PEr FYI

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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February 14, 2016

Lido di Manhattan Ristorante & Bar, Los Angeles…vodka pasta at a Kitchen Nightmares restaurant

Whether you’re craving a simple plate of spaghetti and meatballs, or an osso buco that melts in your mouth, there’s an abundance of Italian restaurants in Los Angeles. Wanting to go beyond specialty pizzerias and ho-hum red sauce joints, I landed in Lido di Manhattan Ristorante & Bar at Manhattan Beach.

The restaurant itself is beautiful, with a modern, spacious layout. The menu itself is pretty extensive and looks very enticing. Stepping out of my comfort zone, I ordered Lido’s famous vodka pasta – prosciutt0, basil, shallots, garlic, Lido’s famous spicy vodka sauce, tossed with penne. It was good but there was nothing out of the ordinary. Overall I would rate it as so-so. The food was okay. The service was fair

After dining here, I’d found out that this restaurant was featured on Kitchen Nightmares Season 3 Episode 5. Who would have thought?! This is the true truth as I say it as it is…

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January 24, 2016

Fulton’s Crab House, Orlando…Wowowowow!

Fulton’s is a seafood-centric restaurant in the heart of Downtown Disney.

The colossal Alaska King from the waters of Dutch Harbor, Alaska, 1.25 pound of sweet crab with a hint of salt was real succulent appetizing quality and mouth-watering. It was the largest Alaskan King Crab legs that I’ve ever seen on a plate. The body itself is fairly empty and all of the meat is concentrated in the long thick legs. The legs must have been precracked because they were easy to crack open. Fulton’s Crab Cake – blue crab, maque choux, fried green tomato, remoulade was rich, filling and delicious. That is a bold statement, but it’s true… If I was going to die and it was my last meal, I would want this crab cake. Ok, maybe two crab cakes.

It is pricey, but crab is always pricey and also you’re in Downtown Disney, so that’s expected. Totally worth the splurge. This is the true truth as I say it as it is…

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January 17, 2016

Fleming’s Prime Steakhouse & Wine Bar, Los Angeles…looks like it’s come out of a Gucci bag

LA is a city with what feels like an infinite amount of steakhouses. So what differentiates one steakhouse from the other?

First off, I really like the scene of this spot. Elegant ambience of rich, welcoming environment of wood, leather, and subdued lighting. It is so important for me for the wait staff to be pleasant so that I can enjoy my food and evening. EVERYONE was actually nice in this place. Definitely wins points from me.

So much exciting food… so little space to write about it. The certified Angus beef porterhouse for two was cooked to perfection and absolutely divine. If it ain’t obvious to you already, I like meat. I deal with it a lot. It’s tasty. I’m good at it. It was an amazing piece of steak but so damaging to the waistline!! Whatever, we only live once, right? Having steaks and don’t know what to order for the sides?  Asparagus is a no-brainer. The grilled high country asparagus taste as awesome as MacGyver was cool.

Fleming’s holds up against the top tier steak houses in LA, which says a lot. This is the true truth as I say it as it is…

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December 31, 2015

Chipotle, Orlando…a blast of spice

I usually avoid places like Chipotle, but seeing how this fast-casual Mexican restaurant has torn like wildfire across the United States and beyond with over 1,800 locations and beyond, while McDonald’s – which sold off Chipotle – is battling declining sales and traffic, I decided to find out for myself, what the buzz is all about.

Perhaps Mexican food just isn’t one of the world’s great cuisines. I am not actually partial to burritos. The huge portion and the number of ingredients slapped together, too often irrationally, make most burritos hard slogging. This place is a mecca for those want to eat healthy because the food is cooked fresh and there are a whole bunch of vegetables! About the only thing wrong with the burrito was the firm, rubbery flour tortilla, which posed a sturdy shield. One thing I learned here is that if I ever needed to test myself to prove my masculinity, I’ll take up boxing. Definitely no obliterating hot sauces packed with naga and habaneros for me in the future.

Well, now I can say I’ve tried the fad for Mexican, but on this evidence I won’t be revising my opinion of it. Thankfully, I was spared the dreaded “Chipotle stomach.” This is the true truth as I say it as it is…

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December 26, 2015

Cheesecake Factory, Orlando…insanely popular

Anywhere you go in America, the insanely popular Cheesecake Factory has 45 minute-plus waits. Usually an ever-present line, packed dining area, and palpable levels of excitement are reliable indications of great food, but I’ve never had a truly outstanding dish….until now.

The dishes are all American size, meaning quite large, so you certainly won’t leave the restaurant hungry. I have had herb crusted fillet of salmon, garlic noodles- Spaghetinni, fresh asparagus, shiitake mushrooms, oven-roasted tomatoes in a delicious garlic sauce with shrimps, grilled monterey squid, Black eye peas, oven tapen. The light crab bites at the Mall of Millenia, Orlando was the standout. This is amazing! I thought. this has got to be the tastiest thing I had at a Cheesecake factory.

Their cheesecake is world-renowned and comes in many flavors that is sure to satisfy anyone and everyone.

Opening the menu at The Cheesecake Factory is like opening an encyclopedia the large menu gives you different things to try each time. So check it out. This is the true truth as I say it as it is…

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