Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Eating Our Way Down Roosevelt Avenue

Delicias Mexicanas
Sometimes we get invited to do crazy foodie things that only foodies that are crazy (and hungry) are willing to say yes to. Having a midnight food crawl down Roosevelt Avenue is one of these things. Though I've spent the better part of my life in the far reaches of Queens, I never visited Roosevelt Avenue until recently, partly because I don't speak a lick of Spanish and none of my friends ever wanted to come exploring with me. Can you blame me for chomping at the bit when we were asked to meet up at 10:30pm under the 7 tracks? For those of you who want to eat your way down the Avenue, most folks spoke English and didn't try to feed me cow brains.

Chorizo Taco
The tour started Elmhurst Avenue and Roosevelt, where I whetted my appetite with a chorizo taco from Delicias Mexicanas. A friend of mine went out on a limb and got the cuitlacoche. I had a bite and it does taste very earthy, a lot like mushrooms, and better than the chorizo I had.

Quesidilla with Pineapple
Next was the most interesting stop of the trip for me, the Coyote Dormilon cart on 92nd and Roosevelt. They're not selling your regular old quesidilla there. See the square of yellow, that's PINEAPPLE. Crazy talk! Creamy queso on top and pineapple go delicious with meat, it's almost Hawaiian.

Half Fritada, Half Hornado
While everyone was still eating, a few friends and I decided to skip along to Warren St and Roosevelt. We ended up at the Ecuadorian truck, Pique y Pase Pepin on the north-side of the intersection. This was our most delicious stop-they were ALL spectacular, but this one really stood out. One friend got pork two way, fritada (fried) and hornado (roasted). Mind you, they had at least one whole pig on the truck, you could see it from the street. Both ways of pork were great, but I think we all slightly preferred the roasted that night.

Seco de Chivo
Another friend got the Seco de Chivo or goat stew. THIS was amazing, and perfect for the rainy night we were having. The goat was marinated to falling off the bone tender, and smothered in a fantastic sauce. I've actually had thoughts of stopping by in the middle of the night for some of this.

Fish Soup
Lastly we ended up at Los Amigos on 111th and Roosevelt, sharing a bowl of fish soup. The soup had a few different types of milder fish and seafood, but it wasn't overwhelmingly fishy. If you're a soup fan, you should definitely try to stop by to check this out!

For more info on what to eat on Roosevelt Avenue, check out the post on the Vendys blog-that's the group I was with that night, and when we got separated, they found some awesome tamales! Guess this means I'm just going to have to go back to eat some.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Wooly's Ice = Sweet Summer Snow

Woolys Ice

I could begin this post with some pithy Irene/weather related comment, but after 36 hours without electricity, I'm too busy hugging my laptop and admiring the light fixtures in my apartment. Hurricane weather aside, let's talk about another natural phenomenon. Shaved ice that's so fluffy and soft it melts on your tongue like perfect sweet snow...

Located downtown on 79 Elizabeth Street just outside Deluxe Food Market you'll find Wooly's Ice, a small stand serving up their own brand of shave ice, one that gets it's color and sweetness from the addition of sweetened condensed milk to the ice blocks that are then shaved with an impressive machine to serve up piles of snow ice. The ice comes in the original sweet milk flavor and green tea, but they are trying new combos and apparently recently debuted a lactose free strawberry ice at the DeKalb Market.

The Wooly

One you've picked your base flavor you need to choose a size, the Wooly is $4 and comes with 1 sauce and 2 toppings. Step it up to a Mammoth for $6 which as you might guess from the name is bigger and includes 2 syrups and 3 toppings. The toppings are reminiscent of what you might find at Red Mango or Pinkberry (the chopped fruit, mochi etc). I was meeting up with Lawman so I decided to surprise him with a little pre-lunch treat. I chose an original Wooly plus strawberry syrup with mango and mochi. Very refreshing. While the outer layer of ice started melting fairly rapidly in the heat, the inner bites remained intact and fluffy. As the summer days dwindle this is a can't miss treat before the real snow heads our way.

Check FB and Twitter for their location before heading out.

Wooly's Ice


Monday, August 29, 2011

My Only Meal Ever at M. Wells

Egg-Sausage Sandwich
When M. Wells opened last year to rave reviews and crazy waits, I decided to wait until the hype died down a little bit before visiting. But then I wasn't too keen on visiting at all, the dishes sounded very decadent and small enough that you would need to order a few, and this meant eating there would cost a pretty penny. And I was ambivalent about a place masquerading as a low-brow diner when it was more certainly NOT serving diner fare, at all. Then they said they were closing on August 31st, with no guarantees that they'd be back. I was time to bite the bullet and catch a meal there. Lucky for me, a few friends were able to join for a rainy day lunch last week, meaning we could order a bit more than had any of us gone alone. And it was less than $20 a person!

I'll start with the best first: that top photo is the egg-sausage sandwich. Scrambled eggs, melted cheese, and a sausage patty made with quality meat, all on a homemade English muffin. This is the breakfast sandwich of my dreams. It's everything I've ever wanted when hungover, and the second best brunch item in the entire city (behind The Breslin's Fried PB & Banana Sandwich, naturally.) It was just fresh and well seasoned, simpler than some of their more ambitious dishes, and filling should you get your own. It hits every breakfast spot one could have.

Spaghetti Sandwich
The reason I REALLY wanted to go was their spaghetti sandwich. What was it?! They form the spaghetti into a patty and then lightly fry it before serving on a bun with red sauce and cheese (and a giant piece of lettuce) on top. It was good, like an Italian Sloppy Joe, if a bit under-seasoned. It's spaghetti, there should be more herbs involved in the sauce, or swapping out the lettuce for basil leaves. It needed a bit more oomph. I won't crave it in the middle of the night like I have with the egg-sausage, but it's worth a trip to try something a little more out there.

We also split a cheeseburger. The meat was good quality and well-seasoned, but too be honest I was getting full by the time I got around to it. I remember thinking that I would definitely order one if I came back with friends.

And here is the tortilla of the day. When we went the special was shrimp folded into the eggs and potatoes before getting its own frying action. This was actually our first plate of food, and I was ravenous when it appeared. The egg omelette/frittata was a perfect brunch dish even though a bit salty and heavy. Maybe it's just that I like simpler dishes done well? Maybe then it's good that I only went for lunch and not a fancy dinner.

M. Wells
21-17 49th Avenue
Long Island City
(718) 425-6917

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Nutter Butter Blizzard, Where Have You Been All My Life?!

Nutter Butter Blizzard

As much as NYC has going for it, the Big Apple is sadly bereft of a Dairy Queen. If you want a Dilly Bar or a Peanut Buster Parfait you're going to have to head to Jersey. Now hypothetically say you're a DQ Blizzard fan club member and say you get an email telling you that this month's DQ Blizzard of the month is the brand new Nutterbutter Blizzard, clearly a road trip would be in order, no?

Nutter Butter® cookie pieces + Nutter Butter® peanut butter crème filling + vanilla soft serve = full on win. Why have we had to wait this long? And how awesome would the Nutter Butter addition to the Cookie Jar Blizzard be? Just think, cookie dough pieces, Oreo bits and Nutter Butter chunks whirled around vanilla ice cream with a chocolate swirl. It would be a triumvirate of delicious. So many great possibilities. I can only hope that this Blizzard sticks around in the permanent rotation because if loving Nutterbutter Blizzards is wrong I don't want to be right.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Humpty Dumpty's All Dressed Chips

Bag of All Dressed Chips

As a kid summer trips to Maine generally involved at least one bag of locally made Humpty Dumpty Potato Chips--ketchup potato chips were a can't fail choice. I was also rather fond of the Cheese and Onion chips. Lil Bobo loved their pickle flavored Dilly chips, even if everyone else in the family thought they were kind of gross. One summer we even toured the Humpty Dumpty factory in Scarborough, Maine and saw where the magic happened. Sadly Humpty Dumpty was bought by a Canadian company and some of our favorite flavors vanished from supermarket shelves. This weekend, however, I was delighted to see Humpty Dumpty bring a classic Canadian chip flavor the "All Dressed" stateside. Now this was exciting...

I first encountered Ruffles "All Dressed" chip in Vancouver, Canada. Imagine a potato chip topped with all the chip flavorings--we're talking sour cream & onion, bbq, ketchup, AND salt and vinegar. Crazy? Perhaps. But crazy delicious. Little did I know that the All Dressed chips have a cultlike following, there's even an online petition (1667 signatures and counting!) begging Ruffles to bring "All Dressed" chips to the US.

All Dressed Chip

Spotted in the chip aisle at Bow Street Market in Freeport, Maine the Humpty Dumpty bag advertised "HD flavor" and I wasn't quite sure to expect. Sure enough when I cracked the bag the chips were laden with orange-y flavor flecked goodness. Score. The sweet smokiness of the bbq goes well with the tang of the ketchup and salt and vinegar. The sour cream and onion weren't quite and prominent. But that was a-okay. The seasonings all played nicely together. I meant to load up my trunk with these for friends, but it slipped my mind. Next visit for sure.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

More New Flavors at Van Leeuwen!

Salted Caramel Bourbon
Now that summer is quickly coming to a close, I've been trying to get all of my favorite summertime activities in! One of those activities is eating copious amounts of ice cream. And with some terrible ice cream choices at my local store, and an overpriced good selection at my bodega, I've skipped both places and gone directly to Van Leeuwen's Greenpoint shop. And my visit last week yielded new flavors

Van Leeuwen's New Flavors
I tried the Salted Caramel Bourbon and Red Currant and Sour Cherry. I went with the Salted Caramel because I knew that I wanted to top my treat with some hot fudge, and since I'm not the biggest fan of fruit and chocolate, it was the obvious choice. I've had this flavor combination a few times, and this was, much to my delight, by far the booziest rendition. I would have licked the bowl if I could. I haven't tried the other two new flavors, Basil and Black Pepper and Rosewater Cardamom, but I did hear the clerk raving about the later. Maybe I'll change this is this week's visit.

Van Leeuwen has various trucks and locations now, so check their site or Twitter for the nearest location.

Monday, August 22, 2011

Barilla Brings Taste of Summer to Eataly

Trofie Liguri con Pesto alla Genovese
As part of Barilla's Summer of Italy in New York, they've been giving classes in our fair city's newest Italian mecca, Eataly. As one of their sponsored brand ambassadors, I got the chance to attend the class this past Wednesday. Chef Lorenzo Boni was there, teaching us how to make simple, yet delicious pasta dishes, including another lesson on the making of pesto-a lesson that I *really* needed!

Insalata di Farfalle con Peperoni Arrostiti e Mozzarella
The first course was Insalata di Farfalle con Peperoni Arrostitti e Mozzarella. Of the three, this meal could take the longest, simply due to the fact that it calls for roasting peppers and then marinating them for a hour. I was pleasantly surprised by the combination of the capers and anchovies, maybe I'm developing a thing for the later. If you're looking for a nice cool and impressive pasta salad for a holiday BBQ, I suggest you look no further. The flavors all went nicely together, and plus everything's better with fresh, soft mozzarella on top.

Troccoli con Verdure e Pecorino Romano
Next up was a dish that I had almost been making on my own, Troccoli con Verdure e Pecorino Romano or pasta with roasted vegetables. One of the meals firmly implanted in my dinner rotation is the Pasta alla Norma I made last winter. You simply dice up eggplant, toss it with olive oil, roast in the oven at 400-425°, and toss it in with pasta and sauce. For the past few weeks, I've been roasting the eggplant along with my CSA bounty of zucchini. Chef Boni takes this one step further and roasts oyster mushrooms alongside the two vegetables! He did give me the good suggestion of roasting each separately since their times vary. Also, right as you're plating your dish, placing the herbs and Romano cheese on top, drizzle a bit of good olive oil just for taste.

Trofie Liguri con Pesto alla Genovese
The last dish was where I sat up and really paid attention. Maybe it's because I've received more basil than I know what to do with, maybe it's because it's been so hot and I'm a bit lazy, but this summer I've been trying to perfect how to make a decent pesto. I just can't seem to get it right. So when Chef Boni whipped out a mortar and pestle to make pesto-this is gentler on the basil's taste than a food processor-I tried to make mental notes. Trofie Liguri con Pesto alla Genovese (the recipe is very similar to this one) is another impressive, yet one pot meal. While making pesto on the side, you're boiling the pasta with diced potatoes and green beans. Once finished, everything is tossed with the sauce. In all of thirty minutes, and I'm including prep time in that, you have a nutritious and delicious dinner! Can't beat it!

If you're interested in taking another one of Barilla's classes at Eataly, there are two more coming up. Click here to sign up!

Full disclosure: I attended this class on behalf of Barilla. I am a sponsored and compensated Brand Ambassador for their Summer of Italy initiative.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Burgers and Ice Cream in Rockaway

P&H Soda Co
I'm crazy jonesing for the beach after my trip out to Coney Island. So when a friend asked to meet up in Rockaway Beach, how could I say no? I've liked going to the Rockaways since high school, though I haven't had the chance to visit much in the past decade. I have yet to visit the hipster haven of Rockaway Taco, and I have mixed feelings about the changing dynamics occurring out there. But the beach and hamburgers beckoned....

Rippers Cheeseburger
First stop for me was Rippers, the new burger stand at Beach 86th Street. I love me a good burger, and when I saw that this was only $6.50, I was excited for a good cheap burger. Unfortunately, I came at exactly the wrong time. A beach volleyball event had ordered a crazy amount of food right before me, making my wait extra-long. In an attempt at hasty expedition for the waiting patrons, the burgers were all over salted and rushed. I do want to try them again when the kitchen isn't so overwhelmed. Mine was a good beach burger, but not great enough to warrant the A train ride.

Rippers Cheese Fries
The fries were also pretty good, but I'd be hesitant to say A-ride worthy. Our cheese fries didn't come with a whole lot of cheese, and well, it's that the point of ordering cheese fries? To eat a lot of cheese? They are fried up nice and well-seasoned. If you're out in Rockaway, they should definitely warrant a stop by.

Blue Marble Ice Cream
Due to evening plans, my trip was cut shorted than I'd hoped (this happens when your day involves a hour long train ride.) But prior to leaving, my friend and I wandered over to the Beach 96th concession stand. I was initially looking at Babycakes' offerings when I noticed the coffee stand selling Blue Marble Ice Cream. How could I say no to that?! They only had chocolate and vanilla, and a scoop sets you back $3. If you've never had Blue Marble, you're missing out. It's local and organic, and creamy deliciousness. I love their chocolate since they're heavy-handed with the cocoa. Every trip to the beach deserves some ice cream and having some of the best ice cream in New York is always worth it for me.

Rippers is at Beach 86th Street and the Boardwalk. I found the Blue Marble Ice Cream at what I think is the AND coffee stand at Beach 96th Street and the Boardwalk.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Souvlaki GR is like a Trip to the Greek Islands

Some six years ago Lawman and I took a trip to Greece. We had planned to travel to the Greek islands for our honeymoon, but a little thing called the Olympics got in the way. A recent trip to Souvlaki GR brought back many fond pre-digital camera memories of the whitewashed tavernas in the islands...

Silly food blogger that I am I didn't actually take any pictures of the charming interior. Suffice it to say that every last detail was considered to make it a transportative experience from the street lamp to the blue tables, chairs (and even high chairs!) to the bold cascading bougainvillea to the Greek newsstand complete with Greek tabloids and candies. It's a relaxing spot to pull up a chair order a drink and tuck into some tender and perfectly grilled souvlaki.

While we were in Greece we developed a great fondness for various spreads--melitzanosalata, taramosalata, tzatziki, skordalia--so the Pikilia plate ($10) with oregano-laced fries, a basket of warm pita with sides of hummus, tzatziki taramosalata, melitanosalata(eggplant dip), hummus, and kalamata olives. They were out of the taramosalata, a creamy and salty whipped carp roe dip, so they substituted a feta dip. Three kinds of feta, in a spread? What's not to like? The intensely garlicky melitzanosalata was a hit with both Lawman and Little B who I think got the lion's share.

Box of Pork Souvlaki Stix
Naturally no trip would be complete without some souvlaki. We ordered a box of the pork stix ($10). The trouble with souvlaki is that there's always room for more. I'm thinking a return trip is in order very soon...

Souvlaki GR
116 Stanton Street,
New York, NY

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Barilla's A Meal For a Meal Truck

The Barilla Truck Crew
Yesterday afternoon, Barilla launched its "A Meal for a Meal" truck as part of their Summer of Italy program! Not only are they going to be handing out 5,000 bags filled with spaghetti, sauce, and salad every day until Thursday, they also include two tickets to Barilla's Casa Barilla, a Central Park pop-up happening in September. But the free stuff isn't even the best part, for every meal carried away, Barilla's donating $1 to the Food Bank for New York City. It's a double win.

Early Line
As a brand ambassador, I got to stop by early and watch the team get ready for their first day on the streets. Yesterday, they were located on Union Square West between 14th and 15th Streets, and they had a line of onlookers long before the 4pm start time. Barilla's one of the best brands of dry pasta on the market, so I can't say I blame anyone for waiting around for a free dinner!

Meals Waiting
This group of bags was gone within minutes! As bags were being dispersed, I was reminded that for every picture uploaded to Barilla US's Facebook, they'll donate another $1 to Feeding America! So, if you stop by the truck in the next few days, say YES to the man with the camera. You're photo will be uploaded to Facebook, and you'll help feed another five people!

Meal for a Meal
The truck is scheduled to be at Penn Station on 7th Avenue between 31st and 32nd Streets tomorrow today, at East 59th Street between Lexington and Third Avenue on Wednesday, and on Broadway between 58th Street and Columbus Circle on Thursday. The handouts don't begin until 4 o'clock each day and will go on until the day's 5,000 meals are gone. I'm not sure what I'm making with my pasta yet!

Full disclosure: I visited this truck on behalf of Barilla. I am a sponsored and compensated Brand Ambassador for their Summer of Italy initiative.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Pizza Makes Me Love Arugula

Proscuitto Pizza from Bar Toto

Lawman will occasionally call into question my Italian heritage. Why? Because I distain arugula. The mere prospect of encountering a bitter leaf in my mixed green salad is enough to put me on edge. But recently my feelings on arugula have begun to mellow and that's all because of pizza...


I can attribute my first enjoyment of arugula to none other than Brooklyn's own Paulie Gee. Before he opened his award winning pizza joint in Brooklyn he rigorously practiced his craft and I was fortunate enough to be invited to a pizza tasting dinner at his home. He prepared what would become the Greenpointer--Fior di Latte, Baby Arugula, Olive Oil, Fresh Lemon Juice, Shaved Parmigiano Reggiano, and Proscuitto. And I liked it. A lot. The squirt of lemon brightened up the whole pie and the saltiness of the cheese with the earthiness of the olive oil and the bite of the argula made for pizza perfection.

Paulie Gee with his homemade cheese

I wish I could get to Paulie Gee's more often, but sometimes it's hard to schlep the little guy out to Greenpoint, especially if the G train isn't running. Recently I enjoyed arugula on Bar Toto's grilled proscuitto pizza. This one has a red sauce. The crust, while thin, is still chewy. Top that with proscuitto, and hello, delicious. I actually found myself snagging stray arugula pieces.

Bar Toto
411 11th St at 6th Ave,
Park Slope, Brooklyn, NY 11215
(718) 768-4698

Paulie Gee's
60 Greenpoint Avenue
Brooklyn, NY 11222

*Both Paulie Gee's and Bar Toto get high marks for child friendly joints--Bar Toto was the first restaurant that Little B ever went to, he was around 2 weeks old and slept through the whole meal. And on our last visit to Paulie Gee's the little guy got a special paper tiger cup with a plastic sippy lid. Win.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Myanmar Baptist Church Food and Fun Fair For the Win!

Shan Noodles

It's time once again for one of my all time favorite food events of the year, the this weekend's 16th Annual Fun Fair at the Myanmar Baptist Church in Queens...

You don't often find Burmese food in the city and this is high quality home cooked goods. Before my first Fun Fair experience a few years ago I was completely unfamiliar with the wonder that is Burmese food. What's the big deal? Well, for starters let's consider Myanmar's geographic location, shall we? Myanmar is bordered by China on the northeast, Laos on the east, Thailand on the southeast, Bangladesh on the west, and India on the northwest. As you can imagine there are all sorts of interesting influences in Burmese cuisine.

Tips: Bring cash and your appetite. Food tickets are $1 each and different dishes have different ticket prices.

Here are some of my favorites from years past:

Light and refreshing spring rolls...

Myanmar Baptist Church Food and Fun Fair 2008: Spring Rolls

Pickled mustard greens. Hello, delicious...

Myanmar Baptist Church Food and Fun Fair 2008

One of the most popular dishes at the fair by far is the fresh fried paratha bread. If you want to give it a try you'd best put your name on the list when you first arrive. You have to pay in advance and get a ticket to reserve your spot. Each bread is made to order so the wait is LONG.


Myanmar Baptist Church Food and Fun Fair 2008

The event has been growing in popularity with food lovers from all backgrounds and for the past couple of years they've outfitted the tables with illustrated signs in English with photos of the dishes. The parish community is warm and welcoming and did I mention that I love the food?


Date: Saturday, August 13, 2010
Time: 12:00pm - 6:00pm
Location: 143-55 84th Drive
Briarwood, NY 11435
(Former site of Myanmar Baptist Church-NY)

~Directions by Subway

~Take F train, get off at VanWyck Blvd station.
Use North exit stairways on side of Police
Station. Look for 84th Drive on Queens Blvd.
(There is Dunkin Donuts at the corner of 84th
Drive and Queens Blvd.). Walk about 10
minutes along 84th Drive. You will see the
Church on your left.

~ By Car - Take Grand Central Parkway(East), get
off at Exit-16 (Parsons Blvd), make immediate
right tum at 150th St. Go about 3 short blocks
and turn right to 84th Drive. Go straight for 2
short blocks and you will see the Church at the
corner of 84tn Drive and Smedley St.

For more pictures from previous fairs check out this slideshow:


Wednesday, August 10, 2011

CoolHaus Ice Cream Sandwiches are Now $6?!

CoolHaus Smores & Chocolate Sandwich
I've realized I officially need to live somewhere with central air-conditioning. The uneven hot and cold in my apartment only makes me want to leave and be amongst the people! Except it's been hot out, so within a block or two I need something to cool me down. But I can hold out for a few blocks if I know that an ice cream sandwich is in store, like when CoolHaus decides to park in Williamsburg. Even if said ice cream sandwich comes with a bit of sticker shock!

CoolHaus Smores & Chocolate Sandwich
I immediately got in line once the truck was spotted, taking the whole time thinking about the day's special cookie, smores with marshmallow drizzle, from Ovenly. I chose the decadent Molten Chocolate ice cream to sandwich in between the chewy, sweet cookies. Almost like a real s'more. Except this one cost $6! $6! At some point during the summer, CoolHaus raised their (already expensive) price a whole dollar. Don't get me wrong, the cookies are beyond delicious and the ice cream is a creamy delight, but this ice cream sandwich pricing is getting out of hand. The very next day, after being shocked at this, I spotted a $7 ice cream sandwich. I will be trying it all in the name of research (and to report back if it's worth it!)

Coolhaus' trucks can be found roaming the city, so be sure to check their Twitter if you want to try this pricey treat.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Ample Hills Creamery is Worth the Very Long Walk

Ample Hills Creamery
Sometimes I'm grateful for distance. Proximity + addiction = uh oh. If Dough, my latest donut obsession, were right around the corner that could only spell big trouble. Ample Hills Creamery is very much in the category. I've been drooling over the write ups of the locally sourced Prospect Heights ice cream parlor and a recent trip confirmed that I'm happy to have this new sweet spot a good long walk away...

When it comes to ice cream, plain is great, but I love me some mix-ins and Ample Hills delivers. With flavors like Baked/Unbaked (Vanilla ice cream with homemade pieces of baked chocolate chip cookies and unbaked chocolate chip cookie dough), Elvis Impersonator (peanut butter, bananas and candied bacon), and Salted Crack Caramel (salted butter caramel ice cream with pieces of Deb's famous crack cookies (saltines, butter, sugar, chocolate) it's hard to settle on just one flavor. Fortunately for the indecisive, you can split a single scoop, which is exactly what we did, pairing Elvis with Salted Crack. Candied bacon and crack cookies?! Diabolically delicious. Like I said, it's a very good thing that this place is a long walk away.

Ample Hills Creamery
623 Vanderbilt Ave
Brooklyn 11238

Monday, August 8, 2011

Finally Trying Liddabit's Maple Cotton Candy

Liddabit's Maple Cotton Candy
A few weeks ago, Liddabit, the Brooklyn-based sweets team and makers of my favoritest candy bar ever, started turning out fresh maple cotton candy at their market stalls around town. As a lover of all things maple, I was intrigued, but didn't come across one of their stalls until this past weekend. Afterward, I was a sticky mess that would make any mom FREAK!

Liddabit's Maple Cotton Candy
I'm still not entirely sure how cotton candy machines work. I know the sugar is warmed up and spun around. When the kid next to me wondered aloud to his mom, I told him it works by magic. I'm assuming Liddabit is using delicious maple sugar to make this ball of fluff. As I was eating the candy, I totally regressed back to my childhood, getting sticky sugar all over my face, hands, and hair and loving every minute of it. This little $4 treat made my weekend trip to Smorgasburg worth it.

Liddabit will be back at Smorgasburg on August 20th and at New Amsterdam Market every Sunday this month.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Nothing Says Summer Like Coney Island

Nathan's Famouses
As some of you probably know, the last phase in ripping the soul out of Coney Island will be completed after the the end of this summer. The boardwalk and most of its shops will be torn down and replaced by shiny new restaurants in hopes that young money will run out to Coney Island on summer weekends, instead of going to the Hamptons or even the Rockaways. We all know there's a fat chance of that happening. Regardless, we're approaching the last few weekends where you can catch a drink at Cha Cha's (or Ruby's!) and when I headed out there, I finally tried Denny's soft serve!

Denny's Banana & Pistachio
Denny's Delight is off the boardwalk on Surf Ave, between the Stillwell stop and the Aquarium. They're known for doing a fantastic banana and pistachio twist, so of course that's what I got. Perfectly whipped and creamy, the nutty pistachio balances out the sweet banana, the perfect tropical ending to a beach day. If you're a lover of flavored soft serve, this is definitely on the must list.

Coney Cones Ice
On the actual boardwalk, another ice cream/Italian ice shop has opened, Coney's Cones. I went in just after finishing my Nathan's lunch for a little refreshing ice, plus the shop's closed off so you can stand in air conditioning for a few minutes. I got a regular cup which was a tad on the pricey side at $3, but apparently everything is homemade there. My watermelon ice was smooth and flavorful, and necessary in 95° heat, but the cotton candy flavor underneath left much to be desired. It was bright red and cloying, I wished I had gotten two scoops of watermelon since the rest ended up in the garbage after two bites.

Denny's Delight
1212 Surf Avenue
Coney Island
(718) 266-9371

Coney's Cones
Coney Island Boardwalk

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Hip Hip Hooray for Island Burgers & Shakes' Hippo

Island Burger Hippo
It's been ages since I've had a chance to drop by Island Burgers & Shakes. In the time since my last visit they've started serving fries, yes, fries! In the going on ten years that I've been an IB&S customer, the back of their menu has always had this long explanation about why they only serve bagged chips and baked potatoes (something about how their kitchen is too tiny and the electricity to run the fryer/bring the space up to code would too much money), but as I reported on Midtown Lunch, the perfectly crispy on the outside, soft on the inside fries are worth the walk. What did I get to accompany said fries? The Hippo, a wacky and unconventional chicken sandwich that more than breaks the ML bank...

Shhh, don't tell Zach, but this sandwich (and only the sandwich) was $11.75. But topped with curried sour cream, bacon, cheddar, onion, scallion, and guacamole on a pita, this was far from your ordinary chicken sandwich. While I'm normally loathe to crack $10 on a sandwich (hell, I have a hard time paying more than $5 for a sandwich unless it's 1) top of the line and 2) enormous. I think the Hippo satisfies both requirements while reminding me that curried sour cream is a very, very good thing. Would I have paired these ingredients together? Probably not. But I'm very glad they did.

Island Burgers & Shakes

766 9th Ave # 1
New York, NY 10019-632
(212) 307-7934

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Discovering a Great Lunch Deal at Mimi's

Labne Sandwich from Mimi's
For sometime now I've counted Mimi's Hummus in Ditmas Park among my go-to spots in the city. I think I've probably eaten my way through their entire brunch menu. Lawman and Little B are bone fide fans as well. The "Mimi's Sandwich" consisting roasted eggplant, roasted peppers, Bulgarian feta cheese, and labne (a thick yogurt-like cheese) is so good that Lawman has specially requested I make it at home on more than one occasion. When I heard that they had added some new sandwiches to their lunchtime menu I had to check it out...

I adore Mimi's lemon-tinged, tahini dressed roasted cauliflower salad so the Labne Sandwich (labne, cauliflower salad, cumin mushrooms and green tahini sauce) immediately caught my eye. The sandwich alone is $7 and it's only a couple of bucks more to trade up to a sandwich plus side salad. The cauliflower/labne combination work well together on their own, but the addition of the cumin stewed mushrooms and green tahini sauce take it to the next level. By the end of the meal one thing was clear, I'm going to have to find more excuses for eating lunch in Brooklyn.

Mimi's Hummus
1209 Cortelyou Road
Brooklyn, NY 11218
(718) 284-4444
Open Daily: noon - 10:30pm
Weekend brunch: 11 - 4pm