Friday, August 28, 2009

Golden Sangria

One of the fun things my friend V and I used to do in Auckland was the Annual Ladies Garden Tea Party. Our first was a thank you to all our friends who would invite us to their place for lovely home cooked meals and we wanted to repay them for their hospitality. But it eventually became an annual event to get the girls together. The fun thing about it, apart from chatting with the gals, was that all the guests brought something along to eat and we got to try different things - in my world, it's the English version of yum cha and what could be better than that?!

I'm so excited that my friend and ex-workmate from Auckland, Rebecca, is throwing a Ladies Garden Tea Party here in Sydney and I all I need to do is attend (because it's hard finding a garden here!) I'm not quite sure what I'll be making for the food - maybe chicken thai balls or puff pastry pin wheels - I know from experience that sweets are super popular to make and people don't bring many savouries along but these are usually really well received to balance out the sugary goodness.

But I know what I want to bring as a drink - my flatmate M introduced us this lovely Golden Sangria for the Auckland Garden Tea Parties - it's light and fruity and with the honey, it adds that extra flavour. I also love the addition of mint. We used to start at 11am so you can imagine how we were at 3 in the afternoon having a few of these under the sun...

Bring on spring and summer!

Golden Sangria
Cuisine Magazine

750mls Riesling
100mls brandy
1 mango, peeled and finely sliced
3 golden kiwifruit, peeled and finely sliced
½ cup honey dissolved in ¼ cup boiling water, then cooled
500mls chilled sparkling mineral water
mint sprigs

Mix all the ingredients together in a jug, except the mineral water, and chill in the fridge. Just before serving, add the mineral water and mix well. Serve immediately. Enjoy the fruit in your fingers. Makes about 1.5 litres.

New York, New York! Where do I eat? Where do I drink?

Image courtesy of Cousin L© 2009

I've only been to New York once and I loved it. Everyone I know who's been there, loves it and those who haven't, can't wait to get there.

My cousin, L, has been lucky enough to live in New York for over ten years so when my workmate asked for recommendations on places to eat and drink, L sent through a list of her favourites. But now it seems everyone's going to New York this year and want the list - so the easiest thing to do is put it online. It's only one woman's view of the city, but it's gotta be good, right?

Happy eating, drinking and travelling - and drop a note in the comments section if you find your own NY favourites on your travels. (L - thanks heaps for the list and all the URLs - it's much appreciated!)


The Campbell Apartment - THIS is a New York must visit for a drink. More here.

These are mainly cocktail bars:

Pegu Club - cocktails in Soho, probably my favourite place to go for a cocktail.

Merc Bar - also in Soho.

PDT - cocktails and hot dogs! You may have a bit of trouble getting in on a Friday or Saturday night so go early on a week night and you should get in.

Death and Company - another fav cocktail bar of mine.

230-fifth - cheesy rooftop bar with amazing views of empire state upstairs - lots of tourists, but I happen to like it. It's near Shake Shack.

Empire Hotel - non cheesy rooftop bar - no views really but nice - near Central Park.

Hogs and Heifers - inspiration for Coyote Ugly, I admit I've never been here! Meatpacking district.

Revel - laid back place in non-laid back meatpacking district - nice garden bar.

Water Taxi Beach - these places are a bit cheesy but interesting to say that you drunk on a "beach" in NYC.

Employees Only - hip West Village bar.


Steak: You HAVE to HAVE steak while in NYC!

Craft - for those of you familiar with Tom Colicchio of Top Chef, go to Craft steak – don’t make a reservation and sit in the front bar which they call half steak. A steak and chips is $15 and while not a huge steak, pretty tasty and good value for NYC.

Sparks - if you want to spend more and have a real NYC steak house experience, my favourite is Sparks (you may read about Peter Luger in Brooklyn which is ok – I think Sparks is better). Sparks has some history – there was a Mafia killing there. Expect old school surroundings – very typical of NYC steak houses.

There are two places I recommend – they are both good – try and go to both to compare.

Shake Shack - try and go to the original in Madison Square park because it’s a cute park, and try and go week day lunch otherwise the lines are humongous - get there around 11:45am if you can.

Burger Joint - dive joint behind a curtain at the posh Le Parker Meridian Hotel.

Ess-a-Bagel is best in my book. But H&H have a few fans too.

Lombardi’s Pizza - I like this place because you can sit down and it’s been around for a while.

Grimaldi’s - if you want to go to Brooklyn, this pizza is great to get as take out and sit on the river and take in a view of Manhattan.

Other places:
Spotted Pig - English style Gastropub in the cute West Village.

Per Se - SUPER EXPENSIVE but my BEST dining experience in NYC so far. (Note it also made the top US restaurant in the world's top 50 restaurants).

Eleven Madison Park - my second favourite "expensive" restaurant after Per Se.

All the Momofuku restaurants - these places are good.

Ippudo - has good ramen.

Lots of good sushi places – too many to list but good bets are Matsugen and Blue Ribbon Sushi.