Friday, July 30, 2010

Food and Family ... the Perfect Combo

As I mentioned in yesterday's post, I had Friday off [because I have very cool bosses]. So I spent some quality t-i-m-e in Manhattan's Chinatown with my sister. We tried out a Vietnamese restaurant for the first time, Tu Do, located at 102 Bowery St. We stepped in fearing for the worst, but hoping for the best. It was about 1:45pm with only 2 tables seated with customers, so we were quite hesitant to walk through the door, but we figured that we should give it a chance and establish our thoughts after the meal. Luckily about 10 minutes upon placing our order, customers started to show up and we let out a sigh of relief! I guess people who work around the area take a later lunch?

So we started off with a shrimp summer roll for appetizer. It's always refreshing to begin a meal with a light and cool little snack, especially on a hot summer day! We each ordered a beef pho as well, and boy was it a ginormous bowl! It was quite the deal as they didn't skimp on the beef nor the noodles. It was so big that I had to take the rest of it to go. One may disagree with me however, as my sister finished hers entirely!

Pho is one of my favorite comfort foods. Don't underestimate this broth! It is comprised of so many ingredients, that even Top Chefs may not be able to identify some of the subtle flavors at a round of the Tasting Challenge. The noodle soup is so soothing to the stomach, I suppose it is a popular item on winter days. Nonetheless, the richness in flavor also makes it an irresistible option on hotter days! I also suggest adding a little kick to the beef and tripe with a touch of hot sauce mixed with hoisin sauce. Garnished with basil leaves, lime, scallions, onions and bean sprouts, pho is one of my all time favorites 'pho sure!

Protein Pancakes and Cafe du Monde

Today, I have the pleasure to stay home on a lovely Friday morning, enjoying some homemade protein pancakes with sugar-free syrup and a cup of Cafe du Monde ... with lots of milk please! Birds are chirping, the weather is pleasant, and life is just amazing!

Coffee is a staple in my breakfast. I drink coffee not so much for the caffeine, although the more caffeine it provides the better it probably tastes. I drink coffee for its boldness in flavor and aroma. Coffee offers a lot as it comes in a variety of flavors and ... just look at its color when blended with milk! I'm not a big fan of light or medium roasts although I'd take a cup if it's the only thing available. I'm more of a dark roast type of girl... and that is why Cafe du Monde is my coffee of choice. However, I have to say that it really stains my teeth! Therefore, I unwillingly switch my coffees around...

I've always loved pancakes. What girl doesn't, we love carbs! However, the pancakes I have come to know were either drenched in syrup, or loaded with fruits AND drenched in syrup. They ARE good, I can't deny that, especially with butter and whipped cream on top, but adding a different twist to it can not only diversify the taste of pancakes, but make it healthier! The special ingredient is ... *drum roll please* ... flavored protein powder! Adding flavored protein powder enhances the taste so that syrup, butter, fruits or even the wonderful dollop of whipped cream is not needed. You should all give it a try! Use a basic pancake recipe and add a serving of flavored protein powder into the mixture. Experiment with chocolate with some ground cinnamon, or just vanilla by itself. You'll love it!

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Lunch and Frugality

Ugh, back home from an exhausting day at work. I had terrible sleep, waking up in the middle of the night to scratch my unusually itchy mosquito bites. Bugs and creepy crawlers make up the worst part of summer!

So I thought I'd share with you all what I had for lunch today! I know I said I'd touch on topics like fashion and fitness, but you're probably going to see more posts on food. Yes, I am a Fatty. Well, besides Fashion, Food, Fitness, my Family and doing Fun stuff ... there's another "F" that makes a big part of my life. It is FRUGALITY! It makes sense doesn't it, for an accountant to maintain her books, meet her budget and ensure that money isn't being spent wastefully? Honestly, someone who loves to eat as much as I do should really learn to be frugal. I mean, I've never been a big spender, but I've come to the realization recently, when I took a look at how much money I actually spend on dining out and food purchases, that not only do I spend most of my money on food, but it's not a small chunk! As much as I love fashion, I don't shop for clothing or accessories as much as I do for food.

Having said that, I decided to start bringing lunch to work so that I can save my chump change for indulging on friday nights and/or weekends. I mean, just compare spending as much as $10 for a salad in midtown to making a similar salad yourself for as little as $1! That is $50 worth of store-bought salad vs. $5 of homemade salad over the course of 5 days! Big difference people!

So let us appreciate and admire my money-saving salad! Grilled chicken breast with green peppers, romaine lettuce, tomatoes, shredded carrots, topped with grated Parmesan cheese and balsamic vinaigrette!

Monday, July 26, 2010

Case of the Mondays ...

So it is Monday, yet again. As with most people, I hate Mondays with a passion! One of the most unpleasant feelings occurs when Sunday night approaches and the length of your weekend comes hastily to its end. Though you should be using the last few hours of Sunday wisely, to your dismay, thoughts and pictures of yourself sitting before your stationary desk at work come gushing into your brain. No matter how fun-filled your weekend might've been, it ends on that horrible note! Now wouldn't it be nice if weekends were extended? Or even better, to have every Wednesdays off? I've been a long-time supporter of working Mon-Tues, taking a day break in the middle of the week, then working Thurs-Fri, and taking another 2-day break. Breaks are lovely! You'll be replenished the next day ... and it'll be a productive day! I say it should be federally mandated! Yay or nay?!

On a brighter note, on Sunday, before those irksome thoughts of work came haunting me ... I had my weekly fix of Vietnamese Sandwich, or Bánh mì! This sandwich is by far the best sandwich that's ever existed. Made with plain & simple ingredients such as pickled carrots and daikon, cucumbers, cilantro, grilled pork, mayo and cold cuts ... all resting on a toasty French baguette, this sandwich proves that some plain things in life can get a little addicting!

Believe it or not, I've actually attempted to make my own Bánh mì before, straight from scratch, yes including the French baguette itself!
Fine, I cheated just a teeny bit by using roast pork rather than marinating and grilling my own pork (I've seen the recipe!!). Well, to make a long story short, my homemade version of the sandwich was an utter embarrassment... not only to the Bánh mì itself... but to my culinary skills as well!

Now for the wandering minds, my favorite spots to purchase Bánh mì are the following, in no particular order (Well... maybe I do prefer one over the others. I'll disclose it someday! )
Thanh Da - Brooklyn, NY
Ba Xuyen - Brooklyn, NY
Saigon Vietnamese Sandwich Deli - New York, NY

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Rack of Lam

Welcome to Rack of Lam: Special du Jour!

This may be my first blog post, but I am by no means a newbie to the world of blogging. I have a compilation of blogs that I frequently visit, ranging from food, fashion and fitness, just three out of the many things that I love to spend time reading about and exploring on the worldwide web. Today I had a sudden urge to create one of my own, but it didn't take too long to come up with a blog title, as I've already had one in mind for the longest ... Rack of Lam!

Now mind you, the title wasn't created to lure gentlemen in here, nor was it created to express to you, my readers, or anybody who stumbles upon this page, my liking for lamb. I like lamb, but not to the point that I'd title my blog after it. It's very simple: it's a play on words with my surname, and to name my blog after a food accentuates how much passion I have for food!

So welcome to Rack of Lam. In here, you will find my daily ramblings, or "Specials du Jour." Specials will mainly fall under the following categories: Food, Fashion, Fitness, Family and Fun! I hope you will enjoy my five-course meals!