January 25, 2015

WE GOT PLATED


Let's be honest, January can be a bit of a depressing month. After a month of festivities with family and friends, we get to go back to real life, where the wine is much diminished and mom's cooking is just a distant memory. My January's been much improved, however, thanks to the following:

  1. Having J to enjoy the fine January New York climate with (i.e. Nor'easter cuddling)
  2. Winter break from grad school (i.e. having a 9-to-5 instead of a 9-to-9)
  3. Plated deliveries (i.e. a subscription service that allows us to successfully pretend that we're the fabulous, imaginative cooks we've always suspected we were deep inside)
Of the three improvements, #3 is actually replicable for those suffering through Winter so let me tell you more about that that.

Plated is basically a curated grocery delivery service that brings pre-measured ingredients for specific meals straight to your doorstep for $12 a plate. That may seem pricey but consider the advantages. Plated allows you to casually whip up Massaman chicken curry for dinner without having to hunt down ingredients in Chinatown and Whole Foods Gowanus (plus the inevitable emergency run to your local bodega when you realize you forgot to buy chicken base). Food subscription services like Plated are ideal for people who live in cities where groceries are really expensive anyway (check!); whose cooking repertoire is limited to a rotation of five dishes (check!); and who would rather not get stuck with a cupboard full of spices and ingredients last used in 2012 (I'm looking at you, ancient bottle of furikake). Oh, and even though it is a subscription service, you have the flexibility to skip weeks and only receive deliveries when you're in the mood to play chef.

After two weeks of deliveries, we've cooked dishes I never throught could come out of my kitchen: beef pho, braised massaman chicken, tilapia piccata with orzo, beef and butternut squash tagine, and chicken with miso soba. As I dug into my plate of fish with chermoula on a bed of wilted spinach, roasted fingerling potatoes and roasted oranges, I was filled with incredulous wonder that I had actually put together all these new flavors that were absolutely not part of my culinary subconscious. J, a true blue Dutch man, was equally stunned after cooking up bowls of delicious beef pho, and said, "Did I actually make that?"

For those looking to improve their Winter hibernation experience, I highly recommend trying this out! To sign up for Plated, click here

January 11, 2015

CHAMPORADO BRUNCHES AND LECHON DINNERS AT PIG AND KHAO

One of the greatest things about living in New York is that Filipino cuisine has become one of the hippest in the city. When I packed up my bags and moved here eight years ago, I couldn't have imagined that my Sex and the City-esque brunch choices would ever include champorado and sizzling sisig—with bottomless mimosas to boot! Yes, today I'm living the Pinay in America dream where I can have corned beef and garlic rice for brunch without having to be all defensive about it, thanks to Pig and Khao. The restaurant is helmed by Top Chef alum, Leah Cohen, who also happens to be half Filipina. Her menu takes inspiration from her travels through Southeast Asia, so I've now also developed an addiction to the spicy curry flavors of their Khao Soi noodle soup on top of my dependence on their crispy-bacon-champorado combo.


But wait! That's not all. Pig and Khao now also does ... *drumroll* ... suckling pig dinners! Thanks to my friend Julie, I found out that for $45 per person for a 6-10 person group, Pig and Khao will cook up a whole piggie for you and your buddies, with vegetable sides, unlimited rice (coconut and jasmine), plus a liver sauce that comes nice and close to that Pinoy favorite, Mang Tomas. Our little piggie was utter perfection: the skin was nice and crunchy while the meat was tender and packed with flavor. If you like pork and breaking pork skin with friends, I highly recommend hitting up Pig & Khao.


Pig and Khao is located at 68 Clinton Street, New York, NY. If you are looking to partake of lechon, make sure you call (212) 920-4485 at least a week in advance and be ready to put down a deposit.

January 1, 2015

HELLO 2015!


How is everyone recovering from the New Years Eve festivities? New Year's Eve celebrations can go either way, as John Oliver hilariously pointed out, but when things do go well, a fun night out on the town can be such an energizing start to the year. Ours thankfully turned out well with a good mixture of celebrating with friends, fun and adventure as a couple, delicious food, flowing libations, and disco dancing into the wee hours. Today, I woke up happy, optimistic and energized to take on 2015. Isn't it wonderful to get a fresh new start and 365 days filled with promise? Wishing you all a brilliant year ahead. I can't wait to see what 2015 will bring!

December 29, 2014

BOXING DAY ANTIQUING


In America, Boxing Day is better known as the After-Christmas Sale Day. Instead of duking it out at the mall, however, we ended up spending the afternoon sifting through Antiques at Pike Place, a veritable treasure trove of vintage finds in Seattle. One day after Christmas, we were daydreaming about next year's tree, which we'd love to fill with kitschy vintage baubles. This store had plenty of it—we're talking everything from little Beatles-emblazoned jukeboxes to Battlestar Gallactica-themed ornaments to slice-of-Americana cowboy boots. There were also plenty of things we would love to find sitting under the tree on Christmas morning: cool vintage hard shell luggage, trippy old school blenders fit for Megan Draper's pad, and a beautiful lit globe from the 1930s. Here's hoping that if we're very, very good in 2015, maybe Santa will fill our home with these gorgeous finds come next Christmas!


December 25, 2014

PASKO IN AMERICA


Happy Christmas Day everyone! Have you gotten over your eggnog hangover yet? We've just had our late brunch of eggs, bacon and mimosas to recover from an evening with copious amounts of lechon, silly gifts, laughter and wine. Everything feels right with the world.

Filipinos always feel a bit of longing during the holidays, missing our over-the-top Motherland that takes Christmas to whole other levels. But eventually we find ways to make our adopted homes just that—home. Whether its digging into a Kamayan Christmas feast with the New York barkada or erupting in hysterics over silly White Elephant gifts with my family in Seattle, we've found our own version of Pasko in America. It turns out, home really is where the heart is.

Wishing you all the happiest holidays, wherever your home may be!
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