Friday, February 26, 2010

Last Call for Pancakes!

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Yesterday Blondie and I hit Clinton Street Baking Co. for their Crunchy Banana Pancakes with Cinnamon-Chili-Chocolate Sauce. And they were so delicious that I couldn't resist sharing some pancake love...

Of all the pancakes that I've tried at Clinton Street, these are most definitely my all time favorite. Imagine banana pancakes topped with a delicious fried battered banana tastiness and decked out with cinnamon-chili-chocolate sauce. Yum.

The cinnamon-chili-chocolate sauce is tasty. The spicing was more subtle then I expected, but still good. There was a decent amount of chocolate drizzle, but I wouldn't have minded a more liberal dousing. What can I say? I love me some chocolate.

Today is the last day for Pancake Month at Clinton Street Baking and they are serving these pancakes again. Don't wait until next year to give them a try!

Clinton Street Baking Co.
4 Clinton St. between. East Houston and Stanton
(646) 602-6263
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Thursday, February 25, 2010

February's Almost Over!


Chocolate Explosion
And if you were like me, making a February goal to finally partake in two annual traditions, the City Bakery's Hot Chocolate Festival and Clinton Street Baking Co.'s Pancake Month, time is running out!


Happy Hot Chocolate
I have gotten half of these goals done, twice even, trying both the Caramel and the Happy Hot Chocolate. Personally I liked the Happy better, it was vanilla bean and milk chocolate. Very creamy, very smooth, and most importantly not overwhelming sweet. If you decide to go, be sure to check out Amy Pitt's review of the flavor on TONY's The Feed. She's been doing this all month, make her hard work worth it!


Blueberry Pancakes from Clinton Street Baking Co
Now, for my other goal, it has come to the last 48 hours. Will I be able to trek through the snowy evening and eat some Crunchy Banana with Cinnamon-Chili-Chocolate Sauce?! Or will my job keep me all hours of the night? Will Clinton St. be open after I tell my bosses that I need to go eat pancakes?! Stay tuned....

The City Bakery
3 West 18th Street
(212) 366-1414
www.thecitybakery.com

Clinton Street Baking Co.
4 Clinton St. btn. East Houston and Stanton
(646) 602-6263
www.clintonstreetbaking.com
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Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Travels with Brownie: Mallorcas in Puerto Rico

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I'll freely admit that the restaurant section is the first thing I scope out in any travel guide. And it was the Rough Guide to Puerto Rico that pointed me in the direction of Cafeteria Mallorca, an Old San Juan institution where I made a breakfast of grilled sweet pastry filled with cheese. Ooooh yeah...

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With its brown, orange and yellow 60s era decor and black capped and uniformed waitstaff Cafeteria Mallorca has a great classic diner feel. I ordered a Mallorca with cheese though in retrospect, it would not have been bad with a little bacon or ham.

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The soft sweet pastry from the window was sliced and stuffed with American cheese and grilled. Sort of a Puerto Rican version of Shopsin's So Good.

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The outside provided a nice little bit of crunch and the inside reached that melty goo perfection that you get from good old American cheese. And I can't say I minded the generous sprinkle of powdered sugar on the outside. Delicious.

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I had never heard of Mallorcas until I visited San Juan, so I was surprised I got back to the States to discover that Starbucks is serving their own "Mallorca Sweet Breads"--and apparently has been since 2009.

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I picked up one of the Starbucks Mallorcas at a shop in Connecticut. Their Mallorcas were sweeter and more lemony than the ones from Cafeteria Mallorca and definitely could have benefited from some melty cheese filling--then again most things could benefit from melty cheese filling...

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Cafeteria Mallorca
300 Calle San Francisco
San Juan, PR 00933
(787) 724-4607
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Tuesday, February 23, 2010

A Couple More Reasons to Check Out the Whitney Biennial

Sugar the Treats Truck
This week marks the opening of the Whitney's Biennial exhibit. If looking at contemporary art makes you a little hungry, word has it that there will be some very tasty options on hand...

The show opens to the public this Thursday, the same date as Danny Meyer's pop-up cafe, Sandwiched, opens at the museum. This temporary cafe will feature special sandwiches from the Union Square Hospitality Group's stable of chefs including: Carmen Quagliata (Union Square Cafe), Michael Anthony (Gramercy Tavern), Floyd Cardoz (Tabla), Daniel Humm (Eleven Madison Park), Kenny Callaghan (Blue Smoke), and Robb Garceau (Hudson Yards) and will serving hungry museum visitors during the renovation of the permanent dining space on the lower level.

And that's not all the Whitney has up its sleeve for food. Tuesday night is the museum's VIP night, Wednesday night it's open to all members of the Whitney museum and their guests, and while Sandwiched won't yet be open, the museum will have several food trucks on hand. The Treats Truck will be making a repeat appearance--they were at the 2008 opening--and the nights will mark the debut of La Petite Temptation, Hoboken's (and Jersey's) first dessert truck.

Here's the scoop via the B&B inbox, courtesy of Chilltown Lunch blogger, Adam Robb...

"The trucks are open to the public. The Whitney closes off the street to parking and the trucks are parked outside on 75th and Madison. The only other trucks invited out there are Treats Truck and Rickshaw doing savory food from 7pm - 11pm each night."

I'll admit that I'm very intrigued by La Petite Temptation's $5 dessert menu. The four desserts previewed over at Chilltown Lunch look amazing.
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Monday, February 22, 2010

Our Lunching Action

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It's been a rough couple of weeks for lunching in New York, snow, cold, and holidays makes for bad, rushed lunches. But Brownie and I have been trying to get it done! Check out what we've been up to...

All the cookies
Brownie and I both checked out the special Daniel Boulud Truck, despite the madness and confused crowds. Definitely made up for missing the earlier truck that day (there was another on 23rd Street).We also did take two of Dorie Greenspan's CookieBar.

Rock Shrimp Sandwich
Blondie decided to celebrate Fat Tuesday with a Fried Shrimp Sandwich from Grand Central Oyster Bar.

Fried Whiting Sandwich from Kim's Aunt
While Brownie tried the Custard Hot Chocolate from Spoon City, and Fried Whiting Sandwich from Kim's Aunt Kitchen cart.
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Saturday, February 20, 2010

Saturday Morning Cartoons: Bork, Bork, Bork, Bork...


One of my Valentine's gift was a link to this clip of the Swedish Chef, Beaker, and Animal putting their best voices forward for a rendition of Habanera from Bizet's Carmen. Little did I know that this week would be a complete lesson on the truth in those lyrics. Of course, I had to listen to the legendary Maria Callas' version...

And if that is enough to whet your appetite, The Metropolitan Opera has two more performances of Carmen this season.
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Friday, February 19, 2010

Red Velvet Madness

Red Velvet Cruller
When Brownie and Lawman finally tried the Red Velvet Doughnut from Peter Pan, they didn't get the chance to try both of their red velvet specialties. Because not only does Peter Pan make the doughnuts, they make red velvet crullers-the pièce de résistance in my hangover cure-all.

Red Velvet Cruller
They aren't fully red velvet crullers, more of a red velvet/regular twist. The glaze is wonderfully crunchy and sweet, while the cake is moist and flavorful, and the colors together are just beautiful. As with anything made daily, the fresher you can get these, the exponentially better they are. I've had many at 9 in the morning, but the ones saved for the end of the day aren't half bad either

Peter Pan Bakery
727 Manhattan Avenue
Greenpoint, Brooklyn
(718) 389-3676
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Thursday, February 18, 2010

Travels with Lil' Bobo: BK Royale with Cheese

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Lawman and I are off for a little fun in the sun, so I'm turning over the reigns to my brother, Little Bobo to tell you about his recent adventures in eating in the UK...

INT. '70 FORD (MOVING) – MORNING

An old gas guzzling, dirty, white/cream 1970 Ford Falcon Coupe cruises northbound on I-678 in Jamaica, Queens. In the front seat are two young fellas – both wearing cheap black suits with thin black ties. Their names are Little Bobo and Lawman. Lawman is behind the wheel.

Lawman: Okay now, tell me about the trip.
Little Bobo: Well, what do you want to know?
Lawman: Well, tell me about the food you had there. It was good, right?
Little Bobo: Oh man! You woulda dug it! Between London, Newcastle and Edinburgh, food was fantastic all around.
Lawman: Nice!
Little Bobo: But you know what the funniest thing about the UK is?
Lawman: What?
Little Bobo: It's the little differences. I mean they got a lot of the same stuff we got here... but there it's a little different.
Lawman: Example?
Little Bobo: Well, in the UK you can go into Burger King and get an Original Chicken Sandwich with Cheese... except they don't call it that.
Lawman: They don't call it an Original Chicken Sandwich with Cheese?
Little Bobo: Naw, too much of a mouthful I guess... or they're too regal over there...
Lawman: What'd they call it?
Little Bobo: Royale with Cheese.
Lawman: Royyaaallleee with Cheese!

CUT TO:

STILL IMAGE – ROYALE WITH CHEESE.

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Let's roll back a few pages earlier in the script. Day 1 of the Journey was filled with sight seeing, exploring, milkbars, and a football game. By 10 PM my fellow traveler and I were becoming a bit hungry and tired. To add to the situation, most the eateries in the area we were staying in were closed.

Now, a pub would have been an obvious alternative. Many pubs have kitchens, kitchens that stay open late. However, we lacked the energy to enter a pub. And there it was. Burger King. Right by the tube station in King's Cross. Food at last! I began to think, "I wonder what they have on the menu that is different."

The menu was more or less the same. The differences being the Vege Bean Burger, and the Piri Piri Chicken Sandwich... and the ROYALE WITH CHEESE! Ok, so the only difference is the name... but I mean come on. Pretty sweet right? You could also get your Royale with Cheese in a sweet chili style. Try getting an Original Chicken Sandwich with Cheese AND sweet chili sauce in the states. Yeah, that's what I thought, can't have it your way... can you? Only in the UK.
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Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Paris Meets New York with a Side of Liquid Chocolate

Pretzel Croissant
During February, there are a few annual month-long food things, all of which I've tried to celebrate, none of which I've made it to. Until this year folks. I set my mind to it, and for one particular event, I was going to get a side bonus of pretzel croissant.

Caramel Hot Chocolate
The City Bakery is currently in its 18th Annual Hot Chocolate Festival, today being Milk Chocolate Hot Chocolate. But two Saturdays ago, it was Caramel Hot Chocolate, and I was there, sipping to my heart's content. The virtues of their hot chocolate are all over the interwebs-like a liquid semisweet chocolate bar is my personal favorite. I always get mine with marshmallow. The caramel flavoring did bring it to cloying, I could only finish about half before being worn out.

Pretzel Croissant
But the hot chocolate wasn't the highlight of this stop. Let's sidetrack: five and a half years ago I spent the summer in Paris and fell head-over-heels in love. Brownie knows that if I ever run away, she can find me there, munching on jambon, baguette and macarons. My perfect hometown, and I know I'm not alone on this, would be a hybrid of NYC and Paris. In that hybrid dream town, The City Bakery's pretzel croissant would be the breakfast of choice. Sesame-y, buttery, flaky, crunchy, crisp, joy, and beauty. I'm in love with it too.

The City Bakery
3 West 18th Street
(212) 366-1414
www.thecitybakery.com
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Tuesday, February 16, 2010

If It's Mardi Gras, It's Bananas Foster Custard Time...

Mardi Gras Bananas Foster

With the Saints Super Bowl victory, you know it's going to be an especially wild Mardi Gras on Bourbon Street. If you can't make it down to the Big Easy, you can at least celebrate with some Bananas Foster Custard from the Shack...

Blondie and I sample the Shake Shack's Bananas Foster last Mardi Gras and can attest that it's certifiably delicious. The custard had a light banana flavor with hints of caramel and rum. The first thing out of Blondie's mouth was "mmmm, it's boozy." For those of your who want to keep in the Mardi Gras spirit, this custard flavor is available Tuesdays at both the Madison Square Park and Upper West Side locations through the end of the month.

Shake Shack
Madison Square Park AND 366 Columbus Ave (at 77th Street)
Twitter feed
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Friday, February 12, 2010

Peter Pan is My Valentine

Paczki Time!
I've been giving into my Peter Pan cravings for the past few days. As I was picking up a snow treat of a dozen doughnuts for my colleagues, I nearly got smacked by the front door when I was busy reading a sign that said "Pączki on Thursday." God, I love my neighborhood.

Paczki Time!
Pączki are a Polish Mardi Gras week treat, typically served on Fat Thursday (yesterday), and sometimes on Fat Tuesday. It's a yeast doughnut filled with fruit jam or Bavarian cream, sugar dusted or iced. Apparently the difficulty of making your own homemade pącki leads many Poles to just buy it from bakeries, and with a five days left of Mardi Gras, there has to be more around Greenpoint. I believe a weekend of pącki tasting may be in order. Of course I stopped by Peter Pan yesterday, after work because morning sleepiness tends to make me forget things, and though they weren't fresh out of the oven, I had to get one. Peter Pan was offering a sugar dusted prune-filled, and other combinations filled with Bavarian cream, I chose chocolate frosted.

For $1, I ate my third delicious doughnut in two days. Soft yeast dough holding a good amount of sweet Bavarian cream, holy Moses! I can only imagine the deliciousness of a fresh one-a thought that is making me drool. For one thing, the frosting would be a bit better; mine had gotten the hard crust that happens from a day of sitting around. I hope they are serving these through Ash Wednesday, I've been looking to gain 5 pounds of doughnut.

Peter Pan Bakery
727 Manhattan Avenue
Greenpoint, Brooklyn
(718) 389-3676
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Thursday, February 11, 2010

Cookies By Your Idol ≠ Idyllic Cookies

All the cookies
Dorie Greenspan has been one of my baking idols for years now. I used to read Baking with Dorie religiously, and still check out her latest recipes appearing on the web. Her cookbooks have been on my wish lists for years now too. She is without a doubt one of the majors in the baking world. You can imagine the squeals I had when I heard she was going to finally be selling her cookies!

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It took three days and two tries to get to her though. Day One lunch was taken by Daniel Boulud. Day Two was sold out for the most part. Day Three I used the snowstorm to my advantage. "Brownie, four cookies procured, $10, will meet up after work to eat! Excited!"

Chocolate Chunker Cookie
First on the list was the Chocolate Chunker (a non-Brownie cookie). Three different chocolates, salted cashews, and dried cherries were exactly what Ginger and I needed for an afternoon pick-me-up. The slightly crunchy outer layer reveal a fudgey interior, packed with nutty goodness while the cherries give you a good ratio of super-sweet spots. Of all that I had, and I didn't have all her cookies, this was my favorite (followed by the Molasses Spice). But at $3.50 a cookie, I can't see myself buying this very often.

World Peace Cookie
Third favorite was the World Peace cookies, two types of chocolate and fleur de sel. I liked the crackle, crunchy outer layer, with chewy interior. This seemed closer to a chewy brownie, a very decadent chocolate cookie. $2.75 makes this a very special treat indeed.

Coconut Lime Cookie
Coming in the four spot was the Coconut-Lime, a different combination than one usually sees. More tangy citrus than coconut, it was still enjoyable and refreshing. This would be fun to use as a cookie sandwich with key lime pie ice cream.

Chocolate Chip Cookie
At the bottom of my list was her interpretation of my favorite cookie, the Chocolate Chip. On the chewy-crunchy spectrum, this falls squarely in the chewy through-and-through range. The chocolate was good, but I prefer my chocolate chip cookies to have a more prevalent vanilla, butter, and brown sugar flavor. When she does move into her permanent spot, I may want to try this one again, but I may just put that money towards a Chocolate Chunker.

Dorie Greenspan's Cookie Bar will be a Mizu Salon through this Saturday, the 13th. They open at 11am and go until sold out. Be sure to check their Twitter.

Mizu Salon is at 505 Park Avenue between 59th and 60th Street, look for the pink ribbon umbrella trees that belong to the florist next door.

www.cookiebarnyc.com
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Wednesday, February 10, 2010

New Restaurants Added to The Village Voice Choice Eats

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If you haven't bought your tickets to the Third Annual Village Voice Choice Eats let me give you eighteen additional reasons....

The Village Voice announced last week that the new additions to this year's Choice Eats line will include: DuMont, Patacon Pisao, El Almacen, Fatty Crab, Egg, Max, Madiba Restaurant, Luke's Lobster, Spicy Bampa aka Bamboo Pavilion, Rajbhog Sweets & Snacks, Ambiance Restaurant, Mercadito Restaurants, Pinche Taqueria, Smorgas Chef, The Vanderbilt, Baohaus, Mooncake Foods, and Hummus Place.

Need more reasons to go? Here is a sneak peak of some of the menu items being served:

Kuma Inn: Adobo & Atcharra: Pork Belly braised in soy, vinegar and garlic with pickled vegetables.

Purple Yam
: Tocino (sugar-achuete cured pork) sliders in purple yam rolls with grated green mango. Chicken/Pork adobo skewers.

DuMont: Spring Chowder: cucumber-scented chowder with mussels, clams, and shrimp finished with an herb pistou.

Mercadito: Tacos de Camaron: Shrimp, roasted garlic, chipotle mojo, and avocado.

Ovelia Psistaria Bar
: Kafteri: Spicy mashed feta spread, Ovelia Loukaniko: House made sausage, Skirt Steak in Greek coffe-based rub.

For those of you unfamiliar with the event, each of the participating restaurants has been hand picked by Village Voice resident food critics, Robert Sietsema and Sarah DiGregorio. Over 50+ restaurants spanning food from over 35 nations will be represented on Monday, March 22, 2010 at the 69th Armory on Lexington Avenue in New York City. Complimentary beer, wine, and cocktails will be available (so, sorry no kids allowed).

Still on the fence? Here's the full restaurant list of those confirmed so far:
Agnanti Restaurant, Ambiance Restaurant, Baohaus, Dirt Candy, DuMont, Egg, El Almacen, Fatty Crab, Fette Sau, Fort Defiance, Hummus Place, Kuma Inn, Luke's Lobster, Madiba Restaurant, Mama's Food Shop, Mantao Chinese Sandwiches, Max, Mercadito Restaurants, Mooncake Foods, Mumbai Xpress, Mustang Thakali Kitchen, Ovelia, Patacon Pisao, Pinche Taqueria, Porchetta, Purple Yam, Radegast Hall & Biergarten, Rajbhog Sweets & Snacks, Smorgas Chef, Spicy Bampa aka Bamboo Pavilion, The Sheep Station, The Vanderbilt, Tiffin Wallah, Toloache, Txikito, Xie Xie and Zuzu Ramen.

The early bird tickets already sold out and if last year is any indication, this event will sell out in advance.

For a sneak peek of all the deliciousness that awaits check out our coverage and photos from last year's event.

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Date: Monday, March 22, 2010 5:30PM-9:30PM
Location: The 69th Armory
68 Lexington Avenue (btwn 25th and 26th Streets)
New York, NY 10010
Price: $45.00
Click for tickets.
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Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Everyone's in the Mood for Love

Strawberry & Rose Heart Macaron
Oh it's Valentine's time all right, it's red and hearts everywhere, in every form. Including macarons. Didn't think you could make a heart-shaped macaron? I bet you also don't think you can make a cookie eclair. Chika Tillman wanted to, so she did.

Cookie Eclair Dipped in Chocolate
Chika Tillman is quite possibly one of the best pastry chefs in New York, and her spots, Chikalicious Dessert Bar (the fancy one) and Dessert Club (the bakery) are high on my personal favorites list. The last few times I was around their way, I didn't have the chance to stop by, but recently an opportunity did arise and I was amply rewarded. First, they've begun making cookie eclairs. The 'cookie' aspect translates to a layer of crunchy choux pastry. I am not aware of how exactly this is achieved, but the result is perfect-a crunchy dessert eclair. Dessert Club is filling them to order with your choice of custard-I obviously went with chocolate. Silky custard filling, crunchy shell, covered in rich, dark chocolate. It's like if the most perfect chewy with crunchy circumference chocolate chip cookie decided it wanted to become an eclair, this is what it would be.

Rose Heart Macaron
She's also branching out to macarons. I don't think I'd ever had one before, at least there is no photo evidence to such. I had to get one of the hearts, how could I not! It's adorable with its red flecks. The flavor is rose, and I didn't get to taste it. Instead I allowed a friend to try-sharing is caring-and he thought it was awesome.

The Strawberry Macaron
I did take the strawberry all for myself, and these are some pretty impressive macarons. Smooth, flat, crunchy shells; moist, chewy interiors, and deliciously creamy filling. The strawberry taste came through, but wasn't overwhelming or chemically. Jackpot. I'll be back soon, especially to try the two new cupcake flavors I spied, strawberry and blueberry.

Dessert Club Chikalicious
204 East 10th Street by 2nd Avenue
(212) 475-0929
www.dessertclubchikalicious.com
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Monday, February 8, 2010

We're Midtown Lunching!

Midtown Lunch
Blondie and I have been fans and readers of Zach Brooks' site Midtown Lunch for sometime. With Zach's recent move out to LA, Blondie and I are stepping in with regular Midtown Lunch contributors Danny of Food in Mouth and Mamacita to share more of our midtown lunching. Here's what we were up to last week...

Menchanko-Tei Hakata Ramen doctored up
Brownie tried the new 99 cent slice joint in K-Town, had a bagel fail, and flushed out her cold with some spicy Hakata Ramen from Menchanko-Tei.

Chubby Chinese Girl
Blondie discovered the Chocolate Raspberry Hearts from Tumbador at Joe in Grand Central and finally got over to Cer Te to try their Chubby Chinese Girl Sandwich.

To keep up on our Midtown adventures, check Midtown Lunch every day, hour, or 15 minutes.
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Friday, February 5, 2010

Peanut Butter & Company's Valentine's Day Sweethearts' Snack

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I'm all for inexpensive, non-traditional ways of celebrating Valentine's Day. If you don't have the dough to splurge for a fancy pants prix fixe, Peanut Butter & Co. has your back...

This Valentine's Day they are bringing back their special Sweethearts' Snack, a $35 per couple (plus tax and gratuity) prix fixe menu consisting of four heart-shaped sandwiches served with potato chips and carrot sticks, big glasses of fresh milk (plain or strawberry-flavored pink) with a heart-shaped straw for two. And for dessert? The PB & J Pretzel Sundae (vanilla ice cream, peanut butter pretzels, and raspberry sauce) and candy Conversation Hearts. After your meal you'll take home a jar of Peanut Butter & Co.'s peanut butter.

Aw, fun! Lawman and I have spent many a date at PB & Co. I'm a fan of their Elvis sandwich. And who doesn't love a swirly straw?

PB & Co. will be open from 11:00am until 9:00pm on Valentine's Day. This event's been really popular in the the past so reservations are suggested. You can guarantee seating by booking 45-minute time slots with a credit card.

Peanut Butter & Co.
240 Sullivan Street in NYC.
between Bleecker And West 3rd Streets
New York, NY 10012
FOR RESERVATIONS, CALL: (212) 677-3995
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Thursday, February 4, 2010

Bake Your Own Treats for V-Day

Valentine's Day Goodies from NY Cake and Bake

I don't ask for much for Valentine's Day. No need to buy me over priced flowers or a super fancy dinner. Not that I don't like flowers or fancy dinner, but I can appreciate a more low key celebration. And of course nothing says lovin' like a little something something from the oven. Right now NY Cake and Bake is a Valentine's Day wonderland. If you're looking for some V-Day baking inspiration, I suggest taking a little trip to 22nd Street...

Heart shaped cookie cutters of all sizes? Check.
Flirty cupcake papers and decorative cupcake wrappers? Check and check.
Red, white and pink heart shaped sprinkles? Check, check, check.

Valentine's Day Goodies from NY Cake and Bake


I love cooking supply stores the same way that I love art supply stores--everywhere I look there's something tiat inspires me creatively. Last year I bought a special heart shaped pan from NY Cake and Bake for making mini chocolate Valentino cakes. I'm plotting a return trip for some V-Day goodies soon.

For those of you not in the city, you can shop NY Cake and Bake online--looks like they seriously revamped their website from the last time I visited. They even have a special Valentine's Day section.

NY Cake and Bake online
56 W 22nd St, between 5th and 6th Avenue
New York, NY 10010
(212) 675-2253
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Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Restaurant Week '10: 10 Downing

Cocoa Nib Pannacotta
After last year's fantastic Restaurant Week lunch at Convivio, Spam and I decided to take the chance again, this time a dinner at 10 Downing. I know 10 Downing as more of a scene then for culinary genius, but it's Restaurant Week, the whole point is to try out new places.

Potato-Leek Soup
I like the cliché interior of 10 Downing, a wall covered in art work, full length windows that open during the warmer months, romantic mood lighting, dark wood. It was packed, but not too noisy, and the service was stellar. Like most places, the RW $45 dinner gives you three course, three choices each. Someone forget to take a picture of the menu, so I'm going to work entirely off memory here. For our appetizer, Spam decided on Potato-Leek Soup with a dash of olive oil, while I went for the Bacon-Veal Terrine.

Veal & Bacon Terrine
Yes, I disregarded the soup or salad option and went for the piggy-cow mash-up. I tried to eat this how the chef intended, but I did hit the deconstructed plate snag. Place the terrine on the bread with a schmear of the accompanying paté? Eat the terrine on its own? I decided to try the former, and enjoyed my little plate of meat. I'm an amateur when it comes to terrine, so I don't know if this one was good or not. It tasted deliciously of bacon and veal, and it was moist.

Mushroom Polenta Gratin
To share another appetizer, we chose to share the Mushroom Polenta Gratin and it was awesome. It was like high class cheesy grits, but polenta with wild mushrooms and Manchego. I think that this would make the ultimate Thanksgiving side dish, or appetizer for a Restaurant Week meal.

Beef Short Ribs
The entree choices consisted of Beef Short Ribs, Striped Bass, or Chicken. In need of iron (I donated blood last week) and in love with meat, I went from the short ribs. Tender to the point of flaky (great thing), very good seasoning, but a tad on the dry side, I would place these in the win column.

Striped Bass
Spam, our newest vegetarian-that comes into play later, picked the Striped Bass. I'm currently working on my fish repertoire, but I would say this was a good example of well cooked striped bass. Flaky, meaty, and moist, it is also very recommended.

Cocoa Nib Pannacotta
Our original dessert plans were the Butterscotch Pot de Creme and the Cocoa Nib Panna Cotta, but they were out of pots de creme (I still want to see what that's about), and were instead given the Spicy Gingerbread. First, the Cocoa Nib Panna Cotta was fantastic, extremely good dark chocolate sauce, creamy panna cotta, little fresh marshmallows and moist, fudgy brownies. I'd eat this every day if I could, and we didn't even get the real thing, just the sampler!

Spicy Gingerbread
Then things got dicey. The spicy gingerbread was respectable, good cake right on the edge of fluffy and dense, candied ginger scattered on the plate underneath a sauce of some sort. I thought I tasted some porcine, meaty, bacon? Bacon and gingerbread? No, couldn't be, I've just had too much wine (speaking of, sorry for the blurs, very good wine). I went home, looked up the spicy gingerbread description and sure enough, bacon-brown butter vinaigrette. Sorry, Spam, next time I will ask when I think you may be eating bacon.

Worth the $45 Restaurant Week sampler menu? Yes, no smugness, pretty good amount of great food, and definitely makes me want to stop by for the real deal meal one day.

10 Downing
10 Downing St.
(212) 255-0300
www.10downingnyc.com
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