Posts in eats
alaya's : herbal water

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I'm so rarely into flavored water but Alaya's Herbal Water flavors are so good! -- just like a refreshing herbal tea, but with more clarity and lightness. And it's the first certified organic flavored wate. I just tried the Lavender mint with ingredients of filtered mineral water, and organic extracts of lavender, spearmint, lemon grass and thyme leaves.

Shop online or look for a local place to buy. Still and bubbly varieties available.




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spring dinner { part 4 of 5 } : the meal by michael stuart NY

This was SUCH a good meal by Michael Stuart NY. And a really fun experience. The "Ode to Salt" was a nine course tasting menu. Each course was a small and delectable treat, accompanied by a distinct salt pairing, which we sprinkled onto the bite ourselves. It was interactive, educational and so so so so delicious.

More beautiful images by Jen Huang.

Passed hors d'oeuvres were served on salt slabs.

Shell Co served yummy mini doughnuts and cake pops for dessert.

All photographs by Jen Huang.

pretty eggs : a spring tradition

Of course, there's the oldie but goodie, Ukranian painted eggs, "Pysanka." The word pysanka is based on the word to write, since the patterns are written onto the egg in wax.

Very cool neon dip-dyed eggs by Oh Joy!.

And in beautiful contrast, these naturally dyed eggs from Door to Door Organics.

And in another natural twist from The Inspired Room, I like the idea of using new leaves to create a dyed design. Find the instructions here.

wythe hotel : williamsburg, brooklyn

The Wythe Hotel opens May 1st. It is a new space built out of an old waterfront factory in Brooklyn and is a project from the geniuses behind Marlow & Sons, Diner, Marlow & Daughters and Romans. I'm excited!

The rooms feature 13' high ceilings, custom beds made from the building's reclaimed ceiling pine, custom made Flavor Paper wallpaper and Common Good bath products. The hotel will also have a new restaurant, Reynards, a screening room and a roof-top bar. Can't wait to check it out.


tales of a coffee rookie : half is the new whole?

Some of you know that after a seven-year hiatus, I've returned to coffee. I'm back. And I'm giddy about it.

However, navigating the current coffee world is a challenge I feel unprepared for. The only thing I can compare it to is as though I was last dating at age 13 before cell phones and internet and adolescence, and am now back on the scene trying to apply those rules to 30-something's. I'm shy. I'm hesitant. And things really have changed.

What better place to practice than Portland and at the moment, I'm staying just a couple blocks from Stumptown Coffee's Belmont Street location. Cozy and inviting for most, intimidating for me. But feeling ever so determined, I set out on Friday to order my very first Americano.

Since getting back on the wagon in January, I've only ordered cappuccinos. Baby steps. The last time I was drinking coffee every day, it was a matter of bodega vs Starbucks and maybe a cappuccino on a special occasion after dinner. But I've gathered that these days, we are to be drinking special coffees, special names, special standards, special preferences.

Observing my friends order Americanos indicated that it would be a less rich option. So I went for it last week and cautiously requested one at Stumptown. No reactions or tricky questions from the barista, I felt a sense of relief. He prepared a 12 ounce for me and pointed to the counter when I requested milk with it.

This is where things went downhill.

Alone on the counter sat a carafe of half-and-half and soy milk. I was perplexed. I'd never been one to half-and-half my coffee before. I stood there, unsure and likely furrowed, and turned to the guys to ask if they had any regular milk. Bad feeling kicked in. There must be a reason that it's not out there to begin with. Bad feeling confirmed when he politely said, Sure, and passed me the plastic jug of whole milk, clearly not intended for use by customers. I knew I'd blown my cover as a casual expert.

I can't go through this without support, so after sheepishly pouring my milk and running out, I called my friend and connesieur Amanda, who gently confirmed my deviance --- yes, half-and-half is what's intended. She reassured me that some people do ask for milk and that it's accepted, while not encouraged. And she was right. The espresso with water would have really benefited from a smoothing element of cream.

(Images via FlickSpin)

making japchae : a favorite korean dish

This is the start of one of my favorite Korean dishes, japchea (pronounced like "chop-che"), a mild noodle dish packed with veggies and beef.

I documented the recent preparation of a big batch -- really helps to work with a giant bowl -- so you can get a sense of the steps. And here's a good recipe. It's not too tricky, but a bit time consuming since all the veggies need to be precooked and chopped before mixed in with the Vermicelli noodles. Mix all that in with soy sauce, sesame oil, sugar, and sesame seeds and serve room temp. So so delicious!