Archive for February, 2010


Introducing the Runcible Spoon. All hail the return of the DIY zine!

Look for Pie V. Cake in The Runcible Spoon, a fabulous DC food zine from Malaka over at The Grand International. We’ve got some recommendations for cheap sugar fixes, and a recipe for our “cherry bomb.”

Get the full-color PDF here:

And from Cupcakes are for Closers:


Chocolate cream pie from a steakhouse

Mr. X-sXe had a hard time understanding that I’d just gotten an entire pie to take out at Wildfire. Takeout pie from a steakhouse? Yup, they offer a new flavor every few months, and there was a big poster out front encouraging me to take one home today. Say no more.

Their chocolate cream pie is rich but worth the two lactase I need to digest a slice. The cream is whipped fresh, and the chocolate cookie crust stays remarkably crunchy around the edges. We’ll see what the true verdict is once Ms. Pie weighs in, though.

PS: As I write this, they’re singing “It’s a wonderful day for pie” on Family Guy. Weird!


The state of the freezer

There is a flavor at TangySweet worth stocking up on right now. It’s the featured flavor, coconut, at the Gallery Place location. It’s chock fulla shredded coconut. Mmmmmm.

The cold weather helps prevent any meltage on the trip home. That’s probably the only benefit of Punxatawney Phil seeing his shadow this year.

And yes, there sometimes is an avalanche of food when I open the freezer door.


what we’ll do for free dessert

Pie sought refuge at Mr. Yogato following the Dupont Snowball Fight of Ought-10, and noticed that some new rules were posted. The most intriguing one promised 25% off if a customer dressed like Bjorn Borg, and 50% off if said customer would perform Right Said Fred’s “I’m Too Sexy” in a Swedish accent.
Now, Pie hangs with people who love the dessert, which meant that last night, she was tasked with documenting this:

Mr. Epi-pen, who is allergic to most everything on the planet, loves frozen yogurt. He also loves short shorts. So when he found out about the opportunity to score some discounts on yogurt while shaking his booty, it was a natural fit.
Here’s the execution:
and the execution:

and the payoff:

Seriously, look at how high those toppings are piled!

It turns out that Mr. Epi-pen was actually the THIRD person to try for the Bjorn Borg discount. He was, however, so impressive in his execution that he got his yogurt for free. (And yes, that’s right – the whole point of doing this was to get 50% off of a yogurt that usually costs about $5.)
And if that weren’t enough, he also learned how to play Scattergories. BONUS!
All in all, last night served as a valuable reminder as to why Mr. Yogato is my favorite yogurt place in DC. Domo arigato, Mr. Yogato!


Is there such thing as cupcake fatigue?

Someone must’ve caught wind of how much moolah the Georgetown Cupcake sisters are pulling in, because there’s a slew of cupcake places coming soon to DC. A sugar coma is imminent.

According to Washingtonian magazine, Crumbs is opening seven (!) locations in the DC Metro area starting in May. Their cupcakes are over the top, and big enough for sharing.

Sprinkles will be opening a location in Georgetown (timing TBD). I’ve only tried them via their mixes at Williams & Sonoma. I can’t wait to try the real goods.

The market for cupcakes in this town already seems near saturation point. Will someone open a French macaroon place, please?

Read the article:


Open-face s’mores. No campfire required.

You’ll need a gas stove if you’re doing these at home. And adult supervision if kids are involved.

  • Soak some skewers or disposable chopsticks in cold water so they don’t burn.
  • S’mores get super sweet easily, so I used a 70% cacao chocolate bar from Trader Joe’s for these  instead of milk chocolate, chopped into bits and melted in the microwave. Do the melting in increments (20-30 seconds or so), stirring between each increment. (Do not overmelt–you’ll be crying into your separated chocolate.)
  • Spread melted chocolate onto graham cracker.
  • Stab marshmallows with skewers. Turn gas stove on low. Hold marshmallow a couple of inches above the flame, or it’ll catch fire quickly instead of browning.
  • Stick marshmallow onto graham cracker. Eat while hot and melty!


Sugar fix from Pret a Manger

I love that this UK import now has a DC location at the Farragut West 18th Street exit. Their sandwich combinations are unique, and the quality/freshness of the ingredients is impressive.

But what about the desserts? I selflessly taste-tested them for you to find out if they’re worth the calories.*

The almond croissant is flaky goodness, baked fresh daily, with a generous portion of almond paste inside.

Verdict: worth the calories.

Now, for the brownie and chocolate cake slice.

The brownie: The packaging says they’ve modified the recipe 36 times, so my expectations were high. It didn’t disappoint. A quick survey of the ingredient list (dark chocolate, vanilla, light brown sugar, granulated sugar, eggs, butter, pastry flour, salt, in that order) explains why it’s so darn good. It’s primarily chocolate! Also, you rarely see vanilla that high on an ingredient list. Yeah, it’s rich, but doesn’t sit in your stomach like a brick.

Verdict: WELL worth the calories.

The chocolate cake was underwhelming. Wasn’t crazy about the flavor of the cake. Their website says it’s made with Callebaut chocolate, which makes me think that Callebaut isn’t what it’s cracked up to be, or it’s been horribly misused. Also, the icing was gritty–same efffect as eating an omelette and biting down on bits of eggshell. Maybe they need to make it with confectioner’s sugar instead.

Verdict: Not worth the calories. If you need to get your chocolate on, get the brownie.

*Actual calories from the Pret A Manger website:

almond croissant: 410

brownie: 390

chocolate cake slice: 470

Pret A Manger, 1825 Eye Street, NW, Washington DC 20006, (202) 403-2992


How I’m spending Valentine’s Day

happy. Valentine’s. day.

Originally uploaded by ann gav

Chocolate tower from Scialo Bros. bakery in Providence, Rhode Island.
This was my delicious breakfast.


Sugar pie, a dessert in honor of the Olympics

If you’re attending any Olympics viewing parties, here’s a recipe to try. I read that this dessert has its origins in Europe, and is now big in Quebec. So if they’d seceded, we wouldn’t be using this dessert to represent Canada. Here’s some other desserts we’d have to choose from (including “Canadian apple pie.” Huh?)

Sugar pie is supposed to have a caramel-type flavor, the kind you get when mixing butter with sugar.

Maple Sugar Pie , from Epicurious. By Pierre Leblanc, The Culinary Institute of America


Pie dough
1 cup walnuts, toasted and coarsely chopped
3 large eggs
1 cup maple syrup
1/4 cup unsalted butter, melted
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
2/3 cup packed light brown sugar
1/8 teaspoon salt


Arrange oven rack in middle position and top with heavy baking sheet. Preheat oven to 425°F.

On lightly floured surface using lightly floured rolling pin, roll out dough to 13-inch round. Fit into 9-inch pie plate. Trim edge, leaving 1/2-inch overhang, then fold over and crimp decoratively. Chill shell 30 minutes.

Scatter walnuts in shell. In medium bowl, whisk together eggs, maple syrup, butter, vanilla, brown sugar, and salt. Pour mixture into pie shell over nuts.

Transfer pie to baking sheet and bake 10 minutes. Reduce oven temperature to 350° F and bake until crust is golden and center is just set, 25 to 30 minutes more.

Transfer pie to rack and cool at least 10 minutes before cutting. Serve warm or at room temperature.


dc snowpocalypse: dessert at potenza

Unlike Cake, I had a delightful time in the snowpocalypse, trudging about to see hockey and throw snowballs and enjoy delicious hot chocolate courtesy of a bustling Mr. Yogato. And like a good citizen, I felt it was my duty to support businesses that opened in the storm by patronizing as many of them as possible.

Thus, tonight Cake and I celebrated her return to humanity with dinner at Potenza, which was advertising its “snow day open” status on its website.

Like good diners, we made a reservation. Such a precaution turned out to be unnecessary.

That’s Cake. There’s no one else in the restaurant, save two hardy souls at the bar.

We gorged ourselves on starches, pausing halfway through to make sure that the snow day menu did indeed include desserts. (You never know when those pastry chefs are going to get stranded in the outer suburbs.)

Cake ordered the buttermilk panna cotta with oven roasted strawberries and lemon crisp:

I ordered the chocolate-hazelnut semi freddo with espresso sauce. Here is it closed:

and here it is open:

And how did they taste?
Cake even thought they were worth taking a lactaid for: