Cuba 

222 Thompson St, Greenwich Village, NYC

April 16, 2014

I have been here a few times years ago, but this time was definitely on point! The food was really good and though it was quite crowded, service was quick enough. We started with some Maduros, Yuquita Fritas and the Chicharron. All were delicious! The Yuquita Fritas were crispy and served with a wonderful creamy cilantro dipping sauce. The Chicharron looked super fatty (as expected) but was actually really rich and decadent without being overpowering in fattiness. 

For my entree, I got the Cazuela Marinera, which was a seafood casserole in a delicious lobster cream sauce. The seafood was plentiful and we sopped up all that extra sauce with some rice afterwards. Highly recommended if you are not in a meat mood. 

My friends and fam got the Churrasco, Oxtail and the Duck. The tastes I had were all delicious and we all cleaned our plates. 

For dessert we shared the Chocolate BomBom which was a molten chocolate lava cake that just oozed out as soon as you broke into it. Very rich and heavenly and good for sharing to end the meal on a sweet note. 

With a Savored.com discount, it was 20% off food and drinks and definitely worthwhile. I might have to keep this place in rotation when I want my Cuban food fix!

The Gage

24 South Michigan Ave, Chicago, IL

April 13, 2014

Good lunch here during our visit to Chicago. The space is quite pretty and the bar area is very nice. We ordered the Scotch Egg to start and both got burgers (I got the “Not a Diet” one with the pork belly) and a side of bacon. The scotch egg was unfortunately not as good as hoped. The yolk was not as runny as it should be. My burger was slightly overcooked as well, but had a nice flavor overall. The side of bacon was quite plentiful and cooked perfectly and my side salad and the husband’s fries were very nice. Nice brunch though, maybe just an off day with the execution on the food.

Giordano’s

223 W. Jackson Blvd, Chicago

April 11, 2014

When in Chi-town, gotta have that deep-dish! Convenient to both the Willis Tower and our hotel (the W), we figured this would be as good as any of an option to get some of that Chicago Deep Dish goodness. We put our names on the list and went to the back to order a deep dish with pepperoni, onions and peppers. By the time we came back to the front of the restaurant to await our table, it was already ready (way ahead of the 30min wait they had first quoted!) We got a nice booth in the back, ordered some beers and soda and a nice chopped salad to start with as we waited for our pizza. 

The chopped salad was full of yumminess and that was a great start to our meal. Finally our pizza arrived and the small was the perfect size for the two of us. It filled us up and I loved the amount of cheese on it. The toppings were all tasty and the bread/crust was plentiful and nice as well. It is super filling though and I was good after two slices. 

Deep dish is not my favorite type of pizza, but I am definitely glad I tried it while in Chicago and I would recommend Giordano’s as a solid option for it!

Ditch Plains

100 West 82nd St, Upper West Side, Manhattan

March 15, 2014

Came here for some drinks and snacks after a movie with my cousin and brother. We got a booth in the bar area which was nice and bright and spacious. The decor and vibe is Montauk casual and open and perfect for a beautiful Saturday afternoon. 

We ordered a bunch of things to share (because, well you know, sharing is caring). Between the three of us, we got some oyster shooters, raw oysters, New England Clam Chowder, Truffled Lobster Macaroni and Cheese, Jalapeno Cheddar Tater Tots and Deviled Eggs.

The oyster shooters were served in a larger glass than I am used to. It kind of took away from the enjoyment of a shooter since it took gulp after gulp to finish it. I wouldn’t get these again. The clam chowder had a bit more bacon throughout than I am used to, but it was good and a definite try for bacon fans. The tater tots were also good and the deviled eggs had a little kick to them. The best part of the meal, though, was the truffled lobster macaroni and cheese. There were huge parts of lobster throughout, though the truffle flavor was a bit muted. Still delicious and a must try if it is available on special. 

Service was friendly and we were comfortable enough to linger there for hours. Nice spot for a lunch. 

Also, the place was quite kid friendly, so it’s great for families. For those that have no kids in tow, don’t worry, the kids that come here are actually quite well behaved and we didn’t mind them at all. 

Uncle Bacala’s Restaurant

2370 Jericho Tpke, Garden City ParkLong Island, NY

March 9, 2014

Came here for a Baby Shower and we were placed in a private room in the back which was nice. Service was pretty quick and sangria, wine, and soda were all included. To start they provided Caprese Salad, Mixed Field Greens, Foccaccia Bread with Sundried Tomato Tapenade and Penne with tomato sauce. Everything was good and there was plenty of food. For our mains, we had a choice of Salmon, Eggplant Rollatini, Chicken Parm, Porco and Short Rib. The Short Rib was served with Polenta and was really quite good. It had a nice rich red wine sauce with mushrooms and was fork tender. My brother’s Chicken Parm was also quite tasty and he finished the whole thing. To end we had a nice Italian cake and also an assortment of various desserts. 

Nice space for a special occasion with decent food and service. I am not sure how pricey it is, but it was a good time overall. I don’t know if it was that great that I need to come back, but it was worth a visit once!

China Fun

1221 2nd Avenue, Upper East Side, NYC

March 8, 2014

Came here for a weekend lunch with the family to celebrate a couple of birthdays. The staff was super friendly and we were seated at a great corner booth by the window. We ordered a bunch of items on the menu to share and food was all quite good considering it was on the Upper East Side and not in Chinatown. 

To start, we got the crab and pork soup dumplings and the steamed roast pork bun. Both were very tasty and good representations of each. For entrees we got the Crispy Fried Sea Bass, the Seafood Pan Fried Noodles, Shrimp with Cream Sauce and Honey Pine Nuts, and Peking Duck. The Sea Bass was the favorite of the entrees with its sweet and spicy sauce. It still retained its crispy skin even with all the sauce. The Seafood Pan Fried Noodles were also good, but I prefer the ones with beef more. The Shrimp with Cream Sauce were big and juicy, but the sauce was slightly on the heavier side. Lastly the Peking Duck was good, but I missed the cucumber accompaniment which would have been nice to brighten up the flavor. 

Overall a good meal, but a bit pricier than Chinatown and Flushing restaurants. If you are in the area I would recommend for some authentic Chinese. 

Opera Bar

Sydney Opera House, Circular Quay, Sydney, Australia

February 23, 2014

Our last breakfast in Sydney was at the Opera Bar located at the Opera House on Circular Quay. The outdoor seating boasted out favorite views, the Harbour Bridge for my husband and the Opera House for me. 

We got some ham and cheese croissants, a chocolate eclair, a iced coffee and some orange juice. The croissants were served pressed and super tasty. The eclair and the orange juice were nothing special, but the iced coffee came with a scoop of vanilla ice cream and it was so decadent! I am glad they don’t serve it like that in the US otherwise I would definitely puff up like a balloon! 

Couldn’t have asked for a better end to the trip though and our last few moments in Sydney will be remembered forever! 

Searock Bar

Circular Quay, Sydney, NSW, Australia

February 22, 2014

After a long day of walking around and sightseeing, we decided to just enjoy a casual meal overlooking our favorite views of the Harbour Bridge and Opera House. We passed by Searock Bar and decided to grab a few bites there for dinner.

We ordered the cheese plate and the tandoori chicken pizza. The cheese was a nice sized portion and I liked the fruit jam served alongside. The tandoori chicken pizza was also tasty with a nice raita on top. 

Reasonable prices and it was just what we needed for our last night in Sydney. Nothing stuffy, good food and a view, what more could we ask for!

Long Pavilion Breakfast

Qualia, Hamilton Island, Queensland, Australia

February 21, 2014

Our final meal on Hamilton Island was breakfast at the Long Pavilion at Qualia. It was a beautiful sunrise and we had just come from watching the sun come up over One Tree Hill. After such a memorable moment, we came back for an amazing breakfast. 

They started us with some fresh fruit, homemade granola bars and smoothies. Wonderful start to the meal. I ordered the Eggs Benedict with Baked Beans on the side. It was delicious and everything a savory breakfast should be. The hubby got the omelette with sausage and rye bread on the side. He enjoyed it as well and finished every bite. We had breakfast on the patio overlooking the water and couldn’t have asked for a better end to our stay on the island. 

Long Pavilion

Qualia, Hamilton Island, Queensland, Australia

February 20, 2014

Beautiful restaurant with impeccable service and carefully thought out food. Upon entry they were super friendly and even offered to take our pictures out on the veranda. We ordered a glass of wine and a mojito and they even noticed when there was a mosquito that flew into my glass of wine during the meal. They brought over an amuse bouche of beet and goat cheese which was an interesting bite. We also had the olive and cheese bread to start which was served warm with soft butter. Perfection.

For our appetizers, we got the bacon and egg dish and the cobia and unagi. The bacon and egg dish was a golden egg, jamon iberico and pine nut cream. It was super tasty with all different flavors and textures. The cobia and unagi was a pan-seared cobia with finger lime, ginger and mullet roe. It was quite a large portion and also a play on lots of textures and flavors. 

For our entrees, I had the pork and marron tail which was a huge dish prepared so delicately. So many ingredients and flavors and textures. My husband had the wagyu beef striploin and short-rib served with smoked potato, beetroot and radishes. He said it was probably the best wagyu beef that he has had and maybe even the best steak in general too. 

To finish our meal, we shared the PBJ which was peanut butter mousse, cherry sorbet and raspberry. One of the best desserts ever. The meal as a whole was impeccable. Everything was expertly prepared with such attention to detail. High quality ingredients all presented in such an interesting way. So many textures and flavors within each dish. 

Amazing meal at an amazing resort! Great last meal at Hamilton Island and worth every penny!

Pebble Beach Restaurant

Qualia, Hamilton Island, Queensland, Australia

February 20, 2014

We were only staying at the amazing Qualia Resort (rated #1 in 2012 in the world by Conde Nast) for one day so we definitely had to make the best of it. That meant enjoying all three meals there and our first meal upon arrival was lunch at Pebble Beach Restaurant. We enjoyed our lunch overlooking the pool and the water which was breathtaking. The seafood platter was recommended to us by the concierge so we gave that a try as well as a pear and gorgonzola salad. Everything was super fresh and I loved that there was quite an assortment of sauces to go with everything. Prices were on the expensive side, but the portions were very generous and we were quite full at the end of the meal. Service was friendly and quick and the view was spectacular. We were really happy to have been able to enjoy this restaurant during our short stay here. 

Bommie Restaurant

Hamilton Island Yacht Club, Hamilton Island, Queensland, Australia

February 19, 2014

Wonderful meal at one of the fanciest restaurants on Hamilton Island. It was a bit of a drizzly night and the sun had already set, so we were seated indoors. We were not disappointed because the inside of the restaurant was beautiful. Dark wood, dim lighting and comfortable seats. Plenty of room between tables as well which added a nice feeling of privacy to the meal.

To start, we got an amuse bouche of a granite which was a nice refreshing palate cleanser. The bread service was quite nice and we both selected the olive bread. Since we were not super hungry, we skipped the appetizers and went right to the main course. I ordered the duck and the hubby ordered the salmon. Both dishes were impeccably prepared and quite filling. My duck was perfectly prepared to a medium rare and the parsnip puree served alongside was creamy and delicious. We skipped dessert, but they gave us a couple of chocolate truffles which were a nice sweet ending to a wonderful meal. 

Service was impeccable without feeling too stuffy and this is a must try restaurant for a special evening in Hamilton Island. 

Dent Island Golf Club Restaurant

Dent Island, Queensland, Australia

February 19, 2014

Absolutely wonderful meal after a round of golf. The view was breathtaking, the service was impeccable and the food was delicious. We started with the scallops with chorizo and both were cooked perfectly. For my main, I had the shrimp with corn salsa and avocado crema which was bright and fresh and had a bit of kick to it which was nice. The hubby had the Guinness Pot Pie and he enjoyed it as well. For dessert we had the chocolate torte with salted caramel popcorn and a peanut butter mousse. I am not a big dessert person, but I think it was my favorite part of the meal. I don’t golf, but this restaurant and the views definitely made it worth a visit!

Coca Chu

Resort Side, Hamilton Island, Queensland, Australia

February 19, 2014

I wasn’t sure I was in the mood for Asian Fusion while on Hamilton Island, but it came highly recommended by one of the locals and we had to give it a try. We definitely were not disappointed! We weren’t super hungry so we decided to share a few small plates, the grilled lime marinated wagyu beef, grilled lemongrass pork ribs, roti bread, and ripe mango with chili. The wagyu beef was super tender and full of flavor and went really nicely with the fresh and spicy ripe mango. The roti bread was so buttery and tasty and we dipped it in the drippings from the beef and mango marinade. The ribs were okay, but our least favorite of the meal. Finally, we had the banana pudding special for dessert and it was absolutely delicious too! If we had a few more nights in Hamilton Island we would have definitely come back to try a few other dishes in the menu. A must visit for some delicious food on Hamilton Island!

Marina Tavern 

Front St, Hamilton Island, Queensland, Australia

February 18, 2014

We came here for a late lunch and though it was a bit humid inside, the meal was quite enjoyable. Portions were huge and I love the little sauce fridge they have (I do love condiments!) I got the Mexican Parmegiano and my husband got the burger. The Mexican Parmegiano was a chicken parm with a Mexican twist (sour cream, salsa and guac on top). It was a nice junky and filling lunch if you want some good bar food. Friendly quick self-service and nice selection of bars on tap.