Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Short Grain - Jersey City, NJ

Never had I thought I would be living in another state...let alone Jersey.
But, it was one of those decisions that when you think back, you decided correctly.

On a random morning, well I guess it wasn't that random, it was Labor Day after all. The fiancé and I decided last minute we wanted Vietnamese sandwich for brunch. I can't remember the last time we had a good sandwich so I agreed.

Short Grain was a bougie version of a regular Vietnamese cafe that serves coffee and sandwiches. Actually, the only Viet thing about this place was just the sandwiches and coffee, they have other items on the menu like pancakes and avocado toast (which is like the "thing" now). The cafe has a good amount of tables and seats. We luckily grabbed one before the lunch crowd came.

The sandwiches are pretty solid and so were the coffees. We ended up getting an iced and hot version of the Vietnamese coffee, it was perfectly sweetened in my opinion. I'm iffy about getting Vietnamese coffee now since they usually make it super sweet to counter the bitterness of the smokey coffee beans. The sandwiches were massive, packed with ingredients which I did not expect. I ordered the Vietnamese Cold Cut Sandwich, I have to say that I like this better. There was a lot of layered meat like headcheese, Vietnamese ham, pate spread and not too much pickled vegetables. It was extremely filling. The fiancé had gotten the Coconut Curry Chicken, it was spicy but addicting spicy which you just can't stop eating. Had a flavorful curry flavor but not much coconut which I was a bit disappointed with. Our coffees worked well with both sandwiches, the iced with the curry and the hot with the cold cut.

I see myself coming back. The cafe had a really lax vibe to it and everything was solid.

Vietnamese Iced Coffee, Vietnamese Coffee

Vietnamese Cold Cut Sandwich
Coconut Curry Chicken Sandwich

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

Short Grain
183 Montgomery St
Jersey City, NJ 07302

Sunday, July 31, 2016

Papa Ole's - Hauula, HI

The amount of good meals we had in Hawaii were endless, and Papa Ole's was one of them. Spur of the moment decision in which I had no idea how I landed upon this joint, maybe it was the high ratings or the fried chicken they had.

It wasn't far from where we were staying, so the drive took us less than 10 minutes. The restaurant was quite spacious but no air conditioning. They had the rotating ceiling fans, better than nothing. The fiancè and I wanted to try their garlic chicken but it was completely sold out, bummer. Instead we ordered the original fried chicken and pulehu ribs. Best decision ever!

Our plates did take a while since it was made to order. Once we had our plates, we jumped right into it. The fried chicken was crunchy and flavorful, it had a bit of sweetness in the marinade which made it very unique. But the star was actually the pulehu ribs. Even though it might look charred and burnt, it was absolutely delicious. So moist and tender, packed with flavor. This was a carnivore's dream.

Overall, an excellent meal.

Pulehu Ribs (left), Fried Chicken (right)

Food ~ 5 out of 5
Price ~ 5 out of 5
Service ~ 5 out of 5 

Papa Ole's
54-316 Kamehameha Hwy, Ste 9
Hauula, HI 96717

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)

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

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

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

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.

Rizal's Ruin
Lumpiang Barquillos

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

111 1st Ave
New York, NY 10003