Gwendolyn.Me

------------------ Gwendolyn.Me : September 2015

Wednesday, 23 September 2015

GWENFOOD | TEXAS ROADHOUSE #ALSHAYAFOODTOUR IN DUBAI

Texas Roadhouse which might sound familiar to some is a American franchise that specialises in Steaks with the whole Texas theme.
In Malaysia, you can get steak practically almost everywhere. From Tony Roma’s to Chilis to TGIF to Primes and even at Collisuem or certain chinese food stalls where you can get maybe Rm19.90 for a steak that comes with a set of soup, salad and drinks. But in the end, it all comes down to ‘HOW GOOD IS THE STEAK?’ and “IS IT WORTH IT?’

By now, I think most people will know steak is one of my favourite food. So I walked into Texas Roadhouse in Dubai Mall with high hopes. Did it live up to it’s standard?

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VARIETY OF CUTS

When I walked in, the first thing I saw was the variety of cuts available. From rib-eye to fillet to t-bone to sirloin, they’ve got it all. This is a plus point to some people who are really picky in the cuts and with this, everyone can try different cuts with their own preference.
DECOS
DECOS
JUKE BOX
JUKE BOX

The whole restaurant had a Texas/cowboy/country feel to it which was really nice because I felt like I can really take time off my day to relax and enjoy my dinner.

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HOUSE BUNS
While waiting for the food to come, we were served complimentary buns (plus point) that was sooooo good that I could finish everything. It was so amazing because it was hot, and according to the waiter, the buns are freshly baked every 5 minutes! I felt like I was stealing the buns from the oven when my mom/maid use to bake. Was trying so hard to control myself because I know if I finish them all, I wouldn’t be able to eat my dinner. I wish they sold them as takeaways, wouldn’t that be great?

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PEACH MARGARITA
I was a little confused as I thought the margarita contains alcohol, but I was told it’s just the name. So i decided to order one. Indeed it’s just the name, Love the whole look of it. Portion is huge so kudos to that when it’s actually just ice blended peach juice. With sugar on the side. #yipeee. Can finally feel a little more adult knowing I can’t drink alcohol.

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CHILLI CHEESE BEEF SOUP 

We ordered the Chilli Cheese Beef soup which in the beginning I felt a little weird because I was expecting a spicy taste, but I was wrong. It tasted exactly like chilli cheese, but in a creamier texture and in a bowl instead of on a hotdog. I don’t think I will order it again as I won’t be able to finish it myself. Maybe stealing a spoonful or two from someone.

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APPETIZER PLATTER

I was surprised that the appetizer platter wasn’t as huge as the portions you can get at TGIF or Tony Roma’s. But of course it’s a sharing for two. I have no idea what the two sauces there, it didn’t taste like anything and was just plain and blend.
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GRILLED CHICKEN SALAD
I wasn’t a fan of the grilled chicken salad because the portion was too big, overall it was too dry. I didn’t know where to start eating and coming with a huge portion, the plate wasn’t big enough to toss the dressing.

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GRILLED SHRIMPS

The grilled shrimps was A.M.A.Z.I.N.G #nokidding
The shrimps were fresh and grilled to perfection. It was marinated well too! But the rice on the other hand tasted like rissoto, and it was slightly oily and wet.

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BONE-IN BUFFALO WINGS 

The Buffalo wings were a little dry and there wasn’t much meat on it, but the taste was good! I didn’t eat it with the sauce because it was already perfect by it self.

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RIBEYE STEAK COMBO

Finally, after everything, our steak combo arrived.
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RIBEYE – MEDIUM RARE

The steak was cooked perfectly at medium rare. And at the size of 550g, I was just in heaven. LOL. Deep down, I was slowing my pace so I wouldn’t look like a freak gobbling down my steak. The beef ribs were also cooked to perfection and I guess being a steakhouse, that is really their specialty and they’ve really lived up to it. The meat was so soft and tender and fell apart from the bones immediately.


Unfortunately, Texas Steakhouse isn’t available in Malaysia. (yet) but if they do, you should REALLY give it a go! :D

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Sunday, 20 September 2015

GWENFOOD | P.F. CHANG'S #THEALSHAYAFOODTOUR IN DUBAI

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It’s interesting how P.F. Chang’s sounds really familiar but just isn’t enough to know more about the name. How often do you get an Asian cuisine that is influenced by the westerners? (I’m not talking about fusion dishes)

P.F. Chang’s restaurant is decorated with class, with the dim ambient and the environment. I believe many would mistaken it as an asian fine dining restaurant.
When we were seated, menus were served to us quickly. Noticed that the menu comes with description which is a plus point as anyone who knows me would know how I feel it is important for menus to have clear descriptions.
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Dynamite Shrimp


For the starters, we wanted to order something light and have small bites of each dish. Unfortunately, they weren’t small at all. The dumplings (photo below) was really oily and the ‘skin’ of the dumpling was too thick. BUT, the fillings were alright and it was well balanced. One thing I’ll say is that, it looks like wanton more than a dumpling. #LOL
The Dynamite Shrimp on the other hand that looks like cocktail shrimps was too creamy for me. Even though it looks spicy but the taste overall is very interesting. BUT, it’s definitely not something to be finished by someone. I saw there was a group of ladies next table who each ordered one. LOL. i wonder how they finished it.
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Dumplings
The service of the food came really quick and we were surprised how fast the kitchen was working seeing that it was full house that night.
With P.F Chang, we get the common situations where what we see on the menu is different than what it really comes out on the dish. Let’s put that aside first and talk about the taste.
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Chicken Lettuce Wrap
The Chang’s Chicken Lettuce Wrap was sweet to eat it by itself, but with rice it would be perfect. It is also too saucy as a starter/appetizer and it becomes too filling for that. The lettuce was fresh and couldn’t be any better.
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Oolong Sea Bass
The Oolong Sea Bass was sweet too, cooked perfectly done. But also, I think the common chinese cuisine issue is that, it only taste good with rice. Because the sauce is too swet to be eaten alone. Not like Fish and Chips where you can just eat it as a main dish.
Plus point to note, P.F. Chang serves brown rice and white rice, unlimited supplies!. #LOL Hurrays for rice-eaters.


Now this is where it is being westernised.
Fried banana in spring rolls instead of battered. And the Great Wall of Chocolate? That could feed 10 people!

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Fried Bananas with Ice Cream
These bananas are wrapped in spring rolls and deep fried rather than battered and fried. Taste wise was quite unique as when you get the first bite, you would be expecting the spring roll / popiah taste, but then you’ll get the mushy banana instead. So I was quite surprised with the taste but I love it.
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Cheese Cake

Now, how can you go wrong with cheesecake? NEVER – if you do, you’re just bad. LOL


I feel that P.F. Chang’s taste and overall is very different than our usual chinese restaurant we get around here. So one tip/advice is to not go in and expect your Restaurant Oversea standard because the food is different. It’s a western restaurant selling asian dishes. There’s a different. #LOL

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Tuesday, 15 September 2015

GWENFOOD | SHAKE SHACK #THEALSHAYAFOODTOUR IN DUBAI

Shake Shack is a hip, counter-serve chain for gourmet takes on fast-food classics like burgers & frozen custard.
First things first…
HOW WRONG CAN YOU GO WITH BURGERS????
That’s what alot of people think. But HECK NO! As a burger person, I can be quite picky of what a good burger is. And i think many of the burger lovers out there agrees with me too. But then again, as I always say, everything I write about is based on my own opinion and I believe everyone has their own personal preference.
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Service overall is very quick and orders were made well also. Love that they display the specialties. It looks like a fast food kind similar to Mcdonalds or My Burger Lab, where you line up and make your order at the counter, pick up your meal and then go to your table. Well, why waste labor serving you when they can be at the kitchen giving your quality good burgers right???
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There’s a huge “PICKUP HERE” sign that nobody can miss. LOL – Unless you are blind. 
Shake Shack is famous for their burgers even though their intro states that it was originally hot dogs. We ordered a variety of burgers from the single patty to double patty and one thing I could say is that the price was high for the portion that was being served. (Then again, it’s Dubai. Everything is pricey for Malaysians. )
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Shakemeister – Cheeseburger with marinated shallots
I can never decide if I want to go for the portobello mushrooms or the shallots burger. But both tasted amazing, even though it looks sloppy, but it isn’t. #thumbsup
In terms of taste, it was amazing and I can see myself coming back often for more servings and bringing friends over as well. 
Burgers in Malaysia have been growing rapidly for the past 2 years and it is important to not have the burger too oily or too sloppy as that would drive the consumers away.
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My favourite of all the burgers is the Shack Stack – which is the Cheeseburger and Shroom Burger added together. 2 in 1!! Plus point!   
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Dessert was interesting as it was a Red Velvet Concrete and I believe it’s something you won’t get in Malaysia as well. The chocolate one was too much for my taste buds but the Red velvet was amazing. 
Overall, Shake Shack is a place that I would go often as a meal with friends or family as I love burgers.

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GWENFOOD | IHOP #THEALSHAYAFOODTOUR IN DUBAI

Pancakes and waffles, who doesn’t love them? For 57 years, the IHOP (International House of Pancakes) family restaurant chain is now world famous for it’s pancake. Asides that, they also carry a variety of breakfast, lunch and dinner.   
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To date, there are 1,650 IHOP restaurants and more to come!
I’ve heard about IHOP some time ago (who can forget that smiley face logo) but never gotten the chance to try them out. So this time round, I was really looking forward to it. Hoping it would be as great as I expected as well.
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Before stepping in, I notice that the restaurant had a nice atmosphere. It wasn’t fully closed up, and we notice that it’s quite open which has pros and cons to it. 
Pros: 
  • Whenever people walk pass, they can smell the amazing food and be tempted to try it out.
  • You can see what other order, and have a “sneak-peak” before deciding what you want to eat.
Cons: 
  • If you get the seats that are facing outside, you don’t get to enjoy your food in private1
  • People can look at you, and see you eat. Which might be uncomfortable for certain people
  • If it’s a full house, and people are lining up. You might get strangers standing next to you, watching you eat for a full 5-10 minutes, hearing your conversation while waiting to get into the restaurant.
I was lucky to get one of the seats inside. Service was quick and menus were given to us immediately. 
Although IHOP is famous for it’s Original Buttermilk Pancake, they do serve their pancakes and their breakfast all-day. So if you crave an American Breakfast for dinner, no problem! *not 24 hours though.*  Noticed they were two kinds of menus, their ALL-DAY-DINING menu and their LUNCH & DINNER menu. I know you might be curious does that mean you can’t have the Lunch & Dinner menu during breakfast? Nope. you can. But i guess, they somehow like to split the menu. #LOL
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ALL-DAY MENU

One thing I love about the menu is that – they give a clear description on what the dish in. Many  times you get fancy names, but not a clear description on what would be served. This is a plus point to people who are allergic to certain food.
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I ordered the Ice Tea as it’s my all time favourite drink but sadly, such a simple drink could taste so different and some place could screw it up as well. #TrustMe
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ICED TEA SERVED WITH SYRUP
The thing about tea is that, it’s meant to cleanse and rejuvenate you. It’s important to me especially if I’m having a heavy meal or an oily meal, I like to have some tea to go with it. If tea is bad because it taste weird, salty, sweet or some weird funny taste, the last thing i want is not being able to enjoy my drink. The teas (hot or cold) are from tea bags, so it’s nice and brewed, rather than the carton drinks that many Malaysians do that. 
We were so excited and the menu was so appealing we didn’t really know what to order. Luckily there were quite a few of us to share. If I were alone, I wouldn’t be able to finish and I won’t know what to order because the portion is just HUGEE.
   
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From left to right – ( Chicken Fajita Omelette, Garden Omelette, Beef Bacon Temptation Omelette)
The omelette is an interesting dish as usually you would assume that omelette is small and just eggs. Maybe cheese and mushroom. But little did you know there are THESSEEEE. #interesting 
DID YOU KNOW??? Each omelette contains 6 regular sized eggs!! So much protein. #LOL
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Even though we had three omelette, I would have assumed that they would taste the same. But NOOOOOO, it was three different taste on the plate. 
Chicken Fajita Omelette – This omelette taste like the mexican tacos, with the chicken, tomatoes, cheese and sour cream. It is savoury but yet fresh. Very interesting taste as I’ve began to have a liking towards mexican food. 
Garden Omelette – This one taste really light and fresh, like an ordinary omelette with tomatoes, cheese and capsicum. 
Beef Bacon Temptation Omelett e – I know this is Beef Bacon, and Bacon is meant to be pig. But trust me, THIS??? You can’t even tell it’s beef, the Bacon has such a strong taste that even if you take bites of the egg without the bacon, you can still taste the saltness from the Bacon. #amazing #drools 
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I was really curious how the insides were, and how this omelette is made. The layers were made with a consistent thickness and wrapped nicely. Many times, wrapped food tend to have fall out and it turns really messy and unpleasant to eat. 
We also ordered the Egg Benedict which is something I believe everyone loves. The star of the Egg Benedict is the poached egg, but unfortunately this poached egg was slightly cooked, so it was more of a half-boil egg state rather than a runny poached eggs.
PANCAKES!!!!!
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From left to right – Cinn-a-stack Pancakes, Original Buttermilk Pancakes, New York Cheesecake Pancakes
Sad i couldn’t try them all, but THREE is like OMGAMAZING already. Here are a few points for the pancakes.
  1. THEY ARE FLUFFY!!!! One thing I am disappointed about most pancakes is that it deflates when it gets cold, but these?? After sitting on the table for 20 minutes, the pancakes were cold, but still fluffy. Thumbs up for that because I know my friends and I use to sit for a long time and slowly finish up our food. So quality is important.
  2. The whipping cream melts in 1 MINUTE. #seriously Cannot take picture d. LOL. because it melts so fast.
  3. New York Cheesecake pancake didn’t really taste like cheesecake. Tbh, i could barely taste the cheesecake. So if you were worried, don’t need to.
  4. Cinn-a-stack Pancakes were awesome, they had a cream cheese icing which was really addictive. I’ve been very cautious about ordering something with cinnamon because most of the time they overload it with cinnamon and it ends up being over-flavored and I feel like I’m eating purely cinnamon.
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Asides waffles, they do have Belgium Waffles too! I was slightly disappointed that it wasn’t crispy and it was soft. Funny thing is that, this Belgium Waffle is sweet and savoury at the same time. It comes with whip cream, and blueberry on the waffles, and next to it is sunny side up eggs (you can have your preference), turkey bacon and veal sausages. I would have preferred if the savouries were in another plate, At least the egg and whip cream/ice cream wouldn’t merge together. 
Now, pancakes and waffles are like OMGAMAZING. but with crepe!!! BONUS POINTS! Not just any crepe. but NUTELLA CREPE!!!! #canthaveenough
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Nutella can never go wrong and I could just have this everyday #byebyediet   
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Finally, we ordered the Surf & T urf as I wanted to try out the steak. #steaklover 
The presentation was overwhelming. I think they should have used different plates/bigger plates and have the sauce separated in a smaller bowl as sometimes the sauce can ruin the whole dish. 
Overall, the place is really relaxing with the variety of latest pop music they play at the perfect volume as well. The temperature of the restaurant was slightly cool, but it could also depends on where you are seated and if the air-conditioner is blasting right at you. One thing I love about the place is that the seating arrangements are quite spaced out and they are many spaces for prams, strollers or just people walking by. I hate it when the tables and chairs are so crammed to each other that if I have to go to the toilet, I have to walk through a maze and figure out which path I can walk by without awkwardly saying “excuse me” at every table I cross. 
The variety of the menu given is really good, not just from breakfast, lunch and dinner, but also from a light meal and heavy meal.
Would I visit again? – Yes, unfortunately, it’s not in South Easy Asia (yet). Hopefully they will bring it in soon!! Yay or nay? Share with me your thoughts!

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Tuesday, 1 September 2015

GWENBEAUTY | MONTHLY FAVOURITES - AUGUST 2015

August has been a really good month for me. I had a new direction, a new path with new opportunity. With this, I have a few new products and new favourites which I would like to share.

This month, I’ve been finally introduced to the all time raved Bioderma Micelle Solution for sensitive skin, and it’s so amazing how gentle it is and my redness and rosecea has reduced alot because of this. Secondly would be the Etude House Skin Malgem Smoother and the Innisfree Green Tea Balancing Skin
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For the face, my favourites for August is the Bobbi Brown Illuminating Face Base SPF 25++, Maybelline Instant Anti-Age Eraser Eye and the Dior Star Studio Makeup Spectacular Brightening Weightless Perfection Foundation SPF 30++/Long Wear (I swear this has the longest name. LOL)
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For the eyes, this month I realized I’ve been grabbing the Tartellete Palette quite alot, with MAC Pro Longwear Paint Pot – Painterly and Bobbi Brown Long Wear Gel Eyeliner for my everyday look.
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Looking forward to September!! And do let me know if you have the same favourites or you would like a review of any of them.

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