brunch @ Annabel (NYC, US)

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Annabel is the perfect place for a late-brunch with friends because PIZZA. Seriously, this gruyere, applewood bacon, eggs, brussels, chili flakes is one of the BEST PIZZAS I’ve had to date! The vibe of this neighborhood restaurant was fantastic and the pizza portions were generous. I was feeling pretty good at two slices but had to eat a third because IT WAS JUST THAT GOOD. So given that I ate half a pizza by myself (don’t judge me until you try this pizza), I recommend that if you come to Annabel, split the pizza with a friend to avoid having leftovers 🙂

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Caffe’ dei Fiori (NYC, US)

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Phil and I celebrated Valentine’s Day this year with a dinner at Caffe’ dei Fiori on the Upper East Side of Manhattan. The atmosphere was romantic with a rose & lit candle at every table; and I also appreciated the cute touch that the restaurant put in sprinkling adorable Valentine themed confetti on the table! The food was great, especially the duck breast, and our waiter was attentive but not overly so. My only complaint was the distance (or almost lack of) between the tables, especially on Valentine’s Day when most couples are hoping for some space and intimacy!

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banana bread

Baking is a great way to take a break from studying and fill up your home with that home-sweet-home comforting banana bread smell~ Plus, it’s a little reward to yourself that you can look forward to after powering through that extra hour!   Continue reading

Narcissa (NYC, USA)

Brunch at Narcissa ranks up there as one of the best brunches I’ve had in NYC! It is owned by André Balazs and Michelin-starred chef John Fraser. The interior environment of the restaurant was amiable and inviting (even during this wintry month!) with warm wood and sunlit interiors thanks to the large windows overlooking the restaurant’s private garden. 10/10 would dine again!

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Sakagura (NYC, US)

Established in 1996, Sakagura has been a pioneer in introducing New Yorkers to the world of sake. We continue to be one of the top sake bars in the United States, attracting countless sake lovers from around the world. Our one-of-a-kind menu consists of over 200 kinds of carefully selected sakes, authentic tapas-style Japanese dishes, and homemade desserts. We are known for being a “hidden jewel” of Manhattan also because of our unique and hidden location. Come find us and transport yourself to Tokyo.

– Read more here

 By hidden, they are not kidding! You will find Sakagura at the basement level of an office building in Midtown that I walked past twice before entering. One of my close friends of 10 years treated me to a delicious dinner here to kick-off my birthday week! Two new table neighbors and almost 3 hours later, we walked out as happy as two girls who ate their way through the menu could be – aka, very happy 😛

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spaghetti squash w/ turkey meatballs

After a long day on my feet in my school’s kitchen cooking family meal for everyone in the building, what do I do when I finally get home? I head back into the kitchen! I think this is just another example that goes to show that cooking really is my passion because when I get into the rhythm of transforming the food from raw ingredients into a delicious meal, all the exhaustion and worries of the day just fades away. It’s just me, my 5 senses, and the food. Into the marinara sauce I also threw in some finely slices jalapeños and torn basil to jazz it up!

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Ingredients:

For the Spaghetti Squash:

  • 1 medium spaghetti squash

For the Turkey Meatballs:

  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1/2 cup fine breadcrumbs
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1/4 cup finely minced parsley
  • 1 pound ground turkey
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped yellow onion
  • 1 clove garlic, minced

Preparation:

For the Spaghetti Squash:

  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit
  2. Cut the squash in half length-wise
  3. Scoop out the seeds and save them if you want to roast them as a snack later (Check out this delicious honey chili roasted squash seeds recipe!)
  4. Grab a roasting pan to place the two squash halves face down on and add in a little bit of water to cover the bottom
  5. When the oven is ready, cook the squash for 30 minutes before checking it to see if you need to live it in longer. The squash is done when you can easily pierce a fork through the flesh. Leave it in for another 15 minutes if the squash isn’t ready yet.
  6. Take the squash out and use a fork to scrape out the flesh (in the direction that it grows!) into spaghetti strands

For the Turkey Meatballs:

  1. Combine the milk and breadcrumbs in a small bowl and set aside.
  2. Whisk the egg, salt, pepper, Parmesan, and parsley in a large bowl until blended.
  3. Add the pound of ground meat to the egg mixture.
  4. Add the prepared onions, garlic, and now soaked breadcrumbs to the large bowl with the meat and egg mixture.
  5. Mix all of the ingredients in the large bowl together thoroughly, pinching the meat between your fingers.
  6. Pinch off pieces of the meat mixture and roll it between your hand to form 1 to 1.5 inch meatballs. Continue doing this until all the meat is rolled.
  7. Bring a large pan of marinara sauce to simmer and add in as many meatballs as will comfortably fit. Cover and simmer for 30-35 minutes until the meatballs are cooked.

delicious tomato, onion & cheese omelette

On the days when you wake up too late for breakfast and it’s almost lunch time, but you still kind of want your breakfast – omelettes are the way to go! Working with the ingredients I have in the fridge, here is a super simple but delicious tomato, onion & cheese omelette:

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