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Life According to Yuki http://www.yukisuzuki.com Eating, Drinking, & Living in Brooklyn Wed, 16 Sep 2009 01:14:16 +0000 en hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=3.1.3 Brooklyn Label – Greenpoint, Brooklyn http://www.yukisuzuki.com/2009/03/02/brooklyn-label-greenpoint-brooklyn/ http://www.yukisuzuki.com/2009/03/02/brooklyn-label-greenpoint-brooklyn/#comments Mon, 02 Mar 2009 17:00:43 +0000 Yuki Suzuki http://www.yukisuzuki.com/?p=174 This past weekend we had some friends in town so naturally, since we’ve chosen Brooklyn Label as our favorite brunch spot in the area, we took them there. Brooklyn Label has all the right elements which make this my favorite place for brunch: high quality and unique menu options, great coffee, big windows, tall ceilings & comfortable atmosphere, & friendly staff.

Neighborhood: Greenpoint, Brooklyn
180 Franklin St.
Brooklyn, NY 11222
(718) 389-2806

Brooklyn Label, Greenpoint Brooklyn Label, Greenpoint Brooklyn Label, Greenpoint Brooklyn Label, Greenpoint Brooklyn Label, Greenpoint Brooklyn Label, Greenpoint

We’ve been to Brooklyn Label a few times now, once alone and twice with friends. Each time we’ve tried different things and have never been dissatisfied. One thing which is very important to me is the coffee. Maybe I’m a spoiled coffee snob but I just hate thinking “this is probably Maxwell House that’s been burning in the pot for like 3 hours…” I want to know I’m getting good coffee. One other thing I like about this place is that they have the brunch staples like french toast, steak and eggs, eggs Benedict, omelets, etc. but they all have a cool twist to them (ex: green eggs (“greenpoint”), super thick french toast with pecan butter, waffles the size of your head, etc.)

What did we have?

We had a Green-Eggs-No-Ham omelet & Biscuits & Eggs & Gravy w/ Sausage, and our friends had a huge Belgian Waffle & and French Toast. The omelet was much better than the one at the River Barrel – very soft and flavorful. The biscuits were a bit thicker than I would have liked but they did go very well with the sausage and gravy. We’ve had the waffle and french toast before and they’re great as well. The french toast is very very thick and the pecan butter it comes with is delicious. My only complaint about the waffle we had was that there wasn’t enough fruit on it and it ended up being a bit dry.

Will I be coming back?

Yes of course.

What suggestions would I make?

Hire English speaking staff.

One thing which happened that I thought was funny (though it wasn’t actually funny) was that we ordered a couple mugs of house coffee while we were waiting for our seats and (unfortunately) I didn’t realize that the mug I had been drinking out of had some syrup or something with fuzz stuck to it on the rim of the mouth of the cup (yum). So after we sat down when I realized this, I asked our waiter for a different cup because that one had something on the mouth. He kind of looked at me and said “coffee?” (I think) and looked as if he was going to start refilling the cup… ? So I POINTED to the cup and said “look – there’s crap on my mug please bring me a different mug.” And what does he do??? he refills the fricking mug anyways. So I started to get a little pissed and said again “If you don’t give me a different mug I’m not drinking this – IT IS DIRTY” and I pushed the mug to him and looked at him so as if to say “I am clearly pissed right now.”

Apparently, he had “trouble” with speaking/understanding English. It was a bit loud and busy though so I’ll take that into consideration but this was the morning after our English-misunderstanding incident at Rare Bar & Grill so I was a bit more sensitive to it than usual. My theory is that if a restaurant is going to save money by hiring non-English speaking staff then they should be aware of the risk they take of having customers get pissed about it, and then flaming them on some little website :)

Do something about the ceilings.

I like to think of myself as not being too picky about things (I’ll eat anywhere at least once) but I have to agree with the one thing that my guests pointed out here – it looks like pieces of the ceiling were constantly falling. I didn’t personally notice it (though I might just have been trying to NOT notice it) but I agree that it’s the first thing that stands out about this place. The ceiling looks like its has paint or plaster or something that is just seconds away from chipping off, and for a place that serves food, this means that patrons are constantly aware that they may be accidentally ingesting whatever orange and brown stain-ish looking crap is stuck to the ceilings. The place was and has always been packed when we go there so I’m assuming that most people either haven’t noticed or don’t care.


Brooklyn Label is a solid brunch spot and probably the best in the area next to the Greenpoint Coffee House. I’ll keep coming back even if they never fix the ceilings or hire more English-fluent staff.

Price per person: ~$15 (total including tax and tip)

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Rare Bar & Grill – Midtown, NYC http://www.yukisuzuki.com/2009/02/23/rare-bar-grill/ http://www.yukisuzuki.com/2009/02/23/rare-bar-grill/#comments Mon, 23 Feb 2009 17:00:14 +0000 Yuki Suzuki http://www.yukisuzuki.com/?p=172 This restaurant is why I love trying out new restaurants. Our experience here will really help bring balance to an otherwise positive blog. Again we decided to go out with some friends who were in from out of town, and we had read about this restaurant online which was supposed to be a very good burger place. In fact it did turn out to be a fantastic burger – Kobe Beef sauteed in white wine with three cheeses and thick slabs of bacon. What we found out is that its not always the food quality that matters most.

Neighborhood: Manhattan/Midtown
303 Lexington Ave. @ 37th Street
New York, NY
(212) 481-1999

Rare Bar & Grill, Manhattan Rare Bar & Grill, Manhattan Rare Bar & Grill, Manhattan Rare Bar & Grill, Manhattan Rare Bar & Grill, Manhattan Rare Bar & Grill, Manhattan

My first impression of this place was that it was loud. I mean it is a “Bar & Grill” but Nirvana blasting to a Midtown crowd? I’m not all that picky about that though, if I wanted a quiet night I’d have gone back to Michael Jordan’s Steakhouse. Our feeling going into this place was that we wanted 1) a great burger 2) to try a new restaurant 3) not spend more than $50/person. We did accomplish all three goals but we would have been phenomenally successful if our fourth goal was: 4) experience the worst service fax-paux to date.

What did we eat?

Two of us had the chef’s special Kobe Burger ($21), the others had a garden veggie burger, and a Po Boy Beef Brisket. We also had a french fry tasting basket and a bottle of Estancia 2006 Cab. The Kobe burger was great – the bun didn’t fall apart, the thick bacon was tender not chewy, and they nailed the medium-rare for me. One complaint was the yellow tomato (I guess they’re trying to be really fancy) – it was too thick and mushy, kind of like… well just a thick mushy tomato. Regardless, whatever flavor it may have contributed was buried in the rich cheesey, beefy, bacony flavor.

I have one initial gripe which is probably stupid but we ordered a fairly cheap $39 bottle of wine (which was marked up 2x at least from about $12 retail). Yet the waiter still went through the whole towel-on-arm routine with having me taste it then pouring it around, etc. etc. I know it’s a stupid gripe because they probably would do this at McDonalds if they served wine, it’s just how you serve wine but I can’t help but feel a little douchey about it all. Maybe I should have just given it a more thorough sniffy-sniff I may have appreciated it more.

Oh right, there was one other complaint…

The worst service fax-paux ever…

So at the end of the dinner, there was a substantial amount of veggie burger left so we asked the waiter for a box. Without any affirmation, he grabbed the plate after the others and brought it away. For some reason we watched him walk away with the plates (probably because we didn’t believe he heard/understood our box request) and sure enough about 10 feet away, he puts a fricking dirty napkin right on top of the food.

Unreal. The food was hardly touched – what would possess you to think we wanted to throw it away?? At least have the experience/courtesy/common sense to ask if we wanted a box…? I mean, I don’t go to my job and act like I forgot how to use a computer. We’re talking Restaurant-Shit 101 here. You could probably pick up these rules from a blog somewhere – no formal training required. It’s almost like knowing that you shouldn’t kick someone in the ass as they exit your restaurant which is kind of how we felt.

So here’s where it gets really good – our main waiter comes back and brings the check so I say to him “We asked to have her meal put in a to-go box…” He looks at me stupidly, and just reiterates “you wanted her’s to go?” …. um …. YES. So he walks away for a few seconds and comes back and says “We threw it away.” Ok, well I mean – we know, we saw it all, so… I tell him “ok well you can either re-make it or take it off the check.” he asks if we can wait for them to re-make it – I say sure.

…30 seconds later the first waiter comes out with the meal boxed and bagged, sticks it on the table and walks away. So now we’re all looking at each other in disbelief that he just boxed up the trash meal – totally speechless – and our main waiter comes out again, looks confused/shocked to see the boxed meal (it had also been made noticeably smaller – maybe they cut off the edges). So he says “ok so.. oh.. um, ok here you go – is this ok?” (pointing to the box)

The 4 of us just stared at him.

I say (laughing in a pissed “don’t-f*%k-with-me” sort of way) “no absolutely not – WE SAW you put it in the trash first are you f’ng kidding???” Everyone else starts laughing at the absurdity of his question – he grabs it and walks like 10 feet away – he starts talking to the waiter who brought us the trash meal to begin with – and THEY BOTH START LAUGHING !?!? Immediately after he comes back, apologizes and says the meal will be right out. 10 minutes later, the meal comes out (we inspected it, it looked fresh) and we left.

Will I be coming back?

The short answer is a definitive NO.

The good thing about NYC is that you can afford to be picky with your restaurants. I choose to be picky because I think it encourages competition. Having said this I can say with certainty that I will not likely come back until I have exhausted all my other restaurant options in New York and all of them turn out to be worse than this one. This restaurant didn’t wow me, in fact the negatives substantially outweigh the positives since the only positive really was that the food tasted like what I would expect it to taste like for the price. So even saying the food quality was a positive attribute of this restaurant is misleading – it’s more accurate to say food quality wasn’t a negative.

What suggestions would I make?

Hire people who speak English.

When you confuse “Can I have a box for this?” with “Can you please throw this away?” – it’s time to call Rosetta Stone. Please stop cutting corners on service.

(This one’s probably the most obvious) Don’t put our take-home food in the trash before you box it up.

There are really only two words to explain this one: f&%k you.


At $21 a burger, you can eat a great burger. That’s if you don’t mind doing it in a pseudo-fancy-restaurant/hotel-bar with shitty service.

Price per person: ~$39 (total including tax and tip)

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River Barrel – Greenpoint, Brooklyn http://www.yukisuzuki.com/2009/02/16/river-barrel-greenpoint-brooklyn/ http://www.yukisuzuki.com/2009/02/16/river-barrel-greenpoint-brooklyn/#comments Mon, 16 Feb 2009 18:05:05 +0000 Dennis Plucinik http://www.yukisuzuki.com/?p=164 The River Barrel is a new restaurant on Franklin Street in Greenpoint, Brooklyn. I believe it opened up here within the past month since I remember *something* being under construction there during Christmas time. This past weekend, we were heading down to either Brooklyn Label, or Greenpoint Coffee House for brunch and noticed this place was open – so we stepped in…

Neighborhood: Brooklyn/Greenpoint
160 Franklin St
(between Java St & Kent St)
Brooklyn, NY 11222
(718) 389-8881

River Barrel, Greenpoint River Barrel, Greenpoint River Barrel, Greenpoint River Barrel, Greenpoint River Barrel, Greenpoint River Barrel, Greenpoint

My first impression of this place was that it was new. By “new” I mean – there was no charm. There’s potential but it just felt like a blank canvas (opposed to Brooklyn Label which feels like a worn in pair of quality boots.) I liked that there were a bunch of seating options, we chose to sit at the bar since it was fairly wide, clean, and welcoming. Our waitress was (the bartender) very attentive since she was always… right there. I think I spotted the owner hanging around in the back checking everything out and cleaning up a bit here and there. As opposed to some of the other reviews I’ve read of this place, the waitresses didn’t seem to be struggling and everything seemed to be running pretty smoothly. It was rather full around 2pm on Sunday – apparently they’ve come a long way in the past 3 weeks.

What did we have?

We had a River Barrel Burger, and a Greenpoint Omlet with coffee. I have to say the River Barrel burger was the best burger I’ve had in a long time. The key is that they put on pickled carrots and cucumbers (?!) I also added smoked Gouda cheese and bacon and I swear it was the most satisfying combination of flavors. The Greenpoint Omlet was alright though not spectacular. One thing they didn’t mention was that it had sausage on it – they might have said so on the menu but it wasn’t explicit. I would think with the high vegetarian/young-Greenpoint-resident ratio would insight them to indicate which meals are vegetarian. Seems kind of old school to me not to anyhow.

Whatever side dish came with the meals I cannot remember. I believe they came with fries though nothing stood out to me as spectacular about them.

Will I be coming back?

If I’m feeling like getting out of the house one night without going far, I might come in for dinner. I usually don’t go out around here for dinner (except for Paloma) but since this place is new, I may be more apt to check out the menu. I’m really happy to see these new places coming up in this area and since we’ll likely be here for a while, I’d like to continue supporting them.

What suggestions would I make?

Make better coffee.

If River Barrel really wants my business, put together a respectable coffee offering. I don’t even need espresso drinks but please don’t serve me Maxwell House that’s been sitting there all morning.

Put salt on the tables.

I would think this was rule numero uno in the restaurant biz ….apparently not. What’s funny here is that I remember that I couldn’t find any salt, and that whatever I was eating needed it – but I can’t remember what I was eating. Is that bad that the food (except the burger) was so unmemorable??


The River Barrel is still understandably settling in and looks like it could eventually be a strong asset to the area’s restaurant community. I’m curious to see which angle it develops into considering having the combination of Brooklyn Label and not having Paloma as competition. Also I think there was some other restaurant around here but I have only been there once and I hope it’s since closed… that’s another review.

Price per person: ~$20 (total including tax and tip)

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Surf Bar – Williamsburg, Brooklyn http://www.yukisuzuki.com/2009/02/09/surf-bar-williamsburg-brooklyn/ http://www.yukisuzuki.com/2009/02/09/surf-bar-williamsburg-brooklyn/#comments Mon, 09 Feb 2009 12:13:14 +0000 Dennis Plucinik http://www.yukisuzuki.com/?p=149 This place was another one of those times where we were just looking for a place to sit down and relax after walking around in Williamsburg on a hot weekend afternoon. Fortunately, we got a really cool waiter, got to sit outside, and had a couple sangrias. Overall it was a great experience.


Surf Bar, Williamsburg Surf Bar, Williamsburg Surf Bar, Williamsburg Surf Bar, Williamsburg Surf Bar, Williamsburg Surf Bar, Williamsburg

Thinking back to our first time here I think I realize how important a first impression is.

Price per person: ~$32

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Sea – Williamsburg, Brooklyn http://www.yukisuzuki.com/2009/02/01/sea-williamsburg-brooklyn/ http://www.yukisuzuki.com/2009/02/01/sea-williamsburg-brooklyn/#comments Mon, 02 Feb 2009 01:28:26 +0000 Dennis Plucinik http://www.yukisuzuki.com/?p=124 Sea was one of the first Williamsburg restaurants we had the pleasure of going to since we moved to Brooklyn. We’ve been there a couple times before; the first time was during a hot summer weekend afternoon – the place was 80% empty and very refreshing. There’s not much on this particular street and it’s exterior isn’t extremely fancy but inside is whole different story.


Sea, Williamsburg Sea, Williamsburg Sea, Williamsburg Sea, Williamsburg Sea, Williamsburg Sea, Williamsburg

The design of this restaurant is so modern and beautiful I can’t say I have been to a more enchanting restaurant. The price is very reasonable and it just feels ‘easy’ to come in and sit down. There’s no pressure to get seated and place your orders immediately, you just come in, sit down and eventually you’re eating. I really don’t even remember the waiters/waitresses having said a single word to us (I’m sure they actually did, I’m just saying – their presence wasn’t the least bit intrusive – which is not generally how I like my service but I think it suited the atmosphere here very well.)

Before I go any further, I want to note – I have zero complaints about this restaurant. Sea was almost immediately a favorite of ours and we will continue to go there until either we move or it closes (hopefully not the latter).

About their menu, they have the standard Thai items (Tom Yum Soup, Pad Thai, Peanut Satay, etc.) and they have always been solid for everyone in the group. I don’t think anyone has ever been disappointed with the quality, or portion of the meal.

Price per person: <$20

114 N 6th St
Brooklyn, NY 11211
(718) 384-8850

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Michael Jordan’s Steakhouse @ Grand Central http://www.yukisuzuki.com/2009/01/25/michael-jordan-steakhouse-grand-central/ http://www.yukisuzuki.com/2009/01/25/michael-jordan-steakhouse-grand-central/#comments Mon, 26 Jan 2009 03:14:06 +0000 Yuki Suzuki http://www.yukisuzuki.com/?p=122 A little while ago we decided to take our roomate out to Michael Jordan’s Steakhouse for his birthday. He’s a big basketball guy from Japan (I mean big in terms of his fan-level not physical stature) – and in Japan, Michael Jordan is just as much as a legend as he is here. To what degree his ability to play basketball compliments his ability to produce a great steak-eating-experience… I don’t know.

[Michael Jordan's Steakhouse]

Michael Jordan's Steakhouse Michael Jordan's Steakhouse Michael Jordan's Steakhouse Michael Jordan's Steakhouse Michael Jordan's Steakhouse

Our first impression was that although we usually associate Grand Central with the smelly subway, the homeless people sleeping in every possible corner, and the stress associated with hundreds of people ALWAYS running in EVERY direction, there is a feeling of satisfaction and ‘Grand’ness that comes with knowing you’re about to drop a couple hundred dollars on a good dinner. The terminal itself is very beautiful with it’s old architecture and super-high ceilings. If you’ve never been there, it’s hard to describe it other than ‘busy’ and ‘grand’.

So onto the dinner… I usually don’t approach going to restaurants with the mindset that my behavior will change depending on the “class” of restaurant (a.k.a. I’m the one paying, I should feel comfortable.) Sometimes people will go to a higher-than-usual-for-them class of restaurant and feel uncomfortable about acting a specific way or “fitting in with the regulars”. Now, that mentality doesn’t mean I’m snobbish, (I’m never obnoxious or rude to the waitress or other patrons I’m just looking for a good dinner), but I’m certain that there are types of people who feel “a little more entitled” which puts the waitress in a position which requires them to ascertain and attempt to meet the patron’s level of expected service. That ability is very important for me in my dinner-going experience. I don’t want to feel like I’m being either a prick, or “un-civilized” – again, I want to feel welcomed and comfortable.

Service summary:

All that being said, I felt a smidge unsure about whether the waitress had “figured us out”. That kind of irritated me. It was almost as if she were to say with uncertainty, “I hope we’re all clear on how much this is going to cost…” It was either that or the fact that everyone was wearing a butcher smock (see pic. #2) that rubbed me the wrong way. Anyways, I’ll place the onus on her for not gauging us correctly.

The food:

We ordered salads, toasted bread with spinach and Gorgonzola dip (pic #1), a basket of fries, seared tuna, two filet mignons, an $80 bottle of some Australian (?) wine, some espresso and tea, and a humongous slice of cake. I always compare steak to the best steak I ever had: the “South Side” filet mignon at David Burke’s Primehouse in Chicago. So, if the Primehouse steak was a 100, I would say this was a 65. It was very good but I would give it a 4/5 on flavor, 4/5 on juiciness, 4/5 on presentation, 4/5 on cooking it to my expectation (medium rare, with an emphasis on the rare should have been a bit more rare). On a positive note, there weren’t hunks of fat hanging off the side and it wasn’t sitting in a pool of liquid.


I think overall the food was worth the cost. Unfortunately, they didn’t have any higher quality cuts of meat but maybe I’ll find that at Peter Luger’s when I finally make it there. I think the placement of the restaurant in Grand Central is an appropriate fit seeing that all of the portions were super-sized (look at the basket of fries in pic. #3), as was the atmospheric feeling while having dinner. If/when we end up going back there, I think we’ll skip the salad and wine (even though the wine was fantastic.)

Price per person: ~$100

Michael Jordan’s Steakhouse
23 Vanderbilt Ave
New York, NY 10017
(212) 655-2300

↑Please CLICK!!


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Naples 45, Ristorante E Pizzeria http://www.yukisuzuki.com/2009/01/21/naples-45-ristorante-e-pizzeria/ http://www.yukisuzuki.com/2009/01/21/naples-45-ristorante-e-pizzeria/#comments Wed, 21 Jan 2009 06:36:18 +0000 Dennis Plucinik http://www.yukisuzuki.com/?p=97 Since we live in Brooklyn we get our fair share of quality pizza, so when my wife tells me that this place has good pizza (in Midtown), I was a bit skeptical.

I’ve actually been here before but it was for a company event so I wasn’t paying close attention (or paying for the meal). So tonight, the setting was a frigid windy evening, after work, around 7pm, we’re tired, and just looking for a place to sit down and enjoy some comfortable, substantial food…

[ www.naples45.com ]

Naples 45 Naples 45 Naples 45 Naples 45 Naples 45

In standard fashion, I’m going to rip this place a little bit, then finish off with a smattering of compliments.


  1. It’s @#$%ing freezing outside, don’t sit me right underneath the air conditioner.

That’s the only negative. I’m sure other people got warmer seats but I think overall, they should address this. During the summer this place is probably fantastic – it’s got a lot of wide open space with unique little seating areas and a substantial bar from what I could tell. But in the winter, especially at night, maybe tone down the lights (at least make me think I’m somewhere other than a refrigerator), and shut off the few AC units that are directly over the seating areas. Nobody wants to come to dinner from working their butt off all day just to try and keep their jobs in this economic cluster@?!$, only to find their one last chance for relaxation get blown away in a never ending jet stream of fake, dry, cold ass air right up their neck… but that’s my only complaint.


  1. Service: The host(S!!) were very welcoming, as were our waitress(ES!!) and the bus boys. The one waitress had sort of a funky eye/teeth thing going and the other girl seemed a little self-conscious and suspicious that we (I) might be onto the fact that it seemed like she was hiding an eastern-European accent (or something – I might just be making things up in my head). I’m guessing this place gets a lot of the uppity, strung-out, finance crowd in for $15-20 lunches and the wait staff is used to being treated like crap (honestly I don’t know any guys in finance but I hear they’re doing alright). Maybe I’m totally wrong though, maybe they just tip well, and that’s what you get at a place that expects good tips: good service…? What do you think?

    Overall they were very cheerful and specifically very attentive to us. If there’s one thing I like its when someone is paying attention to me.

  2. Food: a) came out fast AND at the right pace (read: “being attentive”) b) portions were right on the money c) everything was delicious. I’m certainly not saying anything was like rockstar good, but it’s solid. My wife still doesn’t know if she likes the pizza here better than Fornino’s in Williamsburg, and to be honest I think the prosciutto arugala pizza was comparable to Fornino’s but some of Fornino’s other pizzas (white truffle) blow this place out of the water. To be fair… Forninos is a pizzeria and Naples 45 is a “Ristorante E Pizzeria” with an emphasis on the “Ristorante”.

Overall summary:

Naples 45 is easily accessible (close to Grand Central), offers great service, and solid food. If/when we go back, I’ll definitely check to make sure there isn’t a vent blowing directly overhead before we sit down. I’d also like to find out if there is anything that’s particularly good there because it seems as though they’re coming off as high-end-ish but they’ve got a pretty confusing menu with seemingly predictable menu items. A menu, which was so confusing, that I cannot remember a single item on it except for those which we ordered. I did just remember that all the wines were 25% off, which was kind of strange. Come to think of it I probably shouldn’t be spending so much on dinner in these tough financial times ;)

Per person price: ~$40

Our dinner: Sparkling water, fried calamari, eggplant + ?? + cheese, some kind of funky salad, quattro formaggi & prosciutto + arugala pizzas.

【Naples 45】
MetLife Building
200 Park Ave. at E. 45th St.
New York, NY 10166
(212) 972-7000


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White Very Berry Muffin Recipe http://www.yukisuzuki.com/2009/01/19/white_very_berry_muffin_recipe/ http://www.yukisuzuki.com/2009/01/19/white_very_berry_muffin_recipe/#comments Tue, 20 Jan 2009 00:31:06 +0000 Yuki Suzuki http://www.yukisuzuki.com/?p=80 I love baking and I often bake muffin, browny, scone, etc.

So, I planned to bake so many holiday sweets though I’d already made so much baking stuff at the time, plus my audiences are little tired of eating sweet sugary stuff, so I decided to keep my ingredients in the cleverest invention in the world, a freezer.

Fortunately, all the left-overs (that I didn’t use) were frozen fruits (cranberry, blueberry, some’n berry) and a couple of chocolate-chip packages (white, dark, and miniature), so I didn’t have to waste the food at all. Good job, Freezer!

Since New Year, me and my husband had been so busy and so sick! We caught a huge cold!! So I didn’t have ANY desire to bake anything. It was weird, but really, I didn’t want to create any friggin’ thing. But today, the baking creativity was exploded. bomb!

I went to our small neat kitchen and grabbed all the ingredients that maybe I can bake something with… and a light bulb went off in my head.

“I need to make muffins….”

White Very Berry Muffin White Very Berry Muffin White Very Berry Muffin

At that time, I started moving to prepare all the ingredient…

Okay, so here is the incredibly easy but the best basic muffin recipe.

(Makes 12)

* 3/4 cup (11/2 sticks) unsalted butter, melted, plus more for pan
* 2 cups all-purpose flour (spooned and leveled), plus more for pan
* 2 large eggs
* 1/2 cup milk (whole milk is better, but any kinds)
* 1/2 teaspoon pre vanilla extract
* 3/4 cup granulated sugar
* 2 teaspoons baking powder
* 1/2 teaspoon salt

1. Preheat oven to 375℉ with rack in lower third. Butter and flour a standard 12-cup muffin pan, tapping our excess. Set aside.
(*You can use paper-made muffin cups and spray oil, such as Pam. – I used them. ;-p)

2. In a small bowl, whisk together butter, eggs, mild, and vanilla; set aside.
In a large bowl, whisk together dry ingredients; make a well in the center.
Add egg mixture to well. With a rubber spatula, gently stir ingredients just until batter is moistened.

*******************That’s it. This is the basic muffin dough.*********************
In order to make your fav muffins, here are some mix-in idea.
(Add the ingredients when you finish make the basic muffin dough.)

In step 2, reduce flour to 1 cup and add 3/4 cup cornmeal.

In step 2, add 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon; replace butter with 3/4 cu vegetable oil, plus 3/4 cup raisins.

At the end of step 2, fold 11/2 chocolate chips (btw, I love dark choco-chip) into batter.

At the end of step 2, fold 11/2 cups blueberries (fresh or frozen) into batter.

At the end of step 2, fold 3/4 cup shopped pecans and 3/4 cup dried sherries into batter.

This time, I made my original, VERY Berry muffin featuring white chocolate-chips.

At step 2, reduce sugar to 1/2 cup and add 1/2 cup white-chocolate-chips . add 1/2 cup cranberries, and add 1/2 cup frozen blueberries.

(Back to the process)
3. Spoon your fav batter into prepared muffin cups, filling each about two-thirds full; bake until a toothpick inserted in center of a muffin comes out clean, 15 to 20 minutes.

It is super easy! and really good. I tell you, it is REALLY good.

When you master the basic muffin batter, you can open your own muffin shop. Wooo it’s exciting! :)

Your muffin should be great for your breakfast/brunch or afternoon snack with a good cup of coffee.

Oh my…. I can’t wait to eat some for tomorrow’s breakfast….

Until next time! Cheers!! :)
-Yuki <3

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Heartland Brewery, Union Square http://www.yukisuzuki.com/2009/01/18/heartland_brewery_union_square/ http://www.yukisuzuki.com/2009/01/18/heartland_brewery_union_square/#comments Mon, 19 Jan 2009 03:33:55 +0000 Yuki Suzuki http://www.yukisuzuki.com/?p=53 I just got back from dinner here with a couple friends. We were just looking for a good burger joint and my friend suggested this place as a “solid” choice. Apparently there’s another one of these somewhere else in the city.

[ www.heartlandbrewery.com - Heartland Brewery Dinner Menu ]

Heartland Brewery Heartland Brewery Heartland Brewery Heartland Brewery

So, I’m going to jump on the negatives and finish this off on a positive note. Here are a couple suggestions that I hope the management takes to heart:


  1. When serving me my meal, don’t just hand the first plate in your hand to the first person you see. I don’t like having to play musical plates because the guy who doesn’t speak English doesn’t care to make sure we’re getting what we ordered. Our guy went 0/4 and I even told him to “just calm down.”
  2. Please don’t knock stuff over when clearing the empty plates off our table – better yet, ask first if you can clean off the plates instead of assuming that making an obnoxious charade in the middle of my conversation would be OK with me – lastly, don’t clear stuff off the table that I’m using/eating still without asking.
  3. If you’re a waiter/waitress and you see me with NOTHING on my table – please ask if you can bring me the check, especially if I have been sitting there for 20 minutes. Way to make my conversation uncomfortable.


On a Sunday night when it’s not that busy, the staff shouldn’t be acting like it is when a) delivering food b) acting like you want me to leave c) not delivering service.

The one thing that stood out among all negatives was the lack of service.


  1. The O’Ren’s porter was excellent. I’ve heard about it I just never experienced it. So thank you for turning me on to it.
  2. The atmosphere is warm. I think the lighting, table arrangement, & quality of tables & chairs is important in any restaurant. At least make sure the quality isn’t so low that I might notice. In this case, I didn’t notice any problems and felt quite comfortable. We also had a nice view from the second floor down to the bar and over the kettle room.
  3. The portions and food quality were fair considering the location. I think I paid ~$14 for a Rosemary Chicken on Foccacia w/ Cheddar and fries. The menu showed beer pairings with many dishes. I thought this was a nice touch since the drinks were quite unique.
  4. We had our waters filled several times which was interesting considering the poor service otherwise – also I seemed strangely thirsty throughout the whole meal (I think I drank 3 glasses of water)


The atmosphere was very nice, the shiny metal beer vats are pretty cool, their beer selection is very nice and their food selection is reasonable. I certainly wasn’t hungry or overfilled after dinner. Also, I didn’t go broke eating out.

Overall summary:

I think if/when I go back I’ll be a little more pushy with the staff. (We basically had to yell at them while they were running past because they wouldn’t stop on their own) I’ll also try some whole meal with drink pairing and see what happens. This is definitely a good place to meet with any type of friend, or just drink/eat alone at the bar.

【Heartland Brewery Union Square】

35 Union Square
New York, NY 10003
(212) 582-2057

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Dinner Recipes – 1/3/09 http://www.yukisuzuki.com/2009/01/17/dinner-recipes-1309/ http://www.yukisuzuki.com/2009/01/17/dinner-recipes-1309/#comments Sat, 17 Jan 2009 06:13:24 +0000 Yuki Suzuki http://localhost/clients/yukisuzuki/blog/?p=31 One of my favorite activities is cooking. Especially, I love baking. My husband loves to cook some complicatedly arranged hi-end restaurant type of food sometimes, though I love to make simple, tasty, but lookin’ good food.

So today, I would like to introduce a simple tasty food recipe. Usually, in Japan, we call the days, from the New year’s day to the 3rd of January, SAN-GA-NICHI, which are holidays. For those three days, people generally eat the traditional new year food. (Japanese New Year: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Japanese_New_Year)

You maybe get sick and tired of eating same food for a while. Think about the Thanksgiving holidays. Turkey, turkey, turkey, ttttur….. But! I can tell you that you are gonna miss the taste if you can’t get it for a long time. You won’t notice it until you will lose it.

So anyway, I really miss the Japanese New Year food though, since I can kind of imagine that you (if you are in Japan) are already tired of it, I would like to introduce the simply tasty food that I cooked tonight, which is Easiest Indian Stew! (I got the recipe from Everyday Food Magazine: http://www.marthastewart.com/recipe/easiest-indian-stew?autonomy_kw=indian%20chickpee&rsc=header_1)

It just takes 15 minutes to cook. Super-duper easy.

<Ingredients>(Serves 4)

* 1 cup long-grain white rice
* 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
* 1 medium onion, minced
* 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
* Coarse salt and ground pepper
* 1 tablespoon curry powder, plus more for garnish
* 1 teaspoon ground ginger
* 3 cups homemade or best-quality store-bought tomato sauce
* 2 cans (15 ounces each) chickpeas, rinsed and drained
* 1 tablespoon fresh lime juice, plus lime wedges for garnish
* 1/2 cup plain low-fat yogurt


1. Cook rice according to package instructions; cover, and keep warm.
2. While rice is cooking, heat oil over medium heat in a large skillet. Add onion and garlic; season with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring frequently, until onion is tender, 4 to 6 minutes. Add curry powder and ginger; cook, stirring, until fragrant, about 1 minute.
3. Add tomato sauce, chickpeas, and 1 1/2 cups water. Bring to a boil; reduce to a simmer, and cook, stirring occasionally, until thickened, 8 to 10 minutes. Stir in lime juice; season with salt and pepper. Serve stew with rice and yogurt, garnished with lime wedges and a pinch of curry.

*Since I usually don’t buy store-bought tomato sauce, I made quick homemade tomato sauce (1 can of tomato puree with onion and garlic powder/italian seasoning/1 cube of veggie broth/salt&pepper). It was kind of a sour, tomatoyish taste, but my husband and I loved it.

The curry spicy taste was fabulous! It was not heavy, so the rich taste of yogurt was really well matched. It was easy, simple, and great. :)

See ya! Cheers!
- Yuki <3

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