to eat / four & twenty blackbirds, torrisi, and cake man raven

My parents recently found out (through their college friends) that my brother has a blog. In the most noncompetitive spirit, I shared that I had one too, and that it was mostly about shopping. My mom didn’t hide her disappointment. A few weeks later, I sent her a link to a NYC food blog written in Chinese (to give her more incentive to visit me). Her response was that I should write about “interesting sights, not always shooooopping!”. I’m interpreting sights as food, so here is a food update. I haven’t been eating out/food adventuring much lately because I started cooking again, weekends are too short with other obligations, and it is cold outside!

Last weekend, C and I trekked out to Brooklyn for Four and Twenty Blackbirds pie (and to discuss our upcoming Barcelona trip). I’d been craving good pie for ages; the pumpkin stuff that Trader Joe’s calls pie was a huge disappointment, even with Cool Whip. Our trip there took much longer than expected. I’m used to getting on the subway and it taking me reasonably close to my intended destination. I didn’t do research on getting there like I usually do and relied on Google Maps transit. Big mistake. We were talking and didn’t know that the F line turned into the blue line. We ended up at a station with heavy police presence. After backtracking a bit, we took the G train for the first time and walked from the Fort Greene area (= CAKE MAN RAVEN).

Distance truly makes the heart grow fonder. Cake Man Raven‘s red velvet cake is to die for and a MUST for any red velvet fan. I grabbed two slices to go (pre-packaged) because we didn’t want to spoil our appetite for pie. One slice is currently sitting in my freezer. I’m so glad I don’t live closer.

Photos from October 2009.

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general / wishlist

People who know me well, know that I love to give gifts when I feel like it, and not for an occasion. I’m not sure if it’s a part of my Chinese/Taiwanese upbringing, but I especially love sharing food or other small things. It is further encouraged when it is reciprocated. My roommate is a regular recipient of many red bean, hot pink, and/or funky things that I encounter, but for the occasions where I have to gift, I often save things that I get from shopping trips and vacations. I then add it to a stockpile for that person. E.g. P’s birthday present was years in the making.

As much as I like to gift, I am not a big fan of presents because I am particular. Luckily, with age, dinners often replace presents and those who gift has been hitting the mark without prompt. If I had to make a wishlist, what would be on my list, or what would I gift if I didn’t have a stockpile?

Image source: respective manufacturers and major retailers.

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to eat / birthday treats

I received many sugar-laden treats for my birthday. Talk about major sugar overload and pressure to consume. I usually take a bite (visibly seen below) and photograph it if I have my camera handy. And, if you’re around me, I’ll force you eat some. Works best in the office!
(l to r) Chocolate or meringue covered alfajores from Buenos Aires. Doughnut holes from Bouchon Bakery.

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to eat / macaron vs luxemburgerli

I’m not sure where I first read about macarons, but I tasted them for the first time when I visited Paris in 2005. I made a beeline for Ladurée. I got a box of 20 and fridged them upon arrival. They slowly died one by one.

For my October trip to Spain, I built a long layover in Paris on the way back because my mom had never seen Paris. A seven hour layover in Charles De Gaulle gave us approximately 2.5 hours of leisure. I planned to pick up macarons for a friend’s birthday from the Ladurée on Rue Royale after an obligatory shopping stop on Rue Saint-Honoré. It was a random Monday and the shop was packed to the brim. I did not have the patience or time to wait in line so I decided to go to the airport location. A painful Blackberry search showed that there is a shop in CDG Terminal 2F. Too bad I was leaving from 2E. Unlike some U.S. airports, the CDG terminals aren’t connected beyond security and they only allow access to the terminal you’re ticketed for. Imagine my surprise when I saw this cart sitting right outside of the Terminal 2E security gate! Mission accomplished. Unfortunately, they did not have the Christian Louboutin boxes…

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to eat & shop / soho & noho

My friend, M, was in town last weekend. I was on my way to meet her at the W. Broadway Anthropologie when I decided to stop at the Baked by Melissa window to pick up mini-cupcakes. I’d passed by this window before but never found a reason to stop. It’s on the NW corner of Broadway and Spring and very easy to miss. The line was 3 people deep and moved quickly. $10 for 12 mini-cupcakes is not exactly cheap.


We tried cookies and cream, mint chocolate chip, tie-dye, peanut butter and chocolate, red velvet, and cinnamon. I didn’t get to try red velvet. My favorites were the mint and cinnamon. They were sweeter and richer than the typical New York cupcake so the size was ideal (1-2 bites at most).


Anthropologie was a bust. We stopped by Reiss and ogled at a few things.

Then, we stopped by Comptoir des Cotonniers. Mainly because I’d browsed their Barcelona Born location a week prior and I wanted to compare selection and prices. No significant differences noted. They have some lovely knitwear with leather accents, and in a navy/black combo!

Our last stop before dinner was Uniqlo to pick up alterations. On the way there, we bumped into the Van Leeuwen truck, which has eluded me for ages. We were sugared-out and decided to get the Earl Grey ice cream to refresh our taste buds.


M got her alterations and I finally found the Uniqlo capelet I wanted in my size!

Our last stop before dinner was the inven.tory outlet store. M got a gorgeous wool coat from Rebecca Turbow’s SAFE line. They had a number of Lutz and Patmos items, but I found them to be too overpriced at 50%. Wait for 75% off at Saks.