Thursday, June 27, 2013

The Treats Truck Stop Makes a Mighty Fine Scone Sandwich

Treats Truck Stop Scone Sandwich

It’s hard to believe that The Treats Truck Stop is already a year old (and The Treats Truck itself is six years old!). The other weekend I stopped by for breakfast instead of my usual treat and enjoyed an egg sandwich on a BACON scone ($5.50). Mmmm . . . bacon . . .

The scrambled eggs are of the soft and fluffy slow cooked variety. They’re the kind of eggs I’d like to say I prepare at home, but really I’m too impatient, so the taste all the more delicious. The scone is a bacon flecked buttery wonder. I could eat about ten of these—then again, it’s best to save room for dessert.

The Treats Truck Stop
521 Court St
Brooklyn, NY

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

What To Do In Northern Virginia?

National Pastime Concrete
Over the past few months, my Mommsie moved from Queens to Northern Virginia to live closer to my brother. Not only does this now mean I have to travel more than a half hour for family holidays, but that I get to randomly show up for visits throughout the year. Like when I head down tomorrow! I already have a list of things to do, but I totally need some help and guidance!

After seeing this photo pop up on the Shake Shack Instagram, I am completely down to get a "Doughnuts are Forever" from their new DC location on F Street. I am also hopefully going to try a Calhoun's Ham House ham biscuit Saturday morning in Arlington. But what about other meals and activities? Is Astro Doughnuts *really* worth a trip? Anyone know any good farms to visit during the daytime, maybe for some pick-your-own action? Help!

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Shopsin's Onion Rings for the Win!

Shopsin's Onion Rings
I’ve loved onion rings for as long I can remember. In fact, if I recall correctly, my seventh birthday celebration was orchestrated around eating onion rings on the beach. The trouble with onion rings is the can be spectacular or they can be just awful. Most of the time onion rings fall into the latter category. But recently I’ve discovered some of the best onion rings of my life were right under my nose…

Lawman and I have been going to Shopsin's for a decade, but it’s taken me until now to try their onion rings which means I have a lot of lost time to make up for. Crispy on the outside and perfectly tender on the inside, these rings go down easy. Get a side order to go with their famous sliders or a bowl to share with the table. If you love onion rings as much as I do, you won’t regret it.

Essex Street Market
120 Essex Street
New York, NY 10002

Monday, June 24, 2013

Beachy Times at Rippers Are Here Again

Rippers Cheese Fries
It's no secret that Hurricane Sandy ass-raped caused a significant amount of damage in the Rockaways. For most of the winter, one of the $64,000 questions was what would happen to the concession stands along the boardwalk? Would they be able to come back, and if so, when?

Right before Memorial Day, The Meat Hook got the keys for the stand at Beach 86th where they've been running Rippers. The guys hustled to get the stand ready for service on the actual holiday, but, due to continued restorations, they've only open Thursday through Sunday since. The good news is starting this week, they should be open all 7 days. For those of us who can eat burgers on the beach while everyone else is slaving away in frigid offices, this is a GOD SEND! Bring on the beers, Rippers!

Beach 86th Street and Shore Front Parkway
Rockaway Beach

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

New Amsterdam Market Returns This Sunday!

The Bent Spoon
New Amsterdam Market reopens at precisely 11am this Sunday morning with a bunch of new vendors along with a load of beloved regulars. The market has had to reduce its schedule to only monthly occurrences this season which means that every one is all the more cherished.

Making Sea Salt
One of my new favorite companies is making its grand debut, Amagansett Sea Salt. You might remember that I met the owners, and saw how one would go about making salt, for one of my courses. But they're not the only ones I'm excited to see. There's going to be an entire purveyors area that I'll be hitting up and introducing myself (more on why later on this summer). This is after I get something from Lonestar Taco and before I hit up The Bent Spoon, and possibly while I hold onto a copy of Modern Farmer for dear life. It's going to be a good weekend.

For a complete list of this Sunday's vendors, plus information about a special food history tour happening, click here.

New Amsterdam Market
Sunday, June 23rd from 11am to 4pm
South Street between Beekman Street and Peck Slip (map here)

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Shelsky’s Lox Rocks

Shelsky's Pastrami
Recently we added another eater to the team. Little B is now a big brother to Little T. Naturally I celebrated the new man in my life in the traditional way with a bagel and lox…

Lox is a big no-no when you’re pregnant. It’s also one of my favorite foods. When Little B was born, Lawman brought me not one but TWO Russ and Daughters bagels with lox in the recovery room at the hospital. This time around, I waited until I got back to Brooklyn to get my lox fix and made my inaugural trip to Shelsky’s on Smith Street.

Shelsky's Member of the Tribe

I kept things simple and ordered a “Member of the Tribe,” Gaspe Nova with cream cheese on a poppy seed bagel, while Lawman went for the Shelsky’s Pastrami, Pastrami Salmon, Mustard Herring, Riesling Braised Sauerkraut on pumpernickel. The lox was to die for—this was the buttery, fishy, salty-goodness I’ve been missing for 9 months. I’ve already got my eye on the Brooklyn Transplant (Fatty Kippered Salmon, Apple Horseradish, Cream Cheese, Pickled Herring Salad, Served on Pumpernickel or Rye) or The Great Gatsby (Pastrami Cured Salmon, Horseradish Cream Cheese, Honey Mustard and Red Onion) for my next visit. Anyone ever try their Bentowitz boxes? Very tempted…

251 Smith Street
(Between Degraw and Douglas)
Brooklyn, NY 11231
(718) 855 8817<

Monday, June 17, 2013

Day Tripping to Philly

Pomegranate Nutella
A couple of Saturdays ago, I hopped aboard a bus to head down to Philadelphia for the day with the main goal of attending the Philly Vendys, but knew that I wanted to make a few stops first especially one at the incredible Federal Donuts (careful: there's music on the other side of that link).

Buttermilk Ranch Fried Chicken
I had heard whisperings of the greatness being served up at Federal Donuts before their NY Times piece piqued my interest before the plethora of Instagram pictures did. I specifically took an early bus allowing for time to stop by Federal before walking to the Vendys. (Side note to those who know me in real life: I was forced to get over my bus phobias in Mexico. Changed woman, I tell you.) I arrived around 10:30 at the Sansom Street shop expecting a huge line and total chaos. I was wrong. After the initial hazing--I didn't know how to correctly order--it was a quite relaxing chicken breakfast, right down to chatting with the owners. When you order, you have the choice of a wet or dry rub with various options for each. I went for the Buttermilk Ranch dry rub, a salty chive-filled winner atop the crunchy and quite juicy pieces. They are proof that fried chicken is definitely having its moment in the Yankee sun. Afterwards, I took my doughnuts and headed to the park for people watching. I disregarded advice I'd received about only eating their cake doughnuts fresh, a bad move on my part. I thought them good, but not great, not anything I couldn't get already in New York. Maybe I tried the wrong flavors? Maybe at the wrong time? Either way, if you're in Philly you should definitely try to stop by for a cheap and delicious fried chicken lunch. That's for certain.

Federal Donuts
1632 Sansom Street
Center City
(215) 665-1101

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

My Newest Downtown Haunt

Eastwood's Fish Sandwich
It's hard to find a good evening drinking spot in lower Manhattan. Most places are overpriced or have terrible happy hours or no happy hours or taken over by unsavory clienteles. So when I find a really great place, I usually want to keep it to myself. But not this time.

A few weeks ago, I found out about Eastwood, a new bar plus chip shop on the Lower East Side. I stopped by to check it out, not expecting much. Instead I found a relaxed, sunny spot with 2-for-1 happy hours, a decent selection of brews, and a little window turning out delicious fried things, like this fish sandwich. The sandwich and fries come out crispy and hot, not greasy or soggy, which is key to my enjoyment. And though the bread is a tad on the big side, I didn't let it get in the way of enjoying one of the best fried fish sandwiches I'd had in a long time. I'm already looking for opportunities to head back to try more things while taking advantage of a great happy hour.

221 East Broadway
Lower East Side
(917) 284-4514

Monday, June 10, 2013

Now It's Time for The Game of Cones

Iron Cone
Here at B&B we get a lot of email. Rarely do we open another mass press release that stops up in our tracks and exclaim "BRILLIANT!" to absolutely no one. On the subway. But this was one of them! To celebrate the season finale of Game of Thrones, HBO has teamed up with Foursquare to do Game of Cones! Genius! In New York and San Francisco, the best ice cream shops are battling it out for the Iron Cone. Summer is coming (even though she's protecting Bran as he travels to find the three-eyed crow)!

Game of Cones
Starting this past Friday, whichever ice cream shop has the most Foursquare check-ins *with the hashtag #GameOfCones* by June 21st wins! Big Gay is currently in the lead, but a good push by loyal fans of any of the other shops can totally take them out, especially the current 2nd and 3rd Milk Bar or Ample Hills. Oh man, this is so exciting! Go eat ice cream, people!

Thursday, June 6, 2013

Ample Hills Makes Awesome Soft Serve, Too!

Cinnamon Toast Soft Serve
It's no secret that I’m a huge fan of the ice cream at Ample Hills (and so is Blondie). I like to keep tabs of their specials on Twitter and Facebook, which is where I learned they are now making soft serve and that their Cinnamon Toast soft serve was recently named by Time as "one of the funkiest flavors on earth." Naturally I had to make a little trip to check this new development out...

The soft serve is super rich and creamy and according to Time's report it's "authentic bread flavor comes from steeping toast slices in hot milk. The mushy bits are strained out before the butter and cinnamon are added." I don't know if "funky" really does the flavor justice. If you love French Toasty goodness, this should win your favor. It really does have nice bready overtones and it's heavy on the cinnamon. The companion flavor is a Bourbon, Straight Up which is made with Maker's Mark and vanilla bean. It's boozy and though I only got a small sample on the side, I can imagine it would be great swirled with the Cinnamon Toast. The soft serve flavors will rotate, so be sure to keep tabs on them via Facebook.

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

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Something To Look Forward To

Red Hook Immersion
If you're not planning on heading down to Philly this Saturday for the Philly Vendys, you should head out to Brooklyn Based's Red Hook Immersion! The day's activities include complimentary drinks around the neighborhood, discounts at stores and restaurants, and, if you're up for dares and Instagram, you can win some prizes!! And when you're all good and liquored up, there's a live show. Here's how to get in on the fun:

Starting at noon, Brooklyn Based is handing out 500 *free* Immersion cards at Brooklyn Ice House or Rocky Sullivan's. Then you walk around the neighborhood, drinking beers, eating stuff, basically having an altogether awesome Saturday afternoon, but uploading Instagram photos and checking Twitter for random giveaways. You can win things like a private tour of Brooklyn Winery or a class at Pioneer Works. Finally, Wyatt is going on stage at 5pm for a free show at Jalopy Theater. Click here for more information on what Brooklyn Based has in store, and here for a map of all the participating locations.

Brooklyn Ice House
318 Van Brunt Street
Red Hook
(718) 222-1865

Rocky Sullivan's
34 Van Dyke Street
Red Hook
(718) 246-8050

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Have You Nominated Your Favorite Vendor for a Vendy Yet?

The Vendy Cup 
You have just shy of two weeks to get your noms in for the 2013 Vendy Awards, scheduled for Saturday, September 7th at Industry City in Sunset Park. You'd better get moving 'cause time's a wasting...

We love the Vendys. Not just for the awesome food and the fun day of eating and drinking, but also for what the Vendys stand for—they’re the primary fundraiser for the Street Vendor Project. Part of the Center for Urban Justice Center, the Street Vendor Project is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization that provides a voice for the thousands of people who sell food and merchandise on the streets of our city. It also means that a portion of your ticket is tax deductible—pretty sweet.

Popularly known as the “Oscars of street food” the Vendys is a pretty darn big deal in the food world, but what’s so special about the event is that it recognizes the vendors and puts all of their hard work and dedication on display. Over the past two years of researching and writing our cookbook we’ve had the chance to collect amazing stories and recipes from a number of Vendy finalist and winners.

Our cookbook, New York à la Cart: Recipes and Stories from the Big Apple's Best Food Trucks features FIVE of the Vendy Cup Winners:

FOUR of the Vendy Dessert Winners (would you expect anything less from us?!):
And TWENTY ONE Vendy Finalists:
Anyone that hasn’t won the Vendy Cup (or category Vendy i.e. Desserts) can compete again. From just the finalists listed above there are a ton of vendors that are more than worthy of another chance at the big cup. Regardless of whom you nominate, do it and do it soon! Noms close on June 15th. Show your favorite vendor some love. And though the big day might be 3 months away, the event does sell out, so buy your tickets now. Early bird tickets are already gone. Don’t wait until they announce the finalists because you might be shut out as well!

Monday, June 3, 2013

Making Ice Creams

Roasted Strawberry Rhubarb Basil Ice Cream
Now that school's out for summer and there aren't any more book things to do, I've found myself with all sorts of free time. I can read books and lounge around at parks and job search and sleep. Glorious sleep. And have fun in the kitchen again! If you've been following me on Instagram, you've seen the little experiments happening in real time. One such fun thing was making roasted strawberry rhubarb basil ice cream.

Roasting Strawberries and Rhubarb
See, I had bought two quarts of sweet strawberries from the Union Square Greenmarket, overlooking the price just this once. But my first experiment only used up one quart. Not wanting the others to go to waste, my heart set on making them into ice cream--after I ate a few, of course. I also had rhubarb and a potted basil plant that just won't quit begging to be added. The roasting idea sprung from my GelOtto Cart visit last spring. And it all came together. I cribbed from this recipe, cutting everything in half, leaving the mixture chunky and adding cocoa nibs during the churn for a little chocolatey crunch. It went fast, and I already have requests for more.