A Couple of Tarts

We should look for someone to eat and drink with before looking for something to eat and drink, for dining alone is leading the life of a lion or wolf. ~ Epicurus

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Hearty Fare

In my mind, much of the food from Eastern Europe is very similar. It's hearty and filling. Growing up with Hungarian and Slovak family, I ate my share of stuffed cabbages and peppers and sausages baked in the oven. The old apartment buildings where my friends and I live in Queens often have the same smells as my childhood lingering in the hallways. I find them comforting, especially since many of the people who made these dishes for me have passed away or are too old to stand over a hot oven.

I was out to dinner a few nights ago in Sunnyside to see a college friend visiting S and SG. We decided to have Romanian food that night at Acasa and it was like being at grandma's house (except for the keyboardist in the corner who entertained us). One of the appetizers we ordered was the caviar spread. It was more like a fishy, salty mousse that whet our appetites. Which was good, because the food was filling. We also ordered little sausages, called mici. I ordered a pork stew with polenta. S also had polenta, but hers came with lamb "pastrami." Both were great, but I especially liked hers. Even though we were stuffed to the gills, we still ordered dessert. We had cheese doughnuts (papanasi cu smantana), smothered in a tart vanilla sauce (creme fraiche?) and topped with a dollop of jam.

48-06 Skillman Avenue
Sunnyside, Queens
(718) 651-1364

Monday, March 19, 2007

FroYo: Part II

When we last left off, our fearless foodite (me) was attempting to find out if the hype over the new wave of frozen yogurt shops was actually worth anything. In Part I of this adventure, the answer was a resounding "NO!" Pinkberry turned out to be a huge disappointment.

I was almost ready to give up on this and not try Yolato as I had planned. But, I decided to go for it and I'm happy that I did. I made a small detour on my route and stopped by their Broadway outpost on the Upper Westside. They have an assortment of yolato (a blend of yogurt/gelato) flavors. To keep the comparison similar, I chose to get the yogurt flavor. It is served like traditional gelato, using a paddle and given with a tiny spoon. As opposed to my experience yesterday, this was delightful. It had a mouthfeel similar to ice cream, though not as fatty. I loved the tang of the yogurt flavor. I wonder if all the flavors have that slight tang. I would definitely go back (and someone can join me...I got a two for one coupon - any takers?). It's not cheap, at $4.00 for a regular. And I think it has more calories than Pinkberry and Tasti-D, but still less than ice cream.

Now I just have to wait for Red Mango to start opening up here.... If that does happen, hopefully it will be during the summer. I can't take eating this stuff when there is still snow on the ground.

2286 Broadway (at 82nd Street)
New York, NY
(another location in the West Village and more coming soon)

Sunday, March 18, 2007

FroYo: Part I

I remember the frozen yogurt frenzy of the late 1980's. In my mind, it was even more intense in Los Angeles, where I grew up. My family ate it all the time. As embarrassing as this might be (mostly to my parents) we would even have it for dinner. Our carrier of choice was Penguins, in the mini mall near our house. The attraction there was that you could pick a base flavor and then pick mix-ins, like peanut butter cups, oreo pieces, toffee. It was great!

So I was understandably intrigued by the frozen yogurt sensation that has been sweeping LA recently. A sensation by the name of Pinkberry. I'm not going to go into details about it because it has been covered extensively in other food blogs (like Eater LA) and on Good Food on KCRW. But it has grown to epic proportions. I heard that Pinkberry opened up outposts in Manhattan in the last few months. In LA, a number of similar places have popped up and here in NYC, the same has happened. Yolato, which serves a combination of yogurt/gelato (get it?), has also opened, serving, from what I hear, a similar product.

Against my better judgment, I have decided to throw my own opinion out there and today I stopped by Pinkberry and tried their green tea frozen yogurt. Maybe it was too cold to appreciate anything frozen, but I really can't see what all the fuss is about. First of all, it doesn't taste like frozen yogurt much at all. It has a watery, hollow flavor, with only a faint taste of green tea. To tell you the truth, I would have been more satisfied with Tasti-Delite. I still want to try Yolato, but after this my expectations are very low.

Those crazy Angelenos, what are they thinking...

Friday, March 16, 2007

Dinner at Home

Had dinner at Home recently. Not my home, but Home the restaurant located in the West Village. Home is owned by the same could who owns the Shinn Estate Vineyards out on the North Fork. We took a trip out there this past October and absolutely loved their winery. You can read more about it here. They now have a bed and breakfast on the property. It sounds heavenly, but expensive. Maybe once I win the lottery.

The food at Home is delicious. They combine seasonal ingredients to make dishes that satisfy all your senses. We shared a salad of warm goat cheese, grilled apples and greens. The homemade salami on the cheese plate blew us all away. RFC would have been happy just to eat a stick of it with a boy scout knife. Some of the highlights of the entrees were the pork chop, crusted with spices, and the mac and cheese. For dessert we ordered chocolate pudding and pear pie. While the pie was a bit disappointing (the crust was soggy), the pudding was divine in texture and in taste.

Oh, and two neat things about Home: all the wines are from the East Coast and many are from the North Fork and there is a plate of chocolate chip cookies on the front windowsill to either placate you as wait for a table or cleanse your palate on the way out.

20 Cornelia Street
New York, NY
(212) 243-9579

Monday, March 12, 2007

For Peanut Butter Lovers

I was just in City Bakery yesterday afternoon. I can't remember the last time I was there, probably splitting a cup of their famous hot chocolate four ways. This time I passed on the that and tried one of their peanut butter cookies. It was so tender, I can see why it looks like the dough was just scooped and baked. If the cookie was flat, I think it just might crumble into nothing. The bite I took melted into my mouth, almost like eating straight peanut butter, but better because it didn't make my mouth stick together.

Oh! and the reason for the afternoon out in Manhattan was wedding dress shopping for S. A big congratulations to her and S.G!

City Bakery
3 West 18th Street
New York, NY
(212) 366-1414

Monday, March 05, 2007


I am a big fan of the oat. This humble looking food is wholesome, delicious and nutritious. Even when they make an appearance in cookies, I feel like I am eating something healthy. Speaking of healthy, what is more nourishing than granola? It is dense, hearty and yes calorie-rich, but oh so yummy. I have fond memories of the peanut butter and cinnamon ones from my childhood. Because I find myself giving much of my income to Kashi, I decided to try my hand at an old favorite.

The following recipe is practically fool-proof. You can add or omit whatever lovely nuts, seeds and dried fruits hiding in your pantry.


4 C. quick cooking oats
1/3 C. canola oil
1/2 C. honey
1/4 C. light brown sugar
1 t. vanilla extract
3/4 C. chocolate chips
1/2 C. chopped pecans
1/4 C. dried cherries
1/4 t. salt

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Combine ingredients in a large mixing bowl and stir until evenly coated. Spread mixture into a 9 x 13 sheet pan that has been lightly oiled or sprayed. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes, stirring a few times, until golden brown.

Store in an airtight container in a cool, dry place.

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