Monday, February 29, 2016

Cafe Presse

We were in a hurry for a meal before a show.  Tucked away was a little Cafe, thought why not.
Got a prosciutto and cheese sandwich with fig compost in the bottom.  I didn't know there's fig compost in there, so I bit into the sandwich, fully expected the prosciutto & the cheese, but there's an extra flavor.  I can tell it's a bit sweet, but was looking everywhere and saw the little jam.  Finally had me curious enough to go look at the menu again.  It works together, but just surprised, that's all.
Got an iced latte before the show.  Since there's a 2 hour time lag, I had to make sure I get caff-ed up so I don't fall asleep at the show.  Coffee is really why you come here for.  They use Lavazza coffee, and they are tasty. 

Cafe Presse
3327 Las Vegas Blvd S
Las Vegas, NV 89109

Thursday, February 25, 2016

Paris - Vegas

After walking around a bit, decided to stop of a little dessert.
I've always enjoyed Paris, I honeymooned there, so naturally I have a preference towards them.
There were a lot of scrumptious desserts, we decided to pick this fruit vanilla pudding cake.  The side is lined by ladyfinger type surrounding, the middle filling was vanilla pudding, and with glazed sugar all over, and of course fruit on top.  The entire dessert was about $7, and it's super fresh.  Grab a cup of coffee for an after meal dessert, totally worth it!

Cafe Belle Madeleine
3655 Las Vegas Blvd South
Las Vegas, NV 89109

Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Hong Kong Cafe - Palazzo

One of the biggest thing I was looking forward to was the delicious food you get in Vegas.  Sadly, that dream was not fulfilled....
At our hotel, we saw Hong Kong Cafe, which is not the same as the one I've been going to here.  We saw the menu online, and it seems to be transporting the non-fancy dishes at a high end hotel.  But there's hope, right?
This is braised E-Fu Noodles (干燒伊麵) with crab meat.  The whole idea of this type of noodles is that it's stir fried and it's dried off after being braised.  Instead, there was tons of 'soup' at the bottom.  The crab meat is leftover of something else, so it's bits and pieces, not real chunks.  Not to mention there weren't a whole lot of taste to it.  I did the faux pas of putting soy sauce on top.  I had to.... feel free to shame me.
Rice Noodle (Cheng Fun) with XO Sauce.  It's actually pretty good, but the XO sauce was a tad spicy, definitely gave it a kick.  I wouldn't have minded if they used plum sauce like they do authentically.
I'd asked for HK styled milk tea.  And that was the last thing that came to the table.  The server apparently delivered my drink to the table in front of us.  But that said, this was watery, not a lot of taste.  And when you add ice to it, it is totally being watered down.  

So, the experience started off negatively.  We waited in line for a table, and the hostess kept allowing people stroll in and out for a table.  Then there were tables there were not cleared, when they can obviously turn it around to seat more customers.  Then, the hostess told us that they were short staffed in the kitchen.  Apparently, front of the house as well.  So, we anticipated food would take a bit, but my drink did not get to our table until we finished eating.  The server guy was nice enough, but he was busting tables and taking orders.  When they have a food runner, why not have that person do some tables, or pour some water.  I'm not sure if it's a union thing, which I've been told that's a thing there, but still....  While we were eating, there were plenty of tables available but no one cleared them, so they can't turn them around.  It was a pity.  

Another thing that's a pity was that their food had good intention but what came out was entirely different.  I recall another Chinese place at another hotel food was so good that I kept going back.  This is totally opposite of that case.  This meal, I felt, was an overpriced untasty meal that I paid for.  Even my friend's Hainanese Styled Chicken Rice dish was not that great either.  You just felt like you wasted calories, especially when both of us where hoping there some resemblance of real Hong Kong food.  

Hong Kong Cafe 
3325 S. Las Vegas Blvd
Las Vegas, NV 89109

Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Bellagio Breakfast Buffet

So you cannot go thru Vegas without hitting a buffet.  We picked the best, well known one at the Bellagio.
At 7am, everything was ready to go... you see here, Honey glazed ham, bacon, eggs, sausage...
... prime ribs...
... for your carbs & gluten needs, you have pizza, waffle, french toast and normal toasts.  Not shown: croque madam and croque monsieur...
... more carbs & gluten: apple blitz and cheese blitz, 2 kinds of pasta...
... all you can eat shrimp...
... pastries galore: croissants, chocolate croissants, pound cake at least 5 kinds...
... danishes galore....
...some Chinese fare: noodles, beef steak fried rice, soup of 3 kinds, has gow (shrimp dumpling)...
... pork buns (they were oilier than I'm used to)...
... eggs benedict, potato, another type of sausage...
... cooked dishes: halibut, salmon amongst them...
... crabs galore...
...cold fare: caprese, pesto salad, tomato slices, salmon slices...
... just some of the fruit selections...
...cold cut and cheese station...
Of course, I got a little bit of everything...

We happened to got the Holiday Pricing, which is $35 pp plus tax.  They have a line system, you pay, they take you to your table.  Your server gets your drink order and off you go.  I will say that I waved the white flag real early on.  What I didn't show you was there there were steel cut oatmeals, fruit to go along with it, and there were fruit yogurts too.  Like I said, it was impossible to eat everything on display without being rolled out of there.  Of course they have alcohol should you want some.  They are opened from 7am - 10pm.

To get here: Follow the left path, just past Petrossian Bar and continue past the Baccarat Bar & Club Prive. The Buffet is located just before the Cirque Du Soleil Store on the left hand side.

Bellagio Buffet
3600 Las Vegas S
Las Vegas, NV 89107

Monday, February 22, 2016

Ramen-ya Katana

Landed in Vegas, and my friend was craving Ramen... thanks to Yelp, we found a place on the Strip  with great review.
This is really a hole in the wall.  It is located in the outdoors shops in front of Bally's Casino, and it's not obvious either, it's hidden in one of the side lanes of shops.
True Ramen-Ya Katana, ran by Japanese American owner.  She has a few staff with the open kitchen and a runner.  Menu is simple but offers 4 kinds of Ramen, 3 types of Curry, 1 other rice dish, 8 types of sushi rolls, and 4 types of appetizers.  
I got the Shoyu Raman with double chashu (pork).  As you can see, they are pretty generous with the soup.  Obviously they've got egg noodles, pork, tempura seaweed and cilantro and egg.  The egg is a hard boiled egg, instead of the 60 degree egg.  The pork is good, but you can tell it was not cooked with the soup, because it tasted very separated.  The noodles taste like the sun noodle, which has a bit of elasticity but not soft enough if they don't cook it long enough.  

For less than $9, they have tons in a bowl.  Just a note, there's not a lot of seating for you, so grab what you can.  They do have a quick turnaround and I can smell the curry from the time I pay to the time I sit down.  What I love too is that they have Japanese soda there.  I haven't had some for a long time, and it's a rare treat.

Ramen-ya Katana
3615 Las Vegas S
Ste 109
Las Vegas, NV 89109

Thursday, February 18, 2016

Pappadeaux - IAH

On my way out of town, and have some time to kill.  Figured might as well grab lunch.
I love going to Pappadeaux at the Airport.  It's located at Terminal E. 
For a quick yummy lunch: I got Shirley Temple, Lobster Bisque, and Dirty Rice.  I love their lobster bisque has tons of lobster meat.  No one can match them yet.  The Dirty Rice has some spicy in there, but not too spicy that I can't handle.  

The beauty of coming here, you get served quickly and you can dash out to your gate quickly.  I will say, almost any time I come here, they are packed.  But since they serve you so quick that it doesn't take very long to get a table.  No more than 15 mins wait that I've been.  Now, granted, you may not have 15 mins to spare sometimes, but the Pappa franchise has a Pappasito down at the food court, for a quick to-go.

Pappadeaux at IAH
3950 N. Terminal Rd
Houston, TX 77032

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Hong Kong's Cafe

Needed a good afternoon pick-me-up.  Went back to my usual.
My favorite, Hong Kong Styled Lemon Tea.
Hong Kong Styled French Toasted... it's essentially peanut butter between 2 pieces of bread and then battered and deep fried.  So, you poke some holes and then pour on the syrup and melted butter, so that it soak thru the entire thing.  So, sticky but oh so yummy!  So bad for you but tastes so good.  Entire deal for $5.50 plus tax, can't shake that with a stick.

Hong Kong's Cafe
9108 Bellaire Blvd
Houston, TX 77036

Tuesday, February 16, 2016


Went back to Oka for lunch with a colleague who had fell in love with the place.
This time I got all nigiri.  This was beef wagyu again, and again, this was a tad chewy.
Here in the back we have, tuna & salmon.  They're both so fresh that it's like butter.  So... good.  The front, I had scallop with quail egg on top and unary.  The scallop wasn't as good as last time, and the unagi without truffle oil is truly missing something.  

Sadly our knowledgable manager, Linh wasn't there.  That said, the place is now more comparable to the other sushi places.  That is tough because in the Houston market we have plenty of regular sushi places, thought they had potential to be a great sushi place.  I'll give them one more try, but I'm pretty sure this is the max of their potential.

Oka Uptown
2200 Post Oak Blvd
Houston, TX 77056

Monday, February 15, 2016

River Oaks Donuts

Good morning, it's time to make the donut!
Stopped by River Oaks Donuts for a quick pick-me-up.
Of course, my favorite - Fritter Bites, which are mini apple fritters.  I liked theirs, you can tell it was wasn't oily as they normally fried them to be.  And they didn't over do the icing, just enough.  These are 0.45 cents a piece, so yes enough though the 3 here is good enough to be one, I just feel less guilty having 3 vs 1 big one.

River Oaks Donuts
3601 Westheimer Rd
Houston, TX 77027

Thursday, February 11, 2016

Hippo Ice

On the rare occasion that I was in Sugarland. I have to stop by Hippo Ice.
This is a small.... I got the Green Tea Shaved Ice with Red Bean topping and Condensed Milk drizzle.
Here's a close up!  The green tea shaved ice tasted like you're drinking the tea itself.  Not too sweet, and you can tell nothing artificial in that ice.  I did remember that the owner once said that they actually brewed the tea, then freeze it into ice block until it's ready to serve.  

So for $4.75 you get a small, which is what I have here.  You get one base ice flavor and they have mango, strawberry, almond, chocolate, coffee, milk tea ...etc.  Then, you get 2 toppings, if you get a large you get 3 toppings.  They have fruit, candy, nuts, jelly, mocha, and red beans...etc.  Drizzles you get one but choose from condensed milk, chocolate sauce, fruit puree or whipped cream.  Of course you can add more for a small up charge.  But the combination is endless.  Of course, it's always best to share the deliciousness with someone.  

Hippo Ice
3737 Hwy 6
Sugar land, TX

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Black-eyed Pea

For old time sake, my mom wanted to go to Black-eyed Pea...
... hmm ... 
When I was in college, I always get the fried cheese... Don't remember it being so unappetizing.  Basically, one cheese stick, the cheese was outside of the stick... urm... frozen much?!
I saw on the menu a Pot Roast Stuffed Potato.  My eyes were bigger than my stomach but figured, why not?!  Until it got to our table... it's been sitting there for a while.  The top had a congealed layer of skin.  I know, it's appetizing, right?!  That was a waste of calories... the meat was nice and soft and easily tear apart, but that said, there was hardly any taste.  Did I mention a layer of skin on top?!
So, in college, I also remembered very good Cheddar & Broccoli soup.  Thought I give that a shot.  I think I only took 2 sips and gave up on it.  That was a sad sight....  no comment.

The service was horrible too.  Now, I know that wasn't their strong point.  Our guy basically have no pen to take our order, then proceed to forgot our drinks.  Then, he stopped at another table to ask if they want dessert before delivering our food and proceed to hold a conversation with the other customer while holding our food hostage.  Did they not teach you that you deliver the food first?  Lesson learned, sadly!

Black-eyed Pea
4211 Bellaire Blvd
Houston, TX 77025

Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Pappas Burger

Went to Pappa's Burger for a business lunch.  
 It's nice that they serve quality burger at a casual setting.
I got the Mushroom Swiss Burger with Sweet Potato Fries.  The burger arrived and looking at it, I was already stuffed.  The burger is huge and meat pattie is huge, and with the mushroom, lettuce all sticking out, I already felt huge.  Not to mention the sweet potato fries, they put just the right amount of salt, so you're busy eating that and your burger.  About half way I had to waive my white flag and give up.  Man, that was a lot of food.

If you've never been, how it works is that you walk up to the counter, order what you'd like.  They give you a ticket, then you go and find your seat.  They will then have a server takes over.  It's unusual to have a half self-serve and half full-service type place, but they make it work and the diners don't have any complaint.  It's kinda nice, you don't have to wait to be seated, you find what you like, and you don't have to wait till your server is ready before you can order.  You can just order and sit.  And of course, they can help you with your tab as well.  Just make sure to avoid the peak lunch hour, there's no parking to be had and you have to wait for a seat too.  Luckily, as soon as people finish, they leave to make room for the new group of diners.  It all worked out nicely.

Pappas Burger
5815 Westheimer Road
Houston, TX 77056

Monday, February 8, 2016

Jerry Built

Went back to Jerry Built for a quick burger.
 We actually got a chocolate shake, but the little one nabbed it so quickly that I couldn't even get a photo in there.
This is their kids meal with burger.  It's actually perfectly sized for a grown up.  Of course my kid went for the fries and not the burger.  If you just order the burger, it came dry just bun and meat.  So if you want anything else you need to let the cashier know at the time of order.  There were so much fries that we ended up taking a lot of it home.

It's good, organic, have gluten free options and quick, what more can you ask for.

Jerry Built
3501 W. Holcomb 
Houston, TX 77025

Thursday, February 4, 2016

Hong Kong's Cafe

Back to my good o' standby, Hong Kong's Cafe
 Instead of getting my usual Iced Lemon Tea, I got Iced Milk Tea.  They used Ceylon & condensed milk for the drink.  You can check out the recipe here.
 I got vermicelli & shredded pork and pickled veggies.  Very nice and warm to your belly in a cold morning.
For the standard part, I got eggs and spam which also came with toast.  There were times where I would do scramble and put them altogether and have a breakfast sandwich.  Talk about filling.  The entire meal for less than $6.50, tax included.  Can't shake that with a stick!

Hong Kong's Cafe
9108 Bellaire Blvd
Houston, TX 

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Dim Sum King

On the rare occasion that I have dim sum craving.  We decided to try something new.
Dim Sum King is in a corner next to Welcome Supermarket in Bellaire.

Some of the standard dishes: (clockwise) steamed short ribs, xiao long bao (Shanghai soup dumpling), tofu skin wrapped meat roll, and har gow (shrimp dumpling)
Turnip Cake, enough turnip instead of flour.
Top: Thousand Layer Cake, nice and fluffy like I remember them as a kid.  Rice Noodle with dried shrimp.  That was not like how I had them as a kid.  The ones we had were mixed into the rice noodle mixture and were steamed together, as opposed to added on later in the process, you can tell the difference.
Fried Eggroll. 

We came in a good time, by the time we ordered, the place was packed.  Of course, dim sum crowd gets up later, though traditionally they have early tea in Asia, not so much here.  That said, the food is made from an authentic chef expert in dim sum, just styling a bit different.  Did they knock it out of the park?  No, but they're not half bad.  I do love the Thousand Layer cake a lot, none I've had in town was done well like they did.  The rest of the dishes are compable. 

Dim Sum King
9160 B Bellaire Blvd
Houston, TX 77036