Monday, October 31, 2011

Finally Eating at Otto's

Otto Clam Pie
Until last week, I'd never eaten at Otto's. I don't know why. Maybe because there's a famous chef's name attached to it and my friends and I have always assumed it was too pricey for the likes of us. Maybe because you need a reservation, and my life is more spontaneous. Maybe because it's where you take your boyfriend for a nice birthday dinner after you've been dating for a year or so, and I've never had that opportunity. Maybe because it's for bourgeois yuppies who instantly know it's pronounced "Oh-toe", and I'm certainly not one of those people. Whatever. I went for a birthday dinner, and I can decisively say that my pasta was undercooked.

Black & White Dessert
Of my meal, the dessert was better. I went with the Black & White: milk chocolate chip gelato, hazelnut croccante, crème fraiche gelato, chocolate sauce, and caramel crema. Of the desserts I tried there—we all shared on the dessert front—I deemed it the best. And I wasn't blown away by any of them. The gelato was creamy and smooth, very well made by anyone's standards. But for $11, I expect to be blown away at least a little bit. It didn't help that I had had real New Haven clam pie the night before, so when I saw Otto's version of clam pie I thought it was a joke. There weren't even clams in all of those shells! At least now I know that if you go to Otto's get the pizza or the braised pork shoulder pasta. Maybe now that I know it's not as expensive as I once believed I'll actually make it back there. But I'm not rushing.

Otto Enoteca Pizzeria
1 Fifth Avenue
(212) 995-9559
www.ottopizzeria.com
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Friday, October 28, 2011

Zabar's Toasting Bagel Giveaway!

zabars bagels

There are few foods as quintessentially "New York" as bagels. And there are few shops as quintessentially New York as Zabars, the 70+ year old Upper West Side institution. While bagel-love may spread across the nation, let's face facts, it's not easy to get a great bagel outside of the city. So when the folks at Zabars.com offered to give us two orders of their toasting bagels for our readers, we had to say yes!

First let's talk toasting. Some bagel purists may balk at the mere suggestion of toasting a bagel. Sure a fresh out of the oven bagel is just about perfect and ready for a schmear, but how often do you really get a fresh out of the oven bagel? And sometimes you just want that perfect crispy crunch of a toasted bagel. Zabar's toasting bagels are made from a special recipe designed for your toasting pleasure. "Crispy on the outside and soft on the inside - just like most New Yorkers." (Aw...)

So, how do you win an order of toasting bagels? Leave us a commenthttp://www.blogger.com/img/blank.gif telling us about your favorite bagel toppings. How do you like your bagel? (I'm rather partial to lox or lox spread myself). You can get a bonus entry by liking us on Facebook and posting your response to our wall (if you already "like" us you can post to our wall and still get an extra entry). I'll come back and pick two winners at random (via random.org) so if you don't leave your info or some way to contact you, please come back Tuesday AM to see if you're a winner next week!

UPDATE: To clarify, one of the winners will be from Facebook and the other from the comments below. Good luck!

Fine print: Winner must live in the United States. Bagels will be shipped directly by Zabars. We were not compensated in any way for this post.
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Thursday, October 27, 2011

Treats Truck Book!

Pumpkin Cookie
Brownie and I have been *BIG* fans of The Treats Truck ever since it began way back when. We've eaten almost everything off the menu, and still stop by for a treat every now and again. I knew that Kim Ima had gotten a book deal, but I didn't realize that the book would be ready soon. And by soon, I mean next week!

Treats Truck Book
The same day I stopped by to pick up my annual pumpkin sugar cookie-it's just too cute-I saw that Kim's book is ready! Starting Tuesday,November 1st, you can make Treats Truck classics at home using her recipes. I, for one, can't wait to get my hands on a copy! Kim will also be making stops around the city on her book tour starting with Posman Books in Grand Central on Tuesday, and WORD in Greenpoint next Thursday! So exciting!!!!
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Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Brooklyn's Got Balls!

Schweddy Balls!

Recently I read that the Ben & Jerry's SNL inspired limited edition "Schweddy Balls" was getting pulled from some supermarket shelves due to controversy over the names (just locating this link required me to search "Schweddy Balls Eater"). Thus far I'd only seen the flavor in the Rock Center scoop shop, but last night I spotted more than a few pints at a Park Slope bodega. Oh yeah, Brooklyn's still got balls...

Village Market on 7th Ave in the Slope is like the Holy Grail of pint ice cream. It almost seems hand curated with mix-in laden Ben & Jerry's limited edition batches. I've been on the lookout for Late Night Snack--vanilla ice cream with a salty caramel swirl chocolate covered potato chips, since it was launched in March with no success and there it was, surrounded by pints of awesomeness like Bonnaroo Buzz, Clusterfluff and Boston Cream Pie. At $5.49 the pints aren't cheap, but you don't go to a bodega expecting to get a deal on ice cream. As of last night they had eight pints of Schweddy Balls. If you've been dying to hit that, the time is now.

Village Market
368 7th Avenue
Brooklyn, NY 11215
(718) 832-6916
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Tuesday, October 25, 2011

4 & 20's New Fall Pie & Thanksgiving News!

Brown Butter Pumpkin
A few weeks back, I was delighted to see that Four & Twenty Blackbirds had started doing a bit of their pie production in the same kitchen where I work for Robicelli's. This has meant more than a few minutes lost to me admiring their gorgeous pies. Last Friday, Melissa said she was making their newest flavor, Brown Butter Pumpkin. Matt Robicelli and I let her know that she had a whole kitchen of taste testers to her avail should she need feedback. I might not have gotten a taste Friday night, but Brownie, Lawman, Little B, and I all stopped by on Saturday for the new pie!

Black Bottom Oat
(gratuitous shot of my favorite, black bottom oat)

Some of you might know that I'm late to the pumpkin game. I only started liking it about six or seven years ago, and I still won't say I'm deeply in love with it (or any other fall flavors for that matter.) But this pie tried to change my mind. The pie is creamy and silky, with just the right amount of spices added, an all around win. I wasn't able to pick up a lot of nuttiness from the brown butter, but I might have if I'd been allowed to eat the whole slice-a certain blogging partner of mine ate more than her fair share leaving the rest of us with the crust. I do think I'll be stopping by again for a piece of pie without said blogging partner in tow.

Melissa also let me in on how they'll be running the Thanksgiving show this year. To do away with the crazy around the block lines of last year, they are taking Thanksgiving orders.

Four & Twenty Blackbirds
439 Third Avenue at 8th Street
Gowanus
(718) 499-2917
birdsblack.com
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Monday, October 24, 2011

NYCWFF 2011: Carts in the Parc

Guy


Editor's note: Please welcome Brownie's little brother, Lil' Bobo for some more tasty NYCWFF coverage...

After a full weekend of NYCWFF events, Carts in the Parc was just what I needed to cleanse my palate from the "Grand (after) Taste"....

Ok, that was a bit harsh. It wasn't that I thought The Grand Tasting was bad, I just wasn't feeling the vibe. I guess sampling food in a big trade show fashion just isn't my thing. The way I see it, if I wanted a food sampling experience with the decor of a warehouse, I'd go to Costco or BJ's. They may not give you a grab bag or feature some big named celeb, but they won't ask you for a ticket either, I'm just saying...

On the other hand, Carts in the Parc was something I felt more a part of. The moment I walked into the event, I was presented a NYWFF Carts in the Parc casino chip for voting. Carts in the Parc, you get check-plus for the to-the-point-voting-system, well done indeed.

Now, here was the event I was looking forward to. For starters, several of the carts are vendors I like to frequent when I'm in town. Add to the fact that they are all in one location, and it has quickly become recipe for a delicious time. And what a delicious time it was.

The breakdown:

Savory:



Lamb Kati Roll - Biryani Cart



The lamb or chicken kati roll from Biryani Cart were easily two of my favorites. Perfect blend of savory and spicy. I'll say it, I got back in line a couple of times for this.



Bian Dang - pork chop and rice

Equally as savory and satisfying. There's something about a crispy pork chop, over white rice with a Taiwanese pork gravy. I would have gone back for more, but Bian Dang had a long queue. With a dish that good, the line was understandable.

Spicy:



El Rey  Del Sabor - spicy pork taco with onions and cilantro


I like spicy food and I am also a fan of good tacos. This spicy pork taco from El Rey de Sabor did not let me down. Spicy, bold and the only true way to have a taco; with cilantro and onions.

Sweet:



Big Gay Ice Cream Truck Ginger Curry Shake

A ginger curry shake was just what was needed after a spicy treat from El Rey Del Sabor. As it turned out, Big Gay Ice Cream Truck had just the shake I was looking for. Sweet, gingery and cooly delicious.

The Chosen One:

I don't know if it's in poor taste to say who I voted for...but in the age of tell-all blogging, I figure I might as well join in. I cast my vote for...



Souvlaki GR - Truck



After my third kati roll (or was it my fourth, it's all blurring together...) I thought the chip was going to go into the Biryani Cart fishbowl.



Souvlaki GR - Slouvlaki


But then I had the souvlaki from Souvlaki GR. After one bite, my sentiments were something similar of Ken Griffey Jr.'s in that Simpson's episode. In my opinion Souvlaki GR delivered The Chosen One.

Carts in the Parc was deliciously amazing, just about every dish I had was a winner in some way or another, and more importantly, what a way to wrap up the NYWFF. Once again, thank you Blondie and Brownie.
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Friday, October 21, 2011

What Else I've Been Eating...

The Tony Manero
Between Madison Square Eats and NYC Food Film Festival, it's been a full month of eating and drinking. But those weren't the only two things going on in my food schedule (yes, I'll admit to a food schedule.) For Midtown Lunch, I recently check out two offerings from Pizza by Cer Te: their Tony Manero slice, and their Fried Spaghetti Balls. I've been craving both since I had them. I also found the greatest ceiling ever....

Canoe on the Ceiling
It's at Whiskey River in Kips Bay. When I finally snag my millions and buy a house with a game room, this is going on the ceiling, for reals. Complete with the canoe. Though I might try to stick some people in it. For those of you interested in Potbelly Sandwich Shop's dessert options, I ate my way through those in my "post-breakup only eating dessert" phase.

Los Arcos' Super Nachos
That apparently gave way to nachos. A couple of months back, I signed up to write a couple of pieces a week for CBSLocal.com. Of what I've written so far, I'm most proud of my "NYC's 5 Best Plates of Nachos", where I got more than a little help from Rachel of NachosNY.com. It's hard having to be the one to eat all the nachos, but someone has to tell you where to eat. I also got to sample a few breakfast places! Watch out for a series that's going live next week, it involves some of the best food (and dessert!) in the city!

Also, there's still time to win Cakespy's book!
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Thursday, October 20, 2011

CakeSpy's Tour de Sweet: Magic Cookie Bar Pie and Book Giveaway!

Magic Cookie Bar Pie

This weekend the fam and I hit Jackie Gordon and Ken Leung's pie potluck at Rodeo Bar . In addition to creating a Chili Chocolate Pumpkin Doughnut Pie for the occasion and I also made CakeSpy's Magic Cookie Bar Pie. If you're familiar with Magic Squares aka Seven Layer Bars aka Hello Dollys you know that this pie is gonna be 100% awesome...

I first encountered Magic Squares in college. Sweet, chewy, and ooey-gooey, they were just the perfect fuel for late night study sessions. I've added crushed potato chips, pretzels, and chopped peanuts to make Kitchen Sink Bars, but it was the Head Spy herself, the fabulous Jessie Oleson, who opened my eyes to the possibilities of a Magic Bar Pie.

As Jessie said in her new book, CakeSpy Presents Sweet Treats for a Sugar-Filled Life, "Magic Cookie Bars are, as their name might imply, no ordinary treat. Starting with layer upon layer of unrelentingly rich, buttery graham cracker crumbs, toasted coconut, chocolate and butterscotch chips, and nuts, they get even better when they’re smothered in rich sweetened condensed milk. With all that awesome, some might argue that a small serving is best. But I disagree, and to prove it, I’ve created those magical bars in pie form, which is naturally best served in thick, fat wedges. You’re welcome."

CakeSpy's recipe includes brilliant addition of peanut butter in place of plain chopped nuts which ups the saltiness factor. As much as I love sweet treats, I tend to knock my magic bars down just a bit. Here I substituted unsweetened coconut for sweetened toasted coconut, upped the amount of chocolate chips and took down the amount of butterscotch chips. The result was ab-so-freaking-lute-ly delicious.

For the crust:
3/4 cup (11/2 sticks) unsalted butter
1 1/4 cup unsweetened shredded coconut, divided
13/4 cups finely ground graham cracker crumbs

For the filling:
1/2 cup peanut butter, smooth or chunky
1 1/4 cup semisweet chocolate chips
1/2 cup butterscotch chips
One 14-ounce can sweetened condensed milk

Preheat the oven to 300 degrees F. Butter a 9-inch pie plate.
Melt the butter in a medium saucepan pan over low heat; add 1 cup coconut and
graham cracker crumbs and stir until the mixture is well combined. Let this
mixture cool until it is still warm but not too hot to handle; using your hands,
press the mixture into the bottom and up the sides of the pie plate.

Refrigerate the crust for 15 minutes, then bake it for 10 minutes, or until golden
brown. If the crust slumps at all, just wait until it is not too hot to touch, then
pat it back into place with your fingers. Let the crust cool at room temperature
for at least 20 minutes.

Increase the oven temperature to 325 degrees F.

Place the peanut butter in teaspoon-size dollops, evenly distributed on top of
the crust (think polka-dot pattern).

Scatter the chocolate chips and butterscotch chips on top of the peanutbuttered
crust.

Pour the sweetened condensed milk in a slow, steady stream over the filling,
then gently shake the pan to make sure the liquid has settled evenly. Scatter remaining coconut on top.

Bake for 30 to 40 minutes, or until golden brown and bubbly.

Remove from the oven, transfer to a wire rack and let cool completely before
serving.

CakeSpy_5.indd


You can get this and 59 other amazing CakeSpy recipes in CakeSpy's book wherever books are sold. And thanks to Jessie's publisher, Sasquatch Books we have a copy of the book to giveaway.

Leave us a comment with your thoughts on butterscotch chips, yay or nay? To double your chance at winning go like our Facebook Page and leave us a comment there, too. I'll pick a winner at random on Monday morning, so be sure to come back and check to see if you've won. Good luck!
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Wednesday, October 19, 2011

My Weekend at the 2011 Food Film Festival

Braised Pork Shoulder
A little less than a month ago, I let you guys know that I was officially under the employ of NYC Food Film Festival, and what a fun month it was! I'm already suppressing the memory of that one week where I averaged five hours of sleep a night. But one of the perks was having the chance to go to this past weekend's events! I stuffed myself silly, cried a bit, laughed more, and still managed to get TWO naps in! It was wins all around! Here's what I ate...

Ronnybrook Sundae
The picture at top was Amanda Freitag's braised pork shoulder from Sunday night's "Farm to Film to Table". I had two helpings. I also had two Ronnybrook ice cream sundaes. I couldn't help myself, it was sooo delicious. The film about Ronnybrook, "The Big Table", ended up winning Audience Choice, and luckily for us, most of the Ronnybrook clan was there.

Ronnybrook Wins!
This is Ronny, the patriarch of the happy cows. Visiting Ronnybrook has been on my "to do" list for years now, and I have a feeling it's moved up more than a few notches.

Truck Farm
"The Big Table" edged out "Truck Farm" which was OUTSIDE! And we all got herbs from the truck farm handed to us by none other than Marion Nestle. It was to. die. for. I was all sorts of food-starstruck. My +1 did the whole "I'm going to make you introduce yourself" bit, even though I was blushing, extremely quiet, and saying "please, no, please, please, no."

Wooly's Ice
Earlier on Sunday, Brownie and I got to attend the "Di Fara Pizza Lunch" and it was great too, even though Dom wasn't there. Afterwards, we enjoyed a bit of Taiwanese shaved ice from our boys at Wooly's!

Rockaway Taco
And Saturday was "The Tribeca Taco Takedown". Epic tacos, people. This one was from Rockaway Taco, fresh fried fish in my belly. Completely worth the half hour wait. One of my favorites, Dos Toros, won the entire event. But everyone here was winners. Especially The Food Bank for NYC, who received a portion of the proceeds.

NYCFFF Crew
And here's the NYC Food Film Festival crew that I was crazy glad to be a part of. Hopefully, they'll have me back next year!
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Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Elevate a Classic Dessert & Win $10,000

Scharffen Berger
I could use $10,000. Every year the fine folks behind Scharffen Berger chocolate throw a dessert contest, this year it's "Elevate a Classic Dessert". You take a classic recipe, and give it an all new spin with Scharffen Berger chocolate (obviously), impress their team of esteemed judges, and $10,000 could be all yours. Second and third place take home $7,000 and $3,000 respectively (still more than what's in my wallet). Every year, we've been invited to the official launch party for the contest. It's one of the highlights of my year because it means I can stuff my face with chocolate and dessert and call it dinner. Let's see what I had, shall we.....

Scharffen Berger
This year, the celebrity chefs participating were Johnny Iuzzini and Elizabeth Falkner. Brownie and I ended up getting split up on teams, me ending up with Chef Iuzzini. I didn't impress him with any of my skills. On Johnny's team, we made Chocolate Pudding with Passion Fruit Gelée, Whipped Chocolate Crème Fraîche and Cacao Nibs. It was interesting learning about making the gelée with gelatin sheets, and he did teach me a better way to use an off-set spatula. The recipe itself is a bit elaborate, but is easy for an amateur baker, and it presents quite a fancy dessert.

Scharffen Berger
On Chef Falkner's team, they created Chocolate Gelato Sundaes complete with marshmallow cream. Her recipe is a little more complex, especially with the making of the cream and gelato, but is definitely worth a try if you're an ice cream sundae fan like myself. I won't tell anyone that you bought the gelato at a store.

If you're one of these creative cookies that thinks they have the best recipe, be sure to enter the contest! Entries will be accepted through January 2nd!
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Monday, October 17, 2011

Pie Party Live!

Chili Chocolate Pumpkin Doughnut Pie
I'm ashamed to admit that once upon a time, I did not like pie. Not at all. Not even a little. #TeamCake4Life. But then I gave pie another chance. And I had really good pie. And I discovered that good pie could be spectacular. This past weekend was a pie lover's dream come true. The über-fabulous Jackie Gordon and Ken Leung threw a pie potluck at Rodeo Bar and there were dozens. DOZENS of pies (and awesome bloggers in attendance)...

You can get a taste of the variety of pies at the party--we're talking everything from a savory winter squash and cabbage galette to Keffir Lime Meringue Pie with caramelized ginger graham cracker crust (!). I wasn't sure of my weekend plans so I was a very last minute add to the shindig. And I was stumped about what to bring. So many awesome pies were already spoken for by other bakers. Lawman and I were tossing some ridiculous ideas around and I came up with a doughnut pie. Wait, back up the tape, a doughnut pie?! With my recent success making mashed potato doughnuts for my American Classics column at Serious Eats, I felt emboldened to give the doughnut pie a shot. The result a dark chocolate graham crusted, chili chocolate pudding filled pie topped with homemade spiced pumpkin doughnuts aka the Chili Chocolate Pumpkin Doughnut Pie. Let's just say that this is a recipe I'm going to be making again. Soon. And now you can, too...

For the crust:
2 cups crushed chocolate grahams
3 Tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2 teaspoon Kosher salt
12 Tablespoons unsalted butter, melted

Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Mix together grahams, cocoa powder, and salt. Add in melted butter until crumbs are thoroughly moistened. Press crumbs into the bottom and sides of a 9 in baking dish. Bake for 10 minutes. Then cool completely before filling

For the pudding filling (adapted from John Scharffenberger via smitten kitchen)

1/4 cup cornstarch
1/3 cup sugar
3 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2 teaspoon chipotle powder
1/2 teaspoon ancho chili powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
3 cups whole milk
4 ounces 62% semisweet chocolate, coarsely chopped
2 teaspoons vanilla extract

In a medium saucepan whisk together: cornstarch, cocoa powder, sugar, salt and spices.

Slowly whisk in the milk. Whisking constantly bring to a light boil. Once pudding has thickened to desired consistency (usually a couple more minutes) remove from heat and pour immediately into the cooled pie shell. Quickly whisk in chocolate and vanilla.

Place a piece of waxed paper or plastic wrap on top of the pudding to prevent pudding skin from forming. Refrigerate for at least an hour (but preferably overnight).

For the Pumpkin Doughnuts (adapted from the Potato Doughnuts recipe I developed for Serious Eats)

4 cups all-purpose flour
4 tablespoons buttermilk powder
2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
2 1/2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice
2 large eggs
2 cups sugar, divided
1/2 cup light brown sugar
2 tablespoons melted butter
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1 cup pumpkin puree
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
Corn oil for frying

In a medium bowl whisk together flour, buttermilk powder, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and pumpkin pie spice.

In a large bowl or the bowl of a stand mixer, combine eggs and 1 cup sugar beating until combined and slightly foamy. Add 1 cup water, melted butter, vanilla and pumpkin puree. Stir until smooth. Slowly add flour mixture and stir until just incorporated. Lay out two large sheets of plastic wrap. Spritz plastic wrap with canola oil). Divide dough and form dough into two balls. Wrap in plastic wrap then flatten into discs. Refrigerate for at least two hours or overnight.

Generously flour a large work surface. Take one of the discs and turn out the dough to coat with flour, sprinkling the surface of the dough with flour to lessen stickiness. (Note the dough is EXTREMELY sticky, don't be shy about adding flour until it's workable). Gently pat the dough to about 1/2 an inch thick. Use a floured 3 inch doughnut cutter to cut out doughnuts and place cut doughnuts and doughnut holes on a well floured sheet of parchment paper.

Fill a Dutch oven or large cast iron skillet with 2 inches of oil. Heat oil over medium high heat until 360°F. Drop doughnuts in the oil and fry until a deep golden brown on both sides (about 2 minutes per side, use the color as your guide as the oil temperature can very with time). Use chopsticks to turn the doughnuts. Be careful not to crowd the doughnuts in the pan (no more than 2 to 3 douughnuts at a time). Remove doughnuts immediately from the pan using a heat resistant slotted spoon or spatula. Set on paper towel lined baking racks to cool. Once cooled slightly toss in a paper bag with remaining cinnamon sugar.

Slice doughnut holes in half and use to top pie. Add doughnuts immediately before serving so they don't get too soggy.

Enjoy! I also made Cakespy's special Magic Cookie Bar Pie found in her new cookbook. I'll be posting the recipe AND giving a copy of Cakespy's book away on Thursday, so be sure to come on back for seconds. ;)

Thanks again to Jackie and Ken for a super fun and well put together event. Can't wait for the next Pie Party!
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Friday, October 14, 2011

Make it an Apple Picking Weekend!

Pumpkins at Rose Orchards
'Tis the season to pick apples. And pears. And pumpkins. And if you need a weekend out of the city and a super adorable 365 year old family run orchard to visit, fire up that Zip Car and hit 95 headed towards Rose Orchards in Branford, CT...

Antique Tractor climbers
In the interest of full disclosure my high school English teacher's family owns the orchard, but as fond as I am for my former teacher, the orchard is certifiably awesome all on its own. How is it awesome? Let us count the ways...

Pear Tree

5) Apples, Pumpkins and Pears, oh my!: This isn't just a pick your own apples spot. They have pears and pumpkins, too.

Rose Orchards Pumpkin Pie

4) Homemade pie a la mode: Yes, oh, yes! Homemade pie + rich and creamy vanilla custard = win.

3) Corn maze: Just the right size for wandering, but not so big that you'll embarrass yourself by getting lost and calling 911.

2) Pumpkin head!: Jack the Pumpkin King look alike buzzes around on a John Deere. Seriously, pumpkin head is so fast that it was hard to get a good snap of him riding by.

1) LLAMAS!!: Who doesn't love llamas?! Especially llamas that you can watch while eating pie.

Creamery

The farm market is open from 9:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. seven days a week.
The Creamery is open from 9:00 a.m. to 6:00 pm.

And after some apple picking get some New Haven pizza on the trip back.

Rose Orchards
33 Branford Rd,
North Branford, CT 06471
(203)488-7996
http://roseorchardsfarm.com

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Thursday, October 13, 2011

Unicorns! We Have Unicorns!

Roberta's The Unicorn
I'm interrupting our haphazardly scheduled editorial calendar to bring you some very important news. It involves unicorns. And you thought unicorns didn't exist! Well, they probably don't (sorry, Spatula Queen), but yesterday Roberta's stand at Madison Square Eats had Unicorn pizza! No real or imaginary unicorns were hurt in the process of making this pizza—though one of the guys from Roberta's butchered my name and, as a result, was not offered cupcakes.

Roberta's The Unicorn
For the past two months, one could say that my diet has gone off the rails. Total shit is more how I would put it. Almost every day has involved fried food, excessive sweets, and/or beer. Yesterday morning, I decided it's time to reel it back in. So when my post-run hunger pangs hit within the first hour of my shift at Mad. Sq. Eats, I wanted to keep it slightly on the healthy side i.e. no meatball or pastrami sandwiches! I ran over to Roberta's stand and saw the day's special. It's small, there's dairy, and yay for vegetables! And it was every bit as delicious as it could be. The chard had been slightly roasted, and was perfectly accompanied by the onions. I didn't taste the chili flakes or any real sort of heat at all, and I was happy about that. It would have overpowered the chard, onions, and garlic. I *really* need to make the trip out to their Bushwick home, like stat.

Madison Square Eats is in Worth Square (5th Avenue between 25th and 24th), 11am to 9pm until next Friday, the 21st.
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Wednesday, October 12, 2011

New York Wine & Food Festival: SWEET 2011

sweet

Editor's note: Please welcome Brownie's little brother, Lil' Bobo for some tasty NYCWFF coverage...

On evening of September 30th, Godiva was hosting the SWEET dessert party of the New York Wine & Food Festival at 82 Mercer. Brownie was away, Blondie was busy, Lawman was with Brownie, and given that it was a 21+ event...well Lil' B is 20 years too young. So! Lil' Bobo stepped up to the dessert plate, as it were...

That Friday night it also rained. A lot. In fact, the moment I emerged from Broadway-Lafayette, the downpour began. I was already running a little late, but waiting an additional 25 minutes for the rain to calm, cost me big time; in the form of a crème brûlée donut from Doughnut Plant. I blame it on the rain. Thanks, weather.

Be that as it may, my sweet tooth was satisfied. Here's my top three:


Sweetest:

Canoli-Donatella, Fresh Ricotta, orange blossom, pistachio, godiva bittersweet chocolate

Donatella may be better known for their delicious pizza, impressive bar and lovely restaurant. But, should you find room for dessert… no, scratch that… make room for dessert, especially if you're in the mood for a cannoli. Fresh ricotta, orange blossom, pistachio and Godiva bittersweet chocolate. Sweet, slightly salty with the pistachios, crunchy, creamy - this one had it all. I will not admit how many of these I consumed. Donatella - thank you.

Homage-est:

Blondie-Brownie_Fat Witch Bakery- caramel brownie, sea salt cranberry blondie

Why, Fat Witch Bakery! You shouldn't have! Flattery, will get you everywhere.

In all seriousness, it was a really good Blondie and Brownie - a caramel brownie and a sea salt, cranberry blondie. Soft, doughy, caramelly (new w0rd), chocolatey goodness.


Dangerous:

Choc.ChipCookies - ee Cookies

e.e. Cookies. It was what they brought to the dessert table that made them dangerous; a plethora of assorted cookies the size of Nilla® Wafers. Cookies in miniature form, is danger in disguise. You're not going to have one, you're going to have like 12 or 20, or the platter. "These are free right? Great, thanks." This is how addiction starts; eating a couple of small cookies, totally in control… and then you wake up one morning to find yourself as the Robert Downy Jr. of cookies. I exercised will power and kept it to three; it was difficultly delicious.

Victorious:

DonutPlant_Winner

The victory was announced by Sandra Lee. Her attempt to quiet down an alcohol and sugar rush fueled crowd was akin to an Elementary School Principle trying to quite down an gymnasium of children. Her address to the audience was something along the lines of this, "guys… guys come on now. Please quiet down. No seriously. *laughs* Ok now. Yeah, I've kind of lost my voice from talking all night so if you could just quiet down… …ok I'll just start…" For whatever it's worth Sandra, I piped down for ya.

Sandra Lee went on to introduce the CEO of Godiva, James Goldman, who ultimately announced Mark Israel as the new SWEET champ.

Big thanks to Blondie and Brownie for letting me have a SWEET time. Doughnut Plant... I'll get you next time
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Tuesday, October 11, 2011

A Few More Weeks of Smorgasburg

Dough's Hibiscus Doughnut
It's definitely hard to believe that the outdoor market schedule is winding out, despite the crazy warm days we've been having. This past Saturday I took advantage of the warm weather and brought one of the newest members of my family, the Farmer, out to Smorgasburg for a little lunchtime treat. Maybe since the L was down, or because people decided to skip town for the weekend, or because there was a small music festival going on, there was barely any line at Dough. So I finally tried them out. And all I can say is yes, I'm sold. It was fluffy goodness, completely on par with Doughnut Plant. But that's not all we ate.

Greek at Smorgasburg
We also stopped at Anthi's booth and picked up dolmathakia and spanakopita. Anthi is a restaurant on the Upper West Side which I have never visited, and after eating these I am totally going to make the trip up there. The dolmathakia, rice wrapped in grape leaves, actually had a good amount of flavor. But it was the spanakopita that won me over. Flaky pastry with rich and ample spinach filling, I sort of wished we had bought two squares. At $5 for a square, it was definitely a good size lunch treat. I can only hope that Anthi plans on staying around for the rest of the Smorgasburg season, which I believe will be in finishing up on November 19th.
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Monday, October 10, 2011

CakeSpy's Tour De Sweet!

CakeSpy_5.indd

Chalk full of unicorns, robots and of course, incredibly original desserts--Cadbury Eggs Benedict, anyone?--CakeSpy Presents Sweet Treats for a Sugar-Filled Life is a must, must, must for any true sweets lover. Jessie's going to be headed to the northeast on her Tour De Sweet bakery book tour next month, but in the meantime you can follow along as we host one of the stops on her tour de blog...

Here's a little taste of some of the recipes in the book, tasty pics courtesy of the HeadSpy herself...

Cookie Cake Pie

Cookie Cake Pie

S'moreos!

S'moreos

Cadbury Creme Eggs Benedict

Cadbury Eggs Benedict


Follow along on the blog tour here...

October 10—Cupcake Project

October 11—Bake It in a Cake!

October 12—Culinary Concoctions by Peabody

October 13—Dessert First

October 14—Cookie Madness

October 15—Bake and Destroy

October 16—Piece of Cake

October 17—Not Martha

October 19—Big Girls, Small Kitchen

We'll be rounding out the tour here next week on the 20th so stay tuned for a recipe and book giveaway (win for us and win for you!).
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Friday, October 7, 2011

There's a Bazaar at Night in Brooklyn

Dekalb Market
One of the bigger events this summer was the opening of the Dekalb Market in downtown Brooklyn. Made from recycled shipping containers, it allowed more small businesses to enter into the market in a fostering environment, including the wonderful Robicelli's. Well, I've visited a couple of times now, and I can say it's definitely worth visiting especially this Sunday night during Brooklyn Night Bazaar!

Cheeky's Chicken Sandwich
Sunday night, the party will add about 50 vendors to the mix already there, so it's a definite must on your foodie weekend schedule. But there are some highlights if you feel like stopping by before then. One of which is Cheeky's Sandwiches. I started craving Cheeky's while working on Real Cheap Eats. Time and time again, I saw the picture of their chicken sandwich, and salivated over it into the wee hours of the morning. You'd best be sure that I made a bee-line for their container as soon as I could. The fried chicken sandwich is not to be missed: moist, tender chicken sandwiched between buttery and crumbly biscuit halves with a nice slaw adding texture, color, and a vinegary kick. Delicious.

Cuzin's Duzin
Another winner is Cuzin's Duzin Doughnuts (which is also currently at Madison Square Eats.) Mini doughnuts made fresh on a little doughnut flume. You can get a half dozen of fried, lightly sugared goodness for $2. It's worth it.

Robicelli's
And of course, there's a little place called Robicelli's. They make cupcakes, brownies, and whoopie pies, plus they carry marshmallows from Kitty Lee Thomas Sweets.

Dekalb Market
138 Willoughny St
Downtown Brooklyn
dekalbmarket.com
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