Wednesday, February 27, 2013

John's Deli - The magic is in the sauce

The day was raining, yet J and I decided to head over to John's Deli for their famous roast beef sandwich. I wasn't crazy about it, I mean it's just a sandwich with a creepy dark sauce on it. But since J wanted to try it so much, well he's been thinking about it for a while now so why not check this off our list.

We came a bit past noon and it was starting to get crowded. Luckily, we got a table before it was all filled. John's Deli isn't the greatest nor prettiest place but they have good quality food. They have it written somewhere for their patrons to read, that if you're in hurry then this place isn't for you. Our order wasn't quick but it didn't take too long either.

Our lunch! We basically split everything since it was our first time here and seeing so many things on the counter, we wanted to get it all.

J saw a whole tray of the Focaccia ($?) and he wanted a slice. To me, it was a slice of white pizza with onions. Quite delicious though.

I wanted to try their rice balls and J chose the Ham & Mozzarella Riceballs ($3.00). I wasn't so thrilled about it, a bit on the sweeter side and it definitely had corn incorporated into the rice which I didn't like. The consistency was good but the taste did not appeal to me.

The star of it all! The infamous Roast Beef Sandwich with Mutz and Gravy ($7.75) was the bomb! Simple yet so tasty. I loved how the bread was lightly toasted and the creepy dark gravy was delicious! It complimented the whole sandwich since roast beef is on the dry side. The onions added flavor and texture to the sandwich making it quite impeccable. Next time, I'm not sharing.

At first glance, I thought there was an egg in there but it was just the mozzarella. Now, how would it be if an egg was added? Probably heavenly. I can't wait for my next visit.

So, if you ever had boring and plain roast beef, do give John's Deli a go because this will excite you.

John's Deli
2033 Stillwell Ave
Brooklyn, NY 11223
(718) 372-7481 

Hong Kong: roast pigeon, fish collar, and mystery part of chicken

Edit: After much research and with a fantastic memory, I found out the name of this restaurant. It's called Golden City Kitchen aka 金城小廚.

This is what happens when I don't log what I ate when I'm on vacation. I have no idea what I ate and where I ate it. At least I can look back and pay myself on the back knowing I ate something so entirely delicious.

It was a long walk from the MTR (their version of our MTA), like a really long walk. When J said it was far, I was like brushing it off and thinking we can do this measly walking, but it was farrr.

But, it was worth it.

Been ordering bottles of beer everywhere we go for dinner. Blue Girl wasn't as great as YanJing but still good (it's because they didn't have YanJing here and Blue Girl sounded cool). Hong Kong's beer is pretty light, is this why I see them drinking a 6-pack in their dramas like it's nothing?

Ok, challenging part here. I know this is from a chicken, heck I'm sure you can tell that it's some part of a chicken. Thing is, J and I have no idea what part! But it was really tasty, served cold with cucumbers and had a wasabi flavored dipping sauce. So odd but yet so good. The mystery part of the chicken was chewy and had a bite to it, almost like chicken feet.

Speaking of chicken feet, here they are. We didn't order them but it came as an appetizer? I think I only had one, they were the same consistency as the mystery part above but require a lot more work to eat.

One of main reason to visit HK, and a must get/eat would be the Roast Pigeon. Small delectable bird, if made correctly would probably be the best bird you'll ever have. The skin is crispy with chunks of meat, flavored perfectly like any roast item. I can eat this all by myself and works great with beer. Only good when fresh, give it time and the skin starts getting wrinkly and chewy.

Last but not least and surprisingly good, salt and pepper fish collar. Packed with plenty of meat and the portions are huge. Our stomachs definitely shrank because we got extremely full after the meal. Good thing we decided to walk back to the MTR (tried getting a taxi but none were in sight and those that were, were already occupied, plus no bus).

I would come here again but the walking sort of puts it off. But if I'm ever in HK again, most likely come back because I need to get the name and address of this place...oh and the roast pigeon hehe.

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Jum Mum - Stick with the buns I tell ya, it's the best from the rest

So, feeling for some buns but don't really want to pay a hefty price for it. Baohaus is out since it's almost $4 for a bun, crazy! Jum Mum recently opened around last year and seems to be doing quite well from the reviews.

I knew J would be hungry after his workout so I suggested Jum Mum and we went there to grab a bite.

They have buns for a deal of 3 for $6, which totals out to just $2 per bun, totally worth it!

It was a small place and that's their work station with the steam racks. I wanted to reach over and just take some buns and run.

The girl behind the register was really nice and helpful. She was also very patient with me since I had no idea what to order since they have so many variety to choose from. I ended up getting 4 buns and noodles...and it was suppose to be a snack.

Awww shucks, I just read that poster...should've added my comment/suggestion in the box! Now I feel bummed out. Anyways, I took this photo because of the awesome strange chips/junk food they had up bummed.

Starting with the Bulgogi Bun and Pork Belly Bun; whoaaa...these blew my mind. Both are a must get. I actually love the pork belly the most out of everything. The pork belly was such a big slice and look at that beautiful fat!

The Chicken Cutlet Bun and Fried Duck Bun wasn't so "wow." The chicken was covered with the spicy Japanese mayo and tasted like a chicken sandwich; whereas the fried duck was just very crunchy and oily.

The Street Style Noodles ($5) was one of the reason why I wanted to try Jum Mum in the first place. I thought it would remind J and I of Hong Kong-style rice noodles but nope *shakes head* not even close. The flat noodles were covered in shredded pork and tofu, then a sweetened soy sauce was poured over it. The sauce wasn't really soy but more on the brown sugared-caramelized type kind of thing, if you know what I mean. The dish was a bit on the salty side for me.

I wouldn't get the noodles again but I would totally try their other buns and get the pork belly again. Plus, they got rice...wonder how that would taste.

Jum Mum
5 Saint Mark Pl
New York, NY 10003
(212) 673-6745

Friday, February 22, 2013

Hong Kong: Snakes and Frogs

One of the more exotic meals I had in Hong Kong consisted of snakes and frogs. This is what I'm talking about. I know Asian countries eat animals that aren't considered "normal" in the states and it's so hard to find places like that back in the U.S.

Somehow, J wandered the streets of Hong Kong (prior to my arrival) and found this little shop. Really small, maybe about 6 seats? and definitely not for the queasy and OCD clean types.

The menu is in Chinese, not one bit of English at all. If you speak Cantonese then you're saved but for the unlucky ones that don't speak Cantonese, you have to wish and pray that a English-speaking HK-er is there to help translate.

Each meal was different. There's an A, B, C, and D meal, each consisting of different dishes. Although each meal does have a soup and a pot of casserole full of rice and meat.

We ordered the B meal which had the snake clear soup, snake thick soup, and a frog casserole in a clay pot.

The clear soup was very flavorful, also very hot! You don't taste anything snake-y about it. I mean, if no one told you they used snake to make the broth, you wouldn't even know.

I really enjoyed the thick soup. There was a lot of ingredients and had the consistency of hot and sour soup.

There was a lot of snake meat in the soup. Tasted bland and chewy, almost like chicken when you boil it down to make soup. All the flavor was in the thick broth, add some wood-ear mushrooms, preserved mustard cabbage and probably a lot of MSG and this was quite amazing.

Lastly, the frog rice casserole in a clay pot. Rice was really good, it had that dryness to it where the grains don't stick to each other (yes, that's how you know it was made correctly). Smother the whole thing in soy sauce and we had a perfectly cheap meal that fed 2 people.

So, there's nothing creepy, disgusting or gross about it. You just have to have an open-mind and be willing to try it. After all, everything is of life!

They had turtle also, wondered how that would've tasted...

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Hong Kong: Fung Shing's cheap breakfast

While breakfast in Hong Kong is pretty cheap in itself, I mean you can step out and have a bowl of something for less than $5USD, whether it's the street vendor or at a cafe shop.

J took me to a restaurant (yes a real restaurant with servers and pretty clothed tables) for breakfast. We caught the breakfast deal a few minutes away from the lunch (lunch=more expensive). The special, which everyone comes to Fung Shing ( 鳳城酒家) for, is a bowl of congee which is rice porridge and a plate of rice noodle rolls for $15.80HKD. That's roughly around $2.25USD which is insanely cheap.

The size were quite decent also. You would get completely full from both items. J and I shared since we wanted to leave room in our tummy for more food later.

The congee consisted of corn and minced pork (玉米猪肉碎粥). I'm not fond of corn in my soup or congee, but in anything else I guess I'm ok with. We came here twice and the first time we had the congee, it was a lot saltier than the second. J came 3 times, his second time (which was with me) was the only time it was lucky of me.

The beef rice noodle rolls (牛肉腸) were delicious. So soft with a slight chewiness to it, plus it had minced beef in the center. I would order this alone, and multiple plates of it.

Lastly, I decided to order something extra. The skin was good and the filling was just mediocre. It's like a lettuce and shrimp dumpling (生菜蝦餃), tasted a lot better if I used the soy sauce from the rice noodle.

It's a great place to visit considering the deal you get for breakfast, the only sacrifice you have to make is waking up early.

Monday, February 18, 2013

Kun Jip - A form of line in which so organized that it's strategic

On a cold winter evening, after some shopping done, I wanted something soup-y. J couldn't agree more. But finding a place in K-Town for some good chijae is quite hard. Since Kun Jip always had a line, we decided to find out what the fuss was about.

We got on line quite quick. The "host" asked us how many people and just told J and I to stay on line. The line moved quickly and once we're inside the restaurant, the line stretches all the way to the back. Halfway through waiting, there's seats for you to sit (and wait) then you're told to head to back and wait some more. The line swings around and forms a J-shape and finally we get called to be seated. But before getting called to be seated, our orders were already taken since the menu was given to you while you were waiting on line.

Once we sat down, in less than 5 minutes, all our food came out. Woohoo!

I find that I truly dislike Chamisul Soju ($?), it has such a strong rubbing alcohol taste. I need something that's easier to go down and not burn.

Our delicious spread. See what I mean when I said everything comes out at once. They were quick though, the staff that is, and they were able to move everything into place. Banchan was great. Forgot to capture the steamed egg, best egg ever!

J had the special of Bibimbob and Soondubu ($16.95), excellent deal for the price. You get rice, delicious rice, and a tofu stew. The bibimbob itself is already around $11 so might as well get this and stuff yourself.

I had the Budae Chijae ($12.95), a bit pricey but so filling! I've always wanted to try this just because it's literally a pot filled with a lot of stuff. There's ramen, glass noodles, spam, hotdog, kimchi, tofu, rice cakes, and pork belly...definitely a load to eat. The chijae sat on top of a burner which kept it steaming hot throughout the entire time I was eating it. This was insanely filling, did I mention I ate it all myself? =]

To end the meal, a complimentary Sujeonggwa was given to us. Oh my god, the best cinnamon drink everrrrrrr. I would come back just for this, or I can have my Korean friends make it for me.
It is made from dried persimmons, cinnamon, ginger and peppercorn; the process is a bit difficult and time consuming but the outcome is so yummy.

A lot of people says that Kun Jip's staffs rushing their patrons but I didn't see that happen at all, nor did I experience it. Throughout the entire meal, we sat and ate normally and we didn't get rushed at all. Heck we even had a little laugh with 2 of the waiters towards the end. 

Excellent meal. I guess to each their own, not everyone will get a pleasant experience and vice versa.

Kun Jip
9 W 32nd St
New York, NY 10001
(212) 216-9487

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Nana Restaurant & Bar - Feeling famish with a climb so high

After a lesson of rock climbing, J, a friend and I were totally starving. For us to be able to continue and climb (since it was a one day pass) we needed food in our stomach. Being not so familiar with the area we were in, we asked a staff member at Brooklyn Boulders as to where all the restaurants were.

We came across Nana and knew it would be perfect. Once you enter, you were greeted by the bartender and to your left is where all the diners are.

We cut to the chase and ordered in no time.

Only J and I ordered drinks, the Nana Mai Tai ($9) was a bit too sweet for me, tasted like sweet syrup more than anything. The Whiskey Ginger ($9) tasted a bit off, kind of weird to my liking. It was like a poorly made mojito with whiskey, if you know what I mean.

The Roti Canai ($3) was small but for its price it wasn't bad. The curry could have been a bit hotter, temperature and spice-wise.

Our entree was delicious, beside the weird dish presentation, it was really good. Ok, maybe we were hungry but it was still good! The Tofu Pad Thai ($9) was quite amazing, had small tofu pieces along with some big fried tofu chunks. The friend's Pad Kra Pao Beef ($10) came with rice, beef was very tender and flavorful as well, had a nice kick to it. As for J's The "kueh" Tweo ($9), it was great also. Had the same kick as the Pad Kra Pai Beef but with noodles. The portions might look small but don't let that fool you, it'll definitely fill you up.

And as if we weren't completely satisfied yet, we ordered dessert.

These 3 were on our list when we were shown the dessert menu. Coconut Flan ($6), Chocolate Souffle ($7) and the Black Sesame Creme Brulee ($6) all looked very appetizing. But the best one was the souffle which wasn't even a souffle, it should be called a lava cake, even though we were disappointed in the name and appearance, the taste was a 2 thumbs up! The flan was plain which didn't stood out and the brulee lacked a lot of black sesame.

So, yes I would come again because the entree was that great and I would love to have that "souffle" again.

Nana Restaurant & Bar
155 5th Ave
Brooklyn, NY 11217
(718) 230-3749

Dough - I like how you're chewy and full because it's satisfying

J and I saw a video on Dough and was mesmerize by how they make their donuts and all the different flavors of frosting they have. So, on a spontaneous morning we decided to drive there and have our morning fix of donuts and coffee.

The selection of donuts weren't that big but the donuts itself were huge. They all look amazingly good also, there were some that sounded a bit too sweet so I passed...even though I have no idea how it might taste. Definitely don't let that deter you away from wanting to try it.

We got our Small Coffee ($1.50) and went straight to the coffee station to fix it up. The milk were in the fridge right next to the coffee station.

There were only 4 stools inside Dough, 2 facing the window and 2 facing the kitchen area where they whip up the donuts. Homey.

Sugared Donut Holes (4 for $1.25) are a great way to get rid of the holes inside the donut. They also make great snacks. Chewy and light, I can snack on this all afternoon.

The Blood Orange Donut ($2.25) is rich in flavor, tangy and a tad bit of sweetness is a great blend for a donut. I took the orange slice off since it was getting in my way and I had no idea if it's suppose to be eaten or not... Nonetheless, I enjoyed the donut. It was not your average Dunkin Donut's donut, it was ginormous, to a point where I couldn't even finish it.

J got the Lemon Poppy Seed Donut ($2.25), don't let the appearance deceive you. This was lemon-y goodness. Mind you, it got some of my blood orange on it because the girl behind the counter just smooshed it in a paper bag.

If you're not in the mood for coffee, they have a fridge full of other beverages OR if you love coffee, they have it in cans so you can buy them and brew it at home.

Truthfully, I would stay away from the coffee here and just get their donuts because the coffee wasn't so great. A bit watered down and luke warm to my taste.

305 Franklin Ave
Brooklyn, NY 11205
(347) 533-7544 

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Hong Kong: Amo Eno

Being in Hong Kong, J doesn't want to miss out on anything retro or "new." He somehow found a place inside a mall that offers touch screen for wine. Amo Eno, nestled in a mall in Central Hong Kong. A mall where all the high-end brands are. It's ok, we're just here for the food and booze.

I love the look and feel of this wine bar. They also sell different wine glasses and wine jars.

Ginormous touch screen to play with. You can choose your wine through here and even learn about them. I can literally sit here all day playing on that.

They also had these really good bacon toast. Went really well with sipping wine. Plus, it was refillable.

One of the great things about Amo Eno is the different amounts of wine you can get in a glass, your choice of sip, taste or glass. What's even better is they run on a membership card, a card which you pay a yearly subscription to and come whenever you want, put that card in the slot of which wine you want and get charged on the card. You can even get up and walk around with a glass and start pressing around and the machine will automatically distill the amount you chose, whether it be a sip, taste or glass.

The card is only for HK residents. J and I were bummed out. We hope that NYC is able to open up something like this for their NYC residents because truly, this is a genius idea.

Besides the endless amount of wine we drank, we ordered Cajun Crusted Shrimp Poppers with Brandy Lime Dip, a delicious side I might add.

If you like wine bars like we do and also something new and exciting, Amo Eno should be on your to-go list when you're in HK.

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Hong Kong: Seafood by the water

What's better than relaxing by the water and having seafood?

That's pretty ideal. J and I went to Sai Kung (西貢) for the seafood because they apparently have the freshest kind. There's a whole strip of restaurants along the water but we went to Hung Kee Seafood Restaurant (洪記海鮮酒家) because J went there before and said it was good.

We went on a weekday and it was quite empty. J told me when he came with his relatives it was packed and you can barely walk. Waiting for a table can take anywhere from 15-45 minutes.

I actually wanted the experience of choosing my own seafood. It was tough since the workers don't really pay you much attention (unless you're a different color skin) but I manage to get some seafood for the table. After choosing what you want, they then bring it to the kitchen and a waiter comes and ask you how you would like it done. Pretty neat.

If you don't want the hassle of going up to where the tanks of seafood are, they do have a set prix fixe menu of 5+ dishes for you to enjoy, depending on your group size.

Starting it off, we ordered a bottle of Yanjing Beer. I have to say, it was one of the few beers I actually enjoy. Lighter than the usual beer and didn't have that bitterness to it.

The Blood Cockles came first. I had this in Vietnam, and I wanted J to try it. When I saw it here I knew I had to get it for him. The cockles were just boiled and given a vinegar dipping sauce. These seashells are the only one I've encountered that doesn't open when they're cooked, so you just have to open them up to slurp at them.

One of the main reason for coming to Sai Kung, for their Mantis Shrimp aka pissing shrimp (瀨尿蝦). I chose the ones with the roe and boy, was it packed with roe! Sauteed with salt and pepper is the way to go with these suckers!

Lastly I got us a whole fish. Finally, we can devour a whole fish on our own without our friends/relatives going in first.

Beautiful flesh. There's just something about Cantonese style cooking with fish that makes it so dam good. They just steam it but they do it correctly. If you steam it too long, it would be overcook and if too little, rare. Plus, I love the sauce - a light soy. Yum.

Eating seafood in any Asian countries is a must, so don't ever pass up on that opportunity.