Cookie Time!

its been quite a busy time of year over in our house!

we successfully hosted Thanksgiving (cooking a 20 lb bird and all of the fixings!) and we’re prepping to host Christmas Eve now!

here’s a little peek into what my kitchen looked like this weekend…maybe a real cookie post will come out of this too…

those were linzer tarts in the making

i didn’t try any but the boy said they were good 

signature

hotpot and party crashers!

every year the boys do a secret santa exchange and every year ash and I usually try to hang out to kill time waiting for them to finish.

this year we decided to invite some girls along to join us for a hot pot at ash’s place.  for those of you who don’t know what “hot pot” is…just think of it as asian fondue!  you dip a variety of raw meats/veggies/tofu/noodles, etc into a pot of broth to cook it.  finish it off by dipping into your own sauce creation just prior to eating.

the plans were set.  i’d drop the boy off at his secret santa exchange and then head over to ash’s to start our mini feast…wrong!  on saturday morning the boy tells me the guys are relocating their secret santa to ash and steve’s house!  a quick text confirmation with ash proves true.  why? because the boys didn’t make dinner plans/arrangements and decided to crash on ours!  no big deal…except i went grocery shopping for food for 5 girls…not 5 girls plus 10 guys!  after some quick scrambling, the boy and i managed to pick up some more food for our meal that now turned into a feast!  see, when you’re buying for only 5 small appetites, you’re quite limited to the amount of stuff you can actually get…but add 10 boy’s stomachs to that and you can double/triple the variety!

off to the market and $60 later the boy and i shuffled over to steve and ash’s place to start prepping.  now i thought prepping would be quick and easy…there was no cooking involved by me after all since all of the cooking would take place at the table.  BUT…in reality it took about 3 hours to prep all of the food!  washing, chopping, arranging, etc!

the spread was: nappa cabbage, spinach, 3 types of noodles – mung bean, udon, vermicelli, fish tofu, fish balls – both regular and stuffed with tobiko!, enoki mushrooms, firm tofu, fried tofu,  pork dumplings, xo wontons, konyaku bundles, and lots of meat – two types of beef – fatty and regular, chicken and pork.  if i had more time to plan, i probably would have bought less of each item so i could increase the variety even more…manila clams anyone???

after everyone was stuffed to the gills, the boys went to open their gifts.  they drew cards to determine the order and off they went.  some were too excited about opening their gifts to stand long enough to pose for a nice picture with it!

the boy got what he wanted from his wish list – he broke his gaming headset a while back so he got a replacement.

many thanks to our host steve, ash and baby O!  ironically, steve hates hot pot…and thats the reason why ash and i decided to do it that night – because steve was supposed to be out of the house for dinner!

signature

ippudo and a new tradition

last year on christmas eve eve, the boy, E, cyn and i did some last minute shopping at bloomies and then headed over to ippudo for a late dinner.  since the crowds seemed lighter than usual, we decided to make it an annual tradition for the 4 of us. this year on christmas eve eve we headed over hoping to avoid the crowds again but we were faced with a 1 hour wait.

this year our party expanded to 6 of us and we stood (squashed) at the bar waiting for our name to be called.  pictured below is a lychee martini and a sake (not sure what type though).  the martini was mine…my preferred drink of choice is vodka on the rocks, but since i had skipped lunch (so i could leave early and beat traffic!), i figured i should have something a little lighter.  once again i am reminded of why i don’t like martinis and mixed drinks.  often times they are too sweet and syrupy and this one was no different.  i can’t remember what was in the drink exactly (bad blogger!), i want to say it was vodka, sake and lychee syrup of some sort.  next time i’ll stick to my vodka…

after an anxious hour our name was finally called and off we marched to a booth.   since there was 6 of us, we decided on 4 appetizers to share.

shishito peppers – deep fried peppers served with lemon and yuzu salt…i skipped these since i’m not a pepper fan
bakuretsu tofu – spicy tofu casserole with minced pork and crunchy noodles served in a hot stone pot…we dug in once everyone was done taking pictures, therefore rendering the once crunchy noodles soggy…i guess that means that we’ll just have to revisit sometime soon to reevaluate the dish!  from what i remember, it was similar to soondubu and i liked it!
maguro tataki – lightly seared tuna with Ippudo sauce…i don’t do raw so i didn’t try this…but when it was brought over to the table, we were instructed by the waiter to try and eat this in one bite all together with the fish, avocado, grapefruit and daikon(?).  the boy commented that the flavor of the fish was lost with all of the accompaniments
hirata buns – steamed buns filled with your choice of pork or chicken, served with ippudo original spicy buns sauce…NO trip to ippudo is complete without these buns!  they come two per order so we got two orders of them.  i haven’t been to momofuku yet, so i can’t compare these buns to theirs…but if they’re anything alike, i’m in!  i don’t think the bun itself is house made, it tastes like the ones you can buy in the chinese supermarkets…what makes this extra nommable though is the spicy sauce that is slathered over the pork and the squirt of (kewpie?) mayo.

now on to what we came for!

the boy ordered the kogashi miso ramen which is ‘ippudo chintan’ based noodle soup, a dark rich broth made from charred miso, topped with pork belly chashu, 1/2 boiled egg, cabbage, spinach and naruto.  i got the karaka kogashi miso version which is the same as his except mine had ippudo’s “special blended hot spice”.  additionally, i ordered a side order of bakudan – ippudo’s original spicy paste for an extra kick.

after the boy finished his ramen, he asked for kae-dama – an extra serving of noodles.  make sure you save enough soup if you plan on doing this!

during dinner we were chatting about ippudo compared to men kui tei and which one we prefer.  we concluded that although they are both ramen houses, they are in a completely different class and can’t really be compared.  ippudo is more of a special occasion type of place…whereas men kui tei is always an option if we’re in the mood for a good bowl of noodles.  i have never been to ippudo with less than an hour wait for a table – even in the summer!  at men kui tei the wait is never more than 15 minutes.   both places have several types of broth options, ippudo’s broth wins hands down.  there is a richness and complexity of flavor that can’t be compared to any other bowl of ramen i’ve had.

when it came time for ordering dessert, we thought that two would be plenty.  the boy and i aren’t big dessert eaters but the others were.

matcha brulee -green tea creme brulee topped with gelato…good grief charlie brown!  i was afraid that this would be overly sweet but i was proved wrong!  both the custard and the gelato lacked the fake/bitter taste that many green tea desserts have.  i would definitely order this again the next time i come back!
annin sorbet – sweet tofu custard topped with your choice of sorbet…we were given our choices of sorbet to top the custard and we decided on blood orange.  OMG.  think creamsicle but BETTER!

coming from a non dessert eater, ippudo, you did me good!

Ippudo NY
65 4th Ave
(between 9th St & 10th St)
New York, NY 10003

signature

i <3 the holidays…

christmas is my absolute faaaaavorite time of the year!  the lights…the decorations…seeing and spending time with family…the FOOD! (have i ever mentioned how AWESOME it is to have an aunt that is a caterer/event planner?!)

off to the city tonight to do some shopping with E and then to yet another shecky’s event! hopefully i’ll be able to find some more gifts!

photo credit

p.s.  maybe shorter, more random posts will make me blog more instead of long winded picture filled ones…we shall see!  although i know some people are still waiting for my aruba pics…

signature