Traveling to Shanghai

shanghai_night

I’m traveling to Shanghai, China today and will be there for a month! I won’t be able to post while I’m there but I will have lots of photos to add when I get back on October 7, 2014.

XOXO,

Kathy

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Weekend in Toronto

Toronto

A friend and I spent the Labor Day weekend in Toronto, Canada and had such an amazing time. In the short time that we were there, we were able to cover many of the sightseeing hot spots: Kensington Market, Eaton Centre, St. Lawrence Market, CN Tower, High Park, Casa Loma (Castle on the Hill) which was absolutely gorgeous, Royal Ontario Museum, as well as famous neighborhoods and streets. Favorites include Bloor Street West, Queen Street, Chinatown, Korea Town, and more…

Toronto, Day 1:

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Kensington Market/Chinatown

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Toronto Eaton Centre, St. Lawrence Market, Yonge-Dundas Square

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CN Tower Experience

In the evening, we headed to the Distillery District but did not find it to be a very happening place, so we continued on our way and had dinner at an Indian restaurant called Bombay Palace. It was a nice, quiet spot with wonderful mango lassi and tandoori chicken/prawn/sausage/naan bread special that came on a sizzling plate.

Toronto, Day 2:

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Dupont Subway Station

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High Park: Maple Leaf Bed

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In front of Casa Loma

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Casa Loma

After Casa Loma, we headed to Honest Ed’s, a huge discount store. We were quite hungry so our next destination was Baton Rouge, where we ordered the baby back pork ribs which were delicious! They were cooked perfectly and slightly crispy. I also enjoyed the two sides: French fries and rice pilaf.

When we were done eating, we made our way to one of the famous streets (and my favorite street) of Toronto: Bloor Street West. We walked along Bloor St West from the HR department store with hot pink flags, and went past the high end shops, the Royal Ontario Museum, the Bata Shoe Museum, University of Toronto, cute little shops and eateries (including Greg’s Ice cream where I had the Coffee Toffee flavor which was truly delectable and a perfect balance of rich coffee and sweet toffee), Korea Town and more!

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My Favorite Street: Bloor St. West

Toronto, Day 3

Today was the last day so I spent the morning at the Royal Ontario Museum which is quite cool with all different types of exhibits, ranging from fashion to Asian, to geology, to mammals and dinosaurs, from Neoclassical to Renaissance, from Greek to Roman and so much more.

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Royal Ontario Museum

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Royal Ontario Museum Fashion Exhibit

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Royal Ontario Museum Million Dollar Coin

I really enjoyed my time in Toronto, Canada and would definitely return!

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Outside at the CN Tower

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Lunch at Lavo

lavoI recently had the opportunity to dine at the fancy Lavo (Nightclub and Restaurant ) for Restaurant Week lunch. Inside, it’s beautiful, elegant and spacious.

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For my appetizer, I chose the Tomato Bufala Mozzarella Salad. It consisted of yellow and red tomato slices with mozzarella in between, topped with Parmesan-crusted crostini and onion on the side. Even though it was a simple dish, the presentation was lovely and I really liked the pop of colors. It tasted quite wonderful as well– Fresh, flavorful, and delightful.

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For my main course, I had the sliced strip steak with green peppercorn sauce. The steak, already cut was absolutely delicious– Juicy, tender with a mouthwatering sauce. The only complaint I had was that the meat had quite a bit of fat on it still and I prefer lean cuts of meat. The french fries had sprinkle of Parmesan and were skinny (just the way I like them), warm, perfectly crispy and incredibly good.

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My chosen dessert was the Oreo Zeppole with a Vanilla Malt Shake, while my friend had the Gianduja Budino, a chocolate pudding. The pudding was rich and extremely chocolatey but I preferred the zeppole. The oreo zeppole were delectable warm little morsels that melted in your mouth. The zeppole had an oreo filling with fried dough around it… They tasted sweet and perfect. The vanilla shake came in an adorable little cup with an oreo inside. The shake combined well with the zeppole, but each were delightful on its own.

I truly enjoyed my meal at Lavo! The service was pretty good, though it took awhile to get mayonnaise (for my fries) and I had to ask more than once. Otherwise, a lovely dining and culinary experience.

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Lavo
39 E 58th St
New York, NY

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The Met: Beyond Fashion

metfashion

I headed to the Metropolitan Museum to check out the Charles James: Beyond Fashion exhibit, which has since ended. Blair Waldorf of Gossip Girl said it best: “Fashion is the most powerful art there is. It is movement, design and architecture all in one. It shows the world who we are and who we’d like to be.”

{Shameless Plug: I recently created a Gossip Girl Instagram account; please follow me @gossipgirlsparkles}

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Charles James is a “British-born fashion designer known as ‘America’s First Couturier.’ He is widely considered to have been a master of cutting and is known for his highly structured aesthetic.” Which can definitely evident in the examples of his work below.

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We had to go through back to the main floor and through quite a few rooms to find the last part of the fashion exhibit, but it was worth it to see the truly gorgeous dresses on display. This one may well be my favorite: Elegant, exquisite and unique. I love the sweetheart neckline, the flattering shape, the white satiny backdrop and that black & white pattern at the waist, down the back coming back around in the front and the way the gown fans out.

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This was my other favorite: Deeply romantic and sweetly classic.  Once again the sweetheart neckline, the ruching, the pale pink/plum color, the luxurious material and tulle skirt.

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My next favorite was this amazing geometric feat of beauty. Truly stylish, graceful, polished and refined. The material shined bright, the cut is simple but perfect and the black velvet swirl dances in front of you.

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Photo Credit: @metmuseum Instagram

Then there was this little number: Regal and sexy at the same time. Beautiful deep red color, velvety top with satin draped skirt and white tulle.

metfashion_dress3“Charles James: Beyond Fashion” at the Metropolitan Museum of Art was one of the best exhibits I’ve ever been to at any museum and I was so happy to catch it while it was there.

 

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RW: Sofrito | Nick + Stef’s Steakhouse | Bar Eolo

Summer Restaurant Week (July 21-August 15) is in full swing and so far, I have had the opportunity to have dinner at Sofrito (Pan-Latin), lunch at Nick + Stef’s Steakhouse and dinner at Bar Eolo (Sicilian Kitchen).

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Dinner at Sofrito

Appetizer: Empanadas… I chose beef filling for one of them and shrimp filling for the other. They were both quite tasty, but I enjoyed the beef one better. I also got to try my friend’s yucca crusted chicken which was wonderfully crunchy and came with sweet and delicious passion fruit dip.

Entree: Carved roast pork with Spanish rice and peas, as well as sweet plaintains. This meal was huge! I was only able to finish maybe half of it. The pork was tender like butter and the skin was incredibly crispy with great flavor. It would’ve been even better if there was more sauce. The rice was pretty good and went well with the pork, but the plaintains were just okay.

Dessert: Tres leches cake with whipped cream and strawberries. This was delectable: Intensely sweet, especially soaked in the wonderful cream and the fruit was a perfect companion.

Atmosphere: The dining area was chic and roomy, but we were not expecting the obnoxiously loud club music playing in the front. This made it extremely difficult to to hold a conversation and dampened the overall experience.

Service: Quite good… The waitress was attentive and nice.

Lunch at Nick + Stef's Steakhouse

Lunch at Nick + Stef’s Steakhouse

Appetizer: Chilled pea and lemongrass soup with peekytoe crab and garlic croutons. I was not a huge fan of the soup, but I did like the crab and croutons on top.

Entree: Steak Frites. (What else would you get at a Steakhouse?) The skirt steak came already cut up for our convenience, and was herb marinated with pesto sauce. The steak was delicious and full of savory flavor. The fries were thin and crispy, just the way I like them.

Dessert: Chocolate Mousse Cake. Rich, chocolate layered cake that melted in my mouth was sweet, soft, delicate and delightful.

Atmosphere: Classy, white and elegant

Service: Wonderful!

Dinner at Bar Eolo

Dinner at Bar Eolo

Appetizer: I was looking forward to trying the calamari but it was no longer on their Restaurant Week menu, so I had to settle for the saffron risotto ball. I was disappointed because there was only one risotto ball. Also, I couldn’t taste the saffron at all, but did like the cheesiness of it and enjoyed the beef and pea ragu in the center.

Entree: Seared halibut with roasted potatoes, tomato, mushrooms, capers with olive oil and sauce. The halibut was cooked to perfection, with a bit of crispy skin that tasted so good. I also really enjoyed the potatoes, sauce and everything combined together nicely.

Dessert: Warm flour-less chocolate cake with strawberries, pistachio cous cous and pistachio ice cream was well worth the $4 additional fee. The chocolate cake was truly delectable: Melt in your mouth, finger licking delicious. It was rich, velvety and tasted of pure chocolate. The pistachio cous cous was underneath the ice cream and tasted light, subtly sweet, luscious.

Atmosphere: Lovely, cute restaurant in Chelsea with outdoor seating.

Service: The hostess and waitress seemed to be a bit confused throughout the meal, but they meant well.

 
Sofrito
400 E. 57 St
New York, NY

Nick + Stef’s Steakhouse
9 Penn Plaza
New York, NY

Bar Eolo
190 7th Ave
New York, NY

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Weekend in Warwick

I spent the past weekend in Warwick, NY with a bunch of friends. Here is an account of the fun and crazy times through pictures…

Arrival on Friday:

Barnyard that we stayed in

Outside the Barn House we stayed in

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Posing in nature, outside the Barn House

A view of the garden

A view of the garden

Inside the spacious, roomy, high ceiling loft-like barnhouse

Inside the spacious, roomy, high ceiling loft-like Barn House

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Posing at the stairs

Dinner on the grill

Dinner on the grill

Snap shot of some of us

Snap shot of some of us

Saturday:

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Hanging out in downtown Warick

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Time Flies… Love Stays

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Clock Tower on Main Street in Downtown Warwick

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Afternoon at the beach

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We had a lovely time at the beach

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Enjoying ice cream from Bellvale Farms Creamery

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Close up of the Bellvale Creamery ice cream: White chocolate with raspberry and dark chocolate chunks and Dark chocolate with fudge brownie and peanut butter flavors

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Snap shot with the Bellvale Farms colorful cow!

View of the valley from Bellvale Farms Creamery

View of the valley from Bellvale Farms Creamery

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Snap shot of the valley, clouds & sun

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Saturday Night at the Warwick drive-in movie theater to see the deeply emotional “Dawn of the Planet of the Apes”

Sunday:

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Having fun on the wooden swing and the trampoline

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Eating well: Raspberries and salad

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Group photo of all of us who stayed at the Barn House this past weekend in Warwick, NY

The weekend may have ended, but the memories will last forever!

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Dining at Traif

I had heard a lot about the restaurant Traif, in Brooklyn and finally had the chance to experience it with a friend the other day. It didn’t disappoint. It was explained to us by the waitress the items on the menu are small bites meant to be shared so we chose a few items. I started off by getting a drink: Pomegranate juice, which was full of pure pomegranate flavor and not too sweet.

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Our first dish was baked Muenster cheese with smoked chorizo and green apple, as well as crostini to dip. The cheese was warm and extremely delicious, along with the chorizo at the bottom. It paired perfectly with the apple and bread. We were even given more bread to finish the rest of the cheese.

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Next came the strawberry-cinnamon glazed baby back ribs, which were as delicious as it sounds. The ribs were coated with just the right amount of seasoning and sauce, and we could really taste the cinnamon spice. The meat came off the bone easily and tasted tender, hearty and a mix of savory and sweet.

traif_ribsAfter that was the BBQ braised short rib sliders with smoked paprika aioli and sweet potato fries. The short rib was incredibly juicy and had a burst of mouthwatering BBQ flavor. And the sweet potato fries were perfectly crispy, crunchy, and delightful. Some of the best I’ve tasted!

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Last was the broccoli rabe, which we thought would be a good, healthy choice but it came smothered in aged asiago, portobello truffle toast and fried egg. Each component tasted great on its own but combining the strong flavors of sauteed broccoli rabe, mushroom, cheese and egg is what made it a wonderful masterpiece.

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The dessert was maple bacon mini donuts with coffee ice cream and this was amazing! Warm doughy, sweet, chewy donuts, glazed with caramel and sprinkled with bacon bits– What could be better? And the ice cream was very yummy, with authentic flavor of milky coffee.
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The meal at Traif, from start to finish, was exquisitely decadent, delectable and delicious! The service was spot on and attentive. I would go back again in a heartbeat to try other menu items.

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Traif
229 S 4 St
Brooklyn, NY

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