Matcha (Green Tea) Banana "Ice Cream"

If you've been on a food blog or Pinterest in the last year, you've probably seen the very popular one-ingredient ice cream made from frozen bananas. I gave it a green twist by adding matcha and a little sweetened condensed milk.

First, let me say that it tastes NOTHING like ice cream. It tastes like a sweetened banana with matcha that has the consistency of ice cream. (Which is a good thing if you like bananas and matcha.) Fool me once with that mashed cauliflower that they swear tastes like mashed potatoes but tastes exactly like mashed cauliflower. 

It was a lot of fun watching the frozen bananas turn into what looks like soft serve ice cream. You can eat it as soon as everything is well blended, but I refroze for an hour and a half to harden it up a bit.

MATCHA (GREEN TEA) BANANA "ICE CREAM"
Makes 2 servings

INGREDIENTS
3 ripe bananas
1 tablespoon sweetened condensed milk
2 teaspoons matcha

DIRECTIONS
Cut bananas into little small pieces and freeze for at least 3 hours or overnight. 

Using a food processor, blend until it looks like mashed potatoes. Add matcha and sweetened condensed milk and blend until it looks like soft serve ice cream.

Can be eaten as is, or can be transferred to a container and frozen again for at least an hour and a half for a harder consistency.

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Posted on April 16, 2015 .

Afternoon Tea Review // Langham Place

Thanks to Kathy, I not only got to discover a new afternoon tea service (at Langham Place hotel in midtown) but also got to experience it.

SETTING: ★★
Afternoon tea is served in Measure, the Langham Place's comfortable lounge area. The tables by the bar are a little bigger, so afternoon tea is served there, but the tables were a little too close together and lacks the intimate feel of the upper lounge space.

SERVICE: ★★
Service was very friendly and attentive. One hiccup was the timing of the scones course. Scones should be eaten after the savories and before the sweets, but they were a little late to arrive so I was halfway into eating sweets before I started with the scones.

TEA & TEA SELECTION: ★★
The tea from In Pursuit of Tea was excellent, although I did knock off a star since the selection was super tiny.

Let me say the tea service is a nicely priced $35, which is fantastic but explains why we had a choice of just three teas: Earl Grey, genmaicha, and a mint.

Once the tea arrived, I took a peek inside the teapot, and noticed that there was very little water in the pot. I was initially confused at how little water there was, but then realized that the teapot held just enough water for exactly one cup, which in its own way is brilliant. Why? Because you'll never experience that bitter taste of steeping a tea for too long since there isn't a second cup of water sitting in the teapot for your first cup to be finished. The drawback is that you'll be asking for multiple refills of hot water during the course of your tea service.

SAVORIES: ★★
After a couple of sips of my tea, a box arrived holding the savories on the top tray and sweets on the bottom. The presentation is completely adorable. 

I don't love it when afternoon tea courses require utensils, but with these savories, I'm giving it a pass and giving it five stars since all three savories were delicious. The warm scotch egg was my favorite. I love how much thought went into this afternoon tea.

SCONES: ★★
Two scones arrived on a separate tray and the empty savories tray was taken away. Great portion size, and I liked that it came with individual servings of clotted cream and jam.

SWEETS: ★★
Again, utensils were required for this course, although I ate the chocolate dipped, cheesecake filled strawberry using my fingers. I didn't love the sweets as much as the savory course, but for $35, it completely delivers.

OVERALL: ★★
A fantastic afternoon tea at a very reasonable $35. I loved it!

INFO: Measure in Langham Place | 400 Fifth Ave. at 36th Street | New York, NY 10018 | 212.613.8667
AFTERNOON TEA HOURS: Saturdays, 2PM - 5PM
COST: $35

Chai Syrup

I've been making my own chai syrup lately and I can't believe it took me so long to do this. It's super easy to make and the syrup can be stored in the fridge for up to a month.

I've been making iced chai with the syrup but it can be used to make hot chai by just using hot milk.

CHAI SYRUP

INGREDIENTS
2 1/2 cups water
1/3 cup sugar
2 tablespoons chai loose tea (I used Palais des Thes' Chai Impérial c/o)

DIRECTIONS
In a saucepan, bring water to boil. Turn off heat and steep tea for 10 minutes. Strain tea. 

Rinse out loose tea from saucepan and pour strained tea back into the pan. Add in sugar and simmer until sugar dissolves. Cool and store in fridge.

To serve, mix 1 part chai syrup with 2 parts milk of your choice.

 

Posted on April 2, 2015 .

The Dessert Club by ChikaLicious

ChikaLicious opened up a new dessert bar in the West Village on Beford Street called The Dessert Club by ChikaLicious. I met up with a friend for tea, cake and some great conversation.

Like the original ChikaLicious dessert bar in the East Village, there's seating at the counter where you can watch your dessert being prepared. However at this location, Chika herself isn't preparing the sweets behind the counter. 

There's one menu with beverages, and another with desserts. 

I ordered the Experimental Black tea from Taiwan, which was described as having "hint of peach with notes of morning mist and yellow cake." I'm not so sure I tasted the morning mist, but it was very good.

I like desserts with bananas (with the Banana Mille-feuille from Lady M being my favorite), so I was drawn to the very descriptive Valrhona Chocolate Cream Layered Banana Cake with Lemon-Vanilla Bean Ice Cream and Frosted Pistachio. 

There are 12 seats around the counter and counter service is only available during certain days and times. The to-go desserts are available all day.

It's a sweet little spot for an afternoon tea break.

INFO: The Dessert Club by ChikaLicious | 27 Bedford Street | New York, NY 10014 | 212.691.2426
COUNTER HOURS: Wednesday & Thursday, 6PM - Midnight | Friday - Sunday, 3PM - Midnight 

Tasting Menu Lunch at Bouley

Bouley is a one star Michelin star restaurant in Tribeca and they have a five course tasting menu lunch for $55. Barb and I enjoyed a lovely two hour lunch and here's everything I ate...

1/ Starting off with warm bread! Both the mini baguette and roll were excellent and made even better with the bottomless silver pot of butter.

2/ Amuse bouche of salmon and mustard. Light and flavorful.

3/ There were four options for the first course and I went with the Malibu Sea Urchin with green apple and Oscetra caviar which had a $13 supplement.

4/ Behold the bread cart! More than 10 breads to choose from. 

5/ Four options to choose from the second course and I got the Organic Connecticut Farm Egg with Serrano ham, steamed polenta, artichoke, sunchoke, and coconut garlic broth.

6/ Third course had six options. This is the Organic Long Island Duck cooked perfectly to medium rare. Delicious.

7/ Fourth course. Choice of two soups and this is the Spiced Clementine Soup with Elderflower sorbet. There was a tiny misstep with service when the plates were placed on the table without an explanation what it was.

8/ Tea before the last course. Green tea with a two-tiered stand with a selection of sugars.

9/ Two options for dessert and I got the Hot Caramelized Anjou Pear served with Huckleberry and Tahitian vanilla ice cream.

10/ A tower of small dessert bites! (This multi-tiered tray reminded me of the dessert course at the Mandarin Oriental Paris afternoon tea.)

INFO: Bouley | 163 Duane Street | New York, NY 10013 | 212.964.2525
COST: Lunch Tasting Menu, $55 

Posted on March 23, 2015 .