Saturday, August 2, 2014

Asian American International Film Festival (AAAIF14) : New York City, July 24 – August 2, 2014

There are a total of 22 Asian Film Festivals held every year in the United States, and this week Asian Cinevision is holding the AsianAmerican International Film Festival in New York City from July 24 – August 2, 2014. We didn’t know there are that many Asian Film festivals each year, but we’re guessing most of them are held on the West Coast.

This year’s AAIF features a stellar selection of Asian films and shorts from around the world.  The festival opened with a screening of Sold at the Asia Society, where the audience had a chance to interact in a panel discussion with the director and producer about their experience filming a movie about international child sex trafficking in Nepal and India.

What makes the AAIF unique is that it brings together the audience with the film-makers to movies that highlight common human experiences against the backdrop of present day global issues.  Many of the movies and shorts screened at this event also includes insightful discussions and receptions with the actors/actresses and the film-makers (director, producer, writers).

This is also the 37th annual Asian American International Film Festival – yes, 37th!  For all the amazing movies this festival features, we wish we’ve been coming all the previous years. 

The film selections this year include movies from Taiwan, Japan, Philipines, China, India, Iran, and the US.  Our favorite movies from the festival this year are listed below – if they are being screened again, or go on DVD, we’ll be glad to watch is all over again!

Love Hotel – Japan
A Time in Quchi – Taiwan
100 Days – Taiwan
Sold – Nepal/India
Chu and Blossom – US
The Rice Bomber – Taiwan

Awesome Asian Bad Guys – US

Dining with Feastly : Gourmet Vegan Cuisine at Suite ThreeOhSix Supperclub, New York City – July 16, 2014

staff prepping delicious vegan dishes for the night at suite threeohsix
We’re non-traditional in many ways, and so booking a dinner through Feastly for unusual dining experiences appealed to us on so many levels because we’ve pretty much dined out in NYC the traditional way for way too long.

New York City provides you with an infinite number of places to eat or cuisines to try, but the social aspect of traditional restaurant dining is more or less similar amongst all the establishments.  You show up with friends, a waiter seats your group at a table (amongst many other tables in the restaurant!), you eat and drink with just amongst your friends, occasional you’ll interact with the wait staff, and if you’re lucky maybe you’ll get to meet the chef. 

Now imaging changing the details of that experience a bit, where you dine in a private residence (could be a house, or loft), get seated at the only dining table in the room, eat and mingle with people other than your friends, and personally meet a very talented chef who’s showcasing their talent in a non-traditional way. 
These are exactly the types of dinner you can book on Feastly.  We found the process to be very easy; we ended up booking a dinner in a loft in Tribeca at Suite ThreeOhSix and had the most dazzling delicious vegan dinner we’ve ever had in all of NYC (we’re vegetarians and we’ve tried every vegan restaurant in the 5 boroughs of NYC).  The food is tasty yet light, not too heavy.

Suite Three-Oh-Six is a loft dining experience featuring vegan cuisine made by 24 year old Chef Daphne Cheng and her team.  Located on 59 Franklin Suite, you get buzzed into the building upon arriving.  After you find suite 5F, you’ll enter a loft with modern minimalist d├ęcor with a long white candle-lit communal dining table seating about 30 people, high ceilings, and a kitchen enclosed in glass walls, where all the guests can see Chef Daphne Cheng preparing the vegan delicacies for the night.  The ambiance is very modern, inviting, and intimate. 

While eating there with friends, or by yourself, you’ll meet other dinner guests who are sitting right besides you, making it for a more social experience than a traditional restaurant dinner.

At Suite Three-Oh-Six – the five course vegan menu is not revealed till you arrive, so if you do have any dietary allergies, you can let me know in advanced.  The cost of dinner, which includes wine is $59 when booked on Feastly.  Sometimes, they’ll have guest chefs so the price can vary if that’s the case.  Dinner at Suite Three-Oh-Six is only offered several times a week so either check in advance on Feastly or through their website.

Vegan pasta has never been so good!  Rigatoni with yellow squash, cream, arugula pesto and a very fragrant citrus balsamic sauce
Nopal cactus, celery heart, coriander aioli, and harissa
Farmer market carrots, lentils, yogurt, and quince
Shiitake mushrooms, baby button mushrooms, cherry tomato, vodka, and condensed soymilk
Dining Area of Suite ThreeOhSix
Their glass enclosed kitchen