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Single (and cooking) in the City

Food, life, love, and fun recipes

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Back from Taiwan

10 days. 1 city. way too much food. After this “vacation” I could barely stand to stomach 2 bites of food without experiencing a bit of stomachache and nausea.

At the very tippy top of my list – Din Tai Fung – home of my favorite soup dumplings red bean dumplings.  (I still love the soup dumplings, but considering some closer and just as amazing options here… I think I could skip the 13 hour plane ride.)


You will be kicking yourself if you don’t order some small dish appetizers. These 3 brown ones… are the best. (I am useless. I don’t remember the names, but there is a dish of spongy tofu, bean sprouts, and a “house special” mix.)


Veggies and dumplings – this picture brings a tear to my eye.


Pleats intricate enough to give Issey Miyake a run for his money.


You can never have enough dumplings… especially if they are filled with red bean.


And the lightest, fluffiest sponge cake (made from rice flour?) I’ve yet to find in New York.

Man, its so depressing to be back.

Bad. Ass.

There I am! Posing on the back of a snowmobile. But I swear, I did go for a ride on that thing! (I was chaperoned by the birthday boy – Keith.)

I had so much fun this weekend even though I was surrounded (and at times nearly covered) by my least favorite thing in the world – snow. It was nice to take a break outside the city (although most of this weekend was go! go! go!). Fresh air, a frozen lake, a huge house to stay in with a bunch of friendly faces. We woke up to Mel’s chocolate rice, had the kind of ramen that you eat out of a styrofoam bowl (holy 2003, batman!), oven heated pizzas, little burrito thingies, and cocktail wieners. Not exactly a foodie’s vacation, but man… these simple pre-cooked oven heated treats… sure does cut the cooking time down.

The Life of Leftovers

Approximately 31 days ago… I had hot pot at home. You probably will not remember this because 1) it was 31 days ago, 2) i didn’t post it on my blog, 3) …it was 31 days ago.

It was good, but there was a TON of sliced beef and lamb leftover (since we didn’t give it adequate time to defrost and was only able to peel the top couple of slices off). Back into the fridge it went, until I correctly defrosted it for a 2nd round of hot pot a week later. With still more beef and lamb left, we marinated it and let it sit in the fridge for a later meal…

Yakisoba – the night we lit the Christmas tree! Chock full of veggies, Kel did an excellent job making sure there was stuff I would want to eat in it, besides the chunks of meat and soba. However, even though it was our 3rd attempt at using up the leftover meat, there was still a clump of it sitting in a bowl in the fridge… until last night…

4th attempt! Mixed in with cauliflower, onions, and tomato… it had a slightly funky taste. Good or bad, I’m not sure but hey! Still alive…

My First Real Christmas Tree

As the title of the post states: FIRST REAL LIVE CHRISTMAS TREE EVER! IN THE APT! How awesome!! It smells like funky holiday goodness.


In the parking lot of Rite Aid, picking up the teeny tiny tree from two French speaking women who were hoisting, chopping, wrapping, and selling some pretty gigantic trees all on their own. They’re so awesome.

It’s a work in progress tree… still need to get lights!

Dinner later that night was a quick marinated short rib and cabbage. The marinade of sesame oil, soy sauce, red pepper flakes, onion, scallions, and sugar was supposed to sit on the meat overnight, but being a terrible planner, it was tossed together 30 minutes before I started to get hungry. Under-marinatedness aside, the sugar added a nice caramelization to the meat, which was pan seared to the perfect done-ness.

Short Rib Marinade

  • 1-1/2 cups of soy sauce
  • 1/4 cup of sesame oil
  • 1/4 cup of sugar
  • 3 scallions, chopped
  • 5 cloves of garlic, chopped
  • 1/2 an onion, sliced
  • 1/2 tsp of red pepper flakes

Stir together, coat and soak ribs. Heat pan, add ribs and cook for 2-3 minutes each side for medium rare. Garnish with toasted sesame seeds if you’re feeling fancy.

The Entire Menu at Alta

Romantic, lively and almost secretly tucked away within the inside of what looks to be any other townhouse on West 10th, Alta should be voted the best place to take a date when you want to seal the deal. Inside, the main dining area is a double high room with a fireplace, there is a 2nd level that runs along the perimeter and allows for a great view down on the other tables, AND there are hidden rooms off to the side for more private parties – ours was located just through the kitchen. This restaurant was designed to make you feel like you’ve found someplace special. And this past Saturday night, there couldn’t have been a better place to celebrate someone special.

Happy Birthday, Phe!

If I had been more clearheaded at the time, I would have taken more pictures of the food. But as it was Phe’s birthday, and I was already past my 3rd glass of cava, by the time the camera came out, I was lucky if anything or anyone recognizable was caught within the frame of the shot. And yep, Phe had ordered the entire menu.

Only the tip of the iceberg.

Quick smile before the plate is passed to you!

Tom’s face says it all: how much more food is there!?

We took a mini break from eating.

Safe at the bar.

…or so we thought.

The boys turn to cheese it up.

Good night!