Sunday, July 6, 2014

Kara Walker's Marvelous Sugar Baby

Domino Sugar Factory
If anyone told me there was a giant duck sphinx looking thing made out of sugar in Brooklyn, I probably wouldn't believe them. It sounds ridiculous. Then again, this is Brooklyn and there is a huge buzz about it. The famed Kara Walker did an art installation at the Domino Sugar Factory in Williamsburg and sadly, it is closing today. I hope you got a chance to see it.

The exhibit brought out droves of Brooklynites, arts enthusiasts, families, and even power couple Jay Z and Beyonce complete with baby Blue Ivy.

The line to get in was long but went quickly for there was a vast amount of space inside the factory and the line traffic was due to everyone signing mandatory release forms (just in case sugar were to fall on your head).

If These Walls Could Talk
Sugar Machines
Brown Sugar
Brown Sugar and Broken Bones
Front View
Side View
White Sugar
Back Side
The Back
Marvelous Sugar Baby
I stepped in the sugar factory and immediately took a whiff of the the sweet sugary air. It was thick! The building was old, airy, and decrepit. The walls were full of peeled paint and the equipment was stale and retired. The whole building was full of history and tales of a different time and life. And then I was greeted by a great many melting sculptures of brown sugar boys and the one and only Marvelous Sugar Baby which was larger than life. You have to see it to believe it.

A Subtlety
Domino Sugar Factory
South 1st Street @ Kent Avenue
Williamsburg, Brooklyn

Saturday, February 8, 2014

Stella & Dot Fall Trunk Show

Ivie Drops earrings top left. Kimberly Necklace bottom left.
Baubles, shiny semi-precious stones, bracelets, dangly earrings, and lariats. I had a grown woman’s jewelry box and more at my fingertips. It was like being in a jewelry store and being able to touch the merchandise without a retail clerk telling you no or looking at you in a condescending manner. I was amongst friends and we were all playing dress up. This was the Stella & Dot experience.

Stella & Dot is like a modern Tupperware party. The jewelry is sold through word of mouth, usually hosted at someone’s home or catering to a New Yorker’s schedule and at a bar. Guests pick out what they want, pay on the spot, and within a week get their orders delivered. Each piece of jewelry comes in a cute box wrapped with tissue and a fortune mantra. The feeling is uplifting and happy.

I am by no means a girly girl. I rarely ever wear jewelry. I don’t get excited by the color pink or having to dress up for a fancy party but I felt at home with Stella & Dot. The pieces were versatile and understated. They are what you make of them and can become more of a statement piece depending on how you wear them or understated for the simple amount of flair that you need just to call a little attention to your outfit and personality.  
Top right Wanderlust Triple Wrap. Bottom right Hudson Leather Wrap.
In between trying on jewelry and getting opinions from each other we noshed on cupcakes, fruit, and crudite while sipping on wine and soda. It was a relaxing environment and laid back. We had an abundance of natural light being in a high rise apartment and had a photographer present. At first I felt it was a little odd that someone was snapping pictures of us in our jewelry but then I got into it. I didn’t ask what the pictures would be used for or if I would get to see the final pictures. All of a sudden I felt like a model, beautiful, and glamorous. My friends and I posed for the camera, held our wrists out to showcase our leather bracelets, and slung bags over our shoulders.   
Union Square Scarf (left). Madison Tech Bag (right).
I never felt pressured to buy anything or even participate but if you lingered long enough at the trunk show inevitably you’d try on something. I found myself gravitating towards colorful stones and chunky necklaces. Our stylist Jennifer Sutton went around the room showing us how to wear pieces and encouraged us to try things on by draping pieces on our wrists and necklines. I only had to tell her a firm, “No.” once to stop. We all have our own personal tastes and comfort levels.
Stella & Dot display
I will admit I did not know how to maneuver some of the pieces of jewelry and wondered how I could even pull off wearing certain things. The nice thing was that it was a very supportive environment and our stylist really pointed us in the right direction using herself as an example and showing us Stella & Dot tutorials on how to wear scarves, how to jazz up a little black dress, or how to dress up from day to night. The videos were short and fun. I left with the feeling that I had gained a little more style over the past three hours. Overall, my first Stella & Dot trunk show back in August “Fall into Effortless Chic” was a great experience. I got to catch up with friends and do a little shopping. It was a treat for me.
Modeling jewelry with Agnes.
Stella & Dot trunk shows are exclusive and if you’d like to attend one get in touch with your local stylist by locating them on the Stella & Dot website. You can even host your own show and earn a complimentary hostess gift of your choice.   

Stella & Dot

NYC/NJ Stylist Jennifer Sutton
SHOP/HOST/JOIN! (917) 257-5455

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

San Francisco Ferry Building

San Francisco Ferry Building
The San Francisco Ferry Building is one of my favorite places to visit when I am in the Bay Area. It's a good place for lunch, a quick snack, and just a stroll. The building was transformed into a retail space filled with bakeries, seafood stalls, plant shops, and food vendors. It's similar to Pike Place Market in Seattle and Reading Terminal Market in Philadelphia. In short, if you love food, this is a must visit in San Francisco!

If you really want to experience the space in all of it's glory, I recommend visiting during the farmer's market hours. The farmer's market happens three days a week. The smaller markets are on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 10 AM - 2 PM. The Saturday farmer's market is the largest of the three days. The space occupies the front of the Ferry Building as well as the backside. There are lots of tables to enjoy your purchased food and coffee all while overlooking the San Francisco Bay Bridge. You can even watch the ships and sailboats pass by. The Saturday farmer's market happens much earlier in the day from 8 AM - 2 PM. Get there early to avoid long lines. You can park along the Embarcadeo or in one of the nearby lots. You can also take BART or the streetcar to Embarcadero.
Streetcar to Embarcadeo
Once you are at the Ferry Building, enjoy! Remember to sample all the fresh fruits and veggies. Don't double dip. Use a fresh toothpick each time.
Community Supported Agriculture!
Eat up!
Kale Chips
Falafel and Dips (tahini, hummus, baba ganoush, etc.)
The best pie ever from Frog Hollow Farm
Shishito Peppers
Squash Blossom Recipe
Hybrid Fruit
Rainbow Chard
Lobster Mushrooms
The best brittle ever from G. L. Alfieri
San Francisco Ferry Building
One Ferry Building
San Francisco, CA 94111

Monday, December 23, 2013

California 2013

We ate burritos, experienced the fog, walked along the Redwoods, and spent time with the newest member of the family Baby Ella.

Photography Credits: Roxwriting and Desmond Chow

Sunday, December 8, 2013

Whole Foods Cooking Class- Small Budget, Big Flavor

Whole Foods hosts a variety of cooking classes at The Bowery Culinary Center in the Lower East Side. The Bowery Culinary Center is located inside Whole Foods on the second floor behind all the beauty products. It is a private room complete with a kitchen and television screens to broadcast the cooking demonstrations.

Most of the cooking classes offered are for a fee. Once a month, they offer a free cooking course entitled Small Budget, Big Flavor. There are only 20 slots available for the course. Everyone can bring a guest. I felt like I won the lottery by getting a spot in this class, especially in New York City.

Small Budget, Big Flavor focuses on what is on sale during the week of the class. It encourages people to shop at Whole Foods and use Whole Foods products to create a tasty meal while keeping to a budget.

This particular cooking class was not hands on experience. It was more seminar like. Seating was bar style in the front. If you didn't get a seat in the front, there were individual tables set up classroom style. They have tv screens with cameras positioned so you can watch them cook. This is actually a better view since it is difficult to see what food is in the bowls, etc.
Whole Foods Cooking Instructors
Cooking Demo
We learned how to make spicy sweet potatoes, bread dressing, and Salmon Wellington. They jazzed up the meal with hot sauce, a wine sauce with butter and shallots, and chai tea with almond milk. It all turned out very good and tasty. Best of all, easy enough to make at home.
Thanksgiving Sides
I left inspired to cook and was very impressed. Over Thanksgiving, my sister and I made the Salmon Wellington. It was a success and simple enough.

Salmon Wellington Recipe


2 salmon fillets
defrosted frozen puff pastry
1/2 cup frozen chopped spinach, squeezed dry
1 shallot
1/4th lb. mushrooms
2 tablespoons butter


In a skillet over medium heat, melt the butter, add the mushrooms, shallot diced finely, pinch of salt, pinch of pepper, and a sprig of thyme. Cook until mushrooms are tender. Add in the spinach and heat over the flame until the liquid of the ingredients have cooked off.

Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. On a floured surface, roll out the puff pastry into two rectangles (7 x 8 inches). Place the salmon fillet in the middle of the pastry, top with mushroom and spinach mixture, then fold the pasty around the salmon completely covering the it like a package and press to seal. Place on the baking sheet and chill in the fridge for about 15 minutes.
Top the salmon with spinach and mushrooms like so.
Fold the puff pastry over like you are wrapping a present.
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Brush the top of the puff pastry with an egg wash. Bake for about 25 minutes until golden brown. Enjoy!   
Baked to golden brown perfection.
Salmon Wellington with Red Wine Sauce

Whole Foods Bowery Culinary Center
95 East Houston Street
New York, NY 10002

Saturday, November 23, 2013

Paris and Amsterdam- A European Vacation

Springtime in Paris and Amsterdam. What better season than Spring to enjoy the weather and see the tulips in the Netherlands. We ate macarons, rode bikes, walked along the Seine, and visited a windmill. 

Photography Credits: Roxwriting and Desmond Chow

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Sunday, November 17, 2013

Dining In The Dark- Camaje New York

Dark Dining Blindfolded
I have seen dining in the dark many times on television and in the movies. I was finally able to experience it in New York thanks to Google. What an experience it was!

Camaje, a French bistro in the West Village, takes their Dark Dining very seriously. Till this day I have no idea what the restaurant looks like. At Dark Dining, we were lead into the restaurant, seated, walked to the bathroom, and walked out all blindfolded.

Dark Dining at Camaje was a multi-course meal with wine and entertainment.

This is what we ate and drank.

Crunch Course One:
- Toasted Stirato (Italian baguette) with Extra Virgin Olive Oil & Garlic
This opening course was meant to experience the scale of the room. Everyone took a bite of the baguette and we listened to the crunches echo.

One Fallen Bread

 Course Two:
- Chilled Avocado & Cucumber Soup with Herbs
- Creyssels 2010 Picpoul de Pinet, Languedoc, France
The soup was delicious, cool, and refreshing. 

To Sip or Spoon?
Course Three:
- Arctic Char with Garlic Scape-Arugula Pesto over a Raw Salad of Rainbow Swiss Chard, Tuscan Kale, Napa Cabbage and Toasted Pine Nuts
- William Cole 2009 Chardonnay, Casablanca Valley, Chile
While the fish was tasty, it was already cold from sitting out for awhile. Some thought it was salmon.

Arctic Char
Course Four:
- Spice-Rubbed (Cumin, Coriander, Cinnamon & Smoked Paprika) Grilled Pork Tenderloin with Israeli Cous Cous & Lentil Salad
- Les Violettes 2011 Côtes-du-Rhône, Rhône, France
The pork tenderloin was also cold, as well as dry. I didn't finish the dish since I didn't care for it much. A lot of people thought it was beef.

Cold Pork Tenderloin
Course Five:
- Strawberry Rhubarb Crisp (oats, spices, dark brown sugar, toasted coconut) with Our Homemade Mint Ice Cream
- Casa de Sta. Eufemia Tawny Porto
Dessert was quite yummy and I am glad the meal ended on a high note. I just wish there was more of it. The serving portions at Camaje are very small. It was enough to taste what you were eating but not enough to get full from or really appreciate when it was good. Many thought the rhubarb crisp was apple and the ice cream flavor was unidentifiable since it was very faint. Nonetheless, the texture and flavors of the dish paired well.

Mint Ice Cream and Strawberry Rhubarb Crisp
Throughout the meal, we had a singer and a masseuse. We were asked to sing with the singer quite a few times and the massager went around touching everyone.

Singing Opera
Sense of Touch
The food was meant to heighten your senses. Since we did not have sight, we relied more on our sense of taste, touch, and hearing to experience the meal. It was difficult and uneasy as it just sounded like chaos around the room. Within 15 minutes of the meal, I had already spilled a glass of wine on my date. Apparently, I was waving my arms in the air to high. Camaje graciously excused my faux pas by cleaning up the mess immediately and explaining that it happens all the time. I would not recommend dining in the dark for first dates.

Be Careful With Your Wine
Dark Dining Photography
Dark Dining happens twice a month. Check the website for event dates. Reservations suggested. Meals are $120/pp and cocktail parties are $75/pp. Taking pictures and video is allowed, however they will be blindly taken and the results can be a hit or miss.

85 MacDougal Street
New York, NY 10012