Cheese, cheese and more cheese

I used to imagine that being allergic to shellfish would be pretty damn awful because it would mean you’d never hold a soft, warm lobster roll in your hands or taste the velvety sweetness of lobster bisque on your tongue, but recently, because of a friend who is lactose intolerant and gets horrible gas when he eats cheese, I have to change my answer. Not being able to eat cheese would be the worst thing EVER.

Which is probably why my lactose intolerant friend does what I would do in the same situation, and that is completely disregard his body’s inability to deal with dairy (and his friends’ inability to deal with his flatulence) and eat it anyway. If your friends love you, they’ll love you even when you’re gassy, I suppose.

All of this crossed my mind last week when a friend (of the lactose tolerant variety) and I ate at  Murray’s Cheese Bar, the restaurant/bar spinoff of perhaps my favorite store in all of Manhattan, Murray’s Cheese Shop. Murray’s, which I’ve proclaimed my love for before, is basically a cheese wonderland. They have every color, smell, texture and type of  cheese you could ever want and the new Cheese Bar, just a couple of doors down, showcases a lot of those cheeses in different forms including cheese plates, dips, spreads, sandwiches, desserts and more.

Ellsworth Creamery Buffalo Cheese Curds… fried cheese with more cheese. YES.

My friend and I started with the fried Ellsworth Creamery buffalo cheese curds, quirky, squeaky chunks of solid, soured milk that go into the cheese making process.  These looked like tater tots or boneless chicken wings in their bright reddish orange coats of tangy, hot buffalo sauce and to complete the look, they came with celery sticks and a thick, chunky Black River blue cheese dip. The way I see it, you just really can’t go wrong with cheese-on-cheese action.

Bibb Lettuce Salad: healthy without having to sacrifice being delicious

In a half-hearted attempt to be healthy, my friend suggested the bibb lettuce salad from the greenmarket portion of the menu. If all salads included juicy nectarines, fat, crunchy marcona almonds, fennel, Rogue Creamery smoky blue cheese  and perfectly crisp pieces of prosciutto, everyone would eat more salads and I’m pretty sure the world would be a better, happier place because of it.

Rarebit cheddar burger

Rarebit cheddar burger and pour-your-own beer-cheese sauce

To round out the savory part of our meal, we also split the rarebit cheddar burger, an openfaced, fat hunk of Ottomanelli meat topped with a thick, dark sauce made of  Prairie Breeze cheddar and Left Hand Milk Stout (beer AND cheese? GENIUS.) which came in a little gravy boat of sorts so that it could be poured on to your heart’s content. (My heart was well beyond content and I’d be lying if I said the thought of pouring the sauce directly down my throat hadn’t crossed my mind.)

Coeur de Creme: a creamy sweet, cheesey ending

Finally, for something sweet, we shared the coeur de creme, made with Vermont Butter & Cheese Creamery creme fraiche Ben’s cream cheese, and at the very bottom, a jammy, tart, red currant curd.  The dessert had the consistency of a thick, whipped cream cheese (which I prefer over the regular kind) and the creamy, sweetness of cheesecake, sans the crust. The red currant at the bottom of the glass was just enough to give a very subtle, fruity swirl.

All in all, a great cheese themed dinner in a fun, cute new restaurant (also good for grabbing a drink, by the way). But the best part? Being able to enjoy it without the unfortunate gastric consequences of stinking up anyone’s air.

The forgotten spotted dick

Forget “Dick in a box.” I have (spotted) dick in a can. And it’s expired. Read on.

When I say that certain things really only happen to me, I’m not being melodramatic. They really do just happen to me.  If you don’t believe me, stop and ask yourself when the last time was that you pulled out an expired spotted dick from your kitchen cabinet. Never, you say? Wait, what the hell is a spotted dick and what was it doing in the kitchen cabinet anyway, you say?

Yea, well, welcome to my life. Things get weird. I find expired spotted dick in my kitchen cabinet. It’s totally the norm.

If you’re thinking that spotted dick is something freaky that I now own as part of my new single-girl-in-the-city life, well, first of all, you’re a perv, and second, spotted dick pudding (cause yes, that’s the full name) is actually a British dessert, a sort of custardy cake speckled with dried fruit. The particular one that I have is made by Heinz and comes in a can, and unfortunately, because it was hidden behind a box of quinoa and a couple of soup cans, went unnoticed and expired a few months ago. Woops.

I originally bought it at Myers of Keswick in the West Village way back when I bought the treacle sponge pudding I wrote about here, but alas, it was forgotten and now who knows what’s going on inside that can.

It’s a shame too, because it would’ve probably been pretty hilarious if next time one of my friends—or God forbid, my mother—called and asked what I was up to, I answered, “Oh you know, just hanging out, eating some spotted dick.” I mean really, these things only happen to me.

I’m back! Someone pass me a pumpkin pie soda.

Summer’s never been an easy time for me. The heat makes me crazy and bitchy, the humidity makes me a sweaty, frizzy troll, and this summer, to add something new to the mix, my long-term relationship completely fell apart, the frequently aforementioned Flaneur moved permanently back to Italy, and for the first time in my entire life I found myself living alone. Throw in some skull-crushing hangovers, too many sad meals eaten in front of the TV, and a particularly unpleasant incident involving a locksmith and 325 of my hard earned dollars, and I’ve had one hell of a summer. (I know, what a whiner.)

But thankfully, summer, and the share of heartache that came with it this year, are on the way out.  Things are starting to look up, temperatures are starting to cool down, and I for one, am ready for fall.

I love lots of things about autumn: crisp weather, changing leaves, apple cider, my birthday (wait, no, scratch that last one), Halloween, Thanksgiving, lower electricity bills… I mean really, the list goes on and on. But perhaps my most favorite is the yearly pumpkin binge I go on where I eat everything and anything with pumpkin as an ingredient.

Pumpkin pie soda, a whole new take on my favorite fall treat

I thought I’d seen it all until earlier this week when I found myself at Whole Foods in Tribeca (i.e. my new happy place) where I saw…wait for it, wait for it… are you ready? Ok, here goes: Pumpkin freaking pie soda!! I know, MIND. BLOWN. Bam, in the basket it went.

Some of you are probably grossed out, and I get that, but trust me, you’re wrong. This Maine Root pumpkin pie soda is delicious, the perfect bubbly take on one of my favorite desserts. It’s sweet and smooth, with a very similar taste to cream soda (which I also looooove) but because it’s pumpkin pie based, it also has hints of cinnamon and nutmeg. Delicious, I tell you!

So yes, things have been rocky lately and especially here on the blogfront, there’s been a big fat nothing going on, but that’s all changing now. With a cold pumpkin pie soda in hand and fall officially just a week away, things are getting sweeter already.