Grilled cheese daydreams

It’s been a bit quiet here on the blog front. I last left those of you that care and drop in ocassionally with a post about me stuffing my face full of pie. (Feel free to re-read below.) Shortly after that, possibly as I was digesting said pie, I realized that while I always feel like I could shed a few pounds (who doesn’t?), as of lately I really have been feeling like a monstrosity of a whale. No, really. A giant, fat, pie-scarffing whale.

So for about the past week or so, I’ve been on the teeny tiniest bit of a diet. I know, so lame. But it’s actually not that bad. I’m just trying to get some good habits going in regards to my eating and maybe cut back on the sweets. (It kills me just to say that, so you know.)

But on this so-called “diet” (ugh, what a dirty icky word), I get a couple of  breaks from the healthy world and during those moments of freedom I like to dive head first into the world of delicious, gluttonous and reckless abandon. Enter The Queens Kickshaw.

I’ve been harrassing my friend Daphne about going with me to the Queens Kickshaw for monts, since they’re both in Astoria, and last week, during one of my eat-whatever-and-however-I-want meals, we finally did it. We went and had ourselves some mighty fine grilled cheese sandwiches, which are what the Queens Kickshaw specializes in.

Egg & cheese sandwich... why can't there be a diet based on this guy?

They had a classic mozzarella and cheddar version (complete with the requisite tomato soup) and some mouth-watering (no really, like a slobbering dog) sandwiches with cheeses like manchego, gruyere and fontina and other ingredients including avocado, anchovies and mushrooms.

But when I saw egg and cheese as an option, I was sold because, really, it’s practically impossible to go wrong with such a delicious marriage of foods as eggs and cheese. It’s just always awesome. Always. But this wasn’t your average corner store $2 egg and cheese sandwich that you eat when you’re hungover and on the way to work. No no. This was creamy ricotta, gruyere, egg, thyme and a sweet, slightly spicy maple hot sauce, all between soft, warm brioche.

Let me tell you, people, there’s nothing that will make you hate a diet more than the mere thought of a grilled cheese sandwich like that. I want to take ten of those sandwiches, stack them one on top of the other, unhinge my jaw like a python, and eat the whole cheesy, eggy mess.  And it would be glorious.

Until the next break from healthy eating, I’ll continue daydreaming about a world where I could be rail thin and still eat grilled cheese and egg sandwiches all day long. Sigh. A girl can dream.

3.14 = Pi = PIE!!!

It's a celebration!

I am perhaps the least mathematically inclined person you will EVER know. I fared well enough in the bare minimum of math classes I was required to take in school, but even in “Math for Liberal Arts Majors” (a real class taught at the University of Florida. I took part 1 and 2 to meet my journalism major’s math requirement) I still had to put in serious study time to get by.

And while I’ve forgotten almost everything math-related I ever learned, erased by time like the painful memories that they were, a couple of things still remain. One of those is that pi = 3.14. So today, when I wrote the date and noticed that it was 3/14 I immediately thought one thing: PIE!!!

I’d long been looking for an excuse to take a subway ride up to Hell’s Kitchen and try out the Little Pie Company and today’s date was all the sign I needed to go. I originally wanted to buy a few slices and bring them home to share with the boy, but I wasn’t crazy about the selection they had available by the slice so instead I came home with two 5-inch minis, a banana coconut cream pie and the shop’s signature pie, the sour cream apple walnut.

I love bananas with the enthusiasm of a cartoon monkey so LPC’s banana coconut cream pie was perfection in pie form. The firm, crumbly crust was the best complement to the smooth, creamy banana filling it was holding, chock full of cool, fat slices of banana. On top, a small mountain of fluffy soft whipped cream and crispy, toasted coconut shavings made this not only a delicious little pie, but a pretty one at that, all cloud like in its sweetness.

Dear Banana Coconut Cream Pie, I'm kind of in love with you.

The sour cream apple walnut pie, made with a creamy, chunky filling of juicy granny smith apple chunks and fresh sour cream under a thick, crunchy cinnamony walnut, streusel is mind boggling in how delicious it is. Even after we decided to save the rest for later, the beau and I kept carving out great big spoonfuls. This pie is homey and comforting, like something your grandmother might have made… if she were an evil genius.

The Sour Cream Apple Walnut Pie might just make Pi Day a new favorite holiday for me

This is my first year celebrating pi/pie day, and after today’s major success, I’m glad to dust the cobwebs off this ol’ math relic and celebrate it every year because if 3.14= pi and pi= pie (to me) then pi day = one pie-eating happy camper out of this girl. (If that pseudo equation made no sense to you, please refer to the first paragraph of this post.)

Southern comforts

Going “home” to Miami isn’t exactly comforting for me. It can be fun, yes, catching up with old friends, seeing family (in small, controlled doses), hanging out in my old stomping grounds. If I squeeze in some beach time, Miami can even be relaxing, but rarely, if ever, is it comforting.

Comfort in a cocktail: Yardbird's tasty Watermelon Sling

But during the last visit to my ol’ hometown, between long stretches spent trapped in the car thanks to Miami’s ever-present traffic (reason number a billion to live in a city with actual, functioning public transportation), I was able to find some comfort. As it often does, comfort came in the form of food. (Sorry, family.)

Eating at Yardbird Southern Table & Bar was one of only a small number of things on my “must-absolutely-get-done-while-I’m-in-town” list. I read about it a few months ago when it first opened and immediately wanted to go. when I read about southern comfort food staples like fried chicken, mac and cheese and cornbread. Miami may be south, but southern it definitely is not.

I loved Yardbird right away, with its country-cool, rustic vibe and a distinctly not Miami Beach feel. But when my Watermelon Sling came out, all sweet and refreshing with its crisp, clean mix of fresh watermelon juice, smokey borboun, lemon, orange bitters and a light, frothy cucumber foam, I was head over heels.

Then came the perfect follow up to my drink, melons and cheese, chosen from the small plates portion of the menu. Two fat wedges of bright, juicy watermelon were topped with a grilled cheese that the menu called farm cheese, but I thought was a lot like queso fresco, the white, salty cheese used in Mexican and other hispanic cuisines. Either way, it was delicious and further proof that mixing sweet (in this case, fruity) with savory, is always a recipe for tastiness.

Melons and cheese: win, WIN.

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