Costume Institute Gala at the Met

Make sure to check out all the amazing fashion via the first LIVE online streaming of the Met Gala tomorrow, May 7 from 6:30-8:30 pm (EDT).

If you watch closely and spot me, it will be completely by accident. I’ll be the one in black.

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Restaurant Review: Souen

{Macro Plate, Souen}

I’ve never really written a ‘restaurant review’ but I felt this restaurant was especially noteworthy. I first heard about Souen, a restaurant that specializes in vegan, macrobiotic food, in an article featuring Alicia Silverstone. Now, say what you will about her eating habits when it comes to feeding her child, but I’ve been a big fan of her overall vegan, healthy lifestyle. I even have her cookbook, The Kind Diet.

The beauty about Souen is that it accommodates so many different diets: vegan, vegetarian, gluten-intolerant, raw… you name it. And these days, we all know somebody (or are that somebody) who has one of these limitations when it comes to eating out. Souen sounds like a scary concept. Vegan? Macrobiotic? My sister Christine always makes fun of me by saying it reminds her of the scene in Baby Mama when Tina Fey orders that terrible yeast ball at a raw foods vegan restaurant in order to impress her date. In fact, when I asked my friend Sonia if she wanted to meet me at Souen for dinner, this is how our conversation went:

S: What place do you suggest?

M: There’s a vegan macrobiotic restaurant Souen that’s super healthy but really good, I promise!

S: Uuhhhhh lol

But honestly, everyone I’ve taken there has really enjoyed it! I first went for lunch with my friend Anne Larimer (who is gluten-intolerant) and the second time with Sonia and our friend Mythili (all of us are on-off vegetarians/vegans). The first time, I ordered the Macro Plate (shown above) which I would recommend getting with the carrot dressing. The second time, the three of us had quite the feast! Started with Seitan ‘Meat’balls… probably the best thing I’ve had here and definitely a good transition for those who are typical meat-eaters.

{Seitan ‘Meat’balls with Beet Marinara, Souen}

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Broadway on a budget

If my life were a musical, I would obviously be the star. Although that would be difficult as I like singing but not necessarily in front of people. Public performances tend to make me a bit shy.

My dad always tells of my first ‘role’ in my preschool’s Thanksgiving play. I was a pilgrim complete with a white paper plate bonnet and black construction paper collar. Everyone had one line which was: ‘I brought ________!’ filled in by whatever picture of food they had cut out and glued onto their paper plate. My line was ‘I brought turkey!’ Very clutch. But when it came time to present my line, I got so bashful I barely whispered it in the mousiest tone. Apparently all the parents thought it was adorable because they began laughing and applauding. I couldn’t have been more embarrassed but deep down I’m sure I thought Nailed It.

When it comes to performances, I like to leave it to the professionals. BROADWAY baby! This is the perfect city to see all the big Broadway shows, if you have hundreds of dollars to spare, which I don’t. But no worries, because there are plenty of ways to find Broadway tickets without being a slave to the TKTS sign.

(1) Hit the theatres early in the morning

Even the biggest shows will have leftover tickets. So make a list of the ones you want to see and go directly to the theater’s box office the day of the performance (~$30/ticket). They open at 10am but anyone who shows up after 9am is a fool. Call the box office ahead of time and ask what time they would suggest getting there. Make sure to keep your options open as your first pick may only have a handful of tickets available.

Also, if you have a student ID bring it. It can come in handy.

Shows I’ve seen with this method: Mamma Mia, Anything Goes

(2) Sign up for email lists

In many ways, NYC caters to the young. I’m signed up for LincTix which offers discounted $30 tickets to shows at Lincoln Center for those 21-35 years old. And if you have young friends, they can sign up too so that you can all sit together! Oh to be young and poor… yet incredibly cultured.

Shows I’ve seen with this method: War Horse

(3) Find a rich benefactor or… parents

When my family came to visit last summer, my mom, sister and I knew we wanted to go see Wicked. But everyone and their mom wants to see this show (look at previous statement) and I knew the methods above probably wouldn’t cut it. So Mama Choo swept in and took care of it all for us. And you know what, I think she’ll tell you it was TOTALLY worth it! We planned WAY ahead of time (about 2 months beforehand) in order to get the best seats. This is the old fashioned, most expensive way but if one person plans and another person pays, it seems less painful?

Shows I’ve seen with this method: Wicked

Minskoff Theater

(4) Make Broadway friends

Don’t have any? Hang out by the Tisch School for an hour and you’re set. Or find anyone who’s somewhat connected to Broadway. You never know, it could be your cousin’s landlord’s dog walker or your coworker. This week one of the producers for Peter and the Starcatcher gave us some free tickets at work. That’s right, FREE tickets! The best kind.

Shows I’ve seen with this method: Peter and the Starcatcher

coworkers at Peter and the Starcatcher (Brooks Atkinson Theater)

In other news, I’ll be spending Easter weekend in DC! I’m open to any and all recommendations!

my New York Diet

I love nymag.com and their weekly The New York Diet section is one of my favorites. Basically, celebrities (mostly foodies/chefs) dish on their culinary consumptions of the past week. It’s like a food diary for the famous, which I find utterly fascinating. Mostly because I like the way it’s presented. It’s very sparse (no pictures) with the entries candidly dictated in each person’s own voice. Also, you can tell a lot about a person by what they eat, and I’m just nosy enough to care.

When someone like Mario Batali or Anthony Bourdain writes, it’s a foodie’s paradise (hotdogs at Papaya Grey, mozzarella tastings, 14 course menus) but when the occasional actress/model writes something like ‘I had a salad and a handful of dried fruit for lunch, then I got home and was so tired I didn’t have dinner’… the commenters go crazy!! What’s worse is when a model says ‘For breakfast, I had McDonald’s and then later a huge cheeseburger and chocolate shake for lunch.’ Man, those comments are golden…

So inspired by this, I thought I’d write my own NY Diet. Because I may not be famous but I do live in New York and I eat, which to me seems like enough criteria. Here is my completely candid New York Diet:

Tuesday, February 28

Every morning, I’d love to have a nicely prepared hot breakfast. But you know what I love even more? My bed. I am NOT a morning person so I tend to keep it super light in the early hours. Plus I walk 25 minutes everyday to work so I prefer waiting to have something more substantial once I get there. This morning I had to get up even earlier to stop by the post office and mail my brother Ben’s birthday present and card (his birthday is this Friday). It’s hard being his favorite sister.

When I got to work I had a bottle of ‘green juice’ (that I get at Trader Joe’s) and an oatmeal applesauce blueberry muffin (I’d made a dozen the night before

). A little later I had a tiny square of a pecan bar that one of my coworkers had made. I try to only indulge in work treats when they’re homemade and delicious. This was definitely both. Later for lunch, I had brought leftovers from the night before: teriyaki salmon with quinoa and asparagus. Also a blueberry soy yogurt. I was pretty hungry.

After work, I went to the gym and then ran some errands. Ok, not really errands. I went shopping at the new Anthropologie store that just opened three blocks from my apartment. I needed to check it out. Another lie. I had already gone to the store the day before… this is getting to be quite confessional. When I finally did get home (did I buy anything or not? oh, you’ll never know), I prepared a tofu taco salad with some blue corn tortilla chips which I ate while watching The Biggest Loser (no new episodes of Glee or New Girl?). I also had a pink grapefruit and another oatmeal blueberry muffin before calling it a night.

Wednesday, February 29

Another morning, another green juice at work. Then later another mid-morning muffin (3 down, only 9 left to go). This week has been quite busy with different surveys and events going on in the museum. It’s a bit more chaotic than usual but honestly I’ll take being over-busy than underwhelmed any day. But I’m a nerd.

For lunch I had a veggie burger (Trader Joe’s masala burger with edamame hummus– a winning combo) and water of course, lots of water throughout the day. I try to pack my own lunch to work, not that our staff cafeteria is awful, just that my coworker found a bug in her escarole that one time. It’s just safer this way.

Later in the afternoon I had a cup of Lady Grey tea by Twinings- basically Earl Grey but with a hint of citrus which I guess makes it for ladies. After work, a few coworkers and I went to City Bakery to celebrate the last day of their February Hot Chocolate Festival. The Hot Chocolate of the Day was Leap Day Chocolate aka “Black Strap Rum reduced with Cinnamon.” Um yes please, I’ll take a wee shot-sized cup of that. It was super rich and decadent but the homemade marshmallow is what made it!

After my hot chocolate shot, I headed to my friend Anne Larimer’s to watch the Top Chef Finale. On my way there, I stopped by Whole Foods in Columbus Circle to get dinner from the salad bar (which is the best). I got what my sister Christine calls ‘frou-frou’ foods, you know, super healthy, hippie things like farro salad and kale with lemon zest and shredded beets with sprouts. While I was there I also stopped by Bouchon Bakery to pick up a few French macarons (which have become ‘the new cupcakes’) to share with Anne Larimer. Bouchon’s macarons are my favorite cause they’re so much larger than the usual dainty ones. Plus I love Thomas Keller. I got the pistachio, caramel, passion fruit, and coffee. General consensus: pistachio was the winner.

Thursday, March 1

You know the drill. Green juice and Mr. Muffin.

Lunch was what I call a ‘vegetarian cobb salad’: romaine lettuce, chickpeas, hard boiled egg, roasted red peppers, artichoke hearts, basically whatever else I had in my fridge with balsamic vinaigrette. The day was pretty hectic so I had a very quick lunch but it was just what I needed! Late afternoon I also had a Luna bar (Nutz over Chocolate).

In the evening, there was an event at the Met in celebration of the new Islamic Galleries that opened last November. My co-worker friend Katherine has been hard at work organizing the event and I was working part of it as well. Also, I just love attending any party at the Met whenever I can– it’s one perk I always take full advantage of! There was some food at the event but by the time I was done working, the vultures had already had at it. So I basically had a couple glasses of red wine for dinner, which is not as sad as it sounds (Yes it is). The event was fantastic though! Afterwards my friends and I got drinks at a nearby pub.

Friday, March 2

Green juice, banana, and… yep you guessed it. Muffin-town.

Lunch was the salad bar at work (no escarole that day). Mostly mixed greens with lentils, orzo and a yummy parmesan polenta square. And some fresh pineapple on the side. Then later in the afternoon I was feeling particularly ladylike so I had a cup of Lady Grey.

Friday evening was a bit hectic. I had plans to go see the play War Horse at 8p but I didn’t leave work until about 7:15p. Luckily, Lincoln Center is not far from work so I just zipped in a cab and crossed Central Park. I ate a Luna bar (Chocolate Dipped Coconut) while waiting in the lobby for my friends to get there. Afterwards, we went across the street to P.J. Clarke’s. I was starving so I ordered the moules frites. It was exactly what I was expecting, just classic.

Saturday, March 3

Sleeping in is a luxury I enjoy thoroughly on Saturdays. Woke up closer to lunchtime and had a banana and apple cinnamon oatmeal with a splash of soymilk. Ate this while rewatching the Season 4 finale of Mad Men (I’m highly anticipating the new season).

It’s such a beautiful New York day today. Maybe I’ll head down to the farmer’s market in Union Square… or maybe I’ll just watch some more Mad Men. Who knows, regardless muffins will probably be involved.

For a truly hilarious The New York Diet, read The Daily Show Wyatt Cenac’s entry here.

Art-inspired Food

Things that have happened since last time I blogged:

Blue Ivy introduced herself to the world. Giants won (!!!). Whitney passed away.

Goodness, February. My life however has been much of the same. Mostly work and art and food (pretty much everything this blog is about). A couple posts ago, I wrote about the new American Paintings Galleries at the Met which I paired with a mac & cheese recipe. This post is along those same lines. It’s another addition of ‘Art-Inspired Food’.

The Frick Collection right now has a new exhibition “Renoir, Impressionism, and Full-length Paintings.” I love the Frick. It’s the former private residence of the wealthy Henry Clay Frick which has now been preserved into an art museum. Every time I walk in I imagine what it must have been like to live in a place like that… surrounded by Marie Antoinette’s personal desk, oriental rugs, and Van Eyck portraits. So decadent.

         

The Renoir exhibition showcases the fashions found in his full-length painting style. His brushstroke is incredibly feathery and light. And the colors are so soft. All the airiness reminded me a big cloud of meringue or whipped cream. Inspired, I came home and decided to concoct a dessert to match. Et voilà! These mini lime cheesecakes are the result. Enjoy them and if you can, go see the exhibition which closes May 13.

Mini Lime Cheesecakes 

  • 1 ½ cups graham cracker crumbs (~10 sheets)
  • 3 tablespoons + 1 tablespoon sugar, divided
  • ½ stick (¼ cup) butter, melted
  • 2 (8 ounce) packages cream cheese, room temperature
  • 1 cup sugar
  • ¾ cup lime juice (about 4 limes)
  • ½ tablespoon lime zest
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla
  • 2 tablespoons flour
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1 lime, sliced for garnish

(1)       Preheat oven to 325° F.
(2)       In a medium bowl, stir together graham cracker crumbs, sugar, and butter with a fork until well combined. Divide evenly into 16 muffin tins and press evenly onto the bottom with a tall glass or spoon.
(3)       Bake for 5-7 minutes, then let the crusts cool completely.
(4)       Lower the oven temperature to 300° F.
(5)       With an electric mixer (or in a blender), add the cream cheese, lime juice, zest, sugar and vanilla. Mix until smooth.
(6)       Add the flour and salt and mix again, scraping down the side as needed, until incorporated.
(7)       Add the eggs all at once and mix just until incorporated.
(8)       Pour cream cheese mixture into the crusts, filling to the very top of the rim.
(9)       Bake for 20-22 minutes until the edges are slightly golden but the center is still a bit wobbly.
(10)    Cool completely and chill in the refrigerator at least 4 hours (overnight is better). Run a thin knife around the edges of the cakes and remove from pan.
(11)    In a clean bowl, whip the heavy cream and 1 tablespoon sugar until stiff peaks form. Dollop a spoonful onto each cheesecake and garnish with a slice of lime.

Makes about 16 mini cheesecakes

Hangin’ at the Guggenheim

Italian artist Maurizio Cattelan is never one to shy away from controversy. His latest exhibition at the Guggenheim Museum, Maurizio Cattaelan: All, which ends today is certainly a spectacle to see. Comprised of a lifetime of all but two of his works, it is a showcase of an artist’s life– all shown hanging.

The building of the Frank Lloyd Wright-designed Guggenheim Museum is a work of art in itself. When I saw this exhibition last weekend with one of my roommates Jess we mentioned how perfect the space was for this exhibition. The walkway of the museum, which spirals up four floors, allows for you to constantly discover different works as you ascend the building. It was like an elaborate game of I-Spy. I definitely felt like I understood a bit of the eccentric and intriguing, yet incredibly whimsical, personality of Maurizio Cattelan.

happy Sunday everyone!

I’m gonna spend my Sunday watching both the Patriots v. Ravens & 49ers v. Giants games. Hoping for a Patriots/Giants Super Bowl!!

and happy Chinese New Year tomorrow as well– here’s to the Year of the Dragon!