Thursday, January 30, 2014

Bows, Bags, and Bangles: Kate Spade Cravings

Kate Spade has a way of drawing me in and making me want to buy everything (props to their marketing department). A couple of days ago I got the Valentine's Day themed email and basically died a little. The jewelry is so pretty, the clutches are beyond creative, and the colors of the bags are fabulous.

Here are a few Kate Spade Valentine's treats I'm coveting:
Let's Go Steady Necklace $78

Valentine's Day Bangle $58
Charles Street Mini Audrey in strawberry froyo $328

Kate Spade is the perfect place to pick up a fantastic, chic gift for that special someone (even if it's yourself! nothing wrong with that). Since we're on Kate Spade here are things that I love from the whole site, not just the V-day section.

Terrace Drive Kingston $598 *it pains me how much I want this bag when I see the price
Anchors Away Bracelet $68
Seaport Ring $78
Gold Metal Bow Belt $98
Secret Garden Mini Pendant $58 *I think this is one of my fav necklaces they're selling right now
Fair Maiden Lacey Wallet $228 *I love the size of this and the bow!

So clearly I have a thing for bows. They're so classy and girly- you can never go wrong! If I had to pick one thing out of all of these items, it would definitely be the Terrace Drive Kingston bag, but back to reality, that won't be happening any time soon. A girl can dream! 

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Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Tea for Two and Two for Tea: Kathleen's Tea Room

About a week and a half ago I decided to spend the day with my aunt who lives in Putnam Valley. I love the Hudson River Valley area and all of the adorable towns. This particular Friday we got lucky with gorgeous weather and started off shopping around Cold Spring, then went to a tiny art gallery in Garrison, and then ended the afternoon in Peekskill. We dined at Kathleen's Tea Room and it was too adorable for words.

It's hard to find cute tea rooms (or tea houses) that you can just get a normal lunch in. So many of them only serve high tea or little tea sandwich platters. Kathleen's has a great menu that has salads, tea sandwiches, soups, entrees that are seasonal, and a few other things.

I opted for the roasted root vegetables plate, which included carrots, parsnips, brussel sprouts, leeks, sweet potatoes, turnips, and garlic tossed with olive oil and fresh herbs and then are roasted "to perfection" (and they definitely were). It was topped with goat cheese and served with eight grain bread and crackers. The dish was so filling and satisfying.
Roasted Root Veggies
My aunt got the spinach salad and it was huge. This place does not skimp out when it comes to portion sizes. Their tea menu goes on for days, too, including 52 types. I got the creme Irish breakfast tea and I'm so glad I did. Usually I don't go for anything other than plain black tea or green tea (to me, teas smell great and then you taste them and are highly disappointed because the smell is divine and it tastes funky), so this was a big step for me even though it's basically just a black tea.
Creme Irish Breakfast Tea

Fun Fact: Breakfast tea strengths go from Irish Breakfast (weakest), English Breakfast (medium), to Scottish Breakfast (Strongest)

The decor was so cute. There were all mismatched teapots and teacups all over with random "flea market find-esque" things placed here and there. Even the tables and chairs were mismatched, but not so much that it looked too busy or thrown together.

For a girls lunch this is an obvious choice, but honestly, any guy would love coming here, too. I was also informed that Lucia's salad with smoked salmon on it is delish. I'm such a sucker for places like this and Alice's Tea Cup, but I really think that this is something everyone should enjoy once in a while instead of just a regular lunch/brunch/dinner/dessert at a regular old restaurant.

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Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Thai Cooking: An Amazing Experience

One of my Christmas presents from my parents was a cooking class at Ngam in the East Village. My dad couldn't have found a better class. I wasn't sure how hard Thai cooking could be, but I was pleasantly surprised that I could easily recreate the 3 dishes on my own at home. The only difficult part might be finding the ingredients, but in NYC you can basically find anything. Also, the chef/owner, Hong Thaimee, of the restaurant/teacher said that if we had any difficulty finding ingredients to contact her and she'd just order extra for us to pick up.

Julia Child quote on the wall

the restaurant is open and operating while you take your class

I love that the classes are capped at 10 people because then each person gets to make his or her own 3 course meal and it's much more hands on. I was one of 3 people in my class, so it was great, but they said the classes are usually full.

We started off with an intro to Thai food and different ingredients and methods that are popular. Then we made the curry paste by hand with a stone mortar and pestle. Definitely a workout for the day. This was the finished product.
green curry paste

ingredients for green curry paste and some for green papaya salad
Next we made the green papaya salad, which was amazing. It was a tad bit spicy (no one else thought it was, but I can't handle the heat. I love it though!), but so good and so simple to make.
green papaya salad
Next we made the curry dish, which had chicken, eggplant, zucchini, and insert other veggies. I couldn't get over how easy this was, too! However, making the curry paste, as I said before, is a bit labor intensive. It's kind of therapeutic though. I've never had green curry before and it's definitely one of the best things I've ever tasted.
For all of you narrow minded people out there, curries don't smell. They don't even have the yellow curry powder in them that you think of when you hear "curry." There are so many different types of curries, but they're just a blend of herbs, spices, vegetables, coconut milk and then some sautéed veggies/choice of meat are just added into them. They're so fun because you can play around with ingredients and add whatever you want! Red curry gets its color from red chili peppers and green is from the green pepper. 
green curry with veggies
brown rice with the green curry
Finally we made pad thai! I opted for tofu pad thai, but the other two people made chicken pad thai. Once you put the oil in the wok the cooking process is all of a minute and a half. It's amazing! If you've never had pad thai you are definitely missing out.
tofu pad thair
close up shot
me, the chef, and one of the other girls in the class cooking up pad thai

a huge portion size

For $80 you can't beat a 2 hour class where you learn an immense amount of material, get to have a hands on experience, and make your own 3 course meal. You also get a complimentary cocktail to enjoy with your creations!

I highly, highly urge anyone and everyone to take this class. If you're not a cooking enthusiast then just go to Ngam and eat there because the food is fabulous.

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Monday, January 27, 2014

Restaurant Review: Josie's West

I fell off the blogging wagon for a while. I was so swamped with school and working that I didn't have time to write anything worth reading. Plus, who wants to hear me complain about school/work since that just consumed my life? Technically, my break from blogging just saved you from having to listen to me, so yes, you're welcome.

Tonight I went to dinner to catch up with the lovely General Manager of Ramscale Studio in the West Village where I interned. Haley went to the same school as me and through a mutual friend we connected and she gave me an internship from May 2013 until December. We went to Josie's West on the UWS (it's right on the corner of Amsterdam and 74th). I'm now in love with this place and will definitely be frequenting it. It's the perfect spot to catch up with friends because it's casual, but it's not somewhere you should go in a sweatshirt/sweatpants/yoga pants. If you would even leave your house in that then you should just head to the diner and call it quits.

I had the ancho rubbed grilled Scottish salmon with mango roasted pepper salsa on it and it was placed on top of mashed sweet potatoes and grilled asparagus. It was so good. The salmon didn't taste fishy at all (that's a problem with places that don't know how to make salmon properly and it ruins the whole dish) and was grilled to perfection. The portion size was perfect. Good choice on my part! 
Haley got the grilled natural chicken breast teriyaki with wok sautéed string beans, broccoli florets, zucchini, cremini mushrooms, baby bok choy, & Asian greens with organic tamari brown rice and she couldn't get over how good it was. She said she'll definitely be returning with her boyfriend. 

Haley got the grilled natural chicken breast teriyaki with wok sautéed string beans, broccoli florets, zucchini, cremini mushrooms, baby bok choy, & Asian greens with organic tamari brown rice and she couldn't get over how good it was. She said she'll definitely be returning with her boyfriend. 

Aside from so many options that look amazing on the dinner menu, I'd love to stop in for brunch or lunch because those menus look great, too. The service was good and the food came out quickly, but we didn't feel rushed by any means. The menus are seasonal and the food is all fresh, wholesome, and healthy. 

The decor was adorable and so inviting. It wasn't too bright, but wasn't so awkwardly dim that you can't see anything clear enough. It was warm and comfortable and they have these lights with marble-looking things that were so pretty. 

If you're looking for an average priced place to go for a casual meal (i.e. weekend brunch, lunch date, after-work-catching-up-with-friends-dinner, a birthday dinner, etc.) definitely check out Josie's. There's definitely something here for everyone!
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