Manhattan Cocktail Classic: Tickets on Sale NOW!

Twenty-five thousand cocktails, elegance, big band sounds, festive fare...for five days in May experience the industry’s cutting edge. Head to the website right now! (I just checked it and 16 of the 45 events have already sold out.) Opening night at the New York Public Library is the ultimate New York party, and a night you will never forget. Start shopping for your outfit...look forward to seeing you there! Other highlights: cocktail-pairing dinner by Chef Eric Ripert; a hands-on mixology class at Huckleberry Bar; a celebration of Grand Central Terminal’s 100th anniversary at The Campbell Apartment; afternoon pairing chocolates and cocktails; a Tiki safari; a bar crawl; a bus tour; countless seminars and hands-on workshops at some of NYC’s most heralded watering holes. May 17 – 21, see schedule of events and buy tickets here.

Jeepney: Handle Your Food

Been wanting to get to Jeepney since it opened, so when I heard about their Kamayan “eat-with-your-hands” Night I promptly made a reservation. I love eating with my hands normally, so being able to break this dining taboo in public was immensely pleasureable. Here’s how it works: the four of us ordered our dinner a day before—it was difficult to choose two appetizers and three entrees from the selections. To start, the Warm Pinkabet Salad sounded (and was) amazing: roasted kabocha squash, eggplant, steamed long beans topped with bagoong broth and chicharron (fermented shrimp sauce and pork rinds). Our second appetizer were the Lumpiang Shanghai, which are cute little cigar-type rolls stuffed with beef or pork, carrots, water chestnuts and wrapped in rice paper. (Dip these in the spicy sweet sauce on the table) For our entrees we had Bicol Express, a slow roasted pork shoulder in tasty coconut milk, bagoong, with a side of vigan longganisa (sweet sausage); the Gulay na Galing sa Palengke, steamed market vegetables; and the pièce de résistance: Adobong Hipon: head-on shrimp topped in an intoxicating sauce. The shrimp were perfectly cooked, and quite succulent. You cannot finish this! Three of us went home with hefty portions. And I did enjoy the sausage in an omelette the next day. See details in photos below and do plan to stop in for the finger feast (on Thurdays only) or for thier other tweaked Filipino comfort offerings.

This Filipino gastro-pub was packed with aficianados at 6:30, and remained buzzing until we left.

There are front and back dining sections...

 love the metal wraparound on the kitchen, which leads to the back...

mural continued...
 Kamayan service begins with a layer of jasmine rice.
 The Warm Pinkabet Salad is the first to top the rice.

Bicol Express countered at the other end.

Our feast awaits...
 Nice hot towels to wipe our hands started the meal.
Jen puts hers to work.

 Owner Noel demonstrates the proper way to partake...
the rice is molded into a shape, then attached to whatever else you you would like to eat.
Pimpila tried the rice pancake...

Adobong Hipon: the shrimp sauce is poured on top, things got a little messy after this!

Dessert: Halo, Halo (mix, mix) featured an ice cream made from purple yams, shaved ice, evaporated milk, with mixed fruit and beans, topped with rice krispies. Light and sweet, perfect accompaniment to the meal.

Pimpila agrees...

Owners Enzo Lim and Nicole Ponseca. Keep up the creativity and warm vibe!

Second Annual Japan Week at Grand Central

Grand Central Terminal welcomes all that is Japanese at this festive event. From March 19 –21 experience culinary delicacies and traditions like: the Pop-Up Bar, featuring JIZAKE, a special sake produced by small brewers, plus 89 other sakes and SHOCHU shots (buy tickets at this link); taste the many regions of Japan in the EKIBEN bento boxes; view a geisha make-up demonstration by a master; and much much more. Photos below, from Japan Week’s website show just a sampling of the delights on hand, check the schedule here.

The signature bento box from Kyotofu: 2 mini tofu burgers, matcha chasoba, house-made pickled daikon, house-made taro chips, matcha financiers, and Sakura brownie (not shown) Photo by Shiho Fukuda.
 TAKOYAKI has been famous in Osaka since the early 1930’s. Invented by a street vendor who was inspired by a dumpling made of an egg batter and octopus. Osaka has a takoyaki shop at nearly every corner and the competition between them is very strong.
ZUNDA MOCHI From the Tohoku region, young edamame beans are blanched, shelled and then ground into a chunky paste, sweetened with sugar and a little salt and used as a topping on the rice cakes.

St Patrick’s Day: The Greening of NYC

If you plan on having one (or a few) drinks to celebrate, but are looking to cut some calories, grab some Polar Seltzer to add luscious flavors and bubbles without sugar, sodium or carbs. Since 1901 Polar has been run and owned by the Crowley family, whose business involved selling spirits along with the mixers. Polar seltzer starts with triple-filtered water, adds extracted flavors and aromas from the real thing— lemon peel, vanilla beans, mint leaves— and finishes with lots of tiny bubbles shot into the water at almost freezing temperatures. There are a bunch of flavors to choose from: original, lemon, lime, cranberry lime, raspberry lime, vanilla, orange vanilla, black cherry, granny smith apple, pomegranate, cherry pomegranate, ruby red grapefruit, mandarin, Georgia peach, strawberry, blueberry, triple berry. Add any one of these to a gin or vodka, and, voila!, you’ve got a low-cal drink. In honor of St Patrick’s Day, have the cocktail or pretty dessert cocktail below. Bottles available in NYC at Fairway, Morton Williams, Gristedes, Gourmet Garage, Shoprite, and other places.

35 ml (your favorite Irish) whiskey
10 ml apple schnapps
25 ml unfiltered apple juice
10 ml lime juice
pinch of cinnamon
Polar® Granny Smith Apple Seltzer to taste
Granny Smith Apple, sliced thin for garnish
Combine all ingredients into cocktail shaker, add ice. Swirl to chill. Strain into a rocks glass over quality ice. Garnish with apple slices

Creme de Menthe
vanilla ice cream
Polar® Vanilla Seltzer
Add a generous amount of Creme de Menthe to the bottom of a goblet. Add one scoop of ice cream and then slowly top with Polar Seltzer.