Enjoy some exciting snippets from my life of late...in words, pictures, and forkfuls. TGIF, y'all!
The Closing Belle
One of my baller coworkers was able to get our team floor access at the NYSE (NY Stock Exchange) to watch the closing bell. Live!
While I found our 'field trip' exhilarating and awe-inspiring, the highlight, at least for me, was seeing her majesty, Maria Bartiromo, in person. And she smiled at me!
So, I didn't tell anyone besides my family and the two folks whom I asked to write letters of recommendations on my behalf but, in January, I applied to the Food Studies Masters program at NYU. And, after almost two months of awaiting my application's fate, I learned that I was accepted!
Beginning this fall, I will be a part-time co-ed (night classes)!
Aside from the fact that they serve some pretty decent coffee, this Tribeca juicer/coffee house/restaurant also hand-makes an assortment of artisanal chocolates. Think varieties like Earl Grey, pineapple + rum, and, my personal favorite, the peanut butter + honey + salt.
Note: Kaffe 1668, especially the location across the street from the Citigroup buildings (388 and 390 Greenwich Street), is a FABULOUS place to meet hot finance dudes. It's swarming!
Carbo-loading. It's the only way to go at Locanda Verde. At least for me. On a recent visit, I was reminded of how incredibly delicious the gratis, house-made focaccia (served after the table has ordered), Sheep's Milk Ricotta appetizer, and Lamb Meatball sliders are. We're talking "destination-worthy" here, folks.
And, speaking of meatballs, I ordered Terroir's version between glasses of red wine. Large, moist, and almost perfectly seasoned (I had to add salt), the meaty trio was served in an earthenware soup-like crock amidst a pool of robust marinara. Melted parmesan cheese blanketed each 'ball like the early winter's first dusting of snow.
What would have made the meatballs even more perfect would have been a warm side of bread for dipping and dunking.
Escape from Camp 14
Ever since I was a child, I went through phases where I became incredibly obsessed with one specific topic/religion/person/nationality. This typically lasted anywhere from 6-months to a few years. From desperately wanting my name to be changed to "Amanda" - to Catholicism, Russia, Pearl Jam, Tool (the band, people!), and NYC...I definitely have/had a broad range of interests/fascinations. I'll never forget, at about 10 or 11 years old, when I fell in love with a ski lift operator named "Winston" at Ski Apache, a ski resort that is run by the Mescalero Indians. My parents still remind me about my $25 donation to a Native American Indian fund, who later sent me a "dream catcher" as a token of their thanks. It hangs in my closet to this day!
Right now, I'm completely fascinated/mystified/horrified by North Korea. A few weeks ago, I purchased a riveting book called "Escape from Camp 14," which details one man's remarkable odyssey from North Korea to freedom in the West. There really are no words to describe the fluctuating range of emotions I experience as I eagerly - and suspensefully - turn each page. I cannot put the thing down!
Shanghai Asian Cuisine
With Seamless Web's 15%-off deal yesterday, some coworkers and I took advantage of the discount and ordered Chinese food from Shanghai Asian Cuisine. Being that the colleagues who suggested this restaurant hail from Shanghai, I more than trusted their selection.
In an effort to sample as much as I could in one sitting, I ordered three items:
Xiao long bao (pork soup dumplings)
Quite possibly, the best xiao long bao that I've had outside of China...minus the fact that no vinegar sauce was served on the side. Otherwise, the dumpling skins were thin - the broth was salty and flavorful - and the pork meatballs were juicy and decadent.
Shanghai-style rice cakes (fried)
My love affair with rice cakes began with Korean food. I love their gummy texture and, in the case of the oval/oblong shape that's shown above, the ease of combining all key components (veggies, protein, sauce) with each forkful/bite. Rice kernels can be so tedious!
The soy-based, salty brown gravy - combined with bite-sized pieces of braised beef and shrimp, plus onions and bok choy - made for an incredibly delicious meal. I literally had to get up and walk away from my desk to stop myself from eating the entire portion.
Sesame rice balls (sweet)
Surrounded by a gluttonous rice dough/shell was a molten-like core that oozed with sweet black sesame paste. The "balls" were served in water (...god knows why).
I'm thrilled to have been introduced to Shanghai Asian Cuisine by my coworkers and cannot wait to reorder next week!!
Duane Park Patisserie
This small, charming bakery has been on my "must try it" list for at least a year. I had read somewhere that they carried a version of Southern-style petit fours (see picture, below, for a better idea), and that's all it took for me to add them to my coveted list. So, on my way to meet someone for a drink last week, I stopped in and grabbed one! Afterall, Balthazar Bakery's version have become so almond-y. Blech!
For $3/piece, Duane Park Patisserie's version doesn't come cheap...but it's the best Southern-style petit four that I've had outside of NM Cafe in Dallas. And that's saying A LOT. There wasn't a trace of overly-fragrant almond marzipan, which I find to be the "petit four deal breaker."
Until we eat again,
The Lunch Belle