I’ve been in a bit of a funk lately because it is May 4th and I am still walking around in a winter coat and I haven’t seen sun in a few weeks. It is a well known fact that the lack of sun (and I would argue cold weather) can cause melancholy*. Since I have no control over the weather, I thought about what could perk me up. A trip to a tropical island or an amusement park weren’t options, so I decided upon the next best thing: a big, heaping scoop of ice cream. There is a new ice cream parlor in town called Cool Mess. It is isn’t a traditional ice cream parlor — you can actually make your own ice cream if you choose to or you can order the typical ice cream options. I chose the easy route this time and ordered a cone, but if you have the time and the inclination you can make your own ice cream. They have machines on each table and you can choose a base flavor of vanilla or chocolate and then mix in other goodies. I’ll save that for another time. Check out Cool Mess on East 62nd Street between Lexington and Park Avenues, 2nd floor. It’s a happy place!
*The lack of sun can cause seasonal affective disorder , which can lead to depression. If you feel like you have a true psychological or emotional problem that ice cream cannot solve, you must consult a professional.
A classic look never goes out of style. I wore the outfit in the top photo in a post from May 2014. The other photo is of Gwyneth Paltrow appearing in her recently published cookbook, “It’s All Easy”. I have to get a copy because I read some positive reviews about the recipes. Since I am a novice in the kitchen, I could use some easy-to-follow recipes, as I attempt to develop my cooking skills.
The perfect croissant is flaky and crispy on the outside but light and soft on the inside. I learned this from my grandfather, who was very particular about this delicious, traditionally French breakfast staple. He bemoaned the transformation of the croissant into an over-sized, amorphous blob with a soft, chewy exterior and a doughy interior (á la supermarket bakeries and Sara Lee). I set out to find the perfect croissant in New York City and, while I haven’t tried them all, here are my top picks as of now:
Almondine 85 Water Street Brooklyn
Ceci Cela 55 Spring Street Manhattan
Balthazar Bakery 80 Spring Street
Pizza is a democratic food. People from all walks of life love it: young and old, rich and poor, and from all races, religions, and nationalities. However, all pizzas are not created equal. Once you have tried a neapolitan pizza, you will know what I mean and you will be hooked forever. It is baked in a wood-burning oven at very high heat, using very specific techniques and ingredients that are dictated by industry associations, such as the Association Verace Pizza Napoletana (http://www.pizzanapoletana.org/public/pdf/disciplinare%202008%20UK.pdf).
In honor of National Pizza Day, I would like to share some of my favorite pizza restaurants in New York City.
Keste, 271 Bleeker Street, Manhattan
Roberta’s, 261 Moore Street, Brooklyn
Don Antonio, 309 West 50th, Manhattan
Pizzarte, 69 West 55th Street, Manhattan
A few years ago, kale was all the rage. Kale was found in everything from chips to juices to salads. People may still be eating it, but it doesn’t seem to be as ubiquitous as it once was. I personally never developed a taste for it. Now cauliflower appears to be stealing the spotlight from kale. I never tried cauliflower until recently, but I love it and eat it everyday. I prefer it when it is roasted in the oven with a little olive oil and a sprinkling of kosher salt. The picture below doesn’t do it justice, but I assure you that it is delicious and highly nutritious, too.
I was in Starbucks this morning and saw this basket of coffee with a sign that said, “Amanda’s picks”. I am not the Amanda that picked this blend, but I snapped a picture of it anyway, to accompany my post about coffee. I read a new report yesterday touting the benefits of coffee. There always seem to be conflicting findings about coffee; one day it is unhealthy and the next day it is. The latest report said that coffee does not cause heart palpitations or arrthymia, but can actually improve cardiovascular health. Can it really be true that a coffee (or two or three) a day can keep the doctor away? I am not so sure, but I will continue to drink in moderation because there will most likely be a new report soon disparaging coffee.
In some restaurants food has been elevated to an art form. Chefs use the plate as their canvas and the food as their medium. They artfully arrange the food so that the colors and textures form a beautiful and mouth-watering display. Obviously, the ingredients are expected to be fresh and delicious, but the look is equally important to both the artist/chefs and the diners. In a world where hunger is so prevalent, it is a privilege to eat such delicious and visually appealing food. I look forward to a time when hunger can be eradicated and nutritious food is available to all.
These exquisite creations are simply too beautiful to eat. They are works of art that take days to design and hours upon hours to bake and decorate. The talent behind these cakes is artist/baker extraordinaire Andrea Green. An artist by training, Andrea took her passion for cakes and turned it into a gratifying career. She transforms her clients’ ideas and interests into magnificent cakes. While it seems sinful to cut these cakes up, they are actually quite delicious. I can’t wait to see what she designs next.
Union Square, in the heart of Manhattan, has been hosting a farmers market for nearly forty years. In more recent years, as awareness of the health benefits of locally-grown, organic produce has increased, the number of farmers displaying their harvests and the number of shoppers buying them has also increased. In peak season, as many as 60,000 people pass through this market each day. Small, local farms grow more diverse, specialty crops for a smaller audience. Shorter transit times enables produce to retain its nutritional value when sold. Additionally, buying from local farmers helps families and communities remain independent and it helps keep land open and green. There are many farmers markets around NYC. Check grownyc.org for a list of markets in neighborhoods throughout the city.