10
Oct
11

Wafels & Dinges

It was an unusually warm evening in October when I decided to take a few minutes to slow down and enjoy the city.  I am normally very happy in my relationship with the city but I’ve been feeling a bit stifled in the relationship lately.  I was really feeling like I need some space and some time away- that the principle of reciprocity was off balance.    And then I got some perspective in the form of cool and creamy ice cream over a soft and crispy warm waffle.  I had passed the Wafels & Dinges truck the day before and although it looked and smelled amazing and it seemed to live up to the publicity that it has been getting in the foodie pages but the long line in front of it was the only deterrent.  Tonight was the night.  There weren’t mobs of people passing by and through the Time Warner building and there weren’t too many people polluting the air with cigarettes outside so I became the third person in line at the Waffle truck.  The guy in the truck served me with wonderful attitude and he gets an A-plus in customer service.  I had a ton of questions and when I asked what was in the Spekuloos spread, he said, “Rainbows, magic, and a little bit of James Franco,”  as he handed me a sample of it.  “Wow, James Franco is really hot and this spread is really good!” was what came out of my mouth.  The waffle came hot off the iron and the Spekuloos (Belgian gingerbread-cinnamon) spread melted gorgeously over it.  It was topped triumphantly with raspberry-vanilla ice cream and chocolate sauce.  I got it in a mini size which was perfectly sized and proportioned so that  in my mind I didn’t have to convert the calories into time on the treadmill.

I did say something about perspective earlier so here it is, as promised.  There was a question posed to me last week at church: Are you a consumer who takes from the city or do you seek the peace and prosperity (Shalom) of the city and it’s inhabitants?  I had been taking for granted that the city is about people and culture, not necessarily about places and things.  Yes, this was an amazingly delicious wafel that I was enjoying but it represented something more than just a food product.  Someone who is passionate about food was able to turn that passion into a wonderful experience that brings smiles to people’s faces, that brings foodies, families, and friends together, and that serves as an ambassador of Belgian culture.  Why does that song say, “New York, New York.  If I can make it there, I can make it anywhere?”  What makes the city unbearable to me sometimes is exactly what makes it a cultural influencer.   It’s feels crowded and dirty, the weather is fickle, and there are always groups of people speaking their mind (or playing loud instruments badly) whether solicited or unsolicited.  But the thing is, the more needs that arise, the more creativity and resolve rise up to meet them.  While I feel the need to go someplace that resembles nature, I feel more compelled to go down to Wall Street to help Occupy it.  I need to check in on those friends that I haven’t heard from in a while.  And I should find a way to use my talents for good instead of complaining that my talents go unnoticed.  And yes, all this came out of a wafel.

Wafel & Dinges

 

06
Aug
11

Deep Fried Pizza

I read this post on Tasting Table and I must go and try it!  Thank goodness they don’t just throw a whole pie into the deep fryer.  That would be a bit of a mess. At Forcella in Williamsburg, they flash fry the pizza dough and then bake it in an oven that was transported from Naples by a guy who has been making pizza since he was 13.   I still haven’t tried the famous Grimaldi’s pizza, even after walking over the Brooklyn Bridge, and although I generally don’t trek out into Brooklyn too often, this could be worth the journey.  Who’s in?

01
Aug
11

Crème Brûlée Cappuccino

This post begins my homage to California.  Some people may think of California as the land of Arnold Schwarzenegger, SUV’s and surfer dudes but as a California native, I especially appreciate California as an agricultural and culinary oasis.  The freshest fruits and vegetables all year around, perfect weather, mountains and ocean in one scene, and people who are generally laid back, casual, and friendly.

I was reunited with a good friend during my vacation to California.  We hadn’t seen each other in years and I was amazed when she asked me if I would be in California at the exact time that I planned to be there!  We managed to see each other the morning that she flew back to Indiana with her husband and two young daughters.  Her husband was kind enough to let me take her for a couple of hours.  We ended up at one of her favorite coffee shops.  This was no ordinary coffee shop.  Barefoot Coffee Roasters serves a Crème Brûlée Cappuccino that I am craving as I write this post.  I have yet to find another coffee shop that will sprinkle fine sugar over your cappuccino and take a torch to it.  You get the thrill of breaking through burnt sugar without the guilt of eating a cream custard along with the reward of a seriously delicious cappuccino!  Perhaps I can find this drink somewhere in New York City.  I’ll have fun trying, at any rate.

Creme Brulee Cppuccino from Barefoot Coffee

22
Apr
11

Social Eatz

I was searching for a quick and casual place to eat around the Bloomingdale’s area.  I searched Yelp because I am not a huge fan of the girly places near there, such as Serendipity and Alice’s Teacup.  I came across Social Eatz which I have been seeing in the Tasting Table newsletters and has had publicity from Top Chef (which I never watched).  Since I was meeting an adventurous friend, she agreed to try this new place with me.  They don’t open for dinner until 5:30 and we were trying to make it to a Good Friday service by 6:30.  The menu is quite witty and charming.  The food was introduced to us by our server as classic American fare with an Asian twist.  Although the Yelp reviews led me to believe it was going to be hit or miss, I thoroughly enjoyed the meal.  We started with Spring Roll appetizers and before the main course they gave us scented hot towels for our hands!  We had flavored unfiltered Ginger Ale- I only recommend this if you are a huge fan of ginger.  It was quite strong.  The Hanoi Burger was very tasty and my Tilapia Tacos were delicious as well.  Flavor, texture, taste, all good.  The fries, though, [insert dramatic pause here] the fries.  Seasoned and served with a spicy cheddar and sake sauce, these shoestring fries were out of this world.  At first what attracted me to the menu was the Korean Beef Tacos.  I’m glad I didn’t order it, though, because I would have been comparing them to the ones I had in L.A. off the Kogi Truck.  That is a post for another day.   If you are on the East Side, try Social Eatz.  The food was good, the service was friendly, and we were served quickly and made it to church on time.

Spring Rolls and Ginger Ale

21
Apr
11

Flor de Mayo

This picture was taken about eight months ago but I need to give Flor de Mayo it’s due.  I was chatting with a colleague in the break room and we were talking about Chinese food.  Since we work on the Upper West Side, he said, “I was craving Chinese food so I went to Flor de Mayo.”  I knew what he was talking about but it just sounded strange.  I actually have never tried the Chinese food there.  I always opt for the Peruvian side of the menu, the Aji de Gallina-Shredded chcken cooked in special spicy sauce with cheese and walnuts.  I always order the green rice with it.

Aji de Gallina with green rice

04
Apr
11

Xi’an Famous Foods

Yet again, the food was much too delicious to take the time to snap a photo.  There are a couple of clips from the Travel Channel and the Cooking Channel on Xi’an Famous Foods Homepage.  I hadn’t realized that there several locations in New York City.  There are two in Flushing and two in Manhattan.  I went to the one inside the Flushing Mall Food Court and since I was running errands in Flushing, I got my order to go.  Yes, it is the stall that has the picture of Anthony Bourdain framed in front.  Although I have had their hand pulled noodles before (excellent), I had a hankering for the cumin lamb burger.  I ordered their Liang Pi, which is a spicy cold noodle dish.  I’ve been craving Liang Pi ever since my parents said they ordered it from a restaurant in San Gabriel, California.  From the Xi’an Famous Foods page:

14
Oct
10

Magnolia Bakery S’more Cupcakes- Absolutely divine

This month’s featured cupcake at Magnolia Bakery was certainly worth the wait.  It was like heaven on a plate.  Graham cake injected with chocolate ganache and topped with marshmallow meringue.  It is my go-to for the month if I have a bad day at work.  I’m sure they would also work as bribes, apologies, or used for buttering someone up before making a request.  I had the S’more and my friend had the Orange.  I hope they have these cupcakes in heaven!

The S'more Cupcake

Orange Cupcake




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