I’m a Puddin’ person

I don’t know what it is about pudding— maybe it’s the smooth creaminess, the variety of flavors, the way it takes me back to childhood and packed lunches—I don’t know, I just love it. Always have and always will. At the ripe old age of 27, I still buy Snack Packs and Jell-O pudding cups. (There’s Jello-O creme brulee rice pudding in my fridge, as we speak.)

Chocolate pudding, whipped cream, and butterscotch pudding. A classic is a classic for a reason.

A few months ago when I heard about Puddin’, an East Village shop specializing in— yup, you guessed it—  pudding, my inner child and inner fat kid high-fived each other, and then we all made plans to go.

The way it works at Puddin’ is you can get  simple cups of pudding in all the classic flavors, including chocolate, vanilla and  butterscotch among others, or you can add toppings into the mix (sweet add-ins like salted caramel sauce, candied nuts, or red velvet cake to name a few), OR if you’re like me and you get semi-overwhelmed in the face of so many tasty choices, you can opt for one of Clio’s signature parfaits. (Clio, in case you were wondering,  is the brains behind this whole Puddin’ operation. I kind of want to be her friend.)

The Banana Cream Dream: the stuff dreams are made of. (Or is that just mine?)

My boyfriend, like a lot of adults, I suspect, only feels lukewarm about pudding. Sure, he’ll eat it if it’s there, but he won’t go out of his way for it. So I dragged him anyway.  Playing it safe, he ordered the classic parfait with layers of thick, cool chocolate and creamy butterscotch pudding alternating between fluffy layers of whipped cream. I, with my ever raging sweet tooth, ordered the banana cream dream, which with its layers of real banana pudding, soft chunks of banana bread, crunchy graham cracker crust crumbles, and airy whipped cream, was absolutely every bit as dreamily delicious as its name implies.

So I guess, really, I do know why I love pudding so much.  Cause plain and simple, it’s awesome. And if you need a reminder of that, a visit to Clio’s Puddin’ is the perfect place to start.

Puddin' by Clio on Urbanspoon

Pizza worth praising from the mountaintop… or from this blog

I don’t blog about every single thing I eat, and contrary to what my friends might think, I don’t photograph every piece of food I put in my mouth either. When I went to Paulie Gee’s Pizza in Greenpoint, Brooklyn, for example, I had no intention of doing either. I was just having pizza. With friends. In Brooklyn. Nothing to write home about, right? Wrong. 

The Cherry Jones pizza at Paulie Gee's is so damn good that it's almost physically impossible to put down after one bite. I ate two slices before I was able to successfully pause the pizza-shoveling. (In the lower right hand corner, the very green and very tasty Arugula Shmoogula.)

Immediately after biting into the Cherry Jones pizza I ordered, I knew I’d have to get my camera out because I just had to show you this crazy-good pizza. Well, it wasn’t quite immediate though, because once I bit into that first slice and got hit with the insane flavors of creamy, pungent gorgonzola, milky fior di latte mozzarella, perfectly salty prosciutto, tart dried cherries and a drizzle of sweet orange blossom honey, I literally couldn’t pry it away from my mouth. I was about two slices in when I forced myself to put down the pizza just long enough to get one decent picture before there was nothing left but crumbs.

I had heard (or read I should say), from a pretty reliable source, that Paulie Gee’s was good, that it was creative and unusual, but I was in no way prepared for just how much I would love the Cherry Jones. I mean, it was outrageously good. It was mind-blowingly good. It was glaaaadly-take-the-stupid-G-train-all-the-way-to-Greenpoint good.

So while I had no intention of getting into all of this with you, the Cherry Jones left me no choice. If you didn’t already know, then it’s my absolute duty as a relatively decent human being to tell you about the deliciousness that is Paulie Gee’s. Be it by train, plane or automobile, or the wretched G train even, get yourself to Paulie Gee’s, cause it’s definitely something to write home about. (Just make sure to snap your pictures before you dig in.)

Paulie Gee's on Urbanspoon

Technicolor traditions

These Easter eggs are gonna really cheer up my fridge

I’m a total sucker for holiday-themed tradtions…usually of the childish variety and especially of the edible kind. I love carving pumpkins at Halloween, putting together gingerbread houses during Christmas, and I even like buying those little chalky Valentine’s Day candy hearts with messages on them (even though I think they’re absolutely foul tasting).

So it should really come as no surprise that Easter, with its jelly beans, chocolate bunnies, Peeps and Cadbury eggs, is something I’m all about. This year though, I brought back one of my favorite childhood Easter traditions that doesn’t even have to do with candy: dying Easter eggs! Flaneur, having grown up in that boot-shaped country across the pond, had never done it before so it was all the more reason for me to break out the hard boiled eggs and PAAS dye kit.

I already love hard boiled eggs, but turn their shells teal, orange, violet and golden yellow and I’m over the moon. Really though, how can rainbow-colored eggs make you anything but happy? Some people like soft pastels for Easter, but I prefer ultra-vibrant, turbo pigmented, technicolor eggs.  They came out so well I think I might be adding this to my holiday traditions repetoire.

Sorry vegetarians, this lunch isn’t for you

Lumpiang barquillos: crispy, crunchy, meaty tastiness

Recently, while hanging out with one of my quasi-vegan friends, she pointed out that I’d been neglecting my non meat-and-dairy eating blog readers. (All two of them.) Looking back at my recent posts, she has a point. And while I fully mean to write something soon that will appeal to my herbivore friends, this particular post is not the time. In fact, if you’re still reading and you don’t want to hear about me eating various parts of a pigs face, then you should probably just come back another time.

For someone like me, who constantly wants to be somewhere else in the world and would be content to spend the rest of her life traveling, New York is the best place to live. Where else can you eat from every corner of the world without leaving the city? Last week, during what was one of my days off from both work and my pseudo-diet/healthy eating regime, the beau and I had lunch at  Maharlika, a Filipino restaurant in the East Village.

We started our lunch with a shared order of lumpiang barquillos, long, thin, crispy, crunchy rice paper rolls filled with a blend of beef, pork and water chestnuts. With them came a tangy, chili sauce and a little mound of sweet shredded carrots, both which were great garnishes and enhancers for the meaty, yet delicate barquillos. Their long, rolled up shape reminded me of the taquitos we used to eat in college (usually not in a completely clear state of mind) but way better. These Filipino barquillos would be dangerous during a bout of the munchies…

Sisig: a skillet full of piggy deliciousness

But now the part where I eat pig face. Pampangan-style sizzling sisig seemed almost like a tongue twister when I read it on the menu but once I got past the name and on to the description, I was all about it. Pig ears, snout and belly, (cooked three times) with garlic, fried egg, bird chilies and lemon with garlic rice. Seriously, how, unless you were like one of my aforementioned non-carnivore friends, could you not be curious about a plate like that? I wasn’t sure what that would look like, or if I was really ready to see a snout in front of me, but when it came out, a small skillet with what looked like corned beef hash topped with a fried egg on top, I was so ready. The waiter chopped and mixed everything up in front of me at the table, putting down a small wooden bowl filled with fluffy, white garlic rice  and a tiny dish of garlic and chili infused vinegar next to the skillet. And let me say, for those of you interested in a foray into eating animal faces, this is the way to go. The sisig, with its mix of meaty, rich pig parts, spices, bright tangy flavors of vinegar and chilies was delicious, like the cooler, more exotic, more interesting cousin of a plate of breakfast hash.

You can always bet on the greatness of food topped with a fried egg

The beau, ever along for the ride on my search for good eats,  had the iLog lunch. (Not an Apple product, but a play on Ilog, a municipality in the Philippines.) This particular entree comes with your choice of sausage, so Flaneur went with the longsilog, a spicy sweet longganisa, or pork sausage made with garlic. Inside, the meat was orangeish in color and had a bright, spicy sweetness that was delicious in its own right but even better when dipped in the bright orange-yellow yolk of the sunny side egg. Also on the plate, was a a mixture of pickled Filipino veggies to add a sweet, tangy edge to the rich meat and egg. And like the sisig, the iLog lunch also came with garlic rice, the best base for all of the colorful flavors on the plate.

So vegetarian friends, I’m sorry there wasn’t much for you here this time. Everyone else, get yourself some pig parts Filipino style. It’ll make you appreciate the fact that you eat meat.