Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Dumpling Wrapping Class at Mimi Cheng's

Mimi Cheng's is an adorable dumpling store in the East Village. It was started by two sisters after searching NYC for delicious food like their mom would make. Nothing matched their mom's, whose nickname is Mimi, so they decided that they would do it themselves. 

Hannah, one of the sisters, reached out to me after we were both profiled on a website and she realized I was a Georgetown graduate as well. She invited me and Garrett to take a dumpling wrapping class and I have to say, it was arguably one of the most fun activities I've done in NYC.

There's so much I love about Mimi Cheng's having visited, tasted the dumplings, and met the team. The restaurant itself is warm and inviting with a fun, cheeky aesthetic. We were there on a cold, winter Monday night, well after the sun had gone down, but we might as well have been somewhere warm and sunny! The girls are just as inviting as the store; they're young and full of optimism. This is their first restaurant and it only shows in their bright eyed enthusiasm. It's their baby and namesake for their mom. Oh, and the dumplings? Downright amazing.

Mimi Cheng's is closed on Mondays, so they offer the class at night. We had the whole seating area and kitchen to ourselves. An amazing playlist, new friends, and the best lemonade I've ever tasted.

We started the class by learning about the ingredients. (This recipe is pretty close to the one they used.) 

Once everything was mixed together, it was time to learn how to wrap the little dumplings.

A dallopp in the middle of a pre-made wrapper. We learned two different wrapping techniques. A moon shaped dumpling (just like this one) and then a triangular shaped one.

I was not that great at it. The store manager said she can do an entire tray in seven minutes. Pretty sure I could do one in seven minutes. 

After each of us had wrapped a tray full, we put some in the freezer to save to bring home and fried the rest of them. Garrett was a pro. You sit the little dumplings down in oil on the pan and cover with a lid, adding water occasionally to help steam them. The wrappers turn translucent and you will start to see the juices inside bubbling. 

This is how the bottoms should look. This is actually doable at home! Garrett cooked our frozen leftovers yesterday on the stove in the apartment and we ate them– all of them– for lunch. Just as delicious.

I can't even begin to tell you how good these dumplings are. I want to go back to the restaurant and try the ones made by the professionals. Every month they have a new special; this month's is a chicken parm dumpling. Don't be surprised if you go there for lunch sometime soon and see me sitting in the corner devouring some.

What makes the dumplings even better? Mimi's Secret Sauce. The recipe? Don't know. I asked, but they wouldn't budge. Worth a visit to the store just to get a taste of it!

The group of us had no problem polishing off two huge plates of dumplings by the end of the night! If you're in NYC, whether you live here or you're just visiting, you should definitely visit to at least eat the dumplings... and take class if you can!

Mimi Cheng's | 179 Second Ave 

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Tuesday, March 3, 2015


The Shopbop event is one of the biggest sales of the year. Certainly one not to be missed. If there's a brand or piece of clothing you've been waiting to splurge on now is your time, friends. Maybe you're looking for a prom dress, a swimsuit for an upcoming trip, or a handbag that you've had your eye on.

Shopbop carries a bunch of my favorite brands and offers some of the fastest (and free!) shipping around. Seriously, if you order today, you'll be dressed to the nines before the weekend even gets here. It's almost instant gratification.

3.1 Phillip Lim | AG | Alice and Olivia | BB Dakota | Clare Vivier | Club Monaco | Cynthia Rowley | DVF | Dolce Vita | Frye | Gorjana | Hanky Panky | Hunter Boots | Joie | Jonathan Adler | Kate Spade | Lela Rose | Loeffler Randal | Lulu Frost | Madewell | Mara Hoffman | Milly | Michael Kors | Rebecca Minkoff | RED Valentino | Ferragamo | Sam Edelman | Sperry | Theory | Tory Burch | Tumi | Yumi Kim

Use code "BIGEVENT15" at checkout for 15% off orders of $250+, 20% off orders of $500+, and 25% off orders of $1000+.

Shop my favorite picks from the sale below:

Happy Shopping!
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Leaving Time

Jodi Picoult is one of my favorite authors. If you haven't read any of her books, you need to add at least a few to your reading list. Definitely read: The Pact, My Sister's Keeper, Nineteen Minutes, and Plain Truth. That's a pretty good starting point to get a feel for Picoult's writing style. I'm not sure if it's for everyone, but I still recommend giving it a try because if you love it, you really love it. 

Her books always deal with an ethical dilemma, a moral issue, or Life with a capital L– or some combination of those three. She's a smart writer without the books being over done; they're very entertaining.

I will admit, some of her books captivated me more than others. The ones I initially listed are my favorites. I recently felt like I wasn't able to fall in love with the stories and characters as much... and then I read Leaving Time.

Leaving Time is about a young girl who is searching for her missing mother, a researcher who studies elephant behavior. There is a lot about elephants in the book, and in true Jodi Picoult fashion, she really deep dives into elephants.

The book was going fine. I was enjoying it, plain and simple. I even googled a few elephant videos to get a better sense of that element of the book. I spent most of the day reading on Saturday; the pace was picking up and I was trying to deal with my terrible case of the winter blues so it was a great excuse to stay in bed and read. And then, at one point, I literally turned to Garrett and said, "Oh my god." I could not put it down at that point.

It took me a long time to get into the book (because I was being a lazy reader, it had nothing to do with the book) and now I'm wishing I had committed to finishing it sooner. It's really good. Not her best... but absolutely worth a read.

Do you have a favorite author?! Please share in the comments!


PS I started Yes Please this weekend! Already a bit of the way in and loving it!
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Monday, March 2, 2015

Amy's Apartment

If you're not following my friend Amy Stone on Instagram you are missing out. Amy has one of the best eye for light and color! I would kill to be able to see the world like she does... I guess I will settle for being able to follow along on Instagram.

She really does have an incredible talent for capturing life in an inspiring way; whether she's capturing fashion week (no blurry runway shots for her!), snapping a toddler for Gap Kids' Instagram (her amazing job), or just exploring a new city.

Also, as a friend, it's been really inspiring to me to watch her develop her eye, grow her following, and downright flourish personally and professionally. I'm so, so proud of her.

Amy describes her own inspiration perfectly: West Coast surf culture, classic East Coast preppy emblems, and 1960's Palm Beach. That is so Amy Stone. 

Her apartment is the quaintest West Village apartment. A true one-bedroom that doesn't feel overdone or cliche. It's so true to who she is. Check out Domino Magazine's entire feature on her apartment!

What do you think? Beautiful, right?

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5 Tips for Cooking for One

One time I found this incredible looking recipe on Pinterest; it really looked delicious. I was super excited to try it out, so I printed it and went straight the grocery store. I did think that it was an unusual amount of groceries for only one recipe, but I checked out and lugged everything home nonetheless. Turns out it was a recipe a mom had made for a family of ten (TEN). I didn't even make a dent it in at night and filled as many Tupperwares as I could to refrigerate for leftovers. Guess what I ate for the next week? Yep.

Louisa from Living Lou is back today with great tips for cooking for one. Perfect to keep in mind for singles living on their own or college students who are sick of the dining hall.

Five Tips for Cooking for One
Guest Post by Living Lou

Cooking for one person can be a challenge. It’s completely different from cooking for two people or for a family, and let’s be honest, most recipes you’ll find online or in cookbooks serve 4-6 people. If there is one thing I hate, it’s eating the same thing day after day, night after night, which happens often if you cook a full recipe meant to serve four. It gets old really quickly. While I am guilty of creating many recipes that serve 4-6 people, I’ve also been able to learn many tricks for cooking for one. 

If you don’t think cooking for one is worth it (I know, take-out is so easy and accessible), I challenge you to give it a try for one week (that includes packing your lunch). I know you’ll feel better and hopefully have a little fun along the way too. 

Here are my top five tips for cooking for one. 

1. Start meal planning

I know, this seems obvious, but plan your meals ahead of time. This will help you avoid over-buying produce, which I am completely guilty of. For example, if you’re going to be buying a bunch of kale, make sure you’ll be using it in three or four recipes throughout the week. 

2. Shop the bulk bins

I can’t repeat this enough: shop the bulk bins. It allows you to buy single servings of different ingredients like nuts, grains and dried fruits. I also try to buy the bulk produce (this is produce that doesn’t already come pre-packaged) because you can purchase the exact amount you’ll need, eliminating waste. Some of my favourites include brussels sprouts, mushrooms and green beans.

3. Find your favourite single-serving recipes

I’ve included my favourite single serving recipe at the end of this post for egg drop soup, but do some searching around online for single-serving recipes. There are also some great cookbooks specifically for single-serving recipes. 

4. Learn to scale down recipes

Exercise those math skills you said you’d never use again and get dividing and scaling down recipes. I’ve learned over the years that there are certain recipes which really lend themselves to scaling down, two of my favourites are these Lighter Tuna Salad Pockets and Miso Salmon Baked in Parchment. Make sure to read the recipe through thoroughly before making any adjustments. 

5. Stock your freezer

If you do decide to make a full recipe, freeze the leftovers. I find soups and stews lend themselves really well to this style of cooking. You can freeze single portions so on busy nights all you have to do is thaw one portion and you’re good to go. My recipe for Leek and Potato Soup is something that I’ll make often and freeze for later.

Egg Drop Soup for One

2 cups low-sodium broth (chicken or vegetable work fine)
½ tsp soy sauce
¼ tsp freshly grated ginger
½ tsp cornstarch
1 egg, whisked
1 green onion, sliced
Sriracha, optional


Bring broth, soy sauce and ginger to a boil. 
In a separate bowl, whisk cornstarch with 2 tbsp of boiling broth. 
Slowly whisk the cornstarch mixture into the broth. Continue whisking for about a minute or until it thickens slightly. 
Remove broth from heat, using a ladle, stir broth in one direction creating a whirlpool effect. Drizzle the whisked egg into the soup, continue lightly stirring in the same direction, about a minute or until egg is cooked. It should form silky ribbons. 
Top with green onion and sriracha, serve immediately. 

Be sure to check out my Instagram @livinglou for more food inspiration! 

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