Eggnog makes it better

Not only was I leaving the side hustle where I’d spent all morning to trek all the way uptown to my real job, but the weather was of the miserable variety best enjoyed in bed—dreary, chilly, raining—when I passed the colorful window of Big Gay Ice Cream‘s West Village shop.

C’mon, you know how this ends. There was no way I wasn’t going in.

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It’s eggnog season, kids!

And dammit, I was SO happy I did, because in addition to their usual assortment of awesome, their flavor of the day was… drumroll please… EGGNOG. (I did cartwheels and celebratory dances in my head.)

I love the stuff, regardless of how fattening or sugary it is, and can’t get enough of it during the holiday season (which thank God we are fully in right now.) Big Gay’s was almost mousse-like in it’s fluffy, light texture while simultaneously having the thick, creamy sweetness of a good, classic eggnog.

Even though my new shoes got wet, my hair frizzed, and the rain backed up all the trains and made me late to work, I wasn’t too concerned, not with one of my favorite holiday treats in soft serve form in hand.

Out with the old and in with the calories

Ok, hear me out. This time I have a good excuse for my latest disappearing act. My dear, sweet computer, my ol’ Italian girl with the keyboard that used to trip everybody up except me, finally gave up the fight and went peacefully in her sleep one night.

We had a good long run together, about 8 years, so I think I need some time alone, no? Blogging on my phone, however, is a nightmare and doing it at work isn’t really an option either at the moment, so there you have it: radio silence.

But don’t you worry, it’s been gluttonous business as usual here. Below, a look at the things I’ve been eating and drinking and just not writing about:

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The phenomenal leek bread pudding from Cassette‘s brunch menu wasn’t what I was expecting (since I didn’t really know what to expect) but it was damn good. Oh and the restaurant, in Greenpoint, is adorable. You should go.

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I hated it the first time I tried it but over the years, the Negroni has become one of my favorites. At Extra Fancy in Williamsburg, they have a frozen one. Clearly, I was in love.

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In all the years I’ve lived in New York so far, I had never been to Carnegie Deli so when I heard that the local institution was closing at the end of the year, I had to go. Not wanting to wait an hour and a half on the sidewalk for a table inside, Stas and I got our order to-go and ate it in the park. The Woody Allen (“lots corned beef and lotsa pastrami”), the most delicious knish I’ve had yet, a fat slice of banana cream pie and a thick wedge of the richest, most dense cheesecake I’ve ever eaten, and the two of us were done for.

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And lastly, a special shout out to the pretzel dog at my favorite bar in my old hood, the Rusty Knot. It’s nothing fancy, just a hot dog in the loving embrace of warm, salty dough, but dammit it fills my heart with all the feels every time. Or maybe that was the drinks. Who knows. It’s all delicious.

When carbs collide

I’m the worst sometimes. I really am.

I talk all this big talk about changing my neglectful blogger ways, I put up a couple of posts, and then… I go off the grid.

So, uhm, sorry about that, if you care. It’s just that I’ve been kinda busy recently, not with any one thing in particular,  but just the usual business of living: working, running, forgetting, laughing, coping, traveling, turning 30 (!!!), rinsing and repeating.

But rest assured, mixed throughout I’ve had some great food. Some healthy, some not, some bizarre, some more normal, and then hybrids like this guy: the ramenritto from the somewhat random West Village cafe, Press Tea.

The ramenritto: a burrito stuffed with ramen.

The ramenritto: a burrito stuffed with ramen.

Ramen burgers (a burger sandwiched between ramen instead of buns) have been have been having a moment in New York recently, but the ramenritto is, as the name might suggest, a burrito stuffed with ramen. Along with a ton of noodles, each ramenritto is stuffed with saucy, flavorful veggies including corn, onions and greens, and a meat, in my case pork.

I’ve been trying to watch my carb intake recently (you know, now that I am a woman of a certain age) so this is definitely not something I can say I’ll be eating frequently but for the novelty that it is, I rather enjoyed it. The whole thing had a sort of mushy consistency to it, but if that’s not a problem for you, the ramenritto could be a good time.

If nothing else, I could see myself getting stoned and absolutely loving the ramenritto. Now, what was that I was saying about turning 30?

 

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.

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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.

Good to the bone and straight to The Marrow

Even though I’ll still only be a subway (or two) rides away from the West Village, these are the last few days that I’ll actually be a resident of the neighborhood where I’ve spent the last two eventful years. I’ve had some great times and some not so great times here, everything from career changes to heartbreak, to the many friends who’ve crashed on my couch to getting both locked out and locked in my apartment, to laughing to crying and to everything in between. As a final hurrah and farewell, I decided to have one last big meal out in the neighborhood (though I don’t doubt I’ll be back for more soon enough) at The Marrow, Harold Dieterle’s new restaurant.

Paying homage to both the German and Italian parts of his family, Harold Dieterle has another awesome restaurant on his hands (I’m a big Kin Shop fan) that instead of mixing the two cuisines, features them separately on the menu, like different branches of a family tree. Below, how my friend Stas and I celebrated my move across the East River with one more great meal in the West Village.

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Bone Marrow… c’mon, you know we had to

First out was the restaurant’s namesake, the bone marrow, from the Famiglia Chiarelli branch of the starters section. One giant bone halved and filled with a hearty mix of sea urchin, fried potatoes and meyer lemon aioli, with crunchy toast to spread it all on. The sea urchin was not what I was expecting, with a creamy consistency and sort of neutral flavor.

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Prosciutto wrapped dates

From the meat plates portion of the menu, we picked the dangerously tasty prosciutto wrapped dates with gorgonzola. Plump, tender and crazy flavorful, I could, no lie, throw back a dozen of these. Seriously, these guys could get me in a lot of trouble.

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Duck schnitzel

Moving on to main courses, we first picked from the Familie Dieterle branch and ordered the pan-friend duck schnitzel with a nutty spaetzle of hazelnuts and quark (a dairy product of sorts) with cucumbers and stewed wolfberries, which looked kind of like small red beans but tasted like sweet, cooked raisins. (I love beans and raisins so I was totally on board.)

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Stone Bass “Vitello tonnato”

Then crossing back over to the Italian side of the menu, we chose the sautéed stone bass with fingerling potatoes, cippolini onions, briny olives, a creamy tuna belly sauce and what turned out to be my favorite part of the dish, juicy, fried sweetbreads. Usually I feel just lukewarm about sweetbreads but these were tender and delicious, with a nice breaded coating.

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Chocolate budino

Finally, we were faced with a difficult decision: dessert. Everything sounded great, and while the waiter tried pretty hard to sell us on the ginger stout cake (he said it was far and away the most popular dessert), we were both in a chocolate mood and went with the budino with hazelnut brittle and mascarpone. Chocolate pudding can do no wrong in my eyes and this one, with it’s dense creaminess, was just about perfect. This is in no way a complaint, but the thing to note about this dessert is that it’s a pretty hearty serving of chocolate. The two of us, ardent chocoholics, split this and felt pretty satisfied with the amount we each got. (No fighting necessary.)

Like so many other meals I’ve had in the West Village, I walked out happy and stuffed. Which is basically how I’ll be leaving the West Village in general, happy and stuffed full of memories. Brooklyn, here I come.

A chickenless, pieless chicken pot pie… and it’s awesome

It always happens that when I’m either wolfing down a messy veal sausage and fried egg sandwich or shoveling mac and cheese into my mouth or throwing back chunks of fried pork belly like they’re gulps of fresh air, I think two things:

1.  Yup, it’s confirmed, I could ABSOLUTELY never be a vegan.

2. Ugh, why can’t I eat this every single day? (Quickly followed by, “Oh, right, cause I would be a mountain of lard.”)

The “chicken” pot pie wrap at ‘sNice… my new favorite

But then recently, something awesome happened: I discovered the “chicken” pot pie wrap from ‘sNice, where I often order lunch when I’m at work. Let me explain, not only was this wrap the best thing I’ve eaten there (and ask my coworkers, I’ve pretty much had all of their sandwiches) but because of the quotation marks around the word chicken, this bad boy was VEGAN! A vegan “chicken” pot pie wrap! You know what that means? It’s a giant green light to eat one whenever I feel like it… with no remorse! One week I had it four days in a row. In fact, I order them so often that one time the nice folks at the ‘sNice on Sullivan actually threw in free muffins. (“Because you order all the time,” said the delivery boy.)

You're looking at serious fake chicken pot pie deliciousness here.

You’re looking at serious fake chicken pot pie deliciousness here.

But really, not only are there no animal products in this bad boy (which again, takes away about a 100 percent of the guilt/fat factor) but it actually tastes good! It has the same creamy, saucy goodness of a regular pot pie, the same hearty chunks of potato, carrots and peas, and even the fake “chicken” (which I assume is tofu) is tender and flavorful. But best of all, because it’s a wrap and therefore doesn’t have the traditional pie crust, the crust is insiiiiide of the wrap, just as good and crumbly and buttery (but remember, sans the butter!) as in a regular pot pie.

Last week, because I’ve been on a new salad kick at work, the first thing I did on my day off was to have a pot pie wrap from the West Village ‘sNice near my apartment. And just like the other dozen or so I’ve had, I hoovered it.

But because the pot pie is a winter special, it’s only a matter of time before ‘sNice pulls it from their menu. And when that day comes I’m going to have a total meltdown and cry like a baby. And let me tell you, it’s probably going to take a good amount of bacon to get me out of that funk.

The forgotten spotted dick

Forget “Dick in a box.” I have (spotted) dick in a can. And it’s expired. Read on.

When I say that certain things really only happen to me, I’m not being melodramatic. They really do just happen to me.  If you don’t believe me, stop and ask yourself when the last time was that you pulled out an expired spotted dick from your kitchen cabinet. Never, you say? Wait, what the hell is a spotted dick and what was it doing in the kitchen cabinet anyway, you say?

Yea, well, welcome to my life. Things get weird. I find expired spotted dick in my kitchen cabinet. It’s totally the norm.

If you’re thinking that spotted dick is something freaky that I now own as part of my new single-girl-in-the-city life, well, first of all, you’re a perv, and second, spotted dick pudding (cause yes, that’s the full name) is actually a British dessert, a sort of custardy cake speckled with dried fruit. The particular one that I have is made by Heinz and comes in a can, and unfortunately, because it was hidden behind a box of quinoa and a couple of soup cans, went unnoticed and expired a few months ago. Woops.

I originally bought it at Myers of Keswick in the West Village way back when I bought the treacle sponge pudding I wrote about here, but alas, it was forgotten and now who knows what’s going on inside that can.

It’s a shame too, because it would’ve probably been pretty hilarious if next time one of my friends—or God forbid, my mother—called and asked what I was up to, I answered, “Oh you know, just hanging out, eating some spotted dick.” I mean really, these things only happen to me.