March 31, 2013

Restaurant Savoey, Phuket…it just seemed like ‘whatever’

Okay, to be perfectly honest, I find it very hard to rate this place. 3-4 star perhaps.  Don’t get me wrong – food’s good, just not 5 stars.

It is HUGE with indoor and outdoor dining with an outstandingly large seafood display where you get to choose which crab, fish, prawn, lobster, clam you would like.  Their unwritten core values seem to be “if it swims, serve it up”. They have ways of cooking it on their menu with the most popular being baked with butter and garlic sauce. The tiger prawns was pretty good and met all expectations, the tom yum was decent and the lobster came out pretty tough and needed more flavour.

This place is just so-so. Your call. This is the true truth because I say it as it is…


March 29, 2013

Pondok Laguna, Jakarta… the tahu kipas and gurame goreng is as good as it gets!

Super homey and authentic Indonesian spot with rich wood panels where you eat accompanied by the pleasant sounds of the flowing fountain and waterfall. I love this place! The food is so good, the portions are generous and the prices are amazing.

 The tahu kipas (seafood friend beancurd) was the texture of a fried potato but had the yummy flavour of seafood. Go ahead, tell me how that’s not awesome! The ikan gurame goreng (fried carp fish) was ridiculously good and offered up a sense of redemption for over eating. It’s not that it all was less than healthy, for me it was more feeling guilty for having crammed so much tasty things into one sitting. Though the cumi-cumi bakar (grilled squid) was a bit light on taste, the Udang pancet lada hitam (grilled black pepper tiger prawn) was amazing too. The chili sauce accompanying everything was spicy, and worked perfectly with the grilled/fried items. Mmmm, damn, I’m getting hungry all over again.

I am seriously saying that the food is as good as it gets! I’ve never been less than 100% satisfied upon each visit. This is the true truth because I say it as it is…


March 23, 2013

Hamburger Hamlet, Washington DC…food ranges from poor to so-so.

The food ranges from poor to so-so. Seafood chowder soup bowl is humonguous….but soup was not hot, just lukewarm. It was utterly disappointing. The root beer was flat. Just ew. Maryland Crabcake burger was dry like it had been sitting in a warmer for a couple of hours. There was no sauce that came with it. The only positive recollection was that the garlic fries werevery aromatic.

There were no cutleries. Server was in TOO BIG A HURRY to focus on us as a customer & always quickly departing. Only when we had the attention of a different server and gave feedback about our lukewarm soup, did we get an apology. to her credit, she took service recovery measures and waived the soup from the bill.

In the meantime there are too many good choices to waste your time at Hamburger Hamlet. This is the true truth as I say it as it is…

seafood chowder hamlet

March 10, 2013

Woodbury Common Premium Outlets, New York City…like Disneyland for shopaholics!

An outdoor (so wrap up in winter) village with more than 220 freestanding “high end” names. Stores include a mega-Ralph Lauren, Levi’s, Nike, Nine West, Michael Kors, Longchamps, Bose, Swarovski, Prada, Gucci, Ferragamo, Toryburch and so many more that it’s staggering. Be prepared to spend the whole day here and have an early night as you will be tired. Better wear comfy sneakers there will be alot of walking to do. I walked around for 7+ hours going thru various stores that I was interested but most of them were disappointment.   Items looked cheap.  I am not sure if they have the 2nd grade items or all tourists got the good stuff.   I didn’t get as much as when I was in Vegas. Remember you do have to pay sales tax.

I’d signed up online as a VIP member (sign up is free!) and printed our my free coupons prior to arriving  in New York.  These coupons offer more discounts than the VIP coupon book which you can pick up at Woodbury! None of my coupons were use, by the way. And get a copy of those handy maps and store listings while you are there.  Woodbury Premium Outlets occupies a large area, this is very useful to locate the store you want.

The food court is very basic eats, nothing exciting. Although I go there to shop not to eat.

As to be expected, outlets are hit or miss.  Maybe I’ve just missed on my visit here but I would say…for the shopaholics… it is like Disneyland! This is the true truth as I say it as it is…

March 4, 2013

Graffiato, Washington DC…Italian food in tapas style and portion.

Italian food in tapas style and portion. The ambience is stylish yet simple which is reflective of the food.

One of the best dishes I had at Graffiato was the crispy brussel sprouts with maple, pancetta and egg (and that’s a HUGE surprise as brussels sprouts has never been my thing). The brussel sprouts were soft on the inside, but had nicely carmelized , sweet and smoky outer edges which tasted charred and slightly burnt. The pizza we ordered (what else) the Jersey Shore was visually AND tastefully appealing. Perfectly fried and crisped calamari with a wonderful cherry pepper aoli. This was a mean pizza, and I’d order it again in a heartbeat and oh, by the way, the pizza was the only regular sized dish. The roasted potato gnocchi is a solid gnocchi dish. Not the greatest, but check out the truffles. Not all were hits, though, there were some misses too. The glazed pork belly wasnt bad, but it  didn’t quite live up to expectations and the risotto was average at best.

The wait staff was very friendly, knowledgeable and completely competent.

While I don’t think Graffiato is the best of the best, I think it’s still pretty darn good and I am compelled to return. This is still the true truth as I still say it as it is…

Jersey Shore pizza


March 3, 2013

Wolfgang Puck Express, New York…probably the best airport meal I’ve ever had

If you are in transit at Terminal 7, JFK Airport, New York, this is a good place to grab a quick  bite before boarding the plane for your next destination.

Even though the the restaurant itself is a counter service restaurant, their one server is not the most cheerful person in the world.   You won’t get no love from her.

jfk t7

Get the BBQ chicken pizza, and you can thank me later. It is a lovely crispy crust pizza (if only the crust was a tad thinner) topped with amazingly fresh ingredients like the tomatoes and onions.  It’s become the standard that I use to compare pizzas, and theirs is definitely one of the better ones I’ve tried. The meat was tender, the BBQ sauce was flavourful and rich and the amount of cheese was just right. Each bite was a great mix of flavours and completely satisfying!

The Create -Your-Own-Salad is another one to check out. The salad qualities here are at least on par with the entree salads of the better restaurants in the city.

I will say though that the food was great quality which is why I decided to rate the outlet a 3/5.  It would have been more if the service would have been there. This is the true truth as I say it as it is…..

March 2, 2013

The Outlet Collection, Jersey Gardens, New Jersey…Massive Tax Free Outlet Mall

It’s under an hour-long drive from New York City to Jersey Gardens Outlet Mall, which is situated near the newark airport. Though not that high end, there’s something for everyone in particularly the younger crowd with heaps of shops selling street fashion and a large entertainment complex for watching movies and playing video games.

First things first, the shops in thisoutlet mall are indoors – so it doesn’t matter what the weather or temperature is like outside. Because Jersey Gardens is an Urban Enterprise Zone, sales tax on non-clothing items is only 3.5% and there is zero sales tax on clothing items – you’ll save money even before you benefit from the low outlet mall prices! There were over200 shops in the mall but quite a few were disappointing with very little selection and/or sizes. Big name shops like Last Call by Neiman Marcus, Saks Fifth Avenue, Nike, Abercrombie Outlet and Calvin klein were massive letdowns.

There are no real “good” restaurants in the mall. With the exception of Johnny Rockets, the rest are clustered in the food court…Sbarro, Nathan’s Famous, Great Steak & Potato Co, to name a few.

This is a very touristy place – everywhere you look you will see an Asian, Hispanic or European. The only reason I will return to this mall is because of its proximity to New York City and that Woodbury is a long drive away. This is the true truth as i say it as it is…

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