PEr FYI

December 2, 2018

Katz Delicatessen, New York…nothing else like this in the world.

I have popped my Katz’s cherry. This is the home of the Meg Ryan “When Harry Met Sally” fake orgasm scene. Yes, ladies, feel free to give it your best shot.

It’s been around since 1888. It’s tacky, noisy, and rushed. The service gruff-but-kind, and the sandwiches way too big. The richly flavoured, freshly carved, emphatically smoky and tender pastrami sandwiches are worth the hype.

This is the king of New York delis. This is the true truth as I say it as it is…

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October 28, 2018

Hertz, New York City…GPS stopped working

JFK. One of America’s busiest airports is well served by car hire companies catering for the huge numbers of visitors who pass through this major transport hub each year. Just take the complimentary AirTrain to Federal Circle station, where rental car offices are located.

Hertz may have a reputation for being expensive, but it was favourable in terms of affordability and choice of cars. Being a member of their Gold program, I got the “Carfirmation” service, which confirms reservations through text and emails and so I skipped the check-in counter.

There is just one criticism. The GPS stopped working when I was in on the expressway.  Whinge over. This is the true truth as I say it as it is…

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October 13, 2018

Legal Sea Foods Restaurant, Boston…seafood at a new level of deliciousness

Boston has a huge amount to offer when it comes to seafood. With a tagline that screams “If it isn’t fresh, it isn’t legal”, Legal specializes in one type of fare: seafood. The name of the game here is all things ocean.

The New England clam chowder is rich and creamy and shockingly delicious, with just the right amount of potatoes. There’s a lot of joy to be had in the lobster roll warm butter poached or traditional with mayo. The lobster meat, served chilled, has a firm bite and a tender follow through. It puts many of its competitors to shame in terms of pure taste and texture so it deserves a place in your belly. Legal’s signature crab cake – simply put – jumbo lump crab, mustard sauce, seasonal salad is one of the great classics of Legal Seafoods Restaurant. There is a simple genius about it, the crispness and creaminess and intrinsic sweetness of the moist and intensely crab-flavoured cakes.

There’s one thing you’re sure to find at Legal Sea Foods Restaurant- an excellent meal. This is the true truth as I say it as it is…

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September 23, 2018

Pappas Crabcakes, Washington DC…Well, this was a letdown

Oprah Winfrey named Pappas Crabcakes as one of her #FavoriteThings2015.

Pappas built its reputation on chunky with lump crab, filler-light, and only lightly spiced with crab seasoning, allowing for the full expression of crabby flavor. I ordered the snack plate – 2 fried blue crab balls, old bay seasoning French fries, coleslaw, tomato, lemon, choice of sauce. Sadly the jumbo lumps here at the MGM National Harbor tasted as if they’d spent more time in a freezer than in the Chesapeake Bay.

Obviously Oprah didn’t eat at the Pappas outpost here. This is the true truth as I say it as it is…

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August 24, 2018

The Halal Guys, New York…great street meat

A food cart under umbrellas in can’t-miss yellow and red serving platters of halal lamb and chicken on 53rd and 6th in the Big Apple with never-ending lines that reeled down the block.

Your options are “chicken,” “lamb,” or “combo”. Lamb, roasted on a rotating spit and chopped to bits before a final crisping on a flat-top grill; chicken, simply grilled; falafel. The juicy lamb is the draw, sharply seasoned, with just enough melting fat. You want that as a sandwich or over rice? I chose sandwich. The secret “white” sauce is a must.

But take that white sauce away, and I don’t really get what the big deal is. This is the true truth as I say it as it is…

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August 4, 2018

Fuku+, New York…home of the $8 spicy-fried-chicken sandwich

This little fast-casual restaurant has some unexpected extras, like waiter service and Bob Dylan and  on the playlist to ramp up the energy.

The spicy chicken sandwich is chicken thighs that have been marinated in habanero purée, coated in buttermilk, dredged in a spice blend, and deep-fried into formidably crustiness, then tucked inside a—what else?—potato roll with pickles and butter. The first thing you notice is the lopsided ratio of meat to bread. The chicken spills out of the bun like an oversized bao. The sandwich has been described as “spicy,” but to chilliheads it will seem just barely so. Fuku serves KFC-style steak fries, the world’s worst type of fries, which seem to have been par-baked before being fried, thus giving them an interior texture of instant mashed potatoes. All eyes should be on the sandwich.

And for those who care about prices, that $8 is a bit more than a Shake Shack burger.

So there you go. It’s damn good! This is the true truth as I say it as it is…

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July 14, 2018

5 Napkin Burger, Boston…I’m not in love

All I’ve been hearing are great things about 5 Napkin. The hype was that the burger is so succulent and loaded with luscious accessories that it requires five napkins to deal with the juicy runoff. It’s an irresistible notion that demands taking up the challenge and discovering what all the fuss is about. How could I not? So when I was in Boston I decided to go to one so I can say I went. The problem is I didn’t know if it’s any good or not, I just think it’s supposed to be great.

Here’s what I know: 5 Napkin makes a good burger, but not a great one. The namesake 5 Napkin Burger – all natural beef, imported gruyere, caramelized onions, rosemary – garlic aioli was OK—not great. If you’re looking for the juiciest, most flavorful hamburger around, this isn’t it. The signature hand cut fries were like the burger. OK

I didn’t dislike it but wouldn’t go out of my way to eat one again. This is the true truth as I say it as it is…

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June 15, 2018

Mr Rocky, Shenzhen…like having a cheesy version of Nashville in Shenzhen

Inspired by the wild wild west of the USA, this American bar in Shenzhen is your go-to spot only if you are desperately in need of some cheesy cowboy-style atmosphere and dying to tuck into burgers, steaks and pizzas and hit the dance floor for an evening featuring live bands and DJ sets.

Food is profoundly awful. The steak was tough as nails and disappointingly taste like the bovine equivalent of chicken breast, the pizza was chewy as bubble gum and the hot pumpkin soup was anything but.

An out-of-touch and bungled attempt to create a themed restaurant. This is the true truth as I say it as it is…

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June 10, 2018

Eataly Caffe, New York City…I died and went to Italian Heaven

Disneyland for Italian-food lovers, Eataly is an Italian-food marketplace which sells all things Italian. There’s a fishmonger and butcher (and vegetable butcher) and an espresso bar, a wine store, a cheese store, a cooking school, a kitchenware department and a great deal more. There is a restaurant at Eataly that serves fish. There is a restaurant called Le Verdure which serves only vegetables. It is bruschetta city there. There is a pasta area. And there is a first-come-first-served bar area, La Piazza, where you can stand at a marble-top table and drink wine or eat salamis and cheese as if in Venice.  From the bakery behind the pizza ovens: good breads. From the chocolate station up front: dessert.

Eataly serves up delicious dishes while offering a bite of Italian authenticity. The Prosciutto croissant with tops which are golden and flaky is packed with plenty of pleasantries. The Italian prosciutto was delicate, sweet and adds flavor to every bite. The wonderfully airy apricot croissant was irresistible pleasure! This one is truly a breakfast in bed item.

A word of advice – if you’re waiting for a table to open up at the restaurant, browse around the store but don’t buy anything. Your stomach may protest, but your wallet will thank you

Eataly is an answered prayer. It represents a step forward for Italian food in New York. It is now my new “happiest place on Earth.” This is the true truth as I say it as it is…

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June 2, 2018

Tanger Outlets, Washington DC…small but you get your money’s worth

I’m a certified outlet mall junkie. Going to outlet stores meant a treasure hunt of last season’s clothing at up to 90% off.

Tanger Outlets at National Harbor is rather small compared to many outlet stores in the USA. There are a total of 73 shops. All the usual suspects are present: Nike, Calvin Klein, Under Armour, Polo Ralph Lauren.

It may be small, but you’re getting your money’s worth. his is the true truth as I say it as it is…

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