Tag Archives: travel

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: 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 Review: Tim Ho Wan, Olympian City, Hong Kong

Tim Ho Wan Hong Kong, China

April 2017

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

It only took me 5 years to return and do a rewrite.  I was very unkind in my original review potentially because my expectations were set too high and wasn’t met plus the 1hr 45 min wait time made me a very unpleasant customer.

This time around – expectations were still high and thankfully it was met with lots of good stuff!  So good, we went twice during our visit in HK! And practically had the whole menu!

 

Everything about this newer location is better – service was slightly nicer, more forgiving if you can’t read Chinese or speak Cantonese (luckily I can still speak the basics!), cleaner, and more spacious.

Tip 1: Tim Ho Wan opens at 10am – queue up by 9:30-45am, guarantees a table for the first seating.

Tip 2: Do not line cut! Hangry folks will tell you to get the eff off!

Tip 3: Cash ONLY (Cheap eats for Michelin Dim Sum!)

Tip 4: Paper menu & pencil on the table, mark the boxes with your quantity of choice (1 or 2) but ALSO circle them because during peak hours – the kitch might miss a few items.

Tip 5: Don’t be afraid to ask “we are still waiting for such & such – can you please check?!”  – or else you’ll be sitting & waiting for quite some time…

The Goods: the list is long! Ha Ha
-Pineapple roast pork buns, Custard Buns (Modern China is better!), Pig Liver Rice Roll (churn fun!) – it’s a specialty!, Har Gaw (shrimp dumping), Watercress dumpling, Chiu Jo Fun Gor, Shrimp & eggwhite spring roll (must get!!!), chicken feet, the big glutinous rice in lotus leaf!

The Not Bad list – everything else on the menu is pretty good but I’ve had better versions of it elsewhere.  Like the “kuai fai go” – the medicinal tonic jelly, or steamed spare ribs, the Malaysian sponge cake, Shui Mai, or even the congee… slightly better versions at One Dim Sum, Jasmine Garden…

Bottomline – everything is worth a shot at your first visit! Enjoy the gluttony feast!

Thank you for reading this very long rewrite!  #happyfoodhunting!

My Good Eats Review: Crab Catcher, La Jolla

Crab Catcher – La Jolla, San Diego

July 2015

Rating: 1 (not edible) to 5 (food heaven!): A Solid 3

While vacationing in La Jolla, we had a girl’s night out and wanted to grab dinner before hitting a bar.  Not familiar with this area, we relied on Yelp! And found this spot right by the ocean.  It’s fairly big but to be safe, we did Open Table.  Hey, we are tourist in this town!

TIP: If you’re on a date, make sure you get the tables with a view! It’s a beautiful view of the La Jolla coastline!

IMG_catcher1

We had: 2 dozen oysters (really fresh pacific coast oysters) to start and crab cakes, and dived into the entrees.  We ordered to share 2.5 lb lobsters, 2 different kinds of Alaskan King Crab legs (one was orange and one was red)… I found the red one was much sweeter!  And it came with a nice corn salsa.  Ask them to double crack it, easier to eat. There was also a risotto with scallops special – wasn’t memorable.  Definitely go for their seafood, it’s their namesake!

We had drinks as well, think they were generous with their alcohol – my friends had fun being tipsy! I’m was the non-drinker that night so I had many funny moments laughing at their silliness.

Service was attentive at first but once we got our food, hardly anyone came by to do refills or ask if we needed anything else.  That was a bit disappointing because we really wanted dessert and coffee, however after waiting 20 mins for someone to casually come by to clear our table and then another 15 mins for another waiter to ask… our dining experience was done for the night.

Overall, worth a visit, I’ve had better king crab legs in City Island and would have liked a bigger seafood selection; still when in roam in La Jolla, grab a bite to eat here.

My Good Eats Review: Trenasse & Meauxbar, NOLA

Foodie adventure at NOLA – New Orleans, LA – the big easy

Trenasse – NOLA

April 2015

Rating: 1 (not edible) to 5 (food heaven!): A Solid 3

IMG_nola 3

Working at a conference in NOLA and ended up having dinner here with coworkers. Although it’s located inside the Intercontinental Hotel, the food was actually good.

The space is big and has outdoor seating, although it was raining the whole time during our trip to NOLA – it did heed long enough for us to enjoy a night dining al fresco.  You can tell the waiter is sort of ‘green’ because he couldn’t remember the menu, what the special was and had to go back and asked another waiter.  However, he makes up with his eagerness by refilling our cups plenty!

I had the smoked baked oyster with bacon and cheese; and a seafood stew that consists of a saffron broth with mussels (4), clams (3), scallops (2), shrimps (2) and snow crab legs (4 tiny ones) along with 2 slices of crostini style bread.   Would have liked more bread to soak up the delicious broth, as it was on the saltier side.  Well, both were pretty good, again a little heavy on the salt… however still better than the tourist trap we went to the previous night at Palace Café; which was disappointing and gross.

My coworkers both had the fish of the day – wasn’t memorable to me but they enjoyed it very much.

Decent price, not overly insane expensive – about $30 per person (we each also had a drink). Overall a good meal in NOLA (without all the deep fried grease).

 

Meauxbar – NOLA

April 2015

Rating: 1 (not edible) to 5 (food heaven!): A Solid 3 (took points away for bread incident!)

IMG_nola 2

Prior to traveling to NOLA for work, I had looked up recommendations from Yelpers on good eats and this one fit the bill.   I will say this… my expectations were low to begin with because I honestly didn’t see NOLA being a foodie type of town.

The location is a bit off the beaten path, I wouldn’t recommend walking to Meauxbar – take a taxi or Uber it.   At night this area looked a bit sketchy… well at least for out of towners like us.   The restaurant sits on the corner of the block (across from possibly a park… it was too dark).  The inside was also heavily draped and dark, with minimal lighting and very cozy.  We got the curve booth – which was great for our group.  Our waiter was a bit of an airhead, he often forgets to bring back certain items… like water… additional small plates for sharing… and then another waiter who serves the complimentary bread ‘accidently drops’ 2 pieces of bread on the table but proceeds to pick it up with his bare fingers and “PLACED” it right back onto the plate.   We did not appreciate that and therefore did not eat any of the free bread.

I wanted to treat my team to a nice dinner so here we go:

Starters:

  • Escargot in Bone, infamous vermouth bone marrow with escargot – recommend!
  • Foie Gras, came with some sort of jam and bread – not memorable… skip!
  • Beef Tartare – pretty boring… skip!

Entrée:

  • Hanger Steak – pretty boring… skip!
  • Confit Chicken Leg – recommend!
  • Scallops – pretty bland… skip!
  • Gulf Fish – recommend!

Dessert:

  • Apple cake – recommend! (if you like apples!)
  • Chocolate trio – boring and not memorable… skip!

Total bill: $200+

I was not impressed by many of the dishes, it was either underwhelming in taste or lacked something to jazz up the flavor.   I’ve had much better Foie Gras and Beef Tartare elsewhere.  It just didn’t “WOW” us at all.  The Hanger Steak was a mix for us, since we shared our plates – 1 liked it simply because it was ‘steak’.  As for the rest of us, we felt the steak could’ve been better with a creamier sauce.  It was kind of boring, like… “oh, it’s a hanger steak”.  The Scallops was nothing special… but the Gulf Fish, which happens to be whatever fish they have on the day of, turned out to be amazing.  The skin was seared, so it was crispy with flakey meat.  It was also well seasoned with lots of leek and veggies, pretty sure that added the extra oomph to the dish.   As for dessert… I like apples, so apple cake was pretty darn good to end our meal with.

Overall, a good dining experience and would recommend visitors to take a trip and enjoy the meal!