Tag Archives: shrimp

Traif: Asian Influenced Tapas & Bacon Donuts =O

229 S 4th St
Brooklyn, NY 11211 (South Williamsburg)

I had been wanting to go to Traif for a long time. It’s consistently rated as one of the best places to eat in Williamsburg (4.5 stars on Yelp O.O and wow two billyburg restaurants in a row for me). Traif is a “new American” restaurant that serves up tapas with Asian and bacon flavors. It is also known for its bacon donuts – that curiosity alone was enough to entice me…

I started with the Rude Little Pig cocktail, which is made with lapsang-infused tequila orange liqueur, and a pomegranate bacon rim. Can’t say it’s particularly amazing but it was a pretty stiff drink. Bacon rim sounds better than it tasted. You couldn’t really taste it at all. It was actually pretty annoying to have to deal with bacon crummies in my drink. This start aside, everything else was pretty great.

We were gifted a sweet potato-y soup from the chef. Super delicious. So creamy and vibrant – the perfect little taster to get the taste buds going for the rest of the meal. By the way, I didn’t note all the prices and the menu changes pretty frequently. Just know that each dish is about $11-$20 ish.

Toasted spaetzle with roasted mushrooms. TBH, not the biggest fan of spaetzle because of how grainy it tastes. It’s the same reason why I can’t stand whole wheat pasta. Brown rice, whole wheat bread, anything else really I’m all for. Something about grainy noodles just doesn’t make sense to me. They should be al dente, not grainy. Anyway, of all the spaetzles of the land that I’ve had, this is pretty good, I guess. Cant go wrong with cheese and mushrooms. Continue reading Traif: Asian Influenced Tapas & Bacon Donuts =O

Taverna Kyclades: love me some good seafood in EV

Taverna Kyclades
Taverna Kyclades
228 1st Ave
(between 13th St & 14th St)
New York, NY 10009

FISH! FISH! FISH! I’m so happy that a great, affordable seafood place has opened in the East Village. Taverna Kyclades is a casual seafood restaurant that just opened up where Tepito and David’s Bagels used to be. I used to think that spot was cursed (bad feng shui or something) because the restaurants there never stay long. Three restaurants have occupied that spot in less than two years. I’ve never been interested in trying those restaurants because their reviews have always been super mediocre. Taverna Kyclades opened up late last year, a sister restaurant to the eponymous restaurant in Astoria. The original one in Astoria is so popular that people line up for hours on the weekends to get a taste of the fresh seafood.

Taverna Kyclades
Lucky us, the East Village location has not gained that much popularity yet. LAW and I came on a Tuesday evening and only had a 15 minute wait (still wildly impressive for a weekday).

Taverna Kyclades
This is the free bread that they give out. AMAZING baguette – crusty, soft, chewy – toasted with olive oil and spices. Huge plus in my book for starting the meal right. I would come just for this bread and wine if I could get away with it.

Taverna Kyclades
When you come, you MUST get this. This is the Octopodi: charcoal grilled Mediterranean octopus ($15.95). Prior to this, the best grilled octopus I had had was at Pylos, also a really, really great Greek restaurant. Pylos is a bit fancier. It has prettier decor, nicer plates, prettier wine glasses, etc. Also has really great octopus. But this octopodi was phenomenal. It was even more tender than the one at Pylos and had an addicting smokey finish. It was a bit simpler than the one at Pylos, which had a caramelized balsamic glaze. This one was just drizzled with olive oil and some simple herbs. Continue reading Taverna Kyclades: love me some good seafood in EV


Killer Poboys
Erin Rose Bar
811 Conti St
New Orleans, LA 70112
Neighborhood: French Quarter

When I think of po’ boys, I think of lots of fried seafood and lettuce in a soft, crusty bread. It’s not my favorite. I need more flavor than mayo and fried seafood. G.B. still feels that way but only because he didn’t go with us to Killer Poboys. After much research on the Internet, I found that Killer Poboys offers some of the best poboys in French Quarter district. To get to Killer Poboys, you have to enter Erin Rose bar and weave through the drunken Nola crowd to the back. There is a room in the back decorated with all kinds of lights and signs reserved for the po’boy craftsmen.

The two men in the kitchen were both very large, jacked, and looked like they would have each owned a Harley or something. Watching them cook was very interesting. They treated their ingredients very delicately (see photo of one of them measuring pork belly on a scale).

LAW and I shared one as a snack before dinner. We got the Coriander Lime Gulf Shrimp Poboy (market price that day was $12 – expensive). The shrimp was some of the freshest I’ve had and was marinated in strong cajun-like spices and grilled to perfection. It had a nice smoky flavor and was so tender, sweet, and juicy. Delicious. Continue reading KILLER Poboys

Barrio Chino, a Mexican restaurant in Chinatown.

Barrio Chino
253 Broome St
(between Ludlow St & Orchard St)
New York, NY 10002

I finally made it to Barrio Chino.  LAW doesn’t like Mexican food very much and since he is my primary dining date, I had yet to venture out to this very well-known Mexican restaurant situated right on the edge of Chinatown.  There’s also always a long line so there was even less incentive to go.  Anyway, I finally made it on a girls’ night out (+T.G.).

Started out with a round of margaritas.  I got the grapefruit margarita with a rim of sugar… apparently their most popular drink.  It was a good margarita, but lacked grapefruit taste.  I was imagining a deliciously cold sweet and tart tequila drink with hints of grapefruit bitterness… but just got the sweet and tart bit instead.  I would have had another round if I wasn’t biking home from dinner.

We shared the Guacamole with homemade tortilla chips and salsa roja ($10).  M.B. pushed my expectations way high when she said that we had to get it because it was some of the best guac she’s had.  She’s from California, where avocados are in season all year round, so she definitely knows her stuff.  The guac was creamy, yes, and very good.  But I think avocados are naturally just so awesome that I can’t say I’ve ever had bad guac before… it requires little more than mashing and some light ingredients.  The best guac is definitely the kind you make for yourself because you add as much salt, pepper, lime, and chilies as you like… This guac was not spicy enough for my taste and could have used a bit more lime.  But honestly, any ripe avocado makes me salivate.  $10 for a small bowl was also a bit pricey.  If you are willing to pay for overpriced guac, check out Rosa Mexicano.  They have a highly customizable guac appetizer that is deeelicious.

I had the Camarones Borrachos, which was a plate of fresh shrimp sauteed in tequila, guajillo chiles, and garlic, with green rice, avocado slices, and tortillas ($12).  The first thing I noticed was that the rice wasn’t really green.  Green rice, or arroz verde, is rice dish made with long grain rice, parsley, and steamed spinach leaves.  I’ve never had it so was excited to try what I envisioned to be a flavorful rice.  However, it tasted pretty plain, which after having the shrimp, I was happy about.  The sauce was tasty and had a nice kick to it from the chiles.  It was a little too salty, which is why the plain rice and tortillas were welcomed.  I was bummed that the shrimp was overcooked… overcooked seafood is one of my biggest pet peeves.  A couple seconds too long on the heat and the shrimp or fish is completely un-salvageable.  Seafood should be fresh, sweet, and only lightly seasoned to enhance its own flavors.  Not chewy, tough, and doused in sauce. Continue reading Barrio Chino, a Mexican restaurant in Chinatown.

Nai Tapas – someone please explain.

Nai Tapas Bar
174 First Ave
New York, NY 10009

Meh.  I was looking for a good tapas place in East Village to take my family and some family friends because some of them had never had tapas before.  I am really not well-versed in the tapas scene in NYC so relied heavily on Yelp and friends.  Nai Tapas Bar is probably the highest rated in East Village with 4.5 stars on Yelp and Urban Spoon, and was also recommended to me multiple times by friends.  They also took reservations which was a big plus for a big group.  I ordered a variety of things and nothing stood out, especially not the watered-down sangria.

Chorizo A La Plancha ($5.50/$11.00)* – grilled Spanish sausage wrapped in a fried potato chip.  It tastes like how it looks.  Not bad, not great.  Sausage was decent but didn’t have any particular flavors and wasn’t dry nor juicy… what else to say? Continue reading Nai Tapas – someone please explain.

The Best Steak I Have Ever Had

Peter Luger Steakhouse
178 Broadway
(between 6th St & Driggs Ave)
Brooklyn, NY 11211

Best. Steak. Ever.  I don’t even love meat and I love Peter Luger porterhouse steak.  It’s probably one of the oldest restaurants still running in New York, having been established in  1887!  If you haven’t been, check it out and you’ll understand how it has lasted this long.  It is a no frills restaurant that just serves up great food.  And when I say no frills, I really mean no frills.  There is one kind of steak that you get and you pay per person.  Everything is served family style.  You walk in and a strong charred scent of MEAT wafts towards you.  The waiters are all big men with thick New York accents.  They are sarcastic and tell you what to order.  It’s a little off putting at first but once you get the drift, it’s kind of fun.

“I would like the… ”

“Two tomato and onions, at least one bacon per person, two potatoes and two spinaches.”

“Oh, right.  Okay, sounds good.”

That’s pretty much how it works.  For once, I liked being told what to eat.  They weren’t douchebags about it either.  The waiters would tell me when I was ordering too much and stop me.  As in actually refuse to have me order more. Continue reading The Best Steak I Have Ever Had

Hot ‘n Juicy Crawfish

Hot ‘n Juicy Crawfish
4810 Spring Mountain Rd
Ste C & D
Las Vegas, NV 89102

I realized I had never had crawfish before and was excited to hear about this place from multiple friends.  It fit under my criteria of “uniquely Vegas,” “delicious,” and “not too expensive.”  It’s right at the edge of Chinatown so you’ll need a car or cab to get to it.

The crowd seemed very local.  Everyone had their sleeves rolled up, plastic bib tied on, and was smackin’ their lips and lickin’ their fingers.  We ordered a pound of crawfish and a pound of shrimp, both in the Hot ‘n Juicy special sauce (you have other choices such as lemon pepper and juicy cajun).

The crawfish ($10) is steamed with a large amount of super tasty and spicy sauce.  Looking back, I wish I ordered some rice or rolls on the side so I could have soaked up the sauce.  We had ordered sweet potato fries for our carb instead.  Though the fries were good, soft on the inside and crisp on the outside, sweet potato didn’t go quite well with the seafood and sauce.  I needed something more bland.  The crawfish tasted very fresh and sweet but crawfish is just a bit too small… each one has meat about the size of a gum ball and takes quite a bit of breaking and peeling.  It was far too much work for too little reward.  We asked them to add two corns in the bag as well.  The corn was hot and sweet and tasted amazing with the sauce. Continue reading Hot ‘n Juicy Crawfish

Eataly Ingredients + My Cooking Skills = Shrimp Scampi with Squid Ink Linguini

Ever since visiting Rome over a year and a half ago, I’ve missed everything about it.  The cobble stones (which I can get a tiny taste of here on Bond St.), the incredible ancient Roman ruins that are just embedded within the modern city fabric (we stumbled upon Borromini’s San Carlo alle Quattro Fontane), and of course, the FOOD.  Even the little panino stands on the random corners of the streets had amazing bread and prosciutto, a combination that can last me many, many meals.  Olive oil was amazing… thick and green from every bottle at every restaurant.  Great Italian food, like Japanese food, involves the best and the freshest ingredients cooked simply.  LAW and I headed straight to Eataly to for our ingredients because… Eataly sounds like Italy.


200 5th Ave
New York, NY 10010


Eataly is a high end Italian food market chain that sells fresh bread, cured meats, cheeses, gelato, freshly made pasta, olive oil, balsamic vinaigrette, Italian cookies and chocolates, etc.!  They have locations throughout Italy and apparently a few in Tokyo.  In New York, the food market surrounds a center hearth that consists of a number of high end food-court-esque restaurants.  Mario Batali is one of the owners and describes it as a “grocery store with tasting rooms.”   Continue reading Eataly Ingredients + My Cooking Skills = Shrimp Scampi with Squid Ink Linguini