Tag Archives: coffee

House of Small Wonder

House of Small Wonder
House of Small Wonder
77 N 6th Street
Brooklyn, NY 11211

Attention fellow friends who love cute little non-traditional brunch places: I have found your next brunch spot. It’s just off the L train in Williamsburg. House of Small Wonder is a pseudo European cafe with Japanese influences. You all know my opinion of eggs bennies and scrambled eggs (rarely worth the trek out for brunch unless you’re Prune) and my deep love affair with Japanese brunches (see Sakamai and Shabu Tatsu). House of Small Wonder is another Japanese inspired brunch place to add to the list. Its menu consists of both “euro” items like sandwiches (e.g. fig+brie+apple sandwich, salumi arugula sandwich), croissant french toasts, and croque madames, as well as Japanese inspired dishes like Okinawan taco rice, tsukune don (meatball + rice), and sashimi zuke don (sashimi + rice).

House of Small Wonder
It’s decor is also the cutest! You basically enter a little greenhouse with a REAL LIVING TREE in the center of the restaurant. Every wooden surface, faded piece of art, pot of plant, and trendy diner (see B.J. in this one) is Instagram worthy. K.C., B.J., R.Y., and I got to the restaurant before it even opened (10am on weekends) to ensure we got in without a wait.

House of Small Wonder
We each started with the Lavender Latte ($5). This is one deliciously smooth, creamy, latte with a hint of lavender. It has just the right amount of sweetness to feel like a real latte and not a dessert. I give it 10 out of 10 points for warming me physically and emotionally (lots of feelings were expressed at this brunch <3). For those looking for more of a boozy brunch experience, they also offer a cocktail list with concoctions such as fizzy pear, lavender lemonade, and tipsy latte. K.C., B.Y., R.Y. – next time we do boozy?

House of Small Wonder
K.C. and I both ordered the Sashimi Zuke Don ($15), which consisted of soy sauce marinated sashimi of the day, avocado, sweet mushrooms, sesame, and egg served over sushi rice. The ratio of toppings to rice was perfect. Every bite was like a perfect bite of sushi really. The quality of fish was solid (not the highest grade but also zero fishiness). The rice was great. Highly recommend. Continue reading House of Small Wonder

Sakamai’s new brunch menu is BOMB

Sakamai
Sakamai
157 Ludlow St. (across from Pianos)
New York, NY 10002

NEW BRUNCH PLACE TO ADD TO THE ROTATION!!!!! If there’s one thing I can’t stand, it’s waiting in line for generic eggs benny’s or pancakes at an overhyped “boozy brunch” place, which is for some reason all the craze in NYC. I have higher standards for my brunch (#snob #jk) and want something more special if I’m going out for brunch than something I can whip up in my kitchen. Some of my favorites are Soba-ya, Shabu-Tatsu, and Prune – if you need an eggs benny). Even just based on that list, you can tell I have a soft spot for Japanese brunch food…

Sakamai Sakamai is a modern izakaya (aka. a Japanese bar that serves food) and sake bar. This month, they just launched a new brunch menu which showcases great Japanese dishes intertwined with some Hawaiian (ie. spam) ingredients and Western flair (aka. fusion but I hate that word). Natalie, one of the owners (who is Japanese-Hawaiian and studied architecture in college like me! :D), graciously invited me to sample their brunch menu this past weekend. I took LAW as my guest (duh) and tried a number of amazing things.

If you follow my blog, you’ll know that I sometimes get invited to these things and I ALWAYS disclose it. I also always keep my reviews unbiased (even though my meal is comped) because my blog would be worth nothing if I pandered to anyone who gave me free food. Most of these comped meals end up being pretty mediocre (hence they need bloggers like me to help them advertise – I won’t name names, but if you go through the blog you’ll know which ones I’m talking about) but in this case, I lucked out cause… the food was truly awesome.

Sakamai
We started with a couple drinks. I got the Flying Squirrel, which is a cocktail made with coldbrew coffee, walnut liqueur, and coconut cream. It was a delicious alcoholic iced coffee. Coffee itself was high quality and the walnut liqueur added some sweetness and nuttiness. Really great brunch cocktail, especially if you’re tired of the usual bloody mary and mimosa. We also got to try two of their housemade “Shrub” beverages: watermelon and celery-apple. Both drinks were carbonated and, oddly, clear (wonder how they make it). The drinks were very light and refreshing. A good alternative to juice.

Sakamai
We started with the Cha Soba Salad ($15) with green tea soba and sesame soy dressing. It. Was. Awesome. All these different kinds of greens (sprouts, cabbage?, seaweed, corn, tomato, avocado, sesame seeds, some kind of root, AND SO MUCH MORE) sit on top of a bed of green tea soba. The dressing is very light so allows all the natural flavors of the fresh ingredients shine through. The sesame oil just adds an extra bit of umami to make the salad really addicting. So effing good. Definitely a must order when you come (when, not if).

Sakamai
As our first “main,” we shared the Loco Moco ($16), which is a kimchi fried rice served with a hamburger bun and sunny side up egg. The rice and patty are doused in a dashi soy gravy. If you’re looking for a hearty (post-hangover cure perhaps?) brunch dish, this should be your pick. Continue reading Sakamai’s new brunch menu is BOMB

Bibble & Sip: An Alpaca Cafe with lots of matcha and lavender (and alpacas)

Bibble & Sip
Bibble & Sip
253 W 53rd St (8th Ave)
New York, NY 10019

J.S., my super trendy fashionista friend (check out her blog!) who also loves to eat and drink coffee, introduced me to Bibble & Sip. She had me at “alpaca.”

Bibble & SipBibble & Sip is a cute coffee shop in Hell’s Kitchen (I know, cute+coffee shop+Hell’s Kitchen almost never go together) that serves up lots of unique, delicious things like earl grey banana bread, pistachio cake, earl grey panna cotta, matcha latte, lavender lattes, etc. The theme seems to be tea-infused things…. yumz. It is also RANDOMLY alpaca themed.

Bibble & SipI spy with my little eye… an alpaca.

Bibble & Sip
I made R.Y. come check it out with me recently and we got these pretty cups of matcha latte and lavender latte.  Continue reading Bibble & Sip: An Alpaca Cafe with lots of matcha and lavender (and alpacas)

THE ULTIMATE ICELAND FOOD (and tour) GUIDE

IcelandOkay, maybe not the ultimate, but I think pretty close to it. LAW, G.B., N.T., and I spontaneously decided to go to Iceland over Easter weekend. We left on a Wednesday night and came back Monday night. In our typical way of travel, we jam packed the days with as much as possible. Since most of you actually reading this post are probably also planning to go to Iceland, I’ll share with you our itinerary first and then go into the food. Since this isn’t a travel blog, I won’t go into details about the specific sites. But I think the schedule we did will help you plan. If food is all you’re here for, skip ahead!

IcelandFirst of all, Iceland was amazing. If you’re on the fence, I hope I push you over to the other side so that you go. The place is unlike any other that I’ve been to. Crazy weather, endless waterfalls, miles and miles of Mars-like terrain – do go. Here’s my itinerary, which I think was pretty efficient and allowed us to see most things available from Reykjavik.

IcelandDay 1
Rented a car from the airport and drove to Reykjavik (where our hotel was). On our way to Reykjavik, we stopped by: small town where former U.S. troops hung out, The Blue Lagoon (2-3 hours of hanging out in a geothermal pool, very cool), and The Bridge Between Two Continents (yes, that’s what it’s actually called), which is a bridge that connects the North American and Eurasian tectonic plates. This is probably the most efficient way to spend your time because all of this stuff is on the way to Reykjavik.

Day 2
The Golden Circle, which is a loop that takes you to multiple iconic sites. We saw the Thingvellir National Park, Gulfoss Waterfall (epic), Geysir, and Kerio (a volcanic crater lake – underrated).

Day 3
Drove along the southern coast and saw two beautiful waterfalls off of the highway, the Seljalandsfoss and Skogafoss. Both are awesome in their own way. One has a beautiful LOTR-esque path behind it that you can walk through. Another is hidden behind a narrow canyon. You literally hike through and immediately find yourself standing up against this epic waterfall. After these two waterfalls, head towards the town of Vik (which isn’t that cool) but is right by the awesome Mýrdalsjökull glacier.

Day 4

We did a day hike at Glymur, which leads you to the highest waterfall in Iceland. If you’re into more treacherous hikes, I would definitely do this one. We forded many rivers and hauled ourselves up the mountain using various ropes and chains drilled into the mountain. I would recommend taking a picture of the map at the start of the hike because the trail gets a bit confusing.

Day 5
Hung out in Reykjavik. Went to the best rated cafe (Reykjavik is supposed to have really good coffee) and ate our way through the day.

ONTO THE FOOD! Continue reading THE ULTIMATE ICELAND FOOD (and tour) GUIDE

Gallery Hopping in Chelsea? Bring some coffee and treats.

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.”

Continue reading Gallery Hopping in Chelsea? Bring some coffee and treats.

Ninth Street Espresso: Jane Street Jam

Ninth Street Espresso
341 E 10th St
(between Avenue B & Avenue A)
New York, NY 10009

 

This cookie is an explosion of textures and flavors; not the NYC scary bomb kind of explosion, but rather, a wondrous explosion of complementary flavors (remember how Ratatouille – the cooking rat – escaped into an explosive abyss of deliciousness when he combined tasty ingredients?  Nevermind.)

 

THIS COOKIE IS AMAZING.  It is technically a shortbread (aka. buttery heaven) but unlike typical shortbreads, it is very chewy.  Each bite of this chewy buttery treat is also interrupted by the crunchiness of tiny pieces of almond.  The center is filled with a sweet raspberry jam that has become divinely gooey from the baking process.  The Jane Street Jam is really an interpretation of the classic Pepperidge Farm Verona cookie.  I always love a good remix.

 

Ninth Street Espresso actually doesn’t make these cookies on site.  They get their cookies from Downtown Baking Co.  Check out more of Downtown Baking Co.’s delicious cookies here.  The oatmeal chocolate chip one looks amazing…