Nom Wah Tea Parlor – Great dining in New York City’s Chinatown

The Chinatown section of New York City is a densely populated neighborhood packed with authentic Chinese and Southeast Asian dining experiences. Not sure you would have a bad experience anywhere that you go, but I am so glad Nom Wah Tea Parlor was recommended to us. We never would have found it otherwise and it was the find of a lifetime.

Life itself cannot give you joy, unless you really will it. Life just gives you time and space … it’s up to you to fill it.

Chinese Proverb

Nom Wah Tea Parlor, opened in 1920 and is the oldest continuously operating Chinese restaurant in New York City. They are located at 13 Doyers Street on an adorable little side street. You almost want to call it an alley but it is prettier than that with all the beautiful lanterns hanging overhead.

Nom Wah Tea Parlor has other locations: Nom Wah Nolita is fast-casual restaurant in the the Nolita neighborhood (North of Little Italy), Nom Wah at the Market Line and Nom Wah Philadelphia which is a more modern version of the original in appearance but the food is the same quality that you expect

I have never tried Dim Sum before but it was on my bucket list and oldest daughter did not disappoint by bring us here. She knew Nom Wah Tea Parlor was the place to go and that I would love it. She made sure that we made time to go there on our most recent trip to New York City. We had beautiful weather so we walked from the lower east side and it was very enjoyable. Lots to see!

They open at 11 am and we got there a little before. There was a short line already waiting for them to open. I believe there is usually a line so be prepared for that. But it moves quickly and is so worth it. This is not a fancy restaurant, they have been open and operating since 1920 and the line is out the door so you know it is going to be great. This is not a tourist trap and you can tell immediately. Nom Wah Tea Parlor is very reasonably priced. We had five people and it was only about $100 before tip. For New York City that is a steal. But please note and prepare:

THEY ARE CASH ONLY!

My daughter and her boyfriend were given the task of ordering because they were more familiar than us and I am glad we left it to them. Some of the items we ordered I never would have tried and I would have missed out. We just said “surprise us.

The final decision was: House special roast pork buns, Chicken soup dumplings, Turnip cake with XO sauce, Pan fried noodles in superior soy sauce, pan fried pork dumplings, Chinese greens in oyster sauce (It was bok choy) and hot tea (not sure which one we got, I believe it was Oolong).

First off the Chinese greens in oyster sauce.. this was so good. I could have eaten just this and been happy. I never would have ordered it in a million years. How did I go my whole life not knowing about this? I need to figure out how to make it at home. In addition, the turnip cake with XO sauce is another item I knew nothing about and I will be getting that again. It was all so amazing and I just learned you can order some of their food and have it shipped nationwide at Good Belly. I will be trying that out also. They have gluten-free dumplings available for delivery!

I always appreciate restaurants that are allergy friendly and I like to support them on the restaurant review section of my blog, so check them out here at Sunday Chefs.

Van Leeuwen Ice Cream – My new favorite

I have a daughter who moved to New York City last year and we love nothing more than to visit and wander the city exploring any food establishments that catch our eye. It is a great way to find new and exciting places you may have missed. The little mom and pop shop or a fancy new bistro, it’s the excitement of the unknown that is so great. We have had some amazing meals and thank god we are walking so much to burn it all off! We have not been disappointed yet.

It does help that my daughter is a foodie and knows some great spots!

Ice Cream is cheaper than therapy

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Recently on a very hot, summer weekend, we ventured out to see what we could find. It was late and we were wrapping it up for the evening and walked past Van Leeuwen Ice Cream and Vegan Ice Cream at 172 Ludlow Street on the Lower East Side. Vegan Ice Cream? Who knew? Let’s give it a shot! We had eaten so much that day but as my husband says, “The dessert tank is a different tank, the meal tank may be full but the dessert tank is still empty.” There is always room for dessert!

A LIFE WITHOUT ANYTHING GOOD IS BAD

Van Leeuwen Ice Cream Shoppe

What a cute little spot! The problem now is what to order. They all look amazing. Kraft Macaroni and Cheese Ice Cream? I wish I had tried that. Earl Gray Tea? Vegan Churros and Fudge? Vegan Bourbon Vanilla Apple Crisp? Oat Milk Brown Sugar Crunch? Marion Berry Cheesecake? With the decision finally made, we ordered. The choices were a hot fudge sundae made with Vanilla Bean Ice Cream for the youngest, a cup of Sicilian Pistachio for hubby and for me? I got the Vegan Peanut Butter Brownie Honeycomb.

The ice cream was so rich we could barely finish it all. I do believe, the decision was unanimous and it was the best Ice Cream we have ever had. I took a risk with the Vegan Peanut Butter Brownie Honeycomb, but it was amazing. Van Leeuwen Ice Cream and Vegan Ice Cream makes their vegan ice cream with Coconut Milk or Oat Milk apparently and I would have never known. If you are concerned that vegan ice cream may be a little weird, it is not. If I had not ordered it myself, I would have thought it was regular milk based ice cream.

Van Leeuwen Ice Cream and Vegan Ice Cream has locations all over the city. Nineteen in fact, with locations also in California, Texas, Pennsylvania and New Jersey. New locations coming soon in Connecticut and Colorado. I do believe Massachusetts should be next on the list. If you are an ice cream fan, Van Leeuwen Ice Cream and Vegan Ice Cream is a must see!

Keeping it bubbly! – Trick to keeping Champagne and Prosecco bubbly

Smile…. There’s bubbly

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The easiest trick to save that leftover bubbly. Whether it be Champagne, Prosecco, Cava or even sparkling cider.


We like to celebrate things in our house. So it is not unusual for us to have a bottle of Champagne or Prosecco in the fridge. You never know when you will need to make a quick toast or have a Mimosa or an Aperol Spritz. But, we are not big drinkers so we tend to have some leftover and there is nothing worse than flat champagne. Well of course there are worse things, but you get the picture.

I used to work at a French company back in the day and after work on Friday’s we would buy bottles of champagne (good champagne) and celebrate the end of a good week.  That was a great job! There were a lot of tipsy train rides home but we were young and not driving, so who cared. My boss, who was French and grew up in champagne country taught us a trick to preserve the bubbles so you could finish the bottle the next day.

It’s very simple…… Put a spoon in the bottle and put it in the fridge…..That’s it!!!  It is so simple and it works. Thanks Thierry! This holiday season, I was telling someone and they did not believe me so we tested it…. and I was right. Everyone was extremely impressed.  My daughter even tried it with Sparkling Cider and it worked. It is a great tip, that you will probably never have to use…..because who has leftover Champagne or Prosecco or Cava!

I make Prosecco disappear, what’s your superpower?

-Unknown

Simple Suppers – Chicken Tortellini Soup

This soup is a staple in our house and now that my college student daughter has her own apartment, it is time she had some simple dinners for college students that are easy and cheap. We need to get her going, so she and her friends can join the Sunday Chefs Club and not starve in college. Soups and Stews are always a great go to when you are looking for a simple and hearty meal. This meal is both impressive and simple.

Nothing brings people together like good food…. Unknown

  • Two 32 oz. cartons of low sodium chicken broth
  • 1 bag of baby spinach
  • 8 -16 oz package of tortellini (depending on how many you are feeding)
  • diced chicken (Optional)
  • pinch of red pepper flakes
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • Parmesan cheese to sprinkle on top (Optional)

Boil water and cook the tortellini separately. Cook it a little al dente. If it says 7 minutes cook it for 5, so it doesn’t get mushy when you add it to the soup.

In another big pot add the chicken broth, chicken (if you don’t have leftover chicken for the soup, you can leave it out or add a raw boneless chicken breast and poach it in the broth until its done, then remove it, shred it and then add it back) and spices. Bring to a boil, simmer for 10 minutes and then add the spinach. It will seem like too much but it wilts down to nothing. Simmer for a few more minutes. Put the tortellini in a bowl and spoon the soup over the tortellini. Top with a little Parmesan cheese and serve with some crusty bread.

Allergens: Gluten

Baking Tip – How to cut the perfect brownie.

I know this sounds silly, but ever since someone told me about this trick, I use it every time. As a parent of a child with food allergies, I always bring the snacks….so I make a lot of brownies. I tend to cook brownies a bit underdone on purpose, which is our family’s preference. The trick is to use a plastic spoon when cutting them. The edges come out perfect and clean and the brownies do not stick to the knife. It is miraculous. Give it a try next time you are making brownies or blondies, you will be amazed.

 

It is no bad thing to celebrate a simple life – J.R.R. Tolkein

 

Sunday Chefs – Holiday Edition

My dad was a Sunday Chef. He discovered a love of cooking in his 40’s after his doctor told him to find a hobby to deal with his stress. He tried model ship making but that didn’t last long. His path to a great Sunday Chef was not without its pitfalls. Our family will never stop laughing about the 18 Sundays in a row we had Fettuccine Alfredo until he got it right and then never made it again or the French apple chicken he only made for me on my birthday because he knew it was my favorite but the smell of the apples and onions cooking together always made him feel ill. And none of us will ever forget the family attempt at making Limoncello!  It was obvious we were Irish/Scottish and not Italian, but a fabulous memory all the same.

Every Sunday was an event… all day experiments of food from all over the world. Some Sundays just one course, other Sunday’s five or six. My husband jokingly tells me this is why he married me so he could keep coming to Sunday Dinner. My father passed on his love of cooking to his son-in-laws. My brother-in-law was fully entrenched at a young age and he continues to amaze us. Christmas Day is his show! This year was an amazing display of five courses and not one them disappointed.

When my husband and I got engaged my dad gifted my future husband with a cookbook and a welcome to the Sunday Chefs Club. Christmas Eve is his show! He makes a massive pot of marinara sauce. This years included 14 shelled lobsters, mussels, shrimp and little necks!  It was amazing.

I love to cook, but I love the tradition that these wonderful men have chosen to embrace and follow in the footsteps of my amazing father. My children are growing up with this wonderful tradition and the people that my daughters choose to marry will be getting cookbooks. I am sure he is smiling and toasting us with a glass of Limoncello!

Marry someone who knows how cook. Looks go away but hunger doesn’t …. Unknown

ROSCIOLI SALUMERIA CON CUCINA, ROME ITALY

Roscioli Salumeria Con Cucina – Rome Restaurant and Food Allergy Review

When I let my sister know that I was going to Rome all she kept saying was you need to go to Roscioli Salumeria Con Cucina located in the heart of Rome!  She and her husband said it was the best meal they have ever had and they tell everyone to go there. When we discovered it was only a three minute walk from our hotel we were thrilled. It did not disappoint!  I would highly recommend a reservation and to dine in the wine cellar. The reservation is very easily made on their website. When you travel to Rome with food allergies there is a lot of research to be done and I had a hard time finding information on specific restaurants. But if you do your research it can be done. We have a daughter with a lot of food allergies and there was a comment section on the reservation form where we inquired about what she could eat.

Our first night in Rome we ventured out for a beautiful walk through Rome to the restaurant. We were greeted by our waiter Ricardo and brought to the wine cellar. He was aware of the food allergies and let her know that she would have a fabulous meal. She is allergic to peanuts, tree nuts, carrots, cucumbers, legumes, zucchini and eggplant but they had it under control. Honestly, I do believe he was very relieved that we were not uptight about it and she didn’t care what she had, she was just happy to be there. We were told to order the cacio e pepe and we would be amazed. We were! The wine was wonderful and the caprese salad, bread, gnocchi, ravioli, the limoncello, tortellini in brodo (homemade tortellini in broth) was so simple and to die for. The menu had a food allergy labeling system that made it all so easy. If you are gluten free, I found the restaurants bent over backwards to accommodate you. Roscioli is comfortable, relaxed and not very expensive, the perfect restaurant for our first night in Rome. They even brought us a little dessert with cookies you could dip in chocolate to welcome us to Rome. Roscioli is a must see.. I do believe it was the best meal I have ever had in my life.

I’d much rather drink wine and eat pasta than be a size zero – Sophia Loren

Bucket List Adventures

Bucket List Adventure – Rome, Italy

Recently I had the privilege of visiting Rome, Italy with my family. My daughter is studying abroad and we could not miss the opportunity to take this Bucket List Adventure. We scrimped and saved and it was so worth it . After a long 14-month battle with breast cancer last year, I have vowed to experience life more and this was a great first start. We stayed in the beautiful Hotel Ponte Sisto. It was in the perfect location to walk everywhere. Right across the bridge from the wonderful neighborhood of Trastevere with all its fantastic restaurants. We spent five days eating, sightseeing, strolling and relaxing. It was wonderful. This trip was a life-changing event for me. Rome is so spiritual and the beauty if overwhelming. To take this vacation with my whole family after the battle we have all gone through, truly makes you appreciate life. 

I spent a lot of time researching restaurants for allergy issues due to our family and their multiple allergies. I found this to be challenging so I will write reviews on every restaurant that we went to and how they handled allergies. Heads up: Italy was wonderful and we found a way to eat everything.  I managed to make it home without gaining any weight… Most likely due to the 24,000 steps/day my Fitbit recorded.

Living La Dolce Vita

 

 

 

 

Chocolate Muffins

These seriously are the best muffins ever and so easy to make.  I cannot take credit for these, someone gave me the recipe and I am not sure of the origin. But thank you to whoever thought of it. The idea seemed strange but I quickly realized what a great way to get a vegetable into my child who seems to be allergic to almost every other vegetable except broccoli and cauliflower.  So here it is …. couldn’t be any easier and they will never even know there is pumpkin in them. Preheat oven to 400 degrees  Fahrenheit.

It is always the simple that produces the marvelous – Amelia Barr

  • 1  15 oz can of pumpkin puree
  • 1 box devils food cake mix

Spray the mixing bowl and all the utensils with cooking spray because the mixture sticks to everything without it.  Mix the two together, it will take a while, but don’t give up. ( I have tried to do this in my mixer and it doesn’t work… don’t bother).

Spray a muffin tin with cooking spray (do not use paper muffin cup liners, it will not work) and use an ice cream scoop to split mixture evenly to make 12 muffins.

Add to oven and cook for 15 minutes.  That’s it and they are the best muffins. They are so moist and are perfect for breakfast or a snack.

Chocolate pumpkin muffins

Allergens: Wheat, Check your cake mix for other allergens.

Linguine with Clam Sauce

When I was a young girl we had a summer house on Cape Cod and my godfather would go clamming and make steamers.  I loved them… I would eat more than most of the adults.  Then I got a little older and turned into a squeamish little girl and that was the end of that.  Well this dish made me love clams again.  It is so easy to make and everyone is always impressed with how it looks even if they won’t eat it.

Live in the sunshine, swim in the sea, drink in the wild air – Ralph Waldo Emerson

  • 1 lb. linguine cooked (reserve a cup of the boiling liquid) Regular or Gluten Free
  • 2 lbs. clams (washed and scrubbed clean to get rid of the sand that may have been left on)
  • 3 cloves of garlic
  • 1 tbsp. olive oil
  • 1/2 cup white wine
  • fresh parsley chopped (about 2 tbsp.)
  • 1/4 tsp. red pepper
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 lemon
  • Parmesan Cheese to taste (contains dairy)

Heat the oil in a large skillet. Add the garlic and red pepper flakes and saute until garlic is translucent. Add the white wine and the red pepper and simmer a minute and the reserved water. Add the clams and cover the pan. Leave the cover on and cook for app. 5 minutes until all the clams have opened.  If you need a few more minutes, take it and then throw out any of the closed clams.  Add the juice of half of a lemon. Take off the heat and add the pasta to the pan and very gently toss.  At the last minute add the parsley and serve. Garnish with lemon.  I put a little Parmesan Cheese on top also. Goes good with a Chardonnay and crusty bread.  Enjoy!

Allergens: Shellfish, Dairy, gluten  (Does work good with gluten free pasta also)

Linguine with clam sauce - kingsrookdreams

lemons and parsley - kingsrookdreams

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