Sunday, February 17, 2008

Frozen Grand Central

Improv Everywhere is a large troupe specializes in causing scenes of chaos and joy /prank based in NY, led by a comedian Charlie Todd.

Last month, 207 people froze in place at the exact same time in Grand Central Station NY, one of the world's biggest railway station. It was the coolest prank ever.

It was on the news, with highlight of his other hilarious pranks.

It seems to be spreading, the frozen mission happened in London and Toronto and other towns are organizing the similar mission.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Happy Valentine

Valentine's Day is a big celebration day in New York. Almost everyone on the streets were carrying roses. Card shops were so crowded at the Valentine's section.

I went to Papyrus which has a lot of creative hand-made cards. But obviously doing "last minute" shopping, there wasn't many selections left. I don't really fancy printed cards, only the cute ones like Forever Friends or Me To You. I decided to use cards that I have made previously. But not quite with the Valentine's Theme.

I then made a quick and easy one. Jon said he gave me a score of 98 for the card, the missing 2 marks due to the "not-so-nice" handwriting. Hey I made it in hurry!

We had Valentine's Day dinner at PlaneThai, it's a Thai + Sushi restaurant. The restaurant interior is mainly red, with a lot of big pillars. It looks a little like a chinese/thai temple.

Tables setting

We had Bamboo Chicken $16. Grilled free range chicken, marinated in curry+ herbs with green papaya salad. It was sweet and curry taste was mild, it blended well with the herbs. The presentation was cool too.

We also ordered Tom Yung Goong, Sashimi Deluxe and Spider Roll. I didn't use flash, the photos turned out bad.

We had Trio Brulee $7. Three mini brulee of the day which were ginger, chocolate and green tea. The chocolate one was really good.

On that day, florists open till late. The one near our home was still opened when we walked past at 10 pm and they were quite a few people buying rose. Last minute roses.

Saturday, February 9, 2008

Pineapple Tarts

My favorite CNY tidbits are pineapple tarts, emping cookies (emping is cracker made of gnemon seeds) and love letters. I miss homemade pineapple tarts so I decided to make myself using mom's recipe. They are many pineapple tarts sold in Chinese bakeries but must be "commercially homemade".. pretty sure they are made from pre-packed pineapple jams and pre-made dough.

I bought a small pineapple and made my own pineapple jam the day before. The tart dough was easy to make. (I lost the recipe..nevermind, I don't think I will make again till next year).

The first batch. Absolute ugly. However they tasted pretty nice. I was wondering how my mom and auntie shaped them so nicely..

I got lazy to make sphere/round shapes. So for the rest, I made them like how Wokking Mum made it, with pineapple outside. It was much easier.

Jon's creation.

I ran out of pineapple jam, so i put peanut butter instead =o).

I prefer cooking than baking. Baking is like science, there is formula to follow. Amount, temperature, timing are crucial. I can probably do it once a while, which is pretty is fun.

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Happy Chinese New Year

Happy Chinese New Year. Wishing everyone Happiness, Good Fortune and Prosperity in the Year of Rat.

Here I am in New York, missing much of the Chinese New Year festive back home. I cooked for Chinese New Year Eve, celebrated with Jon. I initially came up with 8 menu but I had to reduce to 5 due to the fact that there is only 2 of us and limited preparation time. I was very much motivated to an additional dish, however was too tired due to work committment. Cooking 5 dishes drove me a little nutz. I did some preparation for this evening's dinner till 11pm the night before, straight after a 3 hour grocery shopping at Flushing, Queens. (1.5 hours shopping and 1.5 hours travelling back and forth).

Chinese New Year's Eve menu: Steam Barramundi, Braised Chinese Mushroom, Pork & Shrimp Roll (Ngo Hiang), Slow-braised pork belly (Dong Po Rou), Corn Crab Soup.

Crabs for the soup.

I will blog more about the dinner next time.

Saturday, February 2, 2008

Vacation Day 5: Back to Miami

It is a long overdue post on Miami trip=Þ

Miami and Miami Beach are two different cities in Florida. Miami Beach is tourist-centric, a large number of the people who live there tend to be working in the service industry. Miami Beach (particularly South Beach) is what normally seen on TV: celebrities, fancy restaurants, flashy cars. When people say they visited Miami, they actually meant they went to Miami Beach.

We stayed at the same hotel which we stayed on the first day located on Miami Beach. This is the view from room. Looking at the city, it is clean, green with trees and grass, blue and bright sunny sky. I love Miami Beach. Plan for the day was to visit the famous South Beach and Lincoln Road shopping area.

South Beach is one the the popular beaches in Miami Beach. "Miami Vice" was filmed in South Beach, back in the days whereby it was a poor area with high crime rate. Today it is one of the wealthiest areas on the beach. South Beach is know for its night life with hundreds of nightclubs and restaurant. Being a popular beach, it is always crowded. Due to limited time, we did a short stroll along the beach to experience the South Beach breeze and waves. =o)

These are four of us. After the beach, we went for lunch at a local Cuban Restaurant. The food was ok but my photos didnt turn out nice, hence decided not to post. Besides, the 4 of us didn't really enjoyed the meal. During lunch, Abishek mentioned about returning to NY the next day. I was shocked I thought we had 1 more day *sob*

A few blocks from the beach is the Lincoln Road Mall. It is a 12-block pedestarian mall, lined with almost 200 stores, indoor/outdoor restaurants, sidewalk cafes, bars and galleries. We spent the whole afternoon here. There were lots of nice fancy restaurants. Regretted having lunch back at the Cuban place.

We visited a lot of art galleries and below are my favorite. They were made of wires.

Miami Beach is also famous for its art deco architectures, which are building built during the pre-war period with rounded corner and geometric ornamentation. Below is the example of art deco architechture.

After the shopping at Lincoln Road Mall, we went back to hotel, played cards, had some rest and went back to Lincoln Road Mall for dinner. We missed the lunch at Lincoln Road so we went there for dinner =)

We had Italian food. The dish on the left was Blackened Chicken which Abishek had and said was"fantastic!". The other one was chicken with cheese I think.

Jon had Fettucini with Porchini mushroom and yeah .. I had Oyster again! There was only 1 oyster menu which was the "Oyster Rockefellar". They were oyster with spinach and cheese. I knew I wouldn't like the spinach and cheese part but I was craving for oyster, hence I ordered it.

We had 2 bottles of complimentary wine. Both Abishek and Virteeka had 1 glass each and I shared the rest with Jon. Thankfully we had a designated driver.

Related posts: Day 1- Miami, Day 2- Marathon, Day 3- Key West, Day 4 - Dry Tortugas