Thursday, October 30, 2014

Restaurant Review - Umami Noodle Bar.

I'll admit that I had high hopes for a place like this in Maine. I'm a huge fan of Japanese food, and I've always dreamt of trying real ramen.

The logo design is pretty cool, and suggests something new age, and modern. Umami is the fifth of the 5 basic tastes. Its considered to me similar to saltiness, but  unique in it's own sense. Green tea is said to have a lot of umami.

You walk up to the counter, pick your broth, protein, and add-ons. The add-ons cost extra, there is a $1 and $2 section. The base price is $7.99. Honesty the prices are not that bad, but if you want a typical ramen-like meal it might add up. Typically, ramen includes egg, naruto, and napa cabbage. (They don't offer naruto at this time.)

I ordered "Japanese Miso" with tofu, and 1 add-on, napa cabbage. Jessica ordered Japanese miso, with tofu, and 1 add-on, hard boiled egg.

It carried a pretty good aroma of miso, and onions. Although the restaurant itself wasn't filled with any distinct scent, which was surprising since there should be a lot of flavorful broths being made. Broth carries a lot of aroma, not as much as say, bread, or a baker, but still.

The miso itself was pretty weak, and to my amazement, it needed salt. Miso usually is pretty salty, its actually one of the reasons why I like it. The noodles themselves were okay, they didn't have anything special going for them, they tasted like typical pre-packaged ramen noodles. (Not the 20 cent package kind, though.) The extra $1 I spent on the napa cabbage was really a waste. Maybe two or three pieces in there, it did taste pretty good though. The tofu was really the star (As it should be) and it was fried. It was cooked really well, and had a great taste. I wasn't disappointed in the tofu at all.

As far as flavors go, they are okay. Not fantastic, or memorable in anyway. Its also brand-new, first or second week open. They were also completely packed, and the line was out the door. I wont make excuses for them but I am also going to revisit them in about a month to see if I have a better experience. Their customer service is pretty awful; Jessica's noodles were substituted without her being told, as they were out of the other kind. The problem with that is: we paid extra for those noodles, but were given cheaper ones, and no refund. She also didn't have tofu on hers. When she complained they just tossed cold, uncooked tofu on top. Completely unacceptable. She complained again because we suspected that the noodles were different, and her tofu was awful. So they redid her entire meal, and the second bowl she had completely lacked the hard boiled egg she ordered. (Also $1 for half a hard boiled egg? What the hell?)

I really hope that the lack of good flavors, and bad customer service was due to the amount of people there that day. I paid $30, $5 of that being a tip. The tip was pre-food/service, otherwise I wouldn't have tipped at all. Honestly, if they had even decent customer service, I should get my money back.

This rating isn't out of pity, it was originally 1 leaf out of 5, but the owner contacted me and apologized, so at least he has some decency.

Umami's facebook & location can be found @

If you enjoyed my post; please consider donating! Thanks!

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

365 Days of Tea - Day 44: Starbuck's Oprah Chai Tea Latte.

 Its been a while since I've done a real tea post. I've had a lot of ups and downs, but that doesn't mean I'm not drinking tea. I drink tea everyday. I have some tea products coming, so I'm excited for that. I did not pay for this tea at Starbucks, I used a gift card them gave me.

This fancy Starbucks is inside of a Target. Target has some pretty cool vegetarian food in the frozen section, also seaweed snacks.

This is my first time ordering at Starbucks, and my biggest frustration is the cup size names. That being said, whatever the hell reason they named them that way; I'm calling them "Small, Medium, and Large."

Its foamy, as a latte should be, and for those who do not know what a typical latte is: it is usually expresso with steamed milk. This is made with tea instead of expresso, I would assume some crazy thick sirrup or something that would create a stronger flavor than regular brewed tea. (This is a theory, as I was too busy taking pictures to pay attention)

The aroma always reminds me of pumpkin spice, at least Teavana's chai tea does. (I've had Teavana's chai tea before.) I know that it is not the same, but it seems pretty similar. This is "Oprah's Chai Tea Latte" though, so it is special, somehow. (Might totally just be sponsored for added price.) It is not a strong enough scent to carry far from the cup, I actually couldn't catch any of the aroma without bringing it to my nose.

Boy, is it creamy! As you may know; I usually don't ever add milk or sugar to my tea, I like to experience it with full-bodied flavor, without any additions hindering it. This being a tea sold at a huge chain is, indeed, loaded with sugar because people love sugar. Though, the sweetness it carries actually enhances the subtle flavors of the cinnamon and brings it forth. There is a subtle mix of other spices, blended so well its kind of hard to pick them apart. It didn't so much taste like tea, as I would have hoped however.

Usually, a tea like this would be too sweet for my tastes, but I actually found myself enjoying it, hell, I even finished it. It tastes like fall and the holidays, which carry a lot of warm memories. My only problem is the price; I think its way over priced for what it is: steamed milk and tea. The tea they use isn't expensive at all, and neither is milk. I kinda want some more though.

Can be found @ your local:

If you enjoyed my post; please consider donating! Thanks!

Monday, October 20, 2014

Restaurant Review - Verve.

This is a local place in Bangor, Maine. Their first store is located in Orono, Maine. This review is solely based on the Bangor, Maine location, I have no experience with the Orono location, nor have I ever been to any Verve previously. Also keep in mind that I am a pescatarian.(I do not consume anything meat besides fish.)

The meaning of the word verve is vigor and spirit or enthusiasm. A common synonym is zest. 

I'll admit that I had some pretty high expectations when I walked in the door, their facebook contains a lot of favorable reviews. However, the restaurant's decor isn't anything remarkably memorable. It was really open-spaced, with oddly small tables.It felt more like a coffee shop than a burrito place. None of this had any remnants of vigor, or enthusiasm, and definitely not "world moving", Personally though, I don't find decor as important as the food itself, but even some tacty local art on the walls would do it some justice.

I ordered the "Veg-head" breakfast burrito - Scrambled eggs, Gimme Lean vegetarian sausage, black beans, cheese, salsa, and sour cream. $5.25

It didn't smell like a whole lot. It was just a very bland black bean smell, with a hint of cheese.

I'm not really sure where they buy their products, and how much of it is made in house. I'd like to assume that they make everything minus the obvious. (Sour cream, tortillas, veggie sauce) Usually with ingredients listed, they are in order of amount. The burrito was rather large, but I think its safe to say there may have been only single egg's worth of scrambled eggs. The most dominating thing was the beans, which were extremely bland. I would almost say they came from a can, which is sad because if it were true, it isn't much effort to buy raw beans (Cheaper, too) and cook them with more flavor themselves. I mean, at least add some chili powder and salt. It's suppose to be Mexican food right? Mexican food is very flavorful.  The vegetarian sausage? Tasted like charcoal, hard as a rock and burnt to hell, though, its amazing I could taste it at all, considering there were only two small pieces. Salsa and sour cream were not even in the flavor profile. I wouldn't even know they were there. 

The price was right, the flavor? Was not. It's amazing that a business like this has the balls to expand; it's food would be considered cafeteria food at best. In fact, my college's lunch at around the same price, with more food, is better tasting. I'd like to also add that the employee preparing my food, wore no food safety gloves, and two other employees were just sitting around screwing off on their phones. (I was the only other person in the restaurant, which makes sense, people like good food) 

Verve does not live up to it's name. Perhaps they should add some more "Zest".

This wasn't a rating out of pity, it was edible, and I didn't die. Would I recommend the place? Nope.

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Life Blog - Chinchillas, camper, and life.

Life always tends to throw a sack of curve balls into the mix.

I've been a pseudo-chinchilla breeder for a little while, and I only did it because I was naive; I dreamt that I'd be able to introduce others to how wonder the animals are. My biggest mistake was trusting that other people did their research - as obsessively as I did. What people don't realize is how big of a commitment Chinchillas, or pets in general are. Out of all the chinchillas I've rehomed, only 2 remain. One is being rehomed right now on facebook, she probably hopes that I don't see her trying to resell Pepper, and I know she is only rehoming her because she doesn't want to take care of her. Honestly though, my hands are tied. I'm pissed at pet owners in general, but also pissed at myself for trusting others to act on the same compassion as I do.

Wilma (RIP 2014) and Fred.

I recently got a van. Its a 1971 Chevy G30, and its converted into camper. Its pretty amazing, but needs some work. Bunch of little things mostly but nothing that'll cost a lot. The truth is other people might see trash, but I see potential. I have hopes for the van, dreams. It isn't much to look at now, but it will be when I'm done with it. Though, it's beginning to start it's fair share of drama, as I don't make a lot of money, people are telling me to sell it because its a wasted investment. Truth be told, most investments are wasted, usually, the outcome is less than what you put into it. Its not like I'm going out and buying a new engine for it, and other crazy things; I'm doing tiny things, one at a time by hand, too. Its an investment, sure, but a waste? Depends on who you ask. I don't think so, and I don't care what other people do think. That's the glory if life; I don't have to give a shit. When it's done, and I hit the road, they can kiss my asphalt.

It isn't much now, but it'll be home someday.

People in life often expect you to live a certain way, to whatever insane expectations they have of life. My only expectation of life, is to live it. I don't follow any rules or standard set by others, I create my own. Fact is; only you control your destiny. People will pull you down and try to make you become a certain type of person, but if you allow that you will never be happy. Never be scared to point up and walk out of the shadows.

Life should be an adventure, not an interrogation. 

Stay strange, be weird.