Going Gluten-Free at BabyCakes NYC

27 Mar

donuts, sweets, babycakes, bakery, breakfast

When I think of gluten-free pastries, I think of dry baked goods, stiff to the touch. Thankfully, going gluten-free isn’t my lifestyle however, after trying Babycakes NYC, I might change my tune. In the midst of the gritty Lower East Side lies this little bakery. The minute I walked in , I knew it was my kind of place. While it was tiny, the attitude was cheerful and contagious, with some 90s rap playing in the background and cute, retro girls serving up some pastries. I don’t know what made me laugh more, the guy behind the counter trying to dance to “Back That Thang Up” or the girls rapping along to the song…

I had my heart set on donuts so that was my obvious choice. Looking at their display case, I felt indecisive and overwhelmed, as if I was shoe-shopping. Which one do I get? What if it isn’t as good as I had hoped? Why are there so many options?

donuts, babycakes, sweets, bakery, nyc, vanilla, breakfast

donuts, bakery, breakfast, nyc, babycakes

After my quick nervous meltdown, I went with my gut: vanilla doughnut with pink sprinkles. My friend went with the Lemon Coconut, which, by her guttural response, was delicious. Soft inside with a crunchy sugary outside, my donut was the best I had eaten in a while. I can’t remember eating a donut that didn’t knock me over the head with sugar, but somehow Babycakes delivers a sweet but not coma-inducing baked good. As for the rest of the products, I plan on coming back if I am back in that neighborhood. I hear they deliver too which is awfully tempting.

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Life Goes On

21 Mar

Last week was not a good one. In fact, it might go down as the worst week of 2011. Granted we are only 1/4 of the way though 2011 so I guess there is room for growth? What was the reason behind this ? Without getting too specific, I experienced a pretty powerful professional disappointment. A blow that touched all my insecurities and fears, making me want to curl up in a ball with a sappy movie and a box of tissues. Combine that with a major pang of homesickness and a quiet home ( goodbye Tania, my recent home guest), let’s just say that I wasn’t a ball of sunshine.

However, life goes on. Right? That’s what everyone says. Tsunamis hit, the earth quakes, wars start, and yet life goes on. It may not be as bright or as hopeful as it used to be but the world keeps spinning.

Sometimes it just takes a little comfort to get you back on your feet. For me, that is a Cookies’ n ‘Cream cupcake, Skype dates with my mom, and a weekend spent lounging in bed with the sun streaming in.

Clinton St. Baking Company

16 Mar

I had the pleasure of eating at Clinton St. Baking Company.

Folks, I waited 2 hours for these pancakes. TWO HOURS. For someone who never waits for anything, I was quite proud of myself.

Please give

14 Mar

There is nothing more frustrating than the events in Japan. Sitting in my small room thousands of miles away, I feel hopeless, empathetic, and saddened, to the point that the television must be turned off. The barrage of images and stories is too much for at this moment, when I’m fighting the urge to on a plane to Japan.

Instead, I channeled my restless energy in to finding ways to donate to Japan. With the death toll rising and thousands left stranded without food or clothes, it is important to open your hearts and wallets to this nation. I did some research and these were the options I’d recommend if you feel the way I do.

American Red Cross:
Obviously, this is the main charity organization to donate money to. They have created a special Japan Tsunami Relief fund and all of your money goes straight to those efforts. You can either go on to their website or donate via text. For more information click here.

Save The Children:
One of my favorite charities, Save The Children (STC) works to ensure the safety and well-being of children all around the world. STC not only assists with providing food and shelter, they also provide long-term recovery programs to ensure that the country can stabilize. In lieu of the Japanese disaster, they sent emergency response teams to the affected area and are assessing the needs of the children who have been affected by this disaster. What is easy about donating through STC is that they will use PayPal or credit card, making it easier for you to share your wealth with those who need it. For more information, click here.

Salvation Army:
The Salvation Army has a long history with providing relief efforts during natural disasters. Mobilized and ready to help, the Salvation Army has sent employees to help provide basic necessities to the victims. Are you ready to make a donation? Simply Text the words “Japan” or “Quake” to 80888 to make a $10 donation. For more information click here.

Doctors Without Borders
When the Haitian earthquake happened, the charity I donated to was Doctors Without Borders (DWB). This organization helps. While DWB isn’t allocating specific funds to Japan, they have already sent mobile clinics and doctors to assess the damage and start recovery efforts. For more information click here.

Good NYC Eats

10 Mar

I had a rush of things to say, but apparently the gloomy weather made my brain go fuzzy. Oh well. I have an awesome friend coming in to town on Sunday and I couldn’t be more excited… Now, the questions is, where should we go to eat our hearts out??!!

New York City is a foodlovers dream. On every corner in every neighborhood, one can try a wide array of cuisines. Nigerian, malaysian, soul, traditional chinese, fresh sushi, hearty italian, and the classic american diner. There are so many choices that it leaves me feeling overwhelmed. While I have tried some superb places in my seven months here (wow already?!), my list of must-try places is growing. Here is my running tally:

Perilla

The Smith

Clinton St. Baking Company

Cafe Habana

Scarpetta

Peels

The Doughnut Plant

Coffee Cheesecake with Chocolate Sauce

1 Mar

Sometimes I crave cheese. In a major way. Which wouldn’t be so out-of-the ordinary if I wasn’t lactose-intolerant. Yes, my little stomach can’t process those cheesy enzymes. I blame my asian DNA since it is pretty common for Asian people to have some form of lactose intolerance. While everyone runs for milk when eating warm cookies, I shudder at the thought.

However, once in a blue moon, I get a craving for something rich, decadent, and cheesy. Case in point, last week I went with a friend to S’Mac, a small Mac and Cheese hotspot that serves the main dish anyway you like it. Tummy ache be damned, I said, I want a skillet of hot mac and cheese and I want it now. Cut to me, rolling in a ball on my bead, quivering in pain. Not my finest moment but it was worth every bite. Today, I have another craving, but for that sinfully delicious dessert known as Cheesecake. Not just any cheesecake but one right up my alley: Coffee Cheesecake with Chocolate Sauce.

I’d like to eat this everyday. I’d like to eat this everyday with maybe a side of mac and cheese.

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Oscars Best Dressed

28 Feb

I think Cate Blanchett (in Givenchy) and Michelle Williams (in Chanel) were my favorite. Mila Kunis is a stunner so her Elie Saab dress just accentuated that. Also how cute does Hailee Steinfied (in Marchesa) look? Totally age appropriate…

Some Inspiration…

23 Feb

We are heading in to the dreary days of winter. I think February is one of the most depressing months. However, New York Fashion Week comes right in the middle, offering me a little bit of inspiration when I desperately need it. Here are some of my favorite images. They almost make up for this long winter. Almost.

Monique Lhuillier

 

Tracy Reese

Chris Benz

images from style.com

What meets the eye…

22 Feb

Raised in the buckle-down-and-bear-it environment, I am a fighter at heart. Trust me, I’ve got the battle scars to prove it. However, in some situations, I’ve learned that it is perfectly appropriate to throw in the towel. Sometimes, fighting is too hard and takes too much effort. Stubborn and prideful, it kills me to have to walk away from something because it means I’ve given up. But there are some aspects in my current life that leave me in tears some days. Ripped to shreds. Because I am a fighter. Because I am a vocal, passionate person.

With all this commotion going on, I’ve left this little space quiet. A tad bit preoccupied and uninspired, I apologize for my silence. I have some great ideas and posts in the works but getting down to business can be tedious. Especially when your heart is somewhere else and your mind is focused on a challenge that might swallow you whole.

Instead of showing you a perfectly pleasing recipe, I’m going to show you these disastrous cookies. Why?  Because, despite the fact that the recipe was utterly flawed, they sure looked pretty. Plus, not everything goes right in my kitchen and I like to show my mistakes as they happen more frequently than one can guess.

To anyone else they might have been a success. But I knew better. The shortbread was unevenly baked, and lacked flavor. Cutting the actual cookies was a test of my patience since they started crumbling the minute I touched them. I’m providing you the link to the basic shortbread recipe. Maybe you will have better luck than me? I added two cups of reduced-sugar raspberry preserves and baked them according to the regular instructions.

If you have a better recipe for shortbread cookies, leave them in the comment section. I am looking for a real winner!

Many loves for today

14 Feb

My current loves:
Cinnamon-spiced coffee with a touch of cream
the new Kings of Leon cd
My leopard-print ballet flats
Pink donuts with white sprinkles from the local donut shop
Nearby friends
Faraway friends
Pretzel M&M’s
My new gorgeous necklaces from this magical shop
Never Let Me Go
Romantic dresses from the Elie Saab Spring 2011 Couture show
This, always and forever

I don’t care if you are married, pregnant, single, divorced, dating, desperately single, or none of the above. I hope you take a minute on this overly pink/red holiday and know that you are loved.

Happy Valentines Day! Go eat some cake :)

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