The best vanilla iced latte we’ve ever had from Cafe d’Avignon. It was sweet and roasty and perfect and full of vanilla bean flecks.
Take-out dinner. Fries and a spicy chicken biscuit from Sweet Chick plus roasted cauliflower and garlic green beans from Whole Foods’ hot bar.
Dinner out at Kyu. Hamachi with ponzu, basil, and mint.
Tuna crispy rice.
Japanese sweet potato with butter and black sugar. <– best thing we ate all weekend
Beef tenderloin with garlic soy butter and housemade kimchi.
Burnt end style duck.
And a Lowrider cocktail with mango infused tequila, amaretto, almond, mango agave syrup, and orange bitters. The amaretto seemed like it was clarfied; this drink was so unique.
P.S. No photos but we also went on an epic bar crawl! Highlights were – Doctor Daniel the Milky Cola from Bandit’s, gin, rum, mezcal, scotch, coffee liqueur, chocolate, vanilla, walnut, angostura, lemon, and a coke on the side AND the hibiscus limeade with vodka and grapefruit soda from Pokito.
Some highlights from an exceptionally yummy week! We had some bonkers-good snacks and dinners the past few days…
Sumo mandarins and new Hunnyz apples – perfectly sweet and with a balanced texture, not super crisp but not at all mealy.
Yuzu beverages, both winners. I mixed the High Tide sparkling water with iced matcha and the Lunar hard seltzer with vodka.
Crispy lentils. I loved how roasty these were.
Snack Mates pizza and chicken and waffle flavored meat sticks. These were great.
Strawberry chocolate mochi. This was definitely the best packaged mochi I’ve tried.
The Reese’s Big Cups continue to be the ultimate candy; this new Reese’s Puffs variety was a 10/10. My personal ranking is potato chip > puffs > pretzel. Meanwhile, we liked these so much we bought a box of Puffs and I was very underwhelmed by them in cereal bowl form.
I don’t accept many product samples for the blog these days but this was truly the perfect fit – Prospector Popcorn. The flavors were delicious (the Belgian chocolate toffee was my favorite), they were super fresh, and none of the coatings contain palm oil. We truly loved these and have already ordered more bags with our own money. Huge bonus – this company is a non-profit dedicated to employing people with disabilities (74% of their current workforce).
Korean chicken bowls. Sliced chicken thighs marinated in gojuchang, soy sauce, garlic, and brown sugar and sauted in canola oil. With green onion, sesame seeds, and chopped roasted baby cauliflower.
Salads. Green lettuce with balsamic vinaigrette, crispy lentils, roasted carrots (rainbow baby carrots roasted with butter, evoo, honey, cinnamon, smoked paprika, and urfa pepper), and a fried egg.
Pizza bites (this recipe – we loved it!), garlic turkey meatballs, and roasted romanesco with pizza sauce for dipping.
Pizza-inspired tteokbokki. Rice cakes / roasted cabbage and red onion / green onions / shredded chicken breast / pizza sauce with gojuchang, gochugaru, sugar, evoo, and water / pizza blend shredded cheese.
The year’s been good so far! I started my 1/1/23 with a quick run before work to get things started on the right foot and had cold brew with sweetened condensed milk next for a sweet year. <– I made those traditions up but I love them. I also worked several lucky-for-the-new-year foods into our meals this week – cabbage, greens, noodles, and black eyed peas.
Highlights from the 1st week of the year included…
Coffee from Hawaii.
Surprisingly wonderful mochi doughnuts from Paris Baguette. The cinnamon one was stuffed with red bean.
Homemade popcorn with butter, furikake, togarashi, white sesame seeds, and salt/sugar.
Another hit from my favorite beer company (Abomination Brewing). This marshmallow IPA was great, though not as good as Fog Nog. I drank it on a date walk with Adam to get froyo topped with marshmallows, so that was perfect.
We also enjoyed this Mai Tai inspired sour from Mast Landing.
We celebrated New Year’s Eve by eating tons of Chinese take-out and falling asleep before 10pm (my very favorite way to spend NYE!). Zouji Dumpling House is my new favorite Chinese spot – we ordered a million things and loved it all. This leftovers dinner plate was scallion pancake / house chili oil / pan-fried lamb dumplings / veggie dumplings with cabbage, radish, and rice noodles / dry stir-fried cauliflower with onion, pepper, and garlic / Kung Pow chicken / and a scoop of sourkraut for luck.
Our favorite black-eyed-pea salad. With Kerrygold Dubliner cheese, Crystal hot sauce, and diced green bell pepper. Plus some roasted baby cauliflower.
Whole-wheat vermicelli noodles with zoodles, shredded chicken, and nước chấm. Topped with Sriracha.
Congee (brown rice cooked for an hour and a half in turkey stock) / layered with collard greens sauteed with green onion and ginger / and ground turkey sauteed with white onion, garlic, and Korean pepper / topped with chili crisp and green onions.
Popeye’s take-out with roasted broccoli from home. Biscuit, fries, nuggets with great sauces, and some of the best mac and cheese I’ve eaten in the States! Is Popeye’s my favorite restaurant? I want to be embarassed to be considering that but I probably should be more embarassed by the fact that this wasn’t the only time I ordered this this week!! The nuggets are shockingly good leftover.
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!
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.
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.
Chobani pumpkin spice Greek yogurt with strawberries, granola, and chia seeds.
Noosa pumpkin yogurt with blackberries and granola.
See also – I really enjoyed this Elleno’s Greek yogurt with lemon curd.
As much as I love potato chips I also really like things that are pretending to be potato chips. Wilde’s chicken chips (this chicken and waffles variety is my favorite).
Biena’s Hawaiian bbq chickpea and veggie crisps.
Local pumpkin beers. Bronx Brewery’s Tattooed Pumpkin IPA (7.5/10) and Blue Point’s Big Mother Pumpkin imperial pumpkin ale (8.5/10).
Also local, also for spooky season – Sixpoint’s Screamsickle orange and vanilla hazy DIPA (8.5/10).
A fun date night – Adam and I went out to For Five Coffee for these tasty churro pancakes with dulce de leche drizzle, chocolate pearls, and horchatta ice cream.
Pumpkin Month pasta. Trader Joe’s butternut squash pasta with roasted zucchini, Seemore’s chicken kale pesto sausage, and Sauces n Love pink pesto sauce. [note to future Emily – we did not like the pink pesto!]
Fantastic noodles and veggie bowls. Whole-wheat vermicelli / nom choc / chicken breast cooked in the crockpot with soy sauce, rice vinegar, lime, ginger, and honey / roasted brussel sprouts / chili crisp.
Turkey reuben inspired sheet-pan hash. We loved this! Roasted potatoes and cabbage with smoked turkey, sourkraut, and homemade 1000 island dressing.
We had crazy work-weekends but did manage to have a lot of fun in our evenings – exploring some new-to-us restaurants in Long Island and Queens and getting some great treats. Our favorite dish from each stop was…
We did not enjoy this key lime sour, but I am posting a photo as a reminder to Adam and myself because it so seems like something we would like.
On the other hand, we loved the flavor profile and political stance of this Greenpoint IPA.
Typically I don’t buy vegan ice creams but these bites are pretty satisfying.
Our favorite sheetpan hash – roasted Japanese sweet potato, bok choy, and green onion; topped with smoked salmon candy and roasted Norwegian salmon. I also added tons of Kewpie, Sriracha, and furikake.
Big summer salads. Local lettuce, honey mustard dressing, baby tomatoes, roasted corn, baked tofu, and homemade croutons.
Best bowl of the week – sauteed cabbage, snap peas, baby tomato, and green onions, with chicken maple breakfast sausage, peanuts, Korean chili flake, Sichuan pepper salt, and a nuoc cham inspired sauce.
Tons of Roast take-out – chicken taco sandwich, fries, buffalo-style roasted potatoes – plus roasted purple cauliflower.
This seed and oat bar was great; it reminded me of one of those old-fashioned sesame bar candies.
Yogurt bowl – plain yogurt with golden nugget mandarin, red plum, honey, Heritage Flakes, and chia seeds.
A taro and salted egg yolk cake from 99 Ranch Market; overall we weren’t impressed with their prepared foods selection but this was fantastic.
Chewy, fruity Japanese candies. The grape ones were the best.
Leftovers of our duck two ways from Glasserie – honey and spice crusted duck breast and braised duck thigh with nuts and raisins in phyllo dough. Plus veggies from home – roasted cauliflower and gojuchang cabbage.
Chicken salad loosely inspired by Waldorf Salad. Shredded chicken with dressing (plain yogurt, mayo, salt, lemon, honey, and horseradish), apple, green onion, celery, toasted cashews, and dried cherries.