Tag Archives: food

EMPIRE STATE OF MIND

As the talented Alicia Keys famously sang….

“I can make it anywhere! Yea, they love me everywhere!” I confidently thought, coming home from my first Friday night out in New York City in a few years.

First, was a large catch up dinner with friends at The Smith, followed by a very late night at The Gray Lady….happy on one, or two, or five glasses of wine, I can’t really recall….I caught a cab home at 4 in the morning… I was already intoxicated by the Big Apple.

Then, just as I thought, this city isn’t so tough, “We’re at your stop, Lady! Get out of my cab!” 

“This isn’t my stop!” I said proudly. I actually knew where I was!

“This is your stop. Greenwich Ave.”

“I said Greenwich St.”

“No…walk. Get out of my cab.” I proceeded to pay the cab driver for dropping me 6 blocks away from where I was staying. As I’m about to slam the door shut….“Where’s my tip?” 

NEW YORK…Possibly the only city that you can still love, after it repeatedly “kicks your ass” (as my friend, Alessandra describes)

My two weeks here is coming to an end and I ate, drank, walked, made it to fashion week, and witnessed a blizzard. New York truly kicked my ass…but I still love it and will be coming back for more.

There were a few highlights…one of which was seeing the Monika Chiang show for New York Fashion Week. Of course, a blizzard was coming our way and I still chose to go!

I was hardly fashionable. Timberland boots, a long coat and a faux fur russian hat my friend lent me (It saved my head from flash freezing). Needless to say, I was warm enough, and I did not fall on my face walking on the icy sidewalks! SUCCESS!

Here is a little drawing of me in the hat that saved my life!

Russian Hat

The show…was…full of people. Here are a couple of looks that I adored.

image (1)

image

image (2)

As we left the show, something skinny and tall walked passed me followed by about 100 photographers. It was Olivia Palermo, looking pretty glamorous, albeit struggling not to slip on the ice on her sky high heels. Ps.. She was wearing a GIANT russian hat…Maybe  I was a bit more fashionable than I thought? 🙂

As a matter of fact…I found this picture on the internet of her outfit yesterday…..We were so close to her that my aunt managed to accidentaly become a photobomber! There she is on the top right with…yes…another fur hat! I was to her right, likely saying something like, “oh it’s so slippery, that photographer bumped into me!”

I honestly believe that Ms. Palermo blocked me from getting into this picture, completely ruining my chance at super stardom. LOL

Picture 2

After the show, blizzard Nemo did not disappoint. The icy rain fell and fell and fell. After getting into the wrong subway (an attempt to save money) I gave up and my mission now was to find a cab and get to my cousins apartment in Tribeca before dinner.

Of course! All cabs were off duty!

“Okay Pia…brave the blizzard, stick your arm out to anything passing” ……15 mins…20 mins….YES! Got one! “I’m going to Tribeca, (insert address of cousin)”

Inside the cab, I proceed to brush off snow, check my phone and compose myself after 30 minutes trying to hail a cab. The cab driver then starts speaking to me saying why he can’t drop me off here, he’ll drop me off there instead blah, blah, etc. etc.

I was exasperated. “Yea yea sure.” I said, not really listening to a word he said.

…….He dropped me off 20 minutes away from where I wanted to go. I hate New York.

I decided to just walk to my brother’s apartment and brave the snow. After 15 minutes, I was warm at home, on the verge of a bad cold… I hesitantly cancelled dinner with my girlfriends, I was too much of a wuss to go back out there…NYC kicked my ass yet again.

After showering, changing into pajamas and a warming glass of red wine, my brother and I ordered in some Westville. Nothing is better than comfort food on a cold, cold day.

….I’m writing this blog post the day after, about to leave for brunch with my friends in the now sunny, white coated city….

I love New York again.

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NEWS: “LET THEM EAT CAKE”

“A balanced diet is a slice of cake in each hand.” 

Indeed it is! I would like to present to you all the new website of my dear friend and fabulous cake maker, Maria Dolonius! I was so delighted when she asked me to do the illustrations for this new venture of hers and had no doubt it would be super chic, simple and classy!

You can order a “Couture” Cake inspired by your favourite designer! She has already done an Alexander McQueen!

AND you can pick from flavours like Spiced Carrot and Lemon Poppyseed! I get fat thinking about it all! 🙂

So if any of you in the Philippines are having a party and need a great cake centerpiece, visit

Ingrid Maria Cakes!

Congratulations Maria! I hope the world gets to taste all your delicious goodies!

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LIFESTYLE: Macaron on Steroids

**Food has been on the brain lately**

Yes, I’m doing it! Another blog posting about French Macarons!

But they taste so good and are so pretty! Here is a little something you should look for if you are looking for something a little more than a little macaron! 🙂

PIERRE HERME ISAPHAN

You can find Pierre Herme Boutiques in a few other locations! Click here and see if there is one near you!

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POSTCARD: Salt Tasting Room: Gastown, Vancouver

The Salt Tasting Room is definitely my favourite restaurant in Vancouver! Possibly on the list of my favourite restaurants ever! Hey, I am not a food critic, but if you are in Vancouver, Salt is definitely a must!

It is located in Gastown’s historic Blood Alley…don’t let the name scare you, and specializes in wine, cheese and meat pairings.

The menu is simple! The guests assemble their own tasting plate from the menu or special items written on the chalk board on the back wall of the restaurant. You will never have the same experience twice!

Not sure what wine to order with what cheese? Just order one of the tasting menus and let the specially trained staff do the work for you! They really know their stuff! 🙂

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POSTCARD: JAPADOG STAND – Vancouver, BC

As a few of you might know, I lived in Vancouver, BC for about 5 years and I consider it as one of my homes. It is such a great, young city and I am so glad people got to know it a lot more during the 2010 Winter Olympics! I have not visited in a few years and boy, do I miss it and my family and friends that live there.

During my last year in Vancouver, my brother rented a condo right downtown on the corner of Burrard St. and Smithe St…..and like all loving sisters, I spent many nights crashing at his place! Best part of it was the location…

Downstairs was a theater, a Starbucks Coffee, shopping and…who can forget…the never ending line to JAPADOG!

How I miss Japadog! A combination of an American classic and Japanese flavours. You used to find the stand on only a few corners of Downtown Vancouver…recently they opened up shop in New York! Lucky New Yorkers!

So if you are ever visiting Vancouver…search for these happy little stands, grab a Terimayo and trust me, you will not regret it! Even if it is probably going to be raining! :p

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LIFESTYLE: Pancakes for Breakfast!

I love, love, love pancakes…and I must admit that I make them really well! 😉

Thing is, there is no mystery that they can be pretty heavy and unhealthy. However, there IS a way you can shave off a little bit of the guilt (this is how I feel a little better, anyway)….by looking 50% at the calories (you still should), and 50% at the health benefits you can add to your short stack…How to do that? Healthier substitutes! So when you are thinking of topping them with chocolate chips and whipped cream, think again!

Illustration without text

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POSTCARD: Coco Momo Cafe Bar, London

Here is a little memory of a recent (ish) trip to London! A good friend introduced me to a bar in Marylebone called Coco Momo. Not only did it have a great design, it had some of the best cocktails I have ever had!

If you are in London, I highly recommend you try this place!

My favourites: Bloody Mary, and Cucumber Mojito! So refreshing!

On that trip…filled with cocktails….I was also introduced to an amazing drink called “Strawberry Fields” where they incorporated fresh crushed strawberries and CHILI Vodka. I cannot, for the life of me remember the name of the bar! what a shame! 😦 I shall repost this if I ever I remember!…Good news! I remember the recipe! Here it is if you want to try it! The chili really gives it a kick!

One part chili vodka

One part strawberry vodka

Crushed ice

Crushed Strawberries

Strawberry syrup (to taste)

fresh mint leaves

Sprite / Or soda water if you don’t want such a sweet drink

Crush some strawberries, mint and sugar directly in the glass (to keep the juices in). Mix in the alcohol, and crushed ice, and finally pour the sprite or soda over the ice!

If you want prettyness, garnish with a chili and a strawberry!

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POSTCARD: Gran Via, Madrid

As some of you may know, I live in Madrid, Spain and I love it. I actually really love traveling and finding out interesting facts about all the cities I go to, or have gone to. So, I decided to add another section to my blog…The Postcard section. Although I have not been traveling so much lately, I want to try and give you some cool facts about cool cities as often as I can! So here is my first postcard from Madrid, Spain, my current home and an interesting story about one of its most prominent traditions. Tapas.

The tapas tradition has become very cool and very fashionable around Spain. I know I love the idea! Not only here, but many restaurants in other cities have adapted the idea of serving free food along with an ordered drink. Ever wonder how this tradition came to pass?? It all started in Spain.

Royal Tapas with Sand

From Hidden Madrid: Madrid’s Oddities and Curiosities Written by: Mark and Peter Besas

(An amaaazing book full of interesting stories on Madrid)

 
To talk about Madrid and not mention “tapas”  would be a sacrilege. You will find that in almost any bar, when ordering an alcoholic drink, the bartender will, at no extra charge, place an appetizer on a small plate next to the drink. These tapas range from olives to potato chips to a wedge of  tortilla española  (Spanish omelette),  to jamón serrano (cured ham). Locals will sometimes skip dinner altogether and instead make rounds of various bars consuming a variety of tapas. Every Madrileño and foreigner has his or her own favourite tapa bars around the city.

There are many stories as to how this tradition came to pass. The following is the most widely-accepted story.

In the 13th century, during the reign of Alfonso X, known as “The Wise,” came down with an illness. His doctor advised him to drink sips of wine accompanied by small bits of food between meals. The treatment went well and he soon recovered. The King realized that the advice was excellent and that he shouldn’t be the only one to follow the doctor’s recommendation. So he passed a law that required all taverns in Castile to serve gratis a small portion of food with all the wine that they sold. It was actually a very sensible law because at the time, Spain agricultural, and it was normal for most workers to take a mid-day break from work to have a drink. Being poor, they would abstain from food and often return under the influence of alcohol. The new law attempted to allay this problem since having a small snack would prevent them from drinking on an empty stomach.

As for the term tapa, it apparently dates back to a trip taken by King Alfonso XIII in the early 20th century. The king was traveling to Cadiz with his entourage and stopped to rest and have a drink at a beach tavern called El Ventorillo del Chato (which still exists today!). Alfonso ordered a glass of sherry, but as he was about to take a sip, a strong gust of wind swept a cloud of sand from the beach. The waiter, quick to react, placed a slice of cured ham over the king’s glass. Alfonso, not understanding, asked what the waiter what he was doing. The waiter said, “Tapa” which literally means, “cover” and he used the ham to cover the glass of sherry from the sand. The King was so amused that he ordered his next sherry to be accompanied with a tapa, and so did his entourage. And so the term was coined.

We confess that we’ve always wondered what that first slice of ham with sand on it tasted like.

…my favourite tapas bar? El Tigre…If you are in Spain, or ever come to visit,

it definitely should be a stop on your list!

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