taro turnoff

Taro Turnoff

In my quest to be better and to speak up I embarked on being someone else for a little while. So my family and I made a plan to walk on a known trail as a way to pass time with each other and to see all the interesting things you see when you are just wondering.

Being a frozen yogurt person, I stumbled upon a place close to the start of the trail. I had already planned to get yogurt earlier on but this was a calling. On the way in we saw an advertisement for bubble tea. We have tasted bubble tea in a few places but never in a yogurt and crepe shop. yogurt shop

So I tried taro, cookies and cream,  and European tart frozen yogurt. My husband opted for the taro bubble tea. Well we watched the girl make and an realized that it was a powder and she made it  with milk plus crushed ice. When we got outside and my husband was drinking it he made the comment that it was severely watered down and he could barely taste the taro. Well, my taro yogurt it was strong and familiar. So I kept telling my husband that if it is bad he should say something. He kept saying no it was okay but I could see him sulking with his lightly flavored ice milk. So I made up my mind to let them know and also to satisfy my husband with the taro yogurt.

I went in to the place got the replacement yogurt and then barked into my complaint. I asked them if it was supposed to be strong and the guy muttered something about it being kind of strong. I told him that my husband was disappointed and that I am getting the taro fro yo to replace the drink and to get a proper taro flavor. Well the girl looked at me with some weird disbelief and the guy apologized and he said the taro fro yo was on the house. I told him that I was in the food business and was a little bit of a critic. (unnecessary but it made me feel like king of the hill.) So I went outside and presented the taro fro yo to my husband.

So now we were out to just walk around the town, so much for the trail. We walked to the main area and saw bubble tea again and this time it was in a Chinese restaurant. So we indulged and we were satisfied. It was the almost real deal. 12 dollars plus my spending.

 

if you are going to do it, go full tilt (no half a… here)

Heated Brownies

SO I HAVE BEEN ON THE BROWNIE TRAIN LATELY.  A FRIEND ASKED ME TO MAKE CHOCOLATE PUMPKIN BROWNIES.  IT WAS MY FIRST TIME TO MAKE AND I WAS NOT EVEN SURE OF THE TEXTURE NOR THE TASTE REALLY.  THERE WAS NO BUTTER, EGGS OR FLOUR.  IT WAS JUST THREE INGREDIENTS -PUMPKIN, COCOA POWDER AND PEANUT BUTTER. THREE DAYS LATER I WAS ACTUALLY IN THE MOOD FOR BROWNIES SO I USED SOME SWEET RICE FLOUR AFTER FINDING ANOTHER RECIPE.  I ADDED ALL THE “MEAT” BACK OF COURSE.

I HAVE ACTUALLY BEEN BAKING BROWNIES ALMOST EVERY TWO WEEKS AS A PART OF MY INTERNSHIP/JOB.  RECENTLY I HAD TO MAKE A SPICY ONE AT THE BEHEST OF THE OWNER.  SHE ADDED HABANERO AND CHIPOTLE TO THE MIX.  I FELT IT JUST TASTED LIKE I ADDED POWDER TO A MIX.  IT HAD NO BITE OR AFTER TASTE.  I REALIZED THAT MY BOSS HAD NOT DONE THIS BEFORE.   I WAS JUST ONLINE AND I SAW A SUGGESTION FOR ADDING IT TO THE BUTTER MIXTURE.  WHEN MELTING THE BUTTER, PUT YOUR HOT RIGHT IN THERE–POWDER OR ADD WHOLE PEPPER INTO POT AND MELT BUTTER, THEN REMOVE PEPPER AFTER BUTTER IS FLAVORED.  I THINK I HAVE TO TRY THAT FIRST AND SEE.

SO SPICY BROWNIES MAY BE AROUND THE CORNER.  I PERSONALLY BEEN USING A RECIPE FROM ALLRECIPES-CALLED THE EASY BROWNIE RECIPE.

IF YOU HAVE A SUGGESTION, THEN LET ME KNOW.  WHEN I GO THROUGH MY TRIAL I WILL BLOG ABOUT IT.

HOT IS BACK!!!

sample recipes 1

Sweet Heat Mexican Hot Chocolate Brownies

 

 

Bread Pudding

In Nordic countries, it is called Ollebrod.

Grub Street Article

ollebrod

 

So I was a little curious who else had bread pudding tendencies.  This is what I found.

Thank you wikipedia:

including Argentina, Brazil, Colombia, Belgium, Canada, Cuba, France, Germany, Ireland, Malta, Mexico, the Netherlands, Slovakia, the Philippines, Puerto Rico, India (Double ka Meetha), the United Kingdom, and the United States. In other languages, its name is a translation of “bread pudding” or even just “pudding”, for example “pudín” or “budín” in Spanish; also in Spanish another name is “migas” (crumbs).[citation needed] In the Philippines, banana bread pudding is popular. In Mexico, there is a similar dish eaten during Lent called capirotada.[1][2]

Bread pudding like banana bread it a way to recycle your food and give it a second life.  Now when you cross bananas with bread pudding you get something wild. Now lets not forget the chocolate.  (oh now I think I have to go bake something–banana bread with chocolate chips and nuts–not bread pudding but don’t worry, that is coming soon.)

 

Food is never dead until it is rotting.

 

 

 

 

3 PLACES TO OFF RADAR TO EAT-WESTCHESTER

So to all the people living in the Westchester area–lower that is, here are a few finds that can satiate your hunger for some inexpensive food, decent portions and a real authentic feel.

One day we were in Yonkers and after going to Longhorn Steak House and Red Lobster we opted to YELP it and see what the people were saying.  So we ended up in the back of Mount Vernon at a Brazilian place called Chalanas that operated partly like a churrascaria. There was a little area where the guy was cooking meat on spits and also grilling.  It was the size of a bathroom and that was all the space he needed.  Then they had a buffet area: plantains, beans, roast pork, roasted chicken, potato salad, two kinds of rice, and the list goes on.  So we had some of both (the cooking meat and buffet) and we only spent 19$-my husband and daughter were with me.  We were filled and satisfied.  It was not fancy but the place was small and felt like 95% local people, which is great as there were no pretensions.

The second place is in Hartsdale at 10 Cross Street.  It is a small Mexican Restaurant. (Laguana Gourmet) Its so small, it is inside a house practically and partly.  There is no grand parking scheme, so only a few people at a time and probably a lot of people walk as it is close to major apartment complexes. (guessing?) It is off of Central Avenue almost hidden away.  The first time we went, we were not sure where it was.  The food counter area is like a small parlor with only a few tables to sit -2 really.  Then up a  1/3 set of stairs to the right is a small room that has tables around the perimeter-maybe 8 and that is where we sat. The few times we have been there it has only ever had one other set of people there and sometimes none. (sitting down but people going going to the counter to pickup)  The food is good however.

The third is in Port Chester and it on the main drag, Main street towards the Greenwich line to be exact.  This one is our go to for Peruvian–Pollo A La Brasa.  (right next door is a bbq place and that is good to but we are doing South American  (plus Mexican) restaurants in this blog)  It is like a large cafeteria but with a mirrored wall.  Whenever we went it was always 75% plus full.  Our favorite dish is Lomo Saltado.  We had the chicken  (Pollo Saltado) but the beef (Lomo) is the best.  They also have their own drinks. That is fun as well.  Street parking is paid parking so just get prepared.

So give them a try and if you visit or know someone who has visited, please feel free to comment.

 

 

Chocolate Bread et. Al

So as to continue my post from the week before, we will start with it and end in a different place. I mentioned to someone about my chocolate bread and sharp cheddar cheese combination, which was stellar. Forget regular grilled cheese.  Try chocolate bread with cheese grilled on a flat top.  YUMMY.  So the person equated that to BUN and CHEESE which is from Jamaica.  Similar idea as in not using traditional bread. Bun and Cheese  I had no idea about the Bun and Cheese thing, what is behind it.  I just knew of it in passing.

So in my ode to bread I point out that fresh bread daily is like water daily-gotta have it.  So when in  Lisbon, Portugal, I stay with a local so I am able to observe normal daily life and not the super tidy streets or directed traffic pattern etc of a modern, hotel driven possibly multinational behemoth industrial park with manicured lawns and fountains, super clean everything and possibly only chain stores familiar to expats.  I hope I set or rather unset the scene!

So every morning from about 6 (or earlier) till about 10 the bakeries sell fresh bread.  It is like a carrot dangling and you blindly walk into the light.  The smell is wonderful.  It is habit and culture.  Can you imagine if we did that here and we also changed it up from time to time to keep people excited about the product-what do we call that, OH YES BUZZZ!.  At these bakeries there are lines and once the bread is done :(.  You are basically out of luck by 10 am as it is the start of early lunch preparations though not the serving of it or its the mid morning coffee break and you head to a cafe close to work or close to home.  I missed the boat.  I chose to sleep past 9 and was hauling a… to get there before they closed up.

Another such bread experience was in the Philippines.  There is something called Pan de Sal, and it is great. It is a small roll that has a little sweetness but in a different way and they are sold warm and people get them by the dozens.  Forget the carb diet–does not exist.  I remember we were taking a road trip–6 of us and my daughter-toddler.  I think we got 2 or 3 dozen, that is basically 4 per person.  It was so good and the place is like a little kiosk–think Melissa’s Cupcakes and they can just turn it out hour after hour.  There is a limit as well so you have to go during certain times. pan de sal

A long winded idea, were I to have a windfall of cash, is to open a bakery/cafe but only selling fresh bread in the morning and selling desserts of my choosing in the night.  Why the F… not.  I mean in other countries bread is really integral in the culture and why not satiate that need or feeling.  HMMM.  My wheels are spinning.

So what have we learned–Bread is good and Fresh Bread is great.

 

 

Oh Chocolate Bread-How I love thee!!

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Before Baking
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After Baking

So you may be wondering why is chocolate bread getting serious TLC right now.

So my love of chocolate bread really grew when I worked for a high end food retailer and wholesaler.  Part of the business was a commissary that made various breads, those were sold to the company’s other businesses and also to local country clubs and restaurants, as well as through the retail store.  Being the keeper of the inventory and also the logistics and billing person early on, I was involved in the bread process.  At the end of its life, I was privy to supplying myself with some and I liked that perk.  Chocolate bread, also with a few others were best sellers and I always remained fond of that and I never see it anywhere, so either it is expensive, time intensive, only popular with certain lots or just mistaken for chocolate cake.  Seriously, some people who I know call anything that is a bread other than white bread or whole wheat that happens to have sugar–a cake.  So it just takes a little education but that is not my thing today.

So I comment on the chocolate bread because I really thought that one day I might make bread for a living or at least as part of a larger food oriented venture.  Why do I say this?  Well for one, I make more regular bread than my mom ever did.  She makes something called Bake which is a flat bread, somewhat dense and can be flaky if ghee or Cookeen shortening is used.  I do not make bake often and can count the amount of times I have made it. I chose to make things I was exposed to outside of my normal life.  So in addition to other breads, I wanted chocolate bread and I found a recipe.  I saw a few and I felt that 2 cups of sugar was a bit much so I opted for the recipe with half that.  I made the bread and it was great. I added chocolate chips to the top and well lets just say that when toasted it is amazing.

The point of this whole matter is that bread is good, especially when you pair it with something cool, then its status is elevated.

Stay tuned as I dive into bread in another way.

What is that wonderful smell coming from the kitchen on Saturday morning?–Oh yes, a loaf of Chocolate bread!!  Enough said!

Millennial Pink

I seemed to have missed this train.  I was reading New York magazine recently and I came across this article about Millennial Pink.  It was actually about its refusal to go away, so to speak.  I did not even know it was a thing officially.  Millennial Pink Article

I read through the article and it clicked, and then I was like, yeah I saw some of these things in passing. I love one of the names–Scandi Pink.

I also liked the reconfigurable sofa by Lim + Lu.  It does look fun in pink, they are correct.

Lastly,   the movie that had pink was THE GRAND BUDAPEST HOTEL.  The pictures in the article show the fictitious (to some extent) place.  I did some research (followed a link) and here is something interesting. grand Budapest like hotel

This millennial pink is nice and can make a nice touch to a room–I was thinking against a gray.  I guess that can go for clothes as well.  I have orange against grey walls currently, but pink would be cool.  In the long term, who knows.

 

I hope you found something in the article that you could relate to. I looked for some more articles on AOL, EliteDaily, Vogue, QZ, etc but most rehashed and added commentary which is cool but the article I mentioned actually does it by year and provides many pictures.  It goes in for pages.

Pink will live on.

 

Pink food–hmmm, jury is still out.

Long days of winter

The trip that would not end. Are we there yet? So where the flip do I begin? I guess we start with the trip planning. Well let me preempt you-use major airlines and direct flights. (most of the time)

So here were some considerations.
-to check or not to check the car seat
—-decided to check car seat
-to keep or check stroller till the gate
—decided to keep till gate

Low cost airlines charge for everything and you may even get combined flights from different airlines (if you don’t have direct flights) so you need to buy things (luggage allowance for one) on both. For example I purchased tickets and took the basic weight allotment. Now the basic for Norwegian was 20kg. However when you switch to Ryan air (small inter-European) the weight basic is 15kg.  When booking I somehow did not really notice this.  Fast forward to Ryan Air check in at counter in Oslo, Norway.

Hmm what the f to do? At the moment of check-in (from Oslo to London) the choice was to pay per kilo for being over or check another bag and pay for that. The former is up there but still the least expensive. In all the rush and panic, I did NOT even remember that I had a hand bag (a day bag) stowed away in my carry on. That could have made a second carry-on which was fine since there was three of us.  So guess what we did-we paid for the extra kilos. That was flipping fun. 50 dollars. (Oh after all said and done-our flight was delayed–yes.  Perhaps I might have had a moment to think out a better solution than to pay the money–since we were not boarding.)

Another barrel of laughs was the getting out the airport for our 8 hour layover. (immigration control was a little confusing to start) Well we had to train it to the central city. It was about 21 dollars each way per person. Then in the city we had to look for a place to eat. We thought maybe a local restaurant would do. We checked a few menus and only superficially looked at the prices. So we kept going. We came upon Max Burger, a local burger joint. It was crowded so we thought what the hec, why not. So we got burgers with fun toppings. It was good. Then we sat down and reviewed the costs(convert back to dollars). My eyes almost left my head-40 something dollars $, as if I had bought the whole office pizza or something for lunch.


During the time that we ventured into Oslo we had to store our luggage. Oh that bill came up to 35 dollars. 


So if you are doing the math we added about 200 to our ticket price and we had to gather and recheck our bags.

Also low cost airline do not always fly at the time that works best for you and to the location. Our flights were out of Stansted which is about an hours plus drive straight from southern London. Jesus. That cost us a bunch as well. We paid about 28 pounds  for the bus to the city center and then another 46 Pounds from there to the house by taxi.
200 plus 100 hmm that is 300. There goes the savings.  Oh did I mention that our flight was delayed 2 hours. (yes I did) Oh there nothing like barricading a toddler in for 2 hours.

After a long day we arrived to my uncle’s house and the room we were to stay in was kind of a closet. Stroller and car seat had to remain by the front door  of house and suitcases buy the walls of room. Would the day ever end? It did. It never improved.

Lessons learned
Plan every detail out (at least if you plan to cut corners)
Read every fine print
Don’t cut corners  (lol, can only do that if you are travelling light and bby yourself maybe)
Time is money (sometimes just time)
Airlines are not your friends
Airports are sometimes not your friends (when you have to walk about a mile to the main terminal–toddler, stroller and backpack in hand)
Know the country you will visit in terms of cost of living 

 So I took pictures of my trip but none of the airport–I would rather not have it memorialized in my brain.  OH–OH, no changing rooms for kids or at least facilities.  WTF, they have it in other modern countries, like Portugal, South Korea.  Really, Norway, Really!!!

Okay I am done trip busting.  In my next post I will put some photos of memorable things.

Space

This is purely a commentary  on space–the kind you need for all your stuff.

 

Attitudes

Use all available space  (when every nook and cranny in your home is filled to the max and you have spilled over into the hallway and onto the floor)

Minimize items in a space (less is more, like a museum)

More than enough space (just right and it feels comfortable)

Unnecessary space (so you are a family of 3 but you have 8 bedrooms and well you just buy things to fill the space)

Cheat to get space  (this is what inspired me to post about space)

-In NY as in other cities with older buildings, you will notice some of the living room or the front facing siting rooms in the brownstones are sometimes bumped out.  And, they are bumped out in sometimes grand fashion.  When you stand close to it and examine the build, you notice that it is another 2 feet out and the length of the window could be about 5-8 feet.  Square footage increase by 10-16. You can have a narrow functioning table or a small desk or a slim couch in that space. WTF.  That is what I call cheating and stealing space.   I saw this often while in the old areas of the city-Cadiz/Jerez and Seville.  Lest not forget to mention the proximity to the building across the street.  At one point I walked down an alley of houses (town houses) and 8 -10 feet separated the walls.  So if you take away 4 feet total , giving each neighbor a 2 foot bump out then you have 4 feet separation.  How about you reach out and touch your neighbors window.

The second commentary on space is using the roof.  Spain does a good job of this.  There are hardly any green spaces in the city and there is no place to linger outside of the apartments just back onto/encircle a courtyard that is shared.(not counting a tapas bar)  I saw nicely done top floors that had decorated balconies, awnings, laundry lines, tables and umbrellas set up, and grills.  It was literally the backyard.

So where do you fit in the space continuum?  Is your home office in a walk in closet, are you using your garage as an extra room, is your basement expressly used for storage or lastly do you live by yourself but have a 4 bedroom house? Or are you living in a studio apartment with all fold away furniture/appliances/amenities?

Let there be space!

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Lido–Harlem NY

So we had our first family get together in a long while and it was actually 2 families.  My parents, my husband and I, my sister and my dad’s cousin and husband. We needed a place that would fit 9 people and we also needed it not to be to ridiculous–expensive.  I could not promise that and I also did not look at the bill in the end.

So I like the interior and the coziness.  I am becoming used to having to reserve every time I need to eat out in Manhattan.  When you only have a few days to book, it is close to impossible.  It is disheartening when you have to find a place and no space is available.

So onto the review.  The host as usual, waits to seat the whole party.  We got a booth and believe me, it fit us to a t.  We had to wait for part of the family to arrive and the restaurant was patient with us though we had a limited time.

It was good for breakfast but just good.  I had pancakes and there was only one kind offered.  I am a cook so I add blueberries to my pancakes as well as some nuts and I bring some funky syrup to the table.  All in all, I am not a fan of paying a ton for food that is really easy to make.  As my cousin said, I can make this at home.  Some times I really feel like inviting everyone over to the house and making them breakfast–breakfast of champions .  Check it-ham frittata, sausage with fennel or something, croissants and wheat toast or fresh banana bread, yogurt with mueslix, and sangria or fresh fruits.  When a restaurant starts doing this spread family style then you can charge me 17+ dollars.  (pancakes 14$, plus order of bacon 6$, $20 total)  Bam, enough said.

Lido gets a 6.  It was decent enough but nothing memorable, at  least concerning the dish I ordered.  Place was nice and homely.

Can I tell you what gives Lido its other reason to be remembered,  it is across the street from Levain Bakery. levain bakery  I love Levain.  Simple menu and well made products.  They are like a factory just pushing out product.  They have it down to a science such that the store is 85 percent production facility and 15 percent sales space.

So I will visit Levain again but will try another place for brunch.

My favorite things!!