Mojo between sisters

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You really do.

No one eats with more reckless abandon while on vacation than I do. Add my constant treat-yourself mentality and you’re looking at a lot of calories consumed on any given out of town trip. Case in point: my recent jaunt to South Florida.

When my sister announced we were having donuts for breakfast Sunday morning, I was fully on board and off we went to Mojo Donuts in Pembroke Pines, the otherwise barren desert of strip malls and gated communities.

While I’m a lover of just a plain ol’ French cruller or a classic Boston cream, my sister loves really over-the-top  donuts, filled with jams and custards, crusted with all manner of confections and drizzled with syrups and sticky, sugary things.

Mojo was one hundred percent my sister’s kind of donut shop, but you know what? I thought it was pretty great, too.

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You really do.

For a light breakfast to start off a day that would end up with me in a bikini by the pool, we went with a red velvet, banana cream pie, pistachio mousse chocolate, cannoli, guava and cheese, and Nutella and bacon assortment of donuts.

Completely over the top? Uhm, yea. Gluttonous as all hell? Duh. Finger lickin’ good and a perflectly acceptable way to bond with your sibling over your shared love of carbs and sugar when you have little else in common? Absolutely.

Llama Lovin’

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Just a girl who loves llamas

Ever since I met a baby llama at the Central Park Zoo’s Children’s Zoo a few years ago, I’ve been completely obsessed with the goofy, long-necked fluffy animals. And after a recent brunch at Williamsburg’s Llama Inn with my sister, I’m kind of obsessed with that too.

We started off with pan de yuca, a simple but tasty Peruvian inspired take on bread and butter. Each little bun, soft and sweet, is made from the hispanic staple and root veggie, yuca. With it, a velvety, creamy sweet honey butter of sorts, so good I could’ve spread it on rocks and happily eaten those too.

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Admittedly doesn’t look like much, but let me tell you, they make up in taste what they lack in fancy presentation.

My sister’s entree was the food envy inducing beef tenderloin stir-fry, a glorious heap of scallion topped fried eggs, french fries, plump caramelized sweet plantains, grilled onions, and juicy tenderloin medallions, all served in a bowl and drizzled with a spicy cream made from rocoto chilli peppers. Every ingredient was bursting with flavor, the plantains so sweet and soft they were almost custardy, the beef just the perfect amount of pink and juicy, and the fries pure golden, starchy goodness.

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 A gorgeous mess of breakfast deliciousness

To match my sister’s bowl-of-awesome was my amazing crispy pork shoulder sandwich and crunchy plantain chips. A thick smear of spicy mayo, a colorful, tangy red onion salsa, and my favorite surprise element, a soft, almost buttery, sweet potato wedged right in with the crispy pork shoulder, which was tender and testy, with perfectly burnt edges for that bit of charred flavor.

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A downright magical way to start a Saturday.

And because even brunch calls for dessert, we split the only one on the brunch menu, a bowl of chocolate sorbet and lucuma cream, made from a Peruvian fruit with a mapley, butterscotch flavor. To top if off were wafer-like crisps made from cappuccino foam. A mix of flavors and textures and now I have a whole new fruit that I love! Success all around!

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Don’t let looks fool you, this dessert is a solid TEN.

Since originally writing this a couple of days ago I’ve also been back for dinner and drinks and I can tell you, my llama love is stronger than ever. Once one of my favorite animals, now one of my favorite restaurants.

Back for s’more!

I really wish I had a good reason for why I’ve been away since April. But, uhm, you see, thing is, uhh… well, I’ve got nothing. Not a new flame, not a new job, no new passport stamps, nothing. I’ve been here, doin’ my thang, which apparently didn’t include this, and really, for no other reason than I just haven’t been motivated.

That happens, right? You get it.You didn’t even notice so really, it’s ok.

Dominique Ansel's frozen s'more

Dominique Ansel’s frozen s’more

Glad we sorted that out, then. But now, you see, now I’m back, because if there’s anyone who could bring me back to my humble little bloggity blog, it’s Dominique Ansel and his always-crazy-delicious bakery creations, the most recent to hit my mouth, the frozen s’more.

The frozen s’more is a hunk of vanilla custard ice cream, coated in chocolate, all inside a fat marshmallow coating of deliciousness that then gets the blow torch treatment to oh-so-perfectly char and caramelize the outside. It’s even served on a long wooden stick (alla campfire marshmallows) for extra fun eating. You bite into this thing and the outside is warm and gooey while the inside oozes chocolate and the very core of it retains the creamy, cold ice cream.

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Gooey greatness

I never really thought s’mores were something that needed to be improved but dammit if DA didn’t go and do exactly that. They already had the great blend of textures and flavors going on for them and now he went and added a cool, creamy center? Mind. Blown. And perfect for these muggy summer days (when my brain basically shuts down anyway)!

Come think of it, maybe the occasional frozen s’more is what I need to get the creative juices flowing…

Break out the Kookies!

Fashion Week is over, you guys!

Ding dong the witch is dead, the witch is dead, the witch is dead! Ding dong the evil witch is dead!

Uhm, sorry, I don’t know what just happened there. Things got weird. I apologize. It’s just that Fashion Week’s always the busiest time of year at the hotel and everyone gets all crazy and needy and stressed out and I hate it. So yea, I’m glad it’s over. All you impossibly thin, painfully cool people that come out during Fashion Week, all of you can just see your way out.

Unlike Karlie, these cookies aren't really lookers but damn are they good anyway!

Unlike Karlie, these cookies aren’t really lookers but damn are they good anyway!

Except for one. Karlie Kloss. She can stay. Not because she’s a model, not because she looks super cool and down to earth, and certainly not because she has the body and proportions I would’ve been born with in a perfect world. Nope, Karlie can stay because she teamed up with Momofuku Milk Bar to make Karlie’s Kookies, an awesome line of delicious and not the-worst-possible-thing-you-could-put-in-your-body cookies.

There’s a couple different kinds but I recently had the 5Boro Kookie,  which despite being dairy free, gluten free, and having no added sugar, was actually pretty freakin’ fantastic.

Made with cocoa powder, almond flour, coconut purée, pineapple juice, chocolate chips, water, baking powder, cornstarch and salt, the 5Boro was dark and rich, with the slightest sweet tang and a moist, chocolateyness that made me want to eat ten more in rapid succession.

And if all of that wasn’t enough to convince you, a portion of the proceeds from Karlie’s Kookies goes to charity. Pssshh, as if I needed a single other reason to celebrate the end of Fashion Week.

Definitely Better Than Oreos

Sometimes you just have to call a spade a spade, so I completely understand why Coffee + Milk, the cute coffeehouse at LACMA (Los Angeles County Museum of Art), named its outrageously delicious chocolate cookie sandwich a BTO, as in Better Than Oreos.

An appropriate name for an insanely good cookie

An appropriate name for an insanely good cookie

Because yes, Oreo, darling, you know I love you, and I prove that with my inability to ever eat just one of you (or even two or three, sometimes it just really gets outta control) but C+M’s BTO is serious stuff. It’s really not messin’ around. It is better. It’s way better.

But it’s almost not even fair to compare the two. The BTO is rich and chocolatey, made with two large, palm-sized sable cookies, all wonderfully crumbly and grainy, speckled with dark chocolate chips, sandwiching a thick, decadent, oh-so-sweet, frosting-like cream filling.

LACMA is a great museum full of wonderful, beautiful works, but C+M’s BTO might’ve just been my favorite.

The magic of hype

Dominique Ansel's Magic Souffle

Dominique Ansel’s Magic Souffle

The moment I read that Dominique Ansel, the evil genius behind the now infamous Cronut, had come up with something new called the Magic Soufflé, I immediately got to plotting when and how I’d get my hands on one.

When Cronuts first came out, I didn’t want to believe all the hype, but as soon as I had one I fell under their spell just as fast and hard as all the other Cronut zombies out there. (And let me tell you, New York is crawling with these pastry loving fiends. They will shank you if they think you have a Cronut, so watch yourself.) Suspecting we might have another pastry craze on our hands with the Magic Soufflé I wanted to cast my vote early, before things got crazy.

Earlier this week, I moseyed over to Dominique Ansel Bakery, making sure to get there before noon (because they’re apparently already gone by then), and ordered a Magic Soufflé. Inside a cute little red and white striped open box, reminiscent of an old school popcorn box, was the rectangular Magic Soufflé, golden brown with a white star of powdered sugar on top. But even better than the pretty packaging was the fresh-out-of-the-oven smell of warm pastry dough, sugar and chocolate wafting out.

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Mmmmmm warm chocolate souffle.

The Magic Soufflé’s outer layer is a buttery, golden, orange blossom brioche, brushed with Grand Marnier caramel, but the real magic, the chocolate soufflé part, is inside, warm and soft and almost melty at its core.

So what do I think? It was pretty good, but not magical good, and certainly not $7 good. Even the Cronut doesn’t cost that much and it’s waaay better.  I guess I’ve just never been one for magic.

Surprisingly delicious

When it comes to food in this city, I hear about a lot of things and think, “I have to have that.” Blue cheese gelato was absolutely one of those. I mean, really, how could you not?

Blue cheese and chocolate gelato

Blue cheese and chocolate gelato

I’ll admit I wasn’t completely sold on the idea since blue cheese is far from being one of my favorites cheeses, but curiosity was enough to get me over to Park Slope to try it anyway.  And you know what? L’Albero dei Gelati’s blue cheese gelato, made from ash-veined Vermont goat cheese, when paired with a rich, creamy chocolate was not only one of the most surprising ice cream combos I’ve eaten but also one of the best.

The pale grey gelato was unmistakably cheesy, with the creamy tang of blue cheese bright in each bite. It might’ve been too much on its own, but the chocolate subtly toned down the savory aspect and added a sweetness that made for a perfect balance in flavors.

I had to have it when I first heard about it and now that I have, I’m thinking yup, I have to have that again.