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!

Friday, September 3, 2010

Long Week: As Long as My Foot-long

This week was painstakingly dreadful despite the upcoming, highly anticipated labor day weekend and being released a little earlier today.  I was really hoping to be let out before lunch and was so looking forward to (and expecting) it that I totally forgot about lunch ... until I realized that everybody in the office had gone out.  So I faced the truth and went to get myself a Subway's foot-long while moping.

I opted for the oven-roasted chicken on whole wheat bread with everything on it plus honey mustard.  It was literally as long as my keyboard.  All that for $5 excluding tax ...amazing!

When I finally got home, my beau shows me a mini-mooncake that his co-worker had given him.  It was delivered to her straight from Hong Kong and she demanded that he eat it quickly while it's fresh!  Hence we scarfed it down!

It really was just a mini "cake."  It was nothing like the traditional moon cake other than the "moon," or the yolk, in the center.  But then again, over the past few years, the moon cake has evolved into variations including chilled moon cakes and flavored moon cakes (such as green tea, red bean, etc).  Nonetheless, this mini moon cake was very delish and I'd prefer having this over the original moon cake anytime.