Thursday, July 31, 2014

Brooklyn Sunsets and Cafe Ronda

I have a dream that some day I will be able to live in an apartment that has access to an outdoor space. Don't get me wrong, I love my apartment, but on those perfect summer nights, I would trade anything for a rooftop with a view. 

When dreams aren't a reality, it is nice to have friends who share their blessing. It was a lovely evening to catch up with Cara before she headed to South Africa for a couple months.

Her apartment is in Williamsburg. The view of the city is sick; the sunset never looked so good.

Wine, cheese, meats, a sunset and great friends...nothing better.

The next morning the Frans and I rolled out of bed and popped over to Cafe Ronda for brunch. Cafe Ronda is a Spanish Tapas Grill on the Upper West Side. I've been a couple times before but only for brunch because of their delicious baked eggs.

You can order the eggs baked or as an omelette. We each decided on a different version. Nat chose the Spinach and Portabella. Her's came out a little off so she sent it bake for the omelette version.

I chose the Black Forest Ham Baked Egg. It was packed with Spinach and Mozzarella. I opted for the home fries as the side.

Mer had the Argentinian Sausage Baked Eggs which included peppers, onion and cheese.

It was a lovely morning catching up with the Frans and a lot of scarfing down food. Mer and I spent the rest of the day wandering around the Upper West Side. We ran into a friend who just moved back to America, and got to catch up over coffee for a bit. We then proceeded to run into people we knew walking home.  I love when that happens, it make the city seems so small. Overall, it was a very lazy relaxing day in NYC.

Heading home for the next week, can't wait to share some South Carolina adventures!

Sunday, July 27, 2014

Family Dinner at the Ng's

A few weeks back the Frans were treated to a very special Family Dinner. Our sweet friends Kevin & Christina asked if they could cook Family Dinner for us one Monday. Not ones to turn down a dinner invitation, we ventured to the Eastside for a very special Family Dinner. 

As much as I want to give Christina credit for the food (she was a lovely hostess), Kevin was the mastermind behind the Malaysian-Asian themed meal. We were blown away by the flavors of all the dishes as well as the quantity. Kevin may or may not have been preparing multiple days for this meal. Feeling spoiled before we even arrived, we came to the meal with major expectations. Our hosts did not disappoint. 

Our wonderful hosts. 

Here we have 3 of the dishes. The two in the front are Chicken Curry (one spicy, one mild), on the back left is 5-Spice Pork and the back right is Beef Rendang Curry.

The 5-Spice Pork was packed with melt in your mouth sweet potatoes.

Can't forget the veggies!

Here we have the Steamed Fish. This was probably my favorite dish.

I had three full plates of food.

A little dessert digestive.

Here is a rundown from Kevin on how to prepare some of these dishes.

Beef Rendang Curry - Purchase Beef, slice, put in a sauce pan with a little water. Cook on very low heat for many hours. The secret to this dish is using a spice mix from Prima Taste.

Chicken Curry - Purchase Chicken and use a curry paste from Malaysia. This can be found here.  You pretty much cook it at the same slow pace as you do the Beef.

Steamed Fish - Purchase whole fish scaled, Kevin used Branzino. You rub the fish with salt and then steam it over a Wok (you can also wrap in foil and bake for about 20 minutes). You then add in some green onions, ginger, parsley and the special ingredient, a Seafood Soy Sauce from Lee Kum Kee. The super secret ingredient is crunchy garlic over the top.

Can't wait to try these on my own, but I'm sure they won't be anywhere near as good as what we were served. Thanks again!

Sunday, July 20, 2014

When a Fran Gets Engaged...First Down!

Well everyone, the first of the Frans is engaged to be married! This is what it looks like when you find out one of your best friends is engaged to an awesome man you almost love as much as your friend...almost.

We never need a reason to celebrate one another, but a proper engagement celebration was a must for Bryan and Hannah. We decided to throw the festivities at the very trendy Hudson Hotel. Located just south of Columbus Circle, the Hudson Hotel is a popular spot to grab a drink, watch a game and even go dancing. They have numerous distinct spots to stop for a drink and nibble throughout the hotel, each has a unique personality and ambiance.  Our evening began at Tequila Park - this outdoor Taqueria themed spot was packed with people. Just a warning, it is all self-serve, but you can reserve a table if you are a party of 6 or more. 

We settled into our table amongst the crowds and got right to the celebration with a pitcher of margaritas.  

We then moved onto guacamole (duh) and a variety of their tacos. We feasted on the Chipotle Lime Chicken, Pineapple Glazed Skirt Steak, Crispy Pork Carnitas and Mahi Mahi Taco of the Week. 

Finishing off the last of the margarita, I attempted to "smoothly" transition our party to the "surprise" part of the evening. We walked over to Henry Liquor Bar where about 30 of Bryan and Hannah's friends had gathered to celebrate their engagement. The couple was super surprised, just what I wanted!

Please notice the #photobomb.

I loved these people. Hannah and Bryan, I pray you feel SO loved and celebrated during this engagement season. Super excited for all that is to come!