A burger for these impossible times

Now that the seemingly impossible’s actually happened, I need to take a break from all the doom and gloom and talk about something else for just a minute. Food’s always been a respite for me, and writing a form of therapy and distraction, so indulge me, will you?

Last week, when the world—while troubled and strange— didn’t seem quite as broken as it does now, I got around to eating something I’d been wanting since earlier this summer when it made its New York debut: an Impossible Burger.

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Oh, that flag.

Made by the creative wizards and scientists at Silicon Valley startup Impossible Foods, their burger’s only available at three restaurants in California (two in San Fran and one in LA) and now at  Momofuku Nishi in Chelsea, where I had it.

The crazy thing about this burger, the impossible thing, is that even though it’s made entirely of all natural ingredients and not a single animal, it also looks and tastes like a regular ol’ hamburger made of ground beef. It has the same consistency, the same juiciness when you bite into it, the same reddish-pink inside and the same charring on the outside.

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Would you believe it? Not real meat!

Now, everyone who knows me knows I eat meat and burgers are some of my favorite, but I also love veggie burgers. To me though, they’re two different things. Until now.

Nishi’s burger is served on a soft potato roll and dressed like a pretty standard burger: lettuce, tomato, pickles, a smear of special sauce, and in my case, a slice of American cheese. A heap of crispy shoestring fries comes along next to it.

While I don’t think it’s the best burger out there, I do think it’s the closest thing to a beef burger that I’ve ever tasted in the world of veggie burgers. If I was trying to be vegetarian I would eat these all the time. Even as a meat eater, I’d definitely eat this again.

The fact that it uses way less natural resources like gas, water and land to create it, and also has  none of the crap like antibiotics and hormones that so much of our beef unfortunately has, makes it all the better.

In these impossible times, something enjoyable and less harmful to the world around it sounds pretty freakin’ good to me.

Brunching alla Swiss

With cheese and chocolate as some of its most recognizable foods (albeit, each one a broad umbrella group), it should come as no surprise that Switzerland would hold a special place in my heart/stomach. Of the different coutnries I’ve been to, it’s always been one of my favorites.  Lots of natural beauty (nothing like a mountain to blow a Florida girl’s mind), awesome cows (yea, I know, random, but they really were the prettiest cows ever) and again, the food.

So when my friend Holly, who was recently visiting from out of town, suggested a Swiss brasserie in Chelsea that her boyfriend recommended from having been there before, I was all for it. (And sidenote, friends that make food recommendations you can count on being good? Golden!)

I liked Trestle on Tenth pretty much from the get-go. Outside, the weather was rainy, cold and crappy, but inside the restaurant was cozy and warm, and when Holly mentioned that the sticky buns were specifically recommended via the BF who wasn’t there with us, I knew it didn’t matter what was going on outside because I was about to be exactly where I needed to be: in front of great food, with great company.

It might be a scientific fact  that sticky buns improve rainy days

First to come out were the aforementioned sticky buns. They’re not usually one of my favorite baked goods because the sticky factor kind of bothers me, but these weren’t too messy or over-the-top sweet. Fat and doughy, these buns mostly kept the sticky part on the inside, with a dark, molasses-like interior  swirl and a drizzle of icing on top.

The Bure Rösti looks unassuming from the outside, but don’t let it fool you…

BAM! Deliciousness inside!

One of the things I went crazy for when in Switzerland was rösti, a traditional breakfast dish basically comprised of grated hash browns topped with other breakfasty things like eggs, sausage or bacon, so when I saw Bure Rösti on the menu, it was a no brainer.  In the past, rosti had always been sort of just a heap of goodness on my plate, a pile up of different breakfasts classics, but the rosti at Trestle was neat and composed. When it first came out, it was perfectly circular with the fried eggs hiding everything neatly underneath, but when I gently lifted the eggs (so as to not burst the yolk, duh), there was delicious mess of sausage and gooey, melted cheese, all on a bed of bacon-onion potato hash (aka rosti).

Pizokel… Swiss for cheesey mountain of awesomeness

Finally, Holly and I split a plate of the gratinéed pizokel, which also came highly recommended. If you’re wondering what pizokel is, you should know that I had no idea what it was either, but I was sold when I read that it had caramelized onions and gruyère. What more did I really need to know? It turned out to be just as good as I had hoped, with pizokel being doughy, wormy shaped dumpling-like twists, all under a thick blanket of thick, golden gruyere and sweet caramelized onions. After everything else we’d eaten, the pizokel were too much for us and I ended up eating just a couple of bites and taking the rest home. But even hours later, when I ate it cold and straight out of the take out box it was in, the pizokel were delicious.

The whole thing made me want to book a ticket to Switzerland, where I could sit in a cozy Swiss chalet eating my weight in cheese, chocolate and rosti… until I resembled one of those big, beautiful cows of theirs.

Trestle on Tenth on Urbanspoon

It does a body good

I look back at my childhood and marvel at the fact that I managed to escape morbid obesity, what with my aversion to sports and the diet I grew up on. People are always blown away by this little fun fact,  for example, but I didn’t try milk that wasn’t vitamin D whole milk (i.e. chock full of fat) until I went away to college and started buying my own milk. For almost 19 years, there was never water, soda or juice with meals in the De Angelis house. Only milk. Whole Milk. Tall glasses filled almost to the brim with thick, cold, whole fat milk. Not just once a day, either. I’d say three times daily was a pretty solid average.

The most delicious milkshake ever

Things have changed slightly since then. I don’t drink whole milk anymore (unless I’m at my parents’ house where they still refuse to buy anything other than whole), but that doesn’t mean I don’t still have a fond appreciation for it. I miss it even, and if it wasn’t so damn fattening, I would still drink three creamy, thick glasses of it a day.

During a recent trip to Chelsea Market, milk once again asserted its magnetic pull on me  when I saw the Ronnybrook Milk Bar, a shop featuring all manner of dairy products from the upstate New York dairy farmer. Regular milk, chocolate milk, strawberry milk, buttermilk, heavy cream, half and half, tubs full of ice cream, cheeses, yogurt, butter and one of my all time favorite dairy products: milkshakes.

Putting fat counts and my expanding waistline aside for a moment, I was a kid again. Whole milk and ice cream, blended together into a thick, frosty cup of dairy perfection. I was sold. I went for the coconut and almond ice cream which was scooped into a blender with some creamy, cold milk and then poured, like liquid coconut and ground almond-flecked heaven, into a cup for my complete and utter enjoyment and childlike joy.

It was without a doubt the single most delicious milkshake I’ve ever had, rich and sweet, thick to the point of almost being its own meal, and probably insanely fattening. But you know what, if I had it for almost 19 years and turned out ok, what’s one more giant helping of caloric, dairy deliciousness?

My funny Valentine

Have I mentioned before what a great boyfriend I have? Cause if not, you should know, he’s pretty fantastic. Sure, he leaves his dirty breakfast dishes in the sink and insists on keeping me up to date on his every bowel movement, but aside from that, he’s a pretty good catch.

Today, on the national day of red roses, heart shaped boxes of chocolate and bad poetry in overpriced greeting cards, he skipped all of that, knowing good and well that I didn’t want any of it, and instead got me something infinitely better and way more thoughtful: doughnuts.

You keep your heart shaped boxes. Let me have the doughnuts...

Not just any doughnuts, though. Oh no no! These were doughnuts from the just-opened-today Chelsea location of Doughnut Plant. But because the ol’ 9-to-5er (or should I say 6er?) stood in the way of me being there for their opening day, my darling beau went instead, braved the lines, and had doughnuts waiting for me when I got home.

He doesn’t remember what they were (hey, I didn’t say he was perfect) but based on what I’ve read about the shop’s first day in Chelsea, I think what we ate were the glazed passion fruit doughnut and the oatmeal doughnut. The passion fruit was tangy and sweet, like biting into a perfectly ripe, juicy fresh fruit, while the oatmeal one was spongy, soft and moist, with a creamy, brown sugar flavor and little toasted bits of oatmeal on top.

Sweet company and sweet eats, everything I ask for out of a good Valentine’s Day.

 

The great pumpkin binge of 2010

I’ve been a terrible, negligent blogger recently and I’m really not ok with it. Since moving back to the city, I’ve shamefully posted only three times. Three times! It’s been a month! I used to post three times in a week, and now look what I’ve become. Ugh.

And not to feed you a bunch of excuses, but my life in the past month has made consistent blogging damn near impossible. The biggest obstacle in the way of my routine blogging schedule is the fact that I still don’t have my own place to live. Finding an apartment has proven to be a far bigger nightmare than I expected it to be and if it weren’t for my awesome friends who have taken me in, I’d be just another crazy New York city bum.

On top of all that, I’ve gotten back into the habit of going to the gym (read: even less free time between work and bedtime), and still don’t have my boyfriend around (meaning my dinners for one often include bowls cereal or Twinkies— hardly blog material).

But rest assured faithful readers, all uhm, five of you out there, I’ve still been eating. In fact, in the past month, I’ve been on my annual pumpkin binge. It happens every fall, and this fall even boyfriend and apartment-lessness hasn’t stopped me.

Pumpkin muffins are always around somewhere, and this year I had mine  at Le Pain Quotidien. Soft and moist with a subtle cinnamon and pumpkin flavor, these, like most of the baked goods at PQ, were pretty good. I liked the toasted pumpkin seeds which gave it a nice tiny bit of saltiness.

Pumpkin muffin from Le Pain Quotidien

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