Monday, December 29, 2008

back from europe!

My last stint exploring Europe in 2003 as a starving student must have left a mark on my psyche because this time around, I felt compelled to make up for lost time by eating and drinking up a storm. Some unfortunate victims of my voracious appetite include:

1. An unwitting wild boar from the sweeping hills of Chianti that ended up entangled in my pappardelle

2. Rudolph and perhaps Prancer, when I gorged on reindeer twice while in Helsinki

3. An elk served up in the style of an opulent Russian feast at a restaurant in Helsinki

4. Rainbow trout roe that for a moment made me feel like the evil fish that ate Nemo's siblings ... but once I bit into the scrumptious concoction of toast, smetana, caviar and onions, I lost all sympathy. No decent picture of this dish, unfortunately, but the explosive taste is etched in my mind and will cause countless cravings for months to come.

More musings of Europe to follow. For now I've to buckle down and finish up this website I'm working on as I am starting 2009 with a fresh new job at another division! Later bellas!

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Signing off for now ...

On my European trip now and it's a little too complicated to upload pics and post so I am on a blogging hiatus until December 28, when my sad little self will have to fly back to New York and go back to the saltmines. Until then, I will gorge on sumptuous Italian food and wine here in Firenze (and I guess some wild salmon, vodka and um, reindeer, in Helsinki) and I'll dish all about it when I get back. Happy holidays to all! Ciao bellas!

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Waxing Poetic

Before I begin, if any of my guy friends who click on the blog when they're bored are reading this post, I suggest you stop reading now. NOT content that you would enjoy.

And so I begin. This is an ode my Romanian waxer, Elizabeth. I hadn't gone to her since my days of studenying at FIT. When I moved to the Upper East, the W. 39th Street location of Elite Day Spa became geographically undesirable. For the last year, I suffered through painful (on the pocket) waxes at Maria Bonita in Nolita and at-times-excruciating (literally) sessions at random places surrounding my apartment. But because I'm running out of time to do my errands before I leave for Europe tomorrow, I had to think of a way to pencil in a wax today during my lunch break (gotta be prepared for those Finnish saunas, y'know). It dawned on me that Elite Day Spa is just about a 15 minute walk from where I work! By the time Elizabeth was done, I was left thinking, "How could I have left my bikini line in anyone else's hands?" Elizabeth is phenomenal—super fast and clean. It only hurt (and not even that much) when she pulled, but by the time I walked out of the door I felt no stinging and tenderness. Plus, you get a great Brazilian for just $34.50! So worth it. I'm never entrusting my bootie to anyone else!

Where: Elite Day Spa is located at 24 W. 39th St. between 5th and 6th Avenues, New York, NY (It's around the corner from Lord & Taylor). Phone (212) 730-2100 for an appointment.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Too good to be true ...

It had so much promise, but unfortunately this is one bra I need to get off my chest. I excitedly ripped into my package today and rushed to try my Maidenform backless bra only to end up wallowing in utter disappointment. It totally didn't work for me. It's probably a sizing issue but I picked the smallest bra so there's nothing else I can do really. Oh so sad ... it's back to the drawing board for me ...

Monday, December 08, 2008

Cozy up in my dreams ...

Saks is having a cold weather sale with designer coats, scarves, gloves and hats at up to 50% off. A few drool-worthy pieces (that I still can't afford) at drastically reduced prices:

I love this twill cape trenchcoat by Brian Reyes, which is down to $1197 from its retail price of $1995. It is just so chic and the styling possibilities are numerous with this coat. *Drool*

And instead of those fuzzy Mongolian wool vests, how about this luscious mink vest by Elie Tahari? Ok I know it's not quite as affordable but the price has been slashed from $4500 to $1349.95. Yeah that's still rent money for me, but a girl can dream (or go into credit card debt) right?

how to ... avoid subsisting on top ramen

Image from

With our Euro trip just 4 days away (!!!) and the economy in shambles, I've been doing a lot of cooking and eating in the past couple of weeks. I've developed what I hope is a healthy addiction to aglio olio, which sounds, looks and tastes impressive but just might be the Italians' answer to the Top Ramen diet. Everytime I spend on something over my budget, I say, "I guess I'll have to subsist on Top Ramen for a few months!" But dear god, have you eaten that stuff? I bought one of those huge packs 5 months ago and have only had 2 servings. Aglio olio is so much easier to swallow and all you need are pretty basic ingredients: pasta, olive oil, garlic, crushed red pepper flakes, and some freshly grated parmesan and chopped up parsley to garnish. Stuff you'd most likely already have at home—but if you need to buy anything, it's not likely to set you back more than $10. Another quick and easy fave is cacio e pepe, except I don't want to bother buying pecorino romano. Anyway, for those looking for easy and uber cheap ways to get them through the financial crisis inflected holidays, here are recipes that's cost little but taste TONS better than your top ramen:

Agio Olio care of the Food Network and Cacio e Pepe via Epicurious

Friday, December 05, 2008

Topshop vs. Balmain

I wonder if the economic downturn has anything to do with the delay in the opening of Topshop's store in Soho. I hate waiting! In the meantime, thank god the Topshop US website has been up for some months now. It makes the wait a little less excruciating. I was trolling the site today and found pieces quite reminiscent of Balmain's Spring '09 collection for a fraction of the price.

Being an 80s kid, I never thought I'd say the words "love" and "acid wash" in the same sentence again but here goes: I love Topshop's acid wash skinnies ($85)! I love the devil-may-care attitude they evoke, plus they would look so amazing distressed. I am also crushing on this plaid motorcyle jacket for just $90 with lines similar to that of Balmain's gorgeous leather jacket. A D.I.P. knot dress for $100 coupled with an intricately beaded Gothic collar (a whopping $120) will also evoke a Balmain-esque vibe without being a straightforward rip-off.

And yes, I had a bit too much time on my hands today to make a collage.

Thursday, December 04, 2008

Smoke Out

I am love-love-LOVING the blacked out eyes seen on the Roberto Cavalli Spring '09. So sexy. gives a step-by-step tutorial on achieving the look the Pat McGrath way, which involves layers of black eyeliner, black cream shadow, black shadow and lots of black volumizing mascara, of course. I'd feel compelled to try it had I not spied a cheat sheet on one of my favorite blogs, That's Chic. Raych's version involves black liner and lip balm, which ups my chances of succeeding considerably. We'll see how it goes ...

Need to get your drink on?

This is definitely high on my list of favorite websites now: Coovents shows you what happy hours are ongoing in New York at any given time.

One cool discovery via Coovents: $10 manicure + martini at Beauty Bar from 6-11pm, Monday to Friday. Judging from photos on the website, the place isn't super swank. But neither is my manicure place round the corner, and they don't spring for water much less free alchie. Must try this one!

PS: There are also Beauty Bars in San Francisco, Austin, Los Angeles and Las Vegas. Get the deets on their website.

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

Secret's Out

Eating a huge bowl of spaghetti bolognese before watching the Victoria's Secret show on CBS was not the smartest decision I've made all day. The whole wheat pasta grew heavier in my belly with every lean and ridiculously curvaceous glamazon that walked down the runway. Why did I quit my gym membership again? Oh, cos no amount of cardio and pushups can give me Miranda Kerr's boobage.

In any case, the show was fun to watch as always. I can imagine this is the most fun show to do for models because they get to stomp down the runway like rockstars. My favorite look was the ender for the Pink segment, worn by Flavia de Oliveira. So fun! I'd wear most of these items, though probably separately!

Bringing Sexy Back

I've lately been appreciating the sheer sexiness of a backless dress. I bought one on impulse last Sunday at Forever 21 (photo coming soon) and today I am smitten with this Silence & Noise tunic from Urban Outfitters:

I am more into the idea because I believe I may have found the elusive perfect backless bra. The idea was conceived on ABC's show American Inventor, and manufactured for the masses by Maidenform. I ordered mine on their website yesterday. Will keep you updated on how it works!

Death to the It Bag

I don't know why I now find the LV monogram bags so offensive. Maybe it has to do with the fact that because I live on the fringe of the Upper East close to Midtown, I tend to see at least 5 LV Speedys every single day. I am so over the damn logos. When I saw this new LV cruise collection bag called the Galliera Riviera, however, I actually thought, "Oh cute" for a second. And then I saw the price tag: $1,940. For a freakin canvas bag. Are you kidding me? I don't care if it took 15 separate applications of color to make this design. It's still a print and it's still on canvas. I am utterly offended by the price tag.

To anyone even considering forking over an amount equating to decent NY rent money for a canvas bag, please read this tidbit on the New York magazine website. Please.

Battle of the Soup Dumplings

The golden standard: Joe's Shanghai crab and soup dumplings

Buddakan's General Tso's Dumplings

If I could subsist on one dish, it could quite possibly be Joe's Shanghai's crab and pork soup dumplings. There is nothing more satisfying than slurping up the piping hot savory soup seasoned with a splash of soy sauce and ginger, then biting into the juicy crab and pork filling. Heaven.

So I've long been curious about how Buddakan's very own soup dumplings measure up. I never considered that the haute version would dethrone my favorite, but was curious nonetheless about how elite chefs would interpret the Chinatown gem. As most would guess, the haute interpretation is smaller and more expensive. At Joe's Shanghai, you get 8 fat dumplings for the price of $6.65. At Buddakan, you get 5 sad looking ones for $11. That's understandable since Buddakan obviously has a much, much, much higher overhead with its opulent interiors and top notch service--versus Joe's Shanghai's economical seating where 4 couples share one round table, and servers slam dishes down in front of you in haphazard fashion. As far as taste goes, Buddakan thankfully did not try to mimic the taste of Joe's Shanghai's dumplings. Their General Tso's Dumplings uses chicken seasoned with garlic and ginger as its filling. The soup is rather tart--something like what the broth at Joe's Shanghai might taste like after being heavily seasoned with the soy sauce concoction. Sonu and I agreed that we prefer being able to control the seasoning in our dumpling as this was a tad too cloying. I also thought that Buddakan should consider giving their customers spoons when they order soup dumplings. I am an expert soup dumpling eater so I knew to ask for spoons to catch the soup dripping from the dumplings, but I cringe to think how other patrons would fare with just chopsticks and forks. Final verdict: Buddakan makes a decent soup dumpling, but I will not be craving for them anytime in this lifetime.

Dessert, however, is another matter. Buddakan's Crying Chocolate totally trumps Joe's Shanghai's free orange slices. The chocolate cake breaks to reveal thick chocolate ganache that is simply to die for. One bite of the scumptious chocolate topped with a swipe of coffee ice cream, Buddakan just may inch out Joe's Shanghai a wee bit in your foodie dreams.

Suggested itinerary: start the evening at Joe's Shanghai for a hearty and extremely easy on the pocket dinner (save the money for alchie, I always say). Then, go for a nightcap at Buddakan and enjoy their yummy prosecco cocktails and to-die-for desserts. Tough times call for judicious spending!

Where: Joe's Shanghai is located at Pell Street between Doyers and Bowery, as well as at West 56th Street between 5th and 6th Avenues. Buddakan is located at 9th Avenue between 15th and 16th Streets.

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

The Gossip Girls were out tonight

Why must Serena's chichis be completely out there in every freakin episode? A couple of weeks ago, my friend Ludette and I were talking about how Serena is dressed way too provocatively this season. She's running around in slips, wearing too short skirts during Thanksgiving, and just letting the girls hang out all the freakin time. The memorable Herve Leger dress looked slamming on her but I was shocked to see that Jenna Jameson wore the same dress in a classier manner by keeping it at a chic knee-length. Note to stylists: when Jenna Jameson looks classier than your charge, you've got a problem.

PS: Did anyone notice that it was Olympic gold medalist Nastia Liukin chatting up Chuck at the ball? You know, the one Blair shooed away. I didn't realize it til I looked at the pics on the CW site. Odd cameo.
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...