Tag Archives: New York City

Coward’s Split – Serendipity 3

Before your eyes widen, please let me explain why I have called this post ‘Coward’s Split’ :) it’s actually a play on words, of the banana split they have at Serendipity 3 in New York City. I’ll explain in more detail in a sec ~ Still following Faith‘s recommendations, we decided to have dinner at Serendipity 3 to try their famous ‘Frozzen Hot Chocolate’, Faith had already warned me the savoury food were ‘mediocre’ and I completely agree with her. You can read her review here ~

It was a Tuesday night and I’d previously called to make a reservation but was told we can only walk in, we got there at around 7pm and was told there was a 45 minute wait :( We really wanted to try the desserts, so we walked around the block and spent some time at the Dylan’s Candy Bar around the corner :) For those who don’t know Dylan’s Candy Bar is a chain of candy store based in New York. For someone like me, it was basically HEAVEN!

Source: Sephora

After buying a mountain of lollies, we went back to Serendipity 3 waited for another 20 minutes before we got our table ~ sigh I usually hate waiting but for good desserts I’m willing to do anything :P

Casual environment

It’s no wonder we had to wait so long, because it is a relatively small store with only a handful large tables that would sit 4 to 6 people and another dozen of small tables for 2 to 4 people. By the time we sat down, we were all pretty cold and hungry :) so without even looking at the menu, we ordered two Frozzen Hot Chocolates :D

Frozzen Hot Chocolate $8.95USD

At first I didn’t quite understand why it was called a ‘Frozen Hot Chocolate’ and not simply an ‘Ice Chocolate’, but after tasting it, I  finally get it :) It’s not just cold milk, crushed ice and chocolate syrup…it’s made just like a hot chocolate where the cocoa powder and milk is thoroughly mixed and topped with freshly whipped cream to create a rich and delicious Frozen Hot Chocolate ~ So I recommend sharing with someone if you want to have more food, because it can be quite filling. They actually sell the cocoa used to make the drink in packets but because I already had a lot of luggage I didn’t get it >_< but check out this video, this guy attempts to make the Frozen Hot Chocolate at home ~

Now to the savoury food, after studying the menu, Mr Bao, Mary, Kevin and I all agreed that the food offered were very typical all American diner type food.

Serendipitous Chef's Salad $16.50USD

We started off with a salad, I’m sorry but I’m not sure if this was called Serendipitous Chef’s Salad or Chicken Julia salad ($16USD), but it was basically a bed of greens, tomatoes, avocados and cucumbers topped with boiled chicken pieces and crushed almonds. It didn’t have much of a dressing so it was a little dry and the chicken was a little overcooked and kind of tasteless.

Hot Springs Wings $9.50USD

These hot spring wings AKA buffalo wings were nicely marinated with a good sauce, but unfortunately it was a little cold when it got to our table and the celery sticks had started to turn a brownish colour, suggesting that it has been left out for a long time.

Spiced Chicken Flambé $23.00USD

We weren’t sure what to expect, it turned out to be a half fried and half-baked piece of chicken breath covered in a brand Madeira cream sauce which was a little too thick. Once again we had an issue with the chicken where it was overcooked and very bland…Mr Bao kept reaching for the salt and pepper :(

Lemon Chicken $17.5USD

This was probably the worse dish…the chicken was basically the same as before, but this time it was covered in a super sour lemon dressing, it was so sour that I could barely eat it. But thankfully Kevin was able to withstand the sourness and ate a large proportion of the dish :)

Seafood Fettucine $18.50USD

Mary’s seafood fettucine was probably the best with the basil cream sauce and a few pieces of seafood such as prawns and mussels tossed through the pasta. We all liked this dish :) Good choice Mary!

Eastside Western Omelette $12.5USD

I don’t know why…but I really liked the name of the omelette Eastside Western so insisted on ordering it…turned out to be an unexciting overcooked omelette with tomatoes, cheese, onions and peppers and ham.

So that was all the savoury food we ordered…I think ‘mediocre’ really is the best word to describe it, most of the food was either overcooked or tasteless :(

Now back to the ‘Coward’s Split’, even though the mains weren’t that appetising, my dear friends and boyfriend were so full that they wanted to ‘SKIP’ dessert and said the ‘Frozen Hot Chocolate’ was their dessert. I insisted! Because it’s  just wrong! How can you ever ‘skip’ dessert :P To me it’s always desserts first! That’s when I noticed on the menu they had the Outrageous Banana Split $22.50 and the Coward’s Portion.

Coward's Portion Banana Split $13.5USD

For once I admit I am a coward hahaha because even I can’t imagine eating the full size banana split myself. The coward’s size already had 3 large scopes of ice-cream – chocolate, vanilla and strawberry, a large banana cut in half, hot chocolate pecan sauce and topped with lots of whipped cream and glace cherries :) I don’t remember having so much ice-cream in such a long time and because of the chocolate pecan sauce, I have realised I actually like pecans~

I definitely recommend you going to Serendipity 3 for desserts or drinks, but not for their main dishes :)

And this will be my last New York post for a little while…I hope you’ve enjoyed these posts :D I’ve definitely enjoyed writing them but think it’s time to write about the other places I’ve recently visited~

Thank you everyone for reading and always supporting me!
Serendipity 3 on Urbanspoon

Being Blair – The Plaza Hotel

I’m sure all Gossip Girl fans will immediately know ‘Blair Waldorf’ :) I’m an avid fan ~ Love the show, even though some of the story lines can be a little ridiculous but to be honest…I kinda insisted on going to New York because I wanted the Gossip Girl experience :) Shopping on 5th Avenue, macarons from Laduree and afternoon tea at The Plaza Hotel ~

Source: Trip Advisor

For those who haven’t heard of The Plaza Hotel, it’s basically the most extravagant and luxurious hotels you can find and is of course a landmark of New York City :) If you guys remember my post about the Peninsula Hotel in Hong Kong , The Plaza is basically the New York version ~ as soon as I walked in my New York partner in crime Mary and I noticed the shocking resemblances to The Peninsula. Mr Bao even said it ‘smelt’ the same way hahaha now I’m not sure about that.

Mary and I are ‘afternoon tea’ fanatics lol we LOVE having the 3 tiers, the scones, sandwiches and cakes :) Neither of us eat a lot so we like the idea of everything being so petite and of course the GOSSIP ~ So once again thanks to Faith for suggesting The Plaza Hotel :D After some (ok quite a LOT) of shopping on 5th Avenue, we made our way to The Palm Court  and be ‘Blair’ for the afternoon ~ I tried to convince Mr Bao that he was ‘Chuck’…he just rolled his eyes and told me he was ‘hungry’ :P

So elegant ~

It was such an elegant place, with classical music playing in the background and everything was neatly placed on the table ~ They serve afternoon tea from 2pm to 5pm and have a recommended Business Casual dress code, we didn’t know and rocked up in jeans and t-shirt and they didn’t seem to mind :) We got there at around 4pm and expected it to be quite quiet being a Tuesday afternoon…but nope we had to wait…even though there were empty tables…they wouldn’t give it to us. All three of us were exhausted, cold and STARVING lol especially poor Mary who hadn’t had breakfast! Not a good habit, you should always have breakfast ~

After a good 30 minute wait, we finally got  a table and were immediately handed a menu ~

That's when I noticed...

I was so excited about choosing my tea set and just as I was about to open the menu, I noticed the fork on the left hand side was so dirty with food still stuck in between the tines! It was so revolting! I immediately waved to the waiter and told him, without even apologising to me, he simply said ‘Thank you Maam’ and walked away to get me another fork. I then looked at Mr Bao’s fork and that was ALSO dirty! Once again NO apology! I was so upset, because I expected more from The Plaza…

The New Yorker $50USD

After I calmed down, we placed our orders. Mr Bao chose The New Yorker which had a selection of ‘New York’ flavoured savoury sandwiches such as roast beef and horseradish on the bottom tier, scones in the middle and a selection sweets on the top. Mr Bao didn’t seem to like the savoury food, he said the bread and stale and the roast beef was so bland. I tried the smoked salmon, endive and agree it wasn’t very appealing. Both our sets had scones and compared to the epic scones I had at Alice Tea Cup, these weren’t really up to standard, a little too dry and hard.

The New Yorker - Dessert Tier

Mr Bao didn’t really eat much of the desserts ~ YAY for us! But nope another disappointment…. the canoli was soggy, the mini cupcake was tasteless and the black and white cookies were alright. We did enjoy the mini lemon tart on the left but still weren’t impressed.

The Classic $50USD

Mary and I both got The Classic tea set because if you wanted to share a set you have to pay an extra $20USD, so we figured it wasn’t worth us sharing. It was more the typical set with sandwiches at the bottom, scones in the middle and petite fours on the top layer.

Dry and stale bread...

The sandwiches were so dry and stale… it is quite obvious that they had been pre-made and left out for a long time, but I did like the Truffled Quail Egg tart, the one hiding behind the cucumber sandwich as it was quite tasty ~

The Classic - Dessert Layer

We think the desserts were a bit better for The Classic tea set, macarons were a little sticky but not bad, madelienes were a little bland, sacher torte was nice with a apricot flavour through it and the best would have to be the hazelnut napoleon which had a good crunch and flavour to it :) Then the jelly looking lolly was a little weird and I didn’t like the texture, but Mr Bao loves jelly and thought it was nice ~

Complimentary Tea

All tea sets come with complimentary tea, we’re not big tea drinkers so we can’t really comment but it was nice when they topped our tea pots with hot water which gave us the chance to gossip more and weren’t pressured to leave.

Even though I loved the experience of being Blair for a day…I didn’t really like my experience at The Palm Court… think it’s overrated and I’m sure you’ll be able to find better places for afternoon tea in NYC ~

Palm Court at the Plaza Hotel on Urbanspoon

Cupcake Wars – Crumbs VS Magnolia

Not sure if you guys have watched called ‘Cupcake War’ American Food Network show, where cupcake bakeries from around America compete with each other to win a prize ~

Today, I wanted to have my own little cupcake war between Crumbs Bake Shop VERSUS Magnolia Bakery! For those who live in the States or have gone to New York, I’m sure you have heard of both cupcake stores :) They’re both quite famous, but I think Magnolia is a little more well-known as it’s been around for longer and have released a couple of cookbooks. While Crumbs is a newish player in the cupcake scene ~

I’m gonna start with my review of Crumbs Bake Shop at Times Square, a convenient 5 minute walk from our hotel – if you want the name just leave me a comment ~ Thanks Faith from An Edible Mosaic for recommending Crumbs, check out her review too :)
The Crumbs shop in Times Square is pretty small, but the neon lights and the flashing logo will definitely catch your eye :) There’s no tables or chairs, as soon as you walk in, you’ll be allured to the cupcake cabinet ~ Sorry about the photo it was jammed packed when I was there, I couldn’t take a better pic ~

Just LOOK at all the cupcakes and goodies!

Very briefly, Crumbs Bake Shop is a creation by husband and wife, Mia and Jason Bauer and they opened their first store in 2003. They offer cupcakes in 4 sizes, the taste size which is a mini, a classic, a signature and a COLOSSAL cupcake :) I have promised myself to order a colossal red velvet cupcake next time I go ~ They have a wide range of flavours too going from the typical dark chocolate, red velvet, carrot and more unique flavours like Blackbotton Cheesecake Brownie.

Best Seller Collection - Taste Pack $18USD

I was so glad they had this taste pack, it had 12 mini cupcakes of all their best sellers :) WOO HOO! I got to try all of them~ Hmm…it’s so hard to say which one is my favourite…but I really liked the S’mores (On the right hand side of the last row) because it has everything I love – chocolate, vanilla, cream cheese and graham crackers ~ delicious!

Hot Chocolate $3.5

Perfect way to end the night with Crumbs cupcakes and a hot chocolate, which was probably a little too sweet for most people, but just right for me :) The one of the left is Vanilla sprinkle – the cupcake itself was so moist and the vanilla butter cream was perfectly whipped! One on the right is Devil Food’s and once again so moist and chocolatey!

Red Velvet Signature Size $4.5USD

Surprisingly they didn’t have the red velvet in the best seller pack, but I’m sure it’s one of their best sellers…maybe they had run out of the taste size? Either way :) I couldn’t leave without trying it ~ Now not trying to brag but I’ve been told my red velvet cupcakes are good ~ but these weren’t good…they were AMAZING! Definitely a 10 out of 10! The red velvet cake was once again so moist, it basically melt in my mouth, then the cream cheese was the perfect consistency and the BEST part would have to be the white sprinkles :) and how could I forget the red velvet cake crumbs that finished it all off so nicely!

Now to Magnolia Bakery’s review ~

Magnolia Bakery at Bloomingdales :)

I wasn’t planning to go to Magnolia Bakery because it just wasn’t close to where I was and I haven’t heard many good things about them, but coincidentally they had a Magnolia Bakery on the first level of Bloomingdales and it was quite busy so I couldn’t leave NYC without trying at least one cupcake ~

Pretty looking shop :)

Magnolia Bakery first opened in 1996, however, has recently been sold to Steve Abrams, a veteran NYC restaurateur. It was definitely a pretty looking shop, where everything was so neat and nicely decorated ~ Anyhow because this is a Cupcake Wars I decided to get another Red Velvet cupcake and a Devil’s Food to compare it to Crumbs.

Red Velvet $3.5USD and Devil's Food $3.5USD

Starting with the red velvet…it was an UTTER disappointment :( I seriously LOATHE dry cupcakes! It was so so so dry that it starting crumbling in my hands before I could put it in my mouth… and the cream cheese frosting was unbelievably thick and sticky  which wasn’t a very pleasant feeling. The same thing happened with the Devil’s food cake, a cake dry as sand and frosting that was  too thick.

Even though it is quite obvious, but I would now like to announce the winner of this Cupcake War goes to *drum roll* – CRUMBS BAKE SHOP! Congratulations! :D They have definitely won in terms of – taste, presentation and texture!

I’m sure I don’t need to say anymore, but you will know which shop to visit and which shop to miss :P

Magnolia Bakery on Urbanspoon

Crumbs on Urbanspoon

Long Awaited – Momofuku Ssam Bar and Milk Bar

Huge thank you to everyone for the lovely birthday wishes :) I don’t think I’ve received so many birthday wishes before! I am so behind with all my blogging! I had to help my Sis Macy do something the last few days, so I’m sorry for being a little slow with replying to comments and reading all your fantastic blogs ~

Getting on with today’s post, I wanted to share with you, my long-awaited experience at Momofuku Ssam Bar and try Christina Tosi‘s unique goodies :)

I have heard so much about David Chang and the Momofuku chain by so many bloggers that I just HAD to go try it out for myself :) I tried to book for a table at Momofuku ko two weeks before going to NYC…but no luck…it was full…I know I should have booked a month in advance, but I really didn’t expect it to be so full!

Day 2 of our trip, I dragged Mr Bao out of bed extra early, had some breakfast at our hotel, then jumped in a cab and headed to the East Village on my quest to find Momofuku :)

We arrived at Momofuku Ssam Bar at around 10:30am and  it wasn’t open so early…Mr Bao was getting very impatient, we took our time to walk around the East Village and enjoy the nice scenery ~ I really like this area, it’s not as busy as the other areas in Manhattan and people seem more at ease ~ and we found this nice church :)

Think it's the St Mark's Church ~

After a good hour of mindless walking, we went back to Momofuku Ssam bar and was greeted by a nice but probably still half asleep waiter :) he led us to our table which was near the window and handed us the menu.

Even though we had breakfast a mere 3 hours ago, Mr Bao was starving and I knew if I didn’t order and get some food in front of him, he wasn’t going to be very happy :P But there was a problem, the whole menu was full of dishes with duck – Rotisserie Duck Over Rice, Duck Dumping Soup, Duck sandwich and Pulled Duck Bun : D Poor Mr Bao is on a special diet because of his eczema where he can’t have duck…so the only thing he could really have from the menu was the Spicy Pork with Rice cakes.

Spicy Pork Sausage and Rice Cakes $19USD

The spicy pork sausages is minced and tossed in a Korean chilli sauce with chinese broccoli and sichuan peppercorns :) it was a fantastic mix of all the flavours ! We both really enjoyed it, went especially well with the spring onion and dried garlic pieces. Even though I thought the rice cakes were a little too chewy, Mr Bao seemed to like the texture. We recommend this dish to anyone who likes a bit of spice and rice cakes ~

Pulled Duck bun $7USD

I was surprised that they didn’t have the Pulled Pork Bun, so I had the Pulled Duck Bun instead :) It was brilliant with the mayo and the bun was so fresh, which is something hard to find in my opinion ~ I’ve never had pulled duck, but definitely like the texture the pulling technique brings to the duck ~ I think Mr Bao was a little jealous and kept complaining that it was tiny, but I think it was the perfect size for me :)

Then conveniently, Momofuku Milk bar was right across from the Ssam Bar, so we quickly paid and I basically ran across the road I was SUPER DUPER excited about trying it!

Cereal Milk $5USD and Latte $3.85USD

The cereal milk was so nice :) Very nostalgic hehe it sure reminds me of the days when I’d have Frosties for breakfast and loved drinking the milk! Mr Bao thought it was ‘weird’ hahaha I said to him ‘because you’re too Asian and don’t have cereal for breakfast!’ He ordered a latte as he needed a coffee fix, we were still jet lagged hehe he really enjoyed it, said it was nicely made and was smooth. But to me…it was a very regular cup of coffee ~

Crack Pie $5USD and Corn Cookie$1.85USD

The corn and compost (sorry forgot to take a photo) cookies were amazing! So soft and sweet :) LOL Christina Tosi is so creative to add pretzels and potato chips into cookies ~ yummy!

Compost Cookie Mix $16USD

A little expensive but I couldn’t help but buy it and try at home :)

Deathly sweet ~

‘Deathly Sweet’ is how I would describe the crack pie :) it’s like nothing I’ve ever had before, so sweet, so rich and so unique ~ I think it’s one of those desserts, where you either ‘love it’ or ‘hate it’. I know Mr Bao definitely hated it :P he took one bite and gave me a death stare like I had just slapped him across the face. He said that it was so sweet that he felt sick hahaha I think he was over exaggerating, I don’t think I can really describe how it tastes unless you try it for yourself, but the taste reminds me of the American candy corn lollies :) Is it just me being weird again? I think it was a little too rich even for me, but definitely worth a try!

Candy Corn

Source: Wikipedia 

I don’t think I need to convince you anymore :) definitely go check out the Momofuku stores when in NYC and if you can get a table at Momofuku ko, please don’t forget to share your experience with me!!!

Momofuku Ssäm Bar on Urbanspoon

Momofuku Milk Bar on Urbanspoon

Big Apple – Alice Tea Cup

Hello! Hope you all had a lovely Chinese New Year with family and ate lots of goodies like me ~ But after having Chinese food for 5 days straight 3 meals a day…I think I’m getting a little sick of it… that’s why I’ve decided to continue with my New York City posts :) Today, I wanted to share with you, my lovely at Alice Tea Cup  Chapter 1 in the Upper West Side. Founded by sisters Haley and Lauren Fox in 2001, it has quickly become one of the most whimsical places for both locals and tourists to have tea.

The shop front was small so it's easy to walk past

After having breakfast at the hotel for 3 days…we got a little sick of bagels, eggs and bacon hehe so I randomly did a search on cafes in the Upper West Side because we were going to the American Museum of Natural Historyafterwards. With a bit of luck, I found Alice Tea Cup Chapter 1 only 4 blocks away from the Museum ~ Perfect! So Mr Bao and I quickly put our jackets on and hailed a cab. When we got there it took us a good minute or two to find it because the shop front is pretty small, so it’s pretty easy to walk past and not know it’s there.

People enjoying tea on a Saturday morning~

Mr Bao and I walked in and it was quite busy – being 10am on a Saturday morning there were mums and daughters and people just enjoying a scone by themselves. We were so so so lucky to get a table immediately! I heard another man who walked in 5 minutes after us, that there was a 2 hour wait and if he wanted to make a reservation it’ll have to be 2 weeks in advance! As usual we were both ravenous ~ we quickly looked at the menu and chose what we wanted :)

Smoked Salmon with poached eggs on buttermilk scones $13USD

I was trying to convince Mr Bao to have the afternoon tea set with me…but he wasn’t sold by the idea hahaha he wanted ‘breakfast’, not dainty little sandwiches ~ so he got the smoked salmon with poached eggs on buttermilk scones. I tried it and thought it was pretty good, but nothing too exciting. The buttermilk scone was lovely though! Something different to have than english muffins or a piece of toast. Mr Bao also ordered a pot of peppermint tea which he really liked, while I thought it was a little too peppery for me.

Morning Tea Set with a pot of Tea $22USD

To satisfy my desire to have a 3 tier set, I ordered the morning tea which was served on a 3 tier stand YAY! I think it’s a pretty good deal because for $22, I got a scone of my choice (I got lemon and blueberry), 2 poached eggs and their famous Alice’s vanilla tea infused granola with vanilla yoghurt and a pot of tea of my choice! Not bad eh? :D I really enjoyed the granola it was so crunchy and sweet! I’m sure a bore…for my pot of tea I just ordered English Breakfast because I’m not really familiar with all the different types of tea they had to offer ~

Lemon and Blueberry scone

But I have to give my hand down to the lemon and blueberry scone! It was probably the most amazing scone I have had for a long long time. I don’t know if it’s because I am a picky scone eater…but I usually find scones to be either too dry or a mouthful of baking soda! But the scones at Alice Tea Cup were P-E-R-F-E-C-T! I was so obsessed with these scones that I bought the Alice Tea Cup cook book ~ you can find it on Amazon for approximately $16 USD. Source: AmazonI was too full if not I would’ve tried all the other goodies they had to offer!

Scones in various flavours - One for $3.5USD

I WANT the Red Velvet cupcake >_<

If you like tea, scones and cake – Alice Tea Cup is a MUST GO when visiting New York City!

Alice's Tea Cup Chapter I on Urbanspoon

They also have 2 more stores Alice Tea Cup Chapter 2 and 3 :)

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