National DOUGHnut Day

Author: Ali

Created in 1938 by The Salvation Army, National Doughnut Day was originally started with the idea of charity in mind. One of the reasons this holiday was established was to raise funds for The Salvation Army’s social service programs. National Doughnut Day was also meant to honor the “doughnut lassies,” who risked their lives in the trenches to deliver coffee, writing materials, and among other things – doughnuts, to soldiers back in World War I. It was said that the doughnuts helped the soldiers both mentally and physically, by reminding them of home and feeding their hunger. Since then, businesses like Dunkin' Donuts and Krispy Kreme give out free doughnuts in honor of National Doughnut Day.  However, you won't see me at either of these establishments on National Doughnut day, but you will find me sitting table side at Dough.

Since its opening in Brooklyn back in 2010, Dough's feedback has been exceedingly positive. With top-selling flavors such as Dulce de Leche with toasted almonds, Hibiscus, and Salted Chocolate Caramel, you really have no idea what you’re getting yourself into when you taste one of Dough’s doughnuts.

Owner and Pastry-chef Fany Gerson, said there isn’t really one thing that makes Dough so special, but rather a combination of things.

We make the doughnuts in small batches so customers can always get the freshest doughnuts. They are made with all natural, good ingredients and we feel the small things make a big difference.

The variety of unique flavors and excellent customer service that Dough offers its customers is definitely a factor in what makes Dough so great. Upon arrival, I was welcomed by the mouth-watering smell of freshly baked doughnuts and warm smiles from the staff. Since my roommate accompanied me, we decided to split a box of four doughnuts: Hibiscus, Chocolate Salted Caramel, Passion Fruit, and Toasted Coconut. All of which left my taste buds in a euphoric state afterwards.

We use European style butter for a richer mouthfeel [and] we grind our nutmeg as well as whole Mexican cinnamon. We have interesting flavors and they are made with care.

The Hibiscus was exceptional in its presentation, but even more so in its sweet and tangy flavor. If you’ve ever had hibiscus tea, then you would probably assume this doughnut would have a slightly tart aftertaste. The Hibiscus doughnut was surprisingly full of flavor, but nothing that was too overdone.

                           From top left: Toasted Coconut, Hibiscus, Passion Fruit, Chocolate Salted Caramel.

                          From top left: Toasted Coconut, Hibiscus, Passion Fruit, Chocolate Salted Caramel.

I was pleasantly surprised by the burst of sweet and salty in the Chocolate Salted Caramel, which was disguised as a basic chocolate covered doughnut. With the use of Belgian dark chocolate, blended with French caramel and dotted with Mediterranean sea-salt, Dough was able to find the perfect balance between these bold flavors.

Just the name “passion fruit” instills the idea of a strong, satisfyingly sweet taste. The thought of fusing passion fruit with cocoa nibs is one thing, but then creating these flavors in the form of a doughnut? Mind blown. Both my roommate and I agreed that this was our second favorite in the batch, following the Chocolate Salted Caramel.

Within the last year or so, I’ve realized that I truly enjoy the taste of coconut. Dough’s Toasted Coconut was a tasty delight with its coconut glaze and light coating of toasted coconut. I will say the dough was definitely what stood out to me the most with this particular doughnut. It was different from the others in that it was a bit sweeter than the glaze. Although delicious, it was missing that burst of coconut that I was looking for.

All in all, I believe you can’t go wrong with celebrating National Doughnut Day with one of Dough’s delectable and diverse array of donuts. Whether you’re visiting the Big Apple or are lucky enough to call this splendid city your home, Dough is a must for anyone in the area.

 

 

Favorite Spot of the Month: The Met

Author: Ali

The Metropolitan Museum of Art is easily my favorite spot of the month on any given day of the year, however with their new exhibit, China Through the Looking Glass, the Met became my favorite spot for an entirely different reason.

With a big PR event in the form of the Met Gala to kick-start its release, China Through the Looking Glass is something many New Yorkers, especially those with a fondness for fashion and history, jumped at the chance to go see as soon as it was open to the public. Not only was I one of those people, but after viewing the exhibit I can honestly say that it’s definitely worth visiting.

I can recall a former professor of mine, Dr. Choi, guiding our Fashion History class through the Chinese fashion trends from the beginning of time, and how the intricate designs and use of silk fabrics influenced some major designers to model some of their designs after traditional Chinese robes and other fashions.

As stated at the beginning of the exhibit, “through the looking glass of fashion, designers conjoin disparate stylistic references into a pastiche of Chinese aesthetic and cultural traditions.” Nothing is made more clear when you see the endless lines of mannequins donning some of the most intricate haute couture and prêt-à-porter pieces I’ve seen since visiting the Gucci Museo back in 2013. Also, the use of cinematic depictions of China and how our concepts of Chinese culture and style is formed through pop-culture.

                           Pieces from Valentino's 2013 Manifesto collection.

                          Pieces from Valentino's 2013 Manifesto collection.

There’s so much more I could say about the exhibit itself, but I want to focus on the the costumes that drew me in the most. A couple of my favorites included designs by Ralph Lauren, House of Dior, and the one and only– Valentino. All of which, reflect on Chinese culture and its history in one way or another. For instance, the Dries Van Noten ensemble for the Autumn/Winter of 2012-2013, had a fur coat that was modeled after the Chinese coat for the Qianlong Emperor of 1736-95.

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I strongly encourage you to visit the Met’s China Through the Looking Glass exhibit while you can (you have until August 16th). The richness of Chinese history told through fashion is remarkable, and quite frankly it was everything I was hoping it would be. Make sure you set aside a good amount of time to view this exhibit, because even I didn’t make it to all of the galleries, and rumor has it that Chinese designer Guo Pei’s featured dress is breathtaking. The designer most recently made headlines for creating Rihanna's showstopping yellow cape at this year's Met Gala. So if that cape is anything to go off of, then I'll obviously be making another trip to China Through the Looking Glass in the near future.

New York Has Everything...

Author: Ali

New York City literally has everything. From wondrous shops and scenery, to clubs and rooftop bars. I could write a book on why this city is the greatest and has everything you could ever want and need, but I don't have time for that. With that being said, I decided to put together a short list of things New York has readily accessible to both its inhabitants and its visitors 24/7.

1) We have an endless array of restaurants for every food lover. Before moving to New York, I would’ve never considered myself a foodie. However, with authentic food in every neighborhood it’s inevitable. Whether you’re looking for a swanky French restaurant, quaint coffee shop, or just a trendy bar with good food – we’ve got it.

2) A dose of educational venues. Obviously this city has a vast assortment of edifying museums to choose from. Some of my favorites include MoMAthe Met, the Whitney. I've heard the GuggenheimIntrepid Sea, Air and Space Museum, and the American Museum of Natural History are worth seeing as well.

3) The music scene is constantly rocking. We have tons of music venues and depending on which one you choose, two different artists will appear at the same venue, on the same night, within an hour of one another. Performances can be heard from people like Ed Sheeran, Idina Menzel and Steve Aoki. Madison Square Garden is another option for those who wish to attend larger music venues for big names like Billy Joel and Madonna.

4) Transportation nation. So what if the trains can be a bit unpredictable at times and cabs can be costly - you still have the bas and two legs. When you have a day of perfect weather, walking to your desired location or renting a Citi Bike is a possibility. Yet, when the weather doesn't permit for biking or walking, you still have three other modes of transportation to rely on.

5) Park place. Whenever I’ve had friends come in from out of town, it always seems to surprise them that Manhattan has a lot of “green.” Central Park is huge (843 acres to be exact), and it’s just one of the 1,700 parks this city hosts. My favorites include the High LineMadison Square Park, as well as Central Park. Without fail, you'll find that green space that you're looking for. It is also extremely likely that there will be delicious food somewhere in the park, playgrounds for the kids, and a lovely spot to settle down for an afternoon picnic.

10 Questions: East Coast Living

Author: Ali

Why do you like living on the East Coast?
It's real. The people here tell you like it is and they're genuine. Also, the variety of people, places and cultures is fascinating.

What is your least favorite thing about living on the East Coast?
That a lot of my closest friends don't live here.

What is a personality trait you've noticed a lot of New Yorkers have?
Self-reliant. New Yorkers don't expect anyone to do things for them - if they want something, they go and get it themselves.

How do you think the East Coast differs from other regions in the United States?
It's got a pace of its own that is generally in turbo drive. Unless you live in the southeast.

Is there any great food currently trending in New York?
There is always great food trending in New York! Halal, Thai, artichoke pizza, you name it and we've got it.

How would you describe New York style?
In general, it's very eclectic. There are the 9 to 5 polished fashionistas with their Céline bags and coiffed hair. The risk-takers with their fashion-forward furs and sunglasses perched atop their high-pony tails. Lastly, there are the casual-chic mavens with their ripped boyfriend jeans, high heels and blazers.

In your opinion, what is the coolest neighborhood in NYC? Why?
I really like West Village because there is always something to do, great bars, restaurants, music, etc. It has a lot going on and so many people I know live down there so it's always a good time.

Favorite East Coast getaway?
Delray Beach, FL.

Favorite television show or movie set in New York (past or present)?
Sex & the City

What's a fashion item that many New Yorkers seem to have?
Bucket bags are huge right now.

Transitional Pieces for Spring 2015

Author: Ali

I know for those of us on the East Coast, it may not look or feel like spring has sprung, but it's fast approaching. When the elusive season finally arrives, I plan on being ready to burst outside while looking fabulous.

Here are some of my planned go-to pieces for this spring:

Light oversized coat: The good thing about a lightweight, oversized coat is that it's the perfect in-between jacket for when the weather isn't quite cold enough to wear a heavy winter coat or warm enough to wear a jean jacket. I'm the girl in the pink coat. It doesn't confine me when I need to layer, and it isn't too thin or thick to where I'm either sweating up a storm or shivering from the cold.

Mini/Midi skirt: We saw the mini and midi skirts appear on the fashion scene in the past, but within the last year or two it has continued to make its presence known. Paired with tights and booties, I love wearing my mini with a jean jacket and a floppy or wide-brim hat. I add a lightweight scarf to complete my look. I'm also a fan of the miniskirt and sneakers look that I've spotted on the street lately. As for the midi, it really depends on the type. Personally, I have my eye on a pleated midi that I can see myself pairing with a light sweater or a fitted top and vest.

Neutral shades of pink and orange: Sunset colors will be popping up in unexpected places this spring season. Whether in the form of a shirt, dress, scarf or what have you. If you're not fond of bold colors, this is a safe area for you. However, if you're not ready to jump into the color pool just yet, I'd recommend playing around with shades of gray and blue.

Ripped/distressed denim: Continuing the trend from last season, I'll be whipping out my boyfriend jeans, overcoat and scarf for a casual spring look. You can never go wrong with denim!