Haul and Food – Limited Edition N.Y.C. Peony Kiss

If you recall, I had initially stated that I wasn’t interested in purchasing N.Y.C.’s rose lip glosses from their limited edition Berry Bloom collection but after reading Nouveau Cheap’s rave review for the Peony Kiss lip gloss, of course I had to reconsider!

I headed back to the store a week later after my last purchase and fortunately the display was still almost fully stocked. The only items missing were two bottles of nail polish, which I had bought a week prior. It seems like I’m the only one who’s ever interested in N.Y.C. cosmetics where I live. Why is that? I think N.Y.C.’s really upped their game in recent years and deserves as much buzz as the newly revamped wet n wild line. Most people have realized that wet n wild is a hidden drugstore gem and I wish people would realize the same about N.Y.C.

I haven’t had a chance to test out Peony Kiss on my lips yet but I did manage a tiny, tiny swatch. I swiped a bit of color off of the underside of one of the petals (I didn’t want to ruin the flower design!) and it’s very pigmented. I have to admit I was a bit disappointed by the amount of product they give you. It isn’t much. The rose lip gloss costs $2.99 for 2.8 g/0.10 oz of product. Compare that to one of N.Y.C.’s Ultra Last lipsticks from their core line ($1.99 for 3.4 g/0.12 oz) or one of their Lip Sliders tinted lip balms ($2.99 for 9 g/0.32 oz), and you can see that what you’re paying mostly for is the rose embossed design. That’s the main reason I was originally against buying the rose gloss; it just seemed gimmicky.

Peony Kiss is a berry rose shade without any hint of shimmer or sparkle. I love creme finishes so this was right up my alley, though perhaps a bit darker than I typically go for. I was actually going to pick up the other shade, Rose Kiss, which is a lighter, pinker shade until I noticed that it contained shimmer. Meh. Pass.

I also got the N.Y.C. $0.99 nail polish in Broadway Burgundy Frost which has been on my wish list forever. It’s a deep, shimmery burgundy red that I think will be perfect for the holiday season.

Now on to the yummies…

Korean bakery chain Paris Baguette opened up a store in Queens within the past year (I think) and I finally got a chance to check the place out for myself. Their specialty seems to be croissants but they make other pastries as well, so I decided to get a few different items to taste.

All the items I purchased were between $1.50-$1.80 each but most items at Paris Baguette seemed to be at least $2 and up. The croissants with fillings and the cakes were much more expensive. I saw a mini cheesecake that was $8.

There are quite a few Asian bakeries in the vicinity and, comparatively speaking, Paris Baguette’s prices are actually kind of steep. I wondered if their food would be worth their price tag.

Verdict: Unimpressed. Aside from their croissant, I don’t really think the pastries are worth the price tags.

What I got at Paris Baguette:

Clockwise from top position: Curry Croquette, Croissant with Cream Cheese filling, Apple Pie, Cheese Pizza, Plain Croquette. I cut and photographed the pastries so you could see the fillings.

The Cream Cheese Croissant was buttery and flaky on the outside but there was nothing very special about the cream cheese filling; it was simply cream cheese sweetened with a little bit of sugar. However, for $1.80 I think it’s a decent value for your money.

The apple pie was for my dad so I didn’t get to taste it. Maybe another time. However, from what I was able to see, it wasn’t so much an apple pie as a croissant with apple pie filling.

The pizza was the most disappointing. It was very doughy. It tasted like the same dough you’d find in most Asian bakeries: light, slightly sweet but with a bit of chewiness. The pizza was basically lots of dough, a bit of congealed cheese, a slice of green pepper, and a drizzle of tomato sauce. Meh.

Nearly as disappointing were the two croquettes. I love croquettes and what I was expecting was a mashed potato ball with filling, that was then breaded and fried on the outside. What I got was more of that Asian bread dough with a filling of minced carrots, onions, and some of the toughest cabbage I’ve ever encountered, breaded and deep fried. I guess it tasted okay but it wasn’t what I was expecting. I’m not against deep fried bread dough. Heck, Taipan bakery nearby makes great fried pastries with chicken filling or curry filling that I love!

Would I go back to Paris Baguette? Probably, but only because my wallet is I’m a glutton for punishment and want to try other items on their menu out of curiosity, like their chocolate filled croissant. I will not be repurchasing any of the items I’ve already tried.

For dinner the other day I made a Mexican bagel. I used to get these all the time from Collegetown Bagels when I went to school in Ithaca. It’s basically an open-faced sandwich that consists of a sliced bagel topped with jalapeno cream cheese (cream cheese with finely chopped bits of jalepenos mixed in), pico de gallo (a fresh salsa of tomatoes, onions, jalapeno, cilantro, lime juice) and some cheese. Then the whole thing is popped under the broiler to get all melted and toasty.

It’s really yummy and simple to make. It’s so simple and easy to make that I wonder now why I paid for so many instead of making them myself. I guess my excuse is that I was a student and didn’t have the time. Other college students ate instant ramen for the convenience. I ate bagels. Okay, okay, I ate more than my fair share of instant ramen, too 😛

Oh, one bit of news that I failed to mention in my last update. I won a Twitter contest held by Rick Bayless last month.

Am I wrong in thinking that everyone knows who Rick Bayless is? He’s an American chef who specializes in Mexican cuisine and is the chef/owner of Frontera Grill and Topolobampo in Chicago. In addition, he’s the host of the PBS television cooking show Mexico: One Plate at a Time, and last year he was the winner on the Bravo channel’s tv show Top Chef Masters.

Well, it turns out that Rick Bayless also tweets and last month he held a cooking contest via Twitter. Each week for a month he tweeted a recipe, and his followers had to make the recipe and then email him a photo of their dish. Rick picked the best 10 photos and tweeted the winners each week, whereupon a new recipe was tweeted and a new contest would begin.

The tricky part of the competition was the recipe itself. Since twitter only allows you to tweet messages containing 140 characters at a time, Rick had to shorten his recipe to fit the parameters.

I was one of the winners of Week 2’s competition. The recipe for that week was Roasted Vegetable Enchiladas with Creamy Tomatillo Sauce and Melted Cheese, and the recipe Rick tweeted look like this:

Rst 1#tomtllos,1 on,3 grlc,3 serranos;puree;sear n oil 2 thkn;simr w 2c broth,.5c crema.Oil,micrwv 12 torts,roll w rstd veg,sauce, chs, bake

From that brief message, we were supposed to come up with a dish.

The photo on the left was my winning interpretation:

I considered sending in the photo on the right because I felt it looked nicer but after seeing the winning photos from week 1, it became obvious that Rick favored photos that were simple and straight-forward. No unneeded garnishes or decorations. In the end, I submitted the lime-less photo. Good thing I did!

I actually only heard about the contest from my sister’s boyfriend a few days before week 2’s competition began. I think I did very well for my first try. My sister’s boyfriend entered the contest for the first three weeks, lost, and eventually gave up 😛

The prize was an autographed copy of Rick’s newest book, Fiesta At Rick’s. It’s actually a very nicely put together cookbook. It’s a hardcover book, 300+ pages, with glossy pages, and lots of colored photographs. Maybe to some of you glossy pages and colored photos don’t matter but they’re extremely important to me in cookbooks. I have cookbooks that have pages that are tissue paper thin, some with no photos, and others with only black and white photos. I prefer thick, glossy pages that don’t feel like they’re going to rip every time I read the book, and full color photos so I can see the end product.

The subject of Fiesta At Rick’s is, quite obviously from the title, party-themed so most of the recipes are for finger foods, snack dishes, dishes you can cook on the grill or over an open fire, cocktails and drinks, etc. One chapter in the book is devoted to guacamole. LOL There’s also quite a bit of info about how to put together and hold a fiesta — everything from choosing tableware to selecting a playlist to create the right ambience.

Here’s a sampling of Rick’s book: