Bespoke Chocolates

Thursday, February 26, 2009 3comments No tags Permalink 0

I’ve been buried in busy tax work the last month, leaving rare time for an actual life outside of work. Not to worry though! I still eat dessert like a crazy madwoman – it’s a wonder and utter blessing that diabetes has not descended upon me.

Here’s a bit on Bespoke and my corresponding Serious Eats Sugar Rush post

A quick ten-minute walk south from my apartment takes me straight to the doors of Bespoke Chocolates, a very very awesome chocolate shop. My first taste of Rachel’s Sea-Salted Caramels took place at her pre-opening party back in November, and I’ve been craving another one (or dozen) of those chocolates ever since.

Index cards were perhaps not the most ideal stage for shooting this photo, but it was the nearest flat object I could grab before all the sea salt kissed caramel dribbled free. And oooh, how it dribbles! I wish I could pass on a few truffles to my parents, but am not sure how they would fare via mail all the way to Hawai’i.

About a dozen or so different chocolates are stock at any given time, and I’ve eaten my way though most of them. There’s not a single one I dislike, though it’s hard not to play favourites…

…especially when it comes to this lush Strawberry-Balsamic chocolate…

…or the Southampton Tea Truffle.

The Hazelnut Praline BonBon is lovely, but almost borderline boring compared to other gorgeous flavours…think along the lines of Rosemary Vanilla and Champagne Cognac.

Shelves against the right wall, harbors a few tempting sweets – among them, chocolate covered Martin pretzels and jars of Chocolate-Hazelnut spread. No sense dipping fingers into the Nutella jar when you have this!

Here’s Rachel at work :)

Hope you all have a happy Thursday!

Bespoke Chocolates
6 Extra Place
New York, NY 10003
(212) 260-7103

Bus, Skyway Malaysian, Rice Pudding

Sunday, February 22, 2009 4comments No tags Permalink 0

Skyway Malaysian

Last Saturday, Justin, Darien and I took the bus down to Skyway for dinner. It’s been a while since I’ve sat on a bus – I often forget that it is my second favourite mode of transportation. Walking is the first. Subways are fun, cabs are good/bad depending on your driver and companion, or lack thereof. But bus rides are always a blast.

Why?

While the rest of the world moves at a fly-by-the-minute, warp fast place, the Bus is forever slow. We do not need to move at lightening speed at all times. Bus drivers are friendlier than train conductors and less harried than cab drivers. And because the Bus is so noisy, there is no point in putting in the earphones to my (now defunct) ipod. It forces one to listen to the outside (or would that be, inside Bus?) world.

tea for three

Bus rides, as ours was, even more fun with a friends. The M15 took us down 2nd Avenue, across Houston, and then down Allen Street, dropping our little trio smack at the doors of Skyway.

We got down to business. Justin and I started off with glasses of Soy Bean Milk and Grass Jelly – chilly, refreshing. Find my Serious Eats Sugar Rush on the drink here. I used to have this drink in Hawai’i all the time, less frequently in NYC. Here, milkshakes and prosecco seem to be the liquid of choice. You may refer to my rapidly expanding waistline for visual evidence.

We started off with Roti Canai

…before moving onto Rojak – this was unfortunately a pretty terrible take on the dish. A pity because most everything else at Skyway is decent, if not awesome.

The salad includes cucumber, pineapple, jicama and is served with a super SUPER pungent shrimp paste-based sauce. Shrimp paste is mixed with sugar and water, chilies, and sometimes lime juice. They omitted the chili in this case and overdid the sugar.

Next up, Chow Kueh Teow. This dish makes me think of dad because we used to (and still do!) eat it together all the time. In Hawai’i, in Los Angeles, and even once in Paris and long long time ago. It’s high on my list of favourite types of noodles dishes. But then again, I seem to have many “favourites” when it comes to noodles, hehehe. Sanur, another nearby Malaysian also does this dish, Skyway does a better job.

Here we have Poh Piah, which I think of as a Malaysian take on the Vietnamese summer roll. A filling of noodles, jicama, beansprouts are wrapped in lettuce, and then wrapped once more in a poh piah wrapper before a final drizzle of hoisin and chili sauce.

Our Mee Goreng, came fully equipped with a ton of fried tofu. Double win. Darien and Justin both preferred the egg noodles over the wide rice noodles. I like both, but wide rice noodles hold a soft spot in my heart for their tender floppiness and ability to soak up flavours like you’d never believe. Steamed, boiled in soup, stir-fried. You can do no wrong. Plus, they’re so slippery and feel wonderfully easy in your mouth. Everything to love and nothing to hate.

Dessert? Of course! We kept it light at that meal with the full intention of heading to Rice to Riches afterward. Chendol is about as close as I’ll get to Hawaiian shave ice in this city.

The dish is filled with a mix of jellies and beans, then topped off with shaved ice (rough-shaved, not Waiola’s kind of bliss), and then a pour of sugar syrup and coconut milk.

Towards the end of dinner, Justin realized that Darien and I were seated against a rather odd (as far as Malaysian restaurants go) background. In place of a proper “back”, our bench seats had a white picket fence. Pretty special, eh? Justin said, “pose!” And we did. Darien milked our family cows while I gazed off into greener pastures. We don’t look convincing at all – but we tried, and that’s all that matters :)

Bellies lined with happiness, we strolled over to the Rice to Riches in Soho. Note. This is a rice pudding store. But what they carry is not rice pudding in the traditional sense. Rice to Riches carries PUDDING with SOME RICE. Not rice pudding. There’s a big difference. Nonetheless, I get intense craving for this place about once every two and half years.

The only way to cure it? Satisfy it! And so we did, with a bowl of “Fluent in French Toast” (left) and “Sex, Drugs, and Rocky Road” (right). So cheesy, I know.

How was it? Oh yah, pretty tasty :)

Happy Saturday!

Skyway Malaysian
11 Allen St
New York, NY 10002
(212) 625-1163

Rice to Riches
37 Spring Street
New York, NY 10012
(212) 274-0008

Captain the Cactus

Saturday, February 21, 2009 0 No tags Permalink 0

Post to come soon, but till then…look how tall my cactus has become! Captain was about this big when I brought him home from the Greenmarket back in August. He’s grown a solid inch over the last six months. Yay for progress. Pretty flowers are dispensable, but to live without a cactus? Never! :)

My Goodness.

Thursday, February 19, 2009 7comments No tags Permalink 0

Cafe Sabarsky, Saturday Afternoon

It is really Thursday already?

Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday…and now Thursday. A steady stream of blur work. But productivity is good. Very good.

Here’s a little odd and end run-by of Saturday lunch. Hopefully (aka, when tax season is pau) I can muster up a full recap of this meal. Till then, a few photos and plenty of memories.

The morning opened with a sweet delivery of houjicha macarons and those awesome cheese shortbread from always cheerful Mitzy. I don’t think I know a single soul in the world with more energy and enthusiasm!

Apologies if I looked all crazy in the morning Mitzy – I literally rolled out of bed, down the stairs and onto the street, pajamas and all ^_^

Erica came by the apartment an hour later, and a bit after that, Justin showed up for his weekend trip from Yale.

We lazed around for a bit before heading to Cafe Sabarsky for a midday meal. Thankfully, we arrived just before the lunch rush. A short five minute wait and we were quickly seated.

To begin, espresso.

Bread and Butter.

Palatschinken Mit Räucherforelle & Oberskren: Crêpes with smoked trout & horseradish crème fraîche. Closer.

Bratwurst Mit Sauerkraut & Röstkartoffeln: Roasted sausage with Riesling sauerkraut & roasted potatoes.

The accompanying hot mustard! So good! So good! This was Erica’s dish, but it’ll be mine on our next visit.

Spätzle Mit Schwammerln, Erbsen, Mais & Estragon: Spätzle with wild mushrooms, peas, sweet corn & tarragon. Closer.

The word “spätzle” entered my vocabulary in the fall of 2005. I lived in LA/Claremont at the time and stopped in NYC for a weekend trip. Dinner plans were arranged at Balthazar, and while I cannot recall what I ordered, I do remember her dish. Or at least one component. There was chicken involved, I believe. Anyhow, I remembered the most important part. The crispy spätzle.

I was flipping out. Little noodly esque nubbins fried, fried! I had never seen or eaten anything like it. Delightful bliss upon first bite. Much like my first Claude croissant, and SSS banana pudding. Grandma’s dumplings, Boky’s chicken curry noodles, Hearth’s gnocchi and the gnudi from Spotted Pig. And I couldn’t even pronounce spätzle correctly.

I never managed to find my way back to Balthazar since 2005, nor have I had spätzle elsewhere until Sabarsky. So this meal was essentially my second taste of spätzle. Wonderful and warming, but I think I still prefer spätzle fried :)

Justin and I parted ways with Erica post-lunch. We dashed down to the Theater in hopes of catching a performance of Chicago. Alas, we had forgotten that Valentine’s Day would draw crowds to midtown and the theaters. What could we do but drowned our sorrows with an entertaining movie and a big bag of heavily buttered popcorn. Raisinets on the side.

Our dinner, hours later at Skyway, will follow in the next post ^_^

Oh! And…I bought my first DSLR :D Thank you Greg, for leading me through the ridiculous and fantastic maze that is B&H. [Update: dad phoned me to say that I’m holding that camera all wrong…clearly I have much to learn.]

Leaving you off with a couple links:
Zippy’s Chili. ohyes. ohgodyes.
Robyn’s post on Fuerza Bruta night.

Happy Thursday!

Cafe Sabarsky
1048 5th Ave
Inside Neue Gallerie
New York, NY 10028
(212) 288-0665