Tag Archives: food

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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Holidays in California

I thoroughly enjoyed my time in California during the holiday time. From visiting the Aquarium, spending time at the beach, going shopping, hanging out downtown and at the Farmer’s Market, enjoying home cooked meals and time with family in my hometown in Monterey; to seeing friends in LA and relaxing at Miracle Springs Resort & Spa at Desert Hot Springs; to spending Christmas with family friends, stopping by the Chumash Casinos and checking out the charming town of Solvang (Danish Capital of America), it was a wonderful mini-vacation.

Christmas in Monterey, CA

I love the glittering, dazzling lights and decorations of the Portola Hotel lobby.

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This colorful and lovely Christmas tree is displayed in the middle of the Del Monte Shopping Center.

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Monterey Bay Aquarium in Monterey, CA

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Even though I have seen many of the exhibits already, I always feel a sense of wonder and magic while watching the brilliant sea life all around me. Also, I love seeing the new exhibits and activities that make the experience even more enjoyable.

Some of my favorite displays are the playful otters, cute penguins, beautiful jellyfish, brightly colored fish of hot pink/electric blue and yellow etc, mystical kelp forest, school of fish forming shapes together, formidable sharks, majestic sea turtles and the fact that the Aquarium is connected to the natural ocean front and there are outdoor areas throughout where you can witness the amazing views of the Monterey Bay/Pacific Ocean.

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Miracle Springs Resort & Spa in Desert Hot Springs, CA

Truly wonderful place with a beautiful lobby – Plush comfortable seats, nice Christmas tree and lights, huge windows that overlook the amazing landscaping, pools and hot tubs.

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We headed to the pool and jacuzzis, which are all natural hot and cold springs. I started in one of the hot tubs which was quite warm and incredibly relaxing. It felt amazing to just soak in the hot tub and let the water and jets flow over me. After a bit I went to the biggest pool, where the temperature was cooler, but wasn’t cold by any means…It felt more lukewarm and big enough to swim back and forth, which I enjoyed. Later, we spent time in a smaller jacuzzi which was still pretty warm, but not as hot as the first one. Also, the jets were stronger in that one so it was great to feel that on my back, feet and was sort of like a massage. These hot tubs are the perfect place to unwind and take away any stress you might be feeling!

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Christmas Time in Santa Rosa, CA

My mom and I joined a family friends in celebrating Christmas together, where I got to meet my friend’s adorable and sweet one year old son, Sebastian!

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We also had a delicious Christmas feast of two different types of prime rib, ham, stuffing, roasted potatoes, creamy mushroom dish and not pictured: Potato salad, medley of roasted vegetables, apple pie and homemade cookies!

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Chumash Casino Resort in Santa Inez, CA

We spent Christmas evening here since we were a few hours from home. I loved the Christmas tree in the lobby and the rooms were lovely and comfortable.

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Day at Solvang, CA (Danish Capital of America)

We had a nice time exploring and enjoying the cute and charming town of Solvang, in Santa Barbara County, soaking up the festive atmosphere.

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At Solvang Restaurant, we had to order the famous aebleskiver, which is the traditional Danish pancake, in the shape of a ball, sitting in raspberry sauce and topped with powdered sugar. They were fluffy and doughy, though I thought the sauce was a bit too sweet and the aebleskivers themselves didn’t have a ton of flavor. But they were certainly presented beautifully.

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Beaches in Monterey and Marina, CA

I also had the pleasure of spending time on the gorgeous, glorious beaches in Monterey County.

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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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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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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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Midnight Brunch


Living in the city that never sleeps, there’s no surprise that we have events like Midnight Brunch.  Midnight Brunch is a rogue dinner party that happens in the middle of the night, featuring exotic food and craft cocktails, and hosted by the lovely Emily Cavalier.

Last week’s particular edition was sponsored by KitchenAid for Cooks for the Cure, which is an initiative that brings folks across the country together to host potlucks, in order to raise money to fund breast cancer research.

The Midnight Brunch menu was French-inspired and featured hors d’oeuvres, main course, dessert and specialty cocktails, two of them bright pink in honor of breast cancer awareness. One of the drinks was “Low Tide” which consisted of hibiscus-infused Tito’s Vodka, homemade lemongrass syrup, fresh lime juice and tonic.

As for the hors d’oeuvres, there were cream cheese deviled eggs and pissaladiere nicoises, which I helped make (mini caramelized onion tarts with nicoise olives). Both were savory, tasty and delightful in their own way.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The amuse bouche mini parfaits in shot glasses, full of organic French Vanilla yogurt, granola and strawberry jam. The parfaits were simply delicious and temptingly sweet.

The main course was french toast bread pudding, with spiced pear sauce and a side of spinach salad with strawberry slices. The french toast was so thick and delectable, and the sauce warm, gooey and the perfect companion.

For dessert, we had lemon bars with thyme, which were so yummy! It was perfect for a warm summer day- Light, fresh, full of flavor and just the right amount of sweetness.

The next Midnight Event is Friday, August 10, 2012 in Brooklyn. To join the invitation list, complete the form at the bottom of the page, here or email emily@mouthoftheborder.com

Below is the recipe for the delightful lemon bars, by Cathy Erway :

 

Lemon Thyme Bars
(makes about 24)

for the crust
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup cold unsalted butter, cubed
1/3 cup confectioner’s sugar
1 1/2 tablespoons cornstarch
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons thyme leaves

for the custard
1/2 cup fresh squeezed lemon juice (about 3 large lemons)
finely grated zest from the 3 lemons
4 eggs
1/4 cup milk
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
3 tablespoons flour
1-2 tablespoons thyme leaves for garnish

To make the crust, combine the ingredients in a food processor and pulse until mixture resembles coarse crumbs (or cut in butter with a pastry cutter or your fingers). Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Press mixture into a slightly greased 9 x 13″ casserole. Bake for about 15 minutes or until the edges are lightly browned. Remove from oven.

In a large bowl, combine the eggs and flour and gently beat with a fork until there are no lumps. Stir in the rest of the ingredients. Pour mixture on top of the baked crust and return to the oven to bake at 350 degrees for another 15 minutes, or until the top has just set. Let cool completely. For neatest results when cutting, cover and chill at least 30 minutes before cutting into squares. Sprinkle tops with thyme for garnish.

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