Friday, April 30, 2010

Flowers and Carriage House

It was a spectacular day yesterday, even thought the win was blowing all day.
It was still bright out after finishing the dinner, so I went outside to take a walk. Passing through the Promenade park, where many tourists were taking pictures and many locals were jogging.
I was a bit afraid to be out side last several weeks due to the allergy but MY season seems to be over, and I did not sneeze even once while I was out. Found this gorgeous flowers on Willow street just in front of famous houses. Love this time of the year.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Strawberry Break

We don't see local strawberries till later May or June, but we see many from California and Florida these days. I have to be honest that almost all the fruits here are not as good as we can get in Japan - not as sweet/soft/dense as it could be. Strawberry is not exception, but these days I am pretty much satisfied with the ones I can get here. I don't think Americans eat it with anything, but itself, while I grew up eating it with milk and sugar, or sweetened condense milk, that's what I did for today's "strawberry break", vs. coffee break.

This Past Weekend

Rainy weekend.
I think April/May is kind of rainy season in NYC, which improves greens in the city so I don't mind. It is so beautiful when you walk around the city.
We went to a BBQ place for Friday dinner. The seating assigned to us was so cute - look as this.
We had Buffalo chickens as appetizer, and one and half baby back to share. Don't even think about the calories... Guilty pleasure, which we needed.
We were supposed to have Memphis stile for a half portion but entire dish was source base, so the waitress brought ANOTHER half with Memphis spice rub version, which means we had TWO racks of baby back ribs. They were all good.
I don't know what went wrong but I was sick on Saturday and no appetite (can you believe this?).
Luckily it came back by Sunday afternoon, so our dinner was Shabu-Shabe. A lot of vegetables and premium rib-eye meats. As usual, the table was protected by the papers (I wonder how people do... I grew up this way, so it feels so natural.) No Shabu-Shabu pot and we just used an ordinary pot we have. It was very decent meat. I wonder how I would feel if I ate premium meat in Japan. Would I see the difference or $20 per pound meat would be good enough for me after living here so long???

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Night Out in NYC

It has been a while since last time I went out in the city - yup I guess I am getting old not to go out for dinner or drink in the city, or just I don't work in the city anymore.
Anyway, I met up wit my friend B for drink/dinner. ACE hotel was the place we decided to meet, which is by the way a very interesting hotel and the lobby was fulled with the people chatting/checking e-mail and drinking coffee/beer. I was not sure they were tourists or locals. Next door was a famous coffee shop.
No decent restaurant close by, so we decided to walk several, actually over ten, blocks towards Chelsea area. On the way, there was a bagel shop - Murry which named familiar and I asked B about it and he said it is famous. We decided to go in and I bought FOUR. Store was very modern compared to Ess-a or Bergen, and their bagels were a bit smaller than Ess-a, and taste just  in between my favorites - so I am giving them 4-4.5 stars (of course Ess-a is 5 stars and Bergen gets 4 stars). It lacks a bit of chewiness since it is a little smaller than Ess-a.
We went to a Thai restaurant - not authentic side but modern side. B recommended key lime pie martini - yup you can find any types of martini in NYC, and it did taste just like cake. And we did finish our meal with a piece of key lime pie.
It was nice to be out for dinner and catching up with my friend., AND finding another good bagel store.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Yae-Zakura and Gyoza

Chilly weekend compared with the one we had last week. Drizzling rain all day, but it is helping to keep the flowers blooming longer. I am not sure what this flower/tree is but is is pretty pink till it blooms. Maybe apple?
I like Somei-Yoshino, the most common Sakura (cherry blossom in Japanese), but I like Yae-Zakura more. It literally means eight layers of peddles, which I have never counted whether it is eight or more/less. Since each flower has multiple peddles, it looks more substantial and shows pinkness. We use the young leaf for Sakura-Mochi (traditional Japanese sweets only available during this time of year) or even flower for tea.
For some reason, I really wanted to cook Gyoza (Japanese or I should say originated in China but more to be Japanese dumpling). I think ground pork is more common but we used a mix of chicken and beef - I think some people know why...
The wrappers we bought had over 50 sheets, but our meat mixture was way more than needed, so we made mini meat burgs as well (no picture).
Simple dinner but very fulfilling.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

American-Chinese Dinner and Newly Opened Fairway Market

Friday dinner - where should we go???
We ended up with an American- Chinese. It is purely managed by Chinese people - they even don't speak English well, but the food they served was totally Americanized. Even I, non-Chinese, can say that they don't eat this kind of food. Look at the inside. Nobody thinks that this is a Chinese restaurant. If you pay close attention, there is NO Asian people either. This is NYC, so there are Asian people in every block.
We ordered Orange Beef (very typical American-Chinese) and two types of noodle dishes. Yes, we love noodles. We could not finish all the dishes so they will be our Saturday lunch.
New Fairway (one of our favorite grocery stores in NYC) opened new one in the Bronx. It is huge (compared with the one in Brooklyn). They carry great produce (and cheap). But the bargain we found was $1.99 chicken breast. It was 5 lb pack but we can always keep them in the freezer, so we don't have to eat chicken all week.
We bought French style apple pie. I guess French means no top cover, but sliced apples. Looks much healthy.
Even our Chinese dinner was huge, we had a room for desert. It was good.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Walk the Park

Since the weather has been so nice, I took a walk after dinner - it was still bright out even after 7 pm.
There have been constructions to develop the park underneath of BQE (I-278). They just partially opened this month, and it looks great. You can see on the right side where people were enjoying newly developed park with greens. It start right under the Brooklyn bridge. It must be really nice after all is done in a few years. There are supposed to be harbor for the boats.
The Promenade park has a lot of flowers and trees, and they were blooming. It was getting dark, but I still got a decent shot.  

Good Eats

After the gym, I stopped by at the farmer's market to buy pretzels - since I mainly work from home, I can go to the gym anytime during the day. I usually go in the morning though. They come only once a week, while there are THREE farmers market a week. You can buy a whole - 3 for $2 or so, or you can buy broken ones by weight, which is much cheaper and you need to break to eat, so it is actually easy to eat broken ones. They have with sold and without, and I like it without. Even it is without salt, I can still taste a bit of saltiness.
I needed something sweet as well, so I stopped by at the bakery close to my apartment. I buy the apple pie for Thanksgiving every year (I like cooking but I am not a baker) from this place, and I bought the same - crumble topping today, but just a slice.
Both were yummy. It is not a good idea to have these goodies in the apartment all the time in terms of diet, but I have been working out (or at least going to the gym) all the time it should not be too bad, right?

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Back Fully in NYC

I have been in NYC for more than one week now.
It still feels a bit strange not taking a flight on Sunday afternoon but cooking for dinner.
This weekend, we went for seafood in CT, even though it was not located on the shore. Blackened Swordfish and  fried oyster with onion ring, along with clam chowder. They were decent, not great...
Finally Sunday home cooking - meatloaf and vegetable soup. Eda-mame salad with red onion/cabbage was good to change the tasting pallet. Meatloaf was moist - thank to my secret ingredients.
We have a piece of apple pie for desert. I am wondering it goes well with chocolate ice cream we have in the freezer...

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Fukinoto - Arrival of the Spring

One of my friends in Japan sent me this picture. She said it was taken one month or so ago. It is called Fukinoto - bud of Fuki (bitter wild plant/vegetable Japanese eat). It starts growing early March to bring the spring to the dinner table. There are several ways to cook this, such as Tempra or Fuki-Miso (stayed and mixed with Miso, sugar and Sake).
There are several things we "feel" the spring, such as cherry blossom and bamboo shoot, but Fukinoto is one of them especially if you were grown up in a rural area like me.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Spring or Summer?

It has been really warm in NYC.
Today I think we hit above 90 degrees, yup 90 degrees. Some summer there were only a few days hitting above 90, so you know how hot it got today.
BUT, it is not too hot - my apartment is still very cool - I think an old building takes a time to adjust to external temperature.
I took a walk after the dinner today - so many people were still out and all the restaurants had outside tables, which were full with people. After being outside for 15 minutes, I started feeling the allergy attacking me (even though I have been taking medicines), so I gave up and came back home.
Trees and flowers are still in the spring mode, so it is very strange - pale and fragile greens with blooming spring flowers.
One more picture I forgot to upload. We eat smoked salmon this time of year (some people know why), and this was this year's version. Fairway has the best smoked salmon in NYC - do you agree?