NYC Food: Day 2


We decided to start the day with a bagel off.  Hubby had done his research and wanted to try Murray's Bagels and I just wanted to head to Russ and Daughters for something stuffed with smoked fish after having read about it from a fellow Gastronomer here.


Murray's Bagels on Urbanspoon Russ & Daughters on Urbanspoon

I have to say the bagels from Murray's were superior; however, the smoked fish at Russ's was worth having the sub-par bagels.  Anyway, to me if it's not a Montreal (Saint-Viateur) bagel, it's all the same.  The Russ bagel had a healthy portion of the best smoked salmon I've ever had with a shmear of horseradish cream cheese, tomatoes and capers (I passed on the onions).  It really hit the spot and fueled me for the walk across Brooklyn Bridge.


We were planning to spend some time in DUMBO and grab a slice at Grimaldi's but the line was so long we opted out and grabbed a bus to two8two burger.  I had been recommended this burger joint during this Shut up and eat  event by the owner of Diablo's in Montreal and it did not disappoint.


I went with the two8two burger with roasted poblanos and cheddar but added bacon.  This was the best bacon in a burger I've ever had.  The bacon was thick cut and (deep?) fried to a tooth aching crunch which was perfect in the sloppy burger.  It was out of this world.  The sweet potato fries were oddly bland, nothing to write home about but I still dream about that bacon.

Two 8 Two  on Urbanspoon

Having missed out on Grimaldi's we hit up Lombardi's, the so-called first pizzeria in NYC.  The pizza was ok, but lacked cheese for me.  The ceasar salad was really stellar though.  After this quick meal we were looking for something sweet and we headed to Chikalicious, a dessert bar (not to be confused with Chikalicious the Dessert Club literally across the street).


At this tiny eatery, dessert is the order of the evening and it is served in 3 courses like a meal: a starter dessert, a main dessert and a dessert dessert.  I was really looking forward to coming here after having read about it here.

We sat at the bar and following our order were immediately served a wonderfully light yogurt in a citrus 'soup' with tiny wafer rounds.  Milk cultures never tasted so good.


We had a choice of desserts, I went with the fromage blanc island 'cheese cake' and hubby went with the seasonal butternut squash ice cream brulée .  We watched as the pastry chef and her sous-chef prepared every thing to order right under our noses.

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The 'cheese cake' is really in quotation marks because it has none of the dense, richness of traditional cheesecake.  It is all light and airy while tasting unmistakably like cheese cake.  While it was clearly sitting in a pool of heavy cream I felt like I was eating something very light.  Hubby was also very happy with his dessert, all I can say was the candied pecans that surrounded his dessert were laced with addictive substances.

The final course of mignardises were a perfect ending to a perfect dessert meal.


ChikaLicious Dessert Bar on Urbanspoon


NYC Food: Day 1

When hubby and I recently planned a last minute trip to New York, I scoured the web to make a food heaven checklist.  When hubby realized that our trip was going to be food stop to food stop, 'we' decided to be a bit more flexible with our musts.

Day 1 saw us checking into our hotel in the morning.  We wanted to check out the High Line which gave us a great excuse to stop by the Doughnut Plant in Chelsea and sample their amazing gourmet doughnuts.

Doughnut Plant on Urbanspoon   

I had to have the crème brulée doughnut and boy, did this little guy not disappoint!  While I was expecting a 'hard candy' exterior it was more sticky than crackling, but the flavours by far made up for it.  The bitterness of the caramel was the perfect foil to a rich vanilla custard filling.  The Valrhona, hubby's choice, was a solid yeast donut completely immersed in an excellent chocolate icing.  The third, Tres Leches, was a winner for anyone like me, who loves sweetened condensed milk.  A cake doughnut with pockets of sweetened condensed milk in a milk icing.  I expected the doughnut to be also dipped in milk like the cake it's named after but really it was delicious as is.

I had a lot of trouble making a reservation for dinner, but I stumbled upon a great tip that Gramercy Tavern, my top pick in NYC, has a front room that does not require reservations.  We therefore had plans to have dinner quite early to avoid any wait times.  So we decided to stop by Aaron Sanchez's, of Food Network fame, Tacombi, in Nolita.  This adorable taqueria serves authentic latin fare in rustic surroundings reminiscent of an outdoor restaurant complete with a VW kitchenette and mood lighting.  Walking from the cold into this little spot really warms your heart; sitting down eating tacos really warms your stomach.

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With our early dinner in mind, we put a very conservative order in for a taco platter, a chef's selection of 5 tacos, and esquites, corn kernels in a cup with a chipotle mayonnaise and queso fresco.  I was really looking forward to trying the latter street food snack and it did not disappoint.  It was warm and filling, and packed a sweet, salty, spicy punch.


The tacos: al pastor with pineapple salsa, chicken with pickled onions, beef, corn and fish were all sensational, I'd have trouble picking my favourite one and would just opt for the platter again!  The manager, Eddy, saw me snapping pictures and sent us a platter of tortilla chips and guacamole and while we were trying to resist we finished it happily.  All of the ingredients were really fresh, the service was excellent and nothing can beat the laid-back vacation atmosphere.


Tacombi at Fonda Nolita on Urbanspoon

Following some shopping and a bit of resting time, we headed to Gramercy Tavern for 5:45 hoping to avoid waiting to eat in the front room.  We were told it was an hour wait and we decided to walk around a bit.  We returned after 30 min to make sure we wouldn't miss our turn and were seated probably within 45 min of giving our name, which was pretty sweet.  The front room serves a four course Tavern Menu for 48$ or a short à la carte menu.  We both chose the Tavern Menu and it was a great value.


The first course of Arctic char tartare was my favourite.  Every component of this dish brought something to the table, pardon the pun, and complemented each other while highlighting the star, the fish.

The scallop course was also delicious: the scallop was cooked to perfection, the broth was flavourful and well seasoned and the mussels were fresh and succulent.

The steak course was very good, though the portion was a bit small, but really we ate plenty and did not need a full portion with the other courses.  We found the fingerling potatoes just slightly underdone and were not sure if that was intended, but the steak and chimichurri were really top shelf.


The little sundae was a great treat, good quality ice cream, cooked apples and little circles of puff pastry.  It was slightly sweet for me but still really good.


I would love to return next time to the dining room.

Gramercy Tavern on Urbanspoon


Work Wardrobe: The Staple Blouse

If you've watched The Newsroom this summer, you were treated to some great drama and fashion!  I have to say that every episode I would admire MacKenzie's blouses which she wore with plain pencil skirts and pumps.  Conservative can still be playful and fashionable.  I became a bit obsessed with this colour block number.

I even found a great imitation here.  I believe Emily Mortimer might be wearing an Ann Taylor from a few seasons ago.  I didn't love the beige on me so I ended up with a more colourful version from Banana Republic Outlet (two locations now open around Montréal: Vaudreuil and Centre Notre-Dame).  This one could work for someone looking for a neutral.

 Club Monaco via Shop Bop, 150 CAD

Playing with print is always nice too.

Club Monaco via Shop Bop, 150 CAD

via Zara, 50 CAD

The trend for fall is embellished collars and there's nowhere like Zara to jump on some trendy bandwagon or another.

via Zara, 100 CAD

For something more whimsically on budget I love peter pan collars, and it is pretty classic but at this price who cares!

via F21, 22 CAD

For something a bit more lasting the following silk pieces which will be worn for years to come.

via BR

via BR


Mei Sum Dim Sum ▪ Honolulu

1170-102 Nuuanu Avenue
Honolulu, Hawaii

For our last meal in Hawaii, we decided to have dim sum before heading off to the airport. Mei Sum is located in Oahu's Chinatown.

Mei Sum Dim Sum
Mei Sum Dim Sum Restaurant.

It's interesting to go for dim sum with new people. It's nice to stray from my family's reliable standby's. The standby's of har gao, siu mai and taro cakes were all solid though.

Mei Sum - har gao Mei Sum - siu mai
Mei Sum - Taro Mei Sum - dumplings
Har gao, siu mai, taro cake and pan fried dumplings.

Cee did read on one of the reviews that Mei Sum was known for its fried eggplant with crispy garlic dish. The eggplant slices were nice and crispy. The garlic bits were maybe a bit much.

Mei Sum - Eggplant
Fried garlic eggplants.

We also ordered sticky rice in lotus leaves, which my family never orders. We couldn't end a dim sum meal without egg custard tarts. Yum!

Mei Sum - egg custard
Egg custard tarts.

Mei Sum provides pretty good dim sum. The restaurant was not too full when we arrived so we were seated immediately. We did feel rushed at the end to leave, even though the restaurant wasn't full.

Finally, this concludes our awesome food journey in Hawaii! Back to Montréal posts and even some recipes to come!

Mei Sum Dim Sum on Urbanspoon


Leonard's Bakery ▪ Honolulu

933 Kapahulu Avenue
Honolulu, Hawaii

We were ok with our light Korean BBQ dinner, because we had plans to have some hot malasadas for dessert. Malasadas are Portuguese doughnuts and are often made on Mardi Gras (instead of pancakes I'm guessing?). Leonard's bakery is one of the more renown spots near Waikiki. It's absolutely mandatory to stop there for doughnuts.

Leonard's Bakery Leonard's Bakery3
Leonard's Bakery.

When we arrived near closing time, it wasn't too busy. While E and Cee quickly made up their minds that they were going to get the chocolate filled ones, I quizzed the man behind the counter about which flavour I should pick between chocolate and the flavour of the month (I think it was pineapple?) - to which he responded "custard". Custard I ordered then!

It's only looking at the menu below that I realize that there were malasadas that had no filling, which are more traditional. I might have ordered those if I had paid better attention! Maybe next time!

Leonard's Bakery2
Malasadas menu.

When we finally got our malasadas, we were given two of each filling to try out: chocolate, custard, coconut and pineapple! How generous. That's a lot of doughnuts for 3 girls!

Leonard's - Malasads2
Malasadas galore!

The freshly made malasadas were still hot. They were just slightly crisp on the outside, with a coating of sugar. The custard filling was the right choice. Not too sweet but provided just enough smoothness against the soft and airy dough. I ran in to get some milk to gulp down with my malasada.

Leonard's Bakery - Malasada
Oh yeah, up close malasada.

I've said it before, and I'll say it again. There is nothing like a freshly fried doughnut. Shame on me if I stray from the homemade stuff! If Leonard's Bakery's store location is not convenient, find their Malasadamobile and try their malasadas. It's worth the extra time on the treadmill!

Leonard's Bakery on Urbanspoon