Skip to content

Posts from the ‘Sweets’ Category

What Do You Call a Danish in Danish?

Ok, I said I was going away. ENDCHUNK. But first, allow me to leave
some photos of danishes (well, mostly danishes) that I was sitting on with a
different purpose in mind and no longer feel like writing about. I naively
wondered if Danish people eat danishes. They
do, but call them  wienerbrød  a.k.a. Viennese  bread like our french fries and english
muffins, I suppose.

These specimens come from:

Sankt Peders Bageri


La Glace

Eaten, Barely Blogged: Crickets, Chicken Combos, Salted Caramel

La popular quint

La Antojeria Popular We'll always have the
hole-in-the-wall taquerias (and despite what West Coasters argue, NYC has
plenty of Mexican food that doesn't suck) even as flashier entrants come in
waves. La Esquina to Hecho in Dumbo to Tacombi, and more recently El Toro
Blanco, Salvation Taco and La Antojeria Popular, the latter being the newest offering from the
owners of Taka Taka, the Mexican conveyor
belt sushi restaurant in Soho. As the name implies, the menu is made up of
antojitos, a.k.a. little snacks or "Mexican tapas," some more
traditional than others. Pictured is a sampling (gratis, in the name of full disclosure)
that includes the Guerrero (raw tuna cubes and mango tossed in serrano
mayonnaise on a jicama round), Michoacan (chicken in mole sauce with toasted
sesame seeds and crema on a corn tostada), Zacatecas (sirloin, salsa verde,
chihuahua cheese, also on a corn tostada) and Tamaulipas (steak, beans, chihuahua
cheese, pasilla mayonnaise–mayo is definitely a thing–in a pita sort of like
a taco arabe). For obvious reasons the Oaxaca topped with crickets–a little salty and chewy, not so
scary–and avocado on a blue corn tortilla, has gotten the most press. There is
also a small selection of ceviches and sides like the Distrito Federal (a mix
of shrimp, tilapia and beef) and Morelos, which are esquites (corn, mayonnaise,
chile, lime topped with a square of queso fresco). Desserts include a flan with
cajeta and increasingly omnipresent La Newyorkina paletas.

Pio pio matador comboPio Pio My favorite Peruvian chain. Ok, maybe NYC's
only Peruvian chain (I guess there's similarly named Pio Pio Riko too?). The
Matador Combo is $34 well spent, and minus the hot dog fries there's nothing terribly offbeat about Peruvian food, despite it winning the top "exotic" spot among US consumers surveyed about Latin American cuisine. Of course you get the chicken, burnished,
garlicky and salty (I think soy sauce is a not-so-secret ingredient) and no
matter how many birds they churn out (it will never not be crowded on a weekend night) still
moist, plus salchipapas, everyone's favorite french fry and wiener dish, avocado
salad, rice, beans, tostones, and the all-important green sauce (mayonnaise
being the not-at-all-secret ingredient). I like the metal bucket crammed full
of Heinz mustard and ketchup, even if I don't what the condiments are meant to go with.

Big gay ice cream salty pimpBig Gay Ice Cream Shop So, I've never been. Some
people think I don't like desserts, which isn't true at all. I just rarely go
to sweets-only shops and never patronize food trucks or street fairs or carnivals or whevever it is that sugar is sold in multiple formats. The Salty
Pimp with its chocolate-dipped vanilla ice cream and salted dulce de leche is
pretty perfect, and they even offer to put it in a dish for you, a flourish I
like because I'm fussy (yes, a fork-and-knife pizza-eater). Don't go after 11pm,
though, if you want something more elaborate like the Monday Sundae (similar
flavors to the Salty Pimp but in a bigger Nutella-lined waffle cone and
smothered in whipped cream) because they won't make it. And there was more of
that Fany Gerson and her La Newyorkina paletas–she gets around.


More smitten with Asia than Europe (and unaware of the now-gone NYC location) I'll admit that
I had never heard of Demel (or Demel's, as Americans like to say, oh, and even literary Czechs) the 226-year-old
Austrian coffeehouse, until it came up a few years ago when the Franks name-dropped
it in describing then new Cafe Pedlar.
And because I'm a crank it felt
ludicrous to suggest a Court Street cafe could be anything like a Viennese
stalwart, though unsurprising in its Brooklyn-ness.

And because I have an unshakable grade-schooler devotion
to the color green (do adults care about best friends and favorite colors?) the
most important piece of this Demel discovery was that that there was a place in
the world serving a bright green cake shaped like a dome and that one day it
would have to be eaten by me (and that there are no copyright-free photos
demonstrating this amazing pasty case with the green cake on Flickr–not that
that has ever stopped anyone from using my photos without even an attribution).

Demel cake  case

Unfortunately, on my last-minute visit to Vienna
(Budapest was already a spur of the moment idea with little research, and I
hadn't realized Vienna was less than three hour away by train) the green cake
was not on display. I don't imagine it's a greatest hit, especially when competing with more famous sachertorte or dobostorte.

Demel cabinet

Instead of
a glorious whole confection in the case, there were just a few errant slices
and a dummy cake up on a high shelf in a dark glare-proudcing glass cabinet.

Demel cake selection

I had heard nightmarish stories about being seated
upstairs after a very long wait in line, having to fight your way back down to
the main entrance to pick out your slices and have them written down for you to
bring up to your waitress (they are all women) and then wait for the sweets to

Demel chocolate cake

There was a poorly organized line that was being cut
with no consequence, however, the wait wasn't more than five minutes and there
is a young woman with a selection of cakes in an annex on the second floor (in
the American sense–I can't call something up stairs the first floor) so it's
not that much trouble. There would've been trouble if a green slice was absent,

Demel cake list-001

I could make out the very un-German, casatta, and
still can't determine the name of the browner, cookie-adorned and gianduja-fillled slice I also
picked out (above). Who cares? It's not green.

Demel casatta slice

Ok, casatta? That green slice is totally Italian, or more
specifically Sicilian, and a staple of many NYC bakeries, often as mini
cherry-topped single serves. There's nothing Viennese about the fluffy sweet
ricotta center suspending candied fruit and surrounded by a layer of liqueur-soaked
sponge and a smooth blanket of  almondy
marzipan. I traveled blank miles for something I could've gotten in Carroll
Gardens? (Or at Ikea, sort of. Princesstårta has a different flavor profile,
but also is a bulbous torte covered in green marzipan.)

Demel dome

Maybe the casatta has been adopted as an ode to the oxidized
domes of the Hofburg Palace across Michaelerplatz from Demel.

I guess the non-Austrian nature of this cake
shouldn't have been so surprising. Wienerschnitzel, the most iconic dish in
town, is essentially scaloppine. Now that I know the green cake is Italian, I want
the best casatta (green-only) in NYC. Villabate? Where else? Now may be the
rare instance where I regret moving out of an Italian-American neighborhood.

Demel * Kohlmarkt 14, Vienna, Austria

Photo of Demel sign via bestbig&tucker on Flickr

Serendipty 3

We caught the last gasps of summer (yes, I'm very
aware that fall doesn’t arrive until next Friday) before Park Avenue morphed
into autumn. It was my 13th (dating) anniversary, though it wasn't meant to be
a big deal, no blow-out, no special flourishes, just a restaurant we hadn't
been to in a while and felt like re-visiting. And it's a good thing we didn't
go in expecting a super-special celebration (really, after 13 years it's hard
to get that excited) because the meal was kind of a bust.

And I don't even mean the food, which was fine
enough but quickly made irrelevant. It was ruined by the beastly couple next to
us who fought loudly through most of the meal in a total Real Housewives manner
and culminated in the husband calling his wife "trailer trash." Meanwhile,
their sending back food and demanding nature cancelled out our service altogether.
By the end of our meal, our water glasses hadn’t been refilled once. Squeaky
wheels, I guess. But squeaky wheels that will keep me from returning to the
restaurant again. It’s like the time when I threw up at Ruby Tuesday after
eating dicey dim sum earlier. I now have a bad association with Ruby Tuesday and
there’s nothing that can be done about it.  

I was ready to high-tail it by the time we were
handed the dessert menu, and then the decision was accelerated when the child
of the heinous abovementioned pair began playing DVDs aloud at the table (is
this a Dear FloFab candidate?).

But I did want a dessert still, particularly my
favorite all-American dessert (second only to pecan pie) that I rarely eat: a
big fat sundae to raise my spirits. Where?

I hate being one of those uptown/downtown dividers
(and really, I'd have to be lumped more into the borough-centric side of the
Brooklyn/Manhattan battle) but the Upper East Side isn't exactly my comfort
zone or area of expertise. I wondered, “Isn't Serendipity up here somewhere?”
Indeed, it was, and quite close to Park Avenue Summer. Ok, I'd play tourist.

Serendipity movie

That entailed getting on a waiting list at 10pm with
a quoted hour wait. Not a problem, I'd need a few shots of whiskey at nearby
Subway Inn (which isn't an old man dive on a Saturday night but hangout for a
lot of short, Spanish-speaking young men and people, other people I’m guessing,
who put Maroon 5 on the jukebox) to appreciate the ice cream parlor's (which turned out to have more savory items than sweets, including shrimp fettucine and sauteed chicken livers) frippery

Us seredipity 3

On return, we were ushered upstairs and asked,
"Have you seen the movie?" What movie? No. And then felt bad because
we were given the coveted fireplace seat for two where the scene from The Movie
(Serendipity, duh) took place and we weren't appreciating it properly. I'm no
Kate Beckinsale. Though, I admit it the setting felt more appropriate for the
anniversary we attempting to celebrate low-key. Others, however, totally knew
the movie and were taking photos of our seat. I had no idea it was that kind of
place, in the Magnolia Bakery vein. (Or not, I honestly knew nothing about its
history—Andy Warhol was a regular?—that’s far more charming and storied than an
early '00s cupcakery.) I also can't believe that Dubai doesn't have a
Serendipity yet.

Serendipity 3 pecan pie sundae

And it was exactly what I needed. A massive $15.95
sundae (a special, not on the online menu, with a name I can't remember) with
all of my favorite ingredients: butter pecan ice cream (no boring vanilla) hot
fudge and pecan pie (an entire slice is sitting in the bottom of that dish)
smothered in walnuts with a billowing cap of whipped cream studded with slivered
almonds (three different types of nuts and no peanuts?!). Um,
because I'm a glutton, I would've even tolerated a drizzle of caramel, but no
one should take my advice on constructing the perfect dessert because I have a
genetically strong sweet tooth (I will never forget taking my mom to the
Brooklyn Flea where she bought a bunch of artisanal candy bars and later
complained that they weren't sweet enough.)

Serendipity 3 peanut butter frozen hot chocolate

That's all I wanted, more than plenty for two (or
four) but I panicked over the $8.50 per person minimum on the menu (would they
really enforce that if were $1.05 under?) so James also ordered a peanut butter
Frrozen Hot Chocolate that came with four straws. Excessively excessive, the
whole thing, but a right-on night-saver.

Seredipity 3 * 225 E. 60th St., New York, NY


Humphry Slocombe & Assorted Beverages

1/2 Two things I like about vacations are drinking in the middle of the day and eating lots of sweets. My dull workaday life is sugar-free, and cocktails are relegated to the weekends. I satisfied both loves my first day in San Francisco, a Saturday when good foodies are supposed to be at the Ferry Plaza Farmers Market, when instead, I met up with an old Portland friend who now lives in the Mission.

Humphry slocombe secret breakfast

He was already acquainted with popular ice creamery, Bi-Rite, so we chose to immerse ourselves in weirder flavors at Humphry Slocombe. We all were swayed by Secret Breakfast, a wink-wink blend of cornflakes and Jim Beam. Second scoops included Peanut Butter Curry for me, which tasted as advertised and had the bluntness of turmeric-heavy curry powder; Olive Oil for Todd, which he said was orangey, not olivey; and a mistaken Salt and Pepper for James (he’d ask for Cayenne Cantaloupe and I screwed up the order because my brain couldn’t retain three combos of two).

The unexpected thing was that the flavors weren’t wildly distinct. I don’t think I would’ve guessed either of the two ingredients in the Secret Breakfast, which was more creamy and vanilla-ish. The cracked pepper definitely stood out because I thought it was my bowl and not the curry flavor I’d been expecting. However, I didn’t taste any salt and would’ve liked the contrast. I don’t think we converted Todd from Bi Rite, but I’d give Humphry another chance if I lived nearby. Plus, the prosciutto flavor is back on the menu today.

Humphry slocombe exterior

Odd for someone who eats ice cream like never, I also had a scoop of nectarine at brand new Mission Hill Creamery in Santa Cruz, a company started by my boyfriend’s sister’s husband’s childhood friend. Apparently, he is of the same purist, seasonal school as Bi Rite and learned from the same master somewhere in the Northeast. I thought it was interesting that he claimed that Humphry Slocombe quirks wouldn’t fly in Santa Cruz. I was just reading about a place in Maine, which strikes me as a more conservative locale, doing flavors like Thai Chile and Chocolate Wasabi, so you never know. I did not take any photos because I tend to reserve food paparazzi behavior for company who is used to it.

Dirty thieves snack

I wasn’t sure if Dirty Thieves, around the corner from Humphry Slocombe, was a true dive or a facsimile, but the booths were ripped up enough and while PBR tallboys and a shot of whiskey are hip in their own way, it’s not like housemade horehound bitters and lavender-infused Plymouth Gin. In fact, my long list of to-try mixology dens (Albemic, Bar Agricole, Comstock Saloon, Smuggler’s Cove, Hogs & Rocks, Beretta, among others) completely got top shelved once I set foot in San Francisco.

Li po

Instead, we mingled with tourists swaying to Ray Charles covers banged out on the corner piano at Gold Dust Lounge, and nursed a few beers at Li Po on a Labor Day night in Chinatown so silent we tried not to disrupt the homeless man sleeping in the doorway next to where we parked. He continued his buzzsaw snoring, perhaps the only thing keeping Lo Pan, who we kept imagining would float by in the dark, at bay.

Eddie rickenbacker's bar

I also couldn’t pass up Eddie Rickenbacker’s, a prototypical fern bar of the let’s put crap and Tiffany lamps all over the place school of décor that only now Applebee’s and Ruby Tuesdays are trying to move away from. We really wanted to see Mr. Higgins, the obese, three-legged Katrina rescued cat who lives in the bar, but he’d died three weeks prior to the date we arrived to say hi. I drank a shot of Maker’s Mark in his honor, though he was probably more of a Harvey Wallbanger feline.

Dirty Thieves continued the refreshing San Francisco tradition of warm service, irony-rich PBR or not, an antidote to the dourness I’ve just come to expect as normal in Brooklyn. In fact, our bartender was so friendly he practically apologized for not offering us free peanut butter and banana sandwiches that he’d been grilling out back. Full of Mayan food (another post) and ice cream, we still couldn’t turn down such kindness—and enthusiasm—it was as if he’d invented the combination himself.

Humphry Slocombe * 2790 Harrison St., San Francisco, CA

Dirty Thieves * 3050 24th St., San Francisco, CA

Li Po * 916 Grant Ave., San Francisco, CA

Eddie Rickenbacker’s * 133 2nd St., San Francisco, CA

Why does no one in the Bay Area have webpages? 

Nevería Roxy

Roxy_neveria Nevería Roxy is totally the Eddie’s Sweet Shop of D.F., which might mean more to you if you’ve been to the frozen-in-time Queens ice cream parlor. Condesa is no Forest Hills, though (but hey, that Trader Joe's shaping up nicely).

If I’m correct helados are ice creams and nieves are sorbets. Roxy_neveria_counterThe reader board menu behind Roxy’s counter seems to roughly devote a column to each style, though it’s not broken down as such with headings. (Damn, I shrunk the photo down so much that I can’t read the flavors anymore.) I had a scoop of turrón in a cone on my first visit. It was likeable but I decided that I shouldn’t have ordered creamy and candy-like when fresh and exotic fruit was so readily available.

Roxy_neveria_ice_cream On our second round a few days later, I tried a cone-less scoop of tamarind and zapote. The latter randomly chosen because I really wasn’t sure what it was but suspected it might be a freaky fruit with black innards. I chose correctly. The tamarind was sour and refreshing as expected; the zapote was hard to pin down flavor-wise. I immediately liked it more, it was sweeter, richer and vaguely prune-like. More like a dried fruit than a juicy one.

If I’d gone a third time I would’ve found out what a harlequin was, listed under Preparados.

Nevería Roxy * 89 Fernando Montes de Oca, Mexico City, Mexico

Eddie’s Sweet Shop

After naively purchasing a silky teal-and-white Proenza Schouler for Target dress and thinking it would fit (I barely met the junior sizing restrictions when I was of appropriate age), it was already evening in Elmhurst. We’d already eaten a lunch that would suffice for dinner so we needed a non-edible distraction and decided on finding a movie. (In ‘94 a friend and I determined that a great punishment for a bet loser would be having to watch Nell on the big screen alone [out of curiosity, we ended up seeing it in the theater together and while non-good it didn’t live up to our punishing preconceptions]. Norbit strikes me as the modern version of this torture. But who am I to haughtily judge the black man dressing as obese black woman genre? I am fascinated how a lady so large as Rasputia has no cellulite. The more I think about it, the more I need to see Norbit—maybe on Valentine’s Day. I don’t have any plans for Feb. 14 proper.)

Neither of us had seen The Departed (which was intentional in my case) and it was still lingering at the moderately artsy/cheap theater in Forest Hills. I couldn’t picture where it was but as we started heading up Metropolitan Avenue I realized where we were and instantly remembered that Eddie’s Sweet Shop is right across the street from the movies. And miraculously there was an open parking spot on the corner, putting us spitting distance from both establishments.

We had 45 minutes until the 8:15 pm show time and I figured anyone who would’ve wanted to see this movie had already seen it so no stress on snagging seats (I was wrong, the theater was quite full. We were also easily the two youngest viewers in the audience. And for the record, old people are just barely less vocal and distracting than the rowdy teens who dominate the Court Street multiplex near me). We totally had enough time to split a sundae.

Eddie’s hadn’t changed a bit since my first and most recent visit nearly six and a half years ago (reminders of the swift passing of time completely freak me out). It was still manned by wholesome looking teens, old-timey and trinket-filled. The number of soda fountains with counter stools and spindly curlicue chairs is rapidly dwindling. Modernly garish Coldstone Creamery has more appeal, I guess. They don't burst into song at Eddie's, though they do play an '80s radio station. I honestly don't know which is more wrong. 

I find it hard to slow down and enjoy things properly so I struggled to savor my surroundings and scoops of ice cream. Surprisingly, it was James that said, “I don’t think I’m appreciating this,” which was an odd observation. I tried to concentrate and take in our shared creamy butter pecan, coffee chip and overflowing hot fudge before it melted. It’s funny that my initial inclination was to order a butter pecan and butterscotch sundae  since apparently that’s what I ordered on my last visit (see, this blog is good for something, after all). The perfect accompaniment was a short glass of water. I didn’t even have to ask, the young waitress offered, “I like water with hot fudge.” True, ice water and hot fudge is a great combo.

It’s frightening to think that my next Eddie’s visit could be in another six and a half years (I’ll be freshly forty…jesus christ). Though since the next NYC Trader Joe’s is bizarrely planned for a spot just a few blocks away, I’ll likely be back before 2013. (2/10/07)

Read more

Room 4 Dessert

Friday night at 6:30 might seem a bit early for dessert, but that's just the way it worked out. I had suggested trying Room 4 Dessert to a friend as a birthday present (I gave her Dirty Found too). It wasn't my fault that a month and a half passed between her date of birth and our sweet excursion.

Packdessert Apparently, the menu has recently changed, so many of the items I'd read about, Voyage to India in particular, were no longer being served. There were four choices of foursomes, and unfortunately, I didn't take a menu home so the finer details of each are hazy. Chocolate seemed too obvious, so I went with the PACK acronym, which showcased pistachio, apricot, cherries and kirsch. Despite the scary sounding name (and ingredients), I ordered a Mr. Clean cocktail anyway. You probably could clean tile with the pine liqueur, lemon, amaretto and whisky formula. It was bracing and medicinal (and almost reminded me of a thick white prescription liquid I had to drink for an ear infection I had when I was in preschool). But I was glad for the daring mixology.

Pistachio was my favorite PACK component, but I'm just partial to anything green that's not a vegetable. I wish I had paid closer attention to the preparations because now I fear making everything sound lackluster and simple. The cherries were in a liquid in a thick cylindrical pill bottle, the kirsch was blended into whipped cream with apricots underneath, and if I'm correct apricot was also the foundation of the sorbet which covered little crunchy bits.

Reddessert The belated birthday girl tried the red quartet, which contained hibiscus jello with ice lettuce, beet sorbet (or was it ice cream?), raspberry "bread" and a little white cake with cooked down red speck.

Ok, the two drinks at a bar around the corner, beforehand, and glass of cava mid-dessert aren't conducive to flavor recall. I'll definitely return with a clearer mind and palate. I can see this being an endearing late night stop.

Room 4 Dessert * 17 Cleveland Pl., New York,NY


OK, I'm a little confused. F&B stands for frites and beignets, right? So,
where are the Frenchie doughnuts? James and I swung by before heading to the
Paramus Mall for a quick sugar fix and the square fried goodies were nowhere
to be seen on the wall menu, and no one appeared to be eating them. The word
beignet is on the window, the trays and later we discovered, on the take-out
menu, but beignets clearly weren't going into anyone's mouth. Harumph. I had
the dog with chicken apple sausage and corn relish (love the sweet/savory
combo) and sweet potato fries. Both were tasty, but they were not beignets.
I don't know about that European street food.

F&B* 269 W. 23rd St., New York, NY