Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Where else can you find some of the finest culinary delicacies but inside the wonderful city of Manhattan? I tried La Maison Du Macaron, which comes highly recommended but I wasn't too impressed by the filling. As I had mentioned in the previous post, I would reveal the best macarons I had on my recent trip NYC. Bisous Ciao Macarons was definitely the best and most memorable. Not only were the macarons beautifully presented, they are also elegantly packed so that you can easily give it away as a gift.
I definitely saved the best for last. It was the last day we were in the city and we made sure to pick up all the best snacks we could so that we will be swimming in heavenly eats for the next few days. We made sure Bisous Ciao Macarons was one of the last stops. Little did we plan on the fact that we needed to consume all 12 pieces in less than an hour before we parted ways for our flight. I was in macaron overload after we polished of the box! lol
Was it worth it? The macarons were the same price as La Maison Du Macaron, but I felt a much better value. I felt they were more delicate and the fillings were crafted to perfection. The flavors were more tantalizing to our palate. I am all for unique but sometimes you can't forget the simple flavors that can knock your socks off.
Ms. Lin and I both agree that the Salted Caramel was simply divine. The caramel was so smooth and velvety that it literally melted in your mouth. If they sold salted caramel candies, I would definitely buy it. Unfortunately La Maison Du Macaron was sold out of that flavor when I went, but based on the other macarons I had there were nowhere near as memorable as the ones I had at Bisous Ciao Macarons.
I liked that they offered the Jasmine + Green Tea and Salted Peanut + Grape flavored macarons. Simple twists to traditional favorites. Again, their fillings are very delicate and smooth without being overly creamy or buttery.
All in all I am really glad I ventured off and found Bisous Ciao Macarons in the Lower East Side. I really enjoyed the delicate texture of their macarons and well thought out fillings that truly complemented the shells. It's not that close to metro, but it's worth the trip to try something new. If you have friends who really love macaron and Paris, I would definitely recommend that you stop on by to pick them a beautifully wrapped box of tasty macarons as a gift. Of course don't forget to treat yourself to a bigger box for being a thoughtful friend! ^_-
Bisous Ciao Macarons
101 Stanton Street
New York, NY 10002

(212) 260-3463
Bisous Ciao on Urbanspoon

Monday, February 27, 2012

What does a girl do to kill time while in LA? I head over to the Farmer's Market on Fairfax. It's been ages since I last came here but there's a wide array of foodie finds here, so why not. Parking is free with validation, even better. Ms. Lin warned me that I should not be stuffing myself before my meal at Petrossian. Little did I know that I should have ate everything I could before going to that disappointing dinner.
After I picked up some pastries and coffee from Short Cake, I stumbled across Little Spain. I could use some little tapas to hit the spot. My last trip to Europe made me realize just how much I loved Spain in comparison with the other countries I have been to.
At first I was looking for some bocadillos that would really satisfy my yearning. Here they have Montaditos instead where they are small bites of different ingredients on top of mini-toasts. They are 3 for $4.50 or 5 for $7. I chose the Jamón Serrano, Chorizo, and Lomo Ibérico Embuchado. It's good to order a few different types to try. Although I wish that I got all Jamón Serrano as that was the best choice to me. I love dry-cured Spanish ham. It has the most flavor and I love the cured fattiness.
The lomo was a little different than what I expected. Whenever I was in Spain, I would get lomo Ibérico. It usually is a chunk of pork loin. Here it was more of a shaved cured meat. Still good, but I like the tenderness and juiciness of a thicker cut.
For some reason, I thought the Spanish chorizo was going to be cooked bits of meat on top of toast but it was slices of the meat on top of the toast. Not bad, but I should have gotten a bunch of the jamón as it was my favorite.
I had to treat myself to a Montadito Jamon Iberico. It's meat from a black footed pig that is cured for 24 months. This is usually one of the best tasting meats. The flavors are immense and the meat is more tender. It just leaves a smile on my face afterwards. Recently I found a new love, which is the Jamón Ibérico de Bellota. I was so tempted to order it here and very happy to see that they offer such a delicacy here. Those pigs are only fed acorns and it works! The meat is so sweet and tender that I am going to start drooling just by thinking about it. Of course the tastiness doesn't come cheap but well-worth it and I am glad to know that they offer it here!
It was a cold night so I wanted some hot tapas to warm me up. An age-old favorite is the Croquetas Española. I love anything fried and I love croquetas. You can choose what type and I decided to have the jamón serrano. Crisp on the outside and melt in your mouth goodness on the inside. The aioli was flavorful and completed the savory flavor of the croqueta.

All in all it was a great place to snack at. It's not quite the same tapas I had in Spain but they do give a feeling of authenticity and the staff is very friendly. The best part is that they do carry the jamón ibérico de bellota here but only the cured meat. If you plan to splurge on yourself, then stop by here for a taste.

Little Spain

6333 W. Third Street
Los Angeles, CA 90036
(323) 634-0633
Little Spain on Urbanspoon

Thursday, February 9, 2012

My new favorite place for brunch and I am definitely not a morning person. I was excited to learn that Chef Jason Quinn opened his own place, The Playground, in downtown Santa Ana. Even though it was Super Bowl Sunday, I still had to try and see if they offered their new innovative Sunday Suppers. Sadly, they were not doing that on Super Bowl Night so I took the opportunity to meet up with a friend and catch brunch. I am glad I did too!
I simply adored the Breakfast Pork Chop. It's definitely not your average pork chop and the cut is simply divine! One honker of meat! ^_~ The pork chop was beautifully cooked. I loved that the top of the pork chop is pan seared while the inside is super juicy and tender. For me, I liked the sweet taste that enhanced the savory components. It's a delicious and succulent piece of pork. I have already gone back a second time for the pork chop and chomped another one down.
The Breakfast Hash was delicious and at a great price! It's only $10 for the skillet. They use very fresh and tasty ingredients. Hidden under the fried egg and hollandaise sauce are benton's and Brussels sprouts. Those tender chunks of fried pork were heaven on earth! Great little treats mixed in with the Brussels sprouts. I have never been that big of a fan of Brussels sprouts but mix it in with fatty pork, Mmmmm. Glad my friend gave me a bite. I'd definitely go for this again if it is on the menu. =D
You think that would be the end of it but my greed is great and my appetite is greater! lol I had to get the 6 oz Wagyu Tri-Tip & Egg. The chimichurri sauce really enhanced the whole palette. I normally don't like eggs but it's kind of what breakfast is all about. Also, the egg was nicely cooked atop the wagyu. The new steak and eggs!
For drinks, I got the Grapefruit & Elderflower that was light for breakfast. I couldn't really taste the elderflower in there but I thought that it was a tasty grapefruit juice.
There has been so much buzz about the Portola Coffee Lab. Here they offered hand-poured Single-Origin Coffee. Both of us decided to get a cup. I was expecting a coffee that would blow me away.... but it blew the wind in the wrong direction. The coffee was severely sour.
Eventually my friend asked for sugar and cream. They served it black with no accompaniments. At first I thought that I can finally add some sugar. They were given in cute little cups but not much of either. The staff told us that the cream was very heavy and only needed a little. I am not sure if this was because of the cream but the coffee became even more sour. Even though we were given sugar and cream but we had no spoon to stir. The cream kind of curdled around in the coffee in a weird way... hmmm...
All in all I thought the staff was super friendly and I love Chef Jason Quinn. On the menu they mention that they will add a 3% gratuity on food, which I think is reasonable to give the staff something extra for all their hard work. You can taste it in the food the time and effort they put into everything. The servers are also super nice and friendly, which makes the whole experience even better. Heck, I have been back a second time within the week and might be back this Sunday in another attempt for a fun Sunday Supper.


220 East 4th Street
Santa Ana, CA 92701
(714) 560-4444
Playground on Urbanspoon

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