October 31, 2010

{Easy Entertaining} Halloween Baby Shower

Happy Halloween everyone! Remember that baby shower I was prepping for with our DIY cupcake wrappers?  Well, it happened yesterday and I think it was a great success!  A lot of the decorations were easy do-it-yourself projects and a lot of the food came from Trader Joe's.  Despite being a Halloween theme, I think the ideas and colors (black, white, purple, lime) could be used for a stylish birthday party or glamorous bridal shower too.

October 28, 2010

{Restaurant Debut} Highpoint Bistro and Bar

A few weeks ago, I was invited to a special complimentary tasting dinner of newly-opened restaurant:  Highpoint Bistro & Bar.  Located in Chelsea, this welcoming new-American bistro featured many well-presented dishes.  There were some highs and, as is sometimes the case with a large group dinner, some lows.  Hope you enjoy the photos as much as I enjoyed the Caramel Experiment (think chocolate fondue, but with caramel on a slab of pink Himalayan salt!)

October 27, 2010

{Easy Entertaining} Food Brought to You By the Color Black

Aren't these tomatoes spooky? With Halloween coming up, I thought it would be fun to find dark foods that I could incorporate into a Halloween-themed dinner.  I found these Kumato tomatoes at Trader Joe's and loved their brownish-green skin.  These tomatoes are sweeter than regular tomatoes and would make a dramatic caprese salad, especially paired with purple basil.

October 26, 2010

{Travel Tuesday} Jedd's Frozen Custard in Toronto

Faithful readers of HLFD know that we love our Shake Shack - especially because of its concretes and custards.  So when a friend suggested we try out a new frozen custard spot during my recent visit to Toronto, I jumped at the chance.  With visions of Danny Meyer creations in my head, we walked around the Yonge/Eglinton area and finally found the narrow storefront.  Jedd's Frozen Custard is a cute spot for a casual date or, in our case, a get-together with the girls.  Finally, frozen custard has come to Toronto!

October 25, 2010

{Cheap Eats} Mexican BBQ from the Mexicue Truck

My husband works downtown, where good affordable lunch spots are hard to find.  One of the bright times is when a food truck makes its way to the Financial District.  Hope you enjoy his review of his latest lunch find:  Mexicue.
Mexicue is one of the newer entrants in the fast growing mobile food truck industry in Manhattan.  The truck, which combines Mexican flavors and barbecue, serves tacos, sliders and even bottles of Jarritos to hungry diners.  Mexicue got busy during the lunchtime rush (noon-1pm), so I came afterward and only waited on line for about ten minutes. 

October 22, 2010

{Food Events} Crocktoberfest Event with Top Chef Winner Hosea Rosenberg and Candace Cameron Bure

Last night, I had the opportunity to help judge Crocktoberfest, a recipe contest sponsored by The National Pork Board.  It was fun bumping into fellow foodies like Amie, Yvo, Cindy, Nick, and Gary.  And, in addition to trying various pork dishes, I got to meet Top Chef Season 5's winner Hosea Rosenberg and actress Candace Cameron Bure (after just meeting Lori Loughlin, I wonder which Full House cast member I'll meet next!).

October 21, 2010

{Easy Entertaining} DIY Cupcake Wrappers

I'm so excited that I'm helping to host my friend's baby shower.  It's on Halloween weekend, so I had decoration thoughts of black and white on my mind.  I decided to make cupcake wrappers for the cupcakes I planned on baking for the event.  They're the perfect accessory to easily beautify a cupcake!

October 20, 2010

{Wine Wednesday} Some Tips on Finding Affordable Red Wines

My wife and I love enjoying a glass of red wine with our dinner.  Unfortunately, we cannot afford bottles of 2004 Sassicaia ($200+ wine which Jay-Z includes in his rider).  Instead, we seek out affordable Loire reds (Cabernet Franc) from areas like Chinon and Bourgueil.  These wines can be a great value and we love the taste - earthy, tobacco, acidity, and a light tannin structure to match with both red meat and poultry (like turkey for Thanksgiving!) Some finesse wines we like are the 2006 Domaine de la Noblaie Chinon 'Les Chiens-Chiens' ($18 from Wine Library in NJ, pictured above left) and wines from Catherine Breton.

October 18, 2010

{Food Events} Grub Street Food Festival at Hester Street Fair

It's been a while since we returned to the Hester Street Fair, so we figured what better time to return than for Grub Street's Food Festival.  We arrived by 11AM and the market was already crowded, but manageable (few lines, seats available for dining, ample time to try a lot of food).  By the time we left at 12:30PM, we had to squeeze through the long lines just to escape.  Despite the brisk weather, it seemed  like every foodie in NYC was there - including Real Housewives of New York's Bethenny Frankel causing some walking traffic jams with her camera crew.

October 17, 2010

{Easy Recipes} Lemon Cupcakes

Lemon brightens my day.  I love its cheery color, fresh aroma, and bright flavor.  Lemon is what I use to make myself feel better (hot lemonade was my mom's remedy for everything!).  So when I want to make baked goods for friends and family, I thought that Lemon Cupcakes would be a good "pick-me-up".  (After all, the cookie flower bouquets with lemon icing I made before were a big hit!)

October 13, 2010

{Sweet Treats} Dessert Truck Works

After our visiting friends shopped 'til they dropped in Soho, they were craving sweet treats and a good cup of coffee.  As we were heading eastward anyway, we knew just the NYC spot:  DessertTruck Works.  The last time we were there, DessertTruck Works had just opened.  Now, the menu has grown to include smaller desserts and tasty, yet sustainable, coffee from Counter Culture

October 12, 2010

{Travel Tuesday} Victoria Gastro Pub in Maryland

After driving many hours from NYC to Maryland (to visit our newborn nephew), my husband suggested we have dinner at Victoria Gastro Pub.  It was one of the best places in the area for craft beers, so of course he had to check it out!  And for non-beer drinker me, he convinced me to dine here with entree options like Lobster Grilled Cheese and Duck Poutine.  Good beer and warm, comforting food - yes, it was a good night! 

October 11, 2010

{Cheap Eats} Shabu-Shabu 70 vs Matsu II Sushi

If we didn't have champagne tastes on a beer budget, we would dine at Sushi Yasuda every time we had a sushi craving.  Instead, we try out affordable sushi places in NYC.  We had heard good reviews about two casual sushi places on the Upper East Side:  Shabu-Shabu 70 and Matsu II Sushi.  So we checked out both of their lunch specials and at the end of our meals, found ourselves a couple new cheap sushi spots.

October 9, 2010

{Giveaway} Win a $55 Gift Certificate to CSN Stores

If you won a $55 Gift Certificate to CSN Stores, what would you get?  It's a tough choice, as CSN Stores carries everything from wardrobes to cookware.  We like the colorful stock pot and baking dishes from Le Creuset, enjoy using our Emeril Cast-iron pan, and find our Cuisinart hand blender indispensable for making smoothies. 

How to enter:
Make sure you follow us (either from: Google Friend Connect, RSS, Twitter, Facebook, or via email) and leave a comment below stating what are you thankful for? (It's Canadian Thanksgiving on Monday and we thought it made for a great excuse to remind us of all of the wonderful friends and family we have in our life!)

Contest is open to residents of the US, Canada, and the UK.  Only one entry per person please.  Contest winner will be determined by Random.org.  Contest closes at 11:59 PM EST on Oct 31st, 2010 with the winner announced on Nov 1st, 2010.  Good luck!

October 7, 2010

{Easy Recipes} Mini Pumpkin Pies

Did you know that this Monday is Thanksgiving....Canadian Thanksgiving, that is!  Though I've been living in NYC for over 5 years, I try to have a little Thanksgiving over every Columbus Day weekend.  This year, I couldn't fly home to Toronto for the holidays, so my American husband will be scouring the city for a small turkey.  I decided to start the celebrations early and make mini pumpkin pies for us to enjoy.

October 6, 2010

{Product Review} Happy Pho Vietnamese Brown Rice Noodle Soup

 I've been feeling under the weather, so when a package of Happy Pho Shiitake Mushroom arrived at my doorstep, I was grateful for the means to a quick, nourishing dinner.  The noodles were sent to me from Thao and Karen - the 2 woman team behind Star Anise Foods.  Thao was inspired by her grandparents' 80 year-old recipe developed in their small kitchen near Hanoi.  And lucky for me, there's nothing like a grandmother's touch to help me feel better!

October 5, 2010

{Travel Tuesday} Mourayo - Greek cuisine in our nation's capital

Months ago, we had a chance to enjoy some "we" time in Washington, D.C.  We were in the mood for a nice, but affordable dinner.  After consulting Washingtonian Magazine's Top 100 restaurants for 2010, we decided to try out Mourayo.

Mourayo (meaning "safe harbour") is a Greek restaurant located in the Dupont Circle neighborhood. At first, we were concerned that there were not a lot of diners in the restaurant.  However, with dishes like butternut squash "meatballs" and duck moussaka, we ended up having a good meal with great company.

October 4, 2010

Shacktoberfest and Food-related Halloween costumes

Can you believe it's already October?!  Summer is gone and the brisk Autumn weather (we're talking 59F/15C!) has quickly come to NYC.  But the good news about October is the return of Shacktoberfest at Shake Shack!  We enjoyed the special menu offerings last year, and this year's line-up is even better!

October 1, 2010

Coconut M&M's and Black + Blum Giveaway Winner

 Happy Friday!  It's been a drizzly day here in NYC, but nothing brightens our mood more than a little sweet treat! We spotted this elusive package of Limited Edition Coconut M&M's at Pioneer (a grocery store known more for its beer selection than anything else) and loving all things chocolate and coconut, wanted to try them for the first time.