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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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Afternoon Tea Time Experiences

In the past couple of weeks, I have had the pleasure of enjoying afternoon tea service at a couple of different places. These restaurants include Alice’s Tea Cup Chapter II and Measure at Langham Place on Fifth Avenue.

Alice’s  Tea Cup had a really whimsical, fanciful, lovely and cute ambiance.

We decided on the Mad Hatter Tea Service, which is absolutely perfect for two people. It comes with two pots of tea, 3 scones, 3 little sandwiches, a dessert of our choice and cookies. And it’s a steal for around $30 per person, for a substantial amount of food. We ended up having to take quite a bit home for later!

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For the tea, I picked Chocolate Chai and my friend chose Christmas Tea because we wanted to try something festive. Too bad there wasn’t a Fall Blend or Pumpkin-Something option. The Chocolate Chai is black tea spiced with cinnamon, cardamom, ginger, clove, vanilla and sweetened with chocolate. It was lovely and rich, with a subtle flavor of chocolate. The Christmas Tea was a comforting blend of Indian black tea, hibiscus, raisins, rose hips, almonds, cinnamon and clove. I thought it tasted just okay, but I did enjoy it when it was mixed with the Chocolate Chai and milk.

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The sandwiches we selected were curried chicken salad and ham with gruyere. The curried chicken salad had red onion, celery, granny smith apple and tomato slices on golden raisin semolina. This was really nice with a huge amount of seasoning. But I really enjoyed the black forest ham and gruyere, which came with whole grain mustard and mayonnaise on golden raisin semolina bread. I think I tasted more mayonnaise than mustard, which was  a win for me. Though simpler, it had purer flavors and unexpectedly, I think I may have liked it a bit more than the curried chicken salad sandwich.

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For the scones, we of course had to try the pumpkin spice (‘Tis the season!), chocolate caramel and ginger molasses (50 cents more for that one). We tried the pumpkin one, which had a robust pumpkin flavor, on the spot and it was wonderful, especially with the homemade clotted cream and raspberry jam. We also tried it with some whipped cream we had and that was deliciously indulgent. Later, I had the rest of the scones and I enjoyed the chocolate chips in the chocolate caramel one, but the glaze of caramel taste was not that strong. The ginger molasses was heavy on both ginger and sweet molasses flavor and quite good.

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As for the dessert, we decided to order the chocolate mousse pudding, though I will have to come back for to try the mocha cake because I saw another table have it and it looked amazing! The chocolate mousse was certainly exquisite and delectable, with incredibly rich sweet milk chocolate and whipped cream. It was irresistibly creamy and smooth as silk.

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The service was great as well and I will definitely return, especially for that mocha cake and the s’mores dessert that I saw on the menu!

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For my second afternoon tea, I chose Measure, which is located within the first floor of Langham Place, a super swanky and gorgeous hotel on Fifth Avenue. The interior of Measure is elegance and sophistication personified with high ceilings, dark brown cushiony seats, lovely glass tables, pretty white accents.

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A friend and I came here for Modern Afternoon Tea (weekends between 2-5pm) and it was fairly empty, so we were able to sit wherever we liked. We chose to sit by the window, looking out at the hustle and bustle of New York City’s 5th Avenue street.

There were 3 loose leaf teas to select from: Earl Grey, Genmaicha and Mint. Just a note: If you don’t like the sound of any of those, they have 14 other types of tea (in tea bag form). I went for the classic, Earl Grey which was delightful with milk and the little cubes of brown sugar. My friend selected the Genmaicha, which is basically green tea with toasted rice. It had an sort of soothing, mild and earthy taste to it.

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Our food came out in a sort of bento box format and the presentation was absolutely exquisite. The 3 savory appetizers were on top and the 3 sweet treats were underneath. The hummus grougere came with vegetable pronvecale topping of colorful bell peppers. The hummus was good, with a creamy consistency and nice fresh taste. The king crab roll was adorable, with thousand island dressing and micro herbs on top, which looked a bit like caviar. I didn’t like micro herbs, but the rest of the roll was wonderful and I really enjoyed the ample amount of crab meat on it. My favorite of the savory delights was definitely the warm scotch egg, which had chopped pork and chorizo in the breading, as well as curry mayonnaise and lettuce on top. The breading was crispy, full of flavor and truly satisfying, especially accompanied by the well seasoned half cooked egg.

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Then there were the desserts. There was a chocolate and passion fruit French macaron that was quite large (on the menu it’s labeled incorrectly as a “Macaroon,” which is the coconut pastry, not the French cookie). The outer shell was bright pink, one of my favorite colors, with a dusting of pink & purple and a drizzle of white sugar glaze. The center was filled with rich chocolate mousse, raspberries and some passion fruit cream. The chocolate and raspberries overpowered the flavor of the passion fruit, but it was delicious nonetheless. Then there was a cookies and cream profiterole, with a fancy chocolate piece on top, along with broken up bits of oreo cookie. The profiterole was wonderfully sweet and lusciously creamy. Last, was the cheese cake filled chocolate covered strawberry. I’m a sucker for chocolate covered strawberries, so this was a big hit for me and the cheese cake filling, mingled with the chocolate was perfectly delectable.

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After all that, there was still more to be had… Nutmeg and cinnamon scones, with homemade jam and clotted cream. The scones were piping warm and had a strong flavor of cinnamon and the clotted cream was an amazing addition to the already yummy, melt in your mouth crumbly scones.

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This is a great place to come to enjoy a fancy afternoon tea, and at $35 per person, the pricing is not bad either!

The service was a little lackluster since the servers did not come by that often and we sometimes had to wait a bit to get their attention. However, when they did come around, they were attentive and polite.

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While Alice’s Tea Cup Chapter II had more substantial servings and was lower in price, Measure was more fancy with a more exquisite presentation and taste. However, I truly enjoyed both places for lovely tea afternoon experiences and would highly recommend both restaurants.

 

Alice’s Tea Cup Chapter II
156 E 64 St
New York, NY

Measure
400 5th Ave
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.

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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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