Polentina at Eataly

Tags

, , , , ,

PolentinaIt’s dark, gray, frigid. There are blizzards and chapped hands and exploding frozen pipes. In other words, it is February, most people’s least favorite month. I’m a little warmer towards it simply because it’s my birthday month, but I’d much rather enjoy spring or fall than trudge through the depths of winter.

In fact, it’s been so viciously cold these last few weeks that I have been subconsciously transporting myself to summer days, when I don’t need to worry about wearing sixteen different layers or keeping my little tube of Aquaphor at the ready to soothe my weather-beaten knuckles and lips. I’ve been fantasizing about strawberries, and apricots, and cherries, and all of the delicious bounty that crops up once the soil thaws.

And then, I came across the polentina at Eataly, and knew I had to have it, immediately.

Continue reading

Advertisements

Dark Chocolate Animal Crackers from The Chocolate Delicacy

Tags

, , , ,

Inside the BagIt’s not even February, and 2013 has already exhausted me to the quick. As someone who doesn’t particularly put much stock in new year’s resolutions, I seem to have started the year with perhaps too many endeavors. Did I really have to sign up for the New York half marathon this year? Do I really need to take a course on microeconomics on Coursera?

To top it all off, I have been traveling to and from Rhode Island for work on an almost bi-weekly basis. Coincidentally, my Rhode Island destination is a town over from N.’s hometown. Between Christmas and work, I’ve been getting a crash course on life in the Ocean State.

Don’t worry, though; this blog isn’t suddenly going to pick up and move north any time soon. But, if it were, there are certainly some consolations to be had, such as The Chocolate Delicacy, a husband and wife-owned chocolate shop that has been doing business for over twenty years in picturesque, quaint downtown East Greenwich, Rhode Island.

On my last trip, I stopped in and happened across something wonderfully novel and completely addictive: dark chocolate covered animal crackers.

Continue reading

Chocolate Caramel Cake at Sugar and Plumm

Tags

, , , ,

Chocolate Caramel CakeI am one of those people who associates cake with occasions: birthdays, weddings, office parties. I am not one of those people who simply eats cake because it’s a Sunday night and why not? However, I have been trying to adopt more of a, “You can become anything you set your heart on,” mentality this year, so if I want to become a cake-anytime person, then, dammit, that’s what I’ll strive to be.

So when I was on the Upper West Side on a Sunday evening, in need of a pick-me-up after sitting through three hours of Lincoln, I thought, “I can be that person! The person who eats cake whenever she wants.” So I marched myself over to Sugar and Plumm, Pichet Ong’s vaunted new bistro/bakery, for the very first time and bought myself a slice of cake.

When superfluously buying oneself cake, moderation should not play a role in the decision-making process. As I suspected (and hoped), the cakes on offer at Sugar and Plumm were decidedly excessive. But which to choose? If all decisions were so difficult, whole nations would crumble due to indecisiveness and neglect.

Eventually, after much deliberation, I chose the chocolate caramel cake.

Continue reading

Matcha Macaron at Harney & Sons

Tags

, , , , ,


Matcha Macaron
When I was studying abroad in Paris waaaay back in 2006, I displayed typical American gustatory behavior and devoured everything in sight in obscene (to a Frenchperson) quantities: pain, vin, fromage, pâté, tartine, jambon. Whatever it was, I ate it, and had seconds. But there was one solitary foodstuff that made the others pale in comparison: the macaron.

Soon, I was on a mission to try all the best macarons Paris had to offer. I went to Pierre Hermé (several times, my favorite), Ladurée (classic, unimpeachable), and anywhere else a French friend had a tip. Sadly, I can’t remember the names of all the places I visited, but photos from that time period show the evidence in my chipmunk-chubby cheeks.

When done right, a macaron is an ethereal, sublime sandwich cookie. The cookie, essentially an almond meringue, should be light and airy and slightly chewy, but with a firm, crunchy shell that crackles at the bite. The filling, whether it is ganache or jam or buttercream, should be smooth yet firm, able to cement the cookie together but not so stiff that it puts up a fight. Large macarons should be approximately three inches in diamtere; small macarons, one inch. The cookie to filling ratio should be such that every bite, even on an edge, should be 60-65% cookie, 35-40% filling (in my humble estimation). When done properly, the effect is a extraordinary, a stunning blend of crispy and velvety textures; pronounced true flavors (the fillings need to shine); the feeling of eating a sweet, crispy cloud.

While on my sampling tour, I had nuanced views of each cookie, all of them solid contenders, but some marginally better than others. It was easy to take for granted the uniformity in quality amongst the board. No place had a subpar macaron; some were simply shades, or swaths, better.

Of course, I did take the Parision macaron for granted, as I promptly learned when I returned to the States. Even in New York City, finding even a respectable macaron was virtually impossible. One boutique had fillings so runny that the top cookie slid off while holding it (and that was at a shop devoted to macarons); another prominent chocolatier offered macarons so small and chalky that they were practically calcified marbles. One pâtissier came close, but the cookie was underfilled. Almost no, city-made macaron escaped unscathed. (The Ladurée macarons are imported from France, cheaters.)

Since my favorite macaron thus far comes from a tea parlor (Bosie, to be exact; stay tuned for that post), I decided to give the Harney & Sons pastry counter a try while I was shopping in Soho for Christmas gifts. I selected a pleasingly green matcha macaron ($3.00) because while in a tea shop, stick to tea flavors, I say.

Continue reading

Junior Awful Awful at Newport Creamery

Tags

, , ,

Junior Awful Awful

Apologies for last week. It’s all the Christians’ fault. They took me, a lonesome Jewish girl, into their home on Christmas and gave me gifts and fed me ‘til I was stuffed fat as a holiday goose. Between the eating and the sleeping and the chatting and the eating and the napping I completely lost track of time. An old house in suburban Rhode Island, where I was staying with N.’s family, is essentially a vortex where time stands still and a person can forget the day of the week. And so, I neglected to post.

But in case you didn’t get the picture, one thing I did plenty of over Christmas was chow down. Most of what I ate was traditional homemade fare – turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes, spanakopita (Greek Christmas!), trifle, cheesecake – but N. did take me to a local Rhode Island ice cream joint, Newport Creamery, to enjoy a famed frozen treat with a provocative, intimidating name: the Awful Awful.

Continue reading

Pomegranate and Halva Chia Seed Parfait at Victory Garden

Tags

, , , , , , ,

Chia ParfaitWhat is it about this time of year that makes everyone so drowsy? Is it the endless shopping for presents? The coughs and sneezes and sore throats that are as prevalent as the cold bursts of air? The curtailed hours of daylight? The holiday parties where excess is no longer dissuaded among coworkers but, in fact, encouraged? Or maybe it’s the pounds of heavy, rich winter foods washed down with too many equally rich desserts. Perhaps it’s a combination of all of these things, but for me, it’s mainly the latter. I’m probably not alone in saying that I have not treated my body as well as I’d like these last few weeks, and I am really feeling pooped. I have no one to blame but that colleague who sent me a four box-tower of Godiva. (Yes, I ate nearly all of it. And I don’t even love Godiva!)

As a result, this week’s post is about trying to be a little better to yourself. It is also my first ever post on a vegan dessert. Don’t be scared! I can tell you, it is mighty tasty.

Continue reading

Lamingtons at Pie Face

Tags

, , , , , ,

LamingtonMeet the lamington, a traditional Australian specialty: a yellow sponge cake cube, split and filled, slicked in a chocolate frosting, and showered with coconut shavings.

Until recently, I had never heard of a lamington. It wasn’t until after dinner at the Second Avenue Deli, where the thought of parve rugelach almost had my friends and me tossing our matzoh balls, that we ventured north to Pie Face, an Australian outpost that serves… pies. Friendly pies.

Continue reading

Mint Cookies n’ Cream [Cake] Truffles from the Momofukus

Tags

, , ,

Lone Truffle

Once upon a time there was a chef named David Chang. Chef Chang was a very ambitious chef. First he opened one restaurant, Momofuku Noodle Bar, which specialized in crazy, real-deal ramen and overstuffed pork buns. Then he opened another restaurant, Momofuku Ssam Bar, which featured crazy, Korean ssam. Then he opened another restaurant, Momofuku Ko, which was known for being impossible to get in the door.

And then Chef Chang said, “Where’s my dessert?” and he hired mad pastry chef Christina Tosi to make crazy desserts for him at a place called Momofuku Milk Bar, next to Ssam Bar, and she did! Mad Chef Tosi made soft serve ice cream in all sorts of crazy flavors, like apple-and-cheddar and jelly donut, and she made crazy cookies, like blueberry & cream and corn, and pies, and cakes, and pastries, all of them crazy, crazy, crazy! Some of the things she made were so crazy that she had to trademark them so that no one could ever have the same crazy idea she did! Which is okay, because who else besides Mad Chef Tosi would ever think up such crazy things as cereal milk® (just like what is at the bottom of your bowl), or compost cookies™ (potato chips, pretzels, chocolate chips, and lots of other things), or crack pie™ (condensed butter filling in a buttery crust)?

And then Mad Chef Tosi made some crazy cakes, like banana cake and pistachio cake and chocolate malt cake. For a while, any person from anywhere in the land could come in for a slice of these crazy, delicious cakes, and life was sweet.

But then, Chef Chang and Mad Chef Tosi decided that cakes were only to be purchased whole, not in slices, and issued a decree: “No more cake slices!” The cake slices soon disappeared, banished forever, and people like me became sad, because a world without cake is no world to live in at all.

Continue reading

Apple Cider Caramels from Liddabit Sweets

Tags

, , ,

‘Tis now officially the season between holidays, with the glorious gluttony of Thanksgiving in the rear-view and the specter of Chrismahanukwanzakah looming large on the horizon. It is also the season between seasons, that limbo when the leaves have long fallen from the trees and the temperatures are dropping, dropping….

I am loath to say goodbye to fall. I like to indulge in apple and spice flavors for as long as possible before peppermint and eggnog take over, so any way I can prolong these tastes is a boon in my mind. Unfortunately, autumn apples are much harder to preserve than summer berries. Apple butter is a far cry from strawberry jam. Apple cider is great but harder to find and not usually portable.

Leave it to Liddabit Sweets, the Brooklyn artisanal confectioner, to devise such a thing as apple cider caramels to keep the apple flavor fresh long past October.

Continue reading

Granola Cookie from Jean & Kate

Tags

, ,

It has now been over three weeks since Sandy hit, and while some parts of New York City and the northeast are still in recovery mode, for most people in the five boroughs (save, perhaps, Staten Island) life has essentially returned to normal. Power is largely returned, offices have reopened, every subway line is running (albeit with service changes).

Even the weather has stabilized a bit. Sort of. We went from the most devastating storm in the city’s history to calm skies, to a blizzard, to an unseasonably warm and sunny weekend. I can only speak for myself, but judging from the number of people out on that beautiful weekend, I don’t think I was the only one overjoyed to ditch the puffy coat and recharge my Vitamin D.

Naturally, the thing to do on a glorious Sunday is to take a walk. So that’s what I did. I put on my walking shoes and marched myself over to the Manhattan Bridge, where the DUMBO Smorgasburg was doing a brisk business.

It was my first time at this new Smorgas post, and while DUMBO seems a tad smaller than it’s sibling to the north, the offerings were still appetizing and inventive. Also pleasing to see was that almost half of tents were hawking some sweet good. There were doughnuts and candy, macarons and macaroons, pies of all sizes, even homemade pop tarts. So many choices, so little space in my stomach…

With all these options, which did I go for? The adorable mini cheesecakes? A slice of s’mores pie? A four bite tartelette?

No, none of these. Instead, I went for… a granola cookie.

Continue reading