25 Cooper Square, New York, NY 10003

Phone: 212-475-3400


Looks like celebrity chef Scott Conant is trying to follow the footsteps of Mario Batali in building modern Italian cuisine empire in the US. With Scarpetta at meatpacking district becoming a big success, the chef opened another Scarpetta restaurant in Miami's Fountainebleau hotel in November 2008, and Faustina restaurant at the swanky cooper union hotel in February this year. By end of this year, he will have his fourth and fifth restaurant set up in Las Vegas.

I don't recall how the decor of table 8 restaurant was like (Faustina took over Chef Govind Armstrong's Table 8 old location) but Faustina was designed as such that it allows people to peek into the restaurant chic interior, showing off its impressive wine cellar and admirable wine collections. The indoor dining room has a rather formal dining feel, while outside patio is more relaxed and looks out to third avenue. The menu was designed for a more conversational based dining experience, with mostly small plate Italian tapas, so the atmosphere should have been more casual to compliment that concept, but it was not. In addition, pricing is critical for tapas concept restaurants but at Faustina, a lot of dishes were too small and too expensive. With that said, there were some good dishes in the Faustina though -- I liked the chef's signature Sea Urchin Maccheroni, the bacon wrapped shrimp was a highlight for us too. But I would prefer to see more of chef Scott Conant's signature pasta on the menu.

Gan had a tough time remembering Faustina when asked about the food there and I had the same problem. There weren't a lot of positive reviews from other diners about Faustina as well. Let's hope chef Scott Conant will not let Faustina share the same fate as fallen Table 8 restaurant.

Kanpachi porcini & garlic chips

Oysters & Mojito Gelee

Lardo-wrapped Prawns with rosemary-braised lentils

Prosciutto San Daniele and Speck

Puree of Asparagus Soup with king crab & new potatoes

Maccheroni with tomato & sea urchin

Lobster Risotto with asparagus & preserved truffle


Faustina on Urbanspoon

Red hook ball field food vendors


Address: Red Hook Ball Fields (corner of Clinton Street and Bay Street in Red Hook, Brooklyn)

Phone: no phone

I have wanted to check out Red Hook ball fields food vendors ever since my friends Dahlia and Han Chun went there last year. I have waited one year for them to reopen, which was why I cleared my Saturday schedule on May 1 to do just that. Some of these vendors have been there since 1974, started out as street vendors selling Latino food during summer weekends to spectators watching semi pro soccer games played at the field. It's been a well kept secret for some time due to its location, and only to become popular recently, possibly after appearing in an Anthony Bourdain's "No Reservation"episodes. I am sure a lot of non-Brooklynites (like myself) found our way to the very unfamiliar territory of Red Hook Brooklyn just to get a taste of real authentic Latino food since we became aware of its existence.

NYC Health department and city park department had to tried to close down the vendors in 2007, but with support from people like Senator Chuck Schumer and Top chef judge Tom Colicchio etc, the vendors won a six year contract with City Park Department and will continue to operate until 2013. So, three more years left in the contract, you have got to go check it out at least once, just in case they don't return after 2013.

Soler Red Hook Food Vendor

Tamale and Pupusas from Soler Red Hook Food Vendor

Grilled corn with cheese

Grilled steak from El Olomega Food Vendor


QBA (Quick But Authentic) Cuban Lunch Truck

Phone: 973-687-2000


Tuesdays & Thursday at Hudson and Grand Street

There's a new lunch truck in Jersey City waterfront area, and it serves one of my favorite cuisines - Cuban! For about $8, you can get their main entree of either bistec (steak and onions), pollo (chicken) and lechon (Cuban pulled pork) serves with white rice, black beans and a choice of unique sauces such as citrus garlic mojo, guava habenero bbq, cool creamy garlic aioli, jalapeno cilantro aji. QBA also offers cubano sandwich, empanadas, maduros and specialty chips, as well awesome drinks like guava juice spritzer, cortadito and cafe cubano. QBA sold breakfast when they first came to Jersey City, but it was discontinued, unfortunately. I would love to have that ham, scrambled eggs and maduros breakfast roll and cortadito for breakfast again!

Service with a smile :)

bistec lunch with white rice and black beans

cortadito with ham, scrambled eggs and maduros breakfast roll