Every Time I Try To Leave + Possibly The Best Donut Ever

10 Sep

I’ve given every excuse in the book.

Terrible camera. Terrible computer. No time. Already work for a food blog and don’t want to pretend to be a food blogger when I don’t have the skillz. WordPress is for chumps. Not worth it to keep posting every 7 months and then stop.

WELL GUESS WHAT? Here I am again. I have upgraded my camera from an iPhone 3 to a slightly less grainy but no more skilled iPhone 4. I am pretty much broke from simply trying to live life in NYC. I still don’t really have time to blog nor have I acquired any news skillz. And I’ve found even more real life amazing food blogs that are so good and I would have to put in serious time and effort to make this lil scrap of a blog look ok.

WHAT I AM TRYING TO SAY IS…..I miss this blog. I’m still here, with nothing but my passion to back me up. Well, passion and…

DONUTS!!!!! AS LONG AS THERE ARE DONUTS TO BE EATEN I WILL BE HERE, BLOGGING MANIACALLY TO THE 3 PEOPLE THAT ARE READING THIS!

This particular beauty “found me” in a matter of speaking. My boyfriend Sammy and I were contemplating a bike ride to famed Bushwick donut spot Dough which started getting a lot of press after this feature uh….featured its beautiful offerings. Click on over and take a peek at THOSE beauties. They’ve haunted me for years now. I’ve been wanting to make a trip out there so badly! They sell them at Smorgasburg, the amazing outdoor food offerings at the Brooklyn Flea (IF YOU HAVE NOT GONE GO NOW!) but the one day I went this summer it was approx 98 degrees with 100000 percent humidity and the thought of eating a donut was unbearable.

So, uh, long story short we nixed the bike ride because let’s be honest, I’m terrified of urban biking, and took the subway over to one of my favorite areas, Cobble Hill/Carroll Gardens (shout out to Melissa, your neighborhood misses you!)

After exploring several places to eat, Sammy suddenly got VERY hungry (not an unusual occurrence) forcing us to duck into the amazingness that is Union Market, for a snack. After he selected an awesome TomCat bakery pretzel roll and a grapefruit juice, I settled my sights on the bakery case. And there, shining like a sugary beacon of glazey light, were several offerings from Dough! I of course chose the hot pink one, because I am never NOT going to choose hot pink food. It turned out to be Blood Orange!

When we later unwrapped the donut, it had suffered a wee bit but not in the flavor department. FOLKS – THESE DONUTS. Doughnut Plant, cover your ears please. This baby was light and fluffy, soft and pillowy with a sweet, tart, orangey glaze whose flavor can only be described as, orange hot pink. The candied Blood Orange peel was the perfect edible decoration to this masterpiece. This might have been the best donut I’ve ever had.

I feel terrible saying this, but this place might have Doughnut Plant beat. I have no choice but to go and sample every single flavor. WHO’S WITH ME?

Dining Out – Lunch at Brooklyn Taco

28 Feb

The Essex Market on the Lower East Side is a fascinating and eclectic mix of food vendors. It is the polar opposite of the chic Chelsea Market, whose  fashionable “old warehouse” halls are home to Amy’s Bread, Anthropologie and Food Network Offices. Chelsea Markets has wonderful charm, but that’s for another time. Essex Market has been in business since 1940, and today is a fascinating mixture of run-down Hispanic grocery stores, creepy looking old- school butcher counters and hip, popular specialty stores. I wanted to expand further on my thoughts on the Market but I realize I am woefully inept in describing it. You kind of just have to go there, and either you’ll get it or you won’t. I had to get on with the darn post.

The point of the post is – Brooklyn Taco! I have the pleasure of being able to meet Cathy for lunch every once and a while, and we always make it a point to do something very delicious. Most days, I bring my lunch to work, and with the exception of a few surprisingly tasty specialities, it’s almost always a frozen veg/rice mixture that is JUST this side of edible. I was thrilled when Cathy suggested Brooklyn Taco in the Essex Market, which is a 15 minute walk from the Serious Eats Office.

The way this little place situated is really interesting. All the spots are sort of stalls, with a very open air market vibe. Brooklyn Taco has a tiny counter with 3 stools and a perfect view into their petite open kitchen. Cathy and I both opted for 2 tacos (and the same ones at that):

Guaco Taco – Chunky avocado, raw sweet corn, tomatoes, red onion, cheese, crema, hot sauce

Chipotle’d Chicken – Boneless chicken thighs braised in a chipotle broth, salsa fresca, cheese, crema, salsa roja.

(I also felt it necessary to order a Mango Jarritos, which tasted intensely of melted candy and I discreetly pushed aside halfway through the meal)

BEHOLD

I will admit – I don’t have much knowledge on tacos. Growing up, taco night at the Palermo house was not only my absolute favorite night, but also looked nothing like the tacos above. We rocked hard shells, ground beef with Ortega seasoning, tomatoes, cheese, sour cream and olives. Delicious, but certainly not what tacos snobs would ever consider CLOSE to a taco. When it comes to Brooklyn Taco, I’ve gathered from around the foodisphere that people in the know are liking these. Which is good, because I found these to be incredibly delicious. Ok, I’ll be honest. I don’t really care WHAT people in the know are saying – I loved these. My one and only issue was price, (these will set you back $8 or $9) but I didn’t really dwell on it for long. It was such a satisfying and flavorful meal that I didn’t care. I shall be returning.

Let’s get a tiny bit closer for a final look

What a special lunch this was. Felt like Lunch Studio style :)

Pistachio Yeast Doughnut (from, well, where else?)

22 Feb

“Say Leandra, you might be asking, it appears that you have only posted 3 times since you’ve been back and all 3 posts have been about breakfast sweets, what gives?”

Well, 1. Breakfast sweets are the best kind of food items that exist and I wish this entire blog and my entire bank account and calorie intake was dedicated to them.

2. All other reasons don’t matter.

It is no secret that I am a HUGE fan of Doughnut Plant. Much like Clinton Street Baking Co.’s pancakes, Doughnut Plant puts out a true quality treat whose interesting flavor combinations only enhance the baseline excellence of the item.

On the morning that this treat was purchased, I was not going on a doughnut adventure nor was I with a large group, so I could not merit getting more than one doughnut. I despise having to choose a flavor, (it’s almost cruel), but thankfully whenever pistachio is offered (whether it’s for macarons, gelato or anything else) my decision is made that much easier.

Plus, I mean, just LOOK at that beauty.

Doughnut Plant almost NEVER disappoints, and this time was no exception. The sweetness of the glaze balances perfectly with a full blast of nutty pistachio flavor that permeates the entire doughnut. This is a big statement considering my love for the place, but this is one of the very best I’ve had there. Like, top 3.

That’s really all I have to say about this guy. Pistachio flavors and donuts, 2 of my absolute favorite things, so a combination = the treat of my dreams!

Ok – something savory coming up next!

In Which I Go 3 Rounds with Pancake Month and Win

15 Feb

A couple of years ago, I was perusing Grubstreet and stumbled upon a magical happening called Pancake Month at Clinton Street Baking Company. The flavors have varied over the years but all stay in the general range of some sort of special fruit component and all come with their amazing melted maple butter. Last year I didn’t have any of them, due to time restraints and not being able to afford the $15 price tag nor the calories. But this year, I threw caution of the last two to the wind, and since Clinton Street Baking Co. is a 10 minute walk from the Serious Eats Office, I went not once, not twice but three times. I feel a tremendous sense of accomplishment.

Note: Serious Eats, being Serious Eats, of course did an awesome feature on this. If you want to see descriptions and gorgeous pics, click here. If you want to see that and my shaky iPhone photos, keep reading!

A couple of other notes: I’m very VERY serious about pancakes. My standard is my dad’s pancakes from my childhood – crisp edges, firm and not too cakey, but still somehow melt in your mouth. I don’t understand the mechanics behind a perfect pancake and I really don’t want/need to. I just know that my standards are very high. My 3 favorite pancakes in the city would be the Ricotta Pancakes from Five Leaves, (a post that I think I lost…) the Pancakes at Cornelia Street Cafe and, Clinton Street’s Pancakes in any form. Thing is, I actually don’t really like my pancakes adorned with anything. I don’t want fruit or chocolate or cream or dulce de leche (blegh) getting in the way. Good quality maple syrup and butter, yes, but I’d actually rather eat my pancakes plain than have them with pancake syrup (Aunt Jemima, I’m lookin at you) THE HORROR. But the truth is, I’ve realized it’s not that I don’t like the additions, I think I just associate them with bad pancakes. I think places think if they are throwing in chocolate chips or banana, they can make the pancakes crappy and no one will notice. Take Bowery Diner for example, which just opened. They have a pretty good menu, the burgers and egg dishes and milkshakes are all great. When it came to the pancakes, Ed Levine, (the man the myth the legend and my boss), passed up orders of passionfruit syrup and bacon/maple combos and confidently told our eager waitress that he would need to try these pancakes plain, to determine their worth. Ed, like me, was not a fan of the pancakes. They were dry and bready and flavorless. Yes, cover them in custard and bacon, they taste great. So would cardboard. THIS is why I respect Clinton Street Baking Co. so much. Their pancakes in their purity are DELICIOUS and the pancakes specials are just pleasant enhancement, nothing trying to get in the way or cover up. OK. Long-winded pancake rant: end.

ONTO THE PANCAKES.

Round 1: Almond Frangipane, fresh raspberries, toasted almonds, raspberry sauce, with Giavanna and Jason

These were probably my favorite pancakes of all. Crunchy, delicious frangipane, tart raspberry sauce and toasty almonds. Giavanna and I split them and I still felt sick for the rest of the day. WORTH IT.

Round 2: Japanese pumpkin pancake, pumpkin seed streusel, warm maple butter with Christine

My (favorite) coworker Christine just had her last day at Serious Eats. During her last week I awkwardly teared up in public 3-4 times. I still am not sure how I’m going to get through the day without interrupting her day with some nonsense I felt was important enough for her to stop doing her very important work and make her listen to. Miraculously, she agreed to meet me on that next monday for pancakes! Since it was lunch time, we also ordered a delicious Spanish scramble, which involved eggs, chorizo, cheese, onions and other goodness. Splitting both made for an extremely satisfying if not decadent meal. Just casually treating Monday afternoon as if it were a Saturday morning. Had to happen. Oh! The pancakes. That pumpkin seed streusel was sweet and sugary and delicious, balancing out the almost savory pumpkin. Yum

Round 3: Banana Pancakes, Bavarian cream, toasted coconut warm maple butter with Erin (and baby Miles!)

Erin, who I’ve talked about before, is super talented AND has an adorable baby! We were actually wary about ordering these pancakes. Like I mentioned before, I don’t like all kinds of creams and biz on my pancakes. But, in the spirit of the month, we went ahead and split this and the Southern breakfast (Eggs, sugar-cured bacon, cheese grits, fried green tomatoes) WOW. The Bavarian cream was actually just this side of too much (this side being, that it wasn’t too much) and all elements worked together fantastically. The highlight of the meal, I have to say, was the sugar-cured bacon. Just a light Tuesday morning breakfast, no big deal.

The moral of this story is, I LOVE PANCAKE MONTH!!!! But I need it to be over because my pants are tight and I’ve spent too much money  on … pancakes …WORTH IT.

A Truly Special Treat at Bouchon Bakery

14 Feb

Bouchon Bakery is one of those places to which someone at myself should be a frequent visitor . But my first visit was just this past week, when I met my wonderful friend Carrie at the Rockefeller Center location for an early breakfast. I spend most of my NYC life below 14th street, so I always forget how much fun and different it can be in the northern regions of this great city. There’s something very “New York” about being in midtown on an early weekday morning. It’s the New York that is featured in romantic comedies and morning shows, and there’s something comfortingly cliché and touristy about it that makes it refreshing break.

The ever-amazing Thomas Keller is the man behind Bouchon Bakery, which has several locations around the country and is probably most famous for its TKO’s, or homemade “oreos”. The site gives you plenty of great pics and info, which is a huge plus for a bakery enthusiast like myself. I was enthralled with the intricate pastries and delicacies. I had just seen this mint chocolate cake on Serious Eats and seeing it in person was….well it was exciting for me. Bakery fangirl. I was contemplating various muffins or maybe the Raspberry Almond Croissant when I laid my eyes on these guys:

I’m obsessed with Pop Tarts as it is. Growing up, we were NEVER allowed to have them. I remember seeing commercials for the Wild Berry Pop Tarts and wanting them more than anything on this sweet earth. My mom would occasionally get some health food brand version which was just INSULT TO INJURY. Truth is, as much as I hate to admit it, Pop Tarts are FAR better in concept than in reality. When I reached college, I was free to get allll the vending machine Pop Tarts my heart desired (just one small factor to the Freshman 25 I packed on…). Sure, the crackly frosting has a certain appeal, the tiny bit of fake-fruit, super sugary jam is ok, but in the end they just aren’t good.

Well, Bouchon Pop Tart was indeed purchased.

This is a superior pastry. The fact that it’s called a Pop Tart and has sparkly pink sprinkles on the top would have been enough to have me love it forever but this thing is DELICIOUS. Flaky, buttery crust gives way to tart berry filling, with just enough of a vanilla glaze and sugar crunch to make it a sweet treat. I’d like to say I’m returning to Bouchon Bakery to try its other offerings, but I’m making a beeline back for this guy.

If I were a baked good, I would be this.

Happy Valentines Day. Me + Bouchon Bakery Pop Tart = True Love

Where I’ve Been…

10 Feb

It’s been just about a year. Well, over a year since I’ve graced this place, but the ill-fated snacksnthecity.com was last posted on sometime last winter, I can’t tell you when, exactly, because my web host basically lost the page…except why am I not all that crushed? Sure, I lost a good couple of posts that are probably gone forever, but for some reason, signing back into WordPress, I feel a huge sigh of relief. Did the dot-com go to my head? Should I have pushed through the roadblocks and the formatting and the spam comments? Should I have poured my heart into marketing this little old blog – gotten myself a couple of dollars a month through ads? (my very reason for moving off WordPress in the first place, I am now sorry to admit) With all these questions running through my head, the most important thing was lost – my love and passion for this blog!

When I made the switch, I happened to be in quite a stressful time of life – things were shifting in my home, in my relationships, and most importantly in my job. Working 2 part-time jobs is not for the faint of heart, (and even had it pretty easy). My head felt like it was full of marbles about to spill over onto the floor where I would slip on them and crash to the ground (or…something like that) The good news is, a year later, things are far better than I could have imagined! I work full-time for my absolute favorite food blog, Serious Eats. To try to express the wildness of this fact is to imagine someone offering you a role in your favorite TV show. Or something of that nature. It’s more awesome than I could have dreamed. Aside from the marketing/advertising I do here (and LOVE), I have my own cereal column – an actual dream come true!

But something is still missing, and I now realize, it is this blog. I kept making excuses – I’ll wait til I have time to sort out the whole web host thing, I’ll wait until I buy a really good camera, a really good computer…but this kind of thinking would have me off blogging forever. I even started to lose heart in the whole thing – while I always proclaimed that this blog wasn’t meant to be a “contender” among the many millions of food blogs out there, I started to get insecure that my crappy iPhone photos and excitement over silly Food Network things weren’t sophisticated enough (especially now that I work with such real live food people) But, to be very cheesy, I’m going to follow my heart. This blog (and all you dear ones who have read it) is what helped me follow my food dreams, so, I’m bringing it back!

A note: I STILL DO NOT HAVE A NEW CAMERA. Still rocking my iPhone 3 (the horror) and the occasional instagram photo, to be even more annoying. BEAR WITH ME GANG.

Thanks to all of you that have stuck with me! These first few posts might be a bit shaky….

MOVING DAY!!!

27 Jan

Snacks and the City has moved!!! We are now www.snacksnthecity.com!!!!

SO CLICK ON OVER, dear readers!!!

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