Monday, February 1, 2016

Khoi's Birthday Part 2: Tiramisu Ice Cream Cake

Khoi and his roommate John have birthdays that are only two days apart, and as the designated cake person for parties, I decided to make something extra special. I saw a bunch of recipes online for tiramisu ice cream cake (here and here) and kinda used tips from here and there to make my own super-easy creation.

Recipe for 9.5" springform pan

  • 2 packages of 24-pack ladyfingers (may need a third package since sizes of fingers may vary from package to package)
  • 1/2 cup espresso or strong coffee
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 2 oz kahlua
  • 2 pints of coffee ice cream
  • 2 pints of vanilla bean ice cream
  • 1 cup heavy cream, chilled
  • 1/2 cup mascarpone cheese, chilled
  • 3 Tbsp sugar
  • Chocolate curls, as much as you'd like (directions here)

Allow coffee ice cream to soften in fridge for 30 minutes. Meanwhile, line bottom and sides of springform pan with ladyfinger cookies. 

Brew fresh espresso or coffee, and add sugar and kahlua. Stir well until the sugar dissolves. Brush mixture onto cookie layer, and place in fridge to chill for 10 minutes.

Stir softened coffee ice cream ice cream. Spread layer of ice cream into springform pan so that the pan is half full. Cover with more ladyfinger cookies and brush with more espresso mixture. Transfer to freezer and allow cake to harden for 30 minutes. Meanwhile, soften the vanilla ice cream in the fridge for 30 minutes. 

Stir softened vanilla ice cream. Spread layer of ice cream to fill the pan to the top. Transfer to freezer and allow cake to harden for 30 more minutes. 

Meanwhile, make mascarpone cream. Transfer heavy cream into a bowl and beat until thickened, then add mascarpone cheese and beat until stiff peaks form. Add sugar to taste and beat a tiny bit longer. Spread on top of cake and add chocolate curls. 

Birthday boys toast

Blowing out the candles of my cake ^^

My slice! So tasty, probably one of the best cakes I've ever made. Seriously give this a try, it's super easy and impressive. 

Sunday, January 31, 2016

Khoi's Birthday Part 1: Z Cucina

Khoi finally turned 26! I'm 1.5 months older than him, and if anyone asks how old we are between our birthdays, it makes me a little anxious...but he finally joined me in old age and we are the same age again! 26 is a big deal because we are officially in our late 20's now (*cries*).

I've been eyeing a couple of restaurants that I wanted to treat him out to, and I finally decided on Z Cucina because 1) he loves Italian food, and 2) this restaurant is ranked #1 in Columbus on TripAdvisor, meaning that people from all over the US must think that this restaurant has some of the best Italian food. Hence, reservations made. 

What a beautiful place. And I don't know what's up with that smouldering expression, but I like it ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

Our dranks -- nero pompelmo (left) and spiced pear fizz (right). Both were extremely refreshing. 

Handmade Italian salumi -- this was incredible. They had proscuitto and duck, and some amazing pickled veggies (which I usually don't like). Even the olives were good, and I usually hate olives. 

Baked ricotta gnocchi - this was a vegetarian dish. I ordered it even though I'm essentially a carnivore because the waitress promised me that it's delicious and it was indeed. It's just so savory and the flavors were great. Also, the waitress said that the gnocchi is huge, but I just thought she meant bigger than usual -- turned out that the dish is one enormous gnocchi the size of my palm lol. I don't know why this was so funny to me but I kept laughing while eating it.

Lasagna - Khoi's dish. This was probably the best lasagna I've ever eaten everywhere. It's just so intensely rich, with mascarpone cheese, and I love how it came in an individual cast iron dish. So pretty and so tasty. 

Our dessert sampler to share -- peanut butter cheesecake, caramel pots de creme, and tiramisu. This was great but so intensely rich, and we were already so stuffed at this point that we could only polish off half of each item. Sadness :(

So stuffed and happy after our meal huzzah! The couple next to us offered to take our photo, so nice of them. I loved this restaurant -- everyone from the valet, the hostess, the waitress, and even the other patrons were so warm and sweet, and the restaurant itself is gorgeous. 

1368 Grandview Ave
Columbus, OH 43212
(614) 486-9200

Sunday, January 24, 2016

Anniversary Dinner: J. Gilbert's

Khoi and I celebrated our two year anniversary last week with some yummy food. Some pics...

My X-rated Martini and his red wine. The drink was very yummy but too strong for me >.<

An enormous boule of bread to start

 Maryland crab bisque, this was very rich with a generous amount of crab -- 'tis impossible to dislike. 

Maytag blue cheese potato chips, oh man. These were really highly rated, but we did not expect so much...I was already starting to feel full before we started the entrees. 

My food! 4 oz filet and scallop combo, with sides of brussels sprouts and potato au gratin. Everything tasted incredible and this was my first time ordering steak at a restaurant, so it was such a treat. Even the sides were top notch, I could eat them as my main and be happy.  

Khoi's 18 oz bone-in ribeye with sides of mac n' cheese and creamed corn. His steak was hugeeeee. 

Berries and cream for dessert, we settled on something light to cleanse our palates after the meal. 

My man nomming happily ^^

I took home the leftovers and got another gourmet meal at home :D This place is one of my favorites in Columbus and I definitely wouldn't mind eating here again.

1 E Campus View Blvd
Columbus, OH 43235
(614) 840-9090