Monday, October 16, 2017

New York City Wine & Food Festival 2017: Chinese Tuxedo

Great food & delicious drinks were bound to be had when attending one of the many NYCWFF events hosted throughout this past weekend!

We found ourselves with tickets to the Chinese Tuxedo Brunch in Chinatown yesterday. Last year we had arrived early and waited on a pretty long line. This year we planned ahead to get there early and get on line, even though this one was different and landed up having assigned seating. We didn't mind the wait as we caught up and chatted with other guests who were attending the event as well. Some had been to other events over the weekend and some, like us, it was the first and only one.

What I love about NYCWFF is that the event is paid by sponsors and all proceeds of tickets sold to go to charity. I will support any event with a charity component and especially one that most or all proceeds go to charity rather then overhead for the event. These charity partners are both wonderful organizations.

Chinese Tuxedo, a new restaurant in a converted opera house, on a small street in Chinatown has the all the right touches. We tasted dim-sum inspired small bites and family style dishes prepared from Chef Paul Donnelly!

As we walked in we were greeted with delicious Bellini's and escorted to our table. We shared a table with another family and a single gentleman. It was nice to talk with our group, as well get to know the others. Some had been to other events throughout the weekend and they shared photos and storied from the other events!

It being that the restaurant was on the darker side I had to add my flash to many of the photos, and only my sister seemed annoyed until she realized I wasn't going to stop. We made an agreement and moved on! Below are just some of my favorites of the dishes we sampled.

Up first was the Rice Noodle Chueng Fun with Char Siu! I loved how the juices from the Char Siu soaked into the rice noodle giving it so much more flavor!

Sesame Shrimp Toast "Jerk Style" was one of my favorites, even with the kick from the small amount of sauce on the top. With the right amount of crust, the perfect size and the fact we were all starving after a few drinks it was devoured in two bites each!

This was my favorite of all the dishes we ate. The Shrimp & Wood Ear Mushroom Shumai with ginger and chili dressing had me literally contemplating staying around until the restaurant opened later in the day to order -to-go portions. As a table of four we each had one but I could have eaten all four. The flavors in the stuffing along with the dipping sauce it was pure deliciousness's.

The three others all agreed the below dish was there favorite and happened to be on of my least favorite. The Pan Fried Tuxedo Dumpling: with pork, garlic chives, red vinegar & soy dressing. I will say the waiter informed us this is one of the more popular items on the menu and from the way my group was speaking about it I can understand. I think it was the garlic chives that seemed to bother me, and I am not sure why. I love garlic but it felt a little overwhelming in my opinion on the dish. However 3 out 4 made it their favorite, so there you have it.

My sister is already thinking about a return trip to Chinese Tuxedo and I know why. The cozy atmosphere, the friendly staff, the delicious food, and the unique spin make this one hot spot. Chef Paul, you have a wonderful place here and I look forward to my return trip!

What is one food event you would want to attend?


Saturday, October 14, 2017

National Dessert Day

"Dessert, a confectionery course that concludes a main meal."

Who said dessert, has to conclude a meal. Why can't you have it as your main meal? I am a dessert advocate that believes there is never a wrong time for dessert. Please, don't let society tell you anything different. You eat that sweet or savory delicious dessert whenever you want!

My favorite desserts include anything containing the following:
  • Chocolate
  • Peanut Butter
  • Ice Cream
  • Caramel
  • Reeses Peanut Butter Cups
  • Oreos
  • Hershey Kisses
  • M&M's
  • Brownies
Here are some of my favorite desserts. I hope you will share with me some of your favorites in the comments!

The above donuts are from Broad Street Dough Co. in Oakhurst, New Jersey. About 20 minutes from where I grew up and live now! Check out there Instagram!

While in Maine for a wedding I found Rococo Ice Cream, which is handcrafted! Check out there Instagram!
I grew up on Ralph's Famous Italian Ices & Ice Cream. You can check them out here

 I love Bryant Park in NYC and even more when there is no line at Wafels & Dinges. Check out there Instagram!
 The homemade Chipwhich above is from a local restaurant in Freehold, New Jersey called Metropolitan CafĂ©!
 How else would you celebrate your 30th birthday? The kisses below were from friends and the cake above was from Fresco Steak & Seafood Grill!

The above desserts were some of the best I had. They came from a restaurant in NYC! 

Another birthday celebration with college friends at Beauty & Essex in NYC! Check out there Instagram!

As you can tell I celebrate National Dessert Day everyday, however with that said today is the actual National Dessert Day!

What will you be having?


Friday, October 13, 2017

Friday Favorites #48

Happy Friday, friends!

It's been a while since I posted a Friday Favorites, however I am hoping to make it consecutive moving forward and making a clear direction in where it will go! More on that at a late time. It's been a little crazy around here as I am still searching for a full time job, blogging part time, and spending more time crafting my photography skills! My father being a photographer, I never thought I would take an interest, and yet now I can't put down the camera. I am really liking landscape and nature photography, so we will see where that takes me.

Sunday I attend the Giants game, Tuesday I spent the day in the city with friends visiting the Metropolitan Museum of Art and having drinks on the rooftop bar at The Peninsula Hotel. This weekend I am heading back into the city on Sunday to attend one of the New York City Wine & Food Festival events! You can read about the event I attended last year and I will be sure to recap this one as well!

Rooftop at The Metropolitan Museum of Art

I think for my next vacation or trip I am going to completely disconnect, at least for a few days!  What about you?

Wait four hours after I wake up for a cup of coffee? No better time to try then now. Can you wait that long?

I am sensing a theme, one that maybe we should all take part in, unplug and enjoy our surroundings. Here are 10 destinations to unplug! I will say I am hoping to drive through New England this fall as it is a quick drive from New Jersey! Do you have any recommendations?

"NJ native Dan Fogelman never imagined his hit series "This Is Us" would make viewers cry so much" via New Jersey Monthly. Do you watch it?

I am loving this color combination, Navy/Burgundy especially in a blanket scarf! Perfect for chilly fall nights, to wear when traveling on the plane as well as adventures during the winter! Do you own a blanket scarf?

As always be sure to share in the comments what you are loving or what is making you smile this week! 


Disclaimer, this post is not sponsored, yet has some links of my favorite things. With that said there are a few affiliate links as it takes time and money to maintain this blog. Thank you for your support!

Friday, October 6, 2017

Fall Festivities in New Jersey

Home for 20+ years has been New Jersey. I spent four years in Providence, RI for college, two years living in NYC and  a little over a year living in South Florida. I still can't wrap my head around all the places I have lived, yet the only place I have called home was New Jersey!

As a family we would make the most of the Autumn months visiting some of these great places. As I got older I would also venture out and these days I love exploring a new festival, farm, harvest or event!

Have a picnic at a state park, find a corn maze or hayride at any of the local farms, or eat/see your way through a fall festival! Here are some of my favorite fall festivities!

Corn Maze: Here is a list of  corn mazes in New Jersey. I highly recommend checking out the following:

Apple Picking & Pumpkin Patch: Whether you are going to bake an apple pie or pumpkin pie there are so many farms to choose from. These are just some of my favorites and let me remind you there are literally hundreds of places to visit in New Jersey. 

Six Flags Great Adventure Fright Fest: Fright Fest runs from September 16-Oct 31 at Six Flags in Jackson, New Jersey. With five scare zones and seven haunted mazes, there is something scary for everyone!

Fall Festivals: Fall festivals include celebrating local harvest, food, music, beer and so much more! There is something for everyone to enjoy.

Be sure to check out your local areas as well for other happenings this fall. What is your favorite fall activity? 


Thursday, October 5, 2017

Facing Fears

Fear, "an unpleasant emotion caused by the belief that someone or something is dangerous, likely to cause pain, or a threat."


Fear has stopped me dead in my tracks. Fear has caused me to called a baby, immature, unreasonable, crazy, etc....One of my biggest fears, is needles. The first interaction I remember with a needle was when I was four years old. I was taken to the emergency room to receive stitches in my head, from running down the stairs and my head hitting the corner of the wall. My father took me and as I was on the bed I was kicking and screaming, making myself sick, and kicking and biting the doctor. It was that moment I landed in a straight jacket tied by my feet and hands so the doctor could place 4 small stitches in my head.

Doctor visit after doctor visit I never got better, in fact I got worse. My mother left me behind once or twice at the pediatrician and the podiatrist. Everyone says face you fears head on and you will overcome them. Would I really overcome my fear by voluntarily having a needle stuck in my arm? Are you crazy, I would say to everyone.

Well that all changed on Monday as I watched the news and saw the deadly massacre that took place in Las Vegas. How could I sit by and #PrayForVegas. What else could I do? Sure I sent a text to my congressmen. I tweeted, sent messaged via Instagram, and put out a post on Facebook, but deep down I knew I needed to do more. Every post sharing how you can become involved had the same similar messages and one stood out, DONATE BLOOD. Whether you are in Las Vegas, NYC, Miami or New Jersey you can donate blood and it will save lives.

Donate Blood, Tracy you can do this...I told myself that about 200 times between Monday and today at 12:37 when I was escorted back into the donation room. Check out these statistics from the American Red Cross about Blood Donation.

"Although an estimated 38 percent of the U.S. population is eligible to donate blood at any given time, less then 10 percent of the eligible population actually do each year."

So with my nerves at 100% I knew I had to face my fears. I walked into the Central Jersey Blood Center, told the woman at the desk it was my first time and I would wait for the first available slot. I was told 1:15 when I arrived at 12:05, yet I was called back at 12:35. I mentioned it was my first time at least a dozen times and every staff member made me feel super comfortable. I asked a million questions, laughed and cried at one point but knew deep down this was the right thing to do. The process took all of about 45 minutes from questions to the actual donation. The nurse stayed with me, everyone checked up on me and I felt amazing as I walked out of the doors after my donation. My fear of needles was still slightly there but not as bad as it has been in the past.

Wrapped in pink for #BreastCancerAwarenessMonth in memory of my mother

I faced by fears head on and I am giving back and saving lives all the while. You can do this as well. Whatever you fear may be face it head on.

What is your biggest fear?