Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Balinese Banana Pancakes

Selamat Pagi Banana Pancakes
Apparently it's a thing for single ladies approaching their mid-30s to visit Bali in search of peace and wholeness, then have a fling with another local ex-pat and fall in love. I don't know if I'll be up for such things when my time comes, but I do know there will be banana pancakes and that can't be half bad!

At least, this is what Laura O'Neill, yes the same behind Van Leeuwen Artisan Ice Cream, tells me. Every morning in Bali, you get banana pancakes. So, at their new Balinese place, Selamat Pagi, they had to have banana pancakes on the brunch menu. They're denser than the ones we're used to, but have a decent amount of sliced bananas in the cakes. Then they're covered with toasted coconut *and* macadamia nuts. Then you top them off with homemade vanilla-flecked whipped cream and palm sugar syrup. Yes, palm sugar syrup. And then you proceed home to price vacations to Bali, possibly laughing at the people along the way who are still waiting for a table to eat plain old pancakes for brunch.

Selamat Pagi
152 Driggs Avenue
(718) 701-4333

Monday, April 29, 2013

Strawberry Balsamic Pie is Back at Four & Twenty Blackbirds

Four and Twenty Blackbirds Strawberry Balsamic 
I'm a firm believer in the "birthday rules" and by birthday rules, I mean, if it's your birthday, you're in charge. You do what you want and when you want. You also eat what you want. And that includes starting your special day with your breakfast of choice. In my case, that was Strawberry Balsamic Pie from Four & Twenty Blackbirds...

My only regret is that I didn't have room to repeat this slice because it was soooo good. Blondie is a big proponent of strawberry pies in general and went she started tweeting about wanting to make one a couple of weeks ago, I naturally started craving one, too! Strawberry pies can easily venture into cloyingly sweet territory. Not the case with the pies from Four & Twenty. As always the crust is flakey, buttery perfection and the filling with bursting with juicy, strawberry goodness. This pie is a delicious reminder that spring is finally here! I'm looking forward to making a return visit for seconds.

Four & Twenty Blackbirds
439 Third Ave. at 8th St,
Brooklyn, NY 11215

Hours: Monday to Friday: 8am - 7pm
Saturday: 9am - 7pm
Sunday: 10am - 6pm

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Fancy Rotisserie Lamb Sando at Lincoln Station

Rotisserie Lamb Sandwich
My gig at Citysearch means searching this city for only the latest and greatest spots, and though I try to not focus on Manhattan and Brooklyn, it's so hard! Especially when great places like Lincoln Station are opening up!

The folks behind al di là and Bar Corvo have brought south Crown Heights a bit of their culinary genius. Lincoln Station is perfect for breakfast, lunch, afternoon coffee, and dinner take-out. I'm serious. I stopped by for a little lunch time work--free Wifi is always a plus in my book--and picked up their rotisserie lamb sandwich. Succulent slices of lamb sandwiched between ciabatta with cucumber, fava bean puree, and a spicy yogurt sauce adding a Mediterranean flavor. The kicker? It's under $10. I desperately need to get back to try the tripe Sloppy Joe. Genius!

Lincoln Station
409 Lincoln Place
Crown Heights
(718) 399-2211

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Come See Us This Weekend! There Will Be Booze

Frozen mint julep

It's never too early to make weekend plans! And if you love street food this weekend promises to be a great one. Firstly...the Red Hook Vendors are kicking off their 2013 season at the Red Hook Park ball fields on Saturday. Blondie and I will be hitting up the park for some delicious pan-Latin specialties. Pupusas! Huaraches! Ceviche! Then we'll make our way to the fabulous Bookcourt in Cobble Hill where we'll be signing our book with the lovely Kim Ima from The Treats Truck (who will be signing her own book, The Treats Truck Baking Book, too). We're going to be demo-ing one of our favorite recipes from the book, the Frozen Mint Juleps from Kelvin Slush. So come join us for lunch at the ball fields and/or let's have drinkies together at Bookcourt. Here are the full details...

Red Hook Food Vendors return to the Red Hook Ball Fields Saturday. If you aren't familiar with the vendors this Serious Eats post is a great place to get acquainted. The carts and trucks open around 10am and close near dusk. They'll be there rain or shine. We had the honor of interviewing 8 of the vendors for our book and captured many wonderful stories. The sacrifices and the adversity that these vendors have overcome all while serving some of the best, homemade Latin food in the city is inspiring. The vendors will have to bid for a new 6 year permit at the end of the season and there are no guarantees, so get out there and support the vendors and show them that all the hard work--giving up every single summer weekend--is worth it. We'll be there at lunchtime, feel free to drop by and say hello. Follow us @blondiebrownie. If you have a copy of our book already, bring it along to get it signed by the vendors and us.

Our post-lunch event at Bookcourt starts at 4pm. Kim Ima from the Treats Truck will be vending outside from about 2:30pm onwards. We'll show you how to make your Derby Party extra awesome with the Frozen Mint Julep recipe from Kelvin Slush, then have a street vending discussion with Kim and wrap things up with a Q&A and signing.

We love drop bys, but if you do plan on coming, please RSVP to the FB event. I need to know how much booze to bring!

Photo credit: Donny Tsang

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

¡Feliz Cumpleaños, Brownie!

Baked Sprinkle Cake
Today is Brownie's aka Alex's birthday. She plans on doing fun things like eating pie and playing with Lil B. After the past few weeks, where that lovely lady has stepped up to the plate while I dealt with terrible family happenings, I will gladly answer the emails, be all social on the Twitters, and take meetings so that she can do this. Just let me know if you end up getting a sprinkle cake from Baked because ER MAH GAWD, SPRINKLES!!!!!! Happy birthday, lady! jump

Monday, April 22, 2013

Stop the Presses: The "Crossing Brooklyn Ferry" from Ample Hills is Brownie’s New Favorite Sundae

Crossing Brooklyn Ferry from Ample Hills Creamery2
I’ve been craving an awesome hot fudge sundae for months. MONTHS, I tell you. And for various reasons said hot fudge sundae has been continually postponed: too full, too late, too busy. Well, I want to tell you about an ridiculous hot fudge sundae that I just had at Ample Hills Creamery in Brooklyn that’s worth penciling into your calendar stat.

I’m a huge fan of the ice cream at Ample Hills (and so is Blondie). Such a fan that while it makes me sad to spot amazing specials on Twitter and Facebook, knowing that I won’t make it in time for one day dealies—like when they were delivering pints during the blizzard. Yet, in my heart of hearts I know that if I lived any closer I’d probably pack on some serious pounds as a frequent buyer. And…absence makes the heart grow fonder, plus gives me a great excuse to really splurge on the special trips that I do get to make to AH.

Lawman had long promised me that hot fudge sundae and I finally went to collect after our book signing at the Downtown Literary Festival. I was just going to do their typical brownie sundae when a new (or at least new-to-me) item on their menu caught my attention: the “Crossing Brooklyn Ferry,” a tribute to the poem from which Ample Hills derives its name. Crossing Brooklyn Ferry ($10.65 plus tax) is an epic hybrid of a banana split and a hot fudge sundae. It starts in a little teal boat, yes, a boat. They line the sides of the boat with a split banana then fill the hull with your choice of ooey-gooey cake or brownie then topped with three huge scoops of ice cream THEN…still with me?...topped with homemade hot fudge and caramel, wet walnuts, fresh whipped cream, sprinkles and a cherry on top.

Right now, for a limited time, they are serving chocolate ooey-goey cake and when I placed my order it came highly recommended by several of the staff, so I picked that as my base. For the ice creams I went with strawberries and cream, peanut butter flake and Honey Graham (a honey vanilla ice cream with pieces of homemade chocolate-covered graham cracker crust). Since I can’t have walnuts I got those on the side for my fellow sundae eaters, Lawman and Little B.

Unless you have a monster appetite, do not undertake consuming this sundae lightly or without aid. In fact, I was politely cautioned by a couple staffers as I placed my order who asked me how many people I had to eat the sundae with me. But if you have back up, oh man, oh man, go for it. Every single darn component of this sundae from the ripe but not too ripe bananas to the gooey cake to the flavor packed ice cream and sauces and whipped cream was top notch. I may not indulge in sundaes often, but next time I do, you can bet it will be another one of these.

Ample Hills Creamery
623 Vanderbilt Ave
Prospect Heights
(347) 240-3926

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

We're Talking about "Tweeting & Eating" TONIGHT at the NYPL with Some Awesome Food Friends

Adam from the Cinnamon Snail
With three events over four days, this has been a bit of a whirlwind week for us. Tonight we'll be at the Mid-Manhattan branch of NYPL moderating a discussion on food and social media entitled: Tweeting and Eating: How Social Media has Changed the Way We Eat. And we'll be chatting with some pretty awesome folks...Thomas DeGeest, owner and founder of Wafels & Dinges Belgian Waffle truck, Ed Levine, founder of Serious Eats, Chef Adam Sobel, owner and founder of The Cinnamon Snail Vegan Truck, and Melissa Zhang, Ruskin International Communications Senior Account Executive...

Whether you're on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Yelp...never before has it been easier to hunt down delicious food and share your own discoveries. In our panel discussion we'll explore the intersection of food and social media, the rise of online food communities and the explosion of New York's food truck scene.
After the event we'll be signing copies of our cookbook New York à la Cart and Ed will be signing copies of Serious Eats: A Comprehensive Guide to Making and Eating Delicious Food Wherever You Are
The event begins right at 6:30 and will wrap by 8:30pm. Please NOTE: this is at the Mid-Manhattan branch, that's NOT the one with the lions, it's the library across the street on 5th between 39th and 40th.

Monday, April 15, 2013

Catch Us at Powerhouse Arena Tomorrow Night with Three Awesome Vendors

NYalaCart truck sticker
This weekend we were fortunate to participate in the first ever Downtown Literary Festival hosted by Housing Works Bookstore and Cafe and McNally Jackson. We had a terrific dialogue with three veteran vendors, Nick from Uncle Gussy's in Midtown, Fauzia from Fauzia's Heavenly Delights up in the Bronx, and Jonathan from Patacon Pisao in Washington Heights along with Cesar Fuentes, the executive director of the Red Hook Food Vendors. It was an honor to share the stage with these amazing and passionate vendors, all of whom are past Vendy Awards finalists. Tomorrow night we'll be chatting with three other fantastic vendors from the book. So come on down to powerHouse Arena for dinner and stay to get a book signed by us, the vendors and our terrific photographers Donny Tsang and Clay Williams...

The full details on the event are here. Please do RSVP so the store knows how many people to expect. In the meantime here's a sneak preview...

Tomorrow night we'll be joined by Vendy finalist Chef Samir Afrit from the Comme Ci, Comme Ça Truck which specializes in Mediterranean food with an emphasis on the cuisine from Chef Samir's native Morocco. The book features his recipe for Lemon Chicken, Vegetable Couscous, Kofta, Charmoula and Green Olive Sauce. You can make yourself an incredible Moroccan feast with those recipes alone. Chef Samir mainly vends around Manhattan--both downtown and midtown, but as a special treat the truck will be vending prior to the event at Powerhouse Arena. Follow Chef Samir for any updates @Chefsamirtruck.
Adorable Kim!
We'll also be joined by the always lovely, Kim Ima aka The Treats Truck Lady and her big silver truck Sugar. Kim was one of the first vendors we became friendly with during the early days of the Treats Truck and our blog. She's shared her Coffee Icebox Cake recipe and her spiced zucchini cake recipe in our book and she also has her very own book, The Treats Truck Baking Book, that's full of tons of yummy treat recipes, regulars will recognize from the truck. Keep tabs on The Treats Truck and Kim's shop, The Treats Truck Stop @TheTreatsTruck.
Morris Grilled Cheese
Last, but certainly not least, we'll be joined by Michael Jacober from Morris Grilled Cheese. For serious cheese lovers, Morris' seasonal and local menu is one of the best things between bread roaming the streets. They'll be serving up dinner* and stories. Our book features their recipe for Hot Pastrami sandwiches (yum!), papas fritas as well as chimichurri sauce and a primer with tips for making the BEST grilled cheese ever. Keep track of Morris via @morristruck. And they just opened Gladys, a brick and mortar shop in Crown Heights. The early peek at Gladys on Grub Street has me dying to make a visit. The event runs from 7:00pm until 9:00, but the trucks will be vending earlier in the evening so you can get a bite to eat before the talk and signing. As always, keep tabs on them via twitter for their exact location. Hope to see you there!

powerHouse Arena
37 Main Street
Brooklyn, New York 11201

*After posting, we learned that unfortunately, the Morris Truck will not be able to join us for the event, but Michael be there for the panel.

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Books + Us + Vendors + Stories!!!!


It's been gorgeous out! So, what better way to spend a Sunday afternoon than downtown being smarts and hitting up a literary festival downtown? Well, we'll be there! With vendors! And food! And dirty gossip about life as a street vendor!

Around 1:30p, we're sitting down at Housing Works Bookstore Cafe with Red Hook Food Vendors Executive Director, Cesar Fuentes, and Vendy award finalists Nick Karagiorgos, second generation owner of Midtown's Uncle Gussy's Greek Truck; Fauzia Abdur-Rahman from Bronx-based Fauzia's Heavenly Delights' and Jonathan Hernandez from uptown's Patacon Pisao; to discuss, well, life as a street vendor. Of course, we're not the only food-related part of the day, the owners of Russ & Daughters will be at the Cafe earlier while dishing with DISH at 11:30a. You might see us there. Or at the section afterwards involving learning literary pieces to recite. Or shopping for books. Or eating! Oh my goodness, so many things.

Here's the full website with the day's schedule, *and* here's the Facebook event specifically for us! RSVP is the way to be!

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Best Lunch Deal in Town

Brussels Sprouts Pizza
Motorino will always have a fond place in my heart. The original Williamsburg location was the home of many dates, an eye-opener in terms of pizza for me, and one of the reasons I moved to Brooklyn. Then the Brooklyn location closed and anyone who wanted to enjoy their Neapolitans had to trek to the East Village to squeeze into a crowded restaurant. Or they could just go for their weekday lunch special!!

$12 for beyond delicious pizza and a salad? Sold. I'd heard rumors of this lunch special, so when a friend asked for a lunch date last week, I said "Motorino." It helps that the special includes one of my favorite pizzas of all time, the Brussels Sprout with pancetta. Perfectly roasted slices of sprouts with diced meaty porcine goodness in every bite. I die every time. You can also get the Marinara, Margarita, or Soppressata Picante. With all those summer Fridays coming up--and those *cough* *cough* sick days when it just so happens to be gorgeous out--I'm sure I'll see a few of you there.

349 East 12th Street
East Village
(212) 777-2644

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Catch Us at Rock Center Tomorrow!

Posman Rock Center Book signing sign
If you missed our midtown book launch at Posman Books in Grand Central last week there's another opportunity to catch us at a special lunchtime signing at the Posman Books located Rock Center's concourse, tomorrow, Wednesday, 4/10 at 1pm. We'll be signing our cookbook New York à la Cart: Recipes and Stories from the Big Apple's Best Food Trucks with our awesome photographers, Donny Tsang and Clay Williams. As the subtitle suggests the book is packed with recipes (over 100!) and stories from our favorite carts and trucks in the city and if you catch us at our signings I'll make you some personalized recipe recommendations to get you started... Dying to know our favorite spots? Our best lunching adventures? Our worst lunching adventures? Drop by, pick up a copy of our book and ask us anything about lunch or street food recipes! We'd love to see you! Can't make today's event? We have a number of other events scheduled around the city including an evening panel discussion and signing at the NYPL Mid-Manhattan branch next week. jump

Monday, April 8, 2013

Now I'm Going to HAVE to Visit Citi Field this Season

Meet the Pretz Concrete
On the way up to CT for our book signing this past weekend Lawman and I made a pit stop for a concrete at the Brooklyn Shake Shack. Since Blondie and I like to keep on top of all the latest concrete* developments, I thought you guys would be interested in knowing that all season the Citi Field Shack is going to be rockin' what sounds like a pretty awesome concrete: Meet the Pretz...

They had me at chocolate covered pretzels but when you add in the malt powder, that takes this concrete over the top. Since it will be available at Citi Field all season, it looks like I'm going to have to make a special trip to see the Mets and Meet the Pretz.

What's your favorite Shake Shack concrete?

*For the uninitiated a concrete is frozen custard with assorted mix-ins whirled in. Each Shake Shack has their own unique concrete menu that takes its cues from the neighborhood.

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Book Signing Road Trip!

Caseus sandwich credit Caseus Cheese Truck via FB
This weekend we'll be taking our cookbook on the road and signing at the Barnes & Noble in North Haven, CT. And top New Haven vendor, the Caseus Grilled Cheese Truck, will be selling their AWESOME grilled cheese sandwiches right outside...

NYC has Murray's Cheese and New Haven has Caseus, a fantastic neighborhood fromagerie and bistro with a grilled cheese truck ambassador that's been feeding hungry workers and Yale students since 2010. Lawman and I love the bistro which features comfort foods like poutine, mac & cheese, grilled cheeses and other entrees made with sustainable and local ingredients. We're especially fond of their bread and butter plate which includes housemade seasonal butter selections like grapefruit & star anise butter (gah! I could slather that on EVERYTHING).

Needless to say we'll be chowing down on grilled cheeses and hopefully signing lots of copies of New York à la Cart: Recipes and Stories from the Big Apple's Best Food Trucks. New Haven has a great food cart/truck culture of it's own (lamb tacos! cupcakes!) not to mention some of the world's best pizza. So whether it's this weekend or another weekend, consider getting a zip car or hopping Metro North and visiting the Elm City for some good eats.

Here's this weekend's signing details:

Saturday, April 6th; 1pm:
Barnes & Noble
470 Universal Dr
North Haven, CT

For Caseus Grilled Cheese news & updates follow them @caseusgrilled (Photo courtesy Caseus Grilled Cheese Truck's Facebook)

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Lunching at Peels

Turkey Sandwich
Between all our book emails and school work flying around, it's taking a lot to remind me to eat. One of the ways around being so busy I simply skip whole meals is taking meetings at chill restaurants, where you can loiter a little bit, have outlets for phone charging, and some semi-healthy menu items. Like this sandwich, the Gobblecado, from Peels.

Turkey Sandwich

I don't usually go for the turkey sandwich, possibly due to years of dieting. But this sandwich comes with slices of ripe avocado, a dusting of cotija cheese, and a small layer of chili mayo--three things I will never hate on. It helps that the turkey's smoked and tastes like actual turkey, not some amalgam of chemicals and salt. And since every sandwich needs some sort of side, they give you homemade potato chips. No word on whether they taste delicious actually in the sandwich.

Peels NYC
325 Bowery
East Village
(646) 602-7015

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Happy Book Birthday to Us!

New York a la Cart Cover
Here's a little reminder that today is the official pub date our book, New York à la Cart: Recipes and Stories from the Big Apple's Best Food Trucks and we're going to be signing our book in midtown at Posman Books in Grand Central with our awesome photographers, Donny Tsang and Clay Williams. And fellow Midtown Lunch'r, Brian Hoffman will be joining us for a little lunchtime conversation as well...

Come ask us your burning questions about lunchtime adventures in midtown and pick up a copy of our book. Our come say hello at the Street Vendor Project's Great Street Meet tonight, where will raise a glass and/or doughnut to celebrate the Street Vendor Project's historic victory in the lower the fines campaign. Can't make today's event? We have a number of other events scheduled around the city including a signing at the Rock Center Posman Books on Wednesday, 4/10 at 1pm and more in the works.

Of course on our book's pub date, we'd be remiss not to say a HUGE thank you to all the hands that went into making New York à la Cart. So many terrific people came together to make this book possible. Here just a short list of the many, many people that we have to thank and thank again: first and foremost the wonderful vendors who inspire us daily with their hard work, the fine folks at our publisher, Running Press, our fabulous agent, Susan, our amazing photographers Donny and Clay, our lunchtime guru, Zach Brooks who wrote the foreword, the terrific team at the Street Vendor Project and last but certainly not least, our families and friends who supported us through all the research, writing and recipe testing and helped our in countless ways. We couldn't have made it without you! Thank you! Thank you! Thank you!

Stay up-to-date with all the latest eats and tweets via @blondiebrownie.

Monday, April 1, 2013

Did You Get Your Tickets? Choice Streets is Sold Out!

Choice streets
The Village Voice's 2nd Annual Choice Streets is 5 weeks away and it's already SOLD OUT! If you haven't bought your tickets yet, I'm sorry to say this isn't an April Fools joke (you should have paid attention to Blondie's post two weeks ago!). All of the VIP and General Admissions tickets are gone, gone, gone. For those that did manage to snag tickets, looks like it's going to be a fun night aboard the Intrepid at Pier 86...

Last week the Voice announced 2 additional participating food trucks, making 9 food trucks in total so far: Desi Food Truck, Mike N' Willie's, Big D's Grub, Coolhaus, Gorilla Cheese NYC, Nuchas, Phil's Steaks, Souvlaki GR, and Valducci's Original Pizza. This year they plan on having 25 of the city's favorite trucks. What can we say? The Voice has great taste...Big D's and Coolhaus are two of the vendors featured in our book, New York à la Cart: Recipes and Stories from the Big Apple's Best Food Trucks .

All this Choice Streets talk is reminding me of what a great time I had at Choice Eats on 3/19 and that there were still a few awesome dishes that I've been meaning to share with you. Here's the rest of my best bites...

Anella Handmade Burrata (800x531)
Not surprisingly more than a few of my favorite bites involve cheese. The homemade burrata from Anella was INCREDIBLE. I know it's cliche to describe things as "melt in your mouth" but seriously, I'm not sure what other words to use to describe the creamy, almost buttery perfection that was this little piece of cheese (with a spot of tomato jam and basil salt).

Dirt Candy Cherry Tomato Tart with Smoked Feta (800x531)
One of the longest lines I wanted it was for these tiny tomato and smoked feta tarts from Dirt Candy. After one bite of this smokey, cheesey goodness I was ready to get back in line to wait all over again for another.

Mrs. Dorsey's Grilled Goat Cheese (800x531)
I spotted Mrs. Dorsey's Kitchen Grilled Cheese at the Columbus Circle market, but didn't have a chance to taste their wares until the Vendys. Their goat cheese with strawberry and mint preserves was an interesting take on the traditional grilled cheese. I can't wait until they open a shop in Prospect Heights.

S'mores Bakery
The folks from S'more Bakery wowed with their made to order homemade s'mores--who doesn't love seeing a pastry torch in action?

Smores Bakery Salty Oat Cookie
But it was their Salty Oat cookies with chocolate chunks and marshmallow that I'm still dreaming of. Salty, sweet, chewy and chocolatey. What more can you ask for?

La New Yorkina Grapefruit Paleta (800x531)
Wrapping things up and rounding out a great night of feasting, the Grapefruit paleta from La Newyorkina was light and fresh and reminded me just why I'm so looking forward to spring (and summer!)

If you missed out on Choice Eats and Choice Streets, keep tabs on the events by following @ChoiceEats.