Friday, October 31, 2008

Pumpkin Whoopie Pies

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I've blogged before about my quest to find the best whoopie in Maine (still haven't found it). And I couple of months ago I ventured into the make own whoopie pie territory. The other night I put a Halloween twist on my whoopie pie recipe with terrific results, so if you are looking for a last minute Halloween treat to make (somewhere between putting together your costume), this recipe is for you...

I've experimented a bit with whoopie recipes and my go to recipe is still the one from epicurious. The recipe was pretty straightforward. You MUST use Droste Dutch Processed Cocoa. The first time I did it I was a little short on Droste and had to add in a couple tablespoons of Hershey's to make my full half cup. And overall I was disappointed in the chocolatey-ness. The next time I did it I used all Hershey's (because that's was Martha recommended). NO! FAIL! Not chocolatey. Not delicious. This time I used 2/3 of a cup of Droste instead of just 1/2 cup. Just right! I recommend making the pies as minis and doubling the recipe if you are having a crowd. For the minis, use your tablespoon measuring spoon to scoop out little balls of batter and bake for around 10 minutes at 350 degrees.

For the pumpkin filling, I turned to Martha Stewart. Do not be confused! You should use the Epicurious recipe for the base. Trust me. Just trust me.

Overall pretty easy way to make something a little different from the standard Halloween (or Thanksgiving) fare.
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Happy Halloween! Go Get Some Pumpkin Goodies!!

Do Not Eat Me, Brownie!!!

Serious Eats: New York has been doing pumpkin-themed Sugar Rushes for a few weeks now and the delicious looking desserts have made my pumpkin CRAVING worse every day. Just as I think I'm over it, pumpkin cheesecake or pumpkin & spice cupcakes bring it back tenfold. I needed some relief, to a bakery!!

I've been to Billy's Bakery before, but wasn't impressed. Their selections seem somewhat mundane for me, nothing really warrants a trek over to the heart of Chelsea. From what I did eat from there, it wasn't going to become my favorite, therefore if I'm going to make a point of visiting a bakery, I'd rather haul my fat booty down to the Sunshine love. With all this in mind, I stepped inside Billy's again, partly to escape the rain and wind on Monday night, partly to hope their pumpkin goodies would make me being on 9th Avenue worth it.

Billy's Bakery Pumpkin Cake

First, I inquired about the pumpkin 'bar' with cream cheese frosting, which went from having 'no nuts' to 'just nuts on the frosting' to 'oh, there may be some nuts inside, but not many.' Yes, I had to coax these answers out of them. In reality, it's pumpkin pecan sheet cake. But, was it worth it? Kind of. Mommsie and I failed to really taste the pumpkin, it was more like spice cake. So, if passed off as spice cake, it would have been very good. The cake itself was moist and fluffy, while the frosting was sweet and creamy.

Billy's Pumpkin Pie

The other pumpkin treat I spotted was pumpkin pie. I saved some for the next day believing it didn't contain any nuts, but Brownie wasn't going to take a chance after hearing about the first treat, leaving all the tasting duties to me and I'm by no means a pumpkin pie expert. It was full of pumpkin flavor and had a good amount of spices, but the texture was off, it was almost like the inside of a bad french fry. Not grainy because there were no hard parts, but definitely not creamy.

Billy's Bakery
184 9th Avenue
(212) 647-9956
www.billysbakerynyc.com
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Thursday, October 30, 2008

Taking on the Treats Truck, One Treat at a Time: More Halloween Specials

Treats Truck Halloween Treats
With all those various Halloween special treats available, we had to return and try some more, didn't we?

Yummy Halloween Treats
This round was a vanilla cupcake with chocolate frosting, and a big pumpkin sugar cookie for me; it just looked so beautiful, I had to have one. Brownie and I split the cupcake and found the vanilla to be a little drier than the chocolate cake, but the frosting was sweet and creamy. If given the choice, we'd probably stick to the chocolate cake with either vanilla or chocolate frosting.

After eating that at lunch, I waited until around 3:15 to break out the pumpkin cookie, much to the delight of my desk-mate. I have to say, this is my new favorite treat from the truck; the icing was spot-on, creamy and sweet, but not grainy. The cookie was chewy and buttery; the pumpkin disappeared fast and left me smiling and satisfied. Certifiably delicious!!

You better go out and get your Halloween treats, here's the schedule for the rest of the week:
Thurs, Oct 30th - 12-2pm 38th & Fifth Ave/3-5pm Broadway in 80s, call for spot
Fri, Oct 31st - 12-4:30pm 45th St & 6th Ave
Sat, Nov 1st - 10:30-1:30pm Park Slope, Union St near Prospect Park W or 8th Ave/ 3-5pm UWS, Broadway in 80s, call for exact spot

Keep informed of the truck's location by calling (212) 691-5226, checking their Twitter, or visiting treatstruck.com.

Previous Treats Truck Reviews:
Halloween Specials, Part 1
Pecan Butterscotch Bar
Chocolate Trucker
Chocolate Chip and Mint Chocolate Chip Conecakes
Mexican Chocolate Brownie
The Nutty Co-Worker and PB&J Jamwich
Conecakes
Chocolate and Vanilla Cupcakes
Orange Chiffon Cake
Peanut Butter Brownie
Raspberry Oatmeal Jammy
Raspberry Lemon & Mint Chocolate Swirlie Dots
Chocolate Truck Cookie
Sugar Dot
Chocolate Chipper
Carmel Creme Trucker
Peanut Butter Chocolate Sandwich Cookie
Chocolate Chipper with Nuts
Mint Chocolate Trucker
Passover treats
Cinnamon Cookie
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Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Grand Central's Halloween Market

Zaro does Halloween

Yesterday, the profiled Midtown Lunch'er, Niko of DessertBuzz.com, wanted to know "If you had to spend the whole ML budget ($10.00) on a dessert or sweet dish, what would you purchase and where?" Unable to come up with something (I still can't), I decided to just go blow $10 of my lunch money in Grand Central Market. Thankfully, I'm fully in the Halloween spirit (I'm going to be a Greek Goddess!)

Zaro's Halloween Witch's Hat

My first stop was the commuter's bakery, Zaro's, where the pastry case was fully packed with Halloween goodies: candy caskets, spider whoopie pies, very impressive cupcakes, and witch hat and ghost cupcakes. So many options, such little money. I was originally going to go with a ghost cupcake (similar to the above, but a ghost with raised arms), there was one left and the woman behind me wanted one too. I did the good thing, I let her have it and took a witch's hat. It's entirely a dense, moist dark chocolate cake with a small layer of mousse separating the cake and the ganache outside. Very filling, this could easily be split amongst two or three people. The decorations are only held on by frosting so they did fall off; it also didn't help that Zaro's doesn't have any sort of box to put these in. Beware, the decorations are plastic, so don't eat those! These are worth the $3.95 price tag, especially if you're buying it for a kid.

Corrado's Halloween Porcupine

On my way out, I stopped by the Corrado Bread & Bakery counter, with $6 left to spend. They didn't have as many Halloween treat options, but after an agonizing decision, I chose the Halloween Porcupine with candy corn, as opposed to the one with almonds (I did want to share my booty with Brownie.) Finally with a smile on my face, I left and worked my way through the afternoon. Of course, I didn't remember that ganache softens and anything propped up by it is bound to fall down, like, say, candy corn. Around 5:15, I was preparing to meet Brownie, opened my drawer, and exclaimed "Oh nos! My porcupine is bald!" My colleagues laughed, and I knew we would have to fix it for photos. The inside was an airy, soft chocolate mousse; above average and between that and the presentation, definitely worth the $6 price tag. I could have eaten a few of these if given the chance.

Inside Corrado's Halloween Porcupine

Zaro's
Locations in Manhattan, Newark, and Parkchester
www.zaro.com

Corrado Bread & Bakery
Grand Central Market (other locations throughout Manhattan)
(212) 599-4321
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Daring Bakers October Challenge: Street Meat Pizza, Three Preparations

Street Meat Pizza

The weather was so toasty this summer so I haven't been able to make pizza in a long time. I was delighted that this month's Daring Bakers' Challenge was to make pizza from scratch using Peter Reinhart's recipe from The Bread Baker's Apprentice: Mastering The Art of Extraordinary Bread. Perfect timing because I've had a hankering for pizza. And a crazy notion that perhaps it would be possible to make a pizza with street meat...

Yes, street meat pizza. Why not? The challenge this month required you to use a sauce (um, white sauce, hot sauce anyone?) and toppings (the street meat of course!), but since I work in midtown near a ton of good street meat options I had to figure out how I might go about making a street meat pizza and whose meat would hold up the best. After consulting with Blondie, who I believe said "Meru all the way," I decided to get chicken tikka from the Biryani Cart, the People's Choice at the Vendy Awards and chicken from the famous cart on 53rd and 6th.

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Chicken Tikka from the Biryani Cart

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Chicken from "Chicken and Rice" on 53rd and 6th


The recipe for this pizza crust is a two day affair, but other than the fact that you need to plan ahead to prepare it, it's not difficult. This month's Daring Baker host, Rosa from Rosa's Yummy Yums has the full recipe on her site as well as a gluten free version.

My one caution is do pay attention to the recipe when it calls for chilled flour and ice cold water. I was in such a rush to put together the dough the other night that I missed this direction. My dough still turned out well, but I think it might have risen more if I followed directions better.

Now for the pies!

For my first pizza, I did a Chicken Tikka pie, basically just spritzing my dough with Olive Oil, and then layering on the Chicken Tikka from the Biryani Cart which came with some lovely sauteed onions and red peppers. If I were to make this again I would get a double order of chicken and bring a little container for extra sauce (the Biryani cart doesn't have take out sauce containers). When the pie was finished, I garnished it with some of the extra white sauce from the other cart.

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For my next pie, I took a jar of Trader Joe's Curry Simmer Sauce and applied it as I would regular sauce. About 5 minutes into the cooking process I tossed several handfuls of the chopped chicken from the other cart onto the cooking pizza. Next time I might re-sautee the chicken with some onions before adding it to the pizza. Again, once out of the oven I finished the pie with white sauce.

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And for my last pie I made a Street Meat Pizza Bianca so to speak. I first stretched out the pizza, placed it on the stone, spritzed it with oilve oil and added a touch of garlic powder, then I added some white sauce and smeared it around and allowed the pie to cook for about 5 minutes or until the edges were starting to brown, then I cover the pie with chopped chicken and cooked until the edges were a nice toasty brown. When I pulled the pie from the oven I drizzled my remaining white sauce on it.

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My favorite was the Chicken Tikka Pie. That chicken is just so darn good. It's tender, flavorful and has a nice spicy kick at the end. It paired well with the thin crust and the white sauce finished it off nicely.

Lawman liked my pie with the simmer sauce, I guess because it gave him a more familiar pizza experience. The Pizza Bianca pie was also good, but as Lawman said, it needed some hot sauce. Next time I'll dab a little on during the finishing stage.

All and all I was pleased with my first go round with Street Meat pizza. I have some leftover dough and I can't wait to get back in the kitchen and try some other ideas!

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One of the challenges this month was tossing the dough like a real pizzaiolo. Yipes!

In lieu of photos of me tossing the dough (of which there are none--I did toss the pies, but I made these pies solo and I'm not that skilled with my camera). May I present some vids I took of Nino Coniglio, Pizza Triathlete and member of the US Pizza Team at the Edible Manhattan launch party.

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And just in case you think Nino's tossing skills are limited to stunt "dough," here he is tossing at Il Brigante with the real stuff.
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For a more traditional approach to this pizza dough recipe, check out my post from the first time I made this recipe after reading about it on Slice.

And for more fabulous pizza variations, check out the Daring Bakers Blogroll. Buon Appetito!
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Tuesday, October 28, 2008

In Belgium, They Have a Neutral Halloween

Leonidas Halloween Offerings

For me, it's easy to forget that Halloween isn't just an American holiday, it's celebrated the world over, even in Belgium. Let's take a second to think about a Belgian trick-or-treater's chocolate booty when they come home Halloween night....yeah, I want to move there too, or buy some Leonidas chocolates.

Leonidas Marzipan Pumpkin

When my city uncle would come visit us heathens out in Queens, he'd often bring special ritzy gifts; when we were lucky, those gifts consisted of goodies from Leonidas or Fauchon. He knew this would win him the "favorite uncle" award. Leonidas has another important distinction in my life; one of their shops in Bruges is the home of the best 'melt in your mouth' chocolate truffle I have ever had in my entire life. Those 12 truffles didn't last long, in fact 6 of them didn't make it back to Paris. To this day, when I pass by Leonidas on Madison Avenue and have time to drop in, I do, longing for those truffles. And yesterday, that's just what I did. Though the truffles were nowhere to be seen, I spotted the cutest little Halloween marzipan treats, a pumpkin, white and orange ghosts, and a chocolate with a ghost and jack o' lantern design.

Boo!

The funny part of marzipan treats and myself is that I always believe their cuteness with make them taste delicious, then I eat one, and feel tricked! The almonds are out to get me too, Brownie! The pumpkin and ghost were pure marzipan, while the chocolate was the Carre Orange (marzipan with candied orange peel). Worth the $6 I paid? No, not at all, but they made me smile and if I had to decorate a nice dessert this week, I'd definitely pick some up. And some chocolates.

Leonidas
485 Madison Avenue
For a store nearest you, click here
www.leonidas.com
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Pushing Daisies’ Pear Gruyère Pie

Mmm.  Pear Gruyere Pie!
Pushing Daisies is one of my favorite shows on television. It's sweet, it's smart, it's funny. Oh, and it features an adorable piemaker and delicious pies. Mmm...pies... I made my very first Pushing Daisies inspired Apple Gruyère pie last month for the 5th Annual Brooklyn Pie Social. Then I made it again later that week with bacon to celebrate the premiere of the show's second season. The other night I was re-watching the episode where the Apple Gruyère appeared and I realized that it wasn't an Apple Gruyère pie at all. It was a Pear Gruyère Pie. Now there's a long tradition of pairing apples with cheese, but pear and gruyère?! Now this was something I had to try...

The recipe I originally followed when I made this as an Apple Gruyère pie came from The Rice and Spice Cupboard. To make the Pear Gruyère pie, I played with the crust a little bit adding in an ounce more gruyère pie. Yum. For the poached pear, filling I relied on advice from mom and a little bit of freestyling. Hope you enjoy!

Pear Gruyère Pie

Makes one 9 to 10 inch pear pie

Gruyère Pie Crust:
2 1/2 c. unbleached all-purpose flour
1 tsp salt
1 tbsp. sugar
20 tbsp. unsalted butter, cut into 1 in pieces
3 oz. Gruyère, grated finely
6-7 tbsp. ice water

Whisk together the flour, salt, sugar and grated gruyere in a large mixing bowl. Using a food processor, mix butter and flour/cheese mixture until the largest butter chunks are the size of large peas.

Remove flour/cheese/butter mixture from food processor return it to the large mixing bowl. Sprinkle ice water over flour in increments of one tablespoon, toss with fork after each addition. Be careful not to add too much water. You can get an even water distribution by adding putting the water in one of those spritzer bottles. When dough begins to clump together as you stir, test the dough by squeezing it in your hands, if it forms in a lump then gather the rest of the dough together into two separate disks, leaving one slightly larger than the other. Wrap the dough in plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight. Or if you are in a rush, toss the dough in the freezer for about an hour, when it's solid yet still gives slightly under your touch, it's ready to go.

Spiced Poached Pear Pie Filling:
3 lbs. Bartlett pears
1/4 c. white sugar
3/4 c. port wine
1 1/2 c. water
2 tsp. cornstarch
2 tsp vanilla
1/2 tsp. ginger
1/4 tsp. nutmeg
1/4 tsp clove
1 cinnamon stick

1 egg, lightly beaten (for crust)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Add sugar, wine, water, vanilla, cinnamon stick, ginger, nutmeg and clove into a large stock pot or dutch oven. Bring to a boil. Put an empty medium bowl into the freezer to chill.

Peel and halve pears. Scoop the core and seeds out and then cut the halves in half. Once liquid mixture has come to a boil add cut pears. Simmer for about 20 minutes until the pears are tender.


Using a slotted spoon remove the pear quarters from the poaching liquid and put them into the chilled bowl.

Return the poaching liquid to a boil and reduce until you have about 3/4 of a cup of syrup. Add 2 teaspoons of cornstarch to the syrup to thicken the syrup further. Pour the syrup into a measuring cup and chill.

In the meantime, roll the larger piece of dough into a circle around fourteen inches in diameter. I roll out the dough between two pieces of plastic wrap to keep it from sticking. Peel off one side of the plastic wrap and center that side of the dough in the pie plate then remove the other sheet of plastic wrap.

Remove the pears from the chilled bowl layer them into the bottom of the pie. Pour the syrup on top of the pears.

Pear Gruyere Pie in Process

Roll out the slightly smaller dough dish into circle around twelve inches in diameter. Place this dough round on top of the pie. Seal the crusts together using a fork or your fingers. Brush the top of the pie with the beaten egg, and make three parallel slits in the top crust to allow steam to escape. Or if you are feeling fancy pantsy, feel free to make decorative cutouts.

Oven time for Pear Gruyere Pie

Put the pie on a cookie sheet to catch any drips--I like to cover my cookie sheet with parchment paper or aluminum foil to minimize the mess. Put the pie in the oven, bake until the crust is golden and you can see the filling bubble up between the slits in the crust, about 30 to 40 minutes. Cool and serve with vanilla ice cream.

Pear Gruyere Pie!

Now I'm new to this pie baking thing, but this pie was abso-freaking-lutely delicious. Really, really good. The extra gruyère and all that butter made the crust super tender and flakey. This recipe is definitely a keeper.
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Sunday, October 26, 2008

I Can Overlook Your Oversight

Festive

Crumbs did a major bad in my world, they opened a store in the vicinity of my work, and didn't hand out free cupcakes. Well, they handed out mini regulars, but those appeared to run out with no replenishment. Bad, bad, bad. Then Moniker told me to hit up Crumbs anyway.

Purple Insides

She knew that they had begun their Halloween designed cupcakes, having had a black and orange cupcake from there. Fortunately (or unfortunately for my hips which are screaming mercy), I needed to meet Bez around Bryant Park the other evening. Do you really think I would pass up the chance to stop by and see what was being offered? I think not. The top shelf had regular vanilla and chocolates with frosting designs, cobwebs, spiders, etc., but they also had a few of their Hostess decked out as well. Excited, I picked one up for some waiting-time eating. I have to say I liked the purple filling, it reminded me of spider guts and put me in the Halloween mood. The one I got must have been sitting around for a while since it was a bit dry, not the best I've had from there. I hope that the recent expansion does not equal a quality downgrade.

Crumbs
Locations throughout the Tri-State and California
www.crumbs.com
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Saturday, October 25, 2008

Blondie's Head Over Heels For Custard

October Custard Calendar

I can't stop myself, out of control. I've always had my eye on the Shake Shack custards, and have tasted some of their revolving custards, but unless a certain flavor has caught my eye (nod to coffee & donuts and red velvet), I hadn't given them much thought. I'm there for the Shackburger, not dessert. This month, pancake caught my eye early and while I was enjoying that, a funny thought ran across my mind.

"What if someone ate each custard offering? I could be wrong, but I've never heard of anyone doing that. What if one of the 'eh' flavors is unbelievable, and no one knows?"
The race was on, to try each one and not gain 5 pounds in the process. May I present to you, the October Shack Shake Custard Calendar:

Mon Pumpkin Spice
Monday-Pumpkin Spice
Very spicy, filled with nutmeg, cloves and mace, the trio that can overwhelm any cinnamon. Thick and creamy, this easily puts you in the mood for autumn.

German Chocolate Custard
Tuesday-German Chocolate
Very subtle caramel undertones, and a little chalky.

Wed Apple Rosemary
Wednesday-Apple Rosemary
Rosemary flavor completely overwhelms any apple taste. If you love rosemary, you'll love this.

Pancake Custard
Thursday-Pancake
Tasted more like honey or light maple syrup than pancake but bacon is making an appearance as a topping. There is a little crunch that could be hard maple sugar or candy.

Fri Custard
Friday-Chocolate Candied Corn
Creamy regular chocolate custard, almost like soft-serve with a milky aftertaste. The candied corn is waxy though.

Cinnamon Roasted Fig
Saturday-Cinnamon Roasted Fig
Fruity and sweet with a nice cinnamon kick. It's tan with flecks of cinnamon.

Oct 08 Sun Shiraz Pear
Sunday-Shack Shiraz Poached Pear
Another fruity custard, but the sweetness was more subtle here. You can taste the Shiraz, it was almost like wine ice cream over a poached pear.

Along with Shacktoberfest, I also got to try limited time only concretes...

Apple n' Honey Cake Concrete
Apple & Honey Cake

Wonderful chunks of apple and honey cake. The cake tasted like honeycomb, which I love.

Wed 10 22 Concrete
Warm Cran-Apple Concrete

Of course, the warm compote started melting everything right away. The compote was tart and way too sweet for me, but if you mixed everything together, it was edible, tart and sweet, but edible.

Favorite of the month: Pumpkin Spice (Shake Shiraz Poached Pear is a close second)

Major Fail of the month: (tie) Apple Rosemary and Warm Cran-Apple Concrete

Shake Shack
Madison Square Park AND 366 Columbus Ave (at 77th Street)
www.shakeshacknyc.com
Twitter feed
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Saturday Excursion: Visiting the Le Gamin Truck in Brooklyn

Le Gamin Truck
Last Saturday morning before my volunteer shift for the Vendy's, Lawman and I took a romantic stroll along Prospect Park with one goal in mind. Crepes. Crepes from Le Gamin's brand new crepe truck...

I love that so many of the food trucks have blogs so you can easily find them and Le Gamin is no exception. They are also nice enough to post the day or night before about their upcoming whereabouts. We easily found the truck parked on Union Street near Grand Army Plaza. Then the question became what to get...


Le Gamin Menu


Their menu actually had more than just crepes, including a very intriguing lamb dog that I ultimately decided to save for my next trip. But I'll have to admit I was a little taken aback by the prices. My first choice for ordering would have been the Crepe Gamin which was your choice of 3 of the following: leek, goat cheese, chicken, mushroom, ham and cheese. Yum. Oh, the combinations I could come up with! But at $9, Lawman very quickly nixed my Crepe Gamin dreams. We were both hungry for something savory though so we settled for the ham and cheese crepe, which for $7 wasn't what you would call a bargain. It was good, but I don't know that I would say it was $7 good.

Ham and Cheee Crepe


I've never been to any of Le Gamin's storefront locations but browsing on menupages it appears that the ham and cheese crepe at the their SoHo location is $7.50 and that comes with organic mesclun. On a real plate. Served inside a restaurant. The Crepe Gamin at the restaurant was also $9, but again came with organic mesclun and you had different choices of filling that included: cheese, ham, egg, chicken, sausage, ratatouille(!), and mushrooms. Some of the crepes were actually more expensive on the truck. The butter and sugar crepe was $3.75 in the restaurant and $4 on the truck. The crepe with jam was $4.25 in the restaurant and $5 on the truck. But for some reason the fresh fruit crepe was $5 on the truck and $6 at the restaurant. Now to me this seems like how it should work...food should be cheaper coming from a truck since you have less overhead. What do you think? Any Le Gamin reports? Either from the truck or the actual restaurant? How do their crepes stack up?

Inside Ham and Cheese Crepe


If I'm looking for a quick snack I might give their fruit or jam crepes a try, but if I'm really hungry, I'd rather pay a couple extra bucks and get brunch at the nearby restaurant, Cheryl's Global Soul where $10-$13 gets you brunch with coffee and a mimosa or bloody mary.

If you're up for crepes while doing your green market shopping the Le Gamin truck should be at Grand Army Plaza from 9:00ish am today. If you head over at around 10:30 you can catch Treats Truck on the same block!

Le Gamin in Brooklyn

Le Gamin Truck (check blog for location)
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Friday, October 24, 2008

Sukhadia's Makes a Delicious Masala Dosa

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Yes, Sukhadia makes a delicious Masala Dosa and this was probably the MOST delicious Masala Dosa I've had at Sukhadia's, but if you have a nut allergy like I do, their sometimes secret ingredient of cashews is not good news...

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I've been to Sukhadia's many times for their excellent $5.99 all vegetarian Indian buffet and also for their dosas. The masala dosa is my favorite and Sukhadia makes a very good one. The dosa is chewy and flavorful and oh, yeah, HUGE--I had to lean back to get it all in the shot. It comes with a little cup of dal and a cup of coconut chutney. The potato filling this time was exceptionally good. Nicely spiced and studded with tasty onions. Oh and something crunchy. Something crunchy that has the texture of a nut. Nuts in my masala dosa? I've never had a masala dosa there with nuts and Blondie and I specifically asked the waiter two or three times if it had nuts! Very frustrating. Fortunately I don't have as severe reaction to nuts as some of my friends who are also allergic, but I try to limit my exposure as much as I can and I'm always good about asking if dishes have nuts. Turns out the communication breakdown was in the kitchen where the chef (I'm presuming a new guy) sometimes at his whim puts a little bit of cashews in the dosa. ARGH!

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Lesson learned...next time I'm at Sukhadia's I will peer behind the counter, make eye contact with the chef and make him understand that I can't have nuts in my food. If you don't have a problem with nuts then I'd recommend this dosa without reservation. I have no idea what the final bill was because Blondie paid it as I ran out to Duane Reade in search of Benadryl.

Sukhadia's Gokul
17 West 45th Street
New York City, NY
(between 5th and 6th Avenue)
Phone : 212 395-7300
Fax : 212-395-2552
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Pumpkin + Raisins + Rum + Maple Frosting = A Tipsy Brownie

Pumpkin Maple Rum Cupcake

Brownie and I were wandering around the other day, discussing, in no particular order, food, the rapidly dropping temperatures, food trucks, new shoes, Chick-Fil-A, Nebraskan monks, my persistent cold, and pumpkin desserts. That last one reminded us that Pichet Ong was offering a new pumpkin cupcake at Batch, not that we're pumpkin crazy or anything...

Upon arriving, we noticed that the pumpkin cupcake isn't the only new offering; you can also get a black & white cupcake and macarons.

New Black and White Cupcakes from Batch

Oh, we'll be back for those, but for now, it was all about the limited-time only pumpkin. And it was delicious! The pumpkin cake was moist and flavorful with a rum raisin filling, while the maple rum frosting was sweet and creamy, but not overwhelming. Now, let's think, Brownie is the teetotaler of this duo; when you give her rum and then a little more rum, she can get giggly. This was apparent when she convinced a random stranger to buy two more cupcakes than he anticipated, it was quite humorous.

Batch's Pumpkin Cupcake

The best part about Pichet's cupcakes is that they don't slather the frosting on, instead it's just enough to complement the cake and leave you wanting more. The cupcakes are also not huge, so you feel satiated, not filled to the brim and over cupcakes forever when done. Maybe it's the flavors or ingredients Pichet uses, or maybe they're filled with magic pixie dust; whatever it is, you should definitely stop by soon before the pumpkin's all gone!

Batch
150B West 10th Street
(212) 929-0250
www.batchnyc.com
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Thursday, October 23, 2008

Pulled Pork, The Latest Dinge

Pulled Pork Wafel

Last week, Wafels & Dinges decided to add a new savory wafel, pulled pork bbq with cole slaw and koolickles. I guess if fried chicken goes with waffles, so does pulled pork?

Pulled Pork Wafel

As the first reviews were coming in, this new savory seemed promising; the pork is from Smokin' Joe's and I've never even heard of, let alone tried, a kool-aid pickle before so off I went for some lunch. The pulled pork is actually good, moist, meaty pork; the pickle is just weird, it's sweet, fruity, and crunchy, but not briny at all like a pickle should be; the cole slaw was not my favorite. I'm not a big mayo salad fan and will often skip those at BBQs, and this was a slathered in runny mayo slaw. I hadn't finished reading the SE:NY article, but as I was devouring the wafel, I thought to myself "this would probably be easier if made as a sandwich." Sure enough, that's how it should be eaten. If you do happen by and decide to get this, I'd ask for them to cut the wafel down the middle since you rarely can achieve such a task by yourself on the street (it's hard enough to cut and eat these without making a mess of yourself.) And now that this has been made a permanent wafel option, I'm encouraging Brownie to get one soon, and when the truck's in Midtown, it definitely makes up for the BBQ-less lunch options.

Wafels & Dinges likes to move around, the best way to find the truck is through its Twitter.
www.wafelsanddinges.com
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