Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Happy New Year!

Happy New Year! I'm currently enroute to Antarctica with my fab travel crew, so we will be celebrating 2014 onboard our ship!

In 2013, I was so lucky to eat so many delicious things all over the world! Highlights included: Gjelina in LA; the best lobster roll EVER at burger & lobster in London; charbroiled oysters at Dragos in New Orleans; a quick work trip to Chicago which allowed me to check out Avec; having a Michelin (two) star boozy lunch at Steirereck in Vienna; champagne tasting in Paris; brunches in Seattle with Marya; Estela, Lafayette, Balthazar, Eleven Madison Park, Piora, Luksus, amongst many amazing meals in NYC...not to mention all the home cooked meals, with friends such as Mai and Paul!

In 2014, I want to try the Monday night supper clubs at Louro, visit de Porres and City Grit again (post on de Porres up soon!), check out Mayanoki, and investigate any other similar supper club experiences. This goes without saying, but I'm also excited to revisit current faves (Piora!) and places I love that have been around forever (Caracas, Balthazar).Balthazar has a Cote de Boeuf, I plan on dragging Anoop there with me for a comparison test versus the one we had at Piora. I'm going to have to drag someone with me to Sushi Nakazawa too. Any takers?

I kind of stopped cooking (and, hence, blogging) in the tail end of 2013 because I was always out and about, and most of my meals consisted of random stuff I threw together from my fridge. Since one of my resolutions is to be in bed by 10:30pm at least three times a week (yes. 10:30pm. I know. It will be hard.), I hope that means more time for cooking. The one thing I want to learn how to master in 2014 is grilling a medium rare steak. Will anyone be my guinea pig?

How will you be ringing in your new year? Do you have any resolutions?

Monday, December 30, 2013

de Porres Dinner Series

Amitha attended a supper club a few months ago named de Porres Dinner Series, and had a great time. She received an invite for December and let me know that she had already gotten me a ticket since she knew I would love this kind of food experience. The dinner series are held about once a month, normally at a historic mansion in Brooklyn, but this time, the December series was held at the home of the hosts and chef, Danielle and Pablo. 

Saturday, December 28, 2013


I had been reading great things about Luksus, and finally made a reservation here for a Wednesday night. My foodie friend Amitha had also been wanting to check this place out, so the two of us ubered (how else do you get to Greenpoint?) out to Greenpoint to investigate what all the praise was about. 

Thursday, December 26, 2013


This post is very delayed! My sister and I spent Thanksgiving in Paris. She is studying abroad in Madrid, and couldn't come home for the holiday, so I decided to go to her. Before I even booked my plane ticket or hotel, I had already booked restaurants for our meals.

Monday, December 16, 2013

Piora, Round Two

I found myself at Piora randomly on a Thursday night. Anoop lives in the area so I texted him on my way down town to ask him if he wanted to join. The invitation was completely selfish: two people can share more dishes than one! I mean, sorry Anoop, I wanted to catch up with you. My first time visiting Piora was with Amitha, and we had shared two pasta dishes, the trout, and didn't have any room for dessert. I was not making that same mistake this time! 

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Eleven Madison Park

Eleven Madison Park has been on my list of restaurants to try for quite sometime now. I've never been quick enough to call 28 days in advance to book a table. My best friend Avani's older sister was visiting New York. Arti Tai ("Tai" means older sister in Marathi) loves food as much as I do, so we planned a meal well in advance. I'm talking like, June...Arti Tai emailed and asked if I had any preference on where to eat - Baltahazar or EMP? Of course I agreed to EMP. Arti Tai got on the phone 28 days in advance of our desired date (November 22nd!) and was on hold for 45 minutes before she finally got through. But, success! She scored us a table for four at 9:45pm on a Friday. Well done!

Monday, November 25, 2013

Pecan Pie

My favorite part of holiday dinners are the dessert (no surprise there). My favorite pies are pumpkin pie and pecan pie. Last Thanksgiving, we strayed from these classics to make a delicious chocolate pie. This year, however, I will be celebrating Turkey day in Paris avec ma petite soeur, so we will be knee deep in macarons and croissants. Since I won't be having a brussel sprout, sweet potato, turkey feast, I will leave you with a delish pecan pie recipe. Maybe I'll make some for the plane ride over.

Friday, November 1, 2013


Happy Diwali! What better way to celebrate than with some kulfi!

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Diner en Blanc

At Sunny's house party on a fall night, a few people mentioned an "all white dinner" and I hadn't heard about this. Sunny mentioned it was "Diner en Blanc" and he had an extra ticket, so invited me. I didn't know much other than the party took place at a secret location, you had to dress up in white and you had to bring food. Sounded like my kind of party!

Wednesday, October 9, 2013


As with all of my recent trips, I had no clue where I was staying but I had booked my restaurants well out in advance. I found DiverXO by doing a search on Top Restaurants in Madrid on Google (very precise methodology). David Munoz, the chef, worked in Spanish restaurants Balzac and Viridiana, and abroad at places such as Nobu. His restaurant in Madrid isn't traditional Spanish cuisine, rather, he claims it is the product of many influences, and I was really impressed and enjoyed the unique experience. 

Monday, September 30, 2013

Jamon Iberico y otras cosas

My college roommate, Lavina, was getting married on the beautiful island of Tenerife, in Spain. As luck would have it, my baby sister is also studying abroad in Madrid. Two for one visit!

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Yacht Week Food

A very delayed recap of Yacht Week food and festivities!

Thursday, August 15, 2013

A Visit To Steirereck

One of my favorite things about traveling is enjoying the food from different parts of the world. The most memorable experiences for me are centered around what I've eaten and who I've shared those meals with (i.e. hawaiian pizza and llama pizza at a place in Uyuni, Bolivia).

Monday, August 12, 2013

A Visit To Vienna

I decided it would be nice to have a quick trip to Vienna enroute to Yacht Week. I haven't been before and I've heard great things - from food to culture - so Vienna seemed to be a great spot to explore for a few days.

Monday, August 5, 2013

Monkey Town 3

I had a perfect New York weekend filled with food (Smorgasburg! Lafayette!), rooftops and outdoor movies. I ended my weekend with something named MonkeyTown3. The site describes that this event is a video cinema and dining room with four screens. I wasn't quite sure what to expect - a movie in a 20 foot wide floating cube, with dinner served? Sure, why not?

Thursday, July 11, 2013

What I Ate This Week

My baybay sister was in town for the weekend! This meant lots of eating and also lots of shopping at Aritzia.

First, we went to Empellon Cocina. I would skip this place. I was completely underwhelmed given the good things I've heard about this place - the food wasn't awful, it was just okay. The item I enjoyed the most was the bacon guac.

{Order this, and only this. You won't be disappointed.}

I have a running list of places I read about and want to try, and Wylie Dufresne's new spot, Alder, was high on that list. I was semi worried because I had heard mixed reviews, but off we went on Friday night. Overall, I enjoyed everything I ate, minus the special of the day (the hamachi).

The following is "pub cheese". It looks like it could be some kind of meat pate, but it is really cheddar cheese mixed with mustard and red wine.

{Pigs in a Blanket}

{Foie gras terrine}

The day boat scallops (below) may have been my favorite thing. They were seared perfectly and served with hush puppies - a unique combo!

Below is the hamachi special of the day. I think the presentation was cool - it looks like a tray of BBQ! The hamachi even looked like a chicken wing...but I wasn't particularly keen on the flavors. 

On Saturday morning, Cooper really wanted to dine al fresco. So we tried to find a place that would accommodate his request. Calliope!

{Prince Cooper gets to dine outside}

Calliope was formerly known as Belcourt, and I haven't been here since it was Belcourt. My sister and I ordered the croissants - which were the special of the day (home made?). They were fantastic! Remember, Costco croissants are not what croissants should taste like - they should be flakey and a little crisp (see images below). Nice work, Calliope! 

{No brunch is complete without some bubbles!}

Cooper thoroughly enjoyed mommy's prosciuotto and fontina sandwich, but my german pancake was kind of a miss. Despite the pancake, I liked everything else about Calliope, especially how accommodating and friendly the waiters and hostesses were to Cooper.

After  various snacks at Balthazar (Keith McNally!) and shopping at Artizia, my sister and I headed to Minetta Tavern (Keith McNally!) for my beloved black label burger. My sister only recently started eating burgers, so naturally we had to head here. We also decided to indulge with the bone marrow appetizer and the chocolate souffle for dessert.

Here it is! The burger we all know and love! Once I am back from Yacht Week, I think I should make it a weekly ritual to come and have a burger here. Okay, maybe not...but it sounds like a nice idea.

There is only one way to order this burger - medium rare. And no cheese. The bun is a special bun made for this burger, by Balthazar. It is some kind of brioche with sesame seeds on top. Supposedly this helps absorb the juiciness of the bun, but I don't think anything will help with that.

{Baybay loves her burger!}

When my sister was a baby, she would often not be able to finish her meals, and declare, "I"m fuwwwwwl". Those words were are music to my ears. I readily swoop in and eat any remaining morsels off her plate. Well, lucky for me, this still happens (babies have little tummies!), so I usually get a bigger portion of any dessert we are sharing. The souffle was no exception...except that I was also "fuwwwwl".

Usually I find desserts "for two" a joke because I can eat the whole thing by myself. However, not this time.

Sunday was brunch at Mai & Pauls. Cooper met Jack, which was a pretty big deal. We learned that Jack doesn't like to share toys with anyone.

{Jack hoarding toys}

The boys had fun playing while the grown ups made brunch, including mimosas, sweet corn pancakes, and a delish scramble with potatoes (separate post on this to come!).

Our last meal together was at Estela, a new spot on Houston, on top of Botanica. We were lucky - there was no wait when we stopped in for dinner. Everything my sister and I ordered off the menu was a hit!


{Blood Sausage Croquette}

{Ricotta Dumplings}

My sister and I weren't too full after our dinner, so we decided to each get a dessert. Normally, I'm not a fan of panna cotta (really easy to mess up), but this one was prepared well! Plus, strawberries & rhubarb are the perfect summer pairing. 

I've only become a fan of chocolate & coffee pairings in the past year or so. I think this serves as inspiration for my next ice cream flavor! Also, the crunch from the hazelnuts was a nice touch to the smooth, creamy sorbet.

Then, I had a work trip to Chicago! I was upgraded, which is bizarre. Usually mere gold level plebians like myself are not upgraded on flights to places like Chicago (or LA, or SF, or Atlanta). The flight was delayed by 2 or more hours, and once on board, I scarfed down the PM snack box. It included Stacey's pita chips, a hummus thing that came in a orange frozen pop looking like package, acai and chocolate covered berries. I was so hungry I didn't take a photo.

The first order of business was to see if I could get a table at Alinea. No luck. After scouring Chicago Eater, I decided to try Avec for dinner. This was on par with places I love like Pearl & Ash and Estela! The menu was sprinkled with tapas style dishes with unique flavor combinations. Avec does not take reservations, and the wait for just one person was about 20 minutes (it was PACKED when I arrived).

Seared shrimp with limoncello vinaigrette? You had me at limoncello!

Before you write this off as plain ol' burrata...it was not! The sauce was a combo of strawberries and english peas. How clever! I never would have thought those two items go together!

Salmon...yum I am licking my lips looking at this photo! I normally don't eat salmon with the skin on - but the preparation here made it crispy and tasty. 

The meyer lemon ice cream was the special for the night, so I knew I had to order it. The problem was, I also wanted the nutter butter squares. So, I ordered both. The meyer lemon ice cream tasted home made, and it was delicious. I could have skipped the nutter butters.

Hi, Avec dessert pastry chef person, can you come over and make me some ice cream, please?

And I licked my plate clean.

Then my flight was canceled and I overdosed on Milano cookies and tillamook cheese in the lounge until my re-booked flight took off. Oops!

I've decided that I want to visit Chicago for a whole weekend and basically stuff my face. I have already penned down GT Oyster, but there are several other restos on my list, including Alinea (if I can get a res) or Blackbird. Any other recommendations? Marya and I are already devising a girls weekend!

Monday, July 8, 2013

Berry and Avocado Smoothie

Yacht week is right around the corner! I needed a (healthy-ish) mix-up to my normal kale smoothie, so I researched different types of smoothie recipes. I've always wanted to try a smoothie made with avocado instead of a banana - voila! Easy to make and very filling! 

Friday, June 28, 2013

Huevos Rancheros

Oops. This is delayed. This meal was actually prepared for Cinco de Mayo, I just forgot all about it. Mai, Paul, and I hadn't seen each other since quite possibly our ski trip to Killington...so a reunion was in store. Huevos rancheros + grapefruit tequila cocktails = perfection! 

Monday, June 17, 2013

Arugula, Strawberry, and Goat Cheese Salad

I was in spin class on Saturday morning, and was getting pretty hungry. To avoid thinking about the burn in my thighs while spinning away, I alternated between staring blankly at the TV screens outside the class and day dreaming about what I would eat for lunch when I got home. The plan was to make a peach, goat cheese, and arugula salad. Once I got to Union Square, there were no peaches in sight...so I had to pick something else. I perused the market, until I passed a booth that had some fresh-smelling strawberries. Voila!

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Ricotta Ice Cream

One day, Mai & Paul visisted Di Palo's and found out that you can buy three pounds of ricotta for $12. Not the gross, tasteless kind of ricotta at Gristede's, but REAL ricotta.

Naturally, we decided to host a Ricotta Fest dinner party. By the time we got our schedules organized, it was already June. June means ICE CREAM! Okay, that's a lie. Every month means ICE CREAM, but now that it is just starting to be summer in NYC, we needed reason to celebrate.

In addition to the ice cream, we made several other dishes. Mai and Paul made meatballs with ricotta, ravioli,  crostini, and chicken marsala. Gretchen made pasta with carbonara and a delicious ricotta cheesecake with a strawberry rhubarb topping.

At Di Palo's, we picked up three of these canisters.

Back at home, we opened up our canisters. As you can see below, the ricotta was in a metal-ish canister. We tried to think of eco-friendly uses for them. I suggested that they would be great for milkshakes. Until I realized that there were holes at the bottom and along the sides. 

I also picked up some prosciuotto for us to nibble on while we were prepping.

Mai & Paul had picked up some artisinal honey at a farmer's market. We decided to whip out some cheese & crackers and top with honey. The cheese (pictured below) looks like blue cheese, but it isn't. We don't know the name of this mystery cheese, but you can find it at Fairways. This was quite possibly the best snack idea ever! I've never had honey in this form before, usually mine comes from a squeeze bottle. The honeycomb is on the bottom and you have to scrape the honey off the top. 

We devoured two boxes of crackers and the entire wedge of cheese. What? We got hungry cooking in the hot kitchen...

Mai made some homemade pasta to accompany her ricotta meatballs...

As if we did not purchase enough ricotta cheese, we purchased a pound of parmesan cheese as well. Most of it is in the photo below.

{The finished meatball product}

{Mai prepping the ricotta ravioli} 

{Delicious crostini}

{Chicken Marsala}

{Bacon wrapped dates stuffed with ricotta}

{One of our guests, Nam, made a wonderful green papaya salad}

{Ricotta cheesecake!}

Both of the ricotta ice creams were easy to whip up (strawberry basil to follow this in another post). 

I've never made ice cream with a ricotta base, and this was the perfect time to experiment. I searched far and wide for a recipe and finally picked the one below.

Don't be afraid of this recipe - there is no custard base - so you don't have to worry about scrambled eggs instead of a perfectly fluffy, creamy ice cream. As in, this may be my all time favorite. Huge disclaimer: Apparently, this ice cream loses texture after an overnight freeze. You should probably finish the whole thing the night you make it (and that really shouldn't be that hard). I'm not sure why the texture goes from creamy to chalky, maybe because I didn't strain the ricotta.

Also note: as the weather gets hotter, don't try to churn ice cream in a sauna-ish temperature room. Your precious ice cream mixture will not freeze properly in the canister, and will be milkshake like afterwards. This is what happened to poor little strawberry basil. 

Basically all I did was blend all the ingredients together in Mai & Paul's vitamix!

Below is the only photo I got of the ice cream.  I was so busy eating and mingling!

Ricotta Ice Cream, recipe adapted from food52

Makes 1 Quart

  • 1 2/3 cup quality ricotta 
  • 3 ounces cream cheese
  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 tsp lemon zest
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla
  • 1/8 tsp salt
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • Pistachios (optional)
Blend everything until the salt in a blender until smooth. Then add the heavy cream and blend until just combined. 

Freeze the mixture in an ice cream maker - I let mine run for about 40 minutes. I also tried really, really hard not to lick the bowl. During the last 5 minutes of the churning process, you can add your mix in's if you desire (i.e.pistachios, etc). 

Transfer your ice cream to an air tight container and let it harden ("bloom" ?) in the freezer for a few hours. I made mine in the afternoon - around 3pm - and served it around 8:30pm - and it was perfection! You could grill up some peaches, drizzle them with honey, and serve with the ice cream as well. Peaches aren't quite in season yet, or else I would have done that as well.