Tag Archives: nyc

hakkasan in nyc

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harry’s first snow!

remember that snow storm we had in the middle of january?  well hubs and i got up bright and early that saturday morning and dragged harry out to experience his first snow fall.  he seemed a bit apprehensive about the stuff at first, but then discovered that it was a lot of fun!  we’re pleased to report that harry’s natural snow shoe paws work great in the snow.  he didn’t seem to be cold at all and dragged us along, as hubs and i tried to avert slipping in falling in our clunky snow boots.

after a good romp in the virgin snow in the dog park near us, we took a short stroll to soho.  that’s a snow covered harry waiting for us to feed him some pastry from dominique ansel’s bakery.

he looks a bit disheveled, doesn’t he?

rocco dispirito in the ‘hood!

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danji nyc

i went to danji a few months back and since then, my friends have been asking me for more “colour” on the restaurant.  so without further ado, here it goes . . .

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ruby et violette’s chocolate chip cookies

a few weeks back, hubs and i found ourselves wandering around in the streets  of nyc with nothing to do!  quite the luxury these days.  we were in the vicinity of the newly renovated limelight boutiques and decided to finally go inside for a peek.  the notorious club has become fully transformed into a warren of accessory, gift and food shops.  we tunneled around for a bit and just as we were about to leave, spied the sign for ruby et violette’s gourmet cookie shop on the 2nd level.  i had always wanted to try their cookies, and here an opportunity had presented itself. Continue reading

nyc battle of the ramen – pt. 1

last weekend, hubs and i found ourselves with a hankering for ramen.  we found ourselves at minca on friday evening, and then at ippudo for brunch the next day.  i guess you could say it was an opportunity to host our private “battle of the ramen” culinary event.  Continue reading

lebne yogurt tart encounter

a few days into the new year, hubs and i wandered over to compose restaurant  (opened by a noma alum) in tribeca to check-out its bar menu.  to say that we were delightfully surprised would be an understatement.  we enjoyed our experience at the bar so much, that we made a reservation at the end of our meal to have the full ten-course experience in mid-february.  the much anticipated meal is finally coming up next week, and i’ll give a full download on the restaurant then.

i mention compose because it was there, where i first encountered the incomparable lebne tart. the barman explained to us that lebne is a type of middle eastern yogurt.   with the help of some light googling, i later learned that lebne goes by many names throughout the middle east and mediterranean region.  it is sometimes spelled lebni or labneh or laban or kefir cheese.  i don’t yet know what the regional differences are beyond the nomenclature.  the stuff itself has the consistency of sour cream or a strained greek yogurt — in fact, if you can’t find lebne in your supermarket, you can just buy greek yogurt, and let it strain overnight. Continue reading

overflowing with flowers

i have this vivid image in my head of my place looking like floral vision after S transformed it into his romantic vision of a thanksgiving spectacular.  of course, going through the pictures, i realised that i forgot to snap any standalone photos of the flowers by themselves. i did find one photo of my absolute favorite bouquet among the three that S threw together.  i took the photo the next day and even modified it (*gasp*) a bit by placing a lone rose bud into the base.  i needed somewhere to put it, right?

the thing i love so much about this particular bouquet is that it straddles so many elements. it’s a bit zen, a bit holiday, a bit romantic, a bit exotic, and it also looks different depending on the angle of your gaze.

a few days post thanksgiving, a friend of mine sent along another gorgeous bouquet from Fellan Florist in NYC.  it’s pretty in pastels and bursting with blooms!  i particularly like the flowering kale (the one that looks like a mini cabbage). how adorable!

so yes, for about 1 week, my place, outfitted with six separate bouquets in total, resembled a mini florist . . . i’m a lucky duck, ain’t i?



apple cider yogurt cake

i love the clinton street baking company down in LES, but i don’t much love the hour plus long wait to get a table.  i had pre-ordered their cookbook and leapt for joy when the ups man dropped it off at my place.  yipee!  they’ve got tons of fabulous recipes inside — everything from their fluffy pancakes and amazing maple butter sauce to their black and white cake and their  to-die-for banana chocolate chunk muffins (yes, i’m that annoying person who goes and orders every last one of those muffins that they’ve got in store).

that said, i really wanted to get my hands on their apple cider muffin recipe, but it wasn’t in the book!  half of me thinks that i’m hallucinating about the apple cider muffins and/or confusing them with another bakery where i sampled the goods…

memory glitches aside, i set about reconstructing the recipe for what i recall as apple cider muffins consumed at what i believe was clinton street bakery. proust would be proud. using their sunshine yogurt muffin recipe as a rough guide, i set off towards the fabled land of apple cider muffins

of course, after i had prepped everything, i realised that i was out of muffin liners, and ended up making the batter into a square cake instead . . . the cake turned out quite moist and i really liked the texture of the glaze  (it’s like the glaze on a donut that’s smooth and then crackles once you bite into it).  if there’s anything i would change for round 2, it would be to pump up the apple flavor.  maybe add some sort of apple essence or something?

Apple Cider Yogurt Cake
(makes 1 eight inch square cake)

Dry Ingredients
Flour 1 ½ cups
Baking Soda ¼ tsp
Baking Powder 1 tsp
Wet Ingredients
Butter ¾ stick (6 tbsp) at room temperature
Sugar ½ cup
Egg 1 large one
Vanilla ½ tsp
Apple Cider ½ cup
Yogurt ½ cup
For the Glaze
Confectioners’ Sugar 1 cup
Apple Cider 4-5 tbsp
  1. Preheat oven to 350ºF. Butter pan and set aside.
  2. Whisk together dry ingredients in a bowl and set aside.
  3. Cream butter and sugar in the bowl of your stand mixer with the paddle attachment.
  4. Add egg, vanilla, cider and yogurt.  Mix until well-combined on medium speed.
  5. Then, turning the speed down to the lowest setting, pour in dry ingredients.  Mix until just combined.
  6. Give the mixture a few more folds with a rubber spatula to make sure everything is incorporated.
  7. Pour into pan and bake for 25 to 30 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean.
  8. When ready, let stand for 10 minutes, then invert and cool on rack.
  9. Make glaze when cake is cooling.  To do so, pour confectioners’ sugar into the bowl of your standmixer with whisk attachemnt.  Then add Apple Cider and whisk on medium speed.  You may need to add more or less cider to get it to the consistency of something like “egg nog.”
  10. Pour the glaze over cooled cake.  I used the back of a spoon to help spread the glaze over the top of the cake.  The cake is ready to eat when the glaze has set.
  11. Enjoy a very moist cake!

the hullabaloo on lotus of siam nyc

i was supposed to wait another 2 weeks to before going to lotus of siam with G, but i just couldn’t wait.  hubs and i, well mostly me, have been salivating since the nytimes article came out a few weeks ago celebrating the imminent arrival of what Jonathan Gold regarded a decade ago as the best thai food in the united states.

we didn’t have a reservation but wandered by the restaurant, half thinking that we wouldn’t get a seat.  (i didn’t even bring a camera, but relied on the lens of my mobile phone. apologies in advance for the graininess of the photos).  the maitr’d worked his magic with the reservation system and managed to find us a table.  the main dining room appeared to be 1/3 full.  many more tables filled up after we left around 8:30pm.  it was the 2nd day they started to offer the full a la carte menu, and i think they kept the restaurant at less than full capacity to ease the staff into things.

the configuration of the benches, tables and chairs is comfortable enough.  for once, i didn’t feel like i was being squeezed into a cubby hole.  as a new restaurant, it was pretty clean as well.  that said, the more i looked around the place, the more i got the feeling that the decor was not as well contemplated as it could have been.  they had these strange reddish-orange things on the wall and in vases that looked a bit like feather dusters.  the rest of the furniture was a mix between french brasserie and zen minimalistic japanese design.  i suppose it’s a step-up from the bare boned strip-mall original in vegas.  still, they’ve got stiff stylistic competition from kittichai and  spice market; moreover, with the prices they’re charging, i would have expected them to invest a bit more in transforming the dining room into a real experience.

but enough on the visual elements.  who really cares if the food is amazing? hubs and i started with 3 appetizers:  the crispy rice salad, a green papaya salad, and nam prik hed.  the appetizers were in general outstanding.  i found the green papaya salad to be incredibly flavorful with a great balance between the crunch of the tasted sesame seeds, sweetness of the cherry tomatoes, and the fragrance of fish sauce and fermented shrimp instilled in the papaya shreds.  the crispy rice salad is fantastic as well.  it’s got a great blend of tiny rice crunchies with the savoriness of shallots and freshness of mints.  hubs ordered the nam prik hed — a mushroom dip and northern thai specialty — expressly because the menu warned that it was very spicy.  and indeed it was very spicy, not so spicy that we couldn’t handle it, but a bit too spicy for us to taste anything aside from spiciness.   we were warned . . . after a bit of a wait, our mains finally arrived.  to get straight to the point, the mains were a bit of a let down (or maybe we just haven’t found the right things to order as yet.  there were some curries that looked quite interesting, and i would have liked to try their pad thai as well).  i got the soft shell crab dish over drunken noodles for ~$25. the entree was appetizer sized.  it was one soft shell crab, fried, done up with some herbs and placed over a small handful of flat rice noodles. i think i might have been better off ordering the $15 soft shell crab appetizer instead.  the dish itself was rather tasty, but soft shell crab is one of those ingredients that is difficult to mess up. i dunno, i expected to get more bang for my buck, i suppose.

hubs orders a pork pad krapow — as he does in virtually every thai restaurant we venture into.  the pork slices were a bit tough and there wasn’t nearly enough basil herby goodness.  at $17, i thought it was also a bit over-priced.

i had really high hopes for lotus of siam.  some of which were met (their flavors are spot on), and some of elements i hope they’ll continue to tweak.  who knows, maybe hubs and i just managed to order the wrong items. for now, i think i’ll hop on over to queens to get my thai fix at either srip, chao thai, or ayada…at the very least, i know that if spend $50/person there, i’ll be stuffed silly

Lotus of Siam
24 Fifth Avenue at Ninth Street
Tel: (212) 529-1700
Mon – Thu: 5p- 10:30p
Fri – Sat: 5p – 11p