WE'VE MOVED

Hello!

Thank you for the amazing 8 years here at A Baked Creation, we can't thank you enough for the memories! But we've decided to move over to a new site - Sincerely, Syl. Please join us there for future posts on all the things you loved here!

Sincerely,
Syl

Saturday, November 9, 2013

Café Boulud and Daniel Signing

Last Saturday, we found out that Daniel Boulud would be having a book launch at the Four Seasons Hotel for his new cookbook, Daniel: My French Cuisine. It's a big tome of a book and well, I knew that I would eventually want a copy for my collection, so why not have it personalized?

Since the book signing was scheduled for 2pm, Howard and I went to have lunch at Café Boulud first. We find that the service there is always impeccable. We were running late due to traffic and construction and called to let them know, they were very gracious in moving our reservation back. It was nice to not worry about rushing knowing that they were still keeping our table.

Went we arrived at Café Boulud, Daniel himself was at the front overseeing some of the preparation for the book launch. We were escorted to our table by the lovely hostess who field our phone call earlier and were promptly served with water as we browsed the menu.
Howard and I decided to get charcuterie to start. The Saucisson Lyonnais had pistachio embedded in it and was served with a potato salad and cornichon vinaigrette.
I chose a lighter fare, the Chop Chop Salad with romaine, cucumber, avocado, grapefruit, cilantro, and a sesame-ginger dressing.
Howard decided to try the Lamb Burger with eggplant, tzatziki, and sweet potato chips. There was an option for feta cheese, but Howard forgot to include it in his order. I tried a bite of it and have to say it's a very good lamb burger! I personally wouldn't add the feta if I were to order this again.
And the side of sweet potato chips? So crispy, salty, and delicious!

I really wanted dessert because I think they're stellar here, but the signing was about to begin, so we made our way down to the gift shop to purchase our copy of the book.
The cookbook was out on display for anyone to browse. As instructed, we started to form a line beside this table. I liked how organized this event was!
Daniel Boulud signing my copy of Daniel!
He was so nice and beckoned me over for a picture. :)
Not only did we get our book personalized, they also handed out little cans of madeleines with dark chocolate crispearls. This made me so happy! You don't understand, we were going to go back to Café Boulud for dessert but dessert came to me! If you've never tried the fresh madeleines from Café Boulud, I highly suggest that you do. They arrive warm in a cloth basket, you start with one and before you know it, you'll be thinking about them long after you finish eating them.

We're going to be back, because included with that gift was a card for a complimentary dessert when you order any main course. That's really difficult for me to resist, so we'll be making another visit during the holidays.

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Mission Chinese Food

154 Orchard Street
New York, NY 10002
(212) 529-8800

Mission Chinese Food! What looks like a hole in the wall actually extends to the back. When you're lucky enough to get a table, you get to pass the front takeout counter, peek at the kitchen, walk up a few steps, and sit in a small dining room. Get cozy!
But, if you can't wait, there is a takeout menu. They also recently announced that they deliver in Manhattan to addresses below 59th Street.
Eyeing the pass.
While the dragon eyes me.
First up, Howard picked the spicy beef tendon with burnt chili, chrysanthemum greens, and sichuan pepper oil. I was like there's no way I'm touching that, it's way too spicy. Turns out, it was above the level of heat I could handle, but it also turned out to be my favourite dish. It was so good that I fought my way through the spiciness and ate slice after slice as Howard competed for each slice without even breaking a sweat.
Our main dish for lunch was their famous salt cod fried rice with slow cooked mackerel, Chinese sausage, lettuce, and egg. I am so glad there were no frozen peas and carrots in sight. It's one of the things I detest the most when people make fried rice.
It was between the pig tails or pig ears and we went with the crispy pig ears from old bay with country ham powder. Another amazing dish with some heat (I drank a lot of water during this meal).

Howard said it felt like home as if we were eating the food his parents make. Aside from how great the food tastes, Mission Chinese Food donates a portion of their sales to the New York City Food Bank. Not to sound like a certain television show, but you gotta eat here!

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Alder

157 Second Avenue
New York, NY 10003
(212) 539-1900

Howard and I tend to make early dinner reservations when we're on vacation in New York. There are various reasons for this purpose. First, it's easier to eat at popular restaurants during the first dinner service. Second, it allows us to commute back to my aunt and uncle's place before it gets too dark. Alder fell into the first category as this 56-seat restaurant starts off quiet, but quickly got packed by the time our third plate was out.

We picked Alder because we have always wanted to try a restaurant by Chef Wylie Dufresne. Unfortunately, the price of New York City tasting menus are out of our budget, so that eliminated wd~50 from our list. But when we heard of Alder opening up, a more casual and affordable restaurant, we were very excited!

Since we were early for our dinner reservation, we waited outside as the front of the house staff finished their set up. I found the hostess a bit patronizing as we waited to be seated, but we were in very good hands with our waitress. She kept our glasses full and explained the menu and specials for the day. She made some good recommendations and we felt like she was honest in answering our questions. She also suggested we each order three dishes to share and the kitchen would decide which order to serve them in.

To start, we were offered an amuse bouche, a small bowl of pickled vegetables.
Served first, the Pigs in a Blanket which consisted of Chinese sausage, Japanese mustard, and sweet chili sauce. These were the classiest and tidiest pigs in a blanket we've ever had, but I'm sad to say that there weren't anything surprising or unique in the flavours so it was a lackluster beginning to the meal.
Next up, Chicken Liver Toast with cornbread, grapefruit marmalade, and crispy chicken skin. I liked the usage of the cornbread as toast and the chicken skin while Howard really enjoyed the chicken liver.
I see the Cured Alaskan King Salmon as a light and healthy snack. Served with pine nut granola, tahini yogurt, and slices of nectarine, this was a great third dish in the procession.
I was really excited to order the New England Clam Chowder. It's one of Howard's favourite soups, so when I saw it on the menu, I said we should order it. See how it compares to ones he's had in the past. The kitchen kindly served our portions separately, but we had a bowl of "oyster crackers" to share. I read that Wylie Dufresne purées oysters and mixes them with corn and tapioca starches before frying them to resemble crackers. Needless to say, they were delicious and we could have used more!
We had some larger dishes in the end to help fill our stomachs up. I marveled at how the fish and chips were not overly oily or greasy. The Fish and Chips are served with a sweet pea-ramp tartar sauce and malt vinegar powder. Yup, powder! You roll your fish or chips in it and they become coated with vinegar goodness.
One of their most lauded dishes is the Rye Pasta with shaved pastrami. You can even watch how they make the rye pasta in their video here or in the slideshow here.
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