Five for Friday

Not sure about you all, but this has been the most obnoxious, stressful month everrrrrrr for me, so I’m more than ready to see it pack up its shiz and make way for April… which I hope will be full of new adventures and better times. For now, here’s some of what’s been taking my mind of March’s crapfest.

  • At the risk of giving myself away as a full blown turbo nerd, I’m really excited about the new season of Game of Thrones this Sunday, and to go with it, this Ommegang beer which I bought for my friend’s birthday (cause he’s the one that got me hooked on the show.)
  • If I survive moving this Sunday (likely to be the most annoying Easter Sunday in history) I might just have to reward myself with a happy hour  sundae.
  • Once I get my new kitchen in order you better believe your fluffy Easter  bunny butt that I’m gonna make these crazy delicious looking lemon and passion  fruit cheesecake Easter eggs. Cadbury who?
  • While I’m looking forward to warmer springtime temperatures, I’m still not ready for full-on summertime, EXCEPT when it comes to figs, which I love dearly. This bowl of fig and cashew cream, for example? I want to face plant in it.
  • I’m not much of a science buff but I think molecular gastronomy and Wiley Dufresne, the mad scientist/chef at wd-50, are both pretty cool, which is why I can’t wait to check out his new East Village spot, Alder, opened just this week.

Good to the bone and straight to The Marrow

Even though I’ll still only be a subway (or two) rides away from the West Village, these are the last few days that I’ll actually be a resident of the neighborhood where I’ve spent the last two eventful years. I’ve had some great times and some not so great times here, everything from career changes to heartbreak, to the many friends who’ve crashed on my couch to getting both locked out and locked in my apartment, to laughing to crying and to everything in between. As a final hurrah and farewell, I decided to have one last big meal out in the neighborhood (though I don’t doubt I’ll be back for more soon enough) at The Marrow, Harold Dieterle’s new restaurant.

Paying homage to both the German and Italian parts of his family, Harold Dieterle has another awesome restaurant on his hands (I’m a big Kin Shop fan) that instead of mixing the two cuisines, features them separately on the menu, like different branches of a family tree. Below, how my friend Stas and I celebrated my move across the East River with one more great meal in the West Village.


Bone Marrow… c’mon, you know we had to

First out was the restaurant’s namesake, the bone marrow, from the Famiglia Chiarelli branch of the starters section. One giant bone halved and filled with a hearty mix of sea urchin, fried potatoes and meyer lemon aioli, with crunchy toast to spread it all on. The sea urchin was not what I was expecting, with a creamy consistency and sort of neutral flavor.


Prosciutto wrapped dates

From the meat plates portion of the menu, we picked the dangerously tasty prosciutto wrapped dates with gorgonzola. Plump, tender and crazy flavorful, I could, no lie, throw back a dozen of these. Seriously, these guys could get me in a lot of trouble.


Duck schnitzel

Moving on to main courses, we first picked from the Familie Dieterle branch and ordered the pan-friend duck schnitzel with a nutty spaetzle of hazelnuts and quark (a dairy product of sorts) with cucumbers and stewed wolfberries, which looked kind of like small red beans but tasted like sweet, cooked raisins. (I love beans and raisins so I was totally on board.)


Stone Bass “Vitello tonnato”

Then crossing back over to the Italian side of the menu, we chose the sautéed stone bass with fingerling potatoes, cippolini onions, briny olives, a creamy tuna belly sauce and what turned out to be my favorite part of the dish, juicy, fried sweetbreads. Usually I feel just lukewarm about sweetbreads but these were tender and delicious, with a nice breaded coating.

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Chocolate budino

Finally, we were faced with a difficult decision: dessert. Everything sounded great, and while the waiter tried pretty hard to sell us on the ginger stout cake (he said it was far and away the most popular dessert), we were both in a chocolate mood and went with the budino with hazelnut brittle and mascarpone. Chocolate pudding can do no wrong in my eyes and this one, with it’s dense creaminess, was just about perfect. This is in no way a complaint, but the thing to note about this dessert is that it’s a pretty hearty serving of chocolate. The two of us, ardent chocoholics, split this and felt pretty satisfied with the amount we each got. (No fighting necessary.)

Like so many other meals I’ve had in the West Village, I walked out happy and stuffed. Which is basically how I’ll be leaving the West Village in general, happy and stuffed full of memories. Brooklyn, here I come.

Someone send help… and doughnuts

It’s not like I didn’t know moving would be an epic nightmare. Cause I did, I knew. Having moved already a few times in the just four years I’ve lived in this city, I knew good and well what was in store for me. Yet somehow, it’s still managed to be more of an overwhelming headache than I was expecting.

So now, just a few days before the big move, on my day off when I should be out doing fun stuff, here I am instead, sitting in a chaotic mess of boxes, suitcases, and piles and piles of crap. Clearly, I’m not packing and organizing though, because if I was I wouldn’t be writing this.

Dammit packing and moving, why can't you be as fun as eating doughnuts?

Dammit packing and moving, why can’t you be as fun as eating doughnuts?

No, instead I’m daydreaming about doughnuts, which I woke up craving and now that I need to be productive, am being completely distracted by. And because I’m stressed out and prone to stress-induced binge eating, I really wish I had a plate stacked high with the ones from Vegan Divas. I had them about a month ago when I  brought a few to a vegan friend’s brunch, and now, well now I wish I could teleport to the Upper East Side to buy some more.

Sure, they lacked the over-the-top, full fat, gluttonous quality of say, Krispy Kreme, but they were actually really good. Soft and moist, they would’ve been great dunked in coffee or the way I had them, stuffed into my mouth, quickly and often. The chocolate frosted and cinnamon sugar varieties were both tasty but my favorite were the toasted coconut.

And now that I’m sitting here, I wish every one of these boxes, these piles of things to maybe keep maybe throw away, these magazines to recycle, these knick knacks to wrap and package, would all just turn into delicious, guilt free doughnuts.

Five for Friday

Oh, whaddaya know, it’s Friday again. So with that comes the now second edition of Five for Friday, just some little linkety links for you to check out. Happy reading and happy Friday! (Someone cue The Cure!)

  • There was talk this week of planning a pancake party with friends and coincidentally one of my favorite bloggers posted a recipe for hot cross pancakes. That’s a sign from the universe that we have to make it happen, right?
  • Gwyneth’s new book is gonna have to go with Fifty Shades of Grey under the category of “obnoxious books I’ll never read.”
  • I’m having dinner with a friend this weekend at Harold Dieterle’s new West Village restaurant, The Marrow, and let me tell you, I’m sooooo excited! Bone marrow with sea urchin, it’s ON!
  • Ok, woa. Not sure what I have to do or who I have to become friends with to get invited to a polenta party, but it needs to happen.
  • There’s a pending London trip in the works for me (fingers crossed!) and I’m kind of dying to eat at Dinner by Heston Blumenthal. I’m also hoping to meet Eddie Redmayne and run away with him. (Fingers and toes crossed.)

Taco Bell, you’re loco

How it took until the year 2012 for someone to come up with the idea of making taco shells out of Doritos is really just beyond me. That it took until 2013 to also come out with a Cool Ranch Doritos taco blows my mind even further. And that I wasn’t the one to think of all this years ago?? Well I can barely cope with that.

Cool Ranch Doritos Locos Taco

Cool Ranch Doritos Locos Taco

Either way, someone had the idea and thank Doritos-loving heavens they did, because it’s genius. (Seriously, ask the 15,000 people who got jobs at Taco Bell because of all these tacos!)

I, for one, will say it loud and proud: I love Doritos (even if they are practically poisonous). I’d had the original Nachos Doritos Locos Taco (side note Taco Bell, what a stupid name. Why’d they have to be Loco?) last summer but being the Cool Ranch lover that I am, my first question was why only Nacho? I mean, hello, everyone knows Cool Ranch is the far superior flavor (however MSG-laced it might be).

Nachos Doritos Locos Taco

Nachos Doritos Locos Taco

When Taco Bell finally got with it and added Cool Ranch to their Doritos Locos Tacos line up, I was ready to go. And I did. Straight to the depths of Penn Station, where even just breathing the air from the food court will make you fat.

Are these two tacos everything I’ve ever dreamed of? Uhm, no, hardly. But they’re not bad. The Nachos version is a somewhat alarming shade of orange and jam-packed with intense, cheesy Dorito flavor. Inside the crunchy shell is basically the same low-grade Taco Bell filling you’ll find in their other menu items, shredded lettuce, orange cheese and that ground beef that oozes brown juice over everything. The new Cool Ranch taco on the other hand, stuffed with the same ingredients, isn’t as overwhelmingly flavorful or neon-colored, and the shell, with its speckly dusting of seasoning, actually looks like a giant Cool Ranch Dorito.

I think if filled with actual quality ingredients (and maybe eaten after many drinks or a “sneaky puff” or two) these Doritos tacos could be the most incredible idea I never had.

Five for Friday


A few of the blogs I read post weekly round-ups of links the blogger likes, stuff they’re reading or things they think the readers would like, so I’ve decided to jump on the bandwagon and do the same. I do this to a lot of my friends anyway, bombaring their email inboxes with links to new restaurants I want to try and recipes I’ll never make but think look awesome. So here it is, the first in what I hope will be a weekly feature, my five for Friday food roundup. Hooray alliteration!

  • One of the things I miss most about Italy are the fritelle di riso during Carnevale and Emiko’s make me want to eat my weight in them.
  • As much as I’ll miss the West Village, I’m glad my new neighborhood come April, Greenpoint, Brooklyn, has fun places like Tørst opening left and right. Yay beer!
  • Some people think tripe is gross. I, for one, don’t have a problem with tripe and think this wallet made out of it is actually pretty cool.
  • Not sure where it’s gonna go in my new apartment, but I’m very excited about this pairing food and wine poster I bought.
  • My friend Stas, a baker/cook/food-preparer extraordinaire, started a blog (Go Stas!) where she posts recipes for tasty eats like this awesome egg pie with Sriracha.

A good day

You remember that old Ice Cube song, “It Was a Good Day?” (If you don’t, or worse, just don’t know it, take this opportunity to educate yourself on 90s West Coast hip hop, and thank me later.) Reason I bring it up is because aside from all the average-day-in-the-hood references, that song totally made me think of today, because today, you see, really was a good day! Today was Girl Scout Cookies day, most joyous day of celebration!


Doesn’t get much better than a fresh box of Samoas.

About a month ago, I placed an order through a colleague whose neighbor’s daughter was selling them (cause that’s how it works in the city) and BAM! today they arrived, my all-time favorites, the purple boxed, chocolate drizzled, coconut and caramel covered, ring-shaped Samoas aka Caramel deLites (depending on which of the two bakers used made them), officially making today a very good day indeed!


Oh Samoas, how I love you so.

Had it not been raining when I walked/skipped home from work, I would have torn into the box right then and there, but instead I waited till I was home on the couch to completely go to town on them. As usual, they were delicious and addictive, the perfect trifecta of my three favorite C’s: chocolate, caramel and coconut. I told myself I would only have a couple and six cookies later I finally forced myself to put them away, only so I would have some left for later.

The only bad part in my otherwise good day was that I didn’t think to order more Samoas and that I didn’t order any Thin Mints or Tagalongs. I might just have to make tomorrow a better day and order more cookies.

Spoonfuls of amazing

If spooning straight out of the jar is wrong, I don't wanna be right.

If spooning straight out of the jar is wrong, I don’t wanna be right.

I can’t handle owning jars of Nutella or peanut butter, so I’m not sure why I thought something like cookie butter might possibly stand any more of a chance. Let’s go over that again: COOKIE. BUTTER. Yea, exactly.

I don’t know about you, dear readers, the whole handful of you, but I rarely trust myself to buy any of this spreadable goodness because not long after I bring it home, BAM! it’s gone, never even having been spread on a single cracker or piece of toast or anything at all. Instead, I’ll go through entire jars just one and two and three heaping spoonfuls at a time.

So even though I know this, and know it damn well, I still did it. I bought a jar. While poking around Trader Joe’s recently, my eyes landed on it and I was helpless to stop myself: Crunchy Speculoos Cookie Butter. Boom! Love at first sight, just like that. In my basket it went, and once safely at home, over an embarrassingly small number of days, into my mouth it was shoveled, without a single whole grain cracker I bought to go with it ever being used.

I have no willpower in the face of sweet, crunchy deliciousness

I have no willpower in the face of sweet, crunchy deliciousness

TJ’s Crunchy Cookie Butter is made with ground up Speculoos cookies, which are spicy, crunchy Belgian cookies, good for dunking in hot tea or coffee. When whipped up into cookie butter, their cinnamony, gingery flavor really shines through, and screw spreading it on anything, I want to spread this stuff straight on my tongue! It’s thick and creamy, but unlike crunchy peanut butter, it’s not as chunky and stick-your-tongue-to-the-roof-of-your-mouth dense. It’s lighter and crispier and just a bit sweeter. In a word: amazing. It’d be great on bagels or smeared on toast with bananas or even for dunking pretzels in. But I won’t know until I buy another jar… and will myself— for maybe just once!— to not just spoon it all straight into my mouth.