Thursday, December 26, 2013

Cutting Board - it happened again, but for his sake

I finally took J to Cutting Board after months and month of talking about it. It just never seem to fit into our schedule and whenever we're in the neighborhood we rather eat something else. But this time, we promised each other we would go to Cutting Board after our salon appointment.

There were new things on the menu that I was told that were a must order, not to mention there were also a dish I have been wanting to try. We ended up getting 2 appetizers and 2 entrees to ourselves, leaving no room for dessert which I was totally bummed about.

I remembered the CB Mussels being really good so I had to order it for J. They sort of messed up our order of Grilled Calamari Salad and gave us Fried Calamari but they were nice enough to go back into the kitchen and gave us the right order.

The dish might look simple and plain but the calamari was delicious and the dressing worked well with the calamari and arugula. I wish they had a full entree portion of this.

J had the Ox Tongue w/ Spaghetti, huge portion with a lot of ox tongue.

The dish I have been longing to order and taste was the Uni Pasta. Why did I want to try this so badly? Because uni is uber delicious and they only charge $9 for this amazing dish. It truly was good, you can even find chunks of uni in there, portion size can actually feed two people and the pasta was cooked al-dente.

I can't get over how great Cutting Board is along with their never-ending dessert menu (which I have yet to try) that people are raving about. It's a great fusion restaurant for quality dishes that doesn't hurt your wallet.

Cutting Board
53 Bayard St
New York, NY 10013
(212) 528-0188

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Shinjuku - we are not how we once were

After being terribly disappointed with a restaurant closing down (if you must know, Bab Al Yemen is officially closed as of August 2013), J and I had to decide quickly on a place to eat. We walked past Shinjuku before and saw the all-you-can-eat sign for $19.95 and thought we'll try it out one day - that day was here.

The restaurant was quite empty and quiet when we got there, it was around 9pm already. We were asked if we wanted to do the AYCE or the regular menu. The AYCE consist of a lot of varieties, sushi, cooked dishes, skewers, soup/salads and special rolls. The waitresses give you 2 small pieces of paper to mark off what you want. The wait didn't take too long for the food to arrive at our table.

Soups were ok, a bit on the MSG side but overall it's not bad. The vegetables in mine were definitely not cooked, it was just thrown into the hot soup which I'm not a crazy fan of.

J went a little crazy and got the Tuna and Salmon Salad which were practically the same thing but with different fishes. The dressing tasted like thousand island and they added a lot of panko which then got really soggy.

Probably my favorite out of everything because it was quite crunchy, meaty and not that oily. This was worth a re-order.

J wanted sashimi and ordered one, told me some of the pieces taste like it was frozen and was thoroughly defrosted. Hahaha...can't expect much from a place in Brooklyn. The sushi was just meh, uni wasn't fresh but the sweet shrimp was alright. The handroll was massive, it's like they cut 1/3 of the avocado and just stuffed it in there.

All of the special rolls weren't special at all. Each one was filled with avocado (must be really cheap). A lot of it tasted really mushy and you can't really distinguish the fish from the avocado from the rice from the seaweed. Yes, it was that bad.

Don't think I will be returning. The quality was really poor and I really just can't see myself eating more avocados. But, if you love them, please come.

1664 Sheepshead Bay Rd
Brooklyn, NY 11235
(718) 934-8886

Saturday, November 9, 2013

Yakiniku West - great late night bbq

So it was around 9pm, J and I were getting hungry after a few glasses of wine. We were hungry but didn't exactly want anything heavy so small plates would be perfect for us.

Yakiniku West popped into our heads because of the interesting take-off-your-shoes concept before entering into the dining rooms with the tables. Good thing I brought my flats along for easy slip-ons and offs. The tables are a lot lower than your average dining tables and you sit on the floor, but no worries, they have holes right underneath the table for leg room. Oh, and cushioned seats for your buttocks, so comfortable haha

We ordered an array of dishes (about 6 dishes plus a drink) to grill and the total of everything was less than $50, mind blown!

J was curious about this OneCup sake and when it came out I started laughing. It looked like those cup they give you at the doctors to do a #1 for a body check up. The taste on the other hand was like unfiltered house sake, I wasn't a fan.

Love me some Agedashi Tofu when I can get my hands on it. I love how light the tofu is and the dashi soy broth is just so refreshing. Pieces of tofu here are pretty big, one piece can be split into quarters while other places I can just split them in half and fit it in my mouth (that's what she said!).

The first time we had Yooke was at Takashi and it blew my mind. Ever since, J and I were on the search for the best Yooke and up until this day, Takashi is still in the #1 spot. YW's Yooke isn't bad, beef was tender and we liked that touch of cucumbers in it, but also agreed that something was missing. A flavor was lacking but we just couldn't put our hands on it.

Grilling at a Japanese restaurant is totally different than a Korean restaurant because you're not rushed. Every time I'm at a Korean restaurant, the waitress/waiter always come by and cooks the food and quickly places it on our plates. At a Japanese restaurant, you cook it yourself and get to experience it. Which is what I like about it, I can control how much I want on the grill because I like eating it piping hot and fresh off the grill.

Everything was delicious. We were given dipping sauce but some weren't really needed. Tongue was the best and next came the pork cheek but everything was excellent.

Really dig this spot because of the atmosphere, concept and decor. Great place for group get-togethers.

Yakiniku West
218 E 9th St
New York, NY 10003
(212) 979-9238

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Mini Express - well worthy breakfast

I find myself struggling to think of what to eat on a Sunday mornings. I usually pick up my breakfast on my way to work and sometimes it's just the regular Chinese pastry with a small coffee, cost me $1.70 total, can't beat that price.

But there are times where I want something different and maybe a bit more extravagant.

And this was definitely something I was looking for in a gourmet breakfast (as least to me). I like the whole Cantonese-style breakfast thing, where I can just choose a letter on the menu and the staffs would know exactly what I want. There are a lot of options but I went for the Sauteed Ramen Noodles in Soy Sauce, all came with toast and coffee. The best part is the price, total was just $3.25. Yes a little more than what I usually spend but I get noodles with meat and vegetables, have to treat myself sometimes.

You might think it's a heavy and oily breakfast but after nights of drinking, this is probably the best Asian hangover breakfast. I also like how their "buttered" toast are made, with sweetened condense milk, score! The place is small so if you can help it, order it to go as service is quite fast. They also have some really great items for lunch and dinner.

Mini Express
14-18 Elizabeth St, Ste 32-33
New York, NY 10013
(212) 267-0888

Friday, November 1, 2013


Random Saturday, random place, random dinner. It was a last minute pick for J and he wanted to try this Polish restaurant in Brooklyn. I had to take the train there after work, the only train that was in the area was the G train, literally less than half a block away. But J had picked me up with his car somewhere around the area of Williamsburg, right off the bridge (yes, I'm spoiled).

It was a full house, so we ordered some drinks to let the time go by faster.

J had a Czech Lager, pretty smooth and not a bad beer at all. I would have no idea how beer is suppose to taste cause I don't exactly like beer much, correction - I don't drink beer much.

I like something more like a Mark and Ginger, easy but you taste the liquor. The price for this drink here was quite the band for you buck, and there were a lot of Mark in there, I saw her pour it. J and I already like the place.

We finally were seated in the corner of the restaurant, nestled in the side with wooden seats and table. The dimness of the restaurant really sets the mood.

Started off with some bread and butter along with some olive oil sauce. It definitely was soy sauce, I assume it was suppose to be balsamic but it wasn't! We stuck to the butter.

This was interesting, I wasn't surprise that J wanted the Peasant Style Lard. It was so oily and fatty but yet so good at the same time. Fat people galore here!

I wanted the Steak Tartare and at this moment, I realized we ordered too much food again even though J denies it. The tartare came out very unappetizing, like something I just bought in the meat section at a supermarket. It did look fresh but I was full of skepticism. But, we ordered it and we might as well eat it.

Mixing up everything; there were capers, diced onions, pickles and that thing on the upper left hand corner which I have no idea what it was. Altogether, it was interesting and tasty. Needed a bit of salt and that's what we did. It tasted really healthy, even with the small egg yolk. We actually paired it with the lard which balances everything out. The tartare acted as a palette cleanser for us...haha.

The entree was crazy, it was a Grilled Platter for 2, it might as well be a platter for 3 or 4...just not 2. There was an insane amount of meat; bacon, chicken, salmon, kielbasa, white sausage, blood sausage and I'm probably missing something but it was massive!

As if the entree wasn't enough, it came with potatoes and mushroom cabbage. Oh lord, I felt the food coma creeping up on me. It was obvious we couldn't finish everything, so we bagged up the meats.

I wanted to order dessert but I didn't think our stomach allowed it so I stuck with coffee.

The Karczma House Press Coffee was strong and intense, this yield 2 cups of coffee which was well worth the price. It was delicious and I love how I can just pour it into my cup, actually J poured it for me but you know what I mean.

I really think we'll be back because we really enjoyed the atmosphere and food, oh and of course - the drinks.

136 Greenpoint Ave
Brooklyn, NY 11222
(718) 349-1744

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Anatolian Gyro

J and I haven't been going to new restaurants lately because we haven't really made the effort to. As of late, we've actually been visiting old places and just grabbing quick bites. Revisiting a familiar cuisine was definitely one in our books. Anatolian serves up Turkish food, and we been craving for hummus.

We both thought this place was more of a cafeteria style, you order at the counter and bring your food to the table but apparently not. We were told to have a seat and they'll serve us...haha we were such fools. For some reason, it was majoring hot that day. Weatherman said it was going to be cold, so I wore a thick long sleeve which was definitely not a smart move. There also wasn't much air circulation in the restaurant...

The waiters were extremely friendly, like big-smile friendly. I like that.

J ordered a Russian soft drink, I didn't notice it on the menu but it didn't surprise me since he's always up for trying something new. It was pear flavored and tasted good, refreshingly good. I can always count on J to order something different and good.

What we literally have been waiting for. The Hummus was served with fresh Home Bread; the waiter made sure to tell us that part. The bread was so soft and fluffy, spreading the hummus on top made it heaven!

The hummus quickly disappeared since J and I use a thick amount of spread on each piece of bread.

Another dish we have been ordering at Turkish restaurants are Fried Liver Cubes. Some might like the liver-y and iron-y taste of it but J and I love it. I mean, it's fried! Anything fried taste good, right? We squeeze the lemon all over and eat it with the raw onions they give and it's quite delicious. Great appetizer.

At this time, you might think that's all but we did order a sandwich each. We both had it on pita bread, I had the Shish Kebab while J had the Gyro. The sandwich came in similar form, meat on the bottom with lettuce, tomatoes, onions and cucumbers on top. They also provide you with white and hot sauce so you can put as much as you desire.

I wasn't able to finish my sandwich so I started picking at the meat. There was a lot! I eventually gave up because I was so full. It was a really satisfying meal. Anatolian is moving soon but just around the corner for a more spacious area. Can't wait until they open up the new place!

Anatolian Gyro Restaurant
1605 Sheepshead Bay Rd
Brooklyn, NY 11235
(718) 769-4754

Sunday, October 6, 2013

Yuji Ramen - hidden inside Whole Foods

J and I read about Yuji Ramen around the web and saw that it was a different take on your typical ramen. On the day of our scavenger hunt, we literally gave up towards the end and was only thinking about food. To reward our hard work of running around NYC (haha -  total fail actually), we went and treated ourselves to some delicious ramen.

Yuji is located on the second floor of Whole Foods, the Houston location of Whole Foods. J, our friend, and I came around 3pm and good thing it was pretty empty. There's only seats by the bar so try and get comfortable. They're well-known for their mazeman which is dry ramen that's been mixed with sauces and seasoning. The overall experience was quite phenomenal.

It was a hot day in NYC that day, and this Cold Barley Tea was very much needed. It was plain yet refreshing and tasted really healthy, felt like I just detoxed myself.

J ordered the meal which came with the tea and also this Seasonal Vegetable dish. The appearance made me thought it was pickled but it wasn't, it was very crunchy and also act as a nice palate cleansing dish to prepare your taste buds for the ramen.

J has the Salmon and Cheese Mazeman. Definitely funky but the flavors actually works. Salmon was very fresh and the cheese was minimal so it didn't overpower anything else in the dish.

Our friend and I had the Bacon and Egg Mazeman. Oh lord, it was fan-freakin-tastic. No joke, it was really good. Every strand of noodle was covered in a savory tasting soy coating and then when you break the pouched egg, it was like I was in a different realm, a realm where I can swim in yolk and soy sauce along with ramen (ok, I know I'm getting a bit weird now so back to reality). The noodles are a bit tougher than al-dente but I didn't mind it. I liked the chewiness that it gave off. The kale was great, made me felt less guilty with the bacon (it was amazing!) and pouched egg (the yolk was unforgettable).

I would just come here for a quick afternoon snack because it's that good and I know I would be able to get myself a seat. The dishes are small so coming here for dinner might be a bit of a disappointment since you'll most likely have to order something more or go elsewhere and get more food. But for a snack, it's so perfect!

Yuji Ramen
95 E Houston St - 2nd Fl
New York, NY 10002
(646) 262-1358

Monday, September 30, 2013

Dudley's - LES brunch

J and I along with a friend had a NYC scavenger hunt last Saturday and was in desperate need of food. Actually, it was only me that was in desperately need of food since the previous night was a bit wild. Originally wanted to go to the Classic Coffee Shop, but we all fail to realize it was closed on weekends! So, we just walked around until we found a place that caught our eyes and stomach.

Dudley's caught our eyes and looked very modern and welcoming. We sat at the bar, took a while for a staff to realize we were there to give us the menu and also took a while to flag down one to take our order. Pretty poor service. What's even worse is that this couple next to us got their utensils before we did and we came and ordered before them...I'm starting to sense some discrimination here...

Anyways, enough of the service, let's move onto the food.

J ordered the Cortado, pretty bitter which I didn't like. I would need to add more milk and lots of sugar.

I had the Flat White which I wasn't too thrilled about. It wasn't as great was I hoped it to be. It tasted a bit bland and didn't give me that velvet-y texture, also got cold really quick (no beuno).

So, I still had a light "hangover" from the previous night which usually means I don't want other people's food but my own which also means I didn't get to try the other two dishes. I was cradling my plate which was the Fried Egg Sandwich. It was good, but I just couldn't finish it. The sandwich felt like a fancy version of a breakfast sandwich, I can totally deal with this.

The other two dishes looked really appetizing but I didn't really hear J or our friend rave about it... The Wild Mushroom Eggs Benedict and Avocado Toast were a lot smaller than expected. Overall, not too bad but the whole experience was just average, or maybe even below average. Very mediocre.

85 Orchard St
New York, NY 10002
(212) 925-7355

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Pocha 32

I've heard good things about Pocha, things like it's a great place to hit up when you're drunk and have the munchies. Pocha is a Korean joint that gives off a really casual atmosphere, casually enough to sit back, relax and get wasted. Lines can get really long especially when it gets later into the night. But I have to say, I really enjoyed it.

Been here twice already and both times my group ordered the Watermelon Soju. Basically a hollowed out half watermelon that contains watermelon juice, soju and some club soda. It's pretty fun when you drink out of bowls also, which is all they give you so don't ask for cups/glasses. They usually water down the watermelon soju which plays no affect on us so we would order bottles of Chamisul or Chum Churum aka soju and pour it into the watermelon. Their yogurt soju is really good as well.

With all that drinking, there has to be food. Pocha is really well known for their casseroles. Nice and piping hot, great for the colder weathers but it's good in the dead of summer also because they occasionally have air vents and circulation running through the joint.

A lot of places serve budae jigae, a smaller version of the Budae Jungol which they serve here. Consisting of a lot of random things, it's very comforting after 5+ shots of soju. I love the spicy broth and the bits and pieces that gets crushed and breaks down at the bottom of the pot. Do not waste the soup!

One of our friends wanted pork and he decided on the BBQ Pork. It wasn't anything special, felt a bit jipped since there wasn't much pork. Flavor was a bit off and it felt like they forgot to season it. But when you're tipsy and happy, you pretty much have no idea what you're eating, but you'll eat it.

I forgot what exactly happened but I think someone wanted pork belly but they didn't exactly just have pork belly but they had it with kimchi, and we ordered it anyways! The Kimchi and Pork Belly Stir Fry was definitely not what we expected but it was good. Spicy good. I really dig the tofu that came with it, flip it fast enough and you'll crisp each side.

Pocha is one of those boozey and loud places. They have fish nets all around the restaurant and you can write little notes on the chopstick covers or napkins and stick it through the fish nets. Service is average and you need to hail down the waiters/waitresses when it gets later into the night. Don't expect them to come to you and ask how you're doing. One thing though, just be careful of the stairs when you leave.

Pocha 32
15 W 32nd St - 2nd Fl
New York, NY 10001
(212) 279-1876

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Lunchin' Solo: Tanaka - Lunch Box

Tanaka is really close to my office and my coworkers always order from here. I finally gave in and tried out their lunch box because it was the biggest bang for you buck kind of deal.

I ordered from Seamless and it said it would be ready in 10 minutes. There was a lot of food for about $10 (I also used a code so it was cheaper than the original price). The entree came with soup and salad which was already more than enough.

I haven't had Miso Soup in forever, this wasn't bad but I also forgot how salty it can be also. I always like the pieces of tofu that came with it. There was also a small side salad with the ginger dressing but I passed on that since I want to be able to eat my box.

I ordered the Salmon Teriyaki. Everything was placed really neat in the box. Salmon was really tender and had just the right amount of sauce, there was also some grilled vegetables on the bottom. The fried dumplings were really good too, still crunchy by the time I picked it up and brought it back to the office. Best of all? Was actually the California Roll, I'm not a big fan of it because it's just a simple roll with imitation crab meat, cucumbers and avocado, but for some reason Tanaka makes it really well.

I would order this again on days that I'm starving or want a bento box. For midtown, the quality is quite good. Usually, I can't justify the price to what I'm getting in Manhattan because I always find it more worth it to get the same thing in Brooklyn for a cheaper price. But this was far better than I expected, apparently not a lot of people agree. Should give this place a go for lunch, you won't be disappointed.

222 E 51st St
New York, NY 10022
(212) 308-6976

Monday, September 9, 2013

Il Corallo Trattoria

I've been to Il Corallo Trattoria twice already within a month. And yes, J and I are quite addicted to this place.

It was first introduced to us from our hair stylist (and yes, we go to the same salon and have the same hair stylist also), we actually sat at his salon for a good 10-15 minutes trying to find the place he was talking about on our phones, it was quite hilarious. Immediately after finding it, J and I had to go try it. According to our hair stylist, the price was cheap compared to city prices and the food was delicious. I pulled up the menu and saw they had endless amounts of pasta dishes - I need my pasta fix!

Il Corallo has a similar vibe to Bianca but a lot more laid back and casual. We got there around 2pm (for both times) and got seated right away.

The bread with olive oil and balsamic was really good. I like how dense the bread is so it can soak up the yummy oil. Each table had their own bottle of olive oil and balsamic so you can just pour away.

I ordered the Elderflower and Lychee Spritz which was very refreshing. Felt like I was cleansing myself - internally, it's nice to steer away from alcohol once in a while.

J had the Grapefruit Spritz which was good also, not a bit bitter and you can't really tell it was grapefruit.

Appetizer was the Bocconcini, a really nice light salad. The mozz was amazing, thank god we get to have two to ourselves. They also have prosciutto somewhere inside and pieces of shaved parmesan, one of the best starter plates I've had in a long time.

As for entree, we each had our own pasta. J ordered the Fusilli Tiberio because he likes fusilli, this dish wasn't creamy but it had a nice heavy flavor and aroma with it. What I liked was the lamb chunks, generous amount with nice artichoke hearts also.

I had to get the green noodles just because our hair stylist was raving about it. It was good but too creamy for me. The Fettuccine Molisane was filling and I really liked the texture of the pasta, a bit chewy and interesting to eat. There were a lot chicken chunks, my complaint would be that the mushrooms were sliced too thin, I can't find them!

After everything, we were stuffed but when the waiter came over and told us about dessert, we couldn't say no.

Oh my god, the Homemade Tiramisu was absolutely the best dessert I've ever had. So light and perfect. The mascarpone cheese was so fluffy and not too overly sweet. The cocoa on top didn't stick to the roof of my mouth, the lady fingers were entirely soaked in espresso leaving it un-soggy. Amazing! This is a must get, must!!!

So our meal, which was lunch literally felt like dinner. We had food coma after stepping out of the restaurant but that didn't stop us from coming back 2 weeks later.

We saw fresh pizza being made in the back and had to order it. Went with Pizza Napolitana because it was simple and we sort of learned from our lesson from the first time we were here. It was a decent size and it's enough to feed a person and have him/her be stuffed. We shared this (although I didn't really want to) and it's a lot better to eat it quick because it gets cold fast. The pizza had a really thin crust so it was really easy to just down like 3 pieces in less than 5 minutes.

Besides for pizza, we ordered the Cappellini Limone to share because we knew 1) the pizza wasn't enough and 2) if we ordered 2 pasta and the pizza we would most likely die. The pasta was so lemon-y good. Really light, a lot better than the creamy sauce. Wish I could've ate this all myself (haha, I hope J doesn't see this) and the pizza also...

I really don't want to rave so much about this place because we really want there to be less people coming here, we need tables for ourselves! But because I want to share the love, this is definitely a spot to go if you're looking for a place to take a date and you're a sorry broke ass person. It'll work, the lady will be impress.

Il Corallo Trattoria
172 Prince St
New York, NY 10012
(212) 941-7119