PEr FYI

December 2, 2017

The Compleat Strategist, New York…I left empty handed

This is a true aficionado’s pure nirvana in a tiny space near the Empire State Building. Not a single online or computer game.  This is role playing at its finest and board games galore.

This store isn’t really big but from the ground all the way to the ceiling it is packed with games. The walls are bursting with games. The narrow aisles have games, miniatures, books and other collectibles crammed along the shelves. They have brand new games, old vintage games, expansions packs for games you’ve never heard of, and most importantly: RPG books

They seem to have everything except the thing I’d wanted: a foam value set for the Star Wars Rebellion board game box.

Don’t come here for customer service, though. This is the true truth as I say it as it is…

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November 5, 2017

Oyster Bar Restaurant, New York…Manhattan clam chowder hits all the right notes

Grand Central Station isn’t in the greatest food neighborhood, but there’s a spot worthy of mention. The century-old Oyster Bar Restaurant is where you’ll get the best atmosphere, not to mention the best views of oyster after oyster being shucked at impressive speed.

There are dozens of oyster varieties line its epic menu. I picked out the roasted Bluepoint oysters with grilled pineapple-citrus-ginger butter to go with my grilled shrimp with garlic herb butter and coconut rice. The BIG reason, though to go to Oyster Bar Restaurant is for their zesty Manhattan clam chowder. This distinguishable red-colored broth is a great change of pace from the creamy New England version. With its base of stock and tomatoes, it’s lighter, a bit healthier and loaded with flavor. It hits all the right notes.

The service can be downright awful. Want that wedge of lemon you asked for 20 minutes ago? You’ll have better luck flagging a cab during a rush hour rainstorm. This is the true truth as I say it as it is…

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October 22, 2017

Regina Pizzeria, Boston…a slice of heaven

It’s one of the world’s most popular foods – and rightly so. Boston offers gluttonous amounts of very good pizza indeed.

An old-school pizza parlor with few frills, Regina’s Pizzeria opened in Boston’s North End in 1926.

The pizza? Made using dough from an 80-year-old family recipe, sauce, and natural toppings with no preservatives or additives, and all cooked in a brick oven. The Giambotta – their finest creation…it’s the pizza that comes with all the traditional toppings on it – a full three pounds! The end couldn’t have come soon enough. In Italian homes when they’re having a giambotta, they’re going to have mama’s best combination. Molta bene! (Anchovies upon request). Part of the appeal is the crust, chewy, springy, and addictive.

But beware: There’s often a wait for a table. This is the true truth as I say it as it is…

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September 9, 2017

Atlantic Fish Co, Boston…(not) the best in Boston

When it comes to lobsters, Boston leads the way. Now for the hard part.  Who has the best lobster in Boston?

A Boston staple, Atlantic Fish Company is an upscale seafood centric restaurant that focuses on traditional preparations.

No prizes for guessing the main attraction – it’s all about the lobster. I enjoyed the lobster, corn on the cob, potatoes 1/4 lbs and have never felt happier. A well-matched accompaniment is the award winning new England clam chowder cup. Overall, this was a good find. It’s still better than most seafood restaurants I’ve tried in the USA but I don’t think it’s the best in Boston.

The way I see it as a layman, a steamed or boiled lobster is not some fine art of cooking.  Even my seven-year-old niece can cook you up a great steamed lobster.  All you are doing is dropping the poor bastard(s) in a pot of water for about ten minutes and that is it.

Unless it is some crazy lobster pie dish, then it doesn’t really matter where you get it if you just want it steamed or boiled. This is the true truth as I say it as it is…

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August 27, 2017

Walrus & Carpenter Oyster Bar, Boston…damn delicious lobster roll

In Singapore, people treat lobsters like celebrities, and Boston has no shortage of them.

Named after the Lewis Carroll poem, The Walrus and the Carpenter Oyster Bar in Quincy Market Food Colonnade at Fanueil Hall Marketplace specializes in oysters, lobsters and other delicious seafood dishes. So, yes, these very public eating places, I’m all for them. I love the public — and can spend up to two or three occasions a month in close proximity to them without panic, vomiting or assault

The heart and soul of the menu and the reason to come eat here (or take out) is the pure and simple and elegantly delicious lobster roll. Order a lobster roll with a cup of chowder and the split top bun will arrive stuffed with chunks of impeccably cooked lobster meat which is ample, firm, tender and sweet, spot-on seasoning, and a meat-to-bun ratio that works. The winning key here is that the sandwich taste like lobster and not mayo. The creamy and comforting clam chowder also shines.

The downside? This teeny lobster roll is just enough to make you wish you had more. Just don’t try to share it…in fact, perhaps order two just for yourself.

This is the kind of lobster roll dreams are made of. This is the true truth as I say it as it is…

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July 29, 2017

Minetta Tavern Restaurant and Bar, New York City…The black label burger renders other burgers meaningless

This place opened in the 30’s so it’s wonderful to see the vintage décor of the old saloon-era interior intact. Being a full house, I sat at the refinished oak bar in the front of the room, elbow to elbow with other diners. The vibe is buzzy, exclusive, and properly chaotic.

The food rocks as much as the scene. The US$33 Black Label Burger – selection of prime dry-aged beef cuts with caramelized onions and pomme frites is without question a mind-blowing rivetingly intense experience. Named the best burger in America by CNBC, a continent full of burger connoisseurs, The Daily Meal,  calls it “the stuff of legend.”  The beef is a blend of four different cuts—short rib, skirt, brisket and rib-eye. It’s like eating a dry-aged steak in burger format. The bun was airy but not spongy. There is a chewiness and lushness in the same bite. Each bite of this burger was lingered over and savored. Even the fries were perfectly seasoned, and nicely crisped. It held to the quality of the burger.

This is now my must-go place in NYC, but frequent Minetta too often and I’ll be broke and really fat. This is the true truth as I say it as it is…

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December 2, 2016

Morton’s The Steakhouse, Macau…it was so hit and miss

I have been to several Mortons and was excited to see that there was one in Macau. Like all other Morton’s Steakhouses, the restaurant’s interior is elegantly layered in dark hues, white linens and eye-catching light fixtures.

Morton’s prime burger – choice of cheese, crisp bacon, sauteed mushrooms or onions served with french fries was good but the Filet mignon trio – three mini filet steaks topped with Bearnaise, Blue Cheese Butter and au Poivre Sauce was subpar. I expected much higher end food. In the end, it was a case of a hit and a miss. I wasn’t wild about it.

Have eaten at Morton’s in other locations and this isn’t it – just go somewhere else. This is the true truth as I say it as it is…

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October 22, 2016

Simply life, Hong Kong…God knows it’s worth it

Make your way to Simply Life. Just follow the aroma of fresh bread and cakes to a bunch of tables packed with shoppers and office workers. God knows it’s worth it. There’s no denying that this charming cafe’s celebration of life paraphernalia is on point, with the place being decorated in European country style complete with benches and green turf.

The ample food offeing to fill your bellies is high quality: a handful of sandwiches and a lovely spread of baked goods. Light Bites, Small Plates, Large Plates, yadda, yadda, yadda, and the prices are kind. I had the bacon and beef burger with fried egg and cheddar cheese. My God, it is a tasty eggsplosion.

A steady stream of City slaves keeps this tiny treasure buzzing – and it’s easy to see why. This is the true truth as I say it as it is…

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October 16, 2016

Wolfgang Puck Kitchen & Bar, Shanghai…food here is average – nothing compared to Wolfgang Puck everywhere else

The Austrian-born Wolfgang Puck is arguably the most successful chef moguls in history. The man was a celebrity chef before that term even existed. Shanghai has seen a slow and steady trickle of celebrity chef like Jean Georges, ventures over the past decade. And now, Wolfgang Puck has thrown his hat into the ring.

Less formal than Spago, but a step up from the Wolfgang Puck Cafe, the concept of Kitchen & Bar is one of offering dishes that Chef Puck enjoys cooking at home, and everything is shared family style.

The menu is what you’d expect and quite frankly very well priced. You’ll find a blend of the familiar and less familiar but all will come out beautifully constructed. The seafood in the lobster and shrimp roll is finely chopped, the vibrantly fresh seafood mingled happily with sweet curry, apples and dill. However, I usually have a love affair with BBQ ribs but then again, not all ribs are created equal. Hence it is with great disappointment that the BBQ pork ribs here at WP was below average.

Service has always been A+- it’s nice when a restaurant seems well managed.

WP would get 5 stars from me except for that BBQ ribs. I would give Wolfgang Puck another chance since I’m fan of the chef and I know he has high standards. This is the true truth as I say it as it is…

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August 21, 2016

The Baboon House, Melaka…zen burger-eating mode

Yes, we’ve seen about every permutation of burgers by this point. The Baboon House is an unsung hero in a world of overstuffed and overpriced burgers.

Inside is a space that more closely resembles a dense garden than a restaurant. Beaten up wooden tables and chairs punctuate grubby shelves and art-strewn walls in a nice natural lush tropical environment.

The basic menu is short, to-the-point and has possibly the best burger readily available to most Malaccans. Baboon special aloha cheeseburger is a delightful assault on the senses. The homemade bun is perfectly soft. The juicy baboon beef patty is thin enough to not be a belly bomb and are accompanied by a profusion of cheddar cheese, grilled cheese, streaky pork bacon and fresh veggies. The Oriental chicken burger was also simple and spot on and the tropical lemongrass drink (lemongrass, lemon and honey) complements the food very well.

You will surely be in zen burger-eating mode. This is the true truth as I say it as it is…

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