Archive | November, 2010

Sweet and Spicy Chai Hot Chocolate

21 Nov

Can’t decide between a rich hot chocolate and a comforting chai tea? Try a Chai Hot Chocolate! My Trusty Sidekick came up with the idea inspired by one of my favorite chocolate bars, Dagoba’s Chai Chocolate.  It’s warm and sweet with the slightly spicy kick of ginger–like a mellow version of a Mexican hot chocolate.  This is my new favorite drink for a cold night–hope you enjoy!

Ingredients:

  • 4 cups low-fat (1%) milk (or any milk of your choice)
  • 1 bar of Dagoba Chai Chocolate bar
  • Directions:

    • Coarsely chop up the chocolate bar and add it to the milk. Heat over a low heat and stir until the chocolate melts into the milk.
    Note: If you don’t have access to Dagoba chocolate bars, make your own Chai Chocolate mix. Add 3/4 cup of chocolate chips to 4 cups of milk, and stir on low heat until the chocolate melts. Then, add 2-3 chai tea bags to the hot milk, and allow it to seep for 3-5 minutes. 

    A Feast for the History Books at Quincy Market in Faneuil Hall

    14 Nov

    My lovely family was in Boston this weekend to visit me, so we made all the designated tourist stops, including Quincy Market at Faneuil Hall. Boston’s first public market, Faneuil Hall was built in 1742, and quickly became a gathering place for America’s patriots, like Sam Adams.

    The second floor, inside Quincy Market.

    By 1822 the downtown commercial demand grew beyond the capacity Faneuil Hall, so Quincy Market was built in order to exand shop space. Today, it still functions as an indoor pavilion of vendor stalls, where over 19 restaurants–plenty of fast food and some upscale spots–are represented. We found some great nibbles (many at Boston Chowda Co.–check them out) to sustain us before we embarked out on the Freedom Trail. If you’re visiting Boston, it’s definitely a must-do.

     

    A Heaping Lobster Roll from Boston Chowda Co.

    Creamy Clam Chowder in a bread bowl from Boston Chowda Co.

    Rich Lobster Bisque from Boston Chowda Co. Perfect for a crisp fall day.

    Surprisingly Delicious, with a really tangy, briney home-made tartar sauce. You've got to try these Fried Oysters from the Fisherman's Net Stall.

    Tender, Sweet Diver Scallops wrapped in Smokey Bacon with Roasted Cherry Tomato, and Fries--YUM!

    Good Deal, Great Deal: Dramatic Blue Party Dresses from Phillip Lim and Poleci

    8 Nov

    Put either of these two dramatic blue dresses to work during the upcoming holiday season this winter, then pull it out again next summer for weddings or parties. Flattering draping, a classic silhouette and vivid blue hue make both very versatile and perfect for special occasions. Best of all, they’re both on sale–one for $272 and one for $149. Enjoy!

    Good Deal: This Phillip Lim dress, originally $680, is now on sale for $272 on Outnet.com. The balance of the intense turquoise silk-satin dress  with the delicate, sheer silk-chiffon panel at top gives this dress a lot of allure.  The ruffled bodice and draping through the skirt ensures a flattering fit. Best of all, there are slit pockets hidden at the side of the skirt.

    Here's the front...

    ...and the back.

    Great Deal: Poleci offers a more economical version that’s just as glamorous. Right now it’s on sale for $149 (originally $162) on Ruelala.com (Join Ruelala for free by clicking here). The draped, pleated skirt and sweetheart neckline gives the dress a real sense of romance, while the semi-sheer mesh neckline adds some edge. We love the deep sapphire color–and the way they’ve styled the model with black tights–together it’s a great look for winter holiday party.

    Local, Sustainable New American Comfort Food at Recipe

    7 Nov

    My Trusty Sidekick and I have been trying to watch the budget lately–something that’s not always easy to do in New York.  It’s been about five weeks since we’ve gone out to dinner, so, we decided to splurge a little in the name of Date Night (some of the best words in the English language) and try Recipe, a “recently opened” restaurant (as of May ’09) on the Upper West Side that we had heard great things about.

    Recipe is billed as a New American cuisine, but this isn’t quite right; it’s more like New American prepared by Grandma, if that makes any sense. Recipe’s menu features local, sustainable, and seasonal ingredients in rustic, comfort food interpretations of New American.  The menu features tons of market-fresh vegetable and seafood options, as well as slow-cooked rotisserie fare. Basically, it’s homier and heartier than your typically clean and contemporary New American cuisine. While we were a little disappointed with the pace of our meal (more on that later), it was a delicious dinner. We’ll be back…as soon as we’ve saved up enough money for another night out.

    Location: 452 Amsterdam Ave (between 81st St & 82nd St)

    In one word: Rustic

    Food: Tons of appetizer options caught my eye, but I couldn’t say no to the Soup of the Day, which was a Parsnip and Chestnut puree served with a Spinach and Feta Spanakopita ($7). I wasn’t sold on the combination of the soup and spanakopita, but separately they were each very tasty. The combination of parsnips and chestnuts made for a  creamy soup was full of fresh flavor and had an incredibly satisfying texture that was thick but extremely smooth.

     

    Love the generous portions here.

    Trusty went with the Short Rib Tortellini ($11) and raved about the rich, hearty dish. Basically, it was delicious comfort food.

    For my main course I tried the pan seared sea bass with brussel sprouts, eggplant, zucchini and a sweet and sour apple cider vinegar sauce ($22). The fish was cooked perfectly–it had a great, golden crust on the outside and was tender and flakey inside–and, the light and tangy sauce paired well with the delicate sea bass.  I was disappointed with the veggies. Specifically, the fish was supposed to come with brussel sprouts, but this was a little misleading–there wasn’t a single whole brussel sprout, rather, under the fish were a few brussel sprout leaves.  C’mon Recipe. For $22, you should spring for 4 or 5 whole brussel sprouts per plate.

    I love that Recipe garnished the fish and soup with fresh chives.

    For his main dish Trusty went with the Winter Lasagna, full of seasonal root vegetables including carrots, parsnip and squash, as well as eggplant, all nestled in a rich tomato sauce beneath a bubbling layer of fresh mozzarella cheese  ($18). Yum, yum, yum. I got to try a few bites of this dish and would definitely recommend it.

     

    Yep, that cheese says it all–this is true comfort food.

    As if we didn’t have enough food, we shared a side dish of roasted winter squash and fingerling potatoes ($5). Simple and delicious, these veggies had great carmelized, roasted flavor. This is the best part eating a restaurant that uses local, seasonal ingredients: everything is fresh and flavorful, even when prepared in the simplest way.

    For dessert we split the Chocolate Pignoli Tart ($8) which was divine. Definitely a must-have at Recipe (you’ll thank me later), and more than enough to share between two. The dessert was a great combination of sweet and salty–it had a crunchy chocolate crust, a layer of buttery, sweet and salty caramel followed by a layer of thick, rich chocolate mousse. Sprinkled with roasted pine nuts and a few grains of sea salt and topped with a sweet, creamy, melty marscarpone gelato, this tart was an amazing end to our meal.

    Drink: I had a great glass of Paul de Coste Blanc de Blanc Brut ($10) that was delicious with my fish. Trusty tried the Dixie Blackened Voodoo Lager ($5) which was a light dark beer–not too heavy–and went well with the Short Rib Tortellini and Lasagna. Like their regular menu, Recipe’s drink menu was small, but full of well-selected items. If you’re trying to save money on your drinks tab, try one of their beers–all are $5.

    Service: Our waitress was friendly and the wait staff kept our water glasses full. We had a strange complaint: the service was actually too quick. It wasn’t that we were rushed, it was just that the courses were served at a very brisk pace and when you’re going out for a nice dinner you want to savor the experience, linger a little over the appetizer, then the entree. You also need a few minutes between courses to digest a bit. With each course coming back to back, we felt as though we finished before we had a chance to enjoy the meal.

    The mini clothespin that grasps the menus at Recipe is a great rustic detail.

    Scene: Recipe is a tiny, sliver of a place–basically it’s a long, narrow room with seating for only 20, maybe 25 if you count seats at the bar (be sure to make a reservation before you go). As a result, it’s an intimate, cozy space that lends itself well to dates or dinner with a close friend. This isn’t a great place for groups. The wood block tables and chairs, with simple white tile backsplash, gives Recipe a rustic, homey feel that works with the restaurant’s menu of local, sustainable “New American” comfort food.

    Dress: Casual chic is very safe here.

    Delivery: YES! Download their delivery menu from their site.

    Cost: With tax and tip our bill came to just over $100. Not bad for a nice night out in New York. And with the generous portions, we felt like Recipe offered good value.

    If you like, try: The Girl and the Goat in Chicago, Freemans, Cookshop, or Savoy in New York