Monday, March 28, 2011

World's Largest Bake Sale For Food Bank at Grand Central Terminal

Where and how can you get Sandra Lee, Lidia Bastianich, Mario Batali, Duff Goldman, Emeril Lagasse, and Rosanna Scotto all under one roof?

Tomorrow, March 29, 2011, from 11:30am to 7pm at Grand Central’s Vanderbilt Hall!

The Bake Sale, hosted by Sandra Lee, will offer goodies from 30 well-known New York City restaurants and chefs. According to Grand Central’s website, it will include Ciao Bella Gelato, Junior's Restaurant, Magnolia, Manhattan Chili Company, Murray's, Zaro's, Del Posto, and Fresco by Scotto.

More importantly, it’s all for a good cause – the Food Bank.

Friday, March 25, 2011

Fuji Bakery: Best Chinese Pineapple Custard Buns

Ever since my parents brought home Chinese pineapple buns when I was little, or “bolo bao", I’ve been hooked.  Years later, I discovered the pineapple buns filled with custard filling – those have become my absolute favorite.  I tried to make them a few weeks ago (check out my version here), but from now on, I’m going straight to the professionals.
And by professionals, I mean Fuji Bakery.  Before, I used to go to one of my favorite Chinatown bakeries to get my pineapple custard bun fix, but then one day, my husband came home with this large, football shaped pineapple bun abundant with custard filling – see for yourself:

 I want one.  Now.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Air France Gourmet Food & Joel Robuchon for all?

Courtesy of Conde Nast, I just learned that an Air France Gourmet Food Truck will hit the streets of NYC from this Thursday, March 24, 2011 to next Monday, March 28, 2011. Have breakfast, lunch, and dinner compliments of Air France and Joel Robuchon.

Joel Robuchon is a culinary legend that holds the title of "Chef of the Century" with a dozen restaurants that have a combined 26 Michelin stars.  I am definitely not going to miss this!

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Lentil-Barley Burgers

I’m a big fan of veggie burgers.  They make me feel like I’m eating healthy (or at least cancelling out my unhealthiness).   I went on this crazy health kick last year in which I went on a bit of a healthy food shopping spree and stocked up on bags of barley, lentils, bulgur wheat and the like.  The health kick didn’t last long.  After I purchased these items, they got tucked away in a cabinet never again to be seen until today. 

At last, almost a year later, I broke out the lentils and barley for some Lentil-Barley Burgers.   Instead of the fruit salsa in the recipe, I made a black bean mango salsa that went along well with the burgers.   One thing I failed to do before making these was to read the directions prior to cooking. 

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Francois Payard & Macaron Day 2011

I just can’t get enough macarons.  My husband and I are slowly eating our way around Manhattan’s best macaron shops.  One bakery we’ve been wanting to try for a long time is Francois Chocolate Bar, named after the chef / owner, Francois Payard.  Payard is the real deal, a French pastry chef from Nice who sharpened his skills in Paris.  Well lucky me, it just so happens that my husband came home and surprised me with a whole box!  

 Pretty packaging

Monday, March 14, 2011

Co Ba: Mediocre Banh Mi

Serious Eats, you have failed me.  Serious Eats NY recently had a post titled “The Best Banh Mi in Manhattan, NYC” that listed the top ten banh mi establishments in the city.  I foolishly believed them.  I feel swindled.  Number one on their list, Banh Mi Zon, I immediately crossed out because the photo of the classic sandwich didn’t look particularly appetizing – where was the delicious roast pork?

I decided I wanted to give number two a try, Co Ba.  My go-to banh mi place, Banh Mi Saigon, was number four on the list.  I absolutely LOVE their banh mi, so based on Serious Eats’ recommendation, I figured Co Ba had to be nothing short of amazing.

Wah.  Where to begin?  I ordered two different banh mi to go:

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Ode to Peanut Butter: The Nutropolitan Museum of Art

Oh yes - I did indeed go to a Peanut Butter Museum last week.

The creamy, crunchy goodness is so close to my heart that I actually bothered to venture downtown to check out “The Nutropolitan Museum of Art” (I haven’t even been to the Met yet),  a PB&J art exhibit presented by Peanut Butter & Co. and the National Peanut Board (did anyone know it was National Peanut Month?). 

I wasn’t really sure what to expect from this excursion.  I think I went in with expectations that were a bit too high.  I was hoping for some 3D edible art creations (maybe I was just hungry), but the gallery consisted of a small white room with various peanut butter photos hung on the walls – a peanut butter sandwich “fashion show” if you will.  The photos were cool, quirky, and some of them looked quite tasty.  Here are a few of my favorites below: 

PB & Banana "hotdog"? Count me in.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Polenta Squares with Mushroom Ragu

A few months ago I saw a recipe for polenta squares in a magazine.  Ever since then, I've been itching to make them (and eat them).  I was craving pasta for dinner the other day, so I decided I’d also make polenta squares to round out the meal.  I found a recipe from Giada with a mushroom sauce that looked delicious, so I gave it a shot.  

This was so easy to make, and the polenta squares were done in no time.  They tasted pretty good; but to be honest, I much prefer the creamy style polenta (aka lots of heavy cream and why not throw in some cheese for good measure).  Next time, I’ll be making creamy polenta!

 Chopped cremini mushrooms

Monday, March 7, 2011

Lotus of Siam: Best Thai Food?

I have a deep rooted love for Thai food.  I’m surrounded by it in my neighborhood and find myself eating it at least 3-4 times a month.  I had heard Lotus of Siam, an apparently legendary Thai restaurant in Las Vegas (some have praised it as being the best Thai restaurant in the nation), was opening up a location in New York City.  An authentic Thai restaurant over 150 dishes deep in Vegas, the newly opened NYC location had an abridged menu and higher prices.   In my honest opinion, extravagant Asian food doesn’t make sense.  It’s an oxymoron.  Traditional Thai food isn’t meant to have all these extra bells and whistles.   This is my long-winded way of saying I was initially a bit hesitant at trying this restaurant.

I don’t regret a single bite.  My friend and I shared two dishes and both were absolutely delicious.  I still think it’s overpriced for what it is, and I get that rent is high on 5th Avenue, and anywhere else in Manhattan for that matter; but in any event, I probably won’t be a repeat customer.  And it looks like the creators agree – Bill and Saipin Chutima abandoned this venture back in January according to Diner’s Journal stating it’s against their original vision: “homey and affordable.”  I wish owner Roy Welland listened. Anyways, back to the most important part, the food!


Thursday, March 3, 2011

Pozole: Mexican Chicken-Hominy Soup

At this time of year (although now it's March and shouldn't be this cold), it’s so chilly outside that all I want to eat is a good bowl of soup.  I saw this recipe for Mexican Chicken-Hominy Soup in Cooking Light Magazine, their version of pozole – it looked delicious and super easy to make (and is healthy!), so I thought I’d try it out. 

I went to the grocery store and picked up an already cooked rotisserie chicken and then walked around the store looking for hominy.  Argh.  They didn’t have hominy, one of the main ingredients!  I settled for sweet corn as a substitute and went back home, feeling a bit defeated.