Happy Thanksgiving!

Friday, November 28, 2008 4comments No tags Permalink 0


We just finished dinner and all the turkey (dark meat, please ;) is making me awfully sleepy. This all-day affair among friends, both new and old, made for a very cheerful night full of laughter, food, and prosecco. We started with dessert in the early afternoon – warm coconut custard pies from Veniero’s (my single favourite item from the bakery), and ended the evening on an equally sweet note with pumpkin and pecan pies. For those on the east coast, I hope you had an equally wonderful dinner with friends and family, and for those on the west, dinner must be starting right about now – enjoy, enjoy!

Kelly, Steph, Justin, and Shann

Here’s half the crew taking an afternoon break in Shann’s room. Kelly and Natalie arrived via bus from DC and Matt came in from upstate. Justin and three of his friends took the train in from Yale, and then there’s the four of us: Shann, Steph, Darien, and I. The apartment is far from spacious, but there is always room for friends :)

Itzy Bitzy Patisserie – Sunday Behind The Scenes & Plenty Of Food (Doughnut Plant, Pizza Moto, Huaraches, Kampuchea, Milk Bar)

Wednesday, November 26, 2008 10comments No tags Permalink 0


above photo by Nicholas Paldino

Mitzy did a lovely job detailing the behind the scenes of our first Sunday event at the Brooklyn Flea Market, so I shall supplement with photos :)

7:00am

Mitzy and her husband, Ferry, picked me up from my apartment just a bit before 7am for a pre-market stop at the Doughnut Plant. Sweet fried dough = breakfast of champions :) The new crème brûlée doughnuts weren’t ready at that early hour, but we were quite pleased with our selection…

…the vanilla yeast doughnut for Ferry…

…roasted chestnut cake doughnut for Mitzy…

…and roasted chestnut yeast for myself. I typically stick with the cake selections at Doughnut Plant, but was craving something plusher that morning. You just gotta go with your gut feelings. We completed our breakfast with cups of hot chai, also from the Doughnut Plant.

7:30am

Vendors starting to prepare and setup for the day. Ferry singlehandedly took care of the hard labour of setting up the (not so instant, as the box promised ;) tent – thank you!

I’ve been a frequent visitor to the Market since it opened earlier this year. Countless Sunday afternoons were spent browsing through housewares, vintage clothing, and of course, plenty of food. It was here that I fell in love with the lush ricotta cannolis of Salvatore Brooklyn, which I wrote up on Serious Eats New York. And while certain vendors were permanent fixtures at the market, others came and went with the season. I was lucky enough to catch Chida on their last week for a cup of the icy goat’s milk cajeta. Hopefully she returns to the market in warmer weather. Nonetheless, you could always count on pupusas and huaraches from the Red Hook Vendors, rain or shine, and always with a smile. And for sweets of the baked sort, I oft head for a selection of biscotti at Whimsy & Spice or brownies from Hot Blondies.

The Market at 11:00am

It’s for such reasons – small businesses, familiar faces, and good products at reasonable prices, that I return week after week. As cheesy as it might sound, labour of love, is the first thing that comes to mind when I think of each and every one of the vendors at the market. Because, truth be told, it really is. For what other reason would you get up in the wee hours of the morning, brave the winter chill by standing outdoors for 10 hours, or the scorching summer heat in the months of July and August? It’s pretty clear to me that they’re only here because they are very proud of, and stand by, their products whether it be chocolates, cupcakes, soup, pizza, brownies or bottled hot sauce.

Here’s Mitzy – the genius behind all these fantastic macarons, setting up. This was taken around 10am, just as the Market opened for the day. Mitzy baked each macaron by hand herself on Friday night…I’m pretty sure she didn’t get any sleep this weekend. She was exhausted but very happy, and deservingly so!

Macarons on display. Chestnut-Green Tea to the left, and Pumpkin on the right.

Pumpkin macaron, bitten :)

Passionfruit turned out to be one of the most popular flavours of the day…though Mitzy and I share the same personal favourite – the Chestnut-Green Tea.

I can’t even begin to tell you how much work, effort, and labour Mitzy has put into these macarons. I started off as one of her taste testers two months back, after we met at the SWEET fest with Robyn, and already we’ve become such great friends. No one knows macarons in-and-out like Mitzy…and surely no one in the city makes macarons that taste anything like hers.

The Market was a slow for the first hour, but things picked up quickly, and we were left with only seven macarons by 3:30pm :) Huzzah! The best part was seeing smiles on everyone’s faces as they tasted the macarons. For macaron newbies, their expressions went from curiosity (“this looks like a mini hamburger!”) to wonderment as they pondered flavour options, and then turned to big smiles coupled with bright eyes (“whoa, this is intense!” “soo good!” “we’ll take the assortment box!”). Equally exciting was the turnout of so many familiar faces – I know the Market isn’t convenient for most people in terms of subway lines, so thank you A TON for your support! It wouldn’t have been the same without you :D

Our six flavours for November. Clockwise from top left: Chestnut-Green Tea, Pumpkin, Coffee, Chocolate Caramel Pecan, Passionfruit, and Pistachio.

above photo by Nicholas Paldino

Here’s a photo Nick caught of me when I wasn’t paying attention…I must have been pondering which macaron to eat next, hehehehehh ^_^

For lunch, (which lasted on and off for a few hours as we alternated between eating and taking care of customers), we had our first taste of Pizza Moto which was crazy, crazy delicious.

I’m sure the 30 degree weather helped intensify that craving for something warm, salty and crisp. I had mistakenly thought Pizza Moto was associated with Motorino in Williamsburg, but they’re two completely separate operations. I’d have say I prefer the crust of Pizza Moto, pulled thinner, nicely charred in all the right spots, and a touch less chewy than Motorino.

The huarache from the Red Hook Vendors was delicious upon first bite, but had all but cooled down by the time we found a spare second to return for another bite. Cold pizza is still delicious…cold huarache not so much. Hehe, now you know.

Done by 4:00pm, we decided to pack up from the market and say “bye” to our wonderful neighbors (we shall met again next week!). We were grateful to receive an awesome booth spot – smack in the middle of everything. Could we have asked for a better first day? Probably not :)

6:00pm
Hankering from something hot, soupy and comforting, we drove back into the city for dinner at Kampuchea.

We started with a couple dishes to share (though I’ll admit to being a glutton and eating most of it, heheh ^_^) “Seared Monkfish Liver – Beef jus, macerated apples, pickled daikons, basil

Seared Sweetbreads – shitake mushroom broth, enoki mushrooms, and basil salad

Then we moved on to noodle soups, the perfect dinner for such a cold day. Mitzy went with the, “Duroc Pork Katiev – Flat noodle, pork roth, braised pork belly, salted pork shoulder, sauteed pickled mustard grees, sprouts & herbs”

And Ferry had the “Bwah Moun – Jasmine rice, chicken broth, organic chicken breast, tiger shrimp, ginger, Thai chili, lime juice, sprouts & herbs”

I didn’t realize just how cold I was (even with heat packs attached all over my body, and then some tucked into my coat pocket and in my boots) until I literally slurped up the broth, hot, clear, and comforting. “Chicken Katiev – Egg noodles, chicken broth, organic chicken breast, sweet sausage, sprouts, chives, sautéed shallots & herbs”

No desserts on the menu (why? :o(), but a trio of fresh fruit drinks – lychee fizz, watermelon juice, and pineapple coconut juice, was a lovely start to sweets before we headed to…

…Momo Milk Bar. If Milk Bar were a person, then I’d be stalker. And unbashfully so. Morning stops, post work stops, afternoon stops. (Pistachio) Cake for breakfast, (more Pistachio) Cake for dinner. ..tristar strawberry milk, and cereal milk…

…the three of us shared the two milks above, and then two slices of cake. First off, “Chocolate Chip Cake – Passion Fruit Curd, Chocolate Crumbs, Coffee Buttercream

Second, the “Dulce de Leche Cake – Tres Leche Filling“…

I like my days to start off with something sweet and close off with something even sweeter. It could be no more perfect :)

So that’s it, Sunday from beginning to end. Tiring, but one of the best Sundays I’ve had in a loooong time. Mitzy and Ferry are simply amazing, and one of the nicest couples I’ve ever met. We’ll be back at the Brooklyn Flea Market this weekend and sure hope to see you there ^_^

P.S.
Happy Thanksgiving!

Doughnut Plant
379 Grand St
New York, NY 10002
(212) 505-3700

Brooklyn Flea Market
Bishop Loughlin Memorial High School
357 Clermont Ave
Brooklyn, NY 11238

Kampuchea Noodle Bar
78 Rivington St
New York, NY 10002
(212) 529-3901

Momofuku Bakery & Milk Bar
207 Second Ave
New York, NY 10003

Thank You! :D…

Monday, November 24, 2008 2comments No tags Permalink 0


…for stopping by Itzy Bitzy Patisserie at the Brooklyn Flea Market yesterday! We had an enthusiastic turnout, including old friends, new friends, and many who had their first introduction to macarons on that chilly Sunday. Mitzy and I are happy to report a successful first day (and hopefully many more to come). I’ll have a post up later tonight, chronicling our day from sunrise to sunset…with much food involved in the hours in-between.

Happy Monday!

Mitzy’s Macarons & Momo Snack Time

Sunday, November 23, 2008 6comments No tags Permalink 0


If you haven’t read the bit on Itzy Bitzy Patisserie just yet, click here. Mitzy and I will be at the Brooklyn Flea Market tomorrow from 10am – 5pm selling her new line of French macarons (directions to the Market here). We’ll be at booth E5 with six fall flavours…and samples if you arrive early enough :) Hope to see you there!

This afternoon, I met Lauren at Momofuku Milk Bar for a “light” snack. But things happen, and sometimes you end up eating more than you intended. Such was the case today. We first decided to share a few items…

…including the kimchee focaccia…

…and a slice of cake. Three flavours were available around 1:30pm – pistachio, chocolate, and…carrot! It was my first time seeing carrot cake at the bakery, and of course that made me very, very happy.

But the chocolate cake looked especially tempting today. I was torn and briefly considered getting both. Cake makes everyone happy, so why not? However Lauren suggested salty pistachio soft-serve, post-cake, so we settled upon the chocolate after much indecision. I’ll stop by again sometime soon (late night snack perhaps?) for a wedge of carrot cake.

Beautiful, isn’t it? “Chocolate Cake – Yellow Cake Icing, Chocolate Crumbs, Fudge.” For someone who isn’t a fan of icing, the “yellow cake icing” is quite something, smooth and more light than rich, tasting honestly of yellow cake presented in the form of icing. It’s slightly befuddling at first. And then you realize how good it tastes, and then it’s like, hell yeah! The slices look thin, but turn out to be surprisingly filling…don’t say I didn’t warn you.

Lauren had her first cup of cereal milk, which she enjoyed plenty. $4 per cup is on the steep side, (I’d rather pay $1 more for cake or my favourite item there, the brown butter bun) but I feel I can justify the price as a weekly habit. A morning latte nowadays can run just as much, if not more.

There was a brief delay in our wait for the kimchee focaccia, and upon arrival of our order, we found gifts alongside to make up for it. Behold, the English muffin! A warm house-made muffin generously slathered with black pepper butter (they should sell this butter by the pound, heheheh), and topped with a fried poached egg, onions and bacon.

Next to that was a warmed volcano, which I first tasted last week. Our head honcho at Serious Eats, Ed, describes the volcano as “the most delicious knish ever, filled with potato gratin, gruyere cheese, and Benton’s bacon.” Spot on :) Here’s a cross-section shot of the volcano. Some claim that a single volcano fills them up for the day, but to that I say, “absurd!” It keeps me very full for a few hours…and then I crave a momo cake. Sometimes I wonder if I have an eating disorder that requires a minimum serving of one cake slice per day.

For better or worse, my physical proximity to Milk Bar places me in a very dangerous position. After work on Thursday, I bypassed anything savoury for dinner, and did take-out: pistachio cake and tristar strawberry milk. I went straight home, put on Cary Grant’s Holiday, and had a most delightful evening. The hostess at one my favourite restaurants noted that the best part about being a “grown-up,” is that, “you can eat anything you want, whenever you want, and no one can tell you otherwise.”

And with that in mind, I was back at Milk Bar on the way to work the next morning – blueberry cream cookie for breakfast.

Have a great weekend (and stop by the Market tomorrow if you have a chance – the macarons are fantastic)!

Momofuku Bakery & Milk Bar
207 Second Ave
New York, NY 10003

Sunday: Milk Bar, Sullivan St, BCD Tofu

Friday, November 21, 2008 5comments No tags Permalink 0

10:30am
We planned for lunch at the newly opened BCD Tofu House in Ktown, with just a duo of minor (and delicious) detours along the way. The morning started at Momofuku Bakery & Milk Bar, conveniently/dangerously located 50 steps from my apartment. I can already envision the many nights I shall pass in after work. Dessert for dinner: a slice of cake and a few cookies…perhaps a wedge of brownie pie. Complete makings for a meal as far as I’m concerned. Bryan and I shared a two light snacks including the Pork & Egg bun, complete with fatty pork belly, deep fried soft poached egg, cucumber, hoisin, and scallions.

But as my hankerings oft lean to the side of pastries, desserts, and the like, I found greater joy in devouring the brown butter cinnamon bun. The oversized bun is warmed to order, plush and just a touch sweet, a dandy companion to the whipped cheesecake filling. We ordered them in boxes to go because the plan was to eat half, and then go. But go, we did not. It was a novel idea in theory. However, one bite led to another, and before you knew it, there was little left aside from a smidgen of cheesecake filling and crumbs in the box.

11:30am

Next, we headed towards Union Square, took the N to Times Square and walked over to Sullivan Street Bakery right off 10th Ave. After oogling the yeasted wonders (pizza bianca! bomboloni! pasqualino di riso!), we decided that one savoury and one sweet seemed like the ideal snack combination. First off, a square of Pizza Zucchini, crisp and liberally salted.

….and then the Budino di Banana, one of the newer (and now my favourite) pastry at the bakery. Read more about it on my Sugar Rush post for Serious Eats New York.

12:30pm

We made it to BCD Tofu just two hours and four snacks after our start. And though I was somewhat full by the time of arrival, a simple glance at the bubbling pots of tofu stew on neighboring tables convinced me that one could never really be that full. It’s all in your head. I used to patronize the BCD Tofu in LA fairly frequently, and while this one doesn’t live up to the original, it nonetheless manages to satisfy and provide the slightest touch of nostalgia. You could do much worse for $9.95 ($11.95 on weekends and nights). Tables are roomy, the banchan assortment is generous and includes fried fish, an automatic plus in my books. I’ll be here plenty on snowy days and rainy nights.

Hope you’re having a lovely Thursday! :)

Momofuku Bakery & Milk Bar
207 Second Ave
New York, NY 10003

Sullivan Street Bakery
533 W. 47th Street
New York, NY 10036
(212) 265-5580

BCD Tofu House
17 W 32 St
New York, NY 10079
(212) 967-1900