Saturday, December 11, 2010

Wonjo Restaurant.

A trip to Korea Town was due upon my return to the United States, but we wanted to try a place that we hadn't tried before, so we looked at the menu at Wonjo and saw that the prices were reasonable, so we went in. We were pleasantly surprised by the polite service and decent food.

As with all Korean restaurants, complementary banchan (appetizers) were brought out after we ordered our food. From top to bottom, left to right, are bean sprouts, radish kimchi, pickled spinach, kimchi, squid, mushrooms, and crispy sardines. It was alright, but I found the assortment offered at other restaurants to be better.

Both Squishy and I got the bibimbap, mixed rice and vegetables. It comes in a sizzling hot stone bowl with plenty of different vegetables and a fried egg on top.

You first add Korean hot pepper paste and then you stir until everything is well mixed.

This is what you get! The bibimbap was actually pretty good here and they gave us a huge portion. There seemed to be more toppings offered here than at other places where I have been before. Both Squishy and I were very full after this meal.

H got the Spicy Soft Tofu Stew. He said it was alright, but didn't particularly like it. From the looks of it, this dish is probably trumped by that of other Korean places we have been to.

Dre got a Spicy Lamb Stew and noted that the dish was extremely spicy and to her liking. She couldn't finish it, but like the veggies and lamb, which was very tender. Paired with rice, it was good.

Overall, the food here was alright. I would recommend the rice dishes, but better stews could probably be found at other places. It is to my understanding, also, that the restaurant has also raised their prices since we went there, so the more expensive prices may dissuade us from returning there.
Price: <3<3<3
Taste: <3<3<3<
Atmosphere: <3<3<3<
Opinion: OK to try

New Wonjo Restaurant on Urbanspoon

Thursday, November 25, 2010


In the Spring of 2010, H and I went to Woorijip for a very quick and light appetizer to a meal that we planned to share with friends later on in the evening. We had to wait for them, but we were starving. So Hector knew of this place, which I had always wanted to try, and we went in to the packed buffet-style restaurant.

Woorijip has a wide range of selection of Korean favorites, from kimchi pancakes, pictured above, to gimbap, similar to sushi, and fried rice, rice cakes, fish, beef, soups, and korean desserts. The kimchi pancakes were excellent. Freshly made and still warm, it was crisp and moderately spicy, the cabbage crunching with cool freshness, while also having a nice crust from pan-frying. Cheap and yummy!

H got some sort of fried gimbap. Inside, there was bean thread noodles and shrimp. H ended up not liking it, though. It was very oily tasting from being deep fried.

Lastly, we tried a Korean steamed cake. It was presented wrapped in cellophane with a cute little sticker. When I picked it up, it was still warm.

From the time that I picked it up, however, until the time we ate it, the cake had already started to cool. Though still soft and sweet, with a nice almost chewy texture, the cake was starting to cool. I feel that it would have been better if we ate it when it was still warm, but it still gets props!

Overall, this place is a great place to pick up a quick bite to eat or even take things out for a reasonable price. It will definitely satiate your cravings for Korean food. It gets packed during lunch and dinner time, but with patience, you can find yourself some chairs and a table if you wish to eat the food there.
Price: <3<3<3<3
Taste: <3<3<3<3<
Atmosphere: <3<3<3<
Opinion: Recommended

Woorijip on Urbanspoon

Monday, November 22, 2010

Hellertown Diner.

In late January 2010, the family trekked out to Pennsylvania to drop Bro off at his school for the Spring Semester. While I was studying abroad, my family boasted of finding a diner that served epic-sized portions. Comically, they recollected the story of the shock that the "appetizers" brought to them were too huge. So they took me to this Hellertown Diner out in a tiny town in Pennsylvania.

Even the hot chocolate that I ordered was good. It was so chocolaty. It was definitely none of that powdered crap.

Mum ordered a Ruben Sandwich with a side of onion rings. The rings were really fresh and crisp, while the onions on the inside were well-cooked, melting in your mouth. The Ruben Sandwich was probably good, but my mother mistakenly ordered this sandwich and did not like the cole slaw.

Bro got a cheese burger with melted swiss cheese. He said the burger was dry, but still alright. The fries were a big hit here. They were reminiscent of the fries from Lyric Diner.

Pops ordered a meatball hero with french fries. The meatballs were fresh and the marinara sauce perfectly seasoned. He had trouble finishing his meal, though, because of the overload on delicious carbs.

I got the Chicken Florentine Sandwich, which was a grilled chicken sandwich, topped with spinach and provolone cheese on a kaiser roll, with a side of those delicious french fries. This sandwich was so good. The roll was so soft and fresh, which was a surprise because we were eating at around 8:00 P.M. in the evening. The cheese was melted perfectly and spinach was a nice addition, complementing the moist chicken.

And boy, were those juices flowing! I normally don't order chicken sandwiches because they tend to be dry, but I was pleasantly surprised when I took a bite into such a succulent sandwich. Definitely would recommend this sandwich!

Overall, the food was excellent for a group of New Yorkers after a drive through New Jersey and Pennsylvania. The food was fresh and the service was very friendly. If you find yourself in this tiny town, then it really is worth it to stop for a bite at this diner!
Price: <3<3<3<3<
Taste: <3<3<3<3
Atmosphere: <3<3<3<3
Opinion: Recommended

Hellertown Diner
29 Main Street
Hellertown, PA 18055
(484) 851-3591

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Metropol Restaurant (名都酒樓).

Probably the most amazing food experience that I had on my trip to Hong Kong was getting dim sum. Mic's Mom and Dad new a very good place and introduced me to it. I have heard stories from friends about how good the dim sum in Hong Kong was, but actually experiencing it truly was heaven.

This is har cheong, a rice noodle with shrimp inside, generously doused in soy sauce. In comparison to the stuff that we get here in New York, this was really superb. The noodles were so soft and thin to the point where they just melted in your mouth. The flavor was excellent and the shrimp was so tender on the inside. I really was in heaven when I was eating this because I did not eat dim sum in while in Mainland China. Nanjing did have some Cantonese restaurants, but I stuck to the Northern Jiangsu cuisine while I was there. Therefore, this was like having comfort food for the first time in four months.

This is some cheong fun, pan-friend rice noodles seasoned with scallion and har mai, or dried shrimp, sprinkled with roasted sesame seeds. We got some hot sauces to dip it in. This was also very good. The noodles again were so fresh and soft. They were decadent in their texture. It was perfectly accented with the crunch of the sesame seeds and had a nice zing from the sauce.

This is another must when you go for dim sum: pai gwat, or steamed pork ribs. The ribs are seasoned with black bean sauce and a tiny sliver of a slice of hot chili pepper is added at the end for a slight flare. This version also came with three rice cakes, which had an excellent chewy texture and absorbed the flavors from the sauce and pork. Tender, the meat just fell off the bones and melted in my mouth. So good!

Another one of my favorites, chun gurn, or a fried spring roll filled with mushroom, bamboo shoots, and minced pork. The wrapping was lighter than I was accustomed to, sort of similar in flavor almost to a fortune cookie, but not sweet. It is hard to describe. There is one thing, though, that I can say: This was damn good. It was so crunchy and the filling was so tasty, the bamboo and mushroom so fresh and flavorful.

To crown it off, I finally got to try the 豆腐花, dau fu fa, or tofu dessert, that is legendary from Hong Kong. My mother said that one thing she remembers from her childhood in Hong Kong was eating this. Ever since she came to the States, the dau fu fa is not the same here. After eating it in Hong Kong, I don't think I will be able to enjoy the New York version as much. It is all right, but it is dwarfed in comparison to this. In Hong Kong, they use a brown sugar on top of the bowl, in contrast to the ginger syrup that is used here. The brown sugar is sprinkled right on top as they give it to you and it just sits there, slowly dissolving as you mix up the bowl. It was so silky and smooth, and perfectly sweet. It was so moving to eat this. I was almost in heaven after eating this.

Overall, you can tell that I really liked this place. The experience of going for yum cha in Hong Kong is one that is most definitely not to be missed. This restaurant is good, but you could probably get pretty good dim sum at other restaurants in the city. This place, though, is pretty well known among locals, so it's probably worth it to check out.
Price: <3<3<3<3
Taste: <3<3<3<3<3
Atmosphere: <3<3<3<3<3
Opinion: MUST GO

Metropol Restaurant
4/F United Centre
95 Queensway
Admiralty Central, Hong Kong


Saturday, May 8, 2010

Nanxiang Bun Shop (南翔馒头店/南翔饅頭店).

One of the most memorable food experiences (and one of the few that I recorded) from China was getting Shanghainese soup dumplings, called xiaolongbao, while at the City God Temple in Shanghai, during a trip outside of Nanjing on my study abroad. We waited almost 30 minutes for these little dumplings, but it was well worth the wait.

They sell them in multiples of 16 for about 8 RMB, equivalent to less than $2 USD. We got 32, for a total of 16 RMB, about $2.50 USD. Food in China is so cheap! And what's really great about this is that it is of utmost quality most of the time. This restaurant is the place to get xiaolongbao. Probably the most authentic that you can get in the world.

The dumplings were so fresh, coming from the almost ceiling-high stacks of bamboo steamers. The dumplings were piping hot and we had to be cautious both to not burn ourselves nor loose any of the precious soup on the inside. The skin was so perfect, light in comparison to the heavy wrapping that is used here in the States. The meat inside was perfectly cooked and seasoned. It was such an enjoyable lunch!

I highly encourage you to endure the wait if you ever go to Shanghai. This is a must-have food because this is the origin of xiaolongbao. This is the first place that made it. It was definitely the best soup dumpling I have ever had.
Price: <3<3<3<3<3
Taste: <3<3<3<3<3
Atmosphere: <3<3<3<3<3
Opinion: MUST GO

Nanxiang Bun Shop
85 Yuyuan Road
Huangpu District
Shanghai, China


Sunday, March 28, 2010

Petite Abeille.

Unfortunately, our stay in the city was drawing to a close. Mic was leaving New York to head home to Hong Kong for the summer and from there, she would return to the United States to transfer to Indiana University. To celebrate this bittersweet moment, we had a going away dinner at one of our favorite little spots, Petite Abeille, which is situated right on the edge of the Gramercy neighborhood.

To start our meal off, we ordered two appetizers. Above is the Petite Abeille Crab Cake. It was a very light crab cake, the meat very tender and not chopped, with an excellent crispy crust. The saffron-aioli sauce was tangy, a French twist on tartar sauce, and it complemented the crab cake very well.

The other appetizer that we ordered was the Croquettes de Fromage. The gooey cheese in the middle wrapped in a lightly breaded crust was like a mozzarella stick for grown ups and sophisticated folks. It was simply luxurious.

Roomie, who was feeling dietary, ordered a Salade Mesclun, a salad of mixed seasonal greens, with balsamic vinegar dressing. This was nothing out of the ordinary.

Kitty wanted to try the Petite Salade de Betteraves et Fromage de Chevre, a roasted beets salad with goat cheese and watercress. She complained that it was small, but said that it tasted good.

H wanted to try the Petite Abeille, a cheeseburger with the restaurant's namesake. H was very unhappy about the size of the burger, but that's what you get at some of these higher end restaurants. He didn't complain about the taste, but was also unhappy about the price of the "tiny" burger.

Roomie also got Le Potage du Jour, the soup of the day, which was a chilled gespacho. He seemed indifferent to the soup, but he did say it was refreshing in the warming weather.

Squishy and I shared the Grand-Mère Moules, the steamed pei mussels in a cream beer sauce with essence of bacon. It came in a small pot and we ate out of the pot. The mussels were delicious and tender. The sauce was not as salty as I had expected it to be and it did not overpower the taste of the mussels. It was a well-balanced dish and wins great approval for me for presentation. I must go back there to try their other flavors.

The mussels come with a side of pommes frites, Belgian fries. These were probably some of the best french fries that I have ever eaten in my life. Period. They were so crisp, but were not dry on the inside. They were perfectly sized and had just the right amount of salt. I would go back to this restaurant just to have the fries! That's how good they were.

Dessert soon rolled by after a great meal and we indulged. I got the Crême Brulée. Though good, I actually think that the crême brulée from the Dessert Truck was better. This one was not creamy enough. Even though the taste was good, the texture was off this time.

Squishy got the Fondue de Fraises et Marshmellow au Chocolat, a chocolate fondue with marshmallows and strawberries. This was a fun dessert and it was well presented. The chocolate was warm and rich.

Last, but not least, was the Belgian waffle with chocolate sauce and whipped cream. Mic was in heaven while she was eating this. It was warm and fluffy and the chocolate was decadent.

Overall, the experience in this restaurant is great. The staff is very friendly and the service is excellent. The entries were generally delicious, though I would not stay at the place for dessert. I really liked the ambience in this restaurant. It has really great atmosphere and a great soundtrack playing.
Price: <3<3<
Taste: <3<3<3<3<
Atmosphere: <3<3<3<3<3
Opinion: Highly Recommended

Petite Abeille on Urbanspoon

Thursday, March 4, 2010


As our semester living in Manhattan came closer to the end, we all wished to really make one of our food outings really special. Shortly after deciding this, we decided to go to Balthazar in Soho to sample some exquisite French food.

This exclusive restaurant is situated slightly off of Broadway and Lafayette St., but it is quite close to the hustle and bustle of the nearby shops. You can't miss the bright windows which provide you with a view of the warm room within.

We decided to start off with some appetizers. Above is the Chicken Liver and Foie Gras Mousse with red onion confit and grilled country bread. This was the first time that I have ever tried foie gras of any kind and was pleasantly surprised. It had a salty flavor, and you can definitely taste a meat flavor. When spread on the crisp toast, it was a nice match, the cold spread contrasting with the warm and toasty bread.

The other appetizer that we ordered was the Escargots in garlic butter. The snails were so tender and the flavor of the garlic was wonderful. I mean, what's not to like? The critters were sitting in butter and garlic. A great way to start the meal.

Mic's friend Al got the monkfish, which was wrapped in strips of bacon. Though small, Al said that the fish was tender and the bacon flavor permeated through the fish, though, not overpowering it. He approved of the dish.

M got the Steak au Poivre with spinach and pommes frites. The steak was very tender and the sauce complemented the flavor of the meat very well, according to M.

W got the grilled brook trout. The fish, with the crisp skin, was extremely moist and the warm potatoes beneath were tender and delicious.

Mic got the Roasted Cod with gigante beans, onions, tomato, and basil. Mic had meant to order something else, but picked the wrong thing on the menu. Likewise, though the fish tasted good, she felt that it was a little dry and needed a sauce of some kind.

Squishy and I both got the Steak Frites with béarnaise sauce. The steak was alright, but I felt that it was a little too charred, with the burnt parts taking away from the steak. Overall, it was tender, but the char was disappointing. The fries were crispy and yummy and the tart béarnaise sauce was a great accompaniment to the steak.

H got the Duck Confit with crispy potatoes, wild mushrooms, and frisée salad. H never had eaten duck before this moment and he praised the dish, stating that the crisp skin of the duck encased the moist flesh below. He enjoyed this dish very much.

Overall, this was our foray into fine French cuisine. It would be a rare occasion for us, so we savored the moment. The service in this restaurant was excellent and food was superb, for the most part. It is definitely a place to check out because you might even spot celebrities if you're lucky.
Price: <3
Taste: <3<3<3<3
Atmosphere: <3<3<3<3
Opinion: Recommended

Balthazar on Urbanspoon