Saturday, November 20, 2010

Work: The Good Food and New York City Skyline

Boy do I miss blogging!  I was super busy the past month studying for yet another section of the CPA exam.  I felt prepared and ready for the exam, had an extra half an hour to spare and walked out extremely confident.  Can't wait to find out what my score is.  Two down and two more to go!

Although I've been home bound with my nose in the books for the past month, I made room for important dates with significant people.  There was my father's 60th birthday and me and my partner's 5th year anniversary =).  However, I will save those for next time!

Work has been constant as well, but one thing that I have to make note of is the BEAUTIFUL sunset I see every single night upon setting our clocks for daylight savings.  I truly hate not being able to walk back home from work in the sun anymore, but seeing this sunset every night just makes it all worth it.  I was especially  amazed by yesterday night's sunset.  It looked like a painting of a vast desert was set right behind the New York City skyline.  Speechless.

There's no room for fun & games when you're studying, but there's always room for food! Check out what I've been eating for lunch at work with my $5 budget.

Yes, I stick to my roots and eat Chinese almost each time I decide to buy something for lunch rather than bringing in my homemade delicacies, haha!  It's not that I don't like other cuisines, they're just way too overpriced in midtown!

For only $5, I can get myself a lunch box from Lunch Box Buffet, where there is a wide variety of selections to choose from.  I'm a big fan of their spare ribs, shiitake mushrooms with bamboo, ginger spiced chicken, ma po tofu, soy sauce chicken, rice vermicelli, and so on!  They have both hot and cold selections and for only $5, you get to choose 5 yummies in your tummy. Fay Da is situated in the same spot, so you can pick up a hot coffee, bubble tea or Chinese buns along the way!

Recently, I've also been frequenting Fuji Bakery, a hidden gem sitting only a few blocks away from my workplace.  My coworker gave me their menu several months ago, but I never gave it a chance after reading some pretty bad reviews from Yelpers.  Last week, I had a sudden craving for a hot noodle soup, so I decided to give Fuji a shot ... and am glad I did!

For only $4.95, I got myself a tightly stuffed quart of wonton noodle soup that came with bok choi.  It was so packed that the lid was literally about to pop off.  They weren't skimpy with the veggies, noodles or wonton.  Best of all, the noodle soup was tasty AND they gave me a sealed spoon!  Hygiene is a major concern of mine when ordering take-out.  You really have no idea where the utensils have been and who's hands have been touching them.  Judging by the pace of food going in and out of kitchens at fast-food restaurants, or any restaurant for that matter, utensils probably don't always get picked up by their handles.  So Fuji is definitely the way to go!  I went back to try their buns as well, and they were delicioso.  They even serve dim sum for breakfast!!

Another restaurant that deserves to be mentioned is Azuki.  I may be frugal, but I do and am more than willing to spend some money on food when it comes to dining experiences to be shared with loved ones.  I came here a while back with my sister, who was shopping around the area prior to meeting with me for lunch.  She loves Japanese food just like I do, so it was the perfect spot for us.

We both ordered a sashimi bento box, which came with California rolls, ha gow, salad, white rice and fresh sashimi.  I've dined and have had take-out from Azuki before and have never been dissatisfied.  It confuses me why some reviewers leave some horrible remarks and ratings for this restaurant.  Well, to each his own.  I know that we left with a full, happy tummy and a big smile on our faces.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

YAO's Dragon Beard Candy & Tonight's Dinner

I took a trip to Chinatown yesterday afternoon for a doctor's visit.  As I was walking down Bowery St. while complaining to my boyfriend on the phone about a rude lady I encountered at the doctor's office, I found myself standing in front of the Dragon Beard Candy cart that earned itself a "Vendy Finalist" title!  I told him I had to go instantly and promised I'd leave him at least one piece lol.  *click*  Then I ordered a box for $3 and started telling the couple behind the cart how popular their dragon beard candy is in the foodie world.  The lady steps out and points at the huge sign on the top of her cart that read "YAO'S DRAGON BEARD CANDY" and asked me whether the popular cart I was referring to was "Yao's" cart.  Hence, this shout out is for them!  Anybody who hasn't had a taste of dragon beard candy, try it out at Yao's cart!

Don't stuff it in your purse like I did if you plan to use it in your blog!
They look like baby mice don't they?  Must be eaten immediately before they harden!
I've been so busy studying lately that I haven't had the time to eat out =( so I've been eating in.  And for tonight's dinner: beef and broccoli stir-fry over brown rice.  It was yummy!

Does it look like take-out?
I say it's better!  Wakakaka

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Gobble Gobble: Turkey 2 Ways

So I purchased 3 lbs of ground turkey for $6.99 and made 3 different turkey dishes over the course of one week.  Yes, I made 3 and have decided only to show you 2 because one of them is camera-shy.  Fine, I'll be honest ... she wasn't too photogenic, ok?  lol

The first dish is based on a recipe from Steamy Kitchen for Taiwanese Pork Noodles.  Mine didn't come out as beautiful as hers, with the needed colorful garnishes, but I have to say, the recipe was amazing!  I would've never thought 2 teeny weeny star anise, or star-anus as I like to call it, would make such a huge difference in flavor.  It didn't require much time either, which is fantabulous for a long day from work.  This recipe is a must-keep, thanks Jadyn!

The second dish is one that we're all familiar with - lasagna!  The only difference with mine is that it was made with a crock pot rather than an oven ... since we do not have an oven here!  Truthfully, lasagna straight out of the oven tastes better than one made with a slow cooker ... but you have to work with what you got right?  The recipe for crock pot lasagna is just like any other recipe for lasagna.  Needless to say, the only exception is that everything goes into your crock pot rather than a lasagna pan.  Because crock pots are usually round in shape, it is also necessary to break your lasagna noodles so that they fit into the pot.  Set it at low, then forget it for 4 hours!  It came out looking like crap, but I was satisfied!

Saturday, October 2, 2010


Recently, I've been craving and having a lot of corn.  Whether it be fresh corn on the cob or homemade popcorn, corn possesses such a subtle yet distinguished flavor that make it rather alluring!  I must say also that corn is fun to eat.   I had a blast crunching my popcorn and using cooked corn kernels as teeth!  lol

I love the natural sweetness of corn, so I tend to eat it boiled and occasionally with some melted butter and/or salt.

The same applies to my popcorn.  I like to pop mine on the stove top with some butter and occasionally sprinkle it with some salt or cinnamon.  They are so addicting, I had a huge bowl yesterday night before bed!  Probably not the best thing to do, but popcorn has got to be the best of the worst when it comes to snacks.  The next time you see a bag of kernels at the supermarket, check out the nutrition facts of popcorn per serving!  You will be surprised!

So load up on some corn and stock up your cabinets with some kernels!  They're affordable and low-cal.  They are your friend!

The huge bowl of popcorn that is now ... a part of me

Sunday, September 26, 2010

The Rise of Fall

I refuse to accept that summer is officially over :(

Sadly, it is!  And I will be spending the next 3 months doing my favorite Fall activity: stepping on crunchy leaves.  Whomp whomp!

Fortunately, summer wasn't a complete waste despite spending a whole month doing nothing but studying (I passed the test by the way!!).  I went on a cruise with the wonderful Royal Caribbean cruise line to San Juan and St. Maarten.  I am a loyal Royal customer and love, love cruising!  It is the best vacation package you can ask for: amenities, people from all over the world, sun on the deck, pools, rock climbing, fabulous shows, ice skating, so on and so on, all in one huge ship!  The best part was obviously the GOOD FOOD!  Breakfast, lunch, dinner AND 24/7 snacks, all readily prepared for you.  This was my fourth time cruising and I've never been disappointed.  See for yourself!

Pear Tart
Lamb Shank
Chocolate Souffle
Creme Brulee
And ofcourse ... there's gotta be Racks of Lamb on Rack of Lam right?!!

Cruises are truly fantastical.  Our meals were cooked to utter perfection and the service that we received was flawless.  There's so many activities on the ship and excursions off the ship to counterbalance all the food you eat.  I still come home chubbier than when I left, but it's so worth it!

Goodbye summer!  You will be remembered and I can't wait to see you again!  Hasta luego!!

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Pizza? No, Pisa!

How often do people eat pizza?  Better yet, how often do New Yorkers eat pizza?  Frequently I suppose, since the good old "New Yawk Pizza" originated from this city.

Pizza parlors are scattered all over New York.  It leaves me wondering whether there are more pizza parlors than Starbucks, which seem to appear once every three blocks or so!  Has eating pizza become habitual as coffee has become addicting?  Hm!  Well, all I know is while there are those who eat pizza on a daily, weekly or monthly basis, eating pizza is a rare thing for me, but I  DO have occasional cravings for a good pizza!  My most recent craving brought me not one, but two pizzas!

So I offered him ONE bite & this is what he leaves me with
Out of the blue one day, on a train ride back home, I had a huge craving for pizza.  Thoughts came running through my head of good tomato sauce and melted mozzarella cheese, and the perfect last crunch of a pizza crust.  Pizza deprivation is a serious matter, kids!  So my feet walked me to a local pizza parlor to order a New Yawk Pizza and some garlic knots, all for $2.50 + tax.  I felt no guilt at all.  Nothing better than a cheap craving satisfaction and a full tummy! 

Unknowingly, I get home to find out that my beau has arrived home before me.  I wasn't going to give him my pizza, I only had 1 slice!

A couple of nights later, he comes home with a BOX for me.  Very aware of what a big fat foodie I am, what else would he fill a box with, really?  Lol.  Although I'd wish the box was 100x smaller and contain something that could possibly BLIND me, the huge box that contained a whiff of pizza was acceptable, for now.  He brought me some pizza from Adrienne's Pizzabar, which was a lot more upscale than my New Yawk Pizza.  Thin crust and topped with prosciutto, basil leaves and tomato, his pizza brought me back to Italy.  Oh, the days back in Florence, Rome and Venice ... the visit at the Tower of Pisa ...

Speaking of Pisa, Italy had the most amazing, authentic, thin crust pizza.  Here is a pic of us in Italy, with a huge a** pizza:

Pizza craving?  CHECK!

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Tu Quieres Taco Bell?

My fondness for Mexican food came about after I moved to Sunset Park, a neighborhood that is dominated mostly by Mexicans and thereby features restaurants that serve some of the most authentic and above-average Mexican food.  Prior to my exposure to the Mexican cuisine, my knowledge of Mexican food was limited to what was served at Taco Bell, particularly chicken quesadillas and soft beef tacos, the only items that I believe I have ever ordered off their menu.  I never knew how much more the cuisine had to offer!  There's fajitas, tortas, enchiladas, nachos, and TACOS!  Their culinary creations are full of so much flavor and spice that I decided to take another shot at making tacos.

I marinated chicken breast with some salt, cumin, chili powder, crushed red pepper flakes and lime juice.  Smacked them on the grill until they were cooked through because as Gordon Ramsay emphasizes on and on: YOU CANNOT SERVE RAW CHICKEN!  I had a taste of the chicken and was surprised by how flavorful it was with just a few condiments.  Mexicans sure know how it's suppose to be done!

Tacos taste incomplete if they weren't paired with some healthy veggies, specifically tomatoes, onions and peppers, so I made sure to throw in some of these diced veggies in my taco.  My favorite part, however, is the guacamole.  I like to smear them on top of my filling and dab a chunk at the end of each bite.

As aforementioned, this is my second attempt at making tacos.  My first attempt wasn't horrible, but definitely wasn't fun because I tried making my own whole-wheat tortilla.  I learned my lesson this time as I used store-bought corn tortillas.  All it took was some heating up on the pan, which saved me a lot of time and stress!


Taco on Foodista

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Got Beef?

I have yet to post an entry on fashion, as a majority of my entries are on food.  Not once did it cross my mind to write an entry on fashion and its direct relationship with food.  Well, this is possible when there is LADY GAGA!

How insane was the meat dress that she wore at the VMA's?  We've all seen the ridiculously eccentric outfits she's worn, from the Christmas wreath around her head to the 10-inch platform shoes that she tripped on ... but raw meat, and a half pound flank steak "hat" smacked on the top of her head?  The only good thing that came out of this is probably the publicity - all for wearing an outfit that cost her a whopping $100!

I think the beef would've been better in my hands and tummy than on Lady Gaga.  Well, despite the craziness, I still love her music!

On another note, I made a good treat this weekend that is very worthy of being posted.  This post isn't on fashion after all, eh?

Before Mike Kim was eliminated from MasterChef for presenting a dessert that contained raw eggs, he explained that his lack of knowledge in dessert-making is due to Asians not eating dessert (and when we do, we eat fruit).  Although his confession is true, there is one Asian dessert that is to die for!  Let's do a little show-hopping.  An ingredient of this dessert was recently used on the latest episode of Top Chef.  You guessed it, it's tapioca!

I personally prefer my tapioca chilled with honeydew or cantaloupes, but when eaten hot, I like it with taro.  The danger with taro is that it's inedible when raw, so make sure you cook it through before eating it! 

Taro tapioca calls for a few simple ingredients: taro, tapioca, coconut milk, water and sugar.  As you can see, I was left with some starchy residue on my cutting board from cutting the taro ... so be ready for some washing!  It is also a good idea to soak the tapioca pearls prior to cooking them until they expand so that they soften up and cook faster.

This is the perfect dessert for frugal foodies with a sweet tooth and either not a whole lot of time to make dessert or are too lazy to make dessert.  The taro cost me less than a dollar per pound, tapioca was 69 cents a bag and coconut milk was less than 2 bucks a can.  It only took about half an hour to make too ... so what are you waiting for?

Asians may not be known for their desserts ... because fruits are our sweet treat ... but we may be able to redeem ourselves with this one!

Sunday, September 12, 2010

FAT SAT(urday)

I am sitting here typing my blog entry with a full stomach, ugh!  However, I am excited to share with you how the current blob in my stomach looked before it turned into mush!

As usual, I went grocery shopping early this afternoon with my boy toy.  He laid his eyes on some cheap shell steak, which hyped me up because I'm a huge sucker for steak drenched in ketchup =).  Steak also brings me back memories of my deceased mom and all the wonderful dishes that she use to whip up for breakfast, lunch and dinner.  Occasionally, she would stray away from cooking a typical Chinese dinner, which almost always consists of a bowl of white rice for each individual, a big bowl of soup, and several other dishes for sharing.  As much as I love Chinese food, it gets a bit boring eating and seeing similar food on the table day after day.  Luckily, my mother realizes this, so once in a while, she'd make us some juicy steak along with other side dishes.  For some reason, I gravitated towards the ketchup as a young girl.  I think the sweetness & sourness of ketchup complements steak very well and isn't too overpowering.

Tonight, I decided to finish up the arborio rice that's been sitting in our cabinet.  Steak paired with risotto, a lot of yummy in my tummy!  Not to mention, I used a lot of catsup!

Saturday, September 11, 2010

In Loving Memory of Our Heroes

It has been a whole 9 years since the horrendous attack of 9/11.  Thousands of innocent lives were taken away and families' hearts were left torn.  However, our nation will continue to stand strong and united as one.

Rest in peace to our heroes.  You will always be remembered <3

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Masterchef Nomore

I just watched the latest episode of Masterchef and am extremely sad to have to bid farewell to Sharone, the most promising contestant in my opinion.  He was creative, thought outside the box, had amazing cooking skills and ideas, confident, determined, KNEW HOW TO MAKE DESSERT and he was frickin hot!  He made a perfect cupcake for Christ's sake!  Where do you find men like him nowadays?  (Boyfriend, I hope you are reading!  LOL)

It is so sad to see him go.  I don't know if I can watch the rest of the show without him.  Hopefully, he takes the job offer from Joe Bastianich.  Being a financial advisor is great, but even better to go for your passion.  Everybody should take a shot at their dream.  If all else fails, at least you tried.

Go Sharone!

Monday, September 6, 2010

More Fun! More Flags! Six Flags!

I can't believe how long it has been since the last time I've visited Six Flags.  My recollection was telling me that it's been 6-7 years since I've last gone.  Something was also telling me that Superman is the newest released ride, and before that, Dark Knight, followed by Nitro.  Little did I know, I got them completely mixed up and it has been an actual 8-9 years since my last visit.  This out-of-dateness and bad memory are clear signs of aging.  Too bad freezing my brain and/or refrigerating myself aren't feasible ideas.  All I can do now is to minimize smiling and frowning and control my laughter to prevent even more wrinkles from forming.

So yesterday was a pretty fun-filled, yet very exhausting day.  Most of us were running on only 3-4 hours of sleep at Six Flags but managed to keep our dry eyes open throughout the entire day.  Nevertheless, it was very, very well worth it.  We arrived at the Safari at 9:10am (it opens at 9am) and spent an hour of our morning as a wild animal.  We shrieked upon the sight of rhinoceroses, antelopes and their thick, pointy, lethal horns.  We were amazed by the beautiful patterns on zebras and giraffes ... so beautiful that humans of today emulate their looks by wearing patterned clothing.  We also had the time of our lives trying to get a closeup shot of the giraffe AND its neck in ONE picture ... but it was apparently impossible!  We adored the cute elephants, bears and monkeys, but disappointed that Six Flags has decided to fence the monkeys in due to the potential damage they can cause to our cars ... and lives.  However, we ended the Safari adventure with a smile, as we were all amused by the baboons' colorful and ugly ass.

I was excited for Six Flags because I'm a big adrenaline junkie when it comes to roller coasters and being dropped about 100 mph from the sky.  Who would've known, I was also uber-excited because there are Dippin' Dots stands dispersed around the theme park.  It took me a while to decide whether to go for the banana split or the cookies n cream.  I eventually went for the latter after my beau told me that choosing banana split would be like eating a banana sushi.  You're probably thinking, this guy does NOT know what he's talking about for comparing sushi with ice cream.  Please allow me to prove his innocence.

The story is: we went to an all-you-can-eat sushi buffet one day.  This sushi buffet serves a variety of sushi, BUT charges you for any sushi that is left uneaten on your plate.  For some odd reason, I decided to try out their banana sushi, without even pondering whether banana goes with rice.  Unfortunately, it turned out to be a horrible combination and my beau had to help me gobble it down so that we don't get charged for it.

Hence I ordered the cookies n cream rather than banana.  $5.50 was a bit much for a small cup, but it was irresistible!  In addition, the tiny cup compensated for the lack of good food and overly priced food at Six Flags.

All in all, Six Flags was a super fun time with the famz. Can't wait to go back!