PEr FYI

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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November 5, 2017

Oyster Bar Restaurant, New York…Manhattan clam chowder hits all the right notes

Grand Central Station isn’t in the greatest food neighborhood, but there’s a spot worthy of mention. The century-old Oyster Bar Restaurant is where you’ll get the best atmosphere, not to mention the best views of oyster after oyster being shucked at impressive speed.

There are dozens of oyster varieties line its epic menu. I picked out the roasted Bluepoint oysters with grilled pineapple-citrus-ginger butter to go with my grilled shrimp with garlic herb butter and coconut rice. The BIG reason, though to go to Oyster Bar Restaurant is for their zesty Manhattan clam chowder. This distinguishable red-colored broth is a great change of pace from the creamy New England version. With its base of stock and tomatoes, it’s lighter, a bit healthier and loaded with flavor. It hits all the right notes.

The service can be downright awful. Want that wedge of lemon you asked for 20 minutes ago? You’ll have better luck flagging a cab during a rush hour rainstorm. This is the true truth as I say it as it is…

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October 22, 2017

Regina Pizzeria, Boston…a slice of heaven

It’s one of the world’s most popular foods – and rightly so. Boston offers gluttonous amounts of very good pizza indeed.

An old-school pizza parlor with few frills, Regina’s Pizzeria opened in Boston’s North End in 1926.

The pizza? Made using dough from an 80-year-old family recipe, sauce, and natural toppings with no preservatives or additives, and all cooked in a brick oven. The Giambotta – their finest creation…it’s the pizza that comes with all the traditional toppings on it – a full three pounds! The end couldn’t have come soon enough. In Italian homes when they’re having a giambotta, they’re going to have mama’s best combination. Molta bene! (Anchovies upon request). Part of the appeal is the crust, chewy, springy, and addictive.

But beware: There’s often a wait for a table. This is the true truth as I say it as it is…

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October 7, 2017

Au Bon Pain, Boston…nothing to be impressed about. The end.

All the epicurean comforts we crave on frigid days: steaming soups, mac and cheese, hot paninis, and more.

2 eggs & cheddar on plain bagel, with hard-wood smoked bacon was adequate and decent. To go with that, I had the morning blend coffee, medium roast, smooth flavored blend of Costa Rican beans. 100% Arabica. The person who took my order looked really angry at the world. Dining area looks pretty clean and there’s also a nice patio.

Nothing to be impressed about. The end. This is the true truth as I say it as it is…

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September 9, 2017

Atlantic Fish Co, Boston…(not) the best in Boston

When it comes to lobsters, Boston leads the way. Now for the hard part.  Who has the best lobster in Boston?

A Boston staple, Atlantic Fish Company is an upscale seafood centric restaurant that focuses on traditional preparations.

No prizes for guessing the main attraction – it’s all about the lobster. I enjoyed the lobster, corn on the cob, potatoes 1/4 lbs and have never felt happier. A well-matched accompaniment is the award winning new England clam chowder cup. Overall, this was a good find. It’s still better than most seafood restaurants I’ve tried in the USA but I don’t think it’s the best in Boston.

The way I see it as a layman, a steamed or boiled lobster is not some fine art of cooking.  Even my seven-year-old niece can cook you up a great steamed lobster.  All you are doing is dropping the poor bastard(s) in a pot of water for about ten minutes and that is it.

Unless it is some crazy lobster pie dish, then it doesn’t really matter where you get it if you just want it steamed or boiled. This is the true truth as I say it as it is…

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August 27, 2017

Walrus & Carpenter Oyster Bar, Boston…damn delicious lobster roll

In Singapore, people treat lobsters like celebrities, and Boston has no shortage of them.

Named after the Lewis Carroll poem, The Walrus and the Carpenter Oyster Bar in Quincy Market Food Colonnade at Fanueil Hall Marketplace specializes in oysters, lobsters and other delicious seafood dishes. So, yes, these very public eating places, I’m all for them. I love the public — and can spend up to two or three occasions a month in close proximity to them without panic, vomiting or assault

The heart and soul of the menu and the reason to come eat here (or take out) is the pure and simple and elegantly delicious lobster roll. Order a lobster roll with a cup of chowder and the split top bun will arrive stuffed with chunks of impeccably cooked lobster meat which is ample, firm, tender and sweet, spot-on seasoning, and a meat-to-bun ratio that works. The winning key here is that the sandwich taste like lobster and not mayo. The creamy and comforting clam chowder also shines.

The downside? This teeny lobster roll is just enough to make you wish you had more. Just don’t try to share it…in fact, perhaps order two just for yourself.

This is the kind of lobster roll dreams are made of. This is the true truth as I say it as it is…

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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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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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fulton crab house orlando

 

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