Banana Custard Tart, Cost ~$5, Rating 6/10

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Phew! This recipe took time to get through. I was very unaccustomed to making a dough with this much butter. Originally, I was thinking of making a fruit tart but I changed my mind mid-through to include custard rather than cream. Also, these tarts had a bit of excess shortbread because the recipe was intentionally designed to supply the crust for a whole pie (attained from http://www.joyofbaking.com/SweetPastryCrust.html).  Because I lacked a pie dish, I used ramekins to create separate tarts for members of my family and molded it as shown below: 


Pre-baking the crust:

I didn't use baking beans to prevent the pastry from rising. I relied on making holes in the pastry with a fork but it didn't help much. Next time, I'll stick with the baking beans for sure.


I used the custard recipe from here, seeing that it's rated 5 stars (https://www.deliciouseveryday.com/custard-tarts/). However, next time, I'll be sure to cook the custard entirely separately and then pour it into the pastry cups to set.  That's because I wanted to have it set better than it did. 


My family enjoyed this treat but I expected much more out of it. Considering it required half and half, a full stick of butter, and then a typical amount of sugar, I would have thought the custard would have a nice zing taste to it, but it just didn't meet my high expectations. It would be worth changing up this recipe to include orange crème anglaise with an alternative pastry dough more suited for baking in ramekins, for a clean and distinct taste. (Perhaps banana bread for the pastry portion would have added a nice twist.)

Well, it's on to the next one, once again. 

Mixed-Berry Jalousie, Rating 9/10, Costs $8 to Make at Home

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So this is a great tart recipe to make at home because it tastes extravagant and has a home-made, comforting food touch. It doesn't require too much labor. I know I'll be twice as fast the next time I make it. And isn't that the case with most recipes after trying them once? This dish is perfect for a family of four and you can bet they'll ask you to make this again. My family devoured it in equal sizes, (splitting it into fourths), and it provided for a great, enjoyable, weekend moment.  The recipe can be found at: http://www.finecooking.com/recipe/mixed-berry-jalousie
Start of by making the compote aspect of the pastry first. It tastes delicious with the lemon zest so it's worth including it. I used frozen packaged puff pastry (the Pepperidge Farm brand) and it measured out to be about 9 x 9-1/2 inches or something similar to that measurement. I didn't change the size of the pastry to suit the recipe and it still came out fine. As long as you have two sheets of pastry that can fit perfectly over each other, you'll be just fine.  


I used egg wash and spread it on to 1" edges of the pastry and placed the compote in the center. Then I placed the second pastry sheet, which was precut as styled in the picture below, on to the top of the egg-washed pastry. To better understand this part of the recipe, please watch:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PEA55UeDMew&t=13s. I wouldn't have understood the recipe instructions as well otherwise.


I wish I had taken a picture of the jalousie when we cut it into fourths. Either way, it came out extremely rich and absolutely indulging. It's worth giving it a shot the next time your craving something sweet to eat! :)

N Thai Palace

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         N Thai Palace is a great discover in East Brunswick, NJ. The Penang Curry with shrimp (ordered mild in spice) tasted delicious and was soothing for the throat. The dish was a great deal in part because it came with free Tom Yum Vegetable Soup, and it was also part of the lunch special. It had the perfect consistency, creamy-like, and made my nose run-just what I needed on a cold winter day!

       My friend ordered a dish which featured Basil Noodles and dried tomatoes and she loved it as well. It's 50% off for students on Thursdays but only for dinner which my friend and I were unaware of and had just missed the deal by having lunch there on Thursday. The Tom Yum Vegetarian soup was also delicious, savory, and had a sour taste that went well with the spicy flavor. I love Thai soups!! Be sure to check out this recipe Thai Red Curry Soup (My recipe rating: 10/10) for a fantastic Thai soup when you have a chance. Panera Bread needs to learn some tips from N Thai Palace in regards to adding more decently sized pieces of vegetables within the soup.






Additionally, I had read a few reviews on yelp regarding the fried coconut ice-cream and it lived up to its name. It tasted and looked scrumptious!! I definitely recommend sharing this dessert with someone because the serving sizes for the meals are generous and filling. The leaf shaped chocolate on top is dark chocolate and inside is a large scoop of vanilla ice-cream. It is coated in a crunchy, coconut flavored exterior with ooey-gooey caramel. 



       Speaking of that leaf shaped chocolate has reminded me that one should definitely check out the buffet at N Thai Palace! They have fewer dishes than most buffets but the quality of their dishes is absolutely fantastic. I remember I tried their chicken kabobs and I was in love immediately. Also, they have such a great variety of desserts to choose from and included custards, chocolate, and many more options that I no longer remember. If you're an East Brunswick resident, this is a must-visit restaurant!


If you like the blog, please follow for more recipes and restaurant reviews @ unarguablydelicious.blogspot.com!! Or follow me on tumblr (unarguablydelicious.tumblr.com) or my twitter (@Its_Taran) or my pinterest (http://www.pinterest.com/unarguablydelic/) or instagram (unarguablydelicious). Please feel free to share your opinions or your recipes as well because I'd love to hear them!


Red Velvet Crinkle Cookies Review (from Panera Bread) My review (9/10)

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If you have a food blog, you might have seen a few pictures going around of Red Velvet Crinkle cookies. I decided to try one at Panera Bread because I had an offer for a free birthday pastry from there. The picture below is from http://www.cookingclassy.com/2013/11/red-velvet-crinkle-cookies/ and the blogger includes a recipe on how to make them- which I hope to try one day soon.
 
The photo below is one that I took that I bought from Panera Bread and I have to say, that was definitely one of the best cookies I have ever had. It might have been luck that when I asked the Panera Bread employee to heat it up for me, she knew exactly how many seconds would be just right for the cookie. The best part was that it had a few small nuts and perhaps white chocolate in it (not quite sure) and the texture was perfect. If you order a cookie, please ask them to heat it up-it tastes so much better!




SEA IS FOR COOKIE!
http://givemeinternet.tumblr.com/post/69558975250/sea-is-for-cookie

If you like the blog, please follow for more recipes and restaurant reviews @ unarguablydelicious.blogspot.com!! Or follow me on tumblr (unarguablydelicious.tumblr.com) or my twitter (@Its_Taran) or my pinterest (http://www.pinterest.com/unarguablydelic/) or instagram (unarguablydelicious). Please feel free to share your opinions or your recipes as well because I'd love to hear them!

Spot Dessert Bar (My rating: 3.5/5)

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I visited one of the two Spot dessert bars recently and I have to say that although the desserts tasted great, they were overrated. My friends and I ordered 3 dishes which included the Chocolate Green Tea Lava Cake, the Yuzu Eskimo, and the Kabocha Brulee Cake.

What led me here? I saw a post on facebook of a potted plant that was a dessert and noticed it was from Spot. Yet, when I visited they mentioned that there are two Spot dessert bars in NYC and this one didn't have that on the menu. How disappointing! The one I visited was on the third floor of an international food emporium, called "Food Gallery 32", and located at 11 W 32nd St, New York, NY 10011. The other Spot bar is located on 13 St Marks Pl New York, NY 10003. I think the two was a good 20 minute walk from each other.

I was eager to try the Green Tea Lava Cake but I believe the presentation was better than the taste of the dish. The chocolate could have had a stronger taste and the cake tasted like a really good brownie. Yet, it goes to show that not every dish tastes as great as it looks and some of those tumblr pics are decieving. My expectations were too high to have been met! However, the green tea ice cream flavor was really strong and a refreshing taste from the ones generally bought from the supermarket. I didn't realize this until I tried mochi (a Chinese green tea dessert covered with an interesting doughy texture) from a local Hong Kong supermarket which seemed a little bland in comparison. The leaf shape piece added a crunch to the dish but it wasn't a spectacular part of the dish. Quite frankly, that green powder pictured barely tasted like anything and I think it was just used to fill in the space on the dish.



What I really enjoyed was the Yuzu Eskimo. Every little bit had a strong citrus tasted that went along with the texture of the food as well. It's quite obvious the chefs prefer presentation over quantity. I would have loved to have more pieces of the citrus cream bar. In contrast, my friend strongly disliked it because of it's fruity flavor. If you absolutely can't stand fruity gum or citrus tastes, I think there is reasonable evidence that you will not like this.


The Kabocha Brulee Cake tasted delicious, but it wasn't too memorable. I mistook the brulee to mean that it would have a creme brulee like flavor (which means burnt creme in French). Instead, it had a pumpkin flavor and seemed to be topped with vanilla ice cream although in the caption on the menu, it mentions it is milk ice cream.


The experience was fun and almost every table was full. This was partially due to the fact that there was another restaurant just across the bar that shared the seating within the room. My friends and I went here as a part of my birthday celebration and I definitely will remember the overall experience as an enjoyable one. 




Spot Dessert Bar on Urbanspoon

East Hana Japanese Restaurant

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East Hana is a great restaurant because the sushi is so well made. 


My friend ordered Dragon sushi which I believe had some crab, avocado, cucumber, and more ingredients.  The hand roll is pictured on the right and has eel and avocado inside. My dish, the Green Dragon, was mainly composed of eel and avocado. It tasted wonderful and I believe I have found the right sushi place for me.

 Although I've tasted better green tea, it was offered for free as a part of the meal. The restaurant is fairly priced and I'm sure I will visit again. If you live within the East Brunswick area and have visited the Hong Kong supermarket there, I suggest you give East Hana a shot!

If you like the blog, please follow for more recipes and restaurant reviews @ unarguablydelicious.blogspot.com!! Or follow me on tumblr (unarguablydelicious.tumblr.com) or my twitter (@Its_Taran) or my pinterest (http://www.pinterest.com/unarguablydelic/) or instagram (unarguablydelicious). Please feel free to share your opinions or your recipes as well because I'd love to hear them!


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Fruit Tart from La Crepe

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This fruit tart is so delicious. It is light and for those who are unaware, the white cream texture is simply whip cream which went well with the fruits and pastry bottom. The fruit tart has been done many times before, so I will just say that the pastry bottom was what made this tart so delectable. Yet for $5.30, with tax, I will say it is a bit overpriced.


If you like the blog, please follow for more recipes and restaurant reviews @ unarguablydelicious.blogspot.com!! Or follow me on tumblr (unarguablydelicious.tumblr.com) or my twitter (@Its_Taran) or my pinterest (http://www.pinterest.com/unarguablydelic/) or instagram (unarguablydelicious). Please feel free to share your opinions or your recipes as well because I'd love to hear them!



La Crepe French Bakery & Cafe on Urbanspoon

Panera Bread's Broccoli Cheddar Soup and French Baguette

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Panera Bread always has great service yet their  Broccoli  Cheddar Soup could use fresher vegetables and more of them. I would like to have crunchier brocolli and carrot pieces within my soup but that may be a personal preference. However, what is with everyone being stingy with their vegetables. Regardless, the French Baguette was fresh and had a subtle hint of cheese within itself. The meal would have been a fairer deal for $3 rather than $4.50 (with tax) and certainly a steal for $2.



If you like the blog, please follow for more recipes and restaurant reviews @ unarguablydelicious.blogspot.com!! Or follow me on tumblr (unarguablydelicious.tumblr.com) or my twitter (@Its_Taran) or my pinterest (http://www.pinterest.com/unarguablydelic/) or instagram (unarguablydelicious). Please feel free to share your opinions or your recipes as well because I'd love to hear them!

Jose Tejas (Tex Mex)

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My friend and I spotted Jose Tejas and because it was decorated with so many lights, it sparked our curiosity and lured us to take a look inside.  





 Once we realized it was a kid friendly restaurant, and not just a bar, we decided to sit down and take a look at the menu. The ambiance was very warm and a fiesta theme was apparent- it was the perfect place to enjoy New Year's Eve. We both ordered virgin pina coladas and shrimp quesadillas. 




They served really good (tostada-like) chips with salsa as an appetizer. 
                                                                                 


The food tasted great and the cheese within the quesadilla was mouth watering. The pina colada fulfilled my expectations-considering I have a homemade recipe that I posted on this blog. Check out: How to Make the Perfect Pina Colada !!








I must say that if the ambiance wasn't as festive, I might have thought the food to be above average. Yet the experience was exhilarating and vibrant overall.  The best part is that it is decorated with these festive lights all year round!

If you like the blog, please follow for more recipes and restaurant reviews @ unarguablydelicious.blogspot.com!! Or follow me on tumblr (unarguablydelicious.tumblr.com) or my twitter (@Its_Taran) or my pinterest (http://www.pinterest.com/unarguablydelic/) or instagram (unarguablydelicious). Please feel free to share your opinions or your recipes as well because I'd love to hear them!


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Egg pastry from Fada in the Hong Kong Supermarket

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A few nights ago, an old memory of a certain pastry I had within an Asian bakery came to my mind and since then, I had been craving for something like it. Realizing it had an egg like flavor, I decided to try a Google search and came across a dessert that went by the name of "Moon Cake". This morning I visited the Hong Kong supermarket and a baker said moon cakes are only in season during September. Yet I found a pastry that was generically named "Egg Cream Puff Pastry" and I decided to give it a shot. As soon as I bit into it, I knew this was the pastry I had tried so many years ago but in a different store. It was so delicious and better than a donut because it held a more yolk-like and creamy flavor and the bread was softer. There was a perfect pastry. It was better than many of those sold at Panera Bread and yet it was only $1.15. I'm sure I will visit the Fada pastry shop at Hong  Kong supermarlet more often and this egg pastry will not be my last one.


If you like the blog, please follow for more recipes and restaurant reviews @ unarguablydelicious.blogspot.com!! Or follow me on tumblr (unarguablydelicious.tumblr.com) or my twitter (@Its_Taran) or my pinterest (http://www.pinterest.com/unarguablydelic/) or instagram (unarguablydelicious). Please feel free to share your opinions or your recipes as well because I'd love to hear them!


Hidden Grounds

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Sorry I haven't written anything in a while! I didn't make time to update my blog but I'll be sure to make more time in the future. I just tried the Moroccan Mint Tea from Hidden Grounds and it tasted very refreshing! It could be used as a good pick-me-up drink. However, for $3 I can’t say the deal was a steal. 




Yet the atmosphere of the place is very warm because of the colors, potted plants, and lighting. The place has just the right amount of mess for an urban cafe, and this helps separate itself from the traditional tidy Starbucks while also attracting local hipsters.

A short while later, Spoorthi K. from Hidden Grounds contacted me and mentioned that free hot water refills are available since the tea bag can last 3 cups.  I had not realized this and now I think the tea is fairly priced.

If you like the blog, please follow for more recipes and restaurant reviews @ unarguablydelicious.blogspot.com!! Or follow me on tumblr (unarguablydelicious.tumblr.com) or my twitter (@Its_Taran) or my pinterest (http://www.pinterest.com/unarguablydelic/) or instagram (unarguablydelicious). Please feel free to share your opinions or your recipes as well because I'd love to hear them!



Sushi Palace (My rating: 9/10)

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Sushi Palace is a fantastic restaurant! I loved their sushi handrolls and I will definitely order more of them the next time I visit. I loved the eel rolls with avocado as well. The restaurant has the style of a buffet and you can order as much sushi as you can eat. Be wary though, because you can be charged extra if you have excess sushi in your plate.




The salmon rolls were okay and the sushi that has slices of white pieces over it in the picture are the yellowtail fish rolls. I didn't like them as much but I enjoyed trying so many varieties of sushi.  


My friends and I also enjoyed the Green Tea ice-cream there and their Red Bean ice-cream (not pictured) and Chocolate ice-cream was fantastic as well.  


If you like the blog, please follow for more recipes and restaurant reviews @ unarguablydelicious.blogspot.com!! Or follow me on tumblr (unarguablydelicious.tumblr.com) or my twitter (@Its_Taran) or my pinterest (http://www.pinterest.com/unarguablydelic/) or instagram (unarguablydelicious). Please feel free to share your opinions or your recipes as well because I'd love to hear them!



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Bacon Turkey Bravo at Panera Bread and Cherry Danish (My rating: 6/10)

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I haven't cooking anything grand in a while but I did try the Bravo sandwich at Panera Bread. The name is trademarked........Really. Is that even necessary? It wasn't amazing but it was a damn good sandwich for what is was. I ordered asiago cheese focaccia bread and it was delicious. 


I had never tasted focaccia bread before so I had to know how it tasted. They also served me this salty bread (as shown in the first picture) that came as an option choice along with the sandwich and it was horrid. Salt on bread? That is a big no-no for me. As strong tasting as the sandwich was, especially with it's huge hunky cheese slice, I would try to order something different next time around just to change things up.



I also got an offer from Panera for a free danish. This review (http://voices.yahoo.com/review-panera-bread-cherry-danish-style-pastry-2822157.html?cat=51) built my hopes for their cherry danish and I ordered it the next morning for breakfast. It did not live up to its high expectations. 


To me it was a typical pastry: sweet and yummy but not excessively professional. I ordered a pecan pastry from there a later day and I didn't take pictures of the beauty. That was definitely more filling but the cherry danish was more delicious. I suggest you try it if you want a cheery morning. ;)Until next time!


If you like the blog, please follow for more recipes and restaurant reviews @ unarguablydelicious.blogspot.com!! Or follow me on tumblr (unarguablydelicious.tumblr.com) or my twitter (@Its_Taran) or my pinterest (http://www.pinterest.com/unarguablydelic/) or instagram (unarguablydelicious). Please feel free to share your opinions or your recipes as well because I'd love to hear them!

 
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