Max’s Restaurant and Red Ribbon Jersey City

We finally decided to try out the Max’s Restaurant in Jersey City. They opened sometime in 2010, the first ever in the East Coast. For those who are unfamiliar, Max’s Restaurant is a Filipino chain that specializes and is known for fried chicken. Hence, it’s called “the house that fried chicken built”. They have been in business since 1945 and has already become a household name. I remember eating here since I was a child, most of the time we would order “to go” and the chicken would come with warm buttered sweet buns and packets of banana ketchup.

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We went on a weekday for lunch and were seated right away. I have heard that when it first opened there will always be a long wait for a table. We ordered the whole chicken, fried lumpiang ubod and sinigang na baboy. Max’s chicken is known for it’s unbreaded crispy fried chicken. Way back you can only get it half or whole. Now there are a few more options. The chicken did not disappoint and tastes exactly as I remembered. The fried lumpiang ubod (a kind vegetable egg roll that uses heart of palm) did not live up to my expectations. The wrapper burst during frying. The taste is also not the same as I remember. The sinigang na baby (pork in tamarind soup) was good and was served promptly. It would have been better if they added more leafy greens to it.

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Overall, we had a great experience and would definitely go back for the fried chicken and try out other items from their menu.

Red Ribbon is one of the biggest chain of bakeshop in the Philippines. They serve not only baked goods and sweets but Filipino savory snacks as well. This is not our first time to visit Red Ribbon at this location. We went there way back when it first opened in 2006. I remember trying out almost everything they offered from the menu out of nostalgia. This time we just had halo-halo and a slice of ube coconut cake and some mamon to go. I would have gotten the coffee crunch cake or the chocolate mousse cake if they serve it by the slice. These were my two favorite cakes when I was teen. Their cakes seemed to have deteriorated in quality though.

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Noodle Go Go

We are always on the lookout for authentic Chinese restaurants in our area. We just learned about Noodle Go Go Asian Bistro from social media. This is not your typical Chinese take out place where you can just order Orange chicken or Sweet and Sour Pork. One indication that food will be good is that if you see a lot of Asians eating there, not to be racist or anything.

My husband and I ate here for our Friday date night. The place is neat and nicely appointed. We were promptly seated at a table and given complimentary hot tea. We got carried away and ordered more than what we could manage. We had quarter of a roast duck, stir fried Asian greens (Chinese broccoli), Yang Chow fried rice, and fried tofu.

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Our order came out real quick which was a pleasant surprise. Food was really good and exceeded our expectations. We really liked the food that we came back and brought our girls. This time we tried their noodle dishes. I had the BBQ and Wonton Noodle soup, while my husband had Beef Tendon Noodle soup. The girls chose Soy Sauce Noodles with chicken and Beef Pad Thai noodles. Service again was fast and efficient.

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The noodles soup was good, it has a clear broth with a nice clean taste to eat. I typically season my soup with some soy and garlic oil. The soy sauce noodle taste like the ones I had in Hong Kong. The Pad Thai was surprisingly good, given that it’s not really a Thai restaurant. The family gave this place a seal of approval.

Jose Tejas

Jose Tejas is a very popular restaurant in our area that serves authentic Tex-Mex food. Expect long waits even on weekdays so be sure to come early as soon as they open at 11 am if you want to be seated right away. We came for lunch last Thursday as a treat for the girls. Prices in this restaurant are reasonable and serving portions are huge. They will give you complimentary housemade chips and salsa as soon as your are seated, which is refillable by the way. Chips are excellent and always served hot and freshly made.

Each of us got different items. I ordered a Cajun Favorite, Chicken and Chorizo Etoufee. This is Sautéed chicken and spicy chorizo in a classic Cajun ettouffee sauce with sweet onions, red peppers, ripe tomatoes, and fresh mushrooms. Served over white rice. They also give you corn bread with it.

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My husband wanted empanadas so he got something very similar, Pastelitos. Flaky pastries filled with a chicken-cilantro mix. Made in-house and served with a Chimi Verde sauce. This is served as an appetizer but the size is more than enough to be a meal in itself.

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One of my girls had Chicken Guadalajara a Mexican specialty. A boneless marinated chicken breast filled with authentic chorizo, red peppers and spinach, roasted with Poblano Jack cheese, served with Jose’s rice.

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The other ordered Chicken Enchiladas, stuffed corn tortillas baked in cheese and homemade enchilada sauce. This is served with your choice of black beans and Jose’s Rice or Jambalaya. My daughter picked Jambalaya to go with her meal.

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This is only our third time but food here never disappoints, but you always end up taking home leftovers because you will surely be so stuffed.

Shanghai Dumpling House

Our family usually eats out after church services on Sundays. On this particular day everyone agreed we wanted Asian food. We didn’t want to go to our regular place which is either Wonder Seafood or China Bowl both located on rt 27 in Edison. I suggested Shanghai Dumpling House, I spotted this place as we were on our way to New Brunswick for a date night. A quick look on yelp and trip advisor was enough to convince me food will be good. The restaurant opens at 11:30 am and we were there a few minutes before. I was surprised that there were already people waiting outside, that was a good sign. As soon as the doors opened, people started pouring in out of nowhere, which kind of took us all aback. The person at reception asked us if we have a number. Apparently, those people waiting outside already have number which guaranteed them a table. Fortunately, there was one table left unreserved so they were able to seat us right away. But after that there was a long wait already and it was only 11:40 am.

I already knew that the place specializes in soup dumplings, the waitress wanted to get our order in right away if we wanted one, since it will take a good 15-20 minutes to prepare. I got one order of the pork xiao long bao, they call it pork steam juicy buns there. For those who don’t know these are thin skinned dumpling that contain both soup and meat in them. We also got several noodle dishes like Aromatic Beef Noodle Soup and House Special Panfried Udon.

They will give you the house tea and dumpling sauce after you order. There is a special way of eating soup dumpling. Don’t ever ever place the whole thing right away in your mouth because it will seriously burn your tongue. Instead gently place it the spoon provided for you then carefully bite off the top or pierce it to release steam. Just make sure you don’t lose all the broth inside then carefully sip the broth from inside dumpling. To eat, add some of the black vinegar dipping sauce and add some of the ginger slivers with it and eat it using the spoon.

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We also got the Vegetable Steam Dumpling which was excellent both in taste and texture. The panfried udon kind of reminded of the taste of Singaporean Char Kuey Teow. Very flavorful and saucy. The Beef noodle soup was really aromatic and bold in flavor with a hint of spiciness.

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Last but not least they also make very good bubble tea and one of the best Bubble Milk Black tea I ever had.

We will be back.

Harold’s Deli

You don’t have to go to New York to get great tasting pastrami. New Jersey has one where you don’t have to wait in line and pay an outrageous amount for a sandwich. Harold’s New York Deli is located almost at our doorstep, not literally but it’s just a few minutes drive away from us.

I didn’t feel like making dinner last Saturday so we decided to pick up an order of Hot Pastrami at Harold’s. We got the Extra Large since we can’t remember what serving size we got last time we were there. When the husband came back he was carrying this huge and heavy paper bag. It feels like it weighed 10 lbs !!! That’s when I realized that we usually order the Large and not X-Large !

The order came with the following, at least 4 lbs of pastrami, a loaf of rye bread, 6 pieces of whole pickles, 3 containers of mustard and a container of coleslaw.

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This is how I assembled our hot pastrami sandwich.

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We barely made a dent on the meat once we finished our dinner. I think it would make enough sandwiches for our family of 4 for two weeks.

Falafel

We just happen to notice a signage for a Falafel place driving down a road in town before the end of school. It seems new since I have not noticed it before. I made mental note myself to visit one of these days since it is hard to find a restaurant that serves good falafel in our area.

My girls and I decided to get lunch there last Thursday to finally check it out. The night before I googled their website “Crazy4Falafel” to find out exactly what they have on their menu. So when we got there we already knew what we were ordering.

My girls and I shared between us 2 falafel pita sandwiches and an order of Turkish burek (spinach and cheese). The owner assured us that everything is made fresh everyday.

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The falafel sandwiches are very well made. The pita bread was really soft and it came overstuffed with falafel, cabbage, lettuce, tomato, cucumber and tahini sauce. Falafel was crispy on the outside and soft on the inside and bursting with flavor.

The Turkish burek was served piping hot as it was freshly made. They even offered to cut it for us before serving as the piece was huge. We also took home extra order of falafel balls for my husband to try. We will surely be back and need to try their other offerings.

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