El Nuevo Portal

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Greetings, everyone! Apologies for not posting for a long while!  So far, October has been a fully packed month. Stay tuned for an update about our month…meanwhile, enjoy this post about El Nuevo Portal!

217 Smith Street
Brooklyn, NY 11231

Menu here

It’s not always that Victor and I explore around Brooklyn, but we wanted to check this small friendly restaurant called El Nuevo Portal.  It was one of our stops while we were visiting some local thrift shops and small boutiques.

El Nuevo serves some authentic looking Latin food at an affordable price and served with smiles!  You can see the interior design of this place, on Google Maps (Strange first experience for Victor and I).  Nothing spectacular to speak about the design since this should be for a quick casual lunch and less fancy dinner option.

Once you enter, you can simply take a seat if you see an open table.  You do not have to order at the front, unless of course, you are ordering for take-out.  They are pretty laid-back about everything here!   Restroom was near the back, right next to the old jukebox of old music..The place was not sparkly clean, but decent enough!

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Breaded Beef Steak Sandwich $4.00
Rice with Chicken $8.00
Rice with Chicken $8.00

 

Victor says 4/5 Fish Toys icon thumbnailFish Toys icon thumbnailFish Toys icon thumbnailFish Toys icon thumbnail

DSCN6306This restaurant is located in Cobble Hill, Brooklyn, and it’s a little over a mile walk from the Brooklyn Bridge.

We don’t always go out to the most beautiful and lavishly decorated restaurants, but that’s okay. As long as the food is good, I’m all set! So, on our latest adventure, we stopped El Nueva Portal (which translates to “The New Portal”). It was definitely a portal of food to my stomach.

Upon coming here, it may seem rather hectic, dependent on what time it is. We arrived just as lunch hour was coming to an end. We could still see people coming in and out, as we were seated and waiting for our food.

The menu has a large variety of food, ranging from sandwiches to tapas, rices dishes to stews. You should expect to have trouble selecting something when you come here.

I ordered Breaded Steak Sandwich and Pinky ordered Rice with Chicken, along with a complimentary basket of warm and crispy bread.  The breaded steak sandwich wasn’t dry at all and was very juicy. This sandwich is composed of a breaded piece of steak with lettuce and tomatoes sandwiched between crispy thin hero bread. For $4 dollars, it’s a tasty snack you grab on the go.

Pinky and I almost always get some sort of chicken and rice dish at any Spanish/ Latin American we go to. Different from the previous Latin restaurants we’ve been to, the chicken is actually mixed within the rice, whereas the previous restaurants put a piece of chicken on top. Regardless of how the chicken implemented into the dish, it still tasted excellent at El Neuvo Portal. They were very generous with their portions and this dish can easily feed two hungry people. The rice was very rich and buttery and there was actually a lot of chicken.

This place can get very busy at times, but it’s worth coming if you’re on a budget and if you’re hungry, even if it isn’t the nicest looking place.

Pinky says 4/5 16-coffee-cup-icons-square-brown-lg16-coffee-cup-icons-square-brown-lg16-coffee-cup-icons-square-brown-lg16-coffee-cup-icons-square-brown-lg

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This restaurant was delicious!  First off, I would have to say that the staff were very hard-working.  Although there were more customers than the staff could seem to handle during the lunch rush, they still pulled it off with a smile.  Kudos to you, El Nuevo.  Because of that, there were not enough free tables that were clean, but our waitress apologized before we even had any thought of complaining.

I looked at the place and I wasn’t expecting fancy decor, but expected family-oriented atmosphere and completely received that vibe.  The portions were huge and hot off the fire.

The bread that the waitress gave us was fresh out of the oven it seemed, with lots of butter flavor.  More importantly, it was not soggy, but crisp to the bite.  Yummy!

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My Rice with Chicken arrived and was completely overwhelmed by the mountain I had on my plate.  My first thought, “Oh I cannot finish this”, and it was a true statement… The chicken was tender and I loved the onions.  I realized that it was listed on the menu as “Rice with Chicken” insinuating that there was definitely going to be more rice than chicken.  However, I was still not disappointed!  Hot and FRESH.

I enjoyed the breaded beef steak!  It was a nice new texture to explore on sandwiches.  At the end of our meal, I took a portion of the rice and a small bite of the sandwich,home, so I could eat it the next day.  Even still, the flavor kept and was equally nice to my taste buds.

When Victor and I left, I was peering over to our neighbor’s meal at the next table.  Dang, he ordered some kind of stew.  It smelled so good and we could tell that he was a regular there.  Next time, we shall try that!

MORE SHOTS

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September 2013 Favorites

It’s the end of September 2013 already folks, and you know what that means!  We have highlighted some of our favorite things of the month!  Can’t believe it’s October tomorrow!!! 324

  • Queens County Farm Museum

73-50 Little Neck Pkwy
Floral Park, NY 11004

Victor actually found this hidden gem on Yelp because he is the animal lover that he is.  I’ve lived in Queens my whole life and I did not know this place existed!  This place is free admission and has so many farm animals you can watch or play with!  There are lots of dirt roads so make sure you wear the right shoes for the area.  The place also has a gift shop selling from organic produce, house plants, to bottles of wine.  The museum is definitely a beautiful place to relax and enjoy true nature with plenty of fields and crops.  You can also go on a hay ride!!! (though you would need to pay a fee)

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  • Havemeyer Park

S 4th St, Brooklyn
New York 11249

First time Vic and I visited this place was when we watched the film, Chicago!  At first we were thinking, “oh…what the heck???”  I personally thought that it would be a bigger area, but it had such a charming personality, being that it was a tiny size!  It is located right next to a dirt biking arena (which was strange, I’ve never seen one in person before).

It was thanks to NiteHawk that we found such an awesome new space to chill at.  They joined with Havemeyer, Brooklyn Brewery, Monster, East River Ferry, and OddFellows Icecream!  It was definitely NOT the overcrowded and over-hyped Bryant Park-esque atmosphere.  It is composed of luscious grass area, farm crops cared by North Brooklyn Farms, and gravel area.  I can’t believe that it used to be land with a huge old factory.  You will have to visit soon because I heard they might destroy it again to put another factory, perhaps next year?  Rumors…

But still, be sure to keep updated with their upcoming events, by visiting and liking their Facebook page here.  North Brooklyn Farms also has Sunday FARM dinners!! Here is more information about North Brooklyn Farms.

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  • You’re Next

Not knowing what we were walking into, Victor and I were expecting a horrible cliche horror flick because of its already cliche title.  We definitely had no high expectations for this film because I did not even watch the trailer.  However, we were so wrong — teaching us not to judge something by its lack of title creativity!!  This film was extremely well-thought out and one of the most unique horror films made in a long time.  Not only was it clever, but it kept us at the edge of our seats.  Only negative thing was the acting.  It’s not a particularly “jumpy” horror film, but more on the psychological thriller side, with the occasional grotesque scenes for your viewing pleasure.  You know a film is good, when you are still talking about it and how it reflects society today.  With Halloween coming up, make sure you watch this, you won’t regret it!

See you in October with more favorites!

Souvlaki GR …and Pinky’s Worst Nightmare

DSCN6164116 Stanton St
(between Ludlow St & Essex St)

Menu and Prices

This nicely decorated place was very intriguing to me (Pinky) — I was won over by their whole Greek-inspired decor, at first sight.  On the side once you enter, they have the latest magazines hung on a wire, as well as some snacks from Greece (I am assuming).

DSCN6166OKAY, an important note: BEWARE when you sit down at a small circular table.  Victor almost destroyed the restaurant because the tables are so badly designed.  The legs of the table STICK out, so when you put your own legs under the table, you will most likely hit it and therefore attempt to turn the table (and glassware) on its side…Seriously, be careful — it happened three other times to other people and that all during our visit.

So what is a gyro anyway? How do you even pronounce it? “EURO” should be a close enough pronunciation guide.  As we all know how Wikipedia is entirely legit, here is how they define it:

gyro (/ˈjɪəroʊ/yeer-oh,/ˈʒɪəroʊ/zheer-oh;[1]Greek: γύρος, [ˈʝiros], lit. ‘turn’) is a Greek dish of meat roasted on a vertical spit. It is commonly served in a sandwich with tomato, onion, and tzatziki sauce, wrapped in pita or sandwich bread.

I also learned from Wikipedia and Souvlaki GR that sometimes they add fries to your gyro…strange!

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Souvlakia Kalamaki Paketo– Your choice of six Chicken or Pork skewers with Tzatziki & Pita … $14 (Individual skewers … $2.75 each)

Victor says 2.5/5 Fish Toys icon thumbnailFish Toys icon thumbnail2 fish

DSCN6176Save your money and go else where.

Souvlaki GR isn’t that good and you can definitely find better Greek food around. This place can be a tourist trap with the bright lights and nicely painted walls, but don’t fall for it! It’s quite expensive for the portion you get and it just tastes… okay.

By first impressions, this place looks sorta nice. They got these dangling lightbulbs in front their restaurant. We also saw their food truck across the street. The decor inside was nicely painted. It had a very Mediterranean feel with the white and blue colors with fake doors and windows. There’s also one table that’s elevated from everyone else. Honestly, I think that’s just silly because the stairs take up space to get to that one table. The restaurant itself is not very spacious either as noted from my close call of destroying the tableware.

SGR Pita Souvlaki -- (Tomato, red onions, fries & Tyrokafteri-spicy feta dip) pictured with pork $6.50
SGR Pita Souvlaki — (Tomato, red onions, fries & Tyrokafteri-spicy feta dip) pictured with pork $6.50

Time to talk food. First off, it’s expensive for something that’s not very spectacular. We ordered a chicken and pork skewer. The chicken tasted a bit raw. It wasn’t seasoned very well and it just didn’t appeal to me. The pork one tasted a little better and had more seasoning. It also came with a cup of tzatziki sauce with slices of pita bread. Majority of the time, I found myself spreading the tzatziki sauce to make it taste better.

The SGR Pita Souvlaki I ordered was basically a pork skewer gyro. It’s the same amount of meat as the skewer wrapped with two french fries, tomatoes, red onions, Tyrokafteri (spicy feta dip) in a pita.  It’s such a small portion and I feel like you can get more for your buck at other places. Maybe I’ve been spoiled by other Greek restaurants, but this place didn’t live up to it’s hype.

Probably won’t be coming here any time in the near future.

Bifteki Pita Traditional Greek Burger -- Tomato, red onion, feta & tzatziki ... 6
Bifteki Pita — Traditional Greek Burger — Tomato, red onion, feta & tzatziki … 6

Pinky says 2/5 16-coffee-cup-icons-square-brown-lg16-coffee-cup-icons-square-brown-lg

DSCN6177Okay here goes..scroll back up to that picture above for a minute.

Carefully inspect the picture..and come back after.

Alright…


There is a piece of hair nicely tucked into the warm pita bread near the top-left side of it.  Delicious, right? No, that was not listed on the menu as an ingredient.  I was so appalled by the little new friend peering at me.  Thank you Jesus, that I did not bite it on that side, but bit the right side.  I did not even notice it at first, while I was taking the picture.  By the way, we apologize for the blurry dark pictures — bad lighting in there.

However, what…kind…of… hair, do you ask? Beard hair.  Not even head hair, which I don’t think I would mind as much?  I’m not sure, what do you all think? What’s worse: Beard or head hair in your food?

I have to say that the manager was alright with my complaint and gave me a new gyro, but they probably did spit in my food. Hahaha.  I should have actually cancelled the order because it wasn’t even worth the $6. I thought it would taste completely amazing, but it was just normal gyro that I can get from a food cart, and possibly those food cart ones would be bigger and more filling.   The only special thing was that it had massive amounts of feta cheese.  BLEGH, which only made it extremely salty.  I only asked for it to be re-made because we were already so hungry.  While eating it, I kept imagining that I had a hairball stuck in my throat.  I’m not even sure why we waited longer compared to the other people around us, despite the fact that we sat down first.

DSCN6168On the topic of seating, I was sitting right next to an ACTIVE doorway, with the employees coming in and out.  During the whole night I was scared to move an inch because it can result in total chaos.  I could not move my arms or I can hit a waiter holding food and could not move my legs or I can flip the table and all of its contents over.  For me, I get stressed easily in social situations, so you can already tell I was not having a grand ol’ time.  Being that I watched the documentary film, Objectified, there is seriously no reason for a chair to be uncomfortable…and there should definitely be no reason why a table should be unstable.  I understand those tables are cute, but if I am eating a legit meal and not having a tea or coffee break, I would like to have my table to hold more than three small plates.  It was pretty hilarious to knock the table over then see others do the same though.

DSCN6170And being the silly girl that I am, I was not aware that there can be fries put inside a gyro.  When it said “fries” on the menu, I thought it would be on the side, and being the big potato girl I am, I was so excited.  Then I fell into deep depression, as I only saw two fries sticking out of it.  The more entertaining fact was that since both of Vic’s and my gyro were plated on one plate, I thought both of them were one order.

The skewers were also nothing special — I can’t believe they were $2.25 each. I can grill them myself, thank you very much — there was no real flavor to it.

I miss Akropolis

MORE SHOTS

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Kimganae Korean Restaurant – Korean Sushi!?!?

DSCN58893912 Union Street
Flushing, NY 11354

Menu and Prices

In Flushing, you will find a variety of Asian restaurants – Vietnamese, Chinese, Korean, and maybe even Japanese. We went to check out Kim Ga Nae Korean Restaurant located in Downtown to get some Kimbap.

Now what exactly is Kimbap/ Gimbap? In a sense… it’s sushi but with different distinctive elements. It’s made with steamed white rice (bap) and various other ingredients, rolled in seaweed (kim/gim). Here’s something interesting I learned from wikipedia about kimbap:

Gimbap is derived from Japanese futomaki (Makizushi) during the Japanese rule (1910-1945). but now has certain distinctive elements not found in Japanese-style makizushi. Whereas the essence of Japanese sushi is vinegared rice, gimbap does not use rice vinegar but rather sesame oil.

Little note: It may be difficult to find parking around here 😛 and it is a cash only restaurant!

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57. Don Katsu Roll rice, seaweed, salt, sesame oil, pork cutlet, carrot, egg, sweet radish, spinach, gourd strip, teriyaki sauce $5.00

Pinky says 4.5/5 16-coffee-cup-icons-square-brown-lg16-coffee-cup-icons-square-brown-lg16-coffee-cup-icons-square-brown-lg16-coffee-cup-icons-square-brown-lg2 coffee

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I will have to start off that I am completely biased for this place because I’ve been here numerous times.  The food is always fresh and always comes really quickly.  The kimbap is so cheap and the wait staff are incredibly nice.  They always let my party and I stay more than the normal duration… Usually I don’t stay on purpose, but there was no pressure to quickly eat and leave.  It always feels like I’m visiting someone’s house when I visit here.

When I catch up with friends and want to only spend the minimal for a quick lunch, I just come here! They even let you refill for the complementary miso soup and kimchi!

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I usually have the spicy tuna roll, but since Victor doesn’t eat fish, this time I ordered the Don Katsu Roll.  If you haven’t had Katsu before, it’s kind of a fried pork chop!  It was pretty tasty and very filling.  So filling for only $5! The teriyaki sauce was a nice touch and the meat pieces weren’t overwhelmingly huge for the size of the roll.  The spicy tuna roll is even cheaper, being $4.50! I enjoy their freshness and fragrance of the sesame oil.

Other than the rolls, I’ve had the curry rice with pork cutlet (the curry donkatsu) and spicy bulgoki dupbap (beef with rice and vegetables) during my other visits.  They are all normally cooked fresh, but even better is that the portions are pretty HUGE! Good for your money.  There will never be a last time that I visit here!  (Unless I move away from NYC…hehe)

59. Spicy Beef Roll* rice, seaweed, salt, sesame oil, beef, carrot, egg, sweet radish, spinach, gourd strip, hot sauce $5.00
59. Spicy Beef Roll* rice, seaweed, salt, sesame oil, beef, carrot, egg, sweet radish, spinach, gourd strip, hot sauce $5.00

Victor says: 4/5Fish Toys icon thumbnailFish Toys icon thumbnailFish Toys icon thumbnailFish Toys icon thumbnail

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Kimbap is definitely  a first for me. When my mom use to make sushi at home, she would use to make a separate roll with dried shredded pork. I suppose, I guess that’s similar enough to kimbap.

Even though it’s an decent sized restaurant, you may have wait half an hour just to get seated. Another option is taking it to go. As noted before, it’s also difficult to find parking around here, so good luck!

So this is my first time I had real kimbap.. and it’s pretty good. For about $5, you can fill yourself on these rolls are densely packed. I ordered the spicy beef roll and it was quite delicious. You’d be surprise how full you can just eat from eating a single roll. It’s sorta sweet from the vegetables and also flavorful from the beef. I would definitely like to try out their rice dishes if I do come here again.

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The waiter we had was incredibly kind. We were actually waiting to meet up with some other people, but they weren’t able to find parking. The waiter didn’t ask us to get up and move or even rush us. He accommodated to us the whole time while we were eating.  If I do come again, I’d actually like to sit and try to enjoy my food as I eat. I was eating quickly because I felt bad taking two extra seats in the restaurant.

Overall, this is a nice place with a home-y feel to it.  Staff is great. Food is great. Check it out if you’re in Flushing and if you want something else than Korean BBQ, Sushi, or Dim Sum.

Caffeine Fix: Giving Up Taste for Presentation?

caffeine fix

149-40 41st Ave
Flushing, NY 11355

Menu and Prices

This dainty little cafe has been a craze in Pinky’s circle of friends…and even on our dear friend, Yelp.  However, does it really live up to the hype or are we setting ourselves up for disappointment?

Victor and I — along with our previously featured friends, go in to discover for ourselves. We basically ordered different things to try out most of their menu.  They offer things from the various waffles, ice creams, honey toast, hot drinks, virgin mojito (Pinky was veeery skeptical of whether or not that would taste remotely good), and your assorted frappe flavors.

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Very Berry Belgian Waffle with 1 scoop ice cream. strawberries, blueberries, bananas, chocolate syrup or nutella $11.95

Victor says 3/5 Fish Toys icon thumbnailFish Toys icon thumbnailFish Toys icon thumbnail

DSCN5896When Pinky said we were going to Caffeine Fix… I assumed we going to some just going to some random coffee shop. Well.. it is some random coffee shop.. named Caffeine Fix 😛

I’m no coffee shop expert or whatever, but this place is pretty nice. The decor is very modern and the cashier was kind. Has a lot of “wooden” decor features, which I’ve been noticing a lot in restaurants and cafes lately.

So I ordered a virgin raspberry mojito. A pretty weird thing to order from a coffee shop, but I wasn’t looking to get my caffeine fix that day. The virgin raspberry mojito is very very sweet, but minty too. It will probably be too sweet for your average person, but I do have sweet tooth. It could have been nice with half the sweetness, but they also put a lot ice, which diluted it a lot later on.  It was about $4.50 for a medium sized drink.

Raspberry Mojito Sm $3.75 / Med $4.35 / XL $5.15 (Pictured Medium) Green Tea Latte Sm 3.95/ Med 4.55/ Lg 4.95 (Pictured Medium)
Raspberry Mojito Sm $3.75 / Med $4.35 / XL $5.15 (Pictured Medium)
Green Tea Latte Sm 3.95/ Med 4.55/ Lg 4.95 (Pictured Medium)

I also tried Pinky’s green tea latte. It was weird but okay. Their hot drinks are really… like REALLY hot when you first get it.  I burned the tip of my tongue taking a sip out of her drink. Pinky will go in more dept of what she thought of that drink. I couldn’t really taste it too much.

We ordered a very berry belgian waffle ($12) which can serve 2-4 people. The presentation of this dish is beautifully done and its like art. The waffle itself is just okay. I personally think Wafels and Dinges is still so much more better. The chocolate syrup on this very light, so you don’t get a whole lot of chocolate taste. You do however get a bunch of fruits: blueberries, strawberries, and banana slices! On top of everything, you get a big scoop of your choice of ice cream.

Overall… things are bit expensive here, but I suppose its aesthetically nice here. Not something to go out of my way for.

Pinky says 2.5/5 16-coffee-cup-icons-square-brown-lg16-coffee-cup-icons-square-brown-lg2 coffee

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I’m not even sure why this place has such a high rating on Yelp.
First of all, okay I give points for decor, but the seats weren’t even comfortable.  Mary and I were sitting on the bench seats because everyone else took the comfortable (?) sofa seats.  They obviously don’t want you sitting there long!

The prices are way too expensive based on the quality they serve. I get the whole logo cuteness, and presentation I give an A+, however the quality has to step up its game, BIG TIME.
My green tea latte tasted like edamame (soy bean) milk.  I have no idea why, but BLEGH. Even the green tea latte from Paris Baguette is a lot better.  Not to mention it took me forever to even get to the liquid part because there was 3+ inches of FOAM in my medium sized drink.  I mean I LOVE foam, but if it takes up more than the entire top of my cup, I’m already wanting my money back.

The waffles…you might call me crazy because you see all these beautifully crafted dessert places, but seriously I’d rather have an ugly looking dessert and have it taste AMAZING, than have a beautiful dessert tasting like nothing…I’ll admit the fruit is fresh and the ice cream okay.  It is NO waffels and dinges though, I’ve been spoiled, I guess. Later, we found a fruit fly in the waffle…not sure if it was there all along though! Juuusst saying…hahha.

I was very skeptical that the virgin mojito would taste good, but Victor being the daredevil he is.. lol ordered it.  The “virgin mojito” tasted like those sour patch kids candy except the flavors happen in reverse.  It is suuuper sweet then suuupper sour with the after-taste…blegh.

I was tricked by their cute marketing tactics and the pictures!!!! No.  Don’t make my mistake.

Press 195: Are they REALLY “Sandwich Kings”?

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22 N Park Ave
Rockville Centre, NY 11570

This gorgeously decorated restaurant is a local favorite to Rockville Centre, NY.  They serve good selection of beers and has a full bar…as well as a wide variety of pressed sandwiches (hot or cold), fries, soups, burgers, knishes, and salads!

They even do free local delivery from Monday – Sunday 11:30am to 9:30pm.  If you’re in the area…you know to call 516-536-1950.

You cannot miss this place with the nicely designed sign “PRESS 195” and the floor to ceiling glass, where you can peer into the full-bar area.

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They also offer Lunch Specials from Monday -Friday 11am – 3pm for half a sandwich/salad AND Belgian fries/house salad/soup of the day FOR ONLY $10!!!

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#43: Crispy Panko breaded chicken cutlet, grilled pineapple, Canadian bacon, Monterey Jack and Press 195’s famous chipotle sauce $10.00

Victor says 4.25Fish Toys icon thumbnailFish Toys icon thumbnailFish Toys icon thumbnailFish Toys icon thumbnail3fish

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These sandwiches are delicious and savory.

Press 195 is an interesting, yet beautiful restaurant. It has warm colors and has a lot of windows for allow natural light. It’s aesthetically pleasing and this place is just nice to be in. The waitress we had was very nice, but she didn’t ask if we ever wanted refills or any napkins.

Now onto the food and drinks!

I ordered a root beer float. Pinky wanted an alcoholic drink, but sadly… it was happy hours… but not where we sat. The root beer float was okay. I’m pretty sure I could have made it myself. It was just 2 scoops of ice cream with Saranac Root Beer. Still… I really enjoy drinks from Saranac.

Repeating what I said earlier, the sandwiches are delicious and savory. I ordered a Hot Press sandwich #43. It contains Crispy Panko breaded chicken cutlet, grilled pineapple, Canadian bacon, Monterey Jack cheese, and Press 195’s famous chipotle sauce sandwiched in between 2 slices of crispy Ciabatta bread.

Yeah, yeah, yeah… it sounds like something you may have had before, BUT ITS NOT. Its pretty freaking good…. and savory. I ordered the 1/2 Hot press sandwich with belgian fries lunch combo fo $10. If I could change something that day about the dining options, I would have just bought a whole sandwich without fries. It’s not that the fries were bad… it’s just that sandwich was so good. Remember… it’s quality over quantity!

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Getting back to the sandwich… Sandwich #43 just melted in my mouth. The flavors complimented each other well. It was sweet and also a bit spicy. The chicken wasn’t too dry and you can taste the seasoning on it. I loved every bite of this sandwich. I think what makes this place so good is their delicious ciabatta bread. It is so crunchy and that it doesn’t seem like ciabatta bread. Its like an English toast muffin with that crisp. It’s unique and I would love to eat these sandwiches again in the near future.

Definitely go check it out! Not very expensive and it’s quite good too!

#38: Grilled sliced steak, avocado, sweet onion jam, fresh Mozzarella and creamy roasted pepper dressing (Originally $11.00 for full; however as shown 1/2 sandwich with Belgian fries $10.00)
#38: Grilled sliced steak, avocado, sweet onion jam, fresh Mozzarella and creamy roasted pepper dressing (Originally $11.00 for full; however as shown 1/2 sandwich with Belgian fries $10.00)

Pinky says 4.5 16-coffee-cup-icons-square-brown-lg16-coffee-cup-icons-square-brown-lg16-coffee-cup-icons-square-brown-lg16-coffee-cup-icons-square-brown-lg2 coffee

DSCN5576This place is so amazing.  I just wish it was a lot closer for me…Even though they have a second location in Bayside (I hate riding the bus) I can’t even head out there.  I was first impressed by their front door and all the mirrors and shiny decorated walls.  It has a lot of natural light and can be seen as very trendy and modern.

I was really excited to go to this place because of all the good ratings on Yelp.  Yes, they are indeed true! I want to come back here often, as they have soo many sandwiches to try.  I actually had one in mind, then the waitress came and asked me what I wanted.  I answered, but in actuality I later realized I forgot my first choice and ordered a random one, #38.

The steak was so tender!! I’ve never had onion jam — It was delightful, however I still would like more physical pieces of onion, not just them mushed together.  It still worked really well with the avocado though.  THE BREAD was the most fantastic thing on earth.  Cripsy, crunchy, and most important delicious.

I initially wanted the #29, Grilled marinated sliced steak, tomato, Provolone cheese, onions and homemade Chimichurri sauce.  That is definitely on my first choice, once I step into this place again.

AND CAN YOU EVEN BELIEVE?! $10 lunch special with BELGIAN FRIES?! AND THAT MANY?! I almost fainted.  You loyal readers know I’m a sucker for fries.  They were hot to touch and fresh to taste.  There were some burnt ones on my plate though..I was a bit bummed out that they charge more for their Chipotle dipping sauce.  Good thing I got a taste from Victor’s sandwich.  Mwahah. Again, to die for.

Note: My half star off was because I was bummed that they don’t offer the same happy hour price for their alcoholic drinks if you sit in the dining area.  You have to be sitting at the bar if you want those prices.  BIG BUMMER.

Other than that, this place…..heavenly.

Extra shots.

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August Favorites!

Hey there peeps!

We are going to start a new thing on our WordPress called August Favorites.  This can be ranging from food products or even simply our month highlights.  This is going to be our first monthly posts of  our favorite things!!!

In our previous post, we had a little guessing game of what our new favorite is…whoever guessed it, here it is!

Pinky loveeessss it...maybe a little too much.
Pinky loveeessss it…maybe a little too much.

Trader Joe’s Mediterranean Greek Yogurt Dip: Made with Feta Cheese and Zaatar Spice — Tangy kick addition to any of your favorite dippable foods!

Although we added it to some salami, cheese, and cracker, this dip was already made out of cheese.. (Pinky missed the cheese part of the label and bought extra brie cheese — not that tasty that’s why it wasn’t featured) you can probably add it to a sandwich gyro or eat with some veggie sticks!! Yumm-oh.

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We tried it on these Multi-grain Crackers also from Trader Joe’s. First recommended by our dear friend Becky!!!

cheers

Trader Joe’s Sparkling Pomegranate Flavored Juice Beverage

Texture of soda, but also juice! Adds a bit of class to your party or gathering if you walk in bringing this bottle!  Non-alcoholic, so we brought it to the beach!! AND drank it out of the bottle…how much more classier can you get? Cheers, everyone!

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Also our final favorite of this month, (No, Trader Joe’s is not paying us to post this, although they should cough*) Trader Joe’s Milk Chocolate covered Raisins. Pinky is ADDICTED to these things.  They’re sweet and just so perfect when you want a boost to your day.

 

Happy Labor Day Weekend!!! The matching green was unintentional -- how corny.
Happy Labor Day Weekend!!! The matching green was unintentional — how corny.

All these items can be found in your local Trader Joe’s and as you can see, we brought these most of these things to the beach to have a romantic (poorly planned, but still awesome) picnic!!!

I hope everyone can still enjoy these items, even though Summer season is coming to a close…HAPPY LABOR DAY WEEKEND by the way!

As always you can let us know YOUR recommendations of restaurants or food products at our email at pinctoradventures@gmail.com.  Please feel free to send us anything!

Stay tuned for more monthly favorites as the Fall months start rolling by! (Pinky LOVES FALL!!!!)

 

We had some fun with the seagulls…

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A Real Shanghai Mong (Dream)

DSCN533830 W 32nd St
New York, NY 10001

This popular restaurant in the heart of NYC’s Korea Town features many Chinese and Korean fusion dishes.  That is why you might be confused with all the red in their decor, hey — are they Chinese or Korean? Doesn’t matter! Just enjoy the combination of delicious food from different cultures that come together in this place.

Might be pretty pricey for dinner, but you may be paying more for their fancier menus, service, and decor.  For lunch, this place is pretty affordable with a dollar off regular prices and with the same serving size (or might even be more?) than the dinner serving size of the dish.  Either way, you always leave full and satisfied! Here is the menu.

A Chinese/Korean fusion dish called, Jajangmyeon (자장면) is quite popular here.  It is a noodle dish that is covered in thick sauce made from black soybean paste.  Here they also add pork and veggies.  Okay, it might not sound or look appetizing, but…

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Mini Bites Fried Dumpling with Lemon Cream (10 piece $8.99)
Jja Jang Mmyun “자장면” $8.99 Noodles with pork and vegetables in black bean sauce
Jja Jang Mmyun “자장면” $8.99
Noodles with pork and vegetables in black bean sauce

Pinky says 5/516-coffee-cup-icons-square-brown-lg16-coffee-cup-icons-square-brown-lg16-coffee-cup-icons-square-brown-lg16-coffee-cup-icons-square-brown-lg16-coffee-cup-icons-square-brown-lg

DSCN5345I might be a bit bias since I have been coming to this place countless times ever since I discovered it back in 2011 or so.  I still have not had Jajangmyeon better than how this place makes it though!! Someone please prove me wrong and show me the best one you’ve ever had, seriously.  When you order this, the waiter/waitress asks you if you need them to cut it because the noodles are too long.  Should say yes, if you don’t want a face filled with delicious black bean sauce afterwards…

Not sure if you all know the story, but in Korea they have something called “Singles Day” or “Black Day” (for the sauce) where they eat Jajangmyeon by themselves in a restaurant.  And of course if you’re eating it by yourself, there might be someone else in the restaurant eating by himself or herself too.  Then…what happens? Match-made in heaven lol.  I used to eat this a lot more..when I was single =P But lo and behold, I did not meet Victor over a romantic evening of Jajangmyeon…bummer.

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Anyway, there is really something different about their noodles here — thicker? So it catches more of the sauce as you slurp it? Perhaps…or maybe it’s their perfectly cooked pork bits that remind you of the crispy American bacon?  Not really sure, but I do know that this stuff is ADDICTING.  I would dream about this bowl of heaven, no joke.

Our friend ordered an appetizer (I haven’t tried an appetizer here in a long time), the lemon cream dumplings.  It was a pleasant experience to have a sweet dessert-like dumpling, but after a while it got soggy.  I don’t think I would order it again…Be sure to eat those as soon as the plate hits your table, our you’re just going to eat a big mushy sweet and salty blob.

Also, if you eat seafood (I sometimes eat it when I think it’s worth having a mild allergic reaction to) you should try the also delicious 1/2 seafood Jjamppong (a seafood spicy noodle stew) and 1/2 Jajangmyun dish.  Get two dishes for the price of one!

Victor says 4/5 Fish Toys icon thumbnailFish Toys icon thumbnailFish Toys icon thumbnailFish Toys icon thumbnail

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Jajangmyun is good. I like it, but not as much as Pinky does.  This was my first time here.

This place does make the best Jajangmyun I tried so far, so you should check it out. I ordered the spicier version and it’s a dollar more than the normal one.  To me, it wasn’t that spicy, but it still has a little kick to it.  The chunks of meat are pretty big compared to other places I have been. I guess it’s pretty good.

However, I really really liked the appetizer. I have a knack for trying strange and unique things (except for seafood related things). Lemon Cream Dumpling? Now thats just genius. Like Pinky said… it’s a sorta like a dessert and it should savored right away. Its just that they served the food really fast the day we went and got our meal like 3 minutes after we got the dumplings.  It has a unique flavor and I really enjoyed it.  Very sweet and savory.

You should check this place out! The atmosphere is nice, but the modern day radio music sorta throws off the mood.  Expect spend anywhere from $10 -15 for a meal! I’d probably be coming again in the future…. because of Pinky. hahaha

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1/2 seafood Jjamppong (a seafood spicy noodle stew) and 1/2 Jajangmyun — Photo by Dave
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Chicken Noodle Soup $10.99 Noodle soup with chicken breast and vegetables in chicken broth –Photo by Dave

Our new friend, Vicki ordered the Chicken Noodle Soup and was shocked by the massive portion of it.  She did find a piece of hair in it though…the forever mystery of whose hair is it?

Dave ordered the 1/2 jjampong and 1/2 jajangmyun and said that the seafood part was spicy! He also thought it was pretty filling.

However, in the words of Dave:

Good friends > Good food

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Thanks for the treat, Dave!

Love,

Victor and Pinky

New Twist on an Old Classic

DSCN5144Xe May Sandwich Shop
96 Saint Marks Pl
New York, NY 10009

This little hidden gem, created by ALAN WOO AND DAVIS NGO, is located only a couple blocks from the bustling St. Mark’s area of NYC in the East Village.  It features a new spin on the classic Vietnamese sandwich called the Bánh mì.  It is usually made with a baguette type of bread, topped with some kind of meat (chicken, pork, etc), fresh vegetables (pickled carrots, cilantro, etc), and some kind of sauce.

Xe May is a very small shop, so it’s only good for a quick power lunch or if you’re buying to go.  Not a good place if you’re planning to have a big group meal.  Here is the menu, featuring their sandwiches, salads, tacos, and even a lunch special with a drink and snack.

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The “Hog” — Grilled Pork, Scallion Oil, Fried Shallots (fresh Cilantro, Pickled Carrots, Daikons, Cucumbers and Chili Mayo) $6.50

Victor says 4.5/5 Fish Toys icon thumbnailFish Toys icon thumbnailFish Toys icon thumbnailFish Toys icon thumbnail2 fish

DSCN5148I think these are the best Vietnamese sandwiches I have ever had to this date.

Sooo…. I’ve been wanting to go to this sandwich place since like last year. Every time we visit St. Marks, I’m asking Pinky “Can we finally stop by Xe May?” and she would say “maybe next time, we’re full”…. LOL.

So the day finally came…. we went and it was good.  Just to let you know, this place is very small. There are probably only about 4 seats here, so you will most likely be grabbing it to go, which is perfectly fine. Fortunately for us, no one else was there when we were eating. I really like the vibe here and the workers seem so chill.

Now that you guys know what a Banh Mi is… you can try it here! It’s relatively cheap, but actually expensive if you compare it to other Vietnamese sandwich places around New York City.  A sandwich here is about 6 to 7 bucks, which is not bad for Manhattan. It’s filling and delicious, but most of all, flavorful.

What makes this sandwich a step above the rest is its unique flavors. Pinky and I shared the “Hog.” Aside from their included ingredients, The “Hog” consists of grilled pork, scallion oil, and fried shallots.  The chili mayo is also a wonderful addition to this sandwich and I think it is actually one of the major things that make this Vietnamese sandwich shop stand out above the rest.  The baguette was absolutely crispy and toasted perfectly. I felt like it was a perfect combination of ingredients. Of course I wanted to order another sandwich, but I will save it for next time!  Will definitely be back here in the future to try the other sandwiches!

We also shared an ice Vietnamese coffee. I thought it was pretty good, a tad bit sweet for me. Unlike Pinky, I am not a coffee addict/ professional. You can ask her how it was.

So if you’re around the area and wanna grab something quick to go, I would highly recommend this place if you just want sandwich for a good price.

Pinky says 4/516-coffee-cup-icons-square-brown-lg16-coffee-cup-icons-square-brown-lg16-coffee-cup-icons-square-brown-lg16-coffee-cup-icons-square-brown-lg

DSCN51491I’m personally not that much of a sandwich fan, but I would definitely recommend a good refreshing viet sandwich now and then.  The shop is cute and it reminds me of those informal street vendors in Asia.  The baguette part of the sandwich was very crispy and crunchy and the pork was seasoned perfectly.

I wish it was a bit spicier though.  I thought we would have a special sauce when we asked for more spicy, but it was just jalapeno.  No fouls there though.  I’m usually also not one to like cilantro or those minty strong herbs.  However, I don’t know why I only like it when it’s in a Vietnamese sandwich…they really know how to marry flavors together.  I also liked the kick of flavor from the chili mayo.  I think this is the first viet sandwich I had with chili mayo!  It was very filling too.  I only had half of the sandwich and I was stuffed.

DSCN5147The iced coffee for $2.50 is a pretty good deal, considering it’s not watered down — but it doesn’t really taste like the real Vietnamese coffee, simply coffee that I could get anywhere else.  The place is really easy to miss if you’re not looking for it so be sure to look out for it and go give it a try.

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Hey, It’s Jurassic Park?

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1 Dinosaur Way
Secaucus, NJ 07094

Could it be that there is a park that features dinosaurs?! Yes, your dreams have just come true.  Located in Secaucus, New Jersey, this place had a LIVING SOCIAL deal recently and that’s why we decided to try it out.  And…okay fine, we really went to let our inner nerds out.  I mean, who DOESN’T LOVE dinosaurs?  We aren’t really sure why people were rolling in with their kids on a Saturday around late 3pm.

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All the folks with their children must have been using their living social deals, since there were separate lines for those individuals using those vouchers.  We are sad to announce that the approximately 50% off deal just expired though…

Make sure to bring extra $10 for parking fees though.  They consider the fee as a “environmental fee” and urge you all to take the mass transit instead of driving your car.

The park features about 32 dinosaurs in a small dirt covered area.  Make sure also not to wear your nicest clothes to this park, you will definitely get covered in sand/dirt that is all scattered around this park.

However, the real deal is: Did it live up to our expectations?  Check out this video we recorded.  It features how the dino-bots move!

Pinky says 2/5 16-coffee-cup-icons-square-brown-lg16-coffee-cup-icons-square-brown-lg

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I personally didn’t think this place was worth the trip.  However, I will give them an extra star for effort.  It seems silly, but I expected a lot more from a place like this.  Because of my crazy imagination, I was thinking there would be dinosaurs that you could actually see move and not lay stagnant in the bushes or behind trees.  The park was also awfully designed with tacky sponsor messages everywhere.  I would definitely recommend this place for parents with children, since adults will not enjoy this place.  What I did enjoy was that at least they made the dinosaurs look like they were living and breathing.  Some were even interacting with their environment when their tails were swishing around little weeds.  I wish their sounds were a bit louder though, even though I would understand the young children would be scared of them.  BUT HEY, they’re freaking dangerous dinosaurs — they should be scary as hell.

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I wish I could ride these little dinos..I’m not asking for a lot right? Okay, maybe I am.  I see a lot of things they need to fix though.  One thing especially, they need to expand — we finished walking around within an hour.  I actually wonder what would happen if it rained too…the park is all filled with this sand stuff that got all over my dress and shoes! Blegh.  Ladies, even though this is a crazy small park, leave the heels and fancy maxi dresses at home.

Victor says 2/5 Fish Toys icon thumbnailFish Toys icon thumbnail

Children will probably say 10/5

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This place is expeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeensive.

We got our day-passes from LivingSocial.com and for $12 each. Normally, its $25 per adult, $20 for children (3-12), and free for kids under 2, without any additional extremities like 3D movies or a trip to the Commander’s tent.  On top of that, if you drove here, expect to pay another $10 for parking. Because of the recent deal, the park was crowded with so many people.

Coming here will give you the feeling of entering into the land of Jurassic Park. Giant gates with overgrown trees and shrubbery everywhere. The park workers and staff are semi-helpful. I think it would also be appropriate for workers to hide their tattoos as well since there any many children and parents watching the shows.

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The amphitheater show was a little disappointing, but it was definitely aimed more at children for sure. The show started almost 15 minutes late and we were baking in the sun.  Basically, it was just a couple of guys inviting kids to dance as he was playing guitar and singing.

I guess it’s time to review the dinosaurs themselves. I guess I was semi-impressed with them? They were modeled pretty realistic and probably look a lot more realistic to a child. Some of the dinosaurs were robotic, so they would move their neck, blink, breathe, swing their tail, rotate their head, etc. Dinosaur audio calls were usually these hidden speakers or speaker rocks next to the dinosaurs. Some of the dinosaurs tower you, which is pretty awesome.  Pinky and I had a lot of fun trying to “run-away” from the immobile robots.  I think of all the dinosaurs at the park, I was the most disappointed at Pterodactyl near the center of the park on a tall cliff. It was basically just a dinosaur model on top of a spinning disc, rotating aimlessly. I think more thought could be put into some of the things at this park.

Overall, I just don’t think it’s worth coming if you’re going to pay the full price. It’s definitely cool place to bring your kids and  because I’m pretty sure Pinky and I were the only adults without kids there that day.

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Wafels and Dinges Cafe: Living up to the hype?

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Thanks to the model standing right in front of the new Wafels and Dinges Cafe on the corner of Ave B & E 2nd St in Manhattan, NY

So you might or might not have heard the great Wafels and Dinges food truck has recently opened their new cafe on the corner of Ave B and E 2nd Street in the Lower East Side. For our thoughts about the food truck, you can visit this link here.

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The decor is flawless and totally in tune with their image and friendliness from their food truck stands.  As you reach for the door knob, you already feel like you’re in wafel paradise because you are really reaching for a spatula ! The wafel station is like an island in the middle of the cafe and there are menus on both sides that reminds you of the food truck menus.

However, the prices are a bit higher (by a dollar or two) because I’m assuming of the indoor service they are providing.  Also, I believe they offer a lot of various items such as the affogato and specialty shakes, that the food trucks do not offer.  The seats remind me of sitting in a kindergarten classroom since they are low and there are benches that have the same color theme of yellow and brown.

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You can also grab the daily newspaper on the side of the cafe and sit all day with the Wifi provided too.  The WiFi password is located on the chalkboard menu right in front of the cash register.  Near the back and the restroom area, there is also a fun little chalkboard area where you can draw little waffle characters or whatever you enjoy doodling for the other waffel lovers to view.

The cafe also features some shelves of books and even their own infamously delicious speculoo jars and maples syrup jars.  Be sure to explore around every corner of this place!

WMD brussels waffel with fixings - strawberries, banana, chocolate syrup, whipped cream, and dulce de leche ($ 8.00)
WMD brussels waffel with fixings – strawberries, banana, chocolate syrup, whipped cream, and dulce de leche ($ 8.00)
Bailey's chocolate shake $8.00
Bailey’s chocolate shake $8.00

Pinky says 3.75/5

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Okay let me explain this rating before you go all crazy on me! I guess I was expecting a lot more from them than they could have done…I ordered the WMD Brussels waffel for $8, but I was expecting the same freshness from the food truck…but that didn’t happen.

The waffel was a bit cold even though all the toppings were fresh and the plate was beautifully decorated.  I am assuming because the place was pretty empty, they don’t sell fast enough.  I did however love the staff as always for their friendliness and courtesy.  I ALSO loved their dang deliciousness mug of pleasure, called the Bailey’s chocolate shake. Oh baby, it was like pure heaven.  Great for the hot summer day and chocolate milk lovers because of its thickness and silkiness at the same time!

The area is a bit out of the way, being that it is quite a walk from other more popular places, but I salute your efforts towards opening this great new place! However, I think it just takes the excitement out of food stands, you know? The spontaneity. The unknown…of whether or not you’ll get a seat while enjoying your great waffel.  Good visit, but I don’t think the possibility of coming back is high…

Victor says 3.75 too!

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A nice little shop, but not located near the heart of New York. It’s in a rather strange location, but I guess it’s close to Wiliiamsburg at least. The decor in the place is quite nice. I like the colors and it’s just warm place to be. The staff is just amazingly friendly as well the manager/ boss. This manager/ boss guy just kept getting us straws and utensils, and kept asking us how the food was. We had no idea he was the manager/ boss because he wasn’t in uniform and he just looked like some in guy on his mac in a cafe.

Aside from the splendid service and decor, their food was good, but not as good as the food carts surprisingly. They have some things on their menu that are only available at their restaurant, so you should stop by here if you want to try something new!

I ordered a Bailey’s Chocolate shake, which was a bit expensive ($8) but it tasted awesome. Basically, its an chocolate ice cream shake with Bailey’s chocolate fudge on the sides topped with whipped cream and a basil leaf. It’s not very thick and you can drink it up with a straw. Very rich, creamy, and smooth! I can drink it all day!

The wafel… was not as good as the carts sadly. Pinky ordered a WMB waffel with strawberries, bananas, fudge, and powdered sugar. The wafel wasn’t warm and didn’t taste freshly made. They grabbed a wafel from their tray and we weren’t sure how long it has been out there. The bananas were mushy and warm. Aside from that, it was okay. I guess it’s different from the food carts, because they make the wafel in front you.

Overall, if you want to try something that’s not from the carts, I would check this place out. It is definitely out of the way though. A bit pricier too, by at least $1.

Here are some more photos of the decor and cafe overall:

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Wafels and Dinges Menu

Stromboli craze and how Pinky wished she attended Rutgers University

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49 Easton Ave
New Brunswick, NJ 08901

This very unique pub is very popular among the students who attend Rutgers…and I clearly see why.  Upon arrival, you have very nice waitresses who put you first! She was kind enough to suggest a bigger table for our party of five, even when we had no complaints of a regular table!

By the entrance there is a huge decorative version of their “mascot” boli the kid…very humorous, I’m sure!  It was even more humorous when we saw the “Fish Bowls” which are 60 ounces of their specialty cocktails (Horny Hawaiian, Blue Bang, Island Escape, and Blue Flamingo).DSCN4577

What else makes this place special? Their strombolis… These are specialty hand-made “wraps” made out of pizza dough and have your favorite Italian meats, cheeses, sauces and vegetables as delicious fillings.  They also offer not only one or two types of stromboli, but have a whole menu of 30 different types! Can’t commit to having one type? They even offer you an option to make your own…so take some flavors from here and there!! As if you didn’t have enough options, you can also choose to have a baby-size (small 4.5 inches), regular (9 inches), and a huge (18 inches).  You can check their menu ahead of time here.

Their decor looked very college-esque.  Reminded me of a frat house! Here are some pictures of the interior.
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Here is Stuff Yer Face featured in Man Vs Food!

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my favorite boli of onions, peppers, mozz cheese, tomato sauce, (+5 more) pepperoni, steak, mushrooms, spinach, brie super size $12.15

Victor and friend..posing with strombolis
Victor and friend..posing with strombolis

Victor says: 4/5

Our quest for Stuff Yer Face began after I remembered about the eateries around New Brunswick on Man vs. Food. I originally wanted to try the Fat Sandwiches there, but stromboli’s just seemed like the more sensible choice on a rainy day.

Also, their mascot looks like a really freaky version of Quagmire from family guy, but still a fun little mascot I guess.

The interior isn’t the prettiest. Like Pinky said, it almost looks like a college frat house with all those posters. The tables look a little sticky and the windows look like they haven’t been washed in forever. Even though it doesn’t look very nice the room we were, the food was amazing and waitresses were really attentive to us.

Their bolis are typically around 7 dollars for the large (9 inches) or baby combo ( 4.5 inches with soup or salad) or 11 dollars for HUGE one (18 inches). Pinky and I ordered a huge boli and split it. You must have a large stomach if you want to finish the huge in one sitting… like Adam Richman from Man vs Food.

We ordered the My Favorite boli, which allows you to pick any 5 stuffings (meats, veggies, cheeses, and sauces) with tomato sauce, onions, and mozzarella cheese.  We ordered ours with pepperoni, steak, brie cheese, spinach, and mushrooms. Taking our first bite was simply amazing. I thought it was wonderful blend of ingredients, but it definitely could have been better with  the addition of a sauce. The tomato sauce alone was really watery and it was mouth burning hot when the juices gushed out of the boli. They are also generous with their ingredient portions. It’s pretty much a pizza burrito.  I would definitely like to come back here and try out their other bolis one day.

For you party animals and drinkers, you can give their fishbowls or drafts a try 😛

Check this place out! I give it two thumbs up!

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Pinky says 4/5

If I were to go attend a college…for their offered food, I would definitely go to Rutgers.  How incredibly lucky they are to have this place near them!   I loved the feel of the place and how chill everyone is.  Can there be a motto better than, “Get stuffed…” ?! The area around Rutgers seems to be such a beautiful one! Such a college town, it reminded me a bit of Boston..strange!!!

Myself, Vic, and some friends definitely had a good time over our fresh strombolis.  It brought me back to our college days!  Before this I’ve actually never eaten one, so I have been definitely missing out.  I really enjoyed having a crispy pizza dough wrap rather than the traditional soggy ones.  Although, I regret not ordering another sauce since the tomato sauce was more watery tomato juice than anything.  Other than that I couldn’t stop eating it!!!

As for the fishbowl, I thought it was an amazing idea — I had a bit too much fun with the extremely long straws.  I can’t imagine finishing the whole cup though.. 60 ounces of crazy! That’s why they limit one per person, I’m assuming.  We had the Horny Hawaiian and it tasted more like pineapple juice! Very fruity, but don’t underestimate rum!

Just found out that Mario Batali used to work here…dang!!! Read more about Mario Batali here.

pitcher of water comparison to Horny Hawaiian fish bowl ($14) 60 ounces!
pitcher of water comparison to Horny Hawaiian fish bowl ($14) 60 ounces!

Bayou Staten Island; GATOR WHAT?!

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1072 Bay St
Staten Island, NY 10305
Menu

Once you come into this dimly lit restaurant, there is what it seems a mysterious aura it gives off…It would remind you of any high class restaurant located in the heart of Manhattan, although this place is in (out of all places) Staten Island!

The decor consists of many masks that remind me of masquerades and numerous mardi gras beads hanging against a brick wall.  Also, there are full-size old classic style movie posters.

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Near the back, there is additional seating and to the side the restrooms are not labelled “men” and “women”, but labelled something else. See for yourself!  Outside the restrooms, there are awards hung on the wall..but not very much room to gaze at them.

Apparently, they serve dinner 3-course prixe fix meals, however Vic and I came during lunch time.  It serves as a quiet romantic atmosphere and the staff are quite nice.  Once seated, the host gives you the menu and a drinks menu.

{What about their specialty though??? Read on!}

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sweet potato fritters (daily lunch special $8) dinner price; $9
sweet potato fritters (daily lunch special $8) dinner price; $9
gator burger $12 includes sweet potato fries or curly fries (salad is additional charge)
gator burger — yes a GATOR BURGER {mixed with pork} — $12 includes sweet potato fries or curly fries (salad is additional charge)

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This was a rather interesting find for me.  After living on Staten Island for so many years, I didn’t think there would be any exquisite restaurants besides your usual diners. From looks of the exterior, you probably would have no idea what it would look like inside. For me, it was like stepping into another world.

Walking in, you already begin to hear the jazzy and soul music. On the left, you have this giant mural of Louie Armstrong with a bunch or awards and plaques.. and on the right, you have the bar before you even step into the actual restaurant section.

After being seated, you see a lot of things you won’t see in your typical restaurants: Mardi gra beads everywhere , Masquerade masks along the walls and lights, old movie posters, an alligator gypsy, and much more! It does seem a bit understaffed though because our waitress was also the bartender.

For the appetizers, I ordered sweet potato fritters. It was recommended by several people after reading some reviews on Yelp, so I guess I had to try it out! Basically, it’s a sweet potato ball with pieces of sausage mixed into it that’s deep-fried with spicy mayo sauce on top. I guess it’s bit pricey for something that seems simple, but they made it pretty good in my own opinion. I was actually completely imagining something else when I ordered it. I was thinking of little fritos or something. The fritters have a nice crispy texture, but once you bite into it, you get to the core of the sweet potato ball. Its smooth and not too sweet. It’s quite delectable and the spicy mayo makes it so much better. I definitely think that they could have added more spicy mayo to it because it was just so good. The pieces of sausage gave the fritter the salty taste it needed.

So for the entree… I ordered a Gator Burger. Before everyone gives me crap like “oh isn’t that seafood” or “alligators are endangered” or whatever…. IT’S SEAFOOD AND IT’S NOT ENDANGERED. I also know that it lives in the water most of the time and blah blah blah. Yeah…. I was well aware of what was going to happen after eating this burger.

So…. enough that… The gator burger was rather interesting, the least to say. It’s pork and alligator meat that’s been mixed and seasoned into a patty. It was put on a large toasted English muffin with lettuce and tomatoes with curly fries as a side. The burger had a crispy outer layer, but the inside of the burger was extremely soft and tender. It was like nothing I ever tasted. It was very salty and herb-y however. I had to add a bunch of hot sauce so it wouldn’t be as salty. It just had unique taste because I never had pork or alligator for a burger before. The burger was okay, but it was difficult for me eat it. Like as if my own soul was like fighting with my body as if broke some royal decree. Each bite seemed harder than the next, so I sorta ate the burger as quick as I could after the mid-point. I guess if I wasn’t really thinking about it that much, I probably would have enjoyed it bit more.

I guess if you want to try something different, you can check out it this place. I would still recommend despite my weird experience with gator burger. The atmosphere is quiet and romantic and food is decent. It’s not extremely expensive either. Give this place a go if you’re into Southern food!

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French Quarter $8.95; Grilled chicken, Brie,onions and roasted peppers — includes sweet potato fries or curly fries (salad is additional charge)

Pinky Says 3.75/5

This place was definitely a fancy restaurant and I kept thinking that Manhattan would be a better place for this kind of food.  Despite the fact that there were forks and knives falling everywhere in this place (clumsy busboy) — they were nice to us and were professional.  Despite its classiness atmosphere, they were using these — brown paper towel table linings beneath our plates.  Strange….Sorta drops the classy level down for me. When Vic told me that this place offered GATOR burgers I was like WHAT. HOW and WHAT.

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The fritters came by first though, as our appetizer — they were very very mushy inside like sweet mashed potato while simultaneously being very crispy outside.  However, I didn’t really like the fact that it was $8 a plate haha. I believe I could just make that myself! I actually wanted more of that spicy mayo it’s served with.  They were laid upon some strangely colored lettuce…

Okay, I ordered the French Quarter because I thought it was going to be healthy.  I was really being dumb because how can anything with awesome to-die-for brie cheese EVER be healthy? It was probably the most unhealthiest sandwich ever! Haha.  There were two pieces of grilled chicken NOT one.  The pieces were cooked to perfection, being STILL moist and not of cardboard texture.  It was of course not a very lady-like meal since the whole thing was covered in grease and I couldn’t get a hold of it because of its ginormous size.  I would have enjoyed some lettuce or any other vegetables other than the red peppers though.  There were overwhelmingly big pieces of red peppers and very few onions !! — The thing I dislike the most is soggy buns and the bottom piece of bread was SOAKED. It was crazy filling though…only could eat half of it.

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I did like the sweet potato fries though.  They were not mushy, but crisp and hot to touch.

I tried also a bite of the gator burger…was not very satisfied — as I encrypted an image of a baby gator with all its scaly skin pulled apart. Oh, no…It was strangely very salty.  Don’t think I could have handled a whole patty of that.  It was mushy..and salty..beglhlegeh.

Roller Jam USA

DSCN3595RollerJam USA
236 Richmond Valley Road, Tottenville
718-605-6600
www.rollerjamusa.com

This very interesting and unique venue is located at the most Southern tip of Staten Island, Tottenville.

Rink newly opened in July 2007 and renovating in early 2013. And unless we’ve lost track of things, RollerJam has been the only indoor, year-round roller rink in the city almost since it opened.

Reported to be a bit small and has a non-wood floor, but has plenty of leather couches for relaxing on when off your skates. It already seems to have become fairly popular and is drawing good crowds.

RollerJam USA has also an arcade near the right of the place and features free pizza on Fridays, as well as a full bar for the adults with their kids.  As quoted before, RollerJam is only one of very few roller rinks in NYC and draws many people even during late nights.  Rental of skates and admission is total $14.  Lockers cost extra.  BRING SOCKS! Once you enter turn to the left and give your street shoes to the staff member and he/she will ask you your shoe size and what kind of skates; rollerskates or rollerblades?  There is also an option to use wristguards or helmets.

Victor says: 2.5/5

I think it’s pretty cool that roller skate rinks like this still exist in the world, but the atmosphere can be crazy in here.

First off, it’s located Staten Island. Not to hate on Staten Island or anything, but the tolls here are just off the hooks (P.S. I come from Staten Island). I have seen the toll for the Verrazano Bridge go from $6 to like $15 in a less then a decade.

I guess enough ranting of that. When I went here, it just looked so sketchy. It’s literally a warehouse with the glowing words  “Roller Jam USA” on the side. The price can be little expensive too. If you don’t have your own skates, it’s about $15 with rentals. I think it’s $10 if you have your own.

The workers here aren’t very pleasant and don’t seem to enjoy their job. I was yelled at by one of the workers for stopping on the side of the rink… but that was only because I was waiting for someone.

The song selection isn’t the greatest, but I guess that’s what the kids are into nowadays. There was an alarming number of middle school kids there when we went, but that’s probably because it was a Friday night. As I noted before, it can get crazy on the rink. People are zipping and tripping left and right of you. Those who are obnoxious  push and shove their way through you. And…. the rink is also pretty small!

This place is definitely in need of some major improvements. But if you asked me, it could be a cool place to hangout if you come at a hour with not many people.

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Pinky says 2/5

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Please refuse me admission! – Pinky

I am biased.  I am not very much a person who craves adventure and having to be surprised to be brought here, wasn’t so…good for me.  The place is really decorated in a tacky manner and is almost like a time capsule into the 1970s. Even their legit roller skates looked like they were going to fall apart at any second.  There is a reason why these are all closing down lol.  Not being a SI native, I did not know that children stay out so late at roller rinks.  These kids were crazy and crowded the whole area! When I was a kid, I was not holding hands with boys and staying out until 11pm!

DSCN3603The staff there was not very professional either, mouthing off in front of the kids. Although I am supposed to be rating the place, I cannot help but be turned off by foul language from a staff member.  Don’t even get me started on the horrible DJ.  I cannot have a good time with horrible music.  Not going to come back here anytime soon.  One, I cannot skate, worse than ice skating…!!! Two, it’s like in the middle of no where…LOL. 

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