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Friday, December 31, 2010

Yogurt Mountain

Mango Sorbet w/ strawberries, blueberries, mini gummy bears and rainbow mochi

I was pretty excited to see another frozen yogurt parlor pop up in Clearwater but I guess it left me pretty disappointed after leaving. Don't get me wrong this place is pretty amazing but I was expecting more tarty yogurt. They have 16 different flavor yogurts and numerous different types of toppings but somehow I only found two tart yogurt which I didn't even like. The original plain was really tart compared to all the many others I've had and it tasted just like greek yogurt. I like greek yogurt and all but I don't think I could love their tart as I do with other places. My favorite would be the mango sorbet but I think it was because I really didn't dig yogurt that tastes like ice cream (and I'm secretly in love with mango).

I think this place looks great but it's just not for me. I really love that they are self serve but I rather go to Mochi any day. They both are the same price too, 45 cents per ounce. There's one thing that I absolutely love about Yogurt Mountain would be all the toppings they provide. It felt like I was in a candy shop, they have toppings from candy canes, rice crispy treats, mini gummy bears, fruits and even hot fudge! I was really impressed because a whole wall was dedicated for toppings.

I think this place is pretty amazing and would recommend it for others whom like the sweeter non yogurt tasting frozen yogurt. I wish they had more and better tart yogurt but it's okay with me. I have a favorite frozen yogurt spot of mine that has never let me down!

Yogurt Mountain

2719 Gulf to Bay Blvd., Suite 1145
Clearwater, FL 33764
Yogurt Mountain on Urbanspoon

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Los Mayas "Los Mariachis"


Los Mayas was an unexpected dinner. My friend and I were actually trying to hit up Pangea a cafe in downtown Clearwater but it is in the process of moving to a different location so then we decided to go to Cafe Supreme but it was closed for the day. We tried looking for other cafes in the area like Tin Can cafe but it was also closed so we both gave up on wanting to find a cafe. We ended up at Los Mayas because it was the closest restaurant and it also looked very busy. 

We were both hesitant because we didn't want to be disappointed but decided to go in anyways because it looked very packed, the parking lot was full of cars so I thought to myself "There's so many people it must be good!". This restaurant is a very good size actually it's probably bigger then other Mexican restaurants I've been to. It's very clean and decorative. It was an 'seat your self' restaurant which is nice because you can just go in and find a booth or seat wherever you like. The service isn't the fastest but we weren't neglected. I also want to mention the menu is HUGE. There was so much stuff I had the hardest time trying to find what I wanted to eat. The price range is pretty average around $8-13 per serving. My friend ordered herself a frozen margarita, and the Super combination and I ordered the steak fajita.



Super Combination
The wait for our food wasn't that long and the servings were pretty big because we both didn't finish everything. My friends Super Combination came with chafupa with guacamole salad (not pictured), chile relleno, beef taco (not pictured), mexican rice, fried beans, beef and cheese enchiladas. The chile rellano was the favorite on the dish and all the others were "okay" I really didn't like the enchiladas and the guacamole salad was a bit strange but it wasn't horrible.



Fajita
Steak Fajita
I ordered the Steak Fajita because I really couldn't decide what to get and it was the last thing mentioned by our waiter. I liked it a lot and it's always fun to eat when you're putting your own food onto your plate. I thought of my family and when I first bit into it I said to myself "My mom and brother would love this!". I would so like it better if it wasn't so burnt tasting :(

We both finished our meal with fried ice cream, I've always had fried ice cream in Japanese restaurants so it was my first time having it here. To be honest I like the tempura style fried ice cream better but this was still good. I like the cornflake crust but my friend was telling me how it was probably premade because it came out too fast and it was hard as a rock. It was like war trying to break into the fried ice cream and if it was "fried" it should have been warm but it was icy cold! 

Fried Ice Cream
Overall thoughts, I though this was a really nice, clean and neat restaurant. They seem to be busy which is always good but the waitress and waiters are a bit slower, which seems to be a topic I've seen in other reviews. The staffs are extremely nice though so thats a plus! The food was pretty good but my friend said Mexican food from Cali was better (it makes sense!). The servings are large and there's a huge menu to look at. This restaurant could be easily missed or do not get any attention because I've always seen this restaurant in the corner but never thought to even check it out. There's not much around the area and there seems to be many other Mexican restaurant nearby but all are closed. 

Come try it out ^_^ I had a nice experience here!

Los Mayas 

1200 Cleveland St
Clearwater, FL 33755

(727) 441-2535

Los Mayas Mexican on Urbanspoon

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Special Wine Tasting


My friend and I decided to have our own wine tasting at home. We only started with one or two but then it grew as we went to the store to look at what other Asian wines there are. The only ones I have left right now to be pictures are (from left to right) Han's Farm Pomegranate Wine, Ozenki Hana- Awaka & the oh so famous Bohae Bokbunjajoo. 

The Pomegranate Wine is a korean wine in a very cool abstract rectangular bottle. The alcohol content is 16% by volume (the highest of the 3). You can tell that is is the stronger of the 3 but it has a very light and sweet/tangy taste. I like this but it isn't my favorite one. It's really refreshing and it's not heavy on the palate.

The Ozenki Hana-Awaka meaning "Sparking Flower" is my favorite of the 3. It's in a very girly pink bottle, looking like a baby champaign bottle but it's real hidden feature is that it's a Japanese sake. There is a 7% alcohol by volume so it is the least amount out of the 3. It's a really light and sweet taste to this drink. It's bubbly just like the name and I think this is a really nice drink to have as a "snack" or "dessert".

Bohae's Bokbunjajoo - Black Raspberry Wine is one of the more famous brand that I see often. I will often see this at restaurants being advertised or even at the stores. I tried this out of curiosity and I think it is pretty good. I'm not a big crazy fan of black raspberry so I'm not in love with it but my friend Gabby really likes it a lot. It's a sweet wine so it's not so strong but it does contain 15% of alcohol by volume. 

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Ban Thai

Coconut Chicken Soup
This is just an update review of Ban Thai. Today I went to dinner with my friend Gabby and we ended up at Ban Thai after a long few hours of searching for a place that serves sushi (during the 2-4 time period). We ordered the Coconut Chicken soup, crunchy spicy tuna roll, mexican roll, screaming orgasm roll and the Green Chicken Curry. I won't go into detail about what was in each dish because I can't really remember but I can say that I was satisfied. I think that the food and the interior design of this restaurant is really amazing. It's very inviting and warm to be in and the waitress are always there whenever you need something. The food is always good and I've never had a time when I didn't like something or had something wrong with my dish.

The sushi rolls that we got was really good. The spicy tuna could have been a little bit more spicier but you can always request that. The mexican was really good, it's a great way to start your exploration in the sushi world if you are hesitant. The tempura shrimp inside came out really warm and crispy and I thought it was really good. The screaming orgasm has a really funny name and no, it did not make me scream in orgasm. It was good but I think the roll was really too rich for me because it is covered in spicy mayo. There is no rice inside so all you get is your roll (minus rice) and then spicy mayo and eel sauce. Can you say orgasm? Haha, just kidding. I think this is a great roll to share because it's so rich only a few piece can satisfy you.

Screaming Orgasm
The last dish we ate was the Green Chicken Curry. I couldn't decide between the Pad Thai which is really good here at Ban Thai and a curry chicken dish. I decided to go with the curry dish because Gabby has never tried it before. I really like their Chicken Curry dishes because it's really easy to eat and it's really simply to introduce it to others whom have never had Thai food. There is really fresh vegetables from peas, carrots, bell peppers and so on within this chicken curry dish. I think that the most top favorite dishes I like here at Ban Thai would be the Pad Thai, Chicken Curry and the Coconut Chicken soup which is really tasty! It's a bit tangy and rich at the same time and they always load your bowl of ingredients! 

(The pictures are a bit crappy because it was from my phone)


Ban Thai

2519 North McMullen Booth Road
Clearwater, FL 33761

(727) 724-2992

Ban Thai on Urbanspoon

Monday, December 13, 2010

KIMBO - Shrimp Dumplings

There's so many ways to spell this so I'm going to use the simple english version "Shrimp Dumplings". Also called/spelled "har gau, har kau, har gao, ha gao, ha gow, ha gau, har gaw, ha gaw, har kaw, ha gaau, har cow, har gaau, etc".


Shrimp dumplings are traditional dumplings served as Dim Sum (a traditional Cantonese dish that involves small portions of different types of dumplings served in steamer baskets or small plates. It is also said when going to eat dim sum "To go Yum Cha" which means "Drink Tea").

It's usually about 2-4 dollars per dish, and it adds up. Its usually around 40-60 dollars for my family to go for good dim sum, which means we only go ever once in awhile. I found a cheap and easy way to get yummy dumplings whenever I want and for a cheap price! 

I buy these frozen dumplings that are cased in air tight bags. They are really cool because they all sit in a tray and there's 20 dumplings in each package. The brand that I buy or the one I usually find in Asian grocery markets are called Kimbo. There are probably lots of different brands of frozen dumplings but I really like this certain one. At first I didn't like it because I couldn't find the perfect way to cook it so they would always end up too dry or too soggy until one day I was really hungry and didn't care and popped them in for 20 minutes. It came out perfect!

I don't cook them in the microwave because I find them to be really dry and tough. I really love using the steamer because most dumplings are steamed. The steamer I got was actually a present I got for my mom because she loves steaming vegetables. It's such a great buy! When you steam them for 20 minutes they are perfectly cooked. The shrimp is crisp, and the skin of the dumpling is chewy and somewhat gooey but not too soggy that it rips. I also found that the trick for easy handling is to either put lettuce or saran wrap under the dumplings so you can easily pick them up without the skin sticking to the bottom of the steamer and ripping. 

There are different types of dumplings you can also buy in this brand. There's also one package I remember buying that had a variation of dumplings for it was really cool! I totally recommend trying this out because it saves you money and you can make them whenever you're in the mood for dumplings. They are about 4-6 dollars for a package. 




Thursday, December 9, 2010

Korean BBQ - Rice Restaurant & Lounge


I have already made an post about Rice Restaurant & Lounge but I never had any decent pictures so now I'm back with pretty pictures! I love Korean food and Rice is the only place in the area that offers grills at your table. The price is really high compared to other meals but I guess since it's the only place in town that has this you have to settle with it. I really like eating at Rice because of all the banchans (side dishes) they offer. There's maybe around 15 side dishes for dinner that comes with your meal. This restaurant is really big but mostly empty. They have a full bar so if you're here for a drink with your food I think you should check that out. The interior is really nice and the employees are great, Lisa and Hae Ri are really nice and good with keeping up with everything. 

Banchans
They have a large menu, which I absolutely love. They also have an online website so you can check out their menu but the price isn't listed. They have deals from time to time, either with special noodle dishes and for awhile they have the 3 bbq meat selection and 1 for free deal.

Chadallbaegi
Today we ordered 2 kalbi (beef shortribs), and 2 chadallbaegi (thin brisket). There's not much to talk about because the food was gone fast! It was good, but I always think it's over priced. I should have stuffed my face with all the Korean food I wanted when I was in Tacoma. It was super cheap there compared to here in Tampa! My favorite part, other then all the meat is the many side dishes, the delicious steamed egg and soup and also the rice tea you get afterwards! Other dishes I recommend here at Rice would be the bulgogi, kalbi, seafood pancake, and some of the noodle soup dishes they serve. They have such a large menu that I haven't even had a chance to try it all yet.


Kalbi

I really like coming here and all my friends I've taken all love it. It's a great way to experience a new cultural food and to show your friends you can cook! This restaurant offers a lot of stuff so you just have to find which one is your favorite. 

(Click here for my older Rice post)

Rice Restaurant & Lounge
(Town N Country Plaza)

7525 West Hillsborough Ave
Tampa, FL 33615

813-889-7766

http://ricetampa.com/


Rice Restaurant & Lounge on Urbanspoon

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Facebook

Hey you guys I just recently made an Facebook for Dena Loves Food. This way I am able to communicate, and give you updates easier. Please come check me out, like me and also comment! I really appreciate comments, advice and support.

Thanks so much!

http://www.facebook.com/pages/Dena-Loves-Food/181586071852396

Green Market Cafe


Remember my earlier post a day ago about wanting to try Green Market Cafe, well I went with my friend Gabby today. It was an okay experience, let me just say "Now we know". I can't help but compare this place to Crispers which I absolutely love and of course Crispers beat Green Market Cafe hands down. 

The interior is really nice and a plus when it is connected to Kiwi Frozen Yogurt which is a must try. Kiwi Frozen Yogurt has an pink theme to it, which my friend Gabby adores and the Green Market Cafe side, of course, has an green theme. It looks like a very fun adorable place to eat and study, but the food to me wasn't that good. I ordered a Wasabi wrap, Gabby ordered a Buffalo Chicken wrap and we both shared a Spinach & Feta Flatbread Pizza. 

Wasabi Wrap
Spinach & Feta Flatbread Pizza
Buffalo Chicken Wrap

I thought the Wasabi Wrap would be good but it was just alright, I'm not sure why but it just tasted awkward to me, who knows what happened but it just didn't match well with all that was inside that wrap. The chicken salad was good, and the cucumber wasabi dressing was good. I think they were good alone but it just tasted really strange together. The wrap itself is worth the price, the size is pretty big and it's pretty stuffed.

I didn't take a bite of the Buffalo Chicken Wrap but it seems that Gabby thought it was okay too. She said that there was too much of the Bleu Cheese dressing. The Spinach & Feta Flatbread Pizza looked good when it came out but I was really disappointed at the soggy and greasy mess it left on my fingers. I had a piece and was done with the pizza. I was hoping for something similar to Crispers Flatbread which happens to be my favorite. It's really crispy and the flavors are amazing!

Sadly, the food wasn't for me but I thought this place looked great. I really love the whole urban look it gave off. I am disappointed, but like always I'll give it a second try in the future, like I do for all my disappointed restaurant (maybe I'll try the salads). I must say though the frozen yogurt is really good so I'll come back for the yogurt of course! 

(Oh I found an eyelash on my plate, but I won't judge them too much because of that. I was just really disappointed in the food.)


Green Market Cafe

3150 Tampa Rd, Ste 1A
Oldsmar, FL 34677

(727) 787-5494

Green Market Cafe on Urbanspoon

From now on

From now on I'm going to start putting my name on my photos. I'm just too lazy and busy with finals to put my name on my past photos :(!

Thanks for checking me out though!

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Kiwi Frozen Yogurt


I decided to treat myself to some frozen yogurt since it's been awhile. I decided to go to Kiwi Frozen Yogurt in Oldsmar because I hear a lot of rave about their Taro fro-yo and I wanted to check them out ever since they first opened. I am really happy with their yogurt, it's sweet, tangy and a little creamy. It's really nice and goes down smoothly. The location is pretty nice, it's in a plaza with the AMC theater, restaurants, and clothing departments. It is also alongside with Green Market Cafe which is actually in the same store with Kiwi Frozen Yogurt. 

I love taro frozen yogurt and I'm really happy they serve it! I would have to say this is the 2nd best Taro frozen yogurt I've had. It's sweet, tangy, creamy and you can def tell it's taro. There's about 3 or maybe 4 machines I can't remember but there's a few flavors of yogurt to pick from. It's not self serve so you pay by the cup size. There's also normal toppings you would see anywhere else available. I came during the 2-4 pm Monday - Thursday (Friday?) happy hour so I got my frozen yogurt (small) for less then 2 dollars. Which is amazing!

I shall be back ^_^ and to try the Green Market Cafe food which sounds yummy. I got a menu so I scanned it for you guys.

 

Kiwi Frozen Yogurt

3150 Tampa Rd
Oldsmar, FL 34677

(727) 787-5494


Kiwi Frozen Yogurt on Urbanspoon

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Fried Shrimp - iCook


I grabbed some shrimp with their heads attached from the flea market and fried half of them, the rest will be left for another night. Some butter, garlic, herbs and a lil bit of lemon mmm I can wait til that night, heheh.

Ha Long Bay - UPDATE


I'm not sure if this is much of a update if my thoughts about this restaurant and about the food is the same. I'll keep it simple. The interior is great, the location is amazing but the food isn't the best. There are a few things that are good but there's still a lot of things that went wrong. I went in with my mom to grab a few dim sum (chicken feet, sticky rice, pork & ginger dumpling, and shu mai).

The sticky rice was a bit dry and the texture was a bit too mushy for my taste. The full pieces of pork and chinese sausage was a total turn off to me. I ended up putting them aside and picked at the rice a bit more. Usually the rice grains should be nice and plump and is chewy yet holds its texture. The one I got today was a disappointment. (my opinion) I also like when the meat is grounded because the fat keeps the meat mixture moist and also the inside of the sticky rice flavorful.

The chicken feet had the right flavor but it was tiny compared to other places I've ordered. The color is very red for some reason? Normally the ones I get are a brownish color.


The last dish we got today was this soft tofu deep fried with a vegetable stir fry. The tofu was really  nice especially when they used soft tofu. It seems to explode after you chomp down on that thin layer of crispy goodness. I really enjoyed it because it was really light and refreshing. The dish was very well presented and decent priced but there was one thing. My mom said the baby corn that was stir fried in it must have been spoiled because it gave off a sour taste to it. We didn't give the restaurant any trouble and just put all the corn to the side. We were in a rush anyways!

(Here's a link to refer to my first post of Ha Long Bay)

Ha Long Bay

5944 34th Street North
St Petersburg, FL 33714-1257

(727) 522-9988

http://www.ha-long-bay.com/

Halong Bay on Urbanspoon

Wagon Wheel Flea Market (Produce)


One of my favorite flea market in the area would be Wagon Wheel Flea Market. I've been here ever since I was a little child and it has only gotten better (with all the improvements they are slowly making) and this is the one place you can get cheap yet fresh produce and many other things you can think of. I normally come here for the vegetables, fruits and maybe some seafood but they also have venders selling designer products and other cute and useful items. It's a great place to look around and gets pretty busy on Sunday when all the Asians come out. 








Great place to check out and to show others visiting town. 

Wagon Wheel Flea Market

7801 Park Blvd
Pinellas Park, FL 33781

727-544-5319