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dessert

dessert/ Events/ nyc/ snack

Macaron Day NYC 2010!

This event looks like a lot of fun, especially for those Macaron-lovers out there. After all, what is there not to love about these light little treats? If you enjoy popping macarons as much as I do, make sure to join in on this event. It takes place on Saturday, March 20, 2010 so mark your calendars. “To receive a free macaron tell the shop you are there for Macaron Day NYC.” It looks like there are a lot of places participating so I want to highlight a few:

– Bouchon Bakery
– La Maison du Chocolat
– Dessert Truck Works

The best part of this is that all proceeds go to City Harvest (www.CityHarvest.org), the world’s first food rescue organization, and has been servicing New York for over 25 years. For more information on participants and other aspects of this day, check out the website.

dessert/ Japanese/ nyc/ snack/ Taiwanese/ travels

Mountains of Ice!

I know spring has only begun, but that doesn’t mean we can’t think and crave summer foods right? One particular ingredient pops into my mind: Shaved Ice. Ice is such a versatile ingredient when it comes to creating a delicious dessert, especially when consuming it under the hot, humid sun, nothing is quite like how ice just melts in your mouth to cool you off.

So what exactly do you add to shaved ice to make it so good? It’s all about the ingredients baby.

This is Ippudo’s shaved ice dessert. It has red bean, mochi, strawberries, condensed milk and topped with a cherry. I believe Larry and I devoured this dessert in minutes. Can you blame us?

However this dessert is most common in Asia, namely Taiwan. The tropical weather, humid and hot, is best suited for some delicious ice. Hot Weather + Shaved Ice = Immense Satisfaction. There are many different combinations for ice:

This is Azabu Sabo’s Black Sesame Ice with Soft Serve. Yes, that black stuff is the black sesame and not random goo. The black sesame is mildly sweet but in conjunction with the soft serve and condensed milk creates a perfect combination of nutty and sweet flavors.

This is a traditional Taiwanese shaved ice dessert. What’s awesome is that you can choose what ingredients you want. How much is this bowl? I believe it’s close to $2.00. Insane isn’t it?! I happily picked out my favorite things: red bean, QQ jelly, tong yuan, condensed milk, and tapioca. It’s a whole bowl of delicious chewiness…:drool drool:

Calling ALL mango lovers…my most favorite: MANGO ICE. This place called Ice Monster offers this in the summer, which mangoes are abundant and naturally sweet. Imagine this…mango + mango ice cream + ice + condensed milk. This cannot be denied. Devoured? Yes. Instantaneous.

In conclusion, shaved ice is the best kind of dessert you can have on a sunny, hot day. For now we can just think about it until summer comes…then scarf away on ice. That is if you can handle the brain freeze.

dessert/ dinner/ nyc/ Spanish

Casa Mono…Yes or No?

So, I’ve been getting into tapas bars recently so naturally Casa Mono came up on my list. This is one of Mario Batali’s restaurants, and it’s also where the 2nd season of Top Chef, Ilan Hall, cooked prior to winning.

I would pass by this place everyday walking home from NYU campus when I lived in Gramercy. Sometimes I would stop to see the menu and think, “it’s not THAT expensive…” However, as a student, anything that was over $10 and considered a “small plate” did not fit into the budget. I was lucky enough to win an American Express gift card for $50 and decided that this is where I would spend it – Casa Mono.

Finally after months and months of pining for some delicious Spanish tapas, my friend decided to come with me on this tasting adventure. We made reservations and off we went. I was quite excited.

We were one of the first ones there for dinner and got a small enclosed table by the window. After we asked the waiter millions of questions like, “so what exactly is Fideos?” or “how spicy are your patatas bravas?”, our orders went in and anticipated our meal.

These are their Bacalao Croquetas with Orange Alioli aka. Cod encased deep fried goodness with yummy orange sauce. The croquetas were crisp but didn’t make me feel like I was eating oil. I definitely tasted the cod too, so deep frying it didn’t make it lose the flavor.

This is the Fideos with Chorizo and Clams. Okay…wha? If you’re like me, you’ll need an explanation:

  • Fideos – a thin, vermicelli-like noodle
  • Chorizo – fresh sausage
  • Clam – okay, this is something you should just know…=P

Anyway this dish was actually really good too and nice to share. I’m not the biggest fan of clams so I didn’t eat that, but it had good flavors.

Sweetbreads with Fennel al Mono. I think this was the first time trying sweetbread and not to say that this wasn’t good, but I personally dont’ like the texture of sweetbread in general.

Last of the savory dishes was Skirt Steak with Onion Mermelada (aka. Preserve). From what I remember, the Onion Mermelada was really good. Don’t get me wrong, the steak was cooked well but I enjoy the sauces that it is paired with.

And onto desssssert!

This is their Mono Sundae, comprised of Plum Brandy Ice Cream with Arrope (grape syrup) and Almonds. Oh man, this was SOO good. All the flavors worked together and satiated my craving for something sweet at the end. Yum yum.

Pricey? Yeah, everything adds up kids. I’m just glad I had that gift certificate. The waiters know what they’re talking about and it looks like they have an extensive wine menu, so I’m sure these dishes would go well with the right wine. I warn you that you might end up smelling like some of the food in there – it’s an open kitchen space.

Conclusion: Worth checking out though? Casa Mono is a YES.

Casa Mono
52 Irving Pl
New York, NY 10003

dessert/ dinner/ French/ nyc

NYC Winter Restaurant Week: Payard

For NYC’s Winter Restaurant Week, which is still going on, I dragged all my wonderful friends to Payard Patisserie & Bistro. It’s located on Lexington between 73rd and 74th St…a nice location since it’s right next to the 6. Trust me, the weather in NY is extremely cold so anything near a subway station is KEY to a positive experience at this point. I’ve always wanted to come here because I’ve heard their pastries are incredible, and any place that has great dessert I AM THERE.

Anyway, we were seated upstairs in a corner by the ultra-expensive wines for the usual VIP restaurateurs I guess. Our waiter was real nice, informed us of an additional entree for the restaurant week menu which they ended up only having one of…and that my friend ordered. hahah. In terms of their restaurant week menu, it seemedslim but since it came with the dessert, I decided to stick with it.

As usual, here are pictures from the night:


That is the appetizer that I chose – their mushroom flan. Its description read, “Champignone de Paris and Porcini Flan with Black Truffle Oil Creme Fraiche – Wild Mushroom Broth”. Yum yum. I actually didn’t finish it all, but not because it tasted bad. It has a very strong “mushroom taste”, and depending upon your like/dislike for mushrooms, you would love it or hate it.


For the main course, I got the scallops or more eloquently put, “Seared Diver Maine Sea Scallops with Lardons, Blood Oranges, Red Endive and Baby Arugula Salad“. Yes, there are only two pieces…there were some complaints (from my always-hungry-friends) that they wanted to go to McDonald’s afterwards since this wasn’t enough. However, I thought it was pretty good, especially since I love scallops too. There was a good mix of scallop and sauce. Yum, I wouldn’t mind having another one right now…


And for DESSERT! After careful consideration, I got their Apple Tart (also recommended by our waiter). It was pretty good…even though this wasn’t the best picture of it…but the apples were nicely glazed and the pastry had just the right cripsy, butter-y-ness. Hahah.

Here are pictures of the desserts my friends got:


Don’t ask me what that is because I actually forgot…


This is called “Martinique“, described as “Baba Rum Filled with Caramel Passion Fruit Mousse with Poached Pear in Caramel Syrup”. Yes, doesn’t that just sound scrumptious. Mhhhmmm…

So all in all, a fun experience with my friends, going to the Upper East Side and enjoying some nice French cuisine.

Conclusion: If you want a classic French pastry, along with some pretty fancy francais dishes, Payard is the place to be. Be warned, this place does not come cheaply!

dessert/ dinner/ Japanese/ nyc

After A Long Break…Japanese!

Yes, I know it’s been a while since I’ve blogged…I completelyapologize for my lack of food entries and journies. It’s been quite hectic lately – job search, school work, midterms, club activities. All those things add up to ZERO free time. However, I’ve found time to go to restaurants, eat, and take pictures.

I gotta say, one of my latest dinners this month was a really big pick-me-up from the depressing job search: Chiyono + Chikalicious. I’ve been meaning to go to both for a LONG time, so when my friend and I went, I forgot about my hectic life for that night…which was much needed.

First off is Chiyono. Originally, my friend and I found this place randomly since it’s in the middle of Indian Row and it’s a Japanese restaurant. Nonetheless, it’s a real authentic Japanese restaurant. Everyone in there spoke Japanese and I had to ask lots of questions to figure out what the heck I was going to eat. hahaha.

I got their Fried Oyster dish, which is a special winter dish:


It was really good. The paste on the top right is actually spicy…reminded me of wasabi. Anyways, it’s definitely worth a trip there. The restaurant is really cozy and has this huge wooden table in the middle, to share the place. It’s a relatively small restaurant, but if you want some authentic “home-cooked” Japanese food, this is a great place to go. Highly recommended. And most importantly, it’s not too expensive so it won’t hurt your wallet.

Afterwards we were still hungry so my friend suggested to go to Chikalicious. I think he said that because he knew my spirits needed to be lifted up…through food. Just by mentioning Chikalicious made me SO happy.

If y’all don’t know about Chikalicious, it’s basically a dessert place in the East Village where their menus change everyday and are freshly made by this Japanese women and a fellow chef. It’s incredible. There’s a fix prix menu of $12, additional $7 if you want a wine pairing with your dessert and what you get is an Amuse + Entree + Petit Fours. So it’s treated like a real meal, except it’s dessert. I think my pictures will show you what I mean:


This is the Amuse, which basically means an “appetizer” that is a few bites. Psh…it’s definitely amusING for them to tease you…making you wait in anticipation for the next course. It was real cool since we also got to watch them make the desserts; we sat at the bar so we were lucky.


My friend got this dish, which is a “Warm Chocolate Tart with Pink Peppercorn Ice Cream and Red Wine Sauce“. Yum yum.


I got this dish, which was “Banana Salad on Crispy Kataifi and Chocolate Pudding with Mint Froth“. It was really good. Their shapes and combination of fresh ingredients made it very tasty and unique. I loved it.


Lastly, we ended with Petit Fours. There’s marshmellow with coconut flakes, chocolate truffle, and…well, the last one has a hazelnut on top of it. My friend fell in love with the hazelnut. hahaha. All in all, Chikalicious is DEFINITELY a place to visit so make sure you go! I warn you that it gets very busy during the weekends, so you should try to get there at 8 PM on weekends or go during the weekdays. They’re opened until they run out of the ingredients…and people seriously will wait for a long time so this place. It’s very good so I encourage all of you readers to go!

Alright, so that’s that. If I have time, I will definitely post more of my adventures!

American Traditional/ brunch/ dessert/ French/ nyc

A Classy Sunday

This past Sunday was mucho funo. Normally I stick to the cheapest food around, being the poor college student that I am. However, my friends and I found ourselves buying expensive things – a $80.00 shirt! – and relatively good cheap white wine – $11.99 – from Vintage New York. After considerable amount of walking in the heat, we decided to go to a place where we can BYOB. Bring Your Own Bottle…or in our case, wine.

Anyways, we first ventured to Doma, where I found myself not so tempted by their small selection of sandwiches. Then, very close by, is Tartine (located 253 W. 11th St., at 4th St.) which is most famous for their brunch. I’ve been there too, which is awfully good, but dinner was beckoning us.

Tartine is French cuisine, moderately priced. Some things were around $8-10, and their main courses can range from $14-20. Being the ballers that we are, we decided to share (sharing is caring!). And of course, here are the pictures to prove it:

This is the Grilled Saucisson, which is garlic sausage and potatoes with shallots & chives sauce, along with bits of tomato. Yum yum. The sauce stood out amongst all the elements in the dish. Definitely worth trying.


The next dish was a special that day. I can’t remember the name of the dish, but it’s basically calamari with avacado, caviar, and a “refreshing” sauce of some sort. Sorry if my descriptions really suck, but I guarantee you that it was very good.


And finally, this is their Croque Monsieur. All I gotta say is…butter. And lots of it. Of course, that’s not to say that I don’t like butter…so I think it works out for my palette in the end. haha.

Overall, Tartine is DEFINITELY worth a visit, even not on a brunch day. It’s a bit tiny, but is decently priced for good French food.

Afterwards, there must be dessert! We ventured off to Magnolias Bakery. It is only…a block away. Normally I get their banana pudding (HIGHLY RECOMMENDED) but Sunday night I opted for the typical purchase – a cupcake.


Yes, they were quite enjoyable. I had a chocolate cupcake with vanilla butter frosting (with purple sprinkles!) This time around they didn’t give a huge amount of icing that they normally do, but I like it better this way. Even though I think there are better cupcake places out there, Magnolias still hits the spot after a nice dinner.

Okay, so that ended my journey with my awesome friends on a very hot and classy Sunday night. Good times…and quite yummy too.

dessert/ Taiwanese/ travels

Introductions are Necessary

FINALLY!

The start of my food blog. Many of you have been wondering when I would actually start something like this, in which I said,”I don’t know…I need to think of a name!” After much debate and thought with www.dictionary.com or just surfing the net, nothing really came about.

I wanted my name to come about organically. As I was IMing on a normal Thursday night, it suddenly hit me. Who I am, what I love about food, why I am obsessed with documenting my food experiences…

me = inquisitive food junkie
Crazy how these things come about. So here’s to the beginning of my many journies and entries.


As my first picture, this is called Mango Ice (man guo bing) which is very popular in Taiwan. They are pieces of mango that cover shaved ice, topped with a mango sorbet scoop and condensed milk. mmm. This is a blast from the past to Summer ’05 in Taipei, Taiwan where desserts such as what is pictured above costs $1.50. That’s right folks. Okay…perhaps that might be an underestimation but nonetheless, cheap! How I pine for those ices…

Anyways, since my bed is calling me to it, I shall go! Come back for some more food adventures. yum yum.