mneme: (Default)
Made berry tiramisu (for the office bake-off) and green tea tiramisu (because I could + a contribution for a pot luck next week). [is a berry tiramisu a berrimisu?]

I've found that there are simple and tasty things I basically only end up cooking when I'm making something more complicated--which end up thereby only being available as by-products.

So in this case, in addition to the two tiramisus, I have a berry compote (used for dipping ladyfingers in, naturally), a pretty tasty green tea (not that I don't ordinarily make tea, but it's still quite tasty), and some modified sabonnne (i.e. the leftover tiramisu filling, a sabonne/whipped cream/mascapone cheese mix) in the fridge. The berry compote, at least, is trivial to make and delicious, and I should really make it sometimes even when I don't have a reason to use it as an ingredient.
mneme: (oldharp)
La Vie en Szechuan, 14 East 33rd Street, New York, NY, 10016

There have been a succession of mediocre resturants in the spot across the street from the Complete Strategist. However, a few months ago, I noticed that the new place appeared to be an authentic Szechuan place--and a fairly popular one, at that. So naturally, being who we are, [personal profile] drcpunk and I resolved to visit La Vie at the next opportunity.

We didn't, of course, do so as soon as we could have, mostly because we'd also wanted to to hit Hot Kitchen (which is also quite good, if more in the Grand Sichuan mode than La Vie is) in person rather than just takeout. But tonight, as it happened, it was on our route home, so off we went.

It was great. Not cheap--but not awful, either (we ordered 3 cold dishes and a tea smoked duck (for $18) and it came to $56 with tip.

First, the menu. It's full of appetizing pictures of authentic food--and from what I saw on our plates and those of the (mostly Chinese) diners around us, totally accurate. This place is certainly paying attention to presentation, but our food, at least, was also delicious.

So, food we got:

The tea smoked duck: Came with three soft buns, and tasted the way tea smoked duck should taste.

Cold dishes ("Appetizers"--hot appetizers are "signature appetisers"):

Sliced beef in chili paste: Lovely and spicy; definitely provided most of the heat in the meal, and very tasty. Unannounced, but welcome by us were some chinese eggplants hidden in the mix.

Chicken in sczechuan pepper sauce: this was served in a spicy and sour green sauce, and tasted very different (but also really good) sauce than the beef in chili paste.

Spring Bamboo shoots in sessame oil: This, like the duck, wasn't spicy, but it had its own tang from the vegitables in the sauce (scallions, maybe garlic) and we had the chili paste confusing our senses. Also really tasty--we love well made bamboo shoot dishes.

Have to go back--the menu is huge, and really varied. Would love to go back with more people so we can get more of a range.
mneme: (oldharp)
[ profile] grinnellian2001 was reading a book on food that I thought was written by the blogger who helps run the Chinatown Ice Cream Factory, so I shanghaied (sorry. not intentional) her, [ profile] stakebait, and Mary Alice (has an lj, don't remember it) after the Elegant Arts Tea and Games event today to go down, grab Chinese food in Chinatown, an hit the Factory for dessert.

Since I was (naturally) put on the spot to pick a restaurant, I chose Mandarin Garden (on Mott Street, a bit north of Wo Hop and south of Canal), which I've -mostly- done for dim sum, but which I know some in our circle (possibly even me) have done for dinner and never complained about. The first dish we settled on was Peking Duck -- which it developed, none of my fellow dinners except Mary Alice had tried, and which is one of my favorite dishes (even if it's served differently at different places). To round out the meal (keeping in mind that the duck was priced as two dishes and advertised as a two course dish, so we figured it could serve as two), we got Lotus & Veggies, and to accommodate both my fetish for spicy and [ profile] grinnellian2001's desires to have something safe on the table, a quong bao (eg, kung pao, as I'm used to seeing it) chicken.

The duck was ordered and arrived first--and was -totally- worthwhile. The first course consisted of the traditional sandwich buns, hoisin sauce, scallions, and the skin of the ducks with the drumsticks, and was delivered with all due ceremony (not quite the same as what we got at the Peking Duck House, up the street, but different and cool). The duck meat, delivered with the rest of the meal, was worked into a delicious dish, with a nice savory but not significantly spicy sauce.

The other two dishes also worked well -- the veggies were a really tasty mix, with a lot of mushrooms, along with the lotus roots and snow peas, and the sauce had a slice spice edge to it. And the kung bao (which, to be fair, is one of my favorite "simple" dishes) was perfectly spiced--enough bite and pieces of hot pepper to keep me interested, but not so much as to be a problem for those of us with a lower (but not nonexistent, of course) taste for heat.

The dinner a success, we headed for the Chinatown Ice Cream Factory, right off of Mott--an establishment so old that my first memory of them is discovering that I was (not permanently, fortunately) allergic to mangoes there at the age of, perhaps, 8 (if so, that would be 1980), and only later rediscovered them a few years ago as what they are now (at least, I don't -think- they had quite the variety of flavors they have now then, though they always had some oddball ones)--an excellent boutique ice cream parlor that makes their own, albeit with a regrettable lack of chairs, nestled in the heart of Chinatown. I can't speak of what anyone else got, (though they were out of pumpkin pie, I tasted the zen butter, which is butter with a taste of coconut, and I'm sure that [ profile] grinnellian2001 got the lichee and some other flavor (they do split their smalls, as all right-thinking boutique ice cream places do)) but I decided I didn't need to be adventurous this time and got the mocha chip and the green tea, which made a lovely combination.

The only issue, of course, was the "standing outside eating ice cream" factor (oh, -that's- why the haagen daaz nearby gets any business!)--I've got to get a better idea of where one can get a seat near the CICF (even if it's outdoors).
mneme: (oldharp)
Good Enough to Eat
483 Amstedam Avenue (twixt 83rd and 84th street)

[ profile] drcpunk found this place in a food guide, and it was pretty close to where we were going, so we went. It was Quite Nice. Not cheap -- we were $67 before tip! But nummy.

We ordered pink lemonade (good enough that we finished it and ordered another), halibut (great), beef (adequate) with broccoli (quite nice) salad (likewise) and potatoes&shallots (glorious). And a godiva chocoalte pie under custard, which was amazing.

Only thing I wasn't thrilled with was the beef. Which, well, not a steakhouse, and we got it rare.
mneme: (oldharp)
Oh, my.

[ profile] daftnewtwas unimpressed by Edgars, particularly since he was in a tea mood (and J. So I did a little bit of googling on my phone, and sent us careening toward Alice's Tea Cup -- on 102 West 73rd, near Columbus (and over half a mile away).

It was worth the walk, and then some (a fine thing, as it also set the three of us back a good $90, including tip). What I'm told, by our tea-drinking guest, was an excellent selection of teas (and having sampled all three, I'm inclined to agree, but I've not a fine palate in the matter; I certainly enjoyed them). The sandwiches, scones and melted chocolate cake we ordered were also quite extraordinary. The hot hot chocolate wasn't bad, but wasn't as good as the tea by a long shot and only had a hint of the spice that was promised, if that (otoh, it was cheaper than the tea).

We'll be back.

After a lovely looking nighttime walk through central park, we're in the Mac Store, where I'm buying a macbook 13" foam case for my Lenovo x300 (the "air-killer", whose adverts now talk about "the others are all full of hot air", and which is quite lovely, though I can't deny that the Macbook Air's a sexier-looking machine).

I had the image of, when I pulled out the X300, of a customer staring at me in horror, and saying "you brought -that- in this holy temple? Sacrilege!" and having to flee the store in a death defying chase up the glass staircase from an angry mob of macaddicts, fending off thrown I-pods with the case of the Thinkpad, and eventually have a fending duel with mac ninjas wielding razor-sharp Airs. If I did a webcomic, this image would probably wind up there -- but as it is, you'll have to imagine it.
mneme: (Default)
[ profile] citruscomando asks:

I'd just like to hear how things are going. You mention stuff that happens when you go to cons, but not terribly much about what goes on the rest of the time. So, this one's easy, but probably kind of hard at the same time.

Short question, a few long answers:

Life is pretty good. I've had the same tech job for about 6 years, and it doesn't pay horribly.

Lisa and I are still in the same place, though she's had some definite downturns--health problems for both her parents, and mass layoffs at her job this past winter that included her.

I've been unsuccessfully tried to control my weight -- I'm up to 170. :( And I've had a few minor health issues -- minor knee problems, and digestive issues that won't sit up and shut down, though they're mostly just inconvenient, not even scary. Who knows, new treatment may help there.

On a lifestyle level, things are more or less unchanged -- I've stopped fencing (due to the initial occurrence of knee issues; may start again), and dropped my SCA participation way down from its already minuscule level, but...I work during weekdays, hang out with friends 1-2 nights a week playing RPGs, play D&D or board or card games another day, and board games most fridays. Weekends are sometimes RPGs, sometimes "getting things done", and frequently SF or gaming or Filking or LARPing cons. I still do a lot of reading, though far too much of it is email or livejournal rather than books (still read a fair number of books, though). My board game life is dominated by German and German-style board games, with tight decisions and simple-ish rules. My RPGs are all over the map; I've been playing D&D 3.5, paying attention to D&D4, playing Indy RPGs like Dogs in the Vineyard and FATE, not to mention continuing to play super-light games like Epistolary, OTE, and Everway as was my older practice. And with some friends, I've written a bunch of four hour LARP games.

I don't watch TV (except sometimes entire seasons of shows on DVD, or movies), play video games (except emulated games on my handheld during commutes, or grabbing a few hours of games on a friend's console rarely), or play commercial computer games. I do read a large list of webcomics, a small list of print comics, and play several web-based games (,, DragonFable occasionally, KoL rarely,,, cycle, and some of these are rising, others falling, and pretty much none staying the same).

Lisa and I are still happy with one another and get comments about our obvious affection for one another 14 years into our relationship, and our relationship is practically monogamous (if theoretically open).

I still enjoy social and historical dance -- Whyte Whey dance practice is pretty much the only SCA thing I do these days, and I dance with Elegant Arts, and will not infrequently strike up latin or swing or historical (ie, two-step, tango, waltz, polka, etc) when there's appropriate ambient music.

Finally, I've been managing to practice harp every night (and just got delivery on a new, ultra-portable Flatsicle harp that at least gives me more options), which has definitely improved my playing (odd, that :).

[ profile] barking_iguana writes:

What are things you consider admirable, perhaps illustrated by newsmakers who exhibit those traits

Sorry, but I don't really spend any time thinking about this. I've never shaped my life around people I wanted to be like; instead, I've focused on things I wanted to do and things I wanted to be. I find it mildly alien that some people do see the world this way, frankly, though I understand it's a known phenomenon. I can love people, like them, be friends with them, envious of them, respect them, sympathize with them, or even want to emulate them or wish I could do so -- but I cannot recall ever having -admired- them as such.

[ profile] sammywol writes:
One of my most abiding memories of you at Worldcon is of 'the man who carries his own spices' yet you rarely do food blogging. Tell us about what you like to eat and how.

I'm more or less omnivorous. I like vegetables, meats, fish, shrimp (shrimp!), seafood, tofu, mushrooms...

My most likely cuisines are Asian of one sort or another -- Sushi, spicy (or even non-spicy) Chinese, (south) Indian (curry!), Thai (curry!), Vietnamese (curry soup!), Malaysian (all sorts of curries, actually), and even Afghani (I don't actually like the curries that much. I far prefer the barbecue) come to mind. I'm pretty omnivorous for desert, but tend to favor the western a bit -- Italian and french pastries of all sorts, chocolate, ice cream (Chinatown Ice Cream Factory last night -- yum. And I should get Gelatto from Financier when its summer again).

I don't cook much, though I'm competent at it, certainly at throwing together "short order cook" stuff like breakfast or a quick soup. But living in NYC, I usually get a much better price/performance by eating out -- and we eat out a -lot-.

I have actually done a fair amount of foodblogging in the past -- I think I've done half a dozen restaurant reviews here, though I've local restaurants I frequent which I've never gotten around to writing reviews for.


mneme: (Default)
Joshua Kronengold

October 2018

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