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.
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Finally, it was our turn to order. They offer four flavors of cookies, along with some other baked goods, including a popular banana bread.
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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.
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