Five For Friday

So I skipped this again last week. Woops. I’m sure no one even noticed, what with it being a holiday weekend and all. I would’ve compiled some links for you but I was busy hiding from the chilly rain and blustery weather. (Oh how far we’ve come in just a week.) But here I am again, with some clickable links for you. Enjoy.

  • Coke floats and root beer floats are some of my faves but this watermelon soda float just screams summer to me.
  • This whole cronut craze is getting out of hand and now there’s a new lemon-maple flavor coming out? Ugh, I’ll never get my hands on one of these.
  • The art history nerd in me thinks these artsy toasts are the coolest thing since sliced bread. (See what I did there? Har har.)
  • They’re sold out now (duh) but how awesome do some of these ice creams in Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams Zelda Collection sound? Cognac and marmelade? Yes, please.

How I beat the heat

Every year I keep my fingers crossed and make all sorts of failed plea bargains with God to make it a cool summer, one where the temperature never goes above, oh I don’t know, say 75 degrees. And every year my prayers fall on deaf ears and the sticky, opressive heat of summer comes down hard and heavy on me. With temperatures in the 90s today, it looks like this summer is shaping up to be more of the same.

So if nature, Earth and the universe itself all insist on another steamy summer, I insist on lobster rolls. That’s just all there is to it and I’m not budging on the matter.

Summer comfort food: New England lobster roll at Greenpoint's Lobster Joint

Summer comfort food: New England lobster roll at Greenpoint’s Lobster Joint

So with the morning off from work and the sun beating down on the city, I decided to walk over to Greenpoint’s Lobster Joint, a cute, casual place serving all things lobster and if you ask me, all things summer. The oyster roll, lobster club and crab cake sandwich were all tempting but the only question for me was how I wanted my lobster roll, New England style with mayo or Connecticut style with butter. With sweat trickling uncomfortably down several parts of my body, ordering anything warm with butter seemed completely out of the question, so I went with the cold-prepped Connecticut style lobster roll, with mayo, herbs and celery.

Nothing pulls me out of the sweaty trenches of a bad mood quite like a lobster roll, especially when it comes with a heap of golden, crunchy-on-the-outside, just soft-enough-on-the-inside fries, a fat, juicy pickle and a little serving of creamy, cool cole slaw. Add a frosty cold Maine Root root beer and you’re looking at an ideal way to spend a sweaty afternoon. I usually prefer butter over mayo when it comes to lobster rolls, but Lobster Joint’s was perfect, with just the right amount of mayo, nothing too slimy or goopy and for under $20 I was shocked at the fat chunks of soft, pink lobster meat bulging out of my roll.

It might end up being an overindulgent, decadent summer if I use lobster rolls to combat the heat, but that’s an issue I’m ready to take on if it means any relief in the months to come.

Lobster Joint on Urbanspoon

Key lime jonesing

It’s not often that I wish I was in Florida. Usually I’m perfectly happy being far from it. But yesterday, on my lunch break at work, as soon as I walked out into the blaring sunshine and high temperatures of what felt like a preview of another New York summer, I found myself wishing I was in Florida. In Key West to be exact. In a hammock in the shade, somewhere near the water, with a fat wedge of key lime pie to be even more exact.

mermaid

Big Gay Ice Cream’s Mermaid Sundae. Hellooooo, summer.

I love Key West and its laid back, mellow vibe, hippy residents, and kitschy charm,  but more than anything else about it, I love the city’s most famous desert, my favorite Florida treat, key lime pie. Since boarding a plane to the Sunshine State wasn’t an option, I got my fix at Big Gay Ice Cream in the West Village instead, where I ordered the Mermaid Sundae.

A heaping cup of creamy vanilla soft serve, thick swirls of bright yellow key lime curd, crushed graham crackers, and velvety swirls of  fluffy whipped cream were exactly what I needed to take the edge off a hot afternoon. Sure, there was no hammock, no ocean, and certainly no laid back vacation mode, but that perfect combination of sweet, tangy, and tart flavors, and the creamy, smooth and crumbly crust  textures of Big Gay Ice Cream’s salute to the key lime pie was all I really needed. Everything else I just closed my eyes and imagined was there.

Five for Friday

Having Monday and Tuesday as my days off this week really threw the whole week off for me. I almost forgot today was Friday! Can you imagine? But here it is, Friday, and with it another small roundup of things I’m reading when I should be doing something more productive.

  • Before you get any crazy ideas, I am absolutely NOT pregnant but c’mon, this peanut butter, pickles and maple syrup sandwich sounds good doesn’t it?
  • The Great Googa Mooga is this weekend… sure wish I was going so I could stuff my face full of all the awesome food they’ll have this year.
  • Speaking of food-related events in Brooklyn, with the weather turning all pretty and such recently, I think it’s time to finally check out Smorgasburg… possibly in elastic waist band pants. Just sayin.’
  • I made these eggs baked in avocados this past week and not only were they super easy but they were mighty delicious. New recipe added to my line-up. I highly recommend.

A lesson in deliciousness

If I lived another healthy, active, one hundred years in New York, I still wouldn’t run out of things to do, places to go and lessons to learn here. (Florida, you can keep your cars and your backyards and your in-home washing machines. I’m not interested.)

asdahh

School is in session

Yesterday, for example, while playing tourist on my day off, I went to MoMA PS 1, what was once upon a time a school and is now a MoMA affiliated contemporary art center and exhibition space in Long Island City (just a few subway stops away from me in Greenpoint). Not only did I get to poke around a different part of town and check out lots of new (and bizarre) art, but I also ate lunch there at one of the most unassumingly cool places I’ve ever eaten at, M. Wells Dinette.

Old school chalkboards

Old school chalkboards

Because PS1 was originally a school, the dinette is set up like a classroom. Large green chalkboards with the menus and wine lists hang from clean, white walls, and instead of traditional tables or booths, seating is arranged in forward-facing rows of desks, the kind that have open drawers underneath for notebooks and pencils. Inside these open spaces? Actual notebooks and pencils, filled with diners’ doodles and scribbles.

My inner nerd was having a field day in the recreated school setting so it made perfect sense that it’s where I learned a new and somewhat surprising fact about myself: I LOVE veal brains. Yea, that’s right. Veal frakin’ brains. I had ’em and I loved ’em and I have M. Wells Dinette to thank for schooling me on the matter.

The were the server’s recommendation and seemed just unusual enough that I should get them, but I honestly never thought I would love them as much as I did. They were served a la grenobloise, which I learned (again, so much learning in one day!) comes from the French city of Grenoble and means preparing something in a brown butter sauce with parsley, capers and lemon.

Veal grenobloise

Veal brain grenobloise (and a super cute napkin just because)

I was a bit nervous that they’d very clearly look like brains but they didn’t, and instead resembled big, plump scallops, round and smooth, with golden, battered coats. Inside, the meat was hands down, the softest, most tender I’ve ever eaten. Combined with the velvety feel of the brown butter, each bite felt like it might actually melt right on my tongue. The lemon added a subtle zestiness and the capers a slight salty kick and to contrast with the pillowy softness of the brains, there were crunchy chunks of toast mixed in throughout. This will absolutely go down as one of the best things I’ve ever eaten.

desser

Oh that all lessons could be so sweet as ricotta streudel

For dessert, I went with the ricotta streudel, which was bigger than I expected, taking up the same size plate as my entree, but also more delicate and light than I was thinking. Underneath the thin, crispy layers of pastry dough, the ricotta was thick and creamy, like a cheesecake but not as dense or overly sweet. To punch up the flavor, a warm, thick pineapple ring acted as the base for the streudel, adding a juicy, colorful sweetness to everything, while little cloud-like dollops of cream circled everything and gave the dessert a soft, fluffy quality.

I left PS1 happy and accomplished, once again thankful to this city that keeps on showing me new things.

Five For Friday

Another week, another set of links. Doesn’t it feel like time is moving insanely fast, like someone sat on the fast forward button on the remote of life? It does to me. Heck I haven’t even finished blabbing on and on about London! Aaaaand I’m already daydreaming about my next jaunt. ::Sigh:: Not enough hours in the day! Anywho, check these out:

  • My book collection needs this book, Modern Art Desserts, whichcombines two things I love: desserts and art. That Mondrian cake? Love it.
  • Uhm, speaking of combining things I go bonkers for, let’s talk about this cronut, the love child of a croissant and a donut. YES.
  • I’m seeing The Great Gatsby tonight (side note: SO excited. Soundtrack’s been on heavy rotation the last couple of days) and this champagne mint julep is practically begging me to drink it in celebration.
  • I’m already an uber fan of Il Cantuccio in the West Village, and now they’re adding porchetta to their sandwich roster? Things just keep getting better.

Pub grubbing

Here in the land of the free and home of the brave, eating in a pub usually entails greasy potato skins, goopy chicken wings, baskets of tater tots, or the odd pretzel dog (Rusty Knot, I’m looking at you).  But across the Atlantic, over in England, I love that eating in a pub can be so much more civilized.

What I eat at bars in the States would make my mother burst into tears (especially if she knew how much I’d drank to arrive at the point of eating in a bar) but what I’ve eaten at pubs in London would make her beam with pride at my ability to recognize a balanced meal and vegetables that haven’t been deep fried.

savory pie at the Tea Clipper

Lunch at The Tea Clipper would make my mother proud

Take the lunch I had at  The Tea Clipper in Knightsbridge, for example. Pretty standard pub, with sticky tables, semi-surly bartender and lots of beer to be had, yet lunch was a perfectly respectable, and quite tasty, savory pie of the day with a generous serving of steamed carrots and greenbeans and a not-too buttery mound of mashed potatoes. Underneath the flaky, golden pastry crust of the pie, was a hearty beef stew of sorts, filled with chunks of juicy, soft meat and mushrooms, all perfect for wolfing down with forkfuls of mashed potatoes.

I am not, even for a second, hating on the greasy, fatty, guilt-inducing pub grub of American bars. I’m just saying that it’s nice to be able to have the option to have a more responsible, sensible, yet still delicious meal in a bar… even if it’s just serving as a foundation for lots of drinking and debauchery later on.

Best bread pudding at the market… and possibly the universe

At the very top of my list of things I wanted to do in London was check out Borough Market, which everyone told me I would love and from everything I read and all the pictures I saw, I knew would be a wonderland for me. With a save-the-best-for-last mentality I left it for the morning before my evening flight back to New York, thinking that I would board my plane with a belly full of delicious market eats and I’d have that wonderful deep sleep you have after big satisfying meals.

But no. That didn’t quite work out the way I wanted it to. The market, it turns out, isn’t open on Monday. (Insert super sad face and wobbly chin here.)  I strolled around the mostly empty market, kicking myself for not having realized it sooner when I came across a small corner of open vendor tables. Naturally, the one piled high with sweets and baked treats from Comptoir Gourmand, was the one I darted to.

And that’s where I laid eyes on the most unassuming, yet hands down best, best, best bread pudding I’ve ever had. I’m not sure where my love of bread pudding came from, since I was never crazy about it growing up (thanks again, Mom), but today, especially now after this particular one, it’s steadfast and true. The top was like a lot of other bread puddings I’ve had, with doughy hunks of bread jutting out, glazed and shining with caramelized sugar and studded with raisins, but it was once I dug into the core that I really got to the good stuff. Inside, this little bread pudding was like a thick custard, all creamy and rich, sweet but with a hint of cinnamony spice. And it wasn’t even warm! Had it been warm, I really think I would’ve lost my composure and melted into a puddle of goo.

Don’t let its humble good looks fool you, this bread pudding will blow your socks off

My only regret after totally flubbing the market’s hours was not buying up every single bread pudding Comptoir Gourmand had to sell. I could’ve eaten myself into a very happy bread pudding induced food coma with those bad boys and been totally fine with having missed the rest of the market.

Hotel living

C’mon, you know it wouldn’t be a trip to England without a plate of fish and chips. And while it is the quintessential pub grub, probably best enjoyed on an old bar stool with a frosty pint of beer, I decided to have mine in bed.

fish and chips

This is the good life.

I work at a hotel so I’m always on the other side of the fun luxuries of staying at one, but now that I was a guest at a posh Mayfair hotel, I wanted to kick back and enjoy one of the best parts of hotel living: room service. And since I’m all about that when-in-Rome thinking when traveling, fish and chips was the only way to go.

After a long day of sightseeing and walking around the entire city, nothing sounded more appealing than a big plate of soft white fish with golden, fried breading on the outside, fat crunchy fries— ahem, sorry, chips— with a little twist of lemon and a dunk in creamy tartar sauce, all while sinking back into a deliciously plush, clean bed to watch TV. Yup, that definitely beats the pub.

Another reason I need to move to England

Be still my heart!

Be still my heart!

Boom. Cadburry creme egg McFlurry. I mean, really. I stopped dead in my tracks and stared in awe at this poster in the window of a Mc Donald’s near Piccadilly Circus. I was all Pepe Le Pew over this.

And yes, I absolutely went in and got one. And it was glorious.

Mc Donald’s in America, can we please get with it and bring this stateside? You’d definitely have one more regular customer right here.