Archive for the 'mail order' Category

28
Nov
12

Sweet streets of NY, Day 1 Spoils

Some regard San Francisco as the gastronomy capital of America. But a recent trip to NYC affirmed for me that it takes the culinary crown—at least, when it comes to sweets (and yeah, that’s despite its lack of a Tartine). The thing is, whatever your obsession, NYC probably has a store dedicated to it. Take this place that sells only rice pudding. Or giant French macarons. That’s not even factoring in the dessert trucks.

Given the plethora of food oases, it’s easy to overdo it. Luckily we walked a lot during our visit, which helped alleviate the post-binge bloat. We managed to consume a plantation’s worth of sugar during our mere 4 days there. Here’s a rundown of our Day 1 intake.

Fat Witch brownies, Chelsea Market

These brownies didn’t strike me as anything special in the store—more like a gift-giving idea than anything. But I had a change of heart after we tried them back at our hotel. They’re rich yet not dense, so you don’t feel like you’re eating a chocolate brick. They’re probably my second-favorite brownies after the ones at Pret a Manger, which seem to have a tad more chocolate. The caramel was better than the red (dried cherry) flavor. BTW, I noticed on Fat Witch’s website that they’re one of Oprah’s Favorite Things, official seal of things the hoi polloi should aspire to blow their monetary and caloric budgets on.

Ronnybrook Farm apple pie milkshake, Chelsea Market

We stopped by for an apple pie shake, which even between my and Mr. x-sXe’s hearty appetites, we couldn’t finish. This thick apple-caramel concoction needed something to offset the treacly sweetness (and a wider, bubble-tea-sized straw to suck it up with). A side of salty pie crust to scoop it up would’ve been welcome. It felt like a sin to toss about a third of it away, but we wanted to reserve some pancreatic juices for post-dinner goodies.

Stand Burger toasted marshmallow milkshake, East 12th Street

Undeterred by our Ronnybrook fail, we headed to Stand Burger a few hours later. Mr. X-sXe has a thing for toasted marshmallow shakes, after being spoiled by the one at Good Stuff in DC. We got the small and polished off the whole thing quickly. Unlike Ronnybrook, Stand gets that you need a supersized straw for a thick shake. (Minor gripe: the actual marshmallow on top was stale.)

Related posts:

NYC, Day 2: a cornucopia of goodies at Doughnut Plant and Momofuku Milk Bar

NYC, Day 3: donut gluttony and a Hostess-inspired treat

27
Oct
12

Miniscule fruits that I’ve tried

Unlike many Asians, I don’t consider fruits a dessert per se. But these Lilliputian freaks-of-nature deserved a mention.

Kiwi berries are like tiny, sweet kiwis without the sour bite.

Kiwi berries are really hard to find. I got these from DC’s Union Market, $5 for a small clamshell. I’d usually balk at that price tag, but after trying one, so many synapses in my brain lit up that I happily handed that fiver over. These taste like a very concentrated, sweet kiwi without any of the sour bite. They’re incredibly flavorful, and you can pop the whole thing into your mouth (the skins aren’t hairy).

Finger limes from Shanley Farms.

I’d read a lot about finger limes this past summer: small, skinny limes whose juice pods resemble caviar. Mr. X-sXe was keen on trying them, so we ordered a small bag from Shanley Farms.

Problem was, we weren’t sure what to do with them. We ended up adding them to salad dressing, but the pods were too tart to really blend in with the rest of the dressing. We ended up throwing the rest into a green juice. Gilt Taste recommends using them as a garnish or in key lime pie (which seems impractical, considering they’re not so easy to juice).

06
Jan
12

Yonanas, a gadget worth the counter space

When we first got a huge box from my mother-in-law around the holidays, I approached it with trepidation. She likes buying us kitchenware. And we’re already so short on storage space that things pop out and attack us when we open our cabinets.

Turns out it was the Yonanas machine, a phallic-looking gadget that turns frozen bananas into something akin to soft serve. Yonanas isn’t a juicer, but it’s designed specifically for creating banana magic. (Shockingly, Yonanas did not sponsor this blog post, and Michelle Obama is not the national spokeswoman.)

On Pie V. Cake we’ve extolled the virtues of Annie’s Banannies before in this review. You may have come across something similar at Chicken Out, with their Going Bananas product.  Here’s the clincher: it’s just a frozen banana, but it tastes creamy like dairy.

The other cool part is the show. Watching the machine go to work is half the fun. At first, it spits out a few shards of frozen banana. That had us worried. But by the time the second banana’s in the machine, it’s at the soft-serve-texture stage.

The cool part of having your own machine is you can add other fruit into the mix. Here we tried frozen blueberries. We’ve also done pineapple. One thing to note is that you always need plenty of bananas for your base, because you don’t get the creamy texture from the other fruits. Another tip: give your bananas plenty of time to freeze. Put them in at least a day ahead. When you want to impress dinner guests, it kind of ruins things if they have to stick around a few hours waiting for flaccid bananas to harden.

15
Dec
11

Emporio Rulli’s $53, 2.5 lb chocolate panettone

Emporio Rulli’s panettone makes Giada di Laurentiis foam at the mouth, so you figure it’s got to be good (Italian + trained pastry chef = knows delicious when she tastes it). I’ve never tried Rulli’s version because the shipping ($31) costs more than the actual panettone ($18.50). Also, I can get an awesome one from Trader Joe’s for $4.99—somehow I doubt the Rulli one tastes 10x better.
But but but—I’ve been really curious to try this chocolate version Rulli makes for Gilt Taste (a site that carries a lot of fancy foodstuffs you’d be happy to gift, but feel guilty buying for yourself). I’ve never seen a chocolate panettone in the stores. And maybe I’m just a sucker for good storytelling, but how can you not want to try it after reading this description? Anyway, the $53 price tag has always held me back from hitting the “buy” button. However, Gilt recently offered a 50% off voucher for everything on Gilt Taste. So I finally caved and ordered the 2.5 chocolate-butter behemoth on Cyber Monday—the 5-cent shipping special was the clincher.
If you haven’t tried panettone, you’ve probably at least seen it on grocery store shelves this time of year. It usually comes in a square box or foil/cellophane wrapping. From the images, it resembles a cousin of fruitbread. Don’t start hating yet, though. Panettone is closer to a buttery bread, like brioche, with small pieces of preserved fruit. I’m not a fruitbread eater (and personally don’t know any under the age of 50 who is), but I could eat light, fluffy panettone year-round. Preferred serving style: toasted with a bit of butter.
Anyway, the Rulli panettone came in the mail beautifully packaged (that’s why these things make good gifts—no additional wrapping needed). It almost made me sad to ruin the wonderful presentation by opening it.
The panettone is “iced” with almond paste, white sprinkles atop. Chocolate and orange peel bits stud the fluffy, bready innards.
Given the way I’d hyped this up in my head, it couldn’t nearly taste as good as I’d hoped. Its main failing is that it’s just not chocolate-y enough. That could easily be solved with bigger chocolate chips. Also, just because you bake something with a buttload of butter doesn’t guarantee moistness (vegetable oil does a much better job). Panettones are actually somewhat dry, as was this one. Orange-chocolate fans will like this, but again, I’d brainwashed myself into thinking that it’d be a much more sublime experience.
In sum: when I think about how many Trader Joe’s panettones I can get for the same price, I can’t justify getting Rulli’s again, even at half price.
24
Feb
11

Free cupcakes all day at Georgetown Cupcake Friday, 2/25

To coincide with the premiere of their second season of “DC Cupcakes,”* Georgetown Cupcake is giving away free cupcakes all day tomorrow, February 25, at both the Bethesda and Georgetown locations. (The sisters mentioned the giveaway in the last 5 seconds of this video.)

If you’d prefer not to stand for hours in the rain for a free cupcake smaller than your fist, do an online pre-order. You’ll probably be bitched out by people who don’t realize you can legitimately bypass the line to pick up your order. Remember, it’s likely that they’re sugar-starved maniacs who consider Georgetown Cupcake up there with the Lincoln Monument and National Air & Space Museum. Don’t let it get to you.

*The sisters’ endearingly gap-toothed and incompetent Mommy keeps me watching, but most of my friends consider the show one of the most contrived reality crapfests they’ve ever seen. To each her own!

27
Oct
10

Pants for stuffing your pie or cakehole

Appropriately named “gluttony pants,” these enable you to gorge without that uncomfortably tight feeling afterwards. They’re also whole lot classier than anything with an elastic waistband. I wish more pants came with three “settings.”

Via Betabrand

28
Aug
10

August’s flavors at Georgetown Cupcake: ginger peach & cherry cheesecake

"Ginger" peach (L) & cherry cheesecake (R)

When I saw that ginger peach was one of the August flavors, I had to try it. It’s a cake studded with peaches topped with ginger icing. Sounds delicious, right?

But tasting this made me want to cry a la Clara Peller, “Where’s the ginger?” I was expecting a ginger bite, or at least a whisper, but the icing had less gingeriness than Ginger Ale.

The cherry cheesecake delivered more satisfaction, luckily. I was digging the thick graham-cracker bottom, which stayed crispy despite the sogginess of the mascarpone-based cheesecake (tasty but overly moist). The cream cheese icing seemed to put this one over the top, given the richness of the cake. But as they say when it comes to icing, you can always scrape some off, but you can’t put more on.

The lines at the Georgetown location have been insane since their TLC show aired. I ordered ahead online and was in and out within 3 minutes. Just tell the cupcake bouncer at that you’ve got a pickup order, go straight to the counter, and you’re done. The payment process is all done online.