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Welcome to The Lunch Belle, a NYC based food and travel website that views various dining scenes and destinations through the lens - and belly - of a highly opinionated thirty-something.

xoxo, 

Lindsay

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Tuesday
Nov302010

Revisited: dinner at Red Egg

 

Sunday
Nov282010

Brunch at Barbounia

On the Sunday before my younger sister was to return to Los Angeles from spending the Thanksgiving holiday in NYC with yours truly, we were invited to join her former college roommate for brunch.  "Kelsey wants us to meet her at 1pm at some place called 'Barbounia,'" Leila said, "have you heard of it?"  Simultaneously, I rolled my eyes, raised my left eyebrow, and crinkled my nose.  "Crap, are you serious?" I grumbled, "Barbounia sucks."  After my sister told me to "man up" and to "stop being such a food snob," she reminded me that Sunday was, in fact, her last day in town.  "Fine," I said, "but I'm only going there because I love you."

When we arrived at Barbounia, I couldn't help but fall in love with the restaurant's rustic, heart-warming space.  Nearly every table was occupied by folks who were taking a much-needed break from their holiday shopping.  Whether it was the seasonal cheer in the air, or the bustle of the restaurant, something about Barbounia seemed different.        

After perusing the menu, Leila and I decided to split two entrées, while poor Kelsey was subjected to ordering grilled chicken and a side salad (she was in the midst of a cleanse). 

Le menu

Brunch at Barbounia: I began my meal with warm, frothy cafe latte.Brunch at Barbounia: handmade bread topped with sea salt crystals and herbs. Is there a better way to whet your appetite pre-entree? I think not.Brunch at Barbounia - me and Leila's entree split, take 1: the photo of this "croque madame" does not do this dish justice. Gooey gruyere cheese, bechamel sauce, and salty strips of ham were sandwiched between two thick slices of buttery-toasted brioche - all before being topped with two sunny-side-up eggs. A simple side salad accompanied the 'croque.Brunch at Barbounia - me and Leila's entree split, take 2: the second entree that my sister and I split were the "Morrocan Eggs." Served in a cast iron skillet, were sunny-side-up eggs simmering in a smoky, paprika-tomato sauce with garlic and house made merguez (lamb) sausage. You can imagine that this dish became electrified when eaten with Barbounia's freshly-baked bread.

~

Conclusion Not only was the price right and the service fantastic - the food at Barbounia was incredibly delicious.  I am so thrilled to have returned - after four years - with the notion that I cannot wait for my next Barbounia brunch. 

Wednesday
Nov242010

Gobble, gobble! 

The Thanksgiving meal prep-work has begun!

Dear readers,

Allow me to be the first to wish you and yours the happiest Thanksgiving!  I would love, nothing more, than to hear about your plans for the day-of and, most importantly, what will be served on your holiday table.  

As for me?  Well, I'll be spending my Thanksgiving as a first-time hostess, surrounded by eight dear friends and my lil' sister, who flew in from Los Angeles this morning.  Here's a look at what I'm serving - recipes to follow:

*Starred-items will be made by my guests

Appetizers

  • Cold chile-con-queso (dip), homemade tostados
  • Puff pastry-wrapped brie, four-fruits preserves

Dinner

  • Pan-sautéed turkey breast cutlets, homemade gravy
  • Cranberry sauce
  • Brisket
  • Southern green-bean casserole
  • *Dana’s potatoes
  • *Ceci’s stuffing
  • "White trash" pistachio fruit salad
  • Biscuits, butter and preserves

Dessert

  • *Pumpkin pie, apple-crumb pie

~

Read it & eat...and may your bellies be filled with an abundance of deliciousness,

The Lunch Belle 

Tuesday
Nov232010

The Lunch Belle's Pearl of the Orient

Sometimes - after returning from holiday - you need a good, solid week to collect all of your thoughts, recount new adventures, and, in my case, recover from a serious bout of jet lag.  I've been home from Hong Kong now for about 11 days and, supposedly, I should be feeling fully rejuvenated by tomorrow.  They (Who knows who "they" are, anyways - "travel experts," I suppose?) say that for each hour of time difference, it takes one day to recover.  So, with twelve-hours of separation between New York and Hong Kong, I'm only one-day away from normalcy.  Let's see how I feel tomorrow, shall we?

~

Hong Kong was everything - and nothing - that I had expected or anticipated.  From its efficiency, infrastructure, and sophistication - to its people, culture, and regional cuisine - my first experience in Asia was an abundant feast for each of my five senses.  I fell in love with, and left a small piece of my heart in, the glamorous Pearl of the Orient.

Here are some tidbits that I learned along the way, plus a couple of tips for any of you future travelers:

  • The good ol' U.S. of A. is hardly the center of the universe.  In many aspects, America is falling rapidly and dramatically behind.
  • Not once did I see a single cigarette butt, wad of chewing gum, or item of trash on the busy streets of Hong Kong proper or Macao.  Visitors, take note and follow suit.
  • Subway stations and the trains, themselves, are spotless.
    • With digital time tables, riders know when the next subway is approaching the station - in every station.
    • At the Airport Express train station - in the middle of Hong Kong's Central District - travelers can check-in for outbound flights and drop their luggage at assigned airline counters before ever arriving at the airport!  Trust me when I say that this is so much cheaper and more efficient than hopping in to a cab.
  • I know that I'm going to get crap for this, but Portuguese food really sucks.
  • ...however, the Macao Ferry Terminal has better Portuguese egg tarts (the only Portuguese food worth eating) than any free-standing restaurant in Macao.
  • Speaking of Macao: if you plan to visit, bring your passport.
  • At meals, tea - not water - is served.  If you want water, you have to order it.
  • If you don't know how to use chopsticks, you're screwed - unless, of course, you bring your own silverware.
  • Shopping malls abound, literally.  You can get your shop-on everywhere from subway stations, tourist attractions, and bank buildings.
  • I have never seen so many 7-11 convenience stores in my life
  • ....nor have I seen so many apartment building masses - outside of the Bronx - ever. Row after row - mass after mass - of apartment buildings in Lantau (near the HK airport)
  • Burping and loogey-hocking is perfectly acceptable in public.  Men, you will be in heaven.
  • On that note: while I love Purell just as much as the next guy, hand-sanitizer towlettes are great for many things beyond just hand cleansing: use them to wipe down tray tables, hotel room remote controls, toilet seats, etc.
  • Hong Kong has quite the expat singles scene.  Ladies, if you're in to the investment banker set, this is your city!
  • Prior to your departure, find out which bank's ATMs are compatible/won't charge service fees to the debit card that you plan to use overseas. 

~

And these, dear readers, were a few of my most favorite Hong Kong/Macao things:

  • The view of Hong Kong & Kowloon's twinkling, urban landscape - as seen from Victoria Harbour  
  • Street food/drink, namely bubble tea and warm waffles lathered with margarine, sugar, and peanut butter 
  • All of the glorious, life-changing meals that I ate at Din Tai Fung
  • Chinese architecture
  • The people of China
  • Macao: truly, the anti-Vegas "Las Vegas of Asia."  Imagine a gaming town free of Nascar t-shirts, mullet hair cuts, tattoos, and really bad blonde die jobs. Salvador Dali sculpture adorning the entrance to the MGM Grand Macao (hotel)The Venetian Hotel, MacaoThe grand hall inside of The Venetian Hotel, MacaoThe plaza at the MGM Grand Macao
  • (Doctor) fish spas: the very fact that this is allowed/considered hygenic blows my mind.  But hey, when in Rome!  

~

Read it & eat,

The Lunch Belle