Shirtstastegood.com

By grace.g.yang · June 10, 2009
Under: gracenotesnyc.com,My Life

Two days ago, the awesome website Shirtstastegood.com launched. Two of my friends that I did the Idiotarod with started STG (with two of their friends) and they’ve worked really hard to put it together. The website features youtube.com inspired shirts that are hilarious – here are some of my favorites:

1. Motherlover

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If you haven’t been living under a rock, you’ve seen the Motherlover video featuring Andy Samberg and Justin Timberlake (with special appearances by Susan Saradon and Patricia Clarkson). The guys at Shirtstastegood.com created the waffle shirt because of the line Justin sings (I’m gonna be the syrup, she can be my waffle). Delicious and hilarious.

2. I Like Turtles

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I actually ordered one of these shirts because my friend Josh liked it so much – basically, a reporter tries to interview a kid (on a local news station or something) and instead of responding to the reporter’s question, the kid just says “I like turtles.” Go to the link above to check out the video.

3. I’m on a Boat!

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Yet another Andy Samberg inspired shirt where he’s…on a boat and singing about it (T-Pain’s in the video, too).

4. Battle at Kruger

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Crocodile vs. lions vs. water buffalo….the video isn’t that funny, but somehow the guys made a shirt that captures the video and is also hilarious.

5. I Twatted

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I saved my favorite for last – the I Twatted shirt. Watch the video (the link above) to see Meredith Viera’s reaction to Stephen Colbert telling her that he has “twatted” before.

The shirts (all American Apparel) are printed in New Jersey and the designs are done in-house, too. If you don’t see your favorite youtube video converted into a t-shirt here, you can always make a suggestion (and if your suggestion is turned into a shirt, you get some kind of awesome reward!) Check out the website when you have some extra time (although you might end up spending an entire afternoon on the site since the videos and shirts are so funny)

The Di Fara Pizza Eating Experience

By grace.g.yang · June 8, 2009
Under: Brooklyn,Cheap Eats,Dinner,Italian



A while back, Chris and I decided that it would be fun to take a field trip to Brooklyn to try Di Fara pizza. I had it on the list-of-places-I-absolutely-have-to-try, so we took the 30 minute subway ride over to Brooklyn to find Di Fara. To pass the time, Chris and I talked about how excited we were to finally try Di Fara (we went to a bunch of blogs to check out pictures before we left Chris’ house). ANYWAY, Di Fara is a block away from the subway station and really easy to spot, although we didn’t even see it until we almost passed it (it reminds me of the time I was in Italy with my family and we were looking for the Colosseum, even though it was LITERALLY RIGHT IN FRONT OF US.) Doesn’t this picture make Di Fara look like it was transported through time:

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The restaurant is really small and kind of dingy, but no one was complaining. I mean, it’s a pizza joint! Chris and I knew exactly what we wanted, so we placed our order with Dom, the owner, and he went to work. Here’s his workplace:

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I suppose he liked us because he put our pizza in a lot sooner than other people that were waiting, so we only waited another 20 minutes or so before our pie came out. I’ve read about his place getting shut down by the DOH because of the way he handles the pizza, money, and other things without gloves, but WHATEVER it’s pizza and I didn’t get sick from it. Here he is finishing off our pizza:

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Chris and I were a little afraid of the massive quantities of olive oil he used – I seriously think it was at least 20 ounces!! Actually, I think he might’ve forgotten that he already put olive oil on the pizza so after he cut up some fresh basil, he spread it again….and once more for good measure. Here’s another shot of the entire pie:

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Olive oil heaven:

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The pizza crust was a combination between Patsy’s (extremely soggy because of the sauce) and John’s (crusty and firmer). I think I might’ve overdosed from the olive oil, but the combination of cheeses, salty pepperoni, and fresh basil was absolutely mind blowing. We couldn’t finish the pizza, which is actually kind of shocking considering I usually eat about 4 slices, but I think it was the olive oil sitting in my stomach that did me in. Di Fara was definitely worth the 30 minute train ride to Brooklyn and I definitely recommend a visit.

Di Fara Pizza on Urbanspoon

Minetta Tavern

By grace.g.yang · June 4, 2009
Under: Burgers,Dinner,My Life,West Village



For my birthday, I didn’t want many things (actually, who am I kidding…I made a big list right here). One of the items on my wishlist was a dinner at Minetta Tavern, the new Keith McNally restaurant that has been talked about for quite some time. I made a reservation for three for a family birthday celebration (having the same birthday as David is quite easy for my parents because they only have one date to remember, one cake to buy, and one birthday dinner to take us out to). The restaurant:

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I’m not exactly sure why David posed for the picture, but he was insistent that I take a picture of him holding his hand out.

So one of the main reasons I wanted to go to Minetta Tavern was for their Black Label burger. Not only am I a huge fan of burgers, I am also a huge fan of Keith McNally (my mom is also a big fan of Balthazar and we took her there the previous weekend for a huge feast). Keith McNally also received a three star review from Frank Bruni the previous week, so I knew the food was definitely not going to disappoint.

We started off with some bread and butter:

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Balthazar has some great bread and Minetta Tavern was no different. In addition to the chewy bread, the butter was creamy, rich, and flavored to your liking with the salt on the side. I went through a lot of bread while I was waiting for my burger.

My black label burger:

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And the medium rare interior:

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The burger was absolutely amazing; it’s a secret blend of beef created by Pat Le Frieda topped with caramelized onions on a brioche bun from Balthazar. The actual meat and the caramelized onions were amazing, but I was so incredibly disappointed by the brioche bun. It might’ve been because my bun had a big air bubble in it so there wasn’t as much bread, but I felt like the bun was way too flimsy for the meat. I would’ve preferred the bun to be a little more substantial (although I can see why they use a brioche bun so the meat is definitely not overshadowed). It’s also probably the most expensive burger I’ve ever eaten (at $26, it’s not what you typically pay for a burger), but it’s delicious and worth trying at least once. The fries were really crispy (possibly too crispy) but I happily ate all of them.

David was going back and forth on the lamb or the steak, but decided to go with the lamb with a minty Bearnaise sauce:

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David thoroughly enjoyed the lamb (as did I) and the Bernaise sauce was so good I wanted to eat it by the spoonful, but that might not be considered healthy.

We also ordered a side of mushrooms:

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The mushrooms were cooked with thyme and butter and had a nutty flavor that David and I really enjoyed. I don’t know what the different type of mushrooms were served, but we liked all of them.

We decided to get dessert (even though we couldn’t finish the lamb) and went with the almond cake:

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The dessert was the only dish I wasn’t crazy about – it was a little too dry and we should’ve ordered it a la mode. The chocolate souffle for two looked amazing, but I didn’t want to sit around for 20 minutes because I don’t think I could’ve eaten it if I had waited for my food to digest.

I really enjoyed Minetta Tavern’s food and atmosphere and will definitely be back for their steak for two VERY soon.

Minetta Tavern on Urbanspoon

Blue Hill

By grace.g.yang · June 1, 2009
Under: Desserts,Dinner,Prix-fixe,West Village



My dinner at Blue Hill took place almost a year ago, but I figured it’s a timely article since the Obama’s just had dinner there over the weekend (actually, I had just finished dinner at Minetta Tavern and walked over to see what the fuss was all about because my mom and I saw a bunch of secret service agents milling around W 4th).

I had Blue Hill on my list of places I REALLY wanted to try because of their farm-to-table philosophy; if you go to the Stone Barns location, you can actually play with the pigs and walk around the grounds to see the vegetables you’re about to eat. I haven’t made it up there yet, but I really want to try their brunch while my mom’s here because I think it would be a nice day trip.

We started off the meal with lots of bread while we were deciding what to order (the menu isn’t that extensive, but we couldn’t decide on whether or not we should both do the tasting menu/if we didn’t both do the tasting menu, what would the other person order). Here is what I affectionally call crazy bread:

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The bread reminded me of the awesome crazy bread from Little Cesar’s (and I KNOW that those pizza joints still exist because I went to one when I was in Napa Valley last year!). The bread was warm, crusty, and had a bite to it and the accompanying butter was so creamy and had just the right amount of salt. I think we had three servings of bread before we actually ordered any food!

We decided to go with one tasting and a couple of things from the a la carte menu so we could share and try more things off the menu.

The waitress brought us out some seaweed crisps and sugar snap peas:

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And some little burgers filled with bean puree:

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Both were good, but nothing awesome and nothing even close to the tastiness of the crazy bread and butter.

The first dish from my tasting menu was this morning’s Farm eggs:

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So when I eat eggs, I don’t usually think too much about the flavor – I mean, the yolk is definitely better than the white, but what else are you supposed to taste, right? Somehow, the egg was the most flavorful and delicious egg I’ve ever tasted; the yolk was creamy, rich, and absolutely amazing.

I don’t think this was from the tasting menu, but an order of crab meat:

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A very generous serving of crab meat in broth – the dish was served cool and was very refreshing.

After reviewing some of my Blue Hill pictures, I realized that we ate a LOT of food. Here’s the lamb we ordered:

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The lamb was tender, juicy, and very well seasoned. Some people say that happy animals make tastier meat, so I guess this lamb was like, the happiest lamb in the field.

Our next course was salmon:

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So if you go to the grocery store and buy salmon, sometimes it has food coloring in it (isn’t that disgusting?) I actually grew up eating a lot of salmon because my mom prepares it really well and it was one of the only things I would eat, but we would usually get Atlantic salmon (it was the only thing available in the landlocked town of Champaign, Illinois!) Anyway, the salmon was wild and tasted like…SMOKED salmon. It actually tasted like something I’ve never had before – more flavorful than any other fish I’ve ever had and it was just seasoned with a little salt. It’s pretty incredible how much flavor you lose when you buy farmed salmon (the food farmed salmon eat = parts of other fish and pellets to get their coloring vs. the food wild salmon eat = shrimp).

My main entree was a large piece of pork. A REALLY large piece of pork:

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So berkshire pork is really a big deal (well, pork in general), but the pork was overly salted and almost to the point that the pork lost all of its flavor and it tasted like I was chewing on salt. Chris thought the pork tasted okay, but I was a little disappointed because the pork was supposed to be the best part of the meal and I thought it was possibly the worst.

As a palate cleanser, we were served some mint sorbet with berries:

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The mint sorbet was refreshing and something I could see myself making (although I might mix it up and add some lemon balm into the sorbet mix)

For dessert, we were brought some vanilla type pudding with strawberries:

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People say that strawberries are supposed to taste a lot better with they’re organic – and they’re right! They’re much sweeter (and smaller) and the dessert wasn’t overly sweet.

And finally, we ended our night with some cherries:

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Well, I didn’t really taste the difference between the cherries I buy on the street and the cherries from Blue Hill, but it didn’t really matter because I was stuffed beyond belief by the time we finished dinner. The meal was very delicious and unpretentious and I can definitely see why Michelle Obama would want to go on a date at Blue Hill.

Blue Hill on Urbanspoon

Happy Birthday to ME and DAVID!

By grace.g.yang · May 29, 2009
Under: gracenotesnyc.com,My Life

Today is my 25th birthday and David’s 27th birthday! It’s always been fun sharing a birthday (especially because David doesn’t mind sharing the spotlight with his little sister on our special day). David and I are not only siblings, we’re also roommates AND colleagues! As you can tell, we are very close – we share a lot of the same interests and have a similar sense of humor – we both love board games (Settlers of Catan and Ticket to Ride), we watch the same television shows (30 Rock, The Office, Sex and the City re-runs, and Arrested Development), and we have a similar interest for facial products (right now, we’re both really into Bliss). David is an awesome brother and friend and I’m so fortunate to have him in my life. Below are some pictures to capture the dynamic Yang duo:

At The Martha Stewart Show taping back on March 7th (who else would accompany their sister to The Martha Stewart Show….and be just as excited when we got free mixers?):

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David helped me prepare a hot pot feast for Chinese New Year so we could celebrate in our first apartment together:

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In front of the Pompidou Center during our last family vacation in Europe:

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Posing like tourists in front of the Louvre:

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We also share an interest in fine dining – this picture was taken after a long lunch at Le Cinq and David pretended to eat an ortolan (something we plan to do in the future):

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David and I after an amazing dinner at per se (and after he biked in his first 100 mile race):

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Me, my mom, and David having brunch on one of my mom’s visits to the city:

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And seriously, would your brother go with you to 9 different frozen yogurt places in the dead of winter?:

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Happy Birthday!

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