JITO'S EATS

JITO'S EATS

JITO'S EATS: MEI LAI WAH

I'm gonna keep this post sweet and simple, just like these pork buns. These are simply the best in town and the best part? They're only $1.20. They used to be $1 but hey, I can't blame them... it's NYC and rent is expensive. So at the end of the day, these delicious and sweet pork buns are absolutely worth the extra 20 cents! So let's get started!

FOOD: SO. GOOD. Especially when you get them hot and fresh, they just taste amazing. One of the best part of these pork buns is the bun itself. It's like a sweet, and chewy bread that has been slightly baked to perfection. The inside, is filled with an equally amazing sweet and fatty pork goodness. The ratio of filling to bun is absolute perfection. 

SERVICE: Quick. They speak limited English here so just tell them how many pork buns you want and have your money ready because they really like efficiency.

ATMOSPHERE: The restaurant itself is small and doesn't offer any seating unless you're dining in. So unfortunately, you can't just buy your pork buns and try to sit down and eat. Instead, you'll spot people outside the shop happily devouring these pork buns. 

VALUE: $1.20. Cash only.

OVERALL: So worth it. I take all my out of town friends here because it's just so worth it. It's a perfect snack food while walking around NYC and will definitely satisfy you! 

JITO'S EATS

JITO'S EATS: KATSU-HAMA

As much as I love sushi, I also really love cooked Japanese comfort food. There's just something so delicate and simple about home cooked Japanese cuisine that always leaves me feeling beyond satisfied after these meals. One of my favorite classic Japanese and Korean dish is donkatsu (돈가스). Donkatsu originated from Japan and it consists of a deep-fried, breaded pork cutlet. It's one of Japan's classic dishes and there's a place here in NYC that does it just right, Katsu-Hama. Katsu-Hama sells classic Japanese comfort foods and has two locations here in the city. They have excellent lunch specials with good portions and the line to get seated is usually out the door... so let's get started! 

FOOD: The food here is pretty darn delicious and satisfying! The portions are fairly big and the food quality is wonderful. I usually order the classic donkatsu platter which comes with a rice bowl and an endless cabbage salad. This time I tried the donkatsu with American cheese in it and even though the first few bites were gooey, hot, and yummy... I decided I'd just stick with the classic because I ended up not liking the cheese very much. The curry came in a huge boat-like dish with rice underneath. Donkatsu and curry pair really well together and I love dipping the donkatsu pieces into the curry. I've tried some of their appetizers as well, but I think their classic donkatsu and curry entrees are the most popular and the most delicious.

SERVICE: They seat you fairly quickly and the servers also work very quickly. They're quick to get you a refill of the cabbage salad that usually comes with the donkatsu. Since the restaurant itself is always really busy with people coming in out, they're not that attentive but I don't have any huge complaints about their service. 

ATMOSPHERE: I don't know what it is about Katsu-Hama but immediately when I walk in it feels nostalgic and like home. Maybe it's because I used to go to a lot of cozy Japanese restaurants in NYC when I was younger but I love how clean and dim it is in there. The lighting isn't ideal for photos but it is very warm and cozy in there... perfect for a date! ;)

VALUE: It's a fairly good deal if you go here during their lunch hours! They have awesome lunch deals and since a lot of customers work near the area... they're usually in and out quickly which is great when there's a line. Apparently, their portions have gotten smaller but I still think the portions are fine here. I believe, around lunch time the donkatsu is $11-13 and during the dinner time it ranges from $14-17. 

OVERALL: If you're ever craving donkatsu, I would definitely recommend this cute little place. The food you get here is pretty straight-forward and its not the best thing I've eaten necessarily, but I absolutely LOVE it and it's one of my favorites here in the city. It's just Japanese comfort food and Katsu-Hama definitely does donkatsu right! 

JITO'S EATS

JITO'S EATS: THE BAGEL STORE

And introducing to you, the most colorful and fabulous bagels... EVER! Okay, maybe I seem a little too enthusiastic about this bagel, but let me tell you, when my friend told me about these rainbow bagels, I knew I had to try them. The good ol' classic way with funfetti cream cheese. Yes, FUNFETTI cream cheese which is equally fun and whacky.

This past Thanksgiving weekend, my family and I made the trek to Williamsburg, Brooklyn at 8 in the morning on a Sunday because I was raving about these (even though I had yet to try them). I won't bore you with any details, but get right into my actual thoughts about the bagel and other flavors from the store!

FOOD: As amazing and fun as it looks, the bagel itself actually isn't exploding with flavor. It's just a classic blueberry flavor. I do think though, what kind of cream cheese you choose to get is very, very important. I got one with the cannoli cream cheese and I've decided that anything cannoli flavored should remain in it's original glorious cannoli form. I was not a big fan of the rainbow bagel with cannoli cream cheese, but the one with funfetti cream cheese was delicious! That is, if you're into sweet bagels. After trying these sweet bagels with a sweet cream cheese, I've realized I'm more of a savory bagel kind of gal. However, the actual rainbow bagel was very chewy and I thoroughly enjoyed it! I also tried the cinammon cragel, which is a croissant- bagel hybrid but that was a big no no for me. Unfortunately, my poor sister had to eat that one because I was not a fan. I was expecting something of a chewy, flaky and light texture, but it wasn't chewy or flaky AT ALL. Instead it was super dense and had no resemblance to a croissant or bagel in any way. 

SERVICE: You have to go to the back and wait on line to order your bagel and fillings. I had reserved my rainbow bagels beforehand because I was told that I could do that. I was fearful that the rainbow bagels would be all sold out by the time I got there so I made sure to have them set aside for me. It usually takes a while for them to ring you up as well. It's not very fast paced and I'm not sure why, but even with the reserved bagels I had to wait a while to finally pay and eat. I'm not going to rave about their service at The Bagel Store, but at the same time I had no particular complaints. 

ATMOSPHERE: Nothing too special as it's on the corner of the street in Williamsburg. VERY limited seating. There's basically one row alongside the window. The only thing that pops about this bagel store are the rainbow bagels peeking out from their glass containment in the back. 

VALUE: EXPENSIVE. No other way around it. However, I do understand it takes a lot of effort to make one rainbow bagel... I mean, look at it! For one rainbow bagel with funfetti cream cheese it was a whopping $6.90. If you decide to get a lot of rainbow bagels, it definitely adds up. We also got an everything bagel with lox and onions which was a little more than $10. Very expensive. 

OVERALL: An experience all should try when in NYC. These bagels are so fun and pretty to look at and when paired with the right cream cheese... it's really fun to eat! Although it's expensive, I think it's worth it to try at least once! I'm definitely going to come back and eat it again! Plus, they're Instagram worthy and who doesn't love that, right? :) 

JITO'S EATS

JITO'S EATS: ABSOLUTE BAGELS

Happy Monday everyone! I'm so excited to talk about the Jito's Eats today. It's an absolute (ha! pun intended) favorite of mine here in the city and I wake up most mornings craving this bagel! Absolute Bagels is located on the Upper West Side near Columbia University (108th Street) and is one of the most popular bagel spots here in NYC. So let's get started. 

FOOD: Absolutely delicious. Hands down, one of the best bagels ever! It's so fresh in the mornings. It's just chewy enough, and also has an amazing and extensive cream cheese selection to choose from. I usually stick with my favorite: an onion bagel with chives and garlic cream cheese. It's so delicious and savory... I love it! I've always enjoyed my bagels not toasted and usually if it's a good quality bagel, there's no need for you to toast it. I've tried their bagels toasted as well, but I definitely prefer it fresh. It's soft and moist on the inside of the actual bagel, but just crispy enough on the outside. TIP: When choosing a bagel, try to go for a lighter colored one as opposed to a darker one. These are usually just chewy enough on the inside and the outside doesn't have a too-cooked taste to it (if that makes sense). 

SERVICE: The service is pretty friendly here and although there's usually always a wait here (sometimes it's out the door!) the line moves fairly quickly and they get your bagels ready as quickly as possible. So think of what you want to order while you wait on the line because everything happens so quickly once it's your turn. It's cash only though, so be prepared!

ATMOSPHERE: Nothing special... slightly run down but who needs a fancy bagel shop when the taste of the bagel speaks for itself?! There's a decent amount of seating inside but most people take their bagels to go, so if you're wanting a seat to sit inside the shop, it won't be too hard to find one. 

VALUE: It's around $4.30 ish for a bagel and cream cheese. The value seems to be pretty average for a good quality bagel, so I'm always definitely up for one! Again, it is cash only so make sure you're aware of that, if you decide to go. 

OVERALL: It's one of my favorite things to eat here in the city. I don't even want to really try a lot of other bagel places, except for the rainbow bagel at The Bagel Store, because it is just that good. You won't regret it... plus, it's a beautiful walk down the Upper West Side to Midtown! 

JITO'S EATS

JITO'S EATS: CHOBANI (SOHO)

Helloo! I'm back again here with another review of one of my now all time favorites here in the city... the Chobani Store! I'll be getting some other posts out that aren't food reviews this week, but I was just so excited to do this review! Now I know it all sounds pretty interesting and exciting but at the same time I'm sure you're thinking how a yogurt store could be that good, exciting, and worth it. Oh but it is... I can't exactly explain how good it is and what makes it so delicious, but all the flavors just work really well together and aesthetically the yogurt cups are beautiful. Before I get started I just also wanted to tell you all that I'll just be combining "Jito's Eats" and "Jito's Sweets" into one, "Jito's Eats". I figured it might just be easier this way... now let's get started!

FOOD: My favorite flavor was the "Pumpkin + Cranberry" yogurt. Chobani has a good selection of both savory and sweet options, however I wasn't adventurous enough yet to try the savory ones. Hopefully one day I'll get myself to do it! Anyways, the "Pumpkin + Cranberry" is absolutely delicious and I wish it wasn't a seasonal flavor because I bet I would order this flavor every time I go. My next favorite flavor, which is one of their classics is "Fresh Fruit + Honey". It sounds simple and it is, but it's also fresh and the honey adds just enough sweetness. I've also tried the "Pineapple + Coconut" and the "Pistachio + Chocolate" which were also pretty good but I don't think I would order those again. They use the same type of original greek yogurt in all of the flavors and they just add in different toppings, but the actual yogurt tastes so fresh and creamy. Also, the presentation of these yogurts are so lovely... they're served on a wooden plate and at times it's almost too beautiful to eat. I'm a huge fan!

SERVICE: All the employee's there are so generous and are great at helping explain the different flavors to the customers. You order up front and then they call your name once they are finished making your oder upon request. 

ATMOSPHERE: I've never been more excited to talk about the atmosphere of a food store like this! It's not a huge store but it's a good size with a decent amount of seating, although I do wish there was more seating inside. There are huge windows which makes it feel more spacious and they've decorated the place very cleanly with all wood and stainless steel. I love eating inside the store even if it means fighting for a seat!  It's also a plus that the store is located in Soho which means you can just pop in there for a little snack while you walk around.

VALUE: It's expensive. There's no way around the fact that each yogurt is very pricey. They have two different sizes: half and whole. I think the half is enough for one person and the whole is good to share. It's expensive here but personally I think it's worth it. The experience you get in store is fun and exciting and the store itself is also beautiful! 

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Photography & Styling: Jito

JITO'S EATS

JITO'S EATS: CAFETERIA

I've been wanting to try chicken and waffles for such a long time now! I had heard that Cafeteria was known for their 'chicken and waffles' so I made my way over here, for a Saturday brunch. Cafeteria is a contemporary style American diner that serves interesting menu items such as 'mac n' cheese spring rolls' and this massive 'chicken & waffles'. I wish I had tried the spring rolls but this time around, I split the 'chicken and waffle's and a croissant sandwich. So let's get started with my thoughts! 

FOOD: We ordered the 'chicken and waffles' since we came for this and the 'croissant breakfast sandwich'. Both options were delicious! The fried chicken was cooked to perfection and it was pretty juicy all around. The waffle was equally good, although I wish it had been a tad bit crispier. I wasn't a huge fan of the "syrup" dipping sauce that came with it (it tasted a bit citrusy) so I asked for just regular maple syrup and enjoyed that much better. The hot sauce on the side was also a nice touch to cancel out the greasiness of the fried chicken. The breakfast sandwich was also delightful... I absolutely love croissant! And the eggs here were fluffy and I thoroughly enjoyed the avocados in the sandwich. 

SERVICE: Your entire party whether its 2 of you or you're a party of 6, have to be present in order to be seated. The service was good - our waiter was attentive and I had no complaints! 

ATMOSPHERE: We were seated outside but I enjoyed this little area outside! Cafeteria is located in Chelsea so it was quite pleasant and quiet. The indoors had a contemporary feel to it with white tables and sleek decorations. 

VALUE: The price for brunch here is pretty average. Dishes range from $11-$30. Most of their breakfast items are around $12 or $13. The chicken and waffles was a bit pricey - it was $20. This was definitely one of their more expensive items on the menu but overall the price wasn't TOO steep. 

OVERALL: Overall, I enjoyed Cafeteria. I don't think I'm dying to come here again but it was a great place to try out and I would definitely come here again. I want to try more of their menu items like the truffle fries and the mac n' cheese spring rolls! 

JITO'S EATS

JITO'S EATS: LIC MARKET

It's been a while since I've done a Jito's Eats: NYC Edition! I initially started this because I wanted to keep track of all the delicious eateries I've tried here in the city, and as I predicted it has been pretty difficult to keep up. It's difficult to always take my camera around and take high quality photos in some of the lighting at these restaurants... nevertheless, I know that shouldn't be an excuse and I promise I will try harder to continue on all my food journey's! Thanks for your patience and hope you enjoy! 

Today, I'll be talking about a little gem in Long Island City (LIC). To be honest, there aren't A LOT of places to eat in LIC but they have a select few of really GREAT places, like this one Thai place which I'll review next time. Anyways, LIC Market offers unique American foods done uniquely by using unique ingredients like chicken liver and duck. Everything is done so cutely here and I loved the simplicity of the menu, dishes, and ambience. I went here for a Saturday brunch so let's get started on the actual review. 

FOOD: I ordered a "Sausage & Onions" sandwich while my sister and her friend ordered the "Dirty Rice Frittata". We also got a side of brussels sprouts. Can I just first say that I loved this place right off the bat because they gave us an entire plate of delicious baked goods and breads to munch on while we waited for our foods. It was an array of chocolate croissant, carrot cake bread, and others. 

While I was getting stuffed from all these baked goodies our food came! My sandwich was a bit too big to pick up and eat so I just used a fork and knife to cut through it. I tried my sisters dish as well and it was so good, especially with the hot sauce. LIC Market knows how to cook their eggs just right and I loved how runny mine was. It paired perfectly with the salty sausage and the sweet, caramelized onions. There was a bit too much bread in my dish so I just ate it with one of the buns. I'm glad we ordered some brussels sprouts as well because it was buttery, sweet, garlicky and cooked to perfection. The portions are pretty big and I was so stuffed after. 

SERVICE: The service was awesome. Our waiter was very attentive and everything came in a timely manner. Refilled our waters and coffee's when we needed more and I was more than pleased with the service here!

ATMOSPHERE: So cute! It's a bit of hipster, a bit of whimsical, a bit of nature focused, and I absolutely loved it! There's some seating inside but the real treasure is the seating outside. They have an outside patio area which had a great feel to it and I thoroughly enjoyed eating out here. 

VALUE: The value was also great in comparison to the amount and quality of food here. For their brunch dishes, they average from $10-14 which is a great deal. The portions are big and you get the complimentary bread platter which is a steal! 

OVERALL: I'm a huge fan! I really think this is a little gem here in Long Island City! The food quality AND value is great. This restaurant has an array of delicious dish options and the service was on par with how wonderful the food was. It's a cute, little restaurant and a sweet place to go for a Saturday brunch. They even put your silverware and your check in a mason jar... how adorable is that?! I'd recommend LIC Market to anyone in this area and I'll hopefully be able to go again sometime soon. Hope you enjoyed! 

A from where I stand with my sister after our brunch. :) 

JITO'S EATS

JITO'S EATS: BLUE RIBBON FRIED CHICKEN

As unhealthy as fried chicken is... who doesn't love a wonderfully, crispy, and juicy fried chicken? So this week, my friend and I went out to try some Blue Ribbon Fried Chicken. BRFC is owned by the Bromberg brothers who also own the fancier, American Blue Ribbon restaurants. BRFC is located in East Village and they sell fried chicken by the piece, in combos and in sandwiches. They have Southern style sides like hush puppies and grilled corn & bacon as well. I won't bore you any longer with these details but I'll just go straight into my thoughts and photos! 

FOOD: My friend and I ordered a 4 piece wings combo that comes with cole slaw and fries as well as a fried chicken sandwich called Kerry's Classic with a side of hush puppies. The sandwich was delicious and I really liked it! It had a whole slice of caramelized pineapple, lettuce, tomatoes, and their special blue ribbon sauce in it. The pineapple paired perfectly with the chicken and the bun was soft which I really enjoyed. I wish I liked the fried chicken better but it was a bit too heavily seasoned for me and not enough meat. I did however, enjoy all the different sauces they offer! You can choose whichever sauce you want (they're all on every table in the restaurant) and most of them are honey based... which if you know me, I love honey. 

SERVICE: You go up, order, and wait for your food with a buzzer. It's pretty fast paced and no fuss so, I obviously didn't have any complaints with the service. The food came out fairly quickly and it all came out fresh and hot. 

ATMOSPHERE: The atmosphere was nothing special here. It was kind of like a more brightly lit Chipotle. There's a lot of seating and everything is pretty well organized in the restaurant. No fancy decorations or anything... everything was just bright and pretty well organized.

VALUE: I wish I can say it was a good price for fried chicken but I must say... it's actually pretty pricey! One drumstick + one thigh costs $11 + tax, which to be honest is not much food for the value. The sandwich costs $9 and there were no sides included. So, the price wasn't absurd but it also wasn't your bang for your buck kind of deal. 

OVERALL: I wasn't amazed by the fried chicken or their sides but their sandwich (at least the one I had) was pretty darn delicious. One of my favorite things about this place was all the honey based sauces... they even had a wildflower honey bottle which was straight up honey! Would I go here again? I probably wouldn't go out of my way to eat here again unless I crave that sandwich I tried. Maybe I'll go and try some of their other sandwiches but I think I would rather go to KFC or Bonchon for fried chicken. 

JITO'S EATS

JITO'S SWEETS: DOUGH

I'll be starting a new series here called "Jito's Sweets" which documents all the desserts (famous and some obscure) spots in NYC I visit and I'll also be continuing my "Jito's Eats" later on! Why? The more important question is, why not?! :) Dessert is my absolute favorite and there are so many amazing dessert places out here in NYC, so I want to remember each experience! Also, I always look online to read reviews and see whats good at a restaurant so hopefully, this can help some of you try new places out here in the city. And perhaps, this will also encourage me to remember and take photos of the foods I eat. These series will mostly consist of photos I take and a brief review of what I thought about the eatery! 

First up on "Jito's Sweets" are DOUGH donutsThey currently have 3 shops, one in Brooklyn, Flatiron district, and City Kitchen (Midtown). It originated in Brooklyn, but I've only been able to try the donuts from the Flatiron district and City Kitchen location. 

I was fortunate enough to try 7 of their flavors (photographed in order): Chocolate, Dulce de Leche, Hibiscus, Lemon Poppy, Passion Fruit, Cinnamon Sugar, and Cafe au Lait (not pictured below). 

FOOD:  Surprisingly, my favorite one was the Cinnamon Sugar. I say its surprising because their exotic, glazed donuts are usually the more popular ones (Dulce de Leche & Hibiscus {tastes like raspberries} in particular). But their donuts are humongous, fluffy, and chewy! They were light and not overly glazed. Each flavor stayed true to its name and none of the flavors were too overpowering. Definitely tastes best, fresh and eaten right away! 

SERVICE: The service at the Flatiron shop was mediocre. They did their job... helped me get my donut so what more could I ask for? The people at City Kitchen, however were so accommodating and even included in a free donut for me! Yay!

ATMOSPHERE: Flatiron - It was a small, cute, and rustic shop that had a big table in the middle and a few chairs. Not much space but I actually prefer my dessert shops to have a cozy feel to them. City Kitchen - There's not much to say about this location because it's inside a food market, but the stand is still cute. 

VALUE: Reasonably priced for a huge, organic, well-made donut here in the city. It's $3 per donut and I appreciate that each one is the same price! 

OVERALL: These definitely were not the best donuts I've had nor were they melt in your mouth amazing... but they were still very good! I love how fluffy and light it is and I really appreciate the unique flavors they offer. They're not overly sweet and they're not too dense either. These donuts would pair perfectly with a nice cup of coffee or tea! 

Photography & Styling by: Jito

JITO'S EATS

{JITO'S EATS} MAKOTO

Being back home has never been sweeter. I'm back home for the second half of summer and today, I went on a lovely date with my parents! They took me to this amazing and completely traditional Japanese restaurant. I loved every part of this restaurant. I felt like I was in Japan!

Everything about Makoto is so traditional... you even have to take your shoes off and put on slippers that they give you! Such a great experience. 

The space is super small and they basically only take reservations. But it's definitely worth the money and time it takes to eat each course. I wasn't able to take too many pictures because I didn't like the lighting much but I tried to take as many as I could! 

The lunch box I ordered came with a mussel soup, an appetizer tray, entree tray, and dessert. It was so filling. The lunch box didn't have much nigiri or sashimi but incorporated more of the cooked foods of Japan. This included: braised cod, tamago, eel nigiri, curried pumpkin, and much more. Each small plate was seasoned to perfection and they were all sweet and savory. My favorite kind of dish. (hehe) You can really taste the care the chef puts in each plate... I loved it! The presentation was also a work of art, it took me forever to take a first bite. 

#ootd. It was such a lovely culinary experience. I would definitely recommend Makoto to anyone in the DC/Virginia/Maryland area! Au revoir! 

How cute is this lady, bidding us farewell?! :)