Sonia Rose

Friday night dinner with Robyn, Greg, and Kåre at the recently opened Sonia Rose on the LES. We were there for the food, yes, but more importantly, to visit our friend Alice who just started waitressing at the restaurant :) Head to Robyn’s post for a more vivid account…we’re turning out 3rd quarter financials at work this week, so just photos for today. Happy Halloween!

Warm housemade brioche – this was a dummy loaf for the soft opening, less buttery and eggy than a standard brioche, leaning on the sweet end.

Trio of butters. Clockwise from top left: jalepeno, sweet, and cherry butter.

Amuse. Spinach and cheese tucked into puff pastry rounds.

For appetizers, Greg and I went for the fresh fettuccine with peppers and shitake mushrooms, balsamic reduction…

…while Robyn and Kåre did the seafood corn bisque.

Entree. Free range hen with portobello truffle sauce. Roasted brussel sprouts and tomatoes.

Entree. Grilled hanger steak. Swiss chard, port wine reduction, and mashed potatoes.

The dessert sampler. Clockwise from top: apple pie, vanilla ice cream, chocolate opera cake, and a key lime bar.

Blood orange and chocolate sorbet.

Along with the check came a plate of dark chocolate dipped strawberries…

…and a butter rich pecan sandies dusted in sugar.

I’m not sure how long the soft opening prix fixe lasts, but priced at $20.08 for three courses, it’s a bargain worth taking advantage of.

Will be back with a post later this weekend…hope you eat lots of chocolate candy, pudding, custards, meat, fats and other delicious stuff tonight!

Sonia Rose
74 Orchard St
New York, NY 10002
(212) 260-5317

Dim Sum

Sunday morning dim sum with the Serious Eats crew…there are few better ways to start your day than by clogging your with arteries with fried crullers wrapped in cheung funn, and doused in sweet shoyu. Make sure to check Robyn’s write up on our morning in this 88 Palace post on Serious Eats…from spare ribs to boiled chicken feet, I think we covered fair ground :)

I’ve only had dim sum at three or four restaurants in this city, but can definitely concluded that dim sum in New York City may as well be another cuisine when compared to dim sum in Hawai’i. Back home, the same dishes, be wu gok or loh mai gai (pictured above), always taste significantly lighter. I could eat a hundred million dan tats and feel just dandy. Less fatty, less rich. Why? I do not know…must be something in the island water.

My grandparents drive from Sandy Beach all the way to Chinatown to start off each morning with dim sum, most often at Tai Pan, but they switch it up with Legends. They have dim sum every single morning. Now I don’t know how often you dim sum, but my stomach would be quite furious with me if I were to stuff it with mochi rice, fried chestnut cakes, and custard baos seven days a week. Granted my grandparents favour steamed dishes – dumplings and vegetables. An impressive feat nonetheless.

Dim sum in LA in a completely separate matter. No small places a la Tai Pan in Honolulu or Dim Sum GoGo here in NYC. Instead, big bustling restaurants…I always feel like I’m on the verge of a heart attack. So much food! The carts most so fast! Aggressive Asian people! A heart attack of the good sort, of course. I always dim sum-ed with relatives living in San Gabriel, relatives fluent in Cantonese, Mandarin and everything in between. In LA, we power through these morning meals quicker than you’d imagine, amidst heavy chatter of the big dining halls. The item selection is significantly bigger than NYC or Hawai’i. But in exchange, the food quality is noticeably lower when compared to Hawai’i.

Honolulu is doubtlessly my favourite city to dim sum, I cannot help from comparing every other city to my hometown. Our family visits Shanghai and Hong Kong from time to time, and it is interesting to see the leisurely approach to dim sum in these big cities. My uncle who resides in Hong Kong there, will sit at the table for a solid three to four hours, poring over the day paper and eating each morsel one…by…one…ever…so…sloooowly. Apparently this is how it’s supposed to be done! Shanghai was where I first learned of the gum sah bao, quite literally, The Golden Sand Bao. How glorious is that? I won’t say too much about it because I already have in the past here. If you haven’t tried this before you must spend the rest of your life hunting it down. It’ll change your perception of dim sum foooorever. o_O

Dim sum odd and end post – come to think of it, I didn’t even say anything about 88 Palace. That’s what Robyn’s post is for right? ;) Oh! Here’s a little bit: if you eat at 88 Palace do not leave without a plate or two of the fried mantou shown above. I’ve only seen this dish while dim sum-ing in Asia. So simple, more places ought to serve it. Six plain mantou buns, deep fried to a crisp and served with (what else) a pool of condensed milk! Ahhh, plain goodness ^_^

88 Palace
88 East Broadway, 2nd Floor
New York, NY 10002
(the East Broadway Mall under the Manhattan Bridge)
(212) 941-8886

Week in Review. I. Package from Kat! II. City Harvest: Bid Against Hunger III. Kambi, Chickalicious, and Sundaes & Cones

First off, many thanks to Kat in Osaka for sending a very awesome package full of Japanese snacks – sweet and savoury!

From Colo Galita to Mini Thank You Tirol Choco and Mini Kit Kat bites, you bet I’ll be occupied with these for the next few days ^_^

The real highlight though were these darling phone charms that, as part of a promotion, came with certain Lipton Tea purchases in Japan…why don’t they do these sort of giveaways in the U.S.? Front and center is a pink (strawberry, I’d like to say) macaron, and in the back is a bitty cream puff. You can read more about them on Kat’s post here.


Tuesday night I was at City Harvest’s Bid Against Hunger event, fawning over Eric Kleinman’s (Bar Milano) housemade rabbit terrine and the…

…foie torchon with duck prosciutto from Hudson Valley Foie Gras. A good majority of the desserts at the events were repeats from the SWEET festival a few weeks ago. Much to my delight, Francois Payard brought back his hot and cold pina colada (which I covered in more detail for Serious Eats’ SWEET festival write up). Ron Ben-Israel was present with the same two cakes from SWEET, the chocolate stout cake with malt buttercream and a lemon cake with Grand Marnier, cranberry buttercream, and lime zest.

Following suit, The Modern did a repeat with the Coconut Chocolate Demeux. Il Laboratorio del Gelato had little gelato bites…flavours of dark chocolate and peanut butter flicker in my memory. Billy’s Bakery arrived with plenty of cupcakes on hand, and so was Roni-Sue with truffles, honey-tea lollipops, and that crazy, crazy delicious buttercrunch of hers. Surprisingly enough, my favourite station of the night turned out to be not any of the sweet ones, but rather Tony Abou-Ganim’s (The Modern Mixologist) hands on demo station where I learned how to craft my very own mojito.


I think there’s a virus going around or something. Justin visited last weekend and (along with many delicious snacks), gave me the cold/cough. When I went into work on Monday, Debbie had stomach issues and Andrew had a fever. The lady who does our lunch orders was sneezing all day and the fund accountants were doing no better. Oh well. You know what they say right?

Ice cream heals all!

Banana & Pumpkin

Or…at least, that’s how it seems to work for me, hehehehhh ;) I met Lauren for a “little” snack at Sundaes & Cones the other night after hearing that they just brought out PUMPKIN ice cream. o_O There are many reasons to love Sundaes & Cones, but a major flaw in operaton is the fact that you’re only allowed one flavour for a single serving. All other ice cream shops in the city allow two flavours in a single serving. A single serving is very generous (I’ve seen plenty of people only finish half and then chunk out the rest because there’s simply too much), so you end up with a massive scoop of one flavour. Which is nice. But it gets boring.

Chocolate-Peanut Butter & Pumpkin

And we wanted two flavours. Which meant getting two scoops. So there you have it, two scoops for Lauren: chocolate-peanut butter and pumpkin, and two scoops for myself: banana and pumpkin. We’re lucky our frozen treat tolerance knows no boundaries.

The night before, chilly fall weather demanded that Jessica and I head straight for the newly opened Kambi Ramen House on 14th and 1st Avenue. Kambi is opened by the same owners of Minca on 5th Street. How it compares to the original, I don’t know because I have yet to visit Minca.

Unlike the many nights I’ve frequented Ippudo, there was nary a wait around 7:30pm at Kambi. The restaurant was constantly busy but never full during the meal. Service? Efficient, friendly, and to the point. There ramen here is cheaper than Ippudo by a good four or five dollars, but in the end, I’d rather pay extra for ramen that’s more than twice as good.

And because we were warmed to the bones after the hearty broth, soft-serve from Chickalicious was in sure order. I had my heart set on the espresso ice shot, composed from a swirl of vanilla bean soft-serve, topped with crunchy chocolate pearls, and a shot of espresso. Pretty luscious, eh?

For Jessica – the brownie soft-serve sundae with toasted pistachios, chopped bananas, and a pour of silky warm fudge. Living less than a five-minute walk from both Sundaes & Cones and Chickalicious is turning out to be awfully satisfying for my sweet hankerings.

Sundaes & Cones
95 E 10th Street
New York, NY 10003
(212) 979-9398

Kambi Ramen House
351 E 14th St
New York, NY 10079
(212) 228-1366

Chickalicious Dessert Club
204 E. 10th Street
New York, NY 10003
(212) 475-0929

Doughnut Diet

A few weeks ago, Robyn and I took down the city’s doughnuts on a weekend excursion. Starting in the wee hours of Saturday morning at Trois Pommes in Park Slope, we were greeted with ploofs of warm sugar dusted jelly doughnuts before trekking our way through Brooklyn…7th Ave Donut Shop, Mike’s Donuts…all the way to Bay Ridge, back into Manhattan and then, with the sun going down, we ended at Peter Pan Bakery in Greenpoint.

Of course, we made sure to rest our okoles for a midday break from intense doughnut consumption with a hefty lunch at Shopsin’s before moving up to Union Square and then the Upper West Side. Earlier that same week I did a mini bomboloni tour, coupled with a few odds and ends in the East Village and Upper East Side.

The results?

Find our guide to the Best Doughnuts in New York right here on Serious Eats. I’m happy to discover that while I may have suffered from slight doughnut fatigue the few days following our adventures, I am in fact, not the least bit tired of these fried wonders. In fact, I’m having one for breakfast right now! My favourite in the end is Doughnut Plant (the cake, not yeast doughnuts), though Trois Pommes comes awfully close and I do love bombolonis from both Sullivan Street Bakery and Caffe Falai. Oh! And not to forget – the weekend creations at Bouchon Bakery are surely worth a detour.

That’s it for now…hope you’re having a delicious week! :)

Just Wanted To Say…

…Happy Friday! More to come later, but for now…

…a little peek at the most delightful French macarons I’ve tasted in the city, baked by Mitzy.

Left to Right: Pistachio Ganache, Rose Buttercream and Lemon Curd Macarons.

Almost too cute for words, hehehee

Check Robyn’s Flickr and Tina’s post for more eye candy.

These little delights aren’t on the market quite yet, but will hopefully make way to this macaron starved city soon enough.