Thursday, October 28, 2010

Fried Apple Pie! Fried. Apple. Pie!

Fried Apple Pie
We here at B&B are some fanatical pie-lovers. Brownie practically ate it every week during the summer, and there are few things in the world I enjoy as much as a nice warm slice of a fruit pie (preferably apple or peach!) with a scoop of vanilla ice cream. I have dreams that involve that exact dessert at least once a month. But fried apple pie! Homemade, even! That is just crazy talk, and this is the last weekend you can try it out at the Hester Street Fair.

Melt Bakery
Melt Bakery started serving to the public over the summer, but it wasn't until last weekend that I stood up and took notice. Not because of their ice cream sandwiches, which got rave reviews from my friends, but because they are frying homemade pocket pies on site.

Fried Apple Pie!
The second I saw "Fried Apple Pies" I 'mind over matter' forced my stomach to make room (this being after a big brunch.) A few moments in the fryer, and I was in warm pie heaven. It's quite possibly the only way you can eat a piece of pie without a fork. The sweet-tart filling, the finishing roll in cinnamon sugar, the fried dough, the freshness of it all; it was hard for anyone to steal a bite. This may be my best dessert of the year. It's seriously outstanding. They're also doing pumpkin pie, and that probably blows everything out of the water.

Fried Apple Pie
Though the fair's running to December, The Fair is over after this weekend! There will be a fun Halloween celebration during Sunday afternoon...Melt Bakery is going to focus more on deliveries and such after this weekend. If you don't get the chance, their products can be found around the city.

Hester Street Fair
Hester St & Essex St
Saturday and Sunday, 10am to 6pm
www.hesterstreetfair.com
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Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Four & Twenty Blackbirds Rocks the Cider Spritzer

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The weather has been a little manic lately, but I think it's safe to say that fall is officially here. Time for plenty of pumpkins and apples. And Four & Twenty Blackbirds, our favorite neighborhood pie joint, is putting a twist on cider with their cider spritzer...

Personally I think it's brilliant. Cider is frankly a little too sweet for me, so it's sort of a once a year, ok now it's fall kind of beverage for me. If you cut that sweetness with some club soda, now you're talking. Pair this with their Pear Ginger Pie (yes, I went there with some homonym action) and you have a lovely fall weekend treat.

Four & Twenty Blackbirds
439 Third Ave. at 8th St,
Brooklyn, NY 11215
718-499-2917
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Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Our Latest Lunching Escapades

Robicelli's Cupcake quad
Blondie and I have been busy bees. So busy with travel and work and babies that we haven't had much time to eat together lately. We've have been doing some Midtown Lunching though. Check out our latest lunches...

Brownie discovered a decent vodka slice at Bella Napoli, hit up Lily O'Brien's for Robicelli's newest seasonal cupcake flavors, discovered a soon-to-open 99 cent pizza place, ate free Scharffen Berger cupcakes, discovered $2 smoothies at the ING Direct Cafe, sought out the Little Morocco chef in his new out of bounds location, tried out the non-vegetarian combination at the Green Taste Truck, tried the couscous from the Comme Ci, Comme Ça Truck, found cupcakes at a generic breakfast cart, said goodbye to Miss Softee for the season, chowed down on Wafel and Dinges S'mores Waffle and the lamb chops from Uncle Gussy's.

Triple Cup Cake

Blondie has barely had a moment to step away from her desk, but when she did get out she made some important dessert discoveries namely that Junior's is now open in the old Murray's Salami slot in the Grand Central Market and that Paris Baguette makes some gorgeous fusion desserts.
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Monday, October 25, 2010

NYCWFF '10: That Saturday

Coca-Cola Girls
It's time to FINALLY tell you about this year's New York Wine & Food Festival. Please accept my apologies for the delays, The Breslin, a Kansas weekend, and at least one illness got in the way. But here's the first post, what I did that Saturday. It involved a lot of dessert and some mezcal, thankfully not together.

Saturday Grand Tasting
That afternoon, loaded down with my Breslin brunch, I wobbled on over to the Saturday Grand Tasting. My plan was to do a lap so that I can be very discriminate in what I tasted, a girl can only eat so much.

Medea
I took note of the new Medea digital vodka! I noticed none said "Buy me! Buy me now!"

Fear the Leaf!
I noticed the Canadian brigade came in the form of friendly oyster lovers from Prince Edward Island. I'm on to you, Canadians! Fear the leaf!

Kitchenaid
Then I spotted my dream kitchen and as I went to get a better shot, my camera said the dreaded words "Replace battery pack," battery dead.

Sweet
More photos were going to have to wait until I got to that night's event, Sweet, where I had the bright idea of trying everything. I went 27 out of 30.

Donatella
This gave me the chance to try some of my favorites, including Four & Twenty Blackbirds, and try many delicious new ones like Donatella's Zuppa Inglese with Cranberries and Godiva Chocolate.

OTTO
Any delicious treat was OTTO's Espresso Gelato in Brioche, an Italian ice cream sandwich. Creamy gelato accompanied by smooth caramel crema, simple really is best.

Sweet Potato Cheesecake
Or Colicchio and Sons' Sweet Potato Cheesecake complete with freshly fired marshmallow topping.

Clinton St. Baking Company
But the People's Choice winner of the night ended up being Clinton St. Baking Company's Warm Pear Upside-Down Cake with Pecan Ice Cream. It tasted like the cake you wished you could have at Thanksgiving, but you only end up making another pumpkin pie anyway. In other words, the perfect fall dessert.
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Thursday, October 21, 2010

Big Gay Farewell Partay!

Grape Nuts Topped Ice Cream from Big Gay Ice Cream

Miss Softee has already closed for the season and next week Doug Quint and Bryan Petroff are putting away the Big Gay Ice Cream Truck for the winter, but not without a fitting sendoff...

To celebrate the end of their second season, they are throwing a bash next Friday on Avenue A and 13th Street, around Destination Bar.

Why "around" Destination Bar you ask? Well, the Big Gay Ice Cream Truck will be joined by Treats Truck and Souvlaki GR. And according to BGICT's blog, Destination Bar will also be running drink specials including "Mountain Dew margaritas."

Come out and raise a glass and/or drown your sorrows. You have all winter to sit on your couch with a pint of Ben & Jerry's.

Here are the deets:

Final Friday Party
October 29, 2010
Avenue A and 13th Street, around Destination Bar.
7pm-9pm

See you there!
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Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Scharffen Berger's Chocolate Adventure Contest & Free Cupcakes

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It's time again for Scharffen Berger's annual Chocolate Adventure contest. This year the contest is cupcake themed and the grand prize is $10,000. That's a lot of chocolate...

Earlier this month we were invited by Scharffen Berger to their special contest kick off PR event. Seeing as pastry chefs Elizabeth Falkner of Citizen Cake and Johnny Iuzzini of Jean Georges were going to be baking off, that was an invitation Blondie and I couldn't refuse.

When we got there it turned out that while Elizabeth and Johnny were baking off with their recipes, we were going to be doing the kitchen leg work. Eeeee.

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Team Elizabeth would be preparing a "Chocolate Pub Cake." A chocolate stout cake, filled with molasses, topped with fudge frosting, and garnished with spicy Meyer lemon peanuts.

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Team Johnny would be preparing "Pop-A-Rocksy Rose." A chocolate-beet cake filled with layers of chocolate buttercream, raspberries, and hibiscus-flavored Pop Rocks, yes hibiscus Pop Rocks, covered with a coconut cream cheese foam and topped with a raspberry rose beet buttercream then garnished with a crystallized rose petal as a garnish.

They broke us up into teams. Blondie and I were batched in with the late comers and we were both drawn for Team Johnny. We had around 30 minutes to prepare and assemble the cupcakes according to the chefs' instructions.

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Fortunately the cupcakes had been pre-baked. Johnny broke us into prep teams and ran down the instructions. Blondie and I were on Team Pop Rocks prep which involve melting coconut butter adding ground hibiscus flowers then coating the neutral Pop Rocks (who knew they had neutral Pop Rocks?!).

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After a minor incident with the foam application (there was a foam-plosion), our cupcakes came together rather nicely. And in fact when the votes were counted by judges John Scharffenberger, and Grant Di Mille and Samira Mahboubian of Street Sweets, Team Johnny took home the victory. Woohooo!

Serious Eats has put up the recipes for Elizabeth and Johnny's cupcakes. And you can find out more about creating your own adventure cupcake recipe here.

Today and tomorrow Street Sweets in partnership with Scharffen Berger & Food Network Magazine, will be giving away thousands of free cupcakes around midtown. You can check out Midtown Lunch for the full schedule and follow Street Sweets on Twitter for the latest details as to their whereabouts.

*As I mentioned above Scharffen Berger invited us to their PR event. They also plied us with free cupcakes and chocolate. I'm under no obligation to say they were delicious (which they were). I'm still working my way through the gift bag. Nom nom nom.
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Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Shake Shack's Next Stop? Connecticut!

Box o' Shack Burgers
Woohoooo! My home state has won the Shake Shack lottery. That's right, Shake Shack is coming to the Gold Coast. Blondie, gas up momsy's car. We're going to Westport...

Here's the news from Shake Shack's official Facebook page (just one more reason, why you should be following the Shack.)

"We’re thrilled to share our plans to bring a Shack to the idyllic coastal town of Westport, CT. Our Westport Shake Shack will make its home at 1849 Post Road East (just off I-95, Exit 19). Get ready for our first true roadside Shack, slated to open in the second half of 2011."

Each Shake Shack has a different concrete menu inspired by the location. Let's think about what the Westport concretes should be. CT is known for Pez, nutmeg, thin crust pizza, and steamed cheeseburgers. Yeah, maybe not. We grow a lot of apples. Maybe an apple pie concrete with some nutmeg-goodness? What would be a WASP inspired concrete?
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Monday, October 18, 2010

The Football Feast from Epicurious

Plate O' BBQ
Whoa, I'm way late on this one, but since I like telling you about things in chronological order, and you probably want to hear the lowdown on the 27 desserts I tried at Sweet (my pancreas is still mad at me for that), I have to tell you about what I did the weekend before NYCWFF, don't I? There was sausage involved!

Epicurious Entertains NY 2010
I had the chance to go to the Football Feast last year, getting my first taste of the deliciousness that is Fatty Cue, so when they allowed me to swing by this year, I was more than happy to accept. This year's was catered by Hill Country. True to last year, they delivered on the amount of food available and set it out the best way, as a buffet.

I love buffets
A full plate of food there included ribs, sausage, spicy chicken wings, mac & cheese, slaw, and cornbread. Of the bunch, I liked the ribs the most, crispy skin and meaty, but the best part of the plate was the mac & cheese. It was cheesy with a crunchy top, like any good mac & cheese should be. I could have eaten a whole tray.

Desserts
Unfortunately, I was late in trying to get a few mini cupcakes. By the time I had gone back downstairs from the roof, all that was left was the Peanut Butter and Jelly cupcakes. Not that this was bad because it was one of the moistest, flavorful PB&J cupcakes I'd had in a long time.

Epicurious Entertains NY 2010
Lastly, check out this pool. It's inside the SoHo Mansion, where the events were held. Thanks to everyone at Epicurious for having us! 'Till next year!
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Friday, October 15, 2010

Fried is the Way at The Breslin's Brunch

Fried Peanut Butter and Banana Sandwich
I love brunch as much as the next person, but when I do have a chance to sit down and enjoy, it's almost never in Manhattan. I live in Brooklyn, I'm hungry, and have you been on the NYC subway during the weekend? It takes an hour to get anywhere. But last weekend, I was invited to a pre-NYCWFF brunch at The Breslin given by the nice people behind Urbanspoon. Having heard about this epic brunch and knowing they did just get a Michelin Star, I told my stomach to pipe down and got on the subway.

Fried Peanut Butter and Banana Sandwich
Now, when I say I love brunch, I don't mean yogurt with nuts mixed in, I mean pancakes, sausage, bacon, good hearty "give me a heart attack at 40" food. And The Breslin does some mean hangover, hearty brunch food. I'll give you the best first, Fried Peanut Butter & Banana Sandwich. Oh yes. Numerous people in my life are now intrigued with this beautiful sandwich. Look at the dripping peanut butter, the fried crispy skin. The adding of bourbon brings this decadence to a whole other level. Elvis would have written a song about this masterpiece.

Peanut Butter Pancakes
The yin to the fried PB & Banana's yang is the Peanut Butter Pancakes with Concord Grape Syrup. The taste is subtler than the sandwich, but the delicious smell of the grapes and it's own melty peanut butter make this worth it.

English Breakfast
The sides there (bacon, sausage, etc.) were all salty goodness, but if you want a plate of everything good and holy, you should aim for the full English Breakfast. Get it with a Hot Cross Bun, and you're set.

Poached Egg with Curried Lentils
Your token vegetarian can go for the Poached Eggs with Curried Lentils. Perfect poaching, tender lentils, healthy for days. The best part, almost all of the same items are available during their weekday breakfast; feel free to call in sick in order to avoid brunch crowds.

The Breslin
16 West 29th Street
(212) 679-1939
thebreslin.com
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Thursday, October 14, 2010

Make it a Lower East Side Weekend!!

Hester Street Fair
There are PLENTY of things to tell you about my NYC Wine & Food Festival, and I will be giving you the low down shortly, but until then let's think about the weekend, shall we? Two VERY important food-centric activities will be happening for those of you sticking around town (I am not, I will be stuffing my face with BBQ!)

Sigmund Pretzel
First up is Saturday where Hester Street Fair is teaming up with the good folks at Grub Street to present the Grub Street Food Festival from 10am to 6pm. Some of our favoritest people should be there including Luke's Lobster, Pies 'n' Thighs, Sigmund Pretzelshop, the Vendy Dessert winner Kelvin Natural Slush, and another Vendy finalist Patacon Pisao. And if you need help burning off these delicious treats, Santos House Party is showing up to help you get down! For a full listing, click here. It almost makes me want to stay-almost, not quite, I'm still skipping town.

McClure's Pickles at the UnFancy Food Show
Then on Sunday you should still make a bee-line for the LES because one of the best days of the year will be happening: the 10th Annual New York City International Pickle Day! From 11am to 4:30pm, loads of local vendors are celebrating all that is cucumber and brine including Peanut Butter & Co, Roni-Sue (maybe the infamous pickle truffle will be making a special appearance!), Saxelby Cheesemongers, McClure's Pickles, Brooklyn Brine (a jar of which I just finished off the other night!) and so many more! For that full list, click here. Maybe I'll search for some fried pickles in celebration!

Grub Street Food Festival
Saturday the 16th, 10am to 6pm
Hester St & Essex St

International Pickle Day
Sunday the 17th, 11am to 4:30pm
In a parking lot on Broome St between Essex & Ludlow, as well as on Broome between Orchard & Ludlow
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Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Peanutty Massaman Chicken Pot Pie!

Massaman Curry Pot Pie in the Skillet
Last week I mentioned that some of my recipes will be appearing on Peanut Butter & Company's All-Star Recipe Blog. My first recipe, Spicy Thai Peanut Shrimp Salad Sandwich, is already up and now so is my recipe for Peanutty Massaman Chicken Pot Pie...

With the weather starting to turn chilly, nothing warms you up like a nice pot pie. And with a spicy peanutty filling and a mashed potato topping, this pie satisfies. You can check out the recipe on PB & Co's blog, along with recipes from other blogger, like this week's Dark Chocolate Dreams and Pear Panini from the Naptime Chef.

If you're a pickle fan, the 10th Annual International Pickle Day will be held on Sunday, October 17 at Manhattan’s Lower East Side from 11 AM to 4:30 PM. I've always wanted to go to this free outdoor fall festival that pays tribute to the pickle. This year PB&Co will be there to offer free tastings of Peanut Butter & Pickle sandwiches aka The Pregnant Lady and their various peanut butter flavors. Sounds like it will be a Pickle-stravaganza for sure.
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Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Ebelskivers from Shopsins

Ebelskivers from Shopsins

The Ebelskivers from Shopsins are the stuff of legend. LEGEND. But in my seven plus years of patronizing the restaurant, I had never tried them. Until this weekend...

The thing about going to Shopsins is that everything on the menu is fracking delicious. Never had a bad meal. The servings are also enormous. The glutton in me wants to order everything in sight. But even with my hearty appetite, I can generally only manage to put away a main dish, so sides like hatch fries with cheese (someday you will be mine!) get back burnered unless I can convince my dining companions to share.

This weekend Lawman and I met up with my brother Lil Bobo for brunch. And I decided to just go for the chocolate skivies. DELICIOUS.

Inside the Chocolate Ebelskivers

Blargh, I want to eat my monitor right now just looking at the photo. The centers were full of melty delicious chocolate with whipped cream on the side for topping. Then the outsides were dusted in some cinnamon sugary goodness. Kind of makes me want to bust out my Ebelskivers pan...or just go back to Shopsin's.

Shopsin's
Essex Street Market
120 Essex Street
New York, NY 10002
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Friday, October 8, 2010

It's Time for the New York Wine and Food Festival

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In case you haven't heard this weekend marks third annual Food Network New York City Wine and Food Festival. We kicked the weekend off early on Wednesday night at the Illy Caffe in the village at the launch party for Claire Robinson's 5 Ingredient Fix hosted by NYWFF founder/director/guru, Lee Brian Schrager. The Serrano ham deviled eggs and curried pumpkin soup were just the start, we're prepping for some power eating. There's going to be a lot of deliciousness going on this weekend...

While picking up our tickets we snacked on Georgetown Cupcakes in the media hospitality lounge. Mmmm...chocolate peanut butter.

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From the 16th floor of The Standard Hotel we could see the staging area being set up for The Grand Tasting. Dang that's a big tent!

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Many of the tickets for this weekend are already sold out (and sold out within hours of going on sale, so be on alert for next year!). You can see which events are still available on their site. And for all ya'll twitter fiends, I'd recommend following festival director Lee Schrager. He's been giving a great play-by-play of the festival and if more tickets get released at the last minute, that's your best chance for finding out.

100 percent of the net proceeds from the New York City festival directly benefit the hunger relief organizations Food Bank For New York City and Share Our Strength, so it's a win-win. Mangia!
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Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Peanut Butter All-Stars!

Shrimp Sandwich
A few months back I was invited by Peanut Butter & Company to participate in their All-Star Recipe Blog and develop five special recipes using Peanut Butter & Company peanut butter. Seeing as I've been a PB & Co fan for over a decade, there was no way I could refuse...

I paid my very first visit to PB & Co when I was on the college hunt. Peanut Butter & Company and the unfortunately now long gone, Cookies & Couscous, were my first taste of Greenwich village cool and I was hooked. When I decided to attend NYU, I had regular PB & Co dates with my cousin, Kate and then with Lawman.

But my affinity for peanut butter sandwiches goes back even further than that. In fact the very first thing I ever "cooked" was a peanut butter sandwich. I was three years old at the time. My mom had gone to visit an elderly neighbor. My dad was busy working on something. He promised to make me dinner soon. But soon was not soon enough. So using the kitchen drawer handles as a ladder I crawled up onto the counter, retrieved my special plastic purple plate and then grabbed two slices of bread and the jar of crunchy peanut butter. It was probably the most satisfying sandwich I ever made, because I knew if I could make a peanut butter sandwich myself I could make anything.

Peanut butter sandwiches have never been far from my heart, so it's fitting that my first recipe for the blog is a Spicy Thai Peanut Shrimp Salad Sandwich. Head on over to check it out and while you're there browse check out recipes by fellow bloggers, including the very awesome Jessie Oleson from Cakespy and Marc Matsumoto from No Recipes. Enjoy!
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Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Our Ultimate Lunch Involves Chicken & Biscuits

Epicurious Entertains NY 2010
Last year Epicurious.com decided to entertain NY with a bunch of food events and dinners. Each one that we got to attend was beyond fantastic, it easily became some of my favorite events of 2009. I had hoped that this would be an new annual series and lo and behold, they decided to do it again this year in a fabulous new location with new food. Lucky for me, we were invited to their Ultimate Lunch Break, our second favorite lunch of the year.

View from Above
This year the lunch involved Pies 'N' Thighs, Porchetta, Mimi's Hummus, Asia Dog, and One Girl Cookies among others.

Pies 'N' Things Chicken Biscuit
Of course I had to get a taste of the sweet poison that is Pies 'N' Thighs' chicken & biscuit sandwich in mini form. It's dangerous having something this good within walking distance of my home. Because of this and their key lime pie, I'm not allowed to know the exact location of the restaurant. I will be craving this regularly, it's that good: tender, moist chicken on a buttery biscuit, the tart and creaminess of the key lime, the chewy ginger cookies. All of it was incredible.

Fort Defiance Muffuletta
Red Hook's Fort Defiance showed up with muffalettas. Now, I've never been to New Orleans, though it's high on my 'vacations to take' list, so when eating any of their traditional offerings, I can only take a gander at how it ranks. The meats were spicy and fresh, and complemented, not overwhelmed, by the cheeses and olive salad. I completely enjoyed my slice, and plan on getting to Fort Defiance soon for some delicious goodness (did someone just see Dutch Apple Pancake!)

La Esquina Carnitas Taco
Another standout in my book was La Esquina's carnitas taco, all of which were assembled on-site. I've been taco-crazy since coming back from San Francisco, and I found these to be suitable for my cravings. Next time I'm hungry and in the area, I'm definitely hitting them up.

Porchetta
And of course I couldn't see the Porchetta pig and not eat some Porchetta. It's like pig crack, perfectly spiced, sometimes you get some crunchy skin, fresh and still floury bread. They're easily making one of the best sandwiches in the city.

Baked by Melissa
Did you really think we weren't going to go crazy for dessert? Brownie kept popping Baked by Melissa's cupcakes in my mouth so I could join her in the moments of delicious (they're seriously good)...

One Girl's Whoopie Pies
while I ransacked the One Girl Cookies counter for some sweet treats.
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