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Saturday, March 26, 2011

NYC 2011 PART SEVEN: Best of Food

These spots (in addition to Magnolia Bakery) were the top eateries on our must-go list. Each place was a little hit and a little miss for each of us, but I would still say these ended up being my favorite places. I would go back to each and every one of these on my next visit, whenever that may be! From this list, I particularly recommend Doughnut Plant and Golden Unicorn.

Doughnut Plant Doughnuts

345 East 12th Street
New York, NY
(212) 358-7912

Sarita's Mac and Cheese

S'MAC logo

Macaroni & Cheese
Cajun Macaroni & Cheese

Macaroni & Cheese

Macaroni & Cheese
Buffalo Chicken Macaroni & Cheese

Macaroni & Cheese

Macaroni and Cheese

KELSEY: I liked the Cajun one, but it just wasn't as life changing as I'd hoped. I loved Sosie's buffalo chicken but I still think my recipe is better. The set up was cute but some oversized tables made the seating arrangement impractical for dining in. They really didn't maximize their spacing and getting a table was difficult. We worried the size of the smallest mac and cheese would be too small, but the "Nosh" size was perfect, and I'm glad I didn't order a size up.

SOSIE: I had the Buffalo Chicken mac and cheese. It smelled good, looked good, and probably tasted good, but I personally didn't like it. It was buffalo sauce with such a bold taste that I couldn't really taste anything else. Next time I might just get the All American or 4 Cheese.

LAUREN: There were not enough tables, but the mac n cheese was really, really good. I'm getting sampler next time.

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

Doughnut Plant

Doughnut Plant Doughnuts
Square Peanut Butter filled with Raspberry Jelly, Vanilla Bean, Tres Leches, Blackout, Creme Brûlée

Peanut Butter Jelly Doughnut
Square Peanut Butter filled with Raspberry Jelly

Creme Brulee Doughnut
Creme Brûlée

KELSEY: I was convinced the peanut butter doughnut would be my favorite, but I have to say the creme brûlée takes the cake. It seemed like a lot of money for an itty bitty thing, but it was worth it. I was surprised the tres leches doughnut was so moist because it looked very dry, as if it had been sitting out, but it had pudding inside that made it amazing. The peanut butter one was good, and I loved the jelly. It was a great size and filling on it's own. There was little seating, but its more of a grab and go kind of place.

SOSIE: I only had one doughnut and it was the Vanilla Bean doughnut. I've had better doughnuts, but the taste did really remind me of vanilla bean ice cream.

LAUREN: I LOVED Doughnut Plant. It was cool because I watched the special on tv, and then I got to be there in person. I was surprised it was such a small place. I had the Blackout cake doughnut, with pudding and Oreos, and then the Creme Brûlée. Both are now favorites. The Creme Brûlée was crunchy on the outside and had a pudding on the inside. And the Square Peanut Butter doughnut was amazing. How do they get the jelly in? I wish they had the Cranberry one that day, but the Creme Brûlée is definitely worth the $3.

Katz's Delicatessen
205 E Houston Street
New York, NY
(212) 254-2246

Katz's Deli

Corned Beef Sandwich
Corned Beef Sandwich

Cheeseburger & Fries from Katz's Deli
Cheeseburger & Fries

Leftovers from Katz's Deli
Our mess of a tray

KELSEY: I really didn't have anything to compare it against because I've never had pastrami or corned beef. Both were very good but I definitely preferred the corned beef. The ordering process was awful! I guess it works for then since they're successful anyway, but we weren't the only people confused. I felt bad for the foreign woman in front of us who had no idea what they were shouting. They acted terribly annoyed when you tried to order something in the wrong spot, but with the clustered mess that the restaurant was, it wasn't clear where the lines began and where they ended. I can't believe I paid $2-something for a can of pepsi I'd normally pay $0.60 for at work.

SOSIE: I had the cheeseburger and it was pretty good. The atmosphere was really nice, but they need to start taking credit cards.

LAUREN: It was a disorganized ordering process, but the food itself was really good. Adam Richmond was right. It was super overpriced, but it was definitely best corn beef and pastrami I've ever had. I like the pastrami better. Next time I'd split a sandwich. They were so big!

Golden Unicorn
18 East Broadway
New York, NY
(212) 941-0911

Golden Unicorn on Broadway

Dim Sum at Golden Unicorn

KELSEY: We picked the Golden Unicorn because of all the reviews online that said they were the most tourist friendly place to go. The reviews were right! The hostess downstairs was very friendly and accommodating. She knew exactly why we'd come and she directed us to the proper floor in  English. We were relieved we weren't he only non-Asian visitors. They servers were all very friendly and sensitive to the fact that we only spoke English. They all tried their best to say what their cart had to offer in English. The only problem is that they were not clear on prices. Each cart had images of the food, as well as the name in English and Chinese, but there was no item price. We were terrified we'd get the bill and it would be sky-high, so we were relieved when it was only $10 a person for all the food we ate. I LOVED the pork buns and the white wrap in the brown sauce. Another unfortunate thing is we can't really tell you what we ate! Once the carts went away, Lauren and I really had no idea what we were eating. 

LAUREN: The atmosphere was amazing, and our food was way cheaper than we expected. It was very tourist friendly. My favorite items were the roast pork buns, the white puffy things, and the fried pork ball. I wish I could have seen a menu all at once instead of waiting for a cart to come around, because you never knew what the next cart would have.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

NYC 2011 PART SIX: Candy

This one may be a doozie. You've been warned. This trip involved far more candy than I anticipated, just as it involved more pizza and burgers than I expected. It's a wonder we didn't gain more weight on this trip. Must have been the miles of walking we did!

M&M World
1600 Broadway
New York, NY 10019-7413
(212) 295-3850

Lauren & Sosie

Hershey's Times Square Store
1593 Broadway
New York, NY 10019-7406
(212) 581-9100

Lauren, Me & Sosie with giant Hershey Syrup piggy banks.

Dylan's Candy Bar
1011 3rd Avenue
New York, NY 10021
(646) 735-0078

Dylan's Candy Bar

Bathtub of Gumballs
Bathtub full of gumballs

Candy Boots

Candy in the Stairs
Candy in the stairs.

Lauren & Sosie

Economy Candy
108 Rivington Street
New York, NY 10002
(800) 352-4544

SOSIE: I LOVE CANDY!!! I might have an addiction to it. All four places combined would be a wonderland for me, but I really liked Economy Candy. There were candies there that I haven't seen since a was a kid, and it was great. Also, their prices were great. They had Jordan Almonds which are my favorite candy of all time and it was great to get a pound of it for such a cheap price.

LAUREN: Dylan's Candy Bar was way overpriced, but it was a lot of fun to walk around in and window shop. The candy I did buy was good and they had plenty of cute gift items if you're looking to get someone something from the city. At M&M World I really wish I had gotten some M&M's! They had so many varieties. After going there, the Hershey store was a disappointment. They didn't have nearly the amount of things that M&M World had and down the street at the Walgreens I could have purchased the same candy for half the price. Economy Candy was awesome, and they had really good prices. I enjoyed reading all the funny mint tins. They had a lot of random hard to find candy. Because of Sosie, I tried Jordan Almonds for the first time.

KELSEY: M&M World was definitely fun, and I found so many types of M&Ms I didn't know existed. I absolutely love the peanut butter ones and the pretzel ones, so it was great you could buy them in bulk instead of in a normal pack. Economy Candy was a playground. They had my beloved Kinder chocolate and Zots that I usually only find at German delis or World Market. Something about that store gave me the urge to shoplift, though I refrained (I'm sure my mom is happy to hear that).

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Deviled Egg Chicks

Foodbuzz, Electrolux and Kelly Ripa have teamed up to present the Electrolux Tea Party Top 9 Takeover on Friday, March 25, in the name of Ovarian Cancer Research. Read more about Kelly Ripa's "Tea Party for a Cause" at Kelly-Confidential.com. Foodbuzz promises to donate $50 to the Ovarian Cancer Research Fund for every Featured Publisher tea party post before March 23. Ovarian Cancer affects thousands and thousands of women each year. It's a great cause, so get posting!

These adorable deviled egg chicks are perfect for a spring tea party or an Easter potluck. They do take some time because you have to be careful cutting and handling the "cracked" eggs, but they look precious and will impress friends and family.

6 hard boiled eggs*
1/4 heaping cup mayo
1 heaping tsp yellow mustard
a dash of salt

*Everyone seems to have their own way of hard-boiling eggs, so hard boil however you want.

While the eggs are boiling, cut small wedges of carrot for the chick's beak.
You can do one large wedge or two smaller wedges, like I did.

When eggs are done and you've removed the shell, take a small knife and created a 
jagged edge, each about a centimeter tall. Then, handling the egg halves very carefully, 
remove the yolk and set aside in a medium sized bowl. I used a small icing spreader 
instead of a spoon.

Mash dry yolks and mix with mayo, mustard and salt. Combine until smooth. Using a 
zip lock baggy as a frosting bag, cut a very small amount off the corner of the bag. 
A frosting tip is not necessary. Place the frosting tip end-down in a coffee mug and fold 
the edges of the bag around the side. This will make it easier to spoon the yolk mixture 
into the bag. Scoop the mixture into the bag, press out all the air and seal.

Place the heavier half of the egg in the egg carton. Fill the egg with a large amount 
of the yolk mixture. The top half of the egg may squish the yolk mixture, so be sure 
to use the heavier half of the egg on the bottom and use enough of the yolk mixture to 
create a gap about a few centimeters long. Top with the lighter half of the egg, and place carrot wedges to look like a beak. Voila!

Monday, March 21, 2011

NYC 2011 PART FIVE: Pizza

John's Pizzeria Wall Art

Pizza may be in my top five foods of all time, probably because of the large amount of cheese it involved. Like the burgers, pizza wasn't high on our priority list. We were determined to try real New York style pizza, but we didn't intend to eat it twice! The fates, it seems, had other plans for us when it poured all day on the second day of our trip. After a long day of trekking through the rain, we decided to call it quits a bit early and order in some pizza from Cafe Viva. Little did we realize the pizza place was quite literally around the corner. The next day we went on to John's Pizzeria of Bleecker Street as planned. Delicious decisions left and right.

Cafe Viva
2578 Broadway, New York, NY 10025

Cheese Pizza


Garlic Knots

SOSIE: It was really good pizza, very cheesy, and I love cheesy pizza. I didn't like the garlic rolls but I loved the baked ziti, mainly because it was really cheesy as well.

LAUREN: It was really good minus not having forks and eating with our hands. It was good cheese, even if it wasn't fresh, and it was perfect because it was pouring. It's funny that the place was only two seconds away and we called for delivery.

KELSEY: It was good but nothing to write home about. It probably tasted so good because we were exhausted and glad we didn't have to go out in the rain! The ziti sauce was more orange than red so if you love pure tomato sauce it isn't for you. The delivery man also forgot forks and napkins I requested, but we had fun eating it our own way.

John's Pizzeria of Bleecker Street
278 Bleecker Street (between 6th and 7th Ave's), New York, NY 10014

John's Pizzeria of Bleecker Street

Lauren & Sosie at John's Pizzeria

John's Pizzera Cheese Pizza

SOSIE: I can see why it's famous. They make really good pizza. I think original brick oven pizza is the best, and the ingredients seemed to be very fresh. It was inconvenient that they only took cash, and I think they should start taking credit cards.

LAUREN: I liked it better than Cafe Viva. It was exciting to go because I watched it on Food Wars on the Travel Channel. The pizza had great cheese, sauce AND crust. It's really one of the best pizzas I've ever had, and I loved the Village area.

KELSEY: I loved the artsy paintings on the walls and the eclectic feel. I expected it to be more like a sports bar smokey atmosphere. We had a lot of fun carving our names into the wood paneling, like everyone else. The crust was much better than Cafe Viva and the cheese was fantastic. It was decently priced too!

Friday, March 18, 2011

NYC 2011 PART FOUR: Burgers

Cheeseburger & Fries from Katz's Deli

While burger joints never entered our list of must-eat places, it was clearly our destiny because we ate burgers not once but twice in our four days in the city. Actually, Sosie had herself three burgers, one at Katz's deli, too. We stopped at Shake Shack to escape the rain at the advice of Sosie's friend, Paul, and on our last day we stopped by brgr for lunch after The Martha Stewart Show. While many burger joints are six of one, half dozen of the other, New York City offers a variety of burger spots with colorful personalities. From green to greasy, foodies can take their pick. The only problem: too many choices!

Shake Shack
Shake Shack has several New York locations and one in Miami. We went to the one at 8th Ave & W 44th St, New York, NY 10036

The eye-catching Shake Shack has several New York locations and one in Miami. This chic burger joint offers a quirky menu with items like the Shack-cago Dog and vegetarian 'Shroomburger. Although most burger joints have a bad rap for greasy indigestion-inducing meals, Shake Shack prides themselves on their 100% all-natural, vegetarian-fed and humanely raised Black Angus burgers and their trans-fat free fries.

With three burgers, four Flat-Top Dogs and three dessert items under 500 calories, it's okay to take a bite without a bit of guilt. Calorie-conscious foodies can enjoy a Second City Bird-Dog at 270 calories and split regular fries with a friend, at 235 calories each, for a whopping 505 calories. Beware of double or triple-anything, as well as Sundaes, Shakes and Concretes. Also, don’t automatically assume vegetarian means low-calorie. The ‘Shroom Burger weighs in at 570 calories with 36 grams of fat.

Though you may not need to watch your waistline, patrons should keep an eye on their seats in peak hours. The wildly popular Shake Shack has limited seating. The "Shack Cam" is a useful tool to see how crowded the restaurant is from home. Join their mailing list for event information and special deals.

SOSIE: My burger was very delicious! And the fries were really great too. I was definitely better than my burger at Katz's Deli and brgr.

LAUREN: I'm not a big burger person but the cheesefries were amazing, and I thought the burger was okay. It seems like a very sleek, New York style burger place.

KELSEY: The burger was moist and delicious. I liked the atmosphere and the menu was quirky. It is a very chic burger joint with a lot of seating, though it was packed anyway. The cheese fries were delicious! Next time I want to try the shroom burger or shackstack.

brgr currently has two locations in New York. We went to the one at 287 Seventh Avenue (Between 26th and 27th St), New York, NY 10001

brgr Pamphlet

brgr Restaurant

Burger from brgr

SOSIE: Out of the three burgers I ate this one was second best to me, but it was still good. It was kind of expensive, but I really like how they had grass fed beef burgers and turkey burgers.

LAUREN: The b&w milkshake was really good and you could tell they used fresh vegetables on their burgers. I had the turkey burger with mushrooms and onions onions, and I had gruyuere cheese for the first time. Gruyuere seemed like a mix of Meunster and Swiss. The sweet potato fries were only so-so to me.

KELSEY: I liked their grass-fed concept and philosophy but I did prefer Shake Shack. I guess it's unfair to compare since one was turkey and one was beef. I loved the fresh mushrooms and onions, and the sweet potato fries were good, but I wish they had been thicker so you could taste the potato more. The b&w milkshake was the right amount of sweetness and not too thick. Next time I want to try their famous pomegranate one! Supposedly they were voted best shake in NYC.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Luau Cupcakes: Two Ways

Luau Cupcake
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Luau Cupcake
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I was trying to figure out what to make for my a luau potluck when I came across Annie's Eats' "How to Make Dried Pineapple Sunflowers" post. After perusing Google Images for other Hawaiian-themed cupcakes, I saw many images of Teddy Grahams sunbathing on Fruit by the Foot or floating in their intertube Trolli Apple-O's. Sara liked the sunflowers and Stephanie liked the Teddy Grahams, so the three of us made both! If you notice any drowning teddies or teddy orgies, you can thank Stephanie.

Both are very easy to do, especially if you go the cheaters route like we did and use a box cake. In our defense, the frosting is our beloved homemade buttercream frosting. The sunflowers do take quite a bit of time. Annie says hers took 30 minutes, but because ours were so thick it took well over an hour. Check out her post for more instructions. As for the Teddy Grahams, you can get as creative as you'd like with gummies and other children's snacks and arrange as you see fit. I found a big box of umbrella toothpicks (or parasol picks as Walmart labels them) on the party aisle of Walmart. To get the ocean colored frosting we mixed blue and green food coloring.

What You Need

  • Blue and Green Food Coloring
  • Teddy Grahams
  • Trolli Sour Apple-O's
  • Umbrella Toothpicks
  • A large pineapple

Teddy Graham Cupcakes

Luau Cupcake

Luau Cupcake

Luau Cupcake

Luau Cupcake

Pineapple Sunflower Cupcakes

Dried Pineapple Flower

Luau Cupcake


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