Wednesday, June 15, 2011

New York Bound!

Jason Mraz once tweeted, "All that u need, to have all that u want, will be provided, as if by magic, once u know what u want and do something about it every day." And truly as if by magic and with the help of a most accommodating travel agent, the US tourist visa that not too long ago I decided that I wanted, is on its way to my doorstep.

My sister is getting married, and thanks to the generous consul who granted me my visa, I can actually bear witness to such an exciting and memorable event, and maybe even walk her down the aisle if she so wishes. I just could not believe my luck when I was told that my visa interview has been confirmed at an earlier date despite the lateness of my application. But because of the limited time I had to prepare prior to the interview, I only had a bank statement and one employment certificate to show whatever ties I had here in the country. A dark thought was looming at the back of my mind--that there was no way a consul would grant someone like me a visa. I could barely sleep the night before so when I got to the interview, I was on the edge. My hands were so wet I could've messed up the barcode on my passport. Seeing applicant after applicant get the dreaded blue slip was just making things worse, and the NBA finals on the gigantic flat screen did very little to distract me. But just when I thought I blew my chances when I inadvertently displayed my nerves to the consul, he shrugs it off, says that there was no reason to be nervous and then goes on to tell me that my visa has been approved. I could not help but smile from ear to ear, but I was glad I managed to keep myself from doing the happy dance. At some point in the interview, I was so sure that he was going to deny me the visa when he asked if I'd be interested working in New York City, the 'biggest pastry mecca' around, and I retorted, "I'd go to France, officer. Not New York." He grants me the visa anyway. 

And with that, I am New York bound!

I am looking forward to her big day, but I am also very excited to experience the New York I never got to see back when I was still working on the ms Veendam.

With the sister in some NY deli; she's talking to Mama on the phone! -- NY 2010

Flat Iron Builing

Yale University

Imagine Circle, Strawberry Fields (John Lennon Memorial). Central Park, NY

I am so excited to do some research!!! And by research I mean trying out as many cupcakes as I could afford. Some sell theirs for 4 bucks a piece! Silly, I know.

Here's a list of cupcakes I'd really like to try:

Magnolia Bakery

photo from
Not only did this bakery increase cupcake awareness in the US, but it has also managed to turn the humble cupcake into a fashionable pastry, with its frosted little ones appearing in cameos on shows like Sex and The City. There is just no way I'm leaving the states without trying their best sellers.

The Buttercup Bakeshop

photo from
After working for a few years as business parter to Allysa Torey of Magnolia Bakery which they opened in 1996, Jennifer Appel decides she wants her own bake shop and opens The Buttercup Bake Shop in August of 1999. It would be interesting to see if she has kept the same recipes from Magnolia or made them her own.

Billy's Bakery

So Magnolia Bakery did start it all. Billy Reece (who is now Lauren Reece after estrogen therapy and gender reassignment surgery) who worked in Magnolia Bakery for two years, opened Billy's with two partners back in 2003. Eventually, her partners decide to buy her out, but Billy's Bakery remains to be successful without her. I wonder how these will compare to the Magnolia and Buttercup ones? Will the student surpass the master?

Eleni's New York
I have been to Eleni's in Chelsea Market before but I was not able to try their cupcakes. Though better known for their playfully decorated sugar cookies, they also have a large selection of cupcakes (more like muffins! I think they were about the size of my fist!) and I would definitely try them this time.

Georgetown Cupcake
I would have to travel 4 hours for this beauty, since Georgetown Cupcake is located in Washington, DC. 
Georgetown Cupcake is the home of DC Cupcakes, a reality show on TLC that follows owners and sisters Katherine and Sophie while they manage and operate the cupcakery. For a cupcake bakery to get its own TV show, their cupcakes better be good.

Claiming to be the 'world's first cupcake bakery,' Sprinkles Bakery has been serving cupcakes (and only cupcakes) since 2003. Getting inspiration from where else, Magnolia Bakery, they opened the first Sprinkles bakery in Beverly Hills in hopes of making a 'better cupcake.' From their flagship store in California, Sprinkles has grown into 10 locations all over the states and they are planning to open more branches in locations including London and Tokyo. Both of the owners are investment bankers, which could partly explain Sprinkles' rapid growth. And just last May, they opened their first branch in NYC! Which means I don't have to travel all the way to the west coast to try these intriguing cupcakes!

Apart from all these delicious-looking cupcakes, I would definitely try to enjoy the culinary delights that NYC has to offer. I am looking forward to bumping into celebrities too!

New York City, see you in a bit!!!

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Christophe Michalak et Bradley Cooper

The rainy weather has gotten the best of me and I'm down with a serious case of colds and I can't make myself work today (which is bad because I have got some prep to do for a food tasting tomorrow! Argh!) However, my runny nose has failed to keep me from surfing the internet and blogging. Between purchasing a song on iTunes and YouTubing for cake recipe videos, I stumbled upon a channel subscription that I have long since forgotten. It is a French food channel, one that I subscribed to a few months back when I was still working on board the ms Veendam. I can't recall why I liked the channel so much despite not understanding a word but there is something about the French language that never fails to get my attention. Whenever I hear someone speaking French around me, I can't help but eavesdrop and try to decipher their conversation. Okay, maybe not decipher, more like trying to make out the words I do understand from their conversation using my very, very limited French vocabulary. So I guess it's no surprise that I am subscribed to a French culinary channel on YouTube. (Come to think of it, it should be a surprise. Why on earth would I watch something I don't even understand?!) It was on this channel that I found out that the pastry chef whose work I've seen and followed in certain food publications and chocolate supplier catalogues turns out to be a hottie!

Meet Christophe Michalak, a young pastry chef who has worked in establishments I could only dream of working in. His resume reads like a must-see list of pastry shops and restaurants in Paris: Fauchon, Laduree, Plaza Athenee, yep, he's worked in all of them, even getting three Michelin stars for his work at the Hotel Plaza Athenee.

It's not so hard to grant three stars to this hottie!
He kinda reminds me of Bradley Cooper who, coincidentally, happens to speak French! As if he even needs to try to be sexy!

I know he would look good as a chef. I know because he played a chef on a series called Kitchen Confidential, so its not hard imagining him in chef's whites. Or out of it. Teehee.

Now back to work Cho!!!!
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