We all know that red roses are the queen of Valentine’s Day, and chocolate is king. If you read my blog, you know just how much I like chocolate. Although I never heard of them before this weekend, I am thrilled to introduce Sugar and Plumm, the Purveyors of Yumm!
Chef Pichet Ong spoke to our intimate group about the delicious creations they are whipping up. Perhaps best known as a judge on Top Chef: Just Desserts, award-winning corporate pastry Chef Ong is the whimsical creator behind the sweet and savory confections of Sugar and Plumm. He combines the fond flavors of his childhood with modern cooking techniques to create culinary offerings that are seasonal, pure, light, and delightfully experimental, yet nostalgic.
After introducing us to the brand, he was kind enough to treat us to their For The Love of Chocolate gorgeously packaged box of some of their finest chocolate creations. It is an amazing assortment of hand-crafted artisan chocolates with origins from around the world. This box included two white chocolate blueberry and six pure dark Mexican chocolate ganache. However, the pleasant surprises didn’t end there. Hidden below were chocolates with flavors and aromas consisting of raspberry, vanilla, coconut, hazelnut praline, jasmine tea infused ganache, ginger, milk chocolate and pure dark Peruvian. On top of allowing us to sample some of their finest chocolate creations, we were also give a pair of their brightly colored, delicate French macaroons. It was all I could do to keep myself from digging in immediately.
When I untied the ribbon and opened my brightly colored box, I was blown away by the impeccably pristine chocolates before me. They were almost too pretty to eat. Luckily, that would not stop me. What did stop me was the thought of my boyfriend waiting for me at home. There’s something incredibly romantic about fine artisan chocolates that makes it sinful not to share with a loved one.
On our anniversary, the day before Valentine’s day, I told my boyfriend I had a surprise for him. I told him to close his eyes and open his mouth. After a bit of trepidation, he complied, and boy was he glad he did. His face lit up from ear to ear as he savored his first bite of the dark chocolate ganache-filled heart. I sampled the white chocolate blueberry-filled heart. I’d never tasted anything so complex and exquisite. It was heaven. I was reminded of the first time blueberry wine touched my lips, and I had to have more. The combination of blueberry and white chocolate was pure genius. I forced myself to put the box away so I could savor these the little bits of chocolate heaven for a few days; I simply did not want the experience to end!
There was no way I could possibly ignore the fresh macaroons waiting the ultimate demise. Although there were two, I wanted the best of both worlds. As it’s rather impossible to split a macaroon, I simply bit half for myself and passed the other half to my boyfriend. We made long extended moans as we enjoyed these incredible indulgences, and that was just the vanilla macaroon. I repeated our ritual with the strawberry poppy-seed, and the moans of happiness only grew louder. The flavors transported me back to the beach with my parents snacking on strawberry Twizzlers.
It was amazing how incredibly nostalgic Sugar and Plumm’s confectionaries were. How could so much be contained in such a small morsel?
I was shocked to learn that Sugar and Plumm serve breakfast, lunch, dinner, weekend brunch, and every craving in between. I was expecting a purveyor of sweets, but they create works of art from homemade ice cream and macaroons, to house-smoked salmon and Berkshire pulled pork, our team of master chefs, bakers, and chocolatiers are purveyors of all things delicious and delightful. The bake shop even makes everything handmade, from scratch. The only problem you’ll find is deciding what to order (and possibly that top button on your pants).
Although it’s too late to place an order for Valentine’s Day delivery, if you’re looking for that perfect way to show the special person in your life just how much they mean to you, this is a perfect for Valentine’s Day — Or any of the other 364 days of the year. The have gift boxes for every budget and an in-store experience you won’t soon forget! This Upper West Side spot with Parisian charm and a downtown vibe is sure to knock the socks off anyone who enters and will certainly not disappoint!
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What would Valentine’s Day be without chocolate? Whether you embrace the holiday like the warmth of a fireplace or avoid it like the plague, you have to admit, you will always enjoy those little cocoa bits of heaven. From garish heart-shaped boxes to small delicate boxes to simple pink foil-wrapped factory-processed milk chocolates — We all love chocolate (unless of course you have some rare and exotic chocolate allergy). Chocolate makes everything better, especially when coupled with the right companion.
Move over peanut butter! I’ve found chocolate’s new best friend — Casa Noble’s “El Beso de Luz” Margarita. I can see you now. Your furrowed brow and head tilted to the side. Yes. Chocolate and margaritas. But, not just any chocolate or premixed margaritas. I myself would have never thought to put the two together before Single Edition’s Sweets in New York event, but now I will never think of a margarita again without thinking of chocolate.
No matter how you take ‘em, nothing quite warms a winter night and brightens up the gloom and gray like a margarita. And, we’ve already established chocolate makes everything better. These two powers combined will warm you from the soul on outward, making any day special and unforgettable.
Casa Noble is an ultra premium tequila meticulously crafted from choice blue agave plants. Employing only traditional methods, slow-cooking the rich agave piñas for 38 hours, they use only the agave hearts to extract their sweet nectar. Their fermentation process is 100% natural and is followed by triple distillation, resulting in a tequila so pure and full of agave flavor it has globally elevated the concept of tequila to new heights.
When the “El Beso de Luz” Margarita first passed Carlos Santana’s lips, he likened it to the first time he fell in love, giving the cocktail its name in tribute to his wife, Cindy. Mixing Casa Noble’s tequila with lime, orange, and Licor 43′s hints of citrus, fruit juices, vanilla and aromatic herbs and spices (43 ingredients in all), this mystical concoction is an experience for the senses worthy of Aphrodite herself.
Pairing that with artisanal chocolates from Essence By Chocolate creates a very unique and sublime tasting experience. As if by Cupid’s own hand, pairing these powerhouses of taste in tandem will leave you taking delight in luscious aromas and flavors.
After carefully preparing our cocktail, my boyfriend and I cozied up in front of the fireplace. Starting with a few sips of my margarita, I was blown away by the freshness and lightness. Before the flavors dissipated, I took a generous bite of the first chocolate. I had the pleasure of sampling the Mango, Chile Pepper & Crystal Tequila Infused in Milk and White Chocolate, the Resposado Tequila and Caramel Infused in Dark & Milk Chocolate and the Black Cherry & Anejo Tequila Infused in Dark Chocolate Dome. Alternating sips with bites until we finished, we were making sounds normally reserved for one’s bedroom. We enjoyed the symphony of flavors stimulating every inch of my tongue (And then we mixed a second drink).
This Valentine’s Day, what could be a more appropriate tribute to love than cuddling up with two glasses of this romantic drink and a box of distinctly paired chocolates?
And, should you find yourself not particularly enjoying this lover’s holiday? I think the citrus and vanilla notes, complimented by the knowledge that you’re indulging in one of Mexico’s finest exports will remedy even the sourest of moods. Top that off with some of the finest chocolates I’ve ever tasted, and you’ll be transported to your own personal heaven.
The recipe for the aforementioned cocktail:
“El Beso de Luz” Margarita
2 oz. Casa Noble Crystal
1/2 oz. Licor 43
1 oz. lime juice
1/4 orange squeeze & dropFollow @onegayatatime
Good Things Do Come in Small Packages!
Valentine’s Day will be upon us before we know it. I myself have never celebrated Valentine’s Day. I haven’t much had the chance to be honest. I’ve only ever been in a one relationship that spanned over the “greeting card holiday,” but when that day came, I was traveling domestically for work.
As we close in on V-Day, I thought it would be nice to shine a light on some of NYC’s finest establishments. This weekend I had the pleasure of attending Sweets in the City, an event hosted by Single Edition. Originally planned as a bus tour of some of Big Apple’s most romantic locations, the recent blizzard forced plans to be altered. Instead, Single Edition scrambled to gather all these great NYC treasures in one place.
Certainly when I say cupcakes and New York City in the same breath, most think Magnolia’s. I’m here to change that. The first confectionary I’d like to share with you is Sprinkles Cupcakes. Located near Bloomingdale’s between 60th & 61st streets, this purveyor of pure, delicious, uncomplicated, scratch-based cupcakes has blown me away.
The days of sharing a late-night romantic slice of pie at a diner have gone by the wayside. And, since the cupcake craze hit the scene, I personally (and unsuccessfully) have been trying to supplant it with a pie craze. After my first bite into a Sprinkles cupcake, my struggle ended and I was officially onboard.
Sprinkles has struck the perfect balance of cake and icing ratio. Most cupcake peddlers botch this entirely, forcing me to scrape half-a-pound of icing off my dessert before biting into it. Sprinkles has mastered this art, and made me reevaluate my love-hate relationship with cake’s red-headed stepchild. But enough about my cupcake hang-ups!
I got to sample Sprinkles’ decadent red velvet. Much to my delight, I didn’t have to sink my teeth in to find out what flavor awaited me. They’ve devised a brilliant color-coded system of dots adorning the cupcakes, revealing the flavors hidden within. Although not all flavors are available every day, they’ve developed a calendar telling you when your favorite flavors will be available.
When I got home from the event, I plopped down on the couch for a romantic evening and split the cupcake in half. The portion size was perfect for sharing, although truth be told, it was so sinfully good that my better half nearly missed out on his half. The cake was incredibly moist and scrumptious, the icing was perfection, and my teeth didn’t ache from sugar overload.
On top of their first-class cupcakes, Sprinkles offers great service as well. No matter the occasion, they can accommodate — weddings, parties, gifts for all occasions, last-minute orders, deliveries and more. They’ll even print your logo, monogram or any graphic on a sugar decoration. The pleasant surprises didn’t end there. When discarding evidence of my indulgence, I was also pleased to see my treat was packaged in a tiny, recyclable and aesthetically simple brown box. Who doesn’t love an eco-friendly, green company these days.
Disappointed you can’t experience this decadence because you don’t live in New York City? — Not to worry. They are baking cupcakes specially for you in Chicago, Washington DC, Dallas, Houston, La Jolla, Newport Beach, Palo Alto, Scottsdale and their flagship store in Beverly Hills. You too can find true love in the bottom of a small brown box.
So this Valentine’s Day, show that special someone just how much they mean to you with one of NYC’s true treasures — Sprinkles cupcakes.
Below is a press release from My Yoga Online:
With stress levels higher than ever and time being increasingly stretched, My Yoga Online has the solution by combining the several thousand year old practice of yoga with a modern approach to overall health, diet and exercise. The Get Lean Get Healthy Challenge, is one of the many Whole Health Programs My Yoga Online has designed to meet critical needs that exist today. Guiding you with expert information, videos and tips to positively impact and enhance your life.
My Yoga Online builds and provides your own tool kit for a lifetime of wellness and your best body ever. Recognizing the need for a flexible approach, My Yoga Online designs programs based on personal needs and preferences. Members rave about the ease of access to world-class instruction for mind-body practices, viewable anytime, anywhere. MyYogaOnline.com combines physical fitness, advanced healing modalities, and the ancient science of yoga with the best of modern convenience.
Each, My Yoga Online, Whole Health Program is composed of eight stages delivered by email every 3 days, on the user’s chosen schedule, featuring 4 components, a series of top tips providing you with whole health tools, a tailored selection of useful videos based on user’s interest, energy and ability level, and articles on selected Whole Health subjects, written by experts in the My Yoga Online community. A generous incentive prize package will be distributed to one lucky participant at the end of the Challenge.
• Stage 1 – Begins with observing eating patterns by keeping a food journal for 7 days.
• Stage 2 – Brings focus to mindful eating
• Stage 3 - Examines the stress connection
• Stage 4 - Provides the lowdown on carbohydrates
• Stage 5 - Gives food for thought reviewing essentials for maintaining a healthy weight
• Stage 6 - Advises on healthy snacking
• Stage 7 – Shows you how to know your body, love your body
• Stage 8 - Provides useful information on the swapping solution, what to swap out, and in for better health and a happier body
We created these Whole Health Programs as a user-friendly, modern inter-face for people to make positive changes in the areas where they are needed most, says Co-Founder, Michelle Trantina. We believe that knowing why and how we eat, eating the best quality foods, reducing stress levels, and practicing yoga and meditation are key to making lasting change and avoiding the pitfalls of fad diets and the frustration that so often ensues. I can’t even count how many people I have witnessed that start practicing yoga regularly, and suddenly their entire approach to body-self awareness, wellness, and food, changes for the better. It isn’t just about losing weight. It’s about being healthy – in both body, and mind.
MyYogaOnline.com is an online global resource, committed to promoting mind-body health, wellness and holistic living. Providing access to hundreds of online yoga, Pilates, and meditation videos and expert information on healthy living, workplace wellness, green living, expert health advice, a Q&A forum with professionals, and more. For more information visit www.MyYogaOnline.com or call Irene Zafiris at 1-888-488-3877Follow @onegayatatime
It was the middle of July in NYC, and while many might find the thought of that heat taxing, I’ve always enjoyed the summertime. People are out during all hours of the day and night. The city comes alive because people are willing to spend more of their time outdoors.
Tuesdays are never particularly good days. You’re still three days away from the weekend, and you don’t have the benefit of being refreshed from the pervious weekend. After a long Tuesday at work, I made my way to CK‘s apartment. He was wrapping up at his office, so I expected we would be arriving around the same time. I was looking forward to seeing him and relaxing. What better way to end a Tuesday than relaxing and watching the sunset from the rooftop of his New York high-rise on the banks of the Hudson River?
We dropped our bags and immediately took the elevator to the penthouse floor. A few others share the same thinking we did, and they were enjoying the days final rays with a few cocktails and some light-hearted conversation. CK and I made our way to the far side of the roof and swapped stories about our days. Through the course of our conversation, I learned he had some work left to do for the evening. It just so happened to be my expertise, so I offered to help when we finally made our way back downstairs. I told him this would have to wait until after we ate dinner of course because I was starving. As the last few beams of light disappeared behind the buildings on banks of the Hudson River in New Jersey, we exchanged a romantic kiss and made our way back downstairs.
We agreed upon ordering in instead of cooking, especially since CK still had work to do. “Sushi it is!” he exclaimed. While we waited, he worked on his presentation while I worked on a blog post in front of the TV. We paused when the food came so we could eat, but once we were properly fed, it was right back to work. I put a little work into his presentation while he proofread my post, pausing to show him a few tips I’d learned along the way myself.
It was a really nice night. We’d fallen into this routine finally, and I was really enjoying it. We were a couple, and there was no fighting. When the good times came, I genuinely appreciated them. I was beginning to wonder if we were a Ronnie and Sammi kind of couple for a little while there (Couldn’t resist the Jersey Shore reference there). That was a scary thought. I didn’t want to be the couple who constantly fought. We loved each other far more than that.
When we’d done enough work for the night, CK asked if he could put on his beloved Rachel Maddow, and I begrudgingly agreed. I wasn’t thrilled with the thought, as I grew more and more tired of her nightly hour-long program. I follow politics pretty closely and follow the Nightly News religiously every night, but I didn’t think anyone needed that much politics in their life. That Tuesday night, it was irrelevant what I wanted because my body wanted to go to sleep. I quickly dozed off on the couch while CK drank in his liberal political commentary.
When I finally woke, it was much later, and I suggested we go to bed. I could see CK was tired, and it was obvious I’d had enough with the day. We made our way to his room and slid into bed. I didn’t even make the pit stop to brush my teeth. I’m not sure why I was so exhausted, but I’m pretty sure I was asleep before my head came to rest on the pillow.