John & Kira’s

For the packaging obsessed (and I know there are many of you)…

…here’s a peek at the upcoming holiday sweets from John & Kira’s.  I wrote about the Chocolate Ladybugs and Caramel Bees awhile back…their treats get more and more creative each year. 

Meet the holiday ladybugs. The green ones are filled with spiced (nutmeg and cinnamon!) caramel and the red bugs have crunchy almond and hazelnut praline.

They’re also doing Magical Mushrooms with maple caramel. Devour with care, the caramel is dangerously loose, decadent, and easy flowing.

The Enchanted Holiday! These seriously belong in another universe.

Fluttering butterflies with fresh mint ganache, more maple caramel mushrooms, and red wildflowers with vanilla-infused dark chocolate. So imaginative. For more wild ideas, check out the brandy-laced Magic Apples and Chocolate Oranges with Cointreau. I want to live in this world.

P.S. The ginger used in their signature chocolate collection comes from Molokai. Go Hawai’i! 


Asiate Wine Dinners at Mandarin Oriental New York

Ready for dinner? 

The Mandarin Oriental just launched a new wine dinner series at Asiate. And you know how much I love this hotel.

Franck Girard was our host for the Domaine Serene event earlier this week. Four courses, six wines, and dinner with Jessica (so happy to see you :)…I couldn’t have asked for a nicer evening. 

“R” Rosé at the reception, and Evenstad Reserve Chardonnay 2010 at the table.

Chef Angie Berry sent out a number of whimsical bites followed by…

…my favorite dish of the night. Hamachi sashimi with house-cured lardo, preserved cherry blossoms, and white soy ponzu. A perfect summer composition…

…followed by salmon tartar and caviar cream.

12 people at one table, loved the intimate setting. Needless to say, we made a few friends by the end of the night ;) 

The bison was paired with Pinot Noir, the Evenstad Reserve 2008. Lift the dome…

…and ta-dah. Smoked bison with red plums and toasted hazelnuts. 

Annie Turso (previously at Per Se) is the sommelier at Asiate. Wish I had just a small fraction of her wine knowledge. Impressive woman. 

With duck we drank Pinot Noir from two different vintages. The “Jerusalem Hill Vineyard” 2009 and 2004. Such a treat. The duck breast was completed with caramelized pain perdu and sour cherries. 

Time for cheese. Liquid raclette in a warm bread bowl. Housemade “granola” (a nod to the winery’s Oregon location) on the spoon. Paired with Rockblock SoNo Syrah NV.

Can you believe I forgot to snap a photo of dessert? Alas! Two things you must remember: basil macarons and perfect apricot pâte de fruits.

I’ve got my eye on the next two upcoming champagne dinners: Billecart-Salmon and Dom Perignon ohlala ^_^

Recently in NYC | Avocado Toast (and Milkshakes), Banana Pudding, and Soup Dumplings

Keep meaning to do these “Recently In…” posts on a more regular basis. One day I’ll actually get around to that ;)

In the meantime, I’m heading to San Francisco in two weeks, and then Honolulu and the Big Island a few weeks later…been craving malassadas and coco puffs like crazy. Left to right, top to bottom: 

1.  An impromptu lunch with Robyn at 456 Shanghai Cuisine. Soup dumplings, scallion pancakes, and a dish of sautéed tofu ribbons, pickled vegetables, and soy beans. 

2. On the left, ube milkshake! On the right, avocado milkshake! Monday, 6pm with D at Jeepney. Doesn’t comes close to my all-time favorite avocado milkshake, but not bad.

3.  I love everything avocado…including avocado toast! This one from Toby’s Estate in Brooklyn is topped with toasted black sesame seeds and a drizzle of tahini.

4.  Hot lattes for that one cold night we had this week. This is currently my favorite drink (so hard to pick just one) at Press Tea, a warm Caramel-Rooibos Latte.

5.  I did a Murray’s Cheese class with the Vimbly folks the other week. Nothing like starting the morning with prosecco and a refresher on the cheese basics. My favorite from the session? Chiriboga Blue!

6.  Always end up with a cup (or two) of banana pudding whenever I’m near Magnolia Bakery in the West Village…

7.  …and when I’m in the East Village, I get my banana pudding fix from Puddin’ on St. Marks. The mini has layers of graham cracker crumbs, banana cake, banana pudding, and lots of whipped cream. 

8.  More avocado toast? Yes. Cafe Gitane does one with plenty of lemon juice, sea salt, and red pepper flakes. 

9.  Friday afternoon at Corkbuzz with Matt. A blind tasting of whites followed by rosé and riesling…we need to do this more often ^_^

7AM Ride

Here’s the railway I mentioned in my last post. It’s a scenic two-hour trip that runs between Saratoga and North Creek in the Adirondacks. Most trains (especially those in the US) are not worth writing about…but this is another story. 

I mean, how cute is this? White tablecloths, swing music, and those little lamps!

I got on for a 7am morning ride (Ken and Melanie – thanks for driving) in the dome car.

And woke up with a cup of tea. 

Check out these breakfast menus. It was a slow morning so the conductor himself came over to take my order. Wish all trains were this pleasant to ride.

One giant omelette with everything (seriously), peppery home fries, and buttered toast. 

Caught this view halfway through the trip. Serene. Had to stand between cars for the shot…nearly fell off the train.

Best conductor ever. Hope we meet again ^_^

Weekend in the Adirondacks

Have you gone whitewater rafting before? I went for the first time last weekend! I’m not usually an outdoors person but this was so much fun. Even with a sunburn and million mosquito bites, I am already plotting a return trip.

The drive from NYC to the Adirondacks is 5-hours. Or you can take the Amtrak and North Creek Railroad (more on that in the next post) for a total 6-hour trip. We drove up and took the train down, happy to have experienced both. 

I was up there for work (read about it here) and also squeezed in a few more adventures like campfire s’mores…

…and oodles of whipped cream and s’more pie (so many s’more things!) 

…as well as a gondola ride up Gore Mountain.

There was also breakfast at diner in North Creek. I couldn’t decided between eggs-bacon-homefries-toast or French toast…so had both. With an extra side of local maple syrup ;) All of that was fuel for the rafting competition…

Here’s the team I raced with! We had practice lessons the day before, thank goodness. Sadly we did not win (Governor Cuomo won both days)…but we had more than our share of fun rafting down the Indian River.

All in all, a super weekend ^_^