A New Angle (literally) on Thanksgiving

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A whole week after Thanksgiving weekend, I’m finally here to share all the fun and yum! I got to spend a laugh-till-your-stomach-hurts Thanksgiving with both my family and my in-laws, and it was just a huge blessing.  A family-oriented weekend indeed, and that’s really what I believe the holidays should be if we have the opportunity to.

As always, I’m looking for new insights and things to learn even in the midst of the ordinary. During our Thanksgiving dinner, I broke out my Nikon camera with our new 35mm 1/1.8G lens and started clicking away. Thanks to the tips from my professional food photographer uncle (Thanks, King!), I was able to capture some new angles of food photos (family photos can’t be posted, sorry!). Here’s what I took, with the exception of the last and above photos.

Starting with the star of the dinner…

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From Garden to Table

Recently, my friend and fellow blogger from Scrumphus took us to a popular restaurant called ABC Kitchen. I had wanted to eat there for a long time but never had good timing in booking a table, so I was incredibly grateful for his thoughtful reservation at Jean Georges’ restaurant (Thanks again, Jesse!) It is well known for its hip yet classy ambiance and its locally sourced ingredients that leads to its ever-changing menu. With that commitment of providing the most fresh, local ingredients, it inspired us in our own kitchens to create new dishes!

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Seamore’s

One of the greatest things about living in the city is that there is something new everyday, whether it’s an event, an art exhibit, or a restaurant. When I was away for 5 weeks this summer, I came back hearing from my friends and reading posts about all these new spots in downtown NYC. One of them was Seamore’s, a seafood restaurant opened by Michael Chernow, co-founder of the famous Meatball Shop (read my previous post about this spot HERE!)

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I came with my friend who told me about this place, and decided to return again with my husband for a lunch date one weekend. I loved the ambiance – a bright spot with beautifully crafted chairs, an artsy informative wall of locally sourced fish, and a view of the busy streets of Soho / Little Italy. It livens up your day just sitting there with the sun shining inside and windows opened for a fresh breeze.  Once sitting we were presented with a simple menu of everyday dishes, and then a special menu that tells you the “daily landings” – the fish of the day. The nice breeze and brightness made it quite enjoyable to converse and just have fun taking pictures!

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The Simplest Cold Noodle Dish

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I’m overjoyed with the requests for updated food posts. I find it really fascinating to see how much people love food in general – from recipes to beautiful close-up shots to restaurant reviews, it’s a great common topic to converse about. I’ve luckily been to a great number of restaurants with chefs cooking from their hearts and making the most intricate creative dishes, and the best part is taking away something from each one. (A stronger palette, a new dish idea, etc.) It is inspiring when you get to meet the chefs behind the scenes and find out where they’ve gained their experiences, what they do in the kitchens, and how they create their dishes. Well, I’m no chef but it sure was fun being inspired by one, one that I personally know: my mother-in-law. Mothers really are the best chefs in our lives – and it is a privilege to learn from them. Recently I was eating at my in laws’ home, and my m-i-l made this very simple refreshing dish that I enjoyed quite a bit. She taught it to me in a few minutes and and I decided to make a similar version at home.

Yakisoba is probably one of Japan’s best known street foods and it literally means “grilled noodles.” Though there is an authentic way of making it in the Japanese style, this was a tweaked version that was simple to make. Really, you can use just about anything as it is the noodles and the sauce that makes it.  

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Seaport’s Smorgasburg & More

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If you’re visiting New York, you might be told to “check out Smorgasburg” on the weekends. It was really cool the first time I went because you have many of the hottest vendors all in one place (but hang onto your wallets because you will want to try a little here and there!). It’s definitely an experience where you should bring friends or family along to try everything.  I mean everything. 🙂

Before, you could only find Smorgasburg in Williamsburg and the Brooklyn Bridge pier, but two new locations opened up last weekend: Coney Island in Brooklyn, and Seaport, Manhattan.  Plus, both of them are opened daily. I had a chance to pop by the opening weekend with some good friends and shot some pictures along the way. Seaport has completely transformed since it was destroyed by Hurricane Sandy but its historic roots haven’t changed and is definitely worth visiting this summer! Here are a couple of highlights:  

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A New French Food Hall in NYC

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There’s a new French culinary destination in town (or in our case, city)! Le District made its debut less than 3 weeks ago in the luxuriously renovated Brookfield Place. You might remember this place from when I wrote about its interior food court in my blog post “Foodies Love Hudson Eats!” Well, renovations are finished and it houses many new shops and stores, an indoor courtyard with palm trees, a temporary music installment, and the new Parisian food court right below Hudson Eats.

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Coffee & Tea Festival

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Recently the 11th annual Coffee & Tea Festival was held at the Brooklyn Expo in New York City. I had no knowledge of it until my fellow blogger and friend, Joe over at NEO-BHM, told me about it. We quickly snagged some incredibly cheap tickets off a deal site and headed over the next day. Despite the shoulder-to-shoulder bumping and heat from the crowd, the high from caffeine and good company was quite worth the trip to Greenpoint.

I wasn’t really a coffee or tea fan until these last few years. I drink tea quite often since I lived in London back in college. As for coffee, I would sporadically order a caramel macchiato from Starbucks only for the sake of drinking it, but when my brother and coffee enthusiasts introduced me to more hipster and local brewers, I became a spoiled fan of lattes, never wanting anything less than a quarter cup of milk.  Yes, that means I’m not really drinking coffee coffee but hey, it tastes darn good. 😉 If you want to know the real science and coffee devotee, hop over to Joe’s blog and you’ll learn more than just where to go for good coffee but what you’re drinking exactly and how it affects your body. 

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Together for One Night

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This past weekend was quite busy and eventful! I got to attend and volunteer at the Brews, Bites and Wines Charity Tasting Event held by The Promise Society, whose mission is to host events to help raise money and awareness for other non-profit organizations. I recently heard about this organization through a friend and had an interest to learn more about it. I’m really glad I did!

Here’s a picture of the staff and founder of the Rescuing Leftover Cuisine!

At this event, the Society raised funds for an organization called Rescuing Leftover Cuisine, whose mission is to redefine food rescue and end food waste in the U.S.  Did you know that food is the #1 material sent to landfills?? Find out more how this organization helps reduce this problem and how you can contribute or donate here at their site.  

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Sushi Night

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If I had my own house with a nice kitchen and a large enough space, I would probably be hosting parties and special cook nights at least once a month! But.. I don’t.  So instead, I headed over to one of my close friend’s apartment and held our first sushi night. (If you’re not a fan of sushi yet you want to do something that requires collaborative prep and cooking, here are some ideas from my previous posts:  hot pot night or Japanese barbecue night!)

Sushi is quite popular amongst many people. It’s a Japanese food consisting of vinegar rice combined with other ingredients. Technically it’s an ingredient (often raw seafood) placed atop rice, but there are so many variations of it nowadays. When my friends and I got together, we decided to play around with the combinations and create our own rolls. Here’s what we did!

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Behind the Scenes with the Founder of Snowdays Shavery, Tony Quach

This winter is probably one of the coldest winters I can remember here in New York. If it’s not snowing, it’s freezing and turning all the previous snow or puddles into ice!  Yesterday the floors were pretty clean from a couple of warmer days and then it started to snow again today.

But I’ve actually been looking forward to this snow day because how else to celebrate the day than with the popular Snowdays Shavery? You might remember 6 months ago, when I attended their first week opening and shared about the experience (click here to read!).  Since then, they have been the talk of the town (or in our case, the city)!

Over my week off, I got together with founder Tony Quach to tell you about how this unique place came about.  He’s such a down-to-earth guy and cares really deeply for what he does and about interacting with his customers. Now here’s your chance to know him a little bit through our behind-the-scenes interview.  (Make sure you read it all!  You may find a little surprise somewhere below.) 🙂

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