Monday, August 31, 2009

Chen's Shanghai Kitchen

Restaurant: Chen's Shanghai Kitchen
Cuisine: Shanghainese/Chinese/Asian/Dim Sum
Last visited: August 28, 09
Area: Richmond, BC
8095 Park Road
Price Range: $10-20

1: Poor 2: OK 3: Good 4: Very Good 5: Excellent 6: Tres Excellent!!

Food: 5
Service: 2
Ambiance: 1
Overall: 4
Additional comments:
  • Hole in the wall Shanghainese
  • Shanghainese chefs/cooks/staff
  • Familiar and popular with locals
  • Menu in English and Chinese, but some hot items only in Chinese
  • Line-ups/busy/crowded
  • Feel a bit rushed cause of the line-up
  • May have to share a big table with others during busy hours
  • Open for lunch and dinner
  • Quick service

**Recommendation: Baiyulan steamed mini pork dumplings "Xiao Long Bao", Shanghai pan-fried pork buns "Sheng Jian Bao", beef roll (sliced beef wrapped in Shanghainese style crepe) , sticky rice "chee fan"

This is a fantastic place if you're looking for some cheap, fast and good Shanghainese food. Super casual, fresh and hot food, nothing plated fancy - this is authentic Shanghainese home cooking with no fuss. This place gets busy by 6pm, so arrive early to avoid line-ups. We went at 7:30pm and there was still a line-up at 9pm. The line-up never goes away, but it moves super fast. The service is fast, and your food arrives quickly - it's all fresh and hot too so they must have a really good system working in the kitchen.

All of my recommendations are pretty much what every single table ordered as well, so they are obvious favourites. The staple Shanghainese item "xiao long bao" is the soupiest here. I've had several at different Shanghainese restaurants, but they are the soupiest here for sure. I couldn't bite into one without it squirting everywhere. The soup isn't necessarily the most flavourful of the bunch I've tried, but they definitely are the soupiest. They do sell out of some popular dishes, so place your order in early.

On the table:

  • **Baiyulan steamed mini pork dumplings 6/6
    • This is the staple menu item when dining Shanghainese. They should always be made fresh and upon order - everything should be done in house - from making the dumpling pastry to making the ground pork stuffing. There is usually one chef/cook responsible for just making these the whole night.
    • It's a pork dumpling filled with hot soup broth. A good "xiao long bao" has a thin skin and A LOT of flavourful hot soup. The goal is to have the skin as thin as possible to still hold the most soup possible and not having it leak out at the same time. It takes a lot of experience to master this skill - it's not easy at all. The whole thing is super juicy and filled with hot soup - so be careful not to burn yourself when you bite into them. You dip it in the ginger vinegar they give you before you eat it.
    • There is a skill when eating these. You can either wait until they cool down and pop them in your mouth whole - or you can bite the top off, suck the soup out, and then eat the dumpling. I like eating them whole, but be careful because they're really really hot!
    • These were definitely the soupiest xiao long bao's I have had. The broth was not necessarily the most flavourful - although they were still very flavourful, but they are definitely the soupiest. There is a lot of soup in these, so try to eat them whole. The best xiao long bao's for me are still either from Shanghai Wonderful or Shanghai River, both in Richmond. But Chen's is still really really good! At this restaurant it's 6/6, but compared to others it's 5/6.
    • $4.30 for 6 - super cheap, and they're not sacrificing on quality either.
  • **Shanghai Pan-fried Pork Buns 6/6
    • These are almost like xiao long bao's but instead it's a pan-fried bun. These are almost famous here. These again are the soupiest I've ever had them - they were a bit oily though. Usually the xiao long bao's have more soup than the buns (buns absorb more), but at Chen's they both equally have just as much soup - I don't know how they do it and that's why I give them 6/6. Again you dip them in vinegar before you eat them. These are harder to eat whole because they're bigger than the dumplings, so I had to bite half and the sou p just squirted everywhere...if you can eat t hem whole, eat them whole.
    • $4.30 for 5 - deal.

  • Malantou with Diced Bean Curd 5/6
    • Minced Chinese leafy green (similar to spinach) mixed with minced dried bean curd. It's served cold.
    • This is really good. They offer it at some other Shanghainese restaurants, but the method they make and serve it is different at each one. I've never seen it done this way (except in Shanghai) and I like it the best at Chen's so far. It's a very typical Shanghainese appetizer. A local and authentic dish. I would definitely order it again. The presentation isn't very nice, but it doesn't matter because it tastes better this way rather than all rolled up and all fancy.
    • At Chen's everything in the dish is finely minced and you eat it just as it's served. It's very healthy too, and you eat spoonfuls of it. It's a savoury dish that has a hint of pickled flavour. It tastes and looks almost like a finely minced spinach omelette served cold. A little crunchy, but not crispy - the dried bean curd is obviously rehydrated - so it's a soft texture. The crunchiness and slightly pickled taste is from this pickled type of Asian radish that's also minced up in the dish. This Asian radish is similar to the Japanese yellow carrot you find in s ushi (oshinko) - both are delicious!
    • Order it here cause I can't find it anywhere else. It's not like it's done particularly well here or anything, but it's still really good.

  • **Beef Pancake Roll 6/6
    • Slices of beef and green onion rolled up with a Shanghainese style crepe or pancake - freshly made in house.
    • You know that Peking Duck crepe you get at Chinese restaurants served with the Hoisin sauce and green onions? This is the Shanghainese version of that. Every single table ordered this. It's delicious. The pancake is delicious and they make it in house upon order. The star of this is the pancake - not the beef, and that's ok because it should be. It takes great skill to make this pancake the perfect texture.
    • This is one of the favourites and you also can't find it at every Shanghainese restaurant. The crepe is soft and chewy - it looks crispy, but it's not really. It's more chewy. It's savoury and sweet at the same time with a nice onion flavour. The onions are cooked, so it's not a strong onion flavour. These are really delicious. I'm craving it.
  • Shanghai Rice Roll Noodles with Pork Chops
    • These noodles are found only in Shanghai cuisine. They're think and sturdy, but also soft and very chewy. The texture and consistency of mochi. It's made out of rice flour and they're really filling. It comes either in thick logs (like we had them here) or in oval slices almost the size of cucumber slices.
    • This dish is served with 3 pretty big pieces of pork cutlets - they're more cutlets than pork chops. They're battered and deep fried - and they are quite heavy on the batter. This dish is covered in this savoury brown sauce that's quite thick and more like gravy than it is sauce.
    • This is really delicious in general, not particularly here because you can find it better at other Shanghainese restaurants. I would have appreciated more veggies in it though. It came with 2 pieces of Chinese veg gies which was pathetic. It's really oily and greasy though (just look at the picture) - but this is VERY common in ALL Shanghainese cuisine, so don't be surprised.
  • **Chee Fan (Sticky Rice)
    • I didn't get a chance to order it, because they sold out by 7:30pm! I was so disappointed and we JUST missed the last one. This is another popular Shanghai dish. It's sticky rice (different from the sticky rice you get at Chinese dim sum), the Shanghainese kind is drier and much more chewy - almost bread like, and it has this pan-fried exterior. Slightly crispy on the outside and super chewy and soft on the inside.
    • Chee Fan is stuffed with stuffing such as dried pork floss and that pickled radish - similar in taste and texture to the yellow Japanese carrot you find in sushi (oshinko). They make Chee Fan differently at every Shanghainese place - but I'm dying to try it here because they sold out before I could even order it.

  • Pan-fried Pumpkin Cake stuffed with Red Bean 2/6
    • This shows up on a lot of Shanghai menus - and it's not good here. It's way better at Shanghai Wonderful. The pumpkin dough pastry (tastes like mochi) is made fresh and upon order at both, but they're just done really poorly at Chen's. They were way too oily too - even for Shanghai standards. Barely any red bean filling too - you can tell from looking at the picture.
    • $3.95 for 3 (I know they're cheap, but still don't try them here, because they're better than this)

Chen's Shanghai Kitchen on Urbanspoon

Mandalay Lounge & Steakhouse - Drink review

Apple Crunch
Pear Cobbler

Restaurant: Mandalay Lounge & Steakhouse - Drink Review
Cuisine: European/American/EuroAsian/Fusion/West coast
Last visited: August 28, 09
Area: Richmond, BC (Steveston Village)
140-3900 Bayview Street
Price Range: $20-30

1: Poor 2: OK 3: Good 4: Very Good 5: Excellent 6: Tres Excellent!!

Drinks: 6
Service: 4
Ambiance: 4
Overall: 5
Additional comments:
  • Drinks are amazing - professional mixologist
  • Very creative drinks, you can't find anywhere
  • Very affordable, about $7 for a "gourmet" style cocktail
  • Sister restaurant to higher end Correlis next door
  • Attracts 30-40 crowd
  • Outdoor patio dining - all white Las Vegas/Miami feel
  • Upscale lounge feel
  • Waterfront view
  • Upstairs lounge and balcony
  • Open for lunch and dinner at 11am - close
  • Late night crowd
  • Sports lounge

**Recommendation: Apple Crunch, Pear Cobbler, Asian Mary

I came here for drinks with some friends late Friday afternoon. Wow! I was so impressed with their drinks. I can't drink much myself, but the friends I was with can...and they sure made a dent in the menu. All the drinks are so creative it made you want to try them all. Everything sounded so good - and it was. The mixologist is a genius, I don't know how he does it but everything tasted like juice - and all cocktails were at least doubles; if you couldn't taste it, you could feel it ;) There's so many ingredients in each drink and he balances them out so well - perfect ratio. He uses real fresh fruit puree where possible and all the fruit is so ripe it adds a natural sweetness and texture to the drinks. I hope he gets paid really well, because I'm sure he'll be in high demand once people discover this new restaurant. It's around $7 for a cocktail - which is really cheap...and it tastes like something that should be $10-12 especially in a restaurant with this kind of upscale lounge decor. The patio is the best place to dine here - all white sofas and beautiful waterfront view. Outside more impressive than inside. It's a new restaurant and they're still playing around with their menu. I have no idea how they'll narrow down their drink menu because the selection is huge and we didn't have one bad drink. Try them all before they narrow it down.

On the table:

  • Tropical Cyclone 5/6
    • Absolute, hypnotiq, malibu, fresh pineapple juice and a swirl of blue caracao with a sweet slushy cloud (the slush kind of floats on top) - 6.95
    • This drink is one of their popular signature drinks. This is yummy, it's more of girl drink (sweeter) and you get a really strong pineapple and coconut taste. Malibu stands out in this one. You feel like you're in Miami sipping on one of these - especially when you're sitting outside on their patio that is Miami inspired - all white lounge couches etc.
  • The 22 5/6
    • Raspberry absolut, malibu, banana liquer, fresh pineapple and cranberry juice, soda with a hint of champagne and a fresh raspberry slush - 6.95
    • Another popular signature drink. De-licious. This one tastes like a raspberry slurpee. It's sweet and tangy at the same time. The raspberry stands out the most in this for sure. The fresh pineapple adds that special note that completes this fruity drink. More of a girl drink - sweeter again, and you can't taste the alcohol. I prefer this over the Tropical Cyclone.
  • **Apple Crunch 6/6
    • Apple liquor, butter ripple, with fresh pineapple and apple juices with a touch of real honey 6.95
    • Holy crap...this is amazing. Want to know what apple pie tastes like as a drink? This is it! This is a dessert and drink all in one. If you like apple and apple pie you'll love this! It's like a blended McDonald's apple pie. The real honey shines through and there's even a hint of cinnamon I tasted. It comes with this fruit skewer of melon ball sized apples and it's coated in this brown sugar cinnamon syrup...the perfect garnish for this amazing drink. One of the best drinks and garnishes I've had...ever. One of their most popular signature drinks. A girl drink a guy would appreciate.
  • **Pear Cobbler 6/6
    • U'livka, pear liquer, triple sec, pear puree, topped with brown sugar. 7.75
    • This is would never know there's alcohol. This was my favourite! This tastes like eating a frozen pear blended up - a real pear slushy! He uses fresh pear puree and you can totally taste it in the drink. It's all blended up and it adds this natural sweetness. Pears have a grainy texture so it gives this drink a really unique texture I've never experienced before. Truly incredible. If you love pears, don't leave without trying one. It comes with a fruit skewer made up of melon ball sized pear coated with the same brown sugar syrup the apple crunch skewer was in. This is a dessert/drink/treat...everything! It's their most popular and creative belnded cocktail on the menu.
  • Fresh mojito 4/6
    • We had the kiwi lime 7.50
    • All the mojito's are twisted and built on a combination of 2 flavours eg: strawberry kiwi, vanilla pear etc.
    • This was really fresh and really light tasting. You can actually see the fresh kiwi puree, but you couldn't taste the kiwi as much. The actual fruit isn't that flavourful and there's no "kiwi" flavoured alcohol so this drink tastes all natural. The lime really comes through. I prefer the blended mojito at Earl's - if it's done right, by an actual bartender.
  • Smashed Pinata 5/6
    • Jose Cuervo, Bacardi 151, fresh lime, pear liquer, pear puree 7.45
    • A man's drink. You can taste the alcohol in this one and it's pretty strong. But again it's mixed well, so if you like the taste of these liquers you'll enjoy this drink. The pear again adds this natural sweetness. I based my rating on people that like these alcohols.
  • Mandalay Fiesta 3/6
    • Jose Cuervo, fresh lime, chili sauce, soda and raspberry puree 7.45
    • I didn't get to try this one, but my friends said the other stuff I tried was better. They said it was good, but because everything else was AMAZING - this was just good.
  • **Asian Mary 6/6
    • A twist on a Bloody Mary/Caesar - sake, tomato, soy sauce, Tobasco, with freshly crushed dry wasabi rim 7.00
    • Wow! This is genius. So creative. I prefer this to any ordinary Caesar/Bloody Mary anywhere. What a brilliant twist! It's the perfect amount of spiciness too. He really nailed this one. The wasabi rim is real wasabi, which don't even come across at a Japanese restaurant. The best Caesar I've had.
  • Tequila Moon 3/6
    • A twist on a Tequila Sunrise with Jose Cuervo, Absolute raspberry, sake, triple sec, watermelon puree, and orange juice 7.45
    • I'm not a fan of Tequila or Tequila Sunrises - but if I had to have a Tequila Sunrise, I'll drink it this way. Again taking an ordinary cocktail to the next level. This was the most Tequila tasting drink that we tried from their Tequila cocktails section.
  • The Wet Poncho 4/6
    • Jose Cuervo, triple sec, blue curacao, orange juice, soda with a hint of vanilla 7.45
    • In between a girl and guy drink. I thought the blue curacao stood out the most in this.
  • Giddy Down 4/6
    • Wild Turkey, absolut vanilla, shaken with fresh pear, fresh apple juice 7.00
    • This was strong on the alcohol which was a bit surprising seeing the ingredients. It's the Wild Turkey - if you like whiskey then try this. The flavours complement the whiskey well.

Mandalay Steakhouse on Urbanspoon

Raffles Cafe

Restaurant: Raffles Cafe
Cuisine: American
Last visited: August 27, 09
Area: Las Vegas - Mandalay Bay Resort & Casino
3950 Las Vegas Blvd
Price Range: $10-20

1: Poor 2: OK 3: Good 4: Very good 5: Excellent 6: Tres Excellent!!

Additional comments:
  • Open 24 hours
  • Menu shows signature items
  • Casual dining
  • A nice 24 hour restaurant (not fast food 24 hours)
  • Offers breakfast/brunch/lunch/dinner/late night
  • Tropical (borderline tacky) decor
  • Huge portions
**Recommendation: Banana and Pecan Stuffed French Toast, Raffles Signature Dessert Burger and Exotic Coconut Pancakes which I didn't order, but have heard rave reviews about.

I only tried 2 things on the menu so I don't think it's fair to give it a full review. Therefore I'm only going to focus on the things that I ordered - which were freakin delicious!! I need to give them their own review. I went at 4am and I didn't have my camera on me, which I totally regret because I can't seem to find a picture of these anywhere. The pictures would speak for themselves - you'd definitely want to book your tickets to Sin City if you saw the pics. I hope my description and review does these 2 items justice. For a 24 hour restaurant the chef is wide awake, because the food is fresh, unique, and there was even presentation - which I don't expect from a 24 hour diner.

On the table:
  • **Banana and Pecan Stuffed French Toast 6/6
    • This french toast was soooo soft and fluffy! It was almost like they used brioche bread. It was thick slices of brioche bread dipped in an egg batter and lightly fried. Then sandwiches between the slices of bread was the thick creamy custard! It was soo decadent and indulgent! Really rich and heavy so you can't eat it by yourself - such a treat! The bananas are cut up in slices, so not mashed and they're slightly cooked and warm and then placed on top of the french toast with toasted pecans. The whole thing is sprinkled with icing sugar.
    • This is definitely a dessert! It's one of their signature items and it rightfully earns a spot because it's so amazing. We ordered it with chocolate and vanilla ice cream - it's good with or without ice cream - it's just amazing. The custard is thick enough to not ooze out on it's own, but it oozes out when you poke your fork into it. I'm drooling...
  • **Raffles Signature Dessert Burger 6/6
  • (I don't think it's the official name, but I can't find the full menu)
    • This is another signature item! Thank god I remember the description because I can't find it anywhere. This was such a creative dessert and it really deserves attention. Great concept! Kudos to the chef for creating it. Very well executed.
    • The dessert came in a mini burger - the size of a slider. It totally looked like a beef slider. The "bun" was made of a homemade sesame pound cake. The "cheese" was a thin slice of apple flavoured jello (at least that's what it tasted like). The "burger patty" was some sort of frozen chocolate mousse. I think there was also a hint of raspberry coulis for ketchup.
    • Wow! This was really really good. It held together really well and didn't crumbly apart or anything. It was nice and sturdy like an actually burger. It wasn't even messy to eat. The apple cheese thing was soo unique - I've never had anything like this. Teh combination of flavours worked really well and the pound cake was delicious! I'm glad the portion was a bit smaller because it was just enough to satisfy. So impressed with this dessert coming from a 24 hour restaurant.
    • It also came with "fries" - which were deep fried pastries that looked exactly like fries. They were dusted with icing sugar and it came with "ketchup" or raspberry coulis for dipping. These "fries" were not good though - they tasted like nothing. They help in the presentation and complete the concept and that's about it.
  • Exotic Coconut Pancakes
    • I didn't order these but I hear really good things about them. I'm ordering them for sure next time.

Raffles Cafes on Urbanspoon

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Firefly Tapas Kitchen & Bar

Restaurant: Firefly Tapas Kitchen & Bar
Cuisine: Mexican/Spanish/Tapas/Fusion
Last visited: August 26, 09
Area: Las Vegas
3900 Paradise Road
Price Range: $20-30 (average bill per person)

1: Poor 2: OK 3: Good 4: Very Good 5: Excellent 6: Tres Excellent!!

Food: 5
Service: 4
Ambiance: 2
Overall: 4
Additional comments:
  • Casual atmosphere
  • Busy, late night crowd
  • Mexican servers/kitchen/staff
  • Mexican and Spanish style
  • Comfort food tapas
  • Tapas style - so everything is meant to be shared
  • Generous portions for tapas style
  • Reasonably priced (around $7usd on average per tapa)
  • Famous for stuffed dates and Sangria
  • Very popular to locals - off the strip

**Recommendation: Stuffed Dates, Tuna Tartare, Stuffed Peppers, Veggie Empanada, Manchego Mac n' Cheese, Baby Back Ribs, Lamb Skewers, Sangria

My friend who lived in Vegas for 2 months brought us to this restaurant. Very familiar to locals, this place shouldn't be missed. It's casual, enjoyable, and full of energy. The decor is nothing special, and the food is nothing fancy, it's simple and down right tasty. Typical Mexican comfort food style tapas that are very reasonably priced. I went with 6 people so we made quite a dent in the menu. Everything was extra tasty becuase it's all bite sized finger food so it leaves you craving more. It's all too heavy to have a plate to yourself - so almost everything tastes good, and even if it doesn't you don't really notice because you only had a bite. This review will be done a bit differently because we tried so much stuff I won't go into too much detail. I also didn't get any pictures because it was too dark inside. You'll spend about $20-30USD per person including tax and tip.

On the table:

  • Boquerones 2/6
    • Spanish white anchovies on toasts with roasted red pepper, yellow pepper vin
    • These were nice and salty - not fishy tasting and really typical ingredient from Spain. It kinda tastes like a quick appetizer you can throw together at home, but it's still good. One of those easy/simple/quick appetizers.
  • **Tuna Tartare 5/6
    • Layers of mango, marinated ahi tuna, avocado and taro chips.
    • One of the favourites. I liked the taro chips - it was a nice twist, better than serving them with the usual tortilla chips. You get quite a bit of tartare too.
  • Ceviche of Shrimp 4/5
    • Tiger shrimp, avocado and crispy corn tortilla chips.
    • I liked the tuna tartare better. A bit more expensive, $8.50 for a cup full, but they are relatively big pieces of shrimp so it's ok - it was quite heavy on the lime flavour. Very fresh tasting and tangy. Simple flavours that are easy to pick out.
  • **Stuffed Dates 6/6
    • By far THE favourite! This is what they're famous for! And they should be, and I know why. They're pretty delicious. It's a date stuffed with an almond and blue cheese, then wrapped with bacon and served with a red wine reduction sauce.
    • These dates are nice and sticky and the combination of flavours merry together so well. I'm not even a fan of bacon or blue cheese and these were still amazing! No ingredient was more powerful than the other. They are bite size and just perfect. A little savoury (bacon), sweet (date), tangy (sauce), creamy (cheese), crunch (almond) and crispy (bacon) - it hits all my taste buds in the right way! You bite into a date and it oozes out warm and creamy blue cheese...then you get the crunch of the almond and the salty crispiness of the bacon and the sticky moist date - oh my's amazing. Perfect in flavours and in textures - these are real treats.
  • **Veggie Empanada 5/6
    • Deep fried pastry pockets stuffed with spinach, mushroom, artichoke, and herb cream cheese and red pepper aioli.
    • This is yummy! Really creamy and rich. Meant for sharing - one to yourself would be a bit much.
  • Roasted eggplant cannelloni 3/6
    • These "cannellonis" are rolled up roasted eggplant slices. They are stuffed with a lot of goat's cheese and marinara sauce. The goat's cheese overpowered the eggplant and it kind of felt like eating warm goat's cheese and that's it. It needed to be spread on a cracker or crostini or something.
  • **Stuffed Peppers 6/6
    • Spanish piquillo red peppers, mozzarella, garlic cream cheese and tomato sauce.
    • These are really cheesy and really rich. But they're so small so 1-2 per person is perfect. These little red peppers are nicely marinated and really sweet so they go so well with the savoury cheeses and tangy tomato sauce.
  • Mushroom Tart 4/6
    • Puff pastry covered with mushrooms and a boursin cheesy cream sauce.
    • This was delicious and it was a generous portion. It's actually quite big and it comes loaded with mushrooms and a bechemel type white cream sauce. I mean the puff pastry is your standard puff pastry and it tastes exactly like the description. Simple recipe and still good.
  • **Manchego Mac n' Cheese 5/6
    • This mac n' cheese was homemade and you could tell. Really cheesy, creamy just like grandma would make. Really hearty and rich yet thoroughly enjoyable.
  • **Lamb skewers 5/6
    • Marinated chunks of lamb with tomato and red wine sauce. It's served on a bed of lentils which I really liked. I'm not a fan of lamb, but my friends are and they all loved it so I put it as a recommendation.
  • Crispy duck rolls 2/6
    • It's served with a cherry hoisin sauce which is nice and creative. The duck was ground up duck though - so it tasted like sweet ground beef or something. It was crumbly and dry and bitty - I think they mixed the duck with some ground beef to save costs. I'd pass on these next time, but the sauce was nice.
  • **Baby Back Ribs 6/6
    • Steamed - falling off the bone ribs with a mango BBQ sauce.
    • These taste like they're slow baked! The meat slips right off the bone and they're smothered in this sweet and tangy BBQ sauce. You get 4 big ribs for $9.50USD - A bit more expensive, but still worth it. They're really tender!
  • Firefly Fish Sticks 2/6
    • A fish stick is a fish stick. It has a panko batter though and a spicy tartar sauce.
  • Steamed mussels 4/6
    • A huge bowl of mussels served in a red curry, white wine and coconut cream sauce.
    • This is a deal for $8USD - we got about 10 mussels. The sauce is amazing, our mussels were a bit undercooked though. 6/6 for the sauce though!
  • Big Bowl Pasta 3/6
    • I could have done without this. I would rather have tried other stuff on the menu - since marinara pasta is kind of blah. We had 6 people though so we wanted to order a filler. My favourite part of this was the big chunks of roasted and marinated artichoke hearts.
  • Paella
    • I did not order this and I probably won't because a restaurant with this type of volume won't be able to make a paella very well. I'm almost certain it will be a frozen paella. I wouldn't bother.
  • Lemon-berry Tarts 2/6
    • Four bite sized lemon tarts with fresh berries and whipped cream.
    • These are probably frozen too - don't taste homemade at all. But they were cheap and worth it if you need something sweet at the end of your meal...which I always do =)

Firefly Bistro on Urbanspoon

Friday, August 28, 2009

LAVO Restaurant

Crispy Calamari
Kobe Stuffed Rice Balls
Lobster Scampi Style Brick Oven Pizza (Veal Milanese in the background)
Lobster and Asparagus Risotto

Restaurant: LAVO Restaurant
Cuisine: Italian/American
Last visited: August 25, 09
Area: Las Vegas
The Palazzo Hotel & Casino 3325 Las Vegas Blvd
Price Range: $30-50

1: Poor 2: OK 3: Good 4: Very good 5: Excellent 6: Tres Excellent!!

Food: 2
Service: 1
Ambiance: 6
Overall: 3
Additional comments:
  • Fine dining
  • Chef Ludo Lefebvre and Chef Ralph Scamardella
  • Creators of TAO nightclub
  • LAVO nightclub upstairs
  • Beautiful set up/decor - food/service unfortunately did NOT match
  • Food is overrated - Mediocre to not good - very salty/poor execution
  • A bit dark - attracts ages 25-35
  • Famous for meatballs
  • Best thing was the complimentary garlic bread
  • Pay for the atmosphere and incredible decor
  • Dinner at 5pm / late night dinner
**Recommendation: If anything, the meatballs...and free garlic bread they serve you in the beginning is really good

I'm pretty disappointed by LAVO because of the poor service we received...and poor food. They claim to be "Italian" but it's really American Italian. Everything was on the whole quite salty rather than flavourful. It was fresh, but just very poorly executed. It was Italian food done really poorly. The ambiance is fine dining, but the food, menu, and plating is not. How "high end" or "fine dining" can you be when you have 2 feet long pizzas on the menu? When we told our waitress twice that our food was too salty she didn't even acknowledge it as a concern or do anything about it. Very disappointing. Her recommendations were also the most expensive things on the menu - which we ordered, and everything was still mediocre to not good. She was just really insincere about everything from the moment we sat down, to the moment we ordered and paid the bill. For the price we paid, we felt quite robbed...and some of us still hungry because we couldn't eat the food.

On the table:
  • Crispy Fried Calamari 2/6
    • Nothing special here. Quite standard from any restaurant. I think the Calamari at Milestones is actually better to be honest. YES the calamari is better at Milestone's! At least they put care into creating their dipping sauce. The calamari at LAVO wasn't overcooked or anything, but they were just standard. It comes with this spicy marinara sauce that comes with EVERYTHING else on the menu too. The sauce wasn't memorable either - quite runny. It tastes like it's from a jar and to make it "homemade" they squeezed some lemon and mixed in some fresh garlic and parsley.
    • Overpriced at $16USD
  • Kobe Stuffed Rice Balls 4/6
    • This was actually not too bad, maybe the best thing we ordered. It was the size of an XXL grapefruit. It's massive! I think worth it for $16USD and it's definitely shareable. It was one of their famous Kobe beef meatballs stuffed with mozzarella cheese and green peas, insulated by a layer of rice and deep fried until golden brown. Then it's served with I think a ricotta cheese sauce and a huge pool of marinara sauce.
    • It was pretty good, but at this point I was so tired with their marinara sauce they kept putting on everything...and it's not like it was that good! It came with the garlic bread, the calamari, and now this. The meatball was tender though and the outside is crispy because of the rice, so it really is not bad. But they could have gone easier on the marinara sauce. My rice ball was just sitting in a pool of it and it mad the crisp part of the ball soggy. The plating isn't very elegant either. It's just a giant deep fried ball on a plate - they should have served it in 6 smaller meatballs with a side of marinara for dipping and it would have been much more enjoyable. It would have avoided all the problems I had with it.
  • Lobster Scampi Style Brick Oven Pizza 3/6
    • Roasted lobster, fingerling potatoes, garlic oil, and fresh herbs
    • The pizzas are shareable because they're 2 feet long and served on a wooden plank.
    • The crust was actually done quite well and it was really enjoyable. As good as the crust is they should have took the toppings more to the edges though. We had like at least an inch of crust on each side...the width is about 6 inches.
    • When you're using such gourmet ingredients you already expect the pizza to be pretty good though. The roasted lobster was quite nice and you can actually see the pieces which I appreciate. It's cubes of lobster spread over the pizza. Not overcooked or tough either. It was a tad salty rather than flavourful though and they went too heavy on the fresh herbs. The herbs overpowered the other ingredients. They kind of had big leaves on top and they didn't allow the herbs to wilt so I felt like I was eating raw herbs at times. I think they used basil and oregano, but they used to much.
    • It was what it was, and it was good, but it could have been excellent - should put more time into the recipe. It was one of the better things we ordered. I would only order this if I was to share it though - otherwise $32USD for this pizza is pretty unreasonable.
  • Lobster and Asparagus Risotto 1/6
    • This came with pine nuts and preserved lemons. It was also highly recommended by our server. I have had way better risotto. This was the most disappointing dish. This was risotto done extremely poorly, it wasn't cooked right at well. The texture was not creamy and they definitely rushed it. It tasted like watery fried rice. I didn't feel like I was eating risotto at all. It was gummy and mushy and watery all at the same does that even happen?
    • The asparagus wasn't even cut, they just had 2 inch pieces of asparagus on really shouldn't have asparagus whole in risotto. It didn't even look good. It looked like a mess. The lobster wasn't even good in it - much much better on the pizza, and if anything it should have been better in the risotto because you have more control of the cooking. I almost forgot to mention how salty it was too - we only finished half...for this type of restaurant the risotto was a major fail. Poor in presentation, flavour, texture - everything.
  • Spaghetti with Kobe Meatballs 2/6
    • The waitress highly recommended this dish and said it would be "the best spaghetti and meatballs we would ever have in our lives"...BOLD statement. AND she was WRONG.
    • I gave it a 2/6 and this is basically only for the meatballs. The meatballs are pretty decent there, but it wasn't THE BEST EVER. They are tender and they're pretty big as well. The spaghetti part was really mediocre though and again too salty. The spaghetti was lightly coated in the marinara sauce which is how its served in Italy...but the marinara sauce is just so blah. I feel like the restaurant thinks it;s really good too otherwise they wouldn't pour it over everything. Just a heads up this is not your traditional spaghetti and meatballs, so don't expect "grandma's recipe" or anything...this is on the lighter side. The meatballs are the hearty part of it, but they are tasty.
  • Veal Milanese 2/6
    • This is a pretty big portion of veal. The veal itself isn't too bad, the quality is there and it wasn't gamey or anything. It's pounded pretty thin (maybe even too thin) and coated with a fresh breadcrumb coating. The coating was thicker than the veal though, which isn't good. They also deep fried it a bit too long - it was less golden brown and more just brown. It's served with tomatoes and arugula salad - which was very standard.
    • For the price you pay, you can't get away with serving subpar food. The veal wasn't dry or anything, but it didn't have a sauce either - so eating a lot of it can start to taste dry. It was cooked ok, but just not very flavourful or anything. They could have done more with the flavours because it felt like I was eating it at someone's house who makes pretty good veal and not at a fine dining type of restaurant.
  • Grilled Tuna Roasted Artichokes 2/6
    • Seared Yellow Fin tuna, oven roasted tomatoes, lemon vinaigrette
    • This was alright. For me, it was a bit of a rip off. The plating was really weak too especially for an entree. It looked quite small. The lemon vinaigrette didn't stand out to me and nothing about the dish is memorable...therefore it was only ok.
  • Trimmings - Grilled Asparagus 2/6
    • $10USD - and it was really small! This was the biggest rip off. It's just roasted asparagus. Way overpriced and such a small portion.

Lavo on Urbanspoon

Grand Lux Cafe

Restaurant: Grand Lux Cafe
Cuisine: American
Last visited: August 24, 09
Area: Las Vegas - Multiple
The Venetian Hotel & Casino 3355 Las Vegas Blvd
Price Range: $10-20

1: Poor 2: OK 3: Good 4: Very good 5: Excellent 6: Tres Excellent!!

Food: 3.5
Service: 5
Ambiance: 3
Overall: 3
Additional comments:
  • Founder of The Cheesecake Factory
  • I prefer The Cheesecake Factory
  • Big portions, large menu selection
  • Very reasonably priced, a bit more expensive than Cheesecake Factory
  • European decor, with typical American food
  • Nothing gourmet, but just good/big portions of food served in a comfortable & nice atmosphere
  • Casual
  • Open 24 hours
  • Breakfast served all day in Vegas location
  • Lunch specials until 5pm
**Recommendation: Short Rib Grilled Cheese, The Max Burger, Chicken Pot Pie

I got this recommendation from the person sitting next to me on my flight down. I was staying at The Venetian and got in quite late so I thought it would be convenient to check it out. I didn't know it was from the same founders of The Cheesecake Factory, but after I found out it was quite obvious. Large portions, all American food, and that luxurious European cafe feel - overall a casual restaurant where you get a bang for your buck. I like the menu and food better at The Cheesecake Factory and they're almost the same menu, but Cheesecake Factory has an even larger menu.

Note: I got some of my photos off the internet, but I only used them if they were close to identical to what I was served. So these are trustworthy photos.

On the table:
  • Crabcakes 4/6
    • These were really good. They are a bit on the expensive side for I think $13 for 2 relatively normal sized crab cakes. A bit larger and thicker than a hockey puck. You do get a lot of dungeness crab though (just look at the picture) - so it's reasonable for what they charge.
    • You can actually break away at the crab with your fork and you don't get those cheap additional fillers, so you're actually eating a crab cake and not a shrimp cake. This isn't a high end restaurant or anything so I was quite impressed with the quality of crab cake I got. It wasn't the best I've had or anything, but for this type of chain restaurant I think it was great. It's served very lightly battered and golden brown with a spicy mustard sauce - I would share this if I were to order it again - 2 crab cakes gets a little repetitive and sickening, but one is good.

  • **The Max Burger 5/6
    • One of their famous selections. Certified Angus beef with cheddar cheese, bacon, sauteed mushrooms, onions and roasted short ribs. Served with fries.
    • If you're a fan of a great tasting burger, you have to give this a shot. For me, I would normally pass on a burger at a restaurant like this because there's so many more options I would want to try something different. But my friend ordered it, and I'm glad he did. It's really big though, you have ahard time eating it cause the toppings keep slipping out. The great thing about this burger isn't the size though, it's the quality of the beef patty they used. You can tell that the patty is an Angus beef patty and it's nice and juicy, not dry at all. This isn't a diner or fast food burger and it's not a gourmet burger either (it's still served on a regular burger bun)...but it's just a classic American burger done well.
  • Chicken Meatball Sandwich 2/6
    • House-made chicken meatballs with melted Fontina cheese and marinara sauce on a buttered roll. Served with fries.
    • This was kind of disappointing. Its drenched in marinara sauce so it's kind of hard to eat too. Really messy and soggy. Yes the meatballs are house made and they're quite large, but I think beef/pork meatballs are generally better. They weren't dry, but they come off as a dry because the beef meatballs we're typically used to are just juicier. They kinds of have this aftertaste that wasn't ideal too. I'm not sure what the herb or spice was cause I couldn't really put my finger on it - but it wasn't something you really want to remember. It's edible and ok tasting, but not something I'd care to order again.
  • **Short Rib Grilled Cheese Sandwich 5/6
    • Slow roasted short ribs, caramelized onions and lots of melted cheese on grilled bread. Served with fries.
    • This is a great tasting sandwich. I would actually prefer it to the Max Burger. It tastes as good as it sounds, again well done on the execution. It was a tad greasy, but that's expected when you order something like this. I like that the bread they used, which is a country bread because it gave it this rustic texture and taste to the sandwich. It has a crispy/buttery exterior and it's not too thick so you can bite into it easily without the sandwich being too messy. You get a great amount of short ribs that are really tender, and a good amount of cheese too. I think it's just a cheddar cheese they use, maybe mixed with some Mozzarella too.
  • Grilled Ahi Tuna Burger 2/6
    • The description on the menu tells you nothing, except that its served on a brioche bun. It's served with grilled onions, lettuce and tomatoes though. It doesn't look great, and it's pretty plain and bland, it kind of was.
    • This was good becuase we were hungry. I've had better before for sure! (Still the best at Joey's). This was better tasting than the one from Le Grande Orange Cafe though. The quality of tuna was alright, but it's very basic and something you could put together at home. There's no specialty here, so don't expect to be blown away or anything. I feel like they added it on the menu, just to have it on, but they didn't really put care into making it good - probably cause the clientèle wouldn't really order it. They did a great job on the grilled onions though - and it's nice to a have a brioche bun with this type of sandwich.
  • Salisbury Chopped Steak 4/6
    • Chopped steak mixed with onions, mushrooms, and garlic. Served with mashed potatoes, pickled shredded red beets, and veggies.
    • This thing is HUGE! It's a lot of meat served with mashed potatoes in a rolled layer on top. Its the combination of the steak and the creamy whipped potatoes that made this really good. It's quite saucy and tastes like a traditional Salisbury steak - all American flavours and tastes. The meat was really ground up and it was almost like a meatloaf, but a bit drier - not dry though. Just drier compared to a meatloaf. The veggies were all ground into this steak patty so you weren't biting into chunks of it or anything. This was quite tasty - but I guess you can't really go wrong with beef, gravy, and creamy mashed potatoes. The steak was flavourful and tender on it's own, but when it's covered by gravy and mashed potatoes you can't really tell...whatever it was still good for what it was though; I can't rate this like I would a fine dining place, cause it's not.

    • The red beets were good, but I wasn't a fan of them being pickled. Thy taste better with this meal not pickled. It was almost like eating red sauerkraut.
  • **Chicken Pot Pie
    • I did not order this - but I will next time. The man next to me ordered it and it was SO big. The biggest I've seen. It came in a large bowl with a huge crust baked on the bowl holds the filling and not the crust. It looked really impressive and tasty - all of us wanted to try it. We were considering going back to order this. The crust is made in house, and it's really big so I think the ratio of crust to pie filling would be perfect. I don't know how it tastes, but I will try it for sure!
    • It was so big, I had to take a picture of it from the guy who ordered it beside me. The picture I used for this blog isn't the picture I took though...but it's almost the same, I just think this one was a better angle. (I had to take mine from a distance - which is understandable because it wasn't even my odd would that have been?)

Grand Lux Cafe (Venetian) on Urbanspoon

Monday, August 24, 2009

Alpha Global Sushi & Bar

Restaurant: Alpha Global Sushi & Bar
Cuisine: Japanese/Izakaya/Tapas/Fusion
Last visited: August 22, 09
Area: Vancouver, BC
1099 Richards Street
Price Range: $20-30 (average bill per person)

1: Poor 2: OK 3: Good 4: Very good 5: Excellent 6: Tres Excellent!!

Food: 4.5
Service: 5
Ambiance: 2
Overall: 4.5
Additional comments:
  • Izakaya dishes - small plates meant to be shared
  • Japanese chefs/cooks
  • Weak in decor for this type of restaurant
  • Food is not bad, a bit expensive
  • Not as good as Kingyo/Yuji's/Hapa Izakaya - almost the same price too
  • Some creative dishes, some authentic Japanese, some Westernized Japanese
  • Weekly specials
  • Menu shows last week's most popular dishes
  • Large selection of cocktails
  • Not as busy as other Izakaya places downtown
  • Dinner service only
**Recommendation: Tuna Garlic Pepper Sashimi, Mentaiko Udon (I'd come back just for these)

This restaurant has been here for four years now. I never see it really busy and after talking to the staff you know that business is slow. I'm a fan of Izakaya places so I decided to give this place a shot. The food is actually pretty good, it's not the best Izakaya place in Vancouver, but the chefs and staff are really trying. I think because it's located in Yaletown/downtown people expect a lot, but it falls short when compared to the other Izakaya places in downtown eg: Kingyo and Hapas Izakaya (especially when they're charging almost the same price). It's more refined tha Guu, but Guu on the whole tastes better and is cheaper in price.

For the price Alpha charges and the clientele they're hoping for, they should really invest in decor. It just feels kind of dead because it's a bit dark inside and it doesn't have that high energy or eclectic feel you expect from an Izakaya place. I would go again for the dishes I recommended or if someone wanted to try it, but it wouldn't be my first choice for Izakaya.

On the table:
  • **Tuna Garlic Pepper Sashimi 6/6
    • Black pepper and garlic flavoured seared albacore tuna with ponzu sauce
    • Wow! This is really good! They recommend it and it's an Alpha original. The chef seared it perfectly. You can see and taste the freshness - a simple recipe and quality ingredients. This dish should not be missed. I could eat 2 plates to myself no problem. It comes with a bed of radish salad underneath which is also great.
    • You don't need to use soy sauce, maybe just a little wasabi to bring out the freshness.
  • Pumpkin Croquette 4/6
    • Deep fried kobacha squash and mashed potato croquette with "fruity vegetable sauce" for dipping (I call it a Japanese BBQ sauce)
    • This is nicely done, nice and crispy. Really strong squash flavour as well, they went heavier on the squash than mashed potato which I appreciate. The texture is really smooth and the "fruity vegetable sauce" is that BBQ/mustard tasting sauce (see description in my review for Ping's Cafe)
    • The pumpkin croquette here is stronger in squash flavour than Ping's...Ping's is more homemade - feels like someone's mom made it.
  • Vegetable 2/6
    • Mango, beets, cucumber, leaf lettuce and avocado
    • I was actually pretty disappointed by this. The beets enticed me because I've never heard of beets in a sushi roll. But when it came you could barely see the beets, they were there to add colour. They julienne them and you get very little, so you really couldn't taste them at all. Too much cucumber, not enough beets...they need to balance out the ingredients in this roll. The mango shined through, but that's about it. I would pass on this.
  • Spicy Tuna & Avocado Roll 5/6
    • This was the best roll we ordered out of the three. It's only available as a weekly special though. It's done with an Alpha twist so it's a bit unique. It comes with that Japanese bbq mustard sauce that comes with the pumpkin croquettes. I dipped it in this with a little wasabi and that was enough. The put these things on top that taste like rice krispies - it's some kind of deep fried flour/starch...I liked it though. I haven't really seen it done anywhere else. I mean they're kind of flavourless, but they add a texture that makes this roll different than the others.
  • Mango Vancouver Roll - 4/6
    • Mango, avocado, mayo, crab meant wrapped in wild smoked salmon and tobiko with plum wine mustard mayo sauce.
    • Not bad, but sounds better than it was. Try it once with the original sauce it comes with and then try it with your soy and wasabi. I found that it needed a little soy and wasabi because the original sauce couldn't stand by itself. They could have added something crunchy because it's a little bit on the mushy side, but still tasty. At $9 it's overpriced for what it is becuase I feel like I could get something similar somewhere else.
  • Miso Teriyaki Beef - 2/6
    • These miso grilled short ribs are one of there specialties, but I don't know why. I couldn't taste the miso flavour and it actually kind of felt like the stuff you get at Korean BBQ. They should have used a better quality beef becuase it wasn't that tender or was a bit tough. I actually enjoy the Korean BBQ short ribs more.
  • **Mentaiko Udon - 6/6
    • Udon (Japanese thick noodle) with spicy cod roe and shredded seaweed on top.
    • Oh my gosh...this was sooo good. One of the best udons I've had. This is an authentic Japanese dish too! I don't know why it's not an "Alpha original"...I would come back just for this dish. I can't even explain how delicious it is. Really soft noodles and the spicy cod roe gives it this unique texture. It is slimy and it's supposed to be, it doesn't matter to me becuase I expected it. This is really really good, and I haven't seen it available at other Japanese places.
  • Alpha's Taco Rice - 5/6
    • Taco spice seasoned pork served on Japanese rice, cheese and lettuce with their original spicy tomato sauce.
    • This is a bang for your buck! You get a huge bowl for $7.75 and it's worth a try. I mean you could probably reinvent something similar at home - but it's still good. A unique idea that tastes great. It tastes just like the description. Mix it all before you eat it though because the ingredients are served in layers with the rice o the bottom and freshly shredded lettuce at the top. I could order this again.
  • Unagi Rice Gratin Age 3/6
    • Baked unagi (eel) with creamy white sauce, seasoned rice and cheese.
    • This is rich!! Don't order it unless you feel like something really greasy and heavy - or unless you're with 4 or more people. It's an Alpha original and it seemed like it would be really good...cause it's so fatty. It was pretty good, but you can't eat a lot cause it's really rich and heavy on the cheese and sauce. For $12 its a bit expensive, but you get quite a bit of eel so I can understand. The eel is completely covered by the cream sauce and cheese though...there's A LOT of cheese! When you order a gratin you better expect it though. They could have added bread crumbs to the cheese to give it a was more casserole than gratin.
    • The best part of this dish is the baked edges around the bowl...the rice is so crispy and extra chewy because it's Japanese rice. Best part!
  • Matcha Cake with Green Tea Ice Cream 3/6
    • Made in house. I appreciated this becuase I could really taste the matcha....they didn't skimp on the powder. It was a strong matcha taste which is what I want if I'm ordering a "Matcha Cake". It come with red beans, which were way too sweet...I don't like red bean, but even the people I was with that do like it thought it was too sweet. It was almost syrupy.
  • Tiramisu
    • I didn't order this, but was tempted too. It's made in house, will try it if I go back.

Alpha Global Sushi & Bar on Urbanspoon

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Tenku Bakudanyaki

Tenku Bakudanyaki Trailer
Tenku Bakudanyaki Trailer

Restaurant: Tenku Bakudanyaki

Cuisine: Japanese
Last visited: August 22, 09
Area: Richmond, BC
711 Elmbridge Way (In a trailer)
Price Range: $10 or less

1: Poor 2: OK 3: Good 4: Very good 5: Excellent 6: Tres Excellent!!

Food: 4
Service: 3
Ambiance: 5...what can I say? It's a trailer...part of the novelty!
Overall: 4
Additional comments:
  • Specializes in Bakudanyaki - a large Japanese fritter (grilled on iron griddle, not deep fried)
  • Stuffed with: cabbage, mochi, hard boiled quail's egg, shrimp, squid
  • 7 options available
  • $5 each
  • Served from a trailer - outdoor
  • Made upon order
  • Stand and eat - outdoor, tent and small counter available
  • Open everyday
**Recommendation: I've only tried one, so I can't recommend yet.

The first trailer style eatery I've seen in Vancouver! This trailer idea is quickly becoming a trend - I noticed tons in Texas last year. You can't miss this Japanese trailer - it's a novelty. You order, you eat, and you leave. The bakudanyaki is about the size of a baseball, a bit smaller. It's like eating a giant octopus ball aka takoyaki. You probably don't want to eat more than one becuase they are quite rich, especially with the sauce and mayo they drizzle on top. The bakundanyaki is all the same, it just depends what sauce you want to eat it with. If you ask, you can add whatever sauce/mayo to your order and custom make your own...I just don't think you'd want to mix say curry mayo with pizza sauce...? Who could be good? Tourist or local, this trailer is something to check out!

On the table:
  • Wasabi Mayo 4/6
    • Stuffed with cabbage, mochi, hard-boiled quail's egg, shrimp and squid with wasabi mayo.
    • This is yummy! Tastes like a giant octopus ball aka takoyaki you find at Richmond night market and some Japanese restaurant. The filling is different though, I really enjoyed having the hard boiled quail's egg in there. I kind of wished all the ingredients were a bit more chopped up though - like they are in takoyaki.
    • Everything was whole, so it was hard to get some of everything in one bite - especially with chopsticks. I had to break the stuffing apart with my chopsticks to get good filling to skin ratio. It is a little bit mushy because it's not deep fried so the skin and everything tastes a little soggy near the end. It takes like 5 min. to eat though so you don't really notice it. I'm excited to try the other ones.
  • Chili Mayo
    • Haven't tried it, but everyone says it tastes like ebi mayo. So if you like ebi mayo you'll love this!

Tenku Bakudanyaki on Urbanspoon

Martha Stewart's Tiramisu Cupcakes

Item: Martha Stewart's Tiramisu Cupcakes
- review

1: Poor 2: OK 3: Good 4: Very good 5: Excellent 6: Tres Excellent!!

Find recipe here: Martha Stewart's Tiramisu Cupcakes

  • Martha Stewart's Tiramisu Cupcakes 6/6
    • My friend baked these for me, and I'm so glad she did! These cupcakes are amazing! So moist! It could be due to the fact that you brush coffee marsala syrup on the tops of these cupcakes...but whatever it is this recipe is tres excellent! What a great idea to use a marscapone frosting too. Nice and light and airy - not to sweet you can eat a lot of them. I did. =)
    • It tastes as good as it sounds or even better.
    • Because it is a whipped marscapone frosting it will melt quite easily. You need to keep it in the fridge or I would serve them immediately - they're the best this way.

Ina Garten's Famous Coconut Cupcakes

Item: Ina Garten's Famous Coconut Cupcakes
- review

1: Poor 2: OK 3: Good 4: Very good 5: Excellent 6: Tres Excellent!!

Find recipe here: Ina Garten's Famous Coconut Cupcakes

  • Coconut Cupcakes 5/6
    • These cupcakes are pretty good. Fluffy, light, white, moist and a nice almond flavour. I would have appreciated an even stronger coconut flavour though. This recipe is worth a try and it's easy to follow. I baked them with my friend and we over baked ours a bit. Do not over bake them. If you over bake them it'll taste dry especially since there's dried coconut flakes in the batter...the texture will just be extra dry and you really want these to be fluffy. They will look really white and you might think they aren't baked all the way through yet...but if the tooth pick comes out clean take them out. They're done! Our second batch was much better!
    • Cream cheese frosting - great match! Actually a great recipe to keep.