Monday, September 29, 2014

Mekong Restaurant in Lowell

A couple of our friends are huge fans of Mekong Restaurant on Broadway Street in Lowell.  We rarely make it over to that side of Lowell unless we need to cut through to get to DTL.  It was my aunt's 60th birthday weekend and we wanted to try a different place for Cambodian noodle soup.

The small restaurant is an older Cambodian restaurant and is still a mom & pop's type of joint.  There were only two employees working the dining room and it was obvious one of them was the owner.

The restaurant has not gained traction as its other competitors in the highlands that attracts a younger, high tech, "social media" savvy crowd.  There are only a few Yelp photos and those belong to an employee of the restaurant.

We went there on a Saturday morning and there was only one single diner at the establishment.

We started off with a couple of apps and ordered the Cambodian eggrolls as well as huy keung.  The eggrolls came sans garnish.

Mekong Cambodian Eggrolls with taro

Monday, September 22, 2014

Walrus + Carpenter Gastropub

A few of my coworkers and I attended a manufacturing training for one of the lines we rep.  Located in Milford, CT, Q-tran produces low voltage power supplies and transformers for our lighting application requirements.  We arrived on a Sunday evening and the VP of sales, Gean,  graciously invited us to dinner at Walrus + Carpenter in Black Rock, CT.  I had no idea where we were going so I didn't have time to do a Yelp preview on the venue.

Upon arrival, we were greeted to a sign with pig logo and as well as a silhouette of a pig on the side of the building.  My first impression was that it was one of those fancy "Farm to table" restaurants that served locally grown and produced foods, similar to Gibbet Hill.

Image via
We entered the restaurant and it had a rustic, trendy vibe. I felt like I was at a hipster eatery in Brooklyn, NYC.  We were seated in a corner "picnic-style" booth with one side being just a bench. I joked with the group and said I thought I was going to have a "Britney Spears" moment every time I had to get up.

The ambiance of the restaurant was a relaxed, chill-out kinda mood with dim lighting.  All that was missing was the hanging Edison pendant light bulbs with the displayed filaments.

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Hub on Wheels - Boston, Ma

My friend, Sophea got the Mo and I to sign up for a "leisure" bike ride in Boston called Hub on Wheels.    For one day of the year, the city closes down the entire 10 miles of Storrow Drive for the event.  Participants start and finish at the City Hall Plaza in government center and riders can opt for a 10 mile bike ride, a 30 minute bike ride or even a 50 mile bike ride.  The charity event supports Boston Bikes, Special Olympics and Boston Parks & Recreation.

Best Cambodian Yow Hon Hot Pot in Lowell

After concluding our 30 mile bike ride at Hub on Wheels in Boston, Bubba, Fifi and I wanted to replenish the 2000+ calories that we burned.  The original plan was to go to Hot Pot Buffet in Chinatown but I had a business trip that night and needed to be back in Lowell in time for my ride.

I suggest the next Best hot pot I could thing of, the Cambodian Yow Hon Hot pot at Heng Lay Restaurant in Lowell. The Mo and I have eaten almost everything on the menu, in fact, I've posted the most pictures on the Yelp website.

Most of my friends can agree that Heng Lay has the best Yow Hon broth in Lowell.  It's sweet and sour and the consistency is always rich.

I pre-ordered the Cambodian specialty meal ahead of time and advised the restaurant that we would arrive within 30 minutes.  We also got spicy calamari as an appetizer to share.

Heng Lay Spicy Calamari

Saturday, September 20, 2014

Phantom Gourmet Food Festival by Fenway

Almost every weekend, the Mo and I drool over the dishes we see featured on the Phantom Gourmet TV show.  As many times as they hosted the event, I've never had the opportunity to attend.  This year, I tried to get a group together for a discounted rate of $30.00 versus paying $40.00.  I was unsuccessful and threw in the towel.

I received a text from my brother the night before the event asking if I wanted to go to the Phantom Gourmet Food Festival, VIP status.  How could I say "No" to that? The comp tickets were provided by one of the even't sponsors, Dadgar Insurance.

We arrived at Fenway close to 11:00 AM and there was already a line across the bridge.  I forgot to dress the part and wear purple.

Phantom Gourmet Food Festival Line

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Setha and Lee's Grand Wedding in Poughkeepsie

I have to admit, when the "Save the Date" arrived in the mail, I thought to myself, "Really Setha... a Thursday wedding????" Once we stepped foot on the grounds of The Grandview , we could see why the couple wanted to have their dream wedding there.

The waterfront venue had a picturesque panoramic view of the Hudson River and bridge.  Now I understood why the wait for a weekend wedding was more than a year.

Saturday, September 13, 2014

Dumpling Cafe in Boston's Chinatown District

I've been researching possible destinations for our next adventure and China keeps coming up.  Sure, there's the Great Wall of China, Jiuzhaigou, and the Forbidden City...but I think the foodie in me is more interested in the local Chinese cuisine. I'm not talking about lo mein, pork fried rice or general gau chicken (after all, we all know that's American Chinese food... right? ) 

I'm intrigued by the handmade fresh dumplings and wontons and this Xi'an Dumpling Banquet that I keep reading about. Depending on the establishment, diners pretty much feast on a beautiful assortment of 20+ varieties of veggies, meat and seafood steamed greatness.  The dumplings are locally made and served fresh. I'm already a huge fan of dim sum, I'd be in Dumpling Heaven!

Dumpling Cafe 
695 Washington Street
Chinatown Boston

Monday, September 8, 2014

Creative steamed buns at the Bao shoppe - Astoria NYC

After spending the day poolside in Brooklyn, Setha and I walked up and down the streets of Astoria in search of a place to grab a quick bite to eat.  It was a weird time to dine because it wasn't quite lunch and we would be eating dinner in 4 hours.

I told her I could go for Latin food or Asian food and she pointed out a little storefront.  She said "I think that's a Vietnamese but I don't think they have Pho or anything like that." I was so confused, how could a Vietnamese joint NOT have pho! I looked at the sign and I was sold immediately when I read the word "Bao" on the sign that said the Bao Shoppe.

Saturday, September 6, 2014

Mama's Empanadas

Who doesn't love empanadas? These delicious snack pastry with meat filling will always have a place in my heart whether we are in Costa Rica, Mexico, New York City or even Lowell!

Mama's Empandas Astoria NY

I arrived to NYC late last Friday night for Setha's bachelorette party.  By the time I got settled into her apartment, it was close to midnight.  We were too tired, hot and sticky to go bar hopping.  We walked around Queens for a bit to look for a place that was open for a bite to eat.

Friday, September 5, 2014

The Emerald Rose in Billerica

Located in Billerica, Emerald Rose serves a wide variety of food for lunch, dinner, and as well as a semi "late-night" menu.   On Friday's, they offer a 1 pound prime rib special.  I've never actually had it but the display (on Friday nights)  always temps me on my drive home.

The fine Irish restaurant and pub is a short 5 minute drive down 3A from work,  Although my coworkers and like the restaurant, some of us prefer Newtown's Grille lunch specials starting at $4.99 and the delicious wings!

Since it was labor day week and the "end of summer" a few of us headed to the restaurant for one last patio lunch.  School was back in session and the restaurant wasn't busy.