Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Giovanni's Shrimp Truck - Haleiwa, HI

One of the "must" visit food joints in Hawaii. I was totally excited about garlic butter shrimp and hoped that I wasn't going to get disappointed since it was hyped up so much.

My fiancé and I came right past lunch time so the line had dwindled down. We ordered 2 plates but one was honestly enough to hold our stomachs. The shrimp plates didn't take too long to prepare, I would say a good 5-10 minutes, assuming it was made on the spot (since shrimps doesn't take that long to cook anyways).

One important thing to point out, there are a lot of flies there. If you're not afraid of them buzzing around, you can definitely sit at the benches and enjoy your shrimp plate. But let me tell you this, once you open up your plate of goodies, the flies would be hovering around you. Nonetheless, the garlic butter shrimp was ok, nothing fantastic about it. There were about 10 shrimps along with 2 scoops of rice, the rice was way too soft. They spooned a good amount of the garlic butter sauce on top of the rice which made it even more soggy, wasn't very enjoyable. The shrimp itself tasted a bit soft, like it was floured up and then cooked in butter for a long time.

Overall, it was a disappointment. Oh, and the head of the shrimp is not attached. That's like the best part when you just suck the brains out (tmi?). It's a place you want to visit to say you at least tried it, but I wouldn't return.

Lemon Butter Shrimp (front), Garlic Butter Shrimp (back)

Verdict:
Food ~ 2.5 out of 5
Price ~ 3.5 out of 5
Service ~ 4 out of 5

Giovanni's Shrimp Truck
66-472 Kamehameha Hwy
Haleiwa, HI 96712

Sunday, July 3, 2016

Formosa Cafe - Brooklyn, NY

I was so sad to find this place right before my fiancé and I moved. We honestly missed these kind of Taiwanese style cafes. The kind where you can spend all afternoon just sitting there chatting and drinking some bubble milk tea and munching on popcorn chicken.

In a way, I'm glad we found it. Very popular during the day time which makes it quite difficult to get a table. The service here is pretty good for an Asian cafe, the girls behind the counter works quick. The drinks and food are also very good. I've been getting their Bubble Milk Tea non-stop whenever I'm in the area. I love a good milk tea when I can taste the tea and not entirely too sweet. This place does it right and does it well. The Jasmine Milk Tea is also a winner here, taste light and refreshing.

Our first time at Formosa, we stayed and chatted the night away. We ordered the bubble teas, Taiwanese Curry Popcorn Chicken, and Durian Crepe Cake. Everything was good; chicken was crispy and not just covered in flour, crepe cake wasn't too sweet and had a light hint of durian.
We keep coming back here to just get their bubble tea whenever we're in Brooklyn. Definitely recommend.

Bubble Milk Tea and Durian Crepe Cake
Same as above but with Curry Popcorn Chicken

Verdict:
Food ~ 4 out of 5
Price ~ 4 out of 5
Service ~ 4 out of 5

Formosa Cafe
5323 7th Ave
Brooklyn, NY 11220

Thursday, June 30, 2016

Grace Street - Midtown West, NY

I remember Grace Street to be a very unique spot. My fiancé and I visited Grace Street when they were still in the works a couple of years back. They were still renovating and fixing the dining area when we got our first hodduk.

It was the best dessert I've had before. Hodduk is basically fried dough with a sweet brown sugar filling in the center - almost like a donut. It was fresh and delicious.

Fast forward a couple of years, I re-visited Grace Street with my girlfriends. It's a lot more crowded since it's a good late night hangout spot, especially after dinner and you wanted a place to have some dessert and chit chat.

The wait didn't take too long and we sat at a bench. Wait staff was very friendly, even after a long day of work they look happy to serve you. We ordered Hodduk, Chocolate Brownie Waffle, Bubble Tea and Green Milk Tea. To be honest, everything tasted very mediocre. The hodduk tasted like it was just reheated in the microwave and cut up into really small pieces. The taste was there but the texture was lacking. The drink were good but not great. And the waffle...it just wasn't my cup of tea.

Grace Street wasn't how I envisioned and it's quite disappointing.

Green Milk Tea, Hodduk, Jasmine Bubble Tea
Chocolate Brownie Waffle


Verdict:
Food ~ 2 out of 5
Price ~ 3 out of 5
Service ~ 4.5 out of 5

Grace Street
17 W 32nd St
New York, NY 10001

Sunday, June 26, 2016

Born Thai - Brooklyn, NY

After a pre-game with the fiancée (yup, just got engaged!) and friend, we were still hungry. Walking along Flatbush on a rainy day isn't that pleasant. But, what stopped us in our tracks was the happy hour Born Thai still have. Plus, Thai food sounded quite promising and comforting on a rainy night.

There was still a lot of tables open (lucky us). The happy hour beverage menu was quite simple, nothing too extravagant and it was all around $4-6. The food here was what caught us by surprised. I honestly wasn't expecting much but each plate we ordered totally delivered. Also, service was on point and friendly.

We started off with the Curry Roti which came with Mussaman curry and not your average curry, it was delicious. The curry was slightly sweet and gave a bit of heat. Next was the Curry Puff, also excellent choice, the puff pastry was perfect and flaked off just how it was suppose to. At this point, I was looking forward to the noodle and rice dish we ordered. It all came out in a timely manner and tasted like it was made with love (yea, sounded quite cheesy there). The Curry Fried Rice was nice, I loved the basil in there which made it very flavorful and fragrant. The Drunken Noodles was a one of a kind, made with udon, the dish was slightly spicy and the intensity builds as you keep eating, also quite addicting.

The night was good. We ordered a couple of more drinks and the wait staff didn't bother us. I believe happy hour ends at 8pm but with good food, company, and drinks the night seemed endless. Definitely a hole in the wall. I plan on revisiting some time soon.

Gin Daisy

Old Fashioned & Cuba Libre
Curry Roti
Curry Puff
Drunken Noodles
Curry Fried Rice

Verdict:
Food ~ 5 out of 5
Price ~ 4 out of 5
Service ~ 4 out of 5

Born Thai
293 Flatbush Ave
Brooklyn, NY 11217

Thursday, June 23, 2016

Maharlika - East Village, NY

Maharlika has been on my list for the longest time, even before the hyped, but I'm glad it died down a bit because that's how J and I were able to get a quick seating on a Saturday during lunch.

It's a really small restaurant but filled with personality. The walls were decorated with Filipino style art and photos which really gives a cool eccentric vibe. Our waitress was so adorable, very friendly and outspoken. It didn't take long for us to decide on our dishes and everything we ordered was delicious.

We shared all the dishes which we almost had a problem finishing. Started off with the Lumpiang, Filipino version of a spring roll, it was absolutely phenomenal. Crispy and flavorful, I really like that sweet and tangy sauce, and also the banana ketchup. Next two things were Sisig and Tapsilog, excellent. The sisig was something special, in a small cast iron were pork ears, snout and belly all sauteed together and mixed with an egg. Tapsilog is a basic lunch dish with steak, garlic rice and some lightly pickled cucumbers. All of these dishes we were drenching them in this special sauce they provided us - vinegar and chili sauce. Absolutely tasted great with every dish, and they encourage you to eat it with everything cause it's that good and it enhances the flavor of the dish.

Filipino food is pretty awesome and Maharlika just makes it that much better. Definitely a must visit.

Menu
Rizal's Ruin
Lumpiang Barquillos
Tapsilog
Sisig

Verdict:
Food ~ 5 out of 5
Price ~ 4 out of 5
Service ~ 5 out of 5

Maharlika
111 1st Ave
New York, NY 10003

Tuesday, May 10, 2016

86 Hot Pot BBQ - Brooklyn, NY

It was a night to catch up with my girlfriends and what's better than to hotpot that night away. It was a chilly day in New York, so hotpot was definitely the better option. 86 Hotpot opened not to long ago and is still fairly new to the neighborhood of Bensonhurst.

It was quite empty on a Thursday night, but nonetheless, the service was pretty great. 86 Hotpot BBQ has both your regular hotpot and bbq, we only did hotpot which was $21.99 a person - not bad since it includes seafood (like mussels, clams and crab) which a lot of places don't. The interior was very modern and clean, sauce station was a bit small. The placement of the raw food that came out was on point, they didn't mix the more bloody items with the rest of the food (always a pet-peeve of mine).

At 86 Hotpot, you're given a menu with a list of food and you just mark off what you want. Very efficient and the food came out at a timely manner, which is always a good thing. One thing that might be interesting to know, if you're a party of 4 or less, you'll most likely get a big pot of broth to share whereas if you have a larger party, each person will get their individual pot.

I'd definitely recommend 86 Hotpot, it's very similar to 99 Favors. I need to come back to try the BBQ.

The spread...

Verdict:
Food ~ 4 out of 5
Price ~ 4 out of 5
Service ~ 5 out of 5

86 Hot Pot BBQ
2239 86th Street
Brooklyn, NY 11214

Tuesday, March 8, 2016

MarkJoseph Steakhouse - Financial District, NY

Restaurant week creeps upon us twice a year, in the blistering cold and in the scorching sun. It's always that time when J and I have a hard time deciding if we want to go to any participating restaurants and which ones.

This year, we decided to drag along 2 friends with us to a steakhouse. I mean, how can you say no to steak? I've done a good share of researching. I'm the type of person that wants to know what I'm exactly getting at a restaurant for a deal that they usually don't offer. What I mean is a lot of places would either lessen the plate of the food or just serve you something that's what you expect. I don't like surprises...in that way.

MarkJoseph was the winner for us and I gladly made the reservations.
The date we chose to eat as MarkJoseph will forever be memorable, just because the next day, NYC had the biggest snow storm in a long time. It was already snowing pretty hard when we left the restaurant. But, now back to the food.

The service was quite superb. Even dining during restaurant week, I felt like an appreciated patron. The food was amazing. Definitely the best deal we got. We started off with the thick cut Canadian Bacon and Baked Clams, both were very good. Of course, portion size was cut in half since it was restaurant week, but that's ok. Then onto the main course, we all ordered the Sirloin Steak which was 20oz each. Cooked perfectly to medium rare and served on a sizzling hot plate. The steak was so tender, add some salt or use their in-house steak sauce or nothing at all. Each steak came with mashed potatoes and creamed spinach. For once, the mashed potatoes actually tasted like potatoes and wasn't covered and mixed with butter and cream, the spinach tasted like spinach and not fancied up cream that had a gloppy consistently.

Lastly, the dessert was simple yet delicious. The Mini Brownie Sundae definitely was a nice ending touch to a wonderfully satisfying meal. Oh, forgot to mention, the wine was amazing also. If you're curious, we ordered the 2011 Ruffino Chianti Classico Reserve from Tuscany, really good bang for you buck wine.

I'd go back to MarkJoseph in a heartbeat. It's hard to find a good steakhouse in NYC because there are just too many, but once you find one that you like, don't let it go, keep it in your radar.

Verdict:
Food ~ 4.5 out of 5
Price ~ 4 out of 5
Service ~ 4 out of 5

2011 Ruffino Chianti Classico Reserve
Thick Cut Canadian Bacon
Baked Clams
Sirloin Galore
Brownie Sundae


MarkJoseph Steakhouse
261 Water Street
New York, NY 10038