Friday, March 30, 2012

Street Vendor Project's 10th Anniversary!!

Biryani Cart
Tuesday night was Street Vendor Project's 10th Anniversary party and we stopped by to party! And eat; you know there was lots of eating. Some of our faves were there: Biryani Cart, A-Pou's Taste, reigning Vendy winner Solber Pupusas, Treats Truck, and Cinnamon Snail (though Brownie did stick to her Lenten "no dessert" policy).

SVP 10th Anniversary Party
Judson Memorial was set up so that all the food alternately came out at two different tables on opposite sides of the space, and this actually worked out pretty well. The only issue was you'd line up thinking you'd get one dish, only to get to the table to find something totally different. Like I was like up thinking I'd get some King of Falafel, only to be towards the head of the line as the table switched over to Biryani Cart.

Biryani Cart
That just meant I got to have chicken kati rolls. There are worse things in the world that can happen to you than having to eat spicy kati rolls. Being at the beginning though did mean that the rolls didn't have ample time to warm up.

Solber Pupusas
Then we got on line for Solber Pupusas: pork, chicken, or beans. I always go beans, I don't know why. They also had the usual pickled slaw, jalapenos, and cream. This made me so amped for the upcoming Red Hook/outdoor Brooklyn Flea season.

A-Pou's Taste
After seeing what Patty's Taco had to offer (Brownie partook in that), we headed back for the table changed to A-Pou's Taste. Anyone in my Thursday evening class can tell you about my love for A-Pou's Taste. I regularly walk in the classroom a good twenty minutes early to have time to munch on my dumplings. I can help myself! They're right there and so delicious!

Cinnamon Snail
As the speeches went on, I took the time to have a little dessert. I do have to say that Cinnamon Snail's vegan doughnuts are pretty great. They are a little heavy, more cake than yeast, but I found that the chocolate pudding filled, chocolate cookie coated Brooklyn Blackou-esque doughnut hit the spot. Bring on the Vendys!

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Travels with Brownie: Chicharrónes, Tostones y Morcilla! Oh My!

Chicharones Tostones y Yuca
Colombians know how to eat--I should know, I married one. Last month--sob! was it really over a month ago?!--I was in Colombia aka the land of chicharrón. A magical place where poolside "snacks" include platters of fried piggy in the form of chicharrón (deep fried pig skin with pork), morcilla (blood sausage) and chorizo...

During our trip to Colombia, we had chicharrón multiple times, including one version in Cali that was more like deep fried thin strips of bacon, not that there's anything wrong with that, in fact my father-in-law is threatening to try it at home for an upcoming gathering. I suspect he will have the entire family's blessing. Personally I appreciate chicharrón in all forms especially if it comes with just a little spritz of lime or a touch of aji for a nice little touch of acidity.

Colombian Snack time

The photo above shows our whole snack time spread including roasted papas criollas--lovely, almost buttery, tiny yellow potatoes that grow in the Andes and are a key ingredient in ajiaco, traditional über-Colombian chicken and potato soup. I've been wanting to make some good ajiaco since I got back, but the papas criollas can be very difficult to find. I've occasionally seen them in in city preserved in jars, but I hear that the frozen variety is really much preferred if you can't find them fresh. Got any papas criollas tips for where to find them in the city? Hit me up in the comments. I'd love to get my fix soon!

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Peanut. Butter. Filled. DOUGHNUT!

PB & Jam Doughnut
If you're following my Foursquare or Foodspotting or our mutual Twitter (which is like 80% of the time me because Brownie's got important things to do like raise a child), you'd know that I stopped by Bowery Diner recently and *FREAKED OUT* because of their PB & Jam doughnut. Early reviews of the places were mixed partly because it seemed everyone thought they were paying too much money for diner dinner food. I went for lunch and I left feeling like a grown-up grad student after my PEANUT BUTTER FILLED DOUGHNUT!!!

Grilled Cheese
So, let me backtrack here. When I was a wee lass during that magical time in my life called college, my fellow Hunter students and I frequently ate at Neil's on 70th and Lex. My go-to meal was a grilled cheese with fries and coffee. This was the sober side of my undergraduate years when all my vices had whittled away to beer and cigarettes. And coffee, lots and lots of coffee. Fast forward seven years, and you have a grown up me with grad school, a book, writing gigs, and future career decisions looming. This me sits down at Bowery Diner and decides to get a grilled cheese with coffee. For old time's sake.

Grilled Cheese
But this is grown-up me. I get the salad on the side instead of fries, and the grilled cheese isn't slices of cheese food between white bread. It's Cheddar and Swiss with garlic and thyme on good country bread--beautifully toasted to melted goodness and easily a fulfilling lunch complete with a decent pickle spear. There's nothing worse than getting a terrible tasting pickle spear. Grown-up me is willing to pay $10 for this meal (the salad isn't worth $4 bucks in my opinion though it is made with nice crispy lettuce and scallion vinaigrette dressing). $6 delicious gourmet grilled cheese>$5.50 undergrad grilled cheese, hands down.

PB & Jam Doughnut
The whole time I was devouring my lunch, I kept sneaking peeks at their doughnut display. "You're being sort of healthy today. 80/20. 80/20!" said my good angel. "Mmmmm, doughnuts. You ate salad, you're so virtuous!" said the devil. When I saw "PB and Jam" doughnut, it was freaking over for my diet. I expected peanut butter flavor with jam instead like everyone else does, but NO! They have to be all different. A huge amount of peanut butter is stuffed inside this precious baby. Totally worth $3 and your day's diet. Freaking awesome!

P.S. to all the Bowery Diner haters--at least they didn't include the "Diet Delights" section of the usual diner menu. Who is this person who goes to diners to eat cottage cheese? I would like to shake their hand.

Bowery Diner
241 Bowery
(212) 388-0052

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Brooklyn Represents in the March Foodzie Box

March Tasting Box

For Christmas Blondie generously gifted us a 3-month Foodzie subscription. If you’re not familiar with Foodzie, you should get familiar. They’re an artisanal food tasting club out of San Francisco. Each month they curate a selection of tasting boxes that members can choose from based around a theme. It's exactly the kind of fun food gift that I love because it involves getting packages in the mail and the element of surprise. You never know what one particular month's tasting box will be, but you know it's going to be good. For March one of the options was Brooklyn-based, naturally it was the best of the bunch, so I had to order it...

I wish I could share some artful photographs of each of the items laid out looking glorious in the late afternoon light. But sometimes you need to do less photographing and more eating and this was one of those times. I can however, give you the run down of what I tasted...

The Z crackers are nice and crispy. I first tried these in the hospital after having Little B--Blondie brought me some long-lusted after Cashel Blue cheese that’s verboten for pregnant ladies but a-okay for new moms. The crackers make for perfect cheese vectors, if you ask me. I’ve been a fan ever since.

Let’s just say I’m in no hurry away the bacon trend especially when it involves bacon fat roasted, Old Bay-spiced peanuts aka "Old Salties" made by Ovenly. Smoky, spicy and utterly addictive. The only problem was that the “three serving” sample packet was far too small--I swear it was more of a single-sitting, single-serving type deal.

How about 4 different beer truffles from Nunu Chocolates? Yes, please! I don't even drink beer and I enjoyed these pairings of intense dark chocolate with craft beers.

Many a drugstore candy bar has dared to call themselves king (or at least king-sized), but Liddabit's "the King," a rich milk chocolate covered bar with peanut butter nougat sandwiched between a brown sugar-brown butter cookie and a layer of fresh banana ganache, is truly fit for royalty.

I've been saving my dried mango (and greedily eying the organic granola that's off limits to me because of pecans). Suffice it to say the Brooklyn box is a winner. Hats off to Foodzie and Blondie for a box well-gifted!

Monday, March 26, 2012

Somewhat Healthy Food at Shopsin's

Brussels Sprouts
One of the best moments is when I introduce someone to Shopsin's. They never seem quite prepared and don't exactly know what they're in for. Recently, I met up with Monique and Rachel for a day of fun and it all began at Shopsin's. And somehow Rachel found (relatively) healthy things on the menu.

Sweet Pea Pete
First, she spotted Brussels sprouts and seeing as the three of us are all fans, we got some to share. Roasted deliciousness with just the right amount of oil and salt, and crunchy edge pieces. Then, after Mo and I ordered a Mo'Jemima and a Mo'Betta respectively, she goes and orders a Sweet Pea Pete. It's toasted (I think garlic) bread with bacon, poached eggs, cheese, and peas. And it comes with salad! Heavens to Betsy, it comes with salad! She loved it, and kept insisting that it wasn't healthy. As the two of us gobbled down mac and cheese pancakes.

Essex Street Market
120 Essex Street
New York, NY 10002

Friday, March 23, 2012

Choice Eats 2012: We Came, We Saw, We Ate (A LOT)

Susan and Lobstah Gaga from Red Hook Lobster Pound
Is it just us or is the Village Voice's Choice Eats getting tastier and tastier? We hit up the 5th Annual event at the Lexington Armory last week and here are some of our favorite bites...

Tanoreen Fried Brussels Sprouts

Fried Brussels Sprouts from Tanoreen. Why don't we get out to Bay Ridge more often?

Shrimp Roll from Luke's

Shrimp Roll from Luke's. Tender, sweet Maine shrimp, toasted Freihofer bun...need we say more? This was worth braving the line for a second helping.

Doughnut Plant

Doughnut Plant doughnuts. Just the right size so you could have more than one...

Del Posto Butterscotch Semifreddo

Hello, Butterscotch Semi-freddo from Del Posto! You were intensely delicious.

Chicken Marsala Balls from the Meatball Shop

I wish this photo did The Meatball Shop's Chicken Marsala meatballs justice. These were stew-like and hearty.

Sotto Casa Tiramisu

Rich and creamy tiramisu from Sotto Casa.

Danny Macaroons

Craving one of Danny Macaroons' salted caramel macaroons. RIGHT. NOW.

SCRATCHbread fresh mozzarella

If you ever have a chance to try fresh mozzarella from SCRATCHbread, do it. You have to do it. So good. So very good.

Robicelli's Cupcake

There are few things as pretty as a Robicelli's cupcake drizzled with honey.

Salty Honey Pie

We had a minor panic attack when we didn't spot our beloved Four & Twenty Blackbirds. Fortunately we found them in the VIP lougue area serving up their Salty Honey Pie. Mmmm. Salty, sweet and just generally goooood.

If you missed out on Choice Eats, I'm sorry to tell you that Choice Streets (on the INTREPID, yes, that Intrepid) has just sold out. Next year, keep tabs on the events by following @ChoiceEats.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Mad Men Season 5 Premiere Shot-tails

Mad Men Shot-tails 3
The Mad Men madness continue. When I think of Mad Men, I think of drinking. So this weekend as I was dreaming up some Mad Men premiere night fun (other than cupcakes), I started thinking…“shot-tails”... mini shots of Mad Men inspired drinks done up 60s style in tiny Jell-O molds. Yes, I went there...

When I started researching Jell-O shot recipes I realized, that I was going to have to get creative. No matter how 60s-ish Jell-O seems to me, I can’t ever imagine Roger Sterling touching the stuff. I was excited to discover the Jelly Shot Test Kitchen blog and its namesake book, both of which are full of recipes for turning classic cocktails into jelled shots that actually taste like their namesake drinks instead of a hospital Jell-O cup.

I dutifully bought the book. And a Nordic bakeware tea cake mold (it's essentially a set of 30 teeny, tiny Bundt pans). Then I poured over the recipes on the train deciding to make the Old Fashioned (Don’s favorite). Alas, I wasn’t so good at reading the instructions. I bought a bitters mix instead of bitters. I forgot the club soda. Still I had my mold. I had my bourbon, I had my gelatin. I was going to do think by hook or by crook. So with a few modifications I turned out a recipe, that worked. I also worked up a recipe for a Cape Codder (aka vodka & cranberry with lime) that I think Roger would enjoy. Each of the recipes below makes about 14 mini shots, so the combo is the perfect amount for a single mini bundt pan.
Mad Men Shot-tails 2

Old Fashioned Shot-tail
Adapted from Jelly Shot Test Kitchen: Jell-ing Classic Cocktails-One Drink at a Time by Michelle Palm
Makes about 14 mini shots

½ cup water
2 dashes of "The Bitter Truth" Bitters
A pinch of orange zest
2 tablespoons sugar
1 envelope Knox gelatin
½ cup bourbon

Add water, bitters, zest and sugar to a small saucepan. Stir until sugar dissolves. Sprinkle envelope of gelatin and allow to soften, about 2 minutes.

Heat mixture on very low heat, stirring constantly until gelatin dissolves completely, about 5 minutes.

Spray mini bundt pan with a non-stick, neutral oil. Carefully pour to fill the wells of the pan to the rim. Refrigerate until set, at least two hours or overnight. Garnish with thin strips of orange rind, if desired.

Cape Cod-der
½ cup cranberry cocktail
Juice from one lime
1 ½ envelopes Knox gelatin
½ cup vodka

Add cranberry juice, and lime to a small saucepan. Sprinkle envelope of gelatin and allow to soften, about 2 minutes.

Heat mixture on very low heat, stirring constantly until gelatin dissolves completely, about 5 minutes.

Spray mini bundt pan with a non-stick, neutral oil. Carefully pour to fill the wells of the pan to the rim. Refrigerate until set, at least two hours or overnight. Garnish with thin strips of lime rind, if desired.

Mad Men Shot-tails

If you don't want to invest in a teeny, tiny bundt pan, Michelle Palm's book has a ton of tips for using regular baking pans and cookie cutters to achieve gorgeous looking results. Not to mention recipes for a ton of other cocktails appropriate to the era. We're talking Tom Collins, Gimlets, Grasshoppers, Manhattans, and Pink Squirrels among others. It's definitely a book I can see breaking out for special occasions like, ahem, a certain upcoming birthday. Sophisticated with a touch of whimsy, these shots will be a welcome addition to any party.*

To accompany your shots, here's a little Mad Men Drinking Game.

Take a shot if...
-Roger mentions Lucky Strikes
-Lane Pryce says something British that no one else finds funny
-Betty says something therapy-inducing to Sally
-Don has a drink
-Someone makes a sexist remark to Peggy
-Joan is still pregnant

Take two shots if...
-Baby Gene is mentioned
-Burt Cooper appears
-Pete calls Trudy for advice

Take three shots if...
-Peggy and Pete discuss their child
-Don and Betty get back together

Please remember to enjoy responsibly! The drinking game was created for fun and is not intended as a recommendation for how many jelled shots to kick back in an evening. Please do add you own drinking game suggestions in the comments! Enjoy!

*In the interest of full disclosure, after I bought the book I discovered that it was edited by our editor at Running Press. What can I say? She has great taste!

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Mad Men Cupcakes for the Season 5 Premiere

Sterling Cooper Draper Pryce Cupcakes

Whew. That was one long hiatus. What will Don and Betty and Joan and Peggy and Pete and the rest of Sterling, Cooper, Draper, Pryce be up to this Sunday night? Will you be watching the Season 5 premiere? More importantly, what will you be eating in celebration...?


I can't help but wonder, what will Joan and Roger do this season now that Joanie has a bun in the oven?

Don Draper and Bert Cooper Cupcakes

Burt Cooper was my favorite cupcake to make. He's just so darn cute with that beard and mustache. I hope that season 5 has a whole lot more Burt.

What's on your Mad Men menu? Chicken kiev? Utz potato chips? Gimlets or Brandy Alexanders?

For more frosted celebs check out:
Golden Girls Cupcakes
Fashion Designer Cupcakes (Donatella Versace, Karl Lagerfeld, and Betsey Johnson)
Lady Gaga Cupcakes
Liza Minnelli Cupcake

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Luke's Lobster, It's All About The Whoopie Pies

Crab Roll
Last week, I stopped by Luke's Lobster and ate a crab roll. You don't need me to tell you that it was delicious. We're not the only one who recommend it. But that's not all we recommend! They have whoopie pies, and dare I say they might have the best in the city.

Whoopie Pie
Great whoopie pies are hard to come by in the big city. Brownie, a lady with Maine in her blood, is hyper-critical of all of them. Since few are granted with her approval, I've learned what makes a great one and what makes a good try. The whoopie pies at Luke's, from Brooklyn's Big Whoop Bakery, are perfect specimens. Moist, fluffy, doomed cake sandwiching sweet filling that's not purely frosting, not purely marshmallow cream. I need to pick one up for Brownie's testing and (hopefully) ultimate approval. If anything, visiting Luke's totally makes me excited for my May Maine trip!

Luke's Lobster
Various Locations

Monday, March 19, 2012

Finally Going to SriPraPhai

Fried Soft Shell Crab
SriPraPhai has been around as one of the best Thai places in the city for years now. When I was commuting out to Queens, I would often see their sign below the 7 and ponder getting off for some dinner. I never did. When I moved to North Brooklyn, I pondered going the few stops for dinner. For two and a half years, I never did. Then Donny from Eat To Blog decided to get a group together to finally go. And I made it! And it was goooooood.

I didn't know what to order, so I left it up to everyone else. I'm no real Thai expert--it's usually Pad Thai or Pad See Ew and maybe a spring roll thrown in for good measure. The group was having none of that. My favorite dish was the fried soft shell crab (above)--not too spicy, deliciously crunchy crab. I loved the addition of garlic and basil into the mix. I could have eaten this whole plate by myself.

Crispy Chinese Watercress
Also great was the crispy Chinese watercress. It's fried greens, how can it not be good?

Chinese Broccoli with Crispy Pork
Chinese broccoli with crispy pork was another it seems all healthy, but not really. I'd totally eat more vegetables if they came with crispy pork.

Drunken Noodles
The Drunken Noodles were the closest to what I usually have at Thai joints. Of course this was better than most I've ever had. Spice kicks with soft noodles, best for those just starting out who can handle some spiciness.

Over on Eat to Blog, there are more pictures plus one of the green curry which was the spiciest thing on the table (I couldn't handle it). I think we'll be going back specifically to see how their Pad Thai and Pad See Ew hold up.

6413 39th Avenue
Woodside, Queens
(718) 899-9599

Friday, March 16, 2012

Celebrate St. Patrick's Day at New York's Only Irish Food Truck


In case you haven't heard, Saturday is St. Patrick's Day. If you have plans to raise a pint, wear some green, and celebrate being Irish ('cause, you know, everyone is Irish on St. Paddy's Day), you might want to consider celebrating amongst the real Irish. Take Metro North up to Woodlawn on the edge of the Bronx, have a few Guinesses and then hit up The Chipper Truck, New York's only Irish food truck, for some tasty fried food to sober you up at the end of the night...

Run by Alice O'Brien Bermejo and her husband Valentino, the Chipper Truck is patterned after the chip vans, Alice grew up with in County Leitrim. Tradition there dictates that food ends a night of good drinking and good company and out in the country it was common for trucks to drive out to where the clubs and pubs were to serve the last call crowd some tasty grub to fend off the morning's regret. The Chipper Truck is a late night truck. You can find them out from midnight or one until 5am, seven nights a week.

The Chipper Truck's menu is extensive and full of all the comforts you'd want after a night on the town. Their burgers are over a quarter of a pound. And their namesake chips (fries to you, Yanks) come with a host of toppings like an addictive tomato-based curry imported from Ireland or curry coleslaw, garlic and cheese.

But on St. Patrick's Day, you've got to go Irish and I can heartily recommend both the deep fried bangers and the boxtys (pictured above). The bangers are made Irish-style by a butcher here in the city, but they're better than the bangers I remember eating in Ireland (those always struck me as sort of mealy). If you try the boxtys you're in for a real treat. Made from Alice's mother's recipe, boxtys are a staple comfort food in the Northwest of Ireland and are especially popular in County Leitrim where Alice is from. Cooked slow and low these are an Irish version of a potato pancake and couldn't be better for soaking up a night's drinking. And Alice and Val also happen to be two of the nicest people you'll ever meet. Good food. Good folk. Win-win!

For the Chipper Truck's whereabouts and time that they begin serving, check their Facebook page. They try to get out at around midnight every night but sometimes they are earlier and sometimes they are later.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Forget Girl Scout Cookies, Just Get a Thin Mint Shake

Salty Pimp with Sprinkles
(sorry for the blur, I was just so excited from the sprinkles)

You never know what you'll find at Big Gay Ice Cream Shop. Right now it's neon sprinkles that can turn your regular ho-hum Salty Pimp into a "Salty Pimp, 1989 Miami Edition". Also, Thin Mint Shakes.

Thin Mint Shake
Yup, a thick milkshake of ice cream and crushed up Thin Mints. Minty delicious, and the perfect date dessert if you want to get your swerve on after. A few of the chocolatey pieces do get stuck at the bottom of the straw which can lead to sucky face, so be careful of that, beautiful people. This was yesterday's special--check their Twitter (@biggayicecream) before heading on over to see if it'll be around again. Or just head over for the neon sprinkles.

*sorry for the short post. I just finally bought a SLR and I've never spent that much money on one item IN MY LIFE and I really just need to go down some bourbon and pass out before I can do a stop payment.*

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Speaking of Fried Pie...You Can Get Fried Pie Custard at Milk Bar

Fried Apple Pie

Speaking of Fried's Pie Day (aka 3.14). And Momofuku Milk Bar is serving up Fried Apple Pie in shake and custard form...

After Choice Eats last night, Blondie and I hit Milk Bar ('cause you know we were starving). Ok, maybe we just shy of completely and utterly stuffed, but I had to pick up a cake for Lawman and when Fried Pie calls your name, you answer.

The apple flavoring in this custard is very subtle. We got the cornflake crunchies added on top, but although they added a nice texture to the custard, they are salty and sweet and overpowered the mild apple flavor. The custard itself has salty and buttery notes--it's like some how that get all that fried pie crust flavor into the custard base. If you're wild about apple, this may be a little too mild for you. If you're a huge Tosi fan you'll want to give this a shot.


Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Fried Pi

Pie for Pi Day
If you were watching our Twitter this weekend, you would have seen a tweet stating "There are pies being fried. Or are they pi?!" This is the trouble we were getting into.

Pie for Pi Day
We fried pi.

Pie for Pi Day
We filled that pi with pie filling.

Pie for Pi Day
We love pi. And pie. And fried pie pi filled with strawberry filling. This was all done in celebration of Pi Day tomorrow! You could make a pie, or stop by our favorite pie shop, 4&20, for their first cream pie! Mmmmm, pie.

Monday, March 12, 2012

Steeplechase Coffee Now Serving Dough Doughnuts!

Coconut Doughnut from Dough

Kensington's awesome new(ish) cafe, Steeplechase, just got exponentially more awesome. How? Well, in addition to treats from Balthazar and Trois Pomme they are now selling my beloved Dough doughnuts and bread from Amy's Bread. This. Is. Dangerous...

This Saturday, Dough's insanely addictive, fluffy doughnuts made their first appearance at Steeplechase (almost six months to the day from when I first begged them to carry Dough). Within 3 hours they were pretty much sold out. The cafe is going to be carrying: blood orange with candied orange slices, plain glazed, chocolate with cocoa nibs, toasted coconut, passion fruit with cocoa nibs and dulce du leche topped with slivered almonds.

It was tough to choose, I'm a huge fan of both the chocolate and the blood orange, but I decided it was time to bread out of the mold and go for the toasted coconut. The toasted coconut shavings cut the sweetness and gave it a delightfully nutty taste. Delicious. But be warned, this is a coconut loving neighborhood--I got the last one at around 9:30am. Steeplechase will be getting 3 dozen doughnuts everyday. On the weekends definitely expect a rush and plan to get there early. My only problem as a frequent customer at Steeplechase will be reminding myself that I don't need a doughnut every time I visit (or do I...).

The loose breads from Amy's are also a big gain for the neighborhood. They'll be carrying: sourdough rounds, sliced country sourdough, rustic italian mini loaves, seeded whole wheat mini loaves, and baguettes. Speaking of baguettes, they are also now carrying baguettes, herbed focaccia sandwich rolls, ciabatta sandwich rolls, sliced multigrain loaf with flax and sunflower seeds, sliced rye boules, and sliced organic whole wheat from Balthazar.


Win for Windsor Terrace. Win for Kensington. Now get out there and support!

Steeplechase Coffee
3013 Fort Hamilton Pkwy
(between 3rd St & 2nd St)
Brooklyn, NY
(347) 799-2640