My Fair Lady M.

22 May

If heaven lost a baker, then I have found it. Lady M Cake Boutique, located on the upper east side, is a piece of heaven. Literally, heaven in your mouth.

I have never experienced such a beautiful creation that is light, delicate, and tragic. The Green tea Mille Crêpe is a french inspired dessert made of 20 thin layers of crepes with Lady M’s seasonal flavored green tea mousse smothered in between each layer and dusted off with green tea powder.

The crafty creation was piled almost 4 inches high and was overall a solid  light green color. It lacked decoration, but not taste.  Once you dig your fork into it, the crepe and the green tea mousse automatically fuse together, almost like a soft buttery pound cake. The instant it hits your tongue, the cool, refreshing, creaminess of the mousse slowly melts in your mouth. It required no necessary chewing.

It’s hard to taste the crepe or the green tea mousse by itself, but then again why would you. Both, the crepe and mousse went well together that created a harmony in your mouth. If it wasn’t for the cost, I would have definitely brought another 6″ ($40) to share with my co-workers.

For a single slice, it cost $7.50 plus tax, this was one of the most tragic events that has ever happened to my wallet. But it was well worth it. I really wanted to try their other desserts which included seasonal flavored cakes, pies, and cheesecakes but butterflies came out of my wallet. Oh, what a tease.

Red bean: Is it Dessert or is it Breakfast?

21 May

East village is one of my favorite places to go when I’m craving Japanese food.  My favorite spot is Otafuku. This small shop, located on 236 E 9th St, offers some of Japan’s most authentic snacks and food.

I ordered the Taiyaki, in translation means “baked sea bream.” Don’t be fooled by the name. It tasted nothing like fish. It’s actually a hot cake batter cooked on a waffle-like maker and filled with your choice of red bean, custard, or black sesame paste. I got the red bean. It was hot and fresh off of their waffle maker and right into my hand, all in less than 3 minutes.

Red bean is a common ingredient in Asian cuisine. It is typically used as a dessert paste, or filling. I personally grew up eating it hot out of the bowl, or freezing cold as a drink or ice cream pop, but never as a filling.

The fish-fossil looking delicacy was the first meal of my day. It had an exterior crisp at the edges and when you bite into it, you instantly get the  light vanilla flavor  from the soft waffle. Then the best part comes, the warm red bean melts in your mouth. It wasn’t too sweet but there was just enough sugar to accentuate the flavor of the red beans.

Ah! What a great way to start breakfast.

Buddha’s Birthday

18 May

On May 15th, many Buddhists came out to celebrate Buddha’s birthday in Flushing, Queens. It was a day to celebrate and display our respect to Buddha.

The Bathing of the Buddha Ceremony is celebrated on the 8th day of the 4th month of the Lunar Calendar. It celebrates Buddha’s birthday and the story of how Buddha gained Enlightenment. It also serves as a reflection on what it might mean for individual Buddhists to move toward Enlightenment themselves.

The ceremony kicked off at 11:30am, a tradition that has been followed annually. A speaker came up to the podium and gave his speech about the goodness of Buddha’s teaching while everyone dropped their heads in silence as a sign of respect and some with their palms together.  Once it was over, the noise of the crowd filled the entire block, enough to silence the LIRR train that was passing by behind the temple. It was pandemonium. I was helping out at stand #5, selling steamed buns for the early shift. There were orders coming in from left and right, and it was hard to keep up with prepping the buns when 5 orders came from one person, and another 3 from behind.

There were more than 10 Vegetarian food stands lined up in the parking lot of the temple. Servers included young volunteers and many elderly who eagerly tried to get temple members to buy their items. Items included veggie meatballs, imitated meat stuffed in steamed buns, vegetable-filled sushi, cold peanut noodles, and their yearly famous stinky tofu. The price ranged from 1-5 tickets which roughly cost $1 per ticket. All procedes goes towards improving the temple.

Towards the afternoon, Indian dancers dressed in a beautiful silk scarf wowed the audience, followed by performance of martial arts from 6 kids from a nearby shaolin temple. The event was also filled with singers in between performances.

The event ended early when rain started to drizzle down. The man frying up tofu outside of his tent cover immediately closed down, afraid that the oil would splash everywhere. Families started to become restless from the cloudy weather, and others were lounging around in chairs waiting for the raffle calls.

Prizes included 1 year subscription to the Buddhist channel, kitchen appliances, and consumable products. The grand prize that everyone hoped to win was a round trip to China plus entertainments. Sadly, I didn’t win anything but I also didn’t leave empty-handed. I took home leftovers, including rice wrapped in bamboo leaves, grass jelly tea, spring rolls, curry and roti cani, and blessings from the monks.

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