you don"t need to save the crystal for a special day, even water tastes better in a "Fancy Glass"

Sunday, December 28, 2008

I wish me a yummy Christmas and a tasty New Year!

Our new family tradition, 3 years running, is to spend the Christmas holiday season in Europe, particularly in very Christmassy countries like Austria, Germany, and this year we also went to the Czech Republic and Hungary.

On Christmas day we were in Vienna, and we had Christmas Brunch in our hotel, the classic HOTEL SACHER WEIN. This shot is the dessert part of the brunch buffet. It was amazing!!! what a great meal. I was full for two days, just started to get my appetite back today in fact.

There were so many tasty treats on the buffet and the desserts were truly divine. I wanted to try everything but it was not possible-- especially after the roast duck, suckling pig, goose liver pate tart, salads, sausages, breads and so much more.

What a wonderful meal.

Friday, December 19, 2008

Evening View of the Prague Christmas Market

First full, awake and wonderful day of my Christmas trip 2008. This is the walking street headed into the main Old Town square in Prague. Ahead is the wonderful Christmas market filled with yummy foods, hot mulled wine, Christmas ornaments and souvenir bits and bobs. Had a wonderful day walking, seeing, looking and doing. We spent the morning at the KAMPA mondern art museum, the afternoon at the Museum of Decorative Arts, and the evening at the Christmas market. Everyone is tired tired tired. But happy.
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Sunday, December 07, 2008

Sushi American Style in Japan

This is one of my new favorites~! Fujimamas Firecracker Roll.
Very tasty. Many types of sushi rolls, well known in the USA are viturally unheard of in Japan. California rolls, spider rolls, and many more. This Firecracker roll has tuna, shirmp tempura, cucumber and a spicy mayo. A meal all on it's own. The mix of tastes and textures is quite something. Also fun to share. We've been making this one since the spring of this year. Totally terrific.
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Thursday, December 04, 2008

The Versitile Cheesecake


Cheesecake is a personal favorite of mine. It is also totally customizable and flexible. Got a favorite flavor? You can take a basic baked cheese cake recipe and with small adjustments you can change it up at any time. We've made Macha, Mocha, Pumpkin, Margarita, Blueberry, and the most recent-- Raspberry pictured above.

Here's a good basic starter recipe

Baked Cheesecake recipe

for the Biscuit crust
250 g (8 oz) plain sweet biscuits
90 g (3 oz) melted butter
1 tablespoon ground almonds (optional)

for the filling
250 g (8 oz) cottage cheese
500 g (1 lb) cream cheese, softened
3/4 cup sugar
3 tablespoons cream
3 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla essence
1/4 teaspoon grated lemon rind
whipped cream and freshly grated nutmeg for serving

for the Biscuit crust
1. Crush biscuits and combine with melted butter and ground almonds if used.
2. Spread over base and sides of a greased 20 cm (8 inch) spring-form tin. Press firmly and chill.

for the Filling
1. Press cottage cheese through a sieve into a bowl.
2. Add cream cheese, sugar and cream and beat together thoroughly.
3. Add eggs one at a time, then vanilla essence and lemon rind, beat well.
4. Pour mixture into prepared biscuit case
5. cook in an oven 180-190°C (350-375°F) for 45 minutes.
6. Turn off oven and leave cheesecake inside oven to cool.
7. Then chill for at least 2 hours.
8. Top with whipped cream and nutmeg before serving (optional)

This site has a ton of variations.
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Wednesday, December 03, 2008

Cirque Culinare


Well, it has been an age since I wrote here. The election, work, and life conspired and something had to give. Sadly it was my non-political writing like my dear little fancy glass blog. But Here I Am. And it is nice to come back home.

Just after the election season... which I was heavily involved in, we planned a grand celebration. The new Tokyo Penisula hotel was hosting a 5 day food extravaganza, and on the last night, a Petrus and Dominus wine dinner. We went. It was amazing.

Great wines, wonderful full, expert service. It was truly lovely.
There was little I would have changed, and for me, that is saying something!

I will post up more about this great dinner in the next couple of days. But I just wanted to come over here tonight, dive in and get started again!

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Saturday, July 26, 2008

Birthday At Beacon

Last night was my honey's Birthday! We both had to work during the day but for dinner we chose to celebrate at Beacon in Tokyo. The restaurant was opened by a chef-friend of mine a few years ago, and I've been meaning to go over there for ages. This seemed like a good time.

I made a reservation for two and told them it was a birthday dinner. They promised to prepare a birthday plate for dessert, candle and message included.

I know the owners, and some staff so it was fun to be at place where people know us. And they treated us really well.

The interior is chic but warm. Nice colors, great lighting. comfortable seating. Lots of dark wood and sophisticated touches.

For dinner we decided, having just gotten back from Texas- to order seafood instead of steaks.
We shared an amazing appetizer to start off the night.

Goat cheese strudel with fresh tomato sauce
The puff pastry wrapper was light and crunchy, the tomatoes both sweet and salty, and some delicious piping hot goat cheese. Totally YUM.

Hubby had
Pancetta wrapped pan-roasted scallops with seasonal vegetables. He said quite tasty, I forgot to ask for a bite as I was focused on my own dish; Local swordfish steak with lemon risotto. I found the tastes and textures to be very well balanced. My swordfish was a bit salty. But the sweet corn and zucchini I had on the side was so tasty.

For the birthday dessert we shared the
Peach crumble with vanilla ice cream.

And throughout the meal we truly enjoyed a terrific bottle of
Flowers, Sonoma Coast, California 2006.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

OMG Cobbler

So, we are at a big convention in Austin, Tx. Last night found us eating out a local sustainable amazing bbq joint called Lamberts. In addition to fantastically well prepared bbq, side dishes and their famous spicy deviled eggs-- the above was an additional gold star part of the meal.

That glorious dessert above is a PEACH-BLACKBERRY Cobbler, served warm with Honey vanilla ice cream. Words fail me.
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Tuesday, July 01, 2008

Everything tastes better with BBQ Sauce

A bit of what I have been up to (see above). This collage is from our BBQ for Unity about a week and a 1/2 ago. A whole bunch of Democrats Abroad in Japan got together to eat some very tasty BBQ and talk politics. It was really a fun time. It was great seeing some new folks and getting back in touch with people I had not seen for a while. Lots of young dems were there which was really great. We have had a hard time reaching out across younger demographics, but seems to be changing.

Miki and Kathleen my two gals working on growing a Young Dems group, brought their friend Lili to help volunteer at the door/check in etc. So I had lots of help which was great.

Special thanks to the Mehta's for letting us celebrate in their snazzy garden space.
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Monday, June 30, 2008

Picture Perfect Anniversary Breakfast

Mr. Fancy Glass and I have been married for 11 years as of mid June. This gorgeous spread was our anniversary breakfast. He gave me a great surprise and got us a room at the new Tokyo Penisula Hotel, we had a fanstastic dinner, a relaxing romantic time, and a wonderful breakfast before heading back to the work-a-day world.

My hubby really helped me become the foodie that I am. He is a wonderful culinary explorer and appreciator of all things F&B.

This breakfast was delivered and set up by room service. What a treat on every level. It was all delicious. (though the eggs were overcooked.)

Yum! and here's to the next 14 years! I want to have a big 25th Anniversary Adventure somewhere!

p.s. Thanks Hubbyness
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Friday, June 13, 2008

remember Christmas as we head into summer

my first animoto video!

Summer Tasty Dinner

In Summer time many people don’t enjoy cooking. Too much fuss, too much fun to be missed outside. But summer is when the food is fresh, and a good healthy light meal is so satisfying.

I am an unapologetic omnivore. I respect vegetarians but I am not one of them. So it is kind of surprising that one of my favorite food blogs is 101 Cookbooks. The author Heidi is an amazing photographer, and creative chef. Her recipes are fantastic and though they are all vegetarian, I never even notice that. It is just good food. Not vegetarian food—just good food.

So even though this season is often not thought of as a big time for cooking… Try this is a great little summery- recipe. Fast, fun, healthy and delicious. Plus I love avocados and brown rice. And it is a snap.

See Heidi’s sushi bowl (no fish involved)

And her newest cookbook.

What are you cooking up this weekend?

Monday, April 21, 2008

Barack in my home city

Friday, April 18, 2008

I love cheese

Back from NYC now, but will be waxing poetic about the trip for weeks to come I am sure...

One restaurant we went to twice was Artisinal. OMG delicious, gracious service, good vibe, nice decor, but the best best best thing was the CHEESE!

Besides being a wonderful bistro, Artisinal specializes in Cheese. Small Cheese producers selling amazing product. They even have a tiny retail cheese counter/shop right in the back of the restaurant with hand written staff tasting notes and recommendations. There is a cheese-ista to ask questions to and cheese boards, tasting flights, and fondues feature prominately on the menu. This is definately an alter to the cheese gods/ godesses.

At Brunch, which was amazing, we started out with the cheese board above. It comes with it's own cheese description/ menu. And fresh fruit, bread, salamis and french butter. It was totally delectable. And there are demonstrated health benefits from fermented foods (yeah! Cheese)
Strong and interesting cheeses can be an acquired taste and need some educational research, but they are well worth the acquisition.

I have to find a good Tokyo restaurant with a cheese board...

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

change the players


Monday, April 07, 2008

18 miles of books

Another pilgrimage-- I took not 1 but two trips this week to The Strand, a huge fantastic bookstore on 12th and broadway. The catch copy is 18 Miles of Books! Who could beat that??? They have everything and in this old jumbly building with stacks and racks, carts and bundles everywhere. Bargains, and used books, classics and new stuff! Both trips were unfortunately too short... maybe I can sneak down there one more time before we leave. Maybe I will try the St. Marks bookstore instead, recommended by a blogger friend (thanks, Jen!)

addicted? yup- 'fraid so. I am a bookworm for sure.

Oh-- and I got a cool messenger bag and tshirt too. If you go back and reuse your strand bag you save 25 cents everytime. nice.
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Saturday, April 05, 2008

cupcake pilgrimage

Ok, to say I am into cupcakes would be an understatement of extreme proportions. With this in mind- I set out yesterday on a quest to find and eat cupcakes from the Magnolia Bakery! Magnolia has gotten quite famous for their cupcakes and other old fashioned desserts... all homemade, natural, no preservatives- these are no twinkies, hoss!

above you can see a partial shot of the outcome of my grail-quest. The bakery limits the # you can buy to 12 per person-- to manage supply and demand. And I kid you not, there was a line outside and around the corner.

Address is 401 Bleecker, NY. NY. near 11th.

Excuse me while I buzz along on my sugar high.....buzzzzzzzzzz

I would be remiss if I did not post two other cupcake sprinkles of knowledge.

best cupcake site on the web- blog love goes to ChockyLit

and the world famous magnolia recipe for the vanilla on vanilla.

oh... and I bought a t-shirt too!

The Magnolia gets the honor of a 5 Fancy Glass rating, and it lived up to my every expectation!!!

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An Amazing Evening at Jean Georges

Friday night; with the help of the hotel concierge we were able to get a reservation at JeanGeorges, the chef's signature restaurant on Central Park W. The service, menu, decor and most importantly the food itself were beyond wonderful. Jean Georges has no ala carte menu, there are 3 choices. The Jean Georges classic tasting menu, A Seasonal Tasting menu, and a 4 course choice menu. I chose the Spring menu, hubby chose the Classic Jean Georges menu. We had wines, and course after course, each one unique and artistically concieved and executed.

The collage above shows snaps of the many different tastes and textures we enjoyed.

I especially liked my first course, "Egg Toast, Caviar and Dill." Also the last course, "Rack of Lamb with Thai Pepper, Mint, and Sweet Pea Puree." Hubby's fave was the "Lobster Tartine, Lemongrass, and Fenugreek Broth with Pea Shoots."

The desserts were goregous, wine pairings lovely and as a nice little surprise at the end of the meal we enjoyed chocolates and homemade, flavored marshmellows cut and served out of a lovely glass jar, tableside.

Unforgettable tastes and textures.

Only two downsides for me... 1. the large bank of glass windows behind me produced a persistant and uncomfortable draft right on my neck... it was distracting and it sadly did detract from the meal. 2. the amuse bouche and several other elements of the meal were a bit overly salty in my opinion.

Overall though-- a wonderful and memorable meal.
Next stop... Fri. night we have a reservation at BABBO.

Fancy Glass Review

Atmosphere 4 FG (cold windows and a so-so bathroom were detractors)

Service Amazing 5 FG

Menu/ food flavors 4 1/2 FG

Presentation 5 FG gorgeous gorgeous gorgeous...

Overall Impression 4 1/2

d e l i c i o u s

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