Sunday, October 30, 2016

2016


2016. What a year and it is not even over yet. I think everyone could possibly agree that this year has been a year of twists and turns in every part of the world, in almost any area of life.


I have been pretty much absent this year, mostly because I was busy with various freelance projects, and I earned a new full-time position. However, there is quite a bit to share: A renaissance with German cuisine, travels up north to Canada and down south to North Carolina, a new, everlasting relationship with a 15 year Scotch whisky, some of the best peanut butter cookies ever at a Malaysian restaurant, an obsession with sorrel mushrooms, having a day job as a tourist, and enjoying beers at 9:00 am amongst other discoveries worth noting, some of them exploring on my own and some of them with a good friend of mine who recently moved back home.


In any case, stay tuned, as I plan to sneak in few new discoveries along the way.

Thursday, February 4, 2016

The RSVP Inbox: How a Speakeasy “Hides”


My sister sent this to me a couple of days ago. Just when I think I have been to every type of “speakeasy”, I am fooled again. I have been to everything from side streets to hot dog joints to just a wall with one lonesome light hanging above the middle of no where, but an old school, adult video store called Adults Only is a new speakeasy that has me entertained, curious, and itching to the day I get to go back to L.A., especially when they claim it has a little bit of an SNL Stefon vibe to its atmosphere.

 From FWx

Two words: cannot wait.


Read more here from FWx.

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Europe's 2015 Vintage Rumors


I was at a German Riesling tasting several months ago and we as a group heard that the 2015 European vintage is predicted to become one of the greatest vintages in winemaking history. The harvest was exceptional this year; from Spain to Germany someone has something to savor this coming year.


I became so excited about it that I started doing some brief research to see if the rumors are true and so far, they are correct. The weather played an exceptional part with the region’s terroir this year, and when a wine maker has good weather with wine producing terrior, the result is bound to impress if the wines are made properly.

What to do now? Besides save your money (because these will get expensive if the rumors are true), check out some of these resources below:


Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Baltimore Seafood Festival



I finally started my return to food festivals this year! Rather than being a presenter, I was actually part of the massive “foodie” crowds in pretending I “knew” what I was talking about to restaurant owners and purveyors. It felt odd since I am used to bein on the other side, but it was wonderful to just relax and enjoy the food, wine and the weather.

My first was the Baltimore Seafood Festival and it was hot. Unfortunately since I have been so late on sharing articles in recent months, I unfortunately do not remember specific details which include where I tried certain items. However, since it was a “seafood festival” most of the items I sampled are not hard to decipher. 



Pros

Location: Was great to be naturally in the weather in a great area of Baltimore.

Oysters: They were not too bad. Even though I do not remember exactly which purveyor I tried the oysters, they were very good. I am a pacific oyster lover and despite these being East Coast oysters, I really enjoyed them. Refreshing and I think the additional toppings helped.


Cons

Cost: I was not impressed by the cost. Though you paid a reasonable $38 in advance, you only received 10 tickets and those 10 tickets did not translate well with the vendors and their portions of food. I understand oysters can be expensive but if they are local there should not be much competition with the cost. I had to purchase more tickets in order to feel like I got my “experience worth” of food. Maybe I am just used to the festivals in the South stuffing you with food to the point of no return.


Overall: Though this is their 2nd attempt at this type of festival, I praise it especially for having something like this during the warmer months of the year and to attract more visitors to Baltimore, a challenge I know faces regularly. Looking forward to the next one! 

Monday, January 25, 2016

The Social Menu: Weekly Trending Foods in Social Media

Ube Donuts have made center stage everywhere there is a screen in the culinary world within the past couple of weeks. I first found these out on Facebook from a friend within a day went viral. The Observer and ESPN were making references to these so-called, luxurious delicacies.

What is Ube? It is a yam that is widely used in desserts and pastries in the Philippines. You can make anything from jams to cakes to ice cream.

I was reluctant to share these items, because this yam and its creation got so viral that viewers might be tired of seeing them or even bored, depending on where you are from in the world. In any case, America has now been officially introduced and here are the results, compliments of Manila Social ClubManila Social Club in Brooklyn:


Ube Bae Donuts


The Piece de Resistance: Golden Cristal Ube Donut


This edible “jewel” is $100 per donut or $1000 per dozen. They are made with ube mousse, champagne jelly and covered with champagne icing, sprinkled with 24k gold. Do I need to say more? It’s an exotic piece of culinary luxury that you almost want to find a way to wear it rather than eat it.

The question is: Is it worth it? Time will only tell until the day I get to go back to New York and decide to spend $100 on a donut.

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Summer of a Small Town: Is the Farmers Market Fad Over?



Despite the renaissance of Farmers Markets in America, they have been in existence forever. I never understood why they have been considered so “popular” within the past 10 years in this country. Maybe it is because this culture has been so sucked into getting everything indoors, online or even instantly in some shape or form that we have forgotten that there is life outdoors. In fact, that is how life is created, especially the foods that we eat.

What fascinates me even more is that despite having a local Farmers Market in almost every city in America these days, the products can be extremely expensive, depending on where in the country you purchase them. You are more likely to pay almost Whole Foods’ prices or more if you are at a Farmers Market on the East Coast while you might be paying very for nothing at a Farmers Market out in the Midwest or South, areas where the products are more readily available to the public without much taxes to pay for either the land they produce their products or to take care of them.

So then, what makes Farmer’s Markets still so attractive? Or are they losing their lust and now ingrained into American society finally? Is it the fact that they are outdoors? Is it because we as a society are rediscovering that we, too can create tasty food in our backyard, something we have not really done on a massive level in years.


I love going shopping and especially food shopping. I can be at a Farmers Market for hours, sampling food, talking to farmers and store owners, and enjoying what Americans as a whole have not done a whole lot in years: enjoying going outside.

I started asking myself this question when I visited the Lynchburg Farmers Market back in May last year. This particular area in Virginia (not specifically Lynchburg) is one of the trailblazers to push the local, organic food movement in recent decades for the Eastern region of the United States. Though the produce looked attractive and the scene was “hopping”, it just seemed that the “lust” for the overall experience has not necessarily died but it is now finally ingrained in Americans’ weekly routines, something that is great to see but hopefully will not go away.


Did I buy anything? Nope. Not even a carrot. OK, I lied. I bought two muffins. First, there was no need and secondly some of the products were a little expensive. Hopefully Whole Foods’ prices will compete with their competition and their criticism they received within the past year for being so expensive and almost “ripping” consumers off as if they were in a Vegas casino.

In any case, these observations made me question if Farmers Markets plan to decrease. My answer? Absolutely not and below is proof of the pudding:

Washington Times

CUESA

NPR The Salt

Progressive Grocer

Monday, January 18, 2016

The Social Menu: Weekly Trending Foods in Social Media


All of the sudden there was a splurge of trending items online that I had no idea what to do with them. So I am keeping my discoveries short and sweet with the following: layered cakes. Not only just layered cakes but crepe cakes.

And there is not just one type of layered cake that people are raving about… its tons of layered cakes:









If you need just some basic information (and some great photography) there is this site too:




As attractive as this sounds and my many attempts on baking layered cakes in the past, I unfortunately do not have the time to make as many as 42 crepes to build a cake. It definitely sounds like a project to work on for a rainy day.