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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Coffee with a Mission

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Last last Sunday was the soft opening of the Long Island City-based COFFEED in Chelsea, Manhattan. Coffee nowadays has been the trend with shops popping up everywhere (even in random clothing stores!). But what made Coffeed so different for me was the inviting experience during the first 45 minutes of its opening, and their mission purpose.

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Japanese BBQ- Grilled to your Liking

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Just last month, I got together with my colleagues and friends to try a restaurant that I had heard about in November. I have always been a fan of Korean and Japanese barbecue because of its individual pacing and the flavors in the marinades. Similar to the interaction of “hot potting,“ it is another great way of getting together with your friends and family to cook your own foods. This time, you cook marinated bite-sized pieces of meat and vegetables on gridirons for a couple of minutes and take them to your own plate for sauce dipping and eating.

This restaurant I’m referring to is the only Japanese barbecue restaurant in New York City that I’ve been to, and it’s worth sharing about because I loved the service.

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The Perfect Time to Hot Pot

I can’t believe another year has gone by! 2014 was quite the year – full of celebrations, new friendships, stronger relationships, bucket list checks, and a growing number of readers like you, who motivate me even more to write and blog. I returned from my long-awaited trip to Europe recently and I can’t wait to look through my 3,000+ photos and share the experiences with you! That will surely take some time, so for now, here’s the first food entry of the year, dedicated to hot pot!

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Contrary to what people think, hot pot and shabu shabu are NOT the same. Hot pot consists of a hot pot (literally!) of stock simmering in the middle of the table and people place ingredients to cook as they eat. Shabu shabu, though similar to the Chinese hot pot, originates from Japan, where beef is thinly sliced and boiled in water, then usually dipped into ponzu and served with a bowl of rice.

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Fine Ice Cream Tucked Away on Rivington

We’re always on the lookout for good dessert, aren’t we? It doesn’t matter if it’s 20 degrees outside – Many people are willing to (or even craving!) to hold an ice cream cone, stand in the cold, and shiver while they indulge in their sweet tastings and important conversations. Both unique in its own ways, two of my favorite ice cream places include Smitten and Bi-Rite Creamery in San Francisco. Though I have only gone twice so far, this New York ice cream parlor below definitely has its specialties too!

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A friend of mine asked me one day at the gym (I know… how ironic!) if I had ever been to Morgenstern’s. She showed me this bright white ice cream parlor tucked away in the middle of a quiet Rivington street between Chrystie and Bowery. I took a look at the unique menu and knew I just had to return!

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A little taste of France

When my brother visits from San Francisco, it’s always an exciting time for me as I really enjoy spending time with him and exploring new places in the city together. This time, we took our mom out to Claudette for her special birthday celebration. It was pretty dark inside, so my photo opportunity wasn’t the greatest, but nonetheless it was a nice dining experience!

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Claudette is in the heart of Greenwich Village, just two blocks away from Washington Square Park and New York University’s main campus. If you haven’t gone there, you may have visited her sister restaurants, Rosemary’s and Bobo. At first i thought it would be a highly overpriced, way-too-fancy for me type of restaurant, but it turned out to be the cutest little restaurant on the corner of 5th Avenue. 

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The Meatball Shop

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I’ve never really been a fan of meatballs, probably because the only ones I’ve ever tried were the ones served in school cafeterias. (I know… so sad…)  One day, I was looking for a lunch spot and came across The Meatball Shop with some friends.  Back in 2010, co-owners Daniel Holzman and Michael Chewnow opened their first location in the Lower East Side. I had heard about it but never actually visited. Now there are 4 locations, in Williamsburg, the West Village, Chelsea and the Upper East Side.  I happen to try it at the Amsterdam Avenue location on the UES.

Though the wait is usually long, this time, it was lunch and we were seated within 5 minutes. Greater service, hip and warm atmosphere, what else is next?

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A New Cafe in Chinatown

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Sharkey’s Cafe debuted recently on Mulberry Street across the famous Columbus Park in Chinatown. I had the privilege of meeting Jen Sharkey, the owner of the cafe on its grand opening day and ever since, I love popping by to say hello and getting a coffee and a croissant (or two!!) to go. Her dream had been to open a small sandwich shop and it was a joy to hear all about her progress and how everything has been. She is super sweet and a joy to talk to!  Last Friday, I did a mini photo shoot and tried some of her signature sandwiches – I had such a great time! 

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It’s a snow day, everyday!

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Have you ever wanted to grab a handful of snow and taste the fluffiness that fell from the sky? Well… I can’t promise you it’ll taste good, but at least now you can have a flavorful version at Snowdays Shavery! Making its debut last Friday, this dessert spot serves snow cream that’s more amazing than you can imagine. The owners had developed a recipe to have it eaten more like ice cream than the typical shaved ice that contains water. It is still very light by itself, and the toppings bring you to a whole other world!

(Photo above: Yeti Food Combo: Yeti Tracks with blueberry puree, bananas, and almonds)

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$1 oysters, oh my!

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(Mermaid Oyster Bar, a dozen oysters)

This summer, a conversation with a friend sparked a sudden craving for oysters! So I went hunting for oyster bars, discovering that many places actually offered them for $1 during happy hour ($1 doesn’t mean the quality is less. Some oysters are just cheaper in value.) With the help of YELP, I found 3 places that had classy service, a great atmosphere, and of course, clean and fresh oysters:  Mermaid Oyster Bar, Lure Fishbarand Cull & Pistol. Mermaid and Lure both only give one choice of oysters for happy hour while Cull & Pistol, located in Chelsea Market, offers a variety to choose from (briny, plump, sweet, creamy, etc.). I highly recommend all 3!

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