was also $9.00, not bad right?  The pear Gorgonzola was accompanied with toasted walnuts, thyme, and shallots in a cream sauce. I didn't get to try a piece of my friend's dish, but she liked it and thought it was just right with the creaminess. The sauce complemented the ravioli very well. If you're a cheese or truffle lover, the sauce in this dish is the one you want because it has that type of flavor in it.

Farfalle with Bolognese Sauce
I got the Farfalle with Bolognese sauce. I've had Bologonese sauce before and I love it (when it's done and seasoned right). The Farfalle wasn't al dente which wasn't a huge issue, but I just prefer my pasta to be al dente. The Bolognese sauce was a little bland, could have used a little more salt. It felt like something was missing from the dish.

My two other friends also had pasta dishes, but didn't have a chance to capture what they ate - maybe next time I'll be quicker before they devour their dishes.

Overall, San Marzano was a winner minus the fact that pasta was a little bland. I also forgot to mention that they are pretty high tech when it comes payment. The waitress or waiter will come to your table with a tablet and a swipes your card right then and there for what you ordered. It's convenient and easy!

I am interested in returning here for dinner maybe with Will or just a small gathering. I am interested in trying their sangria, other pasta combinations, and hopefully the fried calamari when it's back in the restaurant.