Ed’s Lobster Bar

Every year for my mom’s birthday we always go out and have a nice dinner the week before. This year we opted to have dinner at Ed’s Lobster Bar since both my mom and sister have never been. We arrived around 6:30pm and was seated right away in the back area. While the menu at Ed’s isn’t large, it still has a fair amount of selection, which made it hard to choose since everything sounded so good!

We opted to have the Jumbo Shrimp to start along with two soups. I’ve written about both Ed’s Lobster Bisque and Clam Chowder before so I won’t rehash it here. The Jumbo Shrimp, though, was super sweet and huge! I kind of wished I could have another one!


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I opted for the Day Boat Scallops with Mashed Potatoes and fresh veggies. I actually ended up switching my dish with my sister, but more on that later! The Scallops were seared to perfection and tasted really buttery. The mashed potatoes weren’t as creamy as I’d like but was a nice compliment to the scallops. I dislike strong-flavored sides when I have scallops because I feel like they mask the taste of the scallops.

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My sister went with the Peekytoe Crab Fusilli with asparagus. I ended up eating this dish as my main (after a few bites of mashed potato and a scallop). I’ve had peekytoe crab pasta before so I’m used to the very particular taste the crab gives the dish. It’s a bit tart and very fragrant. I liked the dish, although I definitely don’t think it’s as good as the peekytoe pasta dish at All’onda.

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We opted out of dessert since we were so full. But they brought over tiny lobster-shaped chocolates! They were so cute that we almost didn’t want to eat them.

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The food was good and the service was attentive. It did get pretty loud near the end of our dinner because of the increasing crowd. The restaurant itself is pretty small so make sure you come early in order to snag a table!

Sweetgreen

One of the best parts of working in Flatiron was my discovery of Sweetgreen, which serves some of the most delicious salads and rice+veggie bowls I’ve ever had. The model is very similar to other salad places – you can make your own salad from a variety of veggie bases, toppings and dressings. But Sweetgreen has amazing signature salads that are so good you don’t even want to think about making your own!

There are an abundance of signature salads to choose from – some of them are set and served all year round and others change with fresh, seasonal ingredients. Each time I come to Sweetgreen, I keep saying that I’m going to make my own salad but I always end up picking one of their signature salads because they sound so good!

My very first Sweetgreen salad was their Kale Caesar made with a base of shredded kale and chopped romaine. It is mixed with cherry tomatoes, shaved parmesan cheese, roasted chicken, parmesan crisps, freshly squeezed lime juice and caesar dressing. You get the option of picking between light, medium or heavy for your dressing. It’s the same price no matter which option you pick, which is great for those of us who like their dressing on the heavy side. The salad is crisp and super delicious. The parmesan crisps are a great supplement to the standard crouton.

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There are a bunch of other options on the signature menu but my favorite – even before the yummy Kale Caesar – is the Avocobbo, which features shredded kale and chopped romaine mixed with tomatoes, raw corn, half an avocado, bacon, an egg, roasted chicken and a blue-cheese dressing. I’m a huge fan of cobb salads and this one is just 10x better because it has avocado and blue-cheese dressing, which makes the salad super creamy. The ingredients all mix together perfectly to form a fresh and hearty salad.

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The best part is that they give you a piece of bread to soak up the dressing! The bread is usually pretty soft and easy to eat. Even though the line looks intimidating, it’s always moving. The workers behind the counter are very efficient and you’re usually in and out within 15 minutes – which is a steal during peak lunch hours!

If you’re in the mood for a fresh, delicious, gourmet salad, Sweetgreen is the right place for you!

Korilla

Both the Boyfriend and I been fans of Korilla’s food truck for a few years now. In fact, I was so impressed by the operation that I interviewed Edwin Song, the owner, for a final project in my senior year at Fordham. I learned so much about the operation, which made me even more excited when I found out that they were finally joining the other food trucks in opening up a brick and mortar in the East Village.

We waited a few weeks after their opening to go because we didn’t want to get caught up in the crowd. We once walked by around 8pm and the line was out the door! We arrived around 1pm, which is a little after lunch time. There was a small line but it went by pretty quickly since it’s like Chipotle/Subway style. Once you walk in, you’re instructed to pick a base and protein. For the newcomers to Korilla, you have the option between a burrito, rice bowl and salad as your bases. For protein, you have the Korean classic Bulgogi, or marinated ribeye, pork, chicken and tofu.

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Then you get to pick your choice of rice – regular white rice or kimchi and bacon fried rice. I highly recommend going with the kimchi fried rice! One man is in charge of scooping the rice out and then your order is slid down to the next person for the veggies.

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They have a kimchi bar and a veggie bar. You’re supposed to pick from both – one’s pickled and the other one isn’t. Then you also have a choice between sauces – and this, I think, is the most difficult decision in the whole process. They have five sauce choices to pick from. Some of them are more spicy than others. I usually go with the Korilla sauce, which is a aioli sauce with a hint of spice. It’s sort of like spicy mayo but more smokey.

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And there are the finished products! The Boyfriend went with a Pork Rice Bowl with Kimchi Fried Rice, Cheese, Cucumber Kimchi, Shredded Squash and KBBQ sauce. The sauce was smokey and tangy and tasted amazing with the pork and kimchi fried rice.

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I had a Bulgogi Burrito with Kimchi Fried Rice, Cheese, Cucumber Kimchi, Shredded Squash and my personal favorite sauce, the Korilla sauce. These aren’t the most glamorous food shots but I was so ready to devour my burrito that I quickly took my pictures. As you can see, the burrito is quite huge. It’s packed to the brim with rice, meat and vegetable goodies. It’s not messy at all to eat since their meat isn’t dripping with oil and juices. I loved partner between the kimchi fried rice and the korilla sauce. It was smokey, just a tad spicy and oh so good!

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There’s very limited seating so I definitely recommend taking it to go during meal rush hours. But you won’t be disappointed because it’s all so good! The best of both worlds – Mexican and Korean!

Fiat Cafe

Fiat Cafe, located in Nolita, is a small little restaurant that’s easily overlooked if you’re not on the lookout for it. But the service and the food is definitely not easy to forget once you’ve had it. We arrived at around 11am and we were seated right away. The storefront is pretty small though so every table is a bit of a squeeze. We were given menus to look over and we definitely took our time because everything sounded so god!

We finally decided on the Prosciutto di Parma and Mozzarella ($6.50) to share. It’s a very atypical dish to order for a mid-morning meal but I never say no to mozzarella and prosciutto. The dish was drizzled with olive oil and a dash of black pepper – just the way I like it. Both the mozzarella and prosciutto were very fresh and really solved my mozz cravings!

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I went with the Poached Eggs with Gravlox Salmon ($7.00), which was served on top of toasted English muffins and topped with hollandaise sauce. It also comes with a side salad with balsamic vinaigrette, which was very refreshing. At the $7.00 price tag, this was the cheapest Eggs Norwegian I have ever had. The taste definitely did not seem like it was only $7.00 either! The eggs were poached perfectly and there was definitely enough lox to go around.

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The Boyfriend went with a BLT on Ciabatta bread ($8.00), which also comes with a side salad. The BLT was very good – just the right amount of mayo on the ciabatta, which was warm and crunchy. I also love how they didn’t skimp on the bacon.

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The service was attentive and our waitress was super nice. She was very friendly and was very accommodating to all customers in the restaurant. I’m actually thinking about returning next week for some French Toast!

Taverna Kyclades

Ever since a friend of ours brought us to a restaurant that served traditional Greek food, we’ve been having constant cravings. And we’re not even craving the typical Greek dishes like souvlaki and pita. We’ve been craving the goodies like grilled octopus and lamb chops! So on a plan-less Friday night, we did a quick Yelp search and headed over to Taverna Kyclades in the East Village to try to satisfy our Greek food cravings!

We arrived around 6:30pm and was seated right away. The dining room was about half full so it was a tad noisy. No big issue but we did have to lean in a bit to hear each other. We were given menus to look over and offered tap water almost immediately after sitting down. We spent a few minutes with our menus before asking our waiter for a bit of advice on ordering. And I have to say he was spot on with his recommendations!

To start, we ordered their Traditional Greek Salad ($8.95), which had a small amount of romaine lettuce, large tomatoes, small cucumbers, olives, onions and a huge slab of feta cheese. Our waiter told us that a small portion is more than enough for two people and we’re glad we listened to him. The small portion is more than enough for two people to share! The feta was amazing, the veggies were fresh and I absolutely love that they use tiny cucumbers! I’ve always thought that large cucumbers were troublesome to eat and whenever I make salads, I also use smaller ones.

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While we were making our way through our salad, the Charcoal Grilled Octopus ($17.95) arrived. Our waiter cut our octopus up for us, which I thought was nice. Everything was in bite-sized pieces for our pleasure! The octopus was fantastic! I think I’ve had better before – but it was really satisfying. The octopus was fresh and I love how simple the dish is – lemon, olive oil, salt and pepper. You can really taste the octopus this way without a heavy sauce to cover it.

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Next up was our entree choice. We opted to share the Galeos, or Fried Baby Shark ($15.95). They offer the dish grilled or fried so we asked our waiter for his recommendation. He told us that he wanted to say grilled since it’s healthier but the fried is definitely tastier. We listened to his advice and went with the fried and boy was it good! Neither of us have had shark before so this was a new experience for both of us. It was surprisingly good – each piece has a large bone in the middle but otherwise it was very easy to eat. The meat was tender and very soft. It tasted amazing with the garlic dip on the side!

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Each entree comes with a side of your choice between rice, fries, lemon potatoes and horta. We went with the lemon potatoes and they were so good! I think these are the best lemon potatoes I’ve ever had in my life – the potatoes were warm and had just the right amount of lemon flavor. It wasn’t too overpowering and had just the perfect tart taste.

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After our dishes were cleared away, our waiter presented us with a complimentary dessert! It was a generous portion of a type of custard wrapped in phyllo dough. It was very tasty and just the perfect finish to a very savory meal. I especially loved the custard part!

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I thoroughly enjoyed my meal at Taverna. Everything tasted super fresh and I loved that besides the fried shark, everything was light and refreshing. Our waiter was attentive and gave such spot-on advice. And the complimentary dessert didn’t hurt either! I can’t wait to be back to have more octopus and maybe try the lamb chops next time!

Little Sheep Mongolian Hot Pot

The Boyfriend and I recently discovered the gigantic H-Mart in Edison, New Jersey, which is literally less than 30 minutes away from his house. Along with it, we also discovered the huge Picnic Garden and Little Sheep Mongolian Hot Pot. He’s been to Little Sheep before in Queens but this was the first time I would hotpot in a restaurant with only one big pot in the middle. All the other places I’ve been to gave each person their own individual pots.

We arrived around 6:00pm and still had to wait a bit. By the time we left, there was a crowd of people waiting outside to be seated. By the time we finished our shopping at H-Mart at round 9:00pm, there was still a huge crowd of people waiting to be seated. They’re super popular!

We opted for a split yin-yang pot, which means you get half spicy and half non-spicy. If you get two pots for a bigger table, it’s the same exact price since they charge per person for the soup.

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We ordered a variety of items to try – I especially like that you can order half orders of items. First up was the beef slices, which we got a full order of. The beef was very tender and cooked quickly. No sign of any freezer burn or frost on the beef!

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We also tried the lamb slices, which were amazing! The lamb didn’t taste gamey at all and cooked very well in the soup.

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My favorite meat of the night was definitely the pork belly. I had never had pork belly in hot pot before so it was another new experience for me. I’m in love with it now! The pork belly is fatty and becomes so soft after you boil it in the soup.

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We also ordered a variety of smaller side dishes:

  • Fish balls
  • Fish balls with cod roe on the inside
  • Fish filets
  • Headless shrimp
  • Mussels
  • Tofu platter
  • Goose intestines

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We also ordered a bunch of other side dishes to share:

  • Bamboo shoots
  • White carrots
  • Real meatballs
  • Wontons
  • Mushrooms
  • Napa Cabbage
  • Chicken

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I really liked that they brought over a serving stand to put our smaller side dishes on instead of crowding us at the table with all the dishes. We were able to eat leisurely, without having to worry about hurrying and clearing up our table for the next round of dishes!

The food was absolutely delicious and super fresh. Nothing tasted bad and a lot of things tasted great. I particularly loved the fish balls with the cod roe on the inside – it’s like having a surprise with every bite! The pork belly was phenomenal and I could eat a whole order by myself!

If you check in on Facebook, Instagram or Yelp you can get a free ice cream – flavor is your choice. The ice cream here is pretty good – again, no signs of freezer burn. I can’t wait to come back to try out the other items on their extensive menu!

Hanamizuki

The cool thing about starting a new job in a new neighborhood is that you get to explore and learn where all the good places to eat are. Whether you’re eating by yourself, with friends or with coworkers, there are always new places to discover. I recently discovered Hanamizuki, which sells Japanese rice balls. It’s right smack in the middle of wholesale clothing and jewelry stores so it’s easy to miss if you’re not looking!

They do an Omusbi Plate combo for $9.50 and you get your choice of 2 rice balls and miso soup combined with their appetizer of the day and Japanese pickles. There are 8 rice ball choices and 4 miso soup choices – all of them sound super delicious!

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I went with the Hawaiian, which had spam, dried tomato, chili and nori – seaweed, and the Sweet Potato, which had Japanese sweet potato, hijiki-seaweed, deep fried tofu and black sesame. For my miso soup, I went with the Gnocchi, which had tofu-gnocchi, arugula, black peppers and extra-virgin olive oil.

I really liked the miso soup – the gnocchi was very moist and chewy. The arugula was also made the soup very fresh and light. The rice balls were a bit on the small side but they’re pretty filling once you get through eating both of them! I thought the Hawaiian wasn’t as good as some other spam musubis I’ve had but it was pretty tasty. I really liked the Sweet Potato rice ball because it was sweet and salty at the same time.

The workers were very friendly and I hear the desserts are coming in soon so that’s definitely something to look forward to. They also serve Columbe coffee!

Disney Roundup: Rainforest Cafe

For my last Disney Roundup, I present our last dinner at Disney: The Rainforest Cafe. The food was pretty good but it was the atmosphere that really got me. For those of you not familiar with the Rainforest Cafe, it’s literally themed on the inside to look like a rainforest. Every 20 minutes there is a rainforest “thunderstorm” and every 10-15 minutes the animals come to life. A lot of people think the noises are too loud but I quite liked it – it’s a different experience than your usual restaurant!

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If you’re on the meal plan, anything in the entree section is up for grabs so I went with their Taste of the Islands, which features blackened tilapia with mango salsa, shrimp and scallops in a creamy garlic and chili sauce, and coconut shrimp on a stick. It also comes with a side of your choice so I chose mashed potatoes. The portion size was literally more than I could finish! Everything had a bit of a kick in spice so beware! I also had bits of my sister and mom’s steak, which I thought was great. A lot better than our experience at Planet Hollywood, which I do not recommend.

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For my dessert, I had Maya’s Mango Sorbet, which is served with fresh cubed mango, raspberry sauce and a chocolate filled wafer. As with the other Disney restaurants, the dessert portion size was huge! They give you two huge scoops of mango sorbet and in my opinion, it’s definitely more than enough for two to share – let alone just me! The sorbet was refreshing and just right for a hot, humid Florida night.

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There are so many options on the Disney Dining Plan that it’s not possible to try them all on one visit. But I am already planning where I want to go next time! It’s definitely a trial and error system where some restaurants are amazing while others are a miss. I can’t wait to try them all!

Disney Roundup: Raglan Road + Wolfgang Puck

Since we ended up with 7 nights of table-service credits, I picked a combination of new and old restaurants. We revisited Yak & Yeti in Animal Kingdom and Tony’s Town Square Restaurant in Magic Kingdom because we really liked our experiences there last time. We ate at five new restaurants during our stay but I want to highlight Raglan Road, Wolfgang Puck and Rainforest Cafe in Downtown Disney.

Raglan Road is an Irish themed restaurant located in Pleasure Island in Downtown Disney. There’s live performances during dinner – usually Irish tap dancers. They perform both on the main stage and in the side dining areas, where we were seated. There were a lot of yummy options on the menu but I opted for their special of the day – Baked Cod in a creamy sauce on top of mashed potatoes. I’m a sucker for mashed potatoes and any kind of cream sauce so this was heaven for me. The cod was tender and cooked just right. The sauce wasn’t overpowering at all and paired very nicely with the mashed potatoes.

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For dessert, I had the Key Lime Pie, which was huge! The key lime was just tart enough without being overly sour and the crust was nice and crunchy. This feels more like a two person dessert to share – especially if you’ve eaten a huge entree beforehand.

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Wolfgang Puck is located in the West Side of Downtown Disney. Since we stayed at Port Orleans, who have a River Ferry to the West Side, we didn’t have to walk far at all. I only wish that it didn’t rain so much, which causes the ferry to close! I liked Wolfgang Puck because it had a lot of different dishes on the menu – you could get pasta, pizza, sushi and a variety of entrees. I went with the Pesto Rotisserie Chicken with mashed potatoes and an arugula salad. The portion size was huge! The chicken was tender and not dry at all. The pesto sauce was strong and tasted really good mixed with the mashed potatoes. This dish is definitely worth your money.

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My mom and sister both went with their Salmon with polenta, which I thought was amazing. The salmon was cooked perfectly and wasn’t dry at all. The polenta gave the dish more flavor and the fresh veggies really made the dish pop.

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Both meals were beyond my expectations. Even though Downtown Disney isn’t technically a theme park, it is affiliated with one so I wasn’t expecting too much from either restaurant. Especially since the night before our visit to Wolfgang Puck, we had a pretty disastrous dinner at Planet Hollywood. But all in all, I thoroughly enjoyed my dinner at Raglan and Wolfgang Puck and will definitely put them on my Disney must-go list for our next visit.

Disney Roundup: Be Our Guest

Recently, my family and I decided on Orlando, Florida for our annual summer vacation. We traveled to Orlando two years ago and stayed on Disney property at the Caribbean Beach Resort. This time, we opted for a much smaller resort and stayed at Disney’s Port Orleans – French Quarter. The French Quarter is much smaller than its counterpart, the Riverside, and if you’re in building 3 or 4, you’re extremely close to the main building, the food court and the buses.

We also opted to sign up for the Disney Dining Plan, despite the fact that we would be spending two days at Universal. For those of you not familiar with the Dining Plan, you basically get 1 quick-service meal, 1 snack and 1 table-service meal per day, per person. Due to the lengthy list of restaurants participating in the Dining Plan, we ate at some really great places and that’s what this post is about!

We used all our quick-service credits for lunch since we wanted to have a nice sit-down dinner every night. Most of the time it was fast food – burgers, hot dogs, and sandwiches. However, one quick-service meal really shone above the others and it was Disney’s new Be Our Guest restaurant in Magic Kingdom. If your’e staying on Disney property, you’re able to make FastPass+ reservations for this restaurant, which is amazing because when we arrived for our FastPass+ time at 12:40pm, the restaurant was completely full and not taking anymore walk-ins.

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Be Our Guest is modeled after the castle in Beauty and the Beast and it’s absolutely gorgeous! The decor is beautiful and it’s the only quick-service restaurant that I’ve been to in Disney that serves food on actual plates. The menu isn’t that big but the food is really good for for a restaurant labeled as quick-service for lunch. I went for the Braised Pork (Coq Au Vin Style), which featured eight hour slow-cooked pork with mushrooms, onions, carrots and bacon served with mashed potatoes and green beans jardiniere. The pork was very tender and broke apart easily. The mashed potatoes tasted delightful with the sauce from the pork. It was brought hot to our table by a covered trolley, which was really thoughtful.

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For dessert at Be Our Guest, I went with The Master’s Cupcake, which was chocolate sponge cake topped with Lumiere’s special “Grey Stuff”. I heard that the special “Grey Stuff” was super-whipped cookies and cream panna cotta and I don’t doubt it for a second. The “Grey Stuff” was so good! It was very light and not too sweet at all. It looks pretty heavy since it’s meant to be a cupcake frosting but it melted in my mouth.

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