Friday, July 13

♥ Free Stuff at Starbucks (TODAY)

Original Blog: www.gothamist.com

New Yorkers may be willing to sell their kidneys for an iced coffee, so what would they do for a free Starbucks "Refreshers" drink? We ask because tomorrow, Friday the 13th, between noon and 3 p.m. the chain is offering free 12 oz. samples of their Very Berry Hibiscus or Cool Lime Refreshers at stores across the country. No purchase necessary, just walk in and ask for one. So what are these new "Refreshers," you ask? Well, according to the company they are "the latest breakthrough in coffee" which use "Green Coffee Extract" for their energy boost. According to the company "Starbucks is using an innovative process to pull the naturally occurring caffeine and other good stuff from 100% green arabica coffee beans before they are roasted. The result is Green Coffee Extract - the natural energy from coffee, but with none of the coffee flavor." And thank God. Because if there is one thing we can't stand about coffee it is the coffee flavor, right? Or, let us rephrase that: if there is one thing we can't stand about Starbucks coffee it is the Starbucks coffee flavor.

Anyway, free drinks!

Friday, July 6

♥ Remarkable Landscape + Food Truck in Connecticut

New Haven, Connecticut
Exit 46. Food Trucks open every Saturday and Sunday

Look at this guy! He was so into his tacos :] Also, this stranger was so nice and ordered for me :]

Surprisingly, it wasn't spicy! So delicious! And it was free too! DOUBLE THE JOY

Pickled raddish

Chicken and Shrimps taco: 4.7 / 5
Beef Taco: 4.7 / 5

This was so far one of the best tasting tacos that I've ever ate!! Also, at an unbeatable price of 1.50 each. Tips: The acidity of the lemon enhanced the taste

Best View + Yummy Food = Priceless
Thank you to whoever that took my picture :]

Wednesday, July 4

♥ No More foie gras in California

 Foie Gras is banned in California :(

A first-of-its-kind ban on the sale of foie gras that went into effect in California this week is being challenged in court.

A Canadian exporter of the fattened duck liver delicacy, a foie gras producer based in New York state and a Southern California restaurateur filed a lawsuit in Los Angeles Superior Court on Monday seeking to invalidate the new law, which prohibits products derived from force-fed birds. Foie gras is made from goose or duck livers that were enlarged by force-feeding ducks through funnel-like tubes.

The lawsuit claims the California ban is vague, written so broadly that it also applies to skins, feathers and other by-products of ducks raised primarily for foie gras, and violates the U.S. Constitution's commerce clause by affecting companies from outside the state. It seeks first a temporary, then permanent barring of the ban's enforcement.

"The Bird Feeding Law does not provide any intelligible measure -- such as weight, volume or caloric value -- by which those involved in the feeding of ducks...may determine at what point a duck has been fed 'more food' than the statute allows such their duck products may continue to be sold in California," according to the 19-page complaint. The California Legislature passed the ban on producing and selling foie gras in 2004, but the law only went into effect on Sunday. Before it did, lawmakers had given the state's only producer, Sonoma Artisan Foie Gras, time to come up with a cruelty-free way to fatten a duck's liver, but a new method never materialized.

In the weeks leading up to the law's July 1 start date, chefs and foie gras fans loaded up on the soon-to-be contraband food item with special menus, dinners and parties.
"Instead of keeping foie gras sales in California, the law pushes sellers of foie gras to bordering states where cottage industries will now be set up to get around the ban," Rob Black, executive director of the Golden Gate Restaurant Association, said. "To prevent further confusion and save the time, money, and resources of already cash-strapped government agencies, an injunction is necessary."

                                                                                                           Original Article:

Tuesday, July 3

♥ My Journey to Totto Ramen

I've heard wayyy too much about this place, from The New York Times to Wall Street Journal, I'm persuaded to book a ONE WAY ticket to New York for their ramen. Let's see what is all the hype about? Can it live up to my favorite ramen joint, Santouka, located in Orange County and New Jersey? OH AND... if you are wondering about Ippudo, NO! I didn't get a chance to go there YET! It was the most depressing day when I had to choose between missing out on my sister's graduation (in Kentucky) or missing out on Ippudo (in New York)! It was a tough choice, but FAMILY goes first, then Food...

Anyways, Let's start my LONGEST JOURNEY / WALK / WAIT AT .... 

Because Totto Ramen was only 0.7 mile from my friend's house, I decided to walk and to explore New York! Well...guess what... we got sidetracked by an annually FOOD FAIR!

Thai food was so cheap! 1-3 dollars for everything here

Yummmyy... roasted chicken and beef on charcoal grills

OH OKAY! I was supposed to eat RAMEN! BUT got so ADD-ish by the food fair, 
so had to stop and tried some food from the street vendors :]

After escaping the food fair *phew*, I found myself in another trap!Three black men werehustling tourists to buy their fake Gucci, Louis Vuitton, Prada, and etc...

Finally! After 30 minutes or 40 minutes of my ADD-ness, we had finally arrived! But the LONG LINES looked so intimidating from far way! I was there roughly 30 minutes after the store opened! And I still had to wait for almost 2 hours! WTF right? TIPS: This place opens at 12pm, go here at 11:40am to beat the crowd! Don't worry, it's not weird to come early cuz long lines begin to form at 11:50-ish am :]

Their menu is small! BUT I rather have quality over quantity.

Avo Tuna アボツナ: Torched tuna sashimi w/ avocado marinated in special yuzu garlic sauce.

Reading all the Yelp reviews and recommendations, this was one of the MUST -TRY ITEMS! I thought it was A-OKAY! But it was very tasty for a ramen joint, but I had better tuna dishes at Sushi places. Try it though!!! Trust me, it won't be disappoint!! REMEMBER: torched items are prone to skin cancer! Eating this once in a while is okay, but not every day!  Ratings [ 4.0 /5 ]

Char Siu Chunks ぶつ切りチャーシュー 
 Chunks of Char Siu (braised pork belly) over bean sprouts with 1/2 cut of Seasoned Boiled Egg

SO GOOD!!!!! I would totally wait 2 hours for this! This is a MUST TRY item on my list! So delicious...  Ratings [ 5/ 5]

Original Rayu, Spicy Sesame Oil, adds a spicy kick and refreshing aftertaste to our original Paitan ramen.Topped with scallion, char siu pork, bean sprouts, and nori.
 Ratings [ 4.2 / 5 ]

The finest Koji Miso and ground pork in a scoop atop slightly wavy noodles in original Paitan soup. Topped with a seasoned hardboiled egg, scallion, bean sprouts, onion and char siu pork. Ratings [4 /5 ]

In conclusion, it's hard to compare Santouka to Totto because they are so different! Santouka uses pork base, while Totto uses chicken broth base! So it's like comparing an apple to a strawberry! Yes, they are both fruits, but they are different in taste. And some people prefer apples over strawberries and vice versa.  So it's all about preferences in this case. Both ramen noodles are cooked and perfected by "real" Japanese chefs!!!! However, I have to admit Totto's Char Siu Chunks have more fat+flavor than Santouka's! But Santouka's eggs are much better! It was a tough choice, but in the end, there can only be one winner! And if I really really have to pick, I would prefer Santouka because the "pork" soup base is more fulfilling and is slightly better tasting than Totto's

Sunday, July 1

♥ Indian Food in the Ghetto

(pic from Monkeyone)
Located on 30-07 34th St. Astoria, NY 11103

 Nearest Transportation:  30 Av (N, Q) || Astoria Blvd (N, Q) || Broadway (N, Q)

 In the neighborhood of Astoria! Kinda ghetto, but it's NY .... can't really complain :]

 I love the atmosphere INSIDE-- very peaceful, nicely decorated with very 
dim lights at night, and extremely hip for youngsters

My friend and I were extremely hungry and didn't know what to order! So we placed our bets on the Sampler Platter which included everything on the appetizer section: the Vegetable Samosa Chicken Samosa, Pakora, Lamb Spring Roll There were only two of us eating, so this so-call "appetizer" acted almost as our whole meal! All of them were "interesting" and somewhat different from my normal taste, so I can't really rate it! However, the lemon-cilantro dip was extraordinary good! Tips: This will be good for a party of 4 or more! Each should sample a little of this and that, before the entrees!

Masaka Crab Cakes (Lump meat, garam masala, mint, lemon-cilantro dip) was OKAY! Nothing special, but the sauce is to die for.  Maybe i will give this a [2.4 / 5]

 5 stars for the garlic bread with the lemon-cilantro dip!!!! soooo YUMMMMY! 

Green chili chicken with hot green chilis, garam masala, and ginger-garlic sauce. NOTE this item is always spicy! This was good! But it's extremely spicy and heavy!  
Ratings [ 3.8 / 5]

Chicken Tikka Masala Clay, an oven cooked white meat with light cream tomato sauce, is soooooooooooo good! I had better indian curry in California, but I'm guessing this would be heaven for the New Yorkers! I was bloated from the garlic bread and appetizers, but this was so GOOD! that I forced myself to finish this delicious curry + their rice!! 
Ratings [4.2/5]