PEr FYI

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…

lido's la2

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

 

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…

fleming's 2 nla

fleming's8 la

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…

chipotle orlando

chipotle2 orlando

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…

cheesecake2 orlando

 

 

 

December 12, 2015

Jimmy’s American Grill & Bar, New York City…epically twisted dining experience

I’ve eaten in a lot of bad restaurants, but I can’t recall an experience as epically twisted dining in Jimmy’s American Grill & Bar. This place is a complete joke. The food is atrocious…lots of leftovers that would make me feel guilty even giving to my dogs. Service is just as bad!

This is what “good” American food tasted like 20-30 years ago, in the days of Sizzler’s and TGIF’s.The overcooked sirloin steak with mashed potato and vegetable was a travesty. We requested for medium rare and instead was  served a piece which was very strong, dry and hard to chew. The kitchen should show a little respect to the animal: don’t cook it so that it has the texture of shoe leather. The seafood pasta with salmon, grilled shrimp, mussel, clams and grilled calamari served with garlic sauce was bland, tasteless.

Mostly we were frustrated by the unbelievably atrocious service. A drinking straw was shockingly thrown to us. Request for a spoon went by forgotten the entire evening. Even several requests for the bill went unheeded. It was just very poor service.

I’m surprised this place is still open. I can’t imagine this gross place will be in business much longer. This is the true truth as I say it as it is…

jimmy's nyc

November 15, 2015

Capital Segway City Tour, Washington DC…best way to see any big city

Segway tours are the best way to see any big city. It’s a wonderful feeling – zipping around in the crisp air and the front row seat to the city with tour guides and you don’t have to deal with parking, buses or throngs of tourists. Plus it’s fun!!

The tour stops at all of the highlights you will want to see. As far as the Capitol & the White House. Be advised that you don’t get to go in anything on this tour only learn about the area and see everything from the exterior. There is one stop on the tour where we were able to get off the Segway – at the Abraham Lincoln Memorial.

Having been on many Segway tours, I can knowledgeably say that the difference between one Segway tour to another is the quality of the tour guide. A funny, witty, informative and animated one who gives fun facts along the way would make the tour worth every cent you’ve paid. Our guide was not the best, but he was not the worst either.

Do it! This is the true truth as I say it as it is…

capital segway city tour dc

November 8, 2015

Peet’s Coffee, San Francisco…”must-not-miss” clam chowder

So, I’ll admit it, I’m not a coffee snob. I’m not likely to highbrow with the best of them when it comes to coffee

The must-do thing in San Francisco of course is to have Boudin clam chowder soup which is clam chowder in fresh-baked sourdough bread bowl. In a feat of chowder engineering, the impossibly creamy textured and rich in taste but not overly salty soup, comes loaded with chunky potatoes, and fresh, chewy and tender clams in a huge fresh sourdough bread bowl. This was literally one of the best clam chowders I’ve ever tasted – it doesn’t get much better. If it’s not already obvious enough how much I’m loving this chowder, let me start raving about the best part yet: the sourdough bread. With a crispy outer crust, a soft inner texture, and a slightly sweet and sour taste, this sourdough bread paired with creamy clam chowder is simple perfection. By the end of my meal, I became a happy digger myself, scraping off every little piece of that delicious bread bowl and dipping it into the chowder with every bite.

Peet’s seems to be way more popular than Starbucks over in San Francisco. The service is quick and this coffee is strong.

Give it a try and see what all this sourdough snobbery is all about. To me it tastes like a hug feels. It’s kind of a nice place, so maybe don’t lick the bowl? This is the true truth as I say it as it is…

boudin clam chowder soup n peet's coffee

October 25, 2015

Bill’s Bar & Burger, New York City…it’s non monumental, lacks a wow-factor

Given the limited choices for food within a short walk on a cold, windy and rainy New York winter night, this place was okay. Not something I can rave about. It’s not bad, but it was pretty average.

I got the “famous” CNN-rated Fat-Cat burger (2013 CNN top 10 burger award) – caramelised onion, American cheese, English muffin, LTP. Thought it was tasty, it lacked a wow-factor. It definitely should not have made anyone’s top burger list. The buffalo chicken wrap – lettuce and tomato, blue cheese, spinach, tortilla – was an okay wrap. It was tasty and the ingredients were well seasoned and it was a decent sized portion. While their new England clam chowder has a nice stick-to-your-stomach creaminess about it, it was a tad thin when compared to your typical chowder.

Certainly did not surpass Smashburger or In-N-Out. It’s non monumental. It’s fine for what it is. This is the true truth as I say it as it is…

bill's bar ny

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

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