PEr FYI

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…

mr rocky shenzhen

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…

tanger wdc

April 7, 2018

Davio’s, Boston…well-known for their service as they are for their fare

Comfy armchairs and high-ceilinged dining room. The tables are sheathed in perfectly starched white tablecloths. The menu requires double the normal time to decide because there are so many tempting items calling out to you. This is Davio’s in Boston, Massachusetts.

The 24oz Prime Natural Aged Bone-in Ribeye was appreciably rich, flavorful, dense tasting for lack of a better word, and also noticeably tender. It was basically an explosion of beef on the tongue. Maine Lobster risotto, asparagus, fresh herbs, lobster cream ooze luxury. The rich Maine lobster with its unparalleled sweetness brings elegance to a classic. It’s a pure delight for all the senses.

The experience at most restaurants is as important as the food. If you are lucky to have Christina Chrissie serve your table, service is assured and seamless. This is the true truth as I say it as it is…davios bos5davios bos1

 

 

March 24, 2018

Miss Saigon on Broadway, New York… pretty schmaltzy

Miss Saigon is back in New York. Known as “the musical with the helicopter,” it’s a tale of   doomed love affair between a young Vietnamese woman and an American GI in the last days of the Vietnam War. I am one of a whole new generation of theatregoers who never saw it during its run 20 years ago, and jumped at the chance to see it now.

Much of those songs are sweeping, melodramatic ballads. The likable and undeniably talented Philippines actor Jon Jon Briones, the show’s slimy pimp known as the Engineer is equally contemptible and charming. He delivered the stunning upbeat ‘American Dream’ number to perfection. He even threw in a joke about making America great again (something that surely wasn’t in the original script).

I can’t say I was deeply moved. Still, it’s a pretty schmaltzy show. This is the true truth as I say it as it is…

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February 24, 2018

Pandemonium, Boston…nothing extraordinary

Filed under: Activities, American, board games, Books, Entertainment, games, USA — Tags: , , , , , — PEr @ 3:09 pm

The board game is enjoying a resurgence. Sales in the U.S. grew 28% last year and worldwide, the industry is worth nearly $10 billion. Why? Probably it’s just fun to spend time with friends and get immersed in something completely unique.

Pandemonium has got a really decent selection of books (mostly used paperbacks, focusing on sci-fi and fantasy) and they put conscious effort into getting material from local authors. The game selection is good, though tabletop RPGs and a fairly decent area (if you can overlook the unattractive smelly basement) for the gaming community to meet.

This store isn’t terrible but it’s nothing extraordinary for a game shop. This is the true truth as I say it as it is…

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January 28, 2018

Modern Pastry Shop, Boston…the local favourite

Want to get off the tourist trail and enjoy Boston like a local? Then do Boston like a real Bostonian.

What Modern Pastry Shop does, it does expertly. This fabulous, family-owned Italian bakery is filled with delicious sweets and treats. I was a bit overwhelmed with the choices. They have everything for everyone but the Italian pastries are the best. There was a sizable line was out the door but it does move relatively quickly so you can be in and out within 15 minutes if you head in knowing what you want. Service could be better, though.

Please note the word “Favourite”. This is the true truth as I say it as it is…

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January 6, 2018

Nathan’s Famous, New Jersey…no better, no worse

Deep down, I just want to be eating the real Nathan’s dogs at the original Coney Island stand, but I guess, this Nathan’s stall at Jersey Garden food court is what I have to settle for.

A mild, juicy meat and crispy exterior that “melds in a nice way” with bun and condiments. They have the pop when you bite through the skin, releasing all those yummy juices into your mouth. The low points are that it feels processed.

Nathan’s is no better, no worse than any hot dogs in America. Is this as good as it gets, or do I really need to go to the original location? This is the true truth as I say it as it is…

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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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