Greenmarket, Financier, and a B&W from Rocco’s

Sunday, September 30, 2007 7comments No tags Permalink 0


Happy Sunday everyone! :) After a very restful sleep of 12 hours, I woke up yesterday afternoon and headed straight for the Greenmarket. My body has reached the point where it’s dying for veggies and fruit. I’m laying off the pizzas, beer, and hot dogs for a while! The market was truly a sight to behold with tons of people, high energy and a drool worthy selection of both produce and baked goods.

You know fall has arrived when you see all this!

These ‘Goose Gourds’ and ‘Sugar Pumpkins’ were too pretty to pass by without taking a picture!

I walked past these basket of peaches and couldn’t help but…

buy one and eat it on the spot :) It was so perfect for the moment, a cool sunny Manhattan afternoon and not a care in the world (aside from my constant coughing fits and sneezing). After the peach, I found a three pound bag of McIntosh apples for just $1!! It was the best deal of the day!

I bought a half pound of spinach from this stand. Back home in Hawaii, I’m not the one who usually buys the veggies (we leave that to mom, I take care of dessert and bread, and dad does the meats). As a result, I don’t know the going rate for spinach, but I’m pretty sure that the $3 per quarter pound they charge is quite high. Granted, it’s all organic and stuff, but at $12/pound, I’m buying my spinach elsewhere next week!

My first taste of a Concord grape nearly had me cheering with joy, it was sooo delicious! How come we don’t have these types of grapes in Hawaii??!! I didn’t know what to anticipate when popping the first orb in my mouth, but the explosion of tart, berry-sweet juice encased in a dark skin the color of blueberries kept a smile on my face the entire day.

And of course, I had to get a pint for myself!

Aside from the Greenmarket, yesterday was perhaps the most unproductive day of my life. I got in from Chicago past midnight on Friday, slept till Saturday afternoon, went to the market, ate dinner (udon & spinach & cookies), and went back to sleep until late Sunday morning. Being sick sucks. I hate having no energy to go roam around the city! But today was better. I woke up very well rested, had a cup of orange juice and headed to Century 21 with Shann. I did a respectable amount of shopping in just 90 minutes, and bought two dresses, an iron and tights. Bwhahaha. I am spending all my money before I even make it! That is, unfortunately, what happens when you have too much time on your hands. Not that I’m complaining! ;)

All shopped out, Shann and I made the short walk down to Financier for a late lunch at Financier. I can never get over how beautiful all their pastries look! Usually, I would just skip the real food part and get three desserts and call it a lunch. But today, I still felt not-so-good, and the only thing I wanted to eat was a hot cup of tea and hot soup. Both which I got.

Here’s my cuppa English Breakfast with a mini financier they throw in for freeee! I looove freebies – especially ones of the edible sort!! Who doesn’t?

The Chicken au Pistou came with two toasted slice of baguette, which I promptly soaked into the soup like I do with you tiao in Chinese restaurants. A very basic chicken soup, complete with a peas, carrots, beans and basil. It was probably the best thing I did for my sore throat today!

Shann’s egg, tomato, and cheese (cheddar, I think?) on brioche looked super awesome, and I’m guessing it was cause she seemed quite happy after finishing it!

We parted ways after lunch and I wandered around the city in the afternoon, planning what to wear on my very first day of work (it’s like planning your first day of school outfit!…or something to that extent, hehe :), doing more shopping and called my grandma. The weather was so nice today, so I just walked and walked with no particular objective in mind…until I saw Rocco’s! And for some reason, the sight of Rocco’s triggered a memory to Rowena’s post on Abbracci Cookie’s – spectacular looking, no? Black and white cookies in Italy…Black and white cookies in NYC…not exactly the same, but the black and white colors of Rowena’s cookies made me crave a NYC black and white cookie! Ooookay. Sorry if that didn’t make any sense. Just things triggering things, resulting in me eating more things. It’s just lovely, I tell you. Maybe I need to sleep more…

So I went in and confidently ordered one black and white cookie. I’ve been hearing from a bunch of people via word of mouth and chowhound that Rocco’s has some pretty darn good B&W’s, and well, you never know till you try it for yourself! Never mind the fact that my stomach was telling me ‘NO MORE COOKIES…’

It sucked. I was disappointed. It looks promising doesn’t it? But don’t be deceived! The cake part was far from cakey, just crumbly and dry. The thick slabs of chocolate and vanilla fondant were even distributed and not overly sugary, but…ugh…the overall cookie…it tasted like crap. It really, really did.
P.S.
This crappy B&W was really unexpected considering previous visits to Rocco’s – excellent cannolis and french lulu’s. I’ll be back to Rocco’s, but not for B&W’s!

Financier
35 Cedar St
NY, NY 1005
(212) 952-3838

Rocco’s Pastry Shop & Espresso Cafe
243 Bleecker Street
New York, NY 10014
(212) 242-6031

Accountants + Pizza + Dancing = Good Times!

Saturday, September 29, 2007 9comments No tags Permalink 0


Hi! Just returned back to NYC from an exhaustive two weeks of training. Currently I am quite under the weather with a cold, cough, sore throat, numb leg and who knows what else. I suppose this is the consequence of having too much fun…but I wouldn’t know because I was never one of the ‘lets get drunk and dance’ type of student. But now I know! My plans for this weekend are simple;
1. go to Greenmarket for produce, orange juice, and gingerbread. And maybe some pretzels.
2. recover, recover, recover!
But mostly I am going to sleep because I start ‘real’ work on Monday morning, woohoo – wish me luck please! :)

Before we head back to NYC food blogging mode, care to entertain a post on the first deep dish pizza of my liiiiiife? On Saturday night, a bunch of us did the hotel/limo thing and quickly concurred that we should have pizza for dinner, cause who knows when we’ll be back to Chicago. The wait at Giordano’s was TWO HOURS when we came around 9pm…crazy! But we chose to wait and kill time wandering around the city. Never having visited, I didn’t know what to expect of Chicago, and wish I had more time to spend in the city (as opposed to a training center in the boonies of Illionis :).

Abel and I somewhere along Mag Mile

Lots of people, big, clean streets, and everything just seems so darn gosh happy. The two hours flew by quickly thanks to good friends, good talk and a lot of picture taking.

On the streets…

But you just really want to hear about the pizza, don’t cha? ;)

Well here it is! We ordered two large deep dishes (about $25/pizza) – one was the ‘Special’ and the other was pepperoni and onions combo. I loooove onions. It took a lot of debating to settle on the pizzas as we had six people with six different preferences. I’m a staunch advocator of the anchovy and jalapeño combination…but everyone shot that proposal down rather quickly. hehe. We had to pre-order the pizza 20 minutes before we were seated and had to wait an additional 30 minutes after we were seated. Only one thought was running though everyone’s mind as we sat with grumbling tummies at the table, “this better be worth it!”

this is only half of it…check out the next picture :)

…And it soooo was! First off, the pizza was humungo!! There was no way the six of us could finish two pizzas the size of the moon…but not to worry, we took the leftovers back to the hotel where it proved to be an excellent 5am snack.

Look at Abel salivating! He ate the first slice in less than a minute!

It was such an intense pizza. A buttery crust loaded with sausages, onions, mushrooms and green peppers, they were very generous with the ‘toppings’ (ironic, as the ‘toppings’ were at the bottom of the pizza). A pile of melting mozzarella and tomato sauce. Needless to say, it was heavy on the stomach and heart! A true knife and fork affair, though I did manage to pick it up with my hand and eat a bite – I love the satisfaction of finger food. But the best part of the pizza was the crust…tasting of a hot, intensely crispy butter bread – mindblowing! I would have been a happy camper just eating all of the crust from the whole pie and nothing else. I don’t understand people who don’t like pizza crust, it both confuses and makes me slightly upset. A slice each of the Special and pepperoni & onions filled me up to the point of near explosion (keep in mind that I just had half a chocolate milkshake from Jonny Rockets just an hour ago!) The pepperoni & onion was less exciting…if only everyone else had agreed to the jalapeno & anchovy combo! :)

After dinner, we did more walking to digest our food and ended up dancing the night away here. This picture was taken the following morning when we passed it again on our way to Portillo’s.

And alas, an excellent two weeks came to an end yesterday evening. We said good-bye to Chicago, or rather, our convention hotel in St. Charles, and we said good-bye to close friends who were strangers just two weeks ago.

fun times, indeed :)

Sometime between now and Monday morning I’ve got to kick myself out of vacation mode. Plainly put, I have more or less been on ‘vacation’ since graduating in May. Training was work, but with so many hours of fun following work, it still felt like vacation to me! Ok, so snap down, back to real life in two more days! :)

Giordano’s
Check the website for locations – there are many!

Saaaay “PwC!”

Tuesday, September 25, 2007 11comments No tags Permalink 0


In front of the PwC Chicago Office :)

Oh maaaan, job training is awesome! When I last posted on Saturday morning, I was just rushing off for a day of community service at the YMCA with the rest of the new PwC hires. We came back around 6pm, and since we didn’t have to report to work till Monday morning, five of my friends and I booked a hotel room in downtown Chicago for the night and hopped into a limo for a 90 minute ride into the city. Ready for fun!

That’s Lake Michigan you’re looking at!

I won’t get into details about Saturday night till the next post because most of the pictures were not taken on my camera, and I’m still waiting to get those from Mariela. Make sure to check back soon! It was, however, a rather devilishly fun night with dinner at Giordano’s and then dancing and other stuff at Excalibur till 4am.

Hangovers and all, all six of us woke up around noon on Sunday, ready for a day of sightseeing! Hailing from Jersey, Puerto Rico, Virginia and Hawaii, none of us had ever set foot in Chicago so there was plenty of excitement to go around. We started off with breakfast at Portillo’s. I couldn’t decide between the Italian Beef Sandwich or the Chicago dog, (thanks for the tip Alan! :), but eventually decided on the Chicago dog as I also wanted a chocolate milkshake and I was still digesting Giordano’s deep dish leftovers (soooo delicious, will tell about it next post!) from a middle of the night/morning craving.

At 1pm on a Sunday, Portillo’s was noisy, busy and very, very energetic!

Ahhh, and here it is, my very first Chicago dog! $2.09 is a small price to pay for this darling, fully equipped with mustard, relish, chopped onions, tomatoes, pickle and duo of sport peppers. As I have a tendency to say in real life, “it is soooo good!” Oddly enough, my favourite part was the ripe tomato slices nestled between the soft, poppy seed studded buns, it rounded the hot dog out real well, with a bit of help from the pepper – I think from now on, I’m replacing ketchup with tomatoes in my hot dogs! It was just the perfect size to make it me happy, and what else can I say, I love it! Well actually, right now, I am loving everything from life to food, and who would have thought, even work!

The milkshake was did not fare as well. Granted, I was unfairly comparing it to one I had from Ronnybrook Dairy in the Chelsea Market just last week (musta been the second bestest milkshake of my life!) But as a standalone, this liquidly, scarily sweet, and not so chocolaty milkshake didn’t fare much better then one from McDonald’s just across the street…

…this is the biggest McDonald’s I’ve ever seen in my life!

Our day involved much shopping and excursion with a trip to the Hancock Observatory…

…here’s a view from the top. Almost looks like Hawaii, doesn’t it? Almost? A little? Hahah, it was awesome.

We also made sure to get cheesy pictures of the boys ‘cleaning’ the windows…

…and the girls too!

Right before heading back to St. Charles, we stopped by the Sears Tower. You’re going to think I’m really stupid, but I honestly had no idea what the Sears Tower was. I’ve heard about it before, but that was about it. I don’t pay too much to sightseeing. I more interested in what to eat! Most conveniently, after we paid the $13 entrance fee and before taking the superfast elevator ride up, we were locked into a ‘theatre’ for 30 minutes where we were shown a movie, ‘the History of the Sears Tower’. And now, I am officially an expert!

When we got to the top all of us started cracking up cause it seriously looked EXACTLY the SAME as the Hancock Observatory, where we just were less than two hours ago. I don’t know if it was funny because it really was funny or funny because we were so tired. There was lots of mindless laughter going on all day.

Mariela and I at the entrance to the Sears Tower – she’s working in the Puerto Rico office, so I’m going to miss her after training ends this week!

look carefully…that’s a PwC sign they’re making!…we’re still unjaded new hires…

With a little bit of wandering around the financial district, and the help of Abel’s IPhone, we found PwC’s Chicago office. Picture anyone? From top left, that’s Abel, Katty, Mariela and Franklin. And on the bottom, Joe and myself. We took the long limo ride back to 15 minutes after this picture was shot, and all promptly feel asleep as soon as the car door closed. Our day? Sooooo much fun!!!!

Portillo
100 W. Ontario
Chicago, IL 60610
(312) 587-8910

Hi!

Saturday, September 22, 2007 6comments No tags Permalink 0

Sorry I haven’t posted anything this week. Training is craaazy. Classes run from the wee hours of the morning till 7pm, so we (all 300 of us) are super pooped by the end of the day. Food? They’ve got breakfast, lunch, and dinner covered (as well as dessert, snack, and far too much coffffeeeeeee). I have not taken any pictures of the food, even though it is surprisingly good, because, I would like to make friends and don’t want my colleagues and instructors thinking, “who is that odd girl who insists on photographing dining hall food?” I hope that’s a good enough reason!

Anyways, training has taught me a whole bunch of stuff already – and not only in accounting! Classes can get boring at times, especially if you’re sitting on your okole for five hours at a time. Not only do you get eye strain from staring at the computer, you also get butt strain from not standing up! I’ve mentioned before in this blog that I do not like to drink. Anything. Aside from: water, tea, coffee, hot chocolate, and the occasional root beer (or pepsi)! I thought training would be like school: classes in the morning, and studying at night.

But apparently this is not true. This is very not true. I’ve recently been introduced to this idea of happy hour. And indeed, happy hour, and the hours that follow, are very happy hours. I’ll leave it at that. I will be here in the isolated suburbs of St. Charles, IL until then 28th, so I won’t have any normal food posts until then…but check back if you want to hear how training is going…last night I had the strangest dream about the client auditing process, walkthroughs and reconciliations – makes you wonder if they’re just trying to teach us accounting or to mess with our minds so that it’s the only thing we can think of all day and all night.

Off to weekend classes and community service now! I just had strawberry yogurt with muesli, watermelon, eggs and banana bread for breakfast. Awesome! And coffee. Cannot forget about the coffee. I’ll see you later on this week, and will be back with NYC food photos the week after. Have a super good day! :)

Okay. I Think I Got It.

Sunday, September 16, 2007 15comments No tags Permalink 0

I kept to my word about no food pictures as Shann and I had a pizza dinner at Rosario’s down in the LES last night, followed by a tiny truffle cookie at Something Sweet and warm black sesame drinks at Saint Alps. It felt strange, though nice, to enjoy food without photographing it. It also made me feel just a tad guilty, almost as if I was letting the food go to waste by not taking pictures, but rest assured, as none of the food went to waste…it went straight to my very content belly.

Today I did laundry at the laundromat down the street (a real laundromat, can you believe that?! hehe) and had my new dress tailored (our tailor lives right next door to the apartment!) And then I ate some really good $1 chow mein Shann brought back from Chinatown. As soon as she opened the noodles, I felt an urgent need to take a picture, but I stopped short of myself. After lunch we went to Whole Foods for the free wifi, as our internet won’t be installed until next week.

And then I checked this blog and read all your comments! You guys definitely had good points, and part of me still wants to take pictures. It’s like there’s a little mechanism in me that exists that goes, ‘must, must, must take PICTURES!!!!!!!” The funny part is that I totally have dinky, unprofessional pictures, so I’m surprised you guys like them that much! It makes me happy :)

And I thought, and thought, and went to Russ & Daughters for my most favorite chocolate babbka in the whole entire world (I am not kidding)……and then I made a mad dash to my apartment CAUSE I NEEDED THE CAMERA. Now I understand what an addiction feel like. It’s a good addiction I supposed, a strange one though. At least I’m not addicted to drugs or smoking…just food picture taking, bwhaahaha.

So I thought some more over babbka and kashi cereal with lots of honey on the side. And came to this conclusion: we’ll still have pictures, but not as many…do you think that’s fair? :)

Truth be told, pictures are half the fun of a food blog, and it made me just a little sad to see that last post with NO PICTURES. Let me know what you think :)

——————-

With that said, check out these awesome grilled cheese sandwiches Shann and I made the other day for a post-lunch, pre-dinner sort of meal.

Canadian oat bread, tomatoes, and nectarines (for dessert!) – all bought by Shann from the Greenmarket. I picked up the wedge of port salut from Whole Foods later in the afternoon.

Then comes the fun part! We cut super big fat slices of the dense, hearty, very filling loaf, smeared on horseradish cream cheese from Russ & Daughters, a layer of slices tomatoes and soooo much cheeeeese. Holy moley, it was the most exciting grilled cheese in the world. We never planned to add in the cream cheese, but I just bought a half pound yesterday and well…we got a lot of high quality cream cheese! We burnt the bottom side of the bread, but all the better cause it was super crispy, the buttery soft cheese melting into the tomatoes and sealing it all together.

Our real dinner came around 10pm later that night, when we walked well over 30 blocks to indulged in a horrific-ly delicious Shake Shack craving.

A Shake Shack burger for Shann, of which I happily took a bite. It’s an awesome creation indeed, but my heart remains with In-N-Out, where a just as satisfying product is offered at a lower price. They also grill the buttery buns till it’s all nice and crisp, something which remains wanting at Shake Shack.

And of course, would be silly enough to eat burger without fries? Short, fat crinkle cut fries, hot, crisp and salty, just as you’d expect. I liked my fries doused in pepper and dunked in a wee bit of ketchup. We were in the mood for caloric indulgence that evening and opted to upgrade for cheese fries. Though I have to say, the cheese was a slight overkill, given how much of the port salut we had consumed just hours ago in the grilled cheese sandwiches.

The Concrete Jungle: a peanut butter-chocolate-banana concrete creation for Shann…

…and a Pie-Oh-My concrete for myself. Vanilla custard with an entire slice of fresh blueberry pie whipped in at high speed. The towering crown of whipped cream was delicious, though oh-so unnecessary…I have the most terrible weakness for whipped cream. And while I prefer ones of the freshly whipped sort, perhaps sweetened just a tad, I’ll easily admit to loving cream right out of the can. Sigh. The best part was that the entire concrete was spotted with so many fresh blueberries. There was at least half a pint of blueberries…rather generous, don’t you say?

Since we’re on the subject of custards, I was totally at Shake Shack a few days prior to that visit. I wish the place was open year round and had a million different custard flavors. We all dream. I dream food. I went alone at 10pm for a double scoop of vanilla and blackberry. Shake Shack custards have a lovely, full mouth feel and go down oh-so-nicely, but I found the blackberry way too sweet, and somewhat candy-tasting. I’ll be back soon to try the salted caramel and sweet corn! :)

We did a lot of damage to our arteries and cholesterol level that night. But I went to sleep very happy, and only woke up with a slight stomach hangover the next morning (often occurs after consuming anything deep fried (eg. Fries, Doughnuts, Tempura) within two hours of sleeping.

I’m using Shann’s computer right now, so I need to get off soon – we’re leaving to dinner! I’m off tomorrow to Chicago for two weeks of JOB TRAINING. woohoo. The company is going to give me a new comp, which is kinda cool cause my Vaio totally just DIED without warning on me. The thing is, we’ll be locked in a convention hotel in a tiny city hours outside the city. I’ll be having breakfast, lunch AND dinner in the EXACT SAME ROOM EVERYDAY FOR TWO WEEKS! What will they feed us? I don’t know. Pray for me. And feel free to pull me out of the hotel and fly me to a delicious city!

I hope you liked this picture-ful post, I really like pictures too!! And I will continue to take them…just not as many. I’ll make sure you guys get to see the important/delicious stuff!

P.S.
Sorry if there are a million spelling and/or grammar errors in the post. I’m writing it in quite a rush, I’m still responding to comments on the previous post, just give me a day or so – it’s so hard to blog with no computer or internet! :)

Shake Shack
nr. Madison Ave. at 23rd St.
New York, NY 10010
(212) 889-6600