Cultural Bites

So in my spare time I do house events–work in someones kitchen helping to set up for dinner and run a dinner service where the food is provided.  I have yet to do the cooking but I am not crying as I get paid either way and I get to eat some of the left overs.

My most recent one was for a quirky lady who was as frazzled as can be, but in a good way.  She was super slender with a head of long straight black hair.  She had an older kitchen with every modern amenities except a great storage system–older cabinets with lost functionality.

So I digressed a little. Back to the story at hand. These were the dishes they had and I will give a little explanation of the taste or the look.

noodle pudding–looked like macaroni and cheese plus maybe honey or something slightly sweet–yummy

—–a little googling and wala: AKA Kugel, Jewish noodle pudding is known in Yiddish as lokshen kugel. Either of those titles works for most of the world. Kugel is a sweet, egg noodle casserole. (marthastewart.com) The noodles are boiled and then baked with some sugar, eggs, sour cream and cottage cheese.  (thechoppingblock.com)

brisket in tomato sauce-nice smooth tomato sauce–yummy

mashed potatoes-That was funny as she thought it did not have enough milk and salt.  She proceeded to dump some salt and my eyes bulged.  It ended up being okay but the little at a time method was not her method.  I mean I guess at her age she knows.

Motza ball soup-diner food but here it smelled so yummy and there was a large pot of it–like 30 balls

fruit jelly mold–I laughed at this as her daughter tried to make it and apparently took it on a plane.  Needless to say, it barely came out of the mold and then it undid itself.  About 3 people ate it and the rest is not history by for future use.

wine on tap  LOL–well they like their wine.  People were panicking when they could not find more bottles.  I guess we were never a wine family so just seeing people search high and low for bottles of wine was different.

Challa bread-I had this previously but no meal is complete without it apparently.

conversations of  Indian weddings, connections, cleaning the garage, kitchen inefficiencies, dog rescue, commonalities–I was interested, but as hired help, its best to not join in unless they ask you directly and also if you want to maintain your worker bee station in life you cannot let on that you are an MBA, WORLD TRAVELLING, CULTURALLY RICH, PAUPER.

I love these events.  I need to get around though and be in some other spaces.  I enjoy the smells, the conversations, and the interactions.  Until the next adventure!  Get mixing!

 

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Portuguese Desserts

Once you get away from Pastel de Nata you get some other cool things.  When I think French I think chocolate.  When I think Portuguese I am thinking egg, and this thing called a Brigadeiro.  Oh the sweetness will make you nuts.

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The brigadeiro is a traditional Brazilian dessert created in 1940. It is made of condensed milk, cocoa powder, butter, and chocolate sprinkles covering the outside layer. The information regarding when and where the brigadeiro was invented is uncertain. Wikipedia

Main ingredients: Condensed milk, Chocolate, Butter, Cocoa solids
Serving temperature: Cold, Warm, Chilled, Hot
Alternative ingredients: Strawberry, Coconut, Cheese, Pistachio
Variations: Beijinho, Spoon Brigadeiro

 

Then you have all of this. Albeit is is much more expensive than the Pastel de Nata but sometimes you have to live a little.

Fish Cheeks–New York, NY

So I am writing way after the fact.  We went to this Thai place not far from NYU housing on the East Side.  It was in a narrow place with bright colors and a somewhat open kitchen.  (aside–I saw an open kitchen concept in Lisbon and it actually was nice up against wooden planks.  The back wall opened so you could view all the kitchen staff working.  It was a sleek aluminum wall and I could not remember if the opening was used as a pass through though.  It was a nice touch.)

We ordered a few dishes, (a large fish included) though I was almost nervous when they said small dishes.  In the end it was enough and it kept room for dessert.  There was a lot of coconut milk, spice, curry, and fish.  It was a good time.  So it was 7 of us and it was a family meal.

We will need to visit again.  Since our other find Pok Pok is Brooklyn is now closed we only have one Thai on the roster.

 

Until then, have a spicy time filled with coconut milk dreams!!

 

Comments on VIP Club New Rochelle NY

In the summer we attended a wedding at the VIP Club in New Rochelle.  It is a club with varied spaces, sun deck, downstairs outdoor area close to a fountain and large ballroom as well as parlor in the downstairs which has a high rollers club-ish feel.

The club is not super refined on the outside but in terms of the space for events it is nice.

The bathrooms can use an upgrade since the doors are like walking into an elementary school bathroom and small stalls

For some reason the valet did not offer to park out car–weird but okay

There was a hallway used as a cocktail area where everyone is herded together–a little intimidating if you do not know anyone  (don’t pass gas–yeah that would be hilarious).

Also here is a thought–shake things up  little. What about if they just make the cocktail hour food–the main food. I was totally full and would have rather then split it up into two sets.

Of course this was in no way reflective of the bride and groom.  It is totally a function of the facility an we have to pay for what we can afford and look at the overall feeling.

 

Me there–probably not but there are many options, just book early.

 

Until next time, party on!

 

 

 

Twirl Crepe -White Plains, NY

I recently visited Twirl Crepe with an old colleague of mine.

It seems like it could be fun and I think that they can make it something really good.   It is on Mamaroneck Avenue in White Plains, NY.  It is reminiscent of Japanese food stores which have the plastic mock up of the offerings in the window.  So they managed to show 15 molds.

My friend had the Chicken Teriyaki.  I had the Thai Chicken w/ wasabi on the side.  They also had an orange sauce which in the end, I did not like as well as my daughter who refused to eat.  I also bought a banana and strawberry crepe for my daughter.  She ended up eating half and my husband ate the balance later.

So my Thai crepe was crunchy, had lettuce and was somewhat tasty but was not my favorite.  The Strawberry/banana crepe was great.  I think I will do that again or try anther one.  I accidentally ordered the regular instead of the mini.  So my total cost was 16 bucks.  I am a low budget person so I was hurting on the inside.

 

 

Look of place–

dark maroon interior (what is it with these dark colors for everything-dark wall, ceiling and tables (kind of old school))

 

There is seating for about 20 or so and there is an extremely small counter which they serve, take money and try to sell POS items.  It is an open kitchen and there are about 5 or 6 people working there-small space as well.  I mean it could be great hang out place and the food can be taken with you.  Walk while you eat! I dare not say drive while you eat, but it can be eaten by passengers in the car like a sandwich.  The bags are fun and make sense for food transport.  I will have to take my hubby there next time.

It is fun for a group of people, not too old, but people looking for something light on the run.  Lets see how long its lasts!!

 

I like it even though it felt dark and was not crowded.

Halstead Ave Taqueria

Laughter in our heads is what happened a few weeks ago.  So my husband asked for Mexican food. We yelped one in Harrison, NY while on the highway.  We only saw a few pictures and saw the many reviews.  They seemed positive and well it had many reviews.

We almost missed it. We got there and it was a parlor if you have traveled to developing countries and some developed who run things the old school way you know what a parlor is), with some 20 somethings working the counter.  They were not Mexican.  The kitchen workers were all Latin-yeah.

So we ordered and on two occasions they messed up.  Our food was very gentrified Mexican food-small portions and slightly deconstructed.  I had the special-cheese flautas.  They came in a small bowl.  It looked petite .  My husbands taco combo with guacamole and salsa looked a little shy. I got my daughter an asado taco which she ate like an animal-with her hand the shell then picked at the meat.

 

My husband kept eyeing a watermelon cooler.  He got a a ball jar full of juice.  They gave us the jar to go home with-lol.  Really guys!   I told my husband that I would have taken the jar money in food.  It was at least 50 cents and at most 1 dollar.  I told him that they might have gotten a good deal on the glass and had way too much so they just decided to give them away.

We concluded that this was an upscale super casual Mexican joint with decent food if you have not really dabbled in Mexican food made by Mexicans in a place where Mexicans eat. We cannot totally bust it as it was pleasant enough. Needless to say we kind of felt cheated and a little hungry.  So we had gelato later and I made homemade brownies.

The only sobering factor was that the portion was probably the proper one if you want to have your fast food and watch your weight/health.  It fits the demographic they were serving-just saying!!

Yeah it’s back to Latin heavy areas for us.  We will find one where we can take home a doggie bag and there are families chomping down making us feel like we are getting what we pay for.

Until next time–Greedy Northerners!

 

 

Little Dumpling, Queens NY

Queens

So my small venture in life for the next year might involve being over the bridge in Queens.  With that said, it looks like a harrowing thing but it may have some small benefits.  One is that I have access to all the Asian cuisine I want.

So on a recent trip to scope out the new venture, we realized that we would be ridiculously hungry if we went straight home, so we decided to eat locally.  Given that we chose a place called Little Dumpling.  It was small but neat and quick.  There was a woman in the kitchen and I hope she was in some kind of power position as she was the only one and I can imagine how that can be.

So what to order.  Well we ordered a large sweet and sour fish that had some beans in the sauces.  It was quite a site to see actually and almost scary.  We also ordered some vegetable rice and dumplings as appetizers.  The dumplings were hot and great.  I miss having dumplings whenever I want.  When I was overseas I would just grab dumplings at the store whenever I wanted them or just eat them for lunch in the school cafeteria.

Little Dumpling (cute little steamed bun logo)

corner of Springfield Blvd and Horrace Harding Expressway

 

There is another location on Northern Blvd.

 

The food and service was good.  We even got some bubble tea on the way out but were too full to try any of the deserts.  I love a good dish and one that totally satisfies.

 

Will I go back?  I will if in that specific area again.  I still have more to try.

Yay Queens!

 

Frank Pepe’s Yonkers NY

Fran Pepe’s

So recently we visited Frank Pepes which is a chain, a small one at that, which is supposedly one of the Neapolitan pizza makers.  Hmmm.  Well it was on TV and the original one was in Connecticut.  This one is in NY, Yonkers to be exact and we had to see what the big deal was.  We gave up swimming—a healthier option, to try it out, on a Friday no less.

So I must gripe about Yonkers first.  Why are parts of Yonkers like NJ?  This no UTURN business and having special roads to make U-turns thing is crazy.  I guess.  Also there is a side road when coming from 87 and in order to get on it, you have to use the side street to have access—you go up, come back down and you make that hard right.  Yeah, what planet am I on.

Let’s get back to the pizza discussion. I had to gripe a little first.  So right next to the shop is a Kia dealer and by the way, we have a plug in Kia—hybrid not full.  We got excited when we say the Kia dealer right next door.  However it was not going to be.  We read reviews and guides and it seemed that there would be this wild charge and there was also some barrier to getting that as the manager on duty could make the call and sometimes there was the thought that it was a waste of electricity.  So with all that hoopla, my husband decided not to even go up to the front door.

The parking right in front of the shop is metered.   DAMM.  We were lucky to find the spot in front of Kia a few spaces down that was not metered.

So we got in and we were seated in like 30 seconds.

When we got in, there were two seating areas and this large production area with white tiles and counter space.  To the back left side I could see them making dough or at least fiddling with food stock and it was in full view.  In the main part there was one or two guys working the large oven with these large 9 foot plus pizza sticks.  It would push the pizzas way back in the oven.  I mean it makes sense.  The pizzas are also made to order so it takes about 15 or so minutes for the pies to get done and well If you are hungry that is like an eternity.  They also only provide salad in addition to the pizza so if you need more than that, you have to pre-game but not too much as you want to eat all the pizza.

They bring the finished pies out on these sheet trays.  It’s crazy, Utopian in a way, but it is easy to clean, stack and it assures that all are uniform and a bunch of other things you can say about that. Man I was so hungry just waiting.  We had to keep my 4 year old busy.  Ever try that in a place where there is no sound barrier and everyone is in everyone’s business and it seems like a civilized pizza parlor.

So at this time people were pouring into the place.  A few people came at a time every few minutes.  Parking is a little hellish so you have to really wait till someone leaves.  So I ordered the mushroom, Gorgonzola and spinach pie and my husband ordered the Margherita.  I was like-wtf.  In all fairness, if that pie is not made well, then all the other stuff would be crap.  I believe you might need to always have a good base and add on from there but the original must always be great.

So we managed to polish off 95% and I took one more slice and remembered that I could not fit into my black pants so yeah, I took the last two slices homes.

Would I go back, probably?  It’s kind of far so it would not make sense.  However if I knew that I could always find a good pizza there, then I could go back.  We will have to try the Connecticut one as well to really see if there is a difference.

 

Okay, I am done pizzaing.

Road Triping

So we took a road trip to South Carolina.  That was exciting–long stretches of tall trees and at times we would pass through a billboard city and at other times, old industrial areas and the things you see in movies that signify ‘not’ a metropolitan city.  This was represented by tall grass, some abandoned buildings, no people walking around and just openness.

Hmm, family and a wedding, great excuses to get together.  It was November (2017)and for being so south, it was still cold.  What is this?  I would rather fly the 11 hours or less and be in a truly warm place.

What did I see while driving into the towns?  Defined areas, suburbs, some run down areas, some partly abandoned industrial areas.  I tried to get a read for the people and there were decent.  I guess in my mind I was waiting for someone to step out of line.  We had no such occasion.

There were definitely some trendy places and they had many of what we had in the Northeast.  It was comforting.

Family was fun.  We rented a 4 bedroom house on a quiet street, close to a golf course and a large park with fun apparatus.  I even got lost. I was like the anti-gps.  My phone was dying and I all the places looked the same.  It was a little scary.  I was by myself and I do have feelings about the south.

The downtown was kind of nice-small and quaint.  We ate at home except for the wedding so I cannot really say I had some Southern cuisine.  We also only really went out in the evening so no time to wander though the area and find stuff.  Oh we had ice cream. That is always a treat.

 

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Sukiyabashi Jiro, Tokyo Japan

Yeah so my husband I I were watching a documentary on Sushi making.  So the documentary featured Jiro, a 3 Michelin star restaurant. I guess I am not into paying a lot for my food but also I am not even sure I could eat that much.  So apparently a meal costs 30,000 yen.  Yup, so last nights conversion (April 2018) was 275 USD, back in 2012 it was 320 or something.  Yikes.

It is truly a labor of love.  I mean these guys are training and trying to get to the top of their craft.  I feel that some of us do not have something we are so passionate about.  We mostly just work in an area that just suits our abilities/area of study in college and current needs.  I do however hope to find that passion or some level of it.  Although, I am not sure I can give my whole life over to it.  It would have to be that good.

Jiro, you inspire me to search for that passion.  In terms of sushi, well I am just excited to eat it again.

Until then!!