Single (and cooking) in the City

Food, life, love, and fun recipes



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.

Pan de Coco

Roughly 2 years and 2 months ago, I took one of the least glamorous, but most eye-opening and relaxing vacations ever in my adult life.

From the inception of the idea, generated by a daily lifestyle newsletter, to booking and pre-paying for a $35-dollar-a-night cabana (and that is considered EXPENSIVE!) online (relying on nothing but a couple of pictures and some “visitor comments”) to finally, a flight out to Managua (Nicaragua) followed by yet another flight on a 14-passenger single engine aircraft to Big Corn Island, and a rocky water taxi ride to Little Corn… it was well worth the transfers to get to a piece of almost undisturbed paradise.

On Little Corn Island you won’t find vehicles. Or roads. Or much electricity beyond the 4-block long “town.” And you certainly won’t find very many “tourist-traps” beyond the couple of friendly Australian surfstands. I did manage, however, to find my tourist trap – a little house next to a school that sold the most amazing coconut bread.

If I could manage to find my way to town from the depths of the jungle where I was staying, relying on nothing but landmarks such as a tree that leans a certain way, or a pile of suspicious looking potholes and dirt, I would be able to buy, from what I remember to be pennies, a loaf of coconut bread which I would then snack on the entire day as I relaxed on a hammock by the beach. And if I had forgotten to alert my hosts in advance that I would be dining with them? No worries, I’ll make whatever’s left of that loaf last the whole evening… and look forward to buying more in the morning when my stomach starts to grumble.

The couple of weeks after I’d left paradise, I raved about this amazing bread. But after months away, I soon forgot about the taste, until I tried the pan de coco at La Playa, a new restaurant situated on a cursed corner of 5th avenue in Park Slope. It was bland and unmemorable, and unsurprisingly, the place was shuttered not even a year into their lease.

I could say that the taste of that amazing bread used to plague my dreams, but as any sane human being would do, I used my survival skills to forget about it and move on. Write it off as something I will probably never have again. And perhaps feel a little thankful that I wouldn’t be able to find yet another evil carb loaded treat on my part of the hemisphere. But as the stars would have it, destiny is unavoidable. That is, my destiny to have bread prove to become my demise.

I found a recipe for pan de coco on the Whole Foods website.

And so, at about 10pm, I started making my dough. 2 hours later, I snuck a bite of the freshly baked bread, closed my eyes, and saw heaven.

Pan de Coco (recipe from Whole Foods)

Vacation On-The-Go

If I can spend the rest of my life on a boat with friends, I’d do it. Without a doubt. Even if it meant having to sit around in the 90 degree weather, sweating up a storm, fighting over the last piece of *big squid.

Fourth of July weekend was a wonderful blur of fun events, starting Friday night with a campout and pig roast on Queens County Farm. We arrived around 8pm, set up tent, and sat on picnic tables out on the farm while the beer flowed and music played.

After a feast of roast pork sandwiches, sausages, ribs, corn, and potato salad, plus live music  and a restless night on the hard orchard grounds, we awoke the next morning to coffee and pastries and quickly left for our next destination – Cape Cod!

There were lobsters, an artisan’s fair, a vineyard, seafood shacks, and the beach, which was where we happened to find ourselves on the evening of fireworks. A quick breakfast purchased from an adorable bakery the next morning and we were on the road again, back to NY for a ride on a catamaran.

The catamaran outfit shown above? Maximum coverage for maximum protection from the sun. Except by then it was too late and I was already past the sign that points to premature aging and wrinkly leather skin. Thanks for nothing, SPF 85.

*big squid, purchased by Queenie, is a huge 3 foot long dried sheet of squid. Delicious and sticky, an evil combination for a muggy day.

This Blog Has….

…gone sailing!

I need a post-vacation vacation. Pooped out from all the fun!
Will be back shortly… after these messages.