Working with Sysco ...

One of the projects we are working on is to reduce the number of (same-type) products in our stock book to a minimum, and have all the hospitals purchase the same items. (for example, instead of having 20 varieties of potatoes, there will be 3 or 4 varieties...) A panel of people will taste-test the products to decide which is the best quality, taste and nutritional value. Sysco would bring the chosen products to the manufacturers and get bulk pricing for us. Here are some pictures of what we have tasted so far...

Lasagna, and sirloin beef...

Tomatoes, potatoes...

Meatloaf and hamburgers...

Various chicken products..

Salad dressing..


Mac & cheese..

The hope is to give our customers better pricing, or not increase prices even though we are hit with a 3 % infatuation increase every year. In this tough economy, we want to do all we can to be competitive and find ways to cut cost.... :)

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Jacques Torres' Chocolate Cookies & NYC

A lazy weekend like this is perfect for catch-ups- sleeping, baking, chilling with friends, watching movie and blogging. :) Ever since I returned from New York several weeks ago, I have been wanting to bake Jacques Torres chocolate cookies and I'm glad that I got to do it today. 
 I love his recipe..it is one of the best chocolate chip cookie recipe ...definitely a keeper!  As usual, I reduced the amount of sugar...and used whole wheat pastry flour...here's my version.
Recipe ingredients: 1 pound unsalted butter, 1 cup sugar, 2 cups brown sugar, 4 eggs, 3 cups whole wheat pastry flour, 3 cups bread flour, 1 Tbsp salt, 2 teaspoons baking powder, 2 teaspoons baking soda, 1 Tablespoon vanilla extract, 2 pounds chocolate chips ( 60% cocoa)
Directions: Preheat oven to 350F. Line baking sheets with parchment paper. Cream butter and sugars. Add eggs, one at a time. Sift the dry mixture together. Reduce speed and add the flour mixture. Bake until lightly browned, about 15 minutes. 
If you don't know who J Torres is, he is nick-named "Mr. Chocolate."  My first encounter with him was at a " Under the Tuscan Sun"cooking class where the French instructor told us about this recipe. I tested the recipe and knew that I had to visit his store in NYC to try his actual cookie. It met my expectations...they had a hot plate where the cookie can be warmed, and I felt like I was eating it fresh-out-of-the-oven. :) 
My aunt bought this box of chocolates for me...each bite felt like heaven melting in my mouth. Alright, I'm exaggerating..............*wink*

I have never been to New York and did a little research by talking to some people who have been there... and here is an overview of what we did.... 
 911 Memorial site - need to make reservations on the website before getting there..
 Walk leisurely around CENTRAL PARK....there are many musicians and people relaxing there. It is like a mini escape to greenery paradise in the hustle and bustle of the city.
 Statute of Liberty. To get there, go to South Ferry Terminal and purchase a ferry ticket to Liberty Island / Elias Island.

All the walking makes me hungry....there are many pizzas store around the corners. It is nice to be able to purchase a slice, instead of a whole pizza. I like the Margarita pizza- basil and fresh mozzarella cheese.
Max Brenner is another stop for chocoholics. The quality of their food is great. I especially love the chocolate covered pecans. 
It is located in Union Square. While you are there, you got to visit the Farmer's Market. It is apparently one of the largest in NYC. 

This picture shows a bike with a blender at the back. It's cool because the motion of the bike blends the smoothie! 
 There is a hole-in-the-wall vegetarian dim sum place that we love. It is called "Buddha Bodai" If you are in Chinatown, you definitely have to visit this restaurant! I've never seen such a wide variety of vegetarian/vegan dim sum! ( Address: 5 Mott St, Chinatown, NY)
 After a full meal, walk around China town to enjoy the sights of fish mongers, fruits stalls and people bargaining for produce items. Just around the corner is Little Italy, and a few more minutes walk brings you to SOHO street, a variety of latest fashionable clothes.
At Times Square, there is a ticketing booth called TKTS- most of the shows are at 40-50% off...so get your Broadway shows there. It is definitely a must-see. 
 There are many hot-dog stands around NYC...but one of the places that Yelp highly recommended was Gray's Papaya...really cheap hot dogs with smoothies. :) It is at 402 6th Ave, NY
We visited the Empire State Building but we did not go up....We found out that a more economical way to see the NYC skyline is to go up Top of The Rock at Rockefeller Center. For almost the same amount, you get to see the sky line of NYC, and a 1.5 hour behind -the-scenes tour of NBC. :P

 Watch Spidermen movie at Times Square!
 Took pictures at Grand Central Station...lots of movies were filmed in this station.
 To get around, download the NYC Subway map on iPad...it is actually really easy to get around with the subway. Buy the one week pass as it includes all the subway and bus rides!
  There are many museums and one of the best is the MET Museum...

 Lots of items from various eras and countries..
 I personally enjoyed the "impossible conversations" special event between Prada and Schiaparelli. It depicted how these women with passion fought against all odds to do what they loved and showed their works through the eyes of a generation that looked down on women. Going with conventional methods might be safe, it would be an expression of art that would be confined to society norms. To make a difference, Prada stepped out of her box and showed the world what her thoughts were through the designs of shoes, bags, clothes...
 And she succeeded...
 Serendipity 3 - a quaint, cute place with a long waiting line......
Some other places to visit: FAO Schwarz ( USA first toy store), Lego land, Toys R US ( at Times Square), Grom Gelato, Coney Island ( for Nathan's hot dogs), Guggenheim Museum, Brooklyn Farmacy & Soda Fountain, White Castle ( First hamburger place in USA).....

Here's a quote from an interview with Mr. Chocolate on why he decided to stay at NYC for more than 22 years."New York City gives me first is "Energy." New York City is unbelievable, it's like an energy grid or electrical grid, that when you touch it, you become a part of it, a part of the pulse of New York, this pulse makes you run around, makes you want to be creative, want to make things happen, want to argue with people, want to fight, want to love, want to do all those things. And this is why I get addicted and why people get addicted to New York, the energy grid feeds you, and I like that, New York is electric!"

I am not sure if I would like to be wired with this type of energy all the time though....

Till next time, NYC! Thanks for all these beautiful memories :)
Disclaimer: All the recipes posted are for my personal references and/or adapted from mentioned instructors or books. They/I reserve the rights to it. Please remember to cite your sources! Thank you.