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Archive for the ‘Amuse-bouche du jour’ Category

Dining out is always delightful and last Friday it was also DELICIOUS!  What a fantastic evening we had. To begin with we were the guests of our friends, Sandy and Rosemarie.  They have been regular customers at O YA in Boston, a restaurant that has garnered high praise for its excellence and accolades for the chef, Tim Cushman, who won the James Beard Best Chef in the Northeast award in 2012.  Frank Bruni  named O YA the #1 new restaurant in the United States in 2008 and that was just the beginning.  I could go on and on with a very long list of prestigious honors, but trust me it is long.  However, I want to mention that O YA in Boston earned the Top Food rating of 29 in Zagat Boston in 2011/2012 and Boston Magazine designated O YA as the #1 restaurant in Boston.

Nancy and Tim Cushman

                                            Nancy and Tim Cushman

Friday was one of the three nights of the soft opening and sneak peek of O YA New York.  We were treated like royalty (it helps to be the guests of VIP customers).  The tastings just kept coming and coming along with a bottomless glass of the finest Sake I’ve ever had!  Nancy Cushman, wife of Tim and co-owner of the restaurant personally served us the exquisite Nanbu Bijin “Shinpaku” Saké, Junmai Daiginjo, a dry and not so sweet Japanese delight.  I took this very accurate  description of this Sake from Southern Beauty, the Nanbu Bijin Sake Brewery: ” Made from 100% Yamadanishiki sake rice from Hyogo prefecture. Yamadanishiki is a very popular sake rice used in the production of especially aromatic Daiginjo sakes. This sake has beautiful aromas of fresh peach or strawberry with very mild rice aromas like soft marshmallows. Most of Yamadanishiki Daiginjo sake is pricey, but Nanbu Bijin Shinpaku is very reasonable. You can enjoy as an aperitif or also with main courses.”

Shinparka

                                                                Shinparka

One delicious delicacy after another was brought to the table, each one artfully presented as only the Japanese can do, and this team of sushi chefs does it exquisitely.  At one point I walked over to the Sushi Bar to observe the magic – I was referring to their expertise.

As in most cases, a picture is worth a thousand words…. I tried valiantly to scribble down the erudite description of each dish brought to us, as our extremely efficient and knowledgeable server described each menu item.  It proved more difficult than I thought;  It was noisy in the restaurant and the ever-flowing sake may have impaired my hearing just a bit.

Fried Kumamoto Oyster, Yuzu Kosho Aioli, Squid Ink Foam

                                  Fried Kumamoto Oyster, Yuzu Kosho Aioli, Squid Ink Foam

Warm Eel, Thai Basil, Kabayaki, Fresh Kyoto Sansho

                                Warm Eel, Thai Basil, Kabayaki, Fresh Kyoto Sansho

Kumamoto Oyster

                         Kumamoto Oyster Watermelon Pearls, Cucumber Mignonette

Kobe Beef

                                                              Japanese Weygu Beef

Avocado Tartare

                                                                  Avocado Tartare

Sea Trout Sushi

                                                                    Sea Trout Sushi

Raw Vegan Daikon Radish Dumplings

                                                 Raw Vegan Daikon Radish Dumplings

Fatty Tuna Sushi

                                                                      Fatty Tuna Sushi

Mosaic Edible Art Dessert

                                                       Edible Art Dessert

The crowning finish to our meal was a mosaic dessert which I believe to be a lemon-aloe granita with julienne dragon fruit, kiwi slice and small bits of Hakuto jelly (maybe!). It was true culinary art!

Thank you, thank you, thank you Sandy and Rosemarie for this wonderful dining experience!  We are so sorry we had to dash off to catch a train. Truly felt awful leaving you at the curb 😦

Sandy Levine

                                                     Sandy Levine

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Thanks to Google and their Halloweenify app,  I was able to create two really scary photos.  Well that app and time on my hands, tsk, tsk.,

Anyway, I thought I would post them on my blog and on Facebook basically because I’m bored.  I think I better get home and get my apartment ready to greet, no I mean scare the kids that dare to come trick or treating at our home.

                                                     

YES It is Me

YES It is Me

Nicky and Me – BOO!

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A Tasty Morsel For Sure

A Tasty Morsel For Sure

October 28, 2014 is
National Chocolate Day
Today is National Chocolate Day! Just what you’ve been waiting for – a reason to eat more chocolate! Americans consume an average of 12 pounds per person per year. Do you help contribute to this staggering stat?

Valentine’s Day and Easter are two of the top holidays for buying chocolate, but you can’t forget about Christmas or Halloween! However, many will argue that chocolate is best enjoyed year-round.

To celebrate National Chocolate Day, enjoy some chocolate with each meal today! Try hot chocolate or chocolate donuts for breakfast. A fun lunch idea is to pair your favorite dish with a tall glass of chocolate milk. For dinner, try a traditional mole sauce, made with cocoa powder. Top it all off with a decadent chocolate dessert!

Give a friend a box of chocolates, try a new recipe using chocolate, or treat yourself to some! The above excerpt is courtesy of PUNCH BOWL.

Oh Take Me Awayyyyy

Oh Take Me Awayyyyy

You notice I opted for dark chocolate because seriously is there any other kind?  LOL LOL, that ought to provoke some responses!  Milk Chocolate – Mmmm more like a pretender, solidified hot cocoa (American style not French).  White chocolate?  Don’t even go there;  In case you didn’t know IT’S NOT EVEN CHOCOLATE!!!

I can see if I don’t stop writing this blog this morning, I’m going to be in trouble because right now some of the best brands of dark chocolate and the picture of their labels are swirling around in my head!  Thinking of the sources too!   Swiss, Belgian, French, not to mention the fabulous rebirth of small-batch hand-crafted chocolate (and other wonderful foods and drinks like coffee, bread and beer) that have sprung to life over the past decade or so.  Some credit this resurgence to that horrible period of job lay-offs and downsizing and some think our salvation lies with a younger generation (X or Y?) who don’t want to don that corporate garb.  Hallelujah to them I say!

After watching the news last night where the benefits of dark chocolate were extolled for regaining one’s memory, I may have to rethink my current attempt to diet and indulge is some very, very dark chocolate today.  Thinking 70-75% cacao, oh yeah!  You can hold a square in your mouth, let it rest on your tongue and it will melt oh so slowly…..  You have to resist the urge to chew it, which is hard I know but so rewarding if you don’t !

Did I ever tell you about my experience at The Chocoholic’s ate Bar at the Hyatt Regency in Hawaii?  OMG it will have to be for another time.  The whole experience was mind-blowing for a chocoholic like me! 

What’s your favorite kind of chocolate?  What brand(s) do you prefer?  Are you a milk chocolate lover?  It’s okay to admit it even if the rest of us dark chocolate lovers think you’re misguided lol lol.

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You scream, we all scream ice cream!  Clearly one of my favorite childhood rhymes and knowing my passion for ice cream, I must be a case of arrested development. 

In case you’re wondering I do know how to spell fatty, however  this particular ice cream treat reminded me of the past few years fad-obsession with bacon and this year’s fad – it’s got to be salted to be good (read sea salted dark chocolate, salted caramel everything including Starbucks!).

So what we have here is:  A waffle cup with sampler trio (whiskey fudge rebellion, drunk and salty caramel, and maple bacon) sprinkled with candied pecans.

OMG

OMG

Luca & Bosco is an ice cream and dessert company based in NYC. They strive to make people happy through food – my kind of people!   Their ice cream has integrity, and is made from all natural ingredients, organic whenever possible, less sweet and packed with flavor – one taste and you will know the difference. They’re seriously talking about a deliciousness to make your eyes roll back because it tastes so good. 

Run by co-founders Catherine Oddenino and Ruthie Vishlitzky, Luca & Bosco’s mission is to bring deliciousness to people’s lives one scoop at a time.

Catherine is the mom of Luca, a 5 pound, white Maltese. Ruthie is the mom of Bosco, a chocolate Lab. They are the inspiration for the name and the reason we make ice cream cone shaped dog biscuits. We don’t want our canine friends to be left out of the ice cream fun.

Wow!! I have to take a trip down to the Lower East Side to stop in for a taste of some of the unusual and distinct ice cream flavors offered at Luca & Bosco.  Although today’s feature is the waffle cup sampler with a trio of fantabulous ice creams, Luca & Bosco have such exotic flavors as:  Carmelized Banana, Chocolate Brownie Chunk, Goat Cheese, Milky Tea, Rosemary Olive Oil, and Earl Grey with Chocolate Freckles.  On second thought maybe I shouldn’t even consider a visit.  I might go into sugar shock!

Luca & Bosco is located at 120 Essex St. New York, NY.

 

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It’s not every day that you get to meet a mysterious silent film star!  I was lucky enough to meet the beautiful and mysterious Belle De l’ombre.  Believe it or not she actually lives here in New York City in some very posh surroundings.  But of course that’s only fitting for such a raven beauty.  Her name is as beautiful as  she is and it translates to Beauty Of The Shadows!  She is a true movie star from the silent film era and as you can see from this photo she carries herself as the star she is.  With a little bit of luck and research I was able to obtain some footage from one of Belle’s many films.  Take a look for yourself and I’m sure you’ll agree this little Glamour Puss is as elegant and mysterious as her name implies.

http://kokovoko.net/bandw.html

Beauty of the Shadows

Beauty of the Shadows

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I grew up in a household where dessert was not a regular menu item.  Once in a while my mother would bake a cake or pie, however, on Sunday we were treated with ice cream as dessert after Sunday dinner which was around  one o’clock or two o’clock.  Right smack in the best part of the day.  I had already devoted the morning to a quick breakfast and going to Mass and now I wanted to spend the afternoon doing something fun with my friends.  Well at least we had ice cream!

Last week I was down in the West Village getting my hair cut and afterwards since it was such a glorious Fall-almost-still-summer afternoon I thought I’d wander around a bit and lo and behold I looked across the street and there was the Big Gay Ice Cream Shop.  And that name rang a bell and I remembered that this summer I read an article about the 10 Best Ice Cream shops in New York City.  Well time for the taste test!

I went in and was surprised at how small it was but then again I guess most of the business is take out.  I couldn’t remember anything about the article or why this place was noted.  Looking around and up at the chalkboards, I searched for a list of flavors – there was none!  What kind of place is this.  One sign said Vanilla, Chocolate and Flavor of the Day which happened to be Dulce de Leche (not a fan).  There were signs for Shakes and some Specialties.  I tried to see what the people ahead of me were getting and it looked like it was soft serve ice cream.   Mmmm

I just ordered a twist of chocolate and vanilla, really not quite my usual BUT I was unsure about what the specialties actually were.  I have NEVER tasted soft serve ice cream that creamy and rich.  It was dense, the flavor ran deep, it was delicious! 

When I got home I read the article and found out the shop is famous for a concoction known as a Salty Pimp ! Turns out it is a delectable chocolate-dip covered  vanilla ice cream cone combined with Dulce de Leche and Sea Salt.  I may not be fan of Dulce de Leche ice cream but the thought of it on top of vanilla ice cream and under a chocolate shell…Wellllll

In retrospect it was a mistake not to order the Salty Pimp ONLY because the Big Gay Ice Cream Shop is too far away for me to just stop by.  However, I will definitely be looking forward to my next haircut!

The Salty Pimp

The Salty Pimp

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household hints, shoe polisher, stainless steel cleaner, breath freshener, B vitamins

One Slice Does It All

I never know what an email or Facebook post from Gail is going to bring!  I do know that most likely it will be something so interesting that I’m going to want to put it on my blog and today is no exception.  I should save this until next Tuesday and use it in place of a recipe for Tasty Tidbits Tuesday BUT I can’t wait that long.  This is one incredible performance.  Now I call it performance because the man is an artist and what he creates is art.

I was so impressed with his skills and of course his knife, I just had to post this today.  I’ve never seen a knife like this and can’t imagine how sharp it must be!  Well you will see for yourself in this mind-blowing video.  There is no background music or dialogue, much like the painter alone at his easel or the writer sitting in his garret.

Thanks and a shout out to Gail, the best sourcerer I know.

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