Monday, January 24, 2011

Koko Teppanyaki (The Crown, Melbourne, Australia)

The meats cooked here is really good, but the fried rice was terrible. The service was snail time slow. I don't think I would ever come back here. Kobe and Benihanas back in the States are just far superior.

Nobu (The Crown, Melbourne, Australia)

I think I may have come on an off night here because a few people have told me that this is their favorite Nobu location. The night I came, the toro was awful as was the service. Everything else was pretty standard to all of the other locations.

Sante Buffet (The Crown, Melbourne, Australia)

This is one of my favorite buffets. It's not very big, but everything they serve is really good. Half of it is chinese food, a good mix of american and authentic kind (they had zhu jiao ...don't want to gross out my non asian readers so ask a Chinese person if you really want to know). They also had red bean soup for dessert. Their roasted meats (ham and roast beef) are the best I've had. They were very tender and moist. This place is great if you're short on time.

Taste on Melrose (Los Angeles, CA)

Most of the dishes here are pretty good. It's great for a date or small group of friends. The service was great the first time I came here with a group of 3, but this most recent time it was pretty bad (like not offering more bottles of water bad, had a group of 8). Here is what I had:

Prosciutto & Fig, Pear & Caramelized Onions, and Carne Asada pizzetas

Kobe Beef Meatballs.
Pretty good, not as good as they say it is though.

Chocolate Brioche Bread Pudding

Tangerine Olive Oil Cake.
If you only have room for one dessert get this. It's so unique and original and has such a great taste.

Chocolate Parfait Devil's food cake.

Monday, January 10, 2011

Mesa Grill (Atlantis, Paradise Island, Bahamas)

My first Bobby Flay restaurant. This place utilizes an ingredient I haven't had at a restaurant before, tamales (starchy corn based dough wrapped in a leaf). It's a nice change, kind of like the corn version of mashed potatoes.

Shrimp & Roasted Garlic Corn Tamale: good, didn't taste too much of the garlic though.
Grilled Red Snapper: Had a good sauce, but the snapper could have used some more salt because it was very bland.
Smoked Tomatoes: good.
Sweet Potato Tamale: really good.
Desert Tasting:
Banana Cream Pie: good
Toasted Coconut Layer Cake: delicious
Mexican Chocolate Pudding: gross
Churros: Wowza good
Pear Buttermilk Upside Down Cake: rich and good.
Apple Pie: standard.

Bimini Road (Atlantis, Paradise Island, Bahamas)

I went here for lunch and didn't really care for it. It could be that I just don't like Caribbean food. I had the fresh conch salad and the blackened grouper sandwich. Conch (aka the snails that are in those giant shells) is similar to scallops in taste and texture (its more rubbery). The salad was more like a cerviche and was a little too sour for me. The grouper was very dry.

Chop stix (Atlantis, Paradise Island, Bahamas)

Pretty bad Chinese food. Like, I didn't even get a fortune cookie bad. They gave me a fortune mint instead. I had the shrimp wonton soup. The broth was good, but the shrimp wonton was really gross. I'm not even sure if it was shrimp. It was a really weird texture. The mixed seafood with XO sauce wasn't very good either. I didn't even like the sauce. The only good thing was the tapioca soup for dessert. I actually haven't had this in about 10 years. It's basically tapioca balls swimming in coconut milk.

Dune (Atlantis Beach Club, Paradise Island, Bahamas)

I came here for lunch one day and trust me, its definitely worth the free 5 minute shuttle ride from Atlantis. It's located at the One & Only Beach Club. You walk through the main lobby, out the back side and you just know its going to be good. Theres a gorgeous backyard with grass, palm trees, hammocks, and oh yea, the ocean. They sat me on the covered patio right above the beach. It was perfect temperature, and best of all no birds. This restaurant is a four diamond rated restaurant by Jean George. The only one of his restaurants I really like. I had the crab cake fritters and grouper (deep fried). The crab cake fritters were good, but the sauce was too peppery. I couldn't even finish it. The grouper was excellent. The view made up for the appetizer. So far it is my favorite restaurant in Atlantis.

Seafire Steakhouse (Atlantis, Paradise Island, Bahamas

I came here for a large party (about 8 for a birthday celebration) and they did a really great job on service. They are quick too if you ask (a few of the guests were on a short dinner break for a poker tournament). I wasn't a fan of any of the appetizers I tried. The artichoke and spinach dip were standard, the crab and lobster cake were meh, and the ahi tuna was terrible. My main course was the osso buco (braised veal). It wasn't tender enough and the meat didn't seem to soak up the sauce as it should have. The best thing was the cake (which actually didn't even come from the restaurant, I had to order it from the Atlantis Bakery). It was a vanilla cake with perfect cream and frosting. The actual cake was more sweeter than the frosting. And it was so moist! Top 5 best cakes I've had.

Lagoon Bar & Grill (Big shell restaurant, Atlantis, Paradise Island, Bahamas)

This restaurant is located outside in Atlantis's backyard. It's has the giant shell roof. It's open, so there are a bunch of birds trying to steal food from you as you're eating, but worth it for the great view of either the ocean or Atlantis (whichever side you decide to face). Beware of the birds, my husband luckily had a towel wrapped around him and had received a gift from one of the seagulls. I had the gumbo and pulled chicken bbq sliders. Both were decently good, especially for a pool area restaurant.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Cafe Martinique (Atlantis, Paradise Island, Bahamas)

I've yet to have an excellent experience with a Jean George restaurant. The service and live music is really good, but the food was just disappointing. For an appetizer I had the Heirloom Tomatoes. There was too much going and and such a strong vinaigrette that I couldn't even taste the main ingredient of the dish (tomato). The waiter recommended the duck so I got that. There were crushed candied almonds in the dish that just didn't taste right with the duck. Hopefully his other restaurant on the island, Dune is much better.

Nobu (Atlantis, Paradise Island, Bahamas)

In the past years, the sushi here has been pretty low quality and is my least favorite Nobu. This year, however, the fish is actually pretty good. Service is still bad though. I added a new dish to my usual yellowtail jalapeno, toro, and back miso cod order. I added beef topanyaki and it's definitely a keeper to my  standard Nobu order. I also tried the tiradito Nobu style appetizer and wasn't a fan. For dessert I had coconut pudding (think more like bread pudding, than school lunch pudding). It was pretty good. Like an 7.8/10 on the dessert scale.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Mosaic Buffet (Atlantis, Paradise Island, Bahamas)

It's a nice buffet, but a little disappointed because I heard it was so much better than the Marketplace buffet (also in Atlantis). It was only slightly better. It was much fancier. They had a cheese station, pasta, appetizers, desserts, seafood, sushi, indian, asian, grill, and moroccan. They lamb chop was by far the best thing here. It was perfectly moist. The dessert here was crazy. I couldn't stop grabbing things. I had a mixed berry crepe made fresh in front of me, mini flan (which tasted a little like cheese cake), mini creme brule, mini chocolate lava cake (didn't find any lava or melted chocolate sauce in mine though), coconut macaroon, and a sugar free blueberry mandeleine. I felt a little better about the meal, after finding out it was only $9 more than the Marketplace. I still would rather go to the Marketplace buffet over this one.

GrillSmith (Tampa, Florida)

What a great find! It's similar to all those restaurants like Fridays or Ale house, but with much better food. I had Lillian's braised beef. It was pretty perfect. To my surprise, they had banana foster for dessert. I don't know why I don't see this dessert around too often. It's one of my favorites and so hard to find. The version here had the bananas swimming in caramel and you pour it over you ice cream. As you eat it you discover random bites of candied pecans (like the kind they sell at sports events). I wish I had one of these near me, it for sure would be one of my casual go to dining spots.

Kobe Japanese Steakhouse (Orlando, FL)

This seems to be just a Florida chain. It's a teppanyaki restaurant. Where they cook the food in front of you and about 8-10 other strangers (like a Benihanas). The chefs really put on a great show for the guests. You pick what kind of meat you would like and with your choice you get a soup, salad, veggies, fried rice, and noodles.

The dressing for the salad here is so good. I guess all the Japanese restaurants in Central Florida have been going around stealing each others recipes for salad dressing, because a lot of them taste the same and I've only had this particular kind in Florida. It's so delicious I wish the rest of Japanese restaurants on the West Coast caught on already. Same goes for the spicy tuna rolls. Someone in Central Florida came up with a really good version of them and now all the Japanese restaurants here serve it. It is way better than what I've had everywhere else in the world.

Anyways, I usually go with the shrimp, but this time I decided to go with the Kobe beef. Yum what a great choice! It was perfect. Also with dinner, they give you a white sauce (for seafood and veggies, also tastes great smothered in rice) and a brown sauce (for beef). The white sauce is ridiculous. Everyone usually just requests two servings of the white sauce and no brown sauce. I'm usually too full for dessert, so I don't even know if they have dessert here. It's really a lot of food.

Golden Lotus (Orlando, FL)

One of the few places you can get dim sum (outside of downtown). It's an authentic Chinese restaurant with above average dim sum.  I don't know the names of everything (I've only been here with my mom and she always orders for me), but the eggplant dish is really good here. Also the shrimp balls with the crazy crunchy spikes are really good. It's really cheap and I've never had a problem getting a table here. Also, its usually only Chinese people eating here so you know its good.

Seasons 52 (Orlando, FL)

Seasons 52 is another one of my favorite restaurants in Florida. It's one of the few nice and health conscious dinner restaurants out there. Nothing on their menu is over 475 calories (not including dessert, but that technically isn't on the menu, they bring it out to you and show you your choices). Any of their flatbreads are amazing. They are the perfect amount of crispy and have just the right amount of stuff on top. I still haven't found another place with better flatbreads. Just about every dish I've had here in the past years was really good. You can really taste and feel that everything is super fresh. This past experience, my venison chops (deer meat) were a little dry though (I had them a few years ago and they were so tender).

The desserts are the best. They are all served in shot glasses and are like dessert tapas. I usually have 2 or 3. My favorite is the key lime pie and the pecan pie. I recently tried the pumpkin pie. It was below par for a pumpkin dessert (usually you can never go wrong with anything pumpkin related).

Panera Bread

Great place for salads, soups, and sandwiches. Their version of iced green tea doesn't resemble green tea at all, but it tastes too good for me even to care. I personally think the Italian combo is the best sandwich there. I usually get half the sandwich with either a greek salad or chicken noodle soup. It's just an all around great place to have lunch.

Del Frisco's (Orlando, FL)

Prior to moving out to the West Coast, Del Frisco's was my favorite restaurant. Even now, it's my second favorite steakhouse (Cut has 1st place). The bread is baked so fresh and fluffy. I can never stop eating it. The lobster bisque is pretty good for the South and the steak is cooked perfectly. It's the kind of steak thats a little crispy on the outside and is seasoned with the perfect amount of salt. I'm all about the fat now, so I always get the ribeye. It makes the steak taste so much better. Plus the best part is they serve Moscato here. It's a sparkling wine thats a little on the sweet side. It's not a great accompaniment to steak, but its just too good.