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A Spicy and Tasty Sichuan Lunch

fish cooked with sichuan spices

Back from London and tired from bland British food, Hope had only one request when I asked her where she wanted to go out for lunch.  “I need some SPICE!”, she pleaded.  Somehow I managed to convince Hope and Davis to wake up early on a cold day and venture into the inner depths of Queens for a taste of Sichuan cuisine.

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Van Gogh is Bipolar

van gogh is bipolar
photo: Regina Belmonte

This is going to be my third time in Van Gogh Is Bipolar in the span of three weeks. My cousin Ashley introduced me to this small, beautiful hole in the wall when I was down in the dumps some two weeks ago, and the cafe’s pebbly courtyard, the violet fairy lights and a perfect cup of tea was the best defiance to a thoroughly rough day.

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Thanksgiving, Posh Nosh & Teatime at Podunk

I’d typically be brining and prepping a 10 pound flightless bird right now, but this year my parents made the executive decision that our Thanksgiving dinner will be a sans turkey endeavor.  I know, this is quite sacrilegious for a holiday where the turkey usually plays a starring role. But, rather than wrestling with over-sized poultry, our efforts will be spent preparing a meal with a smattering of international fare, including Hainanese chicken, Scallops with Tomato-Onion Relish, Hamachi tartar, Cauliflower and Leek Soup, and a slew of Mark Bittman’s 101 simple Thanksgiving dishes, especially prepared by yours truly.  Will these whirlwind of flavors work or will it be a Thanksgiving catastrophe?  A full post-Thanksgiving progress report is to come, complete with accompanying recipes, so hang in tight.

In the meantime, while you lucky ones are wrestling with your turkeys at home, I recommend taking a break from basting to watch a few episodes of Posh Nosh on Youtube — a British TV program on BBC recommended to me by Elsapeth, the nicest bonnet wearing, bespectacled lady and owner of Podunk, a homey little nook of a tearoom in the heart of the East Village.

Podunk is where butter is used unsparingly and cookies are sprinkled with love..and sugar.  Like a cross between an antique store and a cozy country house kitchen, a varying assortment of tea pots and children’s books populate the shelves, which sit beside the brightly painted wooden furniture and a sundry of knickknacks.  Entering the tiny tearoom, I was transported from the dark, rainy streets of New York City into a warm, familiar place.

tea and cookies

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Tea Cookies

I tasted my first tea cookie when my friend Tiffany started working at Amai Tea House (which is sadly now closed).  Amai’s tea cookies combined two of my favorite things—tea and cookies—so naturally they rank pretty high on my list of favorite edible things.  Having tried some of TWG‘s teas at a tea tasting at Dean & Deluca, I convinced TWG to supply some tea to serve at my launch party.  I decided I wanted to do more than simply serve tea as a drink.  So, not only did I serve the teas iced, I decided to make tea cookies to accompany the iced tea, for a mind-blowing total tea experience.

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