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Posts Tagged ‘Manhattan’

Clockwise, from top left: Valrhona Chocolate, Strawberry, Tres Leches and Carrot Cake.

Where does one kick off an Entirely Adequate 40th birthday?

The Doughnut Plant on the Lower East Side, of course.

The Valrhona Chocolate doughnut is part of my standard Doughnut Plant order now, and the carrot cake doughnut merits repeat business, even though it’s almost too rich for breakfast (alas, I persevere). The husband and I split the strawberry and chocolate treats (it’s always a good idea to order the store’s seasonal doughnut variety), and I left the Tres Leches, also a richer-than-rich indulgence, all for him.

Bonus: Doughnut Plant founder Mark Isreal sang “Happy Birthday” to me and delivered a Creme Brulee doughnut fresh from the kitchen after my husband spotted him and revealed my secret. This doughnut was better than the best creme brulee I’ve ever eaten; it was light, filled with the perfect amount of filling and mercifully small.

Forget breakfast in bed. I’d like all my future birthdays to feature a walk through Chinatown and a couple of choice Doughnut Plant treats. Owner singing optional.

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When I tell people that I’m traveling to New York City, they inevitably ask if I’m going to see a show. Apparently I’m supposed to hit up Broadway every time.

Instead of a list of must-see shows, however, I have a list of must-eat foods. Thanks to a reading habit that includes a lot of New York-centric publications (Serious Eats New York, the New Yorker, Time Out New York and the New York Times, among other random finds), I never get to check everything off the ever-expanding list. Also, there’s only so much food that the husband and I can eat in three to four days no matter how many subway stairs we climb.

On our latest trip, my great find was Melt Bakery, which makes some fabulous ice cream sandwiches. I stumbled on the Melt stand at the Hester Street Fair, an event that I suggested we attend because it was just a few blocks from our hotel and I knew that it featured at least one culinary treasure that I simply had to try. I just couldn’t remember which one.

After we each enjoyed a meatball slider from Mighty Balls, we split an Elvis from Melt — banana ice cream on peanut butter cookies. It was the freezer attendant’s favorite flavor, and the husband has a thing for peanut butter, so it was the obvious choice.

Delicious. The folks at Melt have somehow produced a cookie that doesn’t harden into a rocky, crumbly mess in the freezer, and their homemade ice cream isn’t the frozen-solid puck that it resembles.

Each bite — firm but not tough, creamy but not prone to quick melting — was a delicate combination of peanut butter and banana. Neither flavor overwhelmed the other, and it was just big enough for two people post-lunch. I think Elvis would approve of this treat, despite its blatant lack of bacon.

So, don’t weep for my lack of Broadway attendance. Instead, celebrate one more delicious delicacy checked off my list.

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I’m about to say something that may just break Pinterest: I think recipes that incorporate Nutella may be overrated.

I know, I know. Who hates on Nutella, that rich, delicious hazelnut spread imported from Europe?

I don’t want to hate on Nutella, but I do have to suggest that it may just be too much trouble and/or too sweet for a lot of recipes.

The first Nutella recipe I tried, Nutella Cookies, were delicious (although, honestly, a tad on the sugary side), but they didn’t age well. The cookies that we didn’t eat within 12 hours of baking had to be tossed.
The latest experiment, Nutella Banana Bread, was delicious, but it was also entirely too sweet for my taste. It was reminiscent of a brunch the husband and I once had at Max Brenner in Manhattan, a brunch which will forever be referred to with the catchphrase “Would you like chocolate with your chocolate?” Because the husband got banana pancakes that, I promise you, came with chocolate syrup, and may have contained chocolate chips. I don’t remember exactly what I had, but I do recall eating a sugar-dusted biscuit topped with chocolate gravy.

Admittedly, my tolerance for sugary foods has gone down over the past few years as I’ve reduced my sugar intake. The less sugar you eat, the more intense sugary foods taste when you do eat them.

Nutella’s also a bit of a pain to use. The opening isn’t designed to allow you to measure out large spoonfuls. (I’m using the extra big jars from Costco, BTW – anything smaller will bankrupt you when baking with Nutella because you’re going to use A LOT.) And it’s a gloppy, messy ingredient, with a consistency somewhere between peanut butter and molasses.

So, I’m going to stop trying to make Nutella into an ingredient and enjoy it as is, spread on a graham cracker, a banana or apple slices. Or, perhaps, melted and poured atop a sugar-dusted biscuit because CAN’T YOU JUST IMAGINE?

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So taking pictures of framed artwork hanging on the wall? Nearly impossible. Between reflections and off-color lighting, I’m sunk.

This is a postcard from EN Japanese Brasserie in Manhattan. We went there for the sake tasting and stayed for the fresh tofu and black sesame ice cream.

Usually, restaurant postcards feature a photo of the restaurant from the street or maybe a shot of a few dishes — maybe something for the scrapbook, but nothing you want to frame and hang on the wall.

I had plans for this postcard the minute I saw it. No writing, no photos. Just a vivid 4-by-6-inch image.

Believe me when I say that its bright red lines contrast brilliantly with the deep olive walls of my downstairs bathroom. I don’t know why this camera wants the walls to be beige.

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The “Do One Thing” series chronicles my yearlong effort to tackle one project every day to organize my life and home.

So first there was spring break, and we took the mother-in-law to New York City for her 75th birthday. Then there was an academic conference, where I presented a paper. Then there was the week after that, which inexplicably left me off track for this project.

The house is relatively clean, but the do-one-thing-every-day streak has been broken. Anyway, there’s nothing like starting over. Tomorrow, progress.

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Pistachio cake doughnut from the Doughnut Plant in New York City. It seriously made me reconsider my stance against deep-frying things in my own kitchen.

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So I’m in the kitchen section of the MoMA Store in SoHo when I see flip & tumble’s 24-7 reusable shopping bags on display. I turn to my husband and tell him that I really wish I could find reusable produce bags without having to order them online. I turn to another display, and what do I see but a set of five reusable produce bags for $11. Shopping magic.

I’ve learned that when I spot something awesome and affordable while out of town, I should go ahead and buy it so I don’t have to order it later. These were a little more expensive than similar bags that I had seen online, but there was no shipping fee for me to pop them into my carry-on and tote them back to Alabama.

So far, I’ve taken them to Publix twice and Earth Fare once. The only problem I’ve found is that if the produce is extremely wet, the mesh allows the moisture to escape onto surrounding items on the way home. Not a huge tradeoff, overall, for leaving the grocery store with no flimsy plastic bags in tow.

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