Tuesday, March 2, 2010

It's Been Exactly One Year Since I Last Posted

Oh how I've waited for today!

The best Chocolate Chop cookie in New York City, for a long time, was found at The City Bakery.
The City Bakery

But now the Chocolate Chip cookie at Jacques Torres reigns supreme.
Jacques Torres Chocolate

It may be for the chocolate alone. Because the chocolate is fine-o-mite! But the cookie carries it with confidence. It's sweet, it's smooth, and it's best when they warm it on their flat grill.

Much more to come!

Monday, March 2, 2009

What is the opposite of a potato?

A man from Sierra Leone told me that I should visit there because I might really enjoy it...and because they have good food there too. I asked him what a good dish is and he said "foufou." I asked him what was in it and he said "cassava." I asked him what cassava is and he said it's just like a potato, but the opposite of a potato.

I want to try it.

Nam Kao - Thai Fried Rice

Nam Kao at E-San in Portland, OR:
I tried it with high expectations, set by a friend who enthused on the glories of this dish, a dangerous action under most circumstances. But I wasn’t disappointed. Nay, I was enraptured by the full-yet-delicate flavors and pop-rocks texture of the fried rice. With each bite I tried to track each flavor so that I might, one day, recreate this wonder.

That day came last night.
(recipe at bottom of page)

Whenever I make analogies, I find that they are always about food - growing, preparing, cooking, eating — so now that I’m talking food, I (curiously) find my analogy in figure skating. It’s like I set out to do a One-and-a-half Toe Loop with a Split Jump and wound up executing a Double Axel. While it wasn’t bad, it wasn’t the dish I was going for.

Would I make it again?
Yes! I will keep trying until I nail it!

Thai Fried Rice (Lettuce Wraps)

I added some marinated tofu to this.
Drain & rinse tofu, press water out, slice into 1” long slivers and toss gently in a mixture of soy, chili oil, sesame oil, minced garlic, and lime juice & zest.

Get pan totally flaming hot.
Fry tofu slivers. Remove, set on paper towel.
Add oil (combo olive & veg).
Crack an egg and throw it in the pan. Get Japanese-Steak-House crazy with it.

Add cooked rice (pre-purchased from the Vietnamese restaurant down the street, cheap and easy)
Heavy tsp fish sauce
2 tsp soy
juice from 2 lime wedges
tsp garlic chili sauce
ground pepper
2 cloves minced garlic
bunch chopped scallions

Stir it up!
Then add chopped cilantro, peanuts. Stir that up.
I sprinkled toasted sesame seed on top too. Serve with lime garnish, bean sprouts, fresh cilantro on top, and lettuce leaves for wrapping!

Saturday, February 28, 2009

Best Cookie: Detroit

Detroit has got some good cookies going on. There is Astoria Pastry Shop in Greektown, with its never-ending case of cookies, baklava, and pastries. And Traffic Jam and Avalon Bakery in the Cass Corridor neighborhood are both home to exceptional cookie fare.

But the best cookie ever, the go-to for the most intense craving of all, is Todd’s Evil Cookie.

Once found at Mercury Coffee Bar, I am unsure of the future of this formidable chunk of bliss—as Mercury Coffee Bar, after being open just four months, is closing. There is talk and hope of its eventual reopening and I optimistically wait for the day—both for the health of Detroit businesses and, selfishly, for my cookie fix.

I love Detroit. I believe in Detroit. And I want to see the city, and its inhabitants, thrive. So, for the love of cookies, go to Detroit. Go to Detroit to listen to rock ‘n roll. Go to Detroit to see some great art and eat delicious food and talk to some exceptional and refreshing people.

Seriously. Go to Detroit.

The view from inside MCB is of the old train station.

Monday, February 23, 2009

Best Cookie: Jersey City

My friend Kelly, who lives in Jersey City, was kind enough to help me find the best cookie in town.

Made With Love is the name of the bakery that sells cookies that are so easy to love.
Check out their website: Made With Love Organic Bakery

And it's not just a clever name. I had the pleasure of meeting the owner, Celeste Governanti, who created the cookies that you're about to meet. She exudes warmth and extends kindness to the people who enter her organic bakery; there is no doubt she infuses her inventions with the same such love.

The long and narrow bakery is lined with tables on one side and a counter stocked with goodies on the other. Pity I wasn’t searching out the best bread, pie, tart, cupcake, etc. because they all looked incrEDIBLE! Kelly and I decided on a getting an assortment of flavors to sample: Oatmeal, Coconut Butter Cookie, and Gargantuan Walnut Chocolate.

We sat at the table next to the window, watching drops of rain gather, pool and roll in our periphery. We sat with a cup of Earl Grey each. We sat for a tea party on a chilly Sunday in late February.

As soon as I bit into the Oatmeal cookie, I felt like an ooh-la-la-lady! The cookie, like 3-dimensional lace, was lightly spiced and ladylike.
The Coconut Butter Cookie read like a macaroon, with its abundant flecks of coconut, in the body of a shortbread. It had a fine gossamer outer crisp and a delicate chew (from the coconut) throughout. It was a perfect treat.
And the Earl Grey complimented both, wonderfully.

Everything was femme-tastic.
And then we pulled out the Gargantuan Walnut Chocolate Chunk cookie. If Paul Bunyan made cookies, they would look like this...like an 8-bedroom apartment. There were actual “compartments” to this cookie—what, with the large walnut pieces and dark chocolate chunks. We pulled off three rooms to sample and the cookie still appeared to not have been touched. Remarkable! A good, firm chew. Yum-mum-um-yum.

Would I eat it again?
On Yin days I'd eat the Oatmeal or Coconut Butter cookies.
On Yang days I'd eat the Gargantuan Walnut Chocolate cookie.

Friday, February 13, 2009

Best Cookie & Sandwich: Eugene, OR

The featured cookie and sandwich are neither a cookie nor a sandwich. But who's counting?!

If you find yourself in Eugene, OR you've got to move your hooves to the Wandering Goat Coffee Company.

Check them out on myspace HERE!
Or at their website HERE!

I went just for the coffee.
But then life happened:
While waiting in line, I watched one of the bakers, through a window to the kitchen, rolling balls of dough. (They make all their food in house.) More specifically, I was watching a three-year-old watching the baker. Then the baker, holding three balls of dough, turned around to face the child. And he started juggling for the child! There were no words exchanged as he smiled from behind the glass—the only sound was the murmur of cafĂ© patrons. The child was delighted. As was I.

Then I noticed, not the cookies, but the peanut butter chocolate bars in the food display case. That, and the seeded bagels.

These bagels are something special. I had to try one based solely on their appearance. They are LOADED, COVERED, BLINGED-OUT in seeds…sesame, poppy, sunflower!, pumpkin—what?—yes, pumpkin seeds! Toasted and served with a side of cream cheese, every bite was rewarding, for the taste definitely, but also for the texture. I couldn’t wait to feel the next bite! They were earthy, wholesome, and satisfying. And if you think they sound too healthy to be good, you have got to open your ears and listen when I tell you: They are 10,000-calorie-delicious! (But without all those calories--they're bagels, after all.) I assure you, they are made with love, sweet love.

And the coffee was seriously delicious. They take their coffee so seriously, in fact, that when I returned the next day for an espresso and peanut butter chocolate bar, the barista took my espresso away before I could even try it, insisting that she pull another shot because the first one was uneven.

The espresso was top-notch. And the peanut butter chocolate bar…well, let’s just say that eating it was only like frenching a soulmate. The bar: an inch-thick sweet peanut palette hosting…wait, are those pieces of crisp rice inside?…hosting a dark chocolate wonder-top that was a thinner consistency than fudge but thicker than frosting. I wanted to run away to South America with it. But it was gone before I could even say goodbye.

Would I eat it again?
Yes to both! I wish I could everyday.

Monday, December 22, 2008

Not A Good Idea

The following is a conversation I had with my six-year-old niece as I was reading to her:

Me: Did you just wipe a booger on my shirt?
Taylor: No, I was taking one off.
Me: How did it get there?
Taylor: I put it there but then thought it probably wasn’t a very good idea.