A Sarcastic Appetite

Restaurant Round-Up for the Week of December 17
December 17, 2009, 8:15 am
Filed under: Uncategorized

It’s the usual: I’m here to canvass the food blogs so you don’t have to. The highlights this week:

In case you missed it, the New York Times has a breathless article about the worldwide takeover Danny Meyer’s got planned….well, for Shake Shack, anyway.

GQ’s Alan Richman names The 10 Best New Restaurants in America – and puts Marea at the top and Aldea at number 6.

UrbanDaddy gets all hot and bothered over Led Zeppole, the new dessert place from the dudes behind Artichoke Pizza. It’s billed as an “homage to Coney Island” – but don’t worry, you don’t have to take the Q or the D to get there; you can enjoy your deep fried Oreos without leaving the East Village. Oh, boy.

In case all those holiday parties aren’t doing enough damage to your liver, Metromix gives a rundown of the ten booziest brunches in the city.

Restaurant Girl was highly enamored of Tipsy Parson, giving it four stars –  a far cry from the Siftster’s lackluster review last week. Speaking of which, this week the Siftster breaks some hearts – or at least the one belonging to Jeffrey Chodorow, anyway – when he gives Tanuki Tavern measly star and Ed’s Chowder House none at all. Ouch.

And the rest of you, never fear: it turns out the Health Department never intended to ban the sale of seafood from mobile carts….just the sale of raw shellfish. Zack Brooks can sleep soundly again.

Peanut Butter Brownies
December 14, 2009, 10:28 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized

Clay demanded Christmas cookies this past weekend, and I willingly obliged, spending Sunday afternoon in the kitchen baking up a storm. It took me a little while to find a recipe that didn’t involve chilling the dough for several hours (not enough time) or intricate frosting patterns (too lazy). Of course I should have gone for the chocolate-peanut butter combination from the very beginning (so obvious). The apartment smelled amazing and I sniffed a job well done. Except for the part where these are not cookies, and nor are they Christmas-like. But hey, I certainly don’t hear Clay complaining; he’s too busy cutting another square for himself.

The added step of the chocolate ganache sounds like a pain, but just do it, it’s totally worth it.

Chocolate Peanut Butter Brownies

Via Smitten Kitchen. Makes 24ish, depending on how you cut them.

For the brownies:

2 sticks salted butter

1 3/4 c. sugar

1 c. creamy peanut butter (not the all-natural kind; stick with Jif)

2 large eggs plus 1 yolk

2 tsp. vanilla extract

2 c. flour

12 oz. semi-sweet chocolate chips

For the ganache:

1 1/2 c. semi-sweet chocolate chips

1/2 c. heavy cream

1 tbsp. salted butter, softened

Preheat oven to 350º and put the rack in the middle. Butter a 13 x 9″ baking pan, then line the pan with parchment paper. (Let a little hang over the sides if need be). Butter the parchment. In a large bowl, cream the butter and sugar. Beat in the peanut butter, then the eggs, egg yolk, and vanilla. Beat in the flour until just combined; stir in the chocolate chips. Smooth into the pan and bake for about 40 minutes, until a toothpick comes out still with some crumbs attached. Cool completely.

To make the ganache, pour the chocolate chips into a heat-proof bowl. Heat the cream in a saucepan until boiling; pour over the chocolate chips and let stand for a minute or so. Add the butter and whisk until smooth. Pour over the cooled brownies and allow to set, at least 15 minutes and probably longer. Not that you can wait that long.

Restaurant Round-Up for the Week of December 10
December 10, 2009, 7:35 am
Filed under: Uncategorized

I’m here to canvass the food blogs, so you don’t have to. A few highlights this week:

Zack Brooks of MidtownLunch gets all hot and bothered by the Siftster’s latest review on Mandangsui; even though he gives it a lone star, Zack is pumped to have someone at the Times who “eats like us.” I, meanwhile, am less than enthused about the Siftster’s take on Tipsy Parson, the new venture from the girls behind Little Giant – apparently the food is only so-so. Guess we should just stick to the cocktails.

The Guggenheim is opening a new restaurant on Friday called The Wright – and while it may not be able to surpass what Danny Meyer’s doing at the MoMa, it should be able to keep up: Rodolfo Contreras, late of Bouley and Town, is behind the stove.

My mother’s favorite Indian restaurant in Gramercy, Tamarind, opens a new outpost this month in Tribeca – an 11,000 sq. foot outpost, to be precise. Regardless of which location you grace, order the cauliflower: it’s the house specialty and it’s delicious.

Mona’s Apple says dinner at The Breslin is excellent – but if her experience is any indication, you better be willing to wait several hours for a table.

In a flurry of rumormongering, Eater NY says Scott Conant’s looking to take over the space of the disaster that was Table 8, though it won’t be another Scarpetta.

The Best Brownies, Ever
December 8, 2009, 10:49 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized

Uh, so this is a little awkward.

There was a time when I vowed to start taking slightly more attractive pictures of food for the blog. Then I made these brownies, and, well, photographs be damned. I was too busy eating shoveling this chocolatey goodness into my gullet to bother. Halfway through the third one, I thought I had better make a halfhearted attempt to snap a picture of something bearing at least a vague resemblance to a brownie, which leaves you with the abomination above. I hope it suffices, because it’s all you’re getting. I’ve made many brownies in my day, and these take the cake. (Or brownie. Whatever.) They are rich and more fudge-like than cake-like, and as if that were not enough, I had the audacity to throw a bag of chocolate chips and some instant coffee in there for good measure. I have to say I have really outdone myself – especially because they’re even better the next day. You know, I just remembered, I have to…go….I….have….something in the kitchen I…ah…need to check on…..

The Best Brownies, Ever

Adapted from this recipe, courtesy of Alexandra’s Kitchen. Makes about 16 2″ brownies.

Alexandra says this is her favorite brownie recipe of all time and she’s stopped trying any others. But since you know I’m one to gild the lily, I thought I’d add chocolate chips and a little instant coffee on top of everything else. Typical.

1 c. butter

2 c. granulated sugar

4 large eggs, lightly beaten

1/2 tsp. vanilla extract

1 tsp. instant coffee

3/4 c. unsweetened cocoa powder

2/3 c. all-purpose flour

1/2 tsp. baking powder

1/2 tsp. salt

12 oz. semi-sweet chocolate chips

Preheat the oven to 350º and put the rack in the middle. Butter an 8″ square pan, or something in that neighborhood. Melt the butter in a medium sized saucepan; add the sugar and whisk until blended. Take it off the heat; add the beaten eggs, the vanilla, and the instant coffee and stir until smooth. In a large separate bowl, whisk the cocoa, flour, baking powder and salt. Stir in the butter mixture and keep stirring until smooth. Add the chocolate chips, stir, then spread into the pan. Bake 37-40 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out with a few crumbs still on it. Let cool completely before attemping to hack into it….if you can bear to wait that long, anyway.

Restaurant Round-Up for the Week of December 3
December 3, 2009, 7:47 am
Filed under: Uncategorized

Yeah, so I didn’t update last week, but you were probably too busy stuffing yourselves with turkey and, ahem, stuffing to notice. Regardless, I’m back in action this week, here to canvass the food blogs so you don’t have to. A few quick highlights:

Carmellini’s serving truffles at Locanda Verde, despite previously swearing off them cold turkey. At $50 for three courses, I suppose it’s within range of us peons…

The Siftster comes, and the Siftster goes…to SD26, the so-called “restaurant equivalent of a second wife,” and gives a lonely star.

Sfoglia’s downtown sister Civetta was open for a hot five minutes before the place shut down again, in order to get revamped for a new January opening (and ideally get more than one star from Adam Platts, who was unimpressed with the place back in October).

From the people who brought you Kampuchea comes the Norry, which opens Friday next door to its older brother. Thrillist is calling it a “pubstraunt,” but don’t worry – all nomenclature aside, they’re still serving num pang sandwiches that everyone’s been rabid for.

Restaurant Girl visits the newest incarnation of Mermaid Inn – the Mermaid Oyster Bar, which took over the old Smith’s space on MacDougal – and gives it three stars. Stick with the appetizers, and don’t forget to try the fried clam strips.