Long live the royals!

The whole world has been going bonkers with Royal Wedding Fever and I won’t lie, I’m right there with the craziest of them. I love all the hoopla surrounding this big day, and the hullabaloo (yes, I just used that word. Great isn’t it?) extends even to their fabulous lunch today. The menu (courtesy of CNN’s eatocracy blog) reads like this:

  • Cornish Crab Salad on Lemon Blini
  • Pressed Duck Terrine with Fruit Chutney
  • Roulade of Goats’ Cheese with Caramelised Walnuts
  • Assortment of Palmiers and Cheese Straws
  • Scottish Smoked Salmon Rose on Beetroot Blini
  • Miniature Watercress and Asparagus Tart
  • Poached Asparagus Spears with Hollandaise Sauce for Dipping
  • Quails Eggs with Celery Salt
  • Scottish Langoustines with Lemon Mayonnaise Pressed Confit of Pork Belly with Crayfish and Crackling
  • Wild Mushroom and Celeriac Chausson
  • Bubble and Squeak with Confit Shoulder of Lamb
  • Grain Mustard and Honey-Glazed Chipolatas
  • Smoked Haddock Fishcake with Pea Guacamole
  • Miniature Yorkshire Pudding with Roast Fillet of Beef and Horseradish Mousse
  • Gâteau Opera
  • Blood Orange Pâté de Fruit
  • Raspberry Financier
  • Rhubarb Crème Brûlée Tartlet
  • Passion Fruit Praline
  • White Chocolate Ganache Truffle
  • Milk Chocolate Praline with Nuts
  • Dark Chocolate Ganache Truffle

How awesome is that? Bubble and squeak! My favorite nonsensical British food name! So awesome! All of it! Today was indeed a good day to be royalty in England.

And as a final unrelated note, I’ll be taking some time off with my own Prince William look-alike to get some sun, see some friends and do some traveling.  I should be back in a week or so with some good stories and a deep tan. See you later! 


Happy Easter!

My absolute favorite thing about Easter is Cadbury Creme Eggs (especially the Monday after Easter when they go on sale) so I was doubly excited when I saw a new version of the holiday classic at British goods market Myers of Keswick. Instead of the traditional egg shape, the Cadbury Creme Egg Twisted is more like a regular candy bar in that it’s long, but instead of being rectangular or segmented, this chocolate goody looks like the twisty shapes I used to make with Play Doh as a kid. Inside though, is the same sticky delicious cream with the yolky yellow still in the middle.

Literally a new twist on an old favorite. Thank you British Easter Bunny!

No eggs this Easter!

British lessons

Dessert in a can... from across the pond

I work for a British company and spend the majority of my work days communicating with British people across the pond,  which means I’m constantly learning new things.

I’ve learned, for example, that the letters z and h aren’t pronounced zee and aych but zed and haych. I’ve learned that on a phone, the number sign (#) isn’t called a pound key, it’s the hash symbol. I’ve learned that grown people in the UK love Robbie Williams the way I loved Justin Timberlake circa 1998. And one that I had to learn the hard way unfortunately, was that you should never ever try to outdrink a Brit, because even if you manage to keep up, you’ll pay for it the next day.

Almost ready to be plopped out of the can

But recently at work, I learned something new. I learned about an oddly titled dessert, the sticky syrup sponge pudding, also known as treacle sponge pudding. What the bloody hell is that, you ask? Well, let me tell you, since I asked myself the same thing when someone at work brought it up. Syrup sponge pudding, so I came to find out, is a traditional British dessert. It’s  a syrup/molasses (or treacle as the Brits would call it) soaked sponge pudding.

I was curious about it and after one of my colleagues who once lived  in London confirmed its tastyness, I went in search of it at Myers of Keswick, a West Village British grocery store that sells everything from Cadbury chocolates (not just the eggs), to meat pies to something called a Cumberland sausage.

The final product

What I found was a Heinz brand sponge pudding, that strangely enough, came in a can. The directions said to toss the can in boiling water for about 30 minutes, then remove the lid, run a knife along the circumference of the can, flip it over and let the warm, sticky sponge pudding slide out of the can.

Even more intrigued by this point, I bought it and ran home to make it with Flaneur (who also did a stint in London but was unfamiliar with this dessert). After the cake (or pudding, if you will) slid out of the can, a layer of semi gelatinous syrup sat on top. The part below it was warm and soft, like the love child between a bread pudding and a flan. The flavor was cloyingly rich, with a taste that was part honey and part caramel.

Did I prefer it over a fat piece of brownie, a thick slice of cheesecake or a smooth slice of pumpkin pie? No, not at all, but it wasn’t about that. It was about learning something new, trying something different and expanding my dessert-eating horizons across the ocean.

Another reason to love New York

The Major Rager (yes, it really is called that)

Sometimes, I really love this ridiculous city. Where else could you decide, while riding a cab at the end of the night, that the cure to your late night munchies is to order, yes, to actually have delivered to your home, a box of cookies and brownies? Like it was a pizza! Like it was completely normal to have baked goods delivered to your apartment well past 2 in the morning! New York, that’s where!

The first time a friend told me about Insomnia Cookies in Greenwich Village, which delivers assortments of baked sweet treats well into the night, I thought, “Damn those NYU students. They don’t know how good they have it.” Sigh.

Saturday night, with Flaneur and a good friend along for the late night grubbing, we ordered the Major Rager, a cardboard pizza box full of fat chocolate brownies, chocolate chip, M&M and chocolate chunk, white chocolate and macadamia, chocolate with chocolate chunk, cinnamon sugar, and peanut butter cookies. We had milk, but if we  hadn’t, we could have ordered some from Insomnia, too.

Does it get better than that? Not late night when you’re hungry in the city that never sleeps.

Kitchen eating

Yes, I know that organic and locally sourced are the ways to eat, and sustainability and eco-friendly are words to incorporate into my everyday lifestyle and eating habits, but I can’t help it. When I hear too many of those tree-hugging, reduce-reuse-recycle words and phrases thrown together I can’t help but think of hippies and nature freaks, granola, steamed veggies and tofu. I know, I’m awful, but I can’t help it.

But never was that less the case than at ABC Kitchen, where I recently had dinner with a friend, after she managed to make a reservation at the consistently full restaurant. Everything, from the “reclaimed wood tables” and “soy based candles” to the “consciously sourced ingredients” was exactly the opposite of what I might have been hesitant about. I can’t say I was really surprised though. ABC Kitchen, located inside the massive ABC Carpet & Home store, is a Jean-Georges Vongerichten restaurant, and really what doesn’t that guy make awesome?

Crab toast with lemon aioli

Because I was with a friend and not my allergic-to-shellfish boyfriend, I suggested we start with the crab toast from the market table section of the menu. A dark, nutty slice of toast was topped with sweet, meaty hunks of crab meat and a creamy, zesty lemon aioli. No tofu or granola in sight, just two very happy diners. Continue reading

Cause we’ve all been there before


Go on and admit it, this is funny. And it's funny cause you've been there before.

Maybe you’re a broke college student, or maybe you’re a broke graduate, or maybe you’re neither but you’re still not the filthy rich millionaire you always thought you’d be by now, but whoever you are, chances are you’ve at some point or another found yourself face to face with one of these, a sodium-laden package of ramen noodles.  If you haven’t… well then lucky you. For the rest of us, Urban Outfitters has this hilarious ramen to make us feel just that much more embarrassed and ashamed for stooping so low.

Move over, Little Debbie

Before I left the nest, the De Angelis household was always made up of my parents, my sister and I, and the occasional pet. But if there’s someone who could’ve counted as an unofficial member of the bunch because of her constant presence amongst us, it was Little Debbie. You know, the cutesy, snack-cake pushing girl on the boxes of Oatmeal Pies, Star Crunch and Honey Buns.

For the most part though, since becoming an adult, I’ve parted ways with Deb. Truth be told, though, I miss her. Which is why I was so happy to find out that Thomas Keller, of uber expensive culinary meccas The French Laundry and Per Se, had come up with adult versions of similar sweet treats at his boulangerie-style Bouchon Bakery.

Behold, the Bouchon Ho Ho

Perhaps my favorite Little Debbie treat of all time was the Swiss roll, a chocolate coated, rolled-up chocolate cake with cream inside. So when I saw a Bouchon Ho-Ho (a variant of the swiss roll), chocolate covered, foil-wrapped, and with the girth of a mini burrito, I knew I would need to get it. Debbie would have wanted it that way.  Added to my box was a palm-sized TKO, an Oreo lookalike, whose name I’m assuming stands for Thomas Keller Oreo, and two chocolate bouchons, sugar-dusted, cork-shaped mini brownies. Continue reading

I’m waiting on you, Spring

I don’t know what the groundhog saw when he made his big appearance a couple of months ago but it must have been dark, scary and apocalyptic because there has been no sign of spring in New York. Well, no, there have been signs, I guess, but they were just a tease, just a fleeting peek into what feels like what will never come. Every one day of sunny weather is followed by a week of either icy rain and grey skies, or if you’re really unlucky, actual snow.

I would make this my favorite spring drink if spring would ever get here...

So what I want to know is, just what the hell did you see, groundhog? Maybe if you’d seen a frosty and delicious drink like the one I had recently at Vandaag in the East Village instead of your shadow or more winter or the grim reaper or whatever it is you saw, we wouldn’t be in this predicament.

Because how, after having such a bright, cheery drink as the Radler I enjoyed with a group of girlfriends recently, could you want it to be anything other than that never-long-enough season where it’s no longer cold, but not infernally hot yet either, that wonderful happy time in New York called spring?

The Radler, with its warm sunny color, and bright, zesty sweet notes of ginger, pineapple and lime, mixed with the slight bite of alcohol from the Belgian wheat beer and the pineapple infused aquavit, was like spring itself had been liquefied and poured into my glass.

Spring, I’m not sure where you are, but until you’re ready to come hang out, I’ll be at the bar, with a Radler if I’m in the East Village.


Extreme decadence

Go big or go home, right? Well, let me tell you, never was that more the case than at brunch this weekend at Norma’s at Le Parker Merdien.

All joking aside, I probably had my caloric intake for a good solid week all in one sitting.  All on one plate. And I’m not exaggerating or kidding in the least bit. It was intense. What I had might very well be the single most gluttonous thing I’ve ever eaten, but it was worth every hour I’ll spend at the gym this week paying for it.

The menu at Norma’s was a wonderland of edible awesomeness. There were chestnut pancakes, foie gras brioche french toast, and mango-papaya brown butter cinnamon crepes among other things.  But for me there was nothing else to get, nothing else to think about, nothing else but those four sweet words: Chocolate Decadence French Toast. (Yes, decadence was actually in the title.)

Norma's Chocolate Decadence French Toast: about 6 inches tall and 6 inches wide. Forget your diet.

Equal parts awe and intimidation filled my head when the waiter placed the chocolate mountain before me. Was this actually French toast made with chocolate cake and not bread? And were there really three spongy, thick slices of it, stacked one on top of the other, between layers of fat, bright red strawberries, topped with a generous dollop of whipped cream, all of it dusted with powdered sugar , sprinkled with whole pistachios and drizzled with valrhona chocolate syrup? Was I ever going to be able to finish this without falling into some sort of sugar induced coma?  Yes, yes and of course yes.

More than just a standard brunch option, the Chocolate Decadence French Toast was just one massive dessert, and because I’m ok with starting the day with a huge quantity of chocolate, I was in heaven. Even though I worked slowly through the huge stack, each mouthful of moist chocolate cake maintained its fresh-from-the-kitchen heat, so that every bite was warm and rich, with the tart sweetness of the strawberries and the nutty crunch of the pistachios only magnifying the deep chocolatey perfection of the french toast.

With the exception of maybe only the “Zillion Dollar Lobster Fritatta” (which is packed with lobster and caviar and costs $1,000), the Chocolate Decadence French Toast was probably the most ridiculous thing to have ordered. Large, over the top, and decadent to the point of obscenity, I can’t think of a better way to have started my Saturday.