How to Rock Your Coachella Look and Eat Something Non-Basic

Dine Out In Style Rock Your Cochella Look

Rock this look at Coachella and no one will dare call you a “Basic Bitch”

My food stylist assistant Keron once told me: “Hey Rina, I’ve noticed that you can’t stand stupid girls”. I wondered about that comment and it’s really more than being “stupid” that bothered me. I just didn’t have a word to describe the whole genre. I’ve never been a Basic Bitch and will probably never be one in my lifetime. So it’s natural that the women I gravitate to aren’t so basic either. I’ld rather smother my salad with perilla vinaigrette and toast my croutons with oven roasted garlic butter and there’s always siracha on my pizza. Do you blame me for not being bothered that I’m NOT going to a music festival full of Basic Bitches? What is the deal with Coachella anyway? Who goes to this event? I’ve googled the event numerous times to see what they’re wearing and all results come back with denim cut offs, a mesh t-shirt or a bralette top with ankle length boots and a fedora hat. If you’re not a Basic Bitch, then this video below will make you laugh. If you are one- umm..hmm..err…grr..

Crickets

:/

I see women wearing fedora hats everywhere- but with denim cut offs? Where are you going looking THIS ridiculous? I hardly find the barely legal girls gone wild with the addition of a fedora hat look appealing. The Basic Bitch wearing the denim cut offs with a fedora and bralette thinks she’s graduated from being irrelevant to being a cool girl. LMAO! I also see a pool of their whereabouts on instagram- eating out at TGIF’s ordering a “kimchi taco”. Why would I care what they’re eating? Especially if it’s that lame.

I’m looking at this from the perspective of what they eat. Let’s study the Basic Bitch Diet for a minute or two…They’re so basic that the only Thai dish they’ve ever tried is the Chicken Pad Thai or their idea of Italian food (i.e.: spaghetti and meatballs) is ONLY anything with red sauce.  Umm- FYI: the popularity of red sauce is an Italian-American thing, mostly Southern Italian immigrants who came here – 100 years ago? Read more about Italian-American food history here.

Gael Greene's Fedora Hat

Here I am lounging out in my new Vintage fedora hat contemplating where to go later…

I’m glad it’s become a faux pas to sport the basic look. It’s about time everyone! Welcome to the non-basic club. In lieu of celebrating the Coachella festival- I’ve created a not so basic look to help others figure out how to sport a rocking fedora hat. May I introduce my new favorite hat gifted by the Insatiable Critic Gael Greene? Are you jealous? If not- you should be! Hey everyone: Gael Greene gave me one of her famous hats! It’s a vintage Spaniard “Toreador” hat that comes with strings attached. I paired it with a vintage-inspired lace dress and peekytoe booties. The silver mesh bag is by Whiting and Davis: the original brand that manufactured all the mesh bags in the US. Once upon a time- designer brands actually produced all their goods in the good ole USA! It’s sale caption reads: ”Inside it’s lined with eggshell-colored fabric and has the Whiting and Davis trademark signature etched in the frame as well as the number 2915 in four corners. There is also a fabric label that says Whiting & Davis” -Gael Greene. You can steal this bag via TheAccidentalBagLady on Etsy.com.

Vintage_silver_silver_mesh_bag_by__Whiting_and_Davis

Steal this vintage Whiting and Davis bag via TheAccidentalBagLady on Etsy.com

Where am I going dressed like this? This look is curated for a night out in the town, perhaps at WONG (exploring something exotic and delicious) with some amazing cocktails in the East Village (Booker and Dax) and a tapas bar later or a late night indie flick afterwards? If I were closer to Cali, I could stop at Coachella and go people watching to count the endless combination of fedora hats with denim cut offs for my own amusement. If you are indeed at Coachella right now, I hope this year’s event has you going there with better wardrobe options. Would you rather look back and say to yourself: “I don’t want to be such a basic bitch at next year’s Coachella!”?

 

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Filed under April 2014, Dining with Outlaws, Fashion, Fashion Smashion, Fork and Scissors, Fork and Scissors New Food + Fashion Site Coming, Hot on the Blog, The Accidental Bag Lady, Uncategorized

Ask Gael Greene Where to Dine Out and Get One of Her Vintage Bags

Rina-Oh-with-Gael-Greene-Vintage-Art-Deco-Clutch-Bag-WEB

I made this collage to give Gael’s followers a clear visual on how to wear her vintage Art Deco Embossed leather clutch bag. Click on the photo to visit Gael’s Vintage Bag Collection via TheAccidentalBagLady on Etsy.com

Red Farm was named by Gael as one of the 12 picks for where she likes to frequent in NYC’s dining scene for Foodie.com. I’ve been to three other places with her and sampled her usual. We visited Ed’s Chowderhouse on Thanksgiving Eve, sampling the clam chowder of course and some amazing vegetable sides. Followed by a fabulous 40 x 2 celebration at Stella 34 Trattoria in midtown for her landmark birthday and Wong for delectable Asian fusion style foodstuff that IS “so right” according to Gael.

I’ld figured- if anyone ought to know where to go for dinner next, it should be she who has bestowed NYC with her insatiable appetite for the last four decades. After all she is credited as coining the popular term “foodie” and really being the first to post food photos of her whereabouts starting a trend that resulted into a multi billion dollar industry. Who knew 40+ years ago that food + women + taking photos of the food + posting them into + internet space would generate billions upon billions.

She will never fail at suggesting where you ought to go- but what about what to wear and who’s dining out tonight? What to wear when dining out is equally as important as what you’re eating, where you’re eating, and relevant to who you’re dining with. You heard me: who is the final determining factor in what you should wear. Am I the only person who bothers to ask when calling for a reservation what the dress attire is? I bet that if every establishment, and food writer actually mentioned this to the masses- that we’ld seldom see incorrectly dressed buffoons and gals wouldn’t be wearing their Jimmy Choo’s to a fucking dive bar-restaurant-pub. How many of you have accidentally stood out in the crowd by wearing your dressed down work clothes to Tao? Khakis and JCrew oxford shirt with loafers. When I googled the restaurant, no one mentioned dress like a Bond Girl or that it’s okay to show boobs because all the cocktail waitresses  have hiked up micro minis with their boobs out. Also don’t bring your date here if you want all eyes on you (if you’re heterosexual). Girlfriends and gay besties are on the other hand, totally welcomed.

I’ve been meaning to visit Red Farm since meeting Chef Joe Ng two years ago. We sampled dim sum at a Chinatown restaurant where he was working on menu consulting.

Torn by Ronny Kobo Coco Dress

SS2014 Torn by Ronny Kobo Coco Dress

For my Red Farm adventure- I’m going to wear this casual ribbed dress by Torn and my new favorite Jeffrey Campbell Draco boots. Dessert is always optional. If you have an extra hour to spare after eating your heart out with gal pals- then I’ld say go for it and walk it off in the park for after hours girl talk or you can run it off in the morning, or spend the night dancing away.

Jeffrey Campbell Draco Studded Boots

Jeffrey Campbell Draco Studded Boots

Don’t forget about the purse as the purse is what people will likely stare at second to the shoes you’re wearing. May I entice you to try a vintage piece or two from Gael Greene’s private collection sold via TheAccidentalBagLady on Etsy.com? If you’ve never owned a vintage piece before- you probably should experiment sooner than later…and for any true food connoisseur- what wouldn’t be more collectable than a bag formerly belonging to the most erotic food writer we know?

Gael Greene's Vintage Art Deco Embossed Leather Clutch Bag

Gael Greene’s Vintage Art Deco Embossed Leather Clutch Bag

I imagine every one of these bags once carried a set of keys,  rogue lipstick, and a notebook where Gael may have scribbled a page of notes about the restaurant of the week. She may have also scribbled a few lines of hatred towards some unnamed chefs (too many to list here) about their unappetizing foodstuffs. I would love to get a copy of some of those notes!- Followed by an evening of hot passionate sex with the flavor of the week- (4 star Chef? Porn star? Elvis?) we have a few names, thanks to her recent memoir Insatiable. So WHERE is the Elvis purse???

 

 

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Filed under April 2014, Fork and Scissors New Food + Fashion Site Coming, The Accidental Bag Lady, Uncategorized

The Two Little Bakers Web Series Kicks Off with a Halloween Special and Special Guest Appearance by Jacques Torres

We had  a blast celebrating Halloween this year. From the chocolate-chocolate tea party, to getting a chocolate making tutorial from Master Chef Jacques Torres. You can read about how Alex and Daniel made the Chocolate Pumpkins and get the recipes here.

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The boys went trick or treating after a delicious Halloween themed tea party.

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Daniel meets the electrified ghost.

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This dude had three heads and made us laugh.

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A great candy alternative is offering popcorn to the trick or treaters.

The Two Little Bakers Halloween

Our evening ended with this. Back at home, Daniel was being Daniel…and he looks like the cutest Emo Vampire! We hope you had fun with yours! I hope you’re ready for the next big holiday….Thanksgiving here we come!

Get your assortment of chocolate delights at the Jacques Torres Flagship Store on Hudson Street:

Jacques Torres is located 350 Hudson at King Street (1 block South of Houston), New York, NY 10014.

Store hours are:
Monday – Friday 8:30 am – 7 pm

Saturday 9:00 am – 7 pm

Sunday 10:30 am – 6:30 pm

Phone: (212) 414-2462

http://www.mrchocolate.com

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Filed under Dining with Outlaws, Favorite Moments, Food for Kids, Halloween, Holidays, October 2013, The Two Little Bakers, Uncategorized

Dinner Parties: Namaste, An Indian Summer Soiree hosted by Pooja Kharbanda and Rina Oh

Dining with Outlaws dinner parties

Pooja Kharbanda chatting up Gael Greene, Rina Oh to the right.

Welcome to the first installment of fabulous dinner parties I’ll be hosting with my Out-Laws. Just in case you haven’t figured it out, Dining with Out-Laws is a site dedicated to my culinary family- one I created in my home away from home. My Out-Laws represent everything I dream my actual family could be- a metamorphosis of taste buds, changing as the seasons change. Sometimes on trend, often times a little risky and dangerously curious- just like me! Unfortunately, my everyday life back at home is filled with the enslavement of making food that other people actually crave, it’s not the omakase style kitchen I’ve dreamt about where family members just eat and don’t ask or complain.

Sitar Players at dinner party hosted by Rina Oh and Pooja Kharbanda

The Sitar Players at Namaste.

In this episode of Dining with Out-Laws, my friend Pooja and I co-hosted an Indian Summer Soiree at her place in Soho. Welcome to Namaste: some people say hello, we chose to feed them as an intro. I’ve debuted a few recipes at the fashion event. When you have a room full of designers, editors, writers, stylists, producers, and icons: I’ld call that a fashion event, wouldn’t you? When friends inquired about our party after receiving their Namaste evite: I informed them it will be an “eventful fashionable dinner party”, so please come in your stylish garbs. The Sitar players filled the atmosphere with tranquil and exotic tones, perfect for our exotic Indian Summer Soiree.

Namaste Menu

Namaste Menu

Pooja’s mom and I tag-teamed the dinner menu, which looked something like this:

Butternut Squash Shorba Soup.

Butternut Squash Shorba Soup.

The starters: I made a Shorba Butternut Squash Soup.

Paneer Salad.

Paneer Salad.

Pooja’s mom made this fabulous appetizer.

Mango Lassi.

Mango Lassi.

Mango Lassi anyone?

Tamarind Goat Curry.

Tamarind Goat Curry.

We ordered this goat curry from our favorite Indian restaurant, Tamarind.

Rina Oh's Farro Salad, perfect for the Fashion crowd.

Rina Oh’s Farro Salad, perfect for the Fashion crowd.

My Summer Farro Salad with coconut chips, cranberries, and a spiced cilantro dressing. All the fashion folks raved about my bird food. They chanted for a recipe. Soon my little swans, I promise.

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Pooja’s mom made this delish chick pea curry above.

Chicken Curry.

Chicken Curry.

Another delicious curry by Pooja’s mom. I am getting a one-on-one cooking lesson from Pooja’s mom you guys.

This looks like a scene from a fashion forward 70's funk movie doesn't it?

This looks like a scene from a fashion forward 70′s funk movie doesn’t it?

Pooja Kharbanda and the designers from FFS.

Pooja Kharbanda and the designers from FFS.

Our fabulous hostess Pooja Kharbanda with the designers from FFS.

Rina Oh with the designers from FFS.

Rina Oh with the designers from FFS.

Here I am with the fabulous FFS sisters

Gael Greene, our most critical judge loved Namaste and we love her!

Gael Greene, our most critical judge loved Namaste and we love her!

The godmother of food critics and writers everywhere. This was a scene I saw repeated several times during the week, first at the Citymeals Chefs Tribute where Gael Greene was greeted by every culinary icon and their offspring at the event. Now she’s greeted in the same nature by the fashion folks, just like they do it in the movies. I love it!

Rina Oh's Basil Seed and Poha Rice Pudding with Candied Ginger and Mango.

Rina Oh’s Basil Seed and Poha Rice Pudding with Candied Ginger and Mango.

Last but not least, the Basil-Seed, Poha Rice Pudding filled with candied ginger bits and fresh mango for dessert. We had a blast. The best part of the evening was getting a beautiful kaftan designed by our Indian Goddess Pooja from her line, 6Shoreroad. Till soon, I’ll see you at the next dinner party…

 

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Restaurant Openings: Casimir, another French eatery in the UES

Zarela Martinez dines out at Casimir with friends, Ethnojunkie, Insatiable-Critic Gael Greene, and Rina Oh, Diningwithoutlaws

Cookbook author Zarela Martinez at Casimir

I should’ve listened to my gut after reading the blurb Matt Gross wrote about Casimir in the LES in New York Magazine. Quoting him:

“The bistro that helped launch Alphabet City’s own French Revolution a few years back has, sadly, become just another steak-frites factory. And a factory on the skids, at that. Chicken with mashed potatoes is certainly enjoyable, but the overall rush—the distracted waiter, the haphazard arrival of dishes, the neglected water glasses and bread basket—gives you the sense that, in the end, you are nothing more than a cog on an assembly line, to be turned this way and that, tweaked with benign indifference, until you can be ushered back out onto Avenue B, ready, finally, to find your fun elsewhere.” — Matt Gross, NY Mag

Well- I thought they might have learned a thing or two since that was written,  after all the new joint opened [two weeks ago] way north, in a more critical neighborhood- the Upper East Side. Should I’ve expected disappointment here too? It IS the neighborhood where restaurants often times get away with charging $55 for an undercooked skate fish (Le Cirque). Then again if the neighbors in this hood are accustomed to paying $55 for mediocre skate fish- then I could’ve been slightly out of my element.

Branzino at Casimir NYC

Branzino at Casimir, it seemed dry and bored without a sauce.

The small chalkboard menu seemed charming, except they only offered one per table and made it impossible for our party of four to truly dissect its contents before being rushed to place an order- appetizer and entrée per guest as customary in French dining.

Our server was too nice to be a hipster though the staff in general were very carefree at Casimir. He was rather French (happy and carefree), which is pretty similar to hipster (whose motto reflect: it’s cooler to purposely not care) minus the mean attitude.

Cocktail at Casimir NYC

A French cocktail made with rum.

We were literally given a minute to study the non-existent cocktail menu before being rushed to order a drink. When I inquired about cocktails- our French native quickly slurred a few things and mentioned rum, vodka, and gin. I inquired about the red drink in a martini glass I noticed two men were sipping by the bar but he didn’t seem to know what they were. So I ordered what he suggested instead, the drink with the rum.

According to our server- this was a French drink. I couldn’t make out his accent long enough to write down the name, but it was delicious.

Starters at Casimir.

French starters at Casimir.

Our dining partners that evening included the insatiable-critic (who was spotted again by the chef with a casual walk through x2 not before taking a triple glance at Gael Greene, then crawling back into his kitchen), ethnojunkie, and our favorite Mexican chef/ author and newly indicted into the JBF’s Who’s Who, Zarela Martinez. We all agreed the service was subpar. In fact Gael had to repeatedly instruct the server and bus persons to clear our table and bring more water. We asked for more bread (about four, five times). I watched our server remember he owed us the bread basket when the busser returned and almost gave ours away to our neighbors.

Charcuterie at Casimir

Charcuterie at Casimir

The charcuterie was acceptable, however nothing spectacular. I can’t seem to really enjoy charcuterie these days without being overtly critical. Does anyone make their own cornishons anywhere? I bet not in New York. I have proof it all comes from a can.

Confit Duck at Casimir in NYC.

Confit Duck was pleasantly nice.

Gael and Zarela both seemed to enjoy the quaint French bistro. They can always use another French restaurant uptown. For me- it’s a different story. I’m a classically trained French cook, and I may never be satisfied at this point- except for that magnificent food adventure at Le Bernardin a few years ago- I could never forget about that experience. Once you go there, you cannot stop being this critical about French food.

Esgargots at Casimir.

Esgargots at Casimir.

Though the food and service was subpar at Casimir- we did enjoy ourselves as it was the first sidewalk café installment of the season. That extra half hour wait (we had reservations for 7:30) was worth it to sit outdoors. The outdoor seating nearly triples the amount of guests at Casimir- so perhaps that could give reason why they weren’t prepared. Either that or the management is completely bonkers opening up a restaurant in the UES with no good experience in running a restaurant, in the exact location where Gael Greene has witnessed 16 places get shuttered. Clearing dirty dishes and water refills should be second nature- if you’re charging $25 for a piece of steamed fish with a handful of haricot verts (French green beans), water and bread shouldn’t be a problem no? Were we asking for too much?

I don’t think I’ld go back, if I wanted subpar service with mediocre French bistro food- I’ld rather go to Pastis. At least they get extra points for people watching and they have more room.

Matt Gross- you were right. We should’ve listened to you.

Casimir

1022 Lexington Avenue at 73rd Street

New York, NY 10021

Tel: (212) 879-6190

 

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Ode to Kissena Blvd.

Lao Dong Bei girl

I was mesmerized by this cute girl the whole time we were there (from the moment I peered in)

My first dinner with the Insatiable Critic took place at Legend, a few blocks away from the bustling Chelsea Market. Although I’ve frequented many Chinese restaurants, I was no way whatsoever a pro at identifying any typical dishes. That was until I’ve befriended EthnoJunkie and Ling Tan.

Ling has taken me to a handful of dim sum and Malaysian restaurants in Chinatown. I owe my minute knowledge of dim sum to Ling, Szechuan to Gael Greene and Rich Sanders.

Since last year, I’ve gone to not one, or two, or three- but at least a dozen places with Gael. We were joined by TV/Film critics, book authors, and Citymeals patrons (you know- the ones with lots of mullah). I’ve played my part in the restaurant hopping adventures- taking everyone to my favorite Korean places scattered throughout NY (but that’s another story- I’ll write about the Korean stuff later on).

Our first Flushing adventure took place last year and we were led by none other than Rich Sanders who goes by the name: EthnoJunkie. He’s a fellow multi-tasker who’s a former music critic, a composer, holds a degree from Yale, and speaks about a dozen ethnic food languages. In other words- he may not be fluent in the language- but when it comes to food, he can get away with ordering what he wants, finding obscure ingredients in ethnic hoods, and can probably read the recipes in those foreign languages.

We visited the strip mall that used to be called Busy Bee’s back in the old days in Flushing and tasted what resembled large hand cut noodles immersed in cumin and lamb. Rich raved about this dish so much so- that I could’ve tasted the cumin all the way from New Jersey. I was underwhelmed (sorry Rich). The cumin got stuck somewhere in the back of my throat and I remember coughing some pepper and a noodle. I couldn’t stop overlooking to my right- where the Chinese vendors were hand -pulling noodles. I wanted to taste some of that- but we left all too soon- all underwhelmed.

Dining with Outlaws, Ethno Junkie, and Insatiable Critic Gael Greene with her posse of hot heads during our second Flushing dining adventure.

Dining with Outlaws (not pictured), EthnoJunkie, and Insatiable Critic Gael Greene with her posse of hot heads during our second Flushing adventure.

We discussed returning to Flushing many times after that first visit and alas the date finally arrived. I wished I drove a black SUV with tinted black windows (the ones where celebrities and politicians ride)- it would be so much cooler than the silver crossover Chrysler (a nice ride nonetheless). I didn’t expect what we were about to encounter, having been underwhelmed the week before at the China Café, MSG with sticky tables and all. How good can Flushing be? Is this worth the trip? I was skeptical too.

I do have a bit of a soft spot for Kissena Blvd. That’s the old route I used to take when I walked home from my elementary school down the block. As we pulled up to the locale- I scanned the area and got a severe case of flashback memories. It’s amazing how much one can remember from their childhood. Kissena Blvd means a lot more to me than a good meal (one that concludes what Szechuan food should really taste like no less).

Dear Kissena Blvd:

I love you and I hate you.

You helped me discover endless amounts of 25 cent wise potato chips, the deli ham and cheese on a roll with mayo, and dollar pizza when Italians were still rolling the dough. With five years of fifty cent Italian ices and juju candy from Walgreens I consumed instead of real food, not once- not until now did I discover what you truly have to offer.

I love you because you helped me discover American food, that includes everything that’s good and equally as bad. I hate you because I gained some massive weight (fifteen pounds = death to a teenage girl) as a result of eating those processed foods. I was naïve, I was young, and I trusted those packaged foods not only tasted great- but that they were actually good for you. Because of you Kissena Blvd., I spent an entire decade trying to undue what was done in just five short years living near you. I gave up meat during this time not knowing there are consequenses for doing that if you don’t know your body’s missing proteins. I hate you because I loved those processed foods so much that I couldn’t resist the urge to binge every weekend in my room full of junk food. I called myself a vegetarian without really eating any vegetables because they were simply too heavy and made me feel bloated. I was again naïve and none of it made any sense except that the forbidden foods made me feel weird. So Kissena Blvd., thank you for just being you. You didn’t know any better and neither did I. If it weren’t for you- I would’ve never discovered vegetables later on (with the help of the vegetarian haters I met at culinary school and the irony of becoming a vegetarian blogger for a year helped me with this process). I now love vegetables, so much so that I’m growing a garden full of my favorite ones.

It actually took about twenty years to undue (ten to undue/ ten to re-learn) what I discovered in flushing, on Kissena Blvd.

I recollect all the months I spent in our tiny Colden Street apartment where I cautiously experimented with ramen. Deconstructing the thing, crumbling its dry mixture, then mixing scrambled eggs, adding dried vegetables, sometimes cooking it once and often times twice to blanche out the oil. I eventually graduated by making ramen and rice balls finished off in the oven. Ramen was the first thing I ever cooked. That’s how I spent my days after school. An immigrant with working parents, alone in the kitchen, experimenting with what we had (not much of anything). I was eight years old and learned how to cook by experimenting.

A lifetime later- I can say my diet has come to a full circle. No more wise potato chips, occasional pizza and lots and lots of good ethnic food.

My parents eventually gave me twenty dollars to buy a cookbook. I didn’t know any good bookstores at that time so I got mine from Walgreens. By then I was 13, an eighth grader with a copy of Betty Crocker’s cookbook making my first Thanksgiving meal for our extended family.

We left Flushing shortly after that and I haven’t visited Kissena Blvd since. It’s amazing how fast 20 years can go by.

Dining with Outlaws loves the Green Bean Jelly Noodles with Bean Sprouts at Lao Dong Bei in Flushing NY

Green Bean Jelly Noodles with Bean Sprouts at Lao Dong Bei

While I was slurping through the Green Bean Jelly Noodles with Cucumbers and Bean Sprouts, I couldn’t help dissect the ingredients for a recipe. Luckily for me, our companion Ling served as the perfect translator and got Chef Li to spill out the recipe (at least most of it). Chef Li is an amazing man. He barely spoke any English- but his food spoke to us in our universal tongues: our stomachs. Our stomachs welcomed Chef Li. For me, this dish encompasses everything a noodle dish could be. It’s delicious, it’s refreshing, it’s not that heavy, and it’s very good for you except for the MSG that they put in there. In my perfect world, this green bean starch jelly noodle dish is my ramen reincarnated from a distant childhood. The chef and his wife duo are angels from my diet heaven who are now giving me answers to the ramen mysteries.

Dining with Outlaws tastes the Chinese Banchan at Lao Dong Bei

Radish and Hot Pepper starter (reminds me of Banchan)

They’ve also concluded that Flushing should not be a place where one discovers processed foods, but on the contrary- it’s rich diverse immigrant community has jewels to offer if you know where to look. The Szechuan food we had not only tasted great- but it was probably somewhat good for us too. If I could go back in time, I’ld explore Flushing’s immigrant establishments instead of the corner deli. I’ld trade in my juju candy for the lamb cumin that was cooked perfectly, as cumin on lamb should never be delivered in it’s fine ground form. It (seeds) should be perfectly toasted in a pan, married with black mustard seeds for a perfectly balanced bite. At least that’s the advise I got from Chef Barry Wine when I told him about our Flushing adventure.

I’ve got the recipe ingredient list for that noodle dish. I’ll be spending the next couple of weeks testing it in my home kitchen. And before you know it, EthnoJunkie and I will be making it for our friends at an upcoming dinner party and guess who we’ll be making it for? Here’s a hint: some critical folks. So stay tuned….this adventure is not over yet.

If you’ld like to read Gael Greene’s review of Lao Dong Bei click here for the full monty.

Lao Dong Bei

44-09 Kissena Boulevard (Cherry Avenue)

Flushing, Queens

(718) 539-4100

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Filed under April 2013, Chinese Food, Restaurants

Fork and Scissors: A Sneak Preview of COREY and Northern Indian Delights at Tamarind

Corey: Corey Lynn Calter FW13

My picks from the Corey presentation at the Jane Hotel in NYC for the FW13 collection

I love the 60′s and 70′s. Anything that reminds me of that era in time, whether it’s the music, the iconic styles, everything from paisley prints to laced collar silk blouses- I dig. Corey reminds me of my fave era. The new line by designer Corey Lynn Calter exudes everything I love at the moment: gold buttons, check; paisley, check; fedora hats, check; make me look rich silk jumpsuits, check, check, check. I can’t wait to see what Corey conjures up next season- but at least for the rest of 2013- we’ll know what to wear.

Corey FW13 Presentation at the Jane Hotel in NYC

Shag-a-delic and very wearable.

The collection was presented at the Jane Hotel, a hipster- boutique hotel neatly tucked away at the end of Jane Street in the West Village. No- sorry folks, it’s not typically open to the public. You kinda have to know the right people to get in- or at least look the part, or be somebody. Lucky for me, I knew someone who sent me an invite to preview the new collection last night. I gasped at the first sight of Corey’s paisley prints. After all, it was only a week ago that I rummaged through an old lady’s fabric closet, in an undisclosed location (since I’m not sharing my source of goodness, for the time being) and brought home an array of vintage paisley silk fabrics. Yards and yards of the goodies.

Silk Dyed Easter Eggs by Dining with Outlaws

My Silk Dyed Eggs from Easter

I used some of mine to make these wonderful easter eggs. Silk printed paisley eggs finished with gold leaf. Not too shabby egh?

Our wonderful evening ended with this amazing dish at Tamarind, my all time favorite Indian restaurant in NYC. I haven’t stopped thinking about this dish since my first time having it. All night- that’s all I talked about at the fashion show. I’ve probably convinced People magazine’s style director to try it out sometime- she would’ve come with- but had to retreat home. Oh well- it was her loss, and more food for me! The Raj Khatori is priced appropriately at $8.00, it’s meant to be shared by two lovers. In my case- it was shared by two BFF’s. It’s spicy, it’s sweet, a bit of yogurt with chick peas welcome your taste buds as you neatly deconstruct the poofy fried bread. Ours disappeared within minutes. (Yes, we can turn into savages when food’s this good, and nevermind that I was dressed to the nines in a silver brocade jacket by Moschino, beaded skirt by Elie Tahari, sequined sweat shirt by Forever 21, Alice and Olivia maryjane platforms).

Raj Khatori at Tamarind

The Raj Khatori at Tamarind

Tamarind has two installments of their signature Northern Indian Restaurants in NYC, both by the same ownership. Located in the Flatiron district and Tribeca. It’s a bit pricier than your usual Little India (on 6th Street) restaurants and unless you’ve frequented a bunch of the sitar playing traditional joints- you may not appreciate the superb quality and flavorings Tamarind has to offer. You’ll find a glassy window displayed right in the middle of the Flatiron locale, along with two tandoori ovens accompanied by a chef making naan and grilling (is it called grilling?) some meat on the skewers. We ordered the Raj Khatori, Chicken Tikka Masala (are you surprised?), Vegetable Pillau- a mixed vegetable basmati rice, and the Tandoori Mixed Grill. If Koreans are making soju cocktails with asian pears, don’t be surprised to see Northen Indians making theirs with a bit of Tamarind and fennel. Delish, delish, delish. I can’t wait to go back again.

Tarmarind
41-43 E 22nd St
New York
(212) 674-7400

99 Hudson St
New York
(212) 775-9000

 

 

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Filed under April 2013, Dining with Outlaws, Fashion Smashion, Fork and Scissors, Hot on the Blog, Special Events

Restaurant Reviews: Art Oddities at The Lodge Gallery with a Hidden Bar and Malaysian Delights at Nyonya

The Lodge

The hidden bar behind The Lodge Gallery

Although I normally prefer red wine or tequila cocktails, I didn’t mind the gin that night. It’s not my favorite spirit of choice- however considering it was a ginful open bar, replete with a charade of happy Hendrick’s hostesses trotting corseted A-line dresses, I didn’t mind it after all.

Artwork at the Lodge

Artwork at the Die Wunderkammer group show at The Lodge

I haven’t followed the contemporary art scene for about a decade but remembered how to play the game. As homage to the collectibles, Die Wunderkammer welcomed a room full of oddities. No wonder the artwork didn’t flow here, but was it intended to? From the life sized four legged vertebrae with optical designs, to the scary Asian monster painting (the most sellable), to the beaded double monkey sculptures with human features.

Artwork at the Lodge Gallery.

According to an art consultant, this was the most sellable piece.

Most if not all the works shown at Die Wunderkammer could’ve belonged to the same collector. In my imaginative world- he or she enjoys drinking inside dark obscured halls, their persona characterized by a pleasant and whimsical surface while haunted by its racy, perverted, and obscene daily thoughts. The gin cocktails are an escape from the mind and of reality. Thusly, this collector’s a lover of gin, it’s usual concoctions must be presented as icy cold with a touch of green olive, perhaps a cucumber or two to garnish it. And of course, they’re also a bit of a hoarder of things. Nothing’s quite curated in their drinking room…it’s the river which fails to flow. Our imaginary collector could be a real narcissist who loves their dirty gin, loves collecting beautiful people, and is usually found spending much of the daylight hours entrapped in a perfect world of chaos. Their disorganized thoughts of revenge, theft, and dominance never seem to subside….

Ling Tan

Here’s my usual muse, Ling Tan staring at the oddities.

Unfortunately my imaginary collector is nothing but imaginary. If you stick around long enough to see all the work here, you’ll be surprised by the veer bar/lounge “through” the blue curtain called Home Sweet Home. It’s been around for some time now, but it’s so well hidden- and unless you’re invited by a friend of a friend who knows about it, you’ld simply pass it off as just another store front. Upon passing through the curtains, I was greeted by New Yorkers who were dousing unlimited amounts of ravishing gin cocktails on the Henderick’s dime. I ran into some friends and followed them to the wooden corner bench/table next to the mystery novel window (where ghosts might appear and women jump off for suicide attempts). I slid into the back corner, next to the fresh air- then encountered my biggest mistake for half an hour. Can you guess what happens next? I was naturally cornered with no convo, none, zero, nope. No one spoke to me for thirty minutes. Everyone else was too busy closing in on some real estate deal- I was warned they were going to do that- so why did I follow them and get cornered? My que to move onto another scene was hinted at me after one of the guys (sitting opposite) asked me for his leather jacket (I was sitting next to it). After handing it over to its owner, I quickly noticed he checked the pockets (in a frenzy) for his wallet. Really? You think I’ld steal your wallet? You have some class sir, you’re obviously used to being in the company of some pretty classy folks. Should I be furious or understanding? After all- I did something similar on my way to there. Earlier that evening- I walked a flew blocks towards the gallery (from my car) with my DSLR clutched to my body, disgusted by the garbage pile up and paranoid of all the human alley cats I swore were hissing and prowling to snatch my baby up (camera).

I was feeling nauseous and overtly claustrophobic when rescue came along before I started to panic. I left with my friend who joined me for a bite at my favorite Malaysian place. We went to Nyonya, located at 199 Grand Street, sandwiched between Chinatown and Little Italy. This place only takes cash- but you won’t need too much of it to enjoy a multi-course meal. I frequent this joint as much as I can with whomever is willing to partake on a little curry meets Asia adventure. The coconut white rice is divine and I insist you ask for that version to replace the standard jasmine rice with the curry dishes. The sweet pineapple fried rice is pretty spectacular too.

Roti Telur at Nyonya

Roti Canai at Nyonya

The best appetizer my friends- is the Roti Telur Canai. It’s an Indian crispy thin, handmade bread with a mild curry sauce on the side priced at only $3.50 per order. One is never enough for two people. If you dine alone, that’s perfect- if there are others there with you- have everyone get their own. My Indian friend claimed the Roti bread is “as authentic as it gets”. The curried chicken on the bone is pretty close to the Indian original and reminded me of the Roti Telur Canai sauce. We also enjoyed a noodle dish, the Curry Mee with Young Tau Foo and a bean curd with vegetables.

Bean Curd Nyonya style

Bean Curd, Nyonya style.

I loved it so much that I returned the following night and savored my favorite dish (Roti Telur Canai) all over again. You can order an entire fish to share- which I’ve never had before but watched many large parties order it nearby. Appetizers range from $3.50-8.95 and entrees from $6.25-23.95. They serve a nice assortment of Malaysian non-alcoholic beverages, wine and beer. Come early, late, alone or with a crowd. It’s usually packed, whether it’s lunch or dinner. It’s casual, it’s delicious and you’ll never regret it. You might even have enough money left over to get dessert at Ferrara’s nearby.

 

Die Wunderkammer; Objects of Virtue

March 31, 2013- May 1st, 2013

The Lodge

131 Chrystie Street

New York, NY 10002

http://www.thelodgegallery.com

 

Nyonya

199 Grand Street

New York, NY 10013

Phone: (212) 334-3669

$ Very Good, Ethnic, Malaysian

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Filed under Art, Dining with Outlaws, Hot on the Blog, March 2013, Restaurants, Speakeasies

Food for Kids: Celebrate St. Patrick’s Day with Kale and Avocado Ice Pops

Kale and avocado ice pops

Kale and Avocado Ice pop

I’ve been waiting to deliver the official recipe for my healthy take on ice pops via the cookbook I’m authoring however given it’s St. Patrick’s Day today and some parents recently asked me for this recipe- I’ve decided to let everyone take a shot at making their own before the book comes out. Don’t worry- you’ll still get plenty of recipes in the actual cookbook and a few comical illustrations accompanying it.

My four year old is the star of my culinary dreams. He eats just about everything. Whether it’s spicy, creamy, fermented, raw, cooked, hot or cold- there isn’t a thing he’s not willing to try- at least once that is. Nothing can be too dangerous or ethnic enough. Discovering new vegetables are always welcomed by Daniel. Alex, his older six year old brother on the other hand- won’t even look at a vegetable, unless it’s part of a lesson plan in school. He’ll look at them, with oohs and aahs- but it ends there. They never eat any digestive play.

As a parent, and being named chef mommy by my kids- how do I explain to other parents about my battle with their veggie intake? I blame it partly to the American food culture, adding the endless commercials for unhealthy snacks and their father’s bad habit of eating junk food and drinking soda in front of them. I had to smarten up and figure out alternative ways to feed them the healthier things in life.

Zoku Quick Pop Maker

The Zoku Quick Pop Maker: make ice pops in 7 minutes

So last year, I figured out how to incorporate the greens into Alex’s diet by blending them into other familiar flavors- delivered into instant ice pops thanks to the Zoku Quick Pop Maker. Within minutes, he devoured not one but three ice pops that I made with Kale, avocado, yogurt and honey.

We haven’t made these in a little while- but promise to get back into them before Memorial Day weekend. Until then…here ‘s my recipe for healthy kale and avocado ice pops you can try at home! You can also use the conventional ice pop molds.

Kale and Avocado Yogurt Ice Pops

Yields 6 Servings

Prep time: 10 minutes

Cooking time: 20 minutes

Total time: 30 minutes

Ingredients

1 avocado, peeled with seed removed

1 bunch of kale, stems removed

1/4 cup honey

1/2 cup whole greek yogurt

Directions

Bring a pot of water to a boil. Place kale leaves and blanche until leaves are very tender (about 8 minutes). Remove kale from water and place in an ice bath. Remove kale from ice bath after about a minute and place inside a food processor or blender. Pulse for about a minute on low, then blend with the avocado, honey and yogurt until it’s smooth and creamy (about 1 minute).

Spoon mixture into ice pop molds, place wooden sticks (if you’re using conventional molds) in the center and freeze overnight uncovered on a flat surface. Unmold and serve!

 

 

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Filed under Food for Kids, Holidays, Hot on the Blog, March 2013, Recipes

Restaurant Opening: Barn Joo

Barn Joo: 893 Broadway, NYC

The view from upstairs

Spring is almost here…I can almost taste the sweetness of new desserts along with that scent of new restaurant openings- those show stopping events and the bitchy reviews by the bitter bloggers and critics thereafter. Before we know it, we’ll be swinging back into restaurant week- where some of us will casually pretend to be tourists for cheap dinners at $35.oo, though I seldom recommend it. I’m not missing the mid-winter blues either, as my foot’s finally healed after taking that unfortunate dive in the Flushing Corona Center parking lot while delivering gallons of homemade kimchi.

Opening at Barn Joo: Rina Oh, Ling Tan, Mie Iwatsuki

Rina Oh, Ling Tan, and Mie Iwatsuki at Barn Joo grand opening in NYC.

And here’s to giving Spring an early start with the first installment of restaurant openings. Say hello to the Korean pub called Barn Joo, located at 893 Broadway in the Flatiron district of New York City. It’s a multi-level drinking joint contained below the Verite Hotel, a boutique hotel by the same proprietor. The basement serves as a private clubroom replete with lounge tables and DJ booth, the main floor’s filled with more tables with a bar that’s perfect for happy hour gatherings after work, and last but not least- a private VIP lounge upstairs. We made an appearance with the usual gang, myself (Dining with Outlaws), the Insatiable-Critic Gael Greene, and Ethno Junkie: Rich Sanders, the fabulous Peter, and the former owner of the Quilted Giraffe- Barry Wine upon the first visit.

The main floor of Barn Joo with the owner, Charles "Tiger" Chong.

The main floor of Barn Joo with the owner, Charles "Tiger" Chong.

The menu’s quite small at Barn Joo- it’s a one pager, mostly small plates of Korean pub grub compared to the dozen or so pages filled with cocktails, beer, and liquor. At the opening night when I returned the following week with a different crowd of familiar Asian models- we were treated to a full house and sat in a private booth upstairs. The usual suspects were there- those who happen to attend any Korean restaurant opening in NYC. Seeing these private dining guests reminded me of Kristalbelli‘s opening last year.

Spiky Hat at Barn Joo

Restaurant openings plus spiky things are causing a deja vu experience.

The models, the manager, the K-pop fans were all there. This was indeed a Moving Feast with the familiar staff and opening patrons. I’m not complaining since the fried chicken supply seemed endless and we stayed till almost midnight indulged in heated conversations about revenge, marriage and playing mean girls in real life.

Barn Joo Fried Chicken

Fried Chicken perfect for sharing, although one order's never enough: one order per is the recommended dosage.

Formal reviews to follow later on…in the meantime you should give it a swing by with a few friends or foes and try a few soju cocktails and their Korean fried chicken.

Barn Joo

893 Broadway

New York, NY 10003

www.Barnjoo.com

 

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Filed under Dining with Outlaws, Hot on the Blog, Korean, March 2013, Restaurants