Tag Archives: travel

Restaurant Review: Los Arrieros Restaurant

Los Arrieros Restaurant

If you follow me on Twitter, you probably are aware that I’ve recently traveled to New York. Today’s restaurant review is from a Colombian restaurant in Jackson Heights called Los Arrieros.

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As I search for this place on Google I am surprised to see so many mixed reviews. I personally REALLY enjoyed our drive into Fernandina and the brunch we had at Jack & Diane’s this morning.

The drive to Fernandina Beach was so relaxing. My husband drove the whole hour while I just took in the scenery in the passenger seat. Ruben never minds driving long distances and for that I am so thankful. I had no idea what our destination was – just that we were going to eat breakfast somewhere new. This week we were in Mayport because I was on duty and this morning was my time to rest in between nightly watch shifts.

During the drive we took the St. Johns River ferry – this was my first time ever riding a ferry in a car. You are allowed to get off the car while the ferry is crossing the river and take pictures or just take in the waterway.

After a little more driving we got into a little town that for some reason reminded me of Stars Hollow (a pretend Connecticut town of the old show Gilmore Girls) even though the city in the show wasn’t near a beach – but this area of Fernandina didn’t scream beach town (no surf board & bathing suit stores in sight).

Side note that has nothing to do with the restaurant in this post: I always found it interesting that Gilmore Girls ended and Gossip Girl started in the same year (2007). Two words; similar titles. The end of one type of show and the beginning (to me anyway) of a new show for teens to watch that was so racy. I still love Gossip Girl. But shows that started up after this like 90210 (among others) were just too sexy for me to deal with. The dirty drama is so bad for teenagers to watch. They are adult shows (please make sure you know what your kids are watching). *End rant*

BACK to this post…

So we get to Jack & Diane’s and right away I feel a good vibe. There was so much to describe about this place so I took a lot of photos (sorry if you feel that’s lazy on the writing portion here hehe).

The feel of the small place is very homey. My husband and I discussed that it is obviously a home with a couple walls knocked out to make the open space of the dining area. I wouldn’t host a wedding reception here, but the place is very comfortable and the staff was very friendly.

+Cool Points & +Community Points

The walls are covered with local art for sale. There is also a small little area where collectibles are sold (travel memorabilia of the town, wine made locally, and business cards of a few local entrepreneurs).

The first (and only) negative I saw to this place was how extensive their menu is. A place that has more than 30 options sounds ridiculous. BUT after eating the food I realized that every entree must be good if they feel it’s important to leave it in. This means the ONLY negative of this place is retracted and I actually found nothing wrong with Jack & Diane’s. I would definitely recommend.

My meal was the Carne Asada & Eggs ($11) (hash made of regular and sweet potato, really diced up fries, eggs, steak/carnita in jalapeno)

I could not get enough of my food. This came with flour tortillas for me to build my own and everything tasted so great. Each piece was individual and full of flavor but complimented each other so well. I would definitely eat this again.

Ruben’s meal was the Mel’s Bagel Sandwich ($8) (bagel, ham, egg, and cheese) which came with the house remoulade, in addition he ordered the mango salsa to try – it’s obvious he went a little safe here, but he did say it was all very good.

I would say give them a try, but don’t bash the place for not being your “type” of place. Make sure you describe things constructively. I really did enjoy this place.

Related links:
St. Johns River Ferry (Website), (Here is the schedule)
Gilmore Girls (website with information if you’ve never heard of the show)
Trip Advisor (reviews) – I could recognize the table’s design so I know the picture on there is legit.
Urbanspoon – I cannot believe the “Like” percentage is so low. Hopefully my review will show more detail of the ambiance before some people head over with the wrong expectations.
Jack & Diane’s (official site)

Jack & Diane's on Urbanspoon

Thanks for reading,
Zulaika H.

Follow Me on Pinterest for easy sharing of my reviews and recipes and a bunch of other fun stuff on there.

After breakfast at Fatty’s Cafe and submitting some homework for my online class, we headed to Times Square to see the sights (it’s about 4 p.m.). We planned to attend a show by the Discovery Channel on Spies and the history of special agents. After climbing back on street level, we stopped in this very much tourist filled cafe called Europa Cafe.
My husband had been to it before and so knew we’d find a quick snack.

The sense you get when you walk into Europa Cafe is that it is very touristy. That’s okay, we’re in Times Square, right? The place is very clean and so organized. I was most impressed on their Snapple flavor selection – they had everything. Of all the places we visited on our weekend trip no one bodega had them beat (at least 25 flavor options). We collected so many Snapple caps on our trip that I made them part of our scrapbook (maybe I will digitize and share that later).

Aside from our regular drink of choice, we opted to share a dessert. Both of us love tiramisu (and sweets in general). The tiramisu from Europa Cafe is very good. It was creamy and luscious all at the same time. It also seemed to melt in your mouth… definitely recommend if you’re ever at this spot. It’s worth getting past the tourist crowd.

I’m realizing that there are still a few more places I have to post about from our trip of only a few days. We really pigged out! Can’t wait to post part 5 – which will still be about this adventurous Sunday.

Related links:
Urbanspoon page for Europa Cafe
Europa Cafe website (can place catering orders, see menu, etc.)

Europa Cafe on Urbanspoon

Thanks for reading,
Zulaika H.

Follow Me on Pinterest for easy sharing of my reviews and recipes and a bunch of other fun stuff on there.

This morning we went out for a late breakfast with a friend. It wasn’t planned so we just searched for a random location and this happened to be it.

This the the awning outside… so you get the jist of their “decorations”.

Super quick description: Greek, diner, regular-tasting, lots of seating, and overall not fantastic (food), service was fine.

The Menu – one of the obvious signs this is an “old” place.
There is some definite wear and tear on these.

I had pancakges, eggs, hash browns, bacon, and orange juice (basic diner test plate) and everything tasted authentically “diner-ish” . Greasy – nothing extraordinary about it.

It wasn’t the worst experience, but it is unlikely that we will ever return.

Related links:
Urbanspoon (restaurant page) – I gave it an “I don’t” like.
Google+ page (scored a 13)

3rd Street Diner on Urbanspoon

Thanks for reading,
Zulaika H.

Follow Me on Pinterest for easy sharing of my reviews and recipes and a bunch of other fun stuff on there.

The mention of Astoria always reminds me of New York, low-key fashionistas, and now it also reminds me of the very cool brunch Ruben and I had at a place called Fatty’s Cafe. Today actually marks a whole month since our visit, but the experience is my favorite from the entire trip (to be beat only by breakfast at Tom’s – more on that another time).

Part of me wishes I would have taken more photos of the ambiance, but I was too excited to think twice of it. Fatty’s is a small cafe on the corner of Ditmars Blvd. and Crescent St. When you approach it, you might almost miss how perfectly awesome it is. If you go, (and weather permits) request to be seated out on the patio. You’ll walk on the sidewalk to the back of the building to enter a whole new realm. Instantly, we felt as if it wasn’t even New York anymore. The atmosphere is that different.

Your order is taken – drinks first of course. Take note: Each brunch entree ($15) comes complete with your choice of a Orange, Mango, or Pineapple Mimosa. I am pretty sure we all chose Mango flavored. I also couldn’t help but to order and try their “Cafe con Leche” (espresso with sweetened warm milk). It was really good…

But let’s remember my husband is Cuban – and no one makes a cafe con leche like he does.

At any rate, Fatty’s cafe con leche did not disappoint.

Ruben had Steak, eggs and home fries (which he thought would be fries and not potato chunks) he didn’t eat the potatoes. I tried not to crop this photo too much so you could see the natural light we were basking in 🙂

I ordered pancakes, eggs and bacon – and sadly could not eat it all. But really tried!

I enjoyed visiting this place, and it is very hard to put into words the feeling of comfort you get by coming here. The servers were friendly, the food was good, and there were no negatives. I don’t know when our next trip to New York will be, but I would not hesitate going to Fatty’s again. Please feel free to share your reviews as well if you’ve ever gone – I’d love to know what the other food was like.
Related links:
Fatty’s Cafe, Google Plus page – Scored a 22 in Zagat

Fatty's Cafe on Urbanspoon

Thanks for reading,
Zulaika H.

Follow Me on Pinterest for easy sharing of my reviews and recipes and a bunch of other fun stuff on there.

This past week my husband and I went on a trip to NYC. I know I keep saying this on Twitter, but I really have a bunch of stuff to share with you all and will post them soon. Come back these next few weeks as I share some of what we ate within just a few days in the Big Apple.

The first meal for this series could not be more appropriate. As soon as we dropped off our luggage we headed to the BEST Chinese place in China Town. WO HOP  

Wo Hop (Basement Level) on Urbanspoon

Picture this – my husband and I come up from the subway into China Town in the POURING RAIN. We had to buy a pair of umbrellas at the first shop we passed. I was wearing my Sperry’s and so my feet were SOAKED!! Finally we see it – we race down the steps to get out of the rain.

We were both relieved and excited. My husband had been here before, but it was my first time. Luckily we got there just a little after 11 a.m. and so there wasn’t a line of people waiting outside to eat (the inside doesn’t seem to be large enough for more than 40-60 customers at a time).

It was really like we traveled back in time to a restaurant that didn’t care it was 2012. The walls were covered with photos – There isn’t a way to know what color the paint is in the room. The people in the pictures taped/hung were a mix of actors, musicians, random television personalities and “regular” people. Many were autographed. By the booth we sat in I saw a couple high school student IDs. Anyone who wanted to leave their mark basically had the option to in any way they wanted. It was very different, and made the room seem even smaller.

There’s an image on Obsession Confession (a blog) if you’d like to see what it’s like – here’s the link

As we waited for our food (about 10 minutes or less for the entrees), we got to see a couple tables full of men working… apparently the kitchen is too small to prep back there. A couple (senior members of the kitchen) cleaned fresh snap peas and 3 or 4 others were working on prepping dumplings. It was really cool to witness them doing this – really made the experience feel that much more authentic.

Before our entrees were served I had wonton soup (about $2) just because I love it and wanted to know if they had the goods… Their fried wonton are 75 cents (do not come with the soup). They tasted as if they were fried on the spot because they were still warm.

I was not disappointed, but found it surprising they did not put chives in the broth. Still very good.

As an entree I ordered BBQ spare ribs, which I’d rate a 7 out of 10 – the smaller cuts of meat were a little tough from being overcooked. The larger ribs were juicy and tasty. Ruben ordered Honey Crispy Beef which to be completely honest did not look appealing to me at first (and is NOT crispy). It’s a breaded steak, which is then bathed in a sweet syrupy sauce and served. I tried it and did really like it. Unfortunately I was too full to have a real serving of it. My husband really liked it.

We also ordered Beef Fried Rice to share. It was very good.

Something to make note of is the fact that they do not serve soft drinks or a variety of beverages at all actually! Water or Tea – that is all.

Overall Wo Hop lived up and exceeded my expectations. I look forward to eating there again whenever we visit next. The portions are very big and can easily be shared between 3-4 hungry people. This is probably why everyone loves it. You don’t have to take my word for it though – it has hundreds of positive reviews. I haven’t found a negative one yet!

Google Search (see the positive notes just in the results!)
Google Plus page (Rated a 22 in Zagat)
NY Mag profile page
Wo Hop Chinese Restaurant’s Official Site (the simplicity of the site shows they’d rather be serving food than making it sound and look good. They KNOW their stuff is good!)

After our lunch my husband and I continued with sightseeing – luckily we had cooperative weather for the rest of the day.

As always, thanks for reading – please come back for my continuation of this series from my NYC trip.

Zulaika H.

Follow Me on Pinterest for easy sharing of my reviews and recipes and a bunch of other fun stuff on there.