Merry And Bright

Highlights from a very festive Christmas weekend…

Peppermint pour-over coffee with egg nog cold foam.

Dalgona iced coffee with eggnog.

Red and green yogurt bowl. Trader Joe’s eggnog Greek yogurt with kiwi, raspberries, and vanilla granola.

Holiday special scoops from Odd Fellows Ice Cream. Buddi’s Spaghetti Sundae – maple ice cream, chocoalte cookie crumbs, mini marshmallows, m&m’s, sno caps, and corn nuts / Moose Nog – egg nog ice cream with fudge swirls and peanut butter cups.

Seasonal brews from Ardent Brewing. The gingerbread was perfect, not too spicy at all, and the Fog Nog is truly my all-time favorite beer/alcoholic beverage/beverage in general. 15/10.

A very close 2nd all-time-favorite is Leyenda’s Candy Striper – a frozen delight with cachaca, coconut, vanilla, lemon, peppermint, maple, and cardamom.

We went to their Sleyenda holiday pop-up for seasonal drinks and a wonderful dinner (it was too dark for photos but my shrimp arepas were amazing). I also had a Reindeer Games with tequilla, cachaca, banana, honey, maple, lemon, pine, and bitters.

Chinese take-out from Blue Wave. I got fantastic veggie stir-fried udon. Also the best scallion pancakes I’ve ever eaten.

Red and green salads. Red leaf lettuce with homemade ranch, red bell pepper, fresh mint, a soft-boiled egg, and a garlic and herb lobster cake (frozen, from Luke’s via Whole Foods).

Red and green rice bowls. Brown rice / sauted bok choy / sourkraut sauted with gojuchang and sugar / soy marinated eggs.

P.S. I am off of work most of this week, which is just lovely! I sipped a fancy coffee while I wrote this post!

(Raise The) Bar Food

Highlights from the past week…

This week’s eggnog plus coffee we brought back from Hawaii.

Sugar cookie kefir from Lifeway. Good, though not as good as I thought it would be.

Cosmic Crisp apple. It was good but hard to describe, somehow firm and juicy but not crispy?

Mountain Dew’s fruit cake soda is my new favorite mixer! Downright delicious with spiced rum.

This week’s dinners were all a) great, and b) bar food themed! We covered tacos, nachos, cheeseburgers, chicken tenders, and pickles! Taco salad. Chopped romaine / Sugar Bomb tomatoes / avocado / black beans / extra-sharp cheddar / ground turkey sauted with white onions and taco seasoning / cracked pepper / homemade ranch dressing – sour cream, lime, Crystal hot sauce, and ranch seasoning. I would have said that I don’t care about ranch dressing but this stuff was fantastic.

Pickled oven baked tofu tenders plus roasted broccoli. Sprouted extra-firm tofu / marinated in pickle juice, soy sauce, Sriracha, and garlic / dipped in a mix of flour, cornstarch, sugar, and smoked paprika – then egg – then panko bread crumbs / baked at 375 degrees for 30 minutes. So crispy.

Cheeseburger inspired nachos plus roasted green beans with ranch. Trader Joe’s dill pickle chips / extra-sharp cheddar / ground turkey sauted with garlic, ketchup, and yellow mustard / Kewpie / chopped Sugar Bomb tomato, white onion, and dill pickle.

Traditional nachos, actual bar food. I worked a 10.5 hour day on Thursday (!!, coming back from a vacation means extra work, being short-staffed near the holiday means extra work, and training an intern means things move more slowly, and all three factors converged horribly this week) so I grabbed take-out for dinner on my way home. Nachos with cheese sauce and cheddar, chicken, corn, tomatoes, peppers and onion, and zucchini.

Sour Cream Or Applesauce?

Vacation is over and I’m heading back to work today. By the time you read this I’ll be drinking eggnog with an extra-strong coffee!

It was a low-key weekend and I cooked dinner x2. My snacks definitely outshown my main meals though. Highlights include…

Trader Joe’s eggnog Greek yogurt with Satsuma mandarins and vanilla granola.

Surprisingly good sushi from Whole Foods. A California roll topped with fried shallots.

Should I be embarassed that the best thing I ate all weekend was a plate of microwave nachos? Really good microwave nachos? Spud Love potato chips with gouda, gojuchang, and maple.

Veggie noodles. Ramen / sauted frozen veggies (stir-fry mix and chopped spinach) / peanut butter gojuchang sauce / soft-boiled egg / Sriracha on top.

A delicious but non-traditional first night of Hanukkah. Trader Joe’s frozen latkes (potato and cauliflower) with sauted dinosaur kale and a fried egg. I pair my latkes with sour cream instead of applesauce.

Hawaii 2022

Adam and I just returned from six fantastically glorious days in Oahu! Best vacation we have taken yet.

Everything was beautiful (of course!), we got incredibly lucky with the weather, we loved our hotel (Hotel La Croix – amazing staff, beautiful views, and perfectly walkable to the beach and downtown), and we swooned over every activity and meal! And we saw a seal!! I did not pack a camera but couldn’t stop myself from Instagramming incessantly.

Some of our favorite activities – – –

Hiking. We went on four hikes this visit. Makapu’u Light House Trail / Kuliouou Ridge Trail / Diamond Head / Ka’ena Point State Park.

We went to Green World Coffee Farm and walked through the coffee plants. We also got a fantastic tour (with tastes) of the Old Sugar Mill Brand Waialua Coffee where they grow coffee and cacao.

Some of our favorite bites – – –

Flavor themes of the week – ahi, malasada, mochi, musubi, passionfruit, poke, taro, and yuzu. I lost my photo but we had a wonderful traditional meal at Helena’s – my first time trying poi!

We walked over to Kona Coffee Purveyors several times. Also to the Starbucks Reserve for this delicious americano con crema with demura sugar and cinnamon.

Guava malasada from Leonards. Also my favorite thing I ate all trip was a taro mochi malasada from a convenience store.

There was a great Japanese store near our hotel and between that and the well-stocked 7-11 I tried some very exciting things.

Passionfruit mochi bar.

Salted cod roe and cheese musubi.

Halo halo.

Local fruits from a roadside stand. Starfruit, passionfruit, and coconut.

Shave Ice! We went to Waiola Shave Ice and Matsumoto Shave Ice. The boring looking one was actually white cake and yuzu (!!!) with vanilla ice cream and sweetened condensed milk.

Poke! So much fresh tuna. We went to Maguro Brothers and Ono Seafood.

Dinner at O’Kims. Fried chicken and purple rice with the best kimchi I’ve ever eaten.

Lunch at Piggy Smalls was our favorite meal of the trip! And dinner at Pig and the Lady was a close second. Twice fried brussel sprouts, tea leaf salad, brisket with pancakes and eggs, great cocktails (Adam had a POG slushie!), and an egg coffee.

A perfect trip!

Festive Feasting

It was a fun week! My aunt and uncle were in town for a show and we had a great time meeting up with them. I didn’t take any photos but we had GREAT meals at Canary Club and El Quiote.

Highlights include…

I managed to eat a truly impressive amount of peppermint and/or Christmas themed food!

Blank Street‘s candy cane cold brew was possibly my favorite coffee of this year!

The coquito cold brew (with two shots of espresso) from 787 obviously isn’t bad either.

Health-Ade Holiday Cheers kombucha.

Peppermint vodka seltzer, yes, I dyed it green.

Amazing tiramisu eggnog at Dante.

Peppermint ice cream (12/10) with peppermint chocolate quinoa bites.

Adam’s favorite bakery in New York is probably Blacksmith’s Breads. He sweetly surprised me with a pretzel bread.

Greek yogurt bowl with tiger syrup, granola, and persimmon.

Good-not-great but incredibly convenient microwave rice rolls.

Very Spicy Vegan Dan Dan Noodles from Very Fresh Noodles. It wasn’t actually that spicy (more numbing than hot) but the noodles were unbelievably fresh, bouncy and perfect.

This was the best meal I’ve made this year. Roasted broccoli / roasted red onion / roasted white beans / dried cherries / best ever sauce; in the food processor – parsley, roasted jalopeno, Korean chili flake, smoked almonds, smoked sardines, parmesan, honey, garlic, salt, evoo, and a bit of water / and I topped my bowl with candied jalopenos.

My True Love Gave To Me…

Three peppermint snacks, two cocktail ingredients, and a yogurt with passionfruit in it!

Three (festive) things from this weekend…

I’m very into this fancy, dessert-y yogurt brand.

A peppermint-focused work snack. I forget every year how tasty the chocolate mint Perfect Bars are.

Coke didn’t release their cinnamon cola this season so I made my own boozy version.

Hello, December

First things first, check out my amazing holiday-themed things haul –

I am most excited about the eggnog yogurt and the peppermint ice cream.

Highlights from this week include… several foods that fit in themed months past…

This Sugar Bee apple was a 10/10, crispy and sweet.

And the new crisp apple Olipop was a 9/10.

Did you know Arizona Iced Tea makes a spiked version??! So nostalgic and quite tasty.

Mini blondies from Fat Witch – matcha and white chocolate citrus.

Festive yogurt bowl – plain Greek with tiger syrup, cookie butter, granola, Satsuma mandarins, and cranberry sauce.

I have been weirdly into ramen recently, especially this spicy one. I like to crack an egg in before I put it in the microwave.

Another round of Thanksgiving nachos. Stuffing chips with swiss/gruyere, shishitos, smoked turkey, and cranberry sauce. Plus roasted brussel sprouts.

Crab-fried cauliflower rice! I sauteed riced cauliflower, rainbow chard, and green onions with Sriracha, soy sauce, fish sauce, rice vinegar, ginger, and garlic and eggs and loads of blue crab.

Thankful For Family

This year I worked Thanksgiving Day but then had Friday off for a long weekend — so my parents came to visit! They loved getting to experience the cold (not many 45 degree days in St. Thomas!) and spend time with their granddog and we did a bunch of great New York exploring. Our travels included Time Square, Bryant Park, Chelsea Market, Industry City, Bushwick, Greenpoint, and Hudson!

I did not take a single dinner photo – we went to the oldest steakhouse in New York and also had outstanding meals at Kitty’s in Hudson and Glasserie in Brooklyn! – but here are a few highlights from the past week…

I managed to eat many on-theme things on Thanksgiving.

My parents and I stuck with tradition and ate Thanksgiving nachos – Trader Joe’s stuffing chips with smoked turkey, sauteed shishitos, swiss and gruyere, and cranberry sauce. Plus sauteed green beans with butter and lemon.

Plus Loryn Powell said that Fireball and banana cream rum tastes like a Cinnabon so my mom and I tried it with a maple pecan cream liquer and were quite impressed!

We were also pleased with these Tip Top mini canned cocktails.

We tried – and loved – one of the Zaro’s specialty black and white cookies – mint chocolate.

We found the Oishii omakase strawberries on sale! Fun to try but no one really preferred them to standard strawberries.

Everyone thought that Fortunes Ice Cream in Trivoli makes the best ice cream we’ve ever tried. I got persimmon and the sour cherry labne.

Broad rice noodles with tofu from Bangkok Bar in Industry City – I’ve wanted to go there for forever and now I want to go back immediately.

Great iced latte from Wycoff Starr.

Festive yogurt bowl with plain skry, frozen banana bread, brown sugar syrup, cinnamon, and sumatra mandarin.

It’s Starting To Taste Like Winter

Highlights from this week…

Wonderful yogurt bowl – plain skyr with granola and persimmon.

Milk Bar birthday cake iced latte.

Great horchatta with espresso at For All Things Good.

I pulled pumpkin chocolate chip cookies out of the freezer and they were even more amazing than I remembered.

I’m not ready for eggnog yet (make that – I am always ready for nog but I am not releasing the eggnog floodgate yet) but I have fully embraced peppermint! Like the limited release Wendy’s peppermint frosty.

Or Minter Wonderland ice cream.

Brooklyn Cupcake! Cojito, tiramisu, and guava cheese.

Best iteration yet of the butternut squash we make every year. This year we served it as a warm salad. Roasted butternut squash and shredded brussel sprouts, Trader Joe’s sweet and spicy pecans, dried cherries, and homemade dressing (3 T lemon juice, 3 T maple syrup, 2 T stone ground mustard, 1 T Kewpie, 1 T crystal hot sauce.

A meta dinner win – cobb salad egg salad in endive lettuce cups. Eggs with mayo and mustard, chives, avocado, turkey bacon, and blue cheese.

Buffalo chicken salad (shredded chicken with mayo, Franks, vinegar, blue cheese, and chives) with roasted broccoli and Japanese sweet potato.

Top 5, x2

Some of our favorite things from an exceptionally delicious weekend. We went to our favorite brewery and tried two restaurants that both easily made the cut for top five meals we’ve eaten in 2022.

Drinks at Evil Twin – we had a fall x candy x Wonderland line-up of beers.

Even More Hydra fruited sour / Fresh Feet & No Chicken citrus milkshake IPA / Fun Sized Halloween candy sour ale / Marshmallow is the New Milk Sugar marshmallow triple IPA / Back to the Pumpkin Patch pumpkin milkshake IPA. Also a Concrete Jungle fruit punch gose.

Dinner at Sobre Masa – a Mexican restaurant and tortilleria in Bushwick.

We shared seared queso fresco with fresh salsa.

And the best chips and guacamole we’ve ever tasted, with a variety of salsas.

I drank an El Pastor De Flavor – fat-washed tequilla, rum, roasted guava, masa, Vino de Agave, lemon balsam magnolia aperitif, and Mexican bitters.

And I ordered the oyster mushrooms with cracked corn, hoja santa, and guajillo mole. Plus housemade tortillas.

Housemade flan and tres leches for dessert.

Dinner at Potluck Club – a Cantonese American Restaurant on the Lower East Side. Everything was fantastic and the space was so cute!

A yuzu hard seltzer and a Chinese pale ale.

Spicy eggplants with fried shallot and cilantro.

Braised short rib with kobucha squash.

Rice roll noodles with oyster mushrooms, asparagus, chives, and hanger steak. <– best dish of the weekend!