Archive for the ‘Friends’ Category

Nevermind the fact that I’ve been in the business of advertising for 6 years– tell a girl that something has “limited” availability and any sense of reason simply vanishes.  Such was the case a few Saturdays ago when an innocent and wide-eyed tourist (me) was instantly convinced that fruit-filled mochi was the only thing worth having at a food market literally teeming with culinary options.


The KCC Farmer’s Market was on our agenda from the second I booked my plane ticket to Honolulu, Hawaii.  C had already been and told me all about it– we couldn’t stop chattering about all the things we had to eat together– the pesto-mac pizza, the ginger-fizz cooler, the lumpias, fried green tomatoes, corn– the options were overwhelming.  I couldn’t get over C’s claims that KCC put Union Square Greenmarket to shame– a bold statment for a girl who rarely disaparages anything associated with NYC.  I was beyond intrigued.

When we finally arrived and saw the masses of people moving from tent to tent, I started panicking– where would we start? What should we eat? Is everything gone? It was only 9:30 AM, and I’m not used to having such a strong sense of urgency on a Saturday morning.  In any case, we decided to simply follow our vision…and sense of smell…the former kicked in first when C spotted the  mochi table and remembered reading about the famous Fresh Strawberry Mochi– the one that’s oh-so-hard to get, made in limited quanties for the Saturday morning KCC crowd, the one that we just HAD to try because if we missed out I’d have to wait until my next visit to have it which may not be for another year and oh my god I hope we’re not too late.  There were 2 containers left, 2 mochis in each, and we each got one.

Good god, Fresh Strawberry Mochi…how can I describe this joyful little pouch…this little bundle of heaven…let me count the ways:


Surrounding mochi: chewy, velvety, pillowy, so pleasantly pliant

Azuki bean layer: chocolate-hued bite of perfectly pasted sweet bean bliss

Fresh strawberry center: ruby-colored fruit gem, sweet, juicy, the f-in jackpot

The verdict: I felt powerful for having gotten it before it ran out, and pity for those who hadn’t.  It was the perfect thing to eat at 9:30AM in a tropical paradise.

Oh, and P.S.  Cherry tomatoes from KCC make a great beach snack:


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So, here’s what I know: balance is the key to everything.  I know, not a novel concept, but it is a notion worth reconsidering when you’re pondering why, exactly, latkes are so good.  They start with the humblest of ingredients: potatoes, onions, and flour—fried in lard.  But then, atop the crispy golden lacy tangle of potatoes comes a perfectly tart dollop of sour cream and a warmly-spiced smattering of applesauce that cuts through all that oil as if that blue Crisco barrel was just a figment of your imagination.  See that balance right there? That is precisely what makes one think that one can eat 11 latkes without consequence.  That, and burning calories with an intense, muscle-flexing hour of dreidel.  Jeff, looking forward to Latkefest 16…

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Last week, I was given a box of chocolate – literally. Four semi-sweet chocolate walls that formed a box filled with rich, fluffy milk chocolate mousse and sweet raspberries peeking out underneath a chocolate lid with a decorative chocolate and edible gold leaf handle.

I was simply delighted when it was set in front of me. It was more than just being excited about dessert – it was the fact that I was presented with a chocolate box – complete and packaged, mine to own and consume from start to finish. I had received a gift, and it was pretty, and it was edible and delicious, and it was mine (god that sounds materialistic and gluttonous, but it’s the truth).

This dessert, in taste and form, encapsulates the thought behind my blog: total preoccupation with the consumption– physical/visceral/intellectual/emotional– of “things.” Validating a theory that as creditable human beings, we desire not only the things needed for decent life, but something extra, something superfluous or sentimental or luxurious. Something to add “oomph” to our existence beyond the biological, to remind us that we are part of a social construct where there is a consumption and exchange of material goods and sentimental gestures.

So back to last week – at the annual Catalyst Award gala at the Waldorf=Astoria, 1600 people were given a box of chocolate at the end of their meal, and it was a beautiful presentation. It was also undeniably superfluous and totally luxurious…it was delectable, and I loved it!

Janet- thanks for the photo (and the company)!

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Jane and I got free smells today – free smells of cupcake batter. Cloyingly sweet molecules of butter, sugar, eggs and flour swirling around in the air. It was so intense that we didn’t even need to buy anything – which is why I don’t have a food picture for you. Maybe Billy’s should start charging people just for entering so that they don’t lose money with freeloaders like us. For now, the least I can do is post their logo and address:

Billy’s Bakery
184 9th Avenue (between 21st and 22nd)
New York, NY 10011

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NYC has commoditized the concept of “dining out.” Everyone eats out. No one cooks. And the hottest new ingredient/dish/cuisine to hit the restaurant scene quickly starts to feel overdone as everybody and their mother jumps on the bandwagon. Before you know it, the scent of truffle oil becomes kind of nauseating. And tapas/piccolini/izikayas, the concept of a “small plates” in general, becomes mildly irritating. Or maybe it’s just that sometimes you don’t freakin’ feel like scanning a menu and trying to visualize in your head how all the ingredients in a dish will actually end up looking on your plate.

Whatever the case- in NYC, for many, a refreshing change of scenery isn’t eating out, but rather staying in with a friend and cooking something deliciously uncomplicated. Dinner this past Sunday was the best 2-course meal I’ve had in awhile…largely because someone else set the menu and I was spared the act of deliberation…mostly because the food was just damn good.

Course 1: Cheese, crackers, and olives


We started with a gorgeous plate of fresh cheese, olives and crackers. The cheese you see at the top of the dish was a ridiculously light and fresh farmer’s cheese. On the bottom left was creamy goat cheese. The rectangular crackers I’d actually never tried before – they were delicately cripsy, almost airy. The crackers on the right were nutty, wheaty, and herby – I think they were Z brand? The olives were Kalamata, and expectedly delicious.

*Update from Liza:
the crackers are aunt gussie’s, and the rectangular ones are 7 grain wasa crackers. the olives are from sahadi’s (the best mediterranian market) in bk.  not sure of the goat cheese’s name off the top of my head.  the farmer’s cheese is a whole milk ricotta from kenswick creamery that i bought at the local farmers market.

Course 2: Linguine with tomatoes, basil and garlic

The pasta dish started with cherry tomatoes, garlic, and basil, drizzled with olive oil and then roasted. The result was this beautiful pan of slightly charred tomatoes that had burst open, with huge chunks of garlic nestled throughout.


By the way, in case you’re wondering about the image in my header…

Liza then added the cooked linguine directly into the pan and grated fresh parmiagiano reggiano on top…and mixed everything together to form a dish that was light and lovely in a way that was almost reminiscent of summer:


Isn’t that just pretty? It’s funny how I’m not used to being satisfied with a single bowl of pasta as my entrée. I think it’s the “dining out” mentality that meals need to consist of variety to cover off on everything – some bread somewhere, some meat somewhere, a side of “x” to support your entrée. So not the case this time – I left Liza’s that night in a state of satiety!

I do love NYC restaurant life, but honestly, this past Sunday reminded me of how great it can be dining with someone indoors (and how much I miss having a roommate)! Thanks, Liz…

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It had been forever since I’d seen my friend Jeff, and after numerous failed attempts to plan dinner after work, we finally opted for brunch. I picked Cookshop, which lately has become a favorite of mine. It’s bright, open, and airy with floor to ceiling windows, yet still manages to feel cozy with the wooden accents and dark red booth seating that lines the walls – sort of “rustic loft,” if you will. The menu is seasonally driven so you always get a sense of freshness in the ingredients that they use – plus it keeps things interesting.

Love their brunch. Their huevos rancheros is to die for (though, the first time I tried it I wasn’t crazy about it – they’ve since changed the preparation). I opted for something different this time – the Cookshop Scramble: 3 eggs, caramelized onions, crème fraîche, dill, smoked ham, and a buttered biscuit. The eggs are served on top of a split biscuit, with a side of mesclun greens that are lightly dressed in olive oil.

It’s such an elegant medley of ingredients. The eggs are loose and fluffy, and scrambled with creme fraiche for a luxurious, almost velvet-like consistency. They’re laced with caramelized onions and smoky ham, and then dill adds a really nice brightness. I have to say the biscuit, while delicious, makes this dish almost too decadent – it is extremely rich and buttery, and the bottom piece turns into almost a custard, as it soaks in the scramble that’s piled on top. Overall it’s just an insanely indulgent concoction. Definitely worth trying…but not something I imagine I could have frequently.

By the way, Jeff went for the huevos rancheros – which meant that I got to steal a few bites. I’d tell you about it, but that dish definitely deserves it’s own post.

156 10th Avenue (at 20th Street)
New York, NY 10011

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