Posts filed under ‘shops etc.’

Ladurée Macarons

My dear hubby had to get there before 9am and was the first in line, about 15mins after it open the line grew to 20 people. These were quite good and a few were amazing (black currant is my fav) great balance of flavors not too sweet. However, I still give the edge to La Maison du Chocolate for imported macarons (though I may need to go back to Ladurée soon for some jams also). There are fewer flavors at La Maison but the ganache is unbeatable, there’s no line, and you can pick up some chocolates too. So if you are in the city and find the lines too long at Ladurée, head down to La Maison du Chocolat (there are two locations in Manhattan).


September 10, 2011 at 10:58 pm 2 comments

Birthday party

From the left: coconut macaroons, pecan blondies (you can see some on the edge, also there’s a peak of rainbow cookies next to the papaya), balsamic portabello mushroom and onion sandwiches, tomato basil mozzarella  sandwiches with a little caramelized onion, and papaya dressed with honey and lemon.

Cupcakes from , black and white (taste like a really upscale devil dog or ho-ho), caramel with caramel frosting and filling, and s’mores with the browned marshmallow top and chocolate filling.

Seafood salad, and pita chips. The hummus, carrots, and olives were out of frame.

Seafood salad

  • 1 lb squid bodies/rings (or scallops)
  • 1 lb shrimp (the smaller kind)
  • 1 large english cucumber
  • 2 lbs tomatoes
  • 1 small onion
  • 1 jalapeño pepper
  • 1 bunch of basil
  • 4 or 5 lemons juiced
  • zest of 1 lemon
  • 5 cloves of garlic
  • olive oil
  • salt and pepper

Cut up shrimp and squid to bite size. Remove the seeds of the cucumber and cut into a large dice, roughly the same size as the seafood.  Dice the tomatoes and slice the onion thinly. Half then seed the jalapeño, thinly slice or dice finely. Tear up the basil and put everything in a large bowl (except the seafood). Peel and mince the garlic. Heat a large pan/pot with enough olive oil to coat pan, add half the garlic in then all the seafood (throw in a dash of salt). Cook till shrimp changes color and the squid is just done (there will probably be a lot liquid left in the pan which I keep). Pour the seafood (and liquid) into the bowl with everything else. Add in the rest of the garlic, the lemon zest and juice, toss together, then salt and pepper to taste. Cover and refrigerate for a few hours (I made it the night before). Mix it a bit before serving.

Thanks to everyone for coming and making it really fun.

❤ Lina

May 17, 2010 at 1:09 am 3 comments

Nearly instant ramen

Not quite instant ramen, but the best ramen I’ve ever made at home. The noodles are fresh not freeze dried, and the soup packet is liquid. The noodles are colored with vitamin B so the cooking liquid turns very bright yellow, but I prefer that to traditional food coloring. It also comes in pork and miso flavors, none of the soup packets are vegetarian.

The noodles cook in 2 1/2 mins (then drain, the soup cooks separately). It has that nice chewiness that you can’t get from instant and the soup is not overly salty while still very flavorful. I added scallions, egg, and nori  (you can also throw in some leftovers). I hope the store will keep stocking these, I’m going to be hoarding them.


May 4, 2010 at 3:50 pm 2 comments

Japanese Kit Kats

Japanese Kit Kats come in a number of flavors and change seasonally. All I manage to find at my local Japanese market were Royal Milk Tea and Milk Coffee. I don’t usually like coffee flavored things but this was still pleasant enough. Far as I can tell they are both coated with the same white chocolate and the filling in the wafers are different (but from photos I’ve seen online, the chocolate coating varies from flavor to flavor). I really liked the milk tea, it’s not a common flavor in American candies. carries some different flavors.

The servings are small, the packaging, and price are a bit much for so little, but it is tasty and nicely designed.

There are two bags in each box.


April 29, 2010 at 5:26 pm Leave a comment

Japanese breakfast

This morning I went to Panya, a Japanese bakery in the East Village for breakfast. They used to be tiny bakery but had recently expanded with a new kitchen and seating area. They make a variety of breads and desserts along with Japanese convenience store foods like rice balls(they are great, about $1.29-$1.79) and bento lunch boxes. The Japanese breakfast set($8.50) includes rice, broiled salmon, salad, miso soup, natto(fermented soy beans) with a raw quail egg, a small package of nori(seaweed), and some small sides, here they are hijiki(seaweed) and radish with bonito(smoked dry skipjack tuna). The quail egg takes the edge off of natto which can be rather funky(mix it together vigorously), you also mixed it with mustard. The salmon was made perfectly and went well with the rice. Overall everything was a bit on the salty side but still good. I also got a piece of mont blanc cake($3.50) and a green tea custard bun($2.75), but my camera battery died before I could snap a shot. Their cakes are always good and they have a very nice selection of teas and coffee. I liked the barley tea ($1.75) and the yuzu(Japanese citrus) tea($1.75). The yuzu tea was interesting, just hot water and yuzu marmalade but it was good, and chunky at the end.

Panya Bakery, 8 Stuyvesant St (between 11th St & 12th St)  New York, NY 10003

I think the hours are like 8am-10pm (varies during the week), I can’t find it listed on the internet.


December 12, 2009 at 9:19 pm 2 comments

san francisco food tour day 2

Day 2. Japantown! The weekend we went was the last weekend of the annual Cherry Blossom Festival, so of course we had to go! There were so many people and vendors and food and did I mention people already? It was pretty crowded. We took a taxi in, and thank goodness we did. My friend Phu joined us that day and told us it took forever to find parking. There were live bands and taiko drum demonstrations among other things. The smell coming from all the fresh food being cooked, from red bean filled pancakes to the bar b q being grilled, was heavenly.

But before I begin on the food.  I was told I wouldn’t actually see sakura trees in Japantown, which I thought was boo, but my sister and I found out about the Japanese Tea Garden in Golden Gate Park had tons of sakura trees and other flowers. We of course checked it out and the blossoms were still in bloom!  The full size photos are on my flickr page. They also have a mini cafe serving tea while you enjoy the view.

After our visit to the tea garden, we headed to Japantown, and we started with the spam musubi. Spam is a sort of breakfast food staple among Filipino (and Hawaiian) households. We like it fried, with rice and a fried egg. Yum. Anyways, this one stand was selling spam musubi! It was sushi rice, topped with a slice of cooked spam, eel sauce, and wrapped with a thin strip of seaweed wrapper. It was sooooo yummy. My sister and I ended up buying a couple each to save for a midnight snack of sorts. Sorry I don’t have better pics, but it did not last long enough to take photos after opening.

Even the toy from kidrobot wanted a bite. heh.

Next were the pancakes filled with red bean paste. The line was forever long, but you couldn’t resist, because as you walked by, you could smell the sweetness of the pancake batter cooking. They were soft and light and filled with a sweet red bean paste.

The only line longer than the pancake line was the beef takoyaki line. Takoyaki is typically a fried dough ball containing octopus and other vegetables, but there are different variations. As you can see, this was of the ground beef variety. I’ve had takoyaki before in NYC, minus the octopus, and that was definitely better. However, for the price and considering they had to feed the masses, the beef takoyaki I had was worthy of the wait in line.

After that, we were pretty much full. We waited for Phu and co. to arrive and we just ventured out into all the shops and bought manga and cool pencils at Kinokuniya. It felt good to sit down. It was starting to get hot, but that cool bay breeze swept in once in a while making it a beautiful day to be outdoors. Once Phu showed up, it was time to eat again. They were hungry and who was I to say no to food? We decided on ramen at Sapporo-ya in the Kinokuniya center. We don’t have ramen in Houston, not that I know of anyways. And I’m not talking about the 10 for a $1 you find at the grocery store either.

My sis and I shared the bowl of soy sauce ramen with bbq. It was pretty good, in my opinion, but what do I know? The only other time I had ramen was in Hawaii and it was wayyyyy too salty. The noodles were a little smushy, but the broth and the bbq was yums. The boiled egg really added to the ramen. Maybe it was the texture or just the taste of it with the bbq and noodles, but I found every bite better when I had egg in it. Service was just okay and it’s a tiny spot, but overall, it was okay. There are probably better ramen spots in the area, and one that I’ll talk about again on day 3, but it was the closest one at the time.

This day was full of lines. Lines for pancakes, takoyaki, ramen, and then came the line for Sophie’s Crepes. It was out the restaurant and it was also worth the wait. The crepes are thin and crisp, yet soft and flaky. You can choose your own items or they have a variety of goodies to put in your crepe, from hot fudge and strawberries to ham and cheese. I stuck with the nutella, banana, and vanilla ice cream crepe. It was definitely tasty. It was a nice cool treat after a day in the sun.


It was food overdose by this time. We decided to walk it off by going to the Haight area and checking out the shops. There were tons of different boutiques and restaurants, and if you’re a shopper you might like this area. I just wanted to go to kidrobot. Bought a few toys. So cute! And after a long day of wandering the streets of San Francisco, we headed back to the hotel for some rest and relaxation before dinner. Oh yeah, we ate more. Hah.

Phu & I made a trade. Sprinkles cupcakes for Filipino banana chips. I think I’m the winner in this trade off. The cupcakes were rich and moist and Phu was kind enough to buy us all milk from the local convenient store.

And that was our 18th floor view at Hotel Nikko. Well, after getting some rest in, we headed to a sushi joint in Union Square. I am sorry to say that for the life of me, none of us remember the name. We went because a friend suggested it and she didn’t even know the name, only that it was good and we should go. The seafood was fresh, but as I stick to the cooked stuff, I ordered an ebi tempura roll and the spider roll. That was a well cooked soft shell crab.


And that my friends, was the end of day 2. It was exhausting, but it was definitely fun.  Thanks Phu, Hong & Megan for driving up from San Jose to hang out with us for the day!!

P.S. I miss it already.

reina-sm – Chelle

April 27, 2009 at 3:49 am 1 comment

a friendly feast with korean bbq

I had dinner with Michael & Angela last Monday and they were like, so how do you feel about getting together once a week and each of us taking turns cooking dinner? Like it took much convincing, so of course I said sure! This week was my week, since I was “new” to the group.

Tonight’s menu was Korean BBQ (galbi), a simple soup with ground beef (since it was a bit cooler and soup is always good when the weather is like this), seaweed salad, and ultimate fudge brownies. Lots right? No worries. The only ones I made from scratch are the bbq and soup.

Korean BBQ: Marinating!

  • 4-6 strips of short ribs (can be found at most Asian grocery stores)
  • 3 tbsp. soy sauce
  • 5 tbsp. water
  • 4 tbsp. Korean rice wine
  • 1 tbsp. Asian sesame oil
  • 3 tbsp. corn syrup
  • 6 tbsp. sugar
  • 1 tbsp. minced garlic
  • 1/4 tsp. minced/grated ginger
  • Pinch of black pepper
  • 1 gallon size ziploc bag (or tupperware that’s big enough to fit all your bbq)

Depending on how your ribs were cut, you might want to wash them thoroughly to make sure there aren’t any stray bone pieces from the rib. The worst thing is trying to eat your bbq and biting into bone fragments. No fun. Once the meat is cleaned off, you’ll want to use a meat tenderizer (this is what i have) to mash the meaty part down to about 1/8th of an inch. You definitely don’t want your bbq too thick. It grills better when it’s thinned out.

In a bowl, wisk the garlic, ginger, soy sauce, rice wine, corn syrup, sugar, water, and sesame oil together. Place your meat in your ziploc bag or tupperware and pour in the marinade, making sure all the meat is covered. Refrigerate anywhere from 4 hours to overnight.

When you’re ready to cook, heat up your grill, shake off the excess marinade and toss it on the grill. For those who don’t have a grill, like myself, a panini press pan or any other stove top grill pan works just as well. You’ll want to cook it on each side about 5-7 minutes to give it a semi crunchy texture, yet it’s still so tender.

Served with seaweed salad, which I picked up at my local Korean grocery store (Super HMart, 1302 Blalock Rd.,Houston, TX 77055). I love this place really. They have tons of prepared kimchi, stewed potatoes, and other side dishes usually served with Korean bbq.

And here’s the soup. It was more experimental than anything and I won’t b e posting this recipe as I really threw alot of items together without measuring and I’d rather not give bad info on the recipe. I just wanted a simple soup with a flavorful broth and it worked! The basics though are garlic, onion, tomato, green beans, ground beef and water. Add salt, pepper, tamarind soup base seasoning, fish sauce or soy sauce (whatever makes you happy) to taste.

Oh and the brownies. Ghirardelli Ultimate Fudge Brownies are the awesomest. I don’t care if it’s not from scratch. These brownies are to die for.

It was a successful night. I’m exhausted and stuffed.

reina-sm –Chelle

November 18, 2008 at 5:53 am 4 comments

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