Faux Meat at Red Bamboo

Processed with VSCOcam with hb1 presetThere are some times where we want to be healthy.  Healthy times are rare times, however of course there would be this really hip asian fusion soul food that is VEGAN / VEGETARIAN in our greatest city ever.  A small intimate dining area – Red Bamboo would be an ideal date spot.

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Poconos Labor Day 2015 Part 2!

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All in all, we had an awesome time in the Poconos. We also visited the Casino Theatre Entertainment Center and had a grand ol’ time. Believe it or not, this place been around since the 1920’s. You can get a cheap dinner and movie for about $11 (that’s still cheaper than a movie at regular price in NYC). The dinner isn’t anything fancy, hamburgers or hotdogs galore along with a drink!  The food is given at the start of the movie on a tray that you can connect to your drink holder (genius!).

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“dinner” & a movie

It definitely has an old time feel to it. Believe or not, we were the youngest ones in the theater that day because it was SENIORS MONDAY ;). We went to go watch Ricki and the Flash, and surprisingly, it was pretty good. The other two films were Minions and Straight Outta Compton, but those films started already.

Pinky really liked the theater as well.  It had a charm to it and the decor brought you back to much simpler times. It even had that chicken laying egg game… Pinky remembers that being much of her childhood.  They also have awesome Hershey’s ice cream,  arcades, and a mini golf course (that was only $4 to play!!!) to kill time if you’re waiting for a movie to start.  Mini gofl is NO JOKE!  We weren’t keeping score, so that we can all stay friends.

Continue reading “Poconos Labor Day 2015 Part 2!”

O Sole Mio

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2194 Nesconset Hwy
Stony Brook, NY 11790

We already reviewed the garlic knots for this place in a previous entry, however we definitely wanted to come back to try their actual PASTA! What other great opportunity would we take rather than when we visit our alma mater again? And this time, we had some extra taste buds from our friend, Mary.

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On this bustling Saturday night, the place was crowded in the front because of the take-out/pizza parlor near the entrance.  On the other hand, if you’re in the mood for some nice lighting and fancy sit-down dining you can go ahead and speak with the hostess.

That’s what we did!  We received some complimentary garlic knots,slices of bread, and bruschetta upon seating, as well as a plate of some good olive oil to dip.

There were many many choices of pasta, so we took a bit of time to decide.  Here is the menu for your review.  Our first choice was the appetizer Fried Ravioli.  Our server was nice enough to be patient with us and gave us some space to decide.

Mary ordered the Pasta Siciliana and Vic/I got the Alla Vodka.

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Fried Ravioli
Filled with ricotta cheese, lightly breaded and fried to perfection. Served with a side of tomato sauce for dipping. $8.99
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Pasta Siciliana
Served with pan fried eggplant in a filetto di pomodoro sauce with Rigatoni $12.50
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Alla Vodka
Pink cream and vodka sauce with a touch of meat with Linguine $13.50

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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I definitely recommend this place to who ever loves pasta (like I do).  Oftentimes I have these huge pasta cravings and now I wish that I went to O Sole Mio more while I was studying at Stony.  Actually, perhaps not because I would say that this place is not that cheap, but the portions are huge.  I would probably be more broke than I am now!  Great atmosphere and service for a good special occasion meal though.  The pasta that I had was really heavy.  This is not for the weak!  With everything, less is always more because I felt really disgusting near the end and felt like I was drinking heavy cream.   I could barely finish it, even though the waiter split the meal into half for Victor and me. BUT I WILL STILL HAVE IT AGAIN! Mm fat.

I tried some of Mary’s pasta and I loved the taste too.  The eggplant went really well with the sauce, despite the fact that I am not a big fan of eggplant.  The ravioli was just alright though.  I’m not sure what else they could have done to it to make it more special, but perhaps it was just because of the regular marinara sauce it was served with.  It was pretty pricey for only a couple of pieces.  The garlic knots in the beginning of the meal were again delicious, just like the last time we had them!

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

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Although this isn’t my first time here, it’s my first time in the restaurant portion of this Italian Restaurant/ Pizza Take-Out.  I actually wish I have gone here more too. The food here is just always so good. I just assumed this was mediocre,  since it was always advertised around the college we were at. Everything about this place is just wonderful. The pizzas here are like the (good) pizzas in New York City with the thin crust and perfect amount of cheese.

If you’re coming here to sit and dine, its a completely different atmosphere compared to the pizza take-out section. It actually feels like you’re in a fancy restaurant. The waiters are wonderful and are always stopping by to see if everything alright (which it was!)

The garlic knots,  slices of bread, and bruschetta were quite delectable.

The fried ravioli was okay, I guess. I don’t know what to really expect. I’ve always heard people rave about fried raviolis, but it didn’t stand out to me.  Maybe I’m just not the biggest fan of ricotta cheese.  Pinky and I ordered the Alla Vodka and the waiter was kind enough to split our plate into two dishes! I actually really enjoyed this dish and I think I could have finished one whole plate by myself 😛 The sauce was sweet, but it was really heavy and thick for a sauce. The added cheese gave it a more creamy texture. Everything just seemed right about this pasta. Nothing was overcooked and it just went well together. I’d get it again if I came here! I tried Mary’s pasta too! The taste wasn’t quite memorable, but I’m not the biggest fan of eggplant either.

So if you’re in the area, come check this place out for their pizzas, pastas, and everything else!

20131206_183220Thanks to Mary for chilling with us! And for letting us borrow your phone for these pictures…haha

Pota-topia: Pinky’s Dream Come True

DSCN7031378 6th Avenue
New York, NY

What has this world come to!?!? A restaurant that only serves potatoes as a main course?!?! You heard it right, this place only serves potatoes… in all shapes and sizes, with whatever toppings you desire. Pota-topia initially started as kiosk in Menlo Park Mall in Edison, New Jersey. After much success and popularity, the owner decided to open one up in Manhattan, New York. Definitely, a great decision because it’s hugely popular in the city too. Did I also mention that Pinky absolutely LOVES POTATOES? You can also visit their website at here!

Fun fact: Victor gave Pinky a raw potato for her 20th birthday with a candle on top…and she bit it for a perfect photo op.

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COMATOSER
Skin Chips, House Salt and Pepper, Cheddar Cheese, Asiago Cheese, Pepperjack Cheese, Green Onions, Red Onion, Garlic, Cilantro, Jalapeño, Broccoli, Bacon, Melted Cheddar, Roasted Pepper and Ranch $7.75

CURLY SUE Curly Cut, House Salt and Pepper, Pepperjack Cheese, Parmesan Cheese, Jalapeño, Garlic, Green Onion, Chipotle Ketchup and Garlic Aioli $6.50
CURLY SUE
Curly Cut, House Salt and Pepper, Pepperjack Cheese, Parmesan Cheese, Jalapeño, Garlic, Green Onion, Chipotle Ketchup and Garlic Aioli $6.50

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

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Quite an interesting place in my opinion. New York City never ceases to amaze me in its wide variety of wacky and  unique restaurants. This dainty little place can be found near West Village in Manhattan. This restaurant can be hidden amidst all the other stores around it, but once you see it’s signature potato logo, you know you’re heading towards the right place.

The design of Potatopia reminds a lot like the Wafels and Dinges Cafe, even though they are different in their own  ways. They use very warm colors like yellow, gray, and white, as well using wooden decor and seats. Sort of a like urban eco-design I would say. The vibe and environment is also quite similar to Wafels and Dinges. The staff are all pretty young folk, but they are also very friendly and just seem genuinely happy.

This place like a fast food take out joint, so don’t expect it to be a quiet sit-down kind of place. If it was a busy hour, I think it would be hard to find a seat.  Upon arriving through its glass doors, there is a table against the window to your left and a long wooden table towards the middle with a couple of seats. To right of the entrance are the paper menus you can grab if you don’t want to wait on line yet.

DSCN7038If you forgot a menu and already walked in, you can always looks at the large TV menus above the cashiers and potato chefs.  The TV menus are bright and vivid with one of them showing tweets from fans!

Well, I guess I should start talking about the real stuff: the food.

On their menu, they have signature dishes and the possibility of creating your very own dish.Pinky and I decided to try the signatures, The Comatoser and Curly Sue.

The Curly Sue is made up of Curly Cut fries with House Salt and Pepper, Pepperjack Cheese, Parmesan Cheese, Jalapeño, Garlic, Green Onion, Chipotle Ketchup and Garlic Aioli. Sounds like a mouthful, eh? Out of the two dishes we got, I actually really enjoyed this one more. I’m a big fan of curly fries and I just felt that all the ingredients went together wonderfully well. A big part of this were the interesting sauces. You don’t see Chipotle Ketchup or Garlic Aioli on fries normally, it made it so savory. The fries were absolutely crunchy and the scallions were a nice addition. I do feel that it was a little bit too much scallion, but that’s okay. Overall, I really enjoyed this signature dish and you should try it out too!

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Comatoser skin chip

The Comatoser is composed of Skin Chips with  House Salt and Pepper, Cheddar Cheese, Asiago Cheese, Pepperjack Cheese, Green Onions, Red Onion, Garlic, Cilantro, Jalapeño, Broccoli, Bacon, Melted Cheddar, Roasted Pepper and Ranch. A little pricier than the Curly Sue, but it also contains more stuff too! As you know, I’m a big fan of quality, not quantity. To me, the flavors just didn’t really stand out to me.  I’m not saying it’s awful or anything, I just liked the Curly Sue much more. It’s pretty much the suped-up version of a Wendy’s Broccoli, Bacon, and Cheese potato.

Overall, this place is pretty good, so check this place out. It’s not too relatively expensive with dishes ranging from $7-$10. If you’re daring and want to make your own special potato, go ahead, you potato connoisseur. If you don’t like potatoes at all, maybe this place will change your mind.

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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How can someone go wrong with a restaurant that serves so many different kinds of potatoes?!  I loved the COMATOSER better than the CURLY SUE.  I would have to disagree with Vic on his comment that it tastes like a glorified baked potato.  I felt that that texture of the skin chips was so unique and awesome.  The inside of the “chip” tasted like a mashed potato and the outside tasted like a potato oven-roasted chip.  I really want to learn how to achieve that texture with my potatoes at home!  (If someone knows the secret…please share!!!!!)  I loved the delicious veggies, scallion, red onion, broccoli.  Oh my, the sauce was even more delicious — I literally wanted to lick the whole bowl.  The bacon was so savory too.  THE CHEESE. THE CHEESE. Dang those cheese combos caressed my taste buds in a velvety dance!

The Curly Sue I felt that you can just have this texture in regular fries, but I did loved the combination of flavors — the chipotle ketchup seriously how can you go wrong?  I don’t think I ever had fries with scallions.  Level up from regular fast food fries!  However, I just wish there was more of it…and to it.  I could easily make this one — now that they listed all the ingredients!

Okay, Pinky of course you’re giving such a high score for a potato restaurant, but why the half point off? Honestly, the prices were pretty steep.  I get it that it’s in Manhattan but this was more like a snack than dinner.  Don’t assume you’ll be full after this “meal”!  It’s a horrible habit to develop, but if it was cheaper I would come every single day. (I’m a poor recent graduate!!) And get fat, of course.  There is so much cheese in the signature meals!!!!  These sig meals would be cheaper than the “build your own potato” meals.

Counter/ Register
Counter/ Register

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!

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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

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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.

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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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)

DSCN3891DSCN3895Victor Says:3.75/5

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.

Tina’s Cuban Cuisine

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23 W 56th St
(between 5th Ave & Avenue Of The Americas)
New York, NY 10019

Upon entering this place, it reminded us of Sophie’s Cuban Cuisine — they must be best friends!  It offers somewhat similar choices and has the infamous green sauce.  Also, it seems that it is also a popular lunch spot.  This time we had our special guests of Mary and Andrew (Andy) to join us on our PINCTOR ADVENTURE! YAY.  MENU HERE

Pinky says 3/5

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I am on the fence between a two and a three star rating for this one.  I ordered the pork with spanish potato salad and the sweet plantains.  I felt like the pork was really really dry in that it was so hard to chew and my dish was the only one out of four other dishes that were cold.  Perhaps, not many people order the roast pork — BUT still not a good reason to serve close to cold dishes.  The waitress was nice enough to be patient with my party as we took a while to choose what to eat.  Service was fast and had a lot of food on our table in what felt like seconds.

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Spanish Potato Salad $2.49
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Roast Pork Pernil $9.99 includes 2 sides (pictured with plantains)

Potato salad was interesting as it had a very strong lemon juice flavor…but other than that it tasted regular.
The plantains was really really sweet and reminded me of dessert and I’m the kind of person who doesn’t eat dessert before meals lol.  My taste buds were really confused! I DID order sweet plantains but I didn’t realize it would be that sugary…Tasted more like just regular bananas.
Compared to Sophie’s (yes, I have to mention this!) it was a bit disappointing.  The green sauce was not as good in that it was a lot more watery and less flavored. I didn’t use much of it because of that fact.  The place itself is very similar though.  Decor is simple though it was not as crowded as Sophie’s.

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I was a bit disappointed in that we invited Mary and Andy to this place first since we always have home-run restaurants that we go visit haha.  But, you win some you lose some.

Victor says 3/5

Rice with Chicken Arroz Con Pollo ($9.00) includes only one side since rice is already one side
Rice with Chicken Arroz Con Pollo ($9.00) includes only one side since rice is already one side

I may have set my standards a little high because I was comparing this establishment with Sophie’s (we reviewed this earlier in the year). It also looks very similar to Sophie’s too! However, I just don’t think the quality of food is the same.

First off, this place is relatively busy. It appears that they have a lot of the customers and such. It’s good place to grab a quick bite if you’re on the go, though.

The waitress was kind, but didn’t come back to us after we got our food. I ordered tamales and rice with chicken. I wasn’t really sure what to expect from the tamales honestly. It’s a corn meal patty stuffed with ground pork garnished with onions. I didn’t find this appetizer very appealing (but that’s just me). It was moist and sorta tasted like corn bread. Didn’t really taste the pork though. It was however, very moist and soft.

The main entrée, the rice with chicken, was pretty average in my opinion. I decided to get the sweet plantains as my side. The chicken was juicy and moist. It looked seasoned, but I couldn’t really taste it. Just your average chicken. The rice was sorta clumpy. The quality of rice is sorta like from a bad Chinese food restaurant. I really loved the  sweet plantains though! Sadly, they gave such a small portion as a side.

What very positive thing about this restaurant is that it serves its food incredibly quick. It’s probably because that they have most of it ready from the take-out section, regardless, you get your food relatively quick. It’s possible that we may have also come on an “off day” and things weren’t exactly their best.

Mary & Andy says 3/5

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Mary ordered the Cuban Sandwich ($7.45 which includes Roast pork, ham, swiss cheese, pickles, mayo and mustard) She also had part of a Cheese patty {cheese empanadas} ($1.65)

I guess I was expecting more “authenticness” but the mustard in my sandwich seemed like regular mustard.

Cheese patty ($1.65)
Cheese patty ($1.65)

It [Empanada] was okay.  I didn’t know that the cheese empanadas was just cheese.  I thought it was beef and cheese…I should have got meat in it. But Andy liked the crust.

Spicy Grilled Chicken includes two sides, pictured with sweet plantains and yellow rice ($9.99)
Spicy Grilled Chicken includes two sides, pictured with sweet plantains and yellow rice ($9.99)

Andy ordered the Spicy Grilled Chicken – Pollo Picante ($9.99 that includes 2 sides)

Chicken was dry.

Andy…a man of few words.

Sophie’s Cuban Cuisine

DSCN982996 Chambers St
New York, NY 10013
Neighborhoods: Civic Center, TriBeCa

With the big red flag, this place is hard to miss.  The place is really casual and very friendly.  Although there are no fancy plating or fancy decor, the place is worth visiting and is a very popular lunch joint.  It was crowded with people shoving the cashiers with money in exchange for the delicious food.  If you’re in the area and looking for a quick bite to satisfy your taste buds as long as your wallet, this is the place to go.

DSCN9821 Online Menu HERE.DSCN9822

Baked Chicken with Yellow Rice and Plantains $9.00
Baked Chicken with Yellow Rice and Plantains $9.00
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Pernil with a Twist – Roast pork, mayo, onions, sweet plantains, and Sophie’s special green sauce $7.99

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Victor says: 4.75/5

The outside and inside of this restaurant isn’t appealing. The atmosphere within the restaurant is noisy and hectic. I’m going to warn you though… the food is EXTREMELY OILY.  So don’t come crying back to me when you find a pimple the next day.

But what really captures our interest in this restaurant is the AMAZING food here and it’s relatively CHEAP too. In less than 5 minutes of ordering, our food was already on our tables. It’s almost as fast as fast food, but better! The waitress may be hard to understand and may mix up your order, so make sure she doesn’t give you the wrong thing! But nevertheless, the ordering mistake turned out to be delicious. We originally wanted beans, but we were given plantains and I DO NOT REGRET IT  one bit at all.

We ordered a Baked Chicken Meal and a Pulled Pork Sandwich with a twist. Both very delicious dishes that were recommended by others. The baked chicken was juicy, tender, and mouth-watering, even though it oozed of oil. The skin of the chicken was sweet and seasoned very well. The rice was delicious too, but I suspect it was cooked in butter and oil because of how thick and smooth it was. It came with a side of plantains…. and they were probably the BEST plantains I’ve ever had so far. It’s like a mix of having the sweet taste of bananas with the texture of a potato.

The pulled pork sandwich was pretty darn good too! It had a very smokey flavor and it had plantains too!!! They had this green sauce too! Not sure whats in it, but I think it has cilantro. It’s sweet and tangy and adds a good kick to the sandwich. The pork was a bit dry, but it was definitely enjoyable.

Overall, I would definitely check this place out. Not the greatest place if you’re looking for a romantic atmosphere, but it has some delicious food!

DSCN9824 Pinky says: 5/5

SO GOOD. SO MUCH FOOD.  Vic and I came here after my work session at Euphoria Spa and tried the recommended dishes and was not disappointed at all.  Although the staff was a bit rushed because there were many customers, they seemed tired and over-worked but still served us on time.  It was great!  They were very fast and good workers.  All food had many flavors sunk into it.  We had the baked chicken with side of yellow rice and plantains.  The plantains, I was a bit afraid to try but they were delicious too!!  As you may know, I am more of a potato person and I was reminded often that the plantains tasted like potatoes!  But maybe even better!  We were actually going to get the beans but the waitress misunderstood me.  She gave us plantains with the yellow rice.  The rice was so oily but it was oily goodness.  I wish the baked chicken had a bit more meat in it though.

The pulled pork with a twist was very tasty  too.  The sandwich was oddly matched pretty well with the plantains too. THE GREEN SAUCE IS SO DARN ADDICTING.. YUMM-OH. I kept drowning it in everything….even writing about it now, my stomach is growling…GRR GRRR…