Restaurant Review: Burger & Lobster

Burger & Lobster 39 W 19th St, New York, NY 10011

Burger and Lobster is one of the most genius restaurants I’ve been to in a very long time. I have nothing but great things to say about this place. Yippie, I think I have a kinda sorta almost favorite new restaurant.

Okay, to start everything, as in all meals, on the menu is $20. This makes things so easy. The menu is super simple. There’s burgers or lobsters and that’s pretty much  it, there’s your menu in a nutshell. With each meal, there’s a side of  fries and a salad that comes with it. The salad and fries are delish. The burger is so juicy and the lobster…Oh my, I love seafood, so this is a win for me any day, but the butter sauce they give to go with the lobster is so tasty.

The dessert, I wasn’t too keen about, I had Greek vanilla yogurt and it was okay. Drinks are reasonably priced at $12. The service was fantastic. The decor is industrial, really high ceilings and hanging lamps along the bar. Also, there’s a huge tank filled with lobsters when you first walk in, poor little things 😦

Overall, I had an excellent experience here and I am looking forward to coming here again, and again!

Singapore’s Good Eats

“If you really want to make a friend, go to someone’s house and eat with him…the people who give you their food give you their heart” – Cesar Chavez

Local dining is just as important as exploring during any excursion abroad. In this area, Singapore really has quite a few things to offer. Many of the dishes I experienced were ones that I’ve never heard of or seen before. With the limited amount of agricultural land available because of the country’s small size, Singapore imports most of its food. Yet with the expat community being so large, there is a wide variety of dishes from many different cultures.

The most remarkable and infamous food item of Singapore is its signature fruit the Durian. This fruit is definitely one to remember, most infamous for its terrible smell, it is a part of the Singapore experience. However the aroma is so strong that it can only be enjoyed in an open air market; it is not allowed in taxis, on the MRT or in airports. And if the smell isn’t offensive enough, the taste, even when dressed up in a sweet dessert (the way I had it) is still pretty bad. But being an explorer I had to give it a try, my best description for the taste would be…hmmm…rotting onions. While I have checked Durian off of my list of things to try once, many of the locals attest to actually liking the taste and there are many local candies and desserts made from it. While some may enjoy the Durian I could not, but it is definitely worth a try.

durian
Google image since I didnt have a camera with me when I saw the Durian in person
NoDurian
Sign showing the fines for traveling with a Durian. *google image
duriancake
Durian Cake from the world famous Shangri La hotel. The cream looking paste in the middle is made from Durian.
Shangri La dessert
Other dessert options at the Shangri-La

So while the Durian is definitely one of the more acclaimed signature foods of Singapore there are plenty of dishes and fruits with more palatable appeal. Two popular fruits here are dragon fruit and watermelon; the latter usually accompanies almost every meal breakfast, lunch and dinner. On one of my first days I stopped at the food court in the ION Orchard mall and had the shrimp and pork Shao Mai. Traditionally this is more of a Chinese dumpling dish however it was my first time having it and it was pretty good.

dragon fruit
Dragon Fruit (Pitaya) on display in a local supermarket
coconut
With the sweltering temperatures and high humidity, a little coconut water helps to keep cool
Shrimp & pork Shoa mai
Shrimp & Pork Shao Mai

Whether you dine in the upscale restaurants in Singapore City or at the local take out places in Little India, many of the local Indian restaurants provide you with an authentic experience. This includes cutlery, optional plating, and some curry flavors and textures I’ve never experienced. I’m embarrassed to say this was my first time having Nan, which is a traditional Indian flat bread. Additionally, I came to learn that it was customary to serve a boiled egg with certain dishes. I was also able to have my first experience with Satay which is an African dish of rice, meat skewers and traditional African peanut sauce. To seal the deal, I couldn’t leave the country without having Singapore’s most famous drink the Singapore Sling at the home of the best Singapore Slings, the Long Bar.

chickenegg
Curry Chicken Leg in Curry sauce w/ Boiled egg
curry1
Curry Chicken leg, and steamed white rice. *surprisingly this place also served really good waffles
indian dine
Looks Messy right? That’s part of the fun. Family style serving dishes. We all ordered and shared out our portions from the pots you see in the middle. Basmati Rice, Curry Chicken.
satay
Beef Satay (Beef Skewers, Peanut sauce, steamed rice)
satay2
The brown square beneath the Beef skewers contains steamed rice. You open it when you’re ready eat

A signature trait of the Long Bar is the coating of emptied peanut shells on the floor of the bar. It is customary to have a few peanuts when you come in and throw the shells on the floor.

long bar
The Steakhouse portion of the Long Bar, the actual bar is home to the proclaimed best Singapore Slings in Singapore
singapore sling
Gloria and I with our Singapore Slings’

There are some traditional western fast food options there as well, including McDonald’s, Starbucks, 7-Eleven and even Popeyes. Some of the menus were slightly altered to include some of the more domestic flavors. For example, the curry chicken puff sold at the 7-Eleven was pretty good.

With so many options you could spend your entire time in Singapore just eating. But with many other things to do, why would you? I can easily say Singapore with all of its varied cultures, attractions and eats, presents a pleasing experience on the whole.

Singapore By Tash

Really flying…yesterdays a thousand miles away“- Hoodoo Gurus

Waking up in Singapore for the first time was amazing not just because of the beautiful view from my sister’s apartment but because of the time difference; I was awake while everyone else was asleep.

IMG_0648
The view from my sister’s balcony the morning/night I arrived

Day one in Singapore was awesome. My niece and nephew were my personal tour guides which made the transition into this new country an easy one. Being shown the hangout spots and meet up areas that I probably would have bypassed had I not been with them made me think of all the areas New Yorkers know about that tourist won’t even think to look twice at or visit.

Many of the local hangouts in Singapore are primarily malls or outdoor food courts where the locals can come and sit around either between classes or during lunch breaks. The simplicity of these hangouts might be overlooked by tourists, but it was important for me to experience the essence of everyday life among the locals while there. The Ion Orchard is the “it” mall in Singapore city. Most of the malls use a tier system where the more popular, upscale and expensive brands are on the ground level and above, while the more affordable brands are downstairs.

Tasha Fact: If you get a Starbucks itch while walking through the mall, try a cheaper local delicacy instead. My tall frappe from Stbx was almost 8 Sing-yikes.

DSCN1715
Striking a pose amongst the professionals outside the ION Orchard

Areas like Holland Spring are another facet of the tourist-local blend in Singapore. Really popular for its low-key atmosphere and local amenities like supermarkets and convenience stores (i.e the 7-eleven behind me), its where many expats on a budget live. Overall, Holland Springs gave me a taste of what the everyday experience of shopping and living there might be.

Tasha Fact: Massages are a big thing in Singapore so finding a spa or massage parlor is really easy to do. The one behind me is on Holland Spring Road and offers really great foot massages for cheap.

get3(3)Walking the streets of the city was definitely an experience. I had so much fun people watching; just walking around observing the locals and some of their traditions was really awesome. Traveling throughout the different areas presented another interesting aspect of life there.

Singapore is notorious for its fines. Whether in a taxi or on the bus or train, fines for eating or drinking while en route can be as high as 500 Sing. So needless to say I kept the cover on my bottle of water screwed tight.

Tasha Fact: Singapore is known for being one “fine” city. Chewing gum is illegal in Singapore and fines for this petty offense can reach as high as 500 Singh.

The Singapore MRT (Mass Rapid Transit) system is very similar to New York’ s MTA system except a lot cleaner. The EZ-link passes for riding the train are slightly different. If you’re from New York or have ever visited then you’re familiar with a metrocard. In NYC there’s a flat fare of $2.50 which allows you to travel the entire subway system. In Singapore however, when you enter the train station or a bus you tap your EZ-link card and when you exit you tap it again. The card is charged for the distance traveled, and don’t forget to tap when you get off or they’ll keep charging you.

IMG_0682
The view of a roundabout from a pedestrian overpass. Not featured in this pic many of the MRT buses are double deckers

DSCN1718Even though I stayed with family for this trip I was the only one actually on vacation. The family however was in the midst of preparing to move back to the States, so for the remaining days we stayed at the Orchard Marriott in Singapore city. This is probably one of the more expensive hotels costing about 400 Sing a night (or $300 USD). There are definitely more budget friendly hotels that you could consider. With local events and activities going on all around you, I doubt you’ll even remember what the inside of your hotel room looks like.

IMG_0905
The Singapore Marriott within walking distance of the ION Orchard mall.

Throughout much of the city, especially around the malls, I noticed random pop-up tents and stands with presentations of different products or events. Singapore is very fashion friendly-even the renowned luxury brand Louis Vuitton had their third presentation of their Fall/Winter 2014 collection while I was in town.

IMG_0676

This lady is eating an ice cream bar inside a slice of bread, which I came to find out was a local treat. Talk about local delicacies

IMG_0674
This tent was for Audi Fashion Festival that was happening that week.
get4 (3)
With some of the models from the Fall/Winter 2014 Louis Vuitton presentation. *For some perspective I’m about 5’8″ in this picture 😮

The local experience was fascinating and that was without even trying, so just imagine the wonders the city has in store for its tourist.

Taste of Europe-Food!

“When the moon hits your eyes like a big pizza pie that’s Amore”-Dean Martin

I loved the food in Europe and looked forward to it as well. To be honest I was a little disappointed in Italy’s food. Maybe I didn’t go to the right restaurants, so please don’t hold this statement against me on my next visit, but I really expected Italian food to be orgasmic and it was blahhh! Italian pizza is actually delightful though. We drank vino/vin a lot with our dinner. When in Europe…do what the Europeans do was our motto and they love wine!

How we chose restaurants? At random. If the price was right we were there. If not we kept moving and literally walked around until we could all agree on a reasonably priced restaurant who’s menu accommodated all of our taste buds. I think we only ate at McDonalds once, and that was a snack. We tried to indulge in the delicacies of each of the countries as much as possible.

London

Kydee Williams
Fried Haddock and Chips

France

Kydee Williams
Duck, Chicken, Beef and Pasta (although you can’t see my pasta) in Paris

Italy

Kydee Williams
Seafood delight in Venice
Kydee Williams
Italian Treats

Spain

Kydee Williams
I still dream about the Mussels

Amsterdam

Kydee Williams
Ahh! The treats we brought back to our hotel in Amsterdam was heavenly…

24 Hours in Amsterdam

“Is this love, is this love, is this love, is this love that i’m feeling” -Bob Marley

Amsterdam was the country I looked forward to the most (shhh, don’t tell anyone). For years, this place have gotten a bad rap for being a “druggies” paradise. But did all the rumors have some truth to it? That’s what I sought to find out.

IMG_3353When we arrived into the Amsterdam Schiphol Airport, we were amazed by it’s beauty. By far, this was the best airport we’ve been to all trip. The charging stations immediately captivated Taurie and I. In order to charge your phone you had to pedal a bicycle to get “juice”. We stayed in the airport for at least an hour roaming around.

IMG_3357IMG_3354

We found our hotel without a hassle because it was in the airport. Citizen M was the best hotel ever. Everything was high-tech and contemporary. I checked in using a touch-screen computer. The room was controlled by a single remote. The vibes in Amsterdam were all good!

Kydee Williams When we went downstairs to figure out how to get into the city’s center, the concierge gave us a map and told us we had to take the bus because the trains were under construction. I studied the city’s train system but not their bus system and was afraid we would get lost. Luckily, it worked out all in our favor. We caught a bus and got off at Museumplein, which was ways before we should have gotten off but allowed us to see the IAMAMSETERDAM sign and the Van Gogh Museum.

Kydee WilliamsKydee Williams Kydee WilliamsLater, we took a tram to Central Station and sought to find the Red Light District. It was still light out, but walking through that district scared us. The beautiful women in the windows just ready to be sold for sexual favors was discomforting. We were on our way out of the district when Taurie asked if we could stop at the Bull Dog coffee shop because she was super tired and needed an espresso shot. I laughed so loud and exclaimed:

“Girl do you know what coffee shops stand for in Amsterdam”

“Coffee right?”

“No, Marijuana”

This time we both laughed so hard we could barely contain ourselves.

Kydee Williams

Kydee WilliamsKydee WilliamsThe Anne Frank Museum was a must do while there. This museum single-handedly changed my life. I’m not trying to sound cliché but it shook me to my core. Just being in that small attic was overwhelming. Only 70 years ago, this young woman was forced to hide out in an attic because she was Jewish. However she didn’t let her enslavement shake her. She had dreams and high hopes that she would make it out alive. Anne was a writer, and one day hoped to become a famous journalist. She wanted the basic freedoms that we too often take for granted. It’s amazing how God works sometimes. Anne’s dreams came true but she never reaped the benefits of it in life. I am inspired by Anne Frank because I am Anne Frank. I went on this trip searching for the same freedom of living life on my terms, just like she yearned for. I too, want to be known for writing amazing books. I want to be free just like she wanted to be free, to travel the world and experience different cultures. She inspired me to keep dreaming and keep doing. I left that museum a changed woman. The world would be mine, unapologetically.

Kydee WilliamsKydee WilliamsKydee WilliamsKydee WilliamsKydee Williams Something that was extremely commendable about Amsterdam is that no matter how far they’ve come from their dark history of Nazi invasions and mass murders, it still brings that past, which made them stronger, into their present and future. I actually saw a billboard by a library that had a picture of Dutch people from the past (circa 1930’s ) and Dutch people from the present which further reinforces the importance of blending periods as inspiration for progression.

I realized that as human beings, we too should never forget where we came from on the path to bettering ourselves. I couldn’t help but be reminded by how far this city and all of the European cities I visited have come. One of the many beauties of Europe is that they preserve remnants from their past in the midst of modernizing their present which is something we all can appreciate and why millions of tourists are drawn there annually.

Kydee Williams Kydee Williams Kydee Williams The Dutch people are some of the nicest and most welcoming people I’ve encountered. They sang songs loudly as they rode their bicycles throughout the streets. The serenity that I received in Amsterdam was one that can only be experienced by visiting this city.

Kydee WilliamsKy’s Verdict: Amsterdam is one of the most amazing city’s in Europe and I just fell in love with it’s beauty. From the cool trams to the canals and lofty buildings, it’s just one of a kind. Mercedes Benz Taxi Cabs along side bike riding enthusiast is just one of the many disparities that only makes sense in Amsterdam. I just wanted to be there a little longer. Amsterdam, is not the city filled with stoners and prostitutes like some people believe it is. It has a laid back, no worries kind of vibe and the Dutch people are so friendly. On my flight to the Netherlands I sat next to a Dutch woman who was completely maternal. She took care of me the whole ride making sure I had food and drinks because she knew how exhausted I was. She made small talk and just was a pleasure to be around. I knew from that moment my experience in this country would be one of a kind. I think I discovered my nirvana.

Oh Paris, how I love thee!

Excuse my french but i’m in France- Kanye West

Paris is everything and more, Ahhhh! I could barely contain my excitement. Once we got off the Eurostar we needed to catch the 1 train going to Louvre-Rivoli, which meant we had to transfer trains with all our bags (the horror). Anyway, the train ride from Gare Du Nord wasn’t that bad and once we got out of the station, our hotel was literally one block away.

Kydee Williams Kydee williamsI will never forget that feeling of walking onto the streets of Paris. It was absolutely stunning and everything I’d ever dreamed of. We got dressed in our “Paris outfits” and headed across the street to the Louvre.

Kydee Williams Kydee Williams Kydee Williams Kydee WilliamsThe Louvre was absolutely breathtaking and I don’t believe I have the words that will do this museum any justice. It’s so vast and beautiful.

Kydee Williams

Kydee Williams

Kydee Williams Kydee Williams Kydee WilliamsKydee WilliamsWe headed back to the hotel to get our jackets because it was getting chilly and took the metro to Champs Elysees. This boulevard was beautiful. Decked in striking lights, lively people and amazing shops, I was so excited to finally be on the avenue that I learned about for years in French class.

Kydee Williams Kydee Williams

IMG_3342

IMG_2090Aux Champs Elysee was the hymn my French teacher would sing to us and I couldn’t get it out of my head. You know when you make up your own words to a song because you have no idea what the artist is saying? Well I did that for years and recently googled the actual lyrics…what kind of song was this?

Aux Champs Elysees

Aux Champs Elysees

Y a d’la cocaine

Des prostituees

Et de l’herorine a bon marche

Il y a tout ce que vous voulez aux champs elysees

Kydee WilliamsWe found a cute restaurant and experienced french food at its best. I had Smoked Salmon Pasta which was tres magnifique. We finally got to the end of the Champs Elysees and encountered L’Arc De Triomphe. It was beautiful but under construction. All roads lead to the arc, it seemed.

IMG_2078 IMG_2747Champs Elysee was “the spot” and we found ourselves back there later that night, when we went to Club 79. To make a long and pathetic story short, we couldn’t get in. There were over 200 people waiting outside and we were four of them. We tried to pull our “But we’re American” stunt but they were not having it.

IMG_2101

Kydee WilliamsKy Tip: When going out, be on time. Other countries don’t operate like we do in the States. It’s best to be the first one at the club rather than the ones trying to get in. Try to be out of your hotel at 8PM the latest

I could care less about being in a club, I was in Paris and in complete awe by how edgy and cool everyone is. Cigarettes, wild hair, red lips and a black ensemble seemed to be the style. Parisienne style was so me! That night we took a cab home and sang “Drunk in Love” as we drove along the Seine River. Oh, What a night!

Kydee Williams