The bagel game just got crazy

Remember that time a couple of weeks ago when I ate that weird bagel with seaweed and salmon roe and I tried to tell you it was awesome and you just kind of thought I had lost my fat mind? Well brace yourself. Things just got weirder but SOOO much more delicious. Be open minded, will you?

Yup, this bagel is black.

Yup, this bagel is black.

So I went back to Black Seed Bagels for this week’s special collaboration guest bagel, and man was it everything. From the evil genius minds of Mission Cantina’s Danny Bowien and Angela Dimayuga, (Mission Cantina, in case you don’t already know has the best burrito I’ve ever had. Ever.) this week’s special is a squid-ink bagel with anchovy butter and Iberico ham.

Go ahead and marinate on that for a minute.

First of all, yes, this bagel, flecked with white poppy seeds like reverse freckles, is black as a piece of coal. At first glimpse, it looks like a charred, burnt bagel. But it’s not, it’s just squid ink, which I have to tell you, gives it the dark color but not much of the weird, inky, fishy flavor you might already be imagining and scrunching your nose at. Inside, the bagel is smeared with a delicious, salty anchovy butter and layered with thick ribbons of Iberico ham, that beautiful, fat-marbled sexy Spanish cousin of prosciutto. Yes, you can taste the anchovies (for me, not a problem since they were on every pizza my dad ever ordered when I was a kid, making me grow to actually like them) but it’s not an overpowering taste. The buttery, melts-on-your tongue, slightly chewy quality of the ham was more dominant and tied everything together, making for a really decadent, rich, fatty (in a good way. A very good way.) start to the day.

I mean, c'mon! Look at this ol' pile of deliciousness!

I mean, c’mon! Look at this ol’ pile of deliciousness!

I get that some of these special bagels at Black Seed are just novelty items, things you have once, Instagram them, and then go back to your ol’ everything bagel with plain cream cheese routine, but maaaaaan, I wish they’d keep this one around (past April 5th).

Bagel mashups and collabos

While I could definitely go on regaling you with tales of Cambodian food from January (which now seems soooo long ago), it’s important to live in the here and now, and the current here and now is New York. And as for what I’m eating in the said here and now? Bagels, the most quintessential of New York foods, if you ask me.

Black Seed Bagels, located just a few blocks from where I work, had been on my to-do list since they opened last year, but it wasn’t until I read about their chef collaborations that I actually went to check them out.

Each week for the next month or so, Black Seed will feature a bagel special from a different well known chef, and this week’s bagel (available until Sunday the 15th) is from ramen whiz Ivan Orkin, a self-proclaimed “japanophile.”

write something here

Ivan Orkin’s Japanese-Everything-Spice Black Seed Bagel

A play on the regular everything bagel (my usual go-to), his instead is a Japanese-Everything-Spice bagel with aonori (seaweed) cream cheese and ikura (salmon roe) egg salad, both of which are smeared on thick and generously so that every bite oozes sloppy deliciousness in every direction. Egg salad is one of my favorite things ever so a big ol’ bagel piled high with it, spoke directly to me. Smooth and creamy like the best egg salads, this one had the extra added flavor and texture surprise of fat, orange pearls of ikura or salmon roe. Their slightly briney taste were a nice complement to the seaweed flecked cream cheese and the eggy, creaminess of the egg salad.

write something

Every bit as delicious as it was sloppy and messy and perfect

In a perfect world, I’d love to start all of my mornings with this Japanese meets New York mash up of a messy, delicious bagel creation, but alas, that can’t be the case. Or I mean, it could be the case but then I’d probably have to fill my closet with mumus. So, for now, Ivan Orkin’s bagel will have to be it… until next week, that is, when there’s a whole new bagel and a whole new here and now to discuss.

Smitten with a breakfast burger

My wah-wah-wah-I-miss-Italy pity party is OVER. You hear me? O-VER. Because who has time for all that misty eyed reminiscing, all that longing for meals past, all that pining away for something an ocean away when there are things like the breakfast burger at Mile End Sandwich to be had right here and now in New York City where I am oh-so-lucky to find myself? (Those of you not in the city, sorry, you should probably book a ticket.)

Mile End’s breakfast burger: it might be love

Seriously, Italy who? I have a new love, and with its unabashed, carefree sloppiness and finger-licking deliciousness (totally not just a phrase but an actual truth in this situation), the Mile End breakfast burger just snaked its way into my heart, leaving behind a trail of egg yolk and English muffin crumbs. And happiness.

It’s sloppy, but really. WHO. CARES?

Served every day but only until 4pm (which is a shame cause I would eat this bad boy for dinner ANY day), the breakfast burger is a handsome, juicy veal sausage patty, topped with an over easy egg and further perfected with melted Quebec cheddar, warm apple butter and the sweet touch of maple syrup, all of that— yes, ALL of that— between two soft, perfectly crumbly English muffin halves. There’s no way to eat this without ending up a complete gooey, sticky, crumby mess, but it’s worth it. So worth it.

I mean really,  you and me, breakfast burger, we could have a good thing here.

National Rice Pudding Day, yes, rice pudding

According to Serious Eats, today is National Rice Pudding Day. (Random, I know, but hey, we all have to get some recognition sometime.)

Up until about a year ago I would never have celebrated National Rice Pudding Day. I grew up being slightly grossed out by the lumpy, cold dessert, because like lentil soup, rice pudding was one of those things that my mom made all the time, even though I told her, and still have to remind her to this day, I didn’t like it. At all. I’ve always thought my mom’s cooking was mediocre at best, but rice pudding (and lentil soup, for that matter) always fell squarely in the “blegh, gross” category. My mom’s was sticky and goopy, with disconcerting whole cinnamon sticks.

Rice To Riches' cheesecake flavored rice pudding. Now, THAT'S my kind of rice pudding.

But some time last year I heard about Rice To Riches, a Nolita shop specializing in one thing only: rice pudding. Curious to see how a business could thrive selling something as random as rice pudding, I went to check it out. Unlike my mom’s milky colored variety, the rice puddings at RTR came in more than a dozen flavors and colors. There was a gold colored caramel, a chocolate flecked cookies and cream, a chocolatey hazelnut, an oatmeal-colored french toast. This was NOT my mom’s rice pudding.

I surprisingly liked it so much that first time, that I went again more recently and tried it again. And what do you know? I still wasn’t grossed out by it! In fact, I straight up liked it. I went for the cheesecake rice pudding (named “coast to coast cheesecake”) which was cool and creamy, with just enough texture to not be too smooth or slimy. The flavor was a creamier version of cheesecake filling (which, ahem, I could eat by the gallons) and best part— no surprise pieces of uncut cinnamon sticks! (God, I hated those.)

Rice To Riches was able to make me a rice pudding believer, even after a childhood of the goopy, icky stuff I had at home. So go ahead, have a happy rice pudding day! At a safe thousand plus miles away from my mom’s rice pudding, I know I certainly will.

So over it

Today at one point while I was out and about trying not to die of a damn heat stroke on my day off, I checked my phone to see what the temperature was, and you know what that lying rat bastard phone of mine tried to tell me? 94 degrees. Ninety-friggin’-four degrees!

I’m no meteorologist but really, phone, you and I both know the temperature was a bit closer to 250 degrees. Oh and “sunny” was just a tad of an understatement. Heat-lamp-style, blistering sun would’ve been more appropriate.

So what’s a girl to do on a day like this? Drink lots of water? Well, yes, but I can’t live off water alone. No, no, times like these call for ice cream. Cold, delicious, ice cream. Which is exactly what my friend and I found while roaming around Nolita in search of relief from this disgusting weather.

When the going gets hot, the hot get ice cream.

Little Cupcake Bakeshop, as the name might suggest, had tons of cupcakes and they all looked fantastic, with fat swirls of icing and different toppings sprinkled on top, but the little cart outside with the sign that read “ice cream” was everything I needed. And there were fun flavors too, like Red Velvet, Fruity Pebbles and Brooklyn Blackout (something with about four different kinds of chocolate going on). I opted for Banana Pudding ice cream which was rich and thick, packing a ton of creamy banana flavor and crumbly chunks of what I’m assuming were Nilla wafers into a couple of scoops.

Was I still hot as the devil after eating it? Did I continue to sweat like I was being slow-roasted over a pit of hot coals? Uhm, yea, definitely, but in those brief moments when I was eating that cold, creamy ice cream, I almost forgot that New York had turned into a sauna. And when the weather is as nasty as it was today, I take whatever moments of relief I can get.

The best in the world?

Behold, the so-called best of its kind

Naming something the “best in the world” is a sure fire way to guarantee that it’s not, in fact, the best in the world. I mean, really. The world? That’s just kind of a heavy title to be throwing out there.

But… it’s also a pretty smart business move for luring curious suckers like me in to prove it for themselves.

Such was the case with The Best Chocolate Cake in the World, the small Nolita shop with the big claim where I found myself on Christmas Eve (you know, treating myself to an early Christmas present). Originally, the cake was from Portugal, where it started as a dessert item on the menu of a restaurant in  Lisbon, but then it spread to Brazil and Madrid before coming stateside to New York. Continue reading