My Good Eats Review: Dekalb Market Hall, Brooklyn, NY

Dekalb Market Hall– Brooklyn, NY

July 2017

Rating: 1 (not edible) to 5 (food heaven!): A Solid 3.5

First Impression: “unfinished”; “incomplete”; “some vendors need to get their sh*t together”…

Overall impression: some vendor(s) is amazing and some fell flat (on their faces! Cuz I will not be a returning customer… smh) and one could easily over-splurged and NOT know what you had for lunch… LOL (Total Spent – $46+!! What?!?!!)

The “Good” – definitely will return for more!
-Daigo Hand Roll Bar (loveeee! Got the Spicy Tuna/Seared Jap Beef/Snow crab w avocado) $18-20… exceptional & amazing! Would gladly spend all my $$$ here!

-Cuzins Duzins – mini donuts! Fresh made on the spot! This was so delicious, mini little drops of wonders! I got the powder sugar – I’m in love! Get it!!

The “Bad” – these vendors need to get their sh*t together!
-Taco Delicatessen & Churros Place – GO FOR THE Churros – SKIP the tacos! It was not good.  We grabbed the taco box (basically they just give you a box.. there’s no saving – all the same 2/$7, 3/$11, 4/$14… or a la carte.)  The carne asada was horrible, no flavor whatsoever, tortilla was rubbery! Very chewy.  The roast crab was fishy! Nasty! Ewww….   My Cali fam would laugh their a$$ off at this joint.   Go to Chelsea Market/ Los Tacos #1, muuuuuch better!!!

-The Churros (same operation as the Tacos place) were good, not blown away… but better than expected because it’s the same operational team w the Taco place… ugh.  (Although the so-called “churro unicorn” looked nothing like advertised… we were suckers!)

Honorable mentions:
-Wiki Wiki Pokebowl – funny story, my sister wanted Poke Bowl, went there for Wiki Wiki.
Sister: “hi, I’d like a poke bowl”…
Wiki: “sorry, we don’t have any bowls, we are waiting for delivery… not taking orders”…
Sister: “….  it’s lunch time… wow”…
Wiki: … walks away…

-Viet place – I was majorly craving a Viet Ice Coffee
Me: “Hi, I’d like a Viet Ice Coffee please…”
Viet place: ” oh yea… sorry, we ran out…”
Me: looks at time, 11:45am… “but you just opened…?”
Viet place: “yea… we don’t have the delivery yet”
Me: “wow… ok”…
Viet place: “we had a bunch yesterday!”
Me: …. well some of us were celebrating July 4th by stuffing our faces with BBQ meats! *smh*

-Nobletree – got a cold brew, the guy came through & went to the basement to bring up the giant container!! Thank you!!! So sweet! $4.50 + $1 tip, $5.50 – and I dropped that damn thing because I tripped over someone’s cart on the damn train! FML

Give it a few weeks for it to smooth out their kinks!

#Willtravelforfood

My Good Eats Review: KOI Restaurant, NYC

KOI Restaurant – NYC

June 2017

Rating: 1 (not edible) to 5 (food heaven!): A Solid 5

While I didn’t enjoy their KOI cousin at the Planet Hollywood in Vegas… this location is outstanding!

From the moment of getting “lost” at the entrance… to stuffing our faces with exceptional desserts; we had a wonderful dining & social experience.  Located inside the beautiful Bryant Park hotel, upon entering make a sharp right & look UP! (To avoid bothering the very nice gentleman manning the hotel elevator entrance or the concierge to your left! Although both parties will gladly point you to KOI).

They have a waiting/open area by the bar for you to grab a drink while your tardy parties arrive.  Check in with hostess and we were all set!  Although we would have preferred a “booth” seating but I guess a table will do.

KOI is very loud, trendy, dim lighting but not too dark, a mix of all ages and crowd (tourists & business peeps looking to dent their expense account! lol).  Service was attentive for the most part, although our server suffered a bit of short term memory loss… as in, forgotten who ordered what – required a bit of shuffling dishes… it just reflects poorly on an establishment – who should pride itself in knowing their patrons for the night.

KOI offers up quite a menu, starters – shared plates – signature sushi rolls – hot entrees and stand alone hand rolls.  We shared everything!

-Creamy Sea Bass Tempura! Holy sh*t! This was so good!! Comes tossed in a mild spicy sauce – the sea bass was indeed creamy, moist but the skin stayed crispy.. how?!?!

-Northernlight roll – this was good, but didn’t blow me away, however my friends loved it!

-Dragon roll – OK – I know what you’re thinking BUT don’t even! This Dragon roll was amazing! Deconstructed – topped with tons of flakey seasoned panko – mind blown!

-Skirt Steak – nothing special – it was a pre-cut steak… total skip (I wanted to try the miso cod – but our server recommended the steak).

-Braised Short Ribs – this was very tender and well seasoned – friends liked it very much.
-Sautéed Shrimps – this was OK.  Again, not blown away just good.

So based on the above it should be 3 stars, right? Well the dessert was sinfully epic! Seriously – my Do-Over would be “shared plates/rolls/desserts”!
Get the KOI Sundae!! Amazingly good!

#Willtravelforfood

My Good Eats Review: TOGETHER Burmese Restaurant, Brooklyn, NY

TOGETHER Burmese Restaurant – Brooklyn, NY

June 2017

Rating: 1 (not edible) to 5 (food heaven!): A Solid 5

 

I am in love with that “Mohinga”… savory, sour, crunchy goodness – just amazingly good!

Together Restaurant is nestled on a quiet block but busy street (it’s on a semi-main road with lots of traffic & delivery trucks) – however the block itself is a mix of grocery, bodega, hardware and some odd stores. With its loud red curtain blocking the interior view – passerby or potential patrons would miss it in a blink of an eye.  Although the signage of its namesake is on the top – I’ve witnessed first hand many curious ‘potential’ patrons just glanced & walked by.

Warning:  Do Not Be Turned Off By the Decor… it’s just a very homely place.  The restaurant looks a little dated, cozy space, with “American” news on one TV and cheesy karaoke music video on the other (very cute).

The staff is very nice, very sweet! The waitress/cook/server spoke little English but she understood the universal language of “pointing to the menu”.

Now the food – everything was so delicious! Something about Southeast Asian – love love love all the spices, cilantro, peanuts, lime, vermicelli, chili, fish sauce, simplicity at its best!

Mohinga “fish soup w/ rice noodle” (every Yelpers raved about it!) – GET IT! It was awesome! I cannot wait to go back for another round!

Tea Leaf salad, while it’s a little salty, it has great texture and will go well with your curry entree. Dried tea leaf with peanuts, lima bean, cabbage, onion (seasonal)

Curry Chicken w/ Paratha – which is served with a roti like bread. Yum!!!

Curry Pork Belly – spicy – very tender and not very spicy, goes well with the rice and cucumber that comes with.

Coconut Jelly, this is as good as I remembered it… most Asian household have had made this one time… it’s basically coconut milk with gelatin (like jello!)

Shwe Yin Aye – now this ones’ crazy – it’s a bowl consists of salted bread, ice cubes, coconut jelly, glutinous rice, sago in coconut milk.  My first spoonful was salty & then sweet, my tastebuds were confused. Then I tried again – it’s not bad.  I like my desserts sweet but this one’s a must try for you 1st timers!  Total bill for all this food – $45 (tip & tax) – totally worth it.

Bottom line – GO. NOW. EAT. HERE.

#Willtravelforfood

My Good Eats Review: Ginger and Lemongrass, Whitestone, NY

Ginger & Lemongrass – Whitestone, NY (Queens/Long Island border)

May 2017

Rating: 1 (not edible) to 5 (food heaven!): A Solid 5

This place is a hidden gem… and when I say “hidden” I mean freaking far…! Well for brooklynites – yes! For anyone w/o a car, impossible! It took us a good 1.5hr w/ minor traffic to get to… Whitestone, Queens… (the only time I would be jelly of my Queens peeps!)  – SO WORTH THE DRIVE!  #willtravelforfood

Ginger & Lemongrass looks misplaced, on a residential block, next to a no-name gas station… (Delta?!? What?! Idk… never heard of it before) but what a quint find!  I can only venture a guess – this used to be a 1 family home, turned to a restaurant.  The outside is unassuming, with its namesake in yellow and a few bar seats facing outside patrons through its window.

Once inside the cozy restaurant, the decor will welcome you with brightly painted mellow yellow steel chairs… and thick block tables.  Cute light fixtures and tiny pottery on the walls with self-serving utensils/chopsticks/menu/napkins – a side (bottle!) of sriracha & hoisin sauce.  The staff is very welcoming, attentive at times (we never got small plates for the spring rolls… my niece had to use double napkins on the bare table… a little germ will make you stronger, right?!?).

While Ginger & Lemongrass call themselves Viet-Thai fusion, I think their best sellers are the Viet items… actually it’s the infamous “Beef Pho w/ Marrow”… YES!!! It comes with a giant half bone “melt in your mouth” marrow!!! (Plan your visit now!).  While glancing through the menu – we knew at first sight what we were getting.

-Spring rolls (Pork version… ) although, I still prefer the traditional Vietnamese spring roll skin & filling, this one is good – too meaty for my taste, and the crispy Chinese spring roll skins was more greasy than the traditional skin.  My niece loved it!  Well she is 5… what kid doesn’t like fried anything? 😉  – $9
-2 Large Beef Pho w/ Marrow; comes with all the fixing (bean sprouts, jalapeño, cilantro, lime, basil, thinly sliced beef) – what’s different is that this broth is very rich, more than the traditional Pho, which is usually on the lighter side, it’s also a little more milky… and there are chunks of beef briskets!  I know!!?! And of course this giant bone marrow… roasted to perfection topped with a creamy well seasoned pesto…  mmm…  I literally had foodgasm.  Seriously. – $34
-2 Viet Iced-coffee w/ condensed milk – it’s the ONLY way to drink this…  – $6

Total bill $65 (tax & 20% tip included) – it’s definitely more pricey than your local Viet joint… but there’s no happy ending… LOL

Take a drive! #happyfoodhunting

My Good Eats Review: Xin Dau Ji, Hong Kong

Xin Dau Ji Hong Kong, China

April 2017

Rating: 1 (not edible) to 5 (food heaven!): A Solid 5

 

My fellow Meat Eaters – Please bookmark this place & get your A$$ a reservation for their epic Suckling Pig!!!!  Like seriously – amazingly good.

So grateful that I have local friends who knows about these yummy eateries because a visitor like me, relies on Yelp or Google to find restaurant recommendations… Yelp is unfortunately NOT big in HK! (They use something call Open Rice – so MAKE SURE YOU DOWNLOAD that app for your Asia travel).  It’s quite hard to navigate beyond the touristy eats to find those local “gems” & delicious “hole in the wall”!

We had what I called a “pie in the sky” dinner here – everything was beyond delicious, none were disappointing – down to a simple hot clay pot sautéed spinach! Apparently the hot “clay pot” is one of their specialty besides their infamous “Suckling Pig”!  Lots of goodies cooked in a burning hot clay pot.

-Suckling Pig – freaking amazing, meat/fat/crispy skin ratio – perfection!
-Duck innards sautéed in sweet & soy concoction – NOT for the squeamish BUT great for foodie! Comes out looking like stir-fry noodles! 😉
-Clay pot Oysters – excellent sauce!
-Clay pot eggplant w/ fermented salted fish & chicken – So good – you will finish your whole bowl of rice!
-Clay pot baby lettuce – this was refreshing bc the baby lettuce heart is kind of bitter but sweet at the same time.
-Salt & Pepper squid – small plate – great snack paired w beer drinking or just eating!
-Fried fish filet with sweet corn sauce (this was really for the kids!)
-Egg white, Kai-Lah, dried scallop fried rice – Great texture, taste and balance to all the clay pot (which is heavy in sauce).

I feel like I’m missing a dish or 2!!! We were beyond full, satisfied and was in total food coma… for a party of 8, total bill $232 USD – not bad at all! (Considering the suckling pigs usually runs about $150 here in NYC).

The service was good, attentive, always changing our plates and never empty pots of Chinese tea!

Make this your next stop in HK for dinner! #HAPPYFOODHUNTING

My Good Eats Review: Chiu Fook Steam Stone Pot, Mong Kong, Hong Kong

Chiu Fook Steam Stone Pot Hong Kong, China

April 2017

Rating: 1 (not edible) to 5 (food heaven!): A Solid 4
My first time having Steamed Hot Pot and it was amazing!!!


You can pick the seafood yourself or pick from a set menu.

I heard this is a new trend… while savoring all the sweetness of the seafood, the steam causes the seafood to sweat & dripped to the bottom of the casserole to make one EPIC pot of “jook” aka congee!!  Each seafood is set to a 3-4 min timer so it won’t be over cooked – your server will attend to each dish and serves it to you.

The seafood were all fresh, delicious and very yummy!  My favorite has to be the abalone and scallop – once cooked, dip it in a ginger zest & garlic soy seasoning. I added my own spin with hot chili oil, cilantro and hot pepper!  IT IS ABSOLUTELY DELISH! Mmm…

– Big Flower Crab (2)
– Razor clams (a dozen)
– Flower clams (a dozen)
– Little neck clams (a dozen)
– Scallops on shell (8)
– Tiger Prawns (8)
– Abalone (8)
– Chinese broccoli
– Seasoned Free Range Chicken (comes last)
– Abalone & Chicken innards for the jook (at the end!)

As we all know – seafood is expensive no matter which country you’re in, however in Hong Kong – it is still cheaper than the states!  I can’t even afford having abalone for dinner in NYC – let alone having it 3 nights in a row!  Party of 8, total bill about $275 USD – not bad considering all the delicious seafood we had!

The only reason why I gave it 4 stars – the service was just OK – we had a really good waiter but he had to take care of like 4 tables… not manageable when he has to meet a timer & run to each table. We had a 2nd waiter mid-meal and he wasn’t very nice – spills & splashes… ugh.  Pretty much ignored us and let us to serve ourselves at the end.  No worries – there’s no tipping in HK (it’s already included in your meal) – so no anxiety about giving them an undeserving 20% gratuity!

My Good Eats Review: L’Atelier de Joël Robuchon, Central, Hong Kong

L’Atelier de Joël Robuchon (Le Jardin) Hong Kong, China

April 2017

Rating: 1 (not edible) to 5 (food heaven!): A Solid 5

I am a huge fan of this man… had the luxury of gorging at his namesake restaurant at the MGM in Las Vegas, Joel Robuchon.  I am usually skeptical of tasting menus… because I feel like it’s not innovative, more like what their “hits” were at their high point and now just a norm on their menu.  However at MGM – it was definitely a MUST for the tasting menu.

Here at L’atelier de Robuchon  – we did the “a la carte”… because our friends highly recommended a few must haves and felt it was a much better choice to splurge on a 3 course meal than the tasting menu; total bill $7722 HKD, roughly about $950 USD? Not bad for a party of 4.

We had excellent starters, the amazing King Crab salad and the Lobster salad, the beautifully sashimi Langoustines with Uni and finally the Foie Gras terrains – it was gorgeously presented and the balance of each texture was stimulating to ones palate. We shared the starters and it was a good choice.

The entrees – we went for the Guinea Fowl that comes with a giant piece of Foie Gras & baby fingerling potatoes… it serves 2 (technically it really serves 3! You have the whole chicken and it was served 2 sets, Chicken breast (white meat) and then the Thighs/Legs (dark meat).  It was so rich, robust with flavors and amazingly good – I wish I had an extra stomach!  Good thing we shared with our dining partners!  We also have the Uni Spaghetti w/ egg white foam; which was too rich for one sitting (said friend) and the delicious fried sweetbreads & seasonal veggies.

Desserts – we chose the HK “Dai Pa Dong” Milk Tea – it’s said to take over 20 mins to brew! We also got the cappuccinos, which came with a lovely coffee art of their name (cheeky!) and the deconstructed banana cream pie which came in a dome! Fantastic!  And of course their delicious signature soufflés (chocolate & vanilla)!

It was an epic meal! Cannot wait to return, hopefully in a year.  Highly recommend to anyone traveling to HK and looking to enjoy some fine dining! #splurgeworthy

PS: the Guinea Fowl is like a free range chicken (less fatty) – takes a long time to cook so be prepared for the wait.  Also I would swap out the Foie Gras Terrains – not as good as other Michelin competitors like Eleven Madison Park.

Happy travels!  #HappyFoodHunting!

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