Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Cafe Henri - the best surprise a girl can get

On a Saturday afternoon, pretty much around brunch time, J took me to Cafe Henri as a surprise. All I knew about the place was, it had a blue door. It was a long walk from where we were but the weather was so beautiful that it didn't seem far at all. Ok, maybe a little far since I was feeling hungry.

Cafe Henri was a cute little French place. Limited seatings but it felt so quaint and familiar. J told me they're known for their big latte cups and really good food.

J ordered their Mocha ($4), we decided not to supersize anything since the large was literally a size of a soup bowl. The Mocha was pretty good, had a nice cocoa finish on top.

I had their Latte ($3.50), so creamy and delicious. I wished it stayed hotter throughout the time I was having it, it got lukewarm pretty quick.

We knew we had to get this when we saw it on the menu...

The Escargot ($11) was so aromatic and plump. They were definitely heavy on the spices here which we both love. The toast accompanying the dish was amazing also, soaked up all the delicious herbs and garlic butter...we were practically in heaven.

Then our entree rolled out and we were at our most happiest place.

J had gotten their Crepe Henri ($9.50) which gives you a choice of 3 different add-ins for your crepe. He chose goat cheese, mushrooms and spicy sausage - these combination was perfect. Never thought I'd say this but the goat cheese was bomb in the crepe, I absolutely loved it.

My dish wasn't bad either, actually I really really enjoyed mine. The Eggs Benedict ($10.50) which I got with bacon was insanely good. How can everything be so perfect?! I loved how the English muffin didn't get soggy from my eggs and the hollandaise sauce. The poached egg was literally the most perfect ones I've ever had, still had that egg white surrounding the egg yolk. I was left speechless.

And even that wasn't enough, we got another crepe for dessert.

We were definitely greedy at this point because we both know well that we were full but still wanted to try their sweets. Decided on the Crepe de Marron ($7), chestnut paste inside the crepe. It was a little strange but in a good way. It wasn't too sweet and it balances out with the fruits and the creme fraiche.

This meal was so satisfying. I was extremely happy. I can't wait to come back for dinner or just the latte.

Cafe Henri
27 Bedford St
New York, NY 10014
(212) 243-2846

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Cafe Orlin - we left but came back for more

Yes, we returned. It was gonna be sooner or later and this was the chance to get our hands on their delicious foods again.

It's something about Cafe Orlin that makes me like it so much. Maybe because of the great food and the fact that we don't have to wait too long for a table. I mean, they're usually packed for breakfast/brunch but for dinner, they don't fill up until around 9ish and we get there way before that.

The last time I remember, we started with a bottle of red and here we are starting our meal with another bottle, but of white. Went for a Riesling ($32) this time, nice and subtle.

I think it's official that we love ordering things from the Specials Menu. The Black Sea Bass Ceviche ($11) was delicious. Just enough lime, onion, tomato and spices. It was quite the gamble that we ordered it because we usually only order ceviche at Mexican restaurants.

I've been hooked onto calamari lately. The Grilled Calamari ($11) was excellent. Spritz some lemon on top and it's the most perfect appetizer. I really like the watercress that came with the dish, balances out the spices that the calamari gives off.

For entree, J had the Hanger Steak ($18). Same thing as last time because it's that dam good. Always comes with fries and some greens, just do you feel a bit healthy. Steak is great as usual, add some tabasco and ketchup to really bring out the flavor and tenderness of the piece of meat.

This time around, I ordered something different. Actually, last time I wanted pasta but their fish special totally steer me off to the other direction. The Linguine with Shrimp ($13.50) was interesting. The sauce was a bit on the heavy side but very aromatic, lots of garlic in it. It was good, I enjoyed it but I got extremely full from the carbs.

Even though I said I was full, once I glanced at the menu I knew I wanted the Tres Leches Cake ($6.50). Such a fatty! It was just mediocre, definitely could do without it but everything we had was just exquisite.

Cafe Orlin
41 St. Marks Pl
New York, NY 10003
(212) 777-1447

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Maine: Nicky's Cruisin Diner - the best chicken fried steak ever

Alright so it might not be the best ever that I've had since this is only the first time that I had it, but still, it was quite bomb.

When J and I were in Maine, his cousins took us around to eat at places. Bangor, Maine is small but that doesn't mean they don't have good food. Nicky's is a great diner. The typical diner you would see in the movies of the 80s, kind of cool and retro.

The decor of Nicky's was extremely colorful. I mean you can probably spend hours looking at the driver plates on the wall, random hanging pinball machine and this photo booth which I have no clue if it works or not.

J had the Wolfman Jack ($7.99), extremely big breakfast. Well worth the price for so much food.

Ok, so my Chicken Fried Steak ($9.49) was extremely delicious. Maybe it's because I haven't had it before but it was just really dam good. Tasted like fried chicken wings without the bones. The gravy was perfect, I was always afraid it would be heavy and salty but it was literally just perfect. My favorite part would be to just dip the fried steak into the egg yolk. This is definitely one of the best brunch I've ever had.

I'm hooked now, onto chicken fried steak. I would totally order it again and again and again.

Nicky's Cruisin Diner
957 Union St
Bangor, ME 04401
(207) 942-3430

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Connecticut: Lobster Landing alongside the water

A couple of months ago, J and I made a quick stop at Lobster Landing before hitting Maine. It was windy and cold that afternoon and the fact that it was by the water didn't really help.

The area was nice, big open space and I'm sure it would be beautiful in the summer when the sun comes out. But that day was eerily cloudy.

The menu was small but J knew what to order for us. His cousin was there also and gotten something else other than the lobster roll. Apparently to her, nothing beats Maine's lobster.

She had gotten the Hot Dog ($3). The wiener was pretty big and for that price, it was quite worth it.

The Lobster Roll ($15) was long. It was alright, nothing that really stood out. The butter was all on the bottom of the roll was made it messy to eat. Good pieces of meat but lacked flavor. It just felt like something was missing whenever I take a bite.

I'm glad I got to try it but still nothing beats Luke's Lobster.

Lobster Landing
152 Commerce St
Clinton, CT 06413
(860) 669-2005

Monday, June 10, 2013

JoJu - an anticipation left in disapointment

I'm not gonna lie, I like a good Vietnamese sandwich sometimes. I know that I might not get the best service at these places because Asian people aren't the friendliest. They care about making money, so they just want your order so they can put it through and get it to you asap. JoJu was a bit different, the people behind the counter were actually young...

Apparently for JoJu, when you check-in Yelp, you get a free egg with your sandwich. Which means, I save just $1 which is still a lot of money. J and I also ordered the Kimchi Fries but they messed that up.

Fries came first, we really thought it was the Kimchi Fries which was why we dug right in but then learn that it was the Banh Mi Fries ($5.25). By then it was too late to change our order. The fries were definitely fried twice if not more than that because it stayed a hard texture throughout the entire time we were eating it. There were a lot of pickled carrots and daikon which I felt like a vegetarian dish, it would've been a bit more exciting if there were some meat in it.

The JoJu Monster (originally $6.75 but I got it for $1 less because of the Yelp check-in) was literally what everyone was raving about. Is it just because of the extra egg that so many people like it? I wasn't impress at all. First off, all the sandwiches I had before had the same problem as this, everything is sectioned off weirdly. Why can't it just lay flat so when I bite, I get a little of everything? The meat and veggies are always squished off to the side...I mainly just taste the egg and the veggies, I didn't even know the meat existed until I look at my sandwich.

I wouldn't travel for JoJu unless I'm in the neighborhood. Then again, I don't really think it was worth it. I rather spent my money at Banh Mi Saigon or Luu's Baguette.

83-25 Broadway
Elmhurst, NY 11373
(347) 808-0887

Thursday, June 6, 2013

Two Door Tavern - the latest brunch I've had to cure my hunger

This past Saturday, J and I slept in - like really slept in. We were deciding where to brunch and that totally took like 2 hours to do. After much yelping on my side and J just browsing around on the web, finally we agreed on Two Door Tavern.

By the time we got there, it was around 3pm already. Never had I ate this late before. Two Door was cute, modern and chic bar. They have a second floor that opens up and you can see the first floor. Staff there were very polite and attentive.

They had a huge brunch menu, which was why we chose this place. Also, the brunch prixe fix came with coffee and your choice of alcohol beverage.

Truthfully, I think I'm hooked onto coffee now. No longer do I worry about using the bathroom when I drink it (and I tend to go like every 10 minutes when I intake coffee) because it just taste so good. The bellini was alright, I'm not a fan of champagne. J had coffee also along with his Brooklyn Season Ale, again, me no like beer.

I ordered the Two Door Eggs Benedict ($15.95), been craving a good one lately and this one didn't really cut it. I liked how it had tomatoes and spinach but the tomato sogged up my English muffin! Making it extremely un-enjoyable. Home fries were good though, yummy onions.

J had the Marinated Skirt Steak ($18.95), freaking amazing dammit! Steak was nicely cooked and had that burnt charred taste, loved it. I can just eat a whole plate of skirt steak made by them.

I'm coming back, for the steak. I hope they have this option for dinner. So rare that we find a restaurant that cooks the steak perfectly, Two Door is definitely one of the few places that does it right.

Two Door Tavern
116 N 5th St
Brooklyn, NY 11211
(718) 599-0222

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Ayza Wine & Chocolate Bar - no reservations, no worries

I don't know what was it about Ayza that made J and I came.
My coworker went the week right before us and told us to definitely go because the food was really good.

I could've made reservations that morning of, but decided not to since we didn't know what time we might get there. It was a beautiful Friday evening and I knew I wanted to sit outdoor. When we got there, it was pretty packed. There was already a group in front of us so we knew we wouldn't be seated any time soon. Boy, was I wrong...

We got seated before that group and they got pretty mad, left the place. Kind of feel a little smug, if you know what I mean.

It was really hot but there was a breeze here and there, warm/hot breeze though.

I love a good glass of Riesling ($11). Been hooked ever since I first had it 8th Street Wine Cellar. They're so light and crisp, it doesn't even feel like you're drinking wine. I'm not a huge fan of spiced wine, which is why I steer away from red wine at times.

Some bread to begin with. I have no idea what the spread is, if anyone can enlighten me that would be appreciated.

Pretty much everything came at once. Good thing we didn't order too much because the small table they had there just wasn't gonna cut it. Hot Artichoke Hearts ($7) was pretty dam good. For some reason, I didn't picture it as a dip which was why I was a bit hesitant when J wanted to order it. I should never doubt him since he always seems to order the "good stuff."

One of the many dishes my coworker wanted me to try was the White Truffle Pizza ($10). It was good, freshly good. What was truffle about it? The oil. I can see it and smell it. Simple, but quite excellent.

I thought J would order the cheese platter since I know he's been wanting; on the other hand, I don't like cheese and I actually suggested it - his loss! Ended up with a Meat Platter ($16), definitely not worth the price. Beside the small portion, it doesn't have any gherkins! This was quite the disappointment.

Finally, the must-must try dish was the Twenty-Layer Crêpes Cake Brûlée ($12). It was insanely hyped up and I wasn't blown away. I mean it was nicely flambé but too much was going on with this plate. Crusty on the top, each layered with some creme, the powder sugar, along with the chocolate and raspberry plate glaze - way too much. It was just mediocre. I would probably be better off with some chocolate truffles instead. J and I actually took our time (because we were bored and wanted to amuse ourselves) to unravel this so-called twenty-layer. It wasn't 20, more like 17 layers. Meh, the point is not how many layers, but the actual quality of the cake - yes, another disappointment here.

Would we go back? Maybe..? I wouldn't mind coming back for the appetizer dips, pizza and wine, but that's about it because everything else wasn't memorable.

Ayza Wine & Chocolate Bar
11 W 31st St
New York, NY 10001
(212) 714-2992