Four and Twenty Blackbirds

September 27, 2011 § Leave a comment

Four and twenty: about double the amount of months I have been waiting to enter this (now legendary yet still unassuming) pie shop. And all of a sudden, entirely by accident in only the way that those magical life encounters seem to pass, there I was.

Peach and paprika pie, fresh schlag, cold brew.

While this wasn’t quite the level of just-baked-by-Mom glory, such a pie is probably the closest I will ever get away from my childhood kitchen. And with its wooden tables, open counters and an atmosphere inviting enough to allow for reading a book all afternoon on a Saturday, Four and Twenty Blackbirds did indeed become my adopted house for those few hours. If they only had a couch for post-pie naps… But then again, life must have some trials to afford such rewards, don’t you think?

French bite

September 14, 2011 § Leave a comment

Sometimes you walk by a random store and can’t help but step inside, despite having no real interest in what you think it contains. Sometimes said store happens to carry delicious-looking baked goods and, just sometimes, you realize at that moment how much you do in fact want something sweet.

Hence how I ended up in possession of a chocolate macaron from Macaron Cafe:

While not the best of its kind in New York, this little guy certainly was good! So light it barely stood up inside its shell, the chocolate flavor seeped out just as intensely from the cookie as from the chocolate ganache center. Perhaps one of the most indulgent three-bite treats I have had in a while and most definitely deserving of a revisit. The gold flecks on top were, to borrow from a different dessert genre, simply the icing on the cake.

How rude

September 12, 2011 § Leave a comment

There is yet another rather good coffee shop near my apartment that I had the pleasure of visiting this weekend before an afternoon of kickball. Called “Gimme! Coffee“, this place is perhaps equally known for having great coffee and for taking its product very seriously. Fearing that my negative association with the word “gimme” (one of those words, like profanity and “bathroom language”, that I learned to be taboo at a very young age) combined with the brand’s seemingly pretentious attitude would forever mar any attempt to enjoy their caffeinated beverages, I had previously avoided Gimme! in favor of other local haunts. However on a sluggish Sunday morning convenience won out and I decided to give it a go.

The regular coffee was extremely good: slightly bitter, dark and very strong, you certainly get your fix with even the smallest size. And at only $1.75 (yes, I do realize that this price really should not qualify as “only”) it is the cheapest cup of quality coffee I have been able to find in the neighborhood.

As for the sweets: so many options! Doughnuts from Pies ‘n’ Thighs (I vow to try these sometime very soon), biscuits, scones, and croissants… I was overwhelmed with possibilities. Knowing I would need some protein to fuel my afternoon activity I opted for nuts in the form of an almond croissant. While I was never fully able to convince myself that the slivered almonds on top somehow made this a “good protein breakfast”, compared to my other option of chocolate doughnut I feel like I made the athlete’s choice. Perfectly baked, deliciously almond-pasty in the center with a crunch from the slivered nuts on top, this was beyond delicious. We won our kickball games.  A good choice, indeed!

Blueberry cake

September 9, 2011 § 1 Comment

My roommate made this last weekend:

A blueberry cake, simple and moist from ample fruit. The crumble on top brought just the right amount of sugar for it to satisfy during breakfast, snack, and dessert and, since I have yet to get tired of it, quite possibly could be all three in one day.

Let’s hope this is a baking trend that continues.

Blue Sky and Oslo

September 7, 2011 § Leave a comment

Walk around Williamsburg and chances are you will see quite a few people holding blue-and-white labeled coffee cups. Upon further inspection you will see that said cups are printed “Oslo”, and when you realize that Oslo happens to be located only two blocks from where you live you will have to go there to determine what all of the fuss is about.

In short, Oslo coffee is really good. Their iced Americano is quite possibly even better than Joe’s and at the very least they are contenders.

The muffins are also lovely: from Blue Sky Bakery in Park Slope (which itself has received lots of good press), my mixed berry hit the spot and could easily become (if cost were no option) a morning staple. More bready than cakey with most of the sugar coming from the fruit itself (in this case a mixture of blueberries and raspberries), this was a tame and respectable breakfast. I also realized that Blue Sky is the muffin I did not enjoy so much here, so perhaps certain flavors are more successful than others.

Old Fashioned Goodness

September 7, 2011 § Leave a comment

My new apartment is located wonderfully (dangerously?) close to one of the best donut shops around: Peter Pan Bakery in Greenpoint. Yes, donuts/doughnuts have become a serious trend in New York this year but just walk into Peter Pan’s and you would have no idea. That’s probably because the place hasn’t changed at all in the decades it has been around; just like the best donut shop ever (in Portland, Maine) this is really just a neighborhood joint that is all about the product, no frills.

Because I have a hard time choosing between chocolate and plain I got the marble cruller: a perfect blend of glazed chocolate and regular cake donut. For $1 this thing is huge, best split between two meals (or two people). The inside is doughy and the edges perfectly crisp; just crinkly enough to let the glaze collect in little rivets. My favorite bites are the ends (highest glaze to dough ratio), but the whole thing is honestly divine.

Get there early for the freshest donuts but they seem to continue baking all day so really, I’d just ask for what has been pulled out most recently and you will never go wrong. Ever. Love this place.

Cross-continental cookie

September 7, 2011 § Leave a comment

The other week I had the pleasure of getting to travel to California on vacation. Due to a crazy east-coast weather phenomena I had a forty-eight hour layover in San Francisco, during which time I was able to see friends and sample tasty treats. I knew I had to get some Blue Bottle coffee and, when at 10:30 am I picked up my iced regular in their stand on Haight Street, I couldn’t resist this intriguing and unorthodox little (actually, quite large) cookie.

It was labeled “Caramel corn chocolate chip” and yup, that’s popcorn! While I was first leaning towards a triple chocolate option the barista strongly recommended this flavor. He said I wouldn’t find it anywhere else and, with the exception of Momofuku’s compost cookie, he may be right.

So was it good? Yes, deliciously so. The caramel corn was softer than I would prefer on its own but surrounded by doughy cookie it worked quite well. A tad salty, mostly sweet; the corn provided contrast to the rich chocolate and buttery cookie. Hooray for San Francisco! I will definitely be back.

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