Sweet Offerings at Levain Bakery

Ever since I moved to New York City back in 2012, I've been enjoying Levain's famous monster cookies. My go-to flavor is the Chocolate Walnut. But for whatever reason, I'd never tried the Oatmeal Raisin cookie ($4). Big mistake on my part! This cookie really holds its own, alongside the chocolate versions (there's also a Dark Chocolate Chocolate Chip, and a Dark Chocolate Peanut Butter Chip). The Oatmeal Raisin is rich and buttery, with the signature chewy center and is full of juicy raisins. 

This Pie Is Nuts

This Pie Is Nuts is a range of healthy pies and granola, which are free from preservatives and are nourishing for the body. I first tried these delectable pies at the Bryant Park Holiday Market and I got to meet the pie creator herself, Diana. The pies come cutely packaged as individual squares and the flavors are Key Lime, Chocolate Mousse, Purely Pumpkin, Coconut Cream and Sweet Potato & Ginger.

I chose a Key Lime pie and a Coconut Cream pie. The Key Lime was definitely my favorite, with its zesty tartness mixed with creaminess. Pie perfection. The Coconut Cream was really luscious, with flakes of unsweetened coconut adorning the top of the pie.

Authentic Isan Thai Food at Larb Ubol

Larb Ubol, in Hell's Kitchen, serves up authentic Isan Thai food that will have you coming back for more. Isan, a region in northeast Thailand, dominates the food scene across the entire country despite containing only 30% of the population. 

I ordered the Larb Moo (pork) salad ($9), which consists of finely ground pork, shallots, fresh mint, scallions, cilantro, chili powder and lime dressing. Larb is a Thai salad, although instead of a vegetable salad, it's a meat salad. If I'd never had a taste explosion before now, this dish would definitely cause one. Upon first bite, I exclaimed 'wow!' It was like being hit in the face with a fish. But in a really good way! The flavours in this dish really delight the senses: you have spicy, salty, sweet and sour all in the same plate. Make sure to order a side of sticky rice. 

Treats from Ovenly

One of my co-workers used to live in Greenpoint and I remember her sharing a baked good with me one day, which had berries and tasted incredible. This was my first time trying anything from Ovenly, and I was so impressed I had to try more. I finally went there last weekend around 11am. I spied one last Blueberry Cornflake Muffin. It was mine! I have a thing for good berry muffins. Then, I thought, I can't come all the way here and just get a muffin. So I also chose a Salted Peanut Butter Cookie and a piece of Espresso Burnt Sugar Shortbread, A.K.A The Stumptown Shorty. 

I had heard claims that Ovenly's Salted Peanut Butter Cookies were the best you could find anywhere. I had even read these claims in online reviews. But I'm not going to lie: when I first saw these cookies in person, I thought they looked too small and how could anything that small be the best? Well that old cliche, 'good things come in small packages', definitely applies here!

Hidden Apple Tart Tartin

The other day I was having a highly productive (read BORING) day at home cleaning. But at least it's exercise right? All that sweeping with the broom. Gosh I miss the days when I had a vacuum cleaner. But nobody in New York City seems to have one. They all sweep. Anyway, enough about that! This productive but boring day suddenly took a turn for the better when my boyfriend arrived home with a dessert from Dominique Ansel Kitchen. Oh he knows me well. So very very well. If you want to impress me, or apoligize to me, or just be nice to me, get me ANYTHING from the pastry wizard, Dominique Ansel.

NYC Restaurant Week: Riverpark

NYC Restaurant Week kicked off this Monday where diners can enjoy a 3-course lunch for $29 or a dinner for $42 at select fine dining restaurants across the city. Long before I came to live in NYC, I had been an avid watcher of the TV show 'Top Chef'. One of the judges on that show is Tom Colicchio, who owns Riverpark as well as Craft and Craftbar & several others in the city. Riverpark is situated right by the East River, so a beautiful evening view while eating your meal is an added bonus. The restaurant itself is chic yet still inviting, with leather and pin-lighting throughout. I found it to be very comfortable: both with the seating and noise level. Tables are spaced well-enough apart that you can hold a conversation without having to raise your voice. The staff were very welcoming and helpful. There's nothing more I detest than to go to an upscale restaurant and have rude or snobby service. Thankfully, you won't find that at Riverpark. 

Portuguese Octopus from Al Vicoletto

Sometimes the tastiest food is right under your nose. Case in point: Al Vicoletto which is quite literally across the street from where I work. My boss wanted to meet me for lunch and suggested Al Vicoletto, an Italian restaurant in Union Square. He chose a pasta dish, but I wasn't really in a pasta mood so I scoured the menu for something else. The Grilled Portuguese Octopus ($15) caught my eye, as I love octopus when it's done right, but it's not a food I have too often.

Chicken Rice (Com Ga) from Bird's Eye Vietnamese

While looking around at all the lunch options available at the Winter Brooklyn Flea & Smorgasburg this past weekend, I was drawn to Bird's Eye Vietnamese. I'm always eager to try something new, and I'm definitely not as familiar with Vietnamese food as I am with some other cuisines. I ordered the Com Ga ($11), which is basically chicken rice, with fresh sliced chicken, ginger fish sauce, herb aioli, cured egg yolk, Vietnamese herbs & pickled vegetables. Chicken rice sounds like a simple dish, but Com Ga is deceiving in this regard. It is anything but simple, with complex flavors making this one tasty meal.