Tag Archives: birthday

Celebrating at Sugar Factory

Sugar Factory is a fun, club-like, happening, beautifully and festively decorated restaurant hot spot in the trendy Meatpacking District. I came here to celebrate my belated birthday in NYC, with some of my closest friends.

 

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The menu is a hefty book with tons of cocktail drinks (which can be made non alcoholic), milkshakes, food and dessert options.

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I knew that I wanted a milkshake, which are expensive at $10, but really huge. I made a few of my friends order a milkshake as well, so was able to taste 4 different types. Here is what I thought, listed in order of favorite to least favorite.

1. Fluffier Nutter is the milkshake I chose and consisted of vanilla soft serve ice cream base, with peanut butter, chocolate sauce, marshmallows, topped with whipped cream and peanut butter cups. I was able to taste the peanut butter well, but wish there was more of a distinct marshmallow flavor. Also, it came topped with Reeses M&M’s, not peanut butter cups.

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2. Make A Wish, was also made with vanilla soft serve, made with yellow cake, sprinkles and a cute little birthday candle, which I wished upon and blew out. This milkshake was deliciously sweet and the cake was perfectly moist and tasty.

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3. Chocolate Cookie Jar had vanilla soft serve, oreo, chocolate chips, caramel and chocolate sauces. This tasted just like Cookies & Cream and was very yummy.

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4. Memory Lane was vanilla soft serve, blended with hot fudge, marshmallows, chocolate fudge and waffle cone pieces. When I tried it, it was actually pretty bland… I couldn’t really discern the flavors clearly and definitely did not taste a lot of hot fudge or marshmallows, so this milkshake flavor was a disappointment.

For my entree, I ordered the Mediterranean Chicken Pappardelle pasta dish, which included sun dried tomatoes, artichoke hearts, pine nuts, fresh herbs and a lemony sauce made with ¬†olive oil and roasted garlic, along with toasted thin slice of bread with garlic taste on it (I wouldn’t really call it garlic bread even though it calls it that on the menu). I liked my meal for the most part, but I thought the sauce was too oily. The pasta was cooked perfectly al dente though and the chicken was nice and flavorful, going well with the artichoke, pine nuts and I enjoyed the plethora of parmesan cheese.

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When we were all finished, the servers came out with a seriously massive ice cream sundae with 2 sparklers in it and they all sang Happy Birthday to me! The sundae was beautifully presented with whipped cream, colorful sprinkles, sugar cones, 2 lollipops and the sizzling sparkling sparklers were a perfect touch! This sundae was the World Famous Sugar Factory King Kong Sundae, which had cookies & cream, chocolate, strawberry, vanilla ice cream flavors, as well as rice crispy treat pieces, pretzels, gummy bears, strawberries, blueberries and chocolate sauce. It also come with a comically big spoon. The servers handed out separate bowls for everyone and we started to dig in… It was delicious! I especially enjoyed the rice crispy treats and gummy bears. This amazing sundae concoction actually costs $99 for 12 people and the restaurant gave it to us without charge! Such a generous and wonderful gesture on their part… This definitely made up for having to wait a bit to be seated!

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This was the perfect place to celebrate my belated birthday dinner… I thoroughly enjoyed my time here and it seemed like most of my friends were having a ton of fun as well.

 

Sugar Factory
835 Washington St
New York, NY

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Holidays in Monterey

I spent the holidays in Monterey, California visiting with family and friends. It felt wonderful to be home for a couple weeks and enjoyed the home cooking, baking, trying new restaurants, watching movies, shopping, going to the aquarium/downtown/Fisherman’s Wharf, catching up with friends and getting into the Christmas spirit of joy, love and wonder.

Here are from scenes from around the town of Monterey.

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Seasons Greetings from Fisherman’s Wharf

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Boats at Fisherman’s Wharf

Christmas Tree at Del Monte Shopping Center

I also enjoyed home cooking. One of the first meals I had back home was pork chops with onion, fried rice (made with purple rice), salad and a medley of colorful vegetables: Carrots, mushroom, celery. Everything tasted fresh, flavorful and wonderful.

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Another one of my favorite meals was made at a family friend’s place. We had Filipino style noodles with chicken, shrimp, carrots and lettuce. Then we made some fish with onions and shrimp with celery. For dessert, an assortment of cookies (some of them made by me!)

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I loved the homemade lamb chop dish that I helped make. The lamb was seasoned perfectly and tasted tender and delicious. We also added onion and potato, which paired beautifully with the lamb.

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On Christmas day, some family friends came over and we made Chinese steamed dumplings. We created the filling of sticky rice, mushrooms, meat and green onion from scratch and wrapped it in the dumpling skins. After that, they were steamed and they came out a bit soft but still very tasty, especially with some spicy soy sauce.

 

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I made some baked goods as well… The classic chocolate chip cookies and also Christmas cookies with nuts and raisin filling, which we make every holiday season.

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We had fun getting into the holiday spirit by decorating the house with stockings over the fireplace, poinsettias and other flowers, mini Christmas tree…

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Since we didn’t have an actual Christmas tree, we visited family friends who did.

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On Christmas Eve, I had a chance to go to Candy Cane Lane (yes, that is an actual street name) and each house has to decorate on the outside so there is are tons of beautiful lights, displays and a center area with sleigh, reindeer, life size gingerbread house and more. It’s like a magical Christmas Winter Wonderland!

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Monterey2014_candy cane lane

Below was one of my favorite decorated houses. I just loved the sparkling lights, the bits of blue and red in between the white and the reindeer going up to the chimney! I thought it was both sophisticated and adorable at the same time.

Monterey2014_lightsChristmas morning I made French toast then we opened presents.

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We had dinner at Benihana, where I had a $30 gift certificate for my birthday. We had a great time and great meal there, as usual. It is always fun to watch the chef prepare our meals with finesse and skill. I ordered a passion fruit smoothie with strawberry swirls which was sweet, refreshing and delightful. I would have liked a bit more strawberry flavor though. For my meal, I had Filet Mignon and shrimp, which came with a multitude of sides and appetizers including soup, salad, chicken fried rice, shrimp and vegetables: Mushroom, zucchini and onion. Everything was well made and delicious. I also had chocolate ice cream which came with a lit candle in it and one of the servers played the drums and sang Happy Birthday!

Monterey2014_benihanaSoon after Christmas (2 days), it was my birthday! A friend of mine took me to Carmel for exploring, shopping and lunch at Cypress Inn, a super cute place owned by Doris Day, where they allow dogs. I had the fish and chips, which came with garlic french fries and it tasted amazing. The fish was fried to perfection with great flavor and the french fries were crispy and well seasoned.

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Afterwards, I came home to a lovely surprise party! It was filled with amazing friends, great food, wonderful gifts and a delectable ice cream cake.

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Below are some presents that I received: Clothes, money, scarves, accessories, chocolate and more. Some of my favorite gifts: A gorgeous gold heart necklace with diamonds and a scrapbook of Memories/my life that was made with love and care.

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Monterey2014_scrapbook

I had a wonderful holiday back home in California and hope that all your holidays were also beautiful and filled with love, family, friends, spectacular food and fun!

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Birthday in NYC

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Since I was in CA when my birthday hit, I celebrated with New York friends over the weekend, after I came back from holidays in California. I wore my new “Bright By My Side” dress that I ordered online from ModCloth. This flattering and sassy coral red dress is made of crepe fabric with sheer, puffy long sleeves with wrapped bodice and waist sash. I paired the dress with fashions from Shanghai: Coffee colored tights with cute little hearts all over and black high heel glittery boots, that are actually comfortable. And, of course the outfit would not be complete without an exquisitely sparkly and pearl tiara.

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I had my birthday dinner with a bunch of friends at Max Brenner at Union Square, which is a fun place to eat but incredibly crowded on a Saturday night and where we had to wait quite awhile, even with reservations. We were finally seated downstairs, in nice booth seating and I ordered one of the sharing dessert tastings with chocolate fondue. Our orders came fairly quickly and mine included a birthday candle on top an ice cream scoop, which was on a sweet waffle with berries. Everyone sang Happy Birthday, then we dug in!

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The dessert meal was pretty good, and was presented in a way that made it fun and creative to share. We had marshmallows that we could roast on the open fire (we had a little bit too much fun with that), as well as strawberries, bananas, cake, fried plantains, and the waffle. I pretty much dipped everything in the chocolate fondue. Yum! I also got to try some onion rings, waffle fries and black sesame encrusted salmon. If I had to order a non-dessert item, it would definitely be the salmon- Perfectly crispy, good flavor, beautifully presented.

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After eating, we were planning to spend the evening at Polar Lounge, which is located within the Marcel at Gramercy. However, we were informed that Polar was closed, so we waited for others in the lobby at the Marcel, which was actually quite lovely with silver and white accents… A silver couch, an area with a rectangular fireplace, and the main lobby area had a circular sleek black couch surrounding the room. In the center of the room, little white tables were adorned with candles, pretty pink, red and green flower bouquets on top. And the walls had interesting geometric patterns of white, brown and black colors.

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After more folks gathered at the Marcel lobby, we headed onward, in search of a suitable place to party. We passed by a park with this huge, gorgeous ball that changes into all different colors. There were also viewing seats that we could lay back on and watch the magic.

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We decided to go to Vunyc rooftop, which had a breathtaking and very close view of the Empire State Building! We had some drinks, shared great conversation, laughter and all around had a great time together.

The night didn’t end there. We barhopped a bit in the East Village and hit up Gin Palace and Easternbloc, where we did a lot of dancing and got a little crazy! I had a wonderful time with everyone… Even though we couldn’t party at Polar, we found some great places (and unexpected) to hang out at and enjoy each others company!

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