PEr FYI

June 18, 2017

Picnic, Singapore…Don’t waste your money!

Overpriced, food average, service was poor, lack of atmosphere. The rosti is bland, the pizza is like school lunch fare, and it’s best to pretend that the signature pork belly prata never existed at all.

A critic’s job is to be unbiased. I get that. I try to ignore all the peripheral aspects of a restaurant—just focus on the food. But then, I have as moral obligation to cross that line for the greater good.

If I think you can have a better dining experience at the same price eating somewhere else, it’s my duty to say so.

picnic sin

Picnic isn’t a bad restaurant. Some people might even love it. I just doubt I’ll ever be one of them. This is the true truth as I say it as it is…

 

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…

baboon house melaka

March 5, 2016

Eathai, Bangkok…Thai food theme park

The Marche experience awaits diners at Eathai. Chart your own course, select your meals, watch a cook prepare your food, get your card stamped, and then relax in an upscale setting.The never-ending variety of regional dishes are offered from stalls and carts so it has elements of the culture and camaraderie of street food stalls.

The noodle soup with yentafo sauce is a deep pink-orange noodle dish with an assortment of tasty toppings – chunks of pork, fish balls, fried tofu, rectangles of coagulated blood, and a big crispy chip. Yentafo sure is something different. It’s all sweet, all pink, like Hello Kitty.

I like to refer to it as a food theme park. If you are looking for a place with a nice ambience, this place is a good bet! For food that is unforgettable – this will not be the place. It was nice, but definitely not a place, where you will go on and on about the food to your friends. This is the true truth as I say it as it is…

eathai bkk2

eathai bkk4

eathai bkk1

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…

fulton crab house 2 orlando

fulton crab house orlando

 

September 11, 2015

Universal Citywalk, Orlando…super touristy but I love the atmosphere

Universal Citywalk is a shopping and entertainment area that is free for anyone to enter. You don’t have to go to the parks. You can hang out here. Located at the entrance of their main theme parks, there is a lot to see & do; plenty of dining options, drinking holes, souvenir shops and cinemas. All or almost all of them are chains so you aren’t getting any local flair here.

The largest Hard Rock Café in the world, The Bubba Gump Shrimp & Co and many more…no matter what your taste, you can find something you love here! For what they do, Hot Dog Hall of Fame is great. The place itself was pretty teeny tiny but they offer a line up of 9 hot dogs all served with French fries. The Detroit: Koegel dog, Abbott’s coney chili and diced onions was simply outstanding. I wish I had ordered two.

CityWalk’s Rising Star, Bob Marley-A Tribute to Freedom, Jimmy Buffets Margaritaville, AMC Universal Cineplex 20 with IMAX and many others provide entertainment that comes alive when the sun goes down. More than 10 million people worldwide have experienced the unique style of Blue Man Group. Three mysterious, talented, and energetic bold and blue characters takes the audience ona goofy, kiddish, colorful, big ole party…which would be fun for kids. It’s definitely so overloaded with skits/acts that you almost forget there’s legitimately no substance to them. I’m not sure why the audience was laughing so hard; either they were into the silly acts or they were all high.

Super tourist-y or not, I love the atmosphere and hustle & bustle of CityWalk. This is the true truth as I say it as it is…

 

universal citywalk orlando2

hot dog orlando

hot dog2 orlando

blue man orlando

blue man2 orlando

June 6, 2015

Burger & Lobster, London…deserves every bit of oohing and aahing

There’s no printed menu, they told me, only 3 options. A blackboard by the entrance announces “Burger or lobster or lobster roll. All with chips & salad. £20”. That’s it.

You get a pretty big, stonking beast of a lobster with lots of meat inside and it comes with a bucket of perfectly golden crisp fries and underwhelming salad. You have a choice of steamed or grilled. The lobster – steamed to a turn and marked on the griddle – lay there and I could have swore I heard it screaming to be anointed with garlic butter. DO get that lemon garlic butter – that stuff is addictive and it’s hard to stop yourself from just drinking this butter concoction.

The decor is… different. The restaurant has a modern feel with statement lighting. The staff trained to exhibit well-judged chirpiness. The service was on point and the food comes out QUICK! You have my lobster-loving heart here.

When you name your restaurant after what you serve, you’d better do it damn near perfectly. Burger & Lobster has a huge bang for its buck. This is the true truth as I say it as it is…

burger lobster london2

burger lobster london3

March 14, 2015

Crab in da bag, Singapore…No, this ain’t the place for restraint

When it comes to food, I suffer from multiple personality disorder. Sometimes, I crave refinement, creativity and some extravagance. And other times, I just want to pig out. When those urges get too strong, when I want the culinary equivalent of “dancing like nobody’s watching,” I can’t imagine a better way to set them free than to sit down and start cracking shells and stuffing face at Crab in da bag. It is crowded, messy and plenty fun.

Each table is covered with a large sheet of coated paper. The crab arrives in plastic bags…. set in the middle of the table sheathed in clear plastic loaded with the sauce of your choice. The best dish was definitely tiger prawns in garlic butter. Sri Lankan crab in caboodle mix – a combo of local and Cajun spices – is out of this world….they combined beautifully. The crab farci was delightfully delicious. The word farci, when used in the description of a dish, means to ‘stuff’ or to ‘pad out’ (from the Latin,farcire). The prawns are first cleaned out and then cooked in their shells, ensuring maximum flavour. The sweetness of the prawns complemented the garlic sauce perfectly. Whenever I need a prawn-fix, I know where to go. The squid in curry had a very intense and specific flavour.
If you don’t like eating with your hands, you should not even think about going there. No, this ain’t the place for restraint. It’s for anyone who speaks the international language of crab done right, and who wants to enjoy good seafood in a casual atmosphere. This is the true truth as I say it as it is…

crab in da bag

February 8, 2015

iHop, New Jersey…Excellent pit stop before shopping at The Mills at Jersey Gardens

I have been told by quite a few folks that iHop is not worth visiting. iHop is the International House of Pancakes. It’s not the international house of shrimp or the international house of milkshakes! It’s the international house of freaking pancakes! iHop is not a fancy steak house. Get over it!

The iHop I went to is actually a rather large space – they have plenty of seating. It’s right across from Jersey Gardens.

The original buttermilk pancake is the signature favorite they’re famous for but for all that brouhaha, it is pretty average. So is the bacon cheeseburger. The ham and egg melt features a fluffy omelette topped with ham, Swiss and American cheeses on grilled artisan sourdough bread and it’s incredibly satisfying and filling. Helllooo delicious! Another wonderful dish is the loaded country potato soup which was hearty, creamy and filled with variance of texture and bits of bacon. And most of all…it made me close my eyes, sigh, and feel like everything till the end of time is going to be okay. This soup will warm your ever-loving heart and soul. I absolutely promise.

I will keep coming here as long as the door stays unlocked! This is the true truth as I say it as it is…

ihop NJ

ihop 2 NJ

January 24, 2015

Johnny Rockets, Jersey Gardens, New Jersey…..Whatever

I give this restaurant a lot for its theme of 50s rock ‘n roll from the cute jukebox at each table, to the dress of the waiters and waitresses to the awesome music blaring.

But the food in this Johnny Rockets in Jersey Gardens, was on the low side of average. Imagine a McDonald’s hamburger run through the dishwasher and you would be spot on for the Johnny Rockets Big Double. The bun was soggy, lettuce limp, and meat like chewing bicycle tires.

The wait staff looked like they didn’t want to even be at work. 0 smiles on the employees faces, just very awkward stares from people who seem like they hate their job and it shows in the way they treat their customers. The service they give you is almost as if they are daring you to not leave a tip. 

I  had previously been to a Johnny Rockets in LA three years ago – I still remember how good the hamburger and milkshake were! Maybe that was a fluke because now I am unimpressed. This is the true truth as I say it as it is…

johnny rocket nj

December 21, 2014

T.G.I Friday’s, New York City…far from the pinnacle of American cuisine, but they are decent

First I should say, I have never been all that crazy about this chain restaurant in the first place. Let me be clear on that. They’re far from the pinnacle of American cuisine, but they’re not terrible – they are decent.

Waking away from watching the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, after 3.5 hours of standing by the roadside on 6th Avenue in the blistering wind and light snow, we tried to get into a couple of restaurants in Times Square but was told that waiting time is at least 30 minutes. We took a chance and jumped into the next restaurant with vacant tables, TGI Friday’s. Like all the TGI’s I’ve been to, the walls at this TGI Friday’s at Times Square are covered with everything but the kitchen sink.

We had the slow-cooked, fall-off-the-bone (or should I say peel-off-the-bone) tender and juicy baby back pork ribs basted in Tennessee BBQ sauce, then fire-grilled and served with seasoned fries and ginger-lime slaw; and the Philly Stacked Burger (Braised shredded beef, mozzarella, Asiago & Parmesan, roasted cremini mushrooms, spicy giardiniera and green onion between two fresh burgers with Swiss cheese, horseradish spread, onion bacon jam and peppered bacon). The food was pretty damn good – definitely not the horrific, inedible trash-heap I was expecting – but the staff and general lack of care for customers negated all that. But…the ribs…I will return just for the ribs.

The prices were steep — most of the entrees are between $20-$30, with the sandwiches in the upper teens — but what else could you expect from a restaurant in Times Square? You’ll get the same at the Hard Rock or Bubba Gump nearby. This is the true truth, as I say it as it is…

tgif ny

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