4. Taste Kitchen

Taste Kitchen is one of my favorite restaurants in AA! The food is exceptional as they integrate Asian flavors into American dishes with different and unique ingredients, creating a great taste! So, if you’re ever in town and looking for good food, visit Taste Kitchen.

However there are limited spots and most of the time you have to be lucky to get a seat without a reservation (at least for me). Also, the tables are quite small, so you would be scrambling for space and there isn’t much privacy between you and the next table.

At the end it’s worth it. So grab yourself a reservation and enjoy the food.

Personally, I’ve visited Taste Kitchen 3 times, and so far I’ve enjoyed everything on the menu. Considering the taste, and the atmosphere of the restaurant, it’s a local favorite to treat/bring a visitor so many academic departments invite guest speakers/professors to this restaurant when they visit AA.

            20170418_193523

  As soon as you walk in through the doors, a server will greet you and ask if you have any reservations. On your unlucky days (if you don’t a reservation), you will be rejected right here. But, if you have a reservation, they’ll check your name and guide you to a table.

20170418_193519

Beside the podium (where the red bag is) there are hangers in which you can hang your coats. This was very useful in the winter when we had bulky winter gear, but the seats and tables were too small to fit all of our stuff.

20170418_190541Behind the chairs and bar, we see a glimpse of the kitchen. When your food is prepared, it is lifted onto the high top and the chef gives it a last inspection before your waiter brings it to you.

The waiters are friendly and very knowledgeable about the food within the restaurant. If you are unsure of what to get, feel free to ask for recommendations!

20170418_193514

On days when you can’t get a reservation, there may be some seats available in the bar area which you can take. Personally, I don’t enjoy eating at high tops because I like my feet in contact with the ground, but this is highly personal and you may enjoy high tops! In that case, you rarely have to make a reservation because the bar seats are nearly always available.

This night we ordered an entree (Fish tacos),

and two main dishes (Grilled Filet & Roasted Duck Breast).

20170418_190535

I really enjoyed the fish tacos, but my friend said it tasted too “fish-y”.

The first time I visited Taste Kitchen we ordered shrimp risotto as an entree and it was great. I highly recommend it, but it can be a little salty.

The two main dishes we ordered were great.

Our main dishes today (in comparison to the first time which was a 9.5/10) was 9/10. The roasted duck breast was great, but the grilled wasn’t great. Also, another great thing about Taste Kitchen is their potion size. It’s not to big and not too small (but it could quite small for some). I personally enjoy smaller portions as I like to grab a desert for the finale.

20170418_192118

The grilled filet was great in comparison to other steaks, but from Taste Kitchen I expected something more unique. If this were a normal steak house, I think I would have rated it a 8.5~9/10. The sauce and the tenderness were all good, but I was just hoping for that extra Asian twist.

20170418_192110

The roasted duck breast was better, and I would rate it a solid 9/10. It was tender and juicy with the Asian twist! I really enjoyed the texture, and the overall (although slightly bland) flavor of the dish.

The shaking beef and Berkshire grilled pork are also great dishes which I highly recommend you try!

20170418_193946Finally to the desert menu! So the desert menu…is great too, but I would only recommend it once as there isn’t a wide variety (unless you’re going for something with alcohol)

I’ve tried the lemon meringue and chocolate bodino squares previously which is a 8.5/10 and 8/10 respectively.

This time I tried the coconut panna cotta which would be a 7.5~8/10. It has the coconut flavor to it, but after 4 scoops, I didn’t want more. It feels like coconut and gelatin mixed together.

20170418_194842

I wouldn’t say it was fantastic, but then again it wasn’t bad either. I don’t think I would get it again though. However, if you are a coconut fan, you may enjoy it!

Overall, my experience with Taste Kitchen allows me to give it a rating of 9/10. The taste of the food is great, and if you are looking for quality food I would recommend this restaurant. In comparison to the other Asian fusion restaurant (Pacific Rim), I would recommend Taste Kitchen because it provides better food at a lower price.

If it’s graduation and your parents are in town, take them to taste kitchen. If it’s a chill night and you want great food, try taste kitchen. If you don’t know what to eat, and it’s a weekday in which you have free time (and money) to spend outside, try taste kitchen.

Well thank you for reading my blog and I hope you get to try Taste Kitchen if you are in Ann Arbor for any occasion!

Advertisements

3. Cafe Zola

The third restaurant I will introduce from my Ann Arbor Restaurant series is Cafe Zola!

Cafe Zola is my favorite brunch place and it’s a great location for instagram.

Cafe Zola

20170409_155855

Location: 112 W Washington St, Ann Arbor, MI 48104

Breakfast/Brunch: 7am – 4pm

Happy Hour: 4pm – 6pm

Dinner: 6pm – 10pm

(And according to Yelp, Cafe Zola is a Turkish restaurant)

They are famous for their breakfast and brunch, and I would recommend it too. I’ve been there a couple of times with my friends and the food was always delicious.

The first menu I chose was the Kobe burger, which was great, but it was quite difficult to eat (due to size, which is the case for most) and it wasn’t special compared to other Kobe burgers. However, I met my favorite dish, “Monte Cristo”!

I would wake up around 10 am on a Sunday morning, then prepare and walk down Main street to Cafe Zola. Along the way, everything feels romantic and pretty. By the way, this walk feels amazing during spring/summer, but a little too cold to enjoy during winters.

After a nice brunch, I would walk down to Blank Slate creamery and grab an ice-cream (which is very difficult to do now because there are just too many people, so I opt for Kilwins). With great food and a sweet dessert, my Sunday starts amazing and I’m ready to put some work in for Monday!

This day, we arrived around 3:40 pm (just before their brunch menu ended). Also, it was awfully quiet, usually it would be extremely packed and noisy. But, the quiet atmosphere was nice to have as I could have a conversation with my friend without interruption.

20170409_160347To accompany our meal, we ordered smoothies. I ordered a Zola’s Simply Delicious, and my friend ordered a Five Berry Crush. I usually get the Five Berry Crush but for a change I ordered Zola’s Simply Delicious…but I must say I prefer the Five Berry Crush.

Zola’s Simply Delicious tastes a lot of banana, while Five Berry Crush has the taste of mixed berries, and personally (although I like Bananas) I prefer berries.

Finally, our food!

As usual, I ordered a Monte Cristo, and my friend ordered a Meatball sandwich. With the Monte Cristo, you also get strawberry jam in which you can dip the toast. The combination of the salty toast and sweet jam is amazing!

With plenty more beautiful days to come in Ann Arbor, I hope you guys have the opportunity to try my Sunday brunch schedule!

S’Well bottle

For a while, I’ve been buying water in plastic bottles but due to the negative effects on the environment I have been searching for a water bottle. When I searched for a water bottle, the primary aspects were design, size and functions. Within design, I wanted something simple and chic. As for the size, I wanted something small so that I could easily carry it around. Finally for functionality, I just wanted the water bottle to do its job and not leak.

So after a while of searching, I came across the S’well bottles. Actually, while shopping in Urban Outfitters I found the S’well bottles. Then I came across numerous of my friends who owned the bottle. So finally, I went online and ordered a set.

It took approximately a week for them to arrive.

20170407_181016

 

 

 

20170407_181059

I was a little doubtful here. I couldn’t imagine having a bottle that could insulate the temperature for so long.

(However, I was wrong)

 

 

 

20170407_181116

My favorite part of receiving and opening a package is right before I get to see the products I ordered. The excitement never dies. I know what’s inside, but it always feels like a birthday present.

 

 

20170407_181144

And finally my S’well!

 

20170407_181304

I ordered two bottles. Both are in 9oz.

I love the juxtaposing colors as the light blue really brings out the vibrant purple pink.

 

 

20170407_18150420170407_18152120170407_181528

 

So after all the unpacking, I used it for about two weeks.

And…it’s great!

Yes, it’s a bottle. But it really does its job properly and I love products that do a good job. I would pour in cold water before I leave the house, and after 6 hours, it would still remain cold! Experiencing the insulation directly really converted me into a supporter.

When I was younger, my mum used to pack me those bulky water bottles called “Thermos”. I hate those bottles. They were not only bulky and ugly, but they also didn’t do the job properly! This may be my personal experience, as some of my friends used to love those, but I thought they were failures.

Especially comparing it to these S’well bottles, Thermos bottles were too ugly to carry as a fashion item. With the S’well bottles, I could easily plop one into my handbag (due to the small size), and take it out of my bag with much pride. Yes, I love the design!

So, to conclude on my experiences: the bottle insulates drinks very well; however, I’m not sure if it does for 12/24 hours. Also, the 9oz size is small and you have to refill often, but I like it because I can easily carry it around and I can also put it inside my handbag.

 

Thanks for reading my post and I hope you found my experiences helpful!

2. Piada

Differing from the conventional restaurants, this post will be about Italian street food, Piada.

Piada was the center of attention for a while and you would have had to wait in a long line. However, the buzz has died but it still has great food in a convenient location. Located closer to campus, Piada is also a cheaper option for dining and grabbing a light meal before class.

To comment on the interior of the fast-casual restaurant, I would say it’s ambient when you avoid lunch times. The lighting is soft, and the wooden paneling is gentle to the eye.

20170404_175909Also the layout of the restaurant allows many single-eaters to grab a meal alone. While walking by, I see many people working inside the restaurant, so I would assume that it also has a ‘cafe’ atmosphere to it. The mirrors are another plus for the long lines (we’re all a little narcissistic).

 

 

 

 

 

 

Besides the interior, you will see a large menu against the wall, just before ordering your meal. The options are pretty simple: piada, salad or pasta. There are small delicacies like bread sticks and garlic dough, but I generally don’t get them. I tried the piada sticks and canoli chips. Personally, I prefer the piada sticks which resemble cheese bread sticks, but the canoli chips…not so much. I wouldn’t say they are bad, but then again I wouldn’t pay extra.

20170404_175904

I usually get the Chef’s favourite piada, but for a change I tried the fall steak avocado piada. Unforunately they were out of butternet squash, which is a big part of the flavor (according to the cook), but I still wanted to try it.

When you order a piada, the first thing they do is heat a flat, thin dough. Honestly, it was fascinating at first because I had never seen this before. Similar to a piada would be a burrito at Chipotle, but the way they heat the dough is slightly different.

20170404_180041

Other than the heating of the dough, and the ingredients, I would say the burrito and the piada isn’t starkly different.

20170404_180032

After your dough is heated, you move along to choose the ingredients or to see the ingredients being placed on the dough. Along the way, you can request for more vegetables or any other ingredient.

20170404_180248

And my piada was done! Within 5 minutes, I finished my order, and paid for my food.

I currently use the samsung galaxy S7 edge, and the samsung pay within the phone can be used in pretty much any transaction due to some technology. So even on old machines, the samsung pay allows me to use my phone as my card (which is great in emergencies like leaving my wallet at home).

I’ve been using my phone to pay in Piada for a while, but once in a while the employees change and they don’t know that samsung pay works on the machine. The same response I get when I try to pay with my phone would be, “Uhm..apple pay…so I’m not sure we have the technology yet…”. However, I persist and place my phone against the card swiper, and voila! Then comes the same response of amazement and shock. Yes, this happens every time. The employees would all look at the card swiper with amazement and say, “I didn’t know apple pay was so advanced!”

So to everyone who has samsung pay, and has been denied with claims such as “oh our technology won’t work”, “we don’t have apple pay” etc., just smile politely and ask if you can try.

Almost forgot. I would rate this piada a 7/10. But the chef’s favorite would be a 7.5/10!

 

Thank you for reading my post!

 

1. Aventura

Michigan – Ann Arbor

Aventura is a contemporary Spanish restaurant with a stylish interior and delicious food.

Personally, I prefer the pintxos and cocas (flat bread) to the paella.

My favourite appetizer to start my dinner or meal is the ALMENDRAS Y PIÑA (pintxos). Although it’s small and overpriced ($4/piece), I just cannot stop myself from getting it. I don’t particularly like pineapples on food, but the holistic taste is great. It’s quite sweet, juicy and sour. So you can taste various flavors while enjoying the texture.

20170331_185404

Then onto the flat bread. I generally like to mix up my choice of flat bread. This day I chose COCHINILLO. I would rate this 8.5/10 (btw, I’m a harsh grader). Retrospectively, the flat bread was delicious. I realized that Aventura does a great job in combining ingredients to create various flavors in one food.

20170331_190017.jpg

The slaw, pickled onion and radish add flavor to the bread and pulled pork.

Finally to the paella. We chose an unconventional paella that came with vermicelli noodles instead of rice (not the best choice). I would give this a 6.5/10. I thought the paella was bland, especially in comparison to the other dishes in Aventura, the paella doesn’t give many flavors and it’s honestly quite plain.

However, it looks amazing.

20170331_191410

The seafood is also quite fresh and juicy. However, the general taste of the paella is…plain.

To comment on the atmosphere of the restaurant, I wouldn’t recommend dinners on Fridays and the weekends as it can be very loud. It’s quite difficult to have a conversation and when you get home you’re exhausted from all the noise. The interior is trendy and stylish, so it would be a great location to take instagram photos.

Conclusion: Great food (not sure about the paella), great interior, but can be very noisy.

Function of Beauty First Impression

Function – of kimsuj

Recently I ordered a shampoo from Function of Beauty under the name ‘kimsuj’. After viewing advertisements and youtubers talking about this product, I decided to try it out myself.

Considering that I have numerous conditioners and hair treatments available, I decided to try out the shampoo only. So I went online and ordered a shampoo for straight, fine and oily scalp.

In a week, the shampoo was delivered and I was excited to check it out.

The color of the box was pretty and the packaging itself was neat and trendy. I liked the individualized tag and the font they used. This is definitely a minimal thing to note (but as a marketing enthusiast) I want to point out that they could enhance the user experience through the packaging by creating a better label. So making it easier to open the box? Or have a cleaner way to open it so that I don’t have struggle to tear the paper to open the box.

Anyways, onto the next part. I opened the box and…

20170331_164745.jpg

And my shampoo was not in the box? I realized that the packaging had failed to keep my shampoo in the right position. This was slightly disappointing as I had been eager to see my shampoo clearly presented in the most aesthetically pleasing manner. I mean isn’t function of beauty supposed be packaged with beauty?

20170331_164811.jpg

And the instructions paper seemed a little sketchy too. The crease, parting the two parts of the manual, seemed to have been compressed carelessly. Within the photo it’s difficult to see the messy crease, but just glancing over the whole package of my shampoo that I had been excited to receive was a little disappointing.

20170331_164830

Finally, to the shampoo, which also did not seem to be in the right place.

However, it’s definitely a pretty shampoo. In fact, it’s one of the prettiest shampoo I’ve ever owned, and I would definitely like to keep it in my bathroom.

20170331_164855.jpg

So on a final note on the packaging: underneath the packaging (that I expected to be pretty too), the shampoo is beautiful.

I haven’t used the product yet, so I don’t have information on the quality or the experience of the product, but hearing reviews from others I’ve heard it’s a good shampoo. After using it for a month (since a week is too short for me to assess quality), I will upload a review of the product.

 

Personal note: Unlike a lot of people (or bloggers) I tend to find products either bad or decent. I haven’t seen miraculous products that show drastic effects. So unless it’s bad, I don’t have a particular impression of a product.