Friday, July 29, 2011

SHRIMP ROLL - Seafood Wrap

I was at Whole Foods in Union Square, NYC yesterday when they demonstrated on how to make this delicious healthy shrimp roll.  So, I thought I'd share it with you.

Below are the ingredients you need to make this Shrimp Roll which is made with Tartar Sauce mixed in with the shrimp before wrapping it into a roll.  You can also view my video on how it is prepared.  The technique of wrapping is key to hold the the roll well.

This dish is healthy and light.

Recipes below is from Whole Foods' STK [OUT]

1 quart mayonnaise
1/2 cup fresh lime juice
1/3 capers
1/3 cup cornichons
1/3 cup Dijon mustard
1/3 cup fresh horseradish
1/3 citrus zest
2TB parsley
2TB chives
salt and pepper to taste

Fold all ingredients together in a mixing bowl and set aside.
Yields 2 quarts

3 ounces cooked shrimp or lobster
2TB tartar sauce (recipe above)
5 ounce sugar snap peas (cooked for 1-2 minutes)
4 ounces rocket arugula
3 slices avocado
1 spinach wrap (you can purchase at the store)
fresh lime juice
extra virgin olive oil or vinaigrette sauce of your choice

Toast the spinach wrap on a griddle or flat top
Spread the tartar sauce across the center of the wrap
Top it with shrimp and remaining ingredients
Drizzle in fresh lime juice and extra virgin olive oil or vinaigrette
Wrap it "burrito" style, (view the video to learn how to)
slice it on a bias (4 for appetizers and in 2 for a meal)

Monday, July 18, 2011

CONGEE VILLAGE - Chinese Restaurant

My Chinese hairdresser recommended this restaurant to me and the more I come back, the more I like the food I order.

Congee Village has many individual rooms for private parties.  It is reasonably priced and conveniently located on a main road on Allen Street just south of Delancey.

Although they serve good congee, they have an array of authentic Chinese dishes that I like.  It is also child-friendly.
This restaurant is located closer to the Lower East side.  Currently they have 2 restaurants within a block away.  They are planning to have a branch in Queens.  'Heard from the grapevine that the main Chef in charge is on 100 Allen Street branch.
The main entrance in the main floor has an interesting setting as you can see.

I like eating in the private raised "hut" where it offers a sectioned area with outdoor atmosphere.

Here are the dishes you can order at very reasonable prices:

I highly recommend one of the dishes served in this bamboo with special rice mixed with either mushrooms, chicken, frogs legs - and 3 other choices in the menu.

Chinese spinach vegetables on the left is my recommendation for vegetables or their pea shoots in garlic.

On the right is the clam dish if you are looking for something different for seafood

This is a "Must" order - their version of fried chicken.  Light crisp skin and very juicy with plenty of garlic slices.

100 Allen St # 1
New York, NY 10002-3053
(212) 941-1818
Open Mon-Thu,Sun 10:30am-12am
Subway: Delancey St

Friday, July 15, 2011


I'm so happy it's my Grandson's birthday today and it's Bastille Day!  I get to pickup some of the best cupcakes I've ever had yet.

Sprinkles Cupcakes is now in New York City.  Here's what's said about them:

Since we opened the world's first cupcake bakery in Beverly Hills, our freshly baked treats have inspired long lines of devoted Hollywood stars and serious epicureans alike.

Sprinkles Cupcakes are handcrafted from the finest ingredients, including sweet cream butter, bittersweet Belgian chocolate, pure Madagascar Bourbon vanilla, fresh bananas and carrots, real strawberries and natural citrus zests. Topped with Sprinkles trademark modern dots, rich chocolate sprinkles from France or seasonal sugar decorations, Sprinkles gourmet cupcakes are a deliciously sophisticated update on an American classic.
"the world's first cupcake bakery" - Food Network
"the progenitor of the haute cupcake craze" - Los Angeles Times
"most cupcake bakeries take their inspiration from Sprinkles"
- The Washington Post

Here's what the place looks like here in New York City:
The window is covered with the dots which they use as symbols on top of their cupcakes to signify the various flavors.

They have colorful cake stands!
Above is the line at 5:20PM - Just as the people go home from work to stop by.

Above is the box of cupcakes I brought for the birthday

Pretty simple decorations denoting the flavors - we had the chocolate banana, chocolate marshmallow, red velvet, lime cupcake, orange cupcake
For July 15-31 - they will have Salty Caramel!  Yum!

What's being reached out for is the Key Lime cupcake.  The dark chocolate with marshmallow with a red and white dot is my favorite.

I've tried so many cupcakes.  You can view the notable cupcake places I've been to.  Some even come stuffed.  But this was really scrumptious!  The cakes were moist and definitely fresh.  I highly recommend you try it. It is now my favorite cupcake.

Sprinkles Cupcakes Chicago

50 east Walton street
Chicago, Illinois 60611

between Michigan & rush
1 block south of oak street
Monday - Saturday 9 - 8
Sunday 10 - 7
phone 312. 573 1600 (312) 573-1600
order online

Sprinkles Cupcakes New York

780 Lexington avenue
new york, new york 10065

between 60th & 61st streets
near bloomingdale's
4, 5, 6, N, Q, R subway lines to 59th street
Monday - Saturday 9 - 9
Sunday 10 - 7
phone 212. 207 8375(212) 207-8375
book our party room
order online

Thursday, July 14, 2011


It's summer time and after just having a modern Mexican lunch; I've been inspired to continue the Mexican flavors for tonight's dinner.

I had large shrimp which I decided to cook for tonight.

24 peeled large fresh shrimp
1 lime - juice squeezed
2 large cloves of garlic minced
1 tsp of salt
1-1/2 tsp of chili powder
1/2 tsp of cumin
1/4 tsp of cayenne pepper
1/4 cup of olive oil
Wooden skewers (1 foot long each)

In a bowl, combine all ingredients.  Marinate the shrimp for 30 minutes and thread 6 of them in each skewer.

Mince the garlic before combining with ingredients
To skewer the shrimp:  Make sure you try to take as much minced garlic into the curled shrimp.  Lay them on the grill (if grilling) or on a broiler pan (if broiling) and evenly pour the rest of the marinade on top.  Grill or broil 3 minutes on each side.

Serve with a wonderful tangy accompaniment such as minced green mango with minced cilantro and a stalk of minced scallions.  Season this mixture with sea salt.  Put it in a cup, press it, then unmold on the platter before serving; as pictured above.

Goes well with salad on the side and some freshly cooked corn Mexican style which I'll cover in another blog.

Serves 3-4.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

PAMPANO - Modern Mexican Restaurant

Celebrating 20 years of dining out, it's Restaurant Week in NYC through July 24, 2011.  Over 300 restaurants participate offering Three-course prix-fixe dining.
Lunch $24.07 and Dinner $35.

For lunch today, I went to eat at Pampano with some friends.  Pampano is an upscale restaurant offering modern Mexican cuisine by Richard Sandoval.  Richard Sandoval has several restaurants.  This one offers dynamic seafood!  The restaurant has a large second floor sitting with a large outdoor dining.

And here's what I had for lunch:


Shrimp Ceviche was my choice for Appetizer or first course.  It was different from the usual ceviche I've had before.  The sauce was mild and creamy.

I chose the dish called PINTADO.  It was sea bass in a light mild soup broth with pieces of chorizo and garbanzos.
I actually liked it.  Very mild and light for the summer.
FOR DESSERT:  I chose something out of the menu as an option because they ran out of the chocolate flan.  They offered us the dessert pictured on the right which was a moist corn cake made from fresh corn, served with coconut ice cream with berry sauce.

The service was very nice and we sat on the second floor but not outside the patio as it was a very hot summer day.  Pampano has outdoor sitting on the second floor where you can eat 'al fresco'.

If you're in the mood for light fare seafood, this is the place to go.  Their prix-fixe price is only through July 24! 

They do have a short order taco place at the atrium below ground at 850 Third Avenue serving delicious tacos at very affordable price.


209 East 49th Street
New York, NY 10017
(212) 751-4545
Open Mon-Wed 11:30am-2:30pm, 5pm-10pm; Thu-Fri 11:30am-2:30pm, 5pm-10:30pm; Sat 5pm-10:30pm; Sun 5pm-9:30pm

Sunday, July 10, 2011


Today, I attended the Bastille Day celebration on 60th street between Fifth Avenue and Park.  There were more people this year it seems than there were last year.  There were more vendors serving my favorite grilled Merquez sausages.

Each year, Bastille Day on 60th is celebrated commemorating the historic friendship between France and the United States through France's celebration of their own independence on July 14, 1789.

Here are some live videos and photos I took of the event:
The first one was sponsored by Le Souk in Greenwich Village, a Moroccan-French restaurant.
The above video may help you create your own Merquez sausage buns next time.  They heated up the baguettes on the grill, then cut them into portions.  They sliced it and spread both sides of the bun with harrisa.  Place some Romaine lettuce, sliced tomatoes and drizzle a spicy mayo combination on it.  But the secret is the light but crisp baguette and whatever they put in that mayonnaise.  It was delicious!

They had balloon people that created hats and figures for kids.  Watch this guy make a dog a a pole where the dog could actually slide.
What's Bastille Day without Crepes!  These were the most reasonably priced crepes and therefore had the longest line.  I had the peach and strawberries.

My favorite canelle -
A canelé is a small French pastry with a soft and tender custard center and a dark, thick caramelized crust. The dessert, which is in the shape of small, striated cylinder approximately two inches in height, is a specialty of the Bordeaux region of France but can often be found in Parisian patisseries as well. Made from egg, sugar, milk and flour flavored with rum and vanilla, the custard batter is baked in a mold, giving the canelé a caramelized crust and custard-like inside.

Regular size canele.  But they had mini ones which I bought.  It came in chocolate, pistachio, rose water and plain.

There was grilled steak sandwiches with what looked like sauce Bearnaise - but they said it had no egg.  They called it tarragon sauce.  (It might just as well be sauce Bearnaise)

It was a fun afternoon.  There was entertainment and raffle booths for a trip to Paris and lots of French food! They also had a lot pastries from Payard and macarrons from Macarron Cafe.  They charged $15 for wine tastings.

Friday, July 8, 2011

AMORINO GELATO Gourmet Italian-style Ice Cream

It's summer time in NYC! Amorino Gelato openned a store in Greenwich Village - and that's great!  Below is a quick glimpse of the new Amorino Gelato which openned June 2011.

They have definitely been able to recreate the famous Italian gelato from Italy.  They have branches in London and Paris.

They feature a special flavor for each month.  For July, it's Ananas (Pineapple) Sorbet.

What differentiates Amornio Gelato besides its creamy delicious ice cream is that they offer a warm brioche stuffed with your choice of 2 flavors of ice cream;  and their cornetto.

On the left is the brioche sutffed with your choice of ice cream flavor.

On the right is the Cornetto.

A small cornetto can contain as much as 6 flavors of  ice cream and sorbets of your choice.  The medium and large one can contain even more.  I was definitely pleased!
On the left is the warm brioche cut up to reveal the Amorino Chocolate flavor ice cream with salty caramel gelato.

60 University Pl
(between 10th St & 11th St)
Manhattan, NY 10003
Neighborhood: Greenwich Village
(212) 253-5599

Thursday, July 7, 2011

DUCK - Asian style Version 2

This is a variation of the other duck recipe - Asian Style I originally put out.  This one is an easier version.  The difference is how I prepared the duck.

1/2 can of 7Up or Ginger Ale
1/4 c of soy sauce
1TB of powdered 5 Spices (available in Asian stores)
3TB of corn syrup
Canola oil

Sauce for Brushing:
1/3 c of Plum Barbecue sauce (I used F&W - Fischer & Wieser Hot Plum Chipotle Sauce for brushing

Marinate the duck breasts in the first 4 ingredients for 4 hours. Place in pan half filled with hot water (bain marie) on rack.  Brush the duck generously with the Hot Plum Chipotle Sauce or Plum Barbecue sauce.  Bake for 20-25 minutes in preheated 350 degrees F oven.  Remove and let sit for 30 minutes before slicing.

Pictured above 4 duck breasts served

Garnish or Accompaniment uses 1 bunch of chopped scallions and 1-1/2 inch peeled and shaved ginger sauteed in safflower oil seasoned with sea salt generously.  I cooked this in a small saucier pot as pictured. 
Can be served as dinner with rice on the side and Siracha sauce on top of the rice.  Above, served with salad and the ginger scallion condiment.
We used left over slider buns or hot dog buns to make sandwiches.
The sandwich had siracha, cilantro, the scallion-ginger condiment, pickled relish - mayonnaise is optional.
Try it, we loved it!!