Sunday, November 30, 2008

Momofuku Milk Bar

After seeing pictures on The Wandering Eater's blog, I knew I had to check this place out A.S.A.P.! And for me to make a trip into the city for a bakery means I really want it! I mean, I have Lulu's down the block... and I really doubt anything will beat Lulu's.

So, the Momofuku Milk Bar opened only like a few weeks ago, and it is actually like attached to the Momofuku Ssam Bar. I've only been to the Momofuku Noodle Bar but I've heard a lot of good things about the other places, and I like the whole inventiveness of the Momofuku chains.

Anyways, back to Saturday, me and Ed headed into the city for the Jim Gaffigan show. JIm Gaffigan is maybe one of my favorite comedians in the world... probably because he talks about food all the time haha! HOOOOOOOOOT POCKETS! So, I thought, why not go early to stop in at the new bakery!?

When I got there around 5:45PM, there was no line really. I was just so indecisive about what to get!! Everything sounded so amazing. I actually went in, expecting to order the Chocolate Chip Cake... but they didn't have it!!! So after like 20 minutes of staring at every piece of cake/cookie in there, I decided on the Banana Cake, Cornflake-Marshmallow-Chocolate Chip cookie, and the Compost Cookie...

The Banana Cake. Wow... Huge, smells delicious, overwhelming with a bajillion layers! It's a Banana Cake with Banana Cream,Hazelnut Crunch, topped with Gianduja Fudge.
h.e.a.v.e.n.= hazelnut crunch. The whole combination was just really great.... however, Momofuku ain't got nothin' on Lulu's cakes in terms texture! This cake was moist but could afford to be a little more moist, but the prominent banana (not just sweet) flavor was awesome!

The Cornflake-Marshmallow-Chocolate Chip cookie. Again... Huge! But I fell in love with this cookie just by looking at it. The edges are super thin and crispy. The middle is thick and chewy. The cornflake gives a nice chew to the cookie and so does the marshmallow. This is a really fun cookie, but the flavor of the dough was not my favorite!

The Compost Cookie. I asked the girl at the counter what was in it. And she replied "Everything! It's the cookie lover's dream!" So I was instantly bought! I forgot what she said was in it but here's what I recall: Chocolate chips, coffee, PB chips/Butterscotch chips, cornflake/graham cracker... I think that was it. The coffee flavor was really good but as I said to Ed, it's definitely a party in itself. There's so much going on! I would much prefer a simple, classic, chocolate chip cookie!

Ed loved his C-M-CC cookie, and I loved my banana cake, so we'll definitely return but I'm going back to try the other cakes!

Oh and P.S.- they have their famed Pork Buns and other savory, meal type items!

Momofuku Bakery and Milk Bar
207 2nd Ave (13th St. entrance)
New York, NY 10003

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Persimmon White Chocolate Bread Pudding

Thanksgiving Dessert.
Crucial! In order for me to have a "happy" Thanksgiving, the dessert needs to be perfecto! And this year? Affirmative.

2 weeks of constant researching for a new, unusual, fresh Thanksgiving dessert landed me here---> Persimmon White Chocolate Bread Pudding from Martha Stewart.

I knew I wanted to use persimmons because I had never baked with them before. And I knew I would end up making a bread pudding because I just love bread pudding! (Just as a side note, if you are a fan of bread pudding and you are not counting calories, you MUST make this Croissant Bread Pudding from Ina!)

For this recipe, I used challah bread instead of brioche.

I got these pretty little Fuyu persimmons from my local Japanese supermarket. They were sweet and juicy!

The white chocolate chips looks so heavenly in the milk :-)

So... another F.Y.I., whenever I make bread pudding, I always make it a day in advance so that the bread can soak up all of the custard mixture! It definitely makes it so moist and perfect!

This was after "assembly" (another thing I love about bread pudding is how easy it is to put together!) Note: It says in the recipe to purée the persimmons but I just mashed it roughly... I like every "rustic" so I left quite big chunks of persimmon in the mixture... the chunks were awesome!

After like 25 minutes in the oven covered with tin foil, I took off the tin foil and baked it for another 20 minutes to crisp up the top, and OMG look at this beauty! The bread pudding rose and puffed so much! And the crust parts of the bread were perfectly crisp while the inside was super moist!

I reserved myself a corner piece... my favorite part of any baked good. You get the best of both worlds; the nice crusty side and the moist inside!!

I loved this! I admit it was incredibly sweet but these are the kinds of desserts that will satisfy you after like 4 bites. So I really enjoyed it!

***Maybe next time though, I would either reduce the total amount of sugar (I cut back to like 3/4 cup when I made this) to like even 1/4 cup. And probably reduce the amount of White Chocolate. White Chocolate is super rich and super sweet so that plus the sugar was a little much!

I just loved the combination of the white chocolate, persimmons, cinnamon, nutmeg, and the hint of lemon!

Thanksgiving 2008

Ohhh... I love thanksgiving! It's weird because I really am not a fan of turkey but it's one of my favorite days because of the food!
This Thanksgiving was extremely low key. Usually my mom invites her friends, and my brother brings his girlfriend, but tonight, it was just me, my mom, my brother, and my step-dad. It was actually a really nice, intimate get together and I had so much fun!

This year, my mom was not in the mood to get up early to put the turkey in the oven so she ordered it from her golf club. Unfortunately, it came with stuffing, gravy, and cranberry sauce. I say unfortunately because my favorite part of Thanksgiving is looking for and cooking the Thanksgiving side dishes! It's OK though because I made some other killer sides!

1.The Turkey- As my step-dad was slicing the turkey, we all got excited because it looked so beautiful and it was oozing juices! To my disappointment, when I took a bite, I professed, "yeah, it's just turkey." I guess I'm just not a turkey-girl.

2. Roasted Curried Pumpkin- I had to make a kabocha side dish because it has been my obsession these past few chillier months! This one was killer... the spicy, warm, curry spices goes perfect with the sweet kabocha.

3. Peas and Proscuitto- Mad props to Giada for this awesome recipe! I made this a few months back and was amazed at how delicious simple peas can be!

4. Nasty Stuffing (Pre-Makeover)- My mom and I opened the foil container to this nasty looking chunky blocks of stuffing. I proposed that we give this poor little thing a makeover. After some chicken stock, raisins, chestnuts, and walnuts...

Bam! It was quite good. The consistency was a little nasty and pasty but the flavor was good!

5. Broccoli Raab and Spinach with Garlic and Red Pepper Flakes- We adapted this recipe from Martha's Hearty Garlic Greens. This was a nice and refreshing side dish!

All in all, this was a great Thanksgiving. I mean, I got to spend it with my family in a very intimate setting. We even played like 20 games of Seven Bridge!! And who was the winner? Me. Yup :-)

Oh, and F.Y.I. don't even think there wasn't any dessert. I'm dedicating a whole 'nother post for dessert. It was that good!

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Happy 4 Years To Me (Part 2)

The celebration continued into today! Today was incredible... My boyfriend is so incredible <3

He planned a Scavenger Hunt for me! What a clever, clever man!
I will summarize all the stops in pictures. Basically he gave me clues at different special, meaningful locations in Westchester... So I drove around aimlessly, only with the help of these random clues and I had SO MUCH FUN! I was smiling the whole time!

1. Start at Home (Scarsdale, NY)

2. Lulu's (Scarsdale, NY)

3. Piper's Kilt (Eastchester, NY)

4. Slave to the Grind (Bronxville, NY)

5. Ed's Parent's House (Yonkers, NY)

6. Asbury Methodist Church (Tuckahoe, NY)

7. My Mom's House (Hartsdale, NY)

8. 7-11

Final Destination: BACK HOME?!
I found myself back at home with a ginormous card with 4 pigs on it. At the end of the card, it said to go to "the place where you lay your head to rest"... my bed!


A BRAND-SPANKIN-NEW Snowboard! I suffered last year because I rented from the now out-of-business Princeton Ski Shop. But the best part was the new stuffed animal pig that Ed got me in Baltimore, with my Burton beanie!

Of course when I saw this, I started crying. Just from all the joy and excitement... I was so overwhelmed! I love Ed!!!!

Happy 4 Years To Me (Part 1)

Congratulations to me!!!! This weekend was one of the best time's I've had all year! My face hurts from smiling so much! It started with the Tarry Lodge on Friday night. And then last night... Budget Friendly Saturday's at Miki's!

A fun night of Nintendo Wii, Jenga (so old school!), and Carvel Ice Cream Cake! Of course the best part was that I my most awesome friends were with me :-)

Believe me, there was way more action when we were having the Wii Tennis Championships!

Reunited with a childhood friend... she lived in the same apartment as me just one floor above me! We grew up together and she moved away while I still live in the same ol' apartment!

The crew

The beautiful Carvel cake with *4* special candles :-)

My special Rose slice! *The best part of a Carvel cake is the chocolate crunchies!

That wasn't it though. Earlier, I stopped by my brother's girlfriends apartment because she had a little gift for me.
Magnolia's Cupcakes!

Devil's Food


This was my first time having Magnolia's cupcakes! Shocking, I know, but I never felt like waiting on a long ass line for cupcakes that were getting mixed reviews. But since these were a gift, I didn't have to trek into the city, and I get to judge them just for the cupcakes!
I definitely LOVED the Pumpkin cupcakes... the cream cheese frosting was a little sweet for my taste but the cake itself was moist and tender. The Devil's Food cupcakes were also good. I liked the flavor more than the actual texture of the cake. There was a coffee-ish flavor in the cake but the cake itself was kinda bouncy and firm. Overall, they were good cupcakes! Thanks Amanda!

Magnolia Bakery
1240 Ave of the Americas (@ 49th St)
New York, NY 10020
Phone: 212-767-1123

Saturday, November 15, 2008

OMG an Iron Chef in PO CHO!?

Yes... Mario Batali's long awaited Tarry Lodge has opened! It is impossible to get a decent reservation! I actually made reservations 2.5 weeks in advance for last night's dinner and the only time they had was 5:30! But the early time was not a problem because my family and I got to have a nice, long, leisurely dinner :-)

The atmosphere was really cool... very casual, but still had the upscale feel. We were seated upstairs where it was much more quiet and calm compared to the downstairs bar area.

And the atmosphere of the restaurant goes perfectly with the food... food is very casual italian, as in pizzas, pastas, salads, but it wasn't sloppy. All our dishes were very well and very beautifully prepared which gave the food that upscale feel.

Onto the good stuff... FOOOOOOOD!
We started off by sharing the Insalata Loggia (basically a Caesar Salad, but the dressing was nice, creamy, and tangy) and the Spinach with Gorgonzola (with apple slices, and the most simple but awesome Olive Oil, Lemon, and Salt dressing!!).

Then we got 2 Pizzas to share as an appetizer.
The first one: Prosciutto, Mozarella, Tomatoes, and Arugula

The creamy mozzarella was perfect with the salty prosciutto!
The second one: Clams

This one was great also. It was simply clams, garlic, oregano, a little bit of red pepper flakes and olive oil! I don't know if there was like a parmesan cheese on this or not! I remember thinking when I took my first bite, "OMG this is too salty." But then with all the other herbs and spices, it agreed with my mouth!

Not to mention a very nice THIN crust!

For entrees, we all got something different and I tasted each and every one of them!
1. Black Fettucine with Lobster and Chiles

I think everyone would agree that this was the best dish of the night! The pasta was delish and cooked perfectly. There were generous amounts of lobster accompanied by sweet corn and tomatoes. It was a combination of very simple flavors and it was perfect!

2. Eggplant Parmigiana

This one wins for the most beautiful presentation! It was a very simple non-breaded/non-fried eggplant slices layered with mozzarella and parmesan cheese. It was a little too salty for my taste.

3. Lamb Chops with Shiitake Mushrooms

My second favorite! The meat was nice and tender and the raisin/pine nut/carrot stuff on the bottom was so good with the herb-y lamb!!

4. Grilled Ribeye (for two)

HUGE! It was cooked perfectly medium-rare. I wasn't too impressed with this steak. I mean, it was cooked perfectly and it had a nice fatty flavor, but I got a veiny piece which turned me off. My mother and brother were quite happy with their selection though.

5. Artichokes with Mint

OMG! This was so good! It was fun to find the crispy parts of the artichoke! And I was surprised that I liked it because I don't usually like "mint" things that aren't gum! But the mint flavor was very subtle and it gave the rich oilyness a nice little lift!

And then to Dessert!!! The table shared the Black Mission Figs (with a cream i don't remember the name of... it reminded me of Mascarpone) and the Panna Cotta with Grapefruit Sorbet.

The figs were of course delicious but really nothing special. But the Panna Cotta?! OMG!!!!! The panna cotta was rich, vanilla-y, and so delicate! And the B-E-S-T part was the bitter grapefruit sorbet. It was such a great... wait no, the best combination of flavors!

I loved my experience here. Not expensive at all, something even me and Ed could do as a special dinner! The food was really solid and our waiter, although he didn't know what a lot of the dishes were, was helpful and attentive!

Tarry Lodge
18 Mill Street
Port Chester, NY 10573
Phone: 914-939-3111
Fax: 914-939-0444

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Lulu's = Childhood Memories

Hostess, Entenmann's, Drakes... better yet, Yodels, Devil Dogs, Twinkies, Sno-Balls...

It totally just reminds me of when I was like 7. I remember LOVING Yodels, and all those other prepackaged, single-serving, cake snacks! Unfortunately, eating them now, I wonder how I even liked any of them. They seem almost inedible now. (I can proudly say that I've never tried those nasty, hot-pink, "Sno-Balls" though, yuck!)

And then today, I stopped in at Lulu's to find a whole collection of these retro desserts! I present to you a new and improved line of our childhood favorites!

1. Devil Dog

Speechless. One of my all-time favorite at Lulu's! They only make them on the weekends though!

2. Twinkie

And the inside... the cream!

This was my first time seeing these here. Simple and delicious.

3. Sno-Ball

Heavenly... and the inside? Devlish!

This was a chocolate cake, with (I think) their marshmallow frosting covered in coconut flakes... So much prettier than the hot pink ball of mess. And probably tastes 9482094820 times better!

I didn't buy this one today, but this is a FAVORITE of mine from Lulu's...

4. Yodel!