Monday, July 13, 2009

Opera in the park

*The sun setting in Central Park*

The only thing that is better than going to the Opera is going with friends

Every year the Metropolitan Opera of New York puts on a Opera performance for free in Central Park. I love the opera soI got the girls organized and we got tickets. This is one of my favorite events of the year, what can better to lay out on the lawn, have a picnic, drink some one while listening to the Opera with friends? Oh, having all of that, for free.

*Toast with cheese ... it was yummy!*

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Goodbye lunch at Sushi Yasuda

*The master, Chef Yasuda, hard at work at the end of the sushi bar*

A very memorable goodbye!

My last day at the company is next Wednesday, so my people manager Tatjana took me out to goodbye lunch. Since I was allowed to choose I had not doubt in my mind that I wanted to eat at Sushi Yasuda. I was so happy to go to Yasuda with Tatjana, she is the best manager anyone could ever ask for, I wouldn't have been able to do half of the things I have done at Towers without her advice and support (and since I am leaving the company I do not have to kiss anyone's @$$, so I am being completely truthful when I say she is the best).

Sushi Yasuda is one of the best sushi restaurants here in NY. Its one of those places where the fish is so fresh and cut so masterfully that, as it melts in your mouth, you have a life-changing experience and your soul feels uplifted from its mundane existence for a little while.

Another amazing fact is that at lunch time they have a great prix fixe for around $25!!!! Of course, I needed to order some additional things here and there, since it was my goodbye lunch after all. The menu changes every day, and Chef Yasuda's recommendation for the day are circled in red. It took me a good, intense 15 minutes to make my selections.

*Sake from Hokkaido, it was very sooth and now to sweet (I don't like sweet sake)*
As part of my pre-fix menu, I ordered the sushi and sashimi special. The sashimi was picked by the chef, I got makarel, tuna and yellowtail. All three were incredibly fresh and melted in my mouth.

*Assorted sashimi*

*Starting from the bottom right: mackerel, orato, sea trout, scallop and uni (uni not pictured)*

For the sushi, I could acually pick my selections, so I did a mix of some favorites and some new fish. For some tried and true selections, I picked mackerel, uni and scallop. The uni was unreal, it had that fantastic, briny taste that develops in your mouth, and it melted like butter. I also tried some fish that that I had never eaten raw before. I picked orato and sea trout, the sea trout was a great new discovery for me.

And for dessert, I had some red bean mochi ice cream. It was a perfect way to say goodbye to Towers Perrin and to Midtown.

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

A nice sunday

Good food, good Sunday

The vintage shoes I bough from Etsy finally arrived and I got to wear them for the first time this Sunday. I am absolutely in love with them, they are as cute and comfortable as I was hoping they would be!

I did not have a lot of food left in the fridge at lunchtime, so I ate soba noodles (I didn't even have scallions for the sauce!), avocado with soy sauce and rice wine vinegar, and kiwi and apricots with honey. It was very simple and very refreshing.

After my long run around lower Manhattan, I stopped by Pinkberry and rewarded myself with a fozen yogurt (not pictured, I don't run with my camera). Then made a stop at the supermarket and bought somefood items for dinner, I ate sauteed shrimp with an avocado, orange and radish salad and dates for dessert. Then curled up with The Economist and read until I fell asleep. Overall, it was a really nice Sunday.

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Dinner at Momofuku Ssam Bar

* Watching the rain from the window of Momofuku Ssam Bar*

Rainy day, delicious food

One of my really good friends from Georgetown is in town, and since he loves food as much as I do I suggested dinner at Momofuku Ssam Bar. Ssam Bar is one of David Chang's three restaurants in the East Village , he is only 30 years old and he is getting nominated for his third James Beard award! I am a big fan of his cooking and I have been wanting to go eat at Ssam bar for a while. I am so glad we went, his food is terrific!

I forgot my camera (grrrrrrrrrrrrrrr) so I used my iPod to take pictures of our great dinner. The pictures do not make justice to the delicious flavors of the dinner. Here are some pictures of the things we ate:

* Cured hamachi with horseradish sauce, edamame and wakame*

* Steam buns with pork belly, hoisin, cucumbers and scallions (these are seriously delicious)*

* Pork shoulder steak*

* Beet and lime ganache with goat's milk frozen yogurt in a pistachio/granita bed*

Dinner was absolutely delicious, but the most wonderful part of the meal was the dessert. I typically do not like sweets and seldomly order dessert, but this dessert was phenomenal. It was the perfect combination of sweet from the ganache, cream from the frozen yogurt and savory crunch from the pistachios. My mouth starts watering again now that I am writing about it!

After dinner I decided to walk home and stopped by St. Mark's bookshop on the way. I have a summer reading list and decided to buy the first book on that list.

Hope you are having a great weekend!

Sunday, June 21, 2009

An afternoon in Georgetown

Spending some time in the old neighborhood

This weekend was my turn travel, so I came to see Brendan in Washington D.C., . Today we decided to go to Georgetown to see a movie, eat at Booeymongers and walk around our old neighboorhood.

Booeymongers is a small sandwich shop in Georgetown that all Georgetown students hold dear. Many times when I come to see Brendan we go to Booeys and relive a small but good part of our student life (both Brendan and I went to Georgetown for undergrad).

* Booeymongers in Georgetown, Washington D.C.*
Brendan and I still order the same sandwiches we did when in college. I got the "pita pan", I just love that sanwich!

* The "pita pan": whole wheat pita filled with muesnter cheese, avocado, alfalfa sprouts, tomatoes, broccoli, spinach and mushrooms*

After eating at Booeys we went to see the movie "Up", which was really fun and cute, and then we went for a walk around Georgetown before heading back to the apartment.
* The C&O Canal*

* Georgetown houses that Brenan and I dream about*

Right before reaching the apartment we made a detour to get some frozen yogurt from Tangy Sweet! I picked raspberries, blueberries and captain crunch for my toppings. It was so refreshing and absolutely perfect for a warm summer night like this one.

Hope you are having a good weekend!

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Dinner: Lazy, lazy, super lazy dinner

Because I should also post the food I cook that does not look pretty

I came back from a killer cardio-kickboxing class and I was too hungry and too tired to put effort into my meal. But I knew that I needed to eat some sort of protein after my workout, so here is dinner: leftover quinoa with "tortilla de huevo" (the Latin version of the omelette) and a salad of whatever veggies I had in the fridge (tomatoes, lettuce and cucumber). I was so tired and hungry I didn't even try to set it up in a pleasing way.

Was it any good? I don't really know, I inhaled the whole thing in 10 minutes

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Dinner: Roasted mahi mahi and quinoa salad

* Should have paired it with white wine, but I have to finish an open bottle of malbec*

Very yummy quinoa

I was watching the food network (as I religiously do), and one of the cooking shows had this great quinoa salad recipe that I paired with grilled mahi mahi.
The salad was absolutely delicious! It contains quinoa, cucumbers, scallions, raisings and orange zest in an orange-based dressing. The orange zest is what made this recipe really special.

Quinoa is a grain that was domesticated by the ancient communities of the Andes and was considered a sacred grain by the Incan empire. Its still part of the basic diet of the people in the Andes, especially in the regions that used to be part of the Incan empire (Bolivia, Peru and Ecuador). I grew up eating Quinoa and I love it, although I do remember they used to make the worst quinoa soup at my house.

Quinoa is nowadays considered a "super food". It has a very high protein content and contains all essential aminoacids, making it a complete protein. While I appreciate all the amazing qualities of quinoa, in reality I eat it just because its yummy.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Dinner: Arroz con Pollo

Craving some home cooking

I have been craving Latin food lately, so today I made arroz con pollo. Although its not exactly the same as the one I used to eat in my house in Ecuador, its close enough to do the trick!

*I sort of overdid it with the green peas. But I love them so it is ok*

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Dinner at Takesushi

This place is a keeper

I am a grateful subscriber to the newsletter and credit them for helping me find new great food spots. A couple of weeks ago the newsletter included great reviews about Takesushi, located in Murray Hill. This weekend Brendan and I decided to go check it out.

Takesushi is definitely a hidden gem. From the outside, I would have never thought that the restaurant could have such good food. They have a very simple green awning that reminds me more of cheap chinese takeout than of great sushi. I thinks this is a good lesson for me, I must not forget to never judge a book by its cover

Once we entered, we were happy to see that the majority of the patrons where Japanese, which is always a good sign here in Manhattan. And soon we understood why, the food was delicate and authentic, the sushi was of very high quality and dinner was affordable. We are definitely going back to Takesushi.

*Yasai nimono (simmered vegetables). We were so hungry that I only remembered to take the picture AFTER we ate the pumpkin ... oopsie*

*Simmered eggplant*

* Fried soft shell crab. This crab was delicious, light and crisp and not oily*

* The "Omakase Deluxe": Ten sushi pieces and one roll picked by the chef. The uni and chu-toro were my favorites! Brendan loved the eel*

* Last, and one the house: Castella cake (thanks to Ai for making me realize this is not pound cake!)*

Friday, June 12, 2009

Things that made me happy this week

A good week just came to and end

1. Finding the blog MY MILK TOOF. Its one of the sweetest, unbearably cutest ideas I have seen. I really hope that Inhae publishes these in print one day. I would buy them for myself and for evey little kid I know!

2. Having fresh berries in my cereal every day this week.

3. Running the Corporate Challenge. I go to the gym pretty regularly but only started running longer distances about three months ago. I think I am addicted to cardio!!!

4. My latest purchase on Etsy. I can't wait for it to arrive.

What made you happy this week?

Dinner at Blue Hill

Good food, bad pictures

Last night my foodie coworkers and I went for dinner at Blue Hill. Blue Hill is on of the main restaurants credited for driving the whole "local, seasonal food" approach to cooking that has become a trend in NY. Ingredients come from nearby farms, including Blue Hill Farm and Stone Barns. The commitment of this restaurant to support local produce and artisanal techniques is really amazing. Click on this
link to see their website, learn about their food philosophy and see some gorgeous pictures of their restaurants, dishes and produce.

We tried to make a reservation to go eat at the Blue Hill in Stone Barns (45 minutes outside of NY), but it was impossible. We called more than a month ago and all they could give us was a table on July 5 at some very odd hour, so we decided to go to their restaurant here in the city.

I regret to say that I have no good pictures of dinner because the lighting was so low! The atmosphere was very serious, so I decided not subject the other guests to annoying flashes from my camera. The only decent one I took was that of my wine glass, pictured above. However, I thought that I could at least share the menu items I ordered:

Appetizer - "This Morning's Farm Egg": a slow-poached, beautiful and perfectly runny egg with morels, peas and pine nuts

Entree - Berkshire Pig: Cuts of pork loin and pig belly with sugar snap peas, shiitake mushrooms and pistachios. As part of their philosophy, Blue Hill goes thorugh a whole lamb and a whole pig throug the night, so the cuts you get are dependent on what part of the pig the chef has gotten to. We got lucky and enjoyed the contrast of a lean cut and a fatty cut.

Sides: Creamy parsnips and marinated beets. The creamy parsinps were so light and delicious!

Dessert: Rhubarb with poached meringue, crème fraîche and tapioca. I am not a big fan of dessert but this one was really delicious, light and intricate. I really wish I could have taken a picture of this one.

Overall, dinner was extremely good, but it was not the most amazing food experience I have had in NY. My dinner at Le Bernadin remains as my most sublime food experience in the city.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Fresh Berries

Simply wonderful

So the summer has officially started and one of my favorite things about the summer is that berries are now affordable! During the year I usually make a mix of dried blueberries and cranberries to make sure I get my antioxidants every day (also, because they are delicious), but during the summer I can have fresh berries for breakfast almost every day!

*Today's Breakfast: Cottage cheese drizzled with honey on whole-wheat toast with blueberries and raspberries (~210 calories)*
I usually drink coffee with breakfast, but today I didn't want the taste of coffee overpowering the delicate taste of the berries, so I had some of my favorite Fortnum and Mason tea instead.

Friday, June 5, 2009

Macaroons from Paris

So beautiful and delicious!
Last night I went to dinner to see my good friend Venus who is visiting town. She used to work here in NY in the same company as I do now but realized that she wanted to be a doctor instead. Now she lives in Boston and I was so happy to see her last night.

She is on break from post-bac, so she went on a trip to Paris, Portugal and Ireland. When I saw her last night she gave me this box of macaroons that she fell in love with in Paris.

The box is so beautiful, but the taste of the macaroons was even better!!! The yellow and pink ones are already gone, but I am saving the chocolate one for my fiance, he loves chocolate. Thanks Venus!!!