Bambu in New Orleans

Bambu
8 Canal St.
New Orleans

In order to get in to this restaurant, you have to walk thru the casino area of Harrah’s (sorry for people who don’t like cigarette smoke but it’s a short walk). And don’t forget your ID, they’re very strict about under-21 people not being allowed to enter.

Harrah's

I like that this place is spelled “Bambu” and not “Bamboo.” I think it is to represent that this restaurant is a departure from your typical Asian restaurant.

Bambu

The ambiance was quite interesting. Reminds me of a tropical paradise. Maybe that’s the point. Forget about your gambling problems and come enjoy a reasonably priced lunch special in paradise!

Ambiance

Actually though, i think the items on the lunch menu were on the only things reasonably priced. The sushi, heck no!  I definitely wouldn’t have come here if it weren’t for my restaurant.com coupon. Brought down my lunch to $12 (including tax and tip!)

First we had the famous honey wasabi shrimp. The chef is well known for his restaurant in Atlanta which received national praise from the Zagat. And the Zagat reviewed this dish as one of his best ever. So of course I had to try it and of course I fell in love. Especially with the candied pecans (my favorite!) Could’ve used some more shrimps but oh well. It was still super delicious and by far the winner of the meal.

Honey Wasabi Shrimp $12.95

This next dish was probably a huge mistake to order. We asked for another popular dish and the waiter suggested General Tso chicken (shame on you! The waiter was Asian too! You never should suggest such an americanized dish to Asians). Anyways, this was your typical general tso sauce.

General Tso Chicken $9.95

This sushi roll was amazing! But 8 pieces for $20 is a bit expensive for me.

New Orleans Roll $20

The New Orleans roll had spicy crawfish, crunchy, and avocado on inside w/ half spicy tuna, half snow crab, and down the middle a line of wasabi tobikko w/ eel and avocado sauce. This roll was so amazing and delicious!

New Orleans roll not the Nola roll (that's a different roll)

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Kickass Cupcake Boutique in Boston, MA

Kickass cupcake boutique
378 Highland Ave.
Somerville, MA

This cupcake boutique is a hidden gem in Davis Square. It’s actually a bit of a walk from the center of the square, so unless you’re looking for this place you won’t really come across it.

store front sign

I had asked around for some great cupcake and heard about this place. As soon as I walked in, my eyes tried to take it all in. There were so many flavors and everything just looked so delicious.

these looked so good as I walked in

With all the choices, I asked the lady behind the cashier what are the popular ones. She said the mojito cupcake and super chocolate but I wasn’t too sure about that so I looked around and since it wasn’t crowded, I got to take my time.

lots of choices

famous Mojito cupcake

I went with the following 3:
The Berry Crumbley cupcake with berries and almond crumble baked into a vanilla cupcake topped with a kiss of mascarpone and house made creme fraiche. This home made cream was sooooooooooo good.

Berry Crumbly

Super chocolate cupcake with chocolate brownie topped with bittersweet chocolate ganache and covered with chocolate shaving. This cupcake was AMAZING! I loved that the cupcakes were moist but not rich (they were all very light).

Super chocolate cupcake

The Cinnamon Pecan Sticky cupcake is spiced up with gooey caramel pecan topping. This was so delicious. Reminded me of a nice coffee roll.

Cinnamon Chai Pecan Sticky cupcake

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Oki Nago Sushi Buffet in New Orleans, LA

Oki Nago
2712 N Arnoult Rd.
Metairie, LA

How has a year passed before I found out about this $10-all-you-can-eat-sushi-lunch-buffet in New Orleans?!?

Oki Nago restaurant

When I got here, I was kinda taken aback by how stereotypically Asian the exterior was.

veggie line

However, I was super ecstatic that there was such an extensive variety in the sushi menu. To be honest, I was expecting one table of a few rolls, I was so happy to see numerous tables with all sorts of maki and sashimi. Don’t fill up on the earlier rolls, they save the special stuff for the end of the line.

sushi buffet

And the nicer rolls, like soft shell crab, had a ton of crab meat!

fried foods section

And in case you need something besides sushi rolls, check out some of the fried foods and chinese dishes.

chinese food line

my favorite chinese dishes were the eggplant stirfry (delicious sauce!) and imperial shrimp (reminds me of my favorite walnut shrimp dish).

yea I went a little nuts

They also had a hibachi station! But as you can tell from my first dish, I was quite full and didn’t have room for hibachi.

There was an entire thing of crabs!! There was also a shrimp cocktail section (except I wasn’t in the mood so I didn’t get any).

crab!!

Oki Nago on Urbanspoon

Athans Bakery in Boston, MA

Athans Bakery
1621 Beacon St.
Brookline, MA

Athan

You walk in here and the place just exudes a welcoming warmth. Wall-to-wall of pastries! Unfortunately, it is not self-serve so you do have to get a worker’s attn to help you. They are super knowledgeable about the various choices and can help you make a decision.

choices

wow, this chocolate cake refrigerator is my haven.

heaven

this fruit tart looks amazing!

so big fruit tart

usually this place is packed but luckily today, this place wasn’t as crowded so I was able to walk around and snap a lot of shots and talk with the cashier and get her opinion on a lot of the pastries.

different types of baklava

the more common breakfast pastries are closer to the cash register. this one looked delicious!

breakfast pastries

the gelato here is pretty good too but the pastries are what they are known for here.

gelato

First we started with a traditional baklava, it was flaky and covered in a delicious honey sauce.

traditional baklava

The chocolate croissant was out of this world! The outside was crispy but the inside pastry was flaky and flavorful, complimenting the chocolate beautifully.

chocolate croissant

This hazelnut cream pie was a bit too rich for me but my brother devoured it in a few bites.

hazelnut mousse cake

Athan's Bakery on Urbanspoon

Feast in New Orleans

Feast
200 Julia St.
New Orleans, LA

Feast

The chefs and owners are originally from England, so when you walk in, you immediately get an upper-class tavern feel to the place. Then you look and the menu and think, “hmmm, what is that?” But I think the waiters are used to getting asked that a lot because our waiter was very knowledgeable about everything on the menu. We decided to treat ourselves to the 3-course $20 lunch.

tavern ambiance

The sister-restaurant, Feast in Houston has won many awards including (best new restaurant of 2009 from Bon Apetit) so I figured, this place was definitely worth checking out. I was surprised to see how many empty tables there were though for a Friday afternoon (I think most people think of this as a dinner place). I guess we need to get the word out about the amazing food for the great price.

really cool water container

I thought this water container was so awesome (perhaps British? but I wouldn’t know because the only place I’ve eaten at in London was Heathrow airport).

bread for the table

Bread was a little tough to chew and butter unfortunately was frozen solid.

warm pork fat

My friend started out with the warm pork fat on toast with thyme and picalilli (so much for New Year’s resolutions to eat healthier!) She said it was actually quite good.

whole garlic shrimp

garlic shrimp

Now I know this said whole garlic shrimp, but I was surprised to see the head AND tail and shell still on. I was however able to use my knife/scalpel to extract the meat and pick up some extra garlic sauce and enjoy my amazing crisp shrimp. The waiter even brought out a bowl of lukewarm lemon water to wash my hands in. Im glad I’m not the only one who makes a mess of this dish.

local caught amberjack

My friend had the pan fried local caught amberjack with peas, tomatoes and bacon. I’m not a huge fan of fish but I tried a bite and loved the smoked bacon flavor of the fish.

pork confit tart

I had the pork confit tart with duchess potatoes and kale. The pork confit was cooked with caramelized onions providing its unique onion-y flavor plus a bit of sweetness to the tender pork strips with a flaky crust. It was to die for! And I love the duchess potatoes, very similar to our mashed potatoes but not as heavy feeling and somehow baked afterwards. The kale was wonderfully cooked, crisp and salty just the way I like it.

sticky toffee bread pudding

My friend and I both go the toffee bread pudding as our dessert. Our waiter warned us that the white stuff was curdled cream which has an intense flavor on its own and not to eat it all at once like some other patrons do who think its ice cream. It was delicious and sticky which says a lot since I’m not a big fan of bread pudding. This new restaurant is amazing and I think people should def go check out the 3 course lunch deal!

bland bacon and cabbage soup

pork stomach

house-made sausage

Shepherd's Pie

Braised local gulf drum

Feast on Urbanspoon

Mike's Pastry in Boston, MA

Mike’s Pastry
300 Hanover St.
Boston, MA

This is a very well known neighborhood pastry shop in Little Italy ever since the Clintons dined here and put this place on the map! (like what the Kennedys did with Cape Cod). When I was finally able to find parking in the North End (what seemed to take forever because the streets are so packed and narrow), I saw this line going out the door and down the street! No joke! I took a picture to prove it!

line out the door

And once you get inside, it’s not just a single file line, it’s a mob! Everyone pushes to the front because they have about 6-7 girls working the front, running around to get everyone’s orders.

cannolis are their specialty

Since this place is known for their cannolis, I went with two kinds:

Box of joy

the chocolate chip filled with chocolate mousse. it was a pretty nice change from the traditional cannoli that I’m so used to.

chocolate chip cannoli

The traditional cannoli is filled with ricotta cheese cream. The shells are baked early in the morning and then as customers order them, they are filled with whatever filling you ask for (so as to insure that you will receive a fresh cannoli versus a soggy one). Then you have the option of getting powdered sugar (which is a must!). So good! And very filling!

ricotta cream cannoli

Mike's Pastry on Urbanspoon

Rue 127 in New Orleans, LA

Rue 127
127 N. Carrollton Ave.
New Orleans, LA

Rue 127

Welcome to Rue 127. Chef Ray Gruezke is a New Orleans native which leaves no doubt as to why he turned a shot-gun house into a bistro style restaurant in Mid-City. I liked that the tables were arranged at an angle though so that patrons weren’t bumping elbows with their neighbors. Our table unfortunately was next to the bar area and so, we could hear pretty much every conversation going on next to us, whether it was a customer having a good laugh with a glass of wine or a few employees making a comment about a table.

When I  had heard about a new American bistro opening on the restaurant scene in mid-city, I immediately wanted to check it out. After reading some rave reviews, I quickly learned that it was of the utmost importance to secure a reservation well in advance (which I did).

fresh dinner rolls

Everything here is made from scratch, from our sweet dinner rolls to our special dessert (no spoiler here!)

Diver Scallops $12

My friend ordered the diver scallops as her appetizer. It was pan roasted with a foraged mushroom fricassee served in a saffron emulsion. Saffron, the world’s most expensive spice by weight, gave it a earthy honey flavor and beautiful yellow color. The scallops were cooked very well too (not overcooked like some restaurants in the Quarter).

mushroom risotto $8

Because I had read amazing things about this dish, I had to have it for my starter dish. Oven roasted oyster mushrooms and grilled portobello mushrooms served with extra virgin olive oil, and parmesan reggiano (one of my favorite cheeses of all time. it’s like parmesan but kicked up a few notches in sharpness).  This was an amazing dish. The mushrooms were prepared individually to keep their unique flavors intact and then combined wonderfully with the parmesan reggiano.

roasted chicken $16

My friend had the roasted chicken with mac & cheese. The half of a roasted chicken was served with brussel sprouts and rosemary dijon jus. She said that there wasn’t anything spectacular about the chicken. The mac & cheese was what made her dish worth it.

mac & cheese

The mac & cheese was pretty delicious with a unique blend of cheeses When the waiter said that the mac & cheese is made with gruyere, parmesan reggiano and cheddar, I wanted to order it! But another dish caught my eye…..

citrus glazed duck breast $22

The duck was amazing! It’s prepared medium-rare which I felt weird about at first but I figured this chef probably knows how to best serve this dish. The duck was so tender and juicy, and served with potato puree. I loved the Louisiana citrus jus surrounding the duck so that I could dip as I pleased.

the duck

You can see from this picture that a lot of attention and discipline went into the arrangement for an aesthetically pleasing effect. I had noticed this with my friend’s chicken dish as well but thought it was clearly evident with my duck dish.

5 Fried Cupcake $8

This was by far one of the most unique desserts I’ve come across in the Crescent City and so I had to order it when I saw it on the menu. 5 mini vanilla cupcakes are dipped into a delicious batter and then deep fried for our dining pleasure. Definitely the winner of the meal.

3 sauces

This picture was mainly to show you that the cupcake was pre-baked before being thrown in the fryer. But you also get a showcase of the 3 house-made sauces: creme fraiche, butterscotch and chocolate. The butterscotch was my personal favorite but the chocolate was my friend’s favorite.

This establishment is definitely a hidden gem in mid-city! The waiter was great too, being very attentive to our table and not in an annoying way (he was shocked that we hadn’t been brought our check at the end of the meal even though it only seemed like only a few minutes from when he said it would come out).

Rue 127 on Urbanspoon

Carmo Cafe in New Orleans

Carmo Cafe
527 Julia St.
New Orleans, LA

carmo cafe

This brazilian cafe is a nice break from the traditional Creole cuisine or even Southern comfort food. This is like heaven for the vegan/vegetarian. Everything on the menu has a counter vegetarian dish that is along the same lines as the meat dish.

warehouse feel to the place

The cafe itself is kinda small but its decor stays true to the Warehouse district that it resides in. PS. they open at 11:30 AM not 11 AM as it says online (I had to run to my street parked car to beat a meter maid).

the authentic Brazilian chef

So cute, as we were going thru the menu at the cash register, this Brazilian chef kept interjecting with “That’s how we do it in Brazil!”

does anyone else love that this pineapple was just chilling by the cash register?

Even though we didn’t end up ordering their signature dishes (their salads), I was very pleased with our orders.

Maqaquito Banquette bread

My friend had the maqaquito banquette bread which was bananas, cinnamon, sugar and havarti chesese baked on flat bread. This was sooo delicious (I thought it would’ve been overly sweet but I think the use of havarti cheese kinda mellowed out the sweeter ingredients).

special of the day

I ordered the special of the day (meat version): with roasted pork and pineapples and carrot with some sort of Brazilian sauce served over rice. I didn’t think this was that special but quite interesting, mixing the pork and pineapple. I liked that the sauce was very unique, with spices that I was unfamiliar with.

Brazilian cheese bread

This item actually caught our eye first but took the longest to come out. The dough is frozen over night with the havarti cheese inside and then baked on the spot. We ordered this first and the proprietor said they were out but then the cute Brazilian cook behind him shouted, “I can have those ready in 20 minutes!”

oh how i love you

The cheese bread was very delicious but I think due to the use of a starchier flour and freezing it overnight, it was definitely a challenge to bite into. Still, very delicious.

Carmo on Urbanspoon

Dick and Jenny's in New Orleans

Dick and Jenny’s
4501 Tchoupitoulas St.
New Orleans, LA
***100TH NEW ORLEANS BLOG ENTRY!!!***

Thanks to a Living social deals, I was able to eat a full dinner here for under $30 including tax and tip!
Look for this bright corner by Tchoupitoulas and Napoleon:

Dick and Jenny's

walk down the side street (Not Tchoup) to this entrance:

the entrance

the decor inside was interesting. i liked the plates lining the walls:

the lined walls

when we sat down, the waittress brought out water and cornbread:

i loved the glass jars for our cups

cornbread was pretty good

We started off with the escargot bowl appetizer. The garlicky escargot is served in a tiny bread bowl (like a bread roll) topped with a smoked mushroom and bacon in a creamy demi-glace. This was a very unique dish. The first time I’ve ever had something like this. The bacon reminded me of tasso ham, a spicy peppery smoked pork. The sauce was also strongly flavored in the same spicy and smoked manner; a bitter remoulade (a bit too salty for me).

escargot bread bowl for $9

The second appetizer we got was the pain perdu of duck confit. This was sooooo delicious and innovative. Not only was the duck juicy, but there was apple and brie inside the panini sandwich! With a bit of peach chutney on top, this was soo good!

pain perdu of duck $9

my friend had the roasted pork tenderloin stuffed with goat cheese and pine nuts, topped with a red pepper balsamic vinagrette with sauteed spinach and goat cheese grits.  from the sample I had, the pork was very nicely cooked (perfect composition) but the flavor was a little too dominated by the pine nuts for my preference.

roasted pork tenderloin $22

i had the BBQ shrimp (Big Easy Style) with stone-ground goat cheese grits.  this was by far the winner of the meal. the shrimp was crisp and the BBQ sauce was soooooo good. it was so unique, not like any BBQ sauce i’d ever had before.

BBQ shrimp $21

I really like restaurants that take care of their customers. When my friend and I sat down, we told our waittress that we were starving! She brought out an extra basket of cornbread for us. She also hooked us up with extra grits on our dishes! For free! So nice! And as we were heading out to our cars, I secretly dreaded having to walk down the side street I had parked on. I had seen a police officer standing inside the foyer but I thought maybe he was meeting someone for dinner. But then he followed me and my friend outside and offered to walk us to our cars. Sweet! They hired a policeman for security at night time! That is definitely looking out for their customers!

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