Levain Bakery

levain-bakery-12During our recent trip to New York City, I finally got to try the famous chocolate chip cookies from Levain Bakery. The bakery is known for their chocolate chip walnut cookie, with each one weighing a whopping 6 ounces. These thick, decadent cookies with barely set soft centers are so popular that there is almost a constant long line of customers.

When we arrived at the original location, we could barely see the signage for the tiny store, though we immediately saw the line. It’s a very cramped space, with only one entrance and exit. The actual bakery is located on a lower level, so you also need to go down a set of stairs. We waited in line for 30 minutes and there were moments where I considered leaving the line, convinced the cookies couldn’t be that good.
Finally, it was our turn to order. They offer four flavors of cookies, along with some other baked goods, including a popular banana bread.

sizzling-pot-king-26Sizzling Pot King is a Chinese restaurant specializing in dry hot pots. The restaurant replaced Qi Wei, a similar-style restaurant, towards the end of last year and has been quite popular.

I wasn’t very impressed with the previous restaurant and didn’t have much of a desire to check out the new incarnation. Then Kirk wrote a post and also mentioned to me that he thought I’d enjoy it, so I knew I had to go.

When we arrived, there was quite a few groups ahead of us, but they dish out the food pretty quickly so the wait wasn’t too bad.

Dry pot (also called dry hot pot), usually consists of pre-cooked food served in a heated pot. Unlike traditional hot pot, there is no soup base or need to cook your food. Guests choose from a variety of proteins, which are cooked and then placed into a pot filled with a variety of spicy peppers, herbs, and other spices. The pot also contains some base ingredients like bean sprouts, potatoes, celery, and (in this case) cauliflower. A flame is lit underneath your pot once it reaches your table, allowing the food to heat and absorb more of the spices.

Sizzling Pot King offers quite a large selection of proteins to choose from. You have your standard chicken, beef, lamb, along with more exotic ones like rabbit, and plenty of offal, which I love.

cauliflower-pesto-rice-11This easy and flavorful pesto cauliflower rice dish makes the perfect low-carb side. You can eat it with salmon, shrimp, chicken and more. I whipped up some kale basil pesto but you can use ready-made pesto or make your own.

I am currently in love with this pesto cauliflower rice. It’s so flavorful, green and easy– I don’t even miss that it’s not actual rice. I made this for dinner last night, along with some pan seared salmon topped with more pesto and Mr. K gave it two thumbs up. Normally, he’s not a fan of cauliflower rice because he says it’s not filling enough, but there were no complaints this time.