Showing posts from September, 2011

Sweet Melissa's Patisserie

On today's menu, afternoon tea at Sweet Melissa's Patisserie near Prospect Park in Brooklyn!  The bakery is small and quiet with a French-y ambiance.  This was a much better place for tea than Sanctuary T in SoHo...maybe more about that in another post....
Anyway, we got the traditional afternoon tea: I had the Earl Grey and tiered plates of tea food.  On the menu were: a mini-quiche, salmon and dill cream cheese sandwich, chicken salad sandwich, scones, and petit fours.
The quiches were really good, though I preferred mushroom over spinach.  A little soggy in the crust department, but flavorful.  Actually, the reason I preferred mushroom over spinach was that mushroom actually tasted like earthy wild mushroom and spinach tasted more like dark green mush.

Next, we munched on the open-faced chicken tarragon sandwich.  I had fun trying to tell apart the different components of this salad, including raisins and apples.  It was tasty, yet...reminded me of my usual dinner during my …

Butter Lane

A couple of posts back, I mentioned that we're very much macaron people.  Well, turns out we're very much cupcake people as well.  In fact, our ideal dessert would probably be a macaron-topped cupcake.

Over the summer (wow, it's fall already?!) we participated in a cupcake baking lesson at Butter Lane in the East Village.  It was a school event, so we ended up paying $10 for something that would otherwise cost $60 or so.  We arrived at the hole-in-the-wall bakery and its adjacent kitchen.  An instructor split us into groups and introduced us to the things we'd be making: chocolate, vanilla, and banana cupcakes, and cream cheese, vanilla, and chocolate frosting. We settled down in front of these super-cool KitchenAid stand mixers and got to baking.
Our group made banana cupcakes, which sounded like they'd be muffins.  We sheepishly followed the instructions and dumped ingredients carefully into the mixer.  A bunch of stirring, mixing, pouring, and more stirring la…

San Gennaro

Every year, loads of people swarm to Little Italy in late summer to experience the universal funness of a street fair in the form of the Feast of San Gennaro.  It's crowded.  It's smoky.  It's noisy.  It is also, above all, a quintessential New York cultural experience.

Obviously there are things that are not ideal about San Gennaro.  A lot of the food stalls are unauthentic clones of the same old thing that you see at any street fair.  Mozzarepas?  Not really Italian food.  Best cannoli in the world?  Wait, I thought there was a sign for the best cannoli in the world on the block before; "best" is irrelevant.  Rasta-bananas? words.

Then, there are also lots of things that are kind of magical about it too.  There is something deeply satisfying about having a piping hot Italian sausage sauteed with peppers and onions on chewy, crusty bread.  You wish you had a dozen pairs of eyes so you could see all the colorful baked goods, cannoli, and candied appl…


Possibly one of my favorite THINGS this summer was going to Smorgasburg.  Granted, I had a kind of bad summer, but nonetheless Smorgasburg was all types of amazing for all the senses and if I could get to Williamsburg every Saturday for the rest of my life, I would.

When we first arrived, it was overwhelming to see so many booths selling so much different stuff.  And that's just what it was, indescribable, uncategorizable, STUFF!  Korean BBQ, pickles, beef jerky, anchovies, herbal tea, cupcakes, lobstah rolls, oh the list goes on....  I'm a real big fan of markets, though not a fan of map-less territories.  So, note to my fellow OCD market-goers, Smorgasburg can get messy and confusing.

But, messily and confusingly delicious as well!  We split hotdogs from Asiadog and pulled pork tacos from another booth.  The pulled pork tacos were strangely watery and dissolved my tortillas, which was supremely disappointing.  The hotdogs, however, were delicious!!!  Not only were they beau…


It's no secret that we're huge fans of macarons.  We had a friend associate a few of us to desserts, and while some of them came out as "all-American apple pie" or "molten chocolate cake", we are unanimously "macaron" people.  And for good reason!
I had my first macaron (not to be confused with flaky coconut macaroons) in Madrid, Spain at a little bakery called Moulin du Chocolat.  We went inside to peek and take some photos, and the nice British ex-pat owner gave us each a free caramel-sea-salt macaron.  I was hooked at the first bite, and we bought a box to have for a picnic in El Parque del Buen Retiro.

Most people are probably familiar with macarons now: the split cookie with a soft filling.  A good macaron has a hard shell that cracks with the first bite and a cool gooey center of ganache or buttercream or fruit preserves, depending on the flavor of the macaron.
One of my hobbies here is macaron-hunting.  The best day of adventures for us was…

Pig Island

I enjoyed the look of curiosity - or, laughter - when I told people I was going to Pig Island last weekend. What's Pig Island, you ask? For the second year in a row, there's been a festival on Governors Island dedicated to...pigs. Pork, rather. "80 pigs, 20 chefs". What better way to make our grand entrance into the food blogging world than to write about Pig Island?

When we got off the ferry at Governor's Island, the Pig Island logo - a swashbuckling pig on a pirate's flag - greeted us and pointed us towards the lawn area. I was shocked by the expanse of tented booths. I was afraid it was going to be too busy and overwhelming for slightly-claustrophobic me...but we had to dive in, in the name of Pork. The first thing we grabbed was some sort of stewed pork with potatoes and cabbage from San Rocco. I think we were so excited to eat that we neglected to take photos. Just as well, it tasted somewhat unremarkable. To me, the pork portion was similar t…