Archive for the 'pie' Category

08
Jan
13

The automat is due for a comeback. Cakes and pies on demand, people!

"Automat" by Berenice Abbbott, 1936.

Utterly fascinated by this photo titled “Automat” by Berenice Abbott, 1936 via Wikipedia.

Advertisements
01
Dec
12

Sweet streets of NY, Day 2: The Sugar Binge Continues

DoughtnutPlant-Stumptown
A rundown of the sweets we tried during our second day in NYC:
One of the things that made our stay at the Ace Hotel memorable (helping to make up for our jail cell-sized room) was the Stumptown Coffee in the lobby. For a habitual tea drinker, their brew’s perfect because it’s pretty mild, at least to my untrained coffee palate. Anyway, this Stumptown location offers an impressive case of sweet accompaniments: French macarons, fruit tarts, cookies from Momofuku Milk Bar, and these Doughnut Plant cake donuts.
Stumptown carries 4 flavors: the tres leches and blackout became our breakfast staples for the duration of our stay. The first time Mr. X-sXe bit into one, he actually paused to contemplate what had just happened to his taste buds. They’re that good. Each donut has a thread of filling running through it: condensed milk in the tres leches; bittersweet chocolate cream in the blackout. Sounds like overload, but it’s not because these aren’t nearly as sweet as your typical glazed Krispy Kreme—by comparison they taste healthy.
MomofukuMilkBar_CerealSoftServe
Though this place is tinier than a Manhattan studio apartment, there’s a constant stream of customers demanding their cereal milk soft serve—even on a windy 40-degree day. If I were Christina Tosi, I’d be applying for some kind of trademark protection. The soft serve tastes like what’s left in your cereal bowl after you’ve fished out the last soggy Frosted Flake. It’s served up with cereal crumbles, what tasted like corn flakes to me. The soft serve flavor was too reminiscent of milk from the jug for my liking, but I guess that’s the point.
Left to right: the compost, chocolate marshmallow, and blueberries & cream cookies

Left to right: the compost, chocolate chip marshmallow, and blueberries & cream cookies

Cookies
The lady behind the counter at the Milk Bar explained that the compost, chocolate chip marshmallow, and blueberries & cream are their top-selling flavors. All are buttery, chewy cookies, but we enjoyed the chocolate marshmallow the most. The cookies held up nicely after a bus ride home and a couple days sitting on our kitchen counter. You can attempt the recipe for the compost cookies here or order all of the cookies flavors online here.
MomofukuMilkBar_CrackPieCrack pie
I’ve tried Momofuku’s towering cakes before, but this was my first time trying their pie. The funny thing about their pie slices is that they package them individually in cardboard sleeves. The crack pie reminds me of a cross between shoofly pie and crème brulee, with a strong molasses taste from the brown sugar.  Due to the ooey-gooey richness, it’s hard to enjoy more than a few bites of in one go, even for those of us with a fiendish sweet tooth. You’ll want a very bitter mug of coffee to go with this.
Related posts:
Day 3 preview: We make the holy pilgrimage to the actual Doughnut Plant store in Chelsea, then cap the night off at Empire Cake, where you can get homemade versions of those Hostess cakes that are on the brink of extinction.
31
Oct
12

Cake vs. pie preferences among Obama vs. Romney supporters

According to Decide Your Side, Obama and Romney supporters do have one thing in common: they both prefer cake to pie by a 3-point margin. That’s right, we’re just 3 weeks out from the ultimate pie holiday, and the American people have spoken!

Obama and Romney supporters agree on one thing: cake beats pie!

09
Oct
12

An Irish pub that doesn’t serve up your typical grub

I wasn’t sure what to expect from the Irish Inn at Glen Echo, which I’ve been meaning to try forever. But when my shepherd’s pie came out in its own tiny copper pot, meticulously prepared and perfectly seasoned, I figured this was more than a few notches above your usual pub fare.

The Irish Inn's version of deconstructed banoffee pie

That definitely held true for the banoffee pie. The way this dessert was presented was something you’d expect from a much fancier joint, not a place that serves up bangers and mash. This particular take on the traditional English dessert (a richer version of American banana cream pie) was deconstructed: an oozing pile of bananas, cookie crumble, and toffee generously layered on top of each other.

Without a true base crust to ground it, this banoffee “pie” felt overly rich. Almost like I was shoveling caramel sauce from the jar into my mouth. I would’ve liked more crunch to balance the softer textures. All said, though, we did clean the plate.

24
Jun
12

A cake for pie fans, and vice-versa

First there was the cherpumple. Now there’s the (not as over-the-top) strawberry pie cake, offering something to please everyone, no matter what side they’re on.

The strawberry pie cake

It’s a pie! It’s a cake!

The recipe looks relatively easy–you use store-bought cake mix and pie dough. I haven’t attempted this yet, but it would be good for a party with some fresh whipped cream and maybe a layer of strawberry jam between the cake and berries.

19
Jun
12

A pie that’s too good to throw in anyone’s face

The coconut-banana cream pie from Black Salt, Washington, DC.

Brûléed bananas and pineapple slices accompany this king among pies from Black Salt.

A good pie is hard to find. I’m not talking about a just-satisfactory pie. I’m talking about a pie that makes you swoon—the perfect proportion of filling to crust, sweet to salty, soft to crunchy.

This coconut-banana cream pie’s from Black Salt, and everything about it is pretty über. The chef exercises restraint with the sugar. The crust is super thick. And the accompaniments all bring something to the party–if you share, you might be fighting over the brûléed bananas with the crunchy tops.

While I bristle at any dessert that costs $11, this was a damn good pie, as Agent Cooper would say (if only he could get his hands on it). Almost as good as the Ritz Seafood coconut cream pie. But a lot closer to home.

Black Salt fish market

While the fishmongers get points for creativity, this tableau doesn’t exactly put me in the mood for brunch.

Aside: To get to the restaurant section of Black Salt, you have to walk through their fish market. We’re not talking Asian-grocery-store-seafood-department emanations,* but it’s pretty darn pungent. Good thing the main dining area is far away enough that you can enjoy your meal without those olfactory distractions.

*I’m Asian, so I’m allowed to say this.

08
May
12

Maple Avenue’s sweet treats

Sometimes you gotta venture out of your comfort zone to try new things. For a belated birthday brunch, I recently took Mr. X-sXe to Maple Avenue Restaurant in Vienna, VA—that exotic state where you can still get plastic grocery bags for free.

The dining space is tiny, probably less than 10 tables with no separate foyer/entrance area. We went for the brunch tasting menu. The food was consistently good: a gooey mac and cheese with panko, a savory mushroom crepe, cauliflower with Thai sauce and a sprinkling of scallions. But there were a few hints that the menu needed more thought.

The feast launches with a charcuterie plate—something I don’t necessarily have an appetite for first thing in the morning. Also, my stomach was hoping for some respite from the parade of heavy dishes coming out back-to-back. I craved a salad or fruit dish to cut the fat in this meat-and-dairy show. (Mind you, the set menu does change regularly.)

And now we turn to the most important part of the meal: dessert.

Yuzu-lime tart (above photo)

Wow, right? This was beautiful—its marshmallow peaks perfectly torched, blanketing the citrusy filling on a thick graham crust. Perhaps this wasn’t the chef’s intent, but anytime I see “lime” on a dessert menu, I’m hoping for some mouth-puckering action. Here the sweetness of the marshmallow fluff actually overwhelmed the delicate flavor of the yuzu-lime filling. Note: we ordered this separately from the tasting menu.

Waffles with Nutella and vanilla bean ice cream (part of the brunch tasting menu)

Sure, this elevates the waffles you’d get at the breakfast bar of a Comfort Inn. But is it good enough to warrant being on the menu of a nice restaurant? I’m leaning towards no. I was curious whether the Nutella was from the jar or made in-house. The menu didn’t elaborate on this point, but it tasted like the jar stuff (which is NOT health food, despite what the ads claim. Hence the class-action lawsuit. #onlyinAmerica).