Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Happy Holidays

Wishing everyone a happy holiday! Thanks for reading and I'll be back next week!

Bacon holiday card by artist Mike Geno, available on Etsy.

Birdbath Bakery Soho

I'm always on the lookout for great coffee shops and bakeries for a mid-afternoon snack and Birdbath: Neighborhood Green Bakery just opened a new location in the former Vesuvio space. Vesuvio was a much loved bakery in the neighborhood for 89 years, and Birdbath honors the original bakery by leaving the exterior untouched (even the signs!).

The flatbread pizzas are perfect for lunch in 2 varieties - red sauce with mozzarella or the green version with leeks, scallions and mint.

The stacks of City Bakery famous gooey chocolate chip cookies are irresistible.

The chocolate zucchini muffin is dense, moist and sprinkled with a dusting of powdered sugar. A perfect, if indulgent, afternoon snack.

Monday, December 21, 2009

Stuffed Artisan Cannolis

Until Stuffed Artisan Cannolis opened on the lower east side earlier this year, I wasn't a huge fan of the traditional cannoli.

This shop has changed my mind with their modern approach and with fun flavors, like birthday cake, french toast, apple pie and red licorice.

And for the holidays peppermint bark with little pieces of candy cane.

I went for the pumpkin pie, with a thick crunchy shell and perfectly spiced pumpkin flavored filling, topped with a sprinkling of powdered sugar. This is the kind of cannoli I can get into!

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Foodie gifts - Papabubble

Papabubble's beautiful and intensely flavorful hard candies make great gifts. The passionfruit flavor shown above is stunning, but I'm also drawn to the watermelon-salt-chili and bergamot.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Foodie gifts - Sweet Revolution Caramels

These organic salted maple honey caramels from Sweet Revolution Caramels in San Francisco make a great gift and hardly need wrapping!

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Foodie gifts - Vosges Haut Chocolat

If, like me, you're looking for a good last-minute gift ideas, Vosges is a great place to start. The bacon caramel toffee is a perfect mix of sweet and salty and is sure to impress both foodies and non-foodies alike and ships to anywhere in the country.

And if you really want to indulge someone, the 6- or 13-moon dark chocolate club is an extraordinary gift, delivering dark chocolate treats to your door based on the lunar cycle.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Ground Support

Ground Support is a great little coffee shop in Soho with excellent coffee, bakery and lunch options.

The sandwiches come wrapped in these cute little packages with a napkin tied on top.

The vegetarian sandwich is fantastic - the cauliflower makes it meaty, and the goats milk feta and mango pickle aoli give it a rich, creamy flavor with a kick.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Kittichai

Brunch in Kittichai's dimly lit dining room is a great way to ease into a weekend morning.

Located in the Thompson hotel, the centerpiece of the room is a small pool under hanging orchids, with palm leaves and candles floating on the surface.

The artfully presented duck omelet was seasoned perfectly and came with water spinach and spicy sauce.

The eggs Benedict with curry Hollandaise sauce had a nice kick and was complimented nicely with the spicy curried potatoes topped with red peppers and onions.

The banana spring roll dessert was stunning - banana flan sat on top a bed of chopped strawberries and a crunchy waffle and paired with caramel sauce, burnt honey ice cream, crunchy crumbs and fruit to make the perfect bite.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Butter Lane

Butter Lane, the East Village cupcake shop, opened a pop-up shop in Soho!

The cozy space has cupcakes on display in the windows and on the shelves. The serve-yourself cupcake table in the center of the shop is filled with cream cheese, blueberry, vanilla, pumpkin, maple, strawberry and raspberry frostings on vanilla, chocolate and banana cakes.

This banana cupcake was delicious, topped with sweet blueberry frosting and garnished with a couple of fresh blueberries.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Boqueria

Boqueria is one of my favorite Spanish tapas bars, and I was thrilled when they started offering takeout and delivery for lunch at their Soho location.

The beet sandwich is my favorite, with chunky beets, perfectly cooked soft boiled eggs, sweet cream butter and arugula on thick, crunchy bread, but there a several other delicious options with duck confit, chorizo and cured meats.

It comes with a side of patatas bravas, crunchy potatoes with spicy sauce and a drizzle of garlic aioli. A perfect lunch!

Monday, December 7, 2009

Curried Ketchup at Spike Hill

Photo by Gavin Thomas, nymag.com

My new obsession is the curried fries at Spike Hill in Williamsburg. The fries are straightforward, but the sauce that comes with them is an addictive blend of ketchup and what tastes like sweet Japanese curry. It's the perfect late night snack.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Night Owl

I'm loving the recently opened Night Owl bar in Williamsburg - it has skee ball and foosball, which are both loads of fun after a few drinks.

Jeff the bartender makes these excellent "tea" shots which are in the perfectly palatable spot between the super cheesy lemon drop and the difficult to swallow tequila shot. A combination of sweet tea vodka, green tea vodka and a touch of lemon taste remarkably like a sip of iced tea!

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Demel

Demel is a small bakery and espresso bar in the Plaza Hotel with beautiful desserts, snacks, and chocolate.

Although the sweets are the main draw, this prosciutto bread was a good snack before moving on to desserts.

These puff pastries with praline cream looked exquisite.

Gooey raspberry yogurt cake.

And of course a few carefully decorated cupcakes.

I wanted to try a couple of specifically Austrian desserts, like this not too sweet F├Ąchertorte with layers of apples and poppy seeds.

The apple strudel stole the show with a light crust, a ton of apples, cinnamon and a side of custard.

Monday, November 30, 2009

Spot Dessert Bar

I'm thrilled about Pichet Ong's new consulting chef role at Spot Dessert Bar on St Marks Place.

His trademark sparkling cupcakes are there in chocolate green tea, mocha salted caramel and vanilla almond coconut along with a selection of equally tasty looking cookies.

The coconut macaroon nutella almond cookie was chewy and delicious.

The unusual white miso semifreddo was garnished with raspberries, sorbet, brown sugar crunch, olive oil, a crunchy wafer and tiny mint leaves - all the elements combined for a perfect bite.

There's also a selection of Pacojet machine-made ice cream and with toppings ranging from chocolate crumbs to basil seeds!

This ovaltine flavored ice cream was chocolatey and dense and topped with crunchy caramel flakes - a perfect ending to a flight of desserts!

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Kumquat Cupcakery

Keavy Landreth from Kumquat Cupcakery was at Brooklyn Flea's Gifted holiday market this weekend with her super-cute and tasty bite sized cupcakes.

The offerings included a fragrant chocolate lavender, rich peanut butter honey banana, red velvet, spiced pumpkin topped with pumpkin seeds, and the perfectly salty maple bacon topped with a few pieces of crunchy bacon on top!

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Mark Burger

Lately I'm becoming more fond of St Marks Place for the growing number of good cheap restaurant options - including Mark Burger. The space looks like a lounge with bar seating and table service, which was a nice surprise given the sliders start at $2!

The generously sized sliders are available in two options: regular and bacon. Both were juicy and topped with cheese and onions. A side of fries was perfect for trying out the four house-made sauces: a rich and spicy chipotle, BBQ, a hot jalapeno and regular ketchup.

Friday, November 27, 2009

Crumbs mini apple cupcakes

How adorable are these mini size cupcakes from Crumbs Bake Shop! Both have a delicious apple cinnamon cake, but the apple cobbler has crumb topping and the caramel apple is topped with caramel and has an apple pie filling.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Boccalone lard caramels

Photo courtesy of The Moment, NYTimes.com

I'm dying to try these Boccalone lard caramels from Humphry Slocombe, along with the meat flavored proscuitto, foie gras, and pistachio-bacon ice creams on the next trip to San Francisco.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Serious Eats pumpkin find: Billy's Bakery

photo by Kathy Chan, courtesy of Serious Eats New York

Check out this post on Serious Eats NY about the pumpkin bar at Billy's Bakery!

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Boston Cream Cupcake

My favorite doughnut is now a cupcake! Baked by Two Little Red Hens and found at Dean & Deluca, it's irresistible with spongy white cake, thick custard filling, and fudge frosting topped with tiny white chocolate curls. Now instead of wanting a doughnut with coffee in the morning, I'll be craving this cupcake instead.