Showing posts with label Dessert. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Dessert. Show all posts

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

brown butter truffle sage rice krispie treats

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if you follow @beyondthetoop on instagram , you had to know this recipe post was coming ;)

if you read the title thinking "ew gross" you'll be sticking your foot in your mouth after you try these.  our friend made them once during a dinner party, and i (along with everyone else) went crazy over them! they are the perfect combination of sweet and savory, and take hardly any more effort to make than regular rice krispie treats with just butter and marshmallow.  i made them for thanksgiving, posted it on instagram , and was requested to make them again for friendsgiving just a few days later! the lazy girl inside me thought i could get by with saving some from the first batch, but they definitely did not last long enough.  the entire batch was GONE before i had a chance to stash them away.

give them a try and let me know what you think!  read below for the recipe....

Monday, April 14, 2014

we hosted our first dinner!

did monday come too fast for anyone else?  hung and i are finally starting to feel at home at our new place . as if we weren't homebodies anyways, we feel like we just want to stay home, in our house, together.  no matter if i spent the whole week home not going to work, i'd feel like i need "just one more day" to enjoy the new place. 

we had such a great weekend though, seeing friends every night, celebrating new apartments, seeing friends we hadn't seen in a while, and hosting our first dinner at the new place!  saturday we got a few drinks with friends at battello .  we went there once before for a "we finally got the house!" celebratory dinner, but our friends had never been.  inside the space seriously makes you want to pinch yourself to make sure it's not a dream that a place like this is walking distance from my house.  guys, it's BEAUTIFUL inside.  edison bulbs dimly light up the place just enough to make it cozy, and just enough to reflect on the walls of windows, blending into the already-breathtaking views of manhattan.

Thursday, February 27, 2014

february date: a brooklyn adventure

my first attempt at topping all other monthly dates   failed.  kung fu is an off-Broadway show in manhattan about the life of bruce lee.  perfect, right?  i like shows, hung likes bruce lee.  it was going to be perfect, and tickets were going to be just $70 TOTAL for the two of us.  i ordered them, it was going to be the best surprise ever.  but only 20 minutes after i ordered tickets online, i received an email saying my order has been canceled.  there was a glitch in the system and i would be refunded all of my money.  i tried a second time, and the only tickets available were in march, and they were $75 EACH.  more than double the original price! although if it was a special occasion i may have just bit the bullet, but i was just so angry at the fact that my order was canceled for ticket prices to just go up that i decided it just wasn't meant to be.

luckily though, hung claims that my plan B turned out to be the best date yet (jenn does the happy dance!)  we have had such great experiences at olive oil and vinegar tasting rooms, so i set my sights on finding one in the city.  luckily for us, there's one right in williamsburg! it's called o live , and it's pretty close to a lot of other fun places, so i decided to turn our date into an adventure!

before trekking to brooklyn, though, we stopped at a vintage furniture store in manhattan called furnish green .  i have had my eyes set on a credenza there, and i NEEDED to at least look at it in person.  let me tell you guys, this store has SO many cool things! and in such great condition!  sure, your average vintage store might have a handful of mid-century modern furniture in beat up condition for a price you might find on craigslist, but this place is carefully curated, and only keeps items in good condition.  the pieces might be a little bit more expensive, but i'm no expert at refinishing furniture (let alone stuff that may or may not have a veneer on it), and i'm not about to PAINT mid-century modern stuff either.  hung ultimately made the "adult" decision, and said we needed to pass on the credenza, we don't "need" it now anyways... maybe one day though ;)

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next stop, o live!  i planned out our day such that we had to walk to the farthest place first, then work our way back to the train.  although we didn't purchase anything at furnish green , we were on a small "high" of furniture shopping (guys, it's SO fun!). so when we passed all those hipster vintage shops in williamsburg on our way to o live, we couldn't help by pop into some of them.  needless to say, we WILL be going back soon!  we tasted practically every balsamic vinegar at o live before settling on the cranberry pear white balsamic and the vermont maple dark balsamic.  we ran out of 2 balsamic vinegars at home recently, and before this purchase we only had, say, 3 or 4 kinds of balsamic vinegar at the house.  clearly we "needed" more options!

just a few blocks away was a vietnamese bar and restaurant called bia .  i was drawn to this place because my during FIRST time in new york city (looking for apartments, ironically), my friends took me to a place in manhattan (that's now closed) called bia garden.  just like it sounds, it was a TINY beer garden tucked away in the tiny "open space" behind a building somewhere in manhattan (I had no idea where I was at the time, NYC was so overwhelming!)  bia had a great vibe, although when we first walked in, we were the only ones there, so i was a little concerned my day date plan was going to be disasterous.  we sat at the bar, we each ordered a guinness, and soon people started strolling in.  i decided on my favorite vermicelli noodles with grilled pork and spring rolls, while hung ordered a grilled pork banh mi sammich, both better than expected! my noodle dish had about half lettuce, half noodles, so it was more like a salad than most places (which serve a huge bowl of noodles with a sprinkle of veggies).  we ventured to the rooftop, which was closed for the winter, but looked like it would be so fun in the summertime! i'll have to remember this place come april or may :)

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(don't make too much fun of our mini photoshoot.  guys, it was 55 degrees and sunny in FEBRUARY!! it put us in a good mood :P)

next on the list was momofuku milkbar ! the only time i had tried to go to a milkbar location was after dinner in manhattan, when milkbar is just PACKED.  although the intention was to get dessert, hung may have ordered the best thing on the menu : the volcano.  i'm not sure if it's on the menu all the time (it's not posted online), but this thing was a very chewy bun stuffed with pork, potatoes, carmelized onions, and fontina cheese. not exactly "dessert", but hey, that's how he rolls ;)  we also ordered the corn cookie and the 5 boro cookie, both worthy of ordering again (and again and again).

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last stop on the date was barcade! yes, we have barcade in jersey city too, but because we were so close and the brooklyn one is the original one, i felt the need to at least stop in for a beer.  it is practically the same thing as the one in jersey city (except ours is bigger with more arcade games!)  they have similar craft beers on tap, behind the bar is a big chalkboard wall with the menu and lots of neon beer signs, and no barstools match.  seriously barcade is the best bar to go to with a dive-bar feel with better-than-dive-bar beer (and, of course, all of your favorite childhood arcade games).

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around 3pm we looked up the location of the restaurant for dinner with friends, and found out that it was in williamsburg too! with a few hours to waste before dinner, we explored a grocery store (one of our favorite things to do! don't judge!), picked up grocery store sushi (i'm such a sucker for it), and made our way over to the restaurant.  with still an hour or so before dinner, we popped into surf bar .  this place smelled of nothing but fried calamari, it was crowded, and there was a beach on the floor.  yes, you read that right, sand on the floor, throughout the entire place! when i was lured in with the "hot spiked apple cider" sign out front, i was not expecting sand on the floor.  and, if we weren't heading to a pre-fixe, 3-course dinner soon after, my hands would have been ALL OVER that calamari.

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the rest of the evening was spent celebrating a birthday with out-of-towners, so date day ended at surf bar.  days like this are why i love new york city!!!! i wouldn't have changed a thing!

(except maybe grab more cookies from milkbar... damn they were good)


Thursday, January 30, 2014

january date

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since the day union republic opened in our neighborhood 9 weeks ago, mr p had his mind set on going there for our january date .  i got a little worried when halfway through the month we had not picked a day to go.

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"hey babe, we should pick a day to go on our date."
"why not Friday?"
"ok sure!" 
....then we agreed to show a friend of a friend around town friday night.
"oops, ok we'll go saturday then."
...then we remembered our friend from ohio was visiting for the weekend. 
"shit. let's try to go the next sunday so we won't double-book."
"well, unless we go after he leaves on sunday, there aren't any sundays left in january." 
"wanna go tonight?"
"let's do it!"

ok ok ok... so it didn't exactly go as planned, but that didn't stop us from having a good time last thursday! we were instantly happy the moment we walked in those big glass doors.  it was so cold outside i think if i had walked a step farther my ears would have frozen off! gosh it was so cold out there.  perfect for a warm bowl of soup, i say!

we weren't sure if union republic was a byob place, so we thought we would sneak in a bottle of wine in my bag. if it, indeed, was a byob, we were well-stocked.  we walked inside and i immediately went to use the ladies' room, and when i came back there were two wine glasses on the table ready to be filled! score....

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(greeted with an unexpected dose of baba ganoush and hummus)

while i really was in the mood for some good hearty, silky, brothy ramen, i knew that's what mr p was going to get, and there were so many other things to try on the menu for us BOTH to get ramen! we shared a "ramen burger" for an appetizer (i could have eaten 5 of them, as they were topped with my favorite pickled onions, but it was totally not was i had expected), and i ended up getting the ratatouille (the place practically encompasses all ethnic foods in one restaurant)

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though the veggies in the ratatouille were tasty, the flavor combination was so much better when i snagged a bite with some of the walnut pesto. i kept telling our waiter i NEED to make the walnut pesto at home! i could seriously put that stuff on just about anything!

mr p's ramen hit the spot too.  i think the noodles are the best i've had in the fancy, non-instant kind of ramen.  some people go for the perfect broth, some people go for the perfect noodles and goodies.  i go for good noodles and goodies, and this one certainly topped my tastebuds for the noodles and soft-boiled egg part.  why is that such a good thing for union republic? you can buy the noodles!! they come in a package, sort of like instant ramen, with sauce packets to make the broth, but the noodles are fresh! and for just $5 it would be worth it to at least try it one day!

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union republic wasn't just an eatery, though.  with a grocery section, a "bar" area where you can grab a seat and watch the cooks do their magic, a lounge area, and a byob policy, this place can truly be the ultimate hang-out spot.

...and hang out, we did! we still had half of our bottle of wine to go, and a set of interview questions to answer (remember yesterday's post ??), so our waiter talked us into getting the banana bread chocolate bread pudding.  yes, that's right, chocolate bread pudding made out of pieces of banana bread (don't worry, our minds were blown too).  it's no secret i have an obsession with the lemon bars at thirty acres (see this post and this post for proof), and this dessert is giving those lemon bars a run for their money for my favorite sweet treat.  i'm usually not one for desserts, but this bread pudding might have to be a must-have every time we go.  i might even just order an appetizer and the bread pudding so i make sure to save room!  as of last thursday, the desserts weren't on the menu. so in case your waiter forgets to mention the bread pudding, you better ask!!!!

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(ahhh chocolate overload!  a chocolate overload that i'll eat again, and again, and again, and....)

now it's your time to venture a few blocks further from grove street down newark ave and experience union republic for yourself.  your tastebuds (and your wallet!) will thank you.


p.s. high five to jersey city for snagging yet another great restaurant!! keep 'em coming!

Thursday, January 23, 2014

downtown yogurt (gosh, finally!)

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to some places, the whole self-yourself-froyo thing is gone, done, out the door, never coming back because it was exploited so much when it was popular.  to you local people, hoboken is a good example.  when i moved there, i was in the middle of the froyo "boom".  the second year i lived there, falafel was the big boom, with 5 restaurants/take-out places opening in less than a year.  today there's far fewer froyo and falafel places, and quite possibly there may be another "fad" food that's taken their place.

i've lived in jersey city for over 2 years now, and for as long as i have been there, the froyo fad never came.  local ice cream shops served vanilla soft serve yogurt as an alternative to ice cream, but that's it.  until now!   i admit, even when there were 6 froyo shops in hoboken, i still frequented them at least once a week (i couldn't help it!! it's so good!). this place is one of a kind for downtown jersey city right now, and being in such a convenient location, how could you NOT at least try it out?

downtown yogurt opened a few weeks ago, just across the street from the grove street PATH station, but it wasn't until monday night that i had my mind set on getting some! mr p isn't a froyo fan, and convincing him to go get some sweets that he doesn't enjoy and I certainly don't need was pretty far-fetched.  i made it a plan to convince a group from kickboxing to walk down after class (hey, it's better than NOT working out and eating froyo, right? right) after about 8 of us got our bucket of froyo (yes, bucket, those sneaky kids know what they're doing when they give you huge containers to fill!) mr p couldn't resist.  no yogurt for him though, thankfully they have softserve sorbet too!

i'm not one to eat the crazy flavors they come up with, 99% of the time i'm a original tart and sprinkles sort of girl. and the good thing about self-serve yogurt is that you can get as much or as little as you like!  (as you can see from the photo above, i barely filled the bottom of the bucket, and that was the perfect sweet treat!)  for those of you who DO enjoy eating the different flavors, downtown yogurt has a whole wall of handles, pouring out your favorite flavors, and endless toppings, including my two favorites of rainbow sprinkles and toasted coconut, and mr p's new favorite of "boba".  the boba there is nothing like what you see in bubble tea though, these little balls are more like gushers! they have a chewy outside, but a burst of tangy goodness pops out after biting into them.

now it's your turn to try downtown yogurt . afterall, if you ride the grove street PATH train, it's just a few steps away!!  and why not support another local business, right? DTJC needs it!


Monday, December 23, 2013

nights like this need to happen more often

this season has been and will continue to be crazy busy for mr p and i.  with family visiting, trips to see people, and trying to see nearby friends, we've been on the go nonstop since before thanksgiving.  we are pretty exhausted at this point, but maybe that extra day at HOME on christmas might just be the relaxing day we need (this will be the first time in my 26 years of existence that i'm not going to be in my hometown during the holidays, and first time in my own apartment ON christmas day. it's sad and liberating at the same time....)

one of those nights on-the-go was a rather casual night of great friends, good drinks, and amazing food.  it's not often that either of us get together with coworkers, so i was pretty excited to go to their home on the upper east side.  when we got there we were greeted with drinks, cheese, cured meats, olives, peppers... all the essentials, really, for a cozy evening in.  i don't really like to do new years resolutions, but i did make one this year: to truly enjoy olives by the end of the year.  this dinner (mid-November might i remind you) was the first time i tried them with a positive attitude (after all, i don't have much time left, and i'm NOT going to fail at the only goal i made for the year) AND I ACTUALLY LIKED THEM!  i think i might have eaten at least 5... baby steps.

for dinner, we feasted on a big pork roast, cabbage, and other delicious food, with mr p's now-famous carrot cake for dessert.  for someone who "didn't like sweets" and "would rather cook than bake" when we first started dating, he's been churning out some pretty amazing cakes lately.  i mean, who can resist carrot cake with butterscotch cream cheese frosting anyways?

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(i might start making those candied walnuts just to eat for myself!! :P)

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(i may or may not have eaten at least 5 of these)

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(the crew minus mr p, someone's gotta be the photographer, might as well be the one who doesn't want his face on the blog!)

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(he's such a cutie)

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some people move to this area, have nights out on the town dancing and drinking until the wee hours of the morning, get home and crash on the bed and think "this is why i moved here."  for mr p and i, it's nights like this that make us so thankful we each decided to brave "the big city" and "try out" this place we would now like to call "home" for a very long time... the genuinely nice people, the ones with common interests (i.e. good food, good drinks, good friends, cozy atmosphere), the diverse group of friends we've made..... and sometimes it's just refreshing, and so fun to see the flip side of your coworkers, to be able to let loose and enjoy each other's company. 

...and if the food is THAT good every time, we need to do this more often!!


Monday, November 5, 2012

thirty acres

because of the wrath of hurricane sandyjersey city had a citywide curfew at 7pm on the first weekend in months that we've had no real plans... 

we didn't let that stop us!  on saturday, we popped in for a few afternoon drinks with friends at the local barcade before heading over to thirty acres for a date night (first in MANY months!)

oh, and we also ate pretty well this week and weekend too, our house turned into shower central for our friends without power, and they all paid us in food (although of course we insisted on nothing) ...which means having amazing indian food for leftovers.  can't complain one bit!

and date night means putting on the fancy shoes... mr p included... he just looks so cute in his new kenneth coles ;)

...and i, of course, had to put on my fancy vince camutos that mr p bought for me (on a MEGA sale at the end of the season last season, perfect time to buy italian leather boots!) if the food wasn't enough pure happiness for us, this sign on the way out was the icing on the cake

thanks, thirty acres, for providing us with a schmancy impromptu date night... your limited menu didn't affect us at all! we were just happy that you were already back in business after the aftermath of hurricane sandy.  we probably would have ordered the fish and the pork chop anyways.  and you could seriously charge $15 for your $4 lemon bar and i'd still pay for it... i'm still raving about it.  can i get it to go?