Saturday, November 28, 2009

Assessing Obama's taste in burgers

Today, Dad and I checked out Obama's favourite burger joint, Five Guys, on 55th St between 5th & 6th. Overall impression: good but nothing amazing. The burgers could definitely have been juicier. I think this is because they are made one way, well done, and in my opinion a medium rare burger is optimal for maximum juiciness and flavour. Fries were okay as well and not particularly flavourful. I hate to say this, but I'll take McDonald's french fries over Five Guys any day. For those craving burgers in NYC, I would recommend Shake Shack or the not-so-secret Burger Joint at the Parker Meridien Hotel instead.

Friday, November 27, 2009

Brunch at Little Giant

To fuel up for Black Friday, Dad, Achie Annette, and I grabbed brunch at Little Giant, one of my favourite spots in the Lower East Side. The decor is really cute and homey and the food is delicious. Best to get a combination of sweet and savoury dishes - like their amazing french toast with caramelized bananas with a side of their mouthwatering mac and cheese with perfectly toasted breadcrumbs on top!

Dad ordered the French toast with caramelized bananas.

We ordered a small macaroni and cheese to share.

Achie Annette ordered lox and scrambled eggs.

I decided to change it up and had something new - an arugula salad with sauteed wild mushrooms, roasted cauliflower, and a poached egg, with truffle oil. Delicious!

Thanksgiving with Dad and Achie Annette

Yummy pate, salami, and crackers, courtesy of Achie Annette.

Socializing while I slave away in the kitchen...

Before shot of my roast chicken. I know, I know - that's a tremendous amount of butter! But it was a French recipe. What do you expect?

Roasting away...

Okay, I know it looks burned but in fact that is a soy sauce glaze! Really! Not very visually appealing but quite delicious if I do say so myself! Recipe courtesy of Chez Pim, from Christian Delouvrier, former chef of the veritable Alain Ducasse in NYC.

Sauteed spinach with onions and raisins.

Wild rice pilaf with onions, crumbled sweet Italian sausage, and fresh rosemary.

Roasted butternut squash, à la Alice Waters.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Best Cupcakes EVER!

Yesterday I went to Red Hook in Brooklyn for a cupcake tasting session with Katya and Christine. Katya is getting married in April and is thinking of having cupcakes instead of a traditional wedding cake, so we decided to check out Baked. Red Hook is quite out of the way (the subways do not go there) and if you walk there from the closest station it involves walking, or shall I say running, through some rather sketchy neighbourhoods (read: projects), but it is well worth the trek!

This is our sampler plate - red velvet cupcake, double chocolate cupcake (Katya's favourite), carrot cupcake, malted cupcake, and sweet and salty cupcake (my favourite). I've officially designated Baked NYC cupcakes as the best cupcakes in the world! The icing is not too sugary and is light and airy, like it's been whipped. The cake is perfectly moist. And it just looks so pretty and elegant! For those out there who abhor food colouring, I think you've met your match.

And finally, the pièce de ré enormous slice of the Sweet and Salty cake. Dark chocolate cake infused with a salty caramel, caramel chocolate ganache, and topped with fleur de sel. I think we can all guess who is in a sugar coma today.

We decided to catch the Water Taxi back to Manhattan and literally rode off into the sunset. The sky was bathed in a gorgeous orange glow.

Why is my blackberry in a bowl of rice?

Here is a clue: rice is known to absorb moisture.

Spanish fiesta

Last weekend I had a few friends over for a Spanish-themed dinner. We had tapas, paella, and white wine & red wine sangria, courtesy of Nick. Highlight was definitely Ilan's grilled dates stuffed with chorizo wrapped in bacon. Delicious!

And lastly, some photos of our adorable surprise guest...Pato!

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Dinner with out-of-towners

Last night I had dinner with Ilan and my "out of town" friends. Kenlen was visiting from Taiwan, Shu was visiting from Boston, and Kris was visiting from Jersey!

First course - a super yummy bruschetta with tomatoes, olive oil, basil, and loads of garlic! Slices of baguette were grilled on my beautiful new Le Creuset cast iron grill pan. Love it!

Second course - salad with golden & red beets, gorgonzola, and a mustard vinaigrette. Needless to say I had my own special salad. Two thumbs up for Ilan's beautiful presentation! (She only obsessed over it for, oh, fifteen minutes.)

Third course - Turkey drumsticks and thighs with leeks and garlic braised in cognac and chicken stock, recipe courtesy of my friend Emily. Let's just say that someone was quite liberal with the cognac. And it wasn't me. The turkey drumsticks were huge! Like dinosaur legs!

Fourth course - roasted brussels sprouts with crispy bacon. There's a reason why they say that everything tastes better with bacon.

Fifth course - a sinful tiramisu courtesy of Kris.

Notice the towel hanging on Ilan's apron? What a professional chef!

Clean up time. Thank god Jenny is coming this Tuesday! Jenny, I'm sorry!! I know I am your worst client. What would I do without you? A special thanks to the person who knocked some sense into me and convince me to hire her. You know who you are.

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Union Square Farmer's Market

This morning I went to the Union Square Farmer's Market with Ilan, Shu, and Kenlen. Being around farm fresh produce, I always manage to see something new and unexpected. Like brussels sprouts still on the stalk! Who knew they grew like that? That's not how they look in the supermarket!

We picked up a bunch of other stuff for our impromptu dinner party tonight. Ilan and I are such talented cooks that we can throw together a four course meal on the spot. Just like that.