Brunch at Marseille

Brunch never fails to give me the warm fuzzies because I love breakfast and I love the idea of having my favorite breakfast fare for lunch on a lazy Sunday morning.  Brunch also means that waking up early is never in the equation (unless it’s some 100 kilometers or more away).  So yay for R who made reservations at Marseilles for BRUNCH before the matinée showing of Green Day’s American Idiots at St. James Theatre on 44th St.

Marseille at the Theatre district is the quintessential  brasserie, the menu predominantly French with some Italian, Greek and Moroccan influence thrown in.

The group shared 2 starters.  The duck liver mousse topped with a rhubarb gelee was heavenly when spread on grilled bread.

For some reason, I can’t remember how the goat cheese tarte fared – must be ordinary.

The breads however were wonderful.

I chose Portobello Tartine mainly because I just cannot resist Portobello mushrooms and I’d always hear about Swiss chard but am not really sure what they are and if I can find them in my neck of the woods.  Despite how it looked, which was kind of a mess, I was happy with my choice.  All the flavors were a great harmonious blend.

I also liked the Jumbo lump crabmeat dish of J.  Endives has always been a top choice because it never fails to liven up a dish with its refreshing, crunchy leaves while the mustard vinaigrette gave a wonderful kick to the dish.

Not a knock out was C’s Poached Egg’s Provencal.  The ratatouille didn’t blow me away, it was not a total failure, it just seemed average.  I wasn’t sure if the poached eggs were able to elevate the dish or not.  I didn’t get that far into the dish because it wasn’t mine to start with.   🙂

The restaurant, being a top fave of many in the theater district, was busy that the service was quite slow.  We were getting anxious waiting for our food as we do have a show to catch.

To make up for the slow service, the staff gave everyone a glass of Cava Mimosa on the house.  Nice touch… now how do you give a bad rating for that?  I’m not sure though if that was enough to make up for not having our dessert.  Probably not, if you ask someone with a sweet tooth like me.

Useful Info:

630 Ninth Avenue at 44th Street
NYC, NY 10036
Tel:  (212) 333-2323

Eating Our Way Through NYC: Grand Sichuan and Amy’s Bread

We were in the mood for hot and spicy and Grand Sichuan seemed to be the popular choice that evening.  Noted for its fine Sichuan and Hunan food, they have several branches in NYC and we walked to one of their branch in Hell’s Kitchen.  It is said to be one of a handful of real Sichuan restaurants in the city.  A contrast to the contemporary feel and look of the restaurant, the menu was pretty extensive featuring many of the region’s favorites.  The staff were very friendly, also so unlike the typical.  The food was, without a doubt, smashing.

We started with some Sichuan cold noodles coated with a nice spicy peanut sauce.

We were there too for their Pork Soup Dumplings (or xiao long bao), which I think was not bad but quite forgettable compared to the ones I had here.

Mapo Tofu will always be part of a Sichuan meal and this one was pretty good.

We ordered Lotus Roots with Baby Shrimps out of curiosity, the shrimps were fresh and crunchy while the lotus roots uninteresting.

The baby shanghai bok choy, sautéed ever so lightly leaving the stalks crunchy and the flavor clean with only the right amount of wonderful fresh garlic.

On our way home, we passed Amy’s Bread and couldn’t resist the warm and cozy smell of bread and coffee,

we entered despite the line and sampled their hot chocolate made of thick Choco paste stirred into hot milk and finished off with a piece of homemade marshmallow.  The result was a drink with just the right richness.

The sticky buns, which to me looked like ordinary cinnamon roll and would otherwise just walk pass it were it not highly recommended by both friend and staff.  It was sticky and moist and does taste like a better version of a cinnamon roll, I still couldn’t tell the difference between the two, however.

Not Your Ordinary Ice Cream Truck

Sea Salt on your ice cream?  Or maybe some vanilla ice cream topped with balsamic syrup?

Check out The Big Gay Ice Cream Truck and you’ll soon find out that they are remarkable flavors that will blow your mind.  The truck roams the streets of NYC – a brainchild of musician Douglas Quint who announces the truck’s locations on Twitter and on his blog.

And that was what brought us to Broadway and 17th on Union Square one sunny day in October last year.  The truck is all about fun and unique toppings that brightens up an otherwise plain soft serve.

Novel and experimental toppings one would not think of pairing with ice cream, from the best-loved crushed graham crackers and nutella, to the innovative sea salt, olive oil, and elderflower syrup to the more radical wasabi and cayenne pepper to name a few.

Manned by no other than Quint himself, the truck was still closed when we arrived and not long after, a line of eager customers ensued.

I ordered their most popular regular – The Salty Pimp, which is vanilla ice cream injected with dulce de leche (something like caramel) sprinkled with sea salt and then dipped in chocolate.  The sweetness of the ice cream and dulce de leche fused with bursts of sea salt is a new marriage my taste buds easily took to.

My friend M got the simpler Bea Arthur, which was dulce de leche injected vanilla ice cream and sprinkled with crushed Nilla Wafers – which she says is her favorite.

There were daring concoctions that I wasn’t brave enough to try like the Cococone, vanilla ice cream and curried coconut flakes. –  my palate couldn’t marry that just yet.  There are however still an army of interesting blends that caught my fancy if only I can handle more ice cream that day… if given more days in New York, I’d probably be lining up again the next day to sample the peppermint syrup and cacao bits topping or its olive oil and sea salt combo or…  do you think I should pack up and transfer residence?   😀


Eating Our Way Through NYC: Dimsum et al

Credits:  Templates by Crystal Wilkerson, Paper by LivEdesigns (SSunFun Deep Sea).

Manhattan’s Chinatown is home to one of the largest concentration of Chinese people in the US, and guess where we went for lunch after our morning walk / run at Central Park?

My friends felt that after running 6 miles around the park, they deserved a scrumptious meal of dim sum at 27 Sunshine —

the popular dim sum place at 46 Bowery.  So packed they were, we had to share a table with (friendly) strangers.  J, before we stopped him, almost feasted on their dumplings!   😀  And they were so kind not to say anything… needless to say, J or maybe we (more than he) were so embarrassed.

Ambling around the area after a hearty lunch, we stumbled on more food on the street.

One interesting stall is Yao’s Dragon Beard Candy.

We were among many curious individuals lined up on his stall figuring out what this guy was making,

which turned out to be a sweet peanut and coconut filling wrapped in cotton candy. Watching the making of the candy was more interesting than it actually tasted (in my opinion).

Mr. Yao — the man behind the beard candy

Not far ahead on the same street was Fong Inn Too.  They serve yummy taho sans the sago (sweet soybean curd sans the tapioca).

Living in the US for some time now, my friends hanker after this sweet soybean dessert so ubiquitous in the Philippines.

Useful Info:

27 Sunshine
46 Bowery
(between Bayard St & Canal St)
New York, NY 10013
Neighborhood: Chinatown
(212) 374-1319

Fong Inn Too
46 Mott St
New York, NY 10013
Neighborhoods: Chinatown, Civic Center

(212) 962-5196

A Glimpse of Central Park

I am not a runner.  Ever since I joined track and field in high school, I hated running.  I excel more on the field – high jump, javelin… but I digress.  Marathons are cool, but my lack of enthusiasm and my bum knee kind of decided for me that I am most likely not joining a marathon soon.  Yeah.  So why am I up early one Friday morning in October dragging myself to Central Park with 3 runners?  1) I’ve never been to Central Park 2) I didn’t want to sleep in on a beautiful day 3) They promised me coffee.  Yeah I’m cheap.

Heckscher Ballfield was where they left me.  While they started their 6-mile run, I sat in one of those picnic tables overlooking the ball field, sipped my Grande non-fat latte, and read some.  Not too long after, I felt the itch to go wandering around the area but not too far because I just might not find my way back.  I soon realized that one could easily get lost in the park because of the various confusing paths and turn-offs.

I was in the company of dog walkers,

photography enthusiasts and

some ordinary people just wanting to get away.

The portion of the park I was in had some beautiful view of the skyscrapers of Manhattan.

After their run, we walked to what is considered as the heart of Central Park,

the Bathesda Terrace and the fountain.  Gorgeous.

Posing for a keepsake with my dear, dear friens with the Loeb Boathouse in the background.

We then headed to the most photographed area of Central Park,

the Mall and Liberty Walk – still is the place to see and to be seen.

And this sums up my morning walk around Central Park.  Located in the center of Manhattan, this 843 acre green rectangle that stretches 51 blocks is indeed one of those places that make New York City a great place to live.

New York, New York

Credits:  All papers and elements from JSprague’s Dig in Deep Lesson 1 supplies

I woke up to the city that doesn’t sleep, the home of Broadway and many fine cuisines.  After a looong and roundabout trip to New York from San Francisco, I woke up to the announcement that we had landed at La Guardia – finally.  This long weekend getaway with my High School buddies may have started with a bump surely ended with a BANG!  We bunked at R & C’s apartment, taking over their living/dining room area,

– watched Green Day’s American Idiot on Broadway,

Yao’s Dragon Beard Candy

– had a feast of all things edible,

– shopped at every Lululemon Athletica we passed just because my friends are work-out addicts!!

47 Wellness Co.

– had a wonderful “Tuina” head and shoulder massage at an unassuming Chinese Qigong Tuina Center found at the basement,

– got introduced to a really good cuppa Joe

– and learned to make scones!

A truly wicked 4 days of fun, laughter and overindulgence… coming up soon.   😉

Useful Info:

Best Massage Ever! (in my humble opinion)

47 Wellness Co.
670 9th Ave., the basement
(between 46th & 47th St)
New York, NY 10036
Tel:  (212)265-2788
Opens from 11am-10pm (Sun-Thur) / 11am-11pm (Fri- Sat)