Or should I say good afternoon.
Or should I say good afternoon.
Well hello my lovelies. Despite my grand ambitions of writing each day of this week (ha! What was I thinking?), I only just managed to slide in for Sunday… which I hope you're all enjoying!
Over in downtown Manhattan, we’ve been mostly shuffling from in-door activity to in-door activity due to the dreary weather. On top of that, our entire household has been feeling a bit down w/one form of sickness or another (call it the post-preschool blues). Little man kicked-off the trend last week, coughing straight into all of our faces, as toddlers do, and now we’ve all got something. Yikes.
But onwards to happier days! This week marked our eight year wedding anniversary! Eight!!!!! Can you believe it. Somehow, the number 8 elicits more excitement for me than even the number 10, perhaps because eight just happens to be super auspicious among us Asians.
We were originally hoping to get away somewhere, but when it became too logistically challenging, we decided to treat ourselves to a fancy meal instead. Remember how we celebrated our 5 year wedding anniversary at MASA? Well, this time around we decided to head right next door to Per Se (the irony was not lost on us).
In fact, Per Se holds a special meaning for both of us (me in particular), as that was where I had my bridal shower more than eight years ago (on August 23rd, 2008 to be exact!!). I’ll have to share some photos from that day on the blog sometime… it felt like ages ago. Which also reminds me, I'm super late in sharing our 7 year wedding anniversary trip from Woodstock! Sight... so much to do, so little time.
So what’s it like being married for so long you ask? Ha.
In some ways, I feel no different than when we first met in 2005. I suppose that’s a good thing, right? Amazingly (or is it alarmingly?), against all odds -- I still find hubs incredibly charming, handsome, and all in all a great laugh and super fun to be around (when he's awake that is). Of course, three whole years of parenthood has made us a bit more weathered and certainly infinitely more exhausted (and to think, we have another baby on his way to meet all of us in less than two months!).
Truth be told, if I were to pick any other partner in the whole wide world to share this adventure with, it would most certainly be him. What can I say? I've found my match. Sure, we’re not as spontaneous as we used to be (it’s all relative I suppose… gone are the old days when we can just pick up for the weekend and fly to Malta). That said, I think that we still lead a pretty special life, and more importantly – we’re actually creating MORE life together!!
Happy weekend you guys… and I hope that you all tune in for the second presidential debate tonight. I’ve a feeling that it’s going to be a good one.
Okay okay, so I’ll be the first to admit that I haven’t been as on top of my food critic game as I would have liked to be – part of it attributed to being preggo for the second time around and thereby not as mobile as I'm accustomed to be, and the other part due to the everyday challenges of work and well, just chasing around a defiant toddler (who recently turned 3!), which can hold you back at the best of times, let alone during your third trimester.
That said, I recently went to a place called the Lucky Bee (right here in my own hood!) on 252 Broome Street and absolutely loved it. My girlfriend (@maragon25) actually introduced me to the spot (see NYT feature here), and I must say that my mood was instantly enlivened the moment I stepped into the resto – decked out in flamingo pink, with enough vibrancy and exuberance to uplift any measure of post-work duress in the name of Happy Hour.
The menu is very South-Asian Street-style, which I dig. If you arrive early enough (which we did), you even get half-off salt-and-pepper chicken wings, which were off-the-wall delicious. My other favorite was the betal leaf of crab meat with peanut & chili paste (w/a mix of cilantro and kaffir lime). Oh right, and let’s not forget the crispy pork belly buns and grilled squid w/sunchokes… OMG my mouth is watering already. Did I mention that the chef (Matty Bennett), was also previously at the Fat Radish?
While I loved the whole farm-to-table approach to Thai food concept, I’m also a big fan of some of their fun and creative cocktails (of course, mamma mostly stuck with virgin, but it’s always fun to hold your own coconut in the middle of a work-week).
Bottom-line, I would definitely check this place out if you get the chance!! It was buzzing w/people when we were there last week, pun intended!
Oh, and I was so pleased to celebrate my girlfriend’s birthday before she headed off to Germany for Oktoberfest. Lucky gal.
Sometimes, the moon and the stars line up… and just when you’re schlepping your preggo-self to a maternity check-up, you get to treat yourself afterwards to an impromptu lunch at Sushi Yusada!!
This is one of those “pinch me moments” in life where I realize how lucky it is that I live in Manhattan – where I have access to such magical gems, and can actually just “swing by” Yasuda that hope that they can seat me without a reservation.
Turns out – not only did they have a seat, but I got a great seat right at the chef’s table!!! Would you believe.
Aside from the uni (which was an obvious choice), yours truly also went with “ebi matcha-age” (flash fried prawns with matcha green tea powder) and Chilean sea bass “dai-ginjo kasu-sake” (marinated in sake reduction), topped with eel, and followed by green-tea ice cream. Okay okay, so I might have gone a tad big overboard, but I figured, it’s not every-day that you get to eat at Yasuda!!!
Interesting side-note… did you know that they don’t tip at Yasuda? I’ve only been here once (maybe twice) before, and I don’t quite recall this concept. Talk about a win win!
Okay in truth, my obsession with mille-feuille aka mille-crepes, or crepe cakes as they’re sometimes referred to, is not actually specific to pregnancy alone. It just so happens that a sweet-tooth is somewhat more justifiable (in my book, at least) when you’re seven months pregnant! (See my obsession here with all things cronuts and Dominique Ansel during my first pregnancy).
That said, the recent opening of the Westfield World Trade Center Mall, down where mamma's office is located, is truly dangerous with a capital D!!! For one thing, the entire third floor is now occupied by Eataly (swoon swoon! We’ll get to that later). Moreover... downstairs, there is now officially a Lady M Pastry Café! There’s no sit-down space (unlike some of the other Lady M locations throughout the city), but just close enough for mamma to sneak in and grab a slice of cake when she needs a little sugar pick-me-up in the afternoon. #perfection
The word "mille," in French, means thousands, and mille-feuille/ mille-crepe, is effectively thin layers of crepe interspersed with crème fillings. I tell ya, whoever invented this savory confection is simply sheer genius, and I should also bill them for my inevitable trainer/juice-cleanse bills, but that’s a whole other story! (Likely as a follow-up post baby).
For now… to quote the late and always entertaining Lady Antoinette, “let them eat cake!!!”
In an almost unprecedented move, I’m kicking off this week with two major announcements!
Really, both were organic and seamless developments that have been a long time coming. If you follow us on Instagram, either on Rockshic, Rockshic Eats, or City Baby Dining, you would have definitely witnessed all of the above. However, if Instagram is not your thing (and let’s face it, I can’t blame you, since I personally am still warming up to the idea of Snap Chat, I know I know… how technologically backward of me!), then this may be news for you and you might DELIGHTED to know about new developments of City Baby Dining abroad and Luxe Recess.
Nevertheless, what better way to kick-start both facets with an update from Windy Welly? I won’t lie, I still miss our beautiful abode – the dreamy penthouse on Evans Bay, and our idyllic lifestyle there. Sure we were both wretchedly tired and jetlagged, and munchkin was peaking in what could only be described as his “terrible two’s”… but now, looking back, and as the weather here in NYC is so gloomy and dreary, I can’t help but pine after our halcyon days back in Wellington.
Plus… the fabulous eats! I forget the actual trivia, but I believe that per capita Wellington has something like the highest density of restaurants per capita of any major city we know, and I can certainly attest to this fact. Every day it seemed like we were on the brink of a new discovery, and Zibibbo is just one of many such culinary delights that I am happy to fill you in about. A couple of highlights from the evening – pizza from their wood-fired oven with fresh basil and mozzarella (a fail-safe combo in my book), Wairarapa lamb with spiced aubergine, Sicilian caponata, salsa verde, and pinor noir jus (yum), and Waitoa chicken (butter pochae3d with roasted cauliflower, Riesling lyonnaise, cauliflower tahnini topped with fried herbs). Okay I must stop because I am on the cusp of midnight snacking and we all know where that leads us to.
For more baby-friendly info, you can check out the full feature here on City Baby Dining (under our new ✈ The Traveling Baby Diner section!). Until then… enjoy the pics and I promise to deliver better and more frequent updates of our culinary adventures on the road and overseas!!
Happy Super Tuesday! I’m currently following “The Race to the Nomination” on CNN, which should run all the way to 2am (way past my bedtime these days). Hard to believe that this is such a momentous time for our country, and yet things are running like a mad circus as far as I can tell. To quote Michael Kelly in his recent Time magazine interview, for those of you who have zero idea who he is, well he plays one of my all-time favorite characters on TV (Doug Stamper in House of Cards, enough said) – “it’s going to be difficult for Trump to keep answering questions […] He’ll get called out on that. At least I hope so, because the thought of that man being President is scary.”
Yes – scary scary SCARY (!!!) … but then again we digress.
Back to an earlier, and much happier topic, food!!! More precisely, culinary delight at it’s very best. For anybody who knows me and my proclivity for travel, you know that I am a fan of Wallpaper. So it’s no surprise that an earlier publication of Wallpaper Auckland led me to the wonderful restaurant Clooney (33 Sale Street). It’s got nothing to do with George, before you get all too cheeky on me – rather, it’s run by the massively charming and successful restaurateur Tony Stewart.
Suffice to say, my seven course degustation tasting was absolutely heavenly. I knew that I was onto something when hubby’s local buddy cooed at the very idea of the restaurant, “it’s currently the hottest restaurant in Auckland you know.” Oooh how I love the sound of that! Inside Clooney, it’s all sleek and dark lights (with black, tan, and chocolate tones), exuding an ambience of sophisticated romance. A quick skim on Instagram told me that this is the place for the stylish, and fabulousity jet-set crowd, and the photos didn’t even do the real thing justice.
However, it’s the innovative food and exquisite plating art that will keep everybody abuzz and the clientele coming back. Some of my favorites of the evening (and there were so many!) were the Australian crab with brown butter and pine nuts, Scallops with white yuzu and rice cracker (which gives it that ultimate crunch), and the duck breast with goose liver on top (yum yum yum). New Zealand has some of the best seafood I’ve ever had, and Clooney is certainly testimony to this fact. Oh, and let’s not forget the amazing burnt (and slightly salted) butter that they served up with bread. It’s likely the simplest dish of the evening, but seriously some of the best butter I’ve ever tasted. “By the end of the evening, everyone will be talking about the butter,” Tony said with a wink.
For the record, I am in complete agreement with that comment… much as I was in agreement with Tony when he said, “C’mon, you’ve got to have the lamb” (even though I’ve had about 5-6 courses at that point and felt just about ready to burst, I'd lost count to be honest). But he’s right, how can you fly all the way to New Zealand and not have "the lamb," especially when it’s served up with smoked aubergine?
Greetings from San Francisco! Mamma arrived late last night (or early this morning, however you want to look at it). It’s been a whirlwind but you know how much I like coming through this town… always so great to catch up with old friends and savor new experiences, more to come on SF another time.
The night before I left for SF, I braved the cold back in NYC and attended a food blogger press event in the upper west side. It’s not often that I trek up there, but this one was quite the find. Andanada, which roughly equates to a traditional bullfight in Spain, serves up some seriously delicious tapas fare. It’s been around for quite a number of years, but this is the first time I’ve ever heard of it. Though the quality of the food speaks for itself, and the talents of the young chef Manuel Bergazna (I believe he’s just 30?) truly comes through in some of the highlights of the evening (the perfectly executed seafood paella comes to mind, as does the octopus polenta dish). It’s no wonder that this place is a Michelin star restaurant with rave reviews all abound (see praises by the New York Daily News).
One of the highlights of the evening was, of course, meet ups with other food bloggers (some of whom I’ve known for many years now! My how time flies), as well as finding common grounds and learning from new faces (hello Dishelin guide!). It really makes me realize how much I enjoy being out there in the mix, and how I ought to do it more often.
Of course, then there’s the ability to reunite with my girl Cutie Patroller, it’s the best when you can mix business with pleasures!
After some time away from the NYC scene (interspersed by a snowstorm, a birthday party, and pretty much none-stop work) – it is officially time to hit the scene as a family back in New York City. (You might have seen me write previously about my girl’s night out at Palma, and I kid you not… that was pretty much ALL I’ve really gotten to do this year so far! Crazy huh).
We caught up with some friends of ours over at the Tribeca Grill, which has been a long-standing establishment in the neighborhood best known for Robert De Niro (who is the co-owner). For some reason, I’ve never been here (strange but true), so when doing my research (our friends lived in the area), it hit me that this would be the perfect venue for a meet-up. It’s tucked away on Greenwich Street (arguably one of the prettier streets in Tribeca), and boasts some very impressive personal touches. For starters, the exposed brick walls showcase artwork done by De Niro’s father (since my father is an artist, I have a particular affinity towards these fine details).
The cuisine is New American, the service quite attentive, and we got there when it wasn’t very crowded (to be fair the restaurant never got super cramped, which we liked, and it’s also nice to be inside somewhere so spacious). In my view, you can’t really go wrong when doing family dining in Tribeca (see previous post on the Tribeca Grand, which more recently Brunch at Tribeca Grill.
Happy Sunday everybody!! Congrats to the Denver Broncos for winning the Super Bowl tonight (and to Beyonce for not falling on stage).
Well hello there! It’s been simply ages since I’ve last had a chance to write… I tell ya, ever since I switched (aka upgraded) into my new role at work, I have been CRAZY BUSY. In a way, it’s been good for me, as it pushes me to do more and acquire greater exposure professionally. On the flip side, however, I definitely find that I have less time (not to mention energy) to expend on anything else… and that includes writing for this blog and as well as other platforms, which in truth has always been my passion.
That said, having freshly flown back from Florida this Monday (what a trip! Third time flying solo with the Nuke Baby, don’t recommend it)…. and having pulled some straight nights at the office, I was quite content to be out and about with the girls and just not think about work for a change.
I have to admit, normally when we plan one of these girls’ night out, I’m all over it. I look up venue options, provide inputs – the whole nine yards. This time, however, I pretty much left it out in the open, and one of my girlfriends jumped in and made a booking for us at a little rustic Italian restaurant called Palma, nestled on 28 Cornelia street in the heart of the West Village.
Having no idea about the place (and having done absolutely no research), I had zero expectations, but was totally blown away by how beautiful and special the place was! I’ll let the photos speak for themselves, but I will say one thing – MAKE SURE YOU GET A TALBE IN THE BACK OF THE GARDEN!!!! It is sheer perfection, transformative even, and absolutely ideal for a night out either with the gals or your hubby. The starters were divine (we ordered the aranchini, roasted cauliflower, and meatballs and they were all equally delicious), and my lamb chops were also yummy.
We went all out for desserts (as a group of women are wont to do), and some were hits (e.g., the panna cotta and tiramisu), while others fell a bit flat (I’m looking at you, chocolate cake). Nonetheless, the ambience and delicious cocktails (and let’s not forget the company!!) more than made up for any potential shortcomings.
Let’s just say… as much as I dread the cold, it does feel GOOD to be back in NYC!
P.S. After doing a little bit of research, I discovered that this joint is run by a husband and wife team who have worked in the food catering business for years (see here). They even made Yelp’s Best Husband/Wife team in the West Village (who knew that was even a category!). The things you learn…
Based in Manhattan's Lower East Side, Rock Shic is an excerpt taken from my personal lookbook of real people around the world. It is a combination of aesthetics, fashion, lifestyle, and travel. I also offer personalized Lookbook Consulting and Styling upon request. Please contact me at rockshic (at) gmail (dot) com. Services include: Wardrobe Analysis, Closet Organization, and Personal Shopping.