Monday, September 28, 2015

Cafe Prague

Beth had to miss the Forbes Island adventure, so, on my actual birthday, we had dinner at Cafe Prague on Merchant Street. They seem to be having a problem with their website, so here's a link to the Yelp reviews. And here's a link to the menu. Everything is delicious, but we were there for the duck. So, here are two view of the same entree. The generous portion of duck was served with red cabbage and dumplings, which made a very substantial meal. I had enough left over for lunch the next day.

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Owl's Brew Brunch

Brunch! We love it.

The holidays are coming up (it's already Halloween at our local supermarkets!) and so we celebrated the current/upcoming season with a hearty brunch and delightful cocktails. If you follow along with us, you'll know that Tea Time loves to find new ways to enjoy tea. Cooking with tea, baking with tea, even drinking with tea–Yes, Cocktails–are all good ideas. Owl's Brew are cocktail mixers crafted with tea!  Owl's Brew uses three basic ingredients in their mixers, Tea, Agave and purified Water (all pronounceable and nothing gross, you'll notice).

Tea Time has been to  a couple Fancy Food Shows over the years and J.K. has become pretty friendly with several vendors that bring their product there. Since the Owl's Brew team is all about bringing tea to the masses in a new way, their product is right up our alley. When they offered us the chance to taste their tea mixers we couldn't say no, and happily sampled four different Owl's Brew blends in kind of a progressive tasting during brunch.  We stuck with the suggested recipe card for our wake me up beverage which featured The Classic in a cocktail called Green Garden because it also uses a green juice in the recipe. Smooth and light, this tea cocktail was just the charge we needed to get started cooking brunch.

Green Garden to wake you up! The Classic(2)+Green Juice(2)+vodka(1)+sake(1)
Owl's Brew has a lot of suggestions so you won't be lost when blending with their tea mixers. Super cute recipe cards (such as the one for Green Garden) give you recipes or you can simply follow lesson One: 2 parts brew and 1 part booze. This is what we did with our next selection the White and Vine, their mixer that features white tea, watermelon and pomegrante plus lemon peel. Why stray from the beaten path (the Owl's suggestion is a Pink Shandy which uses wheat beer)? Because who can resist Sour Watermelon Vodka, that's why. Smirnoff, you're genius.

Vodka(1)+White and Vine(2)
The perfect garnish for this sweet and sour treat.
We did manage to get some cooking done in between beverages, and as we sat down to eat it was time for round three. The Sweet Smoke. J.K. is forever ordering the Tequila Gimlet whenever she spares calories for booze (she'd rather use them up on food), so this beverage was her favorite. Our recipe card suggested you could add ancho chilis to your shaker if you like a bit of spice, but Tea Time thinks you should do a spiced sugar rim if you're into the heat. Our mixer, Coco-Lada, is fruity and frothy due to the coconut and chai brewed with pineapple and black tea.

You don't need egg white for froth, just go go Coco-Lada

Coco-Lada(2)+Mezcal or Tequila(1)
Owl's Brew mixers could be a great hostess gift for holiday parties, especially if you have friends who don't understand why you're so into tea. One sip and they'll be hooked (and healthier, considering these mixers have 1/3 the sugar of comparable blends). Even friends who "only drink beer" can get in on the act. After brunch clean up, we rewarded ourselves with the flavors of black tea, strawberries, hibiscus and lemon peel aka Pink and Black. Now the trick with beer and cider is to remember 1+1 when mixing with owls brew. Technically our recipe card called Pilsner(1)+Pink and Black(1) the Brewlala. Angela opted for Cider (she's the friend who drinks anything but beer) and the fruity apple complimented the Pink and Black nicely. If you're hosting a party (or gifting to  hostess), we suggest the 32oz bottle, but these smaller guys were perfect for 2-3 drinks that we had with brunch.

Toe the line with the Brewlala, or get creative using your favorite beverage!

Now on to the Food. Specifically waffle food. Angela's Mom can always be counted on to come through with the birthday goods! This waffle maker is revolutionizing (almost) everything breakfast around here (not so much the bacon). Along side the waffles we ate Veggie Pie, fruit salad (missed its photo time slot) and lox with toppings. Stay tuned as we investigate further into the land of brunch, most likely with booze and waffling.

Veggie/potato pie. It took a longer to cook than anticipated, but was worth the wait.
delicious lox
toppings: capers, red onions, pickles
Waffles: 3 types top to bottom J.K.'s fruity nutty bread as french toast waffle, biscuit waffles (made with dill and buttermilk), angel food cake french toast waffles
Buttermilk Dill biscuits
J.K.'s bread pre-dip

Angel food-dipped and ready to waffle
Angel food taking the plunge in Adele's delicious french toast batter

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Lunch With Beth–Eatsa the Automat

Beth and I are both old enough to remember the automat, so when we learned that Eatsa is open, we went over there to check it out.  Eatsa is a fully automated automat. Located at 121 Spear Street, it was easy to spot from across the street.

There's a friendly concierge to help first-timers with the process.
Order on their computer, or download their app on your phone. Even though it was their first day, everything worked perfectly! There is no cashier. You have to pay with a credit or debit card.
There are inspiring messages to entertain you during your short wait for your food.

The orders are delivered into "cubbies."
When your order is ready, the display tells you which "cubby" it's in.
Tap twice, and the door opens. Your name is on the wrapper, too.

Utensils are dispensed one at a time.
Glasses of fizzy water were tucked into a corner.
Beth ordered the Smokehouse Salad and a side order of Chips and Guacamole.

J.K. got the Balsamic Beet.

This was fun and tasty. We will be back.

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Cream in the Mission

We were walking in the Mission and noticed that there wasn't a line out the door at Cream, so we grabbed our chance to try their ice cream sandwiches. There were a few people ahead of us, but we needed the time to make our selections. As you can see, these are good-sized sandwiches and a tasty bargain at only $2.99.  J.K. chose the turtle cookies with chocoholic ice cram,  and Angela went with macadamia white chocolate chip cookies with strawberry ice cream. There isn't any place to sit, but there is a counter to lean on and stash whatever you're carrying.

Cream ice cream sandwiches (or you can get a cone/sundae) are freshly baked- Angela's cookies were still warm!-- and they have 10 flavors right now. They also have gluten-free and vegan cookies so it's an easy pick for the whole group. Of course you can pair your cruelty free cookie with a nice soy based ice cream. Taco Tuesday (who else loves a choco taco?!!) sounds like a delightful excuse to get your sundae and eat it too. We'll be around to check it out and update this posting. What's your favorite flavor combinations?

Lots of toppings
More toppings along the ice cream tubs

We're going back for Taco Tuesday!

Impressive choice of cookies

Monday, August 24, 2015

Rangoon Ruby

I had dinner at the newly-opened Rangoon Ruby on Polk with another friend who missed the Forbes Island expedition. The restaurant is very elegant and dimly lit, but this time I remembered to use the flash.
We started with the Tea Leaf Salad ( A mix of Burmese tea leaves, fried garlic, yellow beans, peanuts, sesame seeds, lettuce, tomato, jalapeno peppers and dried shrimp). A vegetarian option of this salad is available, but we are omnivores. The salad was brought to the table unconstructed, so we could see  that all the ingredients were there, and then the waiter combined them before serving us.
My friend chose the Shrimp Kabat (Marinated shrimp stir fried with paprika, masala, tamarind, green chilis, mint leaves, tomatoes and cilantro). Unfortunately (for me), he likes his food very hot, so there was no more than a taste of this for me. It was very tasty, but just too hot for me to enjoy it.
I would have preferred no heat in my meal, but I just couldn't resist the Village Catfish (Bone on catfish fried and served with onion, garlic, red chili and tomatoes in village style sauce), which had to be at least mild. due to the red chili being an integral ingredient. It is also necessary to eat this very carefully, as all the bones are there. If you're worried about swallowing a bone, this dish is not for you.
After all this, we just didn't have room for any of the intriguing dessert options. They are all very rich and all involve ice cream.


Eataly was another highlight of the New York trip. We had been looking for soft shell crab, and the seafood restaurant there had them, so we stayed for lunch.

As soon as we sat down, our waiter brought us some bread.

The crab was an appetizer, so we each got one and ordered a salad to share.

Dessert  was milk chocolate Baci, courtesy of Perugina, who were sampling their new treat. I'm not going to tell you how many I ate.
The book department has some interesting titles.
And there was some interesting produce as well.
While we were waiting for our table, we took a walk around the block and discovered the Lego store.
My childhood friend being menaced by the Lego dragon

The two of us with Lady Liberty's torch, executed in Lego

There are always so many things to do when you visit NYC. It's best to just pick a few must-see/must-eats and then if you can squeeze in anything else it's a bonus. One lovely walk after eating around town is to visit the High Line Park. Let us know your favorite spots in the Big Apple, especially give us some tips on tea shops to visit.