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Posts Tagged ‘food’

More Than You Ever Wanted to Know About Ramen

Every so often the Apparently family hops on the 7 train into Manhattan with only a vague destination in mind. Last night we found ourselves aiming for Madison Square Park, because we thought the line at Shake Shack might not be so onerous at 4:30pm. We were mistaken. Even on a Saturday afternoon, everyone wants an upscale hot dog.

Several happy discoveries were made from this false start:

photo from madisonsquarepark.org

1. Cool yet disconcerting art by Jaume Plensa in Madison Square Park.

2. The recently-opened NYC outpost of Beecher’s Handmade Cheese. If ever there were a yuppie cheese shop, this is it. Everything is minimally designed yet handsomely packaged, and you can buy several kinds of frozen mac & cheese starting at $8.75 a box. But oh, the selection of their own and other’s cheeses, and oh, the farmhouse-table dark Cellar restaurant that just begs for a return visit. Those pictures don’t do The Cellar justice – for a below-ground space, it’s lovely.

3. Union Square Park Playground. We’re behind the curve on this one, but this awesome playground is far superior to the generic Luna Park restaurant that preceded it. Apparently Jr loved the real rocks to climb and the secret path through greenery to the slide entrance; his parents loved the very enclosed nature of the whole playground and its slightly hipster attitude: really steep slides, plenty of stuff to climb and weird human-sized metal cattails.

We made our way to Vapiano, a very bizarre Italian cafeteria-style bar and restaurant that is absolutely perfect for people with kids and also probably a good place to meet a large group of friends. Each adult receives a chip card upon entering, and all purchases are scanned to the card; you pay when you leave. Vapiano’s offerings include solid renditions of classic Italian staples: pizza, pastas, panini. The seating areas, full of wood tables with marble insets holding oils and pots of rosemary, has enough ambience for both adults and kids to feel they’re at an actual restaurant, but is casual enough that a fidgety preschooler can take a walk without being given the stink-eye by other patrons. Apparently Jr is generally good at restaurants, and so it’s amusing that Mr A and I like Vapiano for these particular reasons. We also like the food!

What does all this have to do with ramen, you may ask? This post is so much longer than I’d planned – you’ll have to wait until the next post to find out! But muse on this: what would happen if David Chang, Tony Bourdain and McSweeney’s had a love child? It would be a lucky little peach, wouldn’t it?

Mmm, Tasty: Brooklyn Flea

Every since I picked up a promotional postcard at the Renegade Craft fair two years ago, I’ve been itching to visit the Brooklyn Flea. Last month Mr. Apparently took advantage of a solo morning to check it out, despite protests that I wanted to go as well. Since he brought home a little vintage glass bell for displaying my grandmother’s watch-brooch, I forgave him, but I’ve been eager for a next trip.

brooklyn flea

This morning he planned to take Apparently Jr. to the Flea while I went to the gym. Wisely, I postponed my plans. The day was perfect for a visit to Fort Greene, the Brooklyn neighborhood we’d briefly considered several years ago. It’s way more charming there now.

And the Flea was impressive, not only for the vintage and antique vendors who actually had stuff worth perusing at the relatively late hour of 11am (eyeglass frames, anyone? multiple sellers!), but most notably for the food purveyors, who offered everything from freshly ground brewed coffee, lobster rolls and buffalo jerky to artisanal okra pickles and organic hot dogs with Japanese curry and kimchi…on the same dog.

Having recently watched a video on how hot dogs are made, I opted out of that particular delicacy, but I did indulge in a pulled pork sandwich and had a taste of an even better one made by two guys from Porchetta NYC. They don’t even have a tent, just a table with a metal bin piled with hard rolls, a roasted Niman Ranch pork loin and a big knife. At some point a smear of pesto made its way into the sandwich. It was perfect.

Mr Apparently’s bahn-mi style Asia Dog was deemed tasty, but not as delicious as his previous order of the aforementioned curry and kimchi version.

All sandwiches were, however, overshadowed by the incredibly delectable “Bonfire” caramel/ chocolate/meringue stroopwafel from The Good Batch. Described to us as “like a s’more,” it was considerably more delicate and salted-caramel-laden, and thus more delicious. I apologize for not snapping a photo of my son’s face covered in in meringue-marshmallow goodness, but my fingers were too sticky even to consider reaching for the camera. Lest you wonder what a stroopwafel looks like, here’s a shot of a different offering from The Good Batch’s web site:

stroopwafel from The Good Batch

Thank goodness for nap time. The prospect of a 45-minute train ride with an oversugared, fading toddler drove us away before we could indulge further, but not before securing macaroons and a chocolate brownie cookie (vendor unknown, but I’m guessing Choice Market) for future experimentation. Would it surprise you to learn that Apparently Jr’s first words upon waking were, “Can I have a bite of the brownie now?”

Suffice it to say, I spent nap time at the gym.

Would You Like Fries with That?

More internet awesomeness: the Bacon Cheese Turtleburger. I don’t know if there’s anything more to say that these before-and-after photos don’t address.

Interwebs Randomness and Other Inspiring Tales: Super Bowl Bacon Cheese Turtleburger.

via Humerus, via Editorial License

Farm to Table –> Fable

Stone & Thistle FarmStone and Thistle Farm, a family farm “located in a lush, quiet valley in the foothills of the Catskill Mountains in central New York state,” is a charming place to spend a Sunday morning. Their lovely farm tour is followed by a delicious brunch at the communal table of their stunningly attractive yet simply built farm-to-table restaurant, Fable.

I planned to expound thoroughly upon the farm’s virtues in this post, but then I discovered this recent article from Chronogram Magazine that lays it all out in more detail than I previously knew. So read the article and then come back here.

Okay, did you read it? (No? Seriously. It’ll take four minutes. Go read it.) Here’s what I can add:

1. The farm tour was led by Denise Warren, who is charming and blunt as only a farmer can be.

2. We came face to face with dogs, hens, goats, sheep and bunnies. The bunnies are adorable but their red eyes are a little bit creepy.

3. Their brown Berkshire pigs are the most attractive pigs I have ever seen. And it was completely refreshing when Denise said she doesn’t really understand why people like Berkshire pork better than any other pork, but it’s what chefs want, so they raise it.

4. I understand that border collies are supposedly the smartest dogs, but even after a demonstration of sheepdog prowess, I still don’t quite get it. They had to be instructed a dozen times. Isn’t it just easier to herd the sheep yourself? I know, this kind of thinking is surely why I am not a farmer.

5. Stone and Thistle has one guestroom available. I was talked out of ever staying in it by Denise’s description of the sheepdogs working – that is, barking – all night.

Stone & Thistle Farm6. Brunch was one of the best meals I have ever eaten. It was entirely simple, straightforward food: scrambled eggs, muffins, granola, ham, bread pudding. But the eggs tasted eggier, the mushrooms (local) tasted mushroomier, the ham tasted hammier. You get the idea. All the ingredients are from the farm or within twenty miles, except for the butter. (But you knew that because you read the article, right?)

7. And the granola was the best granola I have ever tasted. I expressed my enthusiasm to Denise on my way to the farm store to purchase some, and she told me, “It must be because it’s made with love.” She paused. She laughed. “And a lot of maple syrup. Probably more maple syrup than I should use, but it’s so good.”

Denise blogs here, in the rare moment that she’s not tending to animals, visitors, guests, batches of granola and the business of running a farm. And I am not telling you where the bag of granola is hidden.

All’s Wells

M WellsStorkbite Stew nearly had a conniption when she heard that Hugue Dufour, formerly of Au Pied de Cochon, and his wife planned to open a new restaurant in Long Island City. Despite a complete lack of signage, the old dining car has indeed been transformed into a vibrant new diner called M. Wells.

Thanks to the complete ineptitude of my local branch of Bank of America, which does not deserve a link, I had the pleasure of pushing fifty pounds of stroller to LIC yesterday, where only the thought of some newfangled old-style Québécois food saw me through. (Yes, we could have taken the subway, but would you want your toddler loose in the bank while you signed all sorts of papers? I didn’t think so.) So we hiked across the trainyard overpass and squinted curiously at the unadorned dining car. A lovely server came outside and held the door while I carried the stroller up the steps, at which point I knew this was going to be pleasant in a way that the bank was not.

Let me veer off on a tangent to confess that I am a complete and total lightweight where alcohol is concerned, and the previous evening I had consumed an entire Corona (the horror!) followed by a 4-hour car ride marked by winding twists and turns. I also had not drunk enough water. So I’d awoken vaguely hung over and still slightly carsick, and the menu at M. Wells spoke deeply to me: in which form would I take my grease? Egg-Sausage sandwich? Bacon, Egg and Potato Hash? Oh no, gentle readers, like the wise Superfast Reader, whose visit we apparently had followed by mere minutes, I chose wisely and shared with Apparently Jr the Crab, Egg and Potato Hash, the subdescription of which promised “Corn Chowder & Hollandaise.” And this is what appeared:

M WellsIsn’t it lovely? Don’t you just want to paint it, or photograph it? I did. And then we ate all of it, along with a hefty slice of Blueberry-Banana Bread and a tall glass of lemonade, which I thought needed sugar but Apparently Jr deemed “not too sour.”

M WellsConsider this not a review but rather an impression, because obviously one cannot judge a restaurant solely on the basis of one trip and three items, but suffice it to say that everything was delicious, the Elvis on the stereo perfectly matched the old-style dining car and the service was a perfect blend of friendly/attentive and hands-off. They were not at all concerned about stashing my stroller in a corner, and although we happened to be the only party at our communal table, I would have found it entirely pleasant to share. The clientele was a diverse mix of hipsters, blue-collar workers and a dad with his son, twirling on the stools at the counter.

I fully intend to bring Mr. Apparently to M. Wells for a next visit, and I look forward to seeing what items they’ll add to the menu when they start serving dinner.

That Cheese Number is Too Low

Did you know that the average American eats 29 pounds of French fries and 42 pounds of corn syrup each year?


via Food Consumption in America.

School Food in Japan > Cheetos

Not surprising, but the Japanese serve far better school food than we do in the U.S. Blogger Christine is living in Japan and writes about her school- and hospital-food experiences on her blog, Origami Mommy. (She also has some sweet crafty tutorials.)

I had the distinct pleasure of giving birth in a Jewish hospital during Passover, which meant matzo cereal for breakfast. Fortunately it was in the East Village and Mr. Apparently was able to bring both a tuna sandwich and take-out sushi for the same meal. Is he a good man, or what?

Japanese school food – Origami Mommy

via Words to Eat By

Cheetos reference: Slow Food USA’s blog

How to Turn Your Spam into Veggies

When I become an activist, healthier school lunches will be my cause. I am delighted by what celebrity chefs like Alice Waters and Jamie Oliver are doing to improve the standards for school-provded meals in this country and the U.K.

Chipotle, a brand whose food I don’t particularly care for but which I respect for their “better pork” policies, has started a donation campaign. Forward your junk email to nojunk@chipotlejunk.com, and they’ll donate $10,000 for every 100,000 email received to The Lunch Box, a non-profit organization that provides resources to schools to help them make their food programs healthier.

Chipotle Wants to Turn Your Junk E-mail into Healthy School Lunches.

via Mashable and Mass Transmit’s Facebook feed

Gourmet Resurrected?

Gourmet Is Back — But Not as a Magazine | Epicenter | Wired.com.

Wired reports that ”At a press event at the Condé Nast building, CEO Chuck Townsend announced the development of Gourmet Live, stressing ‘it is not a magazine, and it is not a digitized version of a magazine.’”

I wait with bated breath. I miss Gourmet, and the issues of Bon Appetit they send me instead just aren’t satisfying that itch.

Ruth Reichl
Ruth Reichl = Gourmet

The question is, with Ruth Reichl be involved? Because for me, Gourmet = Ruth. Her delightfully quirky sensibility permeated every feature in the magazine and made it worth reading. And some quick web research suggests that no, she’s not involved in this project. In fact, according to the Observer, Reichl twittered, “they’re reviving the brand, not the magazine. Pity.”

My interest just dropped considerably, from “enthusiastic and hopeful” to “curious and observant.”


Drink This, Not That!

UPDATE: It turns out that this article is actually from Eat This Not That!‘s web site. I expect the World of Mysteries link to be defunct soon…or at least appropriately accredited.

In the same vein as the popular Eat This Not That! series, World of Mysteries presents the most Harmful Drinks in America, with shocking comparisons as to the amounts of sugar and carbohydrates in various liquid refreshment. For example, a venti Starbucks Peppermint White Chocolate Mocha with Whipped Cream not only has 660 calories and 22 grams of fat, but also 95 grams of sugars, the same as in 8.5 scoops of Edy’s coffee ice cream. I tend not to consume much fast or convenience food, but I do have a weakness for the bottled mocha frappucino Starbucks sells in bottles. According to World of Mysteries Eat This, Not That!, the vanilla version contains the equivalent of 32 Nilla wafers.

The list contains waters and beer, too, so you’re likely to find at least something you consume. And most importantly, it presents options. Apparently I should be drinking an Illi Issimo Caffe instead of the bottled frappucino. I’ll have to bring it up with my local bodega.

The 20 Worst Drinks in America

Harmful Drinks in America | World Of Mysteries, via not martha.