Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Spot Dessert Bar: An Exercise in Gluttony

Smoked coconut cheesecake
Smoked coconut cheesecake

I think I have to start this off with a story about my friend B, whose birthday was the cause for this giant sugar glut. B used to sit next to me at work, and I have no doubt I drove him insane for the year or two we sat together, with my constant muttering and cursing. Anyway, one year for his birthday, we decided to mess with his desk--and by mess with his desk, I mean we printed out about 100 pictures of David Hasselhoff and plastered his cubicle with them. Anyway, so I had missed his birthday proper as we were in HK, and we had this conversation when I came back:
Me: So, we should go celebrate your birthday!
B: Yeah, let's go eat dessert.
Me: Just dessert? I mean, we can go to dinner first and then have dessert? Or a drink and then dessert?
Me: Are you sure? Not even a drink?

White Miso Semifreddo
White miso semifreddo

Dessert it was! Our original plan was to go to Chikalicious and then to Spot Dessert Bar for a bit of a dessert crawl, but Chikalicious wasn't open the day we were going. In hindsight, this turned out to be a good thing, because I am sure I would have died from sugar overload had we gone to both places! Spot is on St. Marks Pl, an area of the city that I no longer spend much time in, so at first I was just surprised to see all the changes (glad to see Trash and Vaudeville at least is still hanging on, though). Spot is a cute little place, but man, get there early. We did (while everyone was eating dinner, I bet) so didn't have a problem getting a table, but by the time we left there was a line.

Yuzu Eskimo
Yuzu Eskimo

You can probably tell just from glancing at these photos that we had...a LOT of desserts. There's an "omakase" option on their menu, which apparently is 9 desserts--they have 8 on their menu, so one of the desserts you get two of. We thought with 9 desserts that they would be tasting-size portions, but no! We got 9 full size desserts! Eep! We also foolishly ordered drinks, and before we knew it, the parade of sugary deliciousness started to arrive.

Green Tearamisu

The top photo, the smoked coconut cheesecake was one of my favorites. Above is the green tea tiramisu, which I was quite skeptical about, but turned out to be pretty tasty.

Thai Tea Creme Brulee
This was one of my favorites in terms of presentation! How cute is this? It's a little flask of Thai tea served with the creme brulee. The creme brulee was a little bit of a let down; too eggy.

Another one of my favorites, although this doesn't seem to be on their website. I think it was a pumpkin spice cake of some kind, and my only regret was that at this point, I was way sugared out.

Chocolate Green Tea Lava
Sorry for the crap picture here; my hands were having the sugar shakes! We had two of these (B took the other one home, there was no way we were each eating an entire one.) Check out that green tea lava center! We were told that this is one of their most popular desserts, and I can see why.

And finally, a deconstructed soft cheesecake. Then we walked about 40 blocks, which did precisely nothing to assuage my sugar guilt.

Happy birthday, man! This post is dedicated to you. Next year...I expect a giant party. I'll bring the novelty cake.

Spot Dessert Bar
13 St. Marks Pl (between 2nd and 3rd Ave.)

*This conversation may or may not be a dramatization ;)

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Hong Kong-The Wandering and Non-Breakfast Edition

Photo by Py

I think I ranted about jet lag on the way home for a while in the previous post about Hong Kong--well, we were hit with some jet lag for the first few days after we had arrived in Hong Kong too! This led to some very early mornings (plus an epic mid-afternoon nap), which actually turned out to be a bit of a boon, because it gave us plenty of time to eat all of those breakfasts. And also, to go on walks that were free of giant tourist crowds. See? You would never get a picture of the Bruce Lee statue without a ton of other people's heads in it, except at 7 a.m. on a weekday.

Weekend crowd

This is what it normally looks like! We took a couple of walks along the promenade since our hotel was right near it. The views were pretty nice at night, when all the buildings were lit up.

The Fog

Not that we got to see much of that! Most of the time, it looked like this. Check out that fog, eh? Fog was kind of a theme on this trip.


Even this sign agrees!

Rain shelter

And look at this rain shelter--who needs a rain shelter? We needed a fog shelter. By the way, these two photos were taken out in Sai Kung, which is SO not like Hong Kong at all, that I can hardly believe it's still part of HK. I mean, there's jungle, for pete's sake! Anyway, I'll talk about Sai Kung a bit more in the next post.


Also near our hotel, we found these lanterns that were set up for Chinese New Year. Neat, huh? So, you might be wondering what we did besides eat macaroni soup for breakfast, wander around in the fog, and take pictures of funny signs. Well, the answer can be given in two words: shopping, eating. Holy smokes. I think pretty much every day, we went shopping. Note that this does not mean I bought something every day--actually there was a whole lot of browsing on my part. (But I didn't come away empty handed either!)

House of Small Potato

And shopping is very hungry making-sadly, we did not eat the House of Small Potato, but god do I love the name of this place.

Roasted Triples

Instead, we hit up places like Tai Hing, which specializes in HK style roasted meat. This was delicious. It was also Py's--I very dumbly ordered a toasted bun. I mean, it was a tasty toasted bun, but what the hell was I thinking? Fortunately, he shared.

Ling cha

My iced lemon tea was awesome, though. And we went to another branch of Tai Hing on another day, where I got my own plate of deliciousness. And also tried a red bean fleecy, which, hm was interesting...


On another night, we had an amazing dinner at Wooloomooloo, a steak house on the 21st floor of a mall near our hotel (malls in HK are different from the malls I'm used to back home--for one thing, they tend to have GREAT food!). The view would have been amazing had the night been clear, but the food was fabulous anyway. We started off with oysters and carpaccio, and finished with awesome steaks. Sorry for the not-awesome-photo--I wasn't keen on hauling my SLR around too much (which was true for most days, hence all the subpar phone photos. I regret it now, though!)

Drunky peanut

And when we weren't stuffing our faces, we were snacking on drunk peanuts!

@ Ned Kelly's Last Stand

That's probably what I looked like after I finished my enormous Hoegaarden.

Mango slush

Okay, well this is getting RIDICULOUSLY long, so I will just finish up with a bad picture of a delicious mango-tapioca-coconut slushy drink I got from Hui Lau Shan, a dessert chain with lots of locations all over HK. Mmm, mango drink. Stay tuned for our further adventures in HK!

Part 1 of our trip is here.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Woohoo, it's Pi(e) Day Again!

Concord grape pie

Actually, I have to admit--the idea of eating pie (or anything) right now is making me feel mildly ill. You see, I have just come home from Choice Eats, and my main feeling is that I never want to eat anything again. I AM SO FULL PEOPLE! Well, by tomorrow morning maybe I'll feel differently. After all, is it ever a bad time to eat pie? (Yes, immediately after Choice Eats.) (P.S.--it's tomorrow morning now. Nope, still too full to eat pie. Maybe for dinner tonight.)

Of course, it isn't actually Pie Day. It's Pi Day (3/14, get it?)--but pie is round, so you know, it kind of all fits together.


I was kind of stuck on what kind of pie to make this year--I just knew I was tired of apples! I basically just browsed around for a while, and even created a board of possibilities on Pinterest. (Wow, what a timesuck Pinterest is! Fun!) In the end, I went with Concord grape, since I still had a bag of them in my freezer, leftover from the CSA last summer. Path of least resistance, that's me.


The crust was my good old standby super flaky crust, except that I used white whole wheat flour instead of all purpose. The filling is really simple; about 5 cups of Concord grapes, 3/4 cup of sugar, nutmeg, and about 2 tablespoons of tapioca for thickening. (This was the first time using tapioca as a thickener, actually, but I liked the texture it gave the filling.) The most labor-intensive part of the process is getting the grapes ready; for some reason, all the recipes I've ever seen have you pinch the skins off the grapes and then cook the pulp separately. The pulp sure makes for an amazing color though!

baby pies

Ah, pies in the afternoon sunshine. Is there a happier sight? Even if you are still stuffed from Choice Eats? Happy Pi Day!

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Hong Kong-The Breakfast Edition


Well, howdy! It has been a VERY long time since I've posted, I know. We've been back from our trip to Hong Kong for a week now and I haven't been able to summon up the will to blog (or do much of anything, really). The jet lag is really killing me, I've been struggling to stay awake through work, coming home, and falling asleep at 6:30, then waking up in the middle of the night. Annoying! (And I have learned way more about late night TV than I ever thought I would.) So anyway, I finally uploaded the first 80ish photos from the trip on to Flickr, and thought I would kick things off with a post all about breakfast in HK.


But first, can I just show you a (crappy) picture of the atrium of our hotel? We stayed in the Royal Garden Hotel in Tsim Sha Tsui (on the Kowloon side) and aside from an amazing view of the harbor from our room, the hotel had this awesome atrium. And there were glass elevators! Too cool. Of course, the first thing we thought of when we saw this was High Anxiety (there may have been a few reenactments of the newspaper scene).

Milk Tea, hot

So, that first morning in HK, we were severely jet lagged and got a very early start to the day. And here is my first milk tea of the trip. Mmm, milk tea. (I relied on my phone to take a lot of pictures when I didn't feel like bringing out the giant dSLR, so some of these photos are sub-par. And now I regret having been so lazy. Hmph!)


Of course we couldn't just have tea for breakfast, and thus began our obsession with macaroni soup. This was at a cha chaan teng in Central, if I recall correctly. This is a pretty standard option for breakfast, and although it seemed like a weird concept at first, it was very soothing and tasty.

Fairwood breakfast

The macaroni breakfast set at Fairwood, which is a chain of cafeteria style fast food restaurants. You make your order with a cashier at the front of the restaurant, then walk to the back and hand your receipt over at the pick-up counter, where they put the orders together. Man, the speed of these workers is really something else. Anyway, this is the scrambled egg and toast set.

More macaroni soup!

Here's Py's version, which if I recall correctly was tomato flavored (and listed as Italian). He was just as enamored of macaroni soup as I was, and has been making it at home; if we're lucky, maybe he'll write a guest blog about his version. (HINT HINT!)

Yes, another macaroni soup breakfast

And another version; I think this one was at a place called A+ Kitchen, near our hotel. This one had a toasted bun instead of bread.

Delicious iced milk tea

And we had iced milk tea instead of hot. Mmmm, milk tea. Have I mentioned how much i love this stuff? WELL, I DO! It'll keep you going, and if it was available here, I'd never drink coffee again.

Satay noodle breakfast

Oh, look, a non-macaroni breakfast! Instant noodles are also popular for breakfast, and this was version was topped with satay beef.

Non-macaroni breakfast

And this was hands down the oddest breakfast I had the whole trip. We stopped in at a place with no English menu, so I just asked for the breakfast "set a" and this is what we got. Cold sliced bread (with the crusts cut off!) pre-buttered (margarined, actually), a sausage, some eggs, and a mystery piece of deep-fried meat with mayo. I think it was pork. This was not exactly my cup of tea, but I found it interesting, at least!

Okay, well I think this has gotten long enough so I'll stop here. I'm still uploading photos, and the full set is here, if you're interested in seeing other pics. I have a couple more posts to come, including a wedding banquet, some adorable pets, and much much more food!

In the meantime, Choice Eats is on Tuesday, which I am very excited for! And don't forget, Pi(e) Day is Wednesday!