Wednesday, October 20, 2010

I want this real bad. Santa, baby....

I want this for Christmas or Diwali or my birthday in 6 months. Is someone reading this? I actually need a kitchen of my own to put it in first. Santa, get to work!

I've been eying this bad boy since August.

Giada's Cast Iron Panini Press

1492 Columbus sailed the ocean blue

Location: Manhattan (My new home, New York)

Went to 1492, a tapas bar in the Lower East Side with Kelly the other night for much needed friend date after work.

Trekked down there from the Upper East Side on a Monday night sometime around 7:30pm. Apparently Happy Hour was still going on, of course the waiter failed to share that us when we specifically asked what the specials were that night. It was fairly quiet, not an exciting happy hour atmosphere that I'm used to in Soho - regular crowds regardless of what day it is.

Atmosphere was soothing after a long day's work. I imagine things would've picked up on Thursday or over the weekend. Good feel for a date or relaxing evening, but don't bring your foodie significant other here. Despite the annoyance that we each could've gotten our second drink for free (2 for 1 cocktails during Happy Hour) had the waiter given us the happy hour special, our waitor was friendly and went and tracked down the name of the song playing per my request.

The food was a disappointment. I ordered the wild mushroom croquettes. Inside to my displeasure I found mushroom puree. It was bland and unpleasant to consume. I also tried the Vegetable Coca.. some sort of spanish flatbread... It was like a bad bland open quesadilla. I couldn't taste the supposed manchego (which I love!!) cheese and wasn't excited by the limp red pepper and tomato on top. My friend enjoyed the shrimp and steak and potatoes tapas she ordered, but said they were nothing special. Also, I'm not sure how steak and mashed potatoes makes serves as a tapa...

The cocktails we had were a plus! The vodka with strawberries was potent and fresh tasting. One sip and we didn't regret overlooking the sangria on the menu.

Overall I give this place 3 stars. Will I be back? Maybe, but just for the drinks and only on night where I can expect a more lively atmosphere.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

N.Y.C. / The rich and the rundown / The parade goes by

Location: Paayal's living room couch, which is coincidentally a bed
Listening: N.Y.C. - Annie (Remembering Soniya's laryngitis performance as Grace in middle school...The show must go on!)

Diploma in hand, it's time for me to two-step over to the East coast and make my run of the big city. I'm in Manhattan for about ten days looking for apartments, mostly business, but I wouldn't be a Longhorn if I didn't know how to have a little fun.

I started browsing in the Financial District (FiDi). One place I checked out was directly across the street from The Trump Building and next door to Tiffany's. Talk about lavish living. Knowing me, I fell in love with the more open-spaced neighborhoods filled with small grocery stores, boutiques, and eateries like East and West Village, SoHo, and the lively Union Square area. I'm pleasantly surprised to see wonderful little imports from Paris like Maison du Chocolat and O&Co. Oui, Le Marais, I still think of you fondly...

The hunt for an apartment has pretty much been a disaster, but I'm happy to share a few things I've learned. If you see an apartment and like it in NY, you put an application in right on the spot. Better come stocked with lots of goodies for the management i.e. Social Security card, bank statements, tax returns, pay stubs or an offer letter featuring a salary up to 50x the rent, and much, much more. Also, during the summer months, you're much more likely to find June 1st leases than anything else and for any time of the year, you really want to be looking only 2-3 weeks before move-in date (which is generally the 1st and sometimes the 15th of the month). Surprise, surprise, there really is such a thing as TOO EARLY. 2 months is far too soon. No brokers will talk to you and listings on public sites are just not available.

Now on to the fun, less heartbreaking stuff.

Well, maybe just one more brief setback. Walking there in the heat and finding out that tickets were not available was a disappointment, but no worries I got my fill of funny at UCB, Upright Citizens Brigade Theatre. I saw a $10 sketch show with two troupes, the first of which was just not funny. See for yourself (There's a trailer on their website). The second troupe however blew me away with their parade of scenes showcasing die-hard LOST fans, shopping mall gays, a Staten Island talk show host, and my personal fav, I Love Lucy.

Part 1:
Part 2:

Thunder Gulch

Pretty much since the day I started reading From the Mixed Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler (circa 1996) I've been dreaming of living inside the Met. With a bit of age and wisdom, I've decided to settle for just a visit.

Inside the Museum Puzzle

Best affordable souvenir.
$16.95/$15.95 (Non-member, Member)
Quite tempted to purchase it actually. You know, the old framed puzzle ordeal. But I didn't bother to get it on this trip as I'd only be bringing it right back.

Out on the front steps of The Met, despite the drizzle, I decided to rest and listen to this sax player.

Saturday, January 30, 2010

Rhapsodie de fruits

Literally one of the most satisfying jams I've ever tasted. My cousins in Ashford run through St. Dalfour's jars so quickly. I find the texture, pieces of real fruit, and amount of sweetness create a pleasing combination. I love the four fruits variety on toast and usually put a tiny spoonful on my mother's buttery lemon cookies. My tummy is smiling just thinkin' about it.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Chocolate Cake with Kahlua Glaze

Oh my, what a delight to add to any evening. Last Saturday I brought this Martha Stewart chocolate cake over to my friend's apartment for a little get together. It's a fairly simple recipe, but you'll need a spring form cake pan. The cake comes out very rich and chocolatey. It does crack and crumble only on the top as you can see in the picture, but don't worry about when it comes to serving it's easy to slice, and the moisture helps it stay together. 

I did have a few substitutions. I didn't have instant espresso, so I replaced it with instant coffee, really a minor change, but of course a slightly different flavor. I also made my own glaze... just a bit of milk, powdered sugar, Kahlua, and melted chocolate... It took me a while to get the right blend of sweetness and consistency so play around with the ingredients to your liking. I ended up with a nice runny glaze to drizzle upon serving. .. although I have so much leftover.. Not really sure what to do with all my Kahlua glaze now? Maybe drizzle it over ice cream or cheesecake?? I even considered using it for pancake syrup ;)

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Hum didalee dumplings!

After spending a week drooling over the latest Bon Appetit issue's feature on Sriracha sauce dishes, I finally convinced Mother the fridge was not too full for a trip to Asian supermarket. So many delicious things we found, but so many brands to choose from! We decided to do a little taste testing of two of our favorite appetizers prior to cooking a little Asian feast (Another entry coming soon, Dad misses all the fun stuff when he's out of town).

evidence Mother still loves me

deathly duel of dumplings

skinny v. short vegetable dumplings

Skin-wise both browned well and tasted as they should, however I found the an odd, indescribable flavor in the skinny ones and an unpleasant smashed peas textured filling. I overwhelmingly preferred the short ones - just the right amount of filling for the right amount of crunchiness.

Every time we make dumplings or potstickers or gyozas or whatever you like calling these savory treats, my family prepares this easy, sweet dipping sauce to give the dumplings a little zing!

mom's dumpling dipping sauce
a pinch of sugar
1 part soy sauce
1 part water
splash of vinegar
finely chopped scallions
grated ginger to taste

Combine and enjoy!

battle of the egg rolls: India v. China

Indian eggrolls Mom found at the Indian supermarket.. Indian-Chinese another cuisine in its own right

Orientex chinese eggrolls (we were hoping that they forgot to change the year on the stickers and really meant 2010....sketchy yes)

The chinese egg rolls ( and this is NOT the first time this has happened to me) were not packed tightly and the wrappers broke! Naturally, the hot oil flooded inside and the filling flowed out. What a nasty mess!

The Indian eggrolls, and I'm not saying this because I'm Indian as I tend to avoid Indian-Chinese food, were much much better! They were bite-sized. Literally the size of my thumb. Neatly wrapped and therefore cooked well. They also had a bit of spice to them which I can appreciate!

And the moment you've all been waiting for...the return of Fun Finds column!

Fun Finds in the Asian Superstore

Liver Care Tea .: college student's new BFF


apparently the Asian supermarket has also fallen prey to green-washing

Why the hell not?

Definitely microwaved birthday cake... Best idea ever. I know I'm
usually disinclined to eat birthday cake but who can say no to a warm
chocolatey mess? Happy birthday, big sis!