Last week, I made a delicious banana pudding for Jordan’s birthday celebration at the office. I gave him a few choices of what I could make for our office treat and he picked the banana pudding. I have experience making banana pudding (and have documented it here) but here is the actual recipe:
Magnolia’s Banana Pudding Recipe
1 (14 oz.) can sweetened condensed milk
1 1/2 c cold water
1 (3.4 oz) box vanilla instant pudding mix
3 c heavy cream
1 tsp vanilla extract
4 c sliced bananas (this ended up being about 5 bananas)
1 (12 oz.) box Nilla Wafers
First, combine the sweetened condensed milk with the cold water. Once those have been mixed together, add the instant pudding mix and make sure all of the pudding mix is blended with the condensed milk and water. Refrigerate until firm (about 2 hours).
While the pudding is firming up, whip the heavy cream until stiff peaks form:
Once the pudding is firm, mix with the whipped cream and add vanilla extract:
Fold the pudding and whipped cream together (by hand):
Now you’re ready to put everything together! I have a trifle bowl that makes banana pudding look good – you start by placing nilla wafers on the bottom of the bowl and sliced bananas on top of the nilla wafers:
Then a layer of the whipped cream + vanilla combo:
Keep layering until you run out of ingredients (I ended up with about 5 layers and a little leftover for individual containers):
And the happy birthday boy:
When David and I used to live on 19th street, there weren’t too many shops and stores on the street. Now, however, there’s a SoulCycle, an international bookstore, Muji, and a Dough Doughnut Shop:
The first time I tried Dough was at Brooklyn Flea; the passion fruit with cacao nibs doughnut was sweet and tangy but a little soggy because it had been sitting around for a while. This time, however, I went straight to the source – the actual doughnut shop for their freshly made doughnuts. This location has a bakery behind the storefront and had a pretty long line the morning that I visited. Their service is still working out kinks but they had lots of fresh doughnuts so I didn’t care about waiting:
I ordered a dozen doughnuts for my coworkers – cafe au lait, glazed, hibiscus, cinnamon sugar, and Valrhona chocolate:
All of them were amazing; they’re yeasty doughnuts with different glazes and my favorite was the chocolate, but all of them were fresh and delicious. When I visited (before 9am) they were already out of their flavor of the day, the Pumpkin doughnut! My theory is that people do Soulcycle in the morning and then walk over to Dough to reward themselves. What a dangerous combo of stores! I guess they’ll keep each other in business…we are so happy Dough is finally in the city!
I love love LOVE shaved ice and was so happy to hear that Snowdays Shavery opened up in New York. I grew up eating shaved ice in Taiwan (and one summer in Korea!); whenever I visit my dad in Asia, we always go to multiple night markets where we eat shaved ice with all sorts of sweet toppings. In Asia, they have a lot of interesting toppings (sweet red beans, mochi, kidney beans, all kinds of candy, condensed milk, etc), while in New York, I’ve tried some o-k replicas at Koryodang, and in Flushing, but nothing compares to what I’ve had in Taiwan. The shaved ice is airy, sweet (but not too sweet) and is the perfect summer time treat:
Snowdays Shavery opened up recently and serves lots of different types of shaved ice (they have combos you can order or you can make your own creation). Each time I’ve gone, I’ve gone with their creations since I don’t want to mess with my shaved ice. The first time I went, I really wanted to order the green tea shaved ice, but they said they were out of it, yet the PERSON BEHIND ME GOT IT. They said it was because it just depends on when the ice freezes, but I think if the person behind me was able to get it, they could’ve told us to just wait a few minutes if we wanted green tea. We ended up with the New Yorka, which is cheesecake shaved ice with nilla wafers, strawberries, and whipped cream:
The next time I visited, they did have green tea shaved ice so a friend ordered it – it comes with grass jelly, condensed milk, and mochi:
Another friend ordered the yeti tracks, which is an Oreo flavored snow with bananas, blueberry sauce, and crumbled ice cream cones:
All of the flavors are really good and not too sweet. It’s the best I’ve had in the US (although still not as good as the ones you’d get in Asia!) They’re about $8 per shaved ice (which is also about 500 times more expensive than Asia), but it’s worth it!
Two weeks ago, Ken came back from a business trip and wanted to go out for dinner; I suggested we get sushi in Tribeca. We made reservations at a different restaurant but ended up canceling and ended up walking around trying to find another restaurant with availability. We walked into Takahachi and it looked fun and lively so we decided to sit down.
Their menu has a lot of options of both cooked and raw items and most people were ordering raw items so we decided to stick to the raw stuff. We started with a seaweed salad with miso dressing:
We ordered sashimi (the chef’s choice):
Then spicy tuna and an unagi and shrimp tempura roll:
We also ordered the specialty roll of the day, which included miso paste, lemon juice, jalapenos and salmon:
The salmon roll was the only dish we didn’t like at all; Ken said that it tasted like there was something popping in his mouth when he was eating the roll. Luckily, they let us return the dish because we didn’t like it at all.
Takahachi reminds me of Nomado 33, a restaurant in Murray Hill that we used to order from a lot when we lived in the neighborhood. If I lived further downtown, I could see myself ordering takeout from here, but it’s not worth a special trip downtown to dine there.
Last weekend, Ken and I spent some more time on the upper west side and ended up going to The Smith for brunch! There are multiple locations of The Smith but the upper west side location is possibly the largest and there might be the most options on this menu. Ken eats at the location in midtown during work lunches and told me that he likes to to order the chips smothered with blue cheese fondue or the mac and cheese; Jordan, my boss, told me he likes to order the biscuits and gravy or the fried green beans with ranch dressing; and my friend Tyler told me she likes getting their margaritas because they are always on point.
With all of those suggestions and after reviewing the upper west side’s menu’s options (macaroni and cheese, corned beef hash, burger deluxe, you get the idea), we ended up going the healthy route and getting the egg white omelet with spinach, goat cheese and hash browns and the steak salad:
The egg white omelet was very fluffy and flavorful (even though everyone surrounding us was eating burgers and fries, I really enjoyed the omelet!):
And the steak salad was very good; it had a freshly made steak (medium rare), goat cheese, arugula, endives, and a tangy vinaigrette:
Brunch was really good and the best part: free seltzer water:
All of the restaurants offer free still and sparkling water (my favorite!) Next time we visit the restaurant, I’m going all out and ordering the mac and cheese, vanilla bean french toast, and hot potato chips!!
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