Friday, February 29, 2008

Fig & Olive...

Was trying to go for Mia Dona, but alas uber-booked up (and super late) & the hostesses were a bit...incompetent and well...anyway. FIG & OLIVE! very into the mediteranean cooking and lately what I've noticed is Greek & Vietnamese has much fresher, more succinct--punchy tastes and cleaner flavors. Simple. fanplasmico. Complex flavors with little but rich herbs and seasoning.

Mythili got the Porcini, Ricotta, Pumpkin & Sage Ravioli which had caramelized pumpkin, sauteed mushroom, shallots, ricotta cheese & fried sage. Sweet, tart, great flavor with the caramelizing.
Wanted to go for small plates/meze like at Kefi but options were limited and I was hungry--I ordered the Fig & Olive Mediterranean Tasting which comprised of grilled chicken with chorizo, tomatoes, chickpeas, oregano, pimienton, black olives/ grilled lamb on rosemary skewers, bell peppers, Greek yogurt & honey, couscous salad with figs/ grilled shrimp on oregano skewers, risoo, tomato, Pimenton Olive Oil.
I have to say that the shrimp was perfectly cooked, the embodiment of succulent. The sides that came with the meats were all really good--the risotto was great but the couscous salad was freakin' AWESOME with the Greek yogurt & honey. Shrimp. Seriously.
Lamb too. Chicken was good but I was really surprised by the shrimp & lamb. I'm picky with shrimp. meh to lamb. you look now!...
Def would want to come back to try the other pastas and the small plates. ANYWAY...decor was cute, price was a little overpriced but I also had some wine to wash down my grumpiness.
I had the cream cheese creme brulee--so light! just sweet enough, the figs were great b/c they weren't candied like in the meals--I've never had so many figs in my life and I likes. Rosemary infused...creme brulee maybe? The wafer was just the right crunchiness and texture to the fluff. I'd go back just for the cream cheese creme brulee alone.

Analysis!--yay for once in a while, possibly with a group to share (especially with a group to share). Chicken was meh, shrimp yes, def felt good after--but also a little smashed from the rosee. :)

Monday, February 25, 2008


Unagi-don/eel rice bowl. Apparently I have a penchant for poor/country folk comfort foods (see entry on canh chua rau day and whatnot...). I caught the eel with my bare-muscled-hands. The little bastards eluded me numerous times, but just before day's end, one of them darted in my periphery and like a gazelle--or something really crazy phonetically, maybe OCELOT--i went for it and here you have....MY UNAGI RICE BOWL with the...pickled...daikon...or something. BEHOLD:
I frolicked home with the eel in my little reed basket. (I keep thinking of the poem "L'Anguila" or whatever the crap it was called--about the eel in Italian Lit). Anyhoodle, the wild daikon that grows (yellow and pickled natrually) in my backyard yielded magnificent perfectly cut wedges (as if bought at a store and cut with a very sharp Wusthof knife!).
We had seaweed salad also but I don't think you'd really give a shizz about it. BUT we did have dessert: a green tea swiss roll. with red beans inside. mmmmMMmmMmMmm.
Ever since I was little I loved the swiss roll cakes--given the french influences growing up (briefly) in Viet Nam we had a lot of yule logs for "father Noel" and all that crap and wandered off to get a eucharist one xmas when I was 5 b/c I was curious as to what people were waiting in line for. I was promptly plucked out of the line when they noticed I had gone a bit..missing.

Mike & I had also picked up some "aloe soft drink" (non carbonated) from the JasMart and he had to be fancy and drink it in a wineglass whereas the uncouth beast that I am chugged it out of the bottle.Analysis:

1. Green tea swiss roll = moist, light, a little crumbly, but adequately intense in green-tea flavor, not so sugary, red beans add a nice flavor and texture. BUENO (this is from the-prepackaged refridgerator section of JasMart).

2. Frozen Unagi = meh! for 5 bucks it could serve 3-4 people. This I got at the Sunrise...mart...thing in Soho (broome & spring?--I'll activate links later). You could oven bake it, microwave, or boil in the bag. I'd say for 5 bucks it makes a good alternative to a $12-$18 rice bowl. I didn't make the egg thing but whatever that's easy to put in some other time. The texture was a little flakey but still very soft--at Tono Sushi or Tokyo Pop and a couple other places, the unagi is broiled lova-ly and it just...melts in yo mouf! There was frozen unagi that sold for $11 per filet as opposed to my $5--this might just make up for the difference in texture.

3. Aloe drink = ...? I'm just conflicted b/c the bodega under my apt sells the Korean aloe drink and it's a little sweeter but yummy too--a little cleaner/crisper in taste. The one I go at Jasmart u can taste the artificial sweetener tho it's lighter. BUT--the one at Jasmart sells for 2 bucks whereas the bodega sells it for FOH DOLLAH! >:( I'll buy both :)

Monday, February 18, 2008

Icebox Cake...

Icebox cake from Billy's Bakery--just some homemade whip cream, layers of chocolate wafery-ness.
YUM-O. just kidding. i don't like rachael ray. Yes I lower-cased her name on purpose.
Le sigh. such a pretty little cake. As always, Billy's frostings/creams are on point.
i lobe u. (more for aesthetics than taste but whatebbs...)
Me & J spent a whole day eating super rich foods. This was 2nd to last :)
We went to Elmo's for dinner on 20th & 7th ave--that my friend, was quite delish. will save for another post. Had the Harvest Salad, Chatham Cod (perfectly cooked, with sweet potatoes and scallions), and a chocolate creme brulee to end. Lounge downstairs, will have to consider for Birthday. Very nice space, very modern, loungey--edgy and whatnot for 7th ave in Chelsea. Good date spot, nice electronica-y/downtempo music. Better than Kion in terms of ambience in spread.

Saturday, February 09, 2008

Magnolia's Bakery (...the Cupcake Showdown preview...)...

...I don't like Magnolia's Bakery.

YEAH THAT'S RIGHT. I DON'T LIKE MAGNOLiA's BAKERY. me no likey--magnolia not numbah 1, magnolia numbah 10! magnolia not a-okay! (shout out to Operation: Dumbo Drop which when I was younger, was very excited about it being filmed in the motherland--not so sure how I feel about it now. will have to inspect).
vanilla + vanilla cupcakes @ Magnolia's (UWS)
Let's go over ze Magnolia cupcake's finer points.

Ze cupcakes are moist, perfectly moist, light, not that sweet (on the fence about the flavor of the cake itself). mmm....nummy nummy nummy nummy. We got some red velvet cake. The frosting was bland and lackluster, but the cake was incredibly moist and light as previously mentioned. Please see exhibit 1.
red velvet cake @ Magnolia's (UWS)
And...zey are also pretty.
Now, what you can't tell, is the consistency in the frosting which is a HUGE factor for me. Billy's uses buttercream, I assume Magnolia does too but more sugary-ness. Magnolia's frosting is *much*MUCH* sweeter, to the point of overbearing/overwhelming/overpowering, all sorts of "over"-ness as in "over it"--points off. Magnolia's frosting is sloppy, and runny.

Okay, so they pretty much look like Billy's Bakery cupcakes (and u can see below that i smudged a finger on that cupcake there, but BACK TO THE POINT).
chocolate + vanilla @ Magnolia's (UWS)

Mike & I weighed the fact that we got ours freshly swathed right in our faces, but it DID have time to really settle on the train ride back. (Btw, we went to the new opening of the Magnolia's on the UWS on 69th & Columbus where the Penang used to be--oh Penang how i heart you since beantown w/ ur asparagus chicken and mango shrimp. but tha'ts another story...)
CONCLUSION: I don't *hate* Magnolia's, I just wouldn't go there if I had the chance and I definitely would NOT wait in line OR make it a point to take any friends, who are visiting, to go there. It's really the too sweet frosting that kills it. I don't care about how runny the frosting is, it's just I choke on every bite b/c the sugar just hits the back of ur throat like your tonsils got dropkicked with sunshine and carebears (if u like that sort of thing).

So I've had Crumb's, Buttercup, Billy's (^_^), Magnolia's(with an appalling website)--what's left is Sugar Sweet Sunshine in the LES. Will report back with a cumulative assessment. I had a pistachio cake version of the cupcake from SSS at Karen's bday party--I'm excited to finish out the tasting. Here's a fun little story in NYMAG about the whole cupcake lineage in the city.

Billy's might be a little dry but MY GOD the frosting (even the German Chocolate Cake) is SPOT ON.

(...and thus, u can see the diff b/w setting up the shots w/ no flash vs flash and the world of diff it makes. now that i've got my SB800 w/ diffuser, we'll see how that carries, and how the gold bounce might work out too.)

Wednesday, February 06, 2008

Ohhh the Cakes u/i Make!...

I like to make zees cake. Zees one is very very rich, not too sweet, very moist, and lotsa chocolate. Eet ees ze triple chocolate cake--zees one had Chocolate & Peanut Butter chips...
You know ze recipe ees good when it starts with a stick of butter. or in this case....TWO. and a cup of sour cream, chocolate pudding mix, devil's food cake mix, 5 eggs, a teaspoon of Vanilla extract (but I prefer almond extract)...and to mix it up diff types of chocolate morsels. Bake for 50-55 min @ 375, let sit for 10 min in pan, cool for 15 min or so on rack.

I make eet for ze roomie passing the NY/NJ Bar Exam (that's law, not liquor!!). Zees cake has Butterscotch & White Chocolate chips...
I make eet for birfdays...(but not for mine this year b/c I had Billy's BAAAKERY!!)...
I make eet a lot. I bake eet for Thanksgiving this year. Zees cake has chopped up Andes Mints (b/c I couldn't find the Mint Swirled Chocolate chips)...
I bake eet for my first Xmas dinnah away from home...(star shape! extra festive with Raspberry & Chocolate chips :))...
I also made pan-roasted Chilean Sea Bass with soba noodles, cream of wild mushroom (cremini, portabello, woodsear? i can't remember), and oven baked asparagus wrapped with manchego and prosciutto with a little lemon-butter sauce. And apparently we also drink Riesling in the free Pom glasses :P
I bake tres cakes for ze baby showah complete veeth requisite sprinkles and cream cheese and or lemon frosting, but alas I do not have zee peektures.
I bake eet yust because...and so I stab eet too. Zees one has Caramel and Milk Chocolate chips...
Oh...and WHERE might you find these diff types of chocolate chips? ODDLY ENOUGH...Gristedes. but the one on the UWS had much more selection than anywhere else oddly enough. *shrug*. Happy Baking...