The Cronut

Behold, the Cronut

Behold, the Cronut

Let’s cut right to the chase: the Cronut is awesome.

I didn’t wanna say it. I didn’t wanna like it.  I wanted to think New Yorkers were silly and obsessive, constantly looking for an excuse to spend hours in line waiting for something. I wanted all the hype to be just a bunch of hot air.

But it wasn’t, New Yorkers are actually on to something this time, the hype is deserved, and the Cronut is, in fact, awesome.

I showed up at 7:30am on a Sunday morning when Dominique Ansel Bakery doesn’t even open till 9, and there were already about 50 to 75 people ahead of me in line, some sprawled out on picnic blankets, others sitting in camping chairs like they were at a tailgate. I stood on the sidewalk, checked Facebook and Instagram a few hundred times, finished my book, had a lenghty phone conversation with my sister, and finally, after two hours, walked away with a shiny gold take out box, two Cronuts (the max you can buy) waiting inside.

I felt like Charlie with the golden ticket to the Wonka Chocolate Factory.

I felt like Charlie with the golden ticket to the Wonka Chocolate Factory.

On first inspection, they were pretty, definitely winning full points for presentation. Plump and round, like the part doughnut that they are, they were also sparkly with a dusting of sugar and topped with a creamy layer of purply-pink frosting on top for the flavor of the month, blackberry lime.

The Cronut, what a beaut!

The Cronut, what a beaut!

But it was the moment that I actually bit into it that I was completely won over by the Cronut. With sugar immediately clinging to my lips, chin and fingers, I chomped into the still slightly-warm-from-the-oven Cronut and was met not only with layers of soft, buttery pastry but an amazing burst of rich blackberry jam and a thick, custardy cream filling. It wasn’t just a wimpy little bit way in the back either. No, no, this delicious jammy-creamy combo oozed out of every bite, making each bite an amazing one.

A sticky, creamy, jammy wonderfully delicious mess I made

A sticky, creamy, jammy wonderfully delicious mess I made

If you’re wondering whether I ate both Cronuts I bought, the answer is yes, you bet your ass I did. I’m single and my roommate is out of town. No one else but me was getting their grubby fingers on my Cronuts. And after wolfing them both down, I am totally and completely on board the Cronut fan bandwagon. Those bad boys are awesome.

Happy food in hot times

During the last couple of days of this miserable, seemingly endless NYC heat wave, I’ve fantasized about booking a one way ticket to the polar ice caps, wondered what it’d be like to fill my tub with ice and pack myself in it, and come dangerously close to throwing in the towel and moving to San Francisco, whose siren call I hear in my dreams: “Angie, it’s 61° degrees in mid July. What are you doing? You should be here.”

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Go ahead ice cream sandwich, make it all better

But alas, I’m doing none of those things. (Not yet anyway.) Instead, I’m toughing it out. I’m hanging in there, pushing through my yearly bout of the sticky, sweaty, cranky summertime blues, and getting me through it is my Prozac of food, ice cream.

Earlier this week at Dean & Deluca while daydreaming about nestling in between gourmet pints of ice cream, I spotted something I knew would help ease the subway ride home: an ice cream sandwich from Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams.

Not just any ol’ cookie and ice cream combo (though I do love those simple versions), Jeni’s was a decadent, borderline magical sounding creation of juniper ice cream swirled with lemon curd in between giant lemon-yellow almond macaroons. Sold.

photo(6)Descending into what never ceases to feel like the innermost rings of hell, my subterranean nightmare of steamy, stagnant air, and pungent waves of other people’s BO, I actually managed to momentarily put it all aside as I chomped into my palm-sized ice cream sandwich. The macaroon, all lightly crispy on the outside and almondy sweet and chewy in the middle, was a perfect holder for the creamy, bright, zesty ice cream inside. Each bite was a swirl of clean, cool flavors in my mouth and a delicious and refreshing way to pass the minutes as I waited on the sweltering platform.

I may spend the rest of summer crossing off the days left on the calendar till autumn arrives, but as long as I have cold treats like this crazy good ice cream sandwich in my other hand, well, I might just make it to see those long awaited cooler days.

The best, but really

Whenever something claims to be “the best” of its kind, I take it with a grain of salt. The pizza place in my neighborhood, for example, which claims to have the “best margarita?” Well, they’re just silly because a margarita, first of all, is a drink not a pizza, and second, if they were referring to the margherita, which is a pizza, then they’d be wrong again cause theirs is mediocre at best.

But I’m getting horribly off topic here (and unnecessarily hating on a local pizza joint, so sorry). The reason I’m bringing up any of this “best” claim business is because I think I may have had the absolute best grilled cheese sandwich ever this weekend and I need to relive it by writing about it.

The Bacon Cheddar Blue from Milk Truck Grilled Cheese

The Bacon Cheddar Blue from Milk Truck Grilled Cheese

The Bacon Cheddar Blue from the Milk Truck Grilled Cheese stand at Williamsburg’s Smorgasburg was intense and in my opinion, the best of its kind to ever meet my grilled cheese loving mouth. Perfection if you will: toasted rosemary pullman bread sandwiching New York state cheddar Wisconsin blue, sweet caramelized onions, thin spicy pickles and the power ingredient, thick sliced double smoked bacon.

The bread had just the right amount of crunch to complement the gooey, melted cheese oozing out, and the onions added just a hint of sweet jamminess, while the pickles, though not really spicy, lent a bright tangy flavor that I really enjoyed. The bacon? Well, c’mon, when is bacon ever anything but delicious? This bacon, all thick, smokey and juicy, was everything I could ever ask for.

I scarfed it down like it was my job and licked my fingers afterward, and now I’m here to pronounce it the best grilled cheese sandwich I’ve ever eaten.  And you shouldn’t take that lightly.

Shouldn’t have but I did

How do you say no?

How do you say no?

Sometimes, no, a lot of times, no wait, practically all the time, I do things I know I shouldn’t do. Willpower is not exactly my forte. Eating a big fat hunk of bacon, for example? Yup, that was one of those things I was fully aware I shouldn’t do today, but then yet, well, I did it.

Sitting right in front of me at the Landhaus table at Williamsburg’s Smorgasburg, loaded up on a hot grill, glistening under a coat of maple syrup and dusted with mysterious reddish spices, the chunk of bacon on a stick was practically begging to be eaten, so I did just that. I ate it. And I loved it.

Maple bacon on a stick. Yea, you heard me.

Maple bacon on a stick. Yea, you heard me.

Yes, it was probably my caloric intake for the rest of the weekend, and yes, it probably beelined straight for my already soft midsection, but you know what, it was so freakin’ good. Good in that gluttonously delicious, juicy, soft, buttery, so-bad-for-you but so-good-to-you way that only a truly great piece of chunky bacon is.

I try to make up for the things I do that I know I shouldn’t have, and even though it was just one thick, chunk of bacon, I can already tell I’ll be atoning  for my food sin for a good long time on the treadmill. But man, was that bacon good.

Mission (Chinese Food) Accomplished

Man oh man do I love the satisfaction that comes with crossing off things on my to-do lists. Even better still when that satisfying feeling of completion comes along with the happy, stuffed high of a great, big delicious meal.

Such was the case earlier this week when a friend and I finally, after talking about it over and over and meaning to go for the past year or so, went to Mission Chinese Food, the tiny, much-raved about Americanized Chinese food joint made famous in San Fran and now also located in the Lower East Side.

Dinner service starts at 5:30pm and hungry folks line up outside before the door’s even unlocked and neon sign turned on just to claim one of the few spots in the no-reservations restaurant. Right there in that line, was us, ready to scarf down our hipster Chinese grub version of an early bird special. Even though I hate early dinners, especially when the sun’s still out, I’d gladly do it again because the food totally, if you ask me, lived up to the hype.

Chili margarita

Chili margarita

To celebrate our success at A.) getting our acts together and finally making it to the restaurant and B.) actually getting seated right away, we ordered ourselves some drinks. The chili margaritas, with their orangey pink color, citrusy bite and toasted chili kick were the perfect way to start things off.

Mapo ramen

Mapo ramen

Food at Mission Chinese comes out as the kitchen finishes it and for us, first out was the mapo ramen, a generous bowl of fatty pork broth, seaweed, coddledegg, mapo tofu and ramen noodles. Like many of the dishes here, this one wasn’t shy about being packed with bright bold flavors and a fiery kick that had me breaking out in full on nose sweats. (You know, when the bridge of your nose beads up with spicy food induced sweat. Not exactly my best look.)

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Back again

Guys, I’ve been a stranger, I know. I’ve just been busy with this whole business of living, which for me has lately entailed lots of working, sweating and bitching about the heat, occasional bad decision making, staying up late and of course eating. Always eating.

My new trove of Australian snacks and goodies

My new trove of Australian snacks and goodies

But also, my roommate and best good friend (Did you just catch that Forrest Gump reference? Cause it happened.) has been gone, traveling around the Land Down Under for work while I’ve been home in Brooklyn, jumping at every small noise I hear in the night. But now, after a seemingly endless two weeks or so, she’s back, and because she’s amazing, she brought back a ton of Australian goodies, cookies (ahem, sorry, biscuits!), chocolate, candies, some damn good potato chips (honey soy chicken? DE-freakin’-LICIOUS.) and even Vegemite!

I was kinda hoping she’d have smuggled back a koala to be our new pet, but this? This all will do just fine.

I’m ready to get back into the swing of things, things like having a roommate, binging on candy and blogging all about it. Bring on the rest of summer!