Almost all of my girlfriends have a soft spot for Thai food, so I’ve tried Pad Thai at a lot of restaurants over the years. I’m always looking for a restaurant that is a little different, a little edgey and that’s where Cafetasia comes in.

Walking into the restaurant on 38 E 8th St. (between University Pl and Broadway), I knew that even if the food wasn’t good, I would enjoy the meal. Luckily, the food was good too.

A small photo of the decor

I broke from my regular tendencies and ordered a dish that wasn’t vegetarian, the extra large plate of mussels served in a lemongrass broth.

I started drinking the broth like a bowl of soup once the mussels were all gone!

The mussels dish was really tasty and my friends could not believe I had ordered them because they haven’t seen me eat “meat” in a year or so. In reality, I eat it fish more than that, but usually only when I have to choose between fish or steak. Steak is not my thing. Anyway, I give this dish 4 1/2 stars!

My other friend is a big shrimp fan, so she ordered the fried rice and requested shrimp. Cafetasia’s menu is nice because you can choose which kind of meat you want your food served with. Surprisingly, they have duck and “vegetarian duck” on the menu. I’d tell you more about it if I someone at my table had ordered it… Next time.

I had a few bites of this fried rice and it was tasty

I’ll never order fried rice at a restaurant because I think I make it okay at home, but what are friends for! I got to try a lot of this dish and it was really good, plus it was a good starch on the side with all those mussels and lemongrass broth.

Last but not least, I got to see someone’s Chicken Pad Se ew. I believe that on the menu it was offered as a beef dish, but they obliged my friend and made it with chicken instead. From afar, the noodles looked good. I am an absolute sucker for bok choy, so perhaps I’m biased.

That green bok choy didn’t slip by me–I bet that was the best part of that dish!

I think there were some other dishes on the menu that I missed out on, and I guess that’s a good reason to return to Cafetasia again! (Malaysian Laksa soup, I’m looking at you!) The prices were also very reasonable for New York, and the dish sizes were great, so no one has to order a large dish and take home leftovers, there are smaller, more affordable dishes as well. If I do return, I’ll make sure to blog about the Laksa–if I can finagle them to make it vegetarian.

Until next time, eat on.

Update Shortly

Hey all,

Please keep checking back for more blogs. I have been very busy with work, but I have an excellent restaurant in the City to review: Cafetasia. I’m sure you’ll want to read all about it. Hopefully I’ll have it up to read for you by the end of the day.

I Have a Crush

A big, fat, crush on wine bars. Particularly, Crush Wine Bar in Larchmont, New York.

My friend Allie, a Westchester native, introduced me to Crush as a place to go after dinner for wine or cocktails and a dessert. She lives for dessert, seriously. We walked in and eyed the dessert menu before even looking at the drink menu. Settling on the molten lava cake, we sat in anticipation. This was a night of splurging–we had already had sushi, now we were having drinks and dessert. What would my mother say if she knew?

The molten lava cake with our pretty cocktails   –Allie “This tastes like an orgasm!” (father, please divert your eyes)

The ambiance was nice, but the bar was rather chilly inside, which wasn’t very cozy. It was dark, and the decor was purple.

In true Carrie Bradshaw fashion, I ordered a cosmopolitan. There is something about cosmopolitans now that makes them somewhat embarrassing to drink. I guess they’re too girly for me to admit I enjoy, but there’s nothing better than a good one, and this one was good.

Crush CosmoAllie had a beautiful pear bellini, which was recommended by her waitress. She said it was quite good–and she’s pretty picky when it comes to drinks.

Nothing is as refreshing as a pear bellini

The lighting was a little dark, so our photos didn’t turn out the best, but it was a fun place to spend a Saturday evening!

And just so that everyone can see how beautiful Hastings can be on a sunny day, I’ve attached a view of the Hudson river from our new home:

Yup, this is Hastings. Can you believe it’s only a 30 minute train ride from NYC?


Bistro Brunch: Two words that should always go together

My family is now settling in to a nice new home in the country.

Okay, I haven’t lived in New York City long enough to refer to Westchester County as “the country”, but the word country makes a 30 minute train ride up the Hudson river and into suburbia feel much more luxurious than the reality.

Sweetgrass Grill

Hastings is a lovely town, but so far, moving in with my parents was beginning to restrict my access to real deal NYC cuisine. Then, at Sweetgrass Grill in Tarrytown–just two towns north of Hastings–we sat down for a late brunch. My mom gave me the low-down “This place is my favorite. I’ve been here 3 times now and we have only lived in our new home a week.” Studying the menu, I knew this place was promising. There are many things to rave about when it comes to Sweetgrass: The menu is changes regularly because the food is bought from local farmers, they serve breakfast, lunch, and dinner, they use local eggs (and I have a photo!), Meatless Monday is highlighted on their menu every Monday with a few special dishes, and last but not least, there is a full bar. (Champagne brunch isn’t a NYC exclusive guys, they have it here too!)

Pancake Breakfast

Fluffy pancakes with scambled eggs, bacon, and vegetable hash (amazing!)

The brunch menu had a little bit of everything. Real starchy pancakes for my brother, grits with poached eggs and goat cheese for my mother and I, a spinach mushroom omelet for my father, and for the hardest to please, a family friend who is playing with his diet, a grass-fed burger, which the waitress obligingly followed the request to serve without the bun (wheat is the enemy these days, don’t cha know?).

The poached eggs and grits were delicious–and there was a light tomato sauce on top.

The food did take a while to prepare, but when it arrived, no one spoke as they quickly dug into their meal. The grits were delightfully different–served in a large bowl with two poached eggs that had the yellowist yolks I’ve ever seen. Mixing the goat cheese into the grits gave them a great amount of flavor. I’ve had breakfast polenta before (actually, at Kelly’s French Bakery in Santa Cruz, California, where I used to work), but that dish was rather bland by comparison.*

Grass-fed hamburger with potato hash and caramelized onions. This place really catered to everyone’s diet needs.

I guess the one thing we could complain about was the service. We were there after lunch hour (yes, still ordering breakfast), and the restaurant was empty, however, we could not get any of the waiters’ attention. It didn’t help that we could see them standing around chatting.

My dad enjoyed his spinach omelet

All in all–this was a wonderful place that I would definitely take people to if they are visiting the area. I love a good vegetarian-friendly bistro, and the Sweetgrass Grill in Tarrytown is just that.

*If you ever are at Kelly’s Bakery in my hometown, Santa Cruz, order a bear claw for breakfast. They are to die for. I also recommend the fish tacos and strawberry rhubarb pie. Delish!

Vegan Asian food where one doesn’t miss the meat?

It’s possible, I swear. Even my mother, a dedicated omnivore with no desire to change, munched happily on her eggplant and string beans in basil garlic sauce.

Located on the border of Nolita and Chinatown, Wild Ginger is a tiny Pan-Asian Vegan Cafe, where moss grows from the brick walls and the ambiance is romantic, yet casual. Offering playful vegan versions of traditional Chinese, Japanese, Korean, Vietnamese, and South Asian (yes, curry!) dishes, this little place has something for everyone.

After seeing a potential apartment for rent in Soho, my boyfriend and I wandered into this place because I knew he would enjoy their experimental menu loaded with soy protein and seitan options. He was thrilled to find that for the first time he could order a dish smothered in General Tsao’s sauce, but this time, it was not chicken, but soy protein. Wild Ginger toots their own horn on their website, taking pride in the fact that they make all of their sauces from scratch so to exclude eggs, dairy, and meat broths. The sauce on their General Tsao’s Soy Protein was spot-on. We were both very pleased.

Wild Ginger’s General Tsao’s Soy Protein. The broccoli was so good dipped in the sauce!

As I can never say no to soup, I ordered the Udon Noodle Soup in miso broth. I had a hankering to try the Bi-bim bap, but had a hard time forking over $15 for an entree, and I regretted it. The udon soup was okay, but I felt that this place was so special and that I had made a poor decision. The Bi-bim bap comes with a pumpkin soup. I saw the man next to us order this and was surprised that the soup was filled with pumpkin chunks. It looked different and special. Next time, that is what I will order.

Yummy yummy in my tummy.

As for the prices, I mentioned the Bi-bim bap is a little steep, but the rest of the menu is priced just over $10 an entree, which is reasonable. I saw someone order the avocado salad appetizer and was impressed with its size, although it is rather expensive for an appetizer ($7) when you are on a budget.

This is a restaurant that vegetarians and vegans can take their family to and everyone can enjoy. I highly recommend it.

You Just Can’t Keep Me Away: My Burgeoning Obsession with Burmese

If you haven’t picked this up from the title of this post, I’ve become a frequent customer at Cafe Mingala, the Burmese restaurant I posted about only a few weeks ago. You can see that post here: A Brush with Burmese Food.

Last time I was there, I dragged my father along, and this time, I dragged my boyfriend. Apparently this is becoming the “it” place for me to take New York City visitors.

My boyfriend was raised Hindu and therefore has been a vegetarian his entire life, so meat substitutes really excite him because he has never meat except for that time I accidentally made him stirfry with a pre-made sauce that had Oyster sauce in it. Let me tell you, I felt like crap for that.

The other day he was dragging me around a food store making me taste Gardein, which turns out to be pretty good, by the way. (For those who don’t know, Gardein is a meat substitute product. You can learn more about it here:

We had the Chili Soybean and Veg on the “Special Vegetables” menu, which we ordered not knowing what would appear. It ended up looking like this:

We asked them to make it spicy–and it was!

I thought the dish was pretty good, but my boyfriend liked it even more because it had that weird meat substitute. Maybe it’s because I’ve had meat before in my lifetime, but that rubbery stuff isn’t really my thing. However, the sauce was great and somehow they always cook their vegetables just right.

We tried the Pickled Green Tea Leaf salad, which i saw came highly recommended on Yelp. I loved the salad, but I guess it was a bit on the saltier side.

As for the wine; don’t order it. I still love this place, but the white wine was downright awful.

Pin Crazy

I haven’t done that much interesting eating in the past week, but I have been looking at recipes on Pinterest.

I’d love to share my Pinterest with you–hopefully it can inspire you to cook just as it has been inspiring me. Find me here:

Let me share a few of my favorite recipes I have found with you.

I haven’t tried to make this yet, but it is definitely on my to do list

Asparagus Gruyere Tart

credit: Martha Stewart


  • Flour, for work surface
  • 1 sheet frozen puff pastry
  • 5 1/2 ounces (2 cups) Gruyere cheese, shredded
  • 1 1/2 pounds medium or thick asparagus
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • Salt and pepper


  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. On a floured surface, roll the puff pastry into a 16-by-10-inch rectangle. Trim uneven edges. Place pastry on a baking sheet. With a sharp knife, lightly score pastry dough 1 inch in from the edges to mark a rectangle. Using a fork, pierce dough inside the markings at 1/2-inch intervals. Bake until golden, about 15 minutes.
  2. Remove pastry shell from oven, and sprinkle with Gruyere. Trim the bottoms of the asparagus spears to fit crosswise inside the tart shell; arrange in a single layer over Gruyere, alternating ends and tips. Brush with oil, and season with salt and pepper. Bake until spears are tender, 20 to 25 minutes.

Cook’s Note

Store-bought puff pastry works well in this savory tart; thaw it according to package instructions. Emmentaler or Fontina cheese can be substituted for the Gruyere.

I hear these puppies taste delicious and have been dying to give them a try

Avocado Fries

credit: Adventures in Cooking
Avocado Fries
  • Oil For Frying
  • 2 Avocados
  • 2 Eggs, beaten
  • 1 and 1/3 Cup Bread Crumbs
  • 1 Teaspoon Lemon Pepper
  • 1/2 Teaspoon Salt
  • 1/4 Teaspoon Cumin
Cilantro Lemon Dipping Sauce
  • 5 Tablespoons Mayonnaise
  • 3 Tablespoons Fresh Cilantro, chopped
  • Juice from 1/2 of Lemon
  1. In a medium-sized bowl, mix together the bread crumbs, lemon pepper, salt and cumin. Set it aside.
  2. Cut the avocados in half and then slice them vertically into 4 inch by 1 inch wedges. Set them aside.
  3. Heat the vegetable oil to 335 degrees Fahrenheit in a large frying pan, adding enough oil so that the oil is about 3 to four inches deep.
  4. Dredge the avocado slices in the breadcrumb mixture, then in the egg mixture, then in the breadcrumb mixture again.
  5. Place them in the hot oil and fry them for about 2-3 minutes, or until golden brown. Remove them with a slotted spoon or tongs, and set them on a plate lined with paper towels to absorb the excess oil.
  6. Allow them to dry for 10 minutes, then transfer them to a serving tray and serve them immediately with the Cilantro Lemon Dipping Sauce.
  7. For the Cilantro Lemon Dipping Sauce, place the mayonnaise, cilantro, and lemon juice in a blender and mix until smooth and creamy in texture.
Hopefully I will have something tasty to share after the weekend!