Category: Review

LOL Bubble Tea & Coffee – Fayetteville, NC – Review

This is my 3rd time visiting this place and every time, they don’t disappoint. I think their shop name is pretty funny.

How I Found Out?: My friend told me about by bragging how he got bubble tea through snapchat. Then I looked it up on Yelp.

Why Posting About it so Late?: I was being a turtle these days…

Address: 5044 Yadkin Rd, Ste 101, Fayetteville, NC 28303
Phone: (910) 758-9439
Hours:
    Tue-Sun: 11am – 9pm

Bubble Tea (Drink): I’ve tried their Strawberry Slush, Caramel Milk Frost, Green Milk Tea. All 3 of the drinks were all up to standards. I like how they don’t overly sweeten their drinks.

Pudding: The pudding is an optional addition to your drinks. I’ve tried milk & custard so far. Their custard pudding was really good. It had good consistency and flavor, without overpowering the drink’s flavor. Milk pudding had the same consistency as the custard one, except it had a very powdery favor, which was a downer. If you’re trying out pudding, I would recommend going with custard.

Bubble Tea/Boba Pearls: Referred to as bubble tea or boba, this is probably the main reason you go to a bubble tea shop. Their boba pearls were chewy, but slightly more leaning towards the cooked side.

It’s essential to control the temperature and the duration when cooking boba pearls. Overcooking it would loose the chewy texture, but undercooking it would make it too hard and allow it to freeze when it’s inside cold drinks. So finding the very balance and ratio is the key to happy customers. 

Egg Waffle: There are a lot of flavor options to choose from. I chose milk chocolate. It’s very good. The edges are crunchy/soft. The egg part is fluffy and soft. Just a good balance. I actually saved leftovers to eat later in the day and when I tried it hours later, it was still good despite a slight decrease in the crispiness.

Popcorn Chicken: There are spiciness level options to choose from for this one. I went for the spicy option [as always]. I found the little pieces of I think it’s spinach? adorable. The green color creates a nice contrast with the saturated orange tones. Each piece of the popcorn chicken had a crispy exterior and a chewy interior. The spiciness made each bite more enjoyable. I think the cute, hot pink cup it comes in also does a great job of igniting the appetite within you.

Overall, my experience at this bubble tea joint was nothing but excellent. The staff are bubbly, bright, and friendly.

I would give LOL Bubble Tea & Coffee 5/5 stars!

Grilled Ginger – Fayetteville, NC – Review

Eye spy with my little eye, a very popular and delicious Vietnamese Restaurant! This restaurant is located in a plaza with buildings colored in hues of white and sky blue. I’ve read very good reviews about this place, but have yet to try till recently.

Address: 5052 Yadkin Rd, Fayetteville, NC 28303
Phone: (910) 867-6226
Website: http://www.grilledginger.com
Hours:
   Mon-Tue, Thur-Sat: 11am – 8:30pm
   Wed, Sun: Closed 

I went on a Friday evening with my friend, Tasha.

Occasion: It just happened to be right across from the bubble tea shop we were planning to go. And since both of us did not eat dinner yet, it was just a perfect opportunity.

First Impression: Taking my first couple steps into the restaurant through their door, my impression was, “Wow… very crowded. As expected for a popular spot.”

One of the waitresses led us to our seats. She kept on apologizing for having to clean the booth up for us. I know it’s the asian culture, so as a fellow asian, I reassured that she was doing a fine job and no need for apologies.

There were lots of long tables for larger groups in the middle and booths for smaller parties along the walls. The overall interior design and color choices was reflection of the Vietnamese culture. It was very elegant and bright.

I like how they chose warm colors like muted pink and red. Red is a very good choice for a restaurant because it is a color that evokes appetites.

For appetizer we got their A4. Egg Rolls. The presentation of the 2 nicely fried egg rolls were very cute.

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It reminded me of a hammock. Absolutely love the mixture of wood, aluminum and ceramics. It surprisingly makes a good combination. It’s also very clever to have the egg rolls sit on top of pile of finely sliced carrots and lettuce to balance out the color scheme too.

For the main meal, I ordered their B3. Hot Chili Pork Spare Ribs.

They have 3 level of spiciness for this, I went for the medium level. I love the little pot the ribs came in, especially the wooden basket to support it and help carry the hot content. I think this is a very good idea because pots such as the one shown in the picture above become very hot and to have wooden basket at the bottom will make carrying it around much safer for the servers and customers as well. I was impressed by how well the ribs were cooked. It was very easy to slide the meat off the bones. The flavor was sweet & spicy, which is what I go head over heels for!

Pay: You can pay up at the counter. If you want to take some leftovers to-go, then just go up front to ask for a food container. This is because it’s usually crowded and the servers are preoccupied most of the time. It’s must faster for you to take the initiative to go up to the front desk to ask for the things you need.

Service: The service was good. All of the waitresses were polite and helpful. It was sort of funny to find out that there were 3 waitresses, but each of them had a specific role. So if I asked a waitress in charge of bringing drinks about our food, she would call for the waitress in charge of that specific role to come instead of just addressing the situation herself. But it didn’t really bother me at all. I just found it a little amusing.

Overall, my experience to Grilled Ginger was a good one. If you are looking for a good Vietnamese restaurant, I definitely recommend this one. Tbh, I personally like this one over the other restaurant a little ways over.

I would give Grilled Ginger 5/5 stars.IMG_0965.33270804

Panera Bread – Skibo, Fayetteville, NC – Review

Panera Bread has clearly established itself as one of the most favored shops. I’m pretty I’m not the only who would always crash at a nearby Panera Bread to do my homework and write my long papers.

Panera is known for their healthy and delicious food. They have also developed their customer service to reach out to those who are unable to come to the shop by offering delivering services. Drive-thrus have become a common sidekick to recent Panera shops-attracting busy, on-the-go consumers as well.

I personally love the nice, calm, and soothing environment of Panera Bread. The interior has always had wood and their trademark shade of green to illustrate a natural, relaxing, homing place for people of various needs to come together. Every Panera I have been to has always been clean and cared by friendly staff. And somehow, its the style that never gets old. It’s a timeless design for sure!

One of my concerns when I go to a cafe or study spot is security of my belongings. I worry about leaving my belongings at the table to get my order sometimes if the current environment isn’t very ideally safe. So the fact that Panera brings your order to you is definitely a plus!

Today, I visited a nearby Panera in 11 months!! It’s been forever! I seriously missed my favorite study/munch spot so it was nice to stop by.

ADDRESS: 1933 Skibo Rd, Fayetteville, NC 28314
HOURS:
MON-SAT: 6AM-10PM
SUN: 7AM-10PM

I got 3 items:
– Green Passion Smoothie
– Pecan Braid
– Spinach & Bacon Souffle

My never-fail, go-to is their Green Passion Smoothie. It is just soooo good!! When I took a sip of it and tasted the exact same taste I’ve had back home…it was nostalgic. It felt like I was home once again. Just sitting in my neighborhood’s nearby Panera, enjoying my usual smoothie. I’ve never been away from home period and it’s been almost a whole year. Being able to taste and feel at home in a place located across the whole country in North Carolina was amazing. It helped re-energize me to keep going.

I’ve always liked anything with pecans, so I decided to give their Pecan Braid a try. Surely, it was good. It had a firm, but soft texture with good balance of sweetness and nuttiness. Definitely a great choice for a little dessert!

Before enjoying my sweet dessert, I filled my tummy up with a little souffle. This is my first time trying their souffle at all. Their Ham and Cheese one sold out before I reached the cashier, so I went with their Spinach and Bacon option. It was delicious! The souffle had a light, fluffy exterior with a slight crisp. When you sink your teeth into it, you come into contact with the soft, moist interior filled with warm cheese and spinach filling. It just hits the spot with the little bacon that’s resting on top to add a little boost. I thoroughly enjoyed taking each and every bite of my souffle and would definitely come back for more!

My overall experience with this Panera was up to expectations and left very satisfied! I’m happy that it’s within close distance and would love to visit when I can.

I give this Panera 5/5.

 

 

H Mart – Cary, NC – Review

H Mart isn’t something new, but it is to this area. This H Mart was established just recently and is the new Hot&Popular shopping/grocery spot to people dwelling in/around the area.

Address: 1961 High House Road, Cary, NC 27519
Phone: (919) 535-5900
Web: http://nj.hmart.com
Hours:
– Mon-Sun: 
9:00AM~9:00PM
Bike Parking: Yes
Accepts Android/Apple Pay: No

The front exterior of the newly established H Mart is quite a view to see. I personally love the style of it. It give a warm-homey, yet stylish feel.

When you enter the entrance, you will be faced with the produce area with the food court to the right and cosmetics to the left.

The cosmetics section is [as expected] very organized, bright, and white themed to give a clean/fresh look. It also gives the products the chance to pop and shine. For the most part, the most noticable products displayed has to be the ones from the brand Tony Moly.

Tonymoly-logo

Tony Moly is a well known brand, not only to the asian community, but also the international community. The brand is known for their adorably packaged products that works well as well as look incredibly cute.

Adjacent from the cosmetics section is the food court. It is hidden by a brick wall, but you will be able to tell because of the restaurant signs along the wall. The brown, brick interior really brings the warm and rustic elements to life. The color and flooring choices are clever because it looks clean and hides any missed mess.

The produce area is well organized and fully stocked fresh fruits and vegetables of various diversity. The quality of the produces I picked up were all fresh and good shape. As for the rest of the neighboring produces, they all seemed to be just as good.

They have a dedicated Kimchi Section packed with various types of kimchi. I personally am a kimchi eater [with a obsession] so this section definitely caught my eye. And I think any other kimchi eater would appreciate the dedication and the noticeable sign to boot.

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While browsing through a market, you cannot leave out the food sample booths set up all over the place. These booths are heavily concentrated near/towards the seafood section, which is on the opposite side of the kimchi section.

The seafood section is another sight to see with bustling groups of people sampling and lining up to get their fresh seafood tidied up by the friendly staff. I snapped a pic of the fresh shrimp displayed. They have separate pile for headless-shrimp & regular shrimp. I think that is a very good idea because as someone who loves cooking, I find it nice that they have two different preparation for different uses depending what you are planning on making.

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As expected, each aisle is very well organized in a very efficient and cleanly manner. I found it very clever how they hung tools needed to use the ingredients on top.

Last, but certainly not least, I’m going to cover their amazing bakery: Tous le Jours. This bakery is very well known franchise, that has established itself as one of the rising stars in the bakery business alongside Paris Baguette. Every H Mart is known for having a Tous le Jours bakery inside, so this was no surprise, but the interior and the decor was pretty on pointe!

I purchased some bread from here and I have to say, “Pretty Good~!” It’s hard to find korean bakery around here so it was nice to get a taste, but I do wish they had more variety than they had; however, I do understand the limited space issue so it was fine.

Overall, my experience and impression of the hot&new H Mart located in Cary, NC was great and have a lot of high hopes for it in the future. I do recommend paying a visit if you are in the area and are in need of asian food or just want a to grab a bite to eat.

I give this H Mart a 5/5 stars.

Pilot G2 Rollerball Retractable Gel Pen – Review

I have an obsession with stationery. Yes, I talking about notebooks, sticky notes, pens, pencils, erasers, and so on.

Because I love collecting stationery and comparing how different brands and collections work, I have a sensitivity towards them. So I thought I would give my two cents to what I think about Pilot’s G2 Rollerball Retractable Gel Pens.

I have recently started using these pens for 5 months now.

Why I got these: Cuz they’re everywhere!

Literally, these G2 pens can be found anywhere. It’s every easily accessible and seems have good reviews from other people around the globe, so I thought I would give these a try.

This pen is definitely not a fine point pen. It writes more like a medium point pen.

I wrote on a typical sticky note and a notebook to show how it writes. I personally like how it’s a good, solid black and not some bluish-black ink that some pens are known for. It glides across the surface very smoothly. It is very pleasant to write with.

As you can see, this pen does bleed; however, it’s not terrible. The bleeding on the notebook paper is much more noticeable. You should take this into consideration if you are thinking of using this pen for taking notes because if it bleeds, it may take up more paper than pens that don’t bleed.

Good Experience Duration: This pen lasts a pretty nice period, before it starts it’s blotting period. After you use up about half of the ink that it came with, the pen starts to leave blotches of ink as you write. This is something I wasn’t expecting, but it seems to be a consistent occurrence whenever I switch over to a new one. So keep an eye out for that.

Is this pen good for taking notes in class?: I personally would not take notes with this pen. Although it does write nicely, the way it starts to leave blotches of ink and accidentally smearing the ink while writing is an issue I consider inconvenient for note-taking.

Where do you recommend this pen?: I think this type of pen is best for office spaces where you just need a good pen to jot down memos and quick reminders–maybe occasional small notes, but not long ones.

Overall, I think this is a good pen to have around, especially if you like a bold writing pen.

I would rate this pen as 4/5 stars, considering the bleeding/smearing/blotching.

Vietnamese Restaurant – Review

Today, I found myself in a pickle trying to decide where to go exploring. Then I found a Vietnamese restaurant not too far off. It was sort of attracted to it because their very candid choice of name: Vietnamese Restaurant!

Address: 5352 Yadkin Rd, Fayetteville, NC 28303
Phone
: (910) 867-1108
Delivery
: No
Wifi
: No

Hours
:
Tue-Thur:
11am-10pm
Fri-Sat:
11am-10pm
Sun:
11am-9pm

When I walked in, I was welcomed by two staff members. They must’ve noticed I was korean, because the korean lady came to serve me. She spoke to me in korean in a polite manner. She first reset the table so it was for one-person and offer me anything to drink. I just got my usual go-to: water :).

She gave me plenty of time to look through the menu and came to me when I was ready.

I ordered:
– 1 Home Special Fried Rice
– 1 Combination Fried Rice (to-go)

I wasn’t really sure what I wanted, but it caught my eye that they actually labeled this as the “home special” dish. So I figured I would give it a try.


The dish came out fairly quickly in a simple white plate with red, decorative design around the edges. I’ve tried plenty of fried rice dishes from various Vietnamese restaurants back home in California. I sort of expected this one to be on the salty side, but it wasn’t. I had to scold myself for being so quick to judge. The rice was flavored just enough not to overpower the other ingredients. The rice and the various meats (shrimp, pork, chicken) went well together. Good balance indeed.

This dish didn’t seem to be made with MSG… because if I eat anything with MSG, I tend to drink a lot of water throughout the meal; however, I didn’t reach for my glass of water until I was done with my meal. I only took 2 sips and that was it.


As for the to-go Combination Fried Rice, it was packaged inside a typical to-go container and then wrapped within a smiley-face plastic bag–I thought that was cute. I ate it for dinner later on and it was just as good.


One thing I especially loved about this restaurant is that it wasn’t smelly. My usual worry about going to Vietnamese is of getting the strong smell of the food on my clothes (like pho)… but it was completely different. The restaurant was very clean and the smell of the food from other party was unable to be detected. My clothes didn’t stink after leaving the restaurant either. The entire place seemed to be well-ventilated so that was additional plus!

The staff was overall polite, nice, and very helpful except this one lady with glasses. She showed up towards when I was about to leave. She had a rude way of communicating. I figured it was the whole rude-asian thing. (In asian culture, showing respect to those older than you are big. So if some people find out that they are older than you, they sort of be rude to you because either way they know you would show respect to them). She only became slightly nicer after I she swiped my card lol. Can you believe that? She had that slight grin and I was half amused and half dumbfounded.

Overall, the food seems to be good. The service isn’t bad either. The environment in which you will be dining in is clean and well-ventilated. Don’t worry about getting too smelly unless you order something that has a strong scent.

I would give this place 4/5 stars.

Umami – Fayetteville, NC – Review 

This place seriously ring out “home” to me. I love the overall chill, neat, yet comforting vibe of this place. 
Today I came to get me some rolls and something to-go.
I had a Spider Roll + Crunchy Shrimp Tempura Roll


The Spider Roll had a unique appearance. The fried crab created the image of a spider indeed. The color contrast of the yellow-ish tempura and brown from the eel sauce balanced out well. The tempura crab had a good crunch and soft inner content. The roll was delicious and paired incredibly well with the eel sauce.


Crunchy Shrimp Tempura Roll is my go-to roll wherever. Like the Spider Roll, this was delectable as well. The Tempura shrimp had outer crunch and inner chewy/soft texture. However, it felt quite fresh. Unlike all the other Tempura shrimps I had prior that had dry, instant feeling, this one had freshness to it. It was better than any other Tempura Shrimp I had so far. The presentation was simple, yet refined.


I ordered a Matcha Milk Tea w/ Boba as well. Despite being a sushi bar, the boba here was very good. In fact, the texture of the boba pearls were better than the ones I had at a nearly boba joint. I get an impression that they have an attention for detail and precision. That’s something you don’t usually get from typical restaurants. This is my 3rd time visiting and they never disappoint.

I had Chicken Teriyaki Bowl to-go for dinner. It was just as delicious as the rest of their food. Everything from texture to flavor to presentation had good balance.
The service is good here. The waiter and waitress at this shop along with the kitchen crew are friendly and polite.

Overall, the shop is great when it comes to good and service. The interior is calming and calls out in modern-Japanese feel. I definitely recommend this place if you want a clean, casual, Japanese restaurant with good food.