Saturday, 27 September 2014

Summer's Ice Cream

The weather is acting odd. A couple weeks ago it was so cold I almost brought out my winter gear. Now that we are on our way to October, it feels like summer. I thought this would be my last opportunity to tell you about my favourite ice cream shop in the city, Summer's.

Summer's is a family-owned Toronto-based ice cream shop that makes the most amazing homemade ice creams. They have been making and serving ice cream since 1985! You can taste the quality in every spoonful of rich, luscious and incredibly creamy ice cream. My absolute favourite flavour is their Espresso Fudge Mud Pie, consisting of a espresso ice cream base with espresso fudge pieces swirled in. If you are a lover of coffee/espresso, this is the flavour for you. A close second is their Chocolate Chip Mint, consisting of a minty ice cream base with chunks of Callebaut chocolates blended in.

Please check them out, before the real Canadian fall/winter kicks in! ;)

Follow my Toronto foodie journey on Twitter (@SGluttonous) and Instagram (@simply.gluttonous). Thanks a bunches and hope you have a lovely day!

Speak to you soon,

Allison

Summer's Ice Cream exterior



Chocolate Chip Mint ice cream
Minty ice cream with Callebaut chocolate chunks


Summer's Ice Cream on Urbanspoon

Thursday, 25 September 2014

Random foods - New York City

This will be my last post on my New York trip. I thought I'd just share some photos. I hope you enjoy these. See my travel page for more NYC restaurants!

For more photos and fun, follow me on Twitter (@SGluttonous) and Instagram (@simply.gluttonous)! Thanks a bunches.


Until next time,

Allison

Black cherry cider




Fried chicken and waffles



Biggest BLT I've ever had






Tuesday, 23 September 2014

Amy's Bread - New York City

Our first day in New York was hectic. Our morning commute was long and draining, involving a cab, a ferry, an airplane to Newark airport and a train ride. While waiting for our room to be prepared, we decided to wander around aimlessly. Somehow we found our way to Hell's Kitchen and ran into Amy's Bread, a quaint little neighbourhood bakery (with a big line up). 

The exterior of the shop was warm and inviting and once you enter the shop you are greeted by what seemed at the time to be every kind of baked good conceivable. There were trays after trays of cupcakes, brownies, blondies, baked nut bars, sticky cinnamon buns, scones, croissant, muffins... Did I miss something? Oh, cookies too. 

I'm sad to report that we only tried one thing, because we were still stuffed from our lunch. We shared their butterscotch cashew bars and it was every bit as good as you could imagine. I guess I can feel good about the fact that I took quite a few photos of their enormous variety of baked goods, for your eyes only. :)

Please see my travel page for more NYC restaurants! Follow me on Twitter (@SGluttonous) and Instagram (@simply.gluttonous) for more food photos and fun! 

Amy's Bread exterior & interior



Baked goodies on display





Thanks a bunches my lovelies, until next time,

Allison

Amy's Bread on Urbanspoon

Monday, 22 September 2014

Ladurée - New York City

I have a confession to make. One of my all time guilty pleasures is the TV series Gossip Girl, a fictional drama on the lives of a group of beautiful and wealthy teenagers living in the Upper East Side in New York. This show, like Sex and the City, was incredibly addictive. I will make no apologies for loving Gossip Girl, like Dr. Sheldon Lee Cooper makes no apologies for the truth. My favourite character from Gossip Girl is no doubt Blair Waldorf, the "evil dictator of taste". Her favourite pastries are macarons from Ladurée, thus I cannot possibly visit New York City without going to Ladurée.

Ladurée (@LadureeUS) is a French luxury patisserie house and it has stores throughout the world, including three stores in North America. There are two locations in New York, one in the Upper East Side and the other in Soho. We visited their Upper East Side location, after spending a day at the museum.
Ladurée exterior



Walking into Ladurée is much like walking into dream world. I stood there for a few moments just to  take everything in. The entire place breathes luxury, elegance and decadence. I loved it.



The macarons are flown in from Paris daily rather than made in house. We got a dozen macarons and they were truly delicious. Their shells are delicate and their fillings light. Unlike other places I have been to in the past, the macarons here are not excessively sweet, but well balanced and true to flavour.



A few of them were damaged on our long trip back to the hotel. It started raining while we were walking through Central Park. After a lengthy walk through the park in the rain, we got on the subway. We then got off at the wrong stop and walked 9 additional blocks through what seemed to be a million people. Needless to say, these little guys were a little bit roughed up. My favourite flavour was blackcurrant & violet, consisting of blackcurrant macaron biscuit and a light violet & blackcurrant compote. The blackcurrant taste stood out to me the most, as I have no idea what violet tastes like. Every single flavour in the box was enjoyable.



Ladurée is definitely worth a visit, whether you love Gossip Girl or not, as long as you have an appreciation for the finer things in life.

Please see my travel page for more NYC foods! Follow me on Twitter (@SGluttonous) and Instagram (@simply.gluttonous) for more food photos and fun!


xoxo,
Allison


Ladurée on Urbanspoon

Sunday, 21 September 2014

Xi'an Famous Foods - New York City

Xi'an Famous Foods (@xianfoods) is a favourite amongst New York foodies. It was featured on Anthony Bourdain's No Reservation, MSN's Appetite for Life with Andrew Zimmern, New York Chow Report and various magazines. It has been referred to as a true New York success story, with its owners coming from humble background. Xi'an Famous Foods has been on my radar for a while, because I was born in the city of Xi'an and spent the first twelve years of my life there prior to coming to Canada. I recently visited Xi'an again, the second time since I came to Canada. Check out my travel page to see what I ate while I was there!

Xi'an Famous Foods started in Chinatown and now has 7 locations. We visited their Midtown location. It's just a short walk away from our hotel in Time Square. There was a line-up in the restaurant, but the service was swift. Their food preparation area is fully visible to the customers and I watched them beat the noodle against the countertop after we ordered, making that characteristic 'bi-ang' noise. Dinner & a cooking demo, not a bad deal. The interior was relatively small and quite busy, thus we took our order to go and ate in our hotel room.

Xi'an Famous Foods exterior & interior


Check out the picture of a cow on the left hand side of the following photo, can you guess what that means? It took me a long while, longer than I care to admit, to figure this one out. At first I thought, 'cows should not poop in this restaurant'. Right? Nah, it means 'No Buillshit'. Clever indeed.


Xi'an Famous Food menu


We got a lot of food, two types of hand-ripped noodles, an order of cold skin noodle and two stewed pork burgers. These food brought back so much memory from my childhood. It was quite nostalgic tasting Xi'an food, because of how difficult it is to find Xi'an food in Canada. Xi'an food is unlike the rest of Chinese cuisine due to its heavy Middle Eastern influence, resulting in very bold flavours using spices such as cumin.

I had their Concubine's chicken hand-ripped noodles while my dining companion had their spicy cumin lamb hand-ripped noodles because I don't eat lamb. The hand-ripped noodles were luscious and had a great bite to them. The topping was authentic in flavour. I wish my noodle was spicier as I love my Xi'an food with a kick. If you are a spicy food lover, ask them to make it extra spicy for you.

Spicy cumin lamb hand-ripped noodles - N1


Concubine's chicken hand-ripped noodles - N6


I also ordered their liang pi cold skin noodle to try, because this dish was a childhood favourite. When I was young, I would walk over to my favourite liang pi shop in Xi'an with 2.5 RMB (~ 0.4 USD/CAD) in my pocket and order a bowl of extra spicy liang pi to take home. I would always get the extra large bowl. I guess my gluttonous nature started at a young age. The liang pi from Xi'an Famous Food reminded me of growing up and taking that long walk to the liang pi shop. It was my favourite dish of the night.

Liang Pi cold skin noodles - A1


Lastly, the stewed pork burgers, another childhood favourite. It was quite good, although not quite the same as the ones I had growing up. The ones I had as a child was distinctively fattiers, with small chunks of fat throughout the burger, giving it an extra level of decadence. 

Stewed pork burgers - B1



I'm glad that we got to try Xi'an Famous Foods on our New York trip. It was a good experience and brought back so much childhood memory. 

Please see my travel page for more NYC restaurants! Follow me on Twitter (@SGluttonous) and Instagram (@simply.gluttonous) for more food photos and fun!

Until next time,

A


Xi'an Famous Foods on Urbanspoon

Sunday, 14 September 2014

Marea - NYC

To be frank, I'm not a believer of saving the best for last. Why save the best for last when you can have the best first, now, all the time? Marea (@MareaNYC, @ChefBianco) was our best meal during this New York trip and it was our last dinner in the city. I wish we hadn't 'saved the best for last', our meal was so great that I would be happy to go back on another day of our trip if we could. 

Marea offers high-end Italian food and has earned numerous awards and recognitions, including two michelin stars. Marea's signature dish, octopus & bone marrow fusilli, was featured on New York Chow Report. It was a pure joy to watch and Marea has been on my radar ever since. I knew that I had to come to Marea during this trip to NYC.

Marea is located just South of Central Park, with a pretty and sleek interior. Drink wise, I had Sam's Answer from their cocktail menu. It is made up of vodka, st. germain, cucumber and grapefruit. This was the perfect cocktail for the humid, sticky, burning hot New York day we were experiencing. It was sophisticated and not too sweet. My dining companion had wine pairings for his first and second course. 

Sam's Answer
stolichnaya vodka, st. germain, cucumber, grapefruit


The food was amazing, all of it. We started by munching on bread. The olive focaccia was savoury and moist. I used it to mop up olive oil and later on my pasta sauce. This was followed by complimentary amuse-bouche. The salmon crudo made one tasty little bite.

Olive focaccia


Amuse-bouche


Onto appetizers, we had the involtini and zuppa. The involtini was golden and crispy on the outside and filled with juicy lumps of crab meat and lardo on the inside. The chilled pistachio soup was lusciously creamy and well balanced by the smokiness of the trout roe. It was delicious. 

Involtini
pork, crab, lardo, tomato honey


Zuppa
chilled pistachio soup, grilled calamari, radish, smoked trout roe


For our main course, we both had their handmade pasta. The Strozzapreti was the perfect pasta for seafood lovers, the generous lumps of crab together with the brininess of the sea urchin, brightened by a touch of fresh basil. It was topped with toasted breadcrumbs for a textural difference.

Strozzapreti
jumbo lump crab, sea urchin, basil


Now onto their signature dish, the very reason we came to Marea, the Fusilli. The octopus was braised in red wine with olive oil, garlic and sweet tomato sauce until fork tender. The beautifully braised octopus was then combined with rich bone marrow and shredded fresh basil leafs. This made the most delicious pasta sauce imaginable and it was topped with toasted breadcrumbs. We got a side of wild arugula, dressed simply in lemon juice and extra virigin olive oil, to balance the richness of the pasta dishes. This pairing was recommended by a friend and it was brilliant.

Fusilli
red wine braised octopus, bone marrow



Apologies if this following picture is a tad unappetizing, but I felt the need to show you what my plate looked like after I was done with it. If I had more bread, this plate would be completely cleaned off. Yes, it was that good.


Wild arugula & lemon salad


We of course had to have desserts. Have you seen anything so beautifully presented?

Panna cotta
caramelized goat milk panna cotta, almond, anise hyssop, melon granita


Caramello
chocolate cake, chocolate gelato, caramel sauce, crushed nuts, meringue



Complimentary dessert bites


Lastly, the service was good, as you would expect at a place like this, but I found our waiter to be a little bit too stoic. If that makes sense? He was knowledgable, helpful and polite, but rather serious. In fact, the whole experience had an air of seriousness for which I wasn't accustomed to, but I can't complain about the fast, thorough and helpful service.

This was our best meal in New York City and well-worth the trip. I would definitely go back to Marea whenever I'm back in New York. How can I not? :)

Please see my travel page for more NYC restaurants! Follow me on Twitter (@SGluttonous) and Instagram (@simply.gluttonous) for more food photos and fun!

Until next time,
Allison

Marea on Urbanspoon
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