Tag Archives: Brooklyn

June 2015 Yelp Elite Events

I recently reached Elite status on Yelp.com and have finally experienced several amazing Yelp events, from an ice cream tasting, to dinner at an Australian restaurant and an outdoor affair with appetizers and treats.

The first event I went to was the Milkmade Tasting Room ice cream tasting in Carroll Gardens, Brooklyn. Milkmade is a small shop that is easily missed if you’re not looking for it. They had 5 unique flavors and I was able to try all of them. Below, are the flavors in order from my favorite to least favorite.

RVC

Red Velvet Cupcake was creamy sweet and delicious. I enjoyed the cream cheese flavored ice cream with a multitude of red velvet crumbles.

Fingerlakes PB&J

This peanut butter and jelly flavored ice cream was a wonderful smooth base of peanut butter, accented with a jelly swirl.

Open Sesame

This was black sesame with caramel. It had a strong nutty flavor with a lovely sweetness.

Blueberry

This flavor was simple, light and tasted perfectly of blueberries. Beautiful purple-blue color as well.

Chinatown Chocolate

This chocolate flavor had traces of cinnamon, sichuan pepper and fennel so it was quite interesting. I found the extra flavors to be a little bit too busy and wasn’t sure if I liked all of them together.

yelp_icecreamAfter the ice cream tasting, my friend and I headed to the Elite Only event in Queens: Outback to Astoria at The Thirsty Koala, which is an Australian restaurant. The food was delicious and there was plenty to go around. There was ceviche on a circular tortilla chip with sea bass, which were tasty 2-bite size pieces. It tasted both fresh and flavorful.

yelp_cevicheThen there were Australian meat pies, which had sausage in them and they were amazing! The meat was seasoned beautifully and full of robust flavor.

yelp_meatpiesThen there were corn fritter sliders, which came with a jalapeno sauce which was actually quite wonderful, even though I don’t normally like spicy food. The corn fritter was so good, while the sauce complemented the corn fritter well.

Yelp_slidersWe also got to try these delicious meatballs and calamari which had the perfect amount of crispiness. There were also lamb chops, which was a crowd favorite, but not my favorite because it was a bit too rare for me and there was too much fat on it.

yelp_lambchopsThen our table noticed there were kangaroo empanadas going around which we didn’t get a chance to try so my friend asked about it and they made a whole tray just for us! What incredible service… It tasted pretty good. Kind of tasted like well seasoned beef – I would not have known it was kangaroo if no one told me.

After that came the desserts. The first one was called Koala Ball, which was basically a chocolate ball: Hard chocolate outer shell with a soft, gooey, rich, chocolatey brownie-like center. It was absolutely delectable!

yelp_chocolateThe other was a chocolate caramel bar with a shortbread-like base. This was also incredible and the chocolate complemented the caramel just right.

yelp_chocolate caramelMy third Yelp Elite event: Studio Lot Affair, took place outdoors yesterday, at the Kaufman Astoria Studios with foot from Astor Room and cocktails provided by Buffalo Trace. I enjoyed the chicken salad on toasted bread, as well as the chicken skewers with balsamic vinegar drizzled on top. However, my favorite, by far was the maple-candied bacon. It was extremely crispy, both sweet and salty, chock full of sweet maple flavor and just the best bacon I have ever had.

yelp_baconI had such a great time and met some awesome new friends at each of the Yelp Elite events, so can’t wait to attend future events!

MilkMade Tasting Room
204 Sackett Street
Brooklyn, NY

The Thirsty Koala
35-12 Ditmars Boulevard
Queens, NY

The Astor Room
34-12 36 St
Queens, NY

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Chocolate Workshop: Valentine Edition

This past weekend I headed to Chocolate Works in Brooklyn for a Chocolate Workshop. It’s a lovely store filled with delicious chocolate, truffles, fudge of all flavors and all different kinds of candy. I was able to find some sugar free chocolates (Malt Balls, Chocolate Covered Raisins & Peanuts) so picked up some of that.

Then we went to the back room for the Chocolate Workshop. We started with dipping strawberries, banana and marshmallow in the amazing chocolate fountain. However, we were only allowed one each which I was quite disappointed in. Chocolate covered strawberries are one of my favorite treats, so I really wanted more strawberries to dip. Had I known that Chocolate Works was going to be that stingy, I would have bought my own strawberries.

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Next, we picked a mold then filled it with chocolate then after it hardened, we were able to decorate it. Of course I chose the heart shape with LOVE written in cursive on it. I used hot pink (of course) to trace LOVE and then wrote XOXO all over it.

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While we were waiting for  our chocolate molds, we decorated our own cookies. I chose an Oreo and Pretzel as my base and sprinkled colorful M&Ms and hot pink/red/white heart sprinkles on top. The end result was an amazing, delectable sweet piece of delicious-ness.

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I decided to eat the Oreo concoction I made and save the pretzel for later. I normally am not a huge fan of the Oreo cookie, but having it covered with chocolate and other toppings made it wonderful. It was incredibly sweet; actually maybe a little bit too sweet but so good!

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I left the Chocolate Workshop with my sweet tooth completely satisfied and the solid chocolate heart I made, pictured below. The cost of the workshop was $30 and I had a really fun, sweet evening. The only complaint I had was that there were not enough strawberries to dip in the flowing chocolate fountain. They definitely should have let us have more than one piece of fruit!

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Chocolate Works
110 Montague St
Brooklyn, NY

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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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Afternoon in Williamsburg

I don’t go to Brooklyn often, but I visited my friend in Williamsburg, Brooklyn the other weekend and I thoroughly enjoyed the experience. Loved all the cute shops, great restaurants, cool graffiti. Plus, it’s very close to Manhattan, which is a big bonus. I got to check out my friend’s new loft and rooftop.

rooftop_me

The rooftop had gorgeous views of the city: Lovely buildings, Williamsburg Bridge, what used to be Williamsburg Savings Bank (now used as a premiere luxury events space)…

williamsburgThere were a lot of beautiful sights on that rooftop. This heart shape in the chain link fence, right in front of the gorgeous domed Williamsburg Savings Bank is one of those sights.

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For lunch, we headed to an Indian restaurant called Mahal Kita.  The interior was spacious and elegant, with chandeliers and brown/tan color scheme.

mahalkita

As per usual at any Indian restaurant, I ordered a Mango Lassi drink. Since my friend frequents the restaurant, we got our drinks for free which was an unexpected and gracious gesture. The Mango Lassi was tasty, refreshing and not too sweet.

mangolassi

I chose the marinated rack of lamb with potatoes and peppers for my main course, which was delicious. The lamb was juicy, succulent, full of flavor in a delectable sauce and was slightly charred which is the way I like my meat. The medley of vegetables in an orange sauce was quite wonderful and paired with the lamb well, giving it an extra layer of flavor.

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The meal at Mahal Kita was wonderful, the service attentive and they had a 20% off dine in special!

mahalkita_me

After our meal, we stopped into Pies n Thighs, the restaurant well known for its Southern cuisine which usually has an hour long wait to be seated… Luckily, they have desserts that can be purchased to go, so I got myself some apple pie (which I ate later). It was flaky tasty cinnamon spiced apple pie with a rich all butter crust… That crust was amazing.

williamsburg_pie

Then on my way back to the L train, I had to stop at Williamsburg Creamery, known for its homemade ice cream. I selected the White Raspberry with chocolate chunks and it was delectable and oh so mouthwatering and sweet! I also had the Vanilla ice cream with fudge and peanut butter, which I expected to like a lot more. It was actually too plain for me- The vanilla didn’t have enough of the fudge and peanut butter mixed in.

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Mahal Kita
184 Havemeyer St
Brooklyn, NY

Pies n Thighs
166 S. 4 St
Brooklyn, NY

Williamsburg Creamery
201 Bedford Ave
Brooklyn, NY

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Brooklyn Night Bazaar

BrooklynNightBazaar

It’s not often that I venture into Brooklyn, but when I heard about the Brooklyn Night Bazaar “A night market and concert space that brings together independent vendors, musicians, chefs and artists,” I knew I had to experience it for myself. The Bazaar is located in a warehouse in Greenpoint, open on Friday and Saturday nights from 6pm to midnight. Admission is free, but it’s a good idea to get there a little early because there will be a line and they stagger entry. There was still quite a decent sized line when I left around 9pm.

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Upon entering the Brooklyn Night Bazaar, you’re hit with an array of lights, color, hip and cool clothes, jewelry and other merchandise. We headed in toward the back where we were met with a barrage of food vendors, such as The Morris Truck (grilled cheese), The Lobster Joint, Oaxaca Taqueria, and Arancini Bros (rice balls). The first thing I had to try was the only $5 lobster slider from The Lobster Joint and it was delicious. I’m usually not a huge fan of lobster rolls because I dislike cold lobster, but this slider was not super chilled. The lobster was fresh and tasted full of flavor, with the perfect amount of mayo and accompanying coleslaw.

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I also had to get myself a bubble tea drink from Tea n’ Milk. I chose the iced Chai House Special with tapioca pearls. The tea was brewed fresh and tasted wonderful. I enjoyed it with the thick, sweet condensed milk and the sprinkling of cinnamon.

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Then I got to try some mac and cheese with truffle that was pan fried and then breaded & fried on top of that! This was a heaping dish of pure yummyness, along with the sauce they added to it. It was perfectly crispy, juicy, cheesy and completely fattening and indulgent.

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I couldn’t resist trying the lamb bun after seeing the lamb roasting slowly in front of my eyes. It came with sweet dark brown sauce, pomegranate seeds, parsley. It unfortunately did not taste as wonderfully as I had expected and ended up liking the pork bun quite a bit more.

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I was able to taste a few other items: Thin crust sausage pizza (tasty), risotto rice ball (decent), truffle grilled cheese sandwich (divine), and much later, some ice cream. I chose two flavors: Vanilla caramel and tres leches. Both turned out to be delightful, smooth, sweet, rich and complimented one another. The tres leches even had pieces of tres leches cake swirled in, which took it to the next level of deliciousness.

I spent some time checking out the vendors, which were all wonderful and unique in their own way. Some of my favorites were BlissfulCASE (pale pink glitter for your cell phone, anyone?), Milly & Earl (nautical-themed and other gorgeously designed jewelry), Strumpet (sassy retro-style apparel) and more.

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There was one vendor that had cool books that were transformed into clocks.

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Besides all the food and shopping, there was an area for live performances. Several different bands performed throughout the evening, adding an awesome element to the whole experience. Also, there’s a section for mini golf, complete with neon lights, disco balls, a huge cut out of Glinda the Good Witch, a zebra, and more!  There’s even table tennis!

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The Brooklyn Night Bazaar is something new, creative, full of life with trendy vendors, art, food, music and more! It’s great to go with a group of friends or just your bestie and can be an adventure that doesn’t break the bank, as it is easy to share the small bites, mini golf is only $5 and you’re able to choose how much you spend.  Well worth the trip!

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Brooklyn Night Bazaar
165 Banker St
Brooklyn, NY
Brooklyn Night Bazaar

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Disney on Ice: Treasure Trove

DisneyOnIce
A couple of weekends ago I headed over to Brooklyn and went with my friend to see “Disney on Ice: Treasure Trove” at the newly opened Barclay’s Center.

We had dinner first at SkyIce, known for their Northern Thai Home Cooking as well as homemade ice cream. I had the Non Fried- Fried Rice which came with shrimp, chicken, peas, mushrooms, pineapple, tomatoes and green onion. It was pretty tasty, but had a slightly spicy flavor that I could not place. We also tried some of their homemade, organic ice cream. I had Caramel Sea Salt and Honey-Ginger, and both were absolutely delicious. The caramel ice cream had a sweet strong caramel flavor, while the honey-ginger ice cream was delightfully subtle, both flavors melding together in exquisite taste.

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Afterwards, we walked the short distance to Barclay’s Center, which is a wide and expansive building. The exterior itself isn’t the most beautiful or ornate, as it is rust colored but the interior is quite spectacular. We got inside and were bombarded by concessions at exorbitant prices, such as popcorn for $12 and cute Disney paraphernalia such as little Cinderella slippers, Disney Princess necklaces, adorable cups with Princesses on them!

We finally got to our seats and had a decent view of the entire ice rink. The show started right on time, and started with warm up skating with the characters from “The Incredibles” and figure skaters in neon colors. After that, Mickey Mouse, Minnie Mouse, Goofy, Donald Duck came out to introduce the show and show us the treasure chest of Disney stories.

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The first story was Alice & Wonderland, which started with the Rabbit being late and took us through the entrance of the Queen and the croquet game. It was pretty well done, humorous and Alice did a wonderful job.

alicewonderland
The next tale was Peter Pan, where they showed several long scenes, from Captain Hook coming in on his huge ship, to Wendy singing about about what a mother means, to Wendy and the boys being captured, to Tinkerbell telling Peter Pan about the capture, then back to Wendy being captured by Captain Hook and on the verge of walking the plank, all the way through to Peter Pan saving the day and Captain Hook being eaten by the humongous crocodile!

After the intermission, it opened up with Lion King right away, which I absolutely loved. They went through the whole story, starting with Rafiki holding Simba up, then came Simba’s song, “I Just Can’t Wait to Be King.” Next was Mufasa’s version of the same sentiment, then the intense scene of the stampede of the wilderbeests and the tragic death of Simba’s father, which was blamed on Simba by the nefarious Mufasa and which led Simba to run away, meeting Timon and Pumba and their rendition of “Hakuna Matata.” However, my favorite part was when Simba and Nala came together to do the heart stirring “Can You Feel the Love Tonight.” Their pairs skating was amazing and I could feel the chemistry between them. It was just fiercely moving and fiercely beautiful. Lion King ended with the couple ruling over their Kingdom, and all the animals dancing around them.

lionking

Next was the first story that Disney ever made, Snow White. This one was charming and playful.  And Snow White was perfectly lovely and graceful. After that was Aladdin, which was colorful and thoroughly enjoyable. It shows the Aladdin meeting the Genie, the royal procession of Price Ali on his elephant to impress Princess Jasmine and the magic carpet ride, singing “A Whole New World.” I loved the song, and the skating between the two was sweet and romantic.

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Little Mermaid (one of my favorite Disney movies) was way too short, with only one song: “Under the Sea.” Not the song I would have picked. I also didn’t think that Ariel was mermaid-y enough and there was something about her that I didn’t quite make me believe her as Ariel.

littlemermaid

Then there was the new story of Rapunzel from Tangled. This one was quite fun, as it showed Rapunzel meeting Flynn for the first time and Flynn taking her to see the floating lanterns in the night sky, which was magical and wonderful. Flynn was very handsome and their pairs skating was energetic, graceful and delightful.

Tangled

Last was the story of The Princess of the Frog, showing Princess Tiana and Prince Naveen in their heartfelt dance.

In the finale, all the Princess and Prince couples from the show came waltzing out, along with other classics, such as Cinderella in that gorgeous sparkling white blue gown, to Beauty and the Beast which are the two that should have been included. There were also fireworks and sweet ending of Mickey and Minnie getting married!

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While I have to admit that the Peter Pan story was well acted, I would have preferred it if Disney on Ice: Treasure Trove didn’t spend quite so much time on Peter Pan and Alice in Wonderland and focused on a few more of the Classics, but all in all a solid performance with gorgeous singing, amazing costume designs, poetic figure skating and delightful Disney stories.

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