Foodie/fatty accessories

Looking for a fast way to kill a couple of hours? One word: Etsy.

While I haven’t gone as far as actually buying anything from the online marketplace for vintage and handmade items including artwork, jewelry, clothing and everything else under the sun, I do love to while away the time going through the different vendors.

Today, for example, I came across this awesome vendor, who kind of randomly, makes food miniatures into jewelry and accessories. Thing is though, they’re really good! Like if I didn’t know they were itty bitty versions, I might think that half of these are the real thing. Check them out.  

Mini pancakes… for your ears!

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Always room for more

I approach Thanksgiving, my favorite holiday and perhaps plain ol’ favorite day of the year, with a no-holds-barred mentality. If it’s on the table, I’m eating it. If there are leftovers after everyone’s done, I have seconds… and then thirds. If there’s gravy, it’s getting poured on everything short of cranberry sauce. Oh and if there’s cranberry sauce, I’m eating enough to have it coursing through my veins. And there’s never ever a question of which dessert to have, because the answer is  always all of them. That’s pretty much how this year’s Thanksgiving, spent with my boyfriend’s half-Florentine half-Floridian family, played out anyway.

But then of course, there’s the day-after remorse. The slightly tighter waistband, the mental hazinness brought on by excessive eating, the guilt. But so help me God, if I see or even hear mention of pumpkin pie (my absolute faaaaave), I snap right out of my slump and put my game face back on.

Mercer Kitchen's pumpkin pie

That’s what happened today when through a series of fortunate events, the pumpkin pie from Mercer Kitchen found itself in front of me. More of a mini-pie than a slice, MK’s version had a fluffy dollop of maple creme fraiche in place of whipped cream and a creamy, caramely blob of candied cashews next to it. Also on the plate, adding more autum color and taste was a rich, sticky caramel sauce (that I would like to guzzle by the mug-full, might I add) which was perfect for running forkuls of pumpkin pie through.

It never fails. I could be in the depths of a profound food coma, but like sleeping salts to someone knocked out cold, my tried and true favorite, pumpkin pie, will always bring me back, because there’s always room, even if just a little bit, for more pie.

Bread pudding, except actually good

I know I’m always hating on my mom’s food, but I just can’t help it. Every time I eat something delicious that I distinctly remember being bland, slimey, lumpy, or just plain unpleasant, I think, “God she really just sucks at cooking.” (If you think I’m being mean, don’t worry, Wilma Flinstone doesn’t know what a blog is, much less this one, and therefore won’t be offended by my opinions.)

I was at Cafe Minerva in the West Village earlier this week when I had one of those moments. We were originally there for coffee but then decided to get a couple of desserts too. In one of my usual chocolate-craving moments (which go a little like this), I ordered the chocolate mousse. Flaneur, on the other hand, went with the bread pudding.

Bread pudding at Cafe Minerva

Immediately, mental images flashed in my head as the memories came back. Stale loaves of Cuban bread, goopiness turned gelatinous, glass Pyrex dish in the fridge,  stray raisins, cold and gummy texture. This was the bread pudding of my childhood. Continue reading

Autumn’s ice cream sandwiches

I’ve never been one to let a little cold weather get in the way of me stuffing my face full of ice cream. (I mean, what, am I supposed to subsist off soup and tea during fall and winter? You know how long that is in New York??) So even with a crisp autumn chill in the air this weekend, I dragged Flaneur with me to find the Coolhaus NY truck, a Los Angeles food truck dishing out gourmet, artisanal ice cream sandwiches.

The ultimate fall ice cream sandwich: sweet potato ice cream and pumpkin spice cookies. Mmmm mmm mmh!

With combinations like blood orange and cranberry ice cream and snickerdoodle cookies, and brown butter ice cream with candied bacon and red velvet cookies, I had to put some serious thought into what ice cream and cookie combo I wanted. In celebration of the beautiful fall weather I went with sweet potato and marshmallow swirl ice cream between pumpkin walnut spice cookies with cream cheese frosting drizzled on top. My chocolate chip cookie-loving-beau, on the other hand, opted for the  Maker’s Mark bourbon pecan pie ice cream between chocolate chip cookies.

Both were ridiculously good, perfect for either a sweltering day in July or a January blizzard. The pumpkin walnut spice cookies were pillowy soft and sweet, without being too much (I promise!) and the ice cream was rich, creamy, and with a more subtle sweetness than its flavor inspiration might make you think. It had just enough of the spicy sweetness of sweet potato and just the right hint of sugary marshmallow to make it the ultimate fall ice cream sandwich. If I could buy these packaged and by the dozen, I would bring them to every holiday party from here to New Year’s.

Chocolate chip cookies and Maker's Mark bourbon pecan pie. BAM!

Flaneur’s was good too, with the same autumn themed flavor but different individual tastes. His ice cream for example, had more of a smoky smoothness from the Maker’s Mark but still had the spicy, syrupy holiday sweetness of pecan pie that makes you want to sit in front of a Christmas tree and eat until you fall into a happy food coma. His cookies, unlike mine, were a little firmer and had a more traditional cookie crunch.

Lucky for my waistline, the Coolhaus NY truck changes location every day, because if I always knew where to find them every day, especially if it was as easy as it was this weekend when it was parked in Union Square…oh boy, that might be trouble. I might look like Santa Claus come next fall.

Best in the universe

To say that Levain Bakery‘s signature cookie, the chocolate chip-walnut, is just another cookie is like saying that a unicorn is just a horse with a horn. It’s SO much more than that. It’s magic, it’s wonder, it’s a source of pure, concentrated joy.

Levain’s signature cookie might just be the single most delicious chocolate chip cookie in the universe. If a greater one exists, I almost rather not know about it, I’m not sure my little heart could handle all that. It already came so close to bursting with happiness when I bit into Levain’s chocolate chip-walnut cookie during a recent day spent in the Upper West Side.

Chocolate chip walnut cookie from Levain Bakery

At a hefty $4 it might seem like a lot for a cookie, but like I said, this is no ordinary cookie. About four inches in diameter and with a mind-boggling height of about two inches, this cookie is big. Jutting out from its craggy surface are golden  chunks of walnut next to soft, fat smudges of chocolate, half melted chips just begging to be eaten. The outside has a nice, firm crust but the real magic—oh man, my heart speeds up just thinking about it— that is waiting inside. The moment you bite into this cookie masterpiece you realize that it’s just the exact amount of cooked (or wonderfully uncooked, I should say) so that the core is soft and chewy, still a bit cookie dough and not completely turned cookie. The chocolate chips melt pretty much on impact and the walnuts lend a buttery, nutty crunch to everything. It’s madness, I tell you. Madness.

I’m a huge fan of Roasting Plant’s chocolate chip cookies, which I previously wrote might be some of the best I’d ever had, but Levain’s, I’m pretty positive, are the best this whole universe of ours has to offer. How I’ve lived in this city for this long without having one makes me think I have a lot of catching up to do. And let me tell you, I’m excited.

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