Category Archives: Lifestyle

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!

My Good Eats Review: Yat Lok Restaurant, Stanley Street, Hong Kong

Yat Lok Restaurant – Hong Kong, China

April 2017

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

Hey Food Travelers – Put it on your “MUST Eats in HK” list!!!

The best Roast Goose ever! And I’m usually a roast duck fan… what’s the difference you ask?  Roast duck is usually slightly “leaner” than goose (WHAT?! How?! I know!).  Also, I find roast goose to have a much more fragrant flavor over duck.  Yat Lok does not disappoint, the fat to meat ratio is perfect, the goose has a sweet linger flavor and when combined with their homemade plum sauce, your palate will implode in a good way!  Let the yumminess linger and take a sip of their lemon/sugar water… it helps to refresh your taste buds.

2017 Michelin Star – well earned!

Climb those darn hills, tiny walkable “sidewalks”… and watch your steps!

Tiny shop, all tables are up for grabs, share, squish, and Do Not Attempt to “hog” any space w/ your purse or murse…!   Don’t be surprise by the shouting… it’s a norm in HK, Cantonese is loud AF (in general… lol); there’s usually a long line, so come before the lunch crowd (11:40am got us 2 tables of 4!)

Menu w/ English and other specialty on the walls or be like me – just order their must eats!! –  order Roast Goose (can be order by 1/4 or 1/2 or whole!), Roast Pork (ask for half lean/half fat) over rice, over lai-fun, and chow down!

My Good Eats Adventure: Paris & Copenhagen!

One of my goal before turning the big 4-0 was to hit up at least 5 (or more if my bank account allows it!) different Michelin Star restaurants (minimum 2 stars).   So my good eats adventure actually started during my work trip to Las Vegas…  #1) Joel Rubuchon, MGM Grand Las Vegas – his namesake restaurant with 3 Michelin Stars  (rumor has it, it may have lost one star) #2) EMP – Eleven Madison Park, NYC.

That’s 2 off my list and knowing I’ll get the rest in Paris & Copenhagen… priceless (actually very pricey… LOL).

Paris, France – September 2015

#3) Le Cinq – 3M Stars (I think they recently lost one)

Tasting menu,  I will only share what’s memorable to me cuz that means it had an impact on my taste bud… good and bad.

  • 1 shot bites, consists of liquid gelatin with fruity taste, foie gras, & raspberry moose with chocolate – this was interesting as it requires you to eat each item in an order, in one bite without chewing (aka 1 shot!).  The fruity gelatin cleanses your palate, then the foie gras sets up the savory and ends it with a bittersweet aftermath… like a child eating for the first time, shocking your sweet & bitter sides of your tongue.
  • Langoustines!  Mmm… the texture is a hybrid between lobster and shrimp, but so much sweeter!  This was cooked to medium well, as we all know seafood is temperamental – under cooked leaves a fishy taste, over cooked leaves you chewing on a tough texture.  Our langoustines were broiled, seasoned with herb butter and a sweet creamy sauce (yes I know French food is heavy on the sauces but this one is creamy & light).
  • Desserts were amazing… like eating ice sculptures and snow fall all blended inside your mouth.
  • Side note: I cannot believe this is my first time having this wonderful, sweet, mouth-watering shellfish.  How is it possible that I’ve never had Langoustine in NYC, a major food scene until now?  Well, I quickly learned – it is actually extremely hard to harvest as it must stay fresh for a certain amount of hours and by the time it ships to NYC eateries, it must then be eaten very quickly.

 

Copenhagen, Denmark – September 2015

#4) A/O/C – 2M Stars

All I could remember were flowers… and those incredibly pretty clay plates.  Almost 40% of the food on the 18 course tasting menu were raw… and I really do prefer my food cooked.  So the only 2 food item that stood out, roasted sweetbread with edible flowers and clay-roasted baby potatoes, which requires you to hammer it out!

 

#5) Geranium – 3M Stars

I’d like to compare Geranium to a Hermes Birkin bag… every dish looks amazing to the eyes, it’s attractive, well presented, just beautiful to look at…  but it’s not an everyday meal, just as the Birkin is not your everyday bag.  It took a few weeks of observing the booking calendar to get a reservation.  NOMA was a no-go, but glad we had Geranium.

I enjoyed all 14 courses of our tasting menu and the oddly juice pairing – we only liked the apple mix – the rest were forgettable.   There were 3 standouts – 1) the Hake Fish with Caviar, loads of it! 2) Razor Clams with edible paper and 3) the mysterious soup where we took a tour of the kitchen.   With all its thought out service and timing, it was incredible to find that they actually “messed” up our courses.   Our servers placed a new plate setting after our amazing hake fish with caviar, which would mean another dish is coming out.  However after 10 minutes have passed, our servers simply came by to clear those ‘new’ plating away.  We didn’t think anything of it.  Turns out, our servers forgot the ‘bread’ course and there were no breads to serve as it was out of sequence by now.  Alas, it was a good feeling that such an impressive restaurant… is still human.

My girlfriends and I really enjoyed our trip, our crazy splurges on food and would highly recommend anyone looking for food excitement to hit up Copenhagen!

 

My Good Eats Review: Couleur Café – Park Slope, Brooklyn

Couleur Café – Park Slope, Brooklyn

November 2015

Rating: 1 (not edible) to 5 (food heaven!): A Solid 2.5 – decent brunch place

 I like this place, it’s very cute, cozy (aka small) and the service was great (slow but very nice).  Came here for breakfast on a rainy, gloomy Thursday morning and despite the unwelcome weather, we enjoyed our food at Couleur Café.   Maybe because I had just returned from my Paris trip – I was craving French inspired cuisine around town.

Like to point out, the place is small so come early and grab a table, seat yourself and someone will come by with a menu.  Since we went on a weekday, it wasn’t crowded but I can only imagine the chaos on weekend brunch!  There’s no waiting area and stroller parking (it’s a norm in this hood) is actually outside the café.   You won’t miss it, it has an old charm feel with blue painted borders highlighting its name.

Food: we got eggs benedict and crepes (Latin quarter, crepe w Nutella and banana), plain croissant and chai tea latte, and a French press coffee.  Food was decent, I mean – as long as you don’t burn the crepes, everything with Nutella will make it taste great.  The eggs benedict could be better… lacked creative presentation or just something to make it stand out.  Now my French pressed coffee was really weak – – that is unacceptable for a ‘French style café’!  Geez… at least make the coffee taste as good as it should transfer you to Paris for a moment!   We’ve had better eggs benedict, better crepes and definitely better French pressed coffee elsewhere but what the food lacks, this place has a very intimate homely feel to it and the service made up for that.

Service was very nice, the waitress forgot our croissant and gave it to us on the house.   That’s a plus in customer service.  Would I come back?  Sure… with low expectation and probably skip the coffee and grab a tea.