Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Cupcakery =D vs. Jilly's =D

So, cupcakes have soooo became a thing over the past few months. Well, let's just say I welcome that trend.

In any case, I finally tried out both cupcake bakeries in town: Cupcakery in CWE and Jilly's on Delmar.

I like them both, but for different reasons.

Jilly's is a great place for breakfast and lunch. The food is absolutely delicious! The decor sunny and bright. There is also a wide variety of cupcakes, from the Elvis to the Strawberry Cheesecake. A great alternative to your everyday lunch spot, and a change of pace to your favorite coffee shop. Did I mention cupcakes?

Cupcakery is the other great spot, and it's open late! A cupcake fix at almost any time of the day! The decor is much simpler. There is no food menu. The cupcake menu is also smaller in comparison. The cupcakes are not elaborately decorated and the flavors are not as fun sounding. However, I think the simplicity allows them to focus on what's important: YUMMY cupcakes! Cupcakery is the cousin of Cakery in Dogtown, known for their custom cakes. They know how to bake a good cupcake!

Shamless plug:
Speaking of cupcakes... apparently some schools are banning cupcakes! A fellow foodie friend of mine is starting a Save the Cupcake campaign. She is an experimenting cupcake baker. Anyway, check out her Save the Cupcake t-shirt giveaway contest!

Monday, November 19, 2007

Flaco's Cocina =(

"Flaco's Tacos was a St. Louis restaurant that had great fish burritos.
However, Flaco's closed down a number of years ago. It clearly inspired somebody -- and they have now opened up a tribute restaurant that we'll be going to on Monday. This is our first tribute restaurant, which is very exciting if you want it to be! Who knows what a tribute restaurant even is?"

The above was on the invite for a dinner party at the new Flaco's Cocina on Delmar. You could imagine my excitement. However, the experience itself felt short of my expectation.

We had a group of 20, and as a group, we often overwhelm the kitchen. Therefore, I completely understand and am usually quite forgiving on slowness or mistakes.

However, there is a limit to my patience.

First, service was very lacking. Glasses were kept empty often. We requested for more chips and salsa, which was not delivered. Later, she stopped by to fill up waters, and asked if we'd like more chips and salsa... By the way, we did notice that she holds glasses near the rim. So, make sure you always drink out of the straw at that restaurant!

Then the food comes. That was a MESS! We were the only table at the restaurant. (BTW, we always make reservations, and the tables were indeed reserved. So, they were not surprised by a big party.) Plates and plates of food came out that no one ordered. The servers did not even TRY to figure out what order belongs to who, and which orders were still to come. They just take whatever that's coming out of the kitchen and yell out who ordered this. If no one answers, they go back to the kitchen with it.

A friend and I ordered the paella. A total of four paella orders were placed. Two came out, but ours did not. Rounds and rounds of unclaimed food came out, in between claimed food. Oddly, this did not motivate the serving staff to keep track of the orders. In fact, I think this just made them give up on keep track. They did not even bother to see who have been served and who have not. When food come out, they continue their yelling from the beginning to the end, even though my friend and I were the only two still did not have food in front of us. After dishes and dishes came out of the kitchen unclaimed, we finally fed up and said "no! those are not our orders! we ordered the paella!" This seemed to be the only way the servers knew which orders came out and which orders were still missing... (yes, maybe it's just because we overwhelmed the kitchen. Yes, maybe it's because they are new... but yes, there is something fundamentally messed up in the communication on what orders need to be cooked!)

Yes... we suspect this is when our paella actually get started in the kitchen. And yes, we waited for a long time.

What was really annoying was that despite this mess, the staff or management seems unapologetic.

Then, when the paella came out, it was not good. Complete lack of flavor...

Also, there were mystery ingredients. Turned out it was the fish of the day. Which is normal and fine, but it was less fine when no fish was listed as an ingredient on the menu. To us, it was shocking. It just seemed like they threw random stuffs in a pot. We may not have been as taken back by the random fishes, if it weren't for another patron's odd ingredient...

Carne Asada enchilada... completed with bacon...

Sunday, November 18, 2007

King and I =( vs. Land of Smiles =)

So, last night, went to the King and I for the first time. I know, how can it be my first time since it is perhaps the most famous Thai restaurant around town.

Anyway, my friends had warned me about its declining quality, but I had to try it for myself. After all, it is perhaps the most often referenced Thai restaurant. It has a reputation. It had been a crowd favorite for years.

Sadly, my friends were right...

First of all, when we went in, there was a 30 minutes wait. Which, actually was a good thing, since that means there is ample demand for what was suppose to be yummy food. In addition, the wait was really closer to 15 minutes, so we were pleasantly surprised. Good start... but...

After we were sat, it took quite a while for service. At one point, when we left the table for 5 seconds to say hi to the friends just across the room, waters were brought over (along with three empty beer bottles... odd...) Anyway, when we finally ordered, we ordered the following:

Duck curry hot for me. Basil chicken for my friend.

(Another strange thing about ordering was when I tried to order "hot". From what I understand, there are usually three level of hotness. Mild, medium, and hot. Then, there is the surprise Thai hot, or Vietnamese hot, or other means of extra hot. So, I said, I want hot, just not Thai hot... I was told that isn't available. That would just be a medium. Okay...)

Good long while later, the food came.

My duck curry was not hot AT ALL! At best a mild. For a dish that is called basil chicken, it could really use a dash of basil, and many many less dashes of salt. OMG, that dish was super salty.

Finally, as we were ready to leave, the server was nowhere to be found. We ended up walking up to the counter to close the check after much waiting.

Service =( food =( overall =(

In contrast, a couple weeks ago, we visited a new Thai restaurant (on Olive), called Land of Smiles. The decor left much to be desired. Its former Mexican self was still fairly apparent. But the food was solid. The service was friendly. If you're looking for Thai food in the area, go to Land of Smiles instead.

Monday, October 22, 2007

La Tropicana Market & Cafe :-|

So, it's a market. It's a cafe. In any case, it is solid Mexican / Cuban food, and friendly and fast service. No frill, no fuzz food. Also, extremely reasonably priced. Decor is very much lacking, but that's not what you're looking for here. So, try it for yourself. It's also a great place for quick take-out.

I had the enchilada with chipotle and cilantro sauce, catus salad, beans, and rice. All around solidly yummy. Chipotle was a little overpowering, I would recommend the cilantro sauce more. My friend ordered roasted chicken. The chicken was said to be a little try, but otherwise the meal was still reasonably enjoyable.

The free chocolate at the end of the meal was a particularly good touch.

Cha Yoon :)

Solid yummy sushi. Simply said. Decent decor. I recommend you trying it out!

F15teen :-|

So, tried only desserts... this new hot restaurant opened only a few weeks ago. The decor is specular, and I would definitely return. However, when we visit, they didn't yet have the dessert menu created. While the dessert was good. My friend had the ice cream cookie trio, and I had the sorbet. Both had inventive flavors, and were very enjoyable. While I would return to try the food, I may wait a couple weeks to give them more time to work out the new restaurant kinks.

Red :-|

Okay, so I haven't actually eaten there yet... only tried their dessert...

I tried the goat cheese cake, and my friend tried the rosemary cake. Rosemary cake was surprising cold, and the flavor of the goat cheese cake was inventive is probably not for everyone. Overall, good enough to warrant another visit for more thorough analysis.