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    #CHENEATSNY Omakase at Takesushi (Queens, NY)

    So. Much. Heaven.
    So. Much. Heaven.

    Woah, 2 posts in one week? What the heck Eileen? Yeah, yeah. For a totally good reason! I wanted to share my latest omakase experience at my favorite sushi restaurant in Queens, Takesushi. If you follow me on Instagram or Snapchat, you’ve probably seen my sushi posts from here. I seriously love coming here for affordable omakase and lunch specials. See my Yelp review here. Omakase means chef-selected courses. You leave it up to the chef and he or she will try to make you happy, usually selecting the freshest or best stuff they have on hand.

    I usually come here for the $65 sushi omakase. It comes with 1 appetizer, 1 miso soup, 12 pieces of nigiri (fish with rice), and 1 roll (usually a free small dessert too!). It’s fresh. Super filling. And affordable (even though I do omakase for special events like birthdays). Swoooon as mouth waters. I’m actually trying out another omakase spot in the city this Friday that I’m super excited for. We made reservations last month, ha. Can Friday come any sooner?

    I brought my parents here for my dad’s birthday recently; my mom likes hot food, and the head chef suggested us to do the omakase kappo (chef selected sushi and kitchen foods) for $80 a person. It wasn’t busy that night, so the head chef and us had great conversation throughout the night. I always try to sit at the sushi bar for omakase, as it just adds to the experience. Eating omakase here before, I’ve always sat at the sushi bar, and the head chef did talk to us, but definitely not as much as this night. Overall, I thought the sushi was awesome, per usual, and the kitchen foods were good, but I’ve had better (specifically, at Nobu 57) — but if you’re looking for that affordable sushi + kitchen food omakase experience, I’d absolutely recommend this place. For me, I’m way crazier about the fish than the kitchen food so I’ll stick to my nigiri omakase. Service, here, is almost always very pleasant. Fun fact I learned that night from the chef – in Japan, a kitchen chef is actually more skilled/valued than a sushi chef.

    Here’s a food diary of what I ate – 12 courses!

    Monk Liver
    Monk Liver
    Horse Mackerel, Toro, and Clam
    Horse Mackerel, Toro, and Clam
    Bonito
    Bonito
    Uni (Sea Urchin), shucked that day
    Uni (Sea Urchin), freshly shucked that day
    Blowfish Tempura
    Blowfish Tempura
    Salmon Skin
    Salmon Skin
    Grilled Scallop with Mayo
    Grilled Scallop with Mayo
    Grilled Spanish Mackerel
    Grilled Spanish Mackerel
    Miso Soup
    Miso Soup
    Otoro, Mackerel, Amberjack Nigiri
    Otoro, Mackerel, Amberjack Nigiri (first half of a 6 piece plate)
    Clam, Jack Fish, Sweet Shrimp Nigiri (other half of plate)
    Clam, Jack Fish, Sweet Shrimp Nigiri (other half of plate)
    takesushi-omakasekappo-10c
    Deep Fried Sweet Shrimp Head
    Toro Roll
    Toro Roll
    Homemade Red Bean Jelly
    Homemade Red Bean Jelly

    Yum yum yum. My favorites included obviously the fish – (fav from this lot was uni, toro, sweet shrimp), but the grilled mackerel was HELLA GOOD. The chef said it was only in season that month, and I could tell as I usually don’t like mackerel as much. Shoot. Is it Friday yet?

    xoxo Eileen

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    #CHENEATSNY: Dim Sum

    Besides chicken and waffles, dim sum is my favorite brunch options. My family often chooses to go dim sum when we get together, since it’s really good for big groups. Dim sum is like the tapas of Chinese food. The more people you have, the more different dishes you can order and try! It’s mostly only available during lunch hours; at night, the restaurants serve other Cantonese food. At most dim sum restaurants, there are carts roaming around with dishes in them. At some restaurants, there will be a menu or a card you order off of. Each dish is assigned with a size and associated price. Small, medium, large, X-large, special, etc. The larger the size, the higher the price. With the carts, you’ll have a card that the cart ladies will stamp once you order a dish off their cart. They usually don’t label the dishes in the cart, so you won’t know what size is assigned, unless you ask. But realistically, no one asks and just accepts the fate when the lady stamps your cart. Oh yeah, it’s usually an old lady running those carts. But sometimes a male or female waiter will come around with fancier-looking dishes. Those are usually “special” which can run you at least $7 a dish. And sometimes, it’s not the freshest stuff cuz not that many people get it, and who knows how long it’s been sitting out. Sometimes there is a buffet-style line of food. Bring your card there to retrieve those dishes. If you don’t see a dish you want, feel free to ask the waiter and they’ll hunt it down for you or ask the kitchen to make it. Or…. totally acceptable to just go hunt it down yourself, if you see the cart all the way on the opposite side of the restaurant.

    You’ll also see a tea-fee per person. I think it is $1 per person for most places. They’ll usually ask you what kind of tea you want. My family usually brings their own tea (yeah…. we don’t mess around. we’ll still get charged the tea-fee though) but if not, we’ll get pu-erh tea (cantonese: Bolei) which is a darker tea or a pu-erh chrysanthemum combo (cantonese: Guk-bo). More popular one is the chrystanthemum tea (cantonese: Guk-fa) and you can tell them to add sugar or not.

    Once you party is finished dim-summing, ask a waiter to cost out your dishes. Most of the time, you’ll pay up front at the cashier and leave a tip at the table. Sometimes, you can pay at your table.. I would see how others around you do it first.

    In New York, there are 3 different Chinatowns. One in Manhattan, which I call the OG Chinatown. One in Queens called Flushing, which I frequent often for Asian food since it’s closer to me. The other is in Brookyln.

    In Chinatown, the most popular dim sum place is Golden Unicorn. They are slightly more expensive only because (1) popularity = more tourists willing to pay more $$$ and (2) they’re actually pretty good. I don’t go to Chinatown often for dim sum, but would end up here if I do. Jin Fung is also a popular choice for tourists but I had a bad experience when I ate there (Yelp review here) so I can’t recommend them. But there are handful of other dim sum restaurants in the area, so yelp around. I would say most dim sum restaurants now have staff who speak English since they get so many non-Chinese customers now.

    In Flushing, I’ve been to probably most if not all of the dim sum restaurants. My favorite is Asian Jewels (yelp review here). Their prices are slightly more expensive, but food and service is great… and Chinese restaurants are not known for great service. They have great variety of dim sum, big tables for big groups, and have a parking lot that fills up pretty quickly ($2 tip). If you don’t get a spot at their parking lot, consider parking at the nearby Skyview Center and walking over. It’s $3 once you enter, and you can park up to 3 hours, which is plenty of time for dim sum. I’m a frequent here, and will almost always bring any out-of-towners here for good dim sum.

    I don’t really ever go to Brooklyn so sorry, I can’t recommend any places!

    Okay, so you picked out a location. But what do you order? For my family, we have dim sum basics, which means that if we don’t order most or all of these dishes in this category, then we feel like it wasn’t a true dim sum experience. But I’ll also include other favorites my family and I have. I’ll also include the Cantonese pronunciation of these just incase you’re feeling brave. More after the jump! read more “#CHENEATSNY: Dim Sum”

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    #CHENEATSNY and my favorite Manhattan foods

    Matcha Cream Puff and Jasmine Passion Fruit Iced Tea at Bibble & Sip
    Matcha Cream Puff and Jasmine Passion Fruit Iced Tea at Bibble & Sip

    Hi! I know I suck at posting regularly. Been pretty busy lately with work, weekend trips, and planning for my upcoming vacation to Orlando and the Caribbean via cruise. I also spent some time cleaning my room, after reading The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up by Marie Kondo. Oh yeah, and playing PokemonGO. Just kidding – I don’t play that much… maybe… am I in denial???… I only got to level 11 recently and still haven’t figured out this whole gym thing yet even though my friends keep trying to show me (#TEAMMYSTIC doe). I only really play on my commute to/from Manhattan and I really try not to go to Manhattan if I don’t have to. This is the only thing making my slow 7 train + bus commute bearable. Even my parents (yes, they play!) were higher level than me at one point. I only learned how to level up my pokemon last week from a director on my project. #CHENCHALLENGES right here.

    Oh, and I also caught a cold this weekend. Lol. In a hot and humid NYC July. Yeah, that’s me.

    Anyway, despite the icky weather in NYC lately, I love when people come to visit. Even when it’s not to visit me. I’m excited for them. Why wouldn’t I be – it’s among the top tourist destinations, even referred to as the top cultural and financial capital of the world (thanks wikipedia for that). Yeah, the statue of liberty is great. And Times Square. And Central Park. And Empire State Building. BUT THE FOOD THOOOOOOOO. This is why I can never leave NYC. I don’t think anywhere will compare to the variety and plethora of delicious food. Nomnomnom.

    So, thanks to my friend Gauri (hey girl hey!), I decided to start a #CHENEATSNY series, blogging places I love to eat around the 5 boroughs. First post coming up soon… but first! Here’s a list of popular food places in Manhattan. I made this list for Gauri when she visited NYC for a weekend so figured I would share here too. Disclaimer: I have not eaten at some of these places, but I included them as they are some of my foodie friends’ favorites. read more “#CHENEATSNY and my favorite Manhattan foods”

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    Don Lunch Specials at Takesushi (Astoria, Queens NY)

    Takesushi Kaisen Don
    Lunch special: Kaisen Deluxe, $19. Includes soup and salad.
    Takesushi Uni Salmon Don
    Lunch Special: Salmon and Uni Don, $17. Includes soup and salad.

    Two consecutive days of delicious and fresh sashimi lunch specials. I can eat uni and salmon forevahhhhh. <333

    For the salmon and uni don, on the menu, they have Maguro/Uni but I love salmon instead of tuna so I requested that instead.

    Takesushi in Sunnyside, NYC
    43-46 42nd Street, Sunnyside, NY 11104

    Yelp review to follow. Overall- fresh sashimi at affordable prices. Definitely a hidden gem. Authentic Japanese family ran place. The old lady was so cute and nice. Service, while may be more relaxed/slower than rush lunches, was impeccable. They are so nice and welcoming. Great hospitality and great food. Definitely a favorite.

    xoxo
    #ChubbyChen

    Update! 1/8/15: Tagging the Yelp review to go along with this post.