Thursday, December 31, 2009

McDonald's Elusive Holiday Pie

Original photo taken from Buzzfeed.

I called McDonald's to ask where I could find a Holiday Pie, and got a non-answer like I suspected, something about each McDonald's being a franchise and so they have no idea who has what. Right. So its meant to get people talking and searching, which makes me want it less. But it sounds so fun, gross, and possibly yummy all at the same time.

One writer did a much more thorough search than I did, but also came up with nothing. You can read that article here. What we do know is that it appears to be a seasonal item, found mostly in the South and Midwest, and there is apparently no systematic way of locating a McDonald's that carries them.

Someone asked where they could find one on Yahoo Answers and was told to call a regional manager of McDonald's, which I might try. I'm not expecting any real answers though, so if anyone out there has any information I'd be grateful if you shared it with me!

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Serious Eats 2009 Roundup

Lots of sweet categories!

Best cheesecake, best bagel, the chocolate chip cookie championships, best mooncakes, best blueberry muffins, and the best Italian ice. You can check them all out here.

Funky Bakery Opens in LIC

Breadbox Cafe
47-11 11th St
Long Island City

The bakery was originally an autobody shop, now the outside is covered in rolling pins! Or it will be soon. Their soft open right now, their grand opening is set for Monday.
NanyNany has some great photos of the bakery.

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Recipe Review: Pecan Sandies

Recipe: Pecan Sandies

Source: Christmas Cookies: 50 Recipes to Treasure for the Holiday Season

Overall rating out of 5:

3/4 cup pecans toasted and cooled
2 sticks unsalted butter, softened
3/4 cup sugar
1 large egg yolk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 3/4 cups flour

Process the toasted pecans in a food processor until finely chopped, but not finely ground, or chop them using a chef's knife.
With an electric mixer beat the butter till creamy. Add the sugar and beat till blended. Beat in the egg yolk, then the vanilla and salt. With the mixer on low speed, mix in the pecans, then the flour until just fully combined and the dough starts to come together. Using your hands or a spatula gather the dough into a ball, then divide the ball in half.
Work with one half of dough at a time. On a lightly floured surface shape it into a log, rolling it back and forth to form a cylinder about 8 1/2 inches long and 1 1/2 to 1 3/4 inches in diameter. Roll up the log in plastic wrap and a layer of foil. Repeat with the remaining dough. Refrigerate for at least 4 hours or till very firm. The logs can be left in the fridge up to 3 days or frozen for up to 3 months.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper.
With one log at a time cut the dough into 1/3 inch thick slices, placing them about 1 1/2 inches apart.
Bake for 15-17 minutes or till golden brown around the edges. Then place the cookies on a rack to cool.
Store in an airtight container for up to 10 days. Makes about 45 cookies.

This, unlike the Apple Pecan Quick Bread, does not taste better than it looks. No surprises here, this cookie, at least for me, came out crappy. Despite the pecans the cookie is basically tasteless. They also don't resemble the photo of the cookies in the books example. Their shape and consistency are like the Pillsbury cut and bake tubes of cookie dough you find in the supermarket (though with less give).
The directions say to cut each cookie to be 1/3 of an inch, however the cookies in the photo looked much thinner, so some of the cookies were cut to be 1/4 of an inch, but even the thinner cookies didn't come out right. One possibility is that they were left in my fridge longer than four hours, though the recipe says the logs can be refrigerated for up to 3 days, which was how long I left mine in. However, if your going to try the recipe I'd advise you to use the dough in four hours, since I'm not sure what else could have effected the finished product so much.

Recipe Review: Magnolia's Apple Pecan Quick-Bread

Recipe: Apple Pecan Quick Bread

Source: The Magnolia Bakery Cookbook

Overall rating out of 5:

OK, I know this bread doesn't seem impressive, but it definitely tastes better than it looks. A friend asked me what "quick bread" actually is, and Wiki tells me its: "a type of bread which is leavened with chemical leaveners such as baking powder, sodium bicarbonate, or cream of tartar" (as opposed to yeast that takes hours to rise).

The book suggests replacing half of the apples with cranberries if you want more of a tart flavor.

Makes 1 loaf:
1 3/4 cups flour
3/4 cup sugar
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
2/3 cup orange juice (I left this out)
5 1/3 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and cooled slightly
2 large eggs lightly beaten
1 1/2 cups coarsely chopped Golden Delicious apples
1/2 cup coarsely chopped pecans

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Grease a 9x5x3 inch loaf pan.
In a large bowl sift together flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt, making a well in the center. Set aside. Stir in the liquid ingredients till just combined, do not over mix. Gently stir in the apples and pecans. Pour the batter into the pan and bake for 50-60 minutes or till a cake tester inserted in the center comes out with moist crumbs attached. Don't over bake.

Since I omitted the orange juice, the bread was undoubtably more dry than it would have been, I didn't have to "pour" in the batter. When I pulled it out of the oven I lowered any expectations I had, and was very surprised to have it taste so well. The bread itself tastes somewhat similar to Irish soda bread, the apples add sweetness and the pecans counter them nicely. Its a little crumbly, so next time I'll definitely add the orange juice. Its a quick yummy snack, perfect for breakfast too.

Monday, December 28, 2009

Village Tart to Open Mid-January

Village Tart
86 Kenmare St., at Mulberry St.

Via Grub Street New York. The menu has a sweet portion and a savory portion.

New Years Eve at Spot Dessert Bar

What: New Year's Eve Toast

When: December 31st, 5pm-1am (last seating)

Where: Spot
13 St. Marks Place

Cost: $20.10 prix fixe

You get to sample Cheesecake “Croquette” (walnuts & raspberry); Carrot Cake (salted caramel, orange, pomegranate); Chocolate & Rice Pave (banana, condensed milk ice cream). They are taking reservations but they don't seem to be required.

You can become a fan of Spot Dessert Bar on Facebook & follow them on Twitter.

Bakery Lockdown IV at Ivy Bakery

What: Bakery Lockdown IV

When: Saturday January 9th, 8pm

Where: Ivy Bakery
278 87th St (Off 3rd Ave)
Brooklyn, NY 11209
(718) 833-1626

Cost: $25, $5 off if you bring a friend

All you can eat sweets for 25 bucks! BYOB, sweatpants encouraged.

You can follow Ivy Bakery on Twitter to keep up with their events!

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Cocoa V Opens in Chelsea

Cocoa V
174 9th Ave, New York NY 10011 (map)

Serious Eats takes a look. What makes this place sound really great are the organic/vegan/fair trade wine pairings.

DUB Pies Closes its Original Location

Via Grub Street New York, via Brownstoner.

Down Under Bakery (DUB) Pies is closing its location at 193 Columbia Street, but are looking for a new location with more foot traffic.

In the meantime you can still get their goods at their other location and at various cafes.

DUB Pies
211 Prospect Park West
Brooklyn, NY
(718) 788 2448

The Winner of the Hot Chocolate Crawl is...

Jacques Torres!

You can read more about the results on New York City Food Crawl's blog.

Original photo can be found here.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Yogurtberry in Williamsburg Closes

The Yogurtberry at 209 Bedford Ave has closed.

Via Brownstoner.

Even More Holiday Blog Posts

Fork in the Road shows us how candy canes are made, as well as more last minute gift ideas for your foodie friends.

Serious Eats gives a run down of their favorite cookie recipes complete with a slideshow.

The Skinny Pig has lactose/gluten free holiday recipes.

Ginger Brewhaha Extravaganza

What: Ginger Brewhaha Extravaganza

When: Dec 30, 2009 6:30 pm

Where: The Bell House
149 Seventh Street
Brooklyn, NY 11215

Cost: Free to attend, $20 to enter gingerbread house construction competition. To enter email by December 28!

Live music and a dessert bar from Raspberry Bakeshop!

For more information visit the event's Facebook page.

Butch Bakery

Tired of frilly pastel pink cupcakes that signify everything girly? Then Butch Bakery might have the cupcake for you. The online store offers distinctly male cupcakes without resorting to cliches, and the flavors sound delicious.

They deliver to Queens, Manhattan, and Brooklyn, and charge $8 for delivery. Prices for the cupcakes range from $16-$48.

You can read more about the bakery here.

More Coverage of the Cookie Takedown

Fork in the Road had a two page article about the event, and Metromix has a 62 photo slide show, check it out.

Related Posts: Cookie Takedown at The Bell House

Holey Cream to Open in Hell's Kitchen

Via Fork in the Road.

Holey Cream
796 Ninth Avenue

The new ice cream shop will also sell donuts and cupcakes, and was set to open December 14th but obviously that didn't happen. Their coming soon sign says that their looking for help, but their voice mail is full at the moment.

Monday, December 21, 2009

Today's Pastry Blog Posts

Serious Eats NY gives a run down of six bakeries to get your holiday helping of gingerbread men.

LA Weekly lists five baking and pastry cookbooks for every baker on your list.

New Financier Patisserie Location Opens

Financier Patisserie
Grand Central Terminal
42ST side

The sign outside says its supposed to be open today! Via Blondie & Brownie.

Free Tiramisu Today with Order from Piccola Cucina

Via Thrillist.

To celebrate the launch of their delivery service, Piccola Cucina will give out a free tiramisu with every order today.

AOL Talks Cupcakes

And, as usual, this article about the cupcake boom doesn't say anything that hasn't already been said. In fact, they seem a little bit behind the trend, "one can almost smell the backlash brewing".

Original photo can be found here.

Last Minute Foodie Gifts

The City Sweet Tooth tests out Gingerhaus, a gingerbread house kit, and gives it some personal rock n roll touches.

Grub Street New York has a review in slide show form of 12 chocolate gifts to give to everyone in your life (they liked Tumbador Chocolate the most, Max Brenner the least).

Cookie Takedown at The Bell House

The Bell House
149 7th Street
Brooklyn, NY 11215
(718) 643-6510

This was my first time attending a Takedown event, and I'm really glad I made the trip out in this lovely snow storm to try thirty different types of cookies!

The first thing I did was get my hands on some free eggnog before the first hour was up. Then I dove in. The cookies were all lined up in an arc in front of the stage, the line was in the middle and so it broke up the tables into two sides.

This is the plate from side one. Top row: Chocolate whoopie pies with salted caramel & bourbon buttercream (this sounded so good, but I wasn't a huge fan, and it wasn't even a cookie!); Oreo cookie from Bean & Apple (one of my favorites); Leni's Java Stick (very yummy).
Middle row: Espresso cream-cheese sandwich (more cake than cookie); Aunt Helen's Gingersnaps (delicious).
Bottom row: Brownie Batter Cookie Dumplings with Espresso Dipping Sauce; Choco-ho-licks Cookies from Nicholetta's Eats & Treats; chocolate chip cookies from Lisa's Cookie Jar; & Triple Chocolate Cookies.

My second plate. Top row: Chocolate with ginger & other things (not bad); Stoners Paradise (cookie dough with M&M's); Niel Darkstrong's Lunar Cookies; Birdies Eye (jelly with sugar & rum- very good);
Middle Row: Death by Chocolate (included dark, bittersweet, semisweet & milk chocolate); Sweet Sues Cookie Crunch (like a candy bar); Chocolate Chip Bacon Peanut cookies; Dark & Stormy (a delicious and thin cookie that tasted like ginger- very good);
Bottom row: Oatmeal apple cranberry crumb cookies; Nacho MaMa's Cookies (cookies with orange buttercream, I wasn't a fan even though I thought they were really cute); Grandma Billie's Peppernuts by Meg(With Cookies); Rockaways by Jen Wanous (chocolate chips, butterscotch/peanut butter chips, pretzels & marshmallows); Not Ya Mama's Chocolate Chip Cookie.

Side two of the deliciously long cookie table.

Not shown on my plate (they were gone before I got a chance to snap a picture!)are my favorites of the night, the Queens Crescents. I voted for them but they didn't win ;P They had ginger, walnuts, and powdered sugar.

Jen Wanous, baker of the Rockaway Cookies. You can see her recipe here.

Gingerbread House by the baker who also did Sweet Sues Cookie Crunch.

The crowd.

From left to right: The awesome Takedown organizer who kept the event together (and made it look so easy!), Matt Timms.
The judges, Gabriella Gershenson from TONY and Renato Poliafito from Baked, who also sponsored the prizes (which included a bottle of rum or bourbon for all the entrants- one more reason I need to bake my sugar cookies for them next year).

The winners were broken up into two categories:
Judges Choice
1st Place: Choco-ho-licks Cookies by Nicoletta's Eats & Treats (
2nd Place: Death by Chocolate ("Almost better than sex") by Tiana Lawrence (who dug herself out of Suffolk County just to be there!)
3rd Place: Oatmeal Apple Cranberry Crumb Cookies by Melissa Danchak

Peoples Choice
1st Place (A TIE): Not Ya MaMa's Chocolate Cookie by Emily Hanhan
1st Place: Nacho MaMa's Cookies by Lee Frank & Dan Piccoli
2nd Place: Oreo Cookie Cookie by Amy and Bean & Apple.

Make sure to get on The Takedown mailing list for future events. They'll be doing an aphrodisiac takedown for Valentines Day!

Jen's Rockaway Cookie Recipe

Rockaways: Where Sweet Meets the Pavement! (makes about 70 cookies)
by Jen Wanous for the 2009 Cookie Takedown

1 cup light brown sugar
1 cup cane sugar
2 sticks of butter
2 1/2 cups flour
1/2 cups non fat dry milk
1 1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 tablespoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
2 eggs
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup chocolate chips
1/4 cup butterscotch or peanut butter chips
1/2 cup chopped stick pretzels
1/2 cup tiny marshmallows

Pre-heat oven to 375 degrees. Cream together the butter & sugars. Add eggs & vanilla. Mix in the flour, salt, milk, baking powder and baking soda. Add chocolate chips, butterscotch/peanut butter chips, marshmallows and pretzels. Roll into balls and place two inches apart on a cookie sheet. Bake for 8-10 minutes.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Review: G n' I Kosher Bakery

G n' I Kosher Bakery
69-40 Main St
Flushing, NY 11367, US
(718) 261-1155

Items: Pre-packaged cookies

Cost: $7.75

Overall rating out of 5:

I've been buying G n' I's challah bread from my local supermarket for over a year now, but it was only recently that I made my way over to their bakery.

While their challah bread is fabulous, their cookies are needlessly bland. Very disappointing.

Friday, December 18, 2009

Review: Pasticceria Amore

Pasticceria Amore
107-06 71st Road
Forest Hills, NY 11375
(718) 261-1349

Items ordered: One quarter pound Rainbow cookies, 2 mini cannolis, 2 cream puffs, and rum baba.

Cost: $9.50

Overall Rating out of 5:

I really wanted to like Pasticceria Amore. Austin Street is the perfect place for a good bakery, and Martha's Country Bakery doesn't come close to filling that need. The staff at Amore are friendly and helpful, and the prices are reasonable, but the pastries themselves were lacking.

The rainbow cookies barely had any almond flavor, the bitterness of the jam overpowered the rest of the cookie. The outside of the cream puffs were too soft, the cream inside was decent, as were the cannolis (we also happened to get the very last two so they probably weren't as fresh as they could have been). The biggest disappointment was the mini rum baba. Its a cream filled pastry soaked in rum with a cherry on top, but there was no rum taste at all. Instead it tasted and smelled exactly like maple syrup! I ended up pouring the rum out just to make sure it wasn't. I don't care for maple flavored things, so I couldn't really enjoy it.

The inside of the rum baba.

According to one commenter on the blog Eatery Row, this is the second location of La Dolce Italia Bakery, located at 104-05 Metropolitan Ave.

Mailing Cookies

This was the first Christmas that I've sent cookies out to people across the country. Its the first time I've sent any baked goods out through the mail.

I used the guidelines I found on Cookies in Motion.

I only sent out sugar cookies, since the icing hardens and doesn't smudge. The cookies are probably more brittle than is ideal for shipping, but I'm hoping they make the trip okay anyway.

Make sure your cookies have cooled completely before you ice them, and then make sure the frosting has set before packing them. I bought my tins from CVS for about $2.99 each and was able to fit about 15-20 cookies inside each one (including those mini gingerbread men in the picture).

I shipped them in a medium sized flat rate box and covered each box in a layer of bubble wrap. They could have used more bubble wrap around them, there was still room in the boxes for the tins to be jostled. For three tins, shipping to three different states at the same rate, it cost me about $33.

Happy Holidays!

Holiday Fair & Bake Sale in Staten Island

What: Holiday Fair and Bake Sale

When: December 19th & 20th, 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Where: 2 Hylan Boulevard
Rosebank, Staten Island
(718) 816-4506

Get your photo taken with a Victorian Santa too ;)

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Gluten Free Cupcake Event

What: Gluten Free Brunch & Cupcake Decorating with the Celiacs About Town Meetup Group.

When: Sunday, December 20th, at 11am

Where: Maria's Mexican Bistro
669 Union St
Brooklyn, NY 11215

Cost: $10 per person (only if you are decorating cupcakes)

Brunch! If you don't want brunch. cupcakes! If for whatever insane reason you don't want cupcakes, cocktails!

More details from the page:

$10 registration fee includes:
* Two cupcakes (chocolate and vanilla)
* Your choice of holiday toppings and frosting colors
* Apple cider or hot chocolate.

Spaces are limited, so reserve your spot before they fill up!
To register for cupcake decorating, please RSVP with your $10 payment and specify the time you would prefer: 11 a.m., 12 p.m., 1 p.m., or 2 p.m. If you don't specify a time, we will sign you up for the earliest available slot. You will receive an e-mail after you RSVP confirming your decorating spot. You may also pay in person at the door, but please be advised that we cannot reserve a spot for you until we receive payment.
If you will be assisting or supporting your child (not decorating your own two cupcakes), please only RSVP for the main decorator.

2nd Annual Cookie Contest & Sing-A-Long

What: 2nd Annual Cookie Contest & Sing-A-Long

When: Sunday December 20th at 8pm

Where: Union Pool
484 Union Ave., Brooklyn, NY 11211
(718) 609-0484

Cost: FREE

The contest rules are pretty lax, all you need to do is show up with your home baked cookies!

Hot Chocolate Crawl this Sunday

Original photo can be found here.

What: Hot Chocolate Crawl

When: Sunday, December 20th at 3pm

Where: Southwest corner of Washington Square Park, near the chess tables (Macdougal & West 4th St)

Cost: FREE

No RSVP necessary, but the Facebook invite for the event is here. You can also join the NYC Food Crawl Facebook group and follow them on Twitter.

Gingerbread Adventures

Holiday Train Show with Gingerbread Adventures

Runs until January 10th
Open 10 a.m.–6 p.m., Tuesday–Sunday

Original photo from 2007 exhibit.

The New York Botanical Garden- Enid A. Haupt Conservatory
200th Street and Kazimiroff Boulevard
Bronx, NY 10458
(718) 817-8700

Peak (December 26 – January 3)
Adults $25; Seniors/Students $22; Children $15; Children (under 2) Free
Adults $20; Seniors/Students $18; Children $10; Children (under 2): Free

You can check out my buddy Noelle's blog post about the program here, she's an intern at the NYBG and found a new appreciation for gingerbread!

Kumquat gives out Free Cupcakes in Brooklyn this Weekend

What: Gifts Galore and Cupcakes presented by Its Ok my Dear and The Shiny Squirrel

When: December 19th and 20th

Where: Its Ok my Dear
246 Grand St
(btwn Driggs and Roebling)
12:00 pm to 7:00 pm

Free Kumquat cupcakes & free drinks while you shop.

Greenpoint Food Market Holiday Foodtacular

What: GFM Holiday Foodtacular

When: December 19th, noon-5pm

Where: Church of Messiah
129 Russel St.

Some vendors serving baked goods include: You Can't Eat Bread? (gluten free), Linzertort Bakery (vegan), A Park, La Bella Torte, Abby's Bakery, By the Hearth (allergy free), Sugarbuilt, Bean & Apple, and Belly Goodness.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Led Zeppole Opens

Led Zeppole
328 E. 14th St (btwn 1st & 2nd Ave)
New York, NY 10003

Save the Pink Tea Cup! (OT)

To quote restaurant critic Ryan Sutton, "This was the year of the mediocre opening and the high-profile closing". I couldn't agree more (you know, as someone who wouldn't know high end food if it bit her in the ass).

I've never been to the Pink Tea Cup, and I'm sad to say that what's driving my attempt to eat there this month is that they're set to close January 3rd unless they can come up with $100,000 to buy the restaurant. They've been serving big portions of classic Southern soul food for 55 years, and refuse to pass the cost of higher rents onto their customers.

What can YOU do?
1- Go there, and eat something yummy
2- Join the Save the Pink Tea Cup Facebook page
3- Make a donation on their Paypal Page.
4- Drop by Pink Tea Cup on January 3rd for a fundraiser (and tell everyone you know about it)

And if your wondering why I'm blogging about this...I'm going to say its because they also have a dessert menu (with freakin sweet potato pie!).

Pink Tea Cup
42 Grove Street

Update: You can also check out their blog here.

Review: Godiva Biscuits

Godiva's 36 piece Biscuit Gift Box

Cost: $25

Overall rating out of 5:

As I've mentioned before, I no longer buy anything from Godiva because of the steady decline in the quality of their products. But I received their assortment of biscuits as a gift, and it didn't offer any surprises.

The selection: Godiva Signature (biscuit & milk chocolate), Hazelnut Praline (chocolate hazelnut cream between two biscuits, bottomed & edged with milk chocolate), Petite Mousse (biscuit filled with chocolate mousse, bottom dipped in dark chocolate), Dark Truffle Heart (biscuit topped with dark chocolate filled with chocolate truffle cream), Raspberry Premiere (biscuit with raspberry cream covered in dark chocolate), Chocolate Lune (2 hazelnut wafers filled with chocolate cream, half dipped in dark chocolate), and Hazelnut Belgique (meringue biscuit topped with hazelnut pieces covered in dark chocolate & drizzled with milk chocolate).

Nothing good comes out of this box, which is a shame because as usual the presentation is lovely. The biscuits are not buttery, like the chocolate their tasteless. I literally can't give them away, people don't want to eat them. The ones I disliked the least were the plain Godiva Signature (the corner pieces) and the Hazelnut Praline (the pieces with the white G). I can say without any exaggeration that your better off buying Le Petit Ecolier.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Holiday Party at Stuffed Artisan Cannolis

Stuffed Artisan Cannolis
176 Stanton St.
(212) 995-2266

Items ordered: eggnogg mini cannoli, gingerbread mini cannoli, pistachio mini cannoli.

Cost: $5

Overall rating out of five:

Flavored cannolis seem like an idea that could have caught on sooner. Thursday was Stuffed Artisan Cannolis holiday party, it was the perfect opportunity to try them out. I showed up half an hour after it started and the place was fairly quiet. $5 get you three mini cannolis, $2 gets you one, and a dozen costs $18. Full sizes cannolis are available too, though I only saw a couple of varieties on display.

The staff was very welcoming. Me and a friend sat down at a table and we were given some free eggnog and brandy that was delicious, it ended up working really well with the cannolis.

The pistachio was my favorite, it had a subtle flavor that could have been even stronger. The ends are sprinkled with crushed pistachios.
The gingerbread was good but not great, I tasted more of the spices that go into gingerbread rather than the flavor of gingerbread itself.
Last came the eggnog cannoli. I didn't like its sour flavor, but I also might not be a fan of things eggnog flavored.

The place is charming and has a lot of potential, I'll definitely be making return visits.

My friends order from left to right: gingerbread, birthday cake, and chocolate (she said it was more sweet than bitter, and very rich).

Related posts: Holiday Party at Stuffed Artisan Cannolis Tomorrow

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Baked by Melissa Scavenger Hunt:

Every day in December, Baked by Melissa will post a new clue via her Facebook page to help you locate a gift card worth 100 FREE cupcakes!

Friday, December 11, 2009

Kyotofu's New Years Eve Party

Where: Kyotofu
705 Ninth Avenue (Between 48th and 49th Streets)

What: Open Bar, Champagne, Dinner & Dessert, DJ, Dancing

When: Thursday, December 31st, 8:30pm - 2:00am

Cost: $95
Call ASAP, seats are limited!

Original photo can be found here.

From their email:

Highlights for our amazing soiree include a 5 1/2 hour premium open bar with sake and shochu, guaranteed seats for each ticket with table service, a full dinner and dessert from our award-winning kitchen, fun and festive party favors, a champagne toast at midnight, electrifying live NYE countdown to '09 and a DJ spinning 'til the wee hours of the morning.


Kyotofu Original Cocktails
Top Shelf Liquor
Premium Sake
Premium Shochu

Dinner & Dessert Menu
Edamame with Sea Salt & Fresh Lime
Kurobuta Sausage Puffs
Panko-Crusted Mac & Cheese
Chicken Teriyaki Sliders with Cucumber and Shiso
Habenero & Ginger Grilled Shrimp
Manchego Cheese with Quince on Toast
Shiitake Mushroom and Goat Cheese Tarts
Braised Pork Belly with Apple Chutney
Champagne and Yamamomo Peach Gelee
Mini Red Velvet Cupcakes
Chocolate-Miso Brownies with Green Tea Cream
Matcha Nama Chocolate Bites

Take-home gifts to cure your hangover : Chocolate Souffle Cupcakes!

Soda Shop Closes

Via Eater NY.

Dammit. I had wanted to try this place.

Cafe Angelique Opens New Location

Cafe Angelique
121 Prince Street

Via Eater NY: This is an express location, with baked goods coming in from Cafe Angelique's two other locations.

49 Grove Street
68 Bleecker Street

Cupcakes & Cocktails

Red Velvet Lounge
174 Rivington St

Owners of The Yard and the Eldridge bring us mini cupcakes laced with alcohol. The cupcakes are made by Baked By Melissa.

The Feed has the first look.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

"Vintage Tea Party"

Via The Gothamist.

Levy's Unique New York is hosting a free & unsanctioned tea party-like thing on a vintage subway car this Sunday.

If you'd like to go show up with appropriate vintage attire (see photos on the Gothamist site) and your $2.25 subway fair to the second avenue/lower East Side station on Sunday Dec. 13, at 2 pm. People should be waiting on the uptown platform before getting on the V train. Your encouraged (but not required) to bring tea and pastry-like snacks.

Birdbath Opens Today

160 Prince St.

They opened today at 9am, in the space formerly occupied by Vesuvio!

5th Avenue Chocolatiere Coupon

Today's Groupon deal: pay $15 for $30 worth of chocolate from 5th Avenue Chocolatiere!

5th Avenue Chocolatiere
693 Third Ave.


11 Madison Ave.

The offer expires in 11 hours and is good for one year.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Recipe Review: Beet-Red Velvet Cake

The history of red velvet cake is pretty sketchy. No one seems to know exactly where it originated from, though the consensus seems to be that its a Southern dessert. Some people claim that "traditional" red velvet cake was made with beets instead of red food coloring. Whether this is true or not, its an interesting alternative for those of you who don't want to use the 4-6 tablespoons of red food coloring your usual recipe requires (having to explain to your guests that no, they are not anally bleeding, isn't as fun as it sounds).

I bought two beets, wrapped them in foil, baked them in the oven for 90 minutes, cut them into thin slices, and pureed them in a blender. I used this recipe (the recipe is for a layer cake, but I used it for cupcakes instead):

3 1/4 c. cake flour (or all-purpose)
3/4 c. cocoa powder
1 1/4 tsp baking soda
1 1/2 tsp salt
1 c. canola oil
2 1/4 c. sugar
1 1/3 c. pureed roasted beets (about 2 large beets, or 3 small ones)
3 large eggs
1-6 tablespoons red food coloring
1 T. water
1 1/2 tsp vanilla
1 1/4 c. buttermilk
1 tsp vinegar
1/4 cup melted dark chocolate (I omitted this)

Preheat oven to 350
Cooking time for cake: 30-35 minutes
Cooking time for cupcakes: 20-25 minutes
If your making a cake, grease three 9" round cake pans, line with parchment, grease the parchment and then dust with cocoa powder. If your making cupcakes put cupcake liners in your pan.
Sift together flour, cocoa powder, baking soda and salt. Set aside. Mix together canola oil, sugar and beets on low speed. Add eggs one at a time, and beat until well mixed. Add red food coloring and vanilla to oil mixture. In a separate bowl add the vinegar to the buttermilk. Then alternately add the dry ingredients and buttermilk, beginning and ending with the dry ingredients. Finally mix in the melted dark chocolate. Bake until the cake springs back when you lightly touch it (or when toothpick inserted into center comes out clean). Cool ten minutes, then remove from pan and continue cooling on a wire rack. Frost.

Overall rating out of 5:

Terrible. This is not red velvet cake. This is chocolate beet cake, which I guess is fine if that's what you want. Even though I didn't add in all that melted dark chocolate, the chocolate was strong and very bitter (far too bitter). The consistency was oddly chewy. They didn't even smell good when I took them out of the oven. The color was more of a brown than a red, which I expected. I didn't even bother to frost them.

I definitely want to try this again, but with a different recipe next time.

Time Out New York's Dessert & Sweet Picks

Check out their favorite sweets here (includes Donut Plant, Downtown Cookie Co., & Jacques Torres).

And their favorite desserts here (Oceana, General Greene).

Holiday Party at Stuffed Artisan Cannolis Tomorrow

Via The Skinny Pig.

Stuffed Artisan Cannolis
176 Stanton Street
December 10th, 7-10pm

Alcohol will be served in the form of eggnog and brandy, as well as holiday flavored cannolis like eggnog and gingerbread.

Pastry Chef Opens "Underground" Bakery

Via Grub Street New York.

Pastry chef Victoria Howe is going to have a bakery in her apartment once a month. Chinatown Cake Club will take place one Sunday a month starting December 27th. $10 gets you all the pastries, coffee and tea you can eat for four hours. Its invite only, which you sign up for on her site, however a physical address is required to do so.

Gingerbread Houses at Le Parker Meridian

Le Parker Meridian
119 W 56th St
New York, NY 10019
(212) 708-7414

I got over there yesterday to take a look at the best gingerbread houses I've ever seen. Be sure to check them out in person and donate a dollar to City Harvest.

The Chrysler Building by Soutine Bakery.

Grand Central Terminal by Magnolias

Sweet Ride by Buttercup Bake Shop

Happy Holidays from Le Parker Meridian & The Norma's Team

The View from Grand Street by The Cupcake Cafe

Three Little Pigs, Manhattan Holiday by Billy's Bakery

Norma's Hacienda Dulche by Norma's

I absolutely love the orange slices as windows!

Christmas in Palm Springs by Tribeca Treats