Wednesday, September 29, 2010

september new york visit and bento

Visiting my mom last week involved lots of foodie fun. The afternoon I arrived, she prepared a wonderful bruschetta with eggplant and fresh mozzarella and garlic-tomato confit, the perfect snack to enjoy outdoors on a gentle bright afternoon:
Yummy hearty breakfasts this time included blinzes with fresh figs, Greek yogurt and apricot jam...
and a really delish omelet with three cheeses and croutons fried in olive oil
On our day in Manhattan, we checked out the always fun Chelsea Market and newly opened Italian food emporium Eataly. The Chelsea Market is inside the creatively refurbished former National Biscuit Factory building... the pretty old items on display:
 The market today houses an intriguing collection of independent food shops and restaurants, including a great Italian specialty shop with ground pistachios from Sicily, all manner of specialty cheeses, truffle honey, salt and oil
and Sicilian marzipan, so vivid and detailed!
You might also enjoy some yummy avo-sushi rolls at a seafood place across the way
Here's a view of the creative architectural re-purposing of the former factory space with exposed brick walls:
Wildly cute cupcakes at a sweet bakery...
As if that was not enough yumminess, we were determined to visit the recently opened, huge emporium of things edible and Italian, appropriately named Eataly. Dotted throughout its enormous space are cafe/ restaurants with specialized seafood, vegetable, pasta and pizza, meat surprise, we selected the seafood option. The frito misto or mixed fry of fish and shellfish was really light, crisp and lovely...
As we had lunch we watched fresh pasta being made. I loved the shape and name of these Fiori di Zucca I bought some to cook and bento!
There are goodies everywhere you look...fruit-mosaic pastry:
Mmmmm, nougat with almonds
Bright produce--I took home excellent fresh tarragon, parsley and green figs...
As a lover of fresh, filled pastas these agnolotti caught my eye!
I liked how this packaging evokes Italy's ancient role as a link between the Mediterranean and East:
"Rustic Fig Bread" 
At the recently re-opened NYC coffeeshop chain Chock Full O' Nuts, a nostalgic taste of a childhood favorite--date nut bread sandwich with cream cheese, slightly caramelized just as I remembered it...
Hydrangeas changing color in Madison Square Park
Japanese maple in early morning sun, first day of autumn
My visit bento included some of the delightful butternut squash ravioli with pine nuts, red onions and prosciutto, portabella mushrooms, fresh figs and sugar snap peas...

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

foxy ikura bento

Hi bento pals! Today's bento was inspired by Babykins' recent autumnal post in which she featured ikura as a savory treat of the fall season. So here for lunch we have little inari pockets filled with avocado and ikura, a departure from the traditional rice-filled "fox inari". For decoration, handmade foodpicks made with cute and sassy little fox beads from Japan that I've attached to toothpicks:
I think the foxes look pleased with the new season and its russety-rich colors!
Baby tomatoes, baby romaine, butter-sauteed shishito peppers (yum!) and shimeji mushrooms are sharing this new round bento set from Bento & Co, whose always interesting selections are so hard to resist! I've been really inspired by the crisp fall spirit in many bentos in our community right now, how about you?

Have a lovely evening...

Saturday, September 25, 2010

harvest moon bento

This post is something of a bentoversary, as my first-ever post (and bento) was made in celebration of the Mid-Autumn Moon Festival last year...

This is such a beautiful and tender season, with saffron light falling over late-summer flowers and the leafy green sprawl of herbs and vines. It seems fitting that Tsukimi carries romantic connotations as this lovely light softens and illuminates everything, a sentiment nicely expressed in this little card with a sweet rabbit couple:
I'm just back from a NY visit and brought home some special items from Kiteya, a lovely shop on Broome Street in Soho that specializes in handmade items from Kyoto. Cards, fabric charms, silk scarves and hangings, all vibrating with radiant traditional textile patterns are a delight to browse in a truly welcoming store with warm and engaging staff.

Displays highlighted the harvest moon and fall's flora and fauna:
This harvest moon bento features a special grain blend with purple barley, black rice, red rice, brown rice and rye berries. A shiso leaf, dark purple eggplant pickles, amber ikura, mushrooms, golden beet "moon" and tofu bunny are edible tributes to the new season:
 The white bunny is from Kiteya, as is the floral silk ribbon (and the golden box). Lunch was made with several items from NYC's Sunrise Mart Japanese grocery (on the same street as Kiteya, awesome!)...

 Octopus salad with sesame dressing, togarashi, mitsuba and a dash of green chili sauce:
The multigrain rice/barley blend was delicious and autumnal combined with roasted sweet potato, green shishito peppers, golden beets, mitsuba, mushrooms, tofu and eggs:
Happy autumn!

Sunday, September 19, 2010

shrimp summer roll bento

I'm traveling on Monday and inspired by Debra's wonderful "in flight" bentos will be bringing a summer roll snack with crisp greens, cukes, dill and kiwi.

We visited a cool local garden center today and selected some sweet pansies and violas...some of which migrated into this bento! When I come back from my travels, mulching and selecting perennials and bulbs await. Are you also thinking about your spring garden? I love selecting tulips, iris and peonies as fall waits in the wings with deeper light and shadows...