Bouchon Bakery


10 Columbus Circle, New York, NY

Phone: 212-823-9364

After a disappointing lunch at Marlow & Sons, Gan and I were just driving aimlessly in the city, thinking of the next thing to eat. For some reasons, Gan just kept driving uptown and before we knew it, we were arriving near the Time Warner Building. Perhaps unconsciously we were both gravitated towards getting some goodies from Bouchon Bakery. But more amazingly, we managed to get a free parking right next to the building almost as soon as we arrived there!

In case you didn't know, Per Se and Bouchon Bakery actually shares the same pastry kitchen so it's the same people making the pastries for both Per Se and Bouchon Bakery. There are three Bouchon Bakeries in the country; the original Bouchon Bakery is located in Thomas Keller's "headquarter" in Yountville CA (a few blocks away from French Laundry), and another one at the Venetian Hotel in Las Vegas. I still vividly remember the taste of hand crafted chocolate candies and nougats Per Se restaurant gave me for my birthday after dining there. To me, Bouchon Bakery is by far the best French Bakery in the city; the pastries there are as good as those I had at Laduree and Stohrer in Paris.

Gan and I decided to have the caramel apple, muffin, madeleines, fig and pistachio macarons and granola parfait to go since the seating area was quite packed. We just ate the caramel apple while watching Yankee-Angels game at home, and decided to save our macarons and the rest of the goodies for breakfast and tea time tomorrow. It's gonna be a good day!

Bouchon Bakery's Foie Gras Dog Biscuits for your four legged friend, anyone?

I almost wanted to order everything. I really wanted the doughnuts, croissant, coffee cake, bow tie, etc......

cookies, tarts, macarons...

Hello fig and pistachio macarons!

I love caramel apple, but this was just ok. I thought the apple wasn't crunchy enough.

Bouchon Bakery on Urbanspoon

Pair like a Pro: French Connection @ The Standard


I've always thought New York City Wine & Food Festival presented by Food & Wine magazine and Travel & Leisure magazine was the sister event of Food & Wine Classic Aspen, but it's actually the sister event of Food Network South Beach Wine & Food Festival. New York City Wine & Food festival was founded to benefit hunger relief organizations like Food Bank for New York City and Share our Strength. And even though the festival was just two year old, it's been able to attract some of the most famous chefs/food tv personalities. Looking at the festival's website, it's hard not to notice the star-studded lineup -- Daniel Boulud, Tom Colicchio, Anthony Bourdain, David Chang, Alain Ducasse were some of the well known chefs who took part in this year's festival.

If you happened to be around meatpacking district or Dumbo area on Oct 8-11, you probably noticed the areas were literally transformed into a food wonderland filled Foodies and food enthusiasts from everywhere. Tickets to the individual events can be purchased in advance, and there's an overwhelming selection of events to choose from: culinary demonstration by famous chefs, sushi rolling class, wine pairing class, dinner with famous chefs etc. I wasn't planning to attend any of the event this year (or last year) because the tickets were pretty expensive. But since my friend Wenwen won a pair of tickets from serious eats to attend Dovetail's John Fraser and master sommelier Andrea Robinson's "Pair like a pro: French Connection" event in the Standard Hotel, I finally got a chance to check it out.

Our event was on Oct 11, a Sunday afternoon and I arrived a little late on the day of the event because of delayed service at Path Train (Yes I know, no excuse). Fortunately, I only missed the introduction and Andrea Robinson was just starting to explain the types of wine when I walked in (she picked a total of 6 different wine). Throughout the event, we tasted 5 different bite size dishes on the tasting plate prepared by Dovetail's Chef/owner John Fraser paired with the wine Andrea picked.

I really loved all the wine Andrea Robinson had chosen for us; It was one of the best Riesling, Sauvignon Blanc, Pinot Noir, Merlot and Syrah that I have tried. The always reliable Albrecht Gran Cru Riesling Pfingtsberg 2004 and Chateau La Louviere Blanc matched especially well with Chef Fraser's wonderfully prepared oysters with grapefruit and sunchokes, and shrimp sausage with cardamon and sour cherries. And the Pinot Noir, Etienne Sauzet Cahssagne-Montrachet 2007 complemented Chef Fraser's beef cheek lasagna and casoulet croquette perfectly. The casoulet croquette, which was made with four types of pork: guanciale, panchetta, baby pig's leg and bacon was just plain amazing.

Wine pairing is definitely an art that will take me a long time to learn and acquire. I didn't expect to be an expert after attending this event, nevertheless, I did learn that successful wine pairing is about complementing food with flavors, texture, body and acidity of the wine. Also, this events confirms that red with red and white with white do not always work since it also depends on the way the food was cook (ie. type of sauce, seasoning, spices). Sounds complicated right? It is. I think I'll just leave it to the sommelier to pick my wine next time I dine at a restaurant.

Master Sommelier Andrea Robinson

Chef John Fraser

Wenwen and myself at the event

Lucinda Burrito & Taco Truck


: Parked daily on Hudson @ York in Jersey City

Phone: 201-484-0566

I have been going to Lucinda for its fish tacos and grilled skirt steak tacos for sometime now. It used to be two ladies cooking at Lucinda Truck but the new owners are now Chris and Natasha. Equally nice, and tacos are equally good. The fish and grilled skirt steak tacos there are delicious but small, so be sure to order two if you are hungry. It usually takes some time to cook the tacos so call ahead so you don't have to wait too long. Lucinda's chips, salsa and guacamole is also awesome, but I haven't seen it on the menu for a long time! Maybe it's time to bring it back? :)

Owner Chris and Natasha



60 3rd Avenue, New York, NY

Phone: 212-254-0888

Despite the recent buzz, Apiary was actually opened in fall of 2008 by Jenny Moon (who used to worked as an executive assistant to Chef Daniel Boulud) and two partners from Ligne Roset, who were responsible for the lovely decor at the restaurant. At that time, a veteran NYC Chef, Neil Manacle, who used to be Bobby Flay's sidekick and ran three of Flay's restaurant was hired as the executive chef. It was said that the food at Apiary under Neil Manacle was inconsistent and diners were more intrigued by the restaurant's interior than the food. So that probably explains why I only took notice of Apiary after Scott Bryan from Veritas replaced Neil Manacle in Spring of 09 and I guess so did many other fans of Scott Bryan.

Apiary restaurant, despite its name, has nothing to do with bee yard and anything bee related. It's just a neighborhood restaurant that emphasizes on good, simple, seasonal American food created by chef Scott Bryan. A bunch of us went there during restaurant week to take advantage of the restaurant week menu, but I just recently found out that the restaurant is now offering $35 three course prix fixe menu Sunday through Thursday, and Monday is "No Corkage" night.
When I ate there, I was really impressed by the Tuscan mushroom soup, it was hearty and the parmesan and mushroom soup combination was delightful. The rest of the appetizers, diver scallops and hamachi crudo were also crowd pleaser, and everyone was looking forward to main dish after those impressive appetizers. I ordered roasted organic chicken since I wanted to see how good Apiary cooks chicken. It was actually not bad, pretty juicy, but I would only ranked it the third best roasted chicken after Nougatine and Locande Verde since the meat at these places were more flavorful then Apiary's. The skate was cooked well, but I wasn't crazy about the smoked bacon razor clam chowder and fish combination, it was a little heavy for me. Regrettably, I didn't pay too much attention to the amazing vanilla panna cotta dessert that I had ordered. I was actually too distracted by the appearance of Scott Conant of Scarpetta at the restaurant, and was trying the whole time to get good shots of the "Scotts" across the dining room. But Gan and other my friends who ate there that night would tell you that they thoroughly enjoyed the dishes at Apiary.

It's been a while since I was at Apiary and I wonder how the restaurant is doing now. But I believe they'll be fine they now have the right chef, the right food at the right price, a successful combination that will make it work this time. Needless to say, I will be back to Apiary next time for more good food. Just pray that no one famous (like Anthony Bourdain) walks in again and distract me from the food!

Diver Sea Scallops with eggplant caviar, chorizo oil, upland pepper cres

Hamachi Crudo with avocado, hearts of palm, jalapeno

Tuscan Mushroom Soup with sour dough croutons, parmesan

Atlantic Skate with smoked bacon razor clam chowder, corn, tarragon

Roasted Organic Chicken with mascarpone polenta, spring peas, carrots, tarragon jus

Confit of Duck Leg with parsnip puree, caramelized endive

vanilla panna cotta

Apiary on Urbanspoon