Saturday, September 9, 2017

din tai fung

din tai fung
3333 Bristol St, Costa Mesa, CA 92626 (inside south coast plaza)
tel714) 549-3388

what was consumed: soup dumplings (both pork and crab), wontons in spicy sauce, shanghai rice cakes with chicken, steamed bok choy, and sea salt black tea to wash it all down

din tai fung in orange county? it is high time! apparently, i'm not the only one to think this way as the line to get on the list to wait for a seat at the south coast plaza location was out the door and around the corner (stacey and i took a chance and got in the significantly shorter "bar seat" line. stacey's a pro and we were sitting in under 30 minutes). funny to think that i've seen this delicious dim sum chain in so many different countries ... but it wasn't until i came home that i got to visit.

once stacey and i sat down, we quickly put in our order. all the soup dumplings please! or at least two orders (one for the each of us, split down the middle). and they were delish. inside each dumpling is some filling accompanied by broth. there is no such thing as taking a bite; you enjoy the entire dumpling as a whole. YUM. we also rounded out the dumpling menu with an order of some veggie dumplings in spicy sauce.

din tai fun also has other options, in case soup dumplings aren't your thing (but they should be. we will have to have a serious chat if they aren't). i'd definitely recommend the shanghai noodles. i love the rice cakes (similar to the kind they use for korean dduk-guk) in a soy sauce-base stir fried up with veggies and meat of your choice. i want to eat this dish (and soup dumplings) FOR-E-VER :P


Thursday, September 7, 2017


611 fifth avenue (in the gaslamp district), san diego, CA 92101
tel: 619) 233-7327

what was consumed: happy hour! shrimp and grits, tuna poke, caesar salad, and their pork belly (not on the happy hour menu, but recommended by lots of folks so we got it. and i'm glad we did! yummmmm)

i'm a sucker for former top chef (the show) chefs. even for ones that appeared on seasons i missed (a good chunk in the middle). so, when searsucker was recommended to us, i pushed for us to check it out. we opted for searsucker's happy hour which featured quite a few drink specials as well as the entire menu. the HH menu is pretty extensive, offering some delicious treats like poke and shrimp and grits. 

per recommendations from yelp, we also ordered the pork belly. imo, it was cooked deliciously and worth paying the full price. i wished i could have had a larger portion, but that's really my eyes speaking not my stomach. bjl thought it a bit to fatty, but that's the part i liked the best (haha).

i'll also say the service and staff at searsucker were excellent and the decor was chic but comfortable. those were definite plusses to our dining experience. thanks searsucker!


Tuesday, September 5, 2017

the crack shack

the crack shack
2266 Kettner Blvd, San Diego, CA 92101
tel619) 795-3299

what was consumed: 5-pieces of delicious fried chicken, classic slaw, and beers!

what a great way to kick off a few nights in san diego: dinner at the crack shack! we read quite a few raves (to include one from a friend of ours), so we were excited to go. and as we were staying in the gaslamp district, we enjoyed the walking along the embarcadero in order to get to the crack shack.

the crack shack offers sandwiches as well as fried chicken (our course). my eyes are bigger than my stomach, so i wanted to order the 10-piece, but the more practical BJL was right in having us order the 5-piece as we also had an order of cole slaw and beer (for him) to include in our eating plan. the chicken was seasoned deliciously, covered in a yummy batter to create a great crisp, and fried to perfection. the crack shack also has a series of sauces that you've gotta try. some of them were a little sweet for my liking (i really wanted to like the kimchee bbq sauce), so i stuck with the buttermilk ranch and baja hot sauce (tried and true favs). the classic cole slaw was on the sweet side as well, but that didn't prevent us from enjoying the entire bowl! 

crack shack, don't worry. we'll be back soon to sample the rest of your menu. yum!

Sunday, September 3, 2017


Beverly Center, Nazimuddin Road, Islamabad, Pakistan
tel: +92 51 846902

what was consumed: lakshmi chowk tawa chicken, pushur baya, chicken achari, mehmoodabadi sabzi, naans, and mango lassis (mango season ftw!)

welcome to the dining scene, nostalgia! i'd read about nostalgia while out of the country, so was happy to try upon my return. and in just a short time, i understand nostalgia has taken the islamabad food scene by storm.

one of the complaints that i'd heard (or heard that there were complaints about) is that desi food wasn't available when going out. i.e., if you want to eat desi food, you go talk to your mom. but what about people like me? or transplants from other places/people who are separated (by distance) from their families? or people who just want to eat desi food all the time, in or out? no matter the reason, i'm glad to see nostalgia out there to feed desi cravings. 

friends and i were anxious to try nostalgia after hearing so much about it. pakistani friends have commented that they enjoyed nostalgia and that it offers unique desi dishes that even they had not heard about or tried before! we're not entirely sure what we ordered (and i'm not entirely sure i remember from looking at the photos). but we definitely left there feeling happy and filled with delicious desi treats.

each of the four ladies in our party picked a dish, to include a variety of flavors, meats, and places of origin. there were a few pieces of bread with each dish, but we definitely appreciated the additional orders of garlic naan (so good!). all of the dishes were similar to other desi dishes i'd had, but with just a little something else. maybe it's the addition of a different spice, a different nut, something. we spent a few minutes trying to figure it out, only to be overwhelmed by our hunger that we quickly moved to chatting about how delicious the food was. what a delicious meal!

and that wraps up my posts from pakistan. it's been an incredible dining year. thanks, islamabad, for your delicious treats! 


Friday, September 1, 2017

english tea house

english tea house
Street 16, F-7/2 next to Rana Market, Islamabad, Pakistan
tel051-2609361 / 051-2609362

what was consumed: brunch! mexican omelet and breakfast panini sandwich. coffee. and chocolate banana waffles with nutella for dessert/sharing.

the ladies who dine decided to take an american holiday to visit english tea house (for me, this was a few days after i tried yum!, a delicious way to spend the days). 

many of the ladies who dine were in town, so we were quite a large group. lucky for us, the english tea house was happy to accommodate. they were also good about accommodating our requests for a/c (initially, it was SO HOT inside). so once we were seated and comfortable, we were ready to eat.

english tea house has a pretty extensive continental menu, stretching from breakfast all the way to dinner as well as high tea (like their name) which is one thing i would have liked to try (next time!) we enjoyed what we ordered and were pleasantly surprised to see actual smoked salmon being served. oh, and their hash browns are delish (hash browns are just french fries for the morning. more hash browns, please!)

friends have also commented on their delicious lattes. i will confirm; the coffee does not disappoint. so go on over, order up a latte, and enjoy!

online or

Wednesday, August 30, 2017


f-7 markaz, 2nd floor, islamabad, pakistan
tel+92 51 8312209

what was consumed: fries! and a mango shake. and the firestarter burger (bunless. i should've gotten the bun ...)

there is no such thing as too many burger places! i didn't get to check out all of the recommended burger places in islamabad, but i was glad to visit jessie's before my departure.

jessie's is prominently located on the second floor in F-7 markaz. if you can't see, drive around a bit. the gigantic yellow sign is hard to miss. and once you see it, get yourself upstairs and immediately order yourself a side of fries (and if you're up for it, some garlic mayonnaise dipping sauce). the fries are just the right size and are seasoned in such a way (not really sure how) that makes you go back for more. and especially when they are piping hot, there is little better. YUM. i could probably eat the fries/garlic mayo combo every day (and i wish i could!)

jessie's offers a variety of burgers, some of which may be ordered bun-less (that's how i ordered it). the burgers have a slight desi flavoring to them, which i appreciated. a quick caution: the burgers as doused in sauce (delicious sauce mind you). it's just that they can get really messy, especially if you order it bun-less (i had to eat mine with a knife and fork). delish.

and their shakes! jessie's offers a variety of different shakes (to include fresh mango shakes during mango season. also delish). some argued that the shakes were a little water-y, but they slurped them up in no time. definitely be sure to add a shake to your order.

also, while jessie's delivers, remember that all of that sauce gets everywhere by the time it gets to your house. so, just get yourself over to jessie's and enjoy in house! you'll be glad you did ... 

Monday, August 28, 2017

yum chinese and thai

yum chinese and thai
street 16, F-7/2 next to rana market, islamabad, pakistan
tel0512609361 / 0512609362

what was consumed: fried spring rolls, kung pao chicken, pepper beef, chicken chow mein noodles

friends and i made a lunchtime decision to meet up for dinner. we hadn't gone out in a while and had seen the empty lot be built into what is now YUM chinese & thai. it was time to go and see the fruit of all that construction, and seeing the bustle of people upon arrival, i was convinced that this impromptu dinner date was a good decision ... and it was!

i was the first in the group to arrive. upon being seated, and soon after arrival, i was served a welcome drink (which tasted like an ice-blended gatorade) and shrimp chips (which i love). i enjoyed being seated on the balcony, looking upon the entry way at YUM (YUM is on the second floor of the building. the english tea room is downstairs). 

we opted for chinese, but i did ask about ordering thai, also on the menu. the hostess, quickly responded by saying, "oh, in the chinese restaraunt?" so, yes. an easy decision to stick to the chinese side of the menu.

we ordered some of our chinese food favorites; this is probably what i'd recommend. rice doesn't come with the meal, so you'll have to order that separately (i'd recommend ordering the garlic fried rice. love garlic fried rice with everything!). the kung pao chicken wasn't too spicy, to my disappointment, and a bit saucy for my liking. but that didn't prevent us from polishing off most of it. we definitely left with some to-go containers (there were three of us enjoying these dishes), happy taste buds, and totally filled bellies.

i'm always happy to see some of my favorite chinese dishes added to the eating options in any city i'm in, especially when they are tasty and hit the spot just as YUM did. welcome to the dining scene, YUM!

Thursday, June 22, 2017


109 jinnah avenue (blue area), islamabad, pakistan 44000
tel: 051-2804044

what was consumed: coffee, grilled cheese, bagel with cream cheese, loafology omelet, mini lemon tart, lemon bread

looking for a nice place to grab a good cup of coffee and some delicious treats? check out loafology! a western style bakery, started by some expats, offers delicious fare in addition to quite a selection of breads and other baked goods; loafology has become one of my go-to brunch/sandwich places. 

and when they have it, be sure to try their lemon tart-lettes. a nice combination of tart and sweet in a delicious and flaky mini crust ... DELISH. but be sure to get there early, or call in your orders. once their supply is gone, their supply is gone for the day ... and you don't want to miss out!

online and on facebook

Monday, June 19, 2017

wild thyme

wild thyme
shaheen market. E7, street 14, islamabad, pakistan
tel051) 8441748

what was consumed: chicken vegetable tikis, chicken dumplings, apple and red cabbage salad, pumpkin soup with croutons, hunza fries, apricot chicken with handmade herb pasta, roasted wile thyme potatoes. others ordered nut battered fish with hunza fries, spinach ravioli, walnut chicken with steamed rice, chicken apricot karahi (all were said to be delish!)

specializing in ingredients from hunza (like the life giving apricot oil!), while thyme offers a great fusion of western and desi cuisine. friends mentioned wild thyme to me (it's apparently owned/run by the wife of friends' preferred salon owner. small world here in isloo, for sure). i~ heard about their delicious offerings and about their incredible beet root salad, so i was all in.

wild thyme offers a variety of delicious treats - ranging from appetizers, soups, salad, entrees, and even desserts! one could probably make a meal of just their appetizers: the chicken dumplings, the chicken vegetable tikis, the salads (beetroot and apple and red cabbage of course) ... and the hunza fries! i could eat the fries all day long.

that said, be sure to save room for the entrees! also delicious. the apricot chicken is said to be one of the favorites, and i can see why. the stuffed chicken is delish and the pasta that accompanies it is just ... perfect. if you get a combo of appetizers, the chicken entree is definitely good for sharing (or, if you're me, just enough to round out the meal - haha). i could go for some of that pasta right about now ... 

seating seemed limited, though, so either get there early or make sure you have a reservation. they're also on food panda, though, so be no excuses!