Friday, December 11, 2009

Dinner at Westville on a cold winter's night

On Pat's advice, I decided to check out Westville with Katya. She described it as a more rustic Ottolenghi so I had to check it out for myself. For those who aren't familiar with it, Ottolenghi is one of the best cafes in London. Everything they serve is so fresh, delicious, and beautifully presented, usually bursting with colour. I could eat it everyday...and I almost did the last time I was in London!

Now I don't know if I would put Westville on par with Ottolengthi, not because there's anything wrong with it but because the bar is REALLY HIGH, but I have to say that I really enjoyed my meal. The ambiance is warm and cozy. Think brick walls, dim lighting, and small tables close to one another. The service is fantastic - our waiter was super friendly, funny, and rather flamboyant (that's a euphemism). Prices are very reasonable. I would describe the food as really good, fresh, and simple home cooking. The perfect neighbourhood restaurant (if only I lived in the West Village)!

For our first course, we had crabcakes with a side of salad. These were delicious!

For our main course we had almond crusted trout over a bed of salad with red onions, avocado, and sliced green apples. We both thought this dish was just okay. Too many bones and I think I even had a scale!

We also shared a platter of market veggies that was really really good. We had sauteed kale, mashed sweet potatoes, roasted zucchini with roasted cherry tomatoes and mozarella, and sauteed mixed mushrooms with leeks and herbs. So simple yet so delicious!

To end the meal we had a yummy homemade apple pie with vanilla ice cream. Crust was really good. Perfect end to the meal!

This is how cold it was in NYC this evening....-8 degrees Celsius!! We looked like Russians (Katya, the real Russian) and Siberians (me) in our fur lined hoods!

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Lunch at Cafe du Soleil

A few days ago, Veronica and I decided to venture south of campus and have lunch at Cafe du Soleil.

Veronica had a burger with goat cheese, which came with a side of fries. Note the nice roasted garlic amongst the fries!

I had a "French bento box" - a French onion soup, half a croque monsieur, crisps, and a small bowl of grapes.

It's a cute place with a semi-feel of a Parisian bistro and reasonable prices. I plan to be back.

Hot chocolate

The other day I decided to go to Community Food and Juice by school for a study break between classes. While I was there, I decided to indulge in a mug of real hot chocolate (i.e. Not Swiss Miss or anything that comes out of a packet) with a dollop of whipped cream. Just the sustenance I needed to get through two hours of an evening lecture on China's economy.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Achie Annette's Home Cooked Meal & Lady M

On her last night in town, Achie Annette cooked us a delicious meal of Tinolang Manok and steamed jumbo shrimp with a soy sauce and scallion dipping sauce.

Tinolang Manok is a Filipino ginger chicken soup that is traditionally made with green papaya and spinach or watercress. Seeing that it is winter time in NYC, Achie Annette improvised with ingredients that were available in Chinatown. Her delicious rendition of the dish had chicken thighs and drumstick with Chinese long beans, carrots, and baby bak choy, flavoured with a generous sprinkle of Thai fish sauce. Nothing warms my soul faster on a cold New York winter's night than a piping hot bowl of chicken soup.

In addition to the Tinolang Manok, Achie Annette made what she claimed to be Mom's steamed jumbo shrimp recipe, although I honestly can't recall having eaten it before. She boiled sprite with slices of ginger, then steamed the shrimps until they just turned pink. She then heated up some soy sauce and scallions, to use as the dipping sauce.

For dessert, we had, dun dun dun.....mille crepes from Lady M!!!! This dessert is probably one of my top three favourite desserts in NYC. It is essentially twenty layers of crepes with a very thin spread of cream between each layer. Then the top is lightly caramelized à la crème brûlée. It is literally heaven on earth, if your vision of heaven involves luscious cream and slightly burnt sugar. Even better, this dessert is so light that I could literally have it everyday for the rest of my life and not tire of it. If only I could!