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Oh, How Civilized contains ad banners and sometimes uses contextual affiliate links. This means that a small commission may be made if a product is purchased through a link. The commission earned goes toward providing original content for this blog. 

I only write about things and experiences that I genuinely like. Anything gifted is noted with a c/o or courtesy of.

Wednesday
Apr162014

Tea at Three // Hi-Collar

I love Hi-Collar, a cute little Japanese cafe in the East Village, where I usually go for lunch or an afternoon bite. If you love the food at Cha-An, you'll probably love this place.

On this visit, I got a refreshing apricot iced tea ($3.80) and hot cakes ($6.50). Light, fluffy, and not too sweet, their hot cakes are really good. When I'm there for lunch, I usually get their omurice.

Get there before 4PM if you want food. Otherwise, go in for coffee, served three different ways, or go at night, when Hi-Collar turns into a sake bar.

The cafe is small, with only 11 seats, all at the bar. It's a nice quiet spot in the mdidle of the afternoon.

INFO: Hi-Collar | Menu | 214 East 10th Street | New York, NY 10003 | 212. 777.7018

Tuesday
Apr152014

Matcha (Green Tea) Yogurt Brulee

I got this idea for a matcha yogurt brulee after I saw this recipe for Yogurt with Caramelized Sugar on WishfulChef.com. It's pretty easy to assemble with the hardest part being the torching of the sugar. I used Bonjour Chef's Torch but the flame is a little weak on that one (requiring 3-4 rounds of browning the sugar), so I would suggest getting a more powerful one, like this Iwatani torch.

MATCHA (GREEN TEA) YOGURT BRULEE
Makes 1 serving 

INGREDIENTS
7 oz. Greek yogurt 
1/2 teaspoon matcha 
1 tablespoon honey
3 tablespoons granola
6-8 raspberries
3 tablespoons sugar

DIRECTIONS
1. Mix Greek yogurt and matcha together until yogurt turns green.
2. In a bowl, layer honey, granola, and 5-6 raspberries. Spoon in matcha yogurt.
3. Dust some sugar evenly on top and torch. Repeat until sugar browns. Top with remaining raspberries.

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See All 3-Step Recipes

Monday
Apr142014

Afternoon Tea Review // Two E Bar at The Pierre [2014]

Back at The Two E Bar at the Pierre. (See my review from last year's visit.

SETTING:
The Two E Bar is a casual hotel bar/lounge where you can get everything from cocktails and small bites to afternoon tea. It has a grand, old hotel feel although it's a little dark due to the lack of natural light.

SERVICE:
Great service every time. They're great about making sure your teapot has enough hot water and they're very good about refilling it. 

TEA & TEA SELECTION:
They switched out the teapots since the last visit. Tea selection is on the small side, and I went with a black tea, which was good. 

The three-tiered tray arrived with the exact same savories, scones and sweets served as the year before, which I had loved. All miniatures, and all very good. 

SAVORIES:
A nice variety of mini tea sandwiches and savories. Exactly two of everything so it was easy to split everything on the plate. 

SCONES:
Two scones each per person and it came with lemon curd, clotted cream, and jam. Filling the tray were additional sweets like cookies and mini cakes. 

SWEETS:
A nice selection of sweets which I regretfully couldn't finish since I was too full!

OVERALL:
The ambiance is a bit cold, impersonal, and a little too masculine for my liking, but if you can overlook the ambiance, the afternoon tea is solid. Holding steady in the #4 spot on my list of top 5 places for afternoon tea in NYC.

LOCATION: Two E Bar/Lounge at The Pierre | 2 East 61st Street at Fifth Avenue | New York, NY 10065 | 212.838.8000
AFTERNOON TEA HOURS: Daily from 3PM - 5PM
COST: Traditional Tea Service $55

Friday
Apr112014

Afternoon Tea Review // Press Tea

Once I found out Press Tea had started serving afternoon tea, I made a reservation via email (reservation required, and at least 24 hours prior) and met Georgia for an afternoon tea for two. 

SETTING:
It's a cute little cafe with different types of seating (booth, high stools, couch). Pretty decor, and casual. Not all the tables are ideal for afternoon tea though since you do need some space. There were two of us, but we ended up sitting at a table for four since the three-tiered tray took up a lot of space. 

SERVICE:
They don't have table service at Press Tea; you order and pay at the counter. When we got there, we let them know we were there for the afternoon tea that we had reserved. After we selected our teas, we sat down and they brought over both the tea and the three-tiered tray of food. It's pretty much self-service after that. Anything we needed, we had to get up and get ourselves. As for the service? Very friendly.

TEA & TEA SELECTION:
There are just four teas and they're listed on a blackboard above the counter: a black, a green, a rooibos, and a chai. From there, you can choose different ways to dress it up with flavorings, and steamed milk. We both opted for the hot pressed tea. I got a green, which was served in a tall glass, which I thought was a little odd. No teapots or teacups here. 

A three-tiered tray arrived with our afternoon tea courses. 

SAVORIES:
Georgia opted for the vegetarian afternoon tea, so we had two different savories on the bottom tray. You only get one savory for this course, and mine was a mini pork burrito with ramen. I missed having a bit of a variety since if you don't love the savory, you're out of options. Although I will say, that the afternoon tea at Press Tea is just $22 per person, so it's actually a lot of food for that price.

SCONES:
I really likes the scones at Press Tea and they were served with clotted cream and jam. We each got two different types of scones. Light, fluffy, and with a crispy crust, the scones were delicious.

SWEETS:
Four different sweets were served: a blueberry cheesecake, two madeleines, and a brownie. All tasty, with the blueberry cheesecake being my favorite. You can get these a la carte at the counter, which I have gotten on previous visits. 

OVERALL:
It's a great deal for the quality of food you're getting, if you can overlook the lack of table service.

INFO: Press Tea | 167 7th Ave South | New York, NY 10014 | 212.888.6666
AFTERNOON TEA HOURS: Inquire when making the reservation | info@presstea.com
COST: $22 

Friday
Apr042014

Sulwhasoo Facial at Bergdorf Goodman

Ever hear of Sulwhasoo? I didn't until recently, but I found they are the #1 cosmetic brand in Asia. Both AmorePacific (where I got a facial last May...unfortunately the spa is now closed) and Sulwhasoo are owned by the same company.

And...did you know you can get complimentary facials from Sulwhasoo at Bergdorf Goodman? There's a tiny facial room on the Beauty floor inside Bergdorf Goodman's where you can book facials when you make a Sulwhasoo purchase. Note: The booking for the facials are available every few weeks, and are not offered every day.

Thanks to the lovely ladies (Deborah and Emily) at Sulwhasoo, I booked an appointment and went in for a facial. Perfect time to do so, with the weather transitioning from winter to spring.

At Bergdorfs, I headed downstairs to the Beauty level and found Sulwhasoo.

AmorePacific focuses on the benefits of botanicals like green tea, but Sulwhasoo takes a herbal medicinal approach in their skincare. 

Their skincare lines are divided in age categories and they recommend a line of products depending on how old you are. This really helps to narrow down what is essential for your skin without feeling overwhelmed with too many choices.

The facial room is small, but feels so peaceful the minute you walk in. I changed into a towel body wrap and got comfortable on the facial bed while Emily, Sulwhasoo's facialist, waited outside the room. A few minutes later Emily knocked on the door and got started right away on my facial, which are an hour-long. It was soooo relaxing! I'm pretty sure I fell asleep a couple of times. Essential oils (which I got to pick before we started), used during the facial added to the experience. 

One thing I will say is that the location of the facial room is not the best. It's right next door to a door that has a punch key, so I would hear beeping noises, and clicking of footsteps every few minutes. But since I was so relaxed, I was able to ignore it pretty quickly.

After the facial, Emily prepared a hot green tea for me to enjoy as I slowly got up to get dressed. 

Back at the Sulwhasoo counter, I got some Sulwhasoo BB Cream and applied a bit of it before heading out to meet a friend. While there, I asked Emily to provide some tips how to transition skin from winter to spring.

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HELPFUL TIPS FROM SULWHASOO FACIALIST EMILY ON HOW TO TRANSITION SKIN FROM WINTER TO SPRING

[1] Spring clean your skin!
Deep clean your pores with Sulwhasoo Cleansing Oil to remove makeup, followed by a cleansing foam to dissolve dirt and oils trapped in the pores. Lastly, exfoliate with Snowise Ex White Ginseng Exfoliating Gel one to two times a week for smoother skin. This routine is especially helpful for anyone that becomes oily in the spring and summer months.

[2] Keep hydrated!
Keep Sulwhasoo's Hydro-Aid Mist handy to refresh at work or on the go.

[3] Let your light shine!
A great way to combat dullness, and brighten the skin's overall complexion, is through our Snowise Brightening line. White Ginseng is the main ingredient. It gently yet effectively creates a beautiful radiant glow. For a targeted solution to age or sun spots and acne marks try our Brightening Spot Serum. Our new Brightening Masks are a great treat that brighten and hydrate.

[4] Brighten... and then protect!
Brightening systems go hand in hand with sun protection. Try our Snowise BB creams with SPF to prevent further sun damage and protect your skin.

[5] Re-harmonize your skin.
Sulwhasoo's Herbalinic Ampoules are to be used during transition periods such as the changing of the seasons and times of stress. The ampoules restore key functions in the skin by addressing the root cause of a skin imbalance - the symptoms of which could be acne, dry itchy skin, redness, sensitivity, or over-production of sebum. 

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If you are in NYC and are interested in purchasing any of their products, I would suggest booking an appointment for a facial with Emily to see which products would be best for your skin. The facial is complimentary with a Sulwhasoo purchase, but as far as tipping goes, the norm is usually between $10 - $20. You can ask for an envelope at the Sulwhashoo counter.