Posts Tagged ‘max brenner

05
Aug
09

Max Brenner

Max Brenner (Chocolate by the Bald Man) at Union Square has set out to create a chocolate culture.  I must admit I’m a believer in his campaign.  Just look at his Sweets menu and you’ll understand.  I think that this would be a great place to go on a date but I’ve only been to Max Brenner with girlfriends, which is indeed a fantabulous way to spend an evening.  The waffle fries were a winner, dusted with chili and cocoa powders.  We had dinner before having dessert, although I wouldn’t have been opposed to skipping dinner whereby leaving more room for dessert.  They used to serve my favorite “Chocolate Mess” which was chunks of moist chocolate cake topped with 3 scoops of vanilla ice cream, whipped cream, chocolate sauce, strawberries, and sprinkles, all encased in an 8 inch round cake pan served with spatulas instead of spoons.  It’s not on the menu anymore but there are plenty of other fun items on the menu.  What I love about the desserts is the interactive element to them.  The sauces come in tiny flasks and you get to drizzle it on your own dessert, or especially fun are the chocolate covered pop rocks that pop in your mouth!  There is an almost cubist feel to the desserts, the way each element of the dessert is broken down.  And the serving mugs are absolutely adorable.  I love the dark chocolate mocha that you can also get to go at the counter and is served in the hug mug in the restaurant.  There is the Alice cup, the hug mug, and others.  There may be richer, smoother chocolate around but I haven’t found a place yet that provides such a fun experience.  Be sure to peruse the chocolate shop in the front.  It also houses a barrel of molten chocolate which is also quite a spectacle.

Max Brenner Entrees

Max Brenner Entrees

Max Brenner Banana Bread and Chocolate Banana Crepe

Max Brenner Banana Bread and Chocolate Banana Crepe

05
Aug
09

Union Square Farmer’s Market (Greenmarket)

Union Square Greenmarket

Union Square Greenmarket

It was storming for a while so my friend and I decided to take cover at Barnes & Noble at Union Square since we were meeting another friend for dinner at Max Brenner later.  There was a break in the weather so I had to walk her through the farmer’s market.  By the time we walked the block, it started raining again.  There were flowers, fruits, vegetables, fresh baked breads.  I didn’t realize that there was a fish vendor until I smelled it.  At about 6pm there was a bakery that was selling their goods for the reduced price of $1.  We tasted the local honey but I was more fascinated by the piece of the hive they had on display, complete with bees and enclosed in a plastic case.  I couldn’t resist taking a picture of the vegetables as they looked so vibrant, nutritious, and delicious!

The market is a source for many of the surrounding restaurants.  My friend told me, “I saw Mario Batali a few years ago at Union Square—he was with an underling, or so it appeared, and they were picking out produce. He is not a small man, and looks just like his photos.”

I’ve been reading Danny Meyers’ Setting the Table and he talks about the experience of opening his first restaurant, Union Square Cafe, in the mid 80’s.”I had just been to Union Square once or twice since I began living in New York, so I was only vaguely aware of its green-market–then a small twice-a-week outdoor gathering of cash-crop farmers and a specialist in heirloom apples…The farmer’s market was intriguing, and according to Ellen Giddins, the real estate executive who first urged me to follow my instinct on Union Square, this was precisely where the advertising and publishing industries would soon be relocating to escape the escalating rents in midtown…I was no expert in New York real estate , but I understood on a gut level that if I handicapped the location correctly, and could successfully play a role in transforming the neighborhood, my restaurant, with its long-term lease locked in at a low rent, could offer excellence and value.  This combination would attract smart, adventurous, loyal customers, in turn giving other restaurants and businesses the confidence to move into the neighborhood until a critical mass had been reached and the neighborhood itself changed for the better.”

I often see protests and rallies being held at Union Square Park.  There’s a lot free stuff being offered there, as well, with signs that read, “Free tickets,” “Free Newspaper,” “Free Hugs,” and “Free Tibet.”  The free samples at the Greenmarket are pretty darn good.




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