Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Modern Toilet in Taiwan

Modern Toilet is a restaurant in Taiwan that gained recognition all over the world for its unique concept of being a toilet-themed restaurant.

My friends and I, made reservations for the Simending (a neighborhood in Taipei that is popular with teenagers and college students) restaurant stating that we would arrive around 3:00PM-4:00PM.

Upon arrival, we immediately noticed that the decor was chic, fun, and refreshing.

We were seated upon toilets and handed a laminated menu with a dry erase marker. The cheerful waitress told us that we were to mark our orders directly onto the menu. Though the menu handed to us was in Chinese, when asked for an English menu, they kindly obliged.

There were various items on the menu (spaghetti, fried rice, curry, etc.) but my friends and I all ended up choosing the hot pot, an East Asian stew which continues to simmer as you eat. It came with a free drink and ice cream.

While we were waiting for our food, we conversed and snapped pictures.

Sink-table, toilet-seats, and cute bathroom tiles decorated the walls.
Toilet-seats with different unique covers.
Bath-table, decorated showerhead, and poop

Past customers had slid thank-you  notes into the tub. We noticed that there were slips written by people not only from other parts of Taiwan, but also from Singapore, Los Angeles, and Canada.

Notes from other customers and menus lying on top of the glass

The restaurant played mainly Chinese Pop, but occasionally a Korean Pop song would play. The music really contributed to the light and bubbly atmosphere.

It took about 15 minutes to get our food.

The hot pot came with a bowl of rice and a sauce made of sha-cha and soy sauce. Sha-cha is a paste made from soybean oil, garlic, shallots, chilis, brill fish, and dried shrimp. The soups used to make the hot pot meals were done quite nicely but we found that the ingredients added,mushrooms, fish balls (similar to meatballs but made with fish paste), and other vegetables were pretty typical.
J's Korean Kimchi Hot Pot with Beef (250NT - 8.62USD)
Y's Signature Combination Hot Pot with Beef (250NT - 8.62USD)
My Signature Combination Hot Pot with Seafood (280NT - 9.65USD)

The custard and wasabi flavored fishballs were unique; I enjoyed the wasabi fishball but the custard one tasted out-of-place. The seafood was fresh and tender. The broth for Y's Signature Combination Beef Hot Pot was savory and delicious. The kimchi flavor was present but it was not too spicy.

When we finished our hot pot meals, they brought out the ice cream. At this point, we were about to explode.

Squatter-shaped holders! No additional money required

The vanilla-chocolate swirl was underwhelming , but I can't say I wasn't expecting it. Milk and cream products are not commonly produced in Taiwan. The ice cream did its job of providing something sweet and cold to top the meal off but it was not creamy enough for my American-cuisine-taste buds.

Overall Pros:
Nice atmosphere--refreshing, unique, cute
Friendly staff
Decent food
Reasonable prices
You don't have to tip in Asia

Overall Cons:
Location was slightly obscure
Bathroom was actually a squatter

Final remarks:
It was fun but the novelty of the entire experience definitely played a huge part of the appeal. The food was decent but it's the type of restaurant that you go to to experience the ambiance. It's a nice and casual place to eat with friends after shopping.

Location: Taiwan

Conducted by Gillian

Flava Tunes

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Chocolate Bundt Cake Recipe

Chocolate Bundt Cake

What you'll need
1 Milk Chocolate Candy bar (7 onces)
½ Cup chocolate syrup
1 Cup butter or margarine softened
1-1/2 Cups sugar
4 Eggs
1 Tsp vanilla extract
2 ¾ Cups all purpose flour
½ Tsp baking soda
½ Tsp Salt
1 Cup buttermilk
Confectioners sugar

1. On low heat melt chocolate and syrup. Then cool.
2. In a mixing bowl, cream butter and sugar, add eggs 1 at a time, mixing after each one.
3. Stir in chocolate and vanilla.
4. In another mixing bowl, combine flour, salt and baking soda. Add to the first mixing bowl alternating with buttermilk.
5. Pour into a greased and floured 10inch Bundt Pan.
6. Bake at 350 for about 60-65 min or until toothpick comes out clean.
7. Cool in pan for 15 min.
8. Remove and sprinkle with confectioners sugar
9. Enjoy!!

Conducted by Venice 

Flava Tunes

Monday, August 29, 2011

Summer Stage Concert Review

They say the best things in life are free, and in expensive New York City that comes as a welcomed bonus. There are plenty of free events offered in NYC throughout the summer, one of the best being the city’s musical Summer Stage Series which has shows set up in Brooklyn, The Bronx, Queens, Staten Island and Manhattan from June through August.

Braving the searing heat, I ventured forth to the Central Park's Summer Stage last Sunday to catch Brit act Friendly Fires, along with supports The Naked & Famous (NZ) and local Manhattanites The Cults. It was one of the most humid days of the summer which made standing in the heat for 4 hours quite a test of endurance, but all 3 acts kept me on my feet and dancing; it was truly a testament to their talent!
The Cults are very new to the scene, only having formed in 2010 when Brian Oblivion and Madeline Follin met as students at NYU. As a result they have a fresh unique sound made even more unique by their ever present use of the glocken spiel. Their songs are light and joyful with harmonious vocals and simple lyrics which make them very easy on the ear. Having just released their new album in June on a label run by the UK's Lily Allen, they are definitely an act to keep an eye on.
The Naked and Famous hail all the way from Auckland, New Zealand and have a distinct indie-electro feel with prominent 80's overtones. They also feature some amazingly dark, almost punk baselines which give them a definite creative edge. Front woman Alisa Xayalith's stage presence is almost hypnotizing, and it's this coupled with the upbeat drone-like electronic sounds provided by the band that makes for a great party. Their signature single “Young Blood,” from their most recent album “Passive Me, Aggressive You” was a clear hit with the crowd. Expect big things from these young Kiwis.
I have always been a Friendly Fires fan from the beginning. Their first offering, a self-titled album released in 2008, was a great mix of funk and dance tracks that won international acclaim. It was off the back of this album that I went to see them in various venues across various continents with much the same result. The band just couldn't seem to deliver live what they had so brilliantly produced in the studio. Their next effort 'Pala' was released in 2011 and certainly showed their talent and diversity when it comes to differing sounds and genres. The album has a real 80's feel to it with heavy use of synthesizers and soft flowing vocals. Throw in some latin and disco beats, a hint of R'n'B and add an edge of funk and you have an album that's definitely hard to listen to sitting down. It gives me great pleasure to report that the band delivered a show worthy of their musical prowess in Central Park. The were lively, they were fun, they played a great selection of tracks from both old and new albums including 'Skeleton Boy', 'On Board', 'Jump In the Pool' and their latest single 'Hawaain Air', all with an electric energy despite the crippling humidity of the day. Front man Ed Macfarlane's dance moves are intoxicating and kept the Summer Stage crowd up on their feet for the whole set and even prompted an encore.

It was a great show on a great day in one of the most picturesque settings in New York. Summer Stage runs through August and up-coming shows can be found at

By Meredith

Photos courtesy of google images 

Flava Tunes

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Flava Buzz

Restaurant Openings

Crumbs opens in Times Square on 42nd and 8th.

Van Leeuwen Ice Cream Kiosk opens in Bryant Park
Marky Mark and his brothers will be opening a restaurant in Massachusetts called Wahlburger. They acquired the rights to use the name.

Mini diner chain, Kool Bloo is opening up a new location, on Church st.

New Crumbs location opening on Broadway btwn 108th and 109th st.

Pop's of Brooklyn opening on 8th st.

Sweet Wolf's will be serving up "American classics", with a focus on the wood-fired oven. 
Park Slope, Brooklyn

Food news 

The gov't is not allowing any papaya to come into the U.S from Mexico. Tests showed high rates of salmonella contamination in the fruit.

Cooking oil maker sued over "all natural" claims on the Wesson line of oils. It includes genetically modified corn and soy.

Outback is gave away 1 million steak dinners in honor of their new Wood-Fire grill.

Newlyweds shoplift $1,000 in groceries for their wedding reception. They filled up their shopping cart and left the store.

Farmed Salmon is a serious threat to wild salmon stocks in the form of tiny sea lice, according to a study conducted at University of Otago in New Zealand.

In-n-out burger sues Maryland's Grab-N-Go for trademark infringement.

Subway is going to test a cafe model in Arizona. There will be flat screen TVs, chic lighting, stuffed chairs, pastries, and bistro sandwiches.

Turntable Kitchen introduces the Pairing Box. For $25 a month you will receive a box of goodies to create a unique food and music pairing. 

Joey Vento the owner of a South Philly landmark, Geno's Steaks dies of a heart attack.

Biden eats at a inexpensive Beijing restaurant called Yaoji Chaogan. He kept it simple with pork buns, noodles and cucumbers. Media had a field day.

Sandra Lee admits that her "real personality" includes a potty mouth.

Dominos is launching a line of artisan thin crust pizzas. They listed a brief disclaimer on the box stating "they are not traditional artisans."

Oatmeal is now offered at Burger King.


East Harlem Taste Trolly will resume on September 20th. The tour is $25 and it will explore ten neighborhood restaurants.

Urban Girl Squad is hosting a wine-tasting tour and grape stomping day trip on September 24th from 9-7pm. The tour is &135 and it includes transportation to 3 wineries, tastings, lunch, a wine cellar tour and grape stomping.

Third Annual NYC Crush 
City Winery brings in its latest haul of California grapes.

Park here pop-up
An indoor pop-up park that hosts local food purveyors every weekend.

VMAs will be on tonight at 9pm on MTV

Source: Huffington Post, Timeout, Eater, Midtown Lunch

Q: What do you think about this week's Food News?

Friday, August 26, 2011

Guest Post By Mel from Chicken and Cardigans

We have a great guest post from Melanie over at Chicken and Cardigans. She blogs about great food that she makes, she designs and constructs her own clothing. 

A few weeks ago, my best friend from SC, told me that I should check out Melanie's blog. I did, and I instantly fell in love. I contacted Melanie via twitter and asked if she would be interested in a guest post. She was honored and I was ecstatic! Match made in heaven. She's food and clothes ! We are food and music! Perfect! Enjoy!

This dish actually inspired the outfit I put together. Weird, huh? This recipe is so simple, but it is filled with tons of flavor. Like the shrimp, my outfit is very simple but because of the buttons, green oversized clutch, and the 6 inch leopard wedges, it makes the outfit come together. 

Imagine the blouse with brown buttons. What if the clutch was small and brown? Oh, and replace the shoes with a pair of black pumps-- sounds a little boring, huh? The accessories are like the flavor of the toasted walnuts & texture of the mochiko batter. If you take out the buttery toasted walnuts and the mochiko batter, all you have is sweet shrimp. 
Making the blouse wasn’t as easy as cooking the shrimp. One out of two isn’t bad though. Here’s the recipe:

   Honey Walnut Shrimp
2 or 3 Tablespoons of butter
1/2 Cup walnuts
 5 Egg whites
 2/3 Cup of mochiko (rice flour)
     1/4 Cup mayonnaise
   1 Pound large shrimp, peeled and deveined (Flava in Ya Ear’s kitchen short cut, use frozen shrimp!)
      2 Tablespoons honey
·       1 Tablespoon canned sweetened condensed milk
·       1 Cup vegetable oil for frying

  1. Toast ½ cup of walnuts in a sauce pan with 2 or 3 tablespoons of butter.
  2. Whip egg whites in a medium bowl until foamy. Stir rice flour until it has a pasty consistency. 
  3. Heat the oil in a heavy deep skillet over medium-high heat.
  4. Dip shrimp into the mochiko batter, and then fry in the hot oil until golden brown, about 5 minutes. Remove with a slotted spoon and drain on paper towels.
  5.      In a medium serving bowl, stir together the mayonnaise, honey and sweetened condensed milk. 
  6. Add shrimp and toss to coat with the sauce. Sprinkle the walnuts on top and serve.

Side of asparagus:asparagus, black pepper, garlic salt, and drizzle with olive oil. Bake in oven at 350 degrees for 15 minutes.

(Recipe is from - I tweaked it just a little)

Check out Melanie's Blog Chicken and Cardigans

Q: What do you think about this post? Melanie and the shrimp look great! 

Flava Tunes

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Jaleo Restaurant Review

Ever heard of tapas? It’s not a dish, but a style of eating that comes from Spain. The basic concept is that multiple dishes are brought out in small portions that you share with everyone in your party. One of the best tapas restaurants in the country is Jaleo (and I don’t just say that – so do the critics!). Its 4 locations are in Bethesda, MA; Washington DC; Arlington, VA; and Las Vegas, NV.  It is another one of the great restaurants of chef José Andrés. His restaurants are critically acclaimed nationwide, and Jaleo certainly lives up to its name at the Arlington (Crystal City) location.
The restaurants in general encourage walk-ins, but do accept reservations, especially for large parties. The Jaleo I dined at is located at the heart of Crystal City. It’s a huge restaurant, but each table has a comfortable amount of space around it. The decorations are off beat – it seems like many patterns from different time periods, but they all work together somehow. The furniture is well maintained, and probably quite expensive from the look of it. Many different lamps, ceiling lights, and candles brighten up this restaurant, but to just the right degree where you can comfortably read the menu. They play Spanish music softly in the background. The dress code ranges from casual to formal, but most people dress in at least jeans and collared t-shirts. The restaurant is open for lunch and dinner, plus brunch on the weekends, but does not stay open later than 11pm. 
So now to move on to the best part – the food! The menu contains a variety of items, ranging from different pork and duck dishes, to Spanish omelets, to fancy chicken fingers! In our party we had 4 adults, 1 teenager, and 1 toddler. The waiter was very helpful when he explained to us (admittedly, we were quite confused) what we needed to do.
In tapas, there is no concept of ordering your own dish. So as a group we decided on multiple different items we wanted to share. Each dish, although small, starts from $7 to $32, though most stay in the $8-$18 area. We had about 15 to 16 dishes for a grand total of $205. All of these dishes are made with premium Spanish ingredients, such as cured ham from the black footed Iberico pigs, found and bred in Spain. As a matter of fact, we had that dish! 
We also tried many other things such as Serrano ham, spicy pork sausages, traditional chicken fritters, fried dates wrapped in bacon, trout wrapped in ham, and other exotic dishes and desserts. Some items we enjoyed thoroughly – actually, most of them. Obviously there were some foods that didn’t exactly cooperate with our taste buds, but that’s alright. You’ve got to take chances when it comes to food. I would definitely recommend this place if you’re looking for relaxed environment, but exotic food! It’s really great, and was definitely one of the most unique places I’ve been to! 

Name of restaurant/address:  Jaleo – Bethesda, Washington DC, Arlington, Las Vegas
Cuisine: Spanish tapas
Price: $7-$32 per dish  
Ambiance: Modern, upscale
Dress code:  Casual to formal 
Note: This is not a quick eat - it does take quite some time since you are ordering multiple dishes. Also, I did not get to take pictures, so these pictures do not reflect what I ate, they are examples.

Pictures from,, 

Conducted by Shohini 

Flava Tunes

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Interview with James Miller, the owner of Big Daddy's Bloody Mary Mix

James Miller has been a mixologist for over 25 years. He found it nearly impossible to find a consistent, great tasting, Bloody Mary.  In 2007, James Miller concocted his own premium Bloody Mary Mix recipe. Miller states that "It is the best ever in a bottle, just try it and I'm sure you will agree."

James was delighted to take part in a brief interview. Check out what he had to say:

What is the secret to a great Bloody Mary? 
The secret to a great Bloody Mary is the unique spices, steak sauce, the horseradish, clam broth, and the thickness all with the right proportions so it doesn't come out watered down.

Can Bloody Marys really cure the evilest of hangovers, and if so, why/how?
One would say yes it can because of the spices and tomato juice and the how is because the vodka brings you back to how you were the night before!!!

What foods go best with a good Bloody Mary? 
Traditionally breakfast and brunch but if you have a really good premium Bloody Mary mix like BIG DADDY’S BLOODY MARY MIX, a good steak dinner goes well with it as well.
What Vodka would you choose to pair with your Bloody Mary mix?
Whatever your favorite vodka is; I prefer a citrus vodka.

The Bloody Mary has been called "the world's most complex cocktail." Would you agree, and if so, why? 
Yes I would agree because mixing all the spices and ingredients to the right proportion takes culinary skills.

Who is Mary/Who do you imagine the cocktail to be named after? 
They say the name Bloody Mary came from Queen Mary of Tudor England. We all know of the Bloody Mary and the Virgin Mary.

Are there any other delicious drinks that can be made with Big Daddy's Bloody Mary mix? 
Yes.  You can mix it with your favorite tequila and it’s called a Bloody Maria. You can also cook with it. For example, it’s great for marinating a Tri-Tip Steak. Check out the food recipes on my web page
Will Big Daddy be branching into any other cocktail mixes in the near future, and if so, can we have a taste? 
Currently we are working on a margarita mix and yes, you can have a taste when the final product is completed. 

What is the best setting in which to enjoy a good Bloody Mary? 
Any time is the right time! You know you want one.  Cheers, and enjoy!

Visit Big Daddy's Bloody Mary Mix for more information and recipes.
Follow @BigDaddysMix
Like facebook page

Flava Tunes

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Puerto Rican Salami Soup

Sopa de salchichón 
Puerto Rican Salami Soup

What you'll need
1 Small salchichón ( Genoa salami)
1 Potato cut into small cubes
6 Cups water
1 Tbsp oil
1/2 Pack of angel hair spaghetti (broken in half)
1 Tbsp chopped parsley
1/2 Tsp mashed garlic or garlic powder
1/2 Tsp of onion powder
1/4 Cup chopped celery
2 Envelopes sazón
2 Tbsp sofrito
1 Cup Cilantro
1/4 Cup tomato sauce
Salt and adobo to taste

1. In a soup pot, heat the oil; add the salchichón, garlic, salt or adobo, onion, cilantro, chopped parsley and stir fry a little on high.

2. Add the water, sazón, sofrito, tomato sauce and bring to a boil. Once it boils, bring down the heat to medium.

3. Add the cubed potatoes and celery.

4. Wait approximately five minutes and add the noodles. Stir frequently to avoid excessive sticking, adjust water when necessary. When the noodles are fully cooked, turn the heat off.

Flava Tunes

Monday, August 22, 2011

Flava Food Frenzy

Assortment of warm bread
Steel cut oatmeal, scrambled eggs, and potatoes. Side of raisins, brown sugar and tomatoes.

UWS cafe 

Arroz con frijoles
Tostones y pollos a las brasa
Salchipapa y avocado salad
Unique Peruvian Sauce 
Tres Leches 

This is a meal for 2 and it's called the Matador combo for $24. It does not include drinks or dessert.

Pio Pio 94th and Amsterdam 

Warm Apple Crostata 

Olive Garden 

Fluffy's Cafe  7th Ave btwn 54/55th 

Flava Tunes

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Flava Buzz

Flava Buzz

Bare Bread is an Astoria-based, grass fed burger chain, now serving up deliciousness in Park Slope. It's an Eco friendly establishment with reclaimed- aluminum ceilings, bamboo flooring and chairs fashioned from recycled Coca-cola bottles.
170 Seventh Ave @ 1st St. Park Slope, Brooklyn 718.768.2273

A 25- seat Coffeeshop with free wifi is now open in Greenwich Village. They will be serving Ceci-Cela pastries, sandwiches and Red Mango frozen yogurt.
824 Broadway @ 12th St. 212.432.5550

The Cannibal is a retail shop that moonlights as a cafe-bar. It was named after a Belgian riding legend. It will have bicycle gear, show the Tour de France on TV, and offer a compression pomp out front. During the day, shoppers can pick up beer, sandwiches and house-made blood sausages. At night diners can indulge in small plates such as slow-roasted pig's head pork grinds and a Cannibal hot dog. They have 350 beer selections.
113 E. 29th st. between Park and Lexington Aves 212.686.5480

A 2,200-square-foot bar is now open in Murray Hill. Sports fans can catch theme on one of 24 TVs. Drinkers can choose from 22 drafts, 46 whiskeys and cocktails. To eat, find a menu of upscale bar food: maple-bourbon BBQ wings, Brooklyn-Lager-braised chicken and ale-battered cod sliders on brioche.
206 E. 34th St. between 2/3rd ave 212.545.9912
Masak is a Chinese-Malay-Indian mash-up cuisine, East Village restaurant. Tamarind-braised pork leg and grilled whole fish stuffed with sambal is an example of the dishes. They have an enticing cocktail menu, which includes quaffs like the Lemongrass Collins.

At Zito's Sandwich Shoppe you can make your own sub or choose one of the specialities, including chicken Parm, braised roast beef with marinated mushrooms and house-made mozzarella, and an eight-hour slow-cooked pork bracciole with provolone. They also have 7 taps that dispense local beers.
300 Seventh Ave between 7/8 sts, Park Slope, Brooklyn 718.499.2800
Veloce Pizzeria will be reopening in Midtown sometime in 2012.

The Cardinal will serve Southern BBQ in East Village. They will be serving up saucy renditions of Memphis ribs, Carolina pig, and Texas brisket.
234 E. 4th St. 
Frankie's 570 Spuntino is now open we think. The owners are very secretive about the opening.

Dog Food cart, "Biscuit Bike", is roaming the streets of NYC  They have a complete dog friendly menu. Discos, "pupcakes," vegan treats and ice cream are a few of their items. 

Pet-food brand Fresh Pet has a food truck with free samples and water bowls just for dogs. They have been roaming the UWS.

West Coast-based taco chain Wahoo's Fish Taco will open it's first East Coast location in Kips Bay in the fall.

Del Frisco's Grille is now open in Rock Center, offering wood-oven baked flat breads, salads, and sandwiches.

Beer Table Pantry is now open in Grand Central.The have local and imported beers.

New burger food truck called Wall St Burgers is on the prowl in midtown.

Food Report

Kim Kardashian's wedding cake is from Hansen's and it costs $20k.

Diet Coke has redesigned the can for the fall. 

62 percent of Manhattan food stores have been overcharging customers. Consumer Affairs is proposing that supermarkets have to pay customers ten times the price for any overcharging.

A 32-year-old single mother is aiming to become the fattest woman in the world. She is currently 728 pds and she needs to double her weight to reach her goal.

Burger King is getting rid of the weird king mascot and going for a guacamole-topped "California Whopper."

Pur Pac Chinese-food company in located, will have to pay employees who sued over wage violations nearly half a million dollars.

Ethiopia is the latest African country with a growing number of hungry people due to a worsening drought. 

All 6 strains of E. coli, are soon to be illegal,according to, Food Safety News.

Is Cerveceria 100 Montaditos the next sandwich chain?

A class action suit has been filed against Olive Garden for Hepatitis A. 

Panda Express food chain is being sued by Fed for the mistreating Latino employees.

Chipotles pinto beans are not vegan.

Study finds that drinking moderately can help Dementia. Moderate drinking is one glass per day for women and 2 glasses for men.

A bar in Dorchester, Mass faces a lawsuit that claims they refused to serve minorities.


4th Annual Wing Eating Contest
12 competitors will have 10 minutes to eat as many wings as possible.
The Habitat Aug 30 10pm 988 Manhattan Ave 

Click here for more events 

Source: Timeout NY, Grub Street, Midtown Lunch, Huffington post.