Tastiest Dessert EVER: Green Tea Donut – The General, New York City

It’s one of those desserts where you don’t believe that it actually tastes the way it does. ‘The Green Tea Donut with Mascarpone Cream’ attracts you like a sonnet at first sight. And later, it unfolds like an epic inside your mouth. One part of it melts in your mouth (the cream), while the other part of it (the donut) is heated enough to retain its form and blends in with everything else to add texture.

Anyway, for the sake of the foodie in me (and in the foodie in you), I shall come straight to the point. I had this at a place called The General on the Lower East Side in Manhattan, New York City. It is described as an Asian Fusion food and we had some good music playing. It was quite crowded and was recommended to us (me and a friend visiting from Canada) as a “hip and happening restaurants on LES” by someone who knows the night-life really well.

While the dinner otherwise was good (with a better than average band playing some good classic rock), the Green Tea Donut stole the show for us. It was easily one of the best desserts I have had. It’s strong enough to bring me back from my blog-hybernation!

Take a look:

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It is basically a donut with super-yum green tea mascarpone cream stuffed into it and on top of it. It literally oozes with the cream. Mascarpone cream is an Italian cheese made from Cream (just keeping it simple) – And in this dessert, the cream has a Green Tea taste. And the end result is magical. It is finger-licking good!

I am not advertising, but here are a few links to resources around this, but:

Oh, and if you’ve had it (either before OR after reading this), do let me know.. I love discussing good food! 🙂

NOTE: Picture Courtesy: Foxnews.com

How to make Chinese Green Tea!

I’ve always been passionate about ‘Tea’ and it was apparently quite apparent to my friends from the middle kingdom. So, here are the different teas that our friends from China got us. I was told a lot of these are from the Fujian / Zhang Fu province, the home of authentic (high-altitude) Chinese teas.

Chinese tea pot, with the varieties of tea laid out
Chinese tea pot, with the varieties of tea laid out

The image above shows the varieties of tea that we received – mostly samples. Also, notice the Bone China tea pot that we  had at home already – interestingly, either Porcelain or Bone China go best with Chinese Tea.

Here is a low-down on how to prepare Chinese tea, the ‘authentic’ way.

STEP 1: Choose the tea that suits your mood.. and wash your Teapot (Either Porcelain or Bone China work best), this is a Bone China tea pot..In this case, we chose a variant of Chinese Green Tea, among the options we had

Choose the tea that suits your mood, time of day, etc.

STEP 2: First pour the leaves in the Tea-pot and rinse with warm water for 30 seconds. Then let the water flow out from the mouth of the teapot.. This is just to wash the tea leaves.

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STEP 3: Pour hot water into the tea-pot and let it brew for 2 minutes (in case of Green Tea), the time can be more or less in case the tea is Red, Oolong or Jasmine. <You will notice bubbles forming at the surface and the sides as the tea brews>

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STEP 4: After exactly 2 mins, pour the tea into a tea-cup and sip it. Unfortunately, the picture can’t capture the aroma and taste, but it is nothing like we’ve tasted before. 🙂

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And these are how the tea leaves look – BEFORE and AFTER being brewed respectively.

NOTE: A set of tea leaves can be brewed multiple times – So what it basically means is once you empty the tea into a cup or a glass for drinking, let the tea leaves remain in the pot. After a while, you could again pour hot water into the tea pot and let it brew for sometime, before pouring out the contents into a cup again and sipping your tea.

A couple of points to remember here:

  1. As you brew the same leaves, at each successive brew, increase the time by a small margin. For example, the first time, brew it for 1 minutes, 2nd time brew it for 2 minutes, and so on. Exact time specs depend upon the kind of tea, texture and quantity of water, etc.
  2. You can brew the same leaves upto a maximum of 3 times (after which the essence/flavour begins to diminish), but remember to not keep the leaves overnight. Empty your tea-pot even if some precious leaves get wasted. 🙂

Hope you enjoyed the post. Let me leave you with images of how Green Tea leaves looked BEFORE being brewed and AFTER – see how they blossom and open up!

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C-Tailing & Omni-Channel Commerce

Future of Retail

At the recently concluded NRF’s (National Retail Federation‘s),  BIG SHOW 2013, attendees were introduced to an emerging concept in customer engagement by NCR, (the National Cash Register Company).

I actually liked how they positioned this new paradigm – they call it c-tailing (or Converged Retailing) for a C2B marketplace. While traditional business models revolved on either B2B or B2C businesses, C2B lays down that starting now, it is the consumers that will reach out to businesses and enable transactions, rather than the other way around.

Some key highlights:

  1. Digital Discovery through ‘Experiential’ stores – guided by real-time social media reviews, etc.
  2. Take on Showrooming head-on, by enabling WiFi inside the stores and matching online prices
  3. Converged retail models including ‘Buy Online, Pick up at Store’
  4. Personalized web portals for a more relevant online buying experience
  5. Use Social + Mobile to enable Collaborative Shopping

Will be interesting to see how this space evolves. I’m watching closely!

Related links: