Friday, January 29, 2010
In honor of the Grammys this Sunday night, may I present you with my tribute to Lady Gaga in cupcake form. Of course, I couldn't resist doing my interpretation of Lady Gaga's red lace number from the VMAs. I'd like to say that no cupcakes were harmed in the creation of her headdress and veil, but that wouldn't be true...
Why Lady Gaga? Well, why not? If I can do Liza Minnelli as a cupcake, surely Lady Gaga deserves to be one, too. Liza was all sparkly and Funfetti on the inside, but for Gaga, I knew that she'd need a different cake. Then it hit me. Red Velvet--edgy, unexpected yet widely popular.
She's a Fame Monster...
How could I do Lady Gaga cupcakes without some rockin eyewear...
And here are the many faces of Gaga...
Thursday, January 28, 2010
I love pancakes. And I love having excuses to eat them for meals other than breakfast. And what better excuse than Clinton Street Baking Company's Pancake Month Celebration. As in years past the special pancakes will be served Monday thru Friday from 8am-4pm and 6pm-11pm. Here's what's on tap for this February...
Dates and Flavors:
Feb 1st, 2nd, 3rd: chocolate & blood orange pancakes w/candied orange glaze
Feb 4th, 5th: poached pears with vanilla bean whipped cream & warm maple butter
Feb 8th, 9th: fresh coconut pancakes with passion fruit syrup and bananas
Feb 10th, 11th: roasted apples with candied walnuts and warm maple caramel
Feb 12th, 15th: chocolate chunks, fresh raspberries, and raspberry-caramel sauce
Feb 16th, 17th: brown sugar pecans, bananas and cinnamon maple butter
Feb 18th, 19th, 22th: classic chocolate chunk
Feb 23th, 24th: fresh blackberries, pecan streusel, warm maple butter
Feb 25th, 26th: crunchy bananas with cinnamon-chili-chocolate sauce
And if you're not a fan of the particular pancake of the day, they do have their famous wild Maine blueberry or banana walnut, with warm maple butter pancakes on their everyday menu.
I'm wondering how the "chocolate & blood orange pancakes w/candied orange glaze" will compare with last year's "blood orange peel and bittersweet chocolate pancakes." I really enjoyed the decadent and delicious candied orange peel and chocolate combo last year. Clearly I'm going to have to do a little recon next week.
And speaking of February month long celebrations of deliciousness, The Feed Blog has an exclusive look at City Bakery's Annual Hot Chocolate Festival Calendar. Hello, Vietnamese Cinnamon Hot Chocolate!
Clinton St. Baking Co.
4 Clinton Street
Between East Houston & Stanton
New York, NY 10002
Mon-Fri: 8am-4pm & 6pm-11pm
Sat: 10am-4pm, 6pm-11pm;
From what Nick Suarez has told us, there are over 25 different tacos showing up with enough variations to keep everyone happy, along with your complimentary beer with ticket. After you've eaten all the tacos, indulge in free churros and hot chocolate from Cascabel Taqueria, or a Maker's Mark open bar. Holy queso. But the winner of this shindig is going to M.E.X.I.C.O. care of Aero Mexico. You can't beat that. The runner-up isn't making out so bad either with $150 cash money, a private tour of the Red Hook taco vendors with Mr. Cesar Fuentes, and lunch for 4 at the stands. To all the contestants, you need to bring it, for reals.
For more information, check out thefoodexperiments.com.
Tickets are $20 in advance (meaning buy now), or $25 at the door (if there are any left). Click here to buy tickets. As always, a portion of the sales go to support Ovarian Cancer Research.
The Bell House
149 7th Street
Wednesday, January 27, 2010
Hill Country has teamed up with Batey Relief Alliance to throw a Hoedown for Haiti. $35 gets you food, songs, an open bar, and maybe a wining raffle prize. Batey Relief Alliance is a humanitarian aid entity that works specifically in Haiti, the Dominican Republic, and the US with a focus on the Haitian diaspora. They've worked hard for years to bring sanitation, health care, and educational programs to those in need, doing enough good works that even President Clinton praises them. For more information on what your $35 donation can do, check out www.bateyrelief.org.
It's this Sunday, the 31st at 6:30pm, all you have to do it show up!
30 West 26th Street
Tuesday, January 26, 2010
FACT: I'm not a huge jelly doughnut fan. The jelly doughnuts I grew up with were of the DD Munchkin variety--small powdered sugar covered numbers with a dollop of squishy, sugary fruit filling. Thanks, but no thanks. But when my friend and fellow jelly doughnut doubter, Erin, blogged about discovering the perfect jelly doughnut at Almondine Bakery, I knew I had to give jelly doughnuts another try...
Upon our first visit to Almondine in Park Slope Lawman and I learned two lessons...
1) fried faux pas alert: the staff does not refer to the jelly doughnuts as "doughnuts" they are raspberry beignets (visions of the cheesy classic Polaner All Fruit commercial)
2) you snooze, you lose out on beignets. They make them in the morning and when they are gone (usually within an hour) they are gone.
Our second visit just further confirmed lesson two. If you go in the afternoon there will not be beignets waiting for you.
On our third visit, this past Sunday morning at 11:30am, we were finally rewarded with a case full of beignets. Not wanting our beignet to be lonely, we decided to spring for pain au chocolat as well.
The beignet was utterly delicious. The dough itself was soft, airy and perfectly sweetened and the filling, oh the filling. The photo below is a little misleading because it looks like the beignet is only about half filled. In reality there were probably only about 2 bites that were mostly fillingless. I'm not sure how they managed to fit so much raspberry jam goodness in there, but I'm glad they did.
The pain au chocolat was a nice second breakfast treat. The pastry was light and flakey and they didn't skimp on the chocolate. I would definitely order both again (and soon!).
442 9th St
Brooklyn, NY 11215
Monday, January 25, 2010
the closing of Batch and P*Ong last spring, New York City had to wait two seasons before being able to enjoy Pichet Ong's desserts again. The first of the new bakeries came with the November opening of Spot, it appears to be a high-end dessert bar that I unfortunately have not visited (hatred of St. Marks Place.) The second was the weekend opening of Village Tart, another sit down or take-away bakery. The interior includes a glassed off cafe, a lot of dark wood, and a large pastry selection. I immediately spotted the Nutella Skillet Cake, mainly because it looked like a s'more cake and the sign said "Nutella."
86 Kenmare Street
Friday, January 22, 2010
Saturday, January 23rd is National Pie Day. That's filled pastry dough "Pie Day" as opposed to the mathematical constant whose value is the ratio of any circle's circumference to its diameter in Euclidean space "Pi Day" which is of course celebrated on March 14th--why the math geeks and pastry freaks can't just combine their celebrations, I'll never know, but I never mind an excuse for good pie...
$5 seems like a bargain entrance fee for Third Annual Brooklyn Pie Contest to Benefit BK Farmyards and the event is free for competitors.
The event runs from 6:00 until 11:00pm at K&M Bar in Williamsburg. If you want to compete bring your pie at 5:30 and be sure to follow these rules:
a. Crust MUST be homemade.
b. Sorry, no pizza pies
c. Bring "a modestly sized place card with a description of the pie ONLY written on it"
Three local chefs will judge the competition and prizes will be awarded for BEST SWEET, BEST SAVORY and PEOPLE'S CHOICE.
You don't need to sign up to enter but it would help them to have an idea of how many pies will be competing. You can email BEEKEEPER@BROOKLYNHONEY.COM to sign up.
Best of all, funds raised from the event will go to BK Farmyards, an organization seeking to turn the vast amount of unused acreage in NYC into farmable land.
If I didn't already have plans for Saturday, I'd definitely enter. But come on back tomorrow for a round up of some of my favorite pie recipes and a brand new recipe for a tribute in pie form to the King. If you love peanut butter, bacon and bananas you don't want to miss out...
K & M
225 N. 8th St., Brooklyn, NY 11211
at Roebling St.
Thursday, January 21, 2010
This reasoning led me to finally try Angelica Kitchen. Bezzy McBez, our token vegetarian, and I went out on a movie date and ended up discussing how neither of us has ever eaten at Angelica even though it's been around since we were babes. It just seemed too crunchy, and granola, and healthy, and om-y. AKA the perfect dinner spot for two 'I'm on a healthy kick' ladies. While I went for the beet salad, Bez went for a special. I can't recall the exact name, but it was vegetarian chili with a side of quinoa and surprisingly delicious. Meatless definitely doesn't have to mean bland, and the quinoa's nutty flavor added to an already excellent chili. The only real problem came from huge broccoli florets that needed cutting, but that's hard to achieve with no knife available. If we were on dates, it would take some serious finagling to eat those gracefully.
Be warned! Angelica Kitchen is stuck in 1990 and is cash only.
300 East 12th Street
Wednesday, January 20, 2010
Hagan's post about our time there, he calls me out on not trying to suck out the bone marrow from the lamb bone. Yes, I have a problem with bone marrow. I know it's the new thing to eat, I know it's "where all the flavor is," but I have a mental hurdle blocking my bone marrow experiences. When I think of marrow, I think of red blood and stem cells, and the giving of life, and LIFE in general and how this was one not too long ago, and before I know it, I have omnivore guilt. I can't suck the life force out of dead bone no matter how delicious it is until I can rectify all of this in my head.
Full disclosure: This meal was comped by Zoma.
2084 Frederick Douglass Blvd. at 113th Street
Tuesday, January 19, 2010
One of the best things about Blondie's new nabe is her proximity to Peter Pan Bakery. She's told you about the wonders of their chocolate doughnut, their muffins, their cinnamon buns, but let's talk Red Velvet doughnuts.
Before Peter Pan, I'd never even heard of Red Velvet Doughnuts. In fact on our first trip there Lawman and I were beguiled by a chocolate frosted, cream filled number that we were blissfully unaware of the growing crowd behind us as we sat at the counter. When we had finished up our doughnut we finally looked up and noticed that everyone else was doughnutless and waiting. Moments later the infamous Red Velvet doughnuts that Blondie had spoken so highly of emerged from the back. It was like locusts. LOCUSTS. And Lawman and I had wasted the last bit of our post brunch tummy space on that other doughnut. We vowed that next time we hit Greenpoint we would not be denied.
It took a couple of tries, but after a recent brunch with Blondie we decided to pop in just to check and see if they had any Red Velvets. While we were waiting in line a baker burst through the kitchen door with a huge tray of hot, fresh red velvets. Score. We go the very first one off the tray. Still warm, this doughnut was melt in your mouth delicious. Not as chocolatey as a chocolate doughnut with a hint of extra sweetness from the glaze. Lawman mentioned craving this doughnut no less than 3 times this weekend. I guess we'll be making a Greenpoint pilgrimage soon.
Peter Pan Bakery
727 Manhattan Avenue
Monday, January 18, 2010
Only Shopsin's could come up with something as diabolically delicious as a grilled cheese made up of french toast and poached eggs. Brilliant.
I was excited to see that Shopsin's famous donuts have made their way back on the most recent iteration of the menu. In addition to our entrees we opted to share a half order of cinnamon donuts with Blondie's friend Ginger. There's nothing in the world like a hot, fresh donut and these are made to order. They go from fryer to your plate (to your table) in around a minute, arriving perfectly crispy on the outside and soft and tender in the middle. Highly, highly recommended that you save or make room for these.
Essex Street Market
120 Essex Street
New York, NY 10002
Saturday, January 16, 2010
Poor Grover, he tries to so hard as a waiter, but you know whenever Mr. Johnson walks into the restaurant there's going to be trouble...
Now, to be fair when Mr. Johnson actually places his order he says he wants a "sandwich" just like the one in the picture--the chips and pickle are part of the lunch special. So really, based on what he ordered, the sandwich was only missing the olive. Were Grover and the kitchen being too careless or was the customer just being kind of a jerk?
Friday, January 15, 2010
Halcyon Gourmet, but they also get some special pastry from iconic Balthazar. Even though I don't typically get morning pastry, I save that treat for vacations, every now and then I want a little something with my coffee. This particular time, it was an afternoon coffee, so the maple walnut schnecken in question had been out of the oven for many hours.
Schneckens are a cousin of rugelach, a main difference being that the schnecken are made with sour cream, not cream cheese. They're often described as Sticky German Cinnamon Buns, the name means snail in German, and are quite popular around Philly and Baltimore (two cities I've never visited.) My Walnut Maple Schnecken reminded me of a maple cinnamon bun crossed with rugelach; the dough is flaky, but denser than I'm used to in pastry. I would definitely love to taste one hot out of the oven, and will be trying any schnecken I come across.
Norman Avenue between Manhattan and Lorimer
www.cuponnorman.com and their Twitter jump
Thursday, January 14, 2010
"Non esistono scorciatoie per la qualita" or as they say in the good old US of A: “There are no shortcuts to quality.”
I think the Romans would also approve of January's Monday custard flavor at the Shack as well...Gianduja the classic Italian chocolate and hazelnut combination. Buonissimo!
Madison Square Park
23rd Street and Madison Avenue
Upper West Side
366 Columbus Ave (at 77th Street)
Shake Shack's Twitter
Wednesday, January 13, 2010
I'll fully admit that I've never really understood flagels (aka flat bagels). For a brief (sad, sad) moment when I was low carbing it, I thought I got it--it's kind of like a scooped out bagel, less carbs inside, right? But really--and flagel afficianados you can correct me here--it's just a regular bagel that's been flattened. More surface area for your schmear. Less of the dense chew factor. While I support more surface area, I do miss the chew factor. But, the other day I discovered the flagel in it's perfect form: the base of a killer breakfast sandwich...
I generally don't go for bagel breakfast sandwiches because between the thickness of the bagel and all the filling, it's recipe for a jaw ache for me. Flagels give you the bagelike experience while making for a sandwich that you can still fit in your mouth. Win!
Take one toasted Terrace Bagels flagel, add egg whites, American cheese, crispy bacon(!), and tomatoes. The tomatoes are key to the sandwich. Not that there's anything wrong with bacon, egg, and cheese, but the tomatoes give a what's admittedly a "farmer's breakfast" (or just a gut bomb) that little bit of lightness. I recommend going with an everything flagel if they have them--those toasty oniony bits take the sandwich right over the top. Delicious.
224 Prospect Park W
between 16th St & Windsor Pl
Brooklyn, NY 11215
Tuesday, January 12, 2010
In honor of the 25th anniversary, DQ has expanded their Blizzard menu to 25 options. Hellooooo, Double Fudge Cookie Dough Blizz!
I still remember my very first Blizzard. I suspect it was sometime around 1987--probably after getting a shot at the doctor's. My mom took me for a Blizzard treat and I could pick anything I wanted. What did I choose? Um, a Nerds Blizzard, of course. And at the time it was the most delicious thing in the world to me.
My current favorite Blizzard...it's a tie between Mint Oreo and an off menu special from my hometown DQ known as the Mississippi Mud--coffee syrup, chocolate syrup and crushed Oreo cookies.
Unfortunately the closest DQ is in Jersey City, but given that this is the year of the Blizzard you have 353 more days to seek out one of their 5700 locations. Happy Birthday, Blizzard!
What's your favorite Blizzard memory?
Monday, January 11, 2010
Asia Dogs, but never sought them out which is a major fail on my part. During the Brew Ha-Ha, some friends asked Asia Dogs if they had nitrates, and they did not! I was pleasantly surprised, genuinely happy, and ready to have hot dogs and beer for dinner (it was the holidays, anything goes!)
Raspberry Bakeshop's cupcakes for the first time! Roopa, one of our lovely readers, started this business last year, and if the mini cupcakes I tried were any indication, the girl's got talent. Minis are notoriously hard, dryness and bad taste abound, but hers were moist little sumptuous bites. I highly recommend.
Locations varies, check their Twitter
Saturday, January 9, 2010
Have you ever had your lunch stolen? Then you can totally relate Ernie's predicament. Fortunately he has Sherlock Hemlock on the case...
There are few things as frustrating as heading to the fridge or freezer at work only to discover that your lunch has disappeared. It's happened to me on a couple of occasions at work, but I've never been able to catch the culprit. Have you ever caught a lunchtime thief?
Friday, January 8, 2010
Pig Candy, or BaCorn, or now Buttercrunch cookies. They're chewy, buttery, nutty sweet goodness, and just as good the next day (I did have the So Good at Shopsin's-the line has to be drawn somewhere!) They're offering at least one other type of cookie, Chocolate Chocolate, and I suspect many more are in the works. Apparently this is what I've been missing, and now that Ginger is converted, I doubt I'll be away for long.
Check out the latest Roni-Sue article in the current Edible Manhattan.
120 Essex Street
The King of Rock and Rock, Elvis Aaron Presley, would have been 75 today. How are you going to celebrate? Might I suggest a fried Robicelli's Elvis cupcake from ChipShop...?
Banana cupcake + peanut butter buttercream + candied bacon deep fried = fitting tribute to the king. According to the Robicelli's Facebook page the ChipShop in Park Slope started selling the deep fried Elvises yesterday (aka Elvis birthday eve). The fabulous Stacie Joy from CCTC has the full scoop. Looks like this weekend ChipShop will be doing Sticky Toffee Pudding and Car Bomb deep fried cupcakes as well. While Sticky Toffee and Car Bombs have more of a UK connection, it is the King's birthday this weekend. You know what to do....
383 5th Avenue
Brooklyn, NY 11215-3304
Thursday, January 7, 2010
In December, I had a chance to attend the launch party for the French Culinary Institute's new book The Fundamental Techniques of Classic Pastry Arts. I was lucky to snag a copy and now you can, too...
Let me start by saying this is a GORGEOUS and substantial book. 512 pages! 650 color photographs! The book is based on the pastry arts curriculum at New York’s French Culinary Institute's --a curriculum developed by master pâtissier Jacques Torres. There are chapters focused on each of the classic categories of confection: tarts, cream puffs, puff pastry, creams and custards, breads and pastries, cakes, and petits fours. It's like culinary school in book form. If you're a budding baker, you'll want this as a learning tool. If you're an experienced baker, you'll want this for a reference. I've already used my copy a couple times and it's saved me from screwing up several batches of caramel.
The book retails for $75, but we're giving one away for free. Here's how it's going to work... I've tweeted the link to this post. To enter, retweet the link to your followers and post a comment here with the link to your tweet. You can enter as many times as you'd like, but you have to post a separate comment and separate link for each entry. Next Thursday we'll randomly choose the winner and the friendly folks at Abrams will ship a copy to you (we have to limit this to the 50 states, sorry international readers!).
To whet your appetite for this book, take a peek at Abrams' site. Where you can download the recipe for Tarte aux Pommes, the same delicious tart in the photo below, used with FCI and Abrams' permission.
Or you can check out their recipe for eclairs here. But come on, you know you want the book, so get tweeting!
Wednesday, January 6, 2010
Momofuku brought Chocolate Malt Cake to the Milk Bar menu, it went on the list of things to try before it was rotated out. I was anticipating Whoppers in cake formation. I got a dense chocolate cake with a fudgy ganache frosting with marshmallows. Top it with a graham cracker and call it a s'more. Not that it was bad, the cake was good in itself though I needed a glass of milk after two bites. The marshmallows couldn't stand up to the chocolate, and by that I mean I didn't taste them at all. It was very decadent dessert made for splitting. Maybe if switched out the marshmallows for Whoopers? It's still available if you want to try!
Momofuku Milk Bar
207 2nd Avenue