I'm Aimee Astillero. I like food, fashion, hip-hop, film, vampires and other bizarre things. Thanks for finding me! :P

Thursday, December 30, 2010

EATS: Lupo's Char Pit in Endicott, NY

I never knew what a Chicken Spiedie was until this year. It seems to be a staple food around the Binghamton area and one eatery that I hear about the most is Lupo's Char Pit. So what exactly is a Chicken Spiedie? It's just marinated cubed chicken cooked on a skewer and served on Italian Bread. It's all about the marinade and a basic Spiedie sauce contains olive oil, balsalmic vinegar and dry italian spices. Of course there are different recipes for the marinade from others but Lupo's seems to perfect it.
The Endicott branch is mostly for take-out orders
Besides Spiedes, Lupo's also serves other delicious sandwiches
I ordered a 6" Chicken Spiedie with French Fries

The Chicken Spiedie was delicious! The chicken was tender and very moist.  You can taste a combination of smokiness from the char pit as well as the slight sourness of the balsalmic vinegar. Out of all the spices, the pepper also stands out the most. The best part is the Italian bread which is soaked with the flavors of the marinade. The food looks plain in sight but it is bursting with flavor. Can you believe that this Upstate specialty only costs $3.69? Now I understand why Spiedies are a local favorite.
If you're looking for a delicious sandwich that hits the spot, Lupo's Char Pit is the place to be! It's so good that I made sure to bring back a 16 oz. Spiedie Marinade so I can make this at home!

Lupo's Char Pit
2710 East Main Street
Endicott, NY 13760

TRAVEL: Wegmans in Johnson City, NY

We have Whole Foods and Trader Joe's in the city, but we don't have a Wegmans... why is that? It's rated as one of the best grocery store in the US! After hearing all the buzz, I decided to visit a Wegmans in Johnson City in Upstate, NY. They offer fresh produce, meats, seafood and everything else you can imagine! I love that you can also find a section in the supermarket for organic foods. If you get hungry while grocery shopping, you can easily dine in the Market Cafe which offers a wide variety of foods from Italian, American and even Asian. It's so convenient and the price is always right. If Alec Baldwin, co-signs it- then I do too! 

LINK: Wegmans

MUSIC VIDEO: Kanye West - Monster

I haven't been impressed with any music videos lately... but I really dig this one a whole lot. Kanye done-did-it again folks with this long awaited "Monster" music video. This seems about right.. another great interpretation of Kanye's beautiful dark twisted fantasy. I think my favorite highlights are: the models hanging by a noose,  all the zombie models, the 'monster' heels (Kanye voice), the contorted model on the couch, Kanye in his fitted camel leather blazer holding a decapitated head of a model zombie, Nicki's dominatrix segment, the gore, a she-wolf and of course- the impeccable styling! Very eerie and impressive! I likes.

LINK: YouTube

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

TRAVEL: Alpacalachin Farms in Apalachin, NY

I visited Alpacalachin Farms today in Apalachin (Upstate NY). Alpacas are bred for their soft, warm and fleecy fiber which is used to make woven sweaters, mittens, blankets, scarves and ponchos. They kind of look like camels without the hump or resemble a llama but are smaller in size. Ahh.. Alpacas are such cute and cuddly creatures! If you're looking for something to do when visiting Upstate, NY- head over to Alpacalachin Farms for a tour and be sure to check out their gift shop for one of a kind fashion finds. If you're interested, you can even buy an Alpaca! ;) 
Alpacalachin Fashions
2571 Chestnut Ridge Road
Apalachin, NY 13732

Saturday, December 18, 2010

FILM: Black Swan by Darren Aronofsky

Finally got to see Black Swan directed by Darren Aronofsky this weekend. All I can say is it's an amazing psychological thriller and is well worth seeing on the big screen. There was one thing I didn't like though- and it's the shaky hand-held camera movement the first ten minutes into the film. However, I understand why the director used this effective technique which added to the anxiety and suspense of what's to expect next. The intense hair-raising scenes along with great acting from actors Portman and Kunis definitely makes this movie a must see before the year ends! I don't want to spoil the movie, so check out the HD trailer below to get a sense of the storyline:

LINK: Fox Searchlight - Black Swan

Saturday, November 20, 2010

EVENT: Jay-Z in Conversation With Charlie Rose x DECODED @ Brooklyn Museum

On Thursday Night, I was lucky enough to witness Jay-Z being interviewed by Charlie Rose about his new book, Decoded at the Brooklyn Museum. It was a full house with some familiar faces in the audience from Hova's circle such as his Mother, Beyonce and Steve Stoute. As always, Jay-Z was a pleasant interviewee as he answered Rose's question with finesse and humor. I've witnessed Jay-Z once during a live taping before (VH-1 Storytellers) and he's really a humble dude in my opinion- down to earth and is known to crack jokes to put you at ease. He even had Charlie Rose laughing as Jay-Z corrected his pronunciation of "Tupac" as "two-pack" which ended with chuckles and a fist bump. He spoke briefly about growing up, selling crack at a young age in Marcy Projects, his lyrics and song writing, and his life after "making it". After the taping, Jay-Z also participated in a Q&A with the audience where devout fans asked a mix of intelligent and some ridiculous questions and he was gracious enough to answer all without stumbling. I think my favorite part of the Q&A was when a young lady came up and was telling Mr. Carter how proud she was of him and out of nowhere, Jay-Z told her to sing and she started to sing "What's the meaning... what's the meaning of life..." and we all realized that she was the woman who sang the hook to his song, "In My Lifetime (Remix)" which was the one of the first records Jay released under Roc-A-Fella Records. It was an amazing night and always an honor to hear Mr. Carter speak. Stay tuned to the Charlie Rose show for its air date.
Check out some images below:

 Photograph by William Yan

Check out this video of Jay-Z as he chooses his Top 5 MC's for a ultimate cipher:

Sunday, November 14, 2010

EATS: Smith & Wollensky Steakhouse in Midtown East

Last weekend Mr. Fox and I went to Smith & Wollensky for a fancy Sunday night dinner. We were craving for some nice meaty and high quality steak but wanted to go for something else besides Peter Luger. I first heard of this establishment through the movie, the Devil Wears Prada and decided to see what the fuss was all about. 

We were offered complimentary bread in the beginning of our meal which was pretty good. I liked the thin bread. I didn't want to load up on carbs though, I was saving my appetite for the main event!

Mr. Fox's Filet Mignon! They butterfly sliced it because he likes his steak well done. He loved it and said the steak was lean and not too fatty.

He also got a side of hash browns. I tasted it and it was cooked perfectly! Very crispy, browned, salted and tasty! I like how there was small pieces of onion for added flavor!

I got a NY Cut Sirloin. I didn't realize my nice hunk of meat was 24oz! I ordered meat medium well. My steak was tasty and charred. It was meaty, fatty, tender and very juicy as I sliced it. I like how the cook also seared the fat on the ends. My meal was very hearty indeed and you bet I was stuffed halfway through it and had to carry a doggy bag home! :X (I always finish my food. I rarely do this!!)

The steak was a good contrast of meat and fat.

Their house steak sauce. I tried it just to try it even though I'm suppose to enjoy the lightly salted and meatiness of my steak (oh how carnivorous!) and it wasn't bad. It tasted more like Worcestershire Sauce. I could do without it...

How could you go to a steak house and not order the creamed spinach?! I had to! It was delish. I think I liked this the most. It was very rich and creamy. Some might complain about the texture because it's a bit liquefied than most creamed spinach but I actually like it. The color doesn't look that appetizing but it was really good nevertheless.
Overall Smith & Wollensky is pretty good. I wouldn't categorize them as part of my Top 3 steak houses in NY though. The meat is definitely high quality and their portions are very generous but it is a little bit on the expensive side. If I had to spend the money again, I would rather go to Peter Luger in all honesty. I think if I could re-do this whole experience I would've been more happier spending the money at the Smith & Wollensky Grill located on the side which is a more casual dining experience with a wider variety- but hey, there's always next time! 

Smith & Wollensky
797 Third Avenue at 49th Street
New York, NY 10022

Smith & Wollensky on Urbanspoon
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Saturday, November 6, 2010

DESSERT: Momofuku Crack Pie

Holy ish! I have never tasted a pie as amazing as Momofuku's Crack Pie! It does not contain "crack" but sure is as addicting like it. It's definitely a slice of heaven. After one bite, you keep chasing the taste to figure out what exactly is in this amazing dessert and it's really simple! The crust is based out of crumbled cookie with rolled oats instead of your average graham cracker or pie dough crust. The filling consists of butter, heavy cream, sugar and eggs and that's it! It's so simple and so delicious! The filling is very rich and sweet while the crust is buttery, gooey and chewy- the combination is just a party in your mouth! I am in love with this pie. For a $5.25 per slice or $44 for a 10" pie price tag- money ain't a thing! It is so good that Momofuku trademarked the name! You must head to either one of Momofuku Milk Bar's locations.. STAT! Oh and if you don't live in the NY area, you can get a piece of the pie by ordering online! ;)

Momofuku Milk Bar - East Village
207 2nd Avenue
New York, NY 10003
Follow @momomilkbar on Twitter!

CANDY: Green Tea Kit Kat

Kit Kat bars have always been a favorite chocolate treat for me. It's the candy I crave the most and the only candy I would really buy. Today my twinbee Tammie shared her Green Tea Kit Kat straight from Japan! I always wanted to try this flavor but for some weird reason it's never available in local Japanese groceries. It is as delicious as green tea ice cream. It has a white chocolate creamy taste infused with green tea match with a wafer crunch! I loved it! Hope I can get my hands on these again because it really tastes amazing... and amazing enough to sway me from Chocolate flavored Kit Kats! *gasp* I suggest that if you run across this- to definitely try it and buy me one on the side too! It's not as weird as it sounds! ;)

Remember that episode from The Office when Andy Bernard kept singing "Give me a break.. Give me a break.. Break me off a piece of that.... " and he kept trying to figure out what it was? haha, thought the side of the Green Tea Kit Kat Bars would help him remember :P

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Thursday, November 4, 2010

DRINK: Starbucks Via Flavored Ready Brew Coffee

So I stopped drinking milk tea to go with my breakfast or my afternoon wake up drink then started drinking instant coffee to save myself from spending $2 each morning (not including coffee cravings). I was previously drinking Nescafe's 1+2 instant coffee typically sold in Asian markets and not to mention super cheap (42 packets for $7.99) until the Starbucks Via Ready Brew instant coffee came out...

I really really love this coffee. I thought I could save myself some money in the beginning but with Starbucks you really end up paying for the quality and superb taste that gets you hooked! Via is made of arabica beans with natural flavors and cane sugar. Starbucks currently offers four flavors: Vanilla, Mocha, Caramel and Cinnamon Spice. If you don't like flavored coffee, they offer Colombia, Italian Roast, Decaf Italian Roast and Iced. I personally tried the Vanilla and Caramel for the mean time and I must say that Vanilla is my favorite! When I pour the water in my cup, the coffee really does smell fresh brewed unlike other instant coffees that smell artificial. The flavor is rich and bold and the coffee is quite strong for something unbelievably labeled as 'instant'. I actually do two 10 fl oz cups of for every packet even though the directions say one packet is good for an 8 fl oz cup. As you try it you can definitely tweak how much you use if you don't like your coffee super strong which is what Starbucks is known for. I also love the fact that when I finish my Vanilla flavored Via that I see remnants of the vanilla bean floating in the bottom of my cup (they definitely didn't lie in the commercial)! Oh and not to mention it's 60 calories per packet! So every morning, I look forward to my first cup of coffee and in the afternoon, when I crave for something sweet to jolt me up, I fix myself a cup of Starbucks Via! ;)

It's so easy, this is how I make my coffee:

Open the Via package, pour contents into cup ...

Add hot water and stir...

Add skim milk and then enjoy! :D

Note: Since I like my coffee sweet, I do add a little more sugar in my cup!

Try it out for $6.99 for a 6-pack and there's also a coupon for $1 off until the end of November for every purchase so mention it to your Barista when they're ringing you up!

LINK: Starbucks

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