Last Sunday, Dean O’Hara held her Liquid Nitrogen Workshop at our dorm and showed us how to make ice cream with it. Liquid nitrogen exists at a very low temperature and has to be stored in a vacuum flask. Once liquid nitrogen is exposed to the air, it boils away. (Dean O’Hara poured the liquid nitrogen from the bowl onto the floor to demonstrate how fast it evaporates.) The vapor that you see is actually water vapor. The liquid nitrogen is useful for cooling things, especially ice cream mixtures. It’s also useful for freezing fruit and then smashing it onto the ground.
I am interested in molecular gastronomy, so I was excited to see a liquid nitrogen ice cream demonstration in real life… finally! I then found out that Amherst’s science library has the whole collection of Modernist Cuisine– pinch me now.
One volunteer pours the liquid nitrogen and the other stirs the ice cream mixture. No one got any cold burns from accidentally touching the liquid nitrogen. The photo below is the result of the first batch.
Cha-An, like a few other eateries near St. Marks, is not easily noticeable. It’s hidden in a small area on the second floor of a building near Otafuku, a takoyaki place that I went to with De Bon Coeur. Although they do have a private tea room for japanese tea ceremonies that is available through reservation, the regular tables are packed a bit too close together.
I went for the afternoon tea set that they serve until 7PM (that was my dinner), but I was surprised when I found out that the tea was not included. Afternoon tea without tea? There’s no such thing, so I ordered the jasmine green tea, which I shared with Evelyn.
The pot was quite small, so each refill was two cups worth of tea. They refilled it about six times with new tea leaves until they only refilled it with hot water, a sure but subtle signal that they wanted us to leave.
The mini bagel sandwiches were the only savory portion of the afternoon tea. The sandwich was tender and chewy but hard to eat because all the butter melted into oily liquid instead of staying as its creamy self.
The scones were the best part. Sugar-crusted, dense yet not overly so. The blueberry jam was not too gelatinous and more like a fruit compote. I took alternate bites scone + jam with scone + cream and it was soon gone.
I was flipping through the Zagat New York Food Lover’s Guide that I bought last year and found The Tea & Honey Store. I usually don’t shop for tea because my mom buys all the tea. She has a huge collection of teas that I don’t even know the names of, but we don’t have darjeeling, which I’ve liked ever since I drank it every day on the cruise.
I did not expect The Tea & Honey Store to be so small– yet it has a thoughtfully curated collection of teas. They do not have house made blends, but they do have interesting types of honey, which I must try next time.
After perusing the store for a while, I decided to go with Le Palais des Thés’ Margaret’s Hope, a darjeeling waker-upper.
The week before I left for college, I went on a hectic dining spree, New-York style. One of the last places I went to was the restaurant that Ariel had been singing high praises about for over a year, Purple Yam.
This dish, tamarind shrimp with suman, marks the first time I tried Filipino cuisine. It’s a bit pricey for the amount of food I was given, but the tamarind sauce was so mouthwatering that I probably could just eat it over plain rice and call it a day.
After a hot day poring through the stacks of discounted books at Strand, I need a scoop of ice cream to cool down. Despite the good variety of Asian-inspired ice cream flavors at Sundaes and Cones, I always find myself ordering the black sesame ice cream. De Bon Coeur, our high school food club, went a few months ago and President Tiffany told me how much the black sesame ice cream tasted like black sesame soup, a popular Chinese dessert. They both taste exactly the same except one is refreshingly cold and the other piping hot.
The Maeda-En black sesame ice cream you can find at Asian supermarkets do not even come close to the creamy black sesame ice cream from Sundaes and Cones. Continue reading