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Entries in Round-ups & restaurant-hopping (26)


The Weekly Eater: 1/27 - 2/03

Since I'm transitioning in to a new-ish role at work, my schedule is kind of all over the place.  That, paired with the fact that I've just begun a month-long "academy" at Barry's Bootcamp (which is a 5x/week commitment - every weekday morning at 6am).  Needless to say, I'm exhausted.  But I'm also really excited about the new challenges ahead.

So, because I'm a bit pressed for time, I thought that, at least until I get in to a routine, I will start posting a summary of my favorite eats/drinks/activities/etc. from the week prior.  Hopefully, every Monday or Tuesday...


What I loved and/or really stood out last week (1/27 - 2/03)

Jamba Juice's "Brown Sugar Crumble" Oatmeal

I remember reading somewhere that Jamba Juice's oatmeal was" really good and way better than Starbucks" which, to be honest, didn't really mean anything to me.  I typically hate oatmeal.  And I think that the food at Starbucks - minus the cake pops - is sub par. 

Sick of my usual routine - which included a Nature Valley granola bar - I decided to give Jamba Juice's oatmeal a shot.  Unbeknownst to me, it happened to be "$1 oatmeal day" on the morning that I stopped in the store (which, by the way, happens *every* Wednesday!).  What an incentive, right?  I mean, what did I really have to lose for $1?

I chose the "Brown Sugar Crumble" because it was the lowest-calorie of the trio (registering at 220 calories/single serving), which also includes Blueberry/Blackberry and Fresh Banana.  Upon opening the container, my first observation was how scrumptiously attractive the oatmeal appeared.  By that, I mean it didn't look like a grey glop.  Beneath a crust of fresh brown sugar was a heaping helping of oatmeal.  I liked how visibly textured it appeared - you know, dispersed with tons of tiny lumpy-bits. 

Warm and comforting, just like that favorite blanket on your sofa, this transcendent bowl of slow-cooked porridge did not disappoint.  Since that first bite nearly 6-weeks ago, I eat this delicious oatmeal every single morning.  It's actually what I look forward to when I wake up! 

Now THAT is some sexy oatmeal!


Soul Cycle

"Spin is in."  And I have always bled Flywheel's black and blue.  However, in anticipation of a friend's upcoming birthday at Soul Cycle, I figured that I should take one class to familiarize myself prior to her event.

I wanted to hate it.  So bad.  I wanted to walk out of the studio post-class - roll my eyes - and feel reassured that Flywheel reigned supreme.  Well, that didn't happen.  I found Soul Cycle to be very different, but in a really refreshing and positive way.  Without a calibrated number on your bike, you don't feel like you're battling yourself or competing against the girl next to you.  Because, at Flywheel, you're only as good as your last number.  Period.  And, at least when I spin, I just want to lose myself in the rhythm of the music and enjoy the dark serenity surrounding me.  Additionally, at Soul Cycle, other body parts are incorporated in to the exercise beyond just your legs.  It's a winning formula.

This does not mean that I'm a convert, it just means that I appreciate and respect the differences between Soul Cycle and Flywheel



$1 oysters every weekday from 5:30pm-8pm at Millesime's Oyster Bar

Spicy Tuna Tartare  If you love the contents of a well made spicy tuna roll, then this appetizer is for you:  A rectangular mold of lightly-bound tuna tartare is topped with a crunchy slaw and fried wonton strips for texture, and finished with an agave-soy jus.  Absolute decadence and sheer perfection.

Cherry/Chocolate Croissant Pudding  This was, without a doubt, one of the most memorable desserts I've had of late.  Imagine, if you will, a ramekin filled with warm, gooey, intensely-rich "bread pudding."  Only, instead of day-old bread, Millesime's version is made with chocolate/cherry croissant scraps.  And is crowned with a scoop of chocolate ice cream that nearly liquefies when placed atop the warm pudding.  Heavenly...


7-11's "Vermont Blueberry" coffee  I know, I know.  This sounds completely asinine, gnarly and, in all honesty, makes absolutely no sense.  Blueberry coffee?  Trust me, I was so geeked out when I saw this flavor at the 7-11 on 7th Avenue...that I had to taste it!  And guess what?  It's actually *really* good!  Seriously, if you see this wacky blend at your local 7-11, give it a try and please let me know what you think! 


A Taste of Modern Luxury: Celebrity Cruises Pops Up in New York City   Of any "pop up" that I've ever attended, this was, by far, the best.  Held at The Kitchen, the team from Celebrity Cruises "came to land," if you will, to showcase cocktails from resident mixologist, Junior Merino, and culinary creations prepared by Chef John Suley.

Tasteful and lovely decor in the "Molecular Bar" area of the space. 

Junior Merino pours one of his signature cocktails.

My first cocktail of the evening was the "El Angel," which was a concoction of:  Dehydrated Hibiscus, citrus, Dainzu Gomme, tequila blanco, mezcal joven, and Junior Merino's Aleppo Pepper Lime Rimmer

After finishing my first cocktail within minutes, I chose to proceed with "Coming Up Roses," a concoction made of:  Bacardi Razz, lime, Dainzu Rose Essence, rose petals, champagne, and Junior Merino's Rasberry Rose Foam.

About 3/4 of the way finished with my second cocktail, Michelle and I were whisked to our table for dinner.  Let me just say that if the three courses we enjoyed are anything akin to what is served onboard, I am confident that a Celebrity Cruise will be in my *very* near future...

Bread & salted butter for the tableJerusalem Artichoke Veloute: Iberico ham, black trumpet mushrooms, sourdough croutons, marscaponeHandmade Ricotta Cavatelli: Wild mushroom fricassee, mach, parmigiano reggiano, shaved black truffles (look at those truffles!!!)Five Spice Crusted Cervena Venison Loin: Celery root fondant, wilted spinach, red cabbage marmalade, lingonberry sauceSeared Halibut (this was my favorite dish of the evening): Salsify, beef oxtail marmalade, Brussels sprouts, parmesan emulsion

Pork and "Beans": Tenderloin, cheek, tarbals beans, collard greens, heirloom carrots, cider jus

Strawberry Fields and CustardsWarm Pineapple Tart Tatin: Coconut rum ice cream, lime confit, passion fruitValrhona Cocoa Cake: Chocolate mousse, peanut butter creme brulee, salted caramel ice cream


Needless to say, it was a very delicious and eventfull week! 

Thank you all, in advance, for your patience as I transition in to my new schedule. 


Until we eat again (next week),

The Lunch Belle


Hong Kong by way of Queens: A journey to Flushing's Chinatown

It happens about every 2-months.  I get this overwhelming urge to escape.  An itch, if you will, to break free from the never-ending crowds in the streets - the nauseating, ear drum-piercing horns and ambulance sirens - that uber-narcissistic, "me, me, me" girlfriend that you just want to punch (Oh, come on, we alllllll have at least one of those!) - dating drama - emails that I need to respond to - and all of my other petty, "white people problems" grievances.  

Question:  How much physical distance do you think it takes to really feel as though you've escaped?  Trust me, it's much less than you think.  Are you ready?  The answer is - wait for it -  just about 11 miles!

On Saturday afternoon, I had lunch plans with one of my most loyal readers and her boyfriend.  After going back and forth over cuisine options and neighborhoods, we unanimously decided to head to Flushing's Chinatown (Queens).  Why leave the borough for Chinese food, you ask?  Well, because a) I had never been to Flushing's famous Chinatown (How fcuking embarrassing is that?), b) it's the second-largest Chinatown outside of Asia, and c) I'm obsessed with Chinese food.

We secured a legit parking spot close to the Queens Botanical Garden and walked up Flushing's Main Street.  The first businesses we passed along the way were Middle Eastern.  From shop windows showcasing brightly colored saris, to markets carrying a bountiful array of fragrant spices and exotic ingredients, it was like Christmas morning for my eyes and nose.  I even picked up a Pakistani newspaper (...so that I could later view its restaurant listings).

As Arabic writing on shops and restaurants slowly morphed in to Mandarin, we found ourselves in the heart of Flushing's Chinatown.  My first observation was how much more civilized, clean, and spacious it felt compared to Manhattan's Chinatown.  More notable, however, was the fact that there was room - and air - to breathe.  People were not packed in the streets - or the shops - or restaurants like sardines.  And, speaking of sardines, the air did not reek of dead fish. 

As we made our way further up Main Street, we found ourselves chatting with a pair of teens who recommended that we dine at "the place with the long line...by the restaurant with the green awning."  So, armed with that information, we hooked a left, followed by a sharp right on to Prince Street, and grabbed three seats at a communal dining table at Nan Xiang Xiao Long Bao.

We ordered with the mindset that we would be "restaurant hopping."  Obviously, we wanted to taste offerings from as many establishments as our stomachs would allow.  But, you know, it's a funny thing:  Whenever I order dishes at a Chinese restaurant, my eyes always end up being much bigger than my stomach.  Moderation, in any sense of the word, is just not something I have mastered...

Pork & Vegetable Wonton in Casserole  While I'm not quite sure what they mean by "casserole," the wontons were served over a delightfully thick, peanut-based soy sauce.  Perhaps "casserole" is intended to mean "thick" or "abundant?"  Who knows.  I could tell that the wontons had been assembled onsite, as the wrappers were slightly gummy and glutinous, and not pristinely packaged (which is a key observance in trying to decipher whether or not a wonton/dumpling is homemade).

The pork filling was dotted with green flecks, which indicated the presence of either chives or spinach/greens.

Scallion pancakes  Buttery and crisp on the outside - soft and doughy on the inside - these savory, scallion-flecked pancakes really hit the spot.  Especially since just moments prior, in a fit of gluttonous haze/rage, I purchased a scallion pancake from a street vendor that was beyond bland.

Xiao Long Bao (pork soup dumplings)  How could we possibly go to a restaurant - with "Xiao Long Bao" in its lengthy name - and not sample its namesake dish?  Served atop a cabbage leaf were six piping-hot pork soup dumplings.  I was certainly impressed by the thinner dough/skin exterior, as most dumplings I've had in the US are too thick and gummy.  While the interior pork meatball was tasty, I found its surrounding soup to be utterly flavorless. 

My idea of the perfect soup dumpling is one where the accompanying soy/vinegar sauce is not necessary for a flavor transformation - only a flavor accentuation.  To this day, no one does it better than my beloved Din Tai Fung.

First bite!It's what's on the inside that counts -After what we thought was round one of our restaurant-hopping tour, we headed to Jmart in the New World Mall.  Imagine, if you will, 30,000 square feet of pan-Asian grocery-shopping heaven.  I awed beautiful, magenta-colored dragon fruit, sampled even more scallion pancakes, spotted an overly-crowded eel tank (I find eels to be quite fascinating creatures), and watched - in my Western-hemisphere horror - as live frogs got their heads chopped off at the butcher's counter.  It was a feast for every one of my "vanilla" senses! 

Our next stop was at Fay Da Bakery, so that I could get my bubble-tea fix.  The woman behind the counter insisted that I try taro-flavored tea, "smoothie" style.  This just meant that the tea was blended with ice before being combined with tapioca "bubbles."  And, she was right - it was delish!  For those of you who don't know, the black dots in the photo, below, are the tapioca "bubbles!"

Midway through my tea inhalation, I realized that there was no way in hell I could fit another thing in my stomach.  So, in an effort to solely pay our respects, we took a quick stroll through the Golden Shopping Mall, where Xiang Famous Foods, the stall that Anthony Bourdain made famous on his No Reservations episode in NYC, was born.

On the drive back to Manhattan, I couldn't believe how refreshed and renewed - and uncomfortably full - I felt.  If only for a couple of hours, I was able to completely immerse myself in Flushing Chinatown's myriad of deliciously affordable and fascinating sights, sounds, smells, and tastes.  One of my favorite occurrences that happened repeatedly throughout the day were the low-flying, LaGuardia-bound airplanes landing ridiculously close to where I was standing.  Oh, how I wish that I could have just propped myself atop the roof of a car - a-la-Wayne's World - and gawked as the jets touched down at the airport...

If you've not yet been to Flushing's Chinatown, I highly recommend making the 11-mile journey.  I cannot think of a better, more affordable way to feel transported to another hemisphere.  To forget, if only for a few hours, all of the bullshit that weighs you down just across the East River.  To immerse and educate yourself in new cuisines, shopping experiences, and languages.  Flushing has inspired me to seek out more cultural pockets across all five of these fabulous boroughs.  After all, it is this multitude of diversity that attracted me to New York City in the first place.  Shame on me for not having experienced this neighborhood sooner.


Places I visited/recommend:

Nan Xiang Xiao Long Bao (restaurant) - 38-12 Prince Street - Flushing, NY 11354 - *cash only*

Jmart (pan-Asian grocery store) - 136-20 Roosevelt Avenue - Flushing, NY 11354

Fay Da Bakery (bubble tea, bakery items) - 41-60 Main Street - Flushing, NY 11354 - *cash only*

Golden Shopping Mall (food stalls, small stores - this is where you will also find the original location of Xiang Famous Foods) - 41-28 Main Street - Flushing, NY 11355


Until we eat again,

The Lunch Belle


My whirlwind-week in review: A sister, a bachelorette party, and becoming a "mother"

Whew!  It's been a whirlwind of a week.  My apologies for not having posted anything sooner, but my hands have been tied!

After having just seen her in California, my sister flew to NYC (a week ago, today) for our cousin's bachelorette party.  We crammed a ton of eating, shopping, sisterly bonding, and debauchery in to her 5 days in the Big Apple, and I'm excited to finally be giving you the recap!


Thursday, 7/12

From the moment my sister landed, we hit the ground running! 

After rushing home from work, I took a lightning-fast shower and got primped for my dear friend, Christine's (a.k.a. "Hollywood"), birthday party at The Liberty


Friday, 7/13

For dinner, my sis and I went to Almayass, a new Lebanese-Armenian restaurant that had been on my "must-try list." 

The atmosphere is very romantic and ideal for a date!  In terms of decor, the space is kissed with white-washed walls and patches of exposed brick - dark-wood ceiling beams - dramatic, wrought-iron chandeliers - and Venetian art.  On the evening we dined, the music was an tragic interesting melange of Frank Sinatra, Lebanese pop, and dentist office/Kenny G-esque elevator music. 

We began with the Hummos Almayass, which was accompanied by thin halves of pita bread and crisps.

Visually, the hummos was a lovely spectacle.  However, I think I would order the regular hummos, sans the "special Almayass sauce," if I had to do it again.  I was disappointed that the pita bread was not homemade.  It was slightly cold and clearly mass-produced.  Have I become so spoiled that I expect all Middle Eastern/Mediterranean restaurants to make their pita in-house?  Thank you, Omar's Kitchen & Bakery.  I blame you for this!

Hummos Almayass

In addition to the bread and crisps, we received a small dish filled with za'atar and olive oil.  Hated it!  The flavor aired on the side of 'overwhelming' and the texture reminded me of wet beach sand.  Meh.

Za'atar "dip"

While my sister ordered a bowl of lentil soup for her appetizer, I opted for the Spicy Olive Salad (with tomato sauce, spicy paste, and fresh lemon dressing).

There wasn't much of a kick to it at all, so "Spicy" in its title was misleading.  As a green olive lover, I thought that this salad would be a home run but, alas, it was too salty.  And that speaks volumes coming from a salt-o-holic.  Sigh.

Spicy Olive Salad

Per our server's suggestion, we chose the Queen's Delight (sliced and marinated filet mignon with a special sweet/sour cherry sauce) for one of our entrees.

While the beef was perfectly bite-sized and cooked to a tender "medium," I found the cherry sauce to be cloyingly sweet and too liquid-y.  But it would be killer on pancakes!

Queen's Delight

I had read various reviews stating that the mantee, a filled pasta/dumpling, was a must-try.  Leila and I opted for the Mantee Spinach, as opposed to the beef version.

Boat-shaped raviolis were filled with seasoned spinach and topped with a tomato-y, garlic-yogurt sauce.  Unfortunately, the actual "mantee" were not even cooked al-dente.  They were crunchy, for god's sake!  :(

Mantee Spinach

The next and last entree that we split was the Grilled Prawns.  I let my sister choose this dish, even though the description, "...served with cocktail and tartar sauce," scared the crap out of me.  Why?  Because it's a Middle Eastern restaurant, not a damn fish shack! 

The prawns, while generously sized and meaty, were limp.  And definitely NOT grilled. 

Epic fail.  On more than one level.

Grilled Prawns

While my sister adored Almayass, I wasn't such a fan.  At least in terms of the food.  The service - despite a slight language barrier - and atmosphere, however, were brilliant.   


Saturday, 7/14

The bachelorette festivities for Cousin Barb began at noon with a delicious brunch at one of our other cousin's apartments.  Highlights included:  Mimosas, avocado toasts, fresh bagels, homemade granola, and Momofuku Milk Bar's Crack Pie!

After brunch, we walked over to Chelsea Piers and hopped aboard a Classic Harbor Line schooner for a late afternoon cruise!  The views of downtown Manhattan and Lady Liberty were outstanding.  I felt like a tourist in my own city, and embraced the hell out it.  I highly recommend this particular cruise/company!

After 1.5 hours on the water, we returned to land.  The group (15 of us) scattered and later met up for dinner at 9:30pm at Supper.

We had our own private room!

With lots of wine...

The groom even showed up as a surprise (...don't worry, he didn't stay long)!

We ate a plethora of delicious Italian food, served family-style.


After dinner, the group headed to Happy Ending to dance the night away.


Sunday, 7/15

The next morning, my sister and I made a bee-line for brunch at Aquagrill.

The space is sunny, cheery, and what I would describe as 'casually sophisticated.'  Think:  Sunflower-yellow hues, seashell chandeliers, crisp white tablecloths, and plenty of natural light.  There's a sizeable raw bar near the entryway, housing a multitude of fresh 'jewels from the sea.'  Oysters.  Lots and lots of oysters.

To drink, I ordered the "fresh squeezed lemonade," which arrived in a tiny, awkward wine glass.  And it wasn't even good.  Big waste of $4.   

Fresh Squeezed Lemonade

A basket of freshly-baked sweet biscuits and mini-muffins were accompanied by salted butter and orange marmalade.

We started with one of the daily specials, a sushi-type roll that was composed of avocado and crab meat, and wrapped in a thin strip of raw sea bass.  The creamy avocado added the perfect amount of buttery richness to an otherwise light, seafood-centric composition. 

Sea Bass, Crabmeat & Avocado Roll

What we received next was the highlight of the meal, at least for me.  Local oysters, from the waters of CT and MD, plus four Jonah crab claws were paired with all of the proper accoutrement:  Vinegar, cocktail sauce, aioli, lemon wedges.  Jicama/mango slaw accompanied the crab claws.

Oysters & Jonah crab claws

And, last but not least, my sister and I split the Maine Lobster Sandwich, which was accompanied by French fries.

Served atop moist, homemade ciabatta bread were ample chunks of sweet lobster meat that was lightly dressed with cayenne mayonnaise and vegetable slaw.  Although the portion was on the smaller side, both the sandwich and house-made fries were pretty fcuking incredible.  I could have eaten four more servings.  Seriously.

Maine Lobster Sandwich


Monday, 7/16

Before checking out the MoMa, my sister came to my office and met me for lunch.  Where we continued our discussion about dogs, at length.  And, being the mother of two pups, she convinced me that it was about damn time I become a dog owner, as well...

So, I did something I rarely do:  Listened. 

Without further ado, please meet my new "daughter," Lucy!  She's a 5-month old Maltese puppy who's every bit as quirky, curious, and energetic as her adoptive mother.  We also share a passion for shoes.  :)

Obviously, I'm already on the lookout for dog-friendly restaurants/bars so, if you have some solid recommendations, please let me know!   


Places mentioned in this post


  • Happy Ending - a Lower East Side mainstay that's great for late night dancing and debauchery
  • The Liberty - spacious, new, great bar food, ideal for private functions


Places to visit/things to do and see:

  • Classic Harbor Line - take a schooner cruise along the NY Harbor!  Great experience.
  • MoMa - Museum of Modern Art (sorry, I still haven't been, so I cannot comment)



Until we eat again,

The Lunch Belle


Weekend eats & drinks: Cafe Frida, Taqueria y Fonda La Mexicana

"Why don't you go and buy yourself a Nook?"  My mom said, in response to me complaining about how and where to kill 2-hours.  Typically, I get out of work at 5pm and, almost every single night, I either have a meeting/event or a dinner that I have to attend.  Usually at 7pm.  In a part of town that is no where near my apartment.  "Come on, Mom," I quipped, "reading is like men; more often than not, you're disappointed.  Plus, where would I sit down and read this Nook, anyways?  Coffee shops are too loud and distracting." 

After one too many of these 2+ hour waiting periods turned in to boredom-induced shopping binges, I decided that I needed a new hobby.  And a less expensive one, at that... 

It was right around this past fall when my love/obsession for the margarita went in to overdrive.  So much so, that I soon declared "searching for the city's best margarita" as my newfound hobby.  I also hoped that, since I conducted much of my research solo (not too many of my friends get out of work as early as I do), perhaps I could simultaneously meet a young suitor...or 3!

Months later, after much trial/error and no suitor worth writing home about, I had a venue in nearly every neighborhood that I frequented for, what I had discovered to be, that particular area's best margarita:

To me, margaritas are like drinkable art:  They photograph well and come in a variety of different colors and textures (if you so choose).  And how many other beverages can you name that offer sweet, sour, and salty all in one sip?

After work last Friday, I had 2-hours to kill before the Whole Foods Market New Taste of the UWS.  Not being particularly fond of or familiar with the Upper West Side, I had no clue where to get my margarita on after trekking across town through Central Park.  I mean, surely, the latter would take me almost an hour from Midtown East.  Then what?  1-hour down, 1-hour to go.  But where to? 

And then I remembered Cafe Frida, a relatively authentic Mexican restaurant, conveniently located a block away from my 7pm event...

Making my way to the UWS via Central ParkWhen I finally arrived at Cafe Frida, it was just about 6pm - a.k.a. prime "happy hour" time.  There was not a vacant seat or standing room in the entire bar, but the hostess was kind enough to allow me to sit at a two-top in the front of the dining room. 

The cocktail and tequila list was impressive.  Ultimately, I chose the "Skinny Paloma Flaca" margarita, which contained 100% Agave Azul Tequila, pink grapfruit and lime juices, agave nectar, and a sea salt rim.

And, yes, the "Skinny Paloma Flaca" margarita was every bit as delicious as it looks, above.  It was tangy, had the perfect sweet/savory balance, and went down as smooth as water. 

I officially declare Cafe Frida to hold the title of "Best Margaritas on the UWS! 




Taqueria y Fonda La Mexicana

On Saturday at noon, I met three of my fellow New York Mexican Food Lovers at Taqueria y Fonda La Mexicana for our monthly MeetupOh, what a coincidence it was to be back on the UWS after having spent an entire evening there the night before!

As Selena sang in the background, a cook prepared a variety of meats and griddled tortillas on the hot flat-top behind the counter.  The smells were pleasantly intoxicating, as was the music, which reminded me of my teen years in Texas.

While Taqueria is small (containing approximately 6 tables), its space is warm and comfortable.  Casual as it may be, guests are still served by a waiter.  Meals here begin with bottomless house-made tostados and a trio of some of the most delicious salsas that I've sampled in NYC, to date.

Taqueria y Fonda La Mexicana: Tostados y salsasAfter introducing ourselves to one another, which was quickly followed by some Mexican food chatter, we perused the menu and ordered individual beverages and entrees. 

I began with a glass of horchata, which is my go-to Mexican thirst quencher.  I was pleased to find that it was topped with freshly-ground nutmeg and contained the perfect amount of ice - not too much, not too little.  The beverage retained its consistency and sweet flavor, from first sip to last. 

Taqueria y Fonda La Mexicana: HorchataAs I typically do on my first time at any Mexican restaurant, I ordered a plate of cheese enchiladas and a single beef taco.  On this particular occasion, I requested that my enchiladas be topped with red mole sauce.

Taqueria y Fonda La Mexicana: Cheese enchiladas with red mole sauce, black beans, Mexican riceWhen the plate arrived, I was a bit puzzled by the plethora of Romaine lettuce leaves.  Sure, they added color and contrast, but the sheer amount was completely unnecessary.  I moved the entire "salad" aside. 

The enchiladas, themselves, were tasty, although I found the interior cheese too dense and stringy; it was likely mozzarella.  I thoroughly enjoyed the rich, intense, and subtly sweet mole, a sauce which I rarely choose.  The beans and the rice, especially, were good.

Taqueria y Fonda La Mexicana: Shredded beef tacoShredded beef, finished with a loosely-mixed pico de gallo, was served atop two griddled corn tortillas.  While the flavors were spot on - especially when smothered with one of the three salsas - much of the beef was gristly.

So, would I return to Taqueria?  Sure, but only if I was in the neighborhood.  While affordable and tasty, I did not find it to be destination-worthy.



Until we eat again,

The Lunch Belle