I interrupt my Hawaiian adventures with a brief commercial break. My favorite holiday, Lunar New Year, is coming up in just two weeks and Godiva was gracious enough to send me their Lunar New Year Collection again this year. I’ve been lucky enough to have sampled their last two LNY Collections as well as one of their Mid-Autumn Festival ones (see my posts on Year of the Goat and Horse aaaand Mid-Autumn Festival).
I must say, this year’s collection just might be the best one yet.
First, a little bit about why I love LNY. LNY is basically Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Years combined into one glorious holiday. Families fly, train, bus all across the country to be with each other and, like Thanksgiving, eat. A LOT. My family typically does a huge meal for dinner and then ANOTHER entire new meal (no repeated dishes allowed) after midnight as the first meal of the New Year. Like Christmas, the older generation gives the younger generation red envelopes filled with $$$$$$$. Chinese people are very practical. You can then use that money to buy whatever you want. No fears of getting that sweater from mom you’ll never wear. (Okay but truthfully I do love a thoughtful gift >>>> $$). Like New Years, fireworks and firecrackers go off all across the country to “scare away” any bad luck. It’s the best of all three holidays combined. OH and I forgot – in China, everyone gets an ENTIRE WEEK OFF. That’s right, even the stock markets shut down for a few days. It’s beautiful.
Okay, back to chocolate. Every year, Godiva’s chocolate masters create three (dark, milk, and white) limited edition “ganache pieces” filled with Asian inspired flavors. This year, the flavors are:
- Dark Chocolate Green Tea: “Luscious hazelnut praline coated in white chocolate ganache infused with green tea, covered in alluring 50% dark chocolate”
- Milk Chocolate Pu-erh Tea: “Delectable macadamia praline with cocoa nibs surrounded by mellow, 64% Peruvian dark chocolate infused with aged pu-erh tea, coated in smooth milk chocolate”
- White Chocolate Oolong Tea: “A center of sumptuous pecan and hazelnut praline with crunch soy nuts enveloped by 71% Ecuadorian dark chocolate infused with aromatic Oolong tea, covered in silky white chocolate”
I’m the luckiest girl alive. Lunar New Year is possibly my favorite holiday of the year and GODIVA SENT ME CHOCOLATES!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Godiva has honored my favorite holiday with a limited edition Year of the Goat gift box. I was lucky enough to receive the Mid-Autumn Festival “mooncakes” from Godiva last year, which were deeeelicious. I was very much looking forward to another collection of Belgian chocolates with Asian flavors. This is one type of fusion I can stand by.
Similar to the Mid-Autumn Festival box, this box showcased three special chocolates: one dark, one milk, and one white.
There were also some other classic Godiva chocolates along with the mix. Only six lucky goats (choose who’d you like to share with wisely).
For this blog post, I’m featuring the lucky goats. Continue reading
41 West 57th Street
New York, NY 10019
I’m going to take you through my meal at Betony the way I wish I experienced it: aka. without the pretentious crowd and stuffy furnishing. More on this later. If you follow my blog, you’ll know that I’m not typically one to chase Michelin stars. Food that excites me is food that is undiscovered like Lan Larb or The Bao (though both have gotten pretty damn popular as of late). That’s not to say that I don’t enjoy fancy food. I like fancy pants food the same way I like going to art museums. I have a deep appreciation for passion involved in cooking and the creative work chefs do. I also like to paint though, and that kind of enjoyment is totally different. ANYWAY. LAW and I went to Betony recently and I was pumped because I had only heard good things. Started by two ex-Eleven-Madison-Park chefs, Betony has been raved about on the interwebs as a creatively delicious restaurant. Oh, it also has a Michelin star.
I started with the Beach Tea (Rhum Blanc, Cranberry Kombucha, and Absinthe Verte – $15). Oh. Hot. Damn. This is my jam. It looks pretty elementary but the mixologist performed some serious alchemy with this one. It tasted deliciously fruity and was REALLY strong in the best way possible: I felt a warmness creep into my body throughout the beverage without ever feeling like I was tasting alcohol. Alchemy.
Per my friend R.P.’s recommendation, we shared the Betony take on the lobster roll ($18). I was disappointed when I saw the dish because it’s nearly 20 bucks (enough for like 7 “burgers” at Xi’an Famous Foods) yet looks like a few sticks of Chinese egg rolls. Lesson learned to never judge a book by its cover because these little rolls were bursting (BURSTING, I tell you) with essence of lobster roll. I don’t understand how so much lobster flavor was jammed into these tiny cylinders but man were they tasty. The shell of the roll was a crispy, slightly flakey pastry. The filling was magic. Continue reading
Out of every 10 people I know, maybe half a person actually likes mooncakes. It’s a rare occasion these days where people actually eat mooncakes because they like them, and not just for the holiday. Today is Mid-Autumn festival. Feel free to read the wiki on what the holiday actually is, but for me, it has always been the day I had to eat dense, incredibly sweet mooncakes.
Godiva has come up with a limited edition of mooncakes for this holiday and very graciously sent a box over for me to sample!
The “mooncakes” aren’t actually mooncakes at all. They are actually just chocolates that are cleverly labeled as “small mooncakes.” I’m saving the big one in the center (Grapefruit and Black Tea) for later, but sampled the other three types. All of them are filled with some kind of tea-infused chocolate ganache. Continue reading
One slow Saturday morning, I decided I wanted to make a citrus chocolate something. Orange and chocolate has always been one of my favorite chocolate combinations. Something about the combination of the citrusy acidity and the creamy cocoa tastes so complex and rich. I googled a bunch of recipes and this simple one from My Baking Addiction caught my eye.
The ingredients are basic, which is always the first thing about a recipe that attracts me. I don’t bake nearly enough to own all these weird baking-specific ingredients.
- 1 1/2 cup of all purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon of baking powder
- 1 teaspoon of ground ginger
- 1 cup of granulated sugar
- 2 large eggs (lightly beaten)
- 1/4 cup of vegetable oil
- 1 1/2 teaspoon of vanilla extract (I actually skipped this because, like I said, I don’t own baking things)
- 1 cup of milk
- zest of 1 orange (I would probably do zest of 2 oranges next time)
- 3/4 cup of dark chocolate chunks
My first time zesting an orange! Made the kitchen smell glorious. It was pretty cool to see the citrus oils spray into the air. Continue reading
Happy 3.14159265359.. Day! I’m not normally nerdy enough to celebrate the day (let’s be real now, the true reason I don’t celebrate is because I actually don’t love pie – minus Pearl’s summer blueberry pie… two and a half months away from my tummy). I don’t love desserts and I rarely bake because I don’t like to measure things, which generally causes a disaster in baking. But my team at work celebrates the day so I felt obliged to participate. I decided to make a no-bake pie to minimize failure.
This recipe is super duper easy. All you need is:
- 32 oreos ish (if someone steals one or two while you’re cooking, you’ll live)
- two packs of JELL-O Chocolate Flavor Instant Pudding & Pie Filling
- half a stick of butter (melted)
- 2 cups of milk
- 1 8 oz. tub of Cool Whip (go with extra creamy)
As I don’t bake very often, I don’t have any of the right tools. I read online that it’s easiest to crush oreo cookies in a food processor but why would I have one of those when I have knife and hammer skills? As you can see, I laid out Oreos in a ziplock bag and hammered them into crumbs. A lack of resources inspires innovation, guys. Do as you like as long as you break the cookies up. Continue reading
J.J. recently invited me to the debut of Godiva’s limited edition “Year of the Horse” collection at Godiva’s headquarters in New York. I had never been to a chocolate tasting before – so this was pretty damn exciting for me!
Here are the gems:
- a milk chocolate filled with crunchy almond praline, sour cherry, and a hint of honey
- a dark chocolate filled with crunchy caramel pear ganache with a touch of vanilla
- a white chocolate with macadamia cream and pineapple
I’m normally a medium dark chocolate person (like a 60-70% cocoa kind of girl) and completely anti white chocolate. White chocolate never felt like chocolate to me because it doesn’t have cocoa solids, only cocoa butter. Godiva’s new white chocolate melts so smoothly on your tongue and is not too sweet. The nutty and tart filling from the macadamia and pineapple melds into the creamy buttery white chocolate. To be honest, I can’t remember the last time I’ve purchased Godiva chocolate, but after I finish my samples, I will probably go try to find some more of this white chocolate.
Two Little Red Hens
1652 2nd Ave
(between 85th St & 86th St)
New York, NY 10028
I’m on a roll with favorites. My last two blog posts have all been favorites. One was about my favorite pizza place, and the other about my favorite burger. Let me know if you agree or disagree!
This post will be about my favorite cupcake place in NYC. This, I imagine, will be somewhat controversial like my burger post… it’ll hopefully bring out some cupcake loyalties and will reveal who all of Two Little Red Hen’s legitimate competitors are. The only qualm I have about the bakery is that it is so damn far away. I’ve only been a few times, mostly as a side-stop after a visit to the MET or in this case, a visit to my friend B.G.’s gym. He does a full afternoon workout + double-zumba session every Saturday and I thought I’d join. Not going to lie, a big reason for why I went was that I would have an excuse to travel all the way uptown for some cupcakes…
While ordering, I was really wishing I had a sweeter tooth and/or cupcakes didn’t rely on freshness but neither of those are the case so I left the bakery with just these little gems. The large cupcake is their Banana Cupcake, which is my absolute favorite. I get it every time I come. They actually had a fresh batch just as I got in, a sign from the gods that we were meant for each other. The two small ones are the Brooklyn Blackout and the Peanut Butter.
First things first, this post is going to stray off topic just a little bit. I am going to share with you another one of my passions. I promise to bring it back to food at the end. If you’re too much of a philistine (KIDDING, food is totally a good reason to skip ahead), scroll down or hit “Continue Reading” and you’ll hear my two cents about some coffee and treats in Chelsea Market.
A must-do for any visitor or resident of NYC is gallery hopping in Chelsea. It boasts more than 350 art galleries, most of which are free (almost enough of a reason to go in itself). The galleries feature both famous artists, up-and-coming artists, as well as lesser known artists. This art district is particularly great for that reason; the juxtaposition of these artworks has always caused me to reconsider my view of art and the art world. Before you go, be warned… SOMETIMES, you will have to wait in line to enter the gallery. I recently waited two and a half hours (no exaggeration at all… this is why you need to bring coffee and treats with you) on a cold and rainy Friday morning for Doug Wheeler’s “Infinite Environment” exhibit at the David Zwirner gallery.
Ever wonder what it would feel like to be in the absence of space? I actually got to experience this at the exhibit. Using curved fiberglass, paint, and a manipulation of light, Wheeler successfully created an environment with no space. Six people are invited each cycle to take off their shoes and enter the exhibit for the 10-minute light show. Once you enter the installation area, you observe that the completely white room (ceilings, wall, and ground) is seemingly small. You walk up to the very “end” of the room and pause to touch the wall ahead of you. There’s nothing there. Your hands literally glide through the “wall.”
YUM! I had baked oat-crusted pumpkin bars earlier this week but didn’t post them because THESE LOOK SO MUCH BETTER! I wish my baker friend, Bamboozled, lived near me because she is always throwing together something delicious in the oven. Check out her tumblr at www.bamboozledbaker.tumblr.com.