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Friday, July 21, 2017

Top Nordstrom Sale Picks Under $50


Holy sales, Batman! Everyone has been waiting for the Nordstrom Anniversary Sale to go live to non-card members, and that day has finally arrived. I know there are a million NSale posts flying around so I promise not to spam you with too many. My main focus is the top pieces under $50 - be sure to check them out while your size is still in stock since they're flying off the shelves!

Top Nordstrom Sale Picks Under $50

Dresses


Skirts


Tops

Jeans


Workout Wear


PJs


   Accessories


Shoes

Comment Challenge: Do you like NSale roundup posts or are you over seeing them?
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Wednesday, July 19, 2017

NYC Michelin Star Restaurant: Aldea

*This is a sponsored post, all opinions are my own.

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Secret diners, intricate presentations, phenomenal flavors and creative textures - this is what great restaurants like Aldea are made of. In a city like NYC, a certain level of expertise is expected in fine dining, and Aldea absolutely steps up to the plate - with a Michelin Star to show for it!


NYC Michelin Star Restaurant: Aldea


Stepping off of 17th Street into the cool, swanky, dimly-lit Aldea is like entering an urban oasis filled with good drinks, great service and fantastic food-slash-art. 

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I spy a Michelin Star!

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Cheers! We were seated at the Chef's Table and ordered the Chef's Tasting Menu - highly recommend both of the above for a special night. Here we could see each dish being made, the camaraderie of the staff, and the slight-of-hand expertise needed to create the works of art that are the plates at Aldea, inspired by Chef George Mendes' heritage and the Iberian Peninsula (Portugal and Spain).

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Aldea's menu is populated by pestiscos, or small snacks - similar to Spanish tapas but with different flavors and dishes originating in Portugal.

The cute little bites above were compliments of the Chef, so they are not on the menu and I can't give you an exact description of them. I kept calling them Chilled Foam Macaroons since that's exactly what they tasted like! Cool to the touch, they dissolved like foam in your mouth as a refreshing palate cleanser to start the meal. I really liked the texture of these, and the sensation of eating a dissolving, cold macaroon was so fun and different. The food/art show had already begun. 

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 This pretty beet salad with goat milk yogurt was another great light start to the meal.

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These oysters whetted the appetite for the oyster dish that followed.

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The next act on the menu was this oyster and green apple tartare, with oyster gelee, cucumber and meyer lemonade puree. As an oyster lover, this was such a fun and different way to eat seafood. The crunch of the green apple and cucumber juxtaposed with the oysters was the perfect balance, and the hint of citrus connected all of the ingredients in an invigorating way. 

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This pretty dish is the Makerel en Escabeche, with Hokkaido sea urchin, kombu broth, radish and shiso. I'm not a big fan of the texure of sea urchin, but this plate placed it in such a pleasant presentation that I enjoyed it more than usual. The makerel was very scrumptious as well. 

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This shrimp-lover fully enjoyed the Shrimp Alhinho, with garlic, pimenton, red bell pepper juice and pressed shrimp jus. It was a tad spicy but not too hot, and the plate itself was one of the coolest I've seen - it looked like a napkin folded up at the corners! Just another part of the art show of Aldea's menu.

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This charcoal-grilled bacalhau was some of the best cod I've had. Perfectly flaky, with pickled pearl onion, white bean puree and cilanto, this dish was cooked perfectly.

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This plate almost looks like dessert, and for good reason. It's the most tender Duck I've had (which is hard to do since duck can be pretty tough). It comes with black trumpet mushroom, swiss chard, daikon radish and glazed with blackcurrant. I'm a big fan of duck, and this one quickly rose to the top of my all-time duck plates! It was almost as good as dessert, which is saying something for this sweet tooth!

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This zimbro cheese with meyer lemon marmalade and green apples (gluten option is grilled sweet potato bread), was a great light dish after the hearty duck. The cheese was creamy and as good as it looks!

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Loved the chilled sorbet with fresh melon!

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Yum! This hazelnut chocolate mousse comes with milk ice cream, caramelized bananas, and calamansi curd. 

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Ok, but really how pretty is this presentation? The Guanaja Namelaka (Japanese for "creamy"), is gluten-free and comes with blueberry, caramel, and milk ice cream. It's *almost* too pretty to eat!

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Just when I thought I was as full as could be, I dug deep and managed to make room for these cute truffles and salted butterscotch treats to finish of an intricate and epic meal!

It's no wonder that Aldea earned an esteemed Michelin Star. From the friendly service to the detail-oriented meal for both the eyes and palate, Aldea is an experience to write home about. I absolutely recommend it for a night on the town!


Comment Challenge: Have you been to a Michelin-starred restaurant? How was it?


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Monday, July 17, 2017

Bread and Tulips NYC

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For an incredible, cozy Italian meal in the heart of Manhattan on Park Ave, Bread & Tulips is the perfect spot - plus they offer gluten-free penne pasta! Bread & Tulips is located in the Library Collection's Hotel Giraffe, which is the same hotel collection as Hotel Elysee which we stayed at - catch my review here if you missed it, it's a good one! Since Hotel Elysee was so amazing, I knew we would be in for a treat here. 

We noshed on lunch at Bread & Tulips our last day in NYC, which was perfect because it's walking distance from quintessential NYC spots like the flatiron building and Madison Square Park. From there we ended up walking to Washington Square park to see the chess players, as well as to West Village and Nolita again (because I just can't stay away from the food and boutiques there). 

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It was a hot summer day, so it was the perfect time for a patio lunch and people watching. And in Manhattan, it's more like fabulous-people-watching!

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For antipasti we started with Polpette, or housemade meatballs and sugo. These are made gluten-free and they were pretty much mind-blowingly delicious and hearty. They were so good I kind of bogarted them and ate them all. Sorry not sorry? 

We also got the Grilled Octopus, with gigante and garbanzo beans, and lemon confit. Bread and Tulips is the kind of place that doesn't hold back. Everything is seasoned perfectly and made with love, Italian-style. Our waiter was filled with fascinating tidbits, which I love since I'm filled with useless info and random facts so I now have more to add to my arsenal. Like how the octopus wasn't as tough as it usually comes out, because of a culinary trick of putting corks in the boiling water with it. The corks work some sort of magic to tenderize the octopus. It definitely seemed to work, since it was the best octopus I've had and was definitely tender!

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Came for the pasta, stayed for these meatballs.

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I have a soft spot in my heart for restaurants that cater to gluten-free diets, especially with foods that are naturally filled with gluten, like pasta! Bread & Tulips is in this category, offering gluten-free penne pasta with any sauces and toppings from their usual pasta menu. I opted for the Pappardelle, which came spiced with braised leg of lamb, tomato, and parmigiano. Even though I was somewhat filled after hogging all the meatballs, this plate was so scrumptious I scarfed it down. The lamb was seasoned so perfectly and full of flavor, and definitely wasn't too spicy.

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Above is the Spaghetti Aglio e Olio, with garlic, olive oil, chiles, scallions, and breadcrumbs. Love the simple yet colorful presentation!

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All-in-all, I loved the rustic Italian food in Bread & Tulip's casual setting. It's the perfect fuel to take on your day - especially in NYC where you walk for miles a day and need that good fuel! The staff was super friendly and knowledgeable, and the food was beyond delicious. I definitely recommend stopping in for lunch or checking out their roof deck for events!

Comment Challenge: What are your favorite pasta toppings?



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