What Charmin Bears Love: Food|Dogs|Sephora

Our foodie instincts take over when we're out and about.

Bristol: Beehive Cafe

Beehive Cafe @ 10 Franklin St

10.14

Tommy and I stopped by a local cafe after our trip to the farm. We ordered banana bread and orange passion cake to eat. We slurped down the pastries with a honey pot expresso drink and caramel latte. Upon ordering our pastries, I noticed a few flies and mosquitos inside the bakery window – landing and flying around the baked goods. I told the server and she said, “well it’s a humid day and the door is open”…like it happens all the time…I was pretty much appalled, but still ordered. We came to this cafe because of stellar reviews on Yelp…but, I’m afraid I will have to pass up on the next opportunity to dine here. Who knows what else is lurking in the kitchen. We snacked upstairs. It was quiet, relaxing and overlooked the waters.

Beehive Cafe - Carrot Cake and Banana Bread

Beehive Cafe - Carrot Cake and Banana Bread

The banana bread was dry, but really… I think I make a better banana bread. The orange passion carrot cake was good though. A little on the sweet side, but expected of the frosting. It meshed well with the moist cake. The honey pot expresso drink was a concoction of espresso, milk and honey. According to Tommy, way too sweet!! He had the lady remake it. My caramel latte was perfect. Frothy and yummy :D

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Rhode Island: Seafood and Falafel

July 17
Daiki and Leslie drove me and the doggies back to RI since they had to attend a gala in RI. Mochi, Milo and me hitched a ride back home. Daiki wanted to try the famous falafel sandwiches down on Thayer Street. Seafood is also one of the best foods here in the Ocean State.

East Side Pockets @ 278 Thayer Street

East Side Pockets - Falafel Wrap

East Side Pockets - Falafel Wrap

I split one wrap or “pocket” with Leslie and they us 3 falafel rings while Daiki got 4 in his own. What’s up with that!??! The falafel rings are made from ground chick peas, garlic, vegetables with their own traditional organic spices…then fried in pure vegetable oil. Served with hummus, yogurt cucumber sauce and Syrian bread. The bread was soft and fluffy. Not a bad wrap at all! This was for an early lunch snack. We had to make room for a real late lunch meal.

Hemenway’s Seafood Grill & Oyster Bar @ 121 South Main St

Hemenway's - Crab and Lobster Cakes

Hemenway's - Crab and Lobster Cakes

I absolutely could not have resisted getting these appetizer crab and lobster cakes. Full of fresh flavors, chunks of crab and lobster, and served with a side of corn relish and tartar sauce. YUM!

Hemenway's - Lobster Chowder

Hemenway's - Lobster Chowder

Not too badddd! I finished the whole bowl with oyster crackers. Sprinkled with freshly crushed black peppers. At first, I was like, where is that lobster taste?! Then, as I kept sipping it, the flavors started to develop more and more.

Hemenway's - Surf and Turf

Hemenway's - Surf and Turf

So much food. The shrimps were stuffed with crabmeat and baked to golden perfection. The steak was decent. Tender and juicy still. The entree came with a caesar salad (not pictured) and my choice of one side. I picked the seasonal vegetables to balance out this surf and turf meal.

Hemenway's - Strawberries Shortcake

Hemenway's - Strawberries Shortcake

I thought it was a cake! But the original strawberries shortcake was actually fresh strawberries, glazed in syrup over a biscuit. Even though I wanted a the modern shortcake, this dessert was light and simple. Clean flavors with their homemade whipped cream!

Service was superb. The waiter suggested us a wine, refilled our water glasses, and checked up on our meals at proper times. The place was huge! Glass windows and a big patio for summer seating. Definitely come back for those crab and lobster cakes. I saw lobster basil raviolis on the menu, my next entree when I revisit!

– Charmin Bear J

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Revisiting RI: April 30

HONS – House of Noodle Soup @ 790 Reservoir Avenue, Cranston

After my dentist appointment, I knew I needed to sit down and reminisce on the good ol’ days in RI at HONS. The restaurant was bought out by one of my sister’s childhood friends’ family several years ago. They are Chinese, but can make a mean bowl of Vietnamese soup.

Hons - Fried Egg Rolls

Hons - Fried Egg Rolls

Pass on the egg rolls. I ordered them because I wanted something to munch on. There wasn’t much flavor or ingredients to make them taste that good. I only commend their frying skills, perfectly golden brown. Fish sauce was bland. Needed more oomph. I prefer my own homemade egg rolls and my mom’s fish sauce ;)

Hons - Steak and Meatball Pho

Hons - Steak and Meatball Pho

Nothing beats a good bowl of hot steamy Vietnamese noodle soup on a brisk cold morning. Phở, as it’s often called, is an aromatic rice noodle soup served with pieces of sliced raw beef or slivers of cooked chicken along side bean sprouts, Vietnamese basil and lime. Soup base varies, but the majority of broth is made with beef bones, onions, cinnamon and star anise. The soup base at HONS is delicious, I think, better than most Viet places. Proportions are good too. The small bowl filled me up just right. They have a range of sizes, up to extra extra large bowls. I always order sliced beef and meatballs. I’m not a fan of the normal tripe, tendon, and flank combo. With the meatballs and sliced beef, I would always dip it in a combination sauce made of sweet hoisin sauce and Sriracha hot sauce.

Four Seasons Restaurant @ 361 Reservior Ave
Took my family to dinner here. I wanted to treat my parents out since they rarely go out to eat. I ordered alot of dishes, just so I can finally blog about this place. I even saw old friends there. This is how small RI can be :)

Four Seasons - Spicy Thai Style Chicken Wings

Four Seasons - Spicy Thai Style Chicken Wings

One of my favorite appetizers is their spicy Thai style chicken wings. The skin on the wings are always crispy. They are salty and spicy since it’s tossed with jalepenos and chilies. Super addictive, especially after eating the first wing.

Four Seasons - Little Neck Clams with Black Bean Sauce

Four Seasons - Little Neck Clams with Black Bean Sauce

I’m not big on clams, but my parents loved it. I originally thought the dish had smaller clams tossed in black bean sauce. When they came out with a plate of hugeee clams, I was a little frightened. haha. I got to try a couple though. Sauce was good, savory but didn’t overpower the taste of the clams.

Four Seasons - Striped Bass with Ginger and Lemongrass

Four Seasons - Striped Bass with Ginger and Lemongrass

The striped bass was delicious. The combination of ginger and lemongrass goes really well with the fish. It’s a very Southeast Asian way of preparing whole fish. It was my mom’s favorite of the night.

Four Seasons - Garlic Peapod Stems

Four Seasons - Garlic Peapod Stems

This is a must order at any Chinese restaurant. Stir-fried with garlic and salt, peapod stems is a popular dish to eat family style.

Four Seasons - Yang Chou Fried Rice

Four Seasons - Yang Chou Fried Rice

Yang Chou fried rice has a mix of many ingredients. It is one of the more popular Chinese wok fried rice dishes. Some of the most common ingredients include rice, bbq chinese style pork (cha siu), baby shrimps, scallions, eggs, carrots, and peas. Despite the name, this dish does not originate from Yangzhou; instead, the recipe was invented by the Qing Dynasty’s Yi Bingshou (1754–1815) and the dish was named Yeung Chow fried rice since Yi was once the regional magistrate of Yangzhou (source from wikipedia).

Four Seasons - Combination Mi Ca Tang

Four Seasons - Combination Mi Ca Tang

I absolutely love mi ca tang! Wish I can make it as good as the chefs here. It’s a very popular Cambodian dish made with wide rice noodles in an oyster sauce. It’s typically stir-fried with eggs, baby corn, carrots, Chinese broccoli, mushrooms and a choice of meat, usually beef. It bears similarities to the Thai dish of Rad Na. For this particular dish, they omitted baby corn, carrots, and mushrooms. The sauce covers every noodle and it taste better with shrimp. For this dish, it was a combination of chicken, beef, and shrimp. Every time I eat here, I would order this! Last time I was here, they ran out of noodles. I was super sad :(

Four Seasons - Loc Lac

Four Seasons - Loc Lac

Loc Lac is another popular Cambodian dish. It is made with cubed beef, stir-fried (usually medium or medium-well) and served on a bed of raw sliced red onions, lettuce, cucumbers, and tomatoes. The best part of this dish is dipping each cube of meat in a sauce consisting of lime juice and black pepper. It is identical to the Vietnamese dish known as Bò lúc lắc. It’s perfect with Jasmine rice.

Four Seasons - Salaw Machu Kroeung

Four Seasons - Salaw Machu

Saving the best for last! Another great Khmer cuisine classic is their Salaw Machu, commonly known as the Cambodian Sour Soup. The sour soup base is made with tamarind. Recipes for soup bases vary, sometimes only tomatoes and pineapples are added to the tamarind soup base to get that sour taste. Nowadays, the powdered tamarind soup base (Knorr brand) can be easily used to achieve a similar flavor profile. For this particular dish, it called Salaw Machu Kroeung. “Kroeung”, in Khmer, collectively means “blended herbs and spices”. Along with its use of the tamarind soup base, galangal, lemongrass, Thai chilies, basil leaves, garlic, prahok, sugar, salt, and fish sauce are blended together to make the rest of the soup base. Ong choy, small Thai eggplants and a choice of meat are added for more flavor and texture. It takes about an hour to cook the soup, on top of prep time. The complexity and richness of Salaw Machu Kreoung makes the taste even more worthwhile for your tastebuds!

— Charmin Bear J

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Providence: May 13

Thai Star Restaurant @ 1088 Chalkstone Ave

I rushed back home from nyc to see my father in the hospital. He apparently had suffered another heart attack. Sometimes, I hate my siblings reunions because it only happens during family emergencies. :(

The four of us couldn’t decide on a restaurant, but I was craving for real spicy papaya salad. My brother Kien suggested this hole in a wall restaurant and it turned out to be a gem in ghetto Providence. Parking is very limited in the back. Upon walking in, the decor was of authentic Thai culture and customs. For example, a framed photo of the King of Thailand and Thai dancers in traditional costumes. The small restaurant has small booths along both sides while the middle section caters to bigger parties. My three other siblings and I each ordered our own dishes to share. I am only posting the worthy and memorable ones.

Often I would order Thai Iced Tea because it’s refreshing and calming to the palette, especially if you’re eating spicy food. Thai Star has amazing Thai Iced Tea. It was perfectly sweetened to my taste. I even convinced my little sister Ilene to order one.

Thai Star - Thai Iced Tea

Thai Iced Tea

First appetizer I ordered was their papaya salad or “Som Tom” in Thai. It is usually a dish made with unriped papaya, chopped peanuts, cherry tomatoes, lime juice, and chili peppers and eaten with sticky rice. However, this one surpassed my expectations of an ordinary papaya salad. The cooks here make this dish with shrimp paste!! <3 Majority of Thai restaurants that I have been to do not use shrimp paste because some people may be turned off by the pungent smell of it. Shrimp paste is a fermented condiment made of sun-dried shrimp. It is not suppose to be eaten raw, yet fully cooked before consuming. It is commonly found in curries, stews, and as a dipping sauce for seafood and fresh veggies in many Southeast Asian and southern Chinese cuisines. It definitely adds another depth of taste and smell to food. As spicy as the som tom was (I was basically tearing up), I can go back for seconds any day!

Thai Star - Som Tom

Spicy Som Tom

The House Fried Rice was ordered because it was also cooked with shrimp paste in it :) Another beautiful dish! Spicy fried rice with fresh green snap peas, plump shrimps, eggs, and bean sprouts.

Thai Star - House Fried Rice

House Fried Rice

It seems like I always order the same kinds of dishes when I enter a Thai restaurant. Its either a spicy basil dish or their pad see ew. It’s a way for me to judge how good their food is =P At Thai Star, I ordered the Pad See Ew noodle dish. I have got to say, they rocked this dish! Pad see ew is often made with stir-fried wide rice noodles, soy sauce, chinese broccoli, eggs, shrimp, carrots. Great flavor! Not too much soy sauce so it’s not too salty. Their portions was also good enough to share. My brother Minh couldn’t keep his paws off my dish.

Thai Star - Pad See Ew

Pad See Ew

Overall, good service, excellent food, but ghetto location! Ever since I’ve been to Thai Star, I’ve craved for their Som Tom since I can’t find good ones here in NY. These dishes are definitely a must reorder when I go home to visit again.

– Charmin Bear J

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