January 27, 2011

{Cheers} Local NY breweries - Captain Lawrence and The Defiant

On a recent Saturday afternoon, we left NYC to visit two local breweries with a couple of friends.  The first stop was Captain Lawrence Brewing up in Westchester County (in Pleasantville, NY) and then a trip over to The Defiant Brewing Co. in Pearl River, NY.

January 26, 2011

{Easy Entertaining} Valentine's Day Dessert Table

With Valentine's Day only a couple weeks away, I wanted to create an easy holiday dessert table to enjoy at home.  Luckily, PopBar had also recently invited me over for a tasting of their new miniPops (mini gelato or sorbet pops on a stick!) and let me take a few home for this spread.  With their all-natural ingredients and multitude of dips/toppings, the strawberry miniPops were the star of the table.

January 24, 2011

{Sweet Treats} Cookie Truffles

I love making cookie truffles for parties because they are so easy to create (if you have a little chef at home, s/he can even help you out), can be made in a variety of colors, and are always a hit with our guests (a couple remarked that they tasted like decadent doughnut holes).  After making Oreo truffles for our New Year's party, we were "encouraged" to make them again for our niece's birthday party, and now I'm making a bunch of Vanilla cookie truffles for a Valentine's Day spread.  Check out our step-by-step instructions.  Trust us, these cookie truffles will be a hit at any party! (Just be warned that you'll be asked to make them over and over again!)

January 21, 2011

{Fun Friday} Scoobi Doo pasta

Do you ever walk through the grocery aisles and chuckle at names of food seen on the shelves? For us, it's all part of the fun in food shopping and discovering new products.  When we were up in Toronto, we stopped in our tracks when we saw this package of pasta named Scoobi doo.  A friend of ours had mentioned making a dish with it, but we just thought she meant macaroni pieces of that famous cartoon dog.  We were wrong.

January 19, 2011

{Steals and Deals} $20 Amazon Gift Card for $10

Today's Living Social deal is perfect if you're looking to update your cookbook collection or buy that piece of cookware you've been wanting to get! You can buy a $20 Amazon gift card for only $10.  We both just bought ours - but hurry as the deal ends 1/20/2011 and already 330,000 have been purchased.  Click here to get this deal.  New to Living Social? Click here for a $5 credit when you make your first purchase. 

January 18, 2011

{Easy Entertaining} Pink and Purple Polka-Dot Dessert Table for our Niece's 1st Birthday

Our adorable niece Julia turned 1 this past weekend, so of course I wanted to make something special for her.  With Valentine's Day quickly approaching, I knew it would be easy to find affordable decorations in her favorite colors (pink and purple).  The birthday girl (and her 2-year old brother) enjoyed the spread as did all of the kids-at-heart uncles and aunties.  I think this dessert table color scheme would be perfect for a baby girl shower, Valentine's Day party, or even a spring/summer bridal shower.

January 13, 2011

{Travel} A "His and Hers" Afternoon in Toronto

My husband and I love to share new dining experiences together, but there are plenty of times when we differ on where to go and what to do. (Remember our afternoon in Chicago?)  When we were in Toronto, we agreed to disagree and each dragged the other to a place (or two) of his or her choice.  So if you're like him, you'll enjoy this account of the fine craft beers he enjoyed. But if you've got a sweet tooth like me, you'll definitely indulge in the desserts I found.

January 12, 2011

{Steals and Deals} $5 Starbucks Gift Card for $1

Updated: Offer is now closed.
Need a warm drink while shoveling the snow from the latest storm?  Pick up a $5 Starbucks card for only $1 through the latest Bloomspot deal.  We just bought a card and need a couple more people to join us to get the deal.  Just click here to purchase your card.

January 10, 2011

{First Look} Fish Tag UWS

 It's a good thing the restaurant industry doesn't reflect our relationship! When we started this website, we wanted it to be a food diary of sorts.  We wanted to remember the tasty dishes we had shared and the memorable places we had visited.  In NYC, we're lucky to have so many options, but unfortunately many restaurants come and go.  The place we went to on our first date became the new home to Kefi.  And Kefi's old home became gastropub Gus & Gabriel, which has now become seafood-focused Fish Tag.  We checked out this new restaurant last month when it had first opened. Service was friendly, food was pretty good, but with its small plate style, the bill could quickly add up. (And now it looks like prices have already gone up at least $1 since we first went).

January 7, 2011

{Easy Recipes} Andrew Carmellini's Quick Shrimp with Cannellini Beans

I love finding quick dinner recipes that I can make for an easy weekday dinner. My pet peeve is when recipes are said to take only 30 minutes, but takes me so much longer (usually because of prep time).  So I was a little skeptical when I found this easy shrimp recipe in Andrew Carmellini's Urban Italian cookbook.  It said it would take at most 15 minutes to make.

Despite a few shortcuts, I took a little longer than 15 minutes overall (though I know I finished prepping and making everything within an old episode of "Friends"). The recipe calls for fresh herbs (which would probably taste better), but I used dried herbs because that's what I had on hand.  I'm definitely making this recipe again because it was so buttery and fast to make. Plus adding pasta and vegetables to leftovers makes another quick and easy dinner for the next day!

January 6, 2011

{Travel} Dim Sum in Toronto: Ding Tai Fung and Pearl Harbourfront

After watching last night's Top Chef All-Stars 'Dim Sum Lose Some' episode (including the contestants' issues in the kitchen), we had a new-found respect for the people who work in these restaurants and churn out dish after dish to the hungry masses.

We love dim sum - it's like Chinese tapas and is our favorite brunch cuisine.  Whenever we go up to visit my family and friends in Toronto, we inevitably spend a lot of time in dim sum restaurants.  The ones we visited while we were there for the holidays were Ding Tai Fung in Richmond Hill/Markham (a suburb just north of Toronto) and Pearl Harbourfront (in downtown Toronto, right on Lake Ontario).  Both are large, clean spaces (that don't have the normal jostling and fighting with grandmas for dishes from the cart) that we would be comfortable bringing first-timers (like my husband's parents).

January 4, 2011

{Easy Recipes} Wild Rice with Almonds and Raisins

Wild rice is deceiving - like quinoa, it's not a grain but a seed.  Rich in protein and fiber, this seed comes from a grass native to the Great Lakes region but is commonly cultivated in areas like California.  With the New Year, we're reminded to seek out new and healthier foods, so we bought a package of California Wild Rice from Trader Joe's ($4.99/lb).  Like the Kerala Red Rice we tried, this wild rice was a good base for a colorful side dish.