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This was my first meal at Five Guys, a restaurant chain that originated in Arlington, Virginia. The whole establishment is decorated with large quotes from various publications stating how good the burgers and fries are. My expectations are already heightened the moment I walk into Five Guys.

Cindy and I both ordered the cheeseburger with different toppings that match our individual taste buds. I, of course had mine with: hot sauce, jalapeños, tomatoes, and mayo. Cindy had hers with barbecue sauce, grilled onions, lettuce, and tomato. I did not want to add too many toppings, for the fear of having a mushy burger.

The burgers tasted like a homemade burger that you would grill outside in the park. I never had a burger well done but at Five Guys, you have no choice. Well done burgers were good and had a nice flavor to it without it being extremely juicy. The cajun fries we had were heavily seasoned. I am going to order regular fries the next time I go. They were good none the less. They also had a sign up stating that their french fries are cooked in pure, no cholesterol peanut oil.

Oh, did I mention there are complimentary open boxes of roasted peanuts everywhere in the restaurant? Feel free to help yourself.

2100 88th Street
North Bergen, NJ 07047

One of my sorority sisters, Bonnie, whom I haven’t seen in a very long time, had lunch at a Vietnamese restaurant called Pho Hoai Restaurant which is located in Bay Ridge, Brooklyn. I ordered a bowl of pho. If you aren’t familiar with pho, it is a popular Vietnamese noodle soup, cooked with lots of spices and is usually garnished with bean sprouts, basil and other vegetables. The flavors weren’t that strong but it still tasted good with my beef brisket, which was cooked well done. Bonnie ordered a rice dish with beef.

What I love about living in New York City is that there are so many places that serve cheap, yet delicious food. Food here was descent and the portions were okay; even though I think I can definitely eat more than this! You get what you pay for.

8616 4th Ave.
(between 86th St & 87th St)
Brooklyn, NY 11209
(718) 745-1640

I met up with one of my sorority sisters and we both had lunch together at Kum Gang San restaurant located in K-town, Manhattan. The restaurant had two floors and it was very immense inside. The decor was also nice. How about the food? I think it was pretty average for Korean food…nothing special. It still filled me up though.

I ordered the gop dol bibimbop, which came in a hot stone pot. There was also another option on the menu if you want it served cold. My dish also came with a small bowl of miso soup. The bibimbop came with the usual marinated beef, sauteed vegetables with seaweed, and a nice egg on top. I thought it was kind of dull…the flavors just didn’t pop in my mouth. Unfortunately, it was quite disappointing. My sister ordered a dumpling soup. The banchan (small side dishes) were okay…I particularly liked the bean curd. Towards the end, we were given these small bowls of complimentary icy strawberry desserts.

Great place for lunch if you are in the area but definitely not a place worth trekking to unless you are meeting up with a friend. 🙂

49 W 32nd St
(between 5th Ave & Broadway)
New York, NY 10001
(212) 967-0909

My friend Woojin took me out to eat lunch one day to Bobby’s Burger Palace. I was surprised to hear that the infamous Bobby Flay was the owner of a fast food burger place. It was funny because we would order at the register like a regular fast food place, take a number, and a waiter/waitress would bring the food to your table. I was very excited to eat here because of the name and also the huge line that almost went out the door.

My friend Woojin ordered the Cheyenne Burger which was the September Burger of the month. His burger consisted of smoked cheddar, BBQ sauce, shoestring onion rings, and bacon. I had the Dallas Burger which had spice crusted patty, coleslaw, Monterey Jack cheese, BBQ sauce, and pickles. I did not get to try the Cheyenne Burger, but the Dallas Burger was mighty good. The flavors between the coleslaw, cheese, and the patty is to die for. Although the bun tended to get soggy because of the juiciness of the burger, I would not have minded if Bobby Flay would have picked a more sustainable bun.

The onion rings were a bit on the heavy side but the sweet potato fries were amazing. They were extremely crunchy and had a hint of sweetness that really worked well with the honey mustard horseradish sauce they gave us to dip in.

Overall, I had a pleasant first time experience there and it was fairly cheap. Highly recommended.

610 Bergen Town Center
Paramus, NJ 07652

My mom took me out to eat after my lasik surgery. It was hard to see the food but my tastes buds were working perfectly fine. It was seriously one of the best korean tofu stews I had in a while. You could pick from not spicy, medium spicy, spicy, to extremely spicy. My mom advised me to order the spicy one. The broth which I feel is the most important factor in a Korean stew was well balanced, hearty, and extremely flavorful.

We also ordered a serving of galbi which in Korean restaurants if you order 1 serving, they cook it in the back for you and bring on a dish. The galbi was nothing special but the soondubu was to die for. I cannot wait to eat there again.

118 Broad Avenue (North Plaza 2nd Floor)
Palisades Park, NJ 07650

I had a chance to meet up with some of my sorority sisters yesterday; one of them happened to be visiting from Buffalo. We decided to try Shake Shack, located in the Theater District in Manhattan. Everyone seems to be clamoring about their burgers and surely enough when we arrived, there was a line coming out of the door (apparently, the lines are always long even at their other locations). However, the wait to get to the register didn’t seem too long or unbearable. It was extremely packed and hard to get seats but we managed to grab some while we waited for our food to come out.

We all ordered the single Shack burger which comes with lettuce, tomato, American cheese, and “Shack Sauce,” whatever that may be. I also ordered french fries and a regular size of freshly squeezed lemonade (which I do not recommend). The total came out to $10…not bad. I wouldn’t have gotten the lemonade if I knew there was a self-serve for water. The lemonade was disgusting and tasted watered down.

I didn’t seem to get a “Wow, this is amazing!” feeling once I bit into my burger. My sister claims that In-N-Out burgers are still the best; which I still have yet to try. The meat was cooked medium and was very tender. However, I really did enjoy the fries, which are made from Yukon Gold potatoes and are free from artificial trans-fats. Not greasy and somewhat crispy. Overall, the food tasted fresh (besides the lemonade), and I would come back and try their frozen custards. I do believe it is a bit over-hyped. It is definitely a tourist attraction but it beats McDonald’s which is located right across from Shake Shack.

693 8th Ave
(between 43rd St & 44th St)
New York, NY 10036

If you ever happen to stroll around the long maze in Ikea, you should grab a bite of lunch while you’re there. It is delicious and cheap! I consider it to be cafeteria food suitable for kids and adults. My pasta marinara w/ Swedish meatballs & slice of garlic toast and a bowl of salad came out to around $5. I also had a slice of almond cake which was amazingly scrumptious. There are also a whole bunch of other options to choose from. There are free re-fills which is a plus. The salads are also fresh…I didn’t see any signs of wilting.

The restaurant at Ikea looks and feels exactly like a cafeteria. You wait in line, grab a tray, plate, & utensils, order your food, serve your own salad if you happen to order one, and cash out. Then after you’re done eating, you put your tray away. It definitely felt like middle school all over again.

1 Beard St
(between Halleck St & Otsego St)
Brooklyn, NY 11231

John and I decided to try the famous pork steamed dumplings (called xiao long bao in Chinese) at Joe Shanghai’s Restaurant’s in Chinatown this past weekend because of all the rave reviews. This restaurant originated in Flushing, Queens and now has opened up in other locations including Midtown, Manhattan and Tokyo, Japan. It was a bit cramped and luckily it was just us two so we didn’t have to wait long to be seated.

These dumplings, which originated in Shanghai, China, came out extremely hot. It was $4.65 for 8 dumplings. This was our first time trying these out at a restaurant for we are not that familiar with Shanghai cuisine.

Well, according to their YouTube video, the proper way to eat this dumpling is to bite into it, then pour the soup out onto your spoon. Being entirely unfamiliar with this procedure once we were served, I drank out of this dumpling like a child would drink out of a sippy cup. I still managed not to make a mess. 🙂

We thought the dumplings were delicious but the soup inside was a bit too greasy for me. But besides that, the pork was savory and juicy. We also ordered an entrée of bean curd (Szechuan style) with minced pork. It tasted better than what I could make at home but unfortunately it wasn’t spicy enough as it was intended to be. Also, there wasn’t enough minced pork in this dish; I could barely taste it.  And, boo…they charged extra for a small bowl of white rice because we shared an entrée!

9 Pell Street
New York, New York 10013

Went to this awesome Japanese restaurant which had a BYOB policy. Before we headed there, we went to a convenience store and stocked up on some beers (Magic Hat summer ale and Hoegaarden) and went to go eat!

We ordered the Tempura Platter which had eggplants, broccoli, potatoes, and sweet potatoes. It had a special soy sauce based dipping sauce which was kind of flavorless and a little bit too watery for my taste. I made my own soy sauce wasabi concoction to better compliment the dish.

The rolls we ordered, which were the california rolls and the cucumber eel rolls were nothing to complain about. Came on a very nice dish and tasted very fresh.

The highlight of the meal was definitely the outdoor setting in which we ate. It resembled a cozy backyard which felt very homey and intimate. The BYOB policy was definitely a huge plus to the overall factor of the experience. Hoppy beers go really well with sushi. Try it next time!

P.S. The color of the Magic Hat Summer Ale is gorgeous.

205 Bedford Avenue
Brooklyn, NY 11211

My mom and I ate at a very rustic styled Korean restaurant in Palisades Park, NJ. I ordered the Fish Egg & Kimchi bimbimbop which came in a sizzling stone pot. It was very delicious and the stone pot cooked the fish eggs almost immediately upon contact. The kimchi was a huge highlight of the dish which was fermented perfectly.

108 Broad Avenue
Palisades Park, NJ 07650

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