What a few days it’s been! So many fun celebrations! This is one of the best weeks at work too–between Christmas and New Years. It’s slow, casual, and a more relaxed environment at work–woohoo for jeans in the office!
My fiancé and I kicked off the Christmas weekend Thursday night at Gunbae with a friend. It’s a Korean BBQ place we passed by a few times that looked pretty new, clean, and elegant inside compared to other Korean BBQ spots . (Sometimes the Korean BBQ places are absolute smog zones.) We were just saving this place for the right occasion and type of night. Gunbae fit the bill because we were looking for a fun environment, not really a quiet dinner, somewhere that was relatively casual but still nice inside, and where we could have a more extended dinner out–karaoke downstairs! This is the entryway, and karaoke is down the spiral staircase:Here’s the inside:One thing I thought was really nifty is the bench space for coats and belongings. I thought this was awesome because then our coats wouldn’t smell like Korean BBQ. (I went to a place in Chinatown once where they gave you a plastic bag for your coat. Storage bench is obviously a lot classier…) More restaurants should do this, especially smaller ones with limited amounts of space. It’s really annoying when you’re sharing seating benches and people’s purses and coats are taking up seating space. We opted to start with Kloud, which is a beer brewed in Korea. We also split a little carafe of hot sake, because it was cold outside and it seemed appropriate. Here are the initial dish accompaniments for the meat:They scrambled/cooked the egg for us:We ordered the wagyu beef, the peppered pork belly, the seafood pancake, and the fried vegetable dumplings:We rounded out our dinner with the housemade cucumber soju. Look at this lit up presentation:Off to karaoke after dinner to burn some of those calories… The karaoke downstairs was extremely clean and new. The song selection was thorough, pretty well updated, and the drink service was quick.
I’d definitely recommend coming here for dinner and karaoke versus going to K-Town all the time. It’s a little pricier but you avoid the gaggle of ten 21 year olds, and it’s a cleaner more refined version of other BBQ places. It’s totally worth it to pay a touch extra. (Gunbae also closes at midnight so you won’t get all the loud stumbling sloppiness lol. There are plenty of other places after midnight to continue your party though!) The food menu is not as huge as a lot of the cheaper places in K-Town, but the food that they do have is very good. Next time I’m in the mood for Korean BBQ and karaoke I’ll probably come back here rather than go up to 32nd Street. Kombe! (Cheers in Korean :D)
Links to Gunbae reviews:
I’ve been to Amelie Wine Bar a few times, and I’ve always had good wine and good food. I’m putting it into my go-to bucket. Most recently I was there on Saturday afternoon. I was doing some final Christmas shopping, and really needed to stop by for food before the late dinner at home I had planned. And what do you know…it was happy hour!
It’s quite the modern wine bar:The happy hour is a $12 wine flight where you can either try one of their pre-selected wine, or you can select any three of their by-the-glass wines.
I’m a huge fan of heavier, dry, red wine, so I customized my flight based on my taste. I also immediately ordered three of their crostini at $3 each. From left to right the crostini are: Tomato and Onion, Octopus and Lemon Yogurt, and Tapenade and White Anchovies. Of course, you also can’t go to a French restaurant without getting escargot… snails, snails, snails! For happy hour they also have them for $6 rather than the regular $9 price. Hey, any bit counts right? Look at this little burlap sack of bread they give you for dipping into the garlic and pesto–too cute.The other classic you have to have while acting French is beef tartare. This one is filet mignon tartare with a quail egg on top. Quail Eggs and Stilettos loves quail eggs…They bring you the check in a book which is sweet and makes the bill interesting? I mean I guess it’s better than a plain bill. No bill is ever interesting right? 😉I’d recommend this place for happy hour, dinner, or a celebration of a few people. Cheers!
Links to Amelie Wine Bar reviews:
There have been a lot of holiday parties and outings recently. Suffice it to say that there are sparse ingredients in my refrigerator. Last night I went on a mission. My mission ended in pork and vegetable noodle stir fry. I figured I generally had some ingredients for a stir fry, and I watched a three minute video I Googled for some inspiration.
I hastily defrosted some pork strips that were deep in the freezer:Chopped up garlic to quickly marinate the pork strips with:Whipped up a soy sauce with brown sugar, black pepper, some vinegar, and whatever else I could find that seemed appropriate:One, two, three, let’s coat these pork strips in flour, garlic, and soy sauce. I even boiled my eggs noodles on the side like a professional. Wash and chop people, that’s how you get things done:I cooked my pork first (like an expert) then set it aside while I cooked the vegetables. I don’t have a wok but this deep pan did the trick:Threw in the pork. Now, time for the noodles:Ta-da!Let’s plate this:My fiancé ate everything. There were no leftovers or survivors.
Have faith in yourself and get creative next time you’re scavengering around the kitchen. You don’t always have to have all the ingredients of what you’re making. Substitutions and certain omissions are perfectly fine.
Are you going to any holiday parties this weekend? I highly suggest you bring jello shots! I’ve made them for multiple parties and they’re always a hit. I went to a holiday kickoff party recently, and I brought Christmas-themed jello shots.
Here they were firming up in the refrigerator:
Close up… (Yes, we actually also have food in the fridge not just jello shots and beer.)
They are so easy to make. They literally only require three ingredients:
- one package Jello-O (I used the sugar free strawberry flavor because I wanted them red and almost calorie free 🙂 )
- 1 cup boiling water
- 1/2 cup ice cold water
- 1/2 vodka
Put the jello mix in a big bowl. Boil one cup of water. Add the boiling water to the jello powder and mix for two minutes. Add in the ice cold water and vodka. Pour into plastic shot glasses. Refrigerate four hours. (I made eight jello packets worth of shots!)
When you’re ready to consume the jello shots, you can garnish them. I put candy cane peppermint garnish on mine for the Christmas party. I put candy canes in a plastic zip bag, and I got something I could mash the candy cane pieces with… Here I am getting position:Ready!…Shot…I mean set…GO!(Careful not to break through the plastic bag though!)You don’t need to bake anything and they take 20 minutes to put together. What’s better than that?
I worked from home today because I have a terrible cold, and I overall feel disgusting. All I wanted is someone to hand me tissues and make me chicken noodle soup. Since my fiancé had to go to work, I was left on my own.
I had some of the ingredients for chicken noodle soup, and I was dangerously low on tissues and tea. I remembered I had a coupon floating around for something that said grocery delivery in an hour or less. All I knew was that it’s called FoodKick by Freshdirect, and I love Freshdirect so I decided to try it. Here’s the coupon and my sick station at the coffee table:I decided to go for it, and try FoodKick. I mean they were offering $25 off and 60 day free shipping… I ordered my chicken soup and sick supplies, and 52 minutes later it was delivered:Here they are… I was so happy and thankful for technology, and it made me feel so much better to have some homemade chicken soup:…and tissues… Hello little nutcracker 🙂I’m getting started…Realized I didn’t have celery seed so I made do with sticking a celery stalk in there during cooking. I also put in whole garlic cloves because garlic is so good for you when you’re battling a cold. All done!!!!!My soup was so ridiculously delicious, and I didn’t have to lift a finger for tissues or tea. No complaints here. I think the new FoodKick by Freshdirect idea is genius. Especially if they keep their delivery fee to $3.99 (even though I got it for free this time). I’ll definitely be using this again. I try to plan out what to get for the week, but it’s not always easy to do and sometimes special cravings come up. Like tissues… Also, did I mention how much I love NYC? Where else can you get onions and tissues delivered to your front door? #NYC
If you’re looking for something to do in the city to break up the monotony of going out for drinks and dinner on the weekends, I suggest going to the Whitney in Meatpacking. The new location is hip and vibrant, and doesn’t feel like a stodgy old museum. It gives the museum a whole new vibe. (The old location was on Madison and 75th–not quite what you’d call “hip” 🙂 ) Plus the Whitney is open until 10pm on Friday and Saturday nights, so even if you’re not a museum person, it’s worth to go walk around for an hour or something before dinner. I went on Friday with a few people from out of town, and we walked over to Spotted Pig for drinks and dinner afterwards. On F riday’s the Whitney has “Pay What You Wish” so it’s all voluntary pay, but if you work for certain companies (or have friends that work for then) the Whitney gives a corporate discount so you don’t have to pay an admission fee.I’ll start with the outdoor part because the views from the terraces of the museum are 360 views of New York. Rarely does a museum have such amazing outside portions. And in true Whitney fashion, there’s still art out there to admire. Check out this amazing view and sculpture. She literally looks like a body painted-woman that’s about to jump out at you at any second. They had a really interesting cinema art exhibit called “Dreamlands: Immersive Cinema and Art 1905-2016.” I guarantee it isn’t quite what you’re thinking of… it was part club experience part movie experience but all very trippy. It was composed of all separate rooms and areas set up with sound and light fixtures, projectors, adjoining screens, and all types of stuff.
Let’s step into one of the rooms…This exhibit below with the oranges was one of my favorites. They even had real oranges strewn around the floor. Here’s a video clip of the experience:
My fiancé and I made some of our own art lol ….playing with shadows….A different exhibit I liked was this room that had a video playing and reels of photo tape or whatever this was, that you can step on and crunch to your heart’s desire:
Another cool exhibit was this rectangular shaped room with lights alternating flashing ceiling lights, and what looked like dead frogs stuck to the glass:There were also beautiful original prints from Disney’s Fantasia. Who doesn’t love that classic movie?? After the cinema art exhibit we went to quickly visit the other floors. These two pieces below were my favorite from this part of the museum. This sculptured woman was so terrifyingly real, even down to her veins:Last but not least, I loved this painting that is a recreation of the view from a bathroom in 432 Park Avenue:Anyone interested in buying a $70 million apartment?