BCD Tofu House

Trips to Woodbury usually mean dim sum in the car on the ride up and fast food in the food court for lunch. Trips home from Woodbury usually mean tofu chigae up at Fort Lee. The Boyfriend and his parents usually head over to So Kong Dong for some of their infamous soondooboo chigae but they wanted to try something new this time around. This is why we found ourselves trying to locate BCD Tofu House by GPS and almost failing miserably. Tip: You have to drive UP the ramp and into the parking lot. By the time we got out of the car, we already smelled Korean food so we were pretty hooked.

We were seated right away in their very spacious dining room. Here’s one big difference from So Kong Dong – you don’t have to wait 20 minutes for a table and then be squished together with 50 other hungry people. Many Yelp reviewers mentioned cute waitresses, but we didn’t run into any. Liars!

BCD Tofu House serves a large variety of Ban Chans, or side dishes. They had a broccoli-crabmeat side, kimchi, kimchi onions, and pickled carrots. Each patron also got their own small, fried fish! Another major difference between BCD Tofu House and So Kong Dong is the menu. While So Kong Dong only serves chigae and Galbi, BCD Tofu House has noodles, bibimbap, various meats and many appetizers. We still wanted soondooboo so we decided to order two – their Seafood chigae, which features clams, shrimps and mussels, and their Pork chigae ($8.99), since the Boyfriend’s mom doesn’t eat beef. Each entrée order comes with a side of rice, so prepare to be stuffed!

 

We also ordered a Bibimbap to share – the Boyfriend’s mom loves that they give you the option of ordering each dish with or without beef. We ordered our bibimbap without beef but it was loaded with vegetables – sautéed spinach, shitake mushroom, carrots, zucchini, radish, and egg ($14.99). They leave you to mix it yourself so you can add however much red pepper paste as you want. This was one of the most loaded bibimbap bowls I have ever had!

We also went ordered their Daeji Bulgogi, or spicy pork belly ($16.99). It was delicious! The serving size was huge! The pork was very tender and chewy. Despite the heat from this dish, we all kept eating it because it was so good. I’m not usually a pork eater – I prefer beef over pork- but I couldn’t stop myself from eating it – even when I was full!

The service at BCD Tofu House is kind of the same as So Kong Dong. I don’t see any drastic differences. The waitresses kind of just appear when they need to deliver food and then disappear. The busboys are the ones that clear your table and pour you more water – I saw them more than I saw our waitress. In terms of food, BCD Tofu House definitely has more options but I think So Kong Dong’s chigae is by far more delicious .When you order a mild at So Kong Dong, it really is a mild. When you order a mild (half a pepper icon) at BCD Tofu House, you get chigae that’s very spicy. Even the Boyfriend, who can normally take spice, thought it was too much. We were all contemplating how we would order next time since the next level of spiciness after mild is regular.

If you asked me which restaurant I prefer, I would no doubt tell you So Kong Dong. The service sucks and it’s cramped, but their chigae is as advertised. They also have those heavenly kimchi cucumbers that I absolutely love!

 

Disney Food Adventures

Summer vacation for my family for the past few years has been various cruises throughout the Caribbean and even Hawaii. This summer, we decided on Orlando, Florida since the last time we visited was when I was 10 – more than 11 years ago. We decided on 3 days at Disney followed by 2 days at Universal Studios. It was a very short vacation compared to our usual, but between work and school, a week was all that we could spare. We opted for Disney’s dining plan which gave each person one snack, one quick service and one table service meal a day. Since I love food so much, I knew I had to look up menus and make reservations ahead of time. Good thing I did because a lot of restaurants were already booked during dinner time two weeks in advance.

For our first night there, we opted for a pool day. I figured we could have dinner in Downtown Disney and do some pre-park shopping. After reviewing the restaurants participating in the dining plan, I decided on Cap’n Jack’s Oyster Bar located in Downtown Disney. There were a lot of options on the menu but after hearing the Chef’s Recommended Dish of the Day, I knew I had to order it. The Dish of the Day was a clam, mussel, chicken and potato stew. Our waitress brought me over the pot of stew and a bowl. She poured some of the stew sauce into the bowl and told me to dip everything I pulled out of the pot in the sauce. She made a great recommendation because the sauce was amazing.

My mother decided to go with their Baked Salmon Fillet, which was very nicely cooked and flavorful. I actually stole more than a few bites from her dish. My sister went with the Shrimp and Penne Pasta dish cooked in lobster sauce, which was also very flavorful. The lobster sauce was creamy and delicious. Each dining plan also comes with dessert, so I went with the Key Lime Pie, which was had a heavy lime flavor. My favorite dessert of the night would have to be my sister’s Double Chocolate Cake with Ice Cream. The cake was more of a lava cake was very sweet. My sister almost couldn’t finish it because the portion was so big! The service, as per Disney standards, was perfect. Our waitress was friendly and quick throughout the entire meal.

Day two of our Disney adventure led us to Tony’s Town Square Restaurant located in Magic Kingdom. Our visit to Tony’s started off badly since I had a reservation but was still told to wait for our table. Our total wait time by the time we were seated was about 30 minutes. Our entire party was kind of upset because we had purposely made reservations to prevent this type of wait. We actually missed our fast pass return time for a ride because dinner took so long. Tony’s saving grace was our waiter and the food. Our waiter was very friendly and offered very quick service. Our food came in no time at all.

Both my mother and I went with their New York Strip Steak, which is cooked in a red wine sauce and served with potatoes and vegetables. This was one of the best meals I had during this vacation. The steak was cooked just the way I requested and retained a lot of juice. My sister went with their Seafood Diavolo, which featured linguini pasta with clams, mussels, calamari, shrimp, and fish in a spicy tomato sauce. Her dish was very flavorful and the spice was never overwhelming. I found myself stealing bites from her dish!

For our dessert, I went with their Pistachio Crème Brulee, which was very sweet. My favorite dessert was my sister’s Signature Cheesecake, which came with the cutest Lady and the Tramp syrup drawing. At first we thought that the drawing was etched into the plate but soon realized it was drawn on. Extra points for creativity!

Our last day at Disney brought us to Yak and Yeti, located inside Animal Kingdom. Yaki and Yeti is located inside Animal Kingdom’s Asia section and therefore features Pan-Asian cuisine. We didn’t have reservations but our wait time was only around 10 minutes. Our waiter, Brian, was very friendly and checked up on us often. Their drink menu had such interesting names – many of which sounded very good. I decided to go with their Shanghai Express drink, which I’m included mango and peach flavored alcohol.

After a long look at the menu and some recommendations from our waiter, I decided to go with their Crispy Mahi Mahi, which is a filet of mahi mahi covered in Panko, or Japanese bread crumbs and then doused in a sweet and sour Cantonese sauce. The dish came with jasmine rice and stir-fried vegetables. The mahi mahi was very fresh and tender. The best part was the sweet and sour sauce – it was tangy and definitely helped me develop an appetite.

My mother ordered their Seared Miso Salmon, which was to die for. The salmon was soft and juicy. It wasn’t overcooked at all. My sister’s Duck with Anandapur glaze was also very good. The dish was very big since it featured half a baby duckling. The duck was juicy and not tough at all. Usually our family isn’t into Americanized-Asian cuisine but in this case, we were very satisfied.

On one of our Universal days, we decided to have dinner inside our Disney resort – Caribbean Beach Resort. Caribbean Beach has two dining options – Old Port Royale food court and Shutters restaurant, which serves up Caribbean themed dishes. We didn’t have a reservation but was seated fairly quickly. Our waiter was, like all other Disney restaurants, very friendly and attentive. I decided to go with the Jerk-Crusted Yellow Fin Tuna, which features pan-seared tuna with a papaya-mango sauce. The tuna was delicious! I always say, the best way to eat tuna is either raw or seared and this dish was seared to perfection. The mashed potatoes were also very delicious.

We went with their Tres Leches as our dessert. Soft caramel cake was topped with coconut whipped cream – perfection!

A lot of our quick service meals were unmemorable but there is one favorite that I must share. Aloha Isle, located in Magic Kingdom, serves up a wonderful Dole Whip float. Their soda floats are also a refreshing treat on a hot day. They both count as a snack option on the dining plan so I think this is your best deal for snack within Magic Kingdom.

Overall, I can’t complain about Disney’s dining. Their quick service options aren’t very memorable but their table service options were above my expectations. These were not the best meals I have ever had but considering how they’re inside a theme park, I think they’re pretty good. Another tip is to definitely join the dining plan if you plan on eating within the parks. For the three of us, the meal plan came up to around $140+ a day. Our dinners, if we weren’t on the meal plan, would’ve been $90+ alone. It’s really a great deal!

Ladurée Part Two

It’s no secret that I’m a huge fan of Ladurée’s macarons. So when I heard that they had a new summer flavor out, I had to go try it. Since the Boyfriend had an internship interview in the Upper East Side, I decided to make my trip to Ladurée while he was occupied. Since I arrived around 1:30 in the afternoon, there was barely a line. I was in and out within 5 minutes since I already knew which flavors I wanted.

If you’re not traveling or gifting the macarons, I always say their 8 in a pastry box is the best deal. You get to try 8 different flavors or repeat your favorite flavors for the price of $21.60. A gift box of 6 is about the same price. And since I’m here to get the most tastes for my money, I always chose this size.

Since I’ve tried most of their flavors and some don’t sound like my taste, I decided to go with a few repeats. I went with 3 Rose Petals, since the Boyfriend didn’t get a chance to try them last time. I also chose 2 Pistachios for that same reason. I’ve heard great things about their Vanilla and since I didn’t try that one last time, I decided on just one. And finally, 2 of their new flavor Strawberry Guimauve.

Let’s start with the Strawberry Guimauve, which is part of Ladurée’s “Incroyable” collection. These macarons features two pink shells sprinkled with bits of sugar. The shells are filled with “guimauve”, which is a smooth marshmallow filling. The whole thing is perfumed with strawberry perfume. According to the postcard they gave out with the macarons, Strawberry Guimauve is meant to bring back the taste of your childhood.

I enjoyed this macaron. The sprinkled sugar made me think of sugar cookies – but strawberry flavored. The Marshmallow filling was a very departure from the usual buttercream or ganache filling. My only problem with it was that the marshmallow filling made it bit harder to take pretty bites out of the macaron. It held the shells together very well – but perhaps too well for my tastes.

The Vanilla Macaron was colored a bit like the Pistachio. The filling, however, was completely different. The Vanilla had a ganache filling, which as I’ve said before, isn’t my favorite. I’m more of a cream filling macaron fan so I think I am a bit biased when I rate this macaron. It was good but it definitely wasn’t the best for me.

There was a strong taste of vanilla bean and you can actually see some of it in the filling. It was a tasty macaron, but definitely not my favorite at Ladurée.

I did successfully convert the Boyfriend into a macaron lover – at least a lover of Ladurée’s Rose Petal and Pistachio. For someone who is not very into sweets, he ate the Rose Petal and Pistachio very quickly. He had to admit that the Rose Petal was amazing. Perhaps next time I will just get a whole box of Rose Petals and Pistachios!