Thursday, December 25, 2008

Christmas Day with the Family!

Merry Christmas!!
Today was the family Christmas celebration! It started off with my mom, my brother, and his girlfriend coming over to my apartment to open each other's gifts!

Then off to my mom's for a delicious Japanese Christmas late lunch/dinner!

My brother has been saying how he wanted to eat Nabe (a hot pot of vegetables and meat and whatever else you wanna put in there), and I've been craving her sweet stewed kabocha and okara (it's the crap that you're left over with when you turn soybean into like soy milk... it's incredibly healthy)!

So the menu was just that!

Here's my mom preparing the big communal dinner! The apron was her X-Mas gift from Amanda and Kyuta!

Okara cooked with konnyaku, ginnan beans, carrots, lotus root in a sweet stock. (This is my favorite side dish to just a plain bowl of rice!--- Comfort food to the max!)

Kabocha... she now knows to add this to every meal she makes when I'm coming!

Serving #1 of the Hot Pot: Monkfish, Mizuna leaves, and Mushrooms in a Ponzu dipping sauce

Serving #2 included a huge, juicy Oyster and Chicken, Pork, and Shrimp Ginger Meatball!

OMG... I've said this before, but my mom's meatballs are SOOOO good! And this time, she added shrimp so it was just an orgasmic experience for me haha!

After a full belly, we played a few rounds of our favorite card game, 7 Bridge... And then once semi-digested, dessert was served...

Shiratama (made with like kusamochi? I think that's why it's green instead of the customary white) with Adzuki, PIneapple, Kinako, and Kuromistu!!!!!

And I was so full that I was ready to just go to sleep :-)

Merry Christmas, y'all!
Kabocha on Foodista

Christmas Eve- The Presents!

This was the first year since living on my own that I put up a Christmas tree in my apartment! It's only because I had someone special (Ed, FYI) to enjoy it with!

This is my favorite ornament:

I am absolutely obsessed with cute little pigs!

So, I won't post every gift, but Ed got me a carton of Newport cigarettes, 2 rolls of Quarters (for laundry!), 2 cases of Bottled Water, an 18-month subscription for Us Weekly, gift certificates to Trader Joe's and Blockbuster, a mini Claw Machine, a gift certificate for 2 Rebounding classes and 2 Mat classes at my Pilates place, and tickets to see my favorite all time band, No Doubt!

If you don't already know, the backseat of my car is filled 90% with stuffed animals that I've won on claw machines. Seriously, I'm really good.

This is my "I'm-A-Hardcore-Pilates" lady pose Hahaha! (with the gift certificate in my mouth)

This is my super excited, I-already-know-what-it-is face!

And on a more random note, I'm just really bizarre and bought myself a gift and pretended it was from santa:

Now for Ed, I got him a few random things! A bottle of Pocari Sweat (a Japanese drink that he fell in love with in Japan), Curl (Japanese version of puffy Cheese Doodles), Monopoly Scratch-Off Lottery ticket, subscription for Men's Health, Malcolm in the Middle (the First Season), and a radio/alarm clock/IPod speakers (for the new IPod touch that I got him for his Birthday!)

Here is my favorite picture!

I had to draw a fake "Men's Health" magazine because the subscription hasn't started yet!

And the Monopoly scratch off lottery ticket was not a winner... but what are you gonna do, right?!

And he gets crunk on Pocari!

Oh, and last but not least, of course my cat gets a present!

A pretty little purpley mouse!

Christmas Eve- The Food

This is me and Ed's second time celebrating Christmas Eve together! We have officially made it our Christmas with the whole sha-bang! We cooked, we ate, and we opened presents!

So the food.... last year, our food theme was Japanese food. This year, we decided we'd do Italian! I wanted to do something more time consuming than boiling spaghetti and making a tomato sauce, so I suggested making ravioli and eggplant parm!

I knew what ravioli recipe I wanted to use. I saw Giada (I LOVE HER) making these ravioli's with wonton/gyoza skins and they looked so pretty and delicate. Here's the recipe...

We actually made two different fillings though. Ed is a meat man, so his ravioli's were filled with lean ground turkey, seasoned with salt and pepper, mixed with mascarpone and parmesan cheese.

Mine was spinach, mushrooms, and the mascarpone and parmesan cheese.

Making the ravioli was the funnest part!



He made his with 2 wonton skins (a more traditional ravioli) while I had to stray and get in touch with my Asian side and shape mine like gyoza!

For the eggplant parm, I used this recipe kind of as a guide, but I totally didn't need it, because well... eggplant parm is simple.

I first put eggplant slices with salt and pepper on a grill pan and put it in the oven (to get the nice grill marks!)

Then I just stacked it with mozzarella cheese, basil, and tomato slices.

Now, the final products!

Turkey Ravioli

Spinach and Mushroom Ravioli

Eggplant Parm

First, the ravioli's were soooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo good! When I took my first bite, I thought it was really bland, but then the mascarpone kicked in and it became rich and flavorful! The wonton skins gave the ravioli a light and delicate texture and it was absolutely perfect!

The eggplant parm was also a winner! Not heavy at all, and actually quite refreshing with my made-from-scratch super simple tomato sauce. The tomato sauce was just some canned crushed tomatoes, tomato sauce, tomato paste, fresh basil, oregano, thyme, and for me some red pepper flakes!

Here we are totally excited to eat our home-cooked meal!

Just the food itself made this Christmas Eve so complete!

But here come the gifts!

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Christmas Party at X20

I had to write about tonight ASAP! It was so much fun!

So X20 had this Christmas Dinner and Holiday Cabaret from December 12th, until tonight, December 21st... It was quite an event! I hadn't been to X20 since the one time I was there in November of 2007 so I didn't know what to expect... I was quickly reminded of how awesome Chef Peter Kelly is!

It started at 7 PM with hors d'ouevres... OMG it was so tempting, because I was trying to save myself for the 4 course dinner! There was Coconut Shrimp, Baby Lamb Chops, Sushi, Braised Short Rib Wellington, and so on...
I took a bite of the lamb:

And shared this tiny little Beef Wellington:

After tasting these two items, I knew dinner was going to be exceptional!

We finally sat down for dinner at like 8:15? The menu was pretty much set, except you could choose between Duckling, Black Cod, or Beef for your entrée.

Appetizer: Warm Medley of Shellfish served in a Chive Crepe
This was soooo good. The crepe had some crispy parts, and the middle was soft. The inside was stuffed with crabmeat, scallops, lobster, and shrimp! The Lobster Sauce was kinda like a lobster bisque and it was delicious!

I did the OMFG grunt for this one, definitely :-)


The Roasted Hudson Valley Duckling (I tried a bite... very good!)

Roasted Chateaubriand of Beef... I have been blessed with great steaks lately!

Honey & Sake Glazed Alaskan Black Cod- This tasted like a very traditional marinade for Japanese fish, and it was just so comforting. This was my entrée and I'm happy I went with this, because last time I was at X20, I had the Swordfish which I was also blown away by! The side of orzo, broccoli rabe, and mushrooms was creamy and rich... Perfect :-)

Then... the stars of the night came out:

Ned Kelly, Paul Kelly, and Mary Lou Shriber- They sang all these Christmas classics, and they also did their own funny versions of songs! It so much fun, everyone was laughing hysterically when they (the guys) dressed like old women!

And then finally dessert!

Warm Chocolate Yule Log- Melting Valrohna Ganache wrapped in a phylo dough with Creme Anglaise

Look at that Chocolate floodage!
I only tasted this, but it was INCREDIBLY rich... it was just pure, warm chocolate!

And of course Petits Fours:

I am so making reservations next year... it was REALLY a lot of fun! Not to mention a certain star who was in Groundhog Day (wink, wink ;-)) was totally sitting 2 tables away from us!

Last but not least, shout-out to Ed's family for inviting me!

71 Water Grant Street
Yonkers, NY 10701
Phone: 914-965-1111

Saturday, December 20, 2008


Today was absolutely awesome!
My day started off with a delicious, wintery breakfast with Ed.
Followed by a nice, sweaty Billy Blanks workout (yes, I am obsessed with cheap, video workouts!)
Then my mom came to pick me up for our long anticipated day in the city!

*NOTE: Please excuse the extremely blurry pictures!! I was SO pissed that I forgot my camera! So I used my IPhone :-P

2PM Matinée showing of Phantom of the Opera

The show was incredible! The costumes, the set design, the songs!! I would have to say that this was one of my favorite classic musicals (how can you forget Cats?!)
Our seats were pretty awesome too! We were in the front row of the mezzanine. The only problem was that we were allllllll the way to the right so sometimes, it felt like we had a weird perspective.

After the show, my mom and I met up with Ed for dinner at Convivio, formerly known as L'impero.

Our meal was delicious and these picture will not do it justice... you must go and see for yourself. All my restaurant reviews have been given 4 or 5 stars (by me) so it may seem like I like all the restaurants that I go to, but it's really that my mom has a good sense of good restaurants so I'm lucky!

First, the Olive bread... similar to the ones that were served at Fiamma in SoHo... big chunks of olives!

We shared everything... here's what we ordered for appetizers:

Braised Veal Tongue with Parsley and a Parsley (maybe?) Purée sauce


Sardines with Red Pepper Sauce and Celery

The appetizers were all delicious. The braised veal tongue was soft and flavorful. My only thing was that it looked really gross... it looked like a human tongue the way they just served it like a slab of tongue. It even had the little taste buds! But I tried to ignore this. The sardines were excellent. The fish itself was nice, tangy, and refreshing while the red pepper sauce added a sweet creaminess! The salad was also refreshing with a lemon and olive oil dressing topped with roasted red peppers, banana peppers, some kinda cheese, and some kinda meat (salami?).

For our pastas, we all got different things so that we could taste everything:

Ricotta Gnocchi with San Marazano Tomatoes and Basil

Gnochetti (I forget the real name of the pasta!) with Sea Urchin, Crab Meat and Bread Crumbs

Fusilliwith Pork Ragu and a Cheese Sauce

The pastas were very well done. My gnocchi was cute and tender! The tomato and basil sauce was so classic. My mom's sea urchin pasta was also very tasty with the pasta (cooked al denté) being the highlight. Everyone's favorite though was the pork ragu... When I put it in my mouth, I made that OMFG grunt!! The sauce was deep with so many flavors. OMFG, just trust me and order it!

Entrées... of course we all tasted each others:

Black Sea Bass with a crunchy green topping and green sauce (It was a special of the day)

Lobster in Tomato Soup with Beans, Vegetables, and Toasted Bread

14 oz Grilled Ribeye with Mushrooms and Parmesan Potatoes

Ahhhhh! My lobster was so good, especially the tomato soup. It really reminded me of a very simple bouillabaisse! My mom's black sea bass was delish... but we seemed to finish it off first and kinda forgot about it. And of course Ed's ribeye was divine! The meat was tender and cooked perfectly. The fat of the meat gave it soooooo much flavor! It came with these awesome tree-like mushrooms and fun, round, potato discs!

And finally dessert (we were all only able to take a few bites since we were so full!):

Cheese with Fruit Bread and Fig Compote

And OMG the last two pictures were too awful to post so I'll just describe them.

Our other dessert was a "Rice Tart" with candied fruit, grapefruit sorbet, and grapefruit slices. This was interesting... rice pudding in a crust?

And the "Braised Vanilla Pineapple" with coconut custard and coconut gelato. YUMMMMMMMM!!!!

So, this Prix Fixe dinner (you can order a la carte also, but it made sense for us to do the prix fixe since we did order 4 plates) cost like $60.00! Not bad! The service was great and the food was even better! Minus the loud, obnoxious, middle-aged drunk lady, our experience at Convivio was killer!

And the waitress told me I looked like Lindsay Price from Lipstick Jungle. This was the second time someone told me that, so I was intrigued and had to look her up. Is she like half Asian?

So let's see...

Hmm.... I dunno...


45 Tudor City Place
New York, NY 10017
Phone: 212-599-5045
Fax: 212-599-5043