Tag Archives: chocolate

Yelp’s Holiday Cruise 2016

This year’s Yelp Holiday Cruise aboard the Hornblower Infinity was off the hook amazing!

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The Hornblower Infinity was a beautiful, spacious yacht with 3 levels. “Recently remodeled with a bold design, this vessel is the largest in the New York fleet and matches the uniqueness of New York.”

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Upon entering, my group of friends and I headed downstairs to the first floor, where all the savory food vendors were. After a bit of noshing on yummy savory bites, I headed up to the 2nd level for some sweet treats. There was also CandyTwisted Balloons, where they make balloon hats of your choice… They were gorgeous! On the third floor, where there was an oxygen bar, massage area, painting and a magician.

                   MY FAVORITE TREATS OF THE NIGHT

Between the Bread
They presented us with a scallop on top of a tortilla chip, which was delicious. I really enjoyed the pan seared scallop and the flavorful pesto sauce on top.

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Otto’s Tacos
This pulled pork taco was quite large and chock full of wonderful tasting seasoning! The meat was juicy, tender and so yummy!

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City Cakes
I am a chocolate chip cookie girl (which I also tried of course), but one bite of the red velvet cake cookie and I was hooked… It was perfectly soft, had a mix of red velvet and white cream, just the right amount of sweetness and the definition of delicious. The chocolate chip cookie was also mouthwatering good.

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Tea & Milk
Cute bubble tea business. The folks making and serving the bubble tea were friendly and bubbly! I couldn’t decide between the regular black tea or the green jasmine tea so they let me try both! They were quite tasty, especially the jasmine tea. I liked the bit of cream they put on top and the tapioca balls were exactly the right texture and size.

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Oficina Latina
This booth had both savory and sweet… Gorgonzola gnocchi with greens which were great and for dessert, I chose the chocolate and nutella which was absolutely delectable: Very rich, creamy, chocolate-y smooth and decadent!

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Dough
Perfectly adorable mini donuts of quite a few different flavors. Each one moist and delightful, with sweet icing! Pictured below: Passionfruit and Chocolate.

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One vendor I didn’t really care for was Chickpea, though I loved their beautiful, colorful, unique and creative presentation of flowers, along with the meats. Beyond that, I thought the naan, chicken and falafel were quite bland and dry. Another that didn’t meet my expectations was Coppelia’s chicken fried rice, especially since I love the restaurant Coppelia. It might have benefited from more seasoning and fresh ingredients.

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The dance floor was super fun, with great songs and lots of characters, such as Elmo, Unicorns, dinosaurs, entertainers in glittery bedazzled costumes, dancers in white with masks and so on. The boat docked around 9pm, but the DJ and Hornblower Cruises staff stuck around for an extra hour so we could continue having a blast and dance the night away!

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Popbar: Gelato on a Stick

I love Popbar in the West Village. It’s the perfect dessert spot for summer and any other season. It’s gelato on a stick… Made with fresh, natural ingredients and dipped in different types of chocolate with the option to add toppings. Such a simple, yet delicious concept.

popbar_me1I’ve been to Popbar numerous times and twice this weekend! Some flavors I’ve tried (all dipped in milk chocolate): Dulce de Leche (probably my favorite flavor- extremely sweet, rich, wonderful); peanut butter (just delicious); pumpkin (seasonal treat- nice and yummy).

popbarRecently I had the coffee with milk chocolate and that was delectable. Loved the smooth coffee-chocolate taste. Today I had the strawberry yogurt with a new dipping sauce: Caramel dark chocolate. I loved the strawberry taste- Very creamy, sweet (but not overly so), refreshing! And I enjoyed the dark chocolate, but I felt like the caramel flavor was not that strong.

popbar_popsicleI really want to try the blood orange, green tea, hazelnut, pistachio & mixed berry flavors next. Looks like I’ll have to come back quite often… Which is perfectly fine by me. This is one of the few establishments I would travel out of my way to go to!

Tip: The Popsicles melt quickly, so it’s better to stay in the store/sit right outside to enjoy/eat it versus walking out with it.

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Popbar
5 Carmine St
New York, NY

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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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La Tarte Flambee

la tarte flambee

I had the chance to try lovely French restaurant, La Tarte Flambee the other night with some friends. It’s a perfect place to share a meal because the concept of the tart, a specialty of Alsace, France is a mix between a pizza and crepe. The tarts are quite large, cut into 9 square pieces and have a thin crispy crust.

We started with savory tarts and ordered 4 of them. My favorite was the grilled lamb with onions, gruyere and mint sauce. The lamb was flavorful and tasted wonderful with the onions and cheese. The mint didn’t have a strong presence on the tart but I didn’t mind that.

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We also ordered a tart made with fresh salmon, leeks and onions. The salmon was indeed fresh, as were the vegetables.

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Next, we had a vegetarian tart with leeks, tomatoes and peppers, as well as cheese. This was quite good, even with the absence of meat.

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Last we picked a tart with bacon, onion and gruyere. It was a bit light on the bacon; it would have been better with more bacon. I also would have liked the bacon to be crispier and a little more flavorful.

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After that, we moved on to the sweet tarts. I, of course had to order the strawberry-chocolate one. It came with creme fraiche, cinnamon, strawberries, and homemade chocolate sauce. I enjoyed very much, but think that there could have been more strawberry—perhaps thicker slices, because the other flavors kind of overpowered the fruit. I did, however love the chocolate sauce (of which they provided extra), which was rich, sweet and delicious! On the tart itself, the chocolate was lightly spread but I added some of the extra sauce and it was oh-so creamy, thick and intensely chocolate-y!

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Last, we tried the restaurant’s namesake, pomme la tarte flambee, which consisted of sliced apples, cinnamon and crème fraiche and was actually flambe’d in front of us! Flambe, meaning covered with liquor and set alight which they did not once, but twice for good measure. The show was quite cool and I enjoyed watching the tart alight with fire. However, the taste of alcohol was too strong for me so I didn’t actually like the tart.

tarte flambee

All in all, I was impressed by the different tarts and truly enjoyed trying them. I would recommend the lamb one, the salmon one and the strawberry-chocolate one.

La Tarte Flambee
153 E 33 St; 1750 2nd Ave
New York, NY

 

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RW Lunch at Fig & Olive

I had been yearning to try Mediterranean restaurant, Fig & Olive for quite some time now so I jumped at the chance to dine at Fig & Olive for lunch during Restaurant Week. My friend and I ate at the Uptown location, which was beautiful, sleek, elegant and cozy with comfortable seating, which had an intimate feel.

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After we settled in, we were served a plate of rosemary focaccia bread pieces and three different types of olive oil: Two from Spain and one from Italy. The bread was mediocre, a little bit dry but the olive oil was rich and tasty.

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For my appetizer, I chose the truffle mushroom croquettes, which were delicious fried balls of cremini mushroom parmesan and béchamel, served with truffle oil aioli. They were incredibly flavorful, fresh and wonderful!

figolive appetizer

The main course was Rosemary Lamb, which consisted of grilled lamb and red bell pepper on skewers with rosemary ends, a fig and cous cous with red onion, scallions and tomatoes, and sauce made out of Greek yogurt base. The lamb was amazing… Perfectly cooked, tender, well-seasoned and incredibly appetizing. The cous cous was also quite good, and I normally don’t like cous cous that much. I enjoyed both the lamb and cous cous with the sauce, giving the dish more depth.

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There were only two options for dessert, so my friend and I ordered one of each so that we could try both. The “Dessert Crostini” was Amarena cherry and mascarpone on top of pistachio shortbread with basil. There were two of these so it was perfect and I liked the taste of mascarpone on the shortbread but I thought the cherries were way too sweet.

figolive dessert

The chocolate pot de crème, which came with a crunchy praline financier (basically a fancy Kit Kat bar) and vanilla cream on top, was out of this world delectable. It was incredibly chocolate-y and had a lovely smooth consistency with just the right amount of sweetness.

figolive chocolate

I really enjoyed my meal at Fig & Olive. The service was also high quality. I would highly recommend trying out this restaurant!

 

Fig & Olive
808 Lexington Avenue
New York, 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.

chocolateworkshop

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!

chocolateworkshop3

 

Chocolate Works
110 Montague St
Brooklyn, NY

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Otto Enoteca Pizzeria

otto_homepic

I recently received a gift card to Otto Enoteca Pizzeria (thank you, Chris!), one of my favorite Italian restaurants in the city. “Otto Enoteca Pizzeria is modeled after an Italian train station and located on 8th Street, in the historic One Fifth Avenue building,” … at the edge of Washington Square Park in the heart of Greenwich Village. Upon being seated, we were given a large, thick piece of bread wrapped in white paper and a packet of long bread sticks. The bread was decent, but would have been nice to have butter or olive oil and vinegar.

It was tough choosing between Spaghetti Alla Carbonara and one of the pasta specials, which contained radicchio, pancetta and gorgonzola. My friend and I ended up sharing, so I was able to have the best of both worlds.

The pasta special was pretty good. The radicchio (leafy purple-ish vegetable with a slightly bitter taste) was a bit wilted but I liked the pancetta. The gorgonzola was overpowering though. Overall, this dish was a bit too rich for me.

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I liked the Spaghetti Alla Carbonara better, which had pancetta, scallions, black pepper, and egg. The pasta was cooked al dente, there was just enough black pepper (and salt), the pancetta added a lot of delicious flavor, but I couldn’t really discern the taste of egg and the consistency was a little gummy.

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Then, of course I had to get dessert! I’ve had the Olive Oil Coppetta before and it is incredibly delicious, but wanted to try something different so went for the Parfait Carotina, which is described as “carrot & cashew cake, cardamom orange caramel, ricotta crema, cashew brittle, carrot orange marmelatta, cardamom orange gelato.” It was completely different from what I was expecting… There were grated carrots on top of the cake and the gelato didn’t have a strong flavor of either cardamom or orange, though I did like the cashew brittle. The flavors were ultimately not pleasant enough for me enjoy, so I switched my order to the Black & White, which did not disappoint.

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The Black & White was truly delectable. It was a beautiful concoction of milk chocolate chip gelato + chocolate sauce (the Black), crème fraiche gelato (the White), and hazelnut croccante, topped with caramel crema and a crispy waffle wedge. While the caramel crema had a delightful light flavor of caramel, it was too much to eat just by itself. However, when combined with the rest of the dessert, it added an extra layer of deliciousness. The crème fraiche was light, fresh, divine and the milk chocolate (with actual bits of pure chocolate) was rich, creamy, wonderful, while the sugary crispy hazelnut brittle added a satisfying sweet crunch.

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It is a testament to the quality of this restaurant that I’ve come back to dine here several times. Also, the service is quite good and the prices are affordable.

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Otto Enoteca Pizzeria
1 Fifth Avenue
New York, NY

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